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Wednesday, March 13,2013

Kids in the Hall

A vote to denounce corporate personhood

by Andy Balaskovitz
Monday, Sept. 24 — The local chapter of the nationwide Move to Amend coalition successfully lobbied the Lansing City Council to approve a resolution denouncing corporate personhood when it comes to campaign finance.

In a unanimous vote and a few tweaks, the Council approved a resolution tonight stating it “believes that corporations should not be treated as people in the context of campaign finance regulation.” The “utility” of those corporations “should not extend to the use of money as speech,” it adds.

Move to Amend, which formed three years ago, seeks to add a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that says “‘corporations are not people,’ ‘money is not speech,’ and that ‘federal, state, and local governments have the authority to regulate expenditures made by individuals and corporations seeking to influence the elections for public office at the federal, state, and local levels.’”

Council President Brian Jeffries — while he “theoretically and conceptually” supported the idea “completely” — expressed concerns that the original resolution language would apply to the definition of corporations “in a much broader sense” beyond campaign spending. The Council unanimously agreed to specify “in the context of campaign finance regulation” to the resolution.

Roman Collins, coordinator for Lansing Move to Amend, said in a press release following tonight’s meeting that the Ingham County Board of Commissioners approved a similar resolution at its meeting tonight. Move to Amend’s website says more than 230,000 people have signed a petition supporting its campaign.

In other business, the Council unanimously approved six other resolutions at tonight’s meeting:
  • A tribute recognizing the Lansing branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s 47th annual Freedom Fund dinner to be held on Saturday;
  • Granting nonprofit status to the Michigan Titans Basketball Club, which is seeking a charitable gaming license;
  • Approving a claim waiver for $150 worth of tag monitoring fees applied to Jeffrey Poorman’s property at 229 S. Pennsylvania Ave. Second Ward Councilwoman Tina Houghton said the claim was a duplicate;
  • Denying three other claims worth $1,350 of tag monitoring at three of Poorman’s other properties at 1819 Maplewood Ave., 915 Baker St. and 1022 N. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.
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