An amendment to reform the veto power of the Wisconsin governor advanced out of committee in the state senate on Tuesday on a vote of 3-2.
“Today, my constitutional amendment to kill the ‘Zombie Veto’ and restore legislative authority to set spending limits passed committee,” Sen. Dave Craig (R-Big Bend) said on social media after the vote. “Governors (GOP or DEM) should not be able to resuscitate spending the legislature has laid to rest.”
The State Budget Protection Act amendment, authored by Craig and Rep. Mike Kuglitsch (R-New Berlin), would prevent a Wisconsin governor of using his partial veto power to actually increase spending. The amendment was proposed after Governor Tony Evers used his veto power to increase spending in the state budget by around $86.5 million.
After the committee vote, amendment support Sen. Duey Stroebel (R-Cedarburg) said he was looking forward to the whole senate considering the amendment.
“Future Governors of Wisconsin should not be able to increase spending using their veto pen,” Stroebel posted on Twitter. “I was happy to vote for SJR 59 in committee today and look forward to voting for it again on the Senate Floor.”
Amending the state constitution requires the bill to be passed in two consecutive sessions of the legislature and approval by the voters in a referendum. The governor’s partial veto power, created in 1930, was limited by constitutional amendments in 1990 and 2008.
Evers’ use of his veto to increase spending is the subject of a lawsuit that will be decided by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The lawsuit against the spending increase caused by the governor’s veto was filed by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL).
“Governor Evers used his partial veto to create new laws out of whole cloth,” WILL President and General Counsel Rick Esenberg said after the case was accepted by the state Supreme Court. “The people of Wisconsin never intended the check on legislative power the Governors’ veto represents to permit the Governor to legislate on his own.”