PRINTER'S NO. 1131
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE RESOLUTION
No.
192
Session of
2019
INTRODUCED BY COSTA, BROWNE, FONTANA, SANTARSIERO, SCHWANK,
FARNESE, DINNIMAN, HUGHES, HAYWOOD, MARTIN, KILLION,
TARTAGLIONE, LEACH, MUTH, STREET AND BOSCOLA, AUGUST 7, 2019
REFERRED TO STATE GOVERNMENT, AUGUST 7, 2019
A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION
Calling for a Free and Fair Elections Amendment to the
Constitution of the United States via a Convention of the
States, pursuant to Article V of the Constitution of the
United States, which would authorize the states to apply
disclosure rules and reasonable guidelines on election
campaign contributions and expenditures.
WHEREAS, Our first President, George Washington, declared in
his 1796 farewell address: "The basis of our political systems
is the right of the people to make and to alter their
Constitutions of Government," and it was the clear intention of
the framers of the Constitution of the United States, as noted
by James Madison in Federalist No. 52, that the Congress of the
United States should be "dependent on the people alone"; and
WHEREAS, The articles of the Constitution of the United
States guarantee the right of the people to govern themselves,
the Bill of Rights contained in the first amendments to the
Constitution of the United States protects the inalienable
rights of the people, and the Declaration of Independence states
that "to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among
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Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the
governed"; and
WHEREAS, The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the
United States provides: "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 to allow
the several states to establish their own laws governing the
financing of elections; and
WHEREAS, Prior to 2010, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania had
consistently exercised its legal authority to mitigate
corrupting influences in its electoral process by establishing
laws governing the financing of elections; and
WHEREAS, The United States Supreme Court decisions in
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) and
McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission (2014) removed
restrictions on amounts of independent and aggregate political
spending, effectively denying the several states the ability to
establish their own laws governing the financing of elections,
and the removal of those restrictions has resulted in the undue
influence of powerful economic forces, which have supplanted the
will of the people by undermining their ability to choose their
political leadership and determine the fate of their states and
the nation as a whole; and
WHEREAS, Elections for public office should be free of the
corrupting influence of excessive spending by outside interests
and fair enough that any qualified citizen is able to run for
public office because free and fair elections with a level
playing field ensure a robust debate and a healthy marketplace
of ideas in the halls of our governments, and therefore a Free
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and Fair Elections Amendment should be added to the Constitution
of the United States to guarantee the preservation of the
inalienable right to self-determination and self-governance for
future generations of Americans; and
WHEREAS, Article V of the Constitution of the United States
grants the states co-equal power to the Congress of the United
States to propose Federal constitutional amendments, and was
added at the urging of our founding fathers so that the several
states could protect themselves and their citizens from
encroachments by the Federal Government or in the event that the
Federal Government would someday become unresponsive to the will
of the American people; and
WHEREAS, Some of our most respected presidents have endorsed
the Convention of the States as an essential safeguard to our
Constitutional Republic, including President Abraham Lincoln
when he spoke of amending the Constitution of the United States,
stating that "The convention mode seems preferable, in that it
allows amendments to originate with the people themselves" and
President Dwight Eisenhower, who stated, "Through their state
legislatures and without regard to the federal government, the
people can demand a convention to propose amendments that can
and will reverse any trends they see as fatal to true
representative government"; and
WHEREAS, Article V of the Constitution of the United States
requires the Congress of the United States to call a convention,
upon the application of two-thirds of the legislatures of the
several states, for the purpose of proposing amendments to the
Federal Constitution, an assurance made abundantly clear in
Federalist No. 85 by Alexander Hamilton, who noted: "The words
of this article are peremptory. The Congress 'shall call a
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convention.' Nothing in this particular is left to the
discretion of that body"; and
WHEREAS, The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania desires that the
delegates to the Convention of the States be comprised equally
of individuals currently elected to state and local office, or
be determined by election with the prohibition that no
individual elected or appointed to Federal office at any time
may serve as delegate to the convention, in each congressional
district in Pennsylvania for the purpose of serving as delegates
and intends to retain the ability to restrict or expand the
authority of its delegates within the limits herein expressed;
and
WHEREAS, The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania intends this
resolution to be a continuing application considered together
with applications calling for a Convention of the States
approved in 2014 by the Vermont legislature as Joint Senate
Resolution No. 27, the California legislature as Assembly Joint
Resolution No. 1, the Illinois legislature as Senate Joint
Resolution No. 42; approved in 2015 by the New Jersey
legislature as Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 132; approved in
2016 by the Rhode Island Senate as Resolution No. 327 and the
Rhode Island House of Representatives as Resolution No. 326,
until such time as two-thirds of the states have applied for a
Convention of the States and the convention is convened by the
Congress of the United States; therefore be it
RESOLVED (the House of Representatives concurring), That the
General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania call for a
Free and Fair Elections Amendment to the Constitution of the
United States via a Convention of the States, pursuant to
Article V of the Constitution of the United States, which would
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authorize the states to apply disclosure rules and reasonable
guidelines on election campaign contributions and expenditures;
and be it further
RESOLVED, That a Free and Fair Elections Amendment would
allow states to place reasonable limits on campaign
contributions, establish disclosure rules, provide for stricter
enforcement of existing bans on coordination between candidates
and super PACs and ensure that American elections are free and
fair so that the will of the people is reflected in the actions
of the Federal Government; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State of the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania transmit duly certified copies of this resolution
to the President and Vice-President of the United States, the
President pro tempore of the United States Senate, the Majority
and Minority Leaders of the United States Senate, the Secretary
and Parliamentarian of the United States Senate, the Speaker of
the United States House of Representatives, the Majority and
Minority Leaders of the United States House of Representatives,
the Clerk and Parliamentarian of the United States House of
Representatives, each member of the United States Senate and
United States House of Representatives from the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania, with the respectful request that the full and
complete text of this resolution be printed in the Congressional
Record and that this resolution be referred to whichever
committees of the United States Senate and United States House
of Representatives that have proper jurisdiction over its
subject matter, and to the presiding officers of each
legislative body of each of the several states that have not yet
applied for the calling of a Convention of the States,
requesting the cooperation of lawmakers in those particular
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states in approving applications compelling the Congress of the
United States to call a convention for the purpose set forth in
this resolution.
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