East Hawaii News

‘Move to Amend’ Makes Stop in Hilo Thursday

February 25, 2014, 5:50 PM HST
* Updated February 25, 5:52 PM
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A national coalition seeking to overturn a controversial ruling by the US Supreme Court will make a presentation this week in Hilo.

The group is called “Move to Amend,” and it seeks a constitutional amendment overturning the ruling in the case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

That ruling, issued in 2010, said restricting campaign donations by large organizations, including corporations and unions, is a violation of the First Amendment.

David Cobb of Move to Amend will speak at 7 p.m. Thursday in University Classroom Building Room 100 at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

“We the People, Not We the Corporations” is one of the slogans of Move to Amend, which rejects the notion that corporations are persons.

“Human beings are people; corporations are legal fictions,” the group says on its website.

Cobb is an attorney who was the Green Party’s candidate for president in 2004.

Thursday’s event is the final Hawaii stop for the coalition which has already visited Kona, Oahu, Kauai and Maui.

Overturning the ruling is also the subject of a bill introduced this year in the state Legislature seeking to amend the Hawaii Constitution.

House Judiciary Chairman Karl Rhoads, who introduced the measure, acknowledges that the bill is a symbolic gesture and would have no legal effect without a corresponding change in the US Constitution.

But that hasn’t stopped members of both the House Judiciary and Finance committees from approving it overwhelmingly with a combined vote of 27-1 in favor.

Four members of the Judiciary Committee voted yes with reservations, including Hilo Rep. Clift Tsuji, as did three members of the Finance Committee.

Republican Rep. Bob McDermott was the only one to vote against the bill in either committee.

Before being referred to Finance, the bill also passed the second of three required floor votes. Eight members of the House voted yes with reservations and four voted against it. The only Big Island representative among those was Rep. Faye Hanohano, who cast a no vote.

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