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Evers issues 41 vetoes, signs 17 bills into law Friday

Source: Wisconsin Public Television

Evers issues 41 vetoes, signs 17 bills into law Friday

The action on the bills was announced Friday by the governor's office.

March 30, 2024 1:22 PM CDT

By: Jimmie Kaska

Estimated reading time: 11 minutes

MADISON, Wis. (Civic Media) – Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers acted on 58 pieces of legislation on Friday, signing 17 bills into law while issuing 41 vetoes.

The action on the bills was announced Friday by the governor’s office.

Evers vetoed a package of bills that Republicans touted as tax cuts. In his veto messages, Evers called the proposals “fiscally irresponsible,” citing a loss of over $3 billion in tax revenues in a two-year cycle.

Earlier this month, Evers signed a bill expanding the child and dependent care tax credit. That bill had strong bipartisan support.

Evers also vetoed a Republican-authored bill that would have eliminated Department of Public Instruction licensing requirements for school district administrators. In his veto message, Evers called the idea a “non-starter.”

Another vetoed bill would have set a number on the state’s wolf population. Evers also vetoed a bill that would have barred UW and other universities and colleges from making employment or admission decisions based on diversity statements, calling the bill unnecessary. Another education-related bill that Evers vetoed was a Republican proposal to create a Parents’ Bill of Rights.

One of the bills signed by Evers will expand the state’s health care infrastructure by funding mental health crisis care and facilities, including licensing requirements. The bill will also add new mental health crisis care centers in the state. The new law is estimated to cost about $10 million per year and will be distributed by the legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance. The bill was unanimously supported in the legislature.

Another bill will use $400,000 to support Holocaust education in Wisconsin’s schools. The money will go to the Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center. Holocaust education for grades 5 through 12 is required under a 2021 state law. Senate Bill 833 passed unanimously in both houses of the state legislature.

New laws signed by Evers

Here is a rundown of the 17 new state laws passed by Gov. Evers. You can see the 41 vetoes later in this article:

Vetoes issued by Evers

In addition to the 17 bills signed into law, Evers vetoed 41 bills on Friday. Here are the bills that were rejected by the governor:

