A major milestone in Wisconsin’s fight to overturn Citizens United!

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!

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

Wisconsin Gazette – http://www.wisconsingazette.com/wisconsin-gaze/statewide-vote-sought-in-wisconsin-on-citizens-united.html

Representative Chris Taylor and Senator Dave Hansen Introduce Money Out Voters In Resolution

MoneyOutVotersInWI is a coalition of Wisconsin groups fighting the corrosive effects that unlimited campaign cash has on our political system. Over 18,000 Wisconsin citizens have already added their names to this petition, demanding that the Wisconsin Legislature place an Advisory Referendum on the ballot in Wisconsin directing the Congress to amend the U.S. Constitution to end the notions that money is speech and corporations have the same rights as human beings.

The Money Out Voters In WI press conference is set for Wednesday, July 24th at 10:30am at the State Capitol.

If you can make it, please come – it’s important to show the reporters who attend that this has lots of support! We will also need people to stand behind the speakers holding signs, so if you want to do this be sure to come dressed appropriately.

This is the press conference to announce the resolution being introduced by Chris Taylor in the Assembly and Dave Hansen in the State Senate, which if passed would put the following language on the statewide ballot for November 2014:

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.

By the way, one of the speakers will be James Hartwick from the Rock River MTA Affiliate. We are still lining up the other speakers.

More from Chris Taylor’s Office:

The 2010 United States Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC overturned 100 years of precedent by legalizing unlimited corporate involvement in elections. This ruling now allows corporations to be treated like “persons” in campaigns, thus giving more power to large, faceless entities, and undermining Wisconsin’s proud progressive tradition of open and honest government.

Thanks in large part to Citizens United opening the floodgates to unlimited spending, the last election cycle cost $5.2 billion, much of which came in massive, untraceable donations from a few billionaires and giant corporations. In Wisconsin’s House and Senate races, $32 million was spent by outside interest groups, and nearly 36 percent of that total was completely untraceable.

The vast majority of Americans oppose the Citizens United ruling. A recent AP / GfK study showed that 83 percent of Americans — including 81 percent of Republicans, 78 percent of Independents and 85 percent of Democrats — want limits on the amount of money corporations, unions and other organizations can spend to influence elections. Over 18,000 Wisconsinites have signed a petition calling for a citizen’s vote on putting Wisconsin on record against Citizens United. Thirty-two organizations from around the state have formed a coalition calling for a statewide referendum.

The passage of LRB−1457/5 would create an advisory referendum that would appear on the November 2014 ballot. The referendum would give the public the opportunity to share their opinion on this issue with their elected officials. If the proposed ballot initiative passes, Wisconsin would join 16 states that have already gone on record for a constitutional amendment to limit election spending.

Here is the 2013 Assembly Joint Resolution

Exeter Votes to Return the Constitution Back to “We The People”

For immediate release:

EXETER VOTES TO RETURN THE CONSTITUTION BACK TO “WE THE PEOPLE”
Exeter WI becomes first Township in Green County to pass a resolution declaring that money is not speech and corporations are not people.

At the July 9th town meeting last Monday night, after four months of town input at the monthly meetings, the board, in a unanimous vote, passed a resolution asking the U.S. Congress, State legislature, Governor and President to support an amendment which would reverse the Supreme Court decision, Citizens United vs. The Federal Election Commission decision. The decision granted artificial entities such as corporations and unions the same constitutional rights as natural persons, and equated free speech to money. The resulting flood of campaign cash has corrupted our political process, making our representatives beholden to a small group of moneyed special interests.

The action in Exeter comes two weeks after the vote by the Village of Belleville board to “Let the people vote” after a successful direct legislation petition by area citizens, the Belleville board had the option to pass a similar resolution or to have a referendum at the next general election in the spring of 2014. Another unanimous vote, this time to let the people vote.

Exeter becomes the eleventh community in Wisconsin to pass a “We the People” style resolution, joining Madison, Dane County, West Allis, Westport, Dunn County, Eau Claire County, Chippewa County, Fort Atkinson, Whitewater and Douglas County. Nearly 500 towns, cities and other organizations across the U.S. have done the same, including sixteen state legislatures.

Local Move to Amend volunteers in the Green County area ( MoneyOut.wordpress.com ) and our allies at South Central Wisconsin Move to Amend, ( SCWMTA.org ) would appreciate the opportunity to present to your organization or small group of citizens, a slide presentation and discussion on our movement and Citizens United effects on our Democracy.

Contacts:

Exeter Team
Ken Roberts or Anne Colville
608-424-1430

Belleville / Green County Team
Tim Sager
TRSager@gmail.com
608-335-4051
MoneyOut.wordpress.com
SCWMTA.org

 

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