senate Bill S6559

Concerns the application of the NYS legislature petitioning the US Congress to call a national constitutional convention to propose certain amendments

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  • Introduced
  • In Committee
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  • 05 / Feb / 2014
    • REFERRED TO JUDICIARY

Summary

Concerns the application of the legislature of the state of New York petitioning the Congress of the United States of America to call a national constitutional convention to propose amendments in order to address concerns raised by the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission 130 S.Ct. 876.

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Bill Details

Versions:
S6559
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Senate Judiciary
Law Section:
United States Constitution

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S6559

TITLE OF BILL: An act on the application of the legislature of the
state of New York petitioning the Congress of the United States of
America to call a national constitutional convention to propose
amendments in order to address concerns raised by the decision of the
United States Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election
Commission 130 S.Ct. 876

PURPOSE: To petition Congress to call a constitutional convention to
propose amendments in order to address concerns such as those raised
by the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Citizens United
v. Federal Election Commission (2010) 130 S.Ct. 876 and related cases
and events.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1 is the legislative finding and intent.

Section 2 declares the need for a convention to address Citizens
United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) 130 S.Ct. 876 and related
cases and events, establishes guidelines for delegates, and indicates
that this application for a convention be considered together with
similar applications from other states.

Section 3 petitions Congress to call said convention, pursuant to the
provisions of Article V of the United States Constitution.

Section 4 directs the Governor to transmit copies of this act to
Federal and State executives and legislative bodies.

Section 5 is the effective date.

EXISTING LAW: None

JUSTIFICATION: Article V of the United States Constitution requires
the United States Congress to call a convention for proposing
amendments upon application of two-thirds of the legislatures of the
several states for the purpose of proposing amendments to the United
States Constitution.

In Citizens United v. FEC, the Court held that corporations and unions
have a First Amendment right to spend unlimited funds on campaign
advertisements, provided that these communications are not formally
"coordinated" with any candidate. In so holding, it found that the
political speech rights of American voters and corporate entities are
indistinguishable.

Citizens United's immediate impact was substantial. In one swift
stroke, the Court overturned at least twenty years of its own
precedent, rendered unconstitutional more than sixty years of federal
law restricting corporate electioneering expenditures, and annihilated
the statutes of twenty-two states that previously prohibited election
spending from corporate general-treasury funds.

When corporations, or other big money spenders, are able to flood the
airwaves with their messages, they can effectively drown out the


voices of other citizens, whose democratic right to political speech
deserves no less protection than those with financial resources. This
undermines the political equality that gives our government
legitimacy.

Given the inaction in Congress to address the issues raised by the
Citizens United case, New York State should take what action it can to
protect the integrity of our electoral process by joining other states
in petitioning Congress to hold a convention as authorized under the
provisions of Article V of the United States Constitution.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New Bill

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None

LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None

EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  6559

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            February 5, 2014
                               ___________

Introduced  by Sens. KRUEGER, HOYLMAN -- read twice and ordered printed,
  and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Judiciary

AN ACT on the application of the legislature of the state  of  New  York
  petitioning  the  Congress  of  the United States of America to call a
  national constitutional convention to propose amendments in  order  to
  address  concerns  raised by the decision of the United States Supreme
  Court in CITIZENS UNITED V. FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION 130 S.Ct. 876

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section  1.  Legislative  findings  and  intent. The legislature finds
that:
  a. the first President of the United States, George Washington,  stat-
ed:    "The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to
make and to alter their Constitutions of Government.";
  b. it was the stated intention of the framers of the  Constitution  of
the  United  States of America that the Congress of the United States of
America should be "dependent  on  the  people  alone."  (James  Madison,
Federalist 52);
  c.  that  dependency has evolved from a dependency on the people alone
to a dependency on those who spend  excessively  in  elections,  through
campaigns or third-party groups;
  d.  the  United  States  Supreme  Court  ruling  in CITIZENS UNITED V.
FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION 558 U.S. 310 (2010) removed restrictions  on
amount of independent political spending;
  e. the removal of those restrictions has resulted in the unjust influ-
ence  of powerful economic forces, which have supplanted the will of the
people by undermining our ability to choose  our  political  leadership,
write our own laws, and determine the fate of our state; and
  f.  Article  V  of  the United States Constitution requires the United
States Congress to call  a  convention  for  proposing  amendments  upon
application  of two-thirds of the legislatures of the several states for
the purpose of proposing amendments to the United States Constitution.
  S 2. The legislature declares that:

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD13849-02-4

S. 6559                             2

  a. the State of New York sees the need for  a  convention  to  propose
amendments  in  order  to  address  concerns such as those raised by the
decision of the United  States  Supreme  Court  in  CITIZENS  UNITED  V.
FEDERAL  ELECTION  COMMISSION (2010) 130 S.Ct. 876 and related cases and
events  including  those  occurring  long  before  or afterward or for a
substantially similar purpose, and desires that said  convention  should
be so limited; and
  b. the State of New York desires that the delegates to said convention
shall  be  comprised equally from individuals currently elected to state
and local office, or be  selected  by  election  in  each  Congressional
district for the purpose of serving as delegates, though all individuals
elected or appointed to federal office, now or in the past, be prohibit-
ed  from  serving  as delegates to the Convention, and intends to retain
the ability to restrict or expand the power of its delegates within  the
limits expressed above; and
  c. the State of New York intends that this be a continuing application
considered together with applications calling for a convention currently
pending in the 188th Massachusetts legislature as S.1727 and H.3190, the
2013-2014  Vermont  legislature  as  SJR 27 and the 2013-2014 California
legislature as AJR 1, the  97th  Michigan  legislature  as  House  Joint
Resolution  BB  and  all other passed, pending, and future applications,
the aforementioned concerns of New York notwithstanding until such  time
as  two-thirds  of  the several States have applied for a Convention and
said Convention is convened by Congress.
  S 3. Pursuant to Article V of  the  United  States  Constitution,  the
Legislature  hereby  petitions  the  United  States  Congress  to call a
Convention for the purpose of proposing Amendments to  the  Constitution
of  the  United  States  of America as soon as two-thirds of the several
States have applied for a Convention.
  S 4. The Governor of the State of New York shall  transmit  copies  of
this  act  to the President and Vice President of the United States, the
Speaker of the United States  House  of  Representatives,  the  Minority
Leader  of the United States House of Representatives, the President Pro
Tempore of the United States Senate, to each Senator and  Representative
from  New  York in the Congress of the United States, to the Governor of
each State, and to the presiding officers of each  legislative  body  of
each  of  the  several States, requesting the cooperation of the several
States in issuing an application compelling Congress to call  a  conven-
tion for proposing amendments pursuant to Article V of the United States
Constitution.
  S 5. This act shall take effect immediately.

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