Friday, July 13, 2012 • 10:44 AM Post a Comment

Springfield Citizens Unite?

posted by Maureen Turner

Will Springfield become the latest community to signal its support of a proposed Constitutional amendment overturning the Supreme Court’s controversial 2010 Citizens United ruling? (That decision, in case you’ve somehow missed it—and really, if you have missed it, you probably ain’t reading a politics-and-news blog anyway—ruled that the government cannot restrict political contributions from corporations and unions, on First Amendment grounds.)

On Monday, the City Council will consider a non-binding resolution in support of that effort, sponsored by Ward 2 Councilor Mike Fenton and at-large Councilor Tom Ashe.

The resolution echoes the words of similar measures passed in, at last count, 66 other Massachusetts municipalities, calling on the state Legislature to pass its own resolution supporting a federal amendment. It notes that “the First Amendment to the United States Constitution was designed to protect the free speech rights of people, not corporations” and calls the Court’s ruling the “extreme conclusion” of decades of “corporate takeover of the First Amendment.”

The state resolution was filed by Sen. James Eldridge, a Democrat from Acton, and counts among it sponsors, from Western Mass., state Sen. Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst) and Reps. Smitty Pignatelli (D-Lenox), Peter Kocot (D-Northampton), Ben Downing (D-Pittsfield) and Denise Andrews (D-Orange). It's now before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary.

In January, U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, a Democrat from what is, for now, Massachusetts’ 3rd Congressional District, filed the “People's Rights Amendment,” which would repeal the Citizens United ruling. Beginning in January, McGovern will represent a newly redrawn 2nd District, which will include Amherst, Northampton and Greenfield, among other Valley communities.

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