Cleveland Heights voters to decide whether corporations are people

August 7, 2013
Ray Jablonski

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio -- Voters will decide in November on a citizen initiative seeking a Constitutional amendment to reverse a 2010 Supreme Court decision allowing corporations unlimited spending in political campaigns.

Similar measures were approved in 2012 in Brecksville and Newburgh Heights, while Lakewood City Council is expected to enact a similar resolution in September.

If voters approve the ballot measure, the city will hold a public hearing annually to examine the impact of big money in politics on American democracy. The clerk of council will then write to federal and state representatives summarizing the result of that meeting and reminding them city voters voted for passage of a Constitutional Amendment to reverse the 2010 Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court.

"We all know that the doctrine of money as protected free speech has corrupted our national politics," Cleveland Heights Move to Amend member Carla Rautenberg said in a release. "So this issue is vital at the local, state and federal levels of government."

Cleveland Heights Move to Amend submitted petitions July 1 to the city containing nearly 3,100 signatures from residents to put the issue on the ballot. The petitioners needed 1,547 valid signatures for council to take action, and more than 2,400 signatures were deemed valid.

Greg Coleridge, Cleveland Heights resident and coordinator of the Ohio Move to Amend network, said in a release he is happy Cleveland Heights voters will get to weigh in on the role of corporations in elections.
"It's critical our elected officials hear directly from We the People in Cleveland Heights that corporate rule and influence due to political money from a wealthy few must end," Coleridge said.


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