Beaver Dam Legislator Discusses Lame Duck Bills

(Beaver Dam) Governor Walker has signed a package of measures passed during an extraordinary session earlier this month. Walker insists there’s no “power grab” by Republican leaders and noted that governor-elect Tony Evers will retain the line item veto authority that is one of the most powerful in the nation.

Among the new laws signed is one that changes how the governor’s office can apply for or drop out of healthcare and public assistance programs that require federal waivers. State Republicans were worried that Evers would try to end recently-enacted rules that increase work requirements for people seeking food assistance or other programs.

We spoke with State Representative Mark Born about the changes Friday on WBEV’s Community Comment. The Beaver Dam Republican says two separate legislatures worked with two different federal administrations over four years on the waiver and he does not think it’s right “for one person to come and say, ‘I’m not going to enforce that waiver.’”

Born, who was the first chair of the Public Benefits Reform Committee four years ago, says the legislature was saying with the lame duck bills that if the Governor Elect wants to change something because he feels it’s in the best interest of the state “come talk to us about it” and “lets figure it out working together.” He also says that Evers did not campaign on striking down the waiver which he believes is because of its popularity.

Born says the changes are about oversight and a balance of power. He says governors are not elected to strike down laws, they’re elected to enforce laws and create new ones.

Another one of the measures signed by Walker restricts early voting to two weeks statewide, instead of allowing longer periods in parts of the state. The move impacts mainly Dane and Milwaukee counties, where Republicans saw large losses in the election. A similar measure was struck down by a federal judge in 2016.

The bills also give Republicans control of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and prevent Evers from withdrawing Wisconsin from a lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act.

Evers condemned the signing in a news conference held shortly after the bill signing. The Governor-Elect says the “will of the people was ignored” and legislation was “created without accountability and transparency.” Attorney General-Elect Josh Kaul called the signed bills “stunningly bad” but he has not indicted if he will challenge the changes in court.


Listen to our entire conversation with Mark Born here: