Gov. Evers signs first bill in ten months; Republicans say they’ll reject several budget proposals

MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Tony Evers signed his first bill in ten months Thursday, signaling a period of compromise that he hopes will be reflected during the budget season, he told News 3 Now in a one-on-one interview.

And on budget issues like marijuana legalization and Medicaid expansion that Republicans have rejected in the past, he believes it’s time to take a second look.

“I’m not sure they don’t,” he said in response to a question asking why he included policies in a budget plan that don’t have a chance in the Republican-controlled legislature. “Those policies don’t come out of thin air…recreational marijuana has passed many, many referendums across the state of Wisconsin. Polls indicate people want it. Medicaid expansion–same thing.”

In a virtual luncheon with WisPolitics on Thursday, Republican co-chairs of the Joint Finance Committee said many of the Governor’s proposals wouldn’t find their way into the finished budget.

“I would characterize his budget as the liberal’s dream,” Sen. Howard Marklein said.

The lawmakers said policies like marijuana legalization, juvenile justice reform, and minimum wage wouldn’t be included as they begin their rewrite–and they don’t know yet whether they’ll be starting from scratch or using the Governor’s plan and revising from there. July is the target for completing the budget writing process, they noted.

Both parties agree broadband is an area where agreement is likely; Gov. Evers said he believes his business investments built into the budget will also pass fairly easily.

A full interview with Gov. Evers will air on Sunday’s For the Record after CBS Face the Nation, February 21.