MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

2017 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Senator(s) Frazier

Senate Concurrent Resolution 547

A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION PETITIONING THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS TO CONVENE A LIMITED CONVENTION FOR THE EXCLUSIVE PURPOSE OF PROPOSING A FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS AMENDMENT TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION.

     WHEREAS, elections in the United States of America should be free from corruption and fair enough that any citizen can be elected into office; and

     WHEREAS, the first President of the United States George Washington said, "The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitutions of Government" (Farewell Address, 1796); and

     WHEREAS, it was the stated intention of the framers of the Constitution of the United States of America that the Congress should be "dependent on the people alone" (James Madison, Federalist 52); and

     WHEREAS, that dependency has evolved from a dependency on the people alone to a dependency on those who spend excessively in elections directly and via third-party groups; and

     WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court rulings in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) removed restrictions on independent political spending; and

     WHEREAS, the removal of those restrictions has resulted in a corruption of our political process and the undue influence of powerful economic forces which have supplanted the will of the people by undermining our ability to choose our political leadership, write our own laws, and determine the fate of our state and the nation as a whole; and

     WHEREAS, the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution states:  "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people," which, until 2010, had consistently been interpreted as allowing the states to establish their own laws governing the financing of elections; and

     WHEREAS, the American people, when asked, overwhelmingly express their desire to remove the corrupting influence of money from our political process; and

     WHEREAS, the United States Congress has been unresponsive to this expressed will of the American citizenry in addressing the problem of corrupting money in politics; and

     WHEREAS, the Constitution of the State of Mississippi affirms that governments are for the benefit of the people (Section 5) and that the people have the right to effect reform when it is not (Section 6); and

     WHEREAS, Article V of the United States Constitution requires the United States Congress to convene a Convention for proposing amendments upon application of two-thirds of the Legislatures of the several states; and

     WHEREAS, the State of Mississippi sees the need for a convention to propose amendments in order to respond to the will of the people and address the corrupting influence of money in our political process including, inter alia, relevant decisions by the United States Supreme Court, and desires that said Convention be so limited:

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING THEREIN, That pursuant to Article V of the United States Constitution, we do hereby petition the United States Congress to convene a limited Convention to propose amendments to the federal Constitution for the exclusive purpose of protecting Free and Fair Elections in the United States by removing the corrupting influence of excessive spending in our electoral process, by addressing inter alia concerns raised by Citizens United v. FEC and related decisions, as soon as two-thirds of the states have approved similar applications for a Convention.

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the State of Mississippi desires that the delegates to said Convention shall be comprised equally of individuals currently elected to state and local office, or be selected by election, in each Congressional District for the purpose of serving as delegates, though all individuals elected or appointed to federal office, now or in the past, be prohibited from serving as delegates to the Convention, and intends to retain the ability to restrict or expand the power of its delegates within the limits expressed above.

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the State of Mississippi intends that this be a continuing application considered together with applications calling for a Convention passed in the 2013-2014 Vermont Legislature as Senate Joint Resolution No. 27 (160 Congressional Record S4331, POM-284), the 2013-2014 California Legislature's Assembly Joint Resolution No. 1 (160 Congressional Record S5507, POM-320), the 2013-2014 Illinois Legislature's Senate Joint Resolution No. 42, the 2014-2015 New Jersey State Legislature's Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 132, and all other past, pending, and future applications for a Convention of similar purpose until at least two-thirds of the several states have applied for and Congress has convened a Convention.

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That certified copies of this Resolution be transmitted to the President of the United States, the Vice President of the United States in his capacity as Presiding Officer of the United States Senate and addressed to him at Suite No. S-212, United States Capitol Building, Washington, D.C., the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives, the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, all members of Mississippi's congressional delegation with the respectful request that the full and complete text of this joint resolution be entered into the Congressional Record as an official memorial to Congress from the Legislature of the State of Mississippi, and to the presiding officers of the Legislatures of each of the remaining states that have not yet applied to Congress for such a Convention on this subject with the respectful request that they consider the adoption of similar legislation.