Frankenstein Veto in Spotlight at Capitol

In this update: 1. WDC testifies in favor of limiting "Frankenstein veto" 2. Legislature starts acting on Accountability Board appointees 3. Call for broadcaster accountability gets selective coverage 4. Budget hocus-pocus Frankenstein Veto in Spotlight at Capitol

Email date: 6/18/07

In this update:
1. WDC testifies in favor of limiting "Frankenstein veto"
2. Legislature starts acting on Accountability Board appointees
3. Call for broadcaster accountability gets selective coverage
4. Budget hocus-pocus

For years, governors from both political parties have creatively used their expansive partial veto authority to rewrite state budgets and make laws that legislators never intended or approved. At today’s public hearing in a Senate committee, the Democracy Campaign creatively illustrated how excessive and abusive this power has become.

So far as it goes, the Democracy Campaign supports the proposed constitutional amendment limiting the so-called "Frankenstein veto," the practice of stitching together parts of a law to create a whole different law. But inasmuch as the proposal is advertised as a ban on the Frankenstein veto, it is being oversold. It does not kill Frankenstein, as we pointed out back in February.

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The Legislature is starting confirmation hearings on Governor Jim Doyle’s appointees to the new Government Accountability Board that will replace the state Elections Board and Ethics Board in September.

For more about the governor’s nominees and some reaction to the choices, go here and here.

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Last week’s plea from an alliance of Midwest reform groups for the Federal Communications Commission to get tougher with broadcasters on public interest programming got some newspaper coverage and statewide radio coverage.

The Democracy Campaign’s director also was a guest on Wisconsin Public Radio’s morning talk show for an hour last Thursday. If you didn’t have a chance to hear the interview live, you can listen online here.

No surprise here, but no television stations and no newspapers whose parent companies also own TV stations thought the issues raised were newsworthy.

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It won’t happen anytime soon, but eventually a new state budget will be passed. Budget writers will claim the budget is balanced, just as they claimed the last one was. In truth, while the books were made to appear to show a positive general fund balance of nearly $50 million, the state ended the most recent fiscal year with a $2.15 billion deficit. For more on this budget hocus-pocus, go here.