March 22, 2012 

Way to Go, California! Assembly Passes Resolution Calling for Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

California Could Be the Third State in the Nation to Adopt Such a Resolution

Note: Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People campaign worked with Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski to develop a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling.

California is well in stride to be the third state to call for a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, which allows corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money in an attempt to influence elections. The California Assembly passed a resolution today – by a 48-22 vote – calling for an amendment, sending the measure to the California Senate.

Introduced Jan. 5 by Assemblymembers Bob Wieckowski and Michael Allen, the resolution calls for an amendment that would prevent corporations from being granted the same rights as individuals and would create fair elections, in which Congress could regulate all forms of campaign spending.

“The Citizens United decision tilts the scales of campaign funding toward those who support wealthy special interests rather than working Americans,” Wieckowski said. “This resolution is designed to send a grassroots message to Washington about the urgent need to overturn the Supreme Court’s ruling and restore fair elections to the people.”

Added Jonah Minkoff-Zern, senior organizer with Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People campaign, “California is poised to take this momentous step in calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and return fair elections and constitutional rights to the people. It is because of the work of dedicated activists throughout the state that California’s elected officials are joining them in taking a stand to say that democracy is for people, not for corporations.”

California’s in good company. Hawaii led the charge in calling for a constitutional amendment, followed by New Mexico on Feb. 11. And while Maryland does not consider such resolutions, a majority of the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates have signed onto a letter calling for an amendment.

Public Citizen has helped lead the introduction of similar resolutions in Massachusetts, Vermont and Maryland, and has supported the efforts of local activists and lawmakers who have introduced similar resolutions in Alaska, Iowa, Kansas and New York. In total, resolutions have been introduced or passed in 16 states. Public Citizen is leading a coordinated effort to pass hundreds of similar resolutions at the local level the week of June 11.  More information about this effort – and a map of resolutions introduced and passed – can be found at www.resolutionsweek.org.

“Every day brings more evidence of how Citizens United is making a mockery of our democracy,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “Thank you, California, for helping lead the charge to re-establish the principle that democracy means ruled by the people, not giant corporations.”

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Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.citizen.org.