Vermont first state to call for constitutional convention to get money out of politics

MONTPELIER --On Friday Vermont became the first state to call for a convention to amend the U.S. Constitution to reverse the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, which precipitated a flood of cash into politics.

The U.S. Constitution can be amended only through an act of Congress ratified by the states or by a convention of states acting on their own.

There are 10 states currently considering similar resolutions to the one passed by Vermont, according to Mike Monetta, the organizing director for Wolf PAC. It would take 34 states to trigger a convention to propose amendments to the Constitution, and 38 to approve an amendment.

Earlier in the session it appeared there was no appetite in Montpelier for such a resolution, but a call to Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington, from one of his constituents got the ball rolling, he said.

"Dr. Steven Berry is a minister in Manchester," Sears said. "He contacted me, and I've known him for several years, and we talked about it, and the more I heard, it made sense to me."

Sears said he decided to put the resolution back on the "fast track" by holding hearings on the topic and eventually bringing it to the Senate floor, where it passed 25-2.

"I think it's an important resolution," Sears said. "Congress isn't going to act, and we've got to do something to get this country back under control."

Several lawmakers raised concerns that the scope of a convention could not be limited and participating states could bring forward amendments for discussion that many would find unpalatable, such as outlawing abortion.

"I see this resolution as an opportunity to kick-start a movement that I hope will spread throughout the country and let people become aware of the real problems we have with the influence of money on elections and on our public policy," said Rep. Mike Yantachka, D-Charlotte.


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