|Pittsfield Passes Resolution for 28th Amendment |
|By Joe Durwin, Pittsfield Correspondent|
10:49PM / Wednesday, August 15, 2012
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a citizens' petition to add their voice to the list of local governments calling for a constitutional amendment to invalidate the Citizens United ruling.
The resolution had garned favor from councilors at a previous subcommittee hearing devoted to the subject, and was passed with little debate. Numerous Pittsfield residents spoke adamantly in favor of its passage during the council meeting's open mic period Tuesday.
The only significant resistance from the Pittsfield residents to the resolution has come from Alexander Blumin, a colorful frequent commentator at city meetings. During the public input period, Blumin reiterated his belief that for the council to issue such a resolution would be a violation of Massachusetts General law, a contention city attorney Kathleen Degnan denied at a previous subcommittee hearing on the issue.
Tricia Farley-Bouvier, in her first time addressing Pittsfield's council as its state representative, said she came to encourage the resolution because she sees the Citizens United decision as "the single biggest issue that we have in our country," and the "amount of money in politics today, the single biggest threat to our democracy."
"When corporations are spending this amount of money to sway elections, it's just exactly like putting a 'For Sale sign' out in front of the White House," said Farley-Bouvier, referencing a recent Time magazine cover.
The Supreme Court's ruling on Citizens United vs. the Federal Elections Committee held that limiting corporate election spending was a violation of the First Amendment. Opponents are calling for a 28th Amendment to deny "corporate personhood."
With this resolution, Pittsfield becomes the 69th municipality in the state to have issued proclamations in favor of such an amendment. A similar measure passed with bipartisan support in the Legistlature two weeks earlier, with a unanimous vote in the House and a single dissenter in the Senate. Massachusetts is the seventh state to have passed such a resolution. A map of local resolutions nationwide can be found here.