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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: March 4, 2019 03:12 PM
From: Senator Jay Costa and Sen. Patrick M. Browne
To: All Senate members
Subject: Free and Fair Elections Concurrent Resolution
In the near future, we will introduce a concurrent resolution entitled the Free and Fair Elections Resolution. The resolution calls for a limited amendments convention of the states under Article V of the United States Constitution. The purpose of this convention will be to propose amendments to the United States Constitution authorizing the federal government and the states to apply disclosure rules and reasonable guidelines on election campaign finance.

Pennsylvania is the birthplace of our representative democracy and the United States Constitution. When anonymous special interests and foreign governments attempt to exercise undue influence over our federal and state officials, the "consent of the governed" is undermined and the American principle of self-determination is jeopardized. Recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions, including Citizens United v FEC and McCutcheon v FEC, have nullified campaign regulations that protect our democracy and opened the flood gates for dark money and special interests to influence elections.

The constitution includes the amendments convention process so that state legislatures could propose amendments when the federal government is unable to act. Most constitutional amendments have been preceded by requests for an amendments convention, including the Bill of Rights. Whether an amendment is introduced by Congress or the states, it must still be ratified by 75 percent (38) of the states.

Making Congress responsive to the people will make sure that public policy is reflective of public opinion. This is essential to a government that works in the national interest. Similar resolutions have passed with bipartisan support in California, New Jersey, Vermont, Illinois, Rhode Island, the Missouri Senate, and the New Hampshire House. It is pending in several other states.

We hope you will join us in supporting this important legislation that will keep our government responsive to the people and ensure free and fair elections for future generations of Americans and Pennsylvania citizens.

Introduced as SR192