Walker vetoes bounty hunter provision in budget

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Associated Press
Sunday, June 30, 2013

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Bounty hunters will not be allowed in Wisconsin and an investigative journalism center will continue to operate on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus with vetoes Gov. Scott Walker plans to the state budget.

Walker told The Associated Press on Friday that he will veto the two provisions added to the budget by Republican lawmakers before it passed the Legislature earlier this month. Walker provided details of his vetoes under the condition that the AP not seek reaction until after he made a public announcement Sunday.

Walker said he planned 57 vetoes in all when he signs the budget Sunday afternoon in Pleasant Prairie. Most deal with technical issues in the $70 billion, two-year spending plan.

Portions of the budget that were his major priorities — including a $650 million income tax cut, rejection of federal Medicaid expansion and expanding private school vouchers statewide — will remain intact.

The two most significant vetoes, on bounty hunters and the investigative journalism center, came on items the Republican-controlled budget committee added in its final motion in the middle of the night. This will be the second time Walker has vetoed the creation of a bounty hunter, or bail bondsman, program.

“It’s just a policy I wasn’t thrilled with,” Walker said.

Bail bondsmen have not been allowed in Wisconsin since 1979, and Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys and police all opposed bringing them back.

Walker also vetoed a provision that would have kicked the independent Center for Investigative Journalism off of the UW-Madison campus and barred it from working with university professors. Walker said the center’s relationship with UW-Madison is an issue for the UW System Board of Regents to take up.

Numerous other parts of the budget that lawmakers, advocacy groups, lobbyists and others had asked Walker to veto remain untouched.

Enrollment caps for new private school vouchers will remain at 500 students next year and 1,000 the next, Walker said. The governor and Republican legislative leaders previously agreed to the limits, but opponents of voucher expansion had worried Walker would eliminate the caps with his expansive veto powers.

Last updated: 8:23 am Monday, July 29, 2013

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