Wisconsin GOP discusses cutting governor-elect’s power
Madison, Wis. – Wisconsin’s assembly speaker said following a private meeting Thursday with Gov. Scott Walker that he thinks the exiting Republican governor will be “generally supportive” of plans to limit powers of the governor’s office before Democrat Tony Evers takes over.
Speaker Robin Vos and Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke met with Walker in his office for about an hour. Shortly after the meeting, Walker announced an afternoon news conference during which he will take questions from reporters for the first time since Evers beat him last week.
Vos was tightlipped after the meeting, telling The Associated Press he didn’t want to speak for the governor ahead of his news conference.
“It’s fine, everything’s good,” Vos said, as he left the governor’s office in the Capitol. “I’m just being intentionally vague because I don’t know yet. (Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald) wasn’t there.”
As Walker prepares to leave office, Vos and Fitzgerald have talked about limiting the governor’s rule-making power; changing the makeup of boards and commissions, likely to limit the governor’s influence; enshrining rules related to the state’s voter photo ID law to make it more difficult to change; and making it more difficult for the governor to block a work requirement for Medicaid recipients.
Democrats are fearful they will try to do much more to handcuff Evers as he prepares to work with a majority Republican Legislature.
Vos said he and Walker discussed ideas that have been reported publicly and “hopefully he’ll be generally supportive of those.”
Evers has accused Republicans of trying to cling to power, but on Wednesday told reporters he didn’t have “a red line or a line in the sand” about what he would oppose. Evers’ spokeswoman Carrie Lynch had no immediate comment in reaction to what Vos said following the meeting with Walker.
Vos said most of the meeting was about Walker’s desire for the Legislature to pass a tax credit bill for paper product giant Kimberly-Clark Corp. designed to stop the company from closing a Wisconsin plant that employs about 390 people.
The Assembly passed the bill in February, but it is stalled in the Senate without enough support to pass it. Walker was tweeting his support for the measure Thursday, even as its chances in the Legislature dimmed.
Testifying on the bill during a public hearing Wednesday, Steineke said Walker made clear he wants the Senate to pass the bill.
“We’re going to continue to work with our friends to get that done,” Steineke said.
Vos said they also talked about “how I wish the election would be different.”
Walker, 51, has not said what he plans to do after leaving office . He’s been in elected office since 1993 when he was 25-years-old.