Local advisory referendums could become a thing of the past. The ballot questions that have nothing to do with local issues are an example of what UW-Milwaukee professor and former state legislator Mordecai Lee calls an abuse of direct legislation, where citizens petition to get the questions on the ballot: "for example, for the war in Iraq, against the war in Iraq, for impeachment of the president, against the impeachment. That really as nothing to do with city government."
State Representative Joel Kleefisch has proposed legislation that would end what Lee says are purely symbolic wastes of time. "To me, it's just so obvious," he says. "Why would we want to clutter up the ballot with what are called advisory referenda? They have no meaning, they have no impact."
Under Kleefisch's bill , the governing body of a city or village is not required to act on proposed ordinances or resolutions that don't relate to a local governmental function or responsibility, or if the proposal is primarily ceremonial or aspirational. The measure was approved this week by the Assembly Committee on Urban and Local Affairs.