“I object to the infringement on gubernatorial power and duties,” wrote Governor Walker in his veto message. By his budget vetoes he made it clear he did not want legislative oversight.
The governor removed at least 15 portions of state law passed by the legislature that provided legislative authority or provided oversight of the executive branch.
Remember your 4th grade civics class lessons about the delicate balance of powers between the three branches of government – the governor (and executive agencies), the legislature, and the judiciary. The power of the people lies in the power of their elected officials. The peoples’ representatives are their most direct line of power. When legislative power is undermined, so is the power of the people.
I didn’t expect to look up telephone laws reading the state budget.
Snuck in the end of the Joint Finance Committee’s work is a law change that could affect the safety of rural residents. It had me asking, “What if you picked up the phone to call 911 and heard no dial tone?”
Rural residents rely on small legal protections to keep a dial tone on their landline phones. Thousands of rural residents live in an area where cell phones do not work and cable services do not exist.
“If it was up to you,” the Chamber of Commerce moderator asked area legislators, “How would you solve the transportation problem?”
Budget talks are stalled. Legislators can’t seem to find a way through the labyrinth of interests stalking the Capitol halls. One main sticking point is how to balance the transportation budget.
Governor Walker left lawmakers with $1.3 billion in new debt to pay for roads over the next two years. Among many decisions the governor made was to increase spending in the Major Highway Development Program by $100 million or over 13%. He borrowed $109 million to pay for this spending.
“Wisconsin has relied heavily on the exchange to expand health insurance coverage,” wrote President Eric Borgerding of the Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA). In a recent letter to Legislators, he warned a looming Supreme Court decision “could strike down premium assistance.”
Many Wisconsinites are waiting to hear if they will still be able to afford their health insurance bill.
The U.S. Supreme Court will soon rule on the legality of health insurance subsidies for those living in states that did not create a state-based health insurance marketplace.