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Newspaper continues push for Frankenstein Veto vote

For 36 days, State Senate President Fred Risser has delayed a measure to limit the governor's partial veto authority.

And for 36 days the Wisconsin State Journal of Madison has taken him to task.

Every day the paper's editorials urge the Madison Democrat to hold a hearing on the proposed constitutional amendment. It would end the practice of vetoing individual words from spending bills to create whole new meanings.

Both houses passed the amendment a year ago and the Assembly OK'd it again earlier this year.

Risser says he'll support the change but not until after the budget is passed, so lawmakers will have more time to mull it over.

In the meantime, Risser is giving his own party's governor Jim Doyle authority to rewrite the budget to his liking once the Legislature passes it this summer.

Two years ago, Doyle's creative vetoes gave extra money to cash-strapped schools by taking it from other places. It's been nicknamed the "Frankenstein veto."

The State Journal's daily editorials have a drawing of Frankenstein with markings on his head that show the number of days Risser has held the measure up. Scott Milfred, editorial page editor, says Risser's stand is indefensible.

Both parties have rallied against the creative vetoes for years but only when their own party's governor is not in power.

The Frankenstein Veto amendment was first introduced by Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls. In January the RiverTown Newspaper Group was the first to report the blocking of the final vote by state Senate Democrats.