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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

SF 3342

as introduced - 90th Legislature (2017 - 2018) Posted on 04/16/2018 04:01pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.

Current Version - as introduced

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A resolution

memorializing Congress; requesting that Congress clarify that the rights protected
under the Constitution are the rights of natural persons and not the rights of artificial
entities and that spending money to influence elections is not speech under the First
Amendment; asking that Congress propose a constitutional amendment to provide such
clarification.

WHEREAS, when the states and federal government first authorized the creation of
corporations, they were regulated by the people and their elected representatives through law; and

WHEREAS, the Supreme Court granted constitutional rights to corporations thereby limiting
the right of the people to regulate corporations through federal, state, or local law; and

WHEREAS, Supreme Court rulings on political spending in recent decades have undermined
the First Amendment, which was designed, even according to the Supreme Court in 1976, "to secure
the widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources," and "to
assure the unfettered interchange of ideas for the bringing about of political and social changes
desired by the people." Supreme Court rulings that have equated money as speech have enabled
people, corporations, and other entities to spend virtually unlimited money in support of favored
candidates and interests, undermining the core First Amendment value of open and robust debate
in the political process and the opportunity for voters to hear speech from all candidates and all
perspectives; and

WHEREAS, by giving artificial entities the constitutional rights of persons and treating
money as speech, the courts have undercut the rights of citizens to equal and meaningful participation
in the democratic process, and given corporations and other entities more power than people when
government is supposed to be "of the people, by the people, and for the people"; and

WHEREAS, this undermines public confidence in the democratic process and democratic
institutions; and

WHEREAS, under Article V of the Constitution of the United States, the Congress, whenever
two-thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to the Constitution;
NOW, THEREFORE,

BE IT RESOLVED by the Legislature of the State of Minnesota that it requests that Congress
propose an amendment to the Constitution that shall substantially read as follows:

"(1) The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural
persons only.

(2) Any entity, including any organization or association of one or more persons, established
or allowed by the laws of any State, the United States, or any Foreign State shall have no rights
under this Constitution separate from the rights of its members, and is subject to regulation by the
people, through Federal, State, or local law through which the entity is granted rights and given
responsibilities.

(3) Federal, State, and local government shall 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 for public office or any ballot measure.

(4) Federal, State, and local government shall require that any permissible contributions and
expenditures be publicly disclosed."

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Secretary of State of the State of Minnesota is directed
to prepare copies of this resolution and transmit them to the Speaker and the Clerk of the United
States House of Representatives, the President and the Secretary of the United States Senate, the
United States Secretary of State, and Minnesota's Senators and Representatives in Congress.