With legislative leaders standing by his side, Governor Jim Doyle on Friday signed legislation merging the State Ethics and Elections Boards. The bill creates the Government Accountability Board, which will oversee ethics complaints and other election issues. Governor Doyle says the law gives Wisconsinites a single entity to help protect the state from corruption.
The law eliminates the partisan boards that currently investigate ethics complaints. Instead, retired judges will be appointed to a panel that will handle those cases. Doyle says having judges fill that role is a major step forward.
The legislation is the result of several compromises between the Democrat-controlled Senate and Republican-lead Assembly. Doyle hopes the bi-partisan spirit of the agreement lives on as lawmakers consider the budget and possible healthcare reforms. The Governor also wants lawmakers to consider campaign finance reforms later this session.