Not everything this proposal covers is usually discussed in the media, so this it includes a civics overview. You don’t have to be an attorney or scholar to read it. It follows the Constitution, written for laymen to use, and relies mainly on textual and logic analysis, the most straightforward form of Constitutional interpretation
and all that is needed here.
Should the Constitution’s text need to be explained? Yes and no – it’s not hard, once we get used to its concepts. The Federalist Papers, published in one state and circulated around the others, helped people get used to the Constitution. It probably wouldn’t have been ratified without the Federalist Papers. This site does the same for this amendment.
The amendment and resolution are drafted anonymously. A preliminary version was submitted to Congress in January, 2015. After a period of public comment it was withdrawn for correction. Thank you for participating! This, the final version, was submitted to all members of the 114th Congress on June 12, 2015, voiding the prior Congressional submission and any public support conveyed to Congress. It is for all intents and purposes a new amendment. The amendment & resolution were submitted to the 115th Congess on January 5, 2017.
The original version was popular overall but after a period of public comment has been revised to better reflect the public's concerns. Section 1 originally went further into implementation. The revision leaves more scope for legislation. Anything that can viably be left to legislation is. Section 2 originally made use of Amendment XIV, Section 2’s method of enforcing ballot protections. This has been abandoned as too hard to control: it’s a powerful provision and we have less drastic electoral protections. In Section 3, an approach to two-factor districting tailored for the United States replaces one used in some other countries. Restriction of lobbying was added to Section 5.
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Congress won’t accept support statements that have to be corrected. The apostrophe is before the “s” in the singular “one hundredth’s-part”, but it’s after the “s” in the plural “five hundredths’-parts”. (Example: One Senator is one-hundredth of the Senate, or a single hundredth’s-part of the whole. Five Senators are five-hundredths of the Senate, or five hundredths’-parts of the whole.) And gross domestic product isn't gross national product (see Percentage of GDP). If it’s wrong, please e-mail us at RepairRestoreSafeguard@gmail.com. Thank you!
Image: The Declaration of Independence Committee, Currier & Ives
Binary Code, @sxc
For many Americans,
Citizens' United was the wake-up call.
Campaigns financed by a handful of the most wealthy. Absence of accountability and corporate encroachment on government increasing income inequality, and globalization that only benefits corporations.
For others, the wake-up call was extrajudicial killings. Black lives disregarded. Or a general weakening of the rule of law. Terrorism and mass killings with no clear way to address them. The 2016 election did it for some, the Trump administration for others.
Gerrymandering, lobbying abuses and private campaign finance are too blatant to hide but even some historians ignore the legislation and caselaw that enabled them, treating these as mysterious "government" functions, supported by the Constitution they violate and untouchable by the people.
Congress, the President, the courts, state and local governments, the media? Partisanship seems to be running amok, and corruption seems to affect all of them.
Most disturbingly, there seem to be no rules constraining power anymore.
Wherever you are on the political spectrum we share this problem, and this proposal takes no position on non-procedural issues.
While traditional organizing was focusing on issues or candidates, people in power were changing the political process to reduce the public's effectiveness. Over generations as these changes went on unaddressed, the public (without quite understanding why) have found ourselves forced to become more about how to ask the government for emergency help, or how to trick or coerce the government into action, and less about initiating and guiding the actions of our government on a daily basis.
There's no mystery about it. This site discusses when and how our political processes have weakened, and what to do about it. Nothing is more important if we want a government that functions like one.
Here's the truth: in a democratic republic, you are the government.
By regarding the public’s political functions as a system, we can make the smallest additions and least-disruptive changes that will restore the integrity of the process.
We the people weren't vigilant. We put off process reform, or didn't even watch for signs of a problem. Until suddenly we can't deny it, and it feels like we can't wait any longer.
But we don't have to panic. This country was designed to weather storms of corruption. Our Constitution is too hard to amend to destroy the public's rights and powers easily. Corruption has been going around it - violating, damaging, eroding, ignoring, or just lying about the clauses that guarantee the public's ability to correct government error and corruption.
If we don't address this, we'll be fighting the process every time we need to use it.
We don't have to do it the hard way. The political-process clauses are still there. We can repair and restore them, which will give us back a remarkable amount of power in the political process - the amount we reserved for the people in the first place.
We'll have to fight to pass and ratify the amendment and related legislation presented here, but they will work as a complete program to restore our power.
You have all the power you need right now. Use it.
