Scott Walker says Wisconsin governor powers will remain strong

Tony Evers, Scott Walker

MADISON — Gov. Scott Walker says the powers of his Democratic replacement will remain among the strongest of any governor in the country, even if he signs bills passed in a lame-duck session.

Walker posted a lengthy message on Facebook on Tuesday detailing what he calls his “straightforward criteria” for reviewing the bills passed last week. It’s the latest sign that Walker is likely to sign the measures into law.

Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers and a number of Republicans, including former Gov. Scott McCallum, have urged Walker to veto the bills saying signing them would tarnish his legacy.

Walker say in the Facebook post that his criteria for deciding whether to sign the bills include whether they increase transparency, accountability, stability in government and protect taxpayers.

Complete text of Scott Walker’s Facebook post

Let’s set the record straight – the new governor will still have some of the strongest powers of any governor in the nation if these bills become law. He will have the power to veto legislation and he will have some of the broadest line-item veto authority of any governor in the nation.

The new governor will be able to appoint members of his cabinet and of various other state government posts – as well as judges, district attorneys, sheriffs and other officials.

The new governor will be able to sign off on administrative rules. He will be able to present a biennial state budget. He will be able to pardon convicted felons.

None of these things will change regardless of what I do with the bills passed in the state Legislature last week.

Here are my straightforward criteria for reviewing the legislation:

Does it improve transparency? Will it make it easier for people to know what is going on in their government? For example, one of the bills calls for a report on people who receive a pardon by the Governor. It seems reasonable that the public should know if a convicted felon is pardoned of his or her crime.

Does it increase accountability? Will it continue to put checks and balances in place to ensure that state government is accountable to the hard-working people of Wisconsin? For example, it makes sense that lawmakers should have some say in how the state might spend a multi-million legal settlement.

Does it affirm stability? Will reasonable agreements between the executive and legislative branches continue as well as items that are common practice? For example, we worked with members of the Legislature before we sought waivers from the federal government so that the legislative branch would not be at odds with us after we received approvals. It makes sense to codify this in the statues so it continues in the future.

Does it protect the taxpayers? Will it help ensure that those in government are good stewards of the taxpayers’ resources? For example, a federal court ruled that purchases made on the Internet are subject to the same sales taxes made on purchases in a state. A law enacted years ago says that if new revenues come in from a change at the federal level, those revenues must go to lowering the burden on the hard-working taxpayers in Wisconsin. It makes sense to ensure that this provision applies the same to a change made in federal court as it does to an act of Congress.

These are the reasonable criteria we will use to review the legislation passed during the extraordinary session.

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