Explaining the two advisory referendums on Brown County’s Election Day ballot

Local News

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) Brown County voters will decide more in this upcoming election, than who is worthy of a position in government. As Kris Schuller explains they’re also being asked two advisory referendum questions – concerning decision making in a health crisis and the boundaries of legislative districts.

When Brown County voters head to the polls November 3rd, they will see two advisory referendum questions on the ballot. One concerning the process of drawing up legislative maps, and the other about changing state statutes to give county boards a way to approve or overturn restrictions proposed by county health officers.

“My hope is that at least we have a legislative opinion by where we can clarify some of these things,” said Brown County Supervisor John Van Dyck.

Van Dyck pushed for the referendum and says under current state statutes, local health officers can make rules to address disease. But he believes there should be oversight and that county-wide restrictions should first be approved by the county board.

“If there’s an order placed by the local health officer, the county board meets and upholds that. To me that has more authority than just one individual acting on their own,” Van Dyck said.

“The biggest concern that I have is that it will cause confusion. That confusion could lead to a delay in us pursuing either a human health hazard or any type of action,” said Brown County Health Officer Anna Destree.

The other referendum deals with building fair legislative and congressional district maps through a nonpartisan commission. Something 17 counties have so far approved.

“People really want competitive races in Wisconsin and they want it nonpartisan,” said County Supervisor Kathy Lefebvre. “Whoever’s in power sets the rules for the redistricting.”

And County Supervisor Tom Sieber says that has got to end.

“Anytime legislators have control over their own constituencies, their own boundaries, you’re going to have a mess like we see today, where you’ve got one party in control over the maps,” Sieber said.

Two advisory referendums on the November ballot, aimed at gathering public input to be sent on to state lawmakers. No changes will come from the results, at least not immediately, if at all.

Every 10 years after the Census, states must set new district lines to reflect changes in where people live.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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