10 ways life in Wisconsin would be different without Governor Evers’ record number of vetoes

In other words: How will life change in Wisconsin next year if Evers doesn’t play goalie in the face of Republican legislative slapshots?

With more than 40 bills vetoed by Gov. Tony Evers last week — bringing his total to 98, the most on record for a Wisconsin governor — the transition has been made from one period of legislation to one. campaign for future terms.

Taken together, they provide a playbook on how Republicans could impact everyday life in Wisconsin next year if Evers is defeated in November and his veto pen can no longer be used as the baton. oversized of a hockey goalie.

Before describing what passed but did not go beyond the Governor, it should be noted that it was not always so. There was a time when Republicans and Democrats worked together more harmoniously to reach compromises on bills that addressed the challenges and opportunities facing the state. But when Evers defeated incumbent Governor Scott Walker in 2018, Republican lawmakers responded to the usual post-election calls for unity by stripping some powers from the governor’s office before Evers could even be sworn in.

They were just getting started.

To date, more than three years later, Republican senators have refused to confirm many of Evers’ nominees for various offices. Governor’s requests for special legislative sessions to deal with important issues have almost always been turned down. And Republicans are leaving a nearly $4 billion surplus unspent, choosing not to work with the governor on ways to help taxpayers, schools, entrepreneurs, farmers, infrastructure and a down-state economy. struggling with a pre-pandemic labor shortage.

Instead, the Legislature chose to write, debate, and send Evers nearly 100 bills destined for legislative purgatory to signal its intentions for 2023, because that’s when the GOP lawmakers will then meet to draft a new batch of bills. They went on a paid break for the remainder of 2022 rather than find common ground with Evers on any of the vetoed bills.

Here’s how life would be different in Wisconsin without some of those 98 vetoes.

  • Your co-workers would be less likely to be immune to COVID-19 because a state law would have required your employer to accept that claiming a worker’s natural immunity is tantamount to getting vaccinated, even if not not true. Fewer vaccinated colleagues would make it easier for workplaces to become the super-spreaders they were at the start of the pandemic, when hundreds of non-healthcare workplaces were surveyed each month.
  • Your local schools would be at higher risk of becoming a hub for community transmission under a state law that would have prohibited school districts from requiring face masks for students. Mask protections have been drastically reduced as vaccinations have reduced the incidence and severity of cases, recognized by new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that say masks are not necessary unless rates infection centers start climbing into dangerous territory again. But the law would have removed the possibility of bringing guarantees in these situations.
  • You would have less confidence that someone near you in public was properly trained for the loaded weapon they are carrying. When concealed carry laws were first proposed in Wisconsin, there were assurances of proper training and background checks. The new law would recognize gun licenses from states that don’t need them either. Firearms would no longer be prohibited in vehicles on school grounds or in churches on private school grounds.
  • The job market has come back to life, but you’d be less likely to have a safety net in a future job loss, because the state would give your old boss more reason to pretend than you should. not collect unemployment benefits – and if you did get them, they would be more likely to be fired if you refused to accept almost any job offered.
  • Life in this hypothetical Wisconsin would include fewer courses on ethnic studies or diversity because the law would allow University of Wisconsin students to substitute a course on the US Constitution’s Bill of Rights as an adequate replacement. There would also be fewer public employees learning to identify and break the cycle of systemic racism, as a new law would have prohibited such training from being required by state agencies.
  • More police could burst into homes without warning under a law protecting ‘no hit’ search warrants, a method that often proves deadly to the innocent people inside. A New York Times investigation identified at least 81 civilians and 13 law enforcement officers killed in such raids between 2010 and 2016.
  • Although the Legislature refused to spend a surplus of taxpayers’ money, it would have had a say in the spending of federal coronavirus relief funds — or likely would have stopped Evers from spending the money, which was specifically allocated to governors in order to avoid such legislative obstruction. In one area alone, Evers’ plans to award $50 million in small business grants have already helped more than 3,400 businesses and nonprofits in all 72 counties.
  • Life would look very different across Wisconsin each election day. Residents of care homes are said to be less likely to receive help obtaining, completing and returning absentee ballots, as staff fear they could be charged with a crime for helping elderly and disabled people to vote .
  • Local poll clerks, also chilled by sanction-threatening language for helping voters, would likely face a shortage of volunteer poll workers and more outdated equipment as private pro-democracy groups could not provide help. help offset Republican budget cuts and limits on local levies.
  • The election results themselves would have less confidence in the public, and not just on the side that lost a race. The Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) would be significantly weakened by a legislature that could override or delay WEC guidelines. And more voters would show up to vote only to find they had been removed from the voters roll because the checks and balances to prevent mistaken deletions would have been removed.

This hypothetical Wisconsin does not exist in 2022 because of Evers’ veto. Could this be the Wisconsin of 2023? No, it would be even more different with a new governor, because the absence of any veto threat would mean a better chance for other bills that haven’t quite reached Evers’ desk – and a better chance of success for ideas that had not even become bills. .

If that sounds far-fetched, remember that Scott Walker never campaigned in 2010 on a platform of suppressing public sector workers’ rights, but he proposed Bill 10 shortly after becoming governor. And in 2014 he said anti-union ‘right to work’ legislation was a ‘distraction’ and not a priority, but he signed a bill shortly after being re-elected.

The newly opposed bills represent just some of the themes we’ll see in the 2022 campaign. Others – including more voter restrictions, limits on reproductive rights and bans on teaching parts of the American history – are as likely to become law in 2023 as anything Evers’ veto pen kept statutes in 2022.

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