What is the effect of a mayoral
veto when the common council action being vetoed is negative in nature?
For example, what is the effect of the mayor vetoing a council's denial
of a liquor license or a council decision against adopting a particular
Although it is not entirely clear whether
the veto can be used in this situation, Wis. Stat. sec. 62.09(8) gives
the mayor "veto power as to all acts of the council, except such as to
which it is expressly or by necessary implication otherwise provided."
While the mayoral veto is usually used with regard to affirmative
legislation, occasionally it is used following a negative action. It is
unclear what the legal effect of a mayoral veto is on negative
legislation - whether the veto is merely an expression of the mayor's
disagreement with the council's action or whether it has the effect of
nullifying the council action unless the council overrides the veto.
There is no Wisconsin legal authority
addressing this issue. However, the question sometimes arises whether
the mayor's veto of a negative action results in the affirmative.
Although no Wisconsin law addresses this issue either, the League
believes it is clear that the mayor's veto cannot cause the affirmative.
For example, the mayor's veto of the council's denial of the liquor
license does not cause the license to be granted. Similarly, it does not
cause the ordinance that was defeated to be enacted.