Cheyenne, WY, February 4, 2019 — The Wyoming House of Representatives passed House Joint Resolution 8, “Free and Fair Elections,” on first reading in a busy Committee of the Whole session today by a voice vote. The resolution calls on the United States Congress to propose a 28th Constitutional Amendment, seeking to overturn the 2010 Supreme Court decision in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, which granted corporations the right to spend unlimited sums of money in independent expenditures to advocate for or against individual candidates for office.
HJ8 was initially approved last week by the House Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee by a vote of 7-2. A similar resolution (SJ8) was approved by the Senate Minerals, Business and Economic Development committee two weeks ago by a 4-1 vote, but failed by a vote of 9-21 in the Senate Committee of the Whole after three senators, Charles Scott (R-Natrona) County), David Kinskey (R-Johnson/Sheridan) and Cale Case (R-Fremont) spoke against the resolution.
In his Senate speech last week, Sen. Scott claimed that the Free and Fair Elections resolution was an attack on the First Amendment and the right of freedom of speech. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” said Ken Chestek, chair of Wyoming Promise. “We are strong advocates FOR free speech…for human beings who have the right to vote. We are opposed to the speech of giant corporations, which cannot vote but which can spend unlimited amounts of money to drown out the voices of human voters.”
“The large sums of money dominating our politics is not free speech, it is power,” added Lynn Horton Morrison, vice chair of Wyoming Promise. “We need to regulate the role of money in elections and governance to ensure transparency, prevent corruption, and protect against purchasing influence of our elected representatives.”
If passed on third reading in the House later this week, HJ8 will be sent to the Senate, where it will be debated again.