Massachusetts "Corporations are not People" Initiative (2014)

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Not on Ballot
Proposed allot measures that were not on a ballot
This measure did not or
will not appear on a ballot

The Massachusetts "Corporations are not People" Initiative will not appear on the November 4, 2014 ballot in Massachusetts as an initiated constitutional amendment.[1] The measure would have added a constitutional amendment defining the rights of corporations, declaring that corporations are not persons and that money is not free speech.[2]

The measure was not certified by the Office of the Attorney General due to the initiative's inconsistencies with the Massachusetts Constitution.[3]

Supporters have stated they will press on with their campaign and attempt to gather signatures in 2014.[1]


Pass Mass Amendment led the effort to get the measure placed on the ballot.[1]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing the initiative process in Massachusetts

The Office of the Attorney General did not certify the measure for circulation due to the initiative's conflicts with Part II of Article XLVIII of the Massachusetts Constitution. The Office of the Attorney General explained the rejection:[3]

I regret that we are unable to certify that the proposed constitutional amendment complies with the requirements of Article 48, the Initiative, Part 2, Sections 2 and 3. Section 2 states in pertinent part: "No proposition inconsistent with any one of the following rights of the individual, as at present declared in the declaration of rights, shall be the subject of an initiative or referendum petition: The right to receive compensation for private property appropriated to public use; . . . the right of trial by jury; protection from unreasonable search . . . freedom of speech . . . and the right of peaceable assembly." As explained below, the proposed amendment is inconsistent with these rights, both because (1) the Supreme Judicial Court has recognized that corporations enjoy such rights and this amendment would take them away from corporations, and (2) the proposed amendment's grant of unfettered authority to the Legislature to regulate raising and spending money on political campaigns is inconsistent with the free speech and free association ("peaceable assembly") rights of citizens, as well as coiporations and other entitles such as labor unions.[4]

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