Resolution No. 297

Urging New York’s Congressional Delegation To Propose And Adopt A Proposed Amendment To The United States Constitution Clarifying That Corporations Are Not People With Constitutional Rights, And That Unlimited Campaign Spending Is Not Free Speech

Resolution Information




Referred to: The Laws, Rules and Government Services Committee (Chairman Heppner and Legislators Gavaris, Levine, Roberts, and Ronk)


Legislator Chris Hewitt and Legislators Criswell, Erner, Sperry, Uchitelle and Walter offer the following:


WHEREAS, the United States Constitution is intended to protect the rights of individual human beings (“natural persons”); and


WHEREAS, democracy means governance of the people, by the people and for the people – and only natural persons should be able to participate in the democratic process; and


WHEREAS, corporations are not mentioned in the Constitution and the People of the United States (“the People”) have never granted constitutional rights to corporations, nor decreed that corporations have authority that exceeds the authority of the People; and


WHEREAS, corporations are not naturally endowed with consciousness or the rights of natural persons, as corporations are creations of law and are only permitted to do what is authorized under law; and


WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court, in Citizens United v. the Federal

Election Commission (2010), rolled back legal limits on corporate spending in the electoral process and allowed unlimited corporate spending to influence elections, candidate selection, policy decisions and sway votes; and


WHEREAS, the four dissenting justices in Citizens United noted that corporations have special advantages not enjoyed by natural persons, such as limited liability, perpetual life, and favorable treatment of the accumulation and distribution of assets, that allow them to spend prodigious sums on campaign messages that have little or no correlation with the beliefs held by natural persons; and


WHEREAS, corporations are legally required to put profits for shareholders ahead of concerns for the greatest good of society; and


WHEREAS, corporations have used the “rights” bestowed upon them by the courts to overturn democratically enacted laws that were passed at municipal, state and federal levels to curb corporate abuse, thereby impairing local governments’ ability to protect their citizens against corporate harms to the environment, to health, to workers, to independent businesses, and to local and regional economies; and



WHEREAS, Legislators of the County of Ulster have sworn to uphold the United States Constitution in our Oath of Office; and


WHEREAS, Article V of the United States Constitution allows the People of the various states to amend the U.S. Constitution to correct those egregiously wrong decisions of the United States Supreme Court that challenge our democratic principles; and


WHEREAS, there is widespread opposition to the Citizens United ruling that money is speech and that independent corporate campaign spending cannot be limited; and


WHEREAS, the Ulster County Legislature believes corporations should not receive the same constitutional rights as natural persons and that because money is not speech, limits on political spending will promote the goals of the first amendment by ensuring that all citizens, regardless of wealth, have an opportunity to have their political views heard; and


WHEREAS, rejecting the concept of corporate personhood will advance meaningful campaign finance reform; now, therefore be it


RESOLVED, the Ulster County Legislature hereby supports amending the United States Constitution to address campaign finance reform by abolishing corporate personhood, and clarifying that money is property, not speech; and, be it further


RESOLVED, the Ulster County Legislature hereby urges the New York congressional delegation to propose and pass a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution clarifying that corporations are not people with constitutional rights, and that unlimited campaign spending is not free speech; and, be it further


RESOLVED, in furtherance of this effort, the Ulster County Legislature encourages public discussion on the role of corporations and hereby supports efforts by citizens’ groups to amend the United States Constitution to state unequivocally that inalienable rights belong to natural persons only, and that there should be a level playing field in politics with limits on campaign contributions and spending; and be it further





RESOLVED, the Clerk of the Ulster County Legislature shall forward copies of this resolution to U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Office of the Nineteenth Congressional District of New York, Hon. Governor Kathy Hochul, and all Ulster County elected Assemblymembers and Senators,   


and move its adoption.





AYES:                     NOES:    



Passed Committee: Laws, Rules and Government Services on __________________.





Current Text: PDF



Updated: July 11, 2022