Vermonters Say: Corporations Are Not People!


Vermont Says: Corporations Are Not People!

Democracy and Transparency in the Wake of Citizen’s United

The framers of the US Constitution intended that Constitutional rights be granted to individuals, to the people. (A democratic government of, for, and by the people) The first amendment guarantees free speech and a free press. The Supreme Court on January 21, 2010 in its Citizen United decision equated free speech with corporate spending on political campaigns. While the economy may benefit from business success, democracy benefits when individual voices are heard. Democracy is forever altered when corporate economic power can silence individual voices within the democratic process. By allowing corporations to give unlimited dollars to political ads, the Supreme Court undermines our democratic heritage. The unfettered infusion of money into the electoral process leads to a loss of transparency so important to open elections. A local resolution can level the playing field for Vermonters, one town at a time. A resolution sent to state and federal officials to return the United States Constitution to the people, to designate persons as individuals, removing personhood from corporations. In doing so the intent of the Constitution is fulfilled; Citizens United is rebuked; corporate money can be regulated during elections; and the peoples voice can be heard during the electoral process. Both bring justice and transparency back to democratic elections

Senator Ginny Lyons

BALLOT ITEM FOR MARCH TOWN MEETING

In light of the United States Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision that equates money with speech and gives corporations rights constitutionally intended for natural persons, shall the city/town/gore of___________________________________ (municipality name) vote on ___________________(town meeting date) to urge the Vermont Congressional Delegation and the U.S. Congress to propose a U.S. Constitutional amendment for the States’ consideration which provides that money is not speech, and that corporations are not persons under the U.S. Constitution, that the General Assembly of the State of Vermont pass a similar resolution, and that the town send its resolution to Vermont State and Federal representatives within thirty days of passage of this measure?

Click here for printable version

 

PROCESS FOR GETTING A QUESTION BEFORE THE VOTERS:

 

 

January 26 when town warnings need to be finalized and signed by the select board. Before this date the petition needs to be presented to the select board for their approval for inclusion in the warning. In consideration of the very busy schedule that select boards have with preparing the budget the sooner the petition can be submitted the better or even just alerting them that it will be coming and providing them a copy of the text is helpful for their planning. Getting to select boards by first week in January should be the goal

The petition must contain signatures of 5% of the voters requesting placement of articles on the warning for the Annual Meeting and must be received by the Selectboard or the School Board at least 40 days prior to Town Meeting. 17 V.S.A.§2642(a).”
Time is short. Bring a copy on a clipboard to events and meetings. Get as many signatures as possible. (You can get the actual number of signatures needed by law by calling your Town Clerk.)

Make sure the date that your petition gatherers use on the petitions is the date it will be voted on by town residents (almost always the day of the town meeting).

Here are the steps a citizen can take:

1. Contact municipal clerks to get dates in individual towns to submit the petition in time for signers to be verified on the ballot;

2. Contact select boards, supervisors, mayors, councils to get their dates and process for approval of items to be warned for voting at town meeting and to

give them a heads up about the issue;

3. Collect signatures—the more the better;

4. Submit petitions on time;

5. Have folks show up at town meeting to support the measure

 Even with the required signatures on a petition the select board can choose to not include an article if it doesn’t directly pertain to town business.

Here’s a summary of the procedure. Of course, items can be introduced from the floor w/o any sort of petition process or warning periods. But if the plan is to do this by Australian ballot, this info should be passed around: http://www.vermont-elections.org/elections1/tmarticlepetition.htm

2 thoughts on “Vermonters Say: Corporations Are Not People!”

  1. The Myth of Corporate Personhood

    http://riversong.wordpress.com/the-myth-of-corporate-personhood/

    Robert Riversong, Warren VT

    Five essays on the takeover of American democracy by corporations
    and how we can – and must – take it back for We the People.

    1. The Pernicious Fiction of Corporate Personhood
    2. Corporations are Not People
    3. Justice Lewis Powell and the Rise of the Corporate State
    4. “A Constant Preference of Public to Private Interest”
    5. The People’s Rights Amendment

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