My name is Justin Hughey. I herd about a resolution on Thom's show that passed in Oregon. So I passed it in Hawaii. It is actually passed the house! Hawaii: Limits sought on companies' political pull
Companies shouldn't have the same campaign contribution rights as people, according to a resolution unanimously passed by the Hawaii House Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
The resolution asks Congress to amend the U.S. Constitution so that the rights of "natural persons" are distinguished from the rights of corporations.
The vote comes in response to a January U.S. Supreme Court ruling that business and union spending on campaign ads may not be limited.
Supporters of the resolution said companies shouldn't be granted the same freedom of speech rights guaranteed to individuals.
"The term 'person' should match reality," said JoAnn Maruoka of the League of Women Voters of Hawaii. "Corporations and unions are legal entities. Money is not speech. And human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights."
Businesses are increasing their influence on the political process at the expense of real human beings, testified Josh Frost, co-chair of the Progressive Democrats of Hawaii.
"As corporations are the creations of society and of governments, they should not and cannot be recognized as existing on equal footing as a person," Frost said.
Also Thursday, the state Senate passed a campaign finance measure requiring companies to disclose when they make direct donations to candidates totaling more than $1,000 during a two-year election period.
But the bill does not require companies to make contributions through political action committees, a provision sought by good-government advocacy groups. Instead, businesses would continue to be allowed to directly donate as much money to candidates as individuals.
"Corporations already have too much power in determining public policy," said Sen. Les Ihara, D-Kahala-Palolo, speaking from the Senate floor. "People, not corporations, should be the primary sponsors of candidates running for public office."
The bill also would relax limits on mainland contributions to state candidates, allowing contributions from out-of-state donors to amount to 30 percent of total money raised by a candidate. Current law caps mainland contributions at 20 percent.
The legislation passed the Senate 19-4 and now advances to a conference committee.
The constitutional amendment resolution will next be considered by the full House.
The resolution is HCR282. The bill is HB2003.