Wisconsin Supreme Court Strikes Down Three of Governor Evers’ Budget Vetoes

The Wisconsin Supreme Court Friday acted Friday to rein in Gov. Tony Evers’ expansive veto authority by overturning three budget vetoes the Democrat issued in his first two-year spending plan as governor.

Of the four vetoes targeted in the lawsuit, the single one upheld increased vehicle fees for owners of heavier trucks over those with lighter ones.

Meanwhile, justices determined a veto that broadened what was proposed as a $3 million grant program to replace school buses with energy-efficient models was unconstitutional (5-2 decision). Evers removed the condition that the funding be used only for buses and instructed the Department of Administration to allocate up to $10 million for electric vehicle charging stations.

The other partial vetoes that were overturned altered the definition of “vapor product,” thus creating new taxes and regulations on them (4-3 decision); and lifted restrictions on how $75 million in transportation funding could be spent (5-2 decision).

Previous governors have used their veto authority in a manner similar to Evers.

Wisconsin governors hold the country’s most powerful partial veto authority on spending measures, but aren’t able to use the veto pen to create new words by striking out individual letters, and they can’t craft new sentences by combining parts of two or more lines in legislation. Both limitations were imposed after voters approved previous constitutional amendments to limit governors’ authority in that arena.