Bill S6559-2013

Concerns the application of the NYS legislature petitioning the US Congress to call a national constitutional convention to propose certain amendments

Concerns the application of the legislature of the state of New York petitioning the Congress of the United States of America to call a national constitutional convention to propose amendments in order to address concerns raised by the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission 130 S.Ct. 876.

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  • Feb 5, 2014: REFERRED TO JUDICIARY

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S6559

TITLE OF BILL: An act on the application of the legislature of the state of New York petitioning the Congress of the United States of America to call a national constitutional convention to propose amendments in order to address concerns raised by the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission 130 S.Ct. 876

PURPOSE: To petition Congress to call a constitutional convention to propose amendments in order to address concerns such as those raised by the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) 130 S.Ct. 876 and related cases and events.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1 is the legislative finding and intent.

Section 2 declares the need for a convention to address Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) 130 S.Ct. 876 and related cases and events, establishes guidelines for delegates, and indicates that this application for a convention be considered together with similar applications from other states.

Section 3 petitions Congress to call said convention, pursuant to the provisions of Article V of the United States Constitution.

Section 4 directs the Governor to transmit copies of this act to Federal and State executives and legislative bodies.

Section 5 is the effective date.

EXISTING LAW: None

JUSTIFICATION: Article V of the United States Constitution requires the United States Congress to call a convention for proposing amendments upon application of two-thirds of the legislatures of the several states for the purpose of proposing amendments to the United States Constitution.

In Citizens United v. FEC, the Court held that corporations and unions have a First Amendment right to spend unlimited funds on campaign advertisements, provided that these communications are not formally "coordinated" with any candidate. In so holding, it found that the political speech rights of American voters and corporate entities are indistinguishable.

Citizens United's immediate impact was substantial. In one swift stroke, the Court overturned at least twenty years of its own precedent, rendered unconstitutional more than sixty years of federal law restricting corporate electioneering expenditures, and annihilated the statutes of twenty-two states that previously prohibited election spending from corporate general-treasury funds.

When corporations, or other big money spenders, are able to flood the airwaves with their messages, they can effectively drown out the

voices of other citizens, whose democratic right to political speech deserves no less protection than those with financial resources. This undermines the political equality that gives our government legitimacy.

Given the inaction in Congress to address the issues raised by the Citizens United case, New York State should take what action it can to protect the integrity of our electoral process by joining other states in petitioning Congress to hold a convention as authorized under the provisions of Article V of the United States Constitution.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New Bill

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None

LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None

EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6559 IN SENATE February 5, 2014 ___________
Introduced by Sens. KRUEGER, HOYLMAN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Judiciary AN ACT on the application of the legislature of the state of New York petitioning the Congress of the United States of America to call a national constitutional convention to propose amendments in order to address concerns raised by the decision of the United States Supreme Court in CITIZENS UNITED V. FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION 130 S.Ct. 876 THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Legislative findings and intent. The legislature finds that: a. the first President of the United States, George Washington, stat- ed: "The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitutions of Government."; b. it was the stated intention of the framers of the Constitution of the United States of America that the Congress of the United States of America should be "dependent on the people alone." (James Madison, Federalist 52); c. that dependency has evolved from a dependency on the people alone to a dependency on those who spend excessively in elections, through campaigns or third-party groups; d. the United States Supreme Court ruling in CITIZENS UNITED V. FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION 558 U.S. 310 (2010) removed restrictions on amount of independent political spending; e. the removal of those restrictions has resulted in the unjust influ- ence of powerful economic forces, which have supplanted the will of the people by undermining our ability to choose our political leadership, write our own laws, and determine the fate of our state; and f. Article V of the United States Constitution requires the United States Congress to call a convention for proposing amendments upon application of two-thirds of the legislatures of the several states for the purpose of proposing amendments to the United States Constitution. S 2. The legislature declares that:
a. the State of New York sees the need for a convention to propose amendments in order to address concerns such as those raised by the decision of the United States Supreme Court in CITIZENS UNITED V. FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION (2010) 130 S.Ct. 876 and related cases and events including those occurring long before or afterward or for a substantially similar purpose, and desires that said convention should be so limited; and b. the State of New York desires that the delegates to said convention shall be comprised equally from individuals currently elected to state and local office, or be selected by election in each Congressional district for the purpose of serving as delegates, though all individuals elected or appointed to federal office, now or in the past, be prohibit- ed from serving as delegates to the Convention, and intends to retain the ability to restrict or expand the power of its delegates within the limits expressed above; and c. the State of New York intends that this be a continuing application considered together with applications calling for a convention currently pending in the 188th Massachusetts legislature as S.1727 and H.3190, the 2013-2014 Vermont legislature as SJR 27 and the 2013-2014 California legislature as AJR 1, the 97th Michigan legislature as House Joint Resolution BB and all other passed, pending, and future applications, the aforementioned concerns of New York notwithstanding until such time as two-thirds of the several States have applied for a Convention and said Convention is convened by Congress. S 3. Pursuant to Article V of the United States Constitution, the Legislature hereby petitions the United States Congress to call a Convention for the purpose of proposing Amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America as soon as two-thirds of the several States have applied for a Convention. S 4. The Governor of the State of New York shall transmit copies of this act to the President and Vice President of the United States, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives, the President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate, to each Senator and Representative from New York in the Congress of the United States, to the Governor of each State, and to the presiding officers of each legislative body of each of the several States, requesting the cooperation of the several States in issuing an application compelling Congress to call a conven- tion for proposing amendments pursuant to Article V of the United States Constitution. S 5. This act shall take effect immediately.

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