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Dem recall winner against proposed changes to elections process

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MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - A state senator who won her job in a recall vote last month says she’s against a Republican effort to prevent others from winning elections the way she did.

Democrat Jennifer Shilling of La Crosse defeated GOP Senator Dan Kapanke in a recall triggered by his vote in favor of the new limits on public union bargaining.

Now, two Republican lawmakers are proposing a constitutional amendment to allow recalls only when a public official commits misconduct in office.

Assembly Republicans Robin Vos of Racine County and Paul Farrow of Pewaukee are the main sponsors. Vos questioned the costs of holding this summer’s recalls – estimated by state officials at $2.1 million.

Other Republicans have said they’re concerned about having perpetual campaigns that could take away from pressing issues like creating jobs.

But Democrat Shilling said the recalls gave a voice to those angry about the GOP’s policies. She said Wisconsin has a high threshold for recalling officials, and citizens should have their right to hold their leaders accountable if they don’t feel they’re being represented.

Vos said he was concerned about a possible recall of GOP Governor Scott Walker and other Senate Republicans next year. But his amendment would not stop those efforts, since it would have to be approved in two consecutive legislative sessions – and then by the voters in a statewide referendum.

16 senators were targeted this year for their actions on the union law – and in the end, two Republicans were voted out.

Wisconsin has allowed recalls for any reason since 1926 – and before this year, only two state lawmakers lost their jobs that way.

The National Conference of State Legislatures says Wisconsin is one of 11 states that allow recalls for any reason. 8 other states require specific reasons, like misconduct or a lack of fitness to serve.

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