Governor Walker has signed all of the bills curtailing the powers of the incoming governor that were passed in lame duck session earlier this month.
Governor Walker’s office announced Friday morning that he would be in Green Bay at noon today to take action on those bills, and then signed them in their entirety with no line item vetoes.
Walker had suggested earlier this week that he might use the veto, but declined to do so. He also waited to sign this bills until after putting together a deal for Kimberly Clark, using powers that would be stripped from the Governor in the bills.
Walker said that Governor-Elect Tony Evers will continue to enjoy some of the strongest powers of any governor in America, including having the line item veto.
The outgoing Republican governor used a Venn diagram to illustrate the continuity of the powers he employed for eight years, and those available to Evers.
There are a number of changes that the bills bring to the executive branch. Evers will not have the power to decide the head of the board of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation until 2019. Evers has campaigned on dissolving the board and rebuilding the state commerce department.
Under the new laws, the executive branch will also have to get permission from the Joint Finance Committee before making changes to medical assistance and insurance programs that require federal waivers. Republicans recently won the right to require single adults without dependant to be employed while receiving state aid.
The state attorney general’s office will also have to ask permission from the legislative Joint Finance Committee before entering or leaving lawsuits over state statutes. Republicans have worried that incoming attorney general Josh Kaul would pull out of defenses of the state’s voter ID law or it’s legal challenges against the Affordable Care Act.
The bills also restrict early voting to two weeks. In statements to the media at the signing, Walker said that he likes early voting but that it needs to be fair, and that allowing large cities like Milwaukee and Madison to have up to 6 weeks of early voting is unfair to residents in other parts of Wisconsin. A measure like this one has already been thrown out by a federal judge as being discriminatory in nature.