Gov. Scott Walker has vetoed a last-minute provision in the state budget that would have stripped local governments of the right to regulate quarries.
Walker is scheduled to sign the $76 billion two-year spending package Thursday at an elementary school in Neenah. His office released a list Wednesday of 99 items he plans to strike or change with his line-item veto authority.
Walker explained in the memo that he objected to “inserting a major policy item into the budget without sufficient time to debate its merits.”
The Legislature’s budget-writing committee introduced the measure on the night of Sept. 5 after less than 90 minutes of debate as part of an omnibus motion to amend the transportation budget. Among other things, it prohibited counties and municipalities from regulating blasting, hours of operation, and noise, air and water quality. It also limited the reach of local zoning laws.
The language prompted objections from organizations representing local governments who objected to the state usurping local control.
Some local leaders feared it could be expanded to include the frac sand mines prevalent in western Wisconsin. It also drew criticism from the state business lobby, which had pushed to have frac sand mining included.
Walker did not object to the idea of limiting local control but to the manner in which the law was introduced.
“While I support the need to address quarry regulations and the ability to provide materials for public works projects in a timely manner,” Walker wrote, “changes of this magnitude should be addressed as separate legislation where the implications can be more carefully explored.”
Walker also vetoed provisions in the motion that prohibited local ordinances that conflict with state statute and that limited the authority of railroads to condemn private property.
However, he let stand a provision that prohibits the use of eminent domain for recreational trails and pedestrian walkways, over the objection of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, which said in its letter to the governor, “While municipalities seldom use this power, it is an important and sometimes necessary tool for ensuring that vital community assets like bike paths are connected into a logical and well-planned system of routes.”