  • Senate Bill 335: The bill would have created a number of exemptions to the DPI’s licensing requirement for school district administrators. You can read more about this veto here. (Veto Message)
  • Assembly Bill 34: The bill would have restricted feeding bans to positive chronic wasting disease tests on wild animals only. (Veto Message)
  • Assembly Bill 386 and Assembly Bill 388: The bills were part of a Republican-authored tax cut plan. Evers called the bills “fiscally irresponsible” in his veto message, citing a loss of over $3 billion in collected tax revenue over the next two years. (AB 386 Veto Message) (AB 388 Veto Message)
  • Assembly Bill 395: The bill would have created insurance and other requirements for peer-to-peer motor vehicle sharing programs. (Veto Message)
  • Assembly Bill 398: The bill proposed that participants in clinical research trials shouldn’t be treated as employees. (Veto Message)
  • Assembly Bill 480: This bill would have banned landowners from claiming farmland preservation tax credits if their property had a solar energy system. (Veto Message)
  • Assembly Bill 510: This is the Parents’ Bill of Rights bill that has appeared in other states and in Congress. Evers said in his veto message that the bill didn’t support students, parents, or schools, writing “politicians on both sides of the aisle to stop using our kids as political pawns.” Evers also vetoed a similar bill in 2022. The bill was supported by Republicans and a handful of conservative organizations, with Republicans calling the bill “common sense.” Dozens of legal and educational groups registered in opposition to the bill. Over 150 pages of written testimony was submitted in regards to the bill. (Veto Message)
  • Assembly Bill 512: This bill would have created year-round hunting opportunities using dogs in a specific region of the state. (Veto Message)
  • Assembly Bill 541: This bill would have created an exemption for out-of-state mental health care providers to give telehealth services without a Wisconsin-issued license. Evers justified the veto, saying that the bill would have created a loophole to bypass the state’s interstate compact for mental health services and would have left patients with no way to report unethical behavior or poor treatment. The bill had bipartisan support in the legislature, while support from health care lobbying groups was mixed. (Veto Message)
  • Assembly Bill 545: This bill would have required U.S. citizenship to serve on a technical college district board. (Veto Message)
  • Assembly Bill 603: This bill would have added signs for The Prairie School and Wind Point Lighthouse at an interchange for Interstate 94 in Racine County. The Department of Transportation estimated the four signs would have cost about $35,000. Evers said that the signs would have violated DOT and federal policy as presented. (Veto Message)
  • Assembly Bill 610: This bill would have eliminated immunization requirements at any college or university receiving public funding. (Veto Message)
  • Assembly Bill 669: This bill dealt with civil and criminal liability immunity for motor vehicle sellers. Evers vetoed the bill because he considered the immunity for sellers too broad. (Veto Message)
  • Assembly Bill 957: This bill would have removed local authority for regulating animal facilities in agricultural-zoned areas. (Veto Message)
  • Assembly Bill 1030: This bill banned the DNR from having an antlerless-only deer hunting season in northern Wisconsin. Evers said in his veto message that the bill would ignore recommendations from County Deer Advisory Councils. The DNR cautioned that the bill would have some unintended consequences on licensing and policies, and also warned that the bill might negatively affect deer populations, counter to the bill’s intent. (Veto Message)
  • Assembly Bill 1065: This is the bill dealing with diversity pledges for hiring and admissions at UW schools. Evers vetoed the bill, saying there’s no reason for it, as the law already prevents discrimination based on a number of factors. (Veto Message)
  • Assembly Bill 1089: This bill would have changed Department of Revenue interest rates to match neighboring states. Evers said the cost of the bill would reduce state revenues by $122 million over the next two fiscal years. (Veto Message)
  • Senate Bill 21: This bill would cap the value of personal property allowed in state correctional facilities. Evers said in his veto message that the bill isn’t needed because the Department of Corrections already has administrative policies in place. (Veto Message)
  • Senate Bill 52: This bill would require the DNR to create a deicer applicator certification program, as well as a waiver of liability for damages on private property caused by commercial applicators who passed the program. The bill struggled to pass in the state Senate, 17-15. Evers rejected the bill because he thought the liability exemption was too broad and created an unfunded mandate for the state government. (Veto Message)
  • Senate Bill 139: This bill would have required a cap on the state’s wolf population. Evers said the bill wouldn’t provide enough flexibility for the DNR, Natural Resources Board, and other stakeholders. (Veto Message)
  • Senate Bill 158: This bill would have allowed a person to receive a preliminary credential to offer healthcare services through a healthcare employer. The bill had support from several health care organizations. Evers vetoed the bill because of a lack of patient protections, but did note that he supported an amendment to the bill to add Wisconsin to a Social Work Licensure Compact. Evers said in his veto message that he would support the amendment as a standalone bill, but not as part of the preliminary credentialing bill. (Veto Message)
  • Senate Bill 186, Senate Bill 187 and Senate Bill 188: This bill package would have allowed an exemption for early construction on buildings, changed review procedures for the construction of commercial buildings, and increase the number of materials that would have to be accepted by the Department of Safety and Professional Services for public buildings. Evers vetoed the measures in part because the mandates were unfunded and in part because of the increased burden on government agencies to comply. (SB 186 Veto Message) (SB 187 Veto Message) (SB 188 Veto Message)
  • Senate Bill 216: This bill would have allowed whip lights on an ATV or UTV. The bill was vetoed because the lights could be any color and in any position, which could cause confusion for other ATV or UTV riders, according to Gov. Evers. (Veto Message)
  • Senate Bill 217: This bill would have allowed a single passenger to ride on an ATV or UTV in a spot that is not intended for passengers if they are seated. Several medical organizations registered against the bill. The DNR said during public hearings that manufacturers are clear about the passenger load on an ATV or UTV and carry warning labels about the safety risks of exceeding the maximum number of passengers. (Veto Message)
  • Senate Bill 316: This bill would have removed permit requirements to apply chemical treatments to private ponds, bypassing a DNR review of the area for any special environmental concerns. Conservationist lobbies opposed the bill. (Veto Message)
  • Senate Bill 466: This bill would have banned financial institutions from identifying merchants as a firearms retailer and the DOJ from keeping a list of firearm purchasers. The bill passed along party lines in the state legislature. (Veto Message)
  • Senate Bill 517: This bill would have banned court-issued criminal complaints in self-defense cases. The State Bar of Wisconsin registered in opposition to the bill. (Veto Message)
  • Senate Bill 608: This bill would have created provisional teacher licensing for school paraprofessionals. The Southeastern Wisconsin Schools Alliance supported the bill, saying it was a way to deal with widespread shortages of teaching professionals. The Wisconsin Education Association Council registered in opposition. Evers said in his veto message that the plan might have interfered with a pilot program for teacher licensing already underway in the state. (Veto Message)
  • Senate Bill 613: This bill would have created a $1 million cap on non-economic damages as a result of tort actions for commercial motor vehicle carriers. The bill had heavy support from insurance companies and other lobby groups. (Veto Message)
  • Senate Bill 617: This bill would have created a new license plate to identify electric vehicles. (Veto Message)
  • Senate Bill 641: This bill would have allowed possession of electric weapons. Evers said there are already exceptions to being able to have electric weapons in his veto message. The bill was supported by multiple law enforcement lobbies. (Veto Message)
  • Senate Bill 667: This bill would have created domestic asset preservation trusts. The State Bar of Wisconsin said the bill, if it passed as presented, would create unintended legal issues and registered against it. (Veto Message)
  • Senate Bill 688: This bill would have required school boards to accept the lowest bid for any project over $150,000. Trades groups were mixed in support of the bill, while the Wisconsin Association of School Boards registered against it. Evers cited the loss of local control in making decisions in his veto message. (Veto Message)
  • Senate Bill 836: This bill would have allowed juvenile courts to add conduct restrictions between plea hearings and disposition hearings. (Veto Message)
  • Senate Bill 916: This bill would have added a local government consultation process for federal government refugee resettlement programs. Several organizations registered against the bill, which was passed in the legislature along party lines. (Veto Message)
  • Senate Bill 917: This bill would have created a teacher prep program. Evers vetoed the bill, saying the Department of Workforce Development and DPI already have a teacher apprenticeship pilot program in place. The Wisconsin Education Association Council registered in opposition to the bill. (Veto Message)
  • Senate Bill 932: This bill would have made a number of changes to building code in statute. The bill was passed on voice votes after the JFC approved it 12-3. It had support from several manufacturers in the state lobby. (Veto Message)
  • Senate Bill 933: This bill would have affected the organ transplant process and restricted insurance companies from refusing service based on COVID-19 vaccination status. (Veto Message)

Evers has issued more vetoes during his time in office than any other Wisconsin governor in history, according to the Associated Press.

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