Wisconsin State Legislature’s ‘Secret Successors’ Should Be Rejected


I know that nothing will be the same since 9/11, the day America was struck by terrorists.  We have been told that ‘nothing will be the same’ so often that it ranks right up there with “In God We Trust” as a slogan that defines part of our American story.  That troubles me, at it seems to limit our thinking beyond the fear factor.  In our quieter moments of reflection we should be able to adjust our thinking and put a perspective on the truly awful events of 9/11, so that we do not go overboard into the realm of fear that spawns quirky policy initiatives.

The recent, and might I add, most ‘creative’ legislative reaction to fear is the plan by the Wisconsin State Legislature to name  ‘Secret Successors’ in case of some diabolical plot that leaves a number of them incapacitated.  When I first read this I did a double-take.  The scenario sounded like something that Tom Clancy might hatch in one of his books.  Having read and enjoyed the Jack Ryan series I know what good fiction looks like.  But what the legislature is contemplating is just bizarre.

I reject the idea of continually playing into the fear that ripples out from 9/11.  That fear is EXACTLY what the terrorists hoped we would concentrate on, and as such they would leave a long-lasting mark on this nation.  Much beyond the death and injuries from that day 8 years ago they are succeeding with their intent.  I do not want them to win on that score.  Sadly, the Wisconsin Legislature is feeding into the fear factor with ‘Secret Successors’.   This is a bad idea, and should be utterly rejected.

Legislature is getting ready to pass a bill that would allow lawmakers to designate secret successors.  

The bill would allow each legislator to name three to seven successors. They would come into play if an enemy attack leaves nine or more vacancies in the Senate or 25 or more vacancies in the Assembly.  

The bill also would allow the Legislature to meet at a temporary state capital of its choosing. Right now the governor picks the temporary seat of government. If lawmakers can’t physically meet they could hold virtual meetings. Legislature is getting ready to pass a bill that would allow lawmakers to designate secret successors.  

The bill would allow each legislator to name three to seven successors. They would come into play if an enemy attack leaves nine or more vacancies in the Senate or 25 or more vacancies in the Assembly.  

The bill also would allow the Legislature to meet at a temporary state capital of its choosing. Right now the governor picks the temporary seat of government. If lawmakers can’t physically meet they could hold virtual meetings.

7 thoughts on “Wisconsin State Legislature’s ‘Secret Successors’ Should Be Rejected

  1. J.M.

    If the nuclear bomb goes off at the Inn on the Park where all the legislators go drinking during floor sessions, this might be a concern–otherwise, I bet we won’t need this sort of legislation!

  2. Mark

    I think this idea is terrifying in a Constitutional Republic such as ours. What makes these legislators so darned important that we couldn’t replace them either with a gubernatorial appointment or with a special election. This whole idea of letting someone secretly fill a position seems so EXTRA-CONSTITUTIONAL, I hope the Governor can see his way to the veto pen if it lands on his desk!

  3. Marty

    Thanks for making me aware of this matter. I have had a hard time searching the internet for more information after reading your story. I think this a bad idea. But I want you to know how much I appreciate you posting this type of news and that is one of the reasons I have you on my favorites.

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