By Deb Hogshead
It’s neither a conservative nor liberal issue. It’s a constitutional issue, and that’s what Greg Coleridge will talk about when he visits Troy on October 12.
Greg is the national outreach director for the non-partisan, grassroots coalition Move to Amend, and he will explain how a proposed 28th Amendment to the Constitution will restore the voices of ordinary people — individuals like you and me — in government decisions.
Large corporate entities (for example, business corporations, associations, labor unions and non-profit organizations) have a louder voice than we do in Washington and Columbus. Through a series of rulings over the course of many years, the Supreme Court made this possible by ruling that corporations are people with constitutional rights — including free speech rights that allow them to spend large amounts of money to influence elections and legislation.
Corporate entities play a critical role in society and warrant privileges and protections, but they should not have a louder voice than we do when it comes to decisions that affect our daily lives — decisions about such things as the quality of our water supply, access to affordable healthcare, disclosure of ingredients in our food, the dumping of out-of-state toxic materials in our communities and protections for locally owned businesses and family-owned farms against chains stores and out-of-state agribusinesses.
A 28th Amendment would shift political power away from corporate entities and back to the people. It would move decisions about corporate privileges and protections from the Supreme Court back to the people, through their elected representatives, where it had been at the beginning of our nation’s history.
There’s already a resolution in Congress with language for a proposed amendment. It’s HJR 48, and it has 64 co-sponsors, including three from the Ohio delegation. HJR 48 makes clear (1) constitutional rights belong to human beings only — not artificial entities such as corporations, associations, unions and nonprofit organizations — and (2) money spent on elections is not a protected form of speech and shall be regulated.
Support for a 28th Amendment has been growing since the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in Citizens United v FEC. Let me give you a few examples:
Across the nation, nearly half a million people have signed a petition supporting a 28th Amendment; of those, more than 16,000 are Ohio residents and 1,215 live in Ohio District 8.
Well over 600 communities have passed citizen initiatives or council resolutions in support of a 28th Amendment. In Ohio the number is 24.
Of the 50 states, close to 20 have passed ballot initiatives or resolutions calling for a similar amendment. In Columbus, resolutions calling for a 28th Amendment have been re-introduced in both the House (HR 140) and the Senate (SR 221).
These numbers will grow as more people understand the impact of corporate dominance in our governance.
Please join us from 1-3 p.m. Oct. 12 at the Lincoln Community Center, 110 Ash St.
Troy resident Deb Hogshead is a volunteer with We The People Miami County, an ad hoc group.