Rep. Brandtjen Special Edition E-Update

Extraordinary Session Update


This week the Legislature went into “Extraordinary Session” which is the term used when the Legislature convenes after the election (the so-called Lame Duck Session). The last time the Legislature went into a lame duck session was the last time we changed governors, which was 2010. Yes, Governor Jim Doyle and the Democratic led Legislature went into extraordinary session in December of 2010. The Democrats went as far as to pull Rep. Jeff Woods out of jail to vote to extend 1900 pages of union contracts.


Unlike in 2010, the only thing extraordinary about this week’s legislative session was the sensational media hype, the unhinged reaction, and the mob mentality of Tony Evers supporters.


This week, Tony Evers supporters broke a window, kicked in the door during a meeting of the Joint Finance Committee, disrupted the Legislative floor sessions, and even went and far as to yell obscenities and shout down a high school choir while they sang during the Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Unbelievable!


Our forefathers crafted the Constitution to have three co-equal branches. The reality is that all the measures passed, while minor, will hold up to Constitutional muster.


Below is a brief summary of the measures that were passed this week.


Provided fair, uniform early voting hours

  • 24-hours a day, two weeks before an election at more than one location
  • Provides parity between communities:  Milwaukee 6 weeks and Ashland 2 weeks
  • Codify administrative rules in statutes for Voter ID
    • Administrative rule changes were put in place in 2016 to ensure implementation;
      • ability to get a free ID
      • use of technical college IDs 
    • Voter ID has been successful for consecutive elections since 2015.
    • Provides stability for our elections by codifying administrative rules.
    • Expands the definition of proof of citizenship compared to current rules to make it easier to get an ID to vote.
  • Fast Forward Training grant program can continue
  • HealthCare Stability Act can continue to help individuals with high premiums on the exchange
    • OCI announced that premiums are expected to decrease 3% statewide on the exchanges as a result of the reinsurance program
  • Work requirements for BadgerCare


Train more workers in the workforce.

Provide legislative oversight of the waiver process

  • Prohibits the Department of Health Services from requesting a waiver, renewal, modification, withdrawal, suspension or termination of a waiver OR pilot program demonstration project unless there is legislation specifically directing that request
  • Eliminates the potential of DHS to follow through on an executive branch directive without first getting approval from the legislature
  • Unelected bureaucrats at state agencies in Madison should not be able to alter or create state health policy and programs without direct oversight and input from legislature.
  • At least 17 states require some degree of legislative oversight of SPA’s (Medicaid state plan amendment)
  • Requires the governor to work with the legislature


Allow WEDC to continue without fear of being shut down


Legislature must have a strong voice in economic development decisions

  • WEDC Board of Directors would begin with six appointments from the Assembly (5 majority, 1 minority) and six appointments from the Senate (5 majority, 1 minority) and six from the governor. The board would select the CEO.  It changes on Sept. 2019 when the Assembly and Senate majority lose one appointment each and governor gets to select CEO.
  • Bill removes the cap on enterprise zones and requires JFC approval of any new zones


Ensures the implementation of an income tax cut already in law

  • The US Supreme Court rule in South Dakota v Wayfair, Inc. allowed for states