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Voting Issue: Statewide Referendum on Marsy’s Law - on WI Ballots April 7, 2020


  • There will be a statewide referendum on the April 7th ballot to amend the state constitution related to the rights of crime victims, i.e. Marsy’s Law.

  • Proponents of this amendment say it will give additional rights to crime victims, “to require that the rights of crime victims be protected with equal force to the protections afforded the accused”.

  • Opponents of this amendment say that the impact of the amendment is unclear and threatens the rights of & due process for the accused.

  • WI law has had a Bill of Rights for victims and witnesses since 1993 & was the first state to do so.

  • This proposed amendment to the state constitution was placed as a referendum on the ballot by the state legislature, following the process for amendments outlined in the state constitution, i.e., after passing by majority vote in both the Assembly and Senate, by two consecutive legislatures, the proposed amendment must be submitted to the people and ratified by a majority of those voting.

  • Following are: an editorial from the Ozaukee Press (3/12/20); referenced information about the referendum; the current victims’ Bill of Rights; what is Marsy’s Law?; and the stated positions of proponents and opponents.

Ozaukee Press editorial on Statewide Referendum on Marsy’s Law

Wisconsin Statewide Referendum on Marsy’s Law: as it will appear on the ballot

Question 1: “Additional rights of crime victims. Shall section 9m of article I of the constitution which gives certain rights to crime victims, be amended to give crime victims additional rights, to require that the rights of crime victims be protected with equal force to the protections afforded the accused while leaving the federal constitutional rights of the accused intact, and to allow crime victims to enforce their rights in court?”

See the specific details of the amendment and an explanation by entering your address at VOTE411 >> Your Voter Guide

What is Marsy’s Law?

“Marsy's Law describes a set of constitutional protections for crime victims that have been proposed and adopted in some states. The model constitutional amendment released by the organization Marsy's Law for All, which closely resembles amendments proposed and passed in several states…” read more here. (accessed at BALLOTPEDIA 3/11/2020).

What is currently in the WI Constitution on “The Rights of Victims”: (see Basic Bill of Rights, 950.04)

Listen to /Read from proponents of Marsy’s Law:

Newsmakers: The Case for Marsy’s Law Podcast (December 5, 2017)

Senior Producer Steve Walters talks about Marsy's Law with Wisconsin State Attorney General Brad Schimel, Keaira Damron-Stine, Teri Jendusa-Nicolai, and State Senator Van Wanggaard.

Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin (Website)

Listen to /Read from opponents to the proposed amendment to the WI Constitution:

News Conference: Proposed Marsy’s Law Amendment Challenged in Lawsuit Video (December 19, 2019)

(18 minutes -- accessed 3/11/2020 from Wisconsin Eye) A news conference to announce a lawsuit challenging the proposed Marsy's Law amendment to the WI State Constitution. The group included leaders of the Wisconsin Justice Initiative, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

  1. (Text) ACLU update on opposition to the April 7th ballot referendum: https://www.aclu-wi.org/en/news/marsys-law-fails-victims-it-purports-protect (accessed 3.11/2020)

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