Republicans fail in effort to override Gov. Evers vetoes

MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) - 4:20 p.m.

All three veto override attempts in the Wisconsin Assembly have failed after Democrats refused to go along with Republicans to rebuff Gov. Tony Evers.

Thursday's votes marked the first override attempts in the Wisconsin Legislature in nine years. The last successful override was in 1985.

One was an attempt to restore $15 million in funding to build a regional mental health crisis center in northern Wisconsin. Another was to restore $5 million in funding for doctors who care for people in state health care programs.

A third veto gave the Evers administration more flexibility in how to spend $500,000 to increase the number of health care providers.

All 62 Republicans voted to override but all 34 Democrats were against. At least two Democrats needed to flip in order for the vetoes to be overridden.

Gov. Evers responded to Thursday's votes in a written statement:

"Republicans are clearly more interested in playing politics than getting anything done for the people of our state—it started with the lame-duck session, then it was changing the constitution, then it was ignoring farmers and rejecting a cabinet appointee for the first time in Wisconsin modern history, and today it’s trying to override vetoes that happened months ago.

"It’s time for Republicans to get over the election that happened more than a year ago so we can work together on the pressing issues facing our state."


Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna) issued a statement saying Democrats turned their backs on mental health needs:
"“It is disappointing that none of the Democratic lawmakers were willing to buck their party leaders and do what’s right for our state. Given the opportunity to join us in supporting critical mental health initiatives, my colleagues across the aisle instead chose to follow the status quo, to the detriment of countless families and communities.

"Mental health plays a vital role in not only the health of an individual, but the well-being of our schools, workplaces, and ultimately, communities. Today, my Democratic colleagues had the opportunity to correct an error made when Governor Evers vetoed several provisions from the budget that would have made our communities both healthier and safer. Frankly, it’s embarrassing that they refused to join us on an issue that is a clear ‘win’ for every part of our state."

3:40 p.m.

The first two of three veto override attempts in the Wisconsin Assembly has been rejected.

No Democrats joined with Republicans on the override votes Thursday. The first was an attempt to restore $15 million in funding to build a regional mental health crisis center in northern Wisconsin. The other was to restore $5 million in funding for doctors who care for people in state health care programs.

All 62 Republicans voted to override Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' veto. But all 34 Democrats were against. At least two Democrats needed to flip in order for the vetoes to be overridden.

Republicans argued if Democrats were serious about combatting mental health, they would have voted for the overrides. Democratic Minority Leader Gordon Hintz says the overrides were scheduled to deflect from Republicans not taking up gun control bills in a special session.

3 p.m.

The first veto override attempt in nine years has failed on a party line vote in the Wisconsin Assembly.

No Democrats voted in support of an override pushed by Republicans to restore $15 million to build a new regional mental health crisis center in northern Wisconsin.

All 62 Republicans voted to override Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' veto and all 34 Democrats voted against.

Republicans argue that there was bipartisan support for building more regional crisis centers so Democrats should back the override. Backers cite the time and expense of transporting people up to eight hours away to get them to the Winnebago mental health crisis center in Oshkosh as reason to build a facility in northwestern Wisconsin.

Evers vetoed the funding so the money could be used to expand the existing Mendota mental health treatment center in Madison.

Republicans are also proposing two other overrides that Democrats have vowed to vote against.

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1:50 p.m.

Wisconsin Republican Assembly leaders say Democrats should join them in voting to override three vetoes by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

The Assembly is voting Thursday on the overrides. It is the first time since 2010 that the Assembly has voted to override a veto.

Republicans need Democratic support to be successful.

But Democratic Minority Leader Gordon Hintz says no Democrats will vote for them. He accuses Republicans of pushing the overrides to "cover for their cowardice" on not voting on gun control bills.

Republican Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke calls that accusation "ridiculous."

Steineke says Democrats should support overriding one veto that killed funding to build a new regional mental health crisis center in northwestern Wisconsin. There has been bipartisan support to build more centers across the state.

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5:45 a.m.

The Wisconsin Assembly will vote on overriding three of Gov. Tony Evers' budget vetoes.

Thursday's votes will mark the first time since 2010 that the Legislature has tried to override the veto of a governor. No veto override has succeeded since 1985.

One of the targeted vetoes killed $15 million in funding to create a northern Wisconsin regional mental health crisis center. Another one blocked $5 million a year for doctors who care for people in state health care programs. The third gave the Evers administration more flexibility in how to spend $500,000 to increase the number of health care providers.

Republicans will need Democratic votes to be successful in the override, but no Democrats are expected to vote for it. The Senate would also have to go along.

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