2009 Nov. 20: WI: WI AB 138 Independent Secretary bill Veto Override effeort by WI legislature: Latest news

Gearing up for the Veto Override  
Judging by the overwhelming response, we know you’ve already heard about Governor Doyle’s veto of AB 138 (the bill to restore the independent DNR Secretary) last Friday.  While reaction has ranged from disappointment to anger- one response was constant: Conservation voters are ready for the veto override!  We will keep you posted on just what needs to happen to successfully override this veto and make conservation history.  Hint: Get started with a call to your state Representative!  Encourage them to vote to override the Governor’s veto.  Find your Representative’s contact information here.
Did you know that a Governor’s veto hasn’t been overridden since 1985?  Learn more fun facts and get the answers to your veto override questions by visiting our website. 

Capital Times editorial | Posted: Monday, November 16, 2009 9:30 am | (6) Comments

buy this photo Gov. Jim Doyle File photo

He actually did it.
Gov. Jim Doyle actually vetoed the proposal to restore independence to the Department of Natural Resources — a proposal that he had backed as Wisconsin’s attorney general, as a gubernatorial candidate, and during most of his tenure as the state’s chief executive.
When Doyle started talking about abandoning his commitment to restore the power to the Natural Resources Board to appoint DNR secretaries who are free of political interference, it was difficult to imagine he was serious.
The stance put him directly at odds with the state’s conservation and environmental ethics, and with the tradition of Democratic governors such as Gaylord Nelson and Pat Lucey — as well as responsible Republicans such as Warren Knowles and Lee Sherman Dreyfus.
Could Doyle really have grown so out of touch with Wisconsin values and with the positions that caused Democrats to nominate him for governor and Wisconsinites to elect him?
Could Doyle really have come to believe, as his predecessor Tommy Thompson did, that all power should rest with an imperial governor?
Unfortunately, the governor’s answer to both questions turned out to be “yes.”
Our response to the veto — as a newspaper that has backed Doyle in his bids for Dane County district attorney, attorney general and governor — was similar to that of Kerry Schumann, executive director of the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters.
“I am disappointed that I will now have to deliver the news to the thousands of conservationists who contacted Governor Doyle this week, that he did not keep his promise to sign the Natural Resources Board-appointed secretary bill into law,” said Schumann. “With this veto, he has forever undermined his legacy in Wisconsin history as a champion for natural resources. I encourage Wisconsin legislators to stand firm in their commitment to our state and its citizens by overriding the governor, thereby ensuring once and for all that science and not politics will determine natural resource decisions in Wisconsin.”
State Rep. Spencer Black, D-Madison, was equally, and appropriately, blunt.
“I am very disappointed by the veto by Governor Jim Doyle of the bipartisan legislation to restore the independence of the DNR,” said Black, the sponsor and chief champion of this necessary reform.
“I am proud of my colleagues in the Legislature. Legislators from both parties campaigned on the promise of restoring the power to the citizen Natural Resources Board to appoint the DNR secretary free of political interference. We have done what we said we would do and kept our word to the people of Wisconsin by voting for an independent DNR,” said the veteran environmentalist. “We should now act again on our word in the face of the governor’s most disappointing veto. I will ask Speaker Sheridan to quickly schedule an override vote. Decisions about our outdoors should be based on science and what is best for our environment, not on what is best for politicians and special interest groups.”
That’s the right message.
The shock of Doyle’s betrayal ought not divert attention from the real work of legislating.
Indeed, it is time for the state Legislature to stand up for itself.
Speaker Mike Sheridan should schedule an override vote in the Assembly.
Majority Leader Russ Decker should schedule an override vote in the Senate.
Legislators, even those who might have opposed the DNR bill initially, should recognize that rejecting this veto is an important step toward reasserting the role of the Legislature as an equal partner in state government — and an even more important step toward restoring a proper balance when it comes to protecting our precious natural resources.

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