The involvement of six Sun Prairie alders in a Constitutional amendment ‘Sun Prairie Vote Yes’ group raised the issue of a potential quorum — an issue the Sun Prairie City Council President, also the chair of the Vote Yes group, quickly dismissed last week.
A group of Sun Prairie alders and citizens have formed a committee to promote passage of an April 3 referendum in Sun Prairie, calling for a Constitutional amendment to restrict “excessive corporate political money” that they say has “corrupted government at all levels.”
The group includes Sun Prairie Alders Steve Stocker and Emily Lindsey (District 1), Maureen Crombie and Mike Jacobs (District 3), Bill Connors (District 2) and Al Guyant, city council president and District 4 alder.
The formation of the group resulted in The Star emailing City Attorney Mark Leonard about the possibility of a city council quorum being present during any Sun Prairie Vote Yes group meeting.
State open meetings laws require an advisory to be posted if a quorum of any governmental body is likely to be present at functions where government business is not transacted. The Sun Prairie City Council has posted similar advisories for other public events.
The “Sun Prairie Vote Yes” committee has a Facebook page with that name, and registered itself with the Sun Prairie City Clerk as required by state law for groups that may raise and spend money to influence a referendum. Guyant is also the group’s treasurer.
“There will never be a quorum because we make sure that too many alders do not attend any function, including the next work session of the Vote Yes group,” Guyant replied via email to The Star’s concern last week.
“I expect only one other alder will attend the next meeting, which will be our second and probably the last before April,” Guyant added. “I and several private citizens are doing most of the work. I am coordinating the effort and just make calls when I need to ask someone to do something. The other alders are listed mostly to show support.”
The group is affiliated with Wisconsin United To Amend, which Guyant said has helped hundreds other communities pass such measures by wide margins.
Guyant said that Monona voters, for example, voted 91 percent in favor of the amendment.
The group is recruiting other people to help by taking a yard sign, distributing flyers, making social media posts, and making donations.
Individuals with questions can contact Guyant at Al.Guyant@gmail.com or 608-730-7539.
Guyant said no one should contact him or other alder through their city mobile phones or city email addresses.
The actual language of the referendum is:
”Shall the City of Sun Prairie adopt the following resolution:
BE IT RESOLVED, that “We the People” of the City of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin seek to reclaim democracy from the expansion of corporate personhood rights and the corrupting influence of unregulated political contributions and spending. We stand with communities across the country to support passage of an amendment to the United States Constitution to establish that:
1) Only human beings — not corporations, unions, SuperPACs or similar associations — are endowed with individual constitutional rights, and;
2) Money is not speech, and therefore limiting political contributions and spending is not equivalent to restricting political speech.”