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Thread: Referendoms and Initiatives in Wisconsin

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    Regular Member davegran's Avatar
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    A Google search on, "referendum process in Wisconsin" returns more than 250,000 results.

    The facts:


    Wisconsin citizens do not have any statewide initiative and referendum rights. A majority of state citizens do enjoy local initiative and referendum rights.

    http://www.citizensincharge.org/file...-wisconsin.pdf

    What it means:

    Published on Citizens in Charge Foundation
    Source URL: http://www.citizensincharge.org/learn/primer


    What is a ballot measure?

    Ballot measures, also referred to as ballot initiatives and referendums (I&R), provide citizens the opportunity to discuss and vote on policy issues at the local level and state level. Using this process, in 24 states citizens can bring an issue to a public vote by gathering a pre-determined number of signatures from registered voters.

    Some common names for ballot measures include initiative and referendum (I&R), voter initiatives, propositions, citizen initiatives, or questions.

    There are three basic types of ballot measures: initiatives, referendums and recalls.

    What is an initiative?

    A ballot initiative is a proposal to change or create a law at a local or state level. Instead of relying on the legislature to make all of the laws, citizens can use the ballot initiative process to implement laws on their own.

    Using the ballot initiative process, citizens can bring about a public vote on a proposed statue (link) or constitutional amendment (link) by gathering a pre-determined amount of signatures from registered voters and turning those signatures in to the state.

    LEARN MORE: Do I have ballot initiative rights in my state? [1]

    What is a referendum?

    A referendum places a law that has already been passed by the legislature to a popular vote. Similar to a ballot initiative, it is a citizen led effort and requires a predetermined amount of signatures to qualify the measure to get on the ballot. The legislature can also place a bill to a “legislative referendum.

    LEARN MORE: Do I have the right to a referendum in my state? [1]

    What is a recall?

    A recall is a process in which an elected official can be removed from office by the voters before his or her term expires. Similar to other measures, a specified number or percentage of signatures is required for a recall election.

    LEARN MORE: Do I have the right to a recall election in my state? [1]

    Isn’t it the legislature’s job to make laws?

    State legislatures do make most of our laws and that will most likely always be the case. However, when a legislature is unresponsive to the wishes of the people that elected them the people need the ability to act. Too often legislators are influenced more by well financed special interest groups and are not listening closely enough to the people that elected them. I&R provides citizens with a way to “right the ship” when legislators step out of line.

    How many states have I&R?

    Currently 24 states have some form of I&R.

    Why doesn’t my state have I&R?

    Most of the states that have I&R included the process in their state constitutions when the achieved statehood. Now to include I&R in a state constitution the state legislature must “refer” the idea to the voters. Some state legislators see I&R as a threat to their monopoly on power and are not willing to risk giving the people a vote.

    "The will of the majority, the natural law of every society, is the only sure guardian of the rights of man. Perhaps even this may sometimes err; but its errors are honest, solitary and short-lived."

    - Thomas Jefferson


    Some history:

    http://www.iandrinstitute.org/Wisconsin.htm
    Wisconsin

    The name Wisconsin is practically synonymous with Progressivism, yet this state has never had a statewide initiative and referendum process. Indeed, it is one of only three states where voters turned down their opportunity to get it (Texas and Rhode Island are the others). The circumstances were as follows.

    In 1907 Lieutenant Governor W. D. Connor and State Senator W. D. Brazeau took up the cause and secured approval in the state senate by a 19 to 5 vote, but lost in the lower house. The Progressive reformers had been in power since 1900 and had enacted a host of reforms, but I&R was apparently not a priority.

    Any state constitutional amendment needed to pass both houses by a three-fifths majority in two successive sessions of the legislature, with an election in between. Only then, after two years or more, could it be put on the ballot for ratification by the voters. The I&R amendment finally passed both houses in the 1911-1912 legislature with the support of Governor Francis E. McGovern, U.S. Senator Robert M. La Follette and his Progressive Republican followers, and the state’s Socialists. It passed again in the 1913-1914 legislature, and was placed on the November 1914 ballot.

    After 13 years in power, the Progressives had become overconfident. In the 1913 legislature, they passed a series of big tax increases to finance an ambitious public works program, as well as giving final approval to a constitutional amendment raising their salaries. This amendment went on the November 1914 ballot along with the I&R amendment and eight others, including one to allow recall of all state elected officers except judges.

    After paying the higher taxes in 1914, the voters had had their fill of the liberal reformers and all their works. The amendments on the 1914 ballot offered an easy target for the voters’ wrath. Leading candidates of both major parties damned all the amendments, without informing voters that the initiative, referendum, and recall amendments offered just the mechanism they needed to block legislation they deplored. The state Democratic convention that year disapproved I&R in its platform, and Republican gubernatorial candidate Emmanuel L. Phillipp also urged voters to reject I&R.

    On Election Day, all 10 amendments were defeated overwhelmingly. The voters discriminated hardly at all between them: the least popular amendments won 26 percent approval; the most popular, 38 percent. The I&R amendment and the recall amendment were approved by 36 percent of the voters. Because they decided to vote "no" on everything, Wisconsin voters in 1914 denied themselves the right to vote on issues of their choice.


    It appears that we Wisconsin residents could use a few more rights to determine our own futures.

    It would certainly be interesting to
    find out just how our RKB amendment was passed....

    Dave

    Dave
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    Fight for "Stand Your Ground " legislation!

    WI DA Gerald R. Fox:
    "These so-called 'public safety' laws only put decent law-abiding citizens at a dangerous disadvantage when it comes to their personal safety, and I for one am glad that this decades-long era of defective thinking on gun issues is over..."

    Remember: Don't make old People mad. We don't like being old in the first place, so it doesn't take much to piss us off.

