SANTA FE (KRQE) - Both the New Mexico House and Senate have joined the chorus deriding the Supreme Court ruling that opened elections to unlimited and often undisclosed contributions from corporations and unions.
That makes the state the second after Hawaii to go on record calling for a constitutional amendment to undo the court ruling in the case known as Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
In a 5-4 decision in January 2010 the Supreme Court ruled governments could not limit independent spending by corporations or unions during election campaigns.
One result has been the rise of super PACs, political action committees technically independent of candidates but spending many millions to support the candidate or attack the opposition.
The House passed its memorial 38-29 on Jan. 31, and the Senate did the same today by a vote of 20-9.
The House bill was sponsored by Rep. Mimi Stewart, Albuquerque. Sen. Steve Fischmann, D-Mesilla Park, sponsored the Senate version.
Legislative memorials lack the force of law but are considered an official expression of sentiment.
"Voters need to know their opinions count as much as any corporate entity, trade, or labor association," Fischmann said in a statement released through the good-government group Common Cause New Mexico. "I'm proud that New Mexico's State Senate is willing to stand for this principle."
The case began in 2008 when a conservative group called Citizens United tried to air a movie critical of then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was blocked by a federal law that prohibited corporations and unions from using their treasuries to campaign for or against a candidate.
A lower court also ruled ads could not be run without disclosing the donors paying for it.
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