March 26, 2015
New Hampshire Senate Responds to People’s Call for a Constitutional Amendment to Address Citizens United
Statement of Jonah Minkoff-Zern, Co-Director, Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People Campaign
Note: Today, the New Hampshire Senate voted with bipartisan support to pass an amended version of SB 136. The bill calls for a constitutional amendment to address the Citizens United U.S. Supreme Court ruling and creates a committee to study all constitutional amendments pending in the U.S. Congress.
Lawmakers in the New Hampshire Senate have at last responded to the people’s call to rein in the torrent of money that is flowing into New Hampshire’s political system. We applaud them and urge members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives to follow suit and pass SB 136 as amended.
Today, thanks to the bipartisan leadership of Senators Russell Prescott (R-23) and Martha Fuller Clark (D-21), the Senate at last voted to pass a version of SB 136 that includes language specifically calling for a constitutional amendment. This reflects what the people of New Hampshire have been urging their elected officials to do in response to the surge of outside money being spent on state and federal elections. For example, more than $49 million from outside sources was spent on New Hampshire congressional races in 2014, drowning out the voices of ordinary citizens in the state.
Earlier this month, New Hampshire citizens – from both political parties – made it crystal clear that they want to liberate elections from corporate, union and super-wealthy influence. Residents overwhelmingly passed warrants at 11 town meetings calling for a constitutional amendment to address the 2010 Citizens United ruling. This brings the total to 67 New Hampshire towns and cities that have passed resolutions.
Additionally, more than two-thirds of New Hampshire residents across party lines support a constitutional amendment to limit campaign contributions and spending, according to a poll by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center.
SB 136 will now head to the House, where state representatives will have a chance to follow the will of their constituents and pass the amended legislation. Once passed, New Hampshire would be the 17th state to call for a constitutional amendment to stop the flood of money.
Read more about the efforts to pass a constitutional amendment in New Hampshire.