At an elementary school in Neenah on Sept. 21, Gov. Scott Walker officially signed the $76 billion 2017-19 state budget. Prior to signing the budget bill, Walker released a list of his 99 partial vetoes of the budget. A week prior on Sept. 13, the Assembly passed the budget. Initially there was some uncertainty as to whether Senate Republicans had enough votes; however, the Senate passed the budget 19-14 on Friday, Sept. 15. Sen. David Craig (R-Big Bend) was the only Republican to vote no. The three legislators previously considered “maybes” – Sens. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield), Steve Nass (R-Whitewater), and Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville) – ended up voting yes on the budget after Gov. Walker promised several vetoes in return for their support.
The governor’s veto message included an explanation as to why he was removing each provision from the budget. Below are highlights from the 99 vetoes:
- Deletes the Judicial Council, following a Supreme Court order to discontinue the Council.
- Eliminates the provision that would have limited the authority of local governments to regulate quarries. Walker said such a major policy provision should be addressed as separate legislation.
- Eliminates changes to the low revenue adjustment for school districts. Related to this provision, Walker delayed the effective date of a provision that limits referenda to only regularly scheduled election days to January 1, 2018.
- Removal of all Group Health Insurance Program and Group Insurance Board directives that would have given the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) further oversight and involvement in the administration of state employee health plans. This comes as no surprise after JFC rejected a centerpiece of the governor’s budget to self-insure state employees’ health care.
- Eliminates the provision that would have updated the process for placing sexually violent persons in the community. Walker said the item was non-fiscal policy. This week, a bill with the same provisions is circulating in the legislature by Sen. Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point).
- Eliminates the provision that would include complex rehabilitation technology as a benefit under the state’s Medicaid program. Again, Walker said this provision was a non-fiscal policy item that needed further legislature review. The provision has already been introduced in the legislature by Rep. John Jagler (R-Watertown) and Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield) as AB 462/SB 381.
- Removal of additional reporting and approval requirements to the JFC on the Childless Adult Employment and Training Waiver provisions. Walker said the requirements would interfere with the Department of Health Services’ ability to negotiate a waiver with the federal government.
- Eliminates the $2.3 million Intensive Care Coordination Pilot Program. The governor explained that he believes addressing super utilizers of emergency care should be “broad-based,” rather than targeting one or two health care systems.
- Modifies Volkswagen settlement provisions that eliminates the $10 million cap on settlement funds that can be used for state fleet vehicle replacement. Walker said the budget should not limit funds to an amount below Wisconsin’s needs for vehicle replacement.
- Eliminates the tolling implementation study.
- Changes the effective date of the repeal of prevailing wage to the effective date of the budget, instead of the bill’s original date of Sept. 1, 2018.
Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna) said Assembly Republicans plan to meet in mid-October regarding possible veto overrides. Sen. Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said Senate Republicans would not consider veto overrides.