Republican legislators proposed to give the governor’s office more
power over how recall petition signatures are collected and the methods by which people may vote in elections next year.
In a hearing held Tuesday, the Joint Committee for
Review of Administrative Rules recommended the Government Accountability Board
make its interpretations allowing for single-signature petitions and stickers
for student IDs into administrative laws, which Gov. Scott Walker could then
approve or disapprove before the legislature votes on them, GAB spokesperson
Reid Magney said.
“The JCRAR is exerting its oversight over the GAB,” Andrew Welhouse, spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said. “The Legislature is simply trying to find out if the GAB consulted with the authors of the bill over how it should be enforced and why they came to the decision that they did to enforce these laws.”
The hearing was on two measures the GAB approved in
a public hearing held Sept. 12. The GAB had decided people who circulate election
petitions, not merely recall petitions but also nomination papers and direct
legislation petitions, can sign these petitions and still circulate them, GAB President Kevin Kennedy said in a statement.
In other words, voters could print out a recall ballot online, sign it and send it in without collecting any other signatures, Kennedy said.
While some people have claimed this means the board is
supporting online recall petitions, Magney said the GAB simply ruled a petition only needs one signature on it.
GAB also created a policy earlier this month to allow
Wisconsin colleges and universities to issue stickers, which students could
attach to their student ID cards, allowing them to vote under the
Voter ID Law, Kennedy said. Stickers would include a space for the students
to sign and an expiration date as required by law.
However, the sticker requirement will
depend on the UW System providing new student IDs that meet the voting
requirement, Magney said. If the system does
provide these cards, UW stickers would become obsolete.
“Essentially, there is the law and then administrative
rules,” Magney said. “Administrative rules go beyond statutes and deal with the
interpretation of the law and how to enforce it.”
If an agency wants to make a new administrative rule, it has to go to the Legislature, which can either say no or say nothing and let
the administrative rule pass into effect, he said.
However, the past legislative session passed a new law that
allows the governor to approve administrative laws before they can reach the Legislature. The governor can either approve or disapprove of the
administrative rule, and if he approves he can send it to the Legislature to
vote on, Magney said.
“Some of the legislators are expressing concerns that the
GAB is reading something into the [legislation] that isn’t there, like making the
recall petitions available for download, which is not part of the law,” Welhouse
said. “We just want to make sure that they are enforcing the right interpretation
of the law.”