Weekend at Tony’s?

Who is really running Governor Tony Evers’ administration? On Thursday, Evers revealed that he did not know why he was vetoing a bill to allow a paddlewheel meat raffle.

“Gov. Tony Evers couldn’t explain to a reporter why he vetoed a bill that would have allowed raffles using a paddle wheel device,” the Associated Press reported. “Evers said ‘you caught me’ after being asked by a reporter on Thursday to explain his veto earlier in the week of the bipartisan paddle wheel raffle bill.”

The governor’s staff blamed Republicans for Evers’ inability to explain the veto because too many bills at once confuse the governor, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The governor vetoed two bills while signing more than sixty.

“Evers’ staff has repeatedly asked Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate President Roger Roth, both Republicans, to coordinate how and when Evers receives bills to sign to avoid situations like last week where Evers is acting on dozens and dozens of bills over the course of two days, according to Evers’ office,” the newspaper reported.

Evers’ staff said that they gave the reporter an explanation afterwards, and a statement released to the media claimed that the paddlewheel raffles could threaten the state’s gaming compacts with the Indian tribes.

However, state Sen. André Jacque (R-De Pere) disputed this in an interview with WBAY-TV.

“In talking to tribal representatives, tribal leaders, there was no opposition because this doesn’t compete with casino gambling,” said Jacque.

Evers is 68 years old and survived esophageal cancer in 2008. Since taking office, Capitol observers have questioned his stamina with reports of early afternoon exits from the office.

This is not the first time Evers’ demonstrated a lack of understanding the contents of a bill he vetoed. In November, Evers vetoed a school safety bill that passed with bipartisan support. Evers claimed at the time that the bill would have violated the privacy rights of parents.

However, even Politifact contradicted the governor’s interpretation, saying that while the bill expanded the number of categories of information to be collected by the school district the bill did not require the information to be made public.

“Nothing matches the mandate claimed by Evers in his veto message,” Politifact reported.

The unusual veto message raised questions at the time whether it was the governor or his staff making the decisions.

“The Governor’s accusation that this is a mandate shows his ignorance to the topic,” said Rep. Mark Born (R-Beaver Dam) in a statement following the veto. “This bill simply gives local school boards more options to include in their directory data list, which is a choice, not a mandate. His lack of understanding of the legislation is quite apparent, and it makes us question whether or not he’s even reading the bills that his staff puts in front of him.”

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