Over the last century and more, the people have been losing their influence over our democratic process. We believe that the roots of this issue is the corrupting influence of money in our political process.
We have asked our legislators to rectify this. Recall the “Clean Elections Law” passed in 1998 by a 2 to 1 majority by ballot initiative. Our legislators refused to fund it and then ended it by voice vote.
As a result, we believe that it’s time for citizens to act to amend (clarify) the Massachusetts Constitution ourselves.
In 1917, a Constitutional Convention was called for in Massachusetts because of the concern that “invisible government” (their words) had taken over the General Court and citizens needed a way to “keep government in check”. The Convention proposed the “Initiative and Referendum” Amendment which was subsequently passed by the public. The I and R Amendment makes it possible for citizens…you and I, to “reform, alter, or totally change” the government as stated in Article VII of our Constitution.
As such, we are embarking up on a BALLOT INITIATIVE to amend (clarify) the Constitution of Massachusetts. See this page for our legal discussion. This was submitted to the Attorney General’s office, as part of the process to get the question on the ballot.
From mid-September to mid-November is “petitioning phase”, whereby we have to gather 68,911 “certified” signatures from the registered voters of Massachusetts. To achieve this, we believe that we need 90,000 signatures.
Even though this is an uphill battle, we have opted to embark upon it. Because we feel that we are left with no other option.
Please help by signing the petition, petitioning, and/or helping us coordinate. There is lots to do. Everyone can help. We need drivers, trainers, people to help find in-kind and financial donations. If you are a lawyer and want to help us with administration, or have a constitutional law background, please let us know.
We have people from all walks of life helping. We have church leaders, business people, union members, Tea Party members, social justice activists, and people who also work for employees helping. We may not agree on everything. But there’s one thing we agree on. We believe that Big Money has taken over our government, and it’s time to make sure that the rights afforded by our Constitution are for “natural people”.
Terra Friedrichs, terraf “at” compuserve dot com, 978 808 7173 (petitioning team coordination, press/media, etc) Acton/MetroWest
Nick Bokron, nbokron “at” gmail, 781 715 7822 (finance, legal, administration, etc) (Nahant/NorthShore)
We have started the process of a ballot initiative to amend the Massachusetts Constitution to declare that “Corporations are not People, Money is not Speech”. We believe that the framers of the Massachusetts Constitution never meant for corporations to be considered people.
We have decided to follow this path because we feel that we have no other option. We tried to get the corrupting influence of money out of politics, in 1998 with a ballot initiative referred to as “Clean Elections Law”. It was passed by voters by a 2 to 1 margin. The initiative demanded that the Massachusetts Legislature act. But the Massachusetts Legislature refused to fund it and then ended it with a voice vote. It is obvious to us that the corrupting influence of money in our political process has left us with what we feel is our only option, the ballot initiative to “clarify” our Constitution. See more legal discussion here.
We have a VERY limited time to obtain almost 70,000 valid signatures in 2 months. The language would then need to be passed by two consecutive sessions of the Massachusetts Legislature with at least 25% approval. At that point the “ballot question” would be placed on the 2018 ballot.
Let it be known that amending the longest lasting document of its kind should not be easy. But we are prepared to make this journey. We come from Massachusetts, a state that led the way in one Revolution and is now being called upon to lead the way in another. It takes 2/3 of Congress to put forth an Amendment to the U.S Constitution with 75% of the states voting for it to be ratified. Let us help Massachusetts achieve another first for the good guys by passing this Amendment to our Constitution.
To make a point, I like to ask people what issue is most important to them. Before they answer, I tell them that as long as money is such a corrupting influence on our political process, that issue that is most important to them will not be resolved to their satisfaction.
To be able to accomplish this lofty goal, we will need help.