Door County Board & Town of Gardner Support Call for Statewide Referendum

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April 19, 2018

Contact: Dan Powers Sturgeon Bay; 743-6796

On Tuesday, April 17th, by a vote of 19-2, the Door County Board of Supervisors passed Resolution 2018-33: “Supporting a Constitutional Amendment to Allow Limits on Campaign Contributions & Conducting a Non-Binding Statewide Referendum”. The bill for a statewide referendum is currently stuck in both houses of the Wisconsin Legislature. Later on Tuesday evening, the Town of Gardner became the 17th (of 20) Door County municipalities to vote support for the state referendum. The Gardner board passed their resolution 5-0. To date, Door County municipal boards (which includes the County Board) have passed supportive resolutions by a total vote count of 64 -3.

All the resolutions in Door County ask State Assembly Representative Joel Kitchens (and whoever wins the race to fill the district’s vacant state senate seat) to work within and across their caucuses to bring the non-binding Referendum Bill to the floor of the legislature for debate and eventually to the voters. So far 19 other states have called on Congress to propose an amendment to the Constitution aimed at again giving Congress the ability to limit the outside and dark money that pours into elections from corporations, unions and other man-made entities like SuperPACs.

The current Referendum bills stuck in the Wisconsin legislature ask the question:

“…shall Wisconsin’s congressional delegation support, and the Wisconsin legislature ratify, an amendment to the U.S. Constitution stating:
1. Only human beings –not corporations, unions, nonprofit organizations, or similar associations –are endowed with constitutional rights, and
2. Money is not speech, and therefore limiting political contributions and spending is not equivalent to restricting political speech?”

Across the state on April 3rd, 9 more Wisconsin communities passed referenda on this question by an average ‘yes’ vote of 80%. Those results, along with the Door County results on Tuesday, bring the state total to 131 communities calling on the state legislature to act. Door County was the 12th county to do so.

Dan Powers from Door County-United to Amend, a local unfunded nonpartisan group says: “Voters of both parties, as well as independents, see this as a nonpartisan issue and are calling on our legislators to put the issue to a vote through a non-binding statewide referendum, preferably in November. We hope the consistent wide margins of support from voters and local officials, seen over and over again in these resolutions and referendums, will push our elected state representatives to get this out of committee and onto public debate and the ballot.”