Posted Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011, at 11:50 AM
MADISON, Wisc. -- I've found a place in the State Senate, which is being gaveled back into special session today to deal with two items.
Senate Joint Resolution 13: Relating to: Declaring January 26 as Bob Uecker Day.
Senate Bill 6: Relating to: requiring certain identification in order to vote at a polling place or obtain an absentee ballot, verification of the addresses of electors, absentee voting procedure in certain residential care apartment complexes and adult family homes, identification cards issued by the Department of Transportation, creating an identification certificate issued by the Department of Transportation, requiring the exercise of rule-making authority, and providing a penalty.
One of these bills is more serious than the other. The voter ID be can be passed by a rump of Republican senators. The goal of introducing it was to tempt the missing Democratic senators back, but it hasn't worked for two simple reasons.
1) Republicans had the vote to ram it through anyway.
2) The legislation, as written, appeared to have constitutional problems that would shred it in court.
Republicans figured out how to resolve that last issue. Senators Lazich and Liebham introduced an amendment cleaning up the parts of the bill that didn't match up with similar legislation in states like Indiana -- legislation that survived a Supreme Court test. "Valid" driver's licenses become "unexpired" ones. "Proof of residence" becomes "proof of identification."
I've heard opponents of the bill claim that it will still fail to pass the Constitution test because it won't offer reimbursement for IDs; I don't see that in the legislation yet.