Wisconsin has been busy over the last few weeks. I’ve missed most of the action due to travels, but damn it looks entertaining. Particularly the bits where someone pretended to be one of the Koch brothers and tricked the Governor into taking his call and speaking candidly.
My main concern at this point: Even if Walker manages to convince everyone he’s going to accept compromise, he has a line item veto that requires a 2/3 majority to overturn. He can strike individual words, phrases, or sentences to completely change the meaning of a bill. Any bill that does pass through the legislature needs to be worded very carefully.
But then, how can it get worse than its already worded? Killing the public unions and guaranteeing that employees will always get less than inflation rate raises. Eliminating the oversight of the public service commission or legislature in public power plant sales. Splitting the University of Wisconsin into two pieces, one of which will be primarily run by 11 Walker appointees. Wording that leaves a blank slate for state medicare changes, with few changes spelled out in advance and reportedly no checks and balances on how Walker can change medicare in the future.
On the bright side, at least Wisconsin governors no longer have the power to remove individual letters. The “Vanna White” veto power was removed in the early 90s. Serious changes are still possible though: The previous governor actually eliminated over 700 words from one budget and changed the distribution of funds from transportation to education. I happened to support that particular use of it, but I also understand its an example of the practice being abused.
I have to say I’m proud of all the people that have stood up for what they believe in peacefully over the last few weeks, and I fully intend on taking some time to walk among them in the coming weeks.