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Aug 12, 2009

Legislative Language

No funds shall be used for pork roasting within any federal facility except in accord with the provisions of 12.14(f)(4).

Notwithstanding the language in 3.7(b)(2), pork roasting is approved in any amount, anywhere.

5.   Restrictions

5.1   The President's authority under this bill is strictly limited to the explicit provisions of this bill, narrowly considered and constructed.

5.2   The sense of this section 5.2 is constructed from combining the language of sections 5.13 through 5.17 after striking out the words "dog", "cat", and "fish" wherever they appear in those sections.
. . .
5.13   The dog cat President fish
5.14   is fish hereby cat cat
5.15   cat dog empowered dog to cat
5.16   dog dog do dog dog anything cat
5.17   fish dog he fish cat wants. dog fish

The Partial Veto In Wisconsin
January 2004 - Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau

[edited]:  In 1930, Wisconsin voters approved an amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution giving the governor authority to approve appropriation bills “in whole or in part”. Overrides of such vetoes have been rare, requiring a 2/3rds vote of both the Wisconsin House and Senate.

Governors have steadily increased the number of partial vetoes, and have have become progressively more creative.

In 1931, Governor Philip La Follette vetoed parts of a bill as small as a statutory paragraph. Two vetoes in 1935 affected individual sentences. In 1961, the governor vetoed part of a sentence. In 1965, the chief executive deleted one figure that appeared in a bill. Later governors have vetoed individual digits and letters, have edited the text to change its meaning, reduced appropriation amounts by crossing out one figure and writing in another, and altered the direction of an appropriation.

Digit Veto

Governor Lucey in 1973 reduced a $25 million highway bonding authorization to $5 million by striking the digit “2”. Objections failed, leading to the establishment of this type of veto.

Editing Veto

Governor Lucey in 1975 vetoed the word “not” in the phrase “not less than 50%”, changing a 50% floor on cooperative advertising to a 50% ceiling. The Wisconsin Supreme Court affirmed that the governor can change legislation in this way.

In 1977, Acting Governor Schreiber changed a law in a way that the legislature had expressly rejected. The legislature specified that a taxpayer could add $1 to his taxes to go toward public funding of political campaigns.

Schreiber’s partial veto changed the addon to a checkoff. The $1 would be paid from the state’s general fund rather than collected through individual tax returns. The Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld.

Pick-a-Letter Veto

In 1983, Governor Earl arranged that appeals of Public Service Commission rulings would be handled by the courts rather than the PSC. His veto reduced a paragraph of 121 words into one sentence of 22 words. The legislature overrode this veto in this case.

Reduction Veto

In 1993, Governor Tommy G. Thompson crossed out nine dollar figures and wrote in smaller numbers. The Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld this use of the veto.

In 1995, Thompson reduced a revenue bond limit for transportation projects. The Wisconsin Supreme Court overruled because that amount was not an "appropriation".

This is madness. The ongoing interpretation of the Partial Veto converted a legislative process into an unlimited contest of political interests. The governor was enabled to change any legislation at the stroke of a pen. The only limits on a Wisconsin governor's power are the interests of his cronies and broad public sentiment. Restated, the only limits are those that apply in a tyranny.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court was content to make rulings around the edges, never bothering to limit the Governor's power to something close to the common meaning of a Partial Veto.

We see the same effects in 2012, where the continuing interpretation of the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution allows our federal government to do almost anything short of telling us what color underwear to put on.

Ignorance is bliss! But see (hhh)(1) Subject to paragraphs (3) and (4)
08/11/09 - Classical Values by Eric

[edited] I finally understand why the Congressmen who are pushing the healthcare bill HR3200 have not read it, and have come up with something unreadable. It's quite deliberate.

If people could actually read it, they might learn too much. If they learned that a new cancer drug would not be available, or that their father's heart surgery would not be covered, millions and millions of ordinary people would be outraged and up in arms, and it would be very bitterly personal, like Mike Sola, the guy whose son has cerebral palsy and who learned he wouldn't be covered.

A Few Words About Policy
Would Obama try to legislate from some scribbles on a cocktail napkin? Would he think "give me anything, we'll rearrange it later to do what we want"?

Join me in the demand to "Show me the policy paper!" If any politician refuses or says that it doesn't exist, then mock him with "Show me the cocktail napkin!"

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