Montpelier – The Vermont State Senate voted today calling for an amendment to the Constitution that would make clear that corporations are not people and money is not speech and can be regulated in political campaigns. The vote was 26-3. State Senator Virginia Lyons (D) spearheaded the effort, working with Move to Amend in 2011 to introduce a resolution that came back this year.
Vermont is poised to become the first state to call for an amendment to abolish the doctrine known as “Corporate Personhood” which gives corporations constitutional rights meant to protect people.
Hawaii and New Mexico have passed resolutions against the Citizens United v. FEC ruling by the Supreme Court, but the Vermont resolution goes beyond simply overturning that case and aims to remove corporations from the constitution altogether and make clear that money is not speech and that campaign spending and political contributions can be regulated by the government.
“Citizens across the country are putting Congress and the Supreme Court on notice that an amendment is coming. Legislatures can either join the Movement to Amend or get out of the way,” stated Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap of Move to Amend. “Americans of all political persuasions are on board with an amendment to put We the People in charge of our government, not corporations. It is great to have the Vermont Senate step up to join the cause.”
Partners in the Vermont effort include Vermonters Say Corporations Are Not People; Public Citizen; Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom; Vermont Peace & Justice Center; VPIRG; Common Cause Vermont; Occupy Burlington; Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, founders of Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc.; Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility; Rural Vermont; Vermont Workers Center; and Vermont Action for Peace.
For a list of cities that have passed resolutions or that have campaigns in progress see: https://movetoamend.org/resolutions-map.