February 10, 2016

Senate passes bill on Secretary of State

The state Senate has passed legislation aimed at ending the Wisconsin secretary of state’s ability to delay new laws from going into effect. The bill’s author, West Bend Republican state Senator Glenn Grothman, said the measure is a reaction to Secretary of State Doug La Follettes’s efforts to delay implementation of Act 10, the law that dialed back collective bargaining in the state.

Democrats see the measure as a partisan effort. “It’s a bill to gut the opportunity of the secretary of  state’s participation in the legislative process,” said Madison Democrat Fred Risser. “Basically, it’s a bill aimed at the one Democrat left in state elective office.

“Two years ago, the secretary of state — and it’s ambiguous I think, whether he had the power to do this — but at least claimed that he could delay the implementation of a law he disagreed with,” said Grothman. “The people who run to enact public policy in the state, are the state senators, the state assembly, and the governor.”

Currently, after a bill is passed by the legislature and signed by the governor, the secretary of state has up to ten days to publish notice of the new law before it takes effect. The measure, which would require the Legislative Reference Bureau to publish any new law the day after it is signed by the governor, would continue to task the secretary of state’s office with publishing notice of new statutes in the state’s official newspaper, Madison’s Wisconsin State Journal.

The bill passed Tuesday on a 17-to-14 partisan vote, with 2 Senators not voting. It now heads to the Assembly.

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