Wisconsin Supreme Court Accepts New Veto Authority Case

The Wisconsin Supreme Court recently accepted a new case, Wisconsin Small Business United, Inc. v. Brennan (2019AP2054), which will decide whether the governor’s partial veto authority allows him to change dates in a piece of legislation.

Petitioners challenge the constitutional validity of two vetoes by Gov. Scott Walker in the 2017-19 budget bill. In that budget, the Governor used his partial veto authority to delay the effective date of a program by 60 years and extend another program by 1,000 years.

The court will decide whether Art. V § 10 of the Wisconsin Constitution allows governors to change dates in appropriations legislation. The constitution provides that governors may partially veto numbers in appropriations and may veto entire words but may not create a new word by vetoing individual letters. At issue is whether the governor can veto individual numbers in dates in appropriations legislation.

Also on the Supreme Court’s docket is a case challenging vetoes by Gov. Tony Evers in the 2019-21 state budget, Bartlett v. Evers. The cases are both scheduled for oral argument on April 20.