Roll Call! Senate Calls for Constitutional Convention to Rewrite the First Amendment (25-2), 2014

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in the State Senate on March 20, 2014 by a vote of


Purpose: The resolution states, “That the General Assembly, pursuant to Article V of the U.S. Constitution, hereby petitions the U.S. Congress to call a convention for the sole purpose of proposing amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America that would limit the corrupting influence of money in our electoral process….” This is a call to rewrite the First Amendment to our Bill of Rights, which guarantees our rights to freedom of speech, press, religion, peaceable assembly, and to petition government for redress of grievance. (Read the Resolution)

Analysis:  Those voting YES on this resolution voted in support what is, in effect, the subjugation of our rights to speech, press, assembly and to petition to the will (and force) of incumbent politicians.

Senator Benning explained his NO vote as follows:

“I cannot support this resolution. On its face it seeks to soothe public reaction to the admittedly obscene amounts of money being spent in politics. But central to its mission is an unmistakable attack on freedom of speech.

“Its chief target is the case of Citizen’s United, a case which upheld the right of individuals, and groups of individuals who have pooled their resources, to fund their speech in accordance with the first amendment. As a legislator sworn to uphold all constitutional provisions, I refuse to bow to the prevailing public winds of passion.

“I believe Vermonters are intelligent enough to recognize speech they disagree with, no matter how many times they hear it, and have had the wisdom through the years to vote accordingly.

“I also fear, Mr. President, that a convention called pursuant to this resolution may bring us far worse than whatever ill is alleged by the holding in Citizen’s United.

“For those reasons Mr. President, I cannot support this resolution.”

Senate Journal, Thursday, March 20, 2014. “Thereupon, the recommendation of amendment of the Committee on Judiciary, as amended, was agreed to and third reading of the joint Senate resolution was ordered on a roll call, Yeas 25, Nays 2.” (Read the Journal, p.449-452)

How They Voted

(Click on Your Senator’s Name to Send an Email)

Timothy Ashe (D/P-Chittenden) – YES
Claire Ayer (D-Addison) – YES
Philip Baruth (D-Chittenden) – YES
Joseph Benning (R-Caledonia) – NO
Christopher Bray (D-Addison) – YES
John Campbell (D-Windsor) – PRESIDING
Donald Collins (D-Franklin) – YES
Ann Cummings (D-Washington) – YES
William Doyle (R-Washington) – YES
Margaret Flory (R-Rutland) – YES
Eldred French (D-Rutland) – YES
Peter Galbraith (D-Windham) – YES
Robert Hartwell (D-Bennington) – YES
M. Jane Kitchel (D-Caledonia) – YES
Virginia Lyons (D-Chittenden) – YES
Mark MacDonald (D-Orange) – YES
Richard Mazza (D-Chittenden-Grand Isle) – YES
Norman McAllister (R-Franklin) – ABSENT
Richard McCormack (D-Windsor) – NO
Kevin Mullin (R-Rutland) – ABSENT
Alice Nitka (D-Windsor District) – YES
Anthony Pollina (P/D/W-Washington) – YES
John Rodgers (D-Essex-Orleans) – YES
Richard Sears (D-Bennington) – YES
Diane Snelling (R-Chittenden) – YES
Robert Starr (D-Essex-Orleans) – YES
Michael Sirotkin (D-Chittenden) – YES
Richard Westman (R-Lamoille) – YES
Jeanette White (D-Windham) – YES
David Zuckerman (P-Chittenden) – YES

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lazarus Long March 21, 2014 at 4:36 pm

The people that voted “yes” assume they will always be in the driver’s seat.


Eddie Cutler March 21, 2014 at 11:53 pm

I cant believe they would do something like this. To squash political speech is the most disgusting thing the Vt. senate has ever done. My dear friend Neil Randell took a case like this to the Supreme court and won. Whats next will they right a new anti-defamation law like the one Adams pushed thru the congress.


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