Proposition 59 is unusual in that it is an advisory measure. It wouldn’t enact or repeal a state law. Rather it urges members of the state Legislature to exercise their authority to propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The objective: overturning Citizens United, a 2010 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that rescinded century-old prohibitions on corporations and labor unions spending money to influence elections for president and Congress.
State legislators voted to place this measure on the 2014 ballot, but it was delayed two years by a legal challenge. The challenge failed, and voters now have a chance to express their views. Obscene sums of money are spent on American elections, and repealing Citizens United would only reduce expenditures on the margin as other court decisions allow individuals to spend as much as they want to influence elections. But any reduction would be welcome. The Press Democrat recommends a yes vote on Proposition 59.