Saturday, December 29, 2007

WEAC Loves Frankenstein

I don’t expect much high quality reasoning from the Wisconsin State Journal, but to their credit, they have chosen to advocate the repeal of Wisconsin’s Frankenstein Veto.

Union bigs should hit the books: WEAC suffers the dubious distinction of being the only organization in the state to register this year with the state Ethics Board to lobby against Senate Joint Resolution 5. The resolution, heading to voters for final approval this spring, will rein in the most outlandish veto power in the nation -- the notorious "Frankenstein" veto.

The Republican-run state Assembly voted in overwhelming and bipartisan fashion to abolish the "Frankenstein " veto. The Democratic-controlled Senate voted unanimously for SJR 5 with a 33-0 vote. Every major newspaper in the state has editorialized in favor of SJR 5. Good government groups including Common Cause in Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign have endorsed it.

But the stubborn and short-sighted teachers union continues to resist. Gov. Jim Doyle used "Frankenstein " vetoes to ignore the Legislature 's will and steer hundreds of millions of dollars in additional state aid to public schools two years ago. In the union 's collective mind, the ends justified the means because, at least for now, they got theirs.

Senate Joint Resolution 5: The proposed constitutional amendment prohibits the governor, in exercising his or her partial veto authority on appropriation bills, from creating new sentences by combining parts of two or more sentences of the enrolled bill.

Backing away from centralized authoritarian government is probably going to require a series of small steps and restraining the scope of the Governor’s veto is one desirable goal. It doesn’t surprise me that WEAC leadership is reluctant to discard a tool they know can be used to their advantage. One can hope, however, that rank and file teachers can sense the irony of teaching children the legislature makes laws and the administration carries out the work of government, while supporting the de facto legislative powers the Frankenstein Veto confers to the administration.