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SCOTUS begins issuing new opinions, with another expected related to the power of federal agencies, the battleground state of Wisconsin gets a ruling on alternative voting sites, and coastal work is being done to help salt marshes withstand hurricanes.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

Lawmakers Push Constitutional Amendment to Overturn SCOTUS Ruling

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Monday, January 21, 2019   

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – It’s been nine years since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its Citizens United ruling, which affirmed the rights of corporations to spend unlimited funds to influence elections.

Last week, Wyoming State Sen. Jeff Wasserburger (R-Gillette), a Republican, introduced a bill calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn the high court's decision.

As Kenneth Chestek, chairman of the advocacy group Wyoming Promise, explains an amendment is the only way to compel the Supreme Court to limit the influence of money in politics.

"Citizens United is at base an interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, of the First Amendment, and the only way to overturn the Supreme Court's interpretation of the Constitution is to change the Constitution," he points out.

So far, 19 states and some 800 cities and towns across the U.S. have passed non-binding resolutions calling for an amendment.

In 2010, the Supreme Court – citing precedents including Buckley v. Valeo in 1976
– ruled that political spending is a form of protected speech under the First Amendment, and the government cannot stop corporations from spending money to influence elections.

Chestek says equating money with speech moves American democracy from one person, one vote to one dollar, one vote.

Chestek maintains that's antithetical to the founders' egalitarian goal of ensuring that all citizens have an equal say in government.

"Money is not speech,” he stresses. “Money is a megaphone.

“If money can be used to drown out the speech of other people with less money, that creates an incredibly unequal allocation of political power, and that's simply wrong."

On the first day of the 116th Congress, a group of Democratic lawmakers introduced the Democracy for All Amendment to overturn Citizens United.

If passed, 38 states would then have to ratify in order for the measure to become the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.


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