Rhode Island Corporate Contributions Amendment (2014)

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The Rhode Island Corporate Contributions Amendment is not on the November 4, 2014 ballot in Rhode Island as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. The measure, upon voter approval, would have added sections 25 and 26 to Article I to the Rhode Island Constitution:[1]
  • Section 25 would have designated rights protected by the state constitution as the rights of natural persons only and not of artificial entities, subject artificial entities to regulation by law and allocate privileges to artificial entities by law.
  • Section 26 would have empowered state and local governments to regulate, limit and prohibit political contributions and expenditures to ensure equal access to the political process and that no person gains, as a result of their money, more access to the political process. Section 26 would have also required contributions and expenditures to be publicly disclosed and that the spending of money not be construed as free speech under Section 21 of Article I of the Rhode Island Constitution.

Text of measure

Ballot title

The proposed ballot question read as follows:[1]

1. CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT- WE THE PEOPLE

Approval of this amendment will recognize and define corporations as artificial entities established by law, and it shall prevent money spent to influence elections to be construed as speech.
APPROVE ________
REJECT ________ [2]

Constitutional changes

The proposed amendment sought to add sections 25 and 26 to Article I of the Constitution of Rhode Island:[1]

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

Section 25. [Artificial Entities Such as Corporations Do Not Have Constitutional Rights]

The rights protected by the Constitution of Rhode Island are the rights of natural persons only.

Artificial entities established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the People, through State or local law.

The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by the People, through State or local law, and shall not be construed to be inherent or inalienable.

Section 26. [Money is Not Free Speech]

State and local government shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate's own contributions and expenditures, to ensure that all citizens, regardless of their economic status, have access to the political process, and that no person gains, as a result of their money, substantially more access or ability to influence in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure.

State and local government shall require that any permissible contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed.

The spending of money to influence elections shall not be construed as speech under Article 1, section 21 of the Rhode Island Constitution.

Support

Supporters

The following officials sponsored the measure in the legislature:[1][3]

Path to the ballot

See also: Amending the Rhode Island Constitution

In Rhode Island, a simple majority vote was required in both chambers of the legislature in order to place a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot.

See also

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References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Rhode Island Legislature, "2014 - S 2420," accessed April 25, 2014
  2. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  3. Rhode Island Legislature, "2014 - H 7594," accessed April 25, 2014