Governor Walker’s Vetoes Remove Legislative Oversight

Kathleen Vinehout
Governor Walker’s Vetoes Remove Legislative Oversight
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
“I object to the infringement on gubernatorial power and duties,” wrote Governor Walker in his veto message. By his budget vetoes he made it clear he did not want legislative oversight.
The governor removed at least 15 portions of state law passed by the legislature that provided legislative authority or provided oversight of the executive branch.
Remember your 4th grade civics class lessons about the delicate balance of powers between the three branches of government – the governor (and executive agencies,), the legislature, and the judiciary. The power of the people lies in the power of their elected officials. The peoples’ representatives are their most direct line of power. When legislative power is undermined, so is the power of the people.
The governor began the budget process by taking away powers given to the people and the legislature. For example, the citizen board members of the Departments of Natural Resources and Agriculture lost all their policy-making powers in the governor’s budget. The legislature lost its oversight of state building projects in the governor’s changes to the Building Commission. The people lost budget restrictions in the governor’s gutting of the cost-benefit analysis requirements. These powers were all restored in action by the legislature.
However, through his vetoes, the governor again limited the power of the people through their legislature. For example, the legislature held onto funds the governor put in the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) budget. The very troubled jobs agency was to submit policy changes to the legislature. Presumably, those funds could be released funds if the budget writing committee members were satisfied progress was made. The governor took the funds set aside by the budget committee through his veto pen.
The budget writing committee made changes in the requirements for agencies writing budgets – requiring more information be sent to the legislature on budget options. Lawmakers also set executive restrictions on short-term debt. The use of this type of debt (known as ‘commercial paper’) has long been unrestricted by lawmakers and invisible to the public.
The governor vetoed both of these common sense budget oversight provisions.

Announcement by twitter?????

Scott Walker is in Twitter

So -- it's not at all clear how this happened, but Scott Walker apparently accidentally announced his candidacy a few days early on Twitter.  According to Politico his team ain't answering questions about it. Just so you know, I'm not voting for him or joining his team.  Maybe they just cannot break the habit of announcing everything late on Friday so's you won't notice.

Dumpster fire budget passes somewhat intact - 11 Republicans just say "no"

Its been fun, I think

SO that happened. The budget got passed. Although in some ways it's a little less egregious than what the governor initally proposed, it's still a "crap budget" as described by at least one Republican legislator. If you want to see a quck rundown of what is going to affect your life in the budget, there's a story at the Star Tribune (and why I keep ending up reading the Minnesota papers to get Wisconsin news is another question). 

Let's just say that a lot of bad policy got passed. And I mean bad policy more than bad budget items. This budget holds what is perhaps a record-breaking amount of state policy.  What ever happened to laws?  You remember laws, don't you?  Those things that the legislators are supposed to pass?  It's become so much easier in the world where Republicans control everything to just put all the goodies into the budget and then kick back to enjoy the next year and a half till the next legislative budget-making session occurs. 

Highlights of last night's Senate budget action

From Jake's Economic TA Funhouse:

Here's a roundup of a few items thrown in to the budget in yesterday’s Senate action. We had been told that the disgraceful gutting of open records law was going to be replaced, but a couple of other awful provisions in the now-notorious 999 proposal that went through the Joint Finance Committee last week also got the ax.

Gordon Hintz: Republicans Debate An Imaginary Budget That Is Good for Wisconsin

For Immediate Release:
July 8, 2015                                                                                                                                              

Contact: Rep. Gordon Hintz                                                                                                                                                  


Republicans Debate An Imaginary Budget That Is Good for Wisconsin

 Madison –In a surprise move, during today’s debate on the 2015-17 State Budget Assembly Republicans chose to make no mention of their original budget proposal recently passed by the Joint Finance Committee.  Instead, Republicans repeatedly attempted to debate what appears to be an imaginary budget, stating ‘this budget is right for everyone in Wisconsin’ and ‘is good for Wisconsin and its families, schools, and property taxpayers’.

In case you missed it - State Capitol evacuated - All Clear now

Update -- the evacuation of the Capitol just ended as the all-clear has been given and legislators are heading back to the building.

The state capitol was evacuated this afternoon due to a "credible bomb threat".  Many legislators were seen crossing the various streets around the capitol to partake of bipartisan drinking in the meantime.  Latest word on social media seems to be that dogs may be brought in to sniff the building, that the square has been more or less closed for the time being, and that it's likely that the budget debate in the Assembly will have to be moved forward to tomorrow.

This afternoon's Concert on the Square is currently "on hold" due to the threat.

Sen. Vinehout: Statement on Budget

July 7, 2015
Sen. Vinehout: Statement on Budget
(MADISON)  State Senator Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma) released the following statement following the State Senate action on the 2015-17 State Budget bill:
“Budgets are all about choices. Unfortunately, the budget passed by the Senate majority party represents political choices, not the choices of Wisconsin families.”

Motion 999 - Living Wage? Minimum Wage? Either way we're screwin' you - Part 2

Let's continue our trip through Motion 999. Apparently people are making too dang much money to satisfy the JFC, so they have amazingly managed to lower wages by simply substituting the term "minimum wage" for the term "living wage" in all Departmernt of Workforce Development definitions.  We're talking $7.25 per hour if you're lucky and not under 20 and starting a job, or falling into any number of categories who don't necessarily deserve that much. The notion that we can continue to insist on such a small minimum wage when many people are minimum wage employees and trying to support families simply needs to stop. This administration and legislature clearly think making under $15,000 per year is plenty for anybody to live on. This is an easy argment to make when you've never had to live on that much money.

This continual push to punish the poor and make their lot worse needs to stop. But we're just starting - things get worse. More in Part 3. Oh- and if you want to watch the government grinding out more of this sausage, they're currently streaming live at

The Jiggery-Pokery

The Hokey Pokey

Inspired by the colorful language of Justice Scalia and the shenanigans of our Republican legislators during the recent JFC fiasco, I would like to offer the following small contribution to the American Songbook.  It's been truly astounding to watch our Governor finally admit to "putting his right foot in" and to hear Kooyenga apologize for - well you know, not understanding the legislation he votes for. Apparently for this legislature "that's what it's all about".

To the tune of "The Hokey-Pokey".

You put the motion in
You take the motion out
You put the motion in
And your constituents shout

Stop doing the Jiggery-Pokery
Don't be a Republican lout
Or else we'll throw you out!


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