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    Look to California for examples of the abuses possible with I&R and a democratic electorate. Be careful of what you wish for, you may get it and harder than you want.

    To cite some Wisconsin statute on referendum, § 5.65 defines referendum in such a way that it is not useful for progressivism.

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    Regular Member Johnny Stiletto's Avatar
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    Master Doug Huffman wrote:
    Look to California for examples of the abuses possible with I&R and a democratic electorate.
    And are those abuses the result of the tangled mess of a constitution they have, or is it the other way around?

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    As I tried to say, I think that the abuses are due to the demotic will of the electorate enabled by the state constitution, granting I&R, that is one of the longest in existence.

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    davegran wrote:
    It would certainly be interesting to find out just how our RKB amendment was passed. Dave
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiscons...e_Constitution

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    Direct legislation was used in Milwaukee by 9to5 the National Association of Working Women to put a ballot referendum on the ballot in 2009 that would require private businesses to offer certain benefits to their employees.

    http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/47930647.html

    While that direct legislation ballot initiative was passed, the MMAC hired attorneys to challenge it.

    There are 2 litigators who won that constitutionality challenge. One of those litigators is Wisconsin Carry's board member Joseph Louis Olson of Michael Best and Friedrich.

    www.wisconsincarry.org Wisconsin Carry, Inc. is not affiliated with opencarry.org or these web forums. Questions about discussion forum policy or forum moderation should be directed to the owners of opencarry.org not Wisconsin Carry, Inc.

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    So if those women got a referendum through legislation then we may be able to do the same.

    What about running a campaign through out this election year in an effort to shine more light on the facts to the general public. Something to make the legislators nervous over the possiblity that they may not be in office come November.

    Even if it means throwing their voting records out there. It isn't like they wouldn't do the same to us. They would like nothing more than to be able to step on our necks.

    For example what if we research some of these legislators and find out which ones are anti's and then go pickett in front of their local offices?

    Put them out there for what they really are. Unconstitutionalists.

    Or do you think this is just fartin in the wind?

    By the way thanks for the post.

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    Regular Member davegran's Avatar
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    J.Gleason wrote:
    So if those women got a referendum through legislation then we may be able to do the same.

    ....
    The facts:

    Wisconsin citizens do not have any statewide initiative and referendum rights. A majority of state citizens do enjoy local initiative and referendum rights.
    Dave
    45ACP-For when you care enough to send the very best-
    Fight for "Stand Your Ground " legislation!

    WI DA Gerald R. Fox:
    "These so-called 'public safety' laws only put decent law-abiding citizens at a dangerous disadvantage when it comes to their personal safety, and I for one am glad that this decades-long era of defective thinking on gun issues is over..."

    Remember: Don't make old People mad. We don't like being old in the first place, so it doesn't take much to piss us off.

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    So? A majority of Wisconsinites live in metropolitan Milwaukee and Madison, enough to keep the state's politics throttled and blue in the face.

    I have no reason to believe that Door County enables legislation by public initiative or referendum. I submitted a reasonably formatted petition for a resolution and it was ignored.

    A site search "referendum site:www.co.door.wi.gov" returned two hits. A similar search on "initiative" got 54 hits to state government initiatives, like Working Lands and Safe Homes and the Big Read.

    Will you and can you cite particular local ordinances forcing action on public I&R?

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    Ok so, I am tired and I have worked a lot of hours lately. Can someone please fill me in on just exactly how the RKBA was voted on by the people of Wisconsin and incorporated into the State Constitution so we can use the same tactic to get these ridiculous unconstitional laws repealed or abolished once and for all?

    If it worked for the RKBA then it can work again.

    IMHO BNH is correct and this is the path we need to take.

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    Did you read the 98wb10[1].pdf?

    Amendment Process. Article XII, Section 1, of the Wisconsin Constitution requires that constitutional amendments must be adopted by two successive legislatures and ratified by the electorate before taking effect. A proposed change is introduced in the legislature for “first consideration” in the form of a joint resolution, which must pass both houses but does not have to be submitted to the governor for approval. If the resolution is adopted on first consideration, a new joint resolution embodying the identical constitutional text must be approved on “second consideration” in the next legislature. The second joint resolution specifies the wording of the ballot question(s) and sets the referendum date. The third and final step is submitting the question(s) to a statewide referendum vote where a majority of those casting ballots must ratify the amendment.

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    Thank you.

    So what we need to do is find a legislator or legislators that would be supportive and request that they submit these amendments to the statutes.

    We need to pick those legislators who are the most in favor of such an amendment.

    To find those legislators we would have to start looking at voting records, campaign statements, and past proposals.

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    Have you read http://www.rmgo.org/alerts/RealNature.shtml

    In SC, using Feldman's principles, we elected Jake Knotts that helped in the immediate case and now has been bought off by the NRA. Read in the SC forum.

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    Regular Member davegran's Avatar
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    Initiative and Referendum in Wisconsin:

    http://www.legis.state.wi.us/lrb/pubs/ib/95ib5.pdf
    Dave
    45ACP-For when you care enough to send the very best-
    Fight for "Stand Your Ground " legislation!

    WI DA Gerald R. Fox:
    "These so-called 'public safety' laws only put decent law-abiding citizens at a dangerous disadvantage when it comes to their personal safety, and I for one am glad that this decades-long era of defective thinking on gun issues is over..."

    Remember: Don't make old People mad. We don't like being old in the first place, so it doesn't take much to piss us off.

  15. #15
    McX
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    i read the thread heading, and it seemed like a jeopardy question. someone should do a thread on that by the way, so i thought i'd answer the question for $500;
    where are they all? it's obvious- pending re-election, it's down to that for them now.

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