Citizens United on Ballots

By:  By Kevin O'Connor
Rutland Herald

Vermonters hungry for spicier town meeting fare than the perennial road salt debate will find calls for federal campaign spending limits and "local food sovereignty" topping many agendas this year.

Some 40 communities will decide whether to demand a constitutional amendment to limit corporate political contributions. Up to a dozen or more will vote on another nonbinding resolution seeking municipal authority to override federal and state restrictions on local food production.

The push for changes to campaign funding comes in response to a U.S. Supreme Court decision - Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission - that ruled 5-4 that corporations share the same First Amendment rights as individuals to donate freely to causes.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has proposed a "Saving American Democracy" constitutional amendment to overturn the court action. In response, state Sen. Virginia "Ginny" Lyons, a Williston Democrat, is seeking grass-roots support by introducing a legislative resolution and supplemental town meeting request.

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