Wow. Evers didn’t even know what this bill did and he vetoed it. That says something.
Nothing matches the mandate claimed by Evers in his veto message.
The lead sponsors of the bill blasted Evers in a news release after the veto came down.
“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,” Born said.
What makes Evers’ veto message especially unusual is that it starts out by describing the parental opt-out accurately: “Under current law, directory data may be disclosed to any person if the public school notifies parents or guardians of the information designated as directory data, provides information on how to opt out of disclosures, and provides sufficient time to use the opt-out procedure.”
But the next two sentences then refer to the bill as mandating this information be released.
“The Governor must have forgotten about that between his opening paragraph explaining the ability to do so and his conclusion where he used it as an excuse to veto it,” state Sen. Luther Olsen, R-Ripon and the lead Senate sponsor, said in the news release.
Eleven days after the veto and callouts from Republican legislators, Evers’ office on Dec. 2, 2019, shared an “errata” with PolitiFact Wisconsin that retracted the two references to a mandate. It was dated Nov. 29, 2019, but as of Dec. 3, 2019, had not yet been published among the press releases on Evers’ website that announced the original veto or with the official legislative bill history.
Evers spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff said Evers’ legal team looked into the matter and issued the errata as a result of the inquiry by PolitiFact Wisconsin.
“We used an errata here for the same reason that the courts do: to correct an error so that there isn’t any confusion regarding the meaning or intent of the document,” Baldauff said in an email. “It is a process frequently used to correct legal documents after publication. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals, in particular, frequently issues erratas.”
Baldauff declined to detail how the mistake occurred but said Evers and his staff read the law, and “the intent of his veto is not changed by the errata.”
Since Evers can’t repeal a veto, I’d pass the bill again and see if he’ll sign it. Perhaps the legislature can send along an explanation in crayon.