Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund reports that the City Councils of both Pittsburgh, PA and Spokane, WA have voted this week to move forward with Community Bill of Rights ordinances on the November ballot.
In a CELDF News brief, Mari Margil explains that the Bills of Rights secure and expand new rights for people, their communities, and nature, while eliminating certain constitutional “rights” of corporations.
The Pittsburgh City Council voted to place the Community Bill of Rights on the November ballot. The Council adopted the Community Bill of Rights in November as an ordinance and is now sending it to the voters as an amendment to the city’s Home Rule Charter, the city’s local constitution.
The Bill of Rights includes a right to water, the rights of nature, the right to local self-government, and bans croporations from natural gas drilling. In addition, natural gas corporations shall not have the rights of “persons” or be afforded protections under the Commerce or Contracts Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
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The Spokane City Council voted to place a Community Bill of Rights on the November ballot. Our local partner group – Envision Spokane – successfully qualified the citizens’ initiative to the ballot, collecting over 4,500 signatures of voters, and it was placed on the ballot by a vote of the council on Tuesday night. The ballot measure would amend the city’s Home Rule Charter.
The Spokane Bill of Rights establishes the right of neighborhoods within the city to make decisions about major development projects; establishes rights of the Spokane River and Aquifer to exist and flourish, rights that can be enforced and defended by people and the city itself; secures constitutional rights of workers in the workplace and secures collective bargaining rights for workers in unionized workplaces; and eliminates the authority of corporations to wield their corporate constitutional “rights” to undermine any of the rights in the Bill of Rights.
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