Evers vetoes GOP bills requiring new requirements for unemployment aid

Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on Friday vetoed two packages of bills passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature that would have created new requirements for unemployment assistance and prevented local governments from banning gas-powered engines, according to the Associated Press.

Evers, who was criticized as soft on crime by Republicans in last year’s midterm, also signed into law measures to increase transparency in the parole process and set harsher criminal penalties for people who sell drugs that lead to fatal overdoses.

People receiving unemployment assistance in Wisconsin must already perform four work-search activities each week. The five unemployment bills Evers struck down Friday sought to allow employers to report recipients who either turn down or don’t show up to a job interview. The measures also proposed requiring the Department of Workforce Development to audit more work-search activities and increase drug testing for certain occupations.

Three other bills Evers vetoed would have barred local governments from enacting bans on vehicles, machinery, or new utility connections based on the type of power they use. The Legislature passed those measures in June.

One of the bills Evers signed into law aims to crack down on fentanyl distribution by setting a maximum prison sentence of 60 years for someone convicted of reckless homicide for providing drugs that lead to a fatal overdose, up from the current 40.

The bill is “a step in the wrong direction,” the ACLU of Wisconsin said in a statement Friday.

Another bill signed by Evers gives victims more rights to speak at parole hearings and forces the state parole commission to meet in public and post online the names of individuals granted or denied parole.