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Constitutional Amendments and Advisory Referenda on the April Ballot

02/24/2023 10:36:56 AM


On April 4, in addition to the Supreme Court election and local elections, Wisconsin voters will find three or possibly four ballot propositions. The Legislature has recently approved two proposals to amend the state constitution, both related to conditions of cash bail, and one advisory question related to work requirements for welfare recipients. Another advisory question that is working its way through the Legislature would ask voters whether school districts should be prohibited from teaching that one race or sex is superior or responsible for past acts.
The Legislature approved two potential constitutional amendments during the last two legislative sessions, which will become law if approved by the voters in April. These measures would authorize judges to consider certain conditions when setting bail, beyond the current use of bail only to assure the defendant’s appearance in court, and would allow the Legislature to define some of the conditions. For the complete text of these measures and arguments for and against them, see the following pages on Ballotpedia, a nonpartisan political explanatory website:

Question 1: Conditions of Release Before Conviction 
Question 2: Conditions for Cash Bail Amendment

The legislature has also voted to place an advisory question on the April ballot. Senate Joint Resolution 4 asks: “Shall able-bodied, childless adults be required to look for work in order to receive taxpayer-funded welfare benefits?” State law currently requires unemployment applicants to provide proof of at least four “work search actions” each week to receive benefits. 

Advisory Question: Work Requirements for Welfare

Another advisory referendum is currently pending and could potentially appear on the April ballot. Senate Joint Resolution 7 calls for an advisory referendum on the question of whether school districts should be prohibited from providing curriculum or instruction to students that one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex or that an individual by virtue of the individual’s race or sex bears responsibility for acts committed in the past by other individuals of the same race or sex. This item will appear on the April ballot if it is adopted at least 45 days before the election.

The governor requested that the Legislature add a ballot proposition to repeal the state’s 1849 abortion ban law, but the Legislature declined to do so.

You can read more about these referenda from Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice.

February 27, 2024 18 Adar I 5784