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Pincus: The Constitutional Amendments - Will Your Vote Match Your Beliefs?
Letter To The Editor

From Allen Pincus


To the Editor:

On the August 13 primary ballot you will find two proposed constitutional amendments that create a new section to the state’s constitution. The first one gives the legislature sole power to determine how monies are spent. The second one nullifies a state statute that allows the governor to accept and allocate certain federal funds such as disaster relief aid and gives that power to the legislature. In deciding which way to vote, consider these three questions:

1. Do you believe a decision as important as amending Wisconsin’s constitution should be left in the hands of a small group of voters?  If not, ask yourself: Why did the legislature schedule a vote on the amendments for a primary election, which draws about 20% of eligible voters, instead of scheduling it for the November general election which draws about 70% of eligible voters?

2. Do you believe the process for amending the constitution should be used as a vehicle for partisan political power struggles? If not, ask yourself: If we had a Republican governor and a Democratic majority in the legislature (the opposite of our current situation) would Republicans still support these amendments if they were proposed by a Democratic legislative majority?

3. Do you believe the framers of our state constitution, who built checks and balances between the three branches of government, were mistaken by not giving the legislature sole power to determine how moneys shall be appropriated?  If not, ask yourself: Would upsetting this balance of power be in the public interest?

If you answered NO to the above questions, then vote NO on these amendments:

Shall section 35 (1) of article IV of the constitution be created to provide that the legislature may not delegate its sole power to determine how moneys shall be appropriated?”

Shall section 35 (2) of article IV of the constitution be created to prohibit the governor from allocating any federal moneys the governor accepts on behalf of the state without the approval of the legislature by joint resolution or as provided by legislative rule?”