Oct 20, 2016 (San Diego) The Citizens United Supreme Court Decision allowed for the opening of dark money into the political process. Citizens United v Federal Electoral Commission held that political contributions are free speech. It expanded the concept that money is speech.
You can find the full text here.
The question reads as follows:
Shall California’s elected officials use all of their constitutional authority, including, but not limited to, proposing and ratifying one or more amendments to the United States Constitution, to overturn Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) 558 U.S. 310, and other applicable judicial precedents, to allow the full regulation or limitation of campaign contributions and spending, to ensure that all citizens, regardless of wealth, may express their views to one another, and to make clear that corporations should not have the same constitutional rights as human beings?
This initiative was placed on the ballot by a majority of the legislature in 2016. The list of those who support it is extensive, and it includes Bernie Sanders (I-VT) as well as locally Lorena Gonzalez, (D-80). You can find the full list at Ballotpedia.
Supporters make the following arguments:
- The proposition would overturn the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court ruling, and would ensure that the voice of the people is not drowned out by corporations and billionaires.
- The proposition would limit excessive political spending.
Arguments against are as follows:
- The proposition is a non-binding advisory question, and therefore would clog the November ballot and act as a “feel-good” measure.
- The proposition would hurt small businesses and other entities that are incorporated as corporations.
- The proposition would be ineffective, because it fails to prohibit or limit corporate and union contributions to candidates, elected officials, and political parties.
- The proposition would allow California congress members to tinker with the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which contains important citizen rights that should not be changed lightly.
As of October 16, 2016, the support campaign for Proposition 59 had raised $177,359.78 dollars, and the opposition campaign had raised $0.00 dollars.