2012 -- H 7899

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LC02138

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STATE OF RHODE ISLAND

IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY

JANUARY SESSION, A.D. 2012

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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: Representatives Fox, Blazejewski, Keable, Ajello, and Valencia

     Date Introduced: March 06, 2012

     Referred To: House Judiciary

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     WHEREAS, The growing influence of large independent political expenditures by

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

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States and the State of Rhode Island; and

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

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

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

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unions, and wealthy individuals; and

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

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

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corporations; and

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

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

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

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electioneering; and

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

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

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legislatures; and

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

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

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

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

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large independent political expenditures by corporations and wealthy individuals which threatens

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

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voters and distort the public discourse; and

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

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

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their constitution; now, therefore be it

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

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

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

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

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to regulate and restrict independent political expenditures by corporations and wealthy

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individuals; and be it further

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

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

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

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

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

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of the United States.

     

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LC02138

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H7899