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Evers smashes veto record

By M.D. Kittle

MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers just set a new record for vetoing legislation. What’s he going to do next? Go to Disney World?

He most likely is going to issue more vetoes.

On Friday, the Democrat vetoed 43 bills, bringing his total to 98 for the recently wrapped 2021-22 legislative session. Evers has eclipsed the previous record of 90 vetoes set by Gov. Fred Zimmerman, a Republican, in the 1927-28 session, according to the Legislative Reference Bureau.

And this governor has signaled that he’s not done killing bills that don’t fit his far left agenda.

Evers’ latest veto blitzkrieg wiped out legislation on gun ownership rights, election reform, and limits on government power. The liberal governor also killed opportunities for expanded charter schools and blocked funding for public safety initiatives.

“Governor Evers has set a record today for the most vetoes of any governor in the history of our state,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said last week. “While Legislative Republicans continue to pass needed reforms to address election security, rising crime, and workforce shortages, the Governor continues to ignore the important issues facing Wisconsinites.”

No (election) integrity

Evers has rejected a slew of election reform bills passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature. The measures have been written in the wake of myriad election integrity concerns raised in Wisconsin’s 2020 presidential election in which Democrat Joe Biden claimed a narrow victory over Republican President Donald Trump.

In his veto message, Evers said the legislation was “passed under the guise of needing to reform our election system because elected officials in this state have enabled disinformation about our elections and election processes.”

“I have and will object to each and every effort by this Legislature and its members to undermine our democracy,” the governor wrote.

But many voters believe the hundreds of millions of dollars pumped into the 2020 presidential election by outside liberal groups undermined democracy. One reform bill would have barred private grants, like the ones underwritten by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, in Wisconsin’s elections. A Wisconsin Spotlight investigation, among others, detailed how the state’s largest Democrat cities were the primary beneficiaries of “Zuckbucks.”

Other election integrity bills would have provided better vetting of voter IDs, more clearly defined who can claim “indefinitely confined” status and not have to present an ID, and checked a Wisconsin Election Commission that has routinely manipulated or broken election law.

“He has yet again refused to protect the integrity of our elections by vetoing legislation that prohibits private funds in our elections, closes voter ID loopholes, protects our senior’s right to vote, cleans voter rolls, and holds state agencies accountable for violations of election laws,” Vos said.

Canceling Gun rights

Evers vetoed two Second Amendment bills. One would end prohibitions against those with concealed carry permits to keep guns in their vehicles on school property. Wisconsin law makes it a felony to possess a firearm on school grounds under sweeping gun-free school zone laws.

“This is legislation that was first recommended to me by a state trooper in my district,” Sen. Andre Jacque (R-De Pere) one of the authors of the bill, said in January. “It’s something that I think really is common sense.”

And Evers vetoed a bill that would have recognized concealed carry permits issued in other states. The bill’s author, Rep. Rick Gundrum R-Slinger), said the current system of limited reciprocity creates a regulatory patchwork of acceptable licenses. The bill would have removed the bureaucratic hurdle.

“It is no secret that, if Governor Evers had his way, Wisconsin would be a state that is far less friendly to the Second Amendment,” the lawmaker said. “The governor, by vetoing this bill, is telling progressive lawmakers in liberal bastions such as Oregon .. that they need to get to work on further trampling our constitutional rights.”

Protecting overreach

Evers, who illegally expanded the state’s executive branch powers during the pandemic, vetoed bills that would have checked government overreach. He stoped a measure barring the state from determining whether businesses are “essential” or “nonessential.” In assigning the designations early on in the pandemic, the Evers administration shut down thousands of businesses and shoved hundreds of thousands of people onto the unemployment line.

And the governor killed a bill that would give parents the right to opt their child out of wearing a mask at school. The measure also would require an option for in-person classroom instruction.

“The Governor says he doesn’t want the Legislature to ‘insert itself in decisions parents and educators have been making together,’ but that just shows how out of touch he is! Parents have not been a part of the decision-making process, they’ve been ignored,” said Sen. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield), author of the bill.

Stalling charter schools

Evers vetoed legislation that would have expanded opportunities for more school choice, nixing a proposed state board for authorizing charter schools. The beneficiary of generous campaign contributions from the state’s public teachers union also blocked a bill that would have given local authorizers greater ability to expand charter schools.

“Gov. Evers’ veto of the creation of more independent charter schools is very disappointing, if not surprising. Wisconsin needs more high quality schools, regardless of sector, in all corners of the state. This bill would have done just that” said CJ Szafir, CEO of Institute for Reforming Government Action Fund.

The bills were part of the Empowering Parents Agenda, and included a measure that would establish uniform standards for school accountability reports.

“The governor thinks he knows better than the parents of Wisconsin and he’s absolutely wrong about that,” said Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), chair of the Senate Education Committee. “These bills terrify bureaucrats like the governor because they give parents options and information.”

Defending his slush fund

And Evers once again blocked any attempt by the Legislature to have input in how he spends the billions of dollars he controls in federal COVID-19 aid. Republicans have accused the governor of using the money like a re-election campaign slush fund, and his resistance at every turn to release his tight grip on the funds helps build their case.

Evers vetoed a package of bills that would have marked $10 million in federal funds for local law enforcement grants. More money would be targeted for recruiting police officers and for police academies in an effort to deal with a spate of law enforcement officer departures and an escalation in violent crime.

“..(W)ith crime on the rise in Wisconsin and across the nation, Governor Evers vetoed legislation that would have worked to put more officers on our streets,” Vos said.

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2 thoughts on “Evers smashes veto record

  • Tony is using the same common sense as when he pulled the Wisconsin National Guard off the boarder saying there was not crisis down there. So now we all can pay for all the free benefits the illegals that are pouring over the boarder to claim all the free ( HIGHLY INFLATED PRICED ) stuff we pay for. YEP, common sense. ABSENT FROM THE WHITE HOUSE TO WISCONSIN…

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