Summary: The Wisconsin Senate, controlled by Republicans, voted to fire eight appointees from Governor Tony Evers’ administration, including members of the environmental board. The rejected nominees include individuals from the Natural Resources Board, a Democratic elections commissioner, a medical board chair, Evers’ former spokesperson, and a member of an agricultural board.
Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate have voted to reject the confirmation of eight state board appointees from Governor Tony Evers’ administration. Among those rejected are members of the Natural Resources Board, which plays a key role in setting the state’s environmental and wildlife policies. The Senate vote mainly fell along party lines.
One of the rejected appointees is a Democratic elections commissioner who previously tried to prevent the Senate from firing the state’s top elections official. Additionally, a medical board chair who supports abortion rights and Evers’ former spokesperson, who was reappointed to the Council on Domestic Abuse, were also rejected. Another nominee, a member of an agricultural board, faced opposition from dairy and business groups.
This clash between Evers and Senate Republicans over gubernatorial appointments has been ongoing for years. GOP lawmakers have previously refused to act on the governor’s nominations, and policy board members appointed by former Republican Governor Scott Walker have blocked Evers’ picks by not stepping down after their terms expired.
Evers expressed disappointment with the rejection of his appointees, calling it ‘insanity.’ He described the rejected individuals as suitable and strong supporters of the state’s values. He vowed to replace them.
The rejection of the appointees has significant implications. For instance, the seven-person Natural Resources Board now lacks the necessary members to vote on any issues. Furthermore, the rejection of a nominee to the Wisconsin Elections Commission was in response to the commissioner’s decision to abstain from a vote on reappointing the agency’s administrator, causing a deadlock.
The Senate vote to reject confirmation effectively means firing the appointees. Democratic Sen. Brad Pfaff raised concerns about the ongoing conflict between the legislative and executive branches, questioning if this was the start of a new precedent. Previously, Senate Republicans had rejected Pfaff’s confirmation as Evers’ agriculture secretary in 2019, breaking a long-standing tradition.
The rejection of the environmental board members could potentially disrupt the Department of Natural Resources’ plans for wolf management. Another rejected nominee, who serves as chair of the state Medical Examining Board, was questioned about disciplinary actions against doctors who perform abortions. The rejection of this nominee comes amidst a lawsuit seeking to overturn Wisconsin’s abortion ban, of which the nominee is a plaintiff. The Senate vote also removed a co-chair of the Council on Domestic Abuse and a member of a board that deals with challenges regarding the construction of livestock facilities.
Tags: Wisconsin, Senate Republicans, Evers’ Appointees, Environmental Board, Gubernatorial Appointments, Confirmation Rejection