MADISON (WKOW) — Gov. Scott Walker Friday signed three pieces of legislation passed in the recent lame-duck session of the state Legislature.
He signed the bills in their entirety, without using his line-item veto authority during a ceremony in Green Bay.
Critics have said that the measures weaken the powers Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers and Democratic Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul, but Walker insisted the governor’s powers remain strong.
The bills give Republicans control of the state job-creation agency, block Evers from withdrawing Wisconsin from a multistate lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act and prevent him from seeking to withdraw a federal waiver allowing the state to force Medicaid recipients to work to receive benefits.
Kaul would need lawmakers’ permission to settle lawsuits and the Legislature would be able to intervene in cases.
Governor Walker says he’s leaving the Governor-Elect in much the same position as he was when he first took office.
“All the major executive authorities I had on January 3, 2011 remain intact,” Governor Walker says.
“The will of the people was ignored,” Governor-Elect Evers counters. “It was an opportunity to reverse the election of Nov. 6.”
“None of this would have happened, this legislation wouldn’t have happened had Governor Walker been elected instead of me,” the Governor-Elect says.
Governor Walker says his legacy will not be defined by his Friday’s bill signings, but by the state’s record unemployment rate, job creation and other rising economic indicators during his eight year tenure.
The Governor says he still has a stake in the Badger state’s future.
“I’m going to live here, I want Wisconsin to do well, I want Tony Evers to be successful,” Governor Walker says.
Governor Walker’s bill signing Friday also prevents the future governor from acting as Walker did in using enterprise zones to fashion a tax credit package to Kimberly Clark to preserve several hundred jobs. Evers will need approval from lawmakers to carry out any similar, future economic incentive with a firm in the private sector.
“I will be reviewing our options and doing everything we can to make sure the people of the state are not ignored and overlooked,” Governor-Elect Evers says, without elaborating on any possible move. A liberal advocacy group indicates it may bring legal action to challenge aspects of what Governor Walker approved.
In North Carolina, a similar struggle in 2016 between an outgoing republican governor and incoming democratic chief executive produced legal fights that still continue.
Governor Walker suggested the altering of gubernatorial powers targets Ever’s possible moves as he begins his term alongside a republican-led legislature.
“We have out in place deep, deep roots to help the state grow, and deep roots that no matter what happens over the next four years, they’ll continue to allow the people of Wisconsin to grow and prosper.”
Complete coverage of the lame-duck session is HERE.