TO THE HONORABLE MEMBERS OF THE SENATE: I have approved Senate Bill 17 as 2003 Wisconsin Act 309 and have deposited it in the Office of the Secretary of State. I have vetoed Sections 1, 3 and 6. I have exercised partial vetoes in Sections 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13.
Senate Bill 17 bill creates the Joint Committee on Court Judgments and Settlements to review and recommend who should receive awards resulting from certain court actions and creates a new investigations and prosecution appropriation under s. 20.455(1)(gh), to receive ten percent of certain award amounts. The new appropriation is to be used for the investigation and prosecution of certain violations. The bill would require the Attorney General to notify the public when the Department of Justice, in a court action brought on behalf of the citizens of the state, wins a money judgment or settlement of $100,000 or more, that includes court-ordered parameters for the use of the money, but does not make awards to particular persons. If the court judgment does not specify payments to particular persons or for specific purposes, the award will be deposited into the state’s budget stabilization fund. A person wishing to receive a portion of an award subject to the committee’s review, must apply to the Department of Justice within sixty days after the Attorney General issues the notice of the award. The department is required to develop application forms, publicize the availability of awards, process grant applications and provide the new committee with the staff necessary to review and make determinations as to the merits of grant requests. The Joint Committee on Finance must approve all of the new committee’s recommendations.
I am vetoing Sections 1, 3 and 6 because they create an unnecessary and complicated review of court decisions and potentially increase state personnel costs, during a time in which the state needs to be exercising fiscal restraint. For example, the legislative review mechanism in the bill is needlessly cumbersome since it requires duplicative legislative involvement through both the legislative seats on the Joint Committee on Court Settlements and the Joint Committee on Finance.
I am partially vetoing Sections 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 to ensure that the Department of Justice receives the actual amount spent on investigation and prosecution of the specified violations, and not an arbitrary ten percent of court judgments. This way, the department will be fairly and adequately compensated for the actual costs it incurs on behalf of the state’s citizens. Respectfully submitted, JIM DOYLE Governor