Organizers of the anti-corporate personhood Move to Amend initiative have taken their request to get on the ballot in Salt Lake City this year to the Utah Supreme Court.
Despite having more than enough signatures, the city recorder’s office rejected the initiative, because state law doesn’t allow for local initiatives that don’t create actual legislation to appear on the ballot. The city council had planned to circumvent that law by voting to place the initiative on the ballot directly, but Utah code apparently doesn’t allow that, either.
“We think we have a good shot of getting the court to agree that the ban on advisory initiatives ought to be struck down and be found unconstitutional,” says Caleb Proulx, who wrote the legal brief for the petition filed with the Utah Supreme Court.
Move to Amend spokesman Jesse Fruhwirth says the Utah Constitution makes it clear that the people have the same rights as the legislature, noting state lawmakers frequently pass non-binding resolutions that declare their opinions, like this initiative does:
“If the Supreme Court accepts our opinion that the people, through initiative and referenda, have all the rights of the legislature, there are many other restrictions and state laws that the legislature has passed that could be struck down under the precedent that we’re seeking.”
The Move to Amend initiative declares that corporate money does not count as free speech. Despite not being allowed on the ballot, it’s supported by Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker.