Judge Strikes Walker’s New Veto Power Over State Superintendent

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A Dane county judge has struck down a provision in a law passed last year that grants Governor Walker veto power over administrative rules proposed by the State Superintendent of Schools.

The ruling from Judge Amy Smith says ACT 21, which grants the governor ultimate rule making authority, is unconstitutional when it applies to rules proposed by the state superintendent. Judge Smith says the Constitution makes clear that the elected state superintendent is independent and on equal footing with the governor when it comes to rule making authority. The Madison teachers union was one was one of seven plaintiffs that challenged this provision of ACT 21. Union President John Matthews says he’s pleased with the ruling, “It’s simply because of the way the Constitution defines the role of the state superintendent. The governor has equal authority not superior authority to the state superintendent and we think because of the enterprise if you will of public education that should not be a political issue. And Judge Smith saw it our way.”

But a spokesman for the governor’s office says he’s confident that Judge Smith’s ruling will be overturned on appeal and that the governor will retain his rule making veto power. Opponents of this new executive power see it as a power grab. And although this ruling appears to limit the governor’s power over rules that affect education it leaves his authority intact for administrative rules from any other state agency. State Superintendent Tony Evers released a statement hailing the ruling and pointing out that he had proposed language that would have carved out his exemption from the governor’s rule vetoes before the law was passed.

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