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As I See It

Reduce the power of veto pen



Wisconsin’s governors have one of the most powerful veto pens in the nation. That may be about to change, as it should. Wisconsin’s constitution allows governors to alter legislation by replacing words and letters wherever they see fit. And boy, do they get creative. Governor Tony Evers was able to use his powerful veto pen to remove a hyphen and the number “20” when he signed the last budget. That one stroke changes the end date for increased student spending through the year 2425. Lawmakers had only approved the funding increase through 2025, a difference of 400 years, longer than the United States has even been a country. Evers is hardly alone among Wisconsin governors with his creative vetoes. Scott Walker used his veto powers to extend the deadline of a state program from 2018 to 3018, earning it the title of the “thousand-year veto.” Tommy Thompson was criticized for his veto pen too, holding the record for most partial vetoes, 457 in one year, a record number. Under current law, Wisconsin governors can totally change the meaning of legislation lawmakers approve. That is not good government. Our lawmakers should work to reduce the governor’s veto powers so taxpayers aren’t stuck with 400 straight years of increases in education funding.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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