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Gov. Tony Evers vetoed these bills. They could be reconsidered if Tim Michels is elected governor

Among more than 100 vetoes, key issues stand out

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Gov. Tony Evers vetoes the GOP-backed income tax cut
Gov. Tony Evers, center, vetoes the GOP-backed income tax cut Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, at Lincoln Elementary School in Wauwatosa, Wis. Corrinne Hess/WPR

Gov. Tony Evers’ 126 vetoes since January 2021 help tell the story of the policy differences between Democrats and Republicans in Wisconsin. Here are some of the highlights.

Read our story about Evers’ vetoes here.

Election laws

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Few issues highlighted the differences between Evers and Republicans more than their disconnect over voting laws in the wake of the 2020 election. Evers vetoed nearly 20 GOP election bills. They would have:

Some of these issues were repackaged and sent back to the governor again in a catch-all elections bill that would ban private election grants, change the rules for nursing home voting and put limits on how clerks can handle absentee ballots with missing witness address information.

Government’s powers during a pandemic

Republicans and Evers also rarely saw eye-to-eye in the past legislative session when it came to how the government should address the COVID-19 pandemic. GOP lawmakers passed several bills that would restrict the power of state and local governments to address COVID-19 or future pandemics. They would have:

Evers also rejected a broad COVID-19 bill that started out as a compromise with Senate Republicans in the early days of the legislative session. Initial drafts of the bill would have extended the requirement that insurance companies cover COVID-19 treatments, prescriptions and vaccines. It also would have extended a waiver of the state’s one-week waiting period for applying for unemployment insurance. The compromise fell apart after Assembly Republicans added measures like a ban on vaccine mandates.

K-12 Education

Evers and Republicans were worlds apart on around 20 education bills, some of which would make dramatic changes to the way kids are taught in Wisconsin. They would have:

Higher Education

Evers also vetoed a handful of other Republican bills that dealt with similar themes of race in higher education. These would have:

  • Restricted what University of Wisconsin campuses are allowed to teach about systemic racism and sexism
  • Let students satisfy diversity requirements in their curriculum by taking a class about the U.S. Constitution instead
  • Allowed “only objective criteria” when considering admissions to University of Wisconsin System institutions
  • Eliminated immunity for lawsuits against campus administrators who are alleged to have violated a student’s free speech rights

Federal COVID-19 aid

On bill after bill throughout the legislative session, Evers and GOP lawmakers sparred over how to spend billions of dollars of federal COVID-19 funding made available through the American Rescue Plan Act, known as ARPA. Republicans argued the Legislature should have a say in how to spend the funds, but ARPA gave that exclusive authority to the governor.

Republicans passed, and Evers vetoed bills that would have:

In many cases, Evers funded identical priorities on his own as he parceled out billions in federal funds the past two years.

Redistricting

Evers’ veto power was significant in the once-a-decade battle over redistricting, the process where legislative and congressional district lines are redrawn to reflect new population data from the U.S. Census.

Guns

Evers and the Legislature have been miles apart when it comes to gun policy since he took office. When Evers called a special session to tighten gun laws in 2019, Republicans adjourned it without taking any votes. When Republicans sent bills to Evers’ desk to expand gun rights, the governor vetoed them. They would have:

Police and crime

The Republican push to make crime front-and-center in the 2022 campaigns was well underway this past legislative session. Among the plans they sent to Evers that he vetoed were a few that would have:

Abortion

Prior to the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, Republican lawmakers sent a handful of bills to Evers that would have restricted abortion. Evers vetoed all of them.

  • One would have prohibited people from getting abortions because a fetus tests positive for a cognitive condition like Down Syndrome. Evers also vetoed a bill requiring doctors who administer these tests to give expectant parents “current, evidence-based information about the congenital condition.”
  • Another would have further defunded abortion providers by banning them from participating in Medicaid except in cases of sexual assault or incest or if the woman’s life is in danger.
  • Yet another would required doctors to provide care to babies that survive induced abortions.
  • Evers also vetoed a bill that would have required doctors to tell women that chemical-induced abortions may not immediately work.

The social safety net

Evers vetoed several GOP bills that would have restricted the government’s safety net in Wisconsin. They would have:

Deregulation and licensing

In one way or another, several Evers vetoes rejected bills that would have deregulated various businesses, including proposals that would have:

From hunting bighorn sheep to paddlewheel raffles, vetoed bills ran the gamut

With 126 vetoes, the range of topics where Evers and Republicans did not see eye-to-eye was long.

Read our story about Evers’ vetoes here.

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