by Mark Schwendau
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers (D) just pulled a fast one. He was given a bill that increased funding for the 2024-25 school year. But using his partial veto authority, Evers crossed out the “20” and the hyphen. By so doing, he changed the law to allow K-12 schools to raise their revenue per student by $325 for one year until every year until 2425!
This was never the intent of the Republican-controlled legislature. Obviously, it would be up to local school boards to show some fiscal responsibility. However still, the change made by Evers is not only unrealistic but ridiculous and insulting to what it means to be an American.
To understand the gamesmanship played, you must know little about the man.
The “Milwaukee Journal Sentinel” reported this is the second time Evers has used the veto authority to increase funding for public schools. After all, Evers is a former state superintendent and public school educator. Previously he used this type of veto in the 2019-2021 budget, which prompted Republicans to put limits on his veto power.
Wisconsin has outlawed this move known as the “Vanna White” veto, named after a co-host of the television game show “Wheel of Fortune.” The governor is not permitted to strike individual letters to form new words or change intent. The practice in Wisconsin was barred in 2008. But Evers figured out a way to do it with a new twist by eliminating digits and punctuation to create numbers with new meanings.
Evers is not the first one to use partial veto authority, flipping around words or numbers. Republican Governors like Scott Walker and Tommy Thompson also took such liberties. They were also wrong. Evers has issued 51 partial vetoes, including three struck down by the state Supreme Court. But like so many other Democrats these days, Evers conspired when he did this one.
Control of Wisconsin’s Supreme Court is about to shift toward the Democrats when the liberal jurist Janet Protasiewicz assumes her seat next month. The Wisconsin Supreme Court has long been a political battleground in the sharply divided state. As a result, elected justices are regularly accused of partisan agendas over acting constitutionally within the law.
This move by Evers is arguably offensive to anyone who values the democratic process. Evers completely ignored the language and intent of the legislature and committed the state to potential increases in school funding for 400 hundred years.
Evers single-handedly gutted the defined “power of the purse” exercised by state and federal legislatures. This is yet another example of executive overreach. His favorite soundbite seems to be, “I’m not going to back down when it comes to defending our democracy.”
This should not be a difficult legal question. No reasonable interpretation of a partial veto power should include the ability to change the intent of the legislation by numbers or words, like in this case going from one year to 400 years! This case could test the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s integrity and legitimacy. If they rule for Evers, they will dispense with any pretense of upholding the democratic process in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin offers the broadest and most ridiculous veto power to any governor. It shows a lack of negotiating in good faith between the legislature and the governor. The legislature designed the law to appropriate school funds for one year, but Evers took it upon himself to turn it into a four-century appropriation.
One of the greatest demonstrations of hypocrisy in politics today is those Democrats declaring themselves “pro-democracy” while gerrymandering election districts, trying to pack courts, planting States’ Attorneys, perverting our justice system with partisan hacks for their party, attacking journalists and whistleblowers for attempting to expose the truth, and defending censorship all while classifying actual truth as “misinformation.”
These days we live now are very reminiscent of Nazi Germany in 1939.
One of those most vocal in expressing his pride in “being pro-democracy” is Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, the same guy who just used his partial veto authority to negate the legislative jurisdiction of his state.
It is also interesting that all of these Democrats are using “democracy” as their mockingbird talking points. The only problem is we are not a democracy. We are a Constitutional Republic, and if they don’t act accordingly, they are skating on some very thin ice.
Copyright © 2023 by Mark S. Schwendau
Mark S. Schwendau is a retired technology professor who has always had a sideline in news-editorial writing where his byline has been, “Bringing little known news to people who simply want to know the truth.” He is a Christian conservative who God cast to be a realist. His website is www.IDrawIWrite.Tech.