Florida Senate - 2016                                     SM 694
       By Senator Clemens
       27-00484A-16                                           2016694__
    1                           Senate Memorial                         
    2         A memorial to the Congress of the United States,
    3         urging Congress to propose to the states an amendment
    4         to the Constitution of the United States to provide
    5         that political contributions and expenditures by
    6         corporations be regulated by federal, state, and local
    7         governments and establish that corporations and other
    8         artificial entities are not human beings entitled to
    9         constitutional rights.
   11         WHEREAS, government of, by, and for the people has long
   12  been a cherished American value, and the people’s fundamental
   13  and inalienable right to self-govern and thereby secure rights
   14  to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness is
   15  guaranteed by the United States Constitution, and
   16         WHEREAS, corporations are not mentioned in the United
   17  States Constitution but are human-made legal fictions created
   18  with the express permission of the people by our elected
   19  representatives through the government, and
   20         WHEREAS, the concept of corporate personhood was created
   21  through ill-conceived judicial decisions to usurp basic human
   22  and constitutional rights guaranteed only to human beings, and
   23         WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court’s rulings in
   24  Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310
   25  (2010), and McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, 572 U.S.
   26  ___ (2014), endow corporations with constitutional protections
   27  originally held by the people, including the same right to
   28  freedom of speech as natural persons, and assume that spending
   29  money in the political process is equal to speech, and
   30         WHEREAS, these Supreme Court rulings remove legislative
   31  spending limits on certain contributions and have opened the
   32  floodgates to unlimited spending by wealthy individuals,
   33  corporations, and other entities to influence candidate
   34  selection, elections, and policy decisions, and to sway elected
   35  officials to vote against the interests of their human
   36  constituents, and
   37         WHEREAS, corporations and other artificial entities exist
   38  simultaneously in many nations and use these judicially granted
   39  “corporate rights” to secure whatever is needed to seek greater
   40  profits, regardless of the harm caused to the environment,
   41  communities, or individuals, even to the point of legal action
   42  to overturn national, state, and local government laws,
   43  regulations, and ordinances in tribunals and courts, and
   44         WHEREAS, the act of spending unlimited amounts of money in
   45  the political process being deemed equal to speech is contrary
   46  to the notion of “one person, one vote,” and allows those with
   47  the most money to have an unfair advantage, and
   48         WHEREAS, the political system should ensure that citizens
   49  have equal access to all phases of the processes that determine
   50  the outcome of elections and ballot initiatives, and
   51         WHEREAS, the Florida Legislature believes that free and
   52  fair elections are essential to democracy and effective self
   53  governance and that unregulated and excessive expenditures by
   54  corporations undermine the fairness of elections, NOW,
   57  Be It Resolved by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   59         That the United States Congress is urged to propose to the
   60  states an amendment to the Constitution of the United States
   61  establishing that:
   62         (1) Corporations are not persons but artificial entities
   63  established by the laws of a state, the United States, or a
   64  foreign state, and are subject to regulation by the people
   65  through federal, state, and local governments;
   66         (2) Corporations and other artificial entities have no
   67  inalienable rights under the United States Constitution and that
   68  corporations be subject to regulation by the people through
   69  federal, state, or local government regulations;
   70         (3) Money is not speech for the purpose of electioneering
   71  and, therefore, that contributions and expenditures be subject
   72  to limits and regulations by federal, state, and local
   73  governments to ensure fair and equal access to participation in
   74  the democratic process; and
   75         (4) Such amendment is not intended to curtail the freedom
   76  of the press.
   77         BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this memorial be
   78  dispatched to the President of the United States, to the
   79  President of the United States Senate, to the Speaker of the
   80  United States House of Representatives, and to each member of
   81  the Florida delegation to the United States Congress.