Yesterday was truly a red-letter day in Wisconsin’s contribution to the fight against unregulated money in politics – even the national media picked up the story! Rep. Chris Taylor and Sen. Dave Hansen formally introduced bill LRB-1457/5 calling for a statewide referendum to measure public support for overturning Citizens United. The question that would appear on the November 2014 ballot reads as follows:
“The U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions in Citizens United and related cases allow unlimited spending to influence local, state, and federal elections. To allow all Americans to have an equal say in our democracy, 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.”
I encourage you to watch (and share with others) the complete press conference announcing the bill, featuring United Wisconsin’s Lisa Subek, WISPIRG’s Bruce Speight, Rock River MTA’s Dr. James Hartwick, Wisconsin Business Alliance’s Lori Compas, and Wisconsin State Representative Chris Taylor.
While getting the bill introduced today is a crucial first step, it must actually pass in the legislature for the referendum to appear on the ballot! Despite sponsorship from both sides of the aisle, its passage is far from assured, and our real work has therefore only just begun. Please,
- continue educating and organizing your fellow citizens concerning the issue that holds the key to the future of our democracy;
- contact legislators and write letters to newspapers urging passage of LRB-1457/5. Remind them that this bill is simply about letting voters decide!
- if you haven’t done so already, please add your name to the Wisconsin United To Amend Petition.
PS: Here are some additional media links concerning the bill:
Wisconsin Radio Network: http://www.wrn.com/2013/07/putting-citizens-united-to-a-statewide-vote/
Wisconsin Public Radio – http://www.wpr.org/state-legislators-call-statewide-referendum-citizens-united