My name is XXX. I am working with PassMassAmendment, a State Ballot Initiative Committee registered with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, advocating for an Amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution based on “Corporations are not people, money is not speech.”
The basis of the Amendment is “Corporations are not people and may be regulated, money is not speech and may be regulated.” We feel that the language would take no power away from the legislature's ability to conduct its business. The process is amending the Massachusetts Constitution by Ballot Initiative, but, we see it as a clarification.
Let me address the first part of the Amendment consisting of “Corporations are not people.” In no part of our Constitution are corporations awarded any rights. Actually, in Article VI, restrictions are placed on corporations to act in a way that benefits the community, promoting the common good. The only rights that a corporation has are bestowed by the Legislature through the Massachusetts General Laws and their charter. Under Chapter 155 Section 3 of the Massachusetts General Laws, the Legislature can add or take away corporate rights and actually end a corporation by dissolving it, among other things.
The second part of the Amendment addresses “Money is not speech.” In our original Constitution, the only time that free speech was mentioned was in Article XXI and it referred to deliberation in the Houses of the Legislature. Since 1884, laws have been in effect not allowing Legislators to solicit or accept money in the Houses of the Legislature, or any public building. We consider this to mean that money has never been considered speech in Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts Constitution is the longest lasting document of its kind. A result of the 1917 Constitutional Convention was the I and R Amendment which was passed by the people. After the amendment was ratified, the people then had the right to make or repeal laws and amend the Constitution using the petition process. We at PMA totally respect our Constitution. Massachusetts has a very conservative and arduous I and R process. And we feel that it should not be easy to amend our Constitution.
We respect the Constitution and what it stands for so much, that we have decided to approach this in a grassroots manner. No one gets paid. That includes people gathering signatures for PMA. We have been told that the process has never been accomplished in this manner. We feel that if we can not get the people to rise up and volunteer on an issue of such importance as this, than the Amendment does not deserve to be on the ballot.
We are hoping that you would support our efforts by endorsing us.