This week, the State Legislature finished its deliberations on the state budget. On June 25, the State Assembly passed the comprehensive spending bill on a 60 to 39 vote with all Democrats and three Republicans voting in opposition. Debate on the bill lasted over 10 hours.
The State Senate passed the bill yesterday, June 26, on a vote of 17 to 16. Debate in the Senate lasted over 5 hours.
The bill is now headed to Governor Evers’ desk. Upon receiving the bill, Governor Evers can sign it, veto it in whole, or veto it in part. Wisconsin governors have one of the strongest veto pens in the country. As of this writing, political spectators expect Governor Evers will veto specific sections of the bill. However, he and his office have not publicly stated which items may be vetoed. When he officially receives the bill, he will have six days (excluding Sundays) to veto the bill and issue a veto report to the legislature.
According to state law, the Governor may “line item veto” appropriations bills. However, his power is somewhat limited in this regard. The State Constitution says, “In approving an appropriation bill in part, the governor may not create a new word by rejecting individual letters in the words of the enrolled bill.” This is to prohibit the Governor from crafting new words.
Additionally, the State Constitution prohibits the Governor from creating “a new sentence by combining parts of 2 or more sentences of the enrolled bill.”
He can, however, strike entire words, sentences, and numbers. However, he cannot make a designated dollar amount larger. He can only make it smaller.
As always, Hoven Consulting will continue to monitor the process and keep you informed of any actions the Governor may take.