CARSON CITY — Nevada may become the 19th state to ask Congress to propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that allows the government to limit of corporate spending in politics.
Senate Joint Resolution 4 in response to the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case, which ruled the government cannot restrict corporate or union campaign spending because it is protected by the First Amendment.
The resolution was heard Tuesday in the Assembly Legislative Operations and Elections Committee, which did not take immediate action.
The resolution’s sponsor, Sen. Nicole Cannizzaro, D-Las Vegas, said when she was campaigning for office people often complained about the heavy spending in elections.
She said they were “frustrated with the amount of money that was being spent in political contests and they wished desperately the contest was more about the candidates” and policies.
Changing the Citizens United ruling is a bipartisan issue across the U.S., said Jeff Clements, president of American Promise, a national organization working to get a constitutional amendment passed.
For a constitutional amendment to become a reality, at least 38 states would need to ratify the amendment after Congress proposes it.
The resolution passed the Senate on a 12-9 party-line vote.
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Outside spending in 2016 election cycle
— $1.4 billion nationwide in federal races.
— $89.9 million in Nevada’s U.S. Senate race.
— The $89.9 million figure was the third-highest amount of outside spending nationwide for a congressional race in 2016. The other two were Senate races in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire.
— $776 million was spent nationwide by outside spenders in the presidential race.
Source: Center for Responsive Politics.