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Evers: "Fading hope" that Walker will veto lame-duck bills

(WBAY photo)
(WBAY photo)(WBAY)
Published: Dec. 11, 2018 at 6:24 PM CST
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Tuesday evening, Action 2 News learned Gov. Scott Walker has not received any of the bills the Legislature passed in a lame-duck session before Gov.-elect Tony Evers takes office.

Among other things, the Republican-backed bills would limit some of the power of the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general.

Governor-elect Evers joined a public forum at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Tuesday afternoon, where he kicked off a statewide listening tour focused on priorities for the next state budget.

But before Evers even takes office, he's been the focus of this lame-duck legislation which he's urged Gov. Walker to veto.

The measures would limit early voting to just two weeks and shift more power to the Legislature over decisions that are made right now solely by the governor or attorney general. These decisions include picking the head of the state's job-creation agency which oversees the Foxconn incentives package.

"I'm still hopeful," Evers told reporters in Green Bay. "It's fading hope, to be honest, that the will of the people will have been met."

Evers called it "something that is really unprecedented in the state."

Gov. Walker released a statement Tuesday indicating his support for some of the legislation, writing, "It makes sense that lawmakers should have some say in how the state might spend a multi-million legal settlement" (read the complete statement in the sidebar).

He also indicated to reporters he may use his line-item veto.

"Early on, I raised some concerns when they first talked about it, about for example, an item that would have affected the veto authority. I would not have signed that. They did not include that in. They included language drafted without us directly involved in that, so we are trying to sort through the details of that and make a determination," Walker said.

The deadline for Gov. Walker to sign or use his veto power on those measures is December 27.

Democrats have suggested these bills could lead to court challenges.

Officially, Walker has until December 20 to call for the bills. If he doesn't, they are automatically sent to his office. Once that happens, he has six days to act on them, excluding Sunday.

Statement from Governor Scott Walker on lame-duck session legislation:

Let’s set the record straight – the new governor will still have some of the strongest powers of any governor in the nation if these bills become law. He will have the power to veto legislation and he will have some of the broadest line-item veto authority of any governor in the nation.

The new governor will be able to appoint members of his cabinet and of various other state government posts - as well as judges, district attorneys, sheriffs and other officials.

The new governor will be able to sign off on administrative rules. He will be able to present a biennial state budget. He will be able to pardon convicted felons.

None of these things will change regardless of what I do with the bills passed in the state Legislature last week.

Here are my straightforward criteria for reviewing the legislation:

Does it improve transparency? Will it make it easier for people to know what is going on in their government? For example, one of the bills calls for a report on people who receive a pardon by the Governor. It seems reasonable that the public should know if a convicted felon is pardoned of his or her crime.

Does it increase accountability? Will it continue to put checks and balances in place to ensure that state government is accountable to the hard-working people of Wisconsin? For example, it makes sense that lawmakers should have some say in how the state might spend a multi-million legal settlement.

Does it affirm stability? Will reasonable agreements between the executive and legislative branches continue as well as items that are common practice? For example, we worked with members of the Legislature before we sought waivers from the federal government so that the legislative branch would not be at odds with us after we received approvals. It makes sense to codify this in the statues so it continues in the future.

Does it protect the taxpayers? Will it help ensure that those in government are good stewards of the taxpayers’ resources? For example, a federal court ruled that purchases made on the Internet are subject to the same sales taxes made on purchases in a state. A law enacted years ago says that if new revenues come in from a change at the federal level, those revenues must go to lowering the burden on the hard-working taxpayers in Wisconsin. It makes sense to ensure that this provision applies the same to a change made in federal court as it does to an act of Congress.

These are the reasonable criteria we will use to review the legislation passed during the extraordinary session.