Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

 
 

Corporate personhood vote a risk

 


First, let me say that I support the issue of getting “big money” out of politics.

The Alaska Senate already has approved a resolution “to amend the Constitution of the United States to prohibit corporations, unions, and individuals from making unlimited independent expenditures supporting or opposing candidates for public office.”

As reported, that was the primary purpose of the local initiative. The national website classifies our Senate’s version as a partial measure. The full measure being pushed locally, however, would strip all corporations of “personhood.” “Corporation” includes not just businesses but churches, non-profits and the Native corporations. They all have tax benefits amidst others, as well. For over 100 years, the Supreme Court has interpreted the 14th Amendment to give corporations the status of people. The proposed changes in the Haines charter certainly would be deemed unconstitutional. Someone will surely challenge the measure in the courts and the city will be stuck with the legal bill. There would be no harm in a resolution. But of the approximately 500 groups that have passed bills on the issue, only 17 municipalities have passed the full measure. Our initiative would be number 18. The odds of our being taken to court are extremely high. Given the financial straits in which Haines currently finds itself, are we prepared to take the risk? Since the Alaska Senate has passed the risk-free resolution, why should we put ourselves at risk?

Jerry Pyle