Sunday, September 21, 2014

Ballot question on constitutional amendment

Note: this event was originally to be held in the new FHS, it will be held in the Horace Mann Middle School Auditorium.

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Ballot question talk on Monday, September 22

Corporations are not peopleOn Monday, September 22, 2014 at 7:30 p.m., author Jeff Clements will speak about his new book "Corporations are not People: Reclaiming Democracy from Big Money and Global Corporations." The talk will take place in the Thomas Mercer Auditorium at the Horace Mann School at 224 Oak Street in Franklin. Clements will also entertain questions from the audience following his presentation.

The talk is a public forum that will offer residents of the 10th Norfolk District information on the public policy question which will appear on the November 4, 2014 state election ballot. The ballot question asks essentially whether I, as your State Representative, should be instructed to vote in favor of a resolution calling for an amendment to the United States Constitution, stating that corporations are not people. This would be in response to the Citizens United decision, a U.S. constitutional law case dealing with the regulation of campaign spending by corporations.

Under Article XIX of the Massachusetts Constitution, Part I, the people have a right, in an orderly and peaceable manner, to assemble to consult upon the common good; give instructions to their representatives, and to request of the legislative body, by the way of addresses, petitions, or remonstrances, redress of the wrongs done them, and of the grievances they suffer. Over the summer, residents of the 10th Norfolk District signed petitions, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 53, section 19, asking that the ballot question on corporate person-hood be submitted to the voters.

The talk by Clements will offer background on the question posed and an introduction to his book on the topic. In his book, Clements explores the Citizens United decision, where the U.S. Supreme Court decided that corporations, as virtual persons, have the same free speech rights as living, breathing persons. He describes the strange history of the Citizens United ruling, its ongoing effects on democracy, and the growing movement to reverse it. He includes a new chapter, "Do Something!," showing how—state by state and community by community—Americans are using creative strategies and tools to renew democracy and curb unbalanced corporate power. Since the first edition, 16 states, 160 members of Congress, and 500 cities and towns have called for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, and the list is growing.

Jeff Clements is a cofounder of Free Speech for People, a nonpartisan campaign working to reverse Citizens United, restore equal citizenship for all Americans, and reform corporate law. Mr. Clements served as Assistant Attorney General and Chief of the Public Protection & Advocacy Bureau in the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office from early 2007 to 2009.  As Bureau Chief, he led more than 100 attorneys and staff in law enforcement and litigation in the areas of civil rights, environmental protection, healthcare, insurance and financial services, antitrust and consumer protection.  Mr. Clements also served as an Assistant Attorney General in Massachusetts from 1996 to 2000, where he worked on litigation against the tobacco industry and handled a wide range of other investigations and litigation to enforce unfair trade practice, consumer protection and antitrust laws. In 2012, he cofounded Whaleback Partners LLC, a funding partner for businesses engaged in sustainable food, agriculture, and local economies.

I hope that you will join us tomorrow evening for a thoughtful and timely discussion of this important public policy matter. I look forward to seeing you there.

Copyright © 2014 State Rep Jeff Roy, All rights reserved.
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