WISCONSINREPORT.COM (12/11/07) - The Wisconsin State Senate voted 33-0 to ban what has been called the Frankenstein Veto; wherein Governor Jim Doyle, or any Wisconsin Governor can cobble together unrelated words to create new sentences and laws never passed by the state legislature. State Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R – River Falls) has led a bipartisan effort to prohibit what Republicans are calling this abuse of the partial veto. Senate Republican Leader Scott Fitzgerald says he is pleased the Senate voted to send the constitutional ammendment to an April referendum.
In response to the State Senate’s unanimous vote to end the Governor’s abuse of his partial veto powers, a practice sometimes known as the Frankenstein Veto, Senate Republican Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) issued the following statement:
“If approved by the voters, the Governor will no longer be able to subvert the will of the people by unilaterally crafting whole new laws out of the vetoed remnants of bills passed by the legislature," Senator Fitzgerald stated.
"While I support the use of the partial veto to keep a check on runaway government spending and regulation, I am wholeheartedly opposed to the ways it has been abused, most recently to raise taxes on the people of Wisconsin without the increases ever being voted on by the legislature," the Republican Senate Leader continued.
"With today’s unanimous vote, we are one step closer to ending this abuse and restoring a true system of checks and balances to Wisconsin State Government,” Fitzgerald says.
“Perseverance for an important, yet simple, budget reform is very close to paying off,” said Harsdorf.
Republican's are saying that the so-called Frankenstein Veto has led to a $427 million dollar hole in the transportation fund and, most recently, tens-of-millions in higher property taxes.
“No legislator voted for such unilateral actions taken by the governor through creative sentence construction,” said Harsdorf. “Banning the Frankenstein Veto will help restore accountability for Wisconsin taxpayers.”
Former Republican Governor Tommy Thompson used the line item veto powers often during his several consecutive terms in office. It was difficult to find a Republican elected Senator or Assembly Representative that objected to Governor Thompson's right to exercise that right while Thompson was in office. Critics during the Governor Tommy years often felt Governor Thompson drastically altered the intent of legislators then, but, now, it seems that Republican's are feeling the same way toward the line item veto in the hands of a Democrat.
Harsdorf noted that as a gubernatorial candidate in 2002, Doyle specifically supported prohibiting a governor from combining parts of two or more sentences to create new sentences and new laws. However, in 2005, Harsdorf says, Governor Doyle crossed out all but 20 words amongst 752 words to create an altogether new sentence that spent $427 million from the state’s transportation fund never authorized by the legislature.
“I am confident voters will reject the mockery the Frankenstein Veto has made of our state’s budget process,” said Harsdorf. “This budget reform will help protect taxpayers, build a better democratic system, and restore voter confidence in state government.”
The measure to ban the Frankenstein Veto was earlier approved by the State Assembly in a 70-25 vote on February 1 this year. The statewide referendum approval needed to enact the ban will be scheduled during the nonpartisan April 2008 elections.