2019 - 2020 LEGISLATURE
February 25, 2019 - Introduced by Senators Hansen,
Risser, Carpenter, Smith,
Larson and Ringhand, cosponsored by Representatives Subeck,
Zamarripa, C. Taylor, Crowley, Kolste, Emerson, Shankland, Spreitzer,
Pope, Vruwink, Hesselbein, Sargent, Doyle, Billings, Sinicki, Goyke and
Fields. Referred to Committee on Elections, Ethics and Rural Issues.
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. and related cases, 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 2020 ballot to ask the people if Congress should propose an
amendment to overturn Citizens United v. F.E.C. and related cases.
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 2020:
5Question 1: Overturning Citizens United.
“The U.S. Supreme Court's 6
decisions in Citizens United
and related cases allow unlimited spending to influence 7
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 2
legislature ratify, an amendment to the U.S. Constitution stating:
1. Only human beings are endowed with constitutional rights—not 4
corporations, unions, nonprofit organizations, or other artificial entities, and
2. Money is not speech, and therefore limiting political contributions and 6
spending is not equivalent to limiting political speech?"