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 before the gavel marked the end of the 2015 General Assembly. GMOM volunteers and supporters had again made a heroic effort we should all be proud of, breaking our all-time phone banking, lobby visit, and attendance records. 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. 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.
- April 7, 2014: In Maryland, Resolution SJ 6, sponsored by Sen. Jamie Raskin (right), was reported on favorably in the Senate Environment Health and Education Committee on by a vote of 9-2. Resolution HJ 7, sponsored by Del. Sheila Hixson (above), was heard in the House Rules Committee on March 3. Our witnesses pushed on thru snow and ice and the hearing was quite successful. View testimony video (40 min.; begin at 17:45)
MORE NEWS & VIEWS
IMPORTANT READ: Why super PACs have moved from sideshow to center stage for presidential hopefuls, W. Post 3/12/15
- NEW: Md. Rep. John Sarbanes' HR 20 Seeks Public Campaign Funding Reform for Congress; W. Post 3/25/15
Should McDonald's & Monsanto Have the Same Rights as People?
A Debate on Corporate Personhood, DemocracyNOW/Pacifica Radio
- Baltimore Sun: Spare Annapolis the dysfunction of D.C., 3/10/15
- Is It Sheldon Adelson’s World? NYT, Thomas Friedman 3/11/15
POPE FRANCIS: "Separate special interest money from politics." Read EveryVoice &
Pope Tackles Campaign Finance & Weighs in on Campaign finance, W. Post 3/11/15
- Rally & Lobby Day Jan. 27 draws 100 to Annapolis:
Photos|News release |Article in Southern Md. Online
- WAMU FM (NPR DC) Rally coverage by Matt Bush
- Hear Charlie Cooper, John Nichols and John Malcolm on
Mark Steiner on 5th Anniversary of Citizens United Jan. 21
Hear "Midday with Dan Rodricks" Citizens United 5 Years Later, Jan. 26: Starts with Sen. Jamie Raskin, then Cato Inst., then GMOM's Charlie Cooper (at 36:11)
- Hear Wylie Burge & Herb Ettel on WPFW-DC (FF to 38:20 min.)
How "We the People" will amend the Constitution:
Corporations are not "people," money is not "speech"
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 and overturn Citizens United. 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. Most recently, the U.S. House failed to take action on even a weak bill the Senate passed.
It is hard to imagine an institutionally corrupt Congress could ever propose an amendment seeking fundamental reform too 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 is key.
More Articles & Resources
- National donors pick winners in state elections: Top 50 contributors dump $440 million into 2014 races; 1/28/15 Center for Public Integrity
- Gains From Economic Recovery Still Limited to Top One Percent; NY Times 1/27/15
- Bernie Sanders is right to be outraged; By Dana Milbank 1/30/15
- True cost of Citizens United: Roberts Court's darkest hour revisited; Salon 1/24/15
- 'Koch Primary' Tests Hopefuls In the G.O.P.; NY Times 1/21/15
- 3 New Reports from Demos and from Brennan Center Citizens United 5 Years later & Senate spending since CU
- Initiative spending booms past $1 billion as corporations sponsor proposals; Wash. Post 11/8/15
- BOOK: Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps; Greg Palast
- Corporations Get $760 from Gov't for Every Dollar They Spend on Elections
- See Video of Sen. Jamie Raskin (below), AU professor of constitutional law, explaining the need for the Democracy Amendment at GMOM's Annapolis forum 1/22/14
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.