Democracy Day

In 2013, Cleveland Heights voters passed issue 32 in support of a 28th Constitutional Amendment clearly stating that only human beings, and not corporate entities, have Constitutional rights; and that since money is not speech, money spent on elections can be regulated. Issue 32 also established annual public hearings "to examine the impact on our City, our state and our nation of political influence by corporate entities and big money" in elections. The general public has the opportunity to speak up on these matters at this year's Democracy Day for up to five minutes per person. City Council will then send letters to our U.S. congressperson and senators summarizing the hearing and calling for their support for the 28th amendment.

Political Influence by Corporate Entities

183.01 Public Hearing

Beginning in 2014, City Council shall hold a public hearing during the month of January each year to examine the impact on our City, our state and our nation of political influence by corporate entities and big money in connection with the most recent election.  Corporate entities include business corporations, Political Action Committees, Super PACs, 501 c4 groups and unions.  Members of the general public in attendance shall be afforded the opportunity to speak on these matters for up to five (5) minutes per person.  The public hearing shall be held during an evening or weekend time.  The City will publicize the public hearing on its website and in area media at least two (2) weeks in advance.  The City shall record the minutes of the hearing and make them available to the public no later than March 1 of each year by posting them on the City's website. (Ordinance 2-2017. Passed 1-3-17.)

183.02   Letter to state and U.S. representatives.

Within one (1) week following the annual Public Hearing, the Clerk of City Council shall send a letter to the leaders of the Ohio House and Senate, to our U.S. Congressional Representative, and to both Ohio Senators.  The letter shall include a brief summary of the Public Hearing and will state that the citizens of Cleveland Heights in November 2013 voted in support of a Citizens' Initiative calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution declaring:

  1.  Only human beings, not corporations, are legal persons with Constitutional rights; and
  2.  Money is not equivalent to speech, and therefore, regulating political contributions and spending does not equate to limiting political speech.

(Approved by voters 11-5-13.)

183.03   Hearing no longer required when State Constitutional Amendment ratified.

The annual Public Hearings will no longer be required if and when a Constitutional Amendment reflecting the principles set forth in Section 183.02 is ratified by three-quarters (3/4) of the state legislatures.

(Approved by voters 11-5-13.)


View Previous Democracy Day Public Hearings