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November 14, 2013

Contact: Rep. Steineke: 608-266-2418


Recall Reform Bill Passes State Assembly

Measure will restore original purpose of recall elections

Madison . . . Representative Jim Steineke (R – Kaukauna) announced that a constitutional amendment he authored passed the Wisconsin state Assembly today. Under Assembly Joint Resolution 25, a recall election can only occur if the elected official has been charged with a serious crime or if a finding of probable cause has been made that he or she violated the state code of ethics. A constitutional amendment must be passed twice consecutively by the Legislature and supported by a public referendum. 

It’s time that we restore predictability back to the election process,” Rep. Steineke said. “Elected officials shouldn’t have to fear that a tough vote might escalate to a recall election. Voters shouldn’t have to pay for costly and unnecessary elections. The recent recalls in Wisconsin cost our friends and neighbors $16 million dollars.”

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AJR 25 tightens recall requirements and restores the original purpose of the recall amendment.  With this constitutional amendment in place, there must be a minimum threshold of criminal or ethical misconduct before an elected official can be recalled. These changes will prevent arbitrary recalls over disagreements on policy decisions.

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When the recall amendment was first enacted in 1926, proponents argued that the recall process would be rarely used,” Rep. Steineke continued. “The intention was to decrease the role of special interests on the political process and eliminate the influence of money. As recent recall elections have shown, the effect of the recall amendment has been the exact opposite. Through money and technology, special interests can force a recall election of any elected official for any reason. Instead of reducing the influence of money, it has increased.” 

Get Microsoft SilverlightRep. Steineke: Recalls are Important Tools

Spending on the 2011 and 2012 recalls topped $60 million with money pumped in from all across the country.  Last session, Assembly Joint Resolution 63 was introduced and passed the Assembly on a bi-partisan vote. Exit polls from the June 2011 gubernatorial recall election found that sixty percent of Wisconsin voters say recall elections are only appropriate for official misconduct.