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Governor Walker Considers Line-Item Vetoes For Lame-Duck Bills

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Angelina Mosher Salazar
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Gov. Scott Walker speaks publicly for the first time about lame duck bills that will limit the powers of his successor Tony Evers.

Gov. Scott Walker spoke for the first time Tuesday on the GOP bill package that seeks to limit the power of Gov.-elect Tony Evers. While Democratic lawmakers, advocacy groups and individuals were outraged over the proposals, Walker downplays the impact the bills would have. 

"For all this hype and hysteria ... the bottom line is there is not a fundamental shift in powers," said Walker at a small business event in Pewaukee.

The lame-duck session bills would shield Wisconsin's job-creation agency from Evers' influence most of 2019, limit his ability to enact administrative rules, and block him from withdrawing Wisconsin from a multistate lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act. As for the Democratic Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul, the bills would also weaken his powers and limit early voting to no more than two weeks before an election.

READ: Wisconsin GOP Lawmakers Limit Incoming Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' Power

Walker did not give a firm answer on whether he would sign the bill package into law. But he did suggest he'll use his veto power to make specific line edits.

"Right now, most likely, we'll probably do a series at least one if not multiple line-item vetoes. There’s some concerns we specifically have with some issues dealing with Medicaid," said Walker. 

Walker is facing pressure from Democrats as well as some Republicans, including a prominent donor and former governor, to veto the measures. Despite the criticism, Walker maintains that the bills would not drastically affect his successor. 

"I could veto everything, or I could sign it all or I could do line veto. No matter which of those three options I do, Tony Evers, come Jan. 7, will have some of the strongest powers of any governor in America," affirmed Walker. 

Walker says he spoke with Evers about proposed changes to the Wisconsin Economic Development corporation, or WEDC. That's the job creation agency over which Evers would have limited influence under the Republican lawmakers' plan. However, Walker says Evers did not detail specific issues he had with the bills. 

In addition to discussing the GOP bills, Walker spoke about how he might spend his time after leaving office.

"May do some speaking, may do some lecturing. Maybe at a college or university. May do a variety of different things," he said. "In particular what I’m most interested in is manufacturing. That’s been a particular passion of mine"

Walker has held a political post for 25 years, starting in the Wisconsin Legislature and then serving as Milwaukee County executive, before being elected as governor eight years ago.

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