Dem Lawmakers Call For End To Outsized Corporate Influence On Democracy
Support constitutional amendment to eliminate corporate personhood, end dark money campaigns
September 14, 2016
 
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State Reps. Kent Smith (D-Euclid), Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) and state Sen. Mike Skindell (D-Lakewood) joined local advocates and elected officials today in South Euclid, Ohio to highlight pending legislation that calls for amending the U.S. Constitution and eliminate First Amendment protections for corporate personhood, abolishing the notion that money is equated to speech. The lawmakers are introducing a statewide resolution in the Ohio legislature to support the proposed federal amendment.


“It goes without saying that when the founding fathers wrote the First Amendment they were concerned with the rights of John Doe the individual, not John Doe’s private investment company,” said Smith. “When money is considered speech, those who have the most money have the most speech. This contradicts the basic cornerstone philosophy of American democracy of one person, one vote.”


The lawmakers are joining the national pushback against Citizens United to amend the U.S. Constitution and abolish corporate personhood and the legal doctrine of unlimited, undisclosed money being equated with political speech. According to Move To Amend Ohio affiliates, 17 states and over 600 municipalities in the United States, including 20 in Ohio, have already approved resolutions or voted for ballot initiatives calling for a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to affirm only human beings have constitutional rights while defining money as property, not speech.


“Our democracy has been pushed out of balance by allowing a very small group of extremely wealthy individuals to essentially take control of our political system to speak for the general public,” said Antonio. “Our country was founded on a government created of the people, by the people, for the people. It’s time to make the people’s voice just as strong and forceful as private corporations in the election process.”


The Brennan Center for Justice found that campaign spending for the 2014 Senate races more than doubled since the campaign-finance rule change in 2010. Additionally, outside groups surpassed candidate’s spending by funding 47 percent of the Senate campaigns, compared to 41 percent funded by the candidates themselves. 


“The Citizens United decision has created an unprecedented role of money in politics and has established an alarming imbalance in the playing field for ordinary citizens to participate in the political process,” said Sen. Skindell, a primary sponsor of companion legislation in the Senate. “Our proposed resolution can help reverse this dangerous political path that has been paved with unlimited, unaccountable corporate campaign cash.”


South Euclid and Lakewood City Council have already passed a resolution in support of the Move To Amend amendment and the city has collected enough signatures to place the local supportive amendment on the November 2016 ballot. 

 
 
 
  
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Cleveland-area Lawmakers Say Ohio Could "amp Up" Economic Growth Through Music Industry

 

State Reps. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Sarah LaTourette (R-Bainbridge) today announced a bi-partisan effort to create jobs and drive economic growth by making Ohio a destination for the recording industry. The Ohio Sound Recording Investor Tax Credit, also known as OhioSounds, will work to attract more of the almost $7 billion in annual music industry revenue to the state. 

“Ohio is the birthplace of legendary musicians, unforgettable songs and ‘Rock N’ Roll’,” said Rep. Smith. “OhioSounds honors our proud legacy and works to cultivate a winning model moving forward. Ohio can become a destination for musicians, producers and industry leaders who will create jobs and strengthen our local economies. The OhioSounds tax credit will solidify our commitment to Ohio’s musical heritage and create new music that will provide the soundtrack to our lives.”

“Much like the Ohio film tax credit, this legislation seeks to incentivize investment in Ohio and create jobs in a dynamic industry,” Representative LaTourette stated. “Northeast Ohio has seen quite an investment in response to the film tax credit, with major motion pictures filmed on the streets of Cleveland and throughout our region. Given our history as the birthplace of Rock n’ Roll, it just makes sense to extend that incentive to the music industry and embrace our heritage as musical innovators.”