Citizens United Advisory Referendum Introduced

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Contact: Jim Crist, 608-274-6201, wisconsin@unitedtoamend.org

Citizens United Advisory Referendum Introduced

Rep. Subeck, Sen. Hansen back giving voters a voice

MADISON — On Wednesday, April 19th, two lawmakers introduced resolutions that would create a Citizens United advisory referendum asking voters if they support putting limits on the corrupting influence big money has in political campaigns.

The Money Out, Voters In coalition, which backs the bill, includes 34 grassroots organizations in Wisconsin. The non-binding referendum would give voters the opportunity to declare how they feel about corporations, unions and other artificial entities spending unlimited amounts of money to influence the outcomes of Wisconsin elections.

“When our Founding Fathers envisioned the right to free speech, I certainly don’t think they were envisioning major corporations spending millions of dollars to influence elections,” said Rep. Lisa Subeck (D-Madison), the Assembly lead author of the bill. “Corporations should be using their profits to put America back to work, not to buy our public elections.”

In the most recent election cycle, outside spending on federal elections reached $1.4 billion, ten times more than the 2008 election cycle. Much of this money comes from a handful of billionaires. Approximately, $6.5 billion dollars was spent on the 2016 federal elections.

“It doesn’t matter what part of the state you live in, the overwhelming flood of money pouring into our state to influence our elections is a major concern,” said Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay), who is the lead Senate author of the bill.  “Candidates no longer have control over their own campaigns and the voters have no true sense of where candidates stand on the issues anymore.  It’s time to let the voters be heard on this critical threat to our democracy.”

Rep. Subeck and Sen. Hansen introduced the resolutions at 11:30, in the Assembly Parlor. The Assembly bill is currently designated as LRB-176 and the Senate bill is LRB-1138.

In the 2010 Citizens United decision, the Supreme Court sided with the wealthy elite against the interests of the American people. More than 5 million people have signed petitions expressing their strong opposition to Citizens United. Over 730 communities across the U.S. have passed resolutions and 18 states have called for a constitutional amendment. Wisconsin United To Amend has been a champion of reform, supporting citizen activists around the state. A total of 105 communities in Wisconsin have passed referenda and resolutions calling for a constitutional amendment. In total, 2.8 million people (49% of Wisconsinites) live in these jurisdictions. The amendment would clarify that:

  • The rights protected in the Constitution are those of individual human beings only
  • The spending of money is not speech, and political spending can be limited to allow all Americans to participate in the democratic process

United To Amend is a non-partisan, all volunteer, grassroots organization.

For more information visit wiuta.org

Background material can be obtained here: pdf1, pdf2 and pdf3.

Link to this press release.

Photos: photo1, photo2, photo3, photo4, photo5, photo6 and photo7.

Eight More Communities Vote to Amend the U.S. Constitution

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: George Penn, 608-244-6436, geo_penn@charter.net

Eight More Communities Vote to Amend the U.S. Constitution

Madison, WI (April 5, 2017) – On Tuesday, April 4th, Wisconsin residents in eight communities voted to amend the U.S. Constitution to clarify that only human beings should have inalienable human rights and money is not the same thing as free speech.

All referenda passed with overwhelming majorities: Racine (81%), Monona (91%), Fox Crossing (81%), Blue Mounds (88%) and the towns of Crystal Lake (79%), Caledonia in Waupaca County (70%), Blue Mounds (84%) and Jordan (71%). It was not on the ballot in the town of Neshkoro, as previously reported.

That brings the total to 105 Wisconsin communities that have called for an amendment. In total, 2.8 million people (48% of Wisconsinites) live in these jurisdictions. Across the country, 18 state legislatures have voted for an amendment, as well as over 730 towns, villages, cities and counties.

Nancy Schanke, a leader in Waupaca County, said: “These referenda consistently pass with amazingly high margins. This clearly demonstrates the will of the people. It is time for our state representatives to put this resolution to a statewide vote, and to move towards sending a resolution from Wisconsin to the U.S. Congress.”

On Wednesday, April 19th, Rep. Lisa Subeck and Sen. Dave Hansen will introduce resolutions that would create a statewide Citizens United advisory referendum asking voters if they support allowing corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on political campaigns. For more information, see press release.

Jeff Zdrale, a resident of Fox Crossing, explained that: “We need limits on how much money can be contributed and spent on political races. Only people have a constitutional right to free speech. Money is not ‘political speech’ under the First Amendment.”

Four in five Americans oppose the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC decision, according to a Bloomberg poll. A New York Times/CBS poll from June found that 85 percent of Americans—including majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents—believe we need fundamental changes to our campaign finance system or to completely rebuild it.

