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Wisconsin governor sues GOP-controlled legislature over unreleased millions

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(The Center Square) – Wisconsin’s governor wants a judge to order the legislature to give him nearly $200 million for PFAS clean-up, hospitals in western Wisconsin and a new literacy program in the state.

Gov. Tony Evers filed a lawsuit against Republican lawmakers to release the funds.

“The fact that Wisconsinites and communities across our state have waited months to receive funding to respond to pressing issues because Republican lawmakers refuse to release investments they already approved is unconscionable. Some of this funding has been sitting in Madison for over 300 days waiting for Republicans to take action – that’s ridiculous, there’s no excuse for it,” Evers said in a statement.

The governor has complained for weeks the Republican-controlled legislature has been holding-up his efforts to clean up the state and provide much-needed relief in Wisconsin.

“The people of this state should not have to wait one day longer than they already have – these are taxpayer dollars, the Legislature and I already approved these investments months and months ago, and Republican legislators should not be able to single-handedly prevent us from doing the people’s work. Period,” Evers added.

The governor’s lawsuit covers:

● $125 million to fight PFAS contaminants statewide.

● $15 million to respond to hospital closures in Western Wisconsin for 75 days.

● Nearly $50 million to help improve reading outcomes and literacy in K-12 schools across Wisconsin.

The governor said the money has already been approved, but the legislature will not release it. Republican lawmakers have said the governor has no one to blame but himself.

Sen. Eric Wimberger, R-Green Bay, said Evers vetoed legislation that would have spent the money.

“Gov. Evers’ vetoed the solutions communities want and now demands we empty the $125 million PFAS Trust Fund into DNR coffers in Madison with no accountability. I’ve repeatedly asked Gov. Evers and legislative Democrats to provide language to protect PFAS victims that’s more to their liking, but they haven’t, and with this veto they’ve made it clear they want to be able to punish victims of PFAS and make them pay for pollution they didn’t cause,” Wimberger said in a statement.

The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Senate plans to vote Tuesday to override Evers’ vetoes on all three plans included in the lawsuit.

But the Republican-controlled Assembly doesn’t have the vote for their own override.

The PFAS lawsuit is not the first time Evers has sued the legislature. He has another lawsuit before the Wisconsin Supreme Court that seeks to limit the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee. The governor says that committee has infringed on his power to spend as he sees fit. The court heard arguments in that case about a month ago.

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