MADISON, Wis. – Gov. Scott Walker signed three lame-duck bills in their entirety during an event Friday afternoon in Green Bay.
Walker said several days ago that he planned to line-item veto the legislation, but on Friday, he said he no longer planned to do that. The bills strip powers from the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general and limit early voting in Wisconsin.
The measures restrict early in-person voting to two weeks before an election. The legislation gives Republicans control of the state jobs creation agency, blocks Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers from withdrawing Wisconsin from a multistate lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act.
The bills also eliminate the state Justice Department’s solicitor general’s office and allow legislators to intervene in state lawsuits, ensuring they can defend Republican policies if Democratic Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul won’t.
Democrats and some Republicans encouraged Walker to veto the measures to avoid tarnishing his legacy after he leaves office. Walker dismissed those comments and said the bills guaranteed transparency.
“I’m happy with the legacy we’ll leave in the state of Wisconsin,” Walker said.
He continued, “These bills don’t change that legacy.”
Gov.-elect Tony Evers released a statement Friday condemning the bills.
“Today, Governor Walker chose to ignore and override the will of the people of Wisconsin. This will no doubt be his legacy. The people demanded a change on November 6th, and they asked us to solve problems, not pick petty, political fights. The people of Wisconsin expect more from our government than what has happened in our state over the past few weeks,” Evers said.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald joined Walker in Green Bay for the event signing the bills.
Speaker Robin Vos released a statement thanking the governor for signing the Republican legislation.
“As Democrats and the media continue to inflate these laws into something they’re not, Assembly Republicans are focusing on the new legislative session and will work to find common ground in divided government,” Vos said.
Senate Bills 883, 884 and 886 became Acts 368, 369 and 370 respectively.