Question: What do the following realities have in common: raising the minimum wage, protecting worker safety, controlling money in politics, preventing fracking, regulating guns, providing paid leave, providing municipal broadband, outlawing loan sharking, rent controls, increasing business taxes, and even banning the use of plastic bags?'
The answer is, of course, preemption – the overturning of local laws by either a state legislature or federal court. Local laws intended to protect the health, safety and welfare of local residents and communities – whether enacted by local elected officials or citizen-driven ballot initiatives – are invalidated.
Hundreds of these and other laws across the country are being challenged across the country.
A second question: What does this have to do with Move to Amend and the We the People Amendment (HJR 54)?
The answer is, of course, a lot.
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Business corporations are most often the drivers of legal challenges to overturn local laws. How do they steer these challenges? Two ways.
First, corporations invest not only in federal politics, but also in state politics -- spending huge sums of money lobbying and financially contributing to state elected officials with the power to overturn local laws that corporate agents claim “constrain business.” Conversely, corporate-captured state legislatures may pass a state law on the same issue with fewer restrictions for businesses and fewer protections of communities.
Second, corporations go to court claiming that a passed local law is a violation of their “constitutional rights.” The hijacking of corporate constitutional rights (i.e. “corporate personhood”) has allowed corporate entities to assert, for example, that Fourth Amendment search and seizure rights, Fifth Amendment due process and takings rights and Fourteenth Amendment equal protection rights apply to them. Thus, local laws mandating public safety inspections, addressing specific businesses or protecting the environment violate a corporation’s privacy, reduce future profits or are discriminatory – and are thrown out in federal court.
Reversing the Citizens United decision or even the constitutional doctrine that “money equals speech” would significantly reduce the power of corporations to influence state legislatures to preempt locally passed laws.
But they would do nothing to abolish the power and authority of corporations to hijack other constitutional amendments that corporations have used for decades in courts. Only abolishing ALL corporate constitutional rights will ensure our right to pass local laws expanding economic justice, personal safety, and environmental protection.
That’s why the We the People Amendment must be passed. It will ensure that human rights preempt corporate rights.
Move to Amend is the only national group striving to protect local communities from preemption by working for the abolition of corporate constitutional rights by enacting the We the People Amendment (HJR54).
But it also means we are not financially supported, nor do we want to be, by corporations, major foundations, the super rich, political parties or the government – all entities that enormously benefit from “corporate personhood.”
We want and need to financially depend on you – those who believe and are committed to affirming human rights over corporate rights – to protect our lives, families, communities and to ensure a livable world.
HELP US REACH OUR GOAL OF 54 NEW MONTHLY DONORS BY THE END OF MAY (EVEN 5-10 DOLLARS A MONTH IS ENORMOUSLY HELPFUL)