Waunakee voters overwhelmingly supported passage of a village board resolution favoring campaign finance reform last week.
But whether the Waunakee Village Board will actually adopt a resolution supporting passage of an amendment to the United States Constitution remains unclear.
In a voice mail message to the Tribune, Village President John Laubmeier noted that the Move to Amend resolution would probably appear on a board meeting agenda for debate in the near future.
“In the past, the board has been reluctant to take a political position unless it affects the taxpayers of Waunakee,” Laubmeier said.
The April 1 election referendum asked voters if the village board should adopt the following resolution:
“Resolved, that ‘We the People,” of the Village of Waunakee… seek to reclaim democracy from the expansion of corporate personhood rights and the corrupting influence of unregulated political contribution and spending. We stand with the Move to Amend campaign and communities across the country to support passage of an amendment to the United States Constitution…”
That amendment would strike down the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling that protects campaign funds as free speech and provides corporations with the same constitutional rights as people.
The national Move to Amend movement hopes to reverse the Supreme Court’s Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission ruling, which said that a previous Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act violated the First Amendment guaranteeing free speech.
According to the Wisconsin Move to Amend, 13 communities in Wisconsin voted decisively to support the U.S. Constitutional amendment.
Waunakee voters supported the Move to Amend question with 79 percent in favor. Neighboring DeForest’s Move to Amend question garnered 70 percent of votes in favor, 71 percent in Windsor, 85 percent in Belleville, 73 percent in Lake Mills, 61 percent in Waterloo, 87 percent in Edgerton, 69 percent in Elkhorn, 76 percent in Delavan, 69 percent in Waukesha, 64 percent in Wauwatosa, 65 percent in Whitefish Bay and 76 percent in Shorewood.
The Town of Westport is one of several Wisconsin communities that have passed resolutions in support of amending the U.S. Constitution.
But in Waunakee, the village board rejected a similar resolution last May. In September, about 20 Move to Amend supporters attended the village board meeting, and spoke up at the public comment period, saying they would circulate a petition to have a referendum on the April ballot.
The Move to Amend group had previously requested to be added to the village board agenda to see if the board would consider placing the referendum question on the ballot, but were denied, said Move to Amend member, Paul Lindquist, of Waunakee.
At the October meeting, the village board approved the Move to Amend referendum for the ballot.
At that September meeting, Dane County Supervisor Tim Kiefer of Waunakee made a case for passing a Move to Amend resolution, noting the board had supported another advisory referendum that had little to do with village matters.
In 2010, then County Board Supervisor Eileen Bruskewitz requested the board’s support for a referendum question asking voters to weigh in on an RTA tax for a commuter rail line. The 2010 village board voted 5-2 to support adding the referendum question to the ballot, Kiefer said.