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Amendment referendum question puts spotlight on La Crosse on Tuesday

Mitch Reynolds

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There will be additional attention directed at La Crosse for Tuesday’s election.

The city is the largest municipality in Wisconsin with a U.S. Constitutional Amendment referendum on the ballot — a proposal meant to remove the influence of money in politics.

“This is an amazing story,” Wisconsin Democracy Campaign head Matt Rothchild said. “This is one of the most underreported stories in Wisconsin, where the people by overwhelming margins, in 120 communities already, have said, ‘We’re sick of money dominating our politics.’”

A local group, La Crosse United to Amend, collected 3,600 signatures to get the referendum in front of the city council, which voted to put the measure on the ballot. The measure aims to amend that only people have constitutional rights, not corporations and that money is not speech.

La Crosse is one of nine municipalities and counties with the measure on the ballot in the state.

“Across ideologies, people understand in their gut that you and I and everybody (reading) right now, doesn’t have an equal voice to the people that have all the money.”

If all vote in favor, that would make 129 in all that have done so just in Wisconsin — 19 state legislatures have already called for amending the Constitution and hundreds more across the U.S.

“This is an incredible movement in Wisconsin,” Rothchild said. “Actually, we’re second only to Massachusetts in the number of communities that have signed onto this constitutional amendment saying once and for all, ‘Corporations aren’t persons and money isn’t speech.’”