Yesterday Vermont became the third state to pass a resolution calling on Congress to amend the constitution to reverse Citizens United and try and stem the flow of endless amounts of corporate dollars in politics.
The resolution passed the Vermont House by a vote of 92-40, one week after the Senate approved it 26-3. Similar resolutions have passed in Hawaii and New Mexico and resolutions have passed at least one chamber in California, Alaska and Iowa.
“By fighting so passionately, Vermonters have put the state on the map as opposing corporate influence in our elections. Public Citizen is proud to have played a coordinating role with our Vermont partners in this movement victory,” said Aquene Freechild, senior organizer with Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People campaign. “The Vermont Legislature is the third state legislature to formally call for an amendment. I have no doubt it will be among the first to ratify.”
Added Public Citizen President Robert Weissman, “Today’s passage shows that a movement for a constitutional amendment to take back our democracy has gone from being considered a ‘pipe dream’ to the mainstream. Vermonters should be proud to have a leading role in driving forward this historic movement.”
Sen. Ginny Lyons (who introduced the Senate resolution) has persisted for more than a year, reflecting concerns in Vermont about the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling. The effort was bolstered by grassroots efforts in 65 Vermont cities and towns that passed resolutions last month.
“Most Vermonters don’t believe that the founders of our Constitution intended for business corporations, whose sole purpose is to raise money for their owners, to be able to participate, on behalf of those owners, in elections,” said Rep. David Sharpe, who led the charge to pass the House version. “This decision by the United States Supreme Court effectively gave the owners of those corporations two ways to influence policies in our state and our country. Voters in towns all across the state of Vermont do not want their voices drowned out by the voice of corporate wealth and influence, and we call upon the United States Congress to take steps to reverse the decision of the Supreme Court.”
The resolution came after months of campaigning by local activists to win support in towns throughout the state. Activists involved with Vermonters Say Corporations Are Not People got at least 65 towns to pass statements supporting a state resolution.
Photo from Tax Credits via flickr.