WISCONSINREPORT.COM (01/16/08) - Republican State Senator Sheila Harsdorf of River Falls applauded a sweeping 94-1 bipartisan vote in the State Assembly that will enable Wisconsin voters to ban the so - called Frankenstein Veto this April. The Frankenstein Veto was named after specific partial vetoes in which Governor Doyle cobbled together unrelated words amongst many other sentences to create altogether new sentences and new laws without legislative approval. Harsdorf says no governor should have the power to change the intent of legislators.
“Banning the Frankenstein Veto will help restore tax and spend accountability,” said Harsdorf. “No governor should be able to use his veto to spend tax money no legislator ever voted for.”
Last session, the use of the Frankenstein Veto created a $427 million shortfall in the state’s transportation fund later filled by tax and fee increases; and this session the Governor used it to nearly double the allowable increase in property taxes. While this was not the first time a governor used the partial veto in a ridiculous fashion, it was the first that appropriated hundreds-of-millions in taxpayer money without any legislative action.
“This is critical budget reform,” said Harsdorf. “A system of checks and balances will build confidence in the budgeting process and help avoid budget delays.”
Harsdorf echoed her Democratic co-author of the legislation, State Senator Tim Carpenter (Milwaukee), in expressing that a ban of the Frankenstein Veto will foster a more cooperative approach to budgeting.
“I am pleased that after initial resistance, we were able to build bipartisan support for reform,” said Harsdorf. “It is refreshing to see common-sense prevail over partisanship and it is a credit to the persistence of my Republican colleagues and the courage of my Democratic partners.”
State Senator Tim Carpenter, a Democrat from Milwaukee, thanked his colleagues in the Assembly for passing Senate Joint Resolution 5 which will place on the April 2008 ballot a referendum to eliminate what is known as the “Frankenstein veto.”
If passed by the Wisconsin voters, a Wisconsin governor will no longer be able to use a partial veto to stitch together parts
of a budget bill to create new laws.
"I believe that it is fundamental to the integrity of the legislative process that we don't create entirely new laws simply by veto. Such a process lacks legislative intent and thwarts the legislature’s constitutional duty to formulate and create law,” said Carpenter.
“This issue now goes to the people in Wisconsin for their vote. I think it is a great opportunity for Wisconsinites to create by referendum a better government,” concluded Carpenter.
What has come to be known as the Frankenstein Veto has been used many times over the years by Wisconsin Governors, Republican and Democrat. Former Republican Governor Tommy Thompson was particularly fond of using what was then called the line item veto, or, partial veto. It was when the line item, or partial veto, was used by Democratic Governor James Doyle that it became known as the Frankenstein Veto, and the movement to end the practice began.