By TODD RICHMOND, Associated Press
MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Gov.-elect Scott Walker asked outgoing Gov. Jim Doyle's administration on Thursday to halt federal health care reforms in the state, cease negotiations on state workers' contracts and abandon any new rules for state agencies.
Walker, a Republican, is set to take office Jan. 3. His requests signal that he wants to block the Democratic administration from making any last-minute moves that could hamstring him later.
In a letter to Department of Administration Secretary Dan Schooff, Walker thanked the administration for its "gracious cooperation" with his transition so far. In the next paragraph he starts ticking off projects he wants dropped immediately. Schooff fired off a letter hours later telling Walker that he doesn't understand the initiatives.
"Obviously," Schooff wrote, "you have not had the opportunity to be briefed on these items."
Walker requested Doyle freeze any implementation of the federal health care reform law in Wisconsin, saying the reforms will affect the state's medical assistance programs and that he plans to allow Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to join a multistate lawsuit challenging the law.
Walker asked Doyle to end all negotiations on state workers' 2009-2011 contracts until he takes office. He said he wants to consider them as part of the upcoming state budget.
He demanded the administration stop developing new administrative rules. If any new regulations were really needed they would have been completed by now, he said, and rushing to finish them before he takes office could hurt the state's ability to attract jobs to the state.
He also asked Doyle to hold off on hiring for permanent state civil service positions. He said he wants to prevent political appointees from moving into civil service jobs and promised to review any new permanent hires over the next two months "so they can be considered for termination."
He also told Doyle to nix plans to install a biomass boiler at a University of Wisconsin-Madison plant and begin planning for a natural gas boiler. The move could save the state $100 million, he said.
"I am confident we can find common ground on my five requests and continue to work towards an orderly transition," Walker wrote.
Schooff wrote in his letter that the health care changes will require legislation and won't go into effect until at least 2013. Plans for the power plant call for both natural gas and biofuel capabilities, he added.
He did not address Walker's other requests in the letter but offered to brief Walker on any measures he wishes.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)