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League of Women Voters of Wisconsin urges ‘no’ vote on August constitutional amendments

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(The Center Square) – The League of Women Voters is joining a host of groups in Wisconsin that are asking voters to reject a pair of constitutional amendments that would give state lawmakers some say in how Wisconsin spends billions-of-dollars in federal money.

The League released an open letter that says the amendments are “purposefully confusing” and create “more red tape.”

“The constitutional amendments would impact the process for distributing federal money by adding unnecessary red tape and slowing funds to those in urgent need,” the letter states. “No matter our race, background or zip code, when disasters like tornadoes hit or our communities are in need, Wisconsinites take care of each other. We expect the same from our government. When there is a crisis, we don’t have time to wait for the slow-moving legislature to get funds to our fellow Wisconsinites.”

The proposed amendments will be on the August primary ballot.

The first question asks “Shall section 35 (1) of article IV of the constitution be created to provide that the legislature may not delegate its sole power to determine how moneys shall be appropriated?” And the second question asks “Shall section 35 (2) of article IV of the constitution be created to prohibit the governor from allocating any federal moneys the governor accepts on behalf of the state without the approval of the legislature by joint resolution or as provided by legislative rule?”

Simply put, both amendments would allow the state legislature to decide how some of the state’s federal dollars are spent.

CJ Szafir with the Institute for Reforming Government said on social media that the League’s reasoning for a no vote is “laughable spin.”

“They want you to Vote No on an amendment that would strengthen separation of powers in Wisconsin because…(checks website)…it would “GIVE MAGA POLITICIANS SOLE POWER TO DISTRIBUTE FEDERAL FUNDS,” Szafir tweeted.

Wisconsin’s Republican lawmakers approved the constitutional amendments after Gov. Tony Evers refused to give lawmakers any say in how he spent billions in Wisconsin’s coronavirus stimulus money.

Will Flanders with the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty said the legislature currently crafts the state budget, and currently decides how billions of dollars in state money. He said giving lawmakers some say over billions in federal dollars is not a stretch.

“When it comes to distributing federal funding, the governor should not function like a king – doling out cash to his preferred constituencies,” Flanders said on social media. “The people’s voice in the legislature must play a role.”

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