12-R285

2012 -- S 2656

Enacted 05/21/12

 

 

J O I N T R E S O L U T I O N

URGING CONGRESS TO PASS AND SEND TO THE STATES A CONSTITUTIONAL

AMENDMENT PERMITTING STATE AND FEDERAL REGULATION AND RESTRICTION

OF INDEPENDENT POLITICAL EXPENDITURES

     

     

     Introduced By: Senators Paiva Weed, Ruggerio, Pichardo, McCaffrey, and Goodwin

     Date Introduced: March 01, 2012

 

 

 

     WHEREAS, The growing influence of large independent political expenditures by

corporations and wealthy individuals is a great and growing concern to the people of the United

States and the State of Rhode Island; and

     WHEREAS, In a democracy the assurance of a fair and uncorrupted election process is of

the utmost importance, and the Rhode Island General Assembly believes that it is a legitimate

and vital role of government to regulate independent political expenditures by corporations,

unions, and wealthy individuals; and

     WHEREAS, In fulfillment of this important role the government of the United States and

a majority of states have regulated and restricted independent political expenditures by

corporations; and

     WHEREAS, In 2010, the Supreme Court of the United States decided by a bare majority

in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission that the First Amendment of the Constitution

of the United States prohibits restrictions on the use of corporate and union treasury funds for

electioneering; and

     WHEREAS, Citizens United was a dramatic reversal of established Supreme Court

precedent, and overturned decades of statutes enacted by Congress and numerous state

legislatures; and

     WHEREAS, Citizens United has served as precedent for further legal decisions harming

our democratic system of government, including SpeechNow.org v. FEC, which allows wealthy

individuals to anonymously channel unlimited political expenditures through Super PACs; and

     WHEREAS, In the wake of Citizens United there has been an exponential increase in

large independent political expenditures by corporations and wealthy individuals which threatens

the integrity of the election process, corrupts our candidates, dilutes the power of individual

voters and distort the public discourse; and

     WHEREAS, Article V of the United States Constitution empowers and obligates the

people of the United States of America to use the constitutional amendment process to amend

their constitution; now, therefore be it

     RESOLVED, That this General Assembly of the State of Rhode Island and Providence

Plantations respectfully urges the Congress of the United States to pass and send to the states for

ratification an amendment to the constitution to effectively overturn the holding of Citizens

United and itís progeny and to permit the governments of the United States and the several states

to regulate and restrict independent political expenditures by corporations and wealthy

individuals; and be it further

     RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and he hereby is authorized and directed to

transmit duly certified copies of this resolution to the President and Vice President of the United

States, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Minority Leader of the House of

Representatives, the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, the Minority Leader of the

United States Senate, and to each Senator and Representative from Rhode Island in the Congress

of the United States.

     

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LC01864

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