Common Cause Wisconsin Urges Voters to Oppose Two Constitutional Amendments on August 13th Primary Ballot

Two highly partisan and potentially harmful measures have been rammed through the Wisconsin Legislature over the past several years. They are in the form of amendments to the state constitution. They will appear as questions on the August primary election ballot for approval or rejection by Wisconsin voters.

The ballot questions are intentionally confusing and seemingly harmless. But they are potentially harmful to citizens because they fundamentally change the process used to distribute federal funds in times of urgent need such as in a public health crisis or natural disaster when a quick response is required. These proposed changes will impact the balance of government, delay response time, and change the process for allocating federal money.

Here are the two constitutional amendment questions that will appear on the August 13th primary election ballot:

Question 1: “Delegation of appropriation power. Shall section 35 (1) of article IV of the constitution be created to provide that the legislature may not delegate its sole power to determine how moneys shall be appropriated?”

Question 2: “Allocation of federal moneys. Shall section 35 (2) of article IV of the constitution be created to prohibit the governor from allocating any federal moneys the governor accepts on behalf of the state without the approval of the legislature by joint resolution or as provided by legislative rule?”

Both questions were approved by only Republican members of the Wisconsin Assembly and State Senate and were opposed by all Democratic legislators and by Gov. Tony EversMany public interest organizations as well as the Wisconsin Public Health Association and the Wisconsin Association of Local Health Departments & Boards oppose these measures.

On June 27, 2024 the Common Cause Wisconsin State Governing Board, during its quarterly meeting in Madison, voted unanimously to have CC/WI go on record in opposition to both ballot questions and urge a “NO” vote on August 13th.

“During times of need or during emergencies it is important to respond appropriately and quickly. These amendments will make response times longer, potentially putting Wisconsinites in danger,” said Penny Bernard Schaber of Appleton, the Chair of Common Cause Wisconsin. “It is inappropriate and unnecessary to change Wisconsin’s Constitution in this way. I urge citizens to vote “No” on both questions in the August Primary ballot,” she concluded.