People’s Legislature to Meet Lobbyists’ Legislature

‘Politically Homeless’ to Rally for Reform at Capitol Thursday

Posted: October 24, 2005

The People's Legislature

Madison - After 10 months spent enlisting the state’s growing ranks of “politically homeless” citizens into a statewide grassroots reform movement, the next step for the People’s Legislature is to converge on the people’s house.

The multipartisan citizen assembly devoted to fighting political corruption and rehabilitating democracy in Wisconsin will hold a rally for reform on the steps of the Capitol this Thursday.

The rally is scheduled for noon at the State Street entrance to the Capitol’s west wing.

After the rally, participants will engage in a silent demonstration dramatizing how state officials have turned their backs on the people of Wisconsin. Then participants will deliver a call to action to the governor and their state legislators.

Leading up to Thursday’s march on the Capitol, the People’s Legislature has been holding a series of citizen assemblies around the state. The first was held January 4 in Madison and drew more than 1,100 people. Regional forums were then held in La Crosse, Cable, Milwaukee and the Green Bay-area town of Luxemburg.

A four-part reform agenda was approved by participants at the assemblies, including:

  • Comprehensive campaign finance reform that includes public financing of state elections campaigns and full disclosure of political contributions that restores the state’s ban on corporate campaign contributions;
  • Independent ethics enforcement by combining the state Elections Board and Ethics Board into a single enforcement agency under the direction of a politically independent board;
  • Competitive elections through reform of legislative redistricting modeled after the system used in Iowa, and;
  • Preservation of local fiscal control to prevent arbitrary and centralized budget limits on local units of government.

A People’s Legislature assembly convened September 10 at Fighting Bob Fest in Baraboo, which attracted more than 5,300 people, participants added two new items to the reform agenda, including:

  • Support for preferential voting, also commonly known as instant runoff voting, which allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference on the ballot, and;
  • Opposition to the privatization of Wisconsin’s voter registration system by contracting with the global outsourcing firm Accenture to develop a computerized statewide voter list.

The People’s Legislature is co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, Fighting Bob Inc., Center for Democratic Action and Latinos United for Change and Advancement. Leading the effort is a politically diverse group of reform-minded citizens, including business executive and former University of Wisconsin Regent Nino Amato; Green Bay area business executive Paul Linzmeyer; Libertarian Party of Wisconsin chairman Ed Thompson; Wisconsin Democracy Campaign director Mike McCabe; FightingBob.com editor Ed Garvey; the Center for Democratic Action’s Judy Adrian and Carol Lobes; Alfonso Zepeda-Capistran of Latinos United for Change and Advancement, and longstanding Republican Party member Carol McKy.