Politics

Fast Facts: A supermajority in the Wisconsin Legislature?

Republicans are seeking to flip a handful of seats in the 2022 elections to give them the two-thirds majorities in the state Senate and Assembly needed to override vetoes by the governor.

By Steven Potter | Here & Now

October 27, 2022

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Over the past four years, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has vetoed a record-setting 146 bills sent to him by the Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature.

These vetoes included bills regarding everything from education and voting restrictions to pandemic policies and new state welfare requirements.

But Evers' ability to veto – or stop – the legislation he disagrees with could soon come to an end.

That would happen if Republicans achieve what's called a "supermajority," which would allow the Legislature to override a governor's veto.

To do this, Republicans would need to win elections in two-thirds of the seats in both the state Senate and Assembly.

As it stands, Republicans have a 61 to 38 majority over Democrats in the state Assembly. They would need to take an additional five seats from Democrats in the November 2022 election to achieve a 66-seat supermajority in that chamber.

In the state Senate, Republicans have a 21 to 12 majority over Democrats. To earn a two-thirds supermajority there, Republicans would need to flip only one seat.

In order to override a governor's veto, both the state Senate and Assembly must vote to do so – one chamber cannot override a veto alone.

In the event that Republican challenger Tim Michels wins the governor's election on Nov. 8, overriding a veto will likely prove unnecessary as Republicans will have complete control over all lawmaking bodies of state government.

The last time one political party had a two-thirds supermajority in both the state Senate and Assembly was in 1977 and the controlling party was Democrats. The last time a veto was overridden was part of the state budget bill in 1985.

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