Last year, after we worked hard and passed the non-binding Democracy Amendment in parts of Massachusetts, that seemed to be the end of what we could do without the cooperation of the House of Representatives.
However, a small group of people from the eastern part of the state decided this wasn’t enough. After in-depth research and conversations with the state Attorney General, and much studying ... 1,000 pages of legal instruction, they formed a new group called PassMassAmendment (PMA), and have written a petition for an amendment to the state constitution that will be binding (and Jim McGovern is a co-sponsor):
Section 1 Corporations are not people and may be regulated. The rights afforded to the human inhabitants of the Commonwealth, under this Constitution, are not applicable to corporations, limited liability companies or any other corporate entity. Any references to persons, citizens, inhabitants, subjects, men, people, individuals or like terms in this Constitution, are not to be construed in any way to be referring to a corporation, limited liability company or other corporate entities. Corporations, limited liability companies and any other corporate entity shall do business in this state under the regulation of laws passed by the legislature which shall set the rights of such entities to do business to promote the common good and strengthen the social compact of this Commonwealth.
Section 2 Money is not free speech and may be regulated. To protect our political process and the functioning of government to serve in the best interests of the citizens of the Commonwealth, money shall not be considered free speech. The Legislature shall have the power to regulate the raising and spending of money and inkind equivalents for any primary or election of a public official and for ballot measures. This shall include regulation of any advertising for or against any candidate in a primary or election for public office and any ballot measure.
Section 3 Nothing contained in this Amendment shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press.
This amendment needs 90,000 signatures “submitted to local election officials for certification ... no later than 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013.” ... seven weeks! And they hope that at least 30,000 will come from western Mass. I think that we in the Pioneer Valley can contribute many of those.
If we raise a small army of volunteers willing to collect signatures for a few hours a week (or more often, if possible), we could make significant progress in that direction. I will soon have signs, info cards and petitions to share (or you can download, and print them, at:
Or contact me for copies: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a long process (the election wouldn’t be until November 2016 ... after two legislative sessions have passed), but if there are not enough signatures in the next seven weeks, it would mean starting all over again at square one. If this amendment passes and is challenged, it would be at least 2022 before it could make it to the Supreme Court ... and it would be a serious, and unprecedented, challenge to states’ rights. Imagine if every state moved in this direction. PMA has already received requests from several groups in other states.
This is urgent! Please volunteer and contact me ASAP.