A proposed state constitutional amendment from Republicans would only allow lawmakers to be recalled from office if there’s a compelling reason given to do so, such as being convicted of a crime. Supporters argue recalls should never be used to punish lawmakers for a single vote on an unpopular issue. Democratic State Representative Peter Barca (D-Kenosha), the minority leader in the Assembly, says there’s no good reason to make that change.
The amendment comes in the same week that the state watched six recall elections against members of the Senate held across Wisconsin. From those, two Republican senators were recalled and four Republicans defeated challengers. By the end of the summer, nine members of the state Senate will have faced voters in recall elections sparked by their actions surrounding passage of the governor’s collective bargaining law.
Barca says the fact that the amendment is being introduced so close to the recalls is almost unbelievable. He says those who organized the recalls felt their lawmakers were not representing them and the proposal is nothing more than an attempt by Republicans to avoid accountability for their actions in the future.
Barca says recall elections are very rare and the nine in Wisconsin this year are a once in a generation event. He also notes that process is currently very difficult to pull off, with thousands of petition signatures required. Barca says that’s reflected in the fact that seven other attempts to recall senators this summer failed to move forward.
Barca says the proposal makes it look like Republicans are just trying to protect their own jobs.