State Supreme Court hears arguments on governor's partial veto powers

Published: Apr. 20, 2020 at 4:01 PM CDT
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An attorney for a conservative law firm is urging the state Supreme Court on Monday to rein in the governor’s expansive partial veto powers.

Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty attorney Rick Esenberg told the court during oral arguments Monday that the chief executive’s ability to rewrite state law tramples on the separation of powers with the Legislature.

Evers' attorney, Colin Roth, countered that Wisconsin residents already limited the governor's powers with a pair of constitutional amendments in 1990 and 2008 and the high court shouldn't go beyond that.

The court's conservative justices seemed skeptical of Roth's arguments.

Among the plaintiffs' complaints are that Gov. Evers used his partial veto to reinstate his original plan to spend millions of dollars from the Volkswagen emissions settlement on new public transit buses and electric vehicle charging stations and altered a budgetary line to increase K-12 spending by $63 more per-student than the Legislature intended.

In a similar case, the Supreme Court heard arguments Monday on Gov. Scott Walker's use of the partial veto to rewrite dates that were never intended by the Legislature. In the 2017-19 biennial budget, he changed the year 2018 so a credit card bad debt reduction won't take effect until 2078 and the Legislature doesn't have a deadline to adjust energy efficiency revenue limits until 3018.

Copyright 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved. WBAY contributed to this report.

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