Press Release May 12, 2016 – For Immediate Release – PassMassAmendment
press contacts: Gina Sonder & Nick Bokron, pasmassamendmentpsa at gmail dot com; 781-715-7822
A grassroots group attempting to get BIG MONEY OUT of our elections is very close to getting the Massachusetts Legislature to pass the first of two votes which could bring a state constitutional amendment clarifying that “Corporations Are Not People. Money Is Not Speech.” to the State ballot; however, PMA has been told that a subset of the membership currently “lacks the political will” to take the bold action required to address these fundamental issues.
PassMassAmendment [PMA], a statewide grassroots citizen group, has just learned that neither the MA Senate Bill No. 531 nor the MA House Bill No. 933,2 which are proposed companion Legislative Amendments based on the Citizen Ballot Initiative Petition that the group has been advancing for the past three years, will be heard during the reconvening of the MA State House JOINT SESSION OF THE TWO HOUSES this coming WEDNESDAY, MAY 18, 2016.
On Wednesday, May 11th, PMA discovered that an Order (see H41763) was adopted right after the April 6th joint session had been called into recess, LIMITING the May 18th session to consider the Fair Share Amendment H_39334 ONLY. Although the Legislature voted to exclude all bills other than H_3933 from the May 18th Constitutional Convention, it remains feasible – although highly unlikely – to reconvene another joint session before August 1st if enough voters demand, before next Wednesday, that these two BIG MONEY amendments addressing corporate rights and political spending are taken to a vote within this 189th session.
The members of PMA believe that, without renewed public pressure, the likelihood of the MA Legislative Leadership calling for a reconvening of the Constitutional Convention, once H_3933 goes to a vote, is extremely slim, despite having dozens of sponsors in the MA House and Senate Chambers, as well as clearly having widespread support by the voters (as shown by the strong statewide passage of the MA Democracy Amendment in 2012- 2014.)5
Beacon Hill must act before August 1st for the PMA Bills to appear on the 2018 ballot; otherwise, the soonest The People could vote on this critical issue would be in 2020.
Both S_53 and H_933 have been on the State House Calendar for consideration at a Joint Session since May of 2015, and both had been laid aside by their Lead Sponsors this February. With the understanding that early agenda items such as these would be taken up for consideration by the JOINT SESSION OF THE TWO HOUSES directly after H_3933, both were placed at the end of the Convention Calendar. Absent significant public outcry to continue the Joint Session and approve these specific proposals, the bills are destined to expire, quietly.
PMA members and supporters urge the MA Legislature not to miss this opportunity to show exemplary leadership. By choosing to take up this pivotal issue at this time, a time when the entire NATION is crying out, requesting that government prevent enormous sums of money from corrupting our political process, Massachusetts could – once again – bring the Nation back to The People.