Friday, May 31, 2013

Wisconsin: Bill proposed to limit municipal and school recalls to criminal or ethical violations

Interesting development from Wisconsin, where they haven't been able to push forward their bill to change the recall from a political recall to a malfeasance standard.  Instead, there's a new bill, introduced by Republican Rep. Jeff Stone, which would change the law for the municipal and school board level positions and require that the official was actually charged a criminal or ethical violation. 

Why doesn't the bill also limit recalls for state-level officials (which the Republicans have been arguing for, so far unsuccessfully)? To change the state level recall would require a constitutional change (one that would have to pass through the legislature in two separate elections, and then be voted on by the voters). Changing the recall for local officials can be made with just one bill. It is also less likely to be controversial, as the local races don't have the same political fight to them.

 We've seen repeatedly that tightening recalls laws to make them more difficult to get on the ballot are very popular with politicians, but not so with voters (here's the one exception that I know of). People may cited questionable poll numbers, but politicians clearly know that they mess with the recall at their peril. 

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