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April 3, 2013
Contact: Rep. Steineke: 608-266-2418
Rep. Steineke Introduces Recall Election Reform
Constitutional amendment will preserve original intent of recalls
Madison . . . Rep. Jim Steineke (R – Kaukauna) announced today that he is introducing legislation to amend the recall provisions in the Wisconsin Constitution.
“Voters in Wisconsin have gone through election upheaval,” said Steineke.  “It’s left the whole state politically exhausted – along with a $14 million bill.” 
The intent of the bill is to keep recall elections in place for individuals who have violated a code of ethics or criminal laws, instead of being used for disagreements over policy decisions. 
“General elections are the appropriate forum for voters to express their opposition or displeasure with policy decisions made by elected officials,” continued Steineke. 
The existing recall requirements are few, as evidenced by the 15 recall elections in the past two years.  An elected official can be recalled for any reason under current state law, as long as a sufficient number of signatures are collected.
Last year, Assembly Joint Resolution 63, also known as “Recalling the Recalls,” was introduced and passed the Assembly on a bi-partisan vote.  
Rep. Steineke’s bill would modify the state Constitution to require a criminal or civil ethics charge to recall a congressional, judicial, legislative or county official. The proposed amendment would also require the election filing officer to determine that the recall petition demonstrates sufficient grounds prior to scheduling an election.  The state Legislature would be responsible for establishing a code of ethics for officials to follow.
A constitutional amendment must be passed twice consecutively by the Legislature and supported by a public referendum.