From the inalienable right and power to ordain and establish government
we've derived three public political powers:
to elect the government officers who make law and policy
We exercise our power to amend the Constitution roughly once a generation. (We hold in reserve the ultimate power to ordain and establish an entirely new government.) But each power has eroded over time or been deliberately undermined.
Neglecting our oversight role is dangerous, and we have to use communication, planning and public debate methods that make it easier. But our oversight powers have also been eroded. When states have tried to impose government truth and accuracy statutes they've been unable to enforce them in court. When lobbying and campaign financing include private money, our officers become beholden. And when districts are drawn in ways that complicate Representatives' priorities, neither we nor they can easily tell: whose interests take priority? where can they compromise?
Two obstacles have made a real solution appear impossible:
This proposal presents an opportunity to repair and restore the public's political tools, and to safeguard them, by treating them as a system for the first time.
It breaks the problem down into
This proposal includes several pieces of stand-alone legislation and one amendment to the Constitution. You can support any of it. None of it requires the others. It probably won't all pass. The public will decide.
But it’s time to take a deep breath and fix the whole problem. Today’s technology makes it easier to reach the overwhelming majority of Americans who will support it, judging by polls, by public opinion expressed in the media, and by our repeated attempts to address this issue.
This proposal doesn’t fit into a sound bite. It doesn’t fit onto a protest sign. But unlike a shortsighted reaction to one law, ruling, or policy, we can use this proposal to stabilize this aspect of governance and to keep it stable when the unexpected happens. We won’t just be crossing our fingers against bad governmental phases.
Self-governance is the first American value: we fought a revolution for this.
The time is now. Will you take a stand?
Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America
assembled in Congress with two-thirds of each House in agreement,
that the following Article is proposed as the Twenty-eighth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States,
which will be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution
when ratified by three-fourths of the several States within two years,
by Conventions of delegates nominated by popular petition and elected by popular ballot.
The people of the United States will ordain and establish United States government under this Constitution,
and the United States will fund and certify self-governance during a period set by Congress,
uniform throughout the States, preceding any vote in an election, appointment or Act.
Congress will annually appropriate between one hundredth's-part and five hundredths'-parts
of one percent of gross domestic product for all support and opposition concerning measures or candidates,
including signature drive, and these included in other promotion.
In public view Congress, but neither candidates nor sponsors of bills,
will first allocate in a uniform amount
but when repeating these will consider time, place and manner of speech, including repetition.
A citizen may conduct such self-governance and an inhabitant may donate labor,
but no tax, credit or obligation will be affected for self-governance.
The United States will guarantee to every State fairly contested and impartially conducted elections,
monitored and audited, and proceeding no longer than nine months before the electoral vote.
No private person or entity will conduct granting, apportionment, districting,
or the holding, tallying, monitoring, or auditing of elections.
The United States and every State will enforce the right of a citizen eighteen years of age or older
to vote, not to vote, or to abstain regarding any office or proposal, in United States or State elections.
A uniform ratio will divide all States to apportion to each State at least one Representative,
who will represent at least thirty thousand and at most two hundred thousand.
Districts will represent economic level and geography,
but no person’s access to government will be abridged.
When either House has too few Members able to attend to reach quorum,
the executives of affected States will issue writs of election to fill those vacancies.
But when less than three months remain in the term or when the President declares a state of emergency,
a State's legislature may empower its executive to make temporary appointments
before issuing writs of election;
when that office is vacant, that legislature will have power
to make temporary appointments before issuing writs of election;
when a State's legislature also falls below possible quorum,
its executive will have power to make temporary appointments to Congress before issuing writs of election,
but if that office is also vacant a write-in election will take place.
When writs do not issue promptly, a State may petition its legislature for an election.
The United States will fund the direction of exercise of its offices.
An officer will be expelled or impeached for accepting or soliciting
any private money, present, benefit or promise,
or for coercion or political fraud,
not excluding by speech or debate on the floor.
A candidate who knowingly benefits from political fraud, coercion or bribery will forfeit the office.
Titles and descriptions of Acts of the United States and of States will be true and accurate.
An officer sworn or affirmed to support this Constitution will petition Congress to support its legal force,
equal in all text including “We the People”, unless repealed by Amendment.
[End of Amendment. End of Resolution. May not be added to, subtracted from, or altered.]
Free Congress! Be Congress!
They can't free themselves.
To reach your Senators and Representative:
1. Connect to the House or Senate directory with the red buttons at the top.
2. Click on his or her page.
3. Find the e-mail box and ask for his or her support for this resolution.
Tell them we don’t need a Constitutional convention, just this amendment!
4. To prevent confusion attach the full text, with title & "Resolved" heading.