Matt Rothschild, executive director of Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, summed it up succinctly: “People across the ideological spectrum get it: All of our voices are being drowned out by those with big money.”

United To Amend is a non-partisan, grassroots movement. For more information visit wiuta.org

Background material can be obtained here: pdf1, pdf2 and pdf3.

Photos: photo1, photo2, photo3, photo4, photo5, photo6 and photo7.

Eighteen Communities Voted to Amend the U.S. Constitution

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: George Penn, 608-244-6436, geo_penn@charter.net

Eighteen Communities Voted to Amend the U.S. Constitution

Madison, WI (November 9, 2016) – On Tuesday, November 8th, Wisconsin residents in eighteen communities voted to amend the U.S. Constitution to clarify that only human beings should have inalienable human rights and money is not the same thing as free speech.

All referenda passed with overwhelming majorities: Rock County (86%), Reedsburg (86%), Manitowoc (81%), Delafield (79%), Neshkoro (88%), New Glarus (88%), Spring Valley (91%), Osceola (86%), Mt. Horeb (84%), Monticello (86%), Clayton (86%) and the towns of New Glarus (83%), Harris (65%), Springdale (86%), Decatur (89%), Mount Pleasant (84%), Cadiz (87%) and Lake Tomahawk (91%).

That brings the total to 95 Wisconsin communities that have called for an amendment. In total, 2.7 million people (46% of Wisconsinites) live in these jurisdictions. Across the country, 18 state legislatures have voted for an amendment, as well as over 700 towns, villages, cities and counties.

Jeanette Kelty, a leader in Green County, said: “We are extremely pleased that these referenda passed by such high margins. This clearly demonstrates the will of the people. It is time for our state representatives to put this resolution to a statewide vote, and to move towards sending a resolution from Wisconsin to the U.S. Congress.”

Four in five Americans oppose the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC decision, according to a Bloomberg poll. A New York Times/CBS poll from June found that 85 percent of Americans—including majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents—believe we need fundamental changes to our campaign finance system or to completely rebuild it.

Delafield resident Gerry Flakas explained the problem this way: “Big money has absolutely corrupted our system of government of, by, and for the people. The only solution is to amend the Constitution to clarify that money is not speech and a corporation is not a person.”

Matt Rothschild, executive director of Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, summed it up succinctly: “People across the ideological spectrum get it: All of our voices are being drowned out by those with big money.”

United To Amend is a non-partisan, grassroots movement. For more information visit wiuta.org

Background material can be obtained here: pdf1, pdf2 and pdf3.

Photos: photo1, photo2 and photo3.

Meet at the Capitol and Help Get the Big Money Out of Politics!

Assemble for Redress of Grievances
Thursday January 21, 10 to noon
North Hearing Room on the 2nd floor of the State Capitol

Citizens across the State of Wisconsin want to get big money (especially big dark money) out of politics, but the state Legislature continues to ignore widespread and overwhelming calls for a Constitutional amendment to fix the problem. This is an opportunity to show them how serious we are about reclaiming our democracy.

MOVI Rally 2Rep. Lisa Subeck has introduced Assembly Joint Resolution 8, calling for a statewide referendum to determine citizen opinion on whether Wisconsin should support the “We the People” Amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United decision. The Assembly leadership hasn’t scheduled an official hearing on it, so Rep. Subeck has arranged an informal one for 10 AM to noon on Thursday, January 21 (significantly the 6th anniversary of Citizens United). It’ll be in the North Hearing Room on the 2nd floor of the State Capitol.

The first speakers would be Rep. Subeck and Sen. Dave Hansen, who has introduced the companion Senate Joint Resolution 12. Then there’d be some notable public figures. Then comes the citizen portion.

We really want a good turnout from outside the Madison area, which will otherwise be well represented. Nobody would be expected to speak for very long — a minute or so at most — but we’d like a lot of them. Ideally, after the hearing is over, each of them would visit the offices of their own representatives and senators and deliver the same message in person — to the elected official in person if possible, to a staff member if not.

And then, that evening, you’re invited to an Unhappy Birthday Party for Citizens United, 6:30 to 9:30 PM, at the Brocach Irish Pub, 7 W. Main St. on Capitol Square in Madison. Sponsored by South Central Wisconsin United To Amend, it’ll feature Mike Crute of The Devil’s Advocates as MC, Mike McCabe of Blue Jean Nation and John Nichols of The Nation magazine as featured speakers, a couple of other notable speakers (still being confirmed), (soft) classic rock by The Sundogs, a cake, a raffle, networking with fellow advocates of democracy, and the kind of wake that the Irish are famous for. We’re hoping that democracy will sit up in its coffin and loudly proclaim “Hey! I’m not dead yet!”