2015 - 2016 LEGISLATURE
February 11, 2015 - Introduced by Senators Hansen,
Wirch, Harris Dodd, C.
Larson, Miller, Ringhand, Vinehout and Risser, cosponsored by
Representatives Subeck, C. Taylor, Berceau, Billings, Considine, Goyke,
Hebl, Hesselbein, Johnson, Jorgensen, Kahl, Kolste, Mason, Meyers,
Ohnstad, Pope, Sargent, Shankland, Spreitzer, Stuck, Wachs, Zamarripa,
Brostoff and Bowen. Referred to Committee on Senate Organization.
1Relating to: an advisory referendum on an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
In the case of Citizens United v. F.E.C., the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that
corporations are "persons" for the purpose of political speech, thus allowing
corporations to make unlimited expenditures in political campaigns. The U.S.
Constitution grants Congress the power to propose amendments to the Constitution
that become effective when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the states.
Amendments can have the effect of overturning—in effect repealing—prior decisions
of the Supreme Court. This resolution places a question on the November 2016 ballot
to ask the people if Congress should propose an amendment to overturn
United v. F.E.C.
2Resolved by the senate, the assembly concurring, That
the following 3
question be submitted, for advisory purposes only, to the voters of this state at the 4
general election to be held in November 2016:
"The U.S. Supreme Court's decisions in Citizens United
and related cases allow 6
unlimited spending to influence local, state, and federal elections. To allow all 7
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. 2
1. Only human beings—not corporations, unions, nonprofit organizations, or 4
similar associations—are endowed with constitutional rights; and
2. Money is not speech, and therefore limiting political contributions and 6
spending is not equivalent to restricting political speech?"