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Vermont town meetings tackle corporate personhood

By Wilson Ring

Associated Press

Published: Monday, March 5 2012 2:10 p.m. MST

In this Jan. 20, 2012 photo, people hold signs during a gathering on the anniversary of the Citizens United decision in Montpelier, Vt. First, it was the Vermont senator with socialist leanings. Then it was Jerry of Ben & Jerry's ice cream fame. Now there are about 50 Vermont communities ready to chime in on a proposal to pass a Constitutional amendment to clarify that corporations do not have the same rights as human beings.,

Toby Talbot, Associated Press

MONTPELIER, Vt. — More than 50 Vermont communities are going to be using their annual Town Meeting Day to push for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution declaring that corporations are not people.

States and communities across the country have considered or are considering similar calls.

The goal is to overturn the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision. Critics say it poisoned the electoral process by unleashing unlimited and unregulated volumes of money into the electoral cycle.

Two Vermont communities that held their meetings over the weekend approved the idea by overwhelming votes.

Jericho resident Bill Butler says it's the beginning of a political movement.

But John McClaughry of the free-market think tank the Ethan Allen Institution calls the idea "wretched." He says groups should have the same rights as individuals.

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