2006.06.04: June 4, 2006: Headlines: Figures: COS - Tunisia: Politics: State Government: Green Bay Press Gazette: Doyle racks up vetoes at record pace

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Tunisia: Special Report: RPCV Jim Doyle, Governor of Wisconsin: Jim Doyle: Newest Stories: 2006.06.04: June 4, 2006: Headlines: Figures: COS - Tunisia: Politics: State Government: Green Bay Press Gazette: Doyle racks up vetoes at record pace

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Doyle racks up vetoes at record pace

Doyle racks up vetoes at record pace

Matthew Canter, a spokesman for Doyle, said the governor and the Legislature have worked together despite political and philosophical differences. "I think that they've been able to work together most of the time and have passed an incredible amount of legislation that has been good for Wisconsin families," said Canter, adding that 487 laws have been enacted this session. Doyle has signed a total of 816 bills into law during his administration. Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle and his wife served as Peace Corps Volunteers in Tunisia in the 1960's.

Doyle racks up vetoes at record pace

Gov. Doyle racks up vetoes at record pace

First-term Democrat is 25 shy of mark set by Thompson

By Karen Lincoln Michel
Press-Gazette Madison Bureau kmichel@greenbaypressgazette.com

MADISON In his first term as governor, Jim Doyle is 25 vetoes short of a record that took former Gov. Tommy Thompson 14 years to set.

Doyle, a Democrat, has vetoed 101 bills in two legislative sessions, 47 of them during the 2005-2006 session that just ended. He holds the first- and second-place record for the most vetoes issued in a session, with 54 in 2003-2004.

Thompson, a Republican, was halfway into his second term before he broke 100. He closed out seven legislative sessions with 126 entire vetoes. He still holds the record, however, for partial vetoes, with 1,670 in 14 years.

And just as Thompson issued 84 percent of his vetoes when the state Legislature was controlled by a different party, Doyle has delivered his record number of vetoes to a Legislature controlled by Republicans since he took office.

"To understand what's happening, you have to examine the political situation of the state right now," said David Littig, professor emeritus of public and environmental affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. "Jim Doyle is a pro-business, centrist, moderate Democrat facing a Republican majority" whose ideology has moved farther to the right in recent years, Littig said.

The Republicans have a 19-14 majority in the Senate and control the Assembly 59-39.

Matthew Canter, a spokesman for Doyle, said the governor and the Legislature have worked together despite political and philosophical differences.

"I think that they've been able to work together most of the time and have passed an incredible amount of legislation that has been good for Wisconsin families," said Canter, adding that 487 laws have been enacted this session. Doyle has signed a total of 816 bills into law during his administration.

"There are a few instances where the governor has had to step in and bring them back to the issues that people actually care about not loaded weapons in playgrounds or cutting education but in dealing with the rising cost of energy and making health care more affordable," Canter said.

The Legislature has tried and failed to override Doyle. Just this past week, the Assembly attempted to override four bills, but fell short.

"Knowing that they have difficulty overriding the veto, one of their strategies is putting constitutional amendments on the ballot in the fall," said Littig.

That was the motivation behind passing an advisory referendum on the death penalty, said Senate president Alan Lasee, R-Rockland.

"I knew full well he (Doyle) would veto a bill having to do with the death penalty," said Lasee. "It made no sense to go that route, and it made better sense to go to the people and see how they actually feel about it."

Lasee said the Legislature also passed bills that Republicans predicted Doyle would reject, but pursued them anyway. Concealed carry of weapons, photo identification cards for voters, immigration and the Legislature's approval of off-reservation casinos are examples of such bills, Lasee said.

"It was important for the citizens to know where we stand on some of these very important issues, and where the governor stands," Lasee said. "There is a distinct difference, and a huge philosophical difference there."

Senate assistant minority leader Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, said that when compromises cannot be reached on critical issues, Doyle's only alternative is to veto.

"I think he's used his veto power judiciously," said Hansen. "It shouldn't be just all one rubber stamp, and that's what's happening in Washington, D.C."

Rep. John Ainsworth, R-Shawano, had one of his bills Assembly Bill 327 vetoed by Doyle, but a second version was signed into law. He said Doyle was scheduled to sign the first bill, but changed his mind when he learned the bill would require regulatory changes for the state Department of Revenue.

"I'm sure he was acting upon advice given to him," said Ainsworth, who said the veto underscored a lack of trust on Doyle's part. "Apparently the administration was more comfortable with us trusting them than with them trusting us" to change the revenue department regulations after AB 327 became law.

"He (Doyle) is not using his veto power as wisely as he could be using it," said Ainsworth.

Still, Littig said, "the veto is a check" that plays an important role in the legislative process.

"The vetoes show that there is still a check and balance in effect," said Littig. He said it becomes a tradeoff between majority rule and executive power.

"Maybe by doing that, they're working out pretty well," Littig said.





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Story Source: Green Bay Press Gazette

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Figures; COS - Tunisia; Politics; State Government

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