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Will the WI DNR Secretary Veto Stick?

February 23, 2010

Madison, WI - Governor Jim Doyle's veto of a bill that would remove the state DNR secretary from the list of appointments the governor makes faces a critical Assembly test today. Comments from Ed Harvey, chairman of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress.

MADISON, Wis. - It's not easy to override a governor's veto power in Wisconsin, but today the state Assembly will be attempting to do it. The measure vetoed by Governor Jim Doyle would create an independent Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources, and would give a citizen board, rather than the governor, the authority to appoint the secretary. Supporters say that would limit political influence.

Wisconsin Conservation Congress Chairman Ed Harvey says today's vote is important.

"The larger battle, we think, is in the Assembly, so we are expecting a very close vote, the way it looks right now."

Supporters of the veto say the position should be left as a cabinet appointment reporting directly to the governor in order to have an equal voice with other cabinet-level departments. If the Assembly can muster the two-thirds majority needed to override, the measure then heads back to the Senate.

Harvey says there is wide bipartisan support for the veto override, as is evidenced by several Conservation Congress votes in the past.

"Put out for public vote three times since '95, and all three times the vote has been carried by almost nine-to-one."

The Assembly vote is expected to be the key test of the governor's ability to make the veto stick, because if it fails in that chamber the veto remains intact.

Glen Gardner, Public News Service - WI