Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Put Advisory Referendum Question on Redistricting Reform on November 2014 Ballot

Common Cause in Wisconsin Reform Update
Wednesday - December 4, 2013

Jay Heck – 608/256-2686

1. Joint Resolution Introduced to Put Non-Partisan Redistricting Before Voters
2. Many Less Competitive State Legislative and Congressional Elections in 2012 than in 2010 because of 2011 Gerrymandering
3. Scott Walker and the "Heart if Darkness" Criminal Investigation of Wisconsin Recall Money

1. On Tuesday, State Representative Dana Wachs (D - Eau Claire) and a group of other Assembly first term members introduced a joint resolution calling for an advisory referendum on the question of whether the Wisconsin Legislature should adopt a nonpartisan system for redistricting of legislative and congressional districts in the state (beginning in 2021). The referendum would be held on the date of the November, 2014 general election. Common Cause in Wisconsin was on hand at the press conference to show our support for this initiative. We have no doubt that it would be supported overwhelmingly by the voters of Wisconsin were it to be on the ballot next year. The question is whether the arrogant legislative leadership will even allow a public hearing on this measure, or, will they block that from occurring as they have public hearings on redistricting reform legislation -- Assembly Bill 185 and Senate Bill 163?

We won't let up on pushing for this newest measure as we have not on AB 185/SB 163. Neither,hopefully, will the 15 daily newspapers in Wisconsin that support non-partisan redistricting reform legislation and public hearings on the measures. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) can continue to run, but they cannot hide.

2. CC/WI recently analyzed and compared the number of "competitive" general elections in the State Legislature and in Wisconsin Congressional Districts that occurred in 2012 -- after gerrymandering -- with elections in 2010, before the most partisan, expensive and secretive redistricting process in Wisconsin's history occurred in 2011. Our release was just updated and demonstrates why this is a much bigger issue now, than it was before the 2011 redistricting process, as well as just how few legislative districts offer voters a real choice in general elections and how now, not a single congressional district does.

It's very sad and it ought to outrage every voter -- regardless of political persuasion -- in Wisconsin.

3. Supporters of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker have decided that they should attack the latest "John Doe" investigation into possible illegal coordination between Walker's campaign and outside special interest groups, and of the secret, undisclosed money that aided Walker's ability to prevail during the 2012 recall election. Some Walker backers are calling this latest investigation a partisan "witch hunt" and have even tried to make the case that it is somehow an attack on "free speech" and political expression. They are sadly mistaken, misguided and apparently desperate. That's just not how John Doe investigations work. A recent and excellent article by Mary Bottari of the Center for Media and Democracy, in which CC/WI is cited, provides an excellent explanation of what is going on.

Jay Heck, Executive Director
Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI  53703

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