Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) announced today that he has cosponsored an amendment by Senator Bob Bennett (R-UT) to preserve the rights of groups and citizens to petition the U.S. government.
“Thomas Paine, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Martin Luther King Jr. and countless others have rallied like-minded Americans to their causes. Our nation is better for it,” said Alexander. “I will oppose any language that could hinder the next generation of civic leaders from encouraging Americans to petition their government and improve our nation.”
The Bennett amendment would strike Section 220 of the ethics bill now under consideration by the Senate. That section, if left intact, would require burdensome and expensive filing and reporting requirements for grassroots organizations that encourage their members to contact government representatives. This could discourage membership organizations from playing an active role in the democratic process, infringing on their members’ First Amendment rights.