Miscellaneous musings from the perspective of a lefty (both senses) atheist with a warped sense of humor.

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Location: Madison, WI, United States

I am a geek, but I do have some redeeming social skills. I love other people's dogs, cats, and kids. Snow sucks, but I'm willing to put up with it just to live in Madison.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Partial Veto Power

2008 Mar. 25

Voice of the People
The Capital Times
PO Box 8060
Madison WI 53708-8060

Suppose you’ve recently acquired an old clunker of a car. It runs, but it needs work on the brakes, steering, alignment, and lights. You dealt with the brakes first, then a couple of months later you could afford to take care of the steering. Now you’re in a position to fix the alignment. But your usually reliable brother says “Hey, man, don’t work on the alignment until you can take care of the lights at the same time. Put the whole thing off until you can do it ALL and do it right.”

That’s the advice we’re getting from Fred Wade and John Nichols on the governor’s partial-veto power. I contend that they’re right strategically but dead wrong tactically.

A misguided decision of the Wisconsin Supreme Court gave our state’s governor the most powerful veto pen in the nation. He can effectively create new laws — never intended by the Legislature — thru creative editing.

Already we have passed 2 Constitutional amendments to rein in the worst abuses of this power. This April 1 we’ll have a chance to adopt yet another amendment to fix still a 3rd aspect of the problem. Fred and John would have you vote “no” on this because it doesn’t finish the job.

And they’re right about one thing: this year’s vote WON’T finish the job. More work remains to be done. The deciding factor for me is “What system will we be living under until we get the NEXT amendment passed, one that’s only 1/2 fixed, or one that’s 3/4 fixed?”.

Remember that this year’s amendment had to pass both houses of the Legislature in 2 consecutive biennnial sessions to get to you, the voters. Do you really want to start the clock all over again, with no guarantees as to how some future, supposedly “perfect” amendment will turn out? Or will you settle, here and now, for an incremental gain?

I recommend a “yes” vote this April, followed promptly by the introduction of an even better, 4th amendment for another vote in 2012.


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