Republicans state lawmakers want to know why recent Government Accountability Board decisions on policies related to campaign petitions and voter ID rules were not done through an administrative rule. The Board approved motions earlier this month on distributing petitions online and allowing stickers to be placed on student ID cards so they can be used to vote.

GAB director Kevin Kennedy says the policies are examples of the many decisions the GAB is forced to make frequently as it attempts to interpret the laws passed by the Legislature. He told committee members Tuesday during a hearing at the Capitol that they carefully review each issue when deciding whether a more complex administrative rule process is needed.

The administrative rule process give the Legislature, as well as the governor, more oversight into how state agencies implement laws.

The petition policy was the result of a request from the operator of a recall campaign website who asked if the GAB would accept single signature petitions that signers could request online. Board members determined that the method for gathering signatures differed little from currently accepted standards, even though the policy would allow address information to be filled in automatically.

Republican members of the Legislature’s Joint Committee for the Review of Administrative Rules questioned the decision. Committee co-chair Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa) argued there is a difference between the previous policy that allows petition circulators to correct address information and one that allows petitions to be created and sent out to potential signers.

The GAB at its meeting earlier this month also approved a policy that would allow universities to place stickers on student ID cards to help signify a student is currently enrolled in classes. The stickers are meant to help meet requirements under the Voter ID law that takes effect next year.

Kennedy says the sticker policy is intended to help guide universities as they try to develop ID cards that meet the requirements of the law. Members of JCRAR raised a number of questions about what guidelines would apply to the stickers to help prevent fraud and whether the policy should have been addressed through a rule as well.

A vote that could have required the GAB to write emergency rules on the changes and submit them to the Legislature was scheduled, but GOP leaders decided to delay action.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:15)

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