News in Brief: Citizens United, Food Sovereignty resolutions up for vote

Two non-budgetary resolutions that will be voted on Monday, March 5 are Articles 21 and 22. The first is U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ resolution urging the state Congressional delegation to propose a constitutional amendment to declare that money is not speech and that corporations are not people. This is an attempt to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

Melody Reed, a Chester resident who petitioned the issue to the ballot, said,”With the Citizens United ruling, Super PACs now have unlimited corporate money to influence elections.” She urged Chester voters to “vote in favor of sending a Vermont delegation to Washington to start the process of putting democracy back into the hands of real people. Vote yes on Article 21.”

According to his website, Sanders’ amendment states:

  • Corporations are not persons with constitutional rights equal to real people.
  • Corporations are subject to regulation by the people.
  • Corporations may not make campaign contributions or any election expenditures.
  • Congress and states have the power to regulate campaign finances.

Article 22 asserts Chester’s “right to grow, buy, sell and eat local foods.”

Lisa Kaiman, owner of Jersey Girls Dairy in Chester and the person who organized the “Food Sovereignty” petition for Chester, said that while we already have a “vibrant local food system in Vermont it doesn’t mean that regulations follow suit.”

She added that, “Only 5% of the food consumed in Vermont is locally produced.”

Food safety regulations, she said, make it difficult for small producers to produce. “Local food is self-regulating. If I do a bad job, I’m out of business,” she said.

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