Wisconsin’s Assembly has taken to passing around bills and voting on them sometimes. This is fine form if you’re in the 5th grade and sending a “Do you like me?” note to that guy you have a crush on, but if you’re dealing with matters of legally binding legislation – like hiring another attorney to help hide your redistricting documents – it’s not.
(Hmm. Using a hidden vote process to further hide a hidden GOP redistricting process.)
I see why the Wisconsin GOP prefers a process that helps free them from the pesky public. In fact, passing a paper ballot around is a meeting-free exercise.
I predict most legislators will one day email their yays and nays from smart phones so they can perpetually nurse drinks at the Inn On The Park bar. Then what use is that expensive Capitol building? Be on the look-out for a no-bid contract for a domed building in the 53703 zip code.
“When Assembly leaders last week wanted to hire an attorney and add new costs to the $1.9 million already spent on a legal fight over legislative districts, they didn’t call an open committee meeting.
Instead, GOP leaders circulated a paper ballot with bare-bones public notice and cast the party-line 5-3 committee vote quietly, ignoring an amendment that would have capped the fees for attorneys. Basic details such as the law firm’s hourly rate will be left up to Republican leaders with no further vote.
Paper ballots have arrived in the Assembly, completing a legislative comeback they started in the Senate four years ago. Last week alone, eight separate votes were taken by paper ballot in the Legislature. Last session, the Senate took 320 committee votes that way, including some on controversial bills such as limiting liability lawsuits, putting new restrictions on abortions and removing the enrollment cap on a long-term care program for the needy.
Bill Lueders, president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, said that wasn’t acceptable.
“It’s poor form,” Lueders said. “The Legislature should not be making it harder for people to see what the Legislature is up to. Period.” More at Secretive paper ballots regaining hold in Wisconsin Legislature
Doesn’t this open up legislator vote fraud?
We’ve already had documented legislator vote fraud. Exhibit A: