/ Letters / ‘Exercise your right to participate’

‘Exercise your right to participate’

April 17, 2020

To the Editor:

In the past weeks there have been several letters to the editor in support of two nonbinding resolutions. 1) Should the Wisconsin legislature create a nonpartisan procedure for preparation of legislative and congressional redistricting maps after each census? 2) Should the U.S. Constitution be amended to state only human beings are endowed with constitutional rights — not corporations, unions, non-profits or other artificial entities and money is not speech?

Those citizens whose local town boards agreed to put these nonbinding referendums on your ballot should take the time to thank those board members for giving you the opportunity to express your opinions on these two proposals. That cannot be said for all the citizens in the Vilas and Oneida counties. For example, the citizens of Minocqua will not be able to voice their opinion on the two referendums because the Minocqua Town Board refused to even place the referendum questions on the town agenda for discussion. (The town board must vote to place these referendums on the ballot.) There will be other opportunities to do so, but for now Minocqua citizens are locked out of the process. However, if the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce lobby has its way, our legal right to vote on nonbinding referendums will be eliminated.

In a December 2019 report the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce lobby proposed eliminating the ability for local governments (cities, towns, villages, counties and school districts) to join together through various associations to hire lobbyists to promote their concerns to the state legislature. In other words, the WMC doesn’t want entities that represent citizens of Wisconsin to lobby the State Legislature leaving the field wide open for only business entities to lobby for what they want.

In addition, buried in the WMC report was an objection to non-binding referendums. Not only is the WMC trying to lock out direct lobbying by local governments which represent millions of Wisconsin citizens, it is trying to lock out all of the Wisconsin citizens by denying them their legal right to advise the state legislature through non- binding referendums.

So for those who can, take the time to exercise your right to participate in these referendums. For those who can’t yet exercise the right to participate in these referendums, keep your fingers crossed that the WMC is not successful lobbying the state legislature to eliminate your right to do so.

Cheryl Tertinger




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