Wisconsin high court gives mixed ruling on partial vetoes


MADISON, Wis. (AP) – The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Friday overturned three of four partial vetoes issued by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, although the justices could not agree on a reason why they were unconstitutional.

The court also upheld one of his vetoes and declined to consider a challenge to a pair of partial vetoes issued by Republican Gov. Scott Walker, saying the lawsuit was filed too late.

The court did not rein in future governors’ abilities to use the partial veto to eliminate words and digits in spending bills.

Wisconsin’s governor has one of the most powerful vetoes in the country.

The ruling comes after the court on Thursday upheld laws that the Legislature passed during a lame-duck session to weaken Evers’ powers before he took office.

The governor’s veto power, which is spelled out in the Wisconsin Constitution, isn’t as extensive for regular bills that don’t spend money. For those, he can only either veto the entire proposal or sign it into law.

Wisconsin governors, both Republican and Democratic, have long used the broad partial veto power to reshape the state budget. It’s an act of gamesmanship between the governor and Legislature, as lawmakers try to craft bills in a way that are largely immune from creative vetoes.