Vetoing the Veto
Wisconsin's line-item veto authority is so unusual that we write about it in our textbook on state and local government. During the 1990s, Gov. Tommy ...
Wisconsin's line-item veto authority is so unusual that we write about it in our textbook on state and local government. During the 1990s, Gov. Tommy Thompson became notorious for vetoing just enough letters to completely alter the meaning of the bill -- something the courts upheld his right to do.
In 2005, Gov. Jim Doyle struck 752 words from a budget bill in order to cobble together a new, twenty-word sentence that shifted $427 million from transportation to education. Last year, Doyle's skills as an editor turned a 2 percent cap on property tax increases into a 3.86 percent cap.
Needless to say, not everyone is crazy about such a system. Next Tuesday, Wisconsin voters will have the chance to amend the state constitution to "to prohibit the governor, in exercising his or her partial veto authority, from creating a new sentence by combining parts of two or more sentences of the enrolled bill."
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