Daily 49er

On the propositions: Proposition 59

Amber Costa, Staff Writer

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California voters will deciding whether or not to overturn the Citizens United ruling this November.

 Proposition 59, the California Overturn of Citizens United Act Advisory, would limit the rights of corporations by not allowing them the same constitutional rights awarded to people.

In 2010, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that, under the First Amendment, an organization’s contributions to a political candidate or party and spending are protected as “free speech.”

The ruling from the Citizens United case established that independent political broadcasts would not be limited in corporate funding due to it violating the rights of the First Amendment.

The ruling brought up the debate on whether or not corporations should have the same kind of freedom as speech as people do.

Those in support of Proposition 59 believe that if the Citizens United ruling is not overturned, corporations will continue to overpower people’s voices by contributing excessive amounts of money to political campaigns.

Supporters of Proposition 59 include Tom Steyer, the founder of Farrallon Capital Management, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, the California Democratic Party and the California Peace and Freedom Party.

The opposition for the proposition includes Congressman Tom McClintock, a Republican representing California’s 4th  Congressional District, Senator Ted Gaines and Representative Rocky Chavez.

Opponents believe that the proposition would hurt smaller businesses and would be ineffective. Opponents also believe that it would allow California congress members to “tinker” with the First Amendment.

 “The legislature placed this non-binding advisory measure on the ballot to say they want campaign finance reform and want to curb the power of special interests in Sacramento, but it actually does nothing of the kind,” California State Sen. Jeff Stone and Congressman K.H. Achadijian said in an official statement. “Instead, it argues that free speech should not apply to small businesses and other s who choose to incorporate as a corporation.”.

 So far, supporters of the proposition have raised $422,770 and opponents have raised none.

*This article is part of a weekly series informing students on the propositions up for vote on the November ballot.

**All information comes from Ballotpedia.com, a nonprofit organization that provides nonpartisan information on American politics and elections.

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