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Proposal would give Wisconsin’s Legislature power over federal money

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FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019 file photo, Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos talks with fellow Assembly members before the Wisconsin Governor addressed a joint session of the Legislature for the State of the State speech at the state Capitol, in Madison, Wis. (AP Photo/Andy Manis, File)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The power to spend federal money sent to Wisconsin would be taken away from the governor and given to the Legislature under a proposed constitutional amendment the state Senate was to approve Tuesday.

The Republican-authored proposal must pass the Assembly this year, and both houses again next session, before it would be put to voters for final approval. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers cannot veto constitutional amendments.

Evers did veto a Republican bill last year that would have required the Legislature to sign off on his plans for spending $4.5 billion in federal COVID-19 relief money coming to the state. He also vetoed a similar bill that would have given the Legislature control over how federal coronavirus stimulus dollars are spent.

Evers said having to get lawmakers’ approval would slow down the spending of the funds.

The latest proposal differs in that it’s a constitutional amendment. It also would apply to all federal money that comes into Wisconsin, not just the money targeting coronavirus relief efforts.

The amendment would require a joint committee of the Legislature to approve the spending by any executive brand official or department of any federal money.

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