December 14, 2018, WMS Medigram
While the drama of last week’s two-day, overnight extraordinary session approving three lame duck session bills is over, the final fate of those proposals remains unknown.
The somewhat picayune rules of the legislative timeline could maintain that mystery until after Christmas: once Gov. Scott Walker receives the bills that have passed the legislature, he has six days (excluding any Sunday) to do one of the following:
- approve the bills in full.
- veto the bills in full.
- exercise his line-item veto power over bills that contain any appropriations.
- allow the bills to become law through inaction.
Legislation that has passed both houses of the legislature does not automatically get sent to the executive branch—the Governor can “call” for the bills to be delivered at any time. If he does not call for the bills by 4:30 p.m. on December 20, they will automatically be sent—at which point the six-day clock begins ticking. That means that December 27 is the latest date to know the fate of the lame duck bills.
The Society was part of a broad health care coalition opposing Senate Bill 886, the lame duck bill affecting the state’s Medicaid program. After its passage, the Society reached out to the Governor’s office reiterating those concerns, asking him to utilize his veto power to allow state government the maximum opportunity to adapt when providing Medicaid coverage under any federal waiver. Under the approved bill, any desire for the executive branch to modify, suspend or terminate a Medicaid waiver would also require legislative authorization. Gov. Walker earlier this week indicated that some vetoes are possible on one or more lame duck bills.