The purpose of this hearing will be 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.” Members of the public in attendance shall be afforded the opportunity to speak on these matters for up to five minutes per person. The hearing will be recorded, and the video and minutes from the hearing will be posted on the City of Cleveland Heights’ website following the event.
Cleveland Heights voters instituted “Democracy Day” by passing Issue 32, a citizens’ initiative that more than 3,100 Cleveland Heights residents petitioned to place on the 2013 General Election ballot. Issue 32 passed with 77% support.
Under Issue 32’s provisions, Cleveland Heights City Council must hold a Democracy Day hearing each June, and the Clerk of City Council must send a letter summarizing the hearing to the leaders of the Ohio House and Senate, Cleveland Heights’ U.S. Congressional Representative, and both Ohio U.S. Senators within a week of the hearing. The Council Clerk’s letter must also 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:
- Only human beings, not corporations, are legal persons with Constitutional rights; and,
- Money is not equivalent to speech, and therefore, regulating political contributions and spending does not equate to limiting political speech."
Other Ohio cities that have passed similar ballot initiatives or resolutions include: