October 6, 2011
For embittered union bosses, raw emotion fueled this summer’s attempt to flip control of the state Senate. Now, people who have the responsibility of governing this state are taking a more rational look at the appropriate use of recall elections.
In an especially lucid constituent newsletter, State Rep. Kevin Petersen (R-Waupaca) points out that Wisconsin is one of just 19 states that allow citizens to force a mid-term election to fire and replace an elected official.
“Supporters of recall elections maintain it provides a way for citizens to retain control over elected officials who are not representing the best interests of their constituents, or who are unresponsive or incompetent. Opponents argue the threat of a recall election lessens the independence of elected officials, and can lead to abuses by well-financed special interest groups,” Petersen writes.
A recall isn’t unexpected if there’s misconduct in office, but local taxpayers coughed up more than $2 million this summer for recalls based on simple disagreements over public policy, Petersen says. But it takes only a small minority…to initiate a recall for removal of that individual from office.”
Petersen is co-sponsoring a constitutional amendment limiting recalls to officials charged with serious crimes or if there’s probable cause to believe the official has violated a state ethics code.
He would not make the process of pursuing a recall more burdensome. The existence of a recall petition would remain sufficient grounds for the effort to proceed.
But the amendment could curb the Leftist strategy of continuous chaos by putting disagreements over a legislator’s lawful votes out of bounds for recall attempts. That’s what regular elections are for.
Those who’d like to receive the “Petersen E-Press” can subscribe at Rep.Petersen@legis.wisconsin.gov.