June 1, 2005

Is a routine political compromise a crime?

Gordon Smith writes about a Wisconsin statute that makes "logrolling" a felony.


Art said...

I did a story on this issue in the early 1980's when we had videotape of several state senators in the Democratic caucus agreeing to vote for the budget if a bill they had introduced as separate legislation and in some cases had gone all the way through committee hearings and approval were grafted onto the state budget.
The conventional wisdom was that everything is germane to the state budget and therefore any bill was considered an amendement.
We had an interview with the current Dane County District Attorney who said this probably violated the logrolling provision.
He was some guy named James Doyle.

Keep in mind that the caucus system allows a simple majority of the ruling party's caucus to impose its will on the entire body. In the assembly, as few as 26 votes control a body of 99.
The Dems were notorius for using this to pass legislation that couldn't fly on its own when they controlled both houses.
And it appears the Republicans are doing the same thing.

Bruce Hayden said...

A class I felony, no less. What ever happened to the smoke filled rooms?

I find the theory quite debatable. To me, it is not the least bit surprising that one legislator will trade his vote with another, so that both get two votes for what they want.