The proposal would amend the state constitution to ban the so-called "Frankenstein" veto, which allows the governor to cross out words and numbers and stitch together others to create new laws not approved by the Legislature.
—"News from the Legislature," The Associated Press, December 12, 2007
The veto power enjoyed by Wisconsin's governor is broader than most. That state's top elected official can rewrite parts of a bill, reduce the amount of spending it authorizes or appropriates, and even strike out objectionable provisions. In 2005, Democrat Jim Doyle used the power to strike 752 words from a budget bill in order to cobble together a 20-word sentence that diverted $427 million from transportation to education.
Enraged lawmakers dubbed Doyle's action a "Frankenstein" veto, but they were unable to slay the monster by mustering the two-thirds majority required by the state Constitution to override a gubernatorial veto.
The legislators are now talking about asking Wisconsin voters to ban such a creative use of the veto in the future. The voters last got involved in 1990 when they prohibited state leaders from deleting individual alphabetic letters and numerical characters in a bill to change the intent of the legislation.
That practice was known as the "Vanna White" veto, immortalizing the "Wheel of Fortune" hostess who flipped letters and numbers in a TV game show.
—Daniel C. Vock, "It means 'I forbid'," Arizona Capitol Times, April 27, 2007
It was not a big deal because, hey, how much can you really change something by vetoing a few measly words and letters?
For years, they quite fairly and ably used it.
Recent governors, as the result of a constitutional amendment passed by voters, have not been able to use the Vanna veto, but our current leader has what some are now calling the "Frankenstein veto."
He not only has the power to erase nouns, verbs, adjectives and numbers that are part of longer sentences in certain bills but can also cobble together - al la Dr. Frankenstein - stuff the original authors couldn't even dream of.
—Mike Nichols, "See, it's easy to ably use this veto," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 30, 2005
Whether he gets to keep it is up to voters on April 3.
The power is the governor's partial veto, which includes the unusual ability to take a bill and change its meaning by vetoing the individual letters of words. The result can be the creation of whole new words and a whole new law.
Democrats have dubbed the practice the "Vanna White veto" after the celebrity from the TV game show "Wheel of Fortune," where contestants pick letters that make words.
—Craig Gilbert, "Vote to decide on use of partial veto," The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 25, 1990