Rep. Gary Hebl, (608) 266-7678
(MADISON) – Today Representative Gary Hebl (D- Sun Prairie) circulated a constitutional amendment, LRB-2729, which will give more power to the citizens of Wisconsin by enabling them to veto legislatively-passed laws at the ballot box.
“This is long overdue for Wisconsin,” Hebl said. “Ultimately, we as legislators are accountable to the people of this state. If they believe we are passing legislation that is not in their best interest, they should absolutely have the power to say ‘No.’ This constitutional amendment will allow them to do so.”
To get a veto referendum on the ballot, signatures equaling 4% of the total votes of the most recent gubernatorial election must be collected. If a law is rejected at the ballot, it may not be reenacted during the same legislative session in which it was rejected.
The constitutional amendment also creates a method for citizens to propose their own laws and constitutional amendments.
“Anybody who has spent any time in state government knows that only a fraction of proposed laws even get a public hearing, let alone passed into law,” Hebl continued. “Good legislation can stall with no action on it if the party in power – be it Republicans or Democrats – don’t want to act on it. This amendment will allow citizens to bypass partisan inaction and take their case right the people of Wisconsin.”
Proposing a law or constitutional amendment would take signatures equaling 6% and 8%, respectively, of the total vote in the most recent gubernatorial election. Any citizen legislation that is approved by voters is not subject to a Governor’s veto, and cannot be repealed or amended by the legislature for two years after it goes into effect. After that two year period, the law can only be changed with two-thirds majorities in each house.
“If legislators are unable or unwilling to consider legislation that serves the public interest,” Hebl said, “there ought to be a mechanism for the citizens of this state to introduce that themselves.”