December 31, 2012

Needed: Way for citizens to change the Constitution

Kennebec Journal Staff

There is wide spread dissatisfaction with our federal government. Congress and the president are unable to resolve the fiscal cliff stalemate. The Supreme Court in "Citizens United" allows unlimited funds to be spent by corporations and the super rich to control elections.

In "Heller," (2008) the court allows anyone, not just the police or the military nor those in a "well-regulated militia" to own all sorts of automatic pistols and rifles with high capacity magazines designed to quickly kill many people at a time. Powerful special interests have exerted strong influence in both these decisions. The mass murder of school children in Connecticut by a person using an automatic rifle has increased pressure for Congress to renew the ban on automatic weapons and high volume magazines. Would a renewed ban be overturned by this Supreme Court?

It will take bullet proof amendment changes to fix the damage this court has done in those two decisions and that job must now be done by Congress. So if Congress can't or won't act what can we do about all this? A citizen initiative is the right and procedure by which citizens can propose a law, or a Constitution change, by petition and ensure its submission to the electorate. So if the Legislature fails to act, the people can take action themselves.

Currently the Constitution does not provide for a citizen initiative process. But there are ample reasons to support and actively seek to change the constitution to provide for such a process. The primary reason is that special interests have so thoroughly gained control of our federal government it no longer acts in the interest of the people but instead serves those special interests that fund re-elections.

Jim Chiddix

Waterville

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