At the Capitol on Tuesday, state Senate Republicans passed a referendum question on welfare benefits, and rejected one from Democrats on abortion rights.
Minority Leader Melissa Agard of Madison noted that voters would be asked to weigh in on a law that already exists. “Advisory referendums are supposed to do just that: advise. So the people are going to advise lawmakers on something that is already the law in the state of Wisconsin. That only makes sense if you’re looking at the world through a cynical and political lens.”
Governor Tony Evers joined Agard and other Democrats in calling for the Senate to take up the abortion resolution. The Democratic measure to repeal Wisconsin’s 1849 abortion ban was rejected on a party line vote. Democrats call the referendum question requiring able-bodied child-less adults look for work in order to receive welfare benefits an attempt to gin up conservative turnout in the state Supreme Court election.
The state Assembly will need to pass the advisory referendum on welfare benefits in order for it to appear on the April statewide ballot.