2015-09-05 Monthly Meeting
Saturday, September 9, 2015
9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
The Coffee Loft, 406 Lincoln Street, Marlborough, MA 01752
Finance Report (if available)
Labor Day Parade
Heritage Day Festival
Ward Elections Sue Kennedy
We the People, Massachusetts Paul Lauenstein
Passmassamendment Janet Cason
Notes about the meeting
Guest Speaker: Paul Lauenstein
This month’s guest speaker will be Paul Lauenstein who represents “We The People, Massachusetts”.
Following any questions from the floor, we will vote to support the We the People Act as a Committee, and then communicate this support to our State and Federal legislators. A background summary of the Act can be found below.
SUMMARY OF THE "WE THE PEOPLE ACT"
This Act (H 3127) is a joint resolution of the Massachusetts legislature that instructs our federal representatives to work for a Constitutional Amendment that would make the election process fairer. The gist of the act is:
First, it calls on Congress to propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution asserting that
the rights protected by the Constitution are the rights of natural persons, i.e. human individuals, only and Congress and the states shall place limits on political contributions and expenditures to ensure that all citizens have access to the political process, and that the spending of money to influence elections is not protected free speech under the First Amendment.
Second, if Congress fails to propose such an amendment within six months, the We the People Act puts Massachusetts on record calling for a convention of the states for the purpose of proposing the amendment.
If passed, such an amendment would overturn two of the most egregious Supreme Court judgements in our history – Buckley v Valeo (the 1976 decision that equated money with freedom of speech) and Citizens United v Federal Election Commission (the 2010 decision that confirmed corporations as ‘people’).
Together, these decisions have resulted in billionaires - such as the Kochs and Adelsons - being much more influential than the millions of folks like us. That is not the way democracy is supposed to work.
The preface to the Act itself (see www.wethepeoplemass.org) describes much of the historical justification for ‘we the people’ to be at the core of our political system. Neither our Founding Fathers nor most subsequent political thinkers (of all parties) have ever advocated a system in which a small number of individuals and corporations exercise the massive power that these extremely wealthy people exercise today. We must oppose this; we must restore democracy.
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