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Saturday, February 11, 2012

New Mexico a Leader in Nation Calling for Amendment to U.S. Constitution to reverse Supreme Court's Citizens United Decision

Senate Memorial 3, sponsored by State Senator Steve Fischmann of Las Cruces, was just approved by a vote of 20-9 in the New Mexico State Senate. Along with its companion bill, Rep. Mimi Stewart’s House Memorial 3 (approved 38-29 on January 31, 2012), the bill’s passage makes New Mexico the second state in the nation to call for the U.S. Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to reverse the U.S. Supreme Court's controversial decision in Citizens United v. the Federal Elections Commission (Hawaii was the first, in April, 2010).

The Citizens United ruling resulted in an explosion of unlimited, and often undisclosed, Super PAC spending, as we have seen in the current Republican presidential nominating process. The memorial is an important statement by the New Mexico State Legislature because the constitutional amendment process requires ratification by a minimum of 38 states.

The bill’s sponsor, Senator Fischmann, emphasized the legislation’s role in defending our nation’s democracy. "Voters need to know their opinions count as much as any corporate entity, trade, or labor association. I'm proud that New Mexico's State Senate is willing to stand for this principle,” said Fischmann. Lead advocate Viki Harrison of Common Cause New Mexico praised the legislation’s passage as “a frank statement of the State of New Mexico’s intent to correct the egregiously wrong Citizens United decision that allowed corporations to spend millions on electing politicians who will do their bidding.”

The impact of HM4/SM3 was also touted by national partners who joined in advocating for the legislation. "Today's vote by the New Mexico State Senate marks a great victory for American democracy," said Maram Abdelhamid, national field director for Free Speech For People, a national campaign pressing for a 28th Amendment to the US Constitution to overturn the Citizens United ruling. "The State of New Mexico is helping to lead the way for the nation in this movement to ensure that people, not corporations, govern in America.  We look forward to working with other state legislatures which will follow New Mexico's example and defend our democracy."

Addressing the flood of campaign contributions from corporations and wealthy individuals is supported by a vast and diverse majority of Americans, including two-thirds of small business owners. Lawrence Rael, President of the New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce, emphasizes that "the Citizens United decision is deeply unpopular with our businesses and the vast majority of small businesses leaders believe the decision hurts small companies.”

As memorials, the two bills need no further approval or signatures in New Mexico. 

February 11, 2012 at 02:53 PM in Citizens United, Corporatism, NM Legislature 2012, U.S. Constitution | Permalink


I would love to read a commentary written by one of the 9 in the Senate or one of the 29 in the House who voted against these resolutions. If you can, please post their names.

Posted by: Lora Lucero | Feb 12, 2012 9:09:11 AM

You can find the vote pretty easily for yourself by going to the 'billfinder' link on the legislative page. Or you can look up Fischmann. BTW, this is one of the "transparency in government" improvements, the votes were not available online as recently as 2007.

The interesting part is that 13 Senators were EXCUSED from that vote. Of course, they may have been in committee meetings, It gets pretty hectic in the last week of the session.

The ones voting no, FYI, were
Boitano, Burt, Harden, Ingle, Kernan,
Payne, Rue, Ryan, Sharer. Republicans all.

Posted by: Ellen Wedum | Feb 12, 2012 10:14:25 AM

The Senate Finance Committee was running late when SM3 was heard on the Senate Floor. Don't forget that Senators Ingle and Burt voted for the legislation when it passed through the Senate Rules Committee but then changed their vote behind closed doors to voting in the negative.

Perhaps they got a call from the 4th Floor?

On the House Floor, one Republican (Representative Don Tripp of Socorro) voted in favor of the bill and three Republican Representatives (Paul Bandy, David Chavez, and Bob Wooley) took a walk.

Posted by: James Sullivan | Feb 12, 2012 1:58:04 PM