Proposition 59 is a request to state lawmakers to help push for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court case.
If you recall, Citizens United is the case that decided corporations are the same as people when it comes to campaign contributions and spending. The goal behind its presence on the ballot is to let California lawmakers know what their constituents think of that. Lawmakers are under no obligation to act on that information.
Those against say it is a do-nothing proposition that just clutters up the ballot.
Under federal law, people can give money directly to political parties and committees and candidates of their choice. Labor unions and corporations are not allowed to contribute directly to a candidate for federal office.
However, there are also what are called independent expenditures which cover money that’s spent to influence voters in a way that is not coordinated with a candidate. Before Citizens United, labor unions and corporations were prohibited from making independent expenditures.
When the court decided that limited the free speech of unions and corporations, they opened the way for them to spend as much money as they wanted to promote a cause, to weigh in for or against propositions and measure or to advertise for a candidate – at all levels of government from city council member to president.
A lot of people never did understand why the court would decide labor unions and corporations should have rights we normally think of as the rights of human beings. We are among them.
We agree with the argument in favor of Proposition 59, which says that unions and corporations are not people. They don’t vote. They don’t get sick. They don’t fight and die in wars. They should not be granted the same rights as people.
The result of Citizens United is that campaigns have been flooded with money from unions and corporations that have only the interests of their members or their business in mind. And we’ve all been assaulted by the commercials, pamphlets, etc., that have resulted.
Campaign finance reforms is essential if we want to keep a democracy, and overturning the Citizens United decision is a step toward that reform.
Proposition 59 won’t change the law and put an end to Citizens United, but it will let lawmakers in California know that their constituents want it gone.
Vote yes on Proposition 59