Nevada City in favor of ‘We the People Amendment’ regarding campaign financing | TheUnion.com

Nevada City in favor of ‘We the People Amendment’ regarding campaign financing

Taking a stand against corporate personhood and big money in politics, Nevada City last week showed its support for a proposed 28th amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The City Council adopted a resolution in favor of the "We the People Amendment," which has been entered into the current session of the U.S. House of Representatives, according to a staff report.

"It is the position of the Nevada City Council that organizations should not receive the same constitutional rights as natural persons do and that because money is not speech, limits on political spending will promote the goals of the first Amendment by ensuring that all citizens, regardless of wealth, have an opportunity to have their political views be heard," the resolution states.

The "We the People Amendment" states the rights protected by the U.S. Constitution are "the rights of natural persons only," according to MoveToAmend.org.

It also calls for federal, state and local governments to "regulate, limit or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate's own contributions and expenditures, to ensure that all citizens, regardless of their economic status, have access to the political process, and that no person gains, as a result of their money, substantially more access or ability to influence in any way the election of any candidate or public office or any ballot measure."

Lorraine Wright, a Nevada City resident and proponent of the amendment, said the abolishment of corporate personhood could be important to the city.

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Because a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, "Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission," granted corporations some protections, she said, small municipalities could fall prey to large industries.

Verizon Wireless, she said, could sue Nevada City for denying its application to install cell antennas in the downtown historic district.

"The city stands to be sued because the telecommunication company wants their way," she said. "They want money. That's just one example of corporate personhood."

The resolution was unanimously passed by the five members of the City Council.

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Pera, email mpera@theunion.com or call 530-477-4231.