The Chippewa County Board voted Tuesday night to follow the example of Eau Claire County and approve an advisory referendum asking county residents to weigh in on whether interest groups have First Amendment rights when it comes to political contributions and advertising.
The question on the April election ballot will ask residents if the U.S. Constitution should be amended to state that only human beings — not corporations, unions or political action committees —have constitutional rights, and that government regulation of these entities’ political contributions and advertising is not equatable to limiting freedom of speech.
Some board supervisors questioned if there were legal ramifications for the referendum, but both board Chairman Paul Michels and county attorney James Sherman assured them it was like an opinion survey.
“We can’t be sued on this,” Sherman said. “It has little or no powers.“