This column presents facts regarding the United States Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Wisconsin State Constitution, and various other documents in reference to modern topics. Mark hopes to encourage interest in those works so that others can consider whether our government is practicing within its constitutional limits. In the last category, he may indicate his opinion. Mark is a resident of New Berlin. Readers are encouraged to visit the following sites for more information on the United States Constitution and Thomas Jefferson's views on politics and government.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; Feb. 25, 2011 (full article available on-line)
Gov. Scott Walker urged the 14 Democratic senators who are in Illinois to return to Wisconsin to vote on his budget-repair bill, warning that layoffs of state workers would happen soon if they do not.
Absent State Senators vs. the Wisconsin Sate Constitution
Wisconsin State Constitution, Article IV, Section 7
Each house shall be the judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members; and a majority of each shall constitute a quorum to do business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may compel the attendance of absent members in such manner and under such penalties as each house may provide.
Wisconsin State Constitution, Article IV, Section 10
The legislature may declare the cases in which any office shall be deemed vacant, and also the manner of filling the vacancy where no provision is made for that purpose in this constitution.
Wisconsin State Constitution, Article IV, Section 14
The governor shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies as may occur in either house of the legislature.
We the People:
Those favoring a liberal amount of government control pass unconstitutional laws and dare us to challenge it. To the contrary, conservative legislators avoid activating legitimate constitutional powers because of how it might be misconstrued. It appears that the Wisconsin Constitution will not be enforced unless the people demand it. Please call your state legislator and ask them to deem the office of the absent senators “vacant” per article IV, section 10 of our state’s constitution. Once declared vacant, the three-fifths majority in the state senate will be based on nineteen instead of thirty-three.