- Monied interests have corrupted our democratic process.
- Corporations were originally intended to serve the community, and were allowed to organize and own property only for the purposes of specific projects that would end, like building a bridge. But they were limited dramatically in their scope to prevent them from becoming too powerful.
- The power of wealthy people as well as foreign interests are increasingly dominating our democratic process, through direct donations to our electoral process, as well as through Dark Money, that is, money from SuperPACs and “social welfare” organizations that either do not have to disclose their donors or have found ways to hide their donors' identities and/or the real nature of their actions. (For more on Dark money, here's our FAQ.) We believe that this was not what the framers of our constitution intended!
- The people have been urging Legislators to do something to ensure that corporations and wealthy/foreign interests do not dominate our government.
- Citizens have the right to petition to alter government here in Massachusetts. Where did this come from? To prevent monied interests from taking over our government, the 1917 Massachusetts Constitutional Convention put in place the Initiative & Referendum process (I&R), referred to as “the petition process.” When ratified, the I&R process put in place the legal process for groups of people to gather signatures and make law via the ballot. The I&R Amendment's purpose was to give a voice to the people, who felt that their elected officials were not representing their views.
- PassMassAmendment is using the right to petition as part of a two-pronged strategy: We have filed bills in the statehouse, but we also are using the official petition process, because every voter signatures helps us pressure legislators into helping.
We have three bills currently in the Statehouse, which we have also petitioned the state:
One bill amends the Massachusetts Constitution, based on “Corporations Are Not People.”
Constitutional legal scholars have suggested that it will help us if we “clarify” the Massachusetts Constitution based on “Corporations Are Not People, Money Is Not Speech”
Two bills make Massachusetts Law. They would:
- increase disclosure of “dark money”
- reduce campaign donations by out of state people
- We are proceeding to promote these bills through the Massachusetts legislature and via petition. We'd be happy if the legislature would do this work for us, but we are not counting on it. Therefore we are proceeding with the petition process. Every signatures helps put pressure on the legislature to do it for us.
- The movement is growing: Only a few years ago, we were a group of 4 people. We now have hundreds of people working with us in one way or another.
- We hope you will join us, petitioning will start in the fall, training will start this summer, and organizing has already begun.
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