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Schachtner defeats Jarchow in special election

Assembly votes 61-32 to strip the governor's power to appoint DNR secretary

The governor's power to manage natural resources would be sharply reduced under a bill passed by the Wisconsin Assembly.

The vote was 61-32 Tuesday to let the Natural Resources Board appoint the Department of Natural Resources secretary instead of the governor.

Don Friske R-Merrill says it would not do what the bill's supporters want, take the politics out of hunting, fishing and environmental matters.

Friske says the governor would still appoint the DNR board members, and would choose people of his own political persuasion to get what he wants anyway.

But Ed Harvey, head of the Conservation Congress, says the change would still remove "the slimy part of politics," because board members don't receive donations to campaign funds.

Spencer Black, D-Madison, wrote the bill, saying it would preserve the environment and he urged lawmakers to think about the next generation instead of the next election.

The bill now goes to the Senate and then to the governor who opposes the change, after supporting it for years.

Marlin Schneider, D-Wisconsin Rapids, said if Doyle wants to veto the bill he should "have at it," and then give lawmakers a chance to override him.

The 61 yes votes were five short of the two-thirds support needed for an override. But six members did not vote, and Black says there's a good chance an override could succeed.

It's been 24 years since any governor's veto has been overturned in Wisconsin.