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DEMOCRACY UPDATED DAILY.
REDISTRICTING REFORM (to counter Gerrymandering): Governor Hogan has appointed a 11-member Redistricting Commision to:
- Study solutions, including others states with non-partisan commissions
- Conduct regional summits
- Provide for citizen input via Internet
- Promote redistricting reform
- Develop a recommended constitutional amendment
Excellent Progress in Maryland in 2015
Thanks to you, our amazing supporters, and to responsive voters who contacted legislators, SJ 2, our full Democracy Amendment Resolution passed the Maryland Senate, 29-18 on April 8. Major thanks also go to our sponsor, Sen. Pinsky, to committee Chair Joan Carter Conway, and to Senate President Mike Miller.
We came very, very close to an amazing victory April 13 when the 2015 General Assembly ended. GMOM volunteers and supporters had again made heroic efforts by phone banking, contacting legislators, and visiting legislators. We succeeded in lining up majority support in both chambers and were closing in on victory. The House Rules Committee, however, put in a weakening amendment that removed the call for an Article V convention of the States (see "We the People," below). The Senate stood firm and appointed a conference committee to iron out differences, but the House did not reciprocate.
Our 2015 sponsors: Del. Sheila Hixson (left) and Sen. Paul Pinsky (right)
Progress Nationwide: Four States Pass Amendment Resolutions!
Four states so far - Vermont, California, Illinois and New Jersey have passed binding resolutions in both chambers calling on Congress to call an Article V amendments convention of the states for democracy reform. Thirty more are needed. Let's ensure Maryland joins them in 2016!
- Feb. 23, 2015: New Jersey became the 4th state to pass a resolution (SCR 132).
Dec 5, 2014: Illinois became the 3rd state to pass a resolution.
Nov. 4, 2014: Move To Amend Ballots Won in 5 States.
June 23, 2014: California became the second (AJR 1). READ MORE...May 2, 2014: Vermont became the first state (JRS 27, more) calling for a convention for the 28th Amendment for Free and Fair Elections.
MD State Senator (D, 20) and Constitutional Law Professor Jamie Raskin
How "We the People" will amend the Constitution:
Corporations are not "people," money is not "speech," and all citizens must be guaranteed the right to vote
GMOM (Get Money Out – Maryland) is working to get the Maryland legislature to pass a joint resolution formally calling for a Convention of the States (or "Article V Convention") to propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution for free and fair elections, overturn Citizens United, and provide a federal guarantee to every citizen of the right to vote. When two-thirds of the states do likewise, the convention must be convened.
Citizens United v. FEC is the disastrous 2010 Supreme Court decision which ruled that corporations cannot be limited in the amount they spend on elections, because of the Court's constructs of "corporate personhood" -- the common sense-defying notions that corporations have constitutional rights as if they were people, including "freedom of speech" -- and that spending money constitutes "speech." States calling for a convention (for the purpose of proposing amendments) is the key, as spelled out in Article V of the U.S. Constitution.
We believe this is more likely to succeed than trying to get Congress to propose such an amendment in the traditional manner. Sixteen (16) states and over 550 localities have already passed resolutions calling on Congress to propose such an amendment, without calling for a convention of the states. Congress is free to ignore that type of resolution as it always has.
It is hard to imagine an institutionally corrupt Congress could ever propose an amendment seeking fundamental reform to end the political corruption of big money in elections on which they depend so greatly for re-election. All federal legislators won their seats by raising extraordinary sums from special interests in this blatantly corrupt system. Thus, tragically, we have already lost our democracy at the federal level. Happily state legislatures are still responsive, for now, to the democratic process and popular pressure. It is clear only states can achieve this kind of amendment, by bypassing Congress and calling for and convening a convention. This convention of the states has key advantages.
- Builds a movement through easily understandable and achievable victories along the way. Citizens can see how actions could lead to fundamental change. This is why GMOM has grown from six people to a network of 2,000 based solely on voluntary participation.
- Most effective way to move Congress. Four times during the 20th century, campaigns for an amendments convention have led Congress to put forward amendments that were ratified.
- Lays the groundwork for ratification by building organizations in the states and developing relationships between reformers and state legislators. When the 28th Amendment is proposed, by whatever route, this work will already have been done.
Have fun as you make change with fellow Marylanders
Maryland has scores of state legislators supporting passage of a "Democracy Amendment" resolution during the 2015 General Assembly Session. Here are ways you can help us make it one of the first states to formally call for an Article V Convention -- for free and fair elections.