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USG to vote on UConn's stance on corporate spending

By Nicholas Shigo
On April 3, 2014

The University of Connecticut Undergraduate Student Government may soon be voting on a bill to declare UConn's support of national legislation to limit corporate spending on political campaigns.
The bill, authored by Senator Daniel Byrd, was unofficially proposed at the Wednesday caucus and is expected to be voted on at an official senate meeting by the end of the year.
As the first step in a ten year program, the bill would declare UConn's support of an amendment to the United States Constitution that would limit the amount of money that large campaigns can contribute to presidential campaigns.
The amendment would overturn the decision made in the Supreme Court case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that recognizes corporations as people and able to fund campaigns as they see fit.
"When corporations have an unlimited amount of spending ability, they can drown out the voice of students," Byrd said.
According to Byrd, this has a huge impact on students, many of whom feel that their contributions to political campaigns are worthless compared to the millions a corporation might donate.
The bill mentions other court cases that ruled on the possibilities of corruption that comes with large campaign contributions and urges the Connecticut Congressional Delegation to prioritize proposal of the amendment to limit such contributions.
"I believe that people have a first amendment right to contribute to political campaigns, but I believe that corporations aren't people," Byrd said.
Bills similar to this one are being voted on by other schools and towns across the country to show their support for the amendment.
The bill met some opposition from other USG members when it was introduced at the caucus.
Senator Mark Sargent argued that while the bill is called nonpartisan, it might draw some party lines, and set precedent for USG to vote on more partisan issues in the future.
Senator Rachel Conboy thought that the bill could potentially lead to two different precedents being set, either opening the door towards more divisive partisan bills, like Sargent said, or show USG's support of larger national issues.
President Edward Courchaine responded in defense of the bill, saying that "nothing exists in our constitution that says we need to be nonpartisan, but what does exist is our responsibility to the interest of the student body."
Other senators debated whether or not the bill would set precedent for USG to vote on legislation that reaches farther than the UConn campus and may not directly influence students.
Other national bills have been voted on by USG, including a bill to support the national Collegiate Housing and Infrastructure Act voted on at the last senate meeting.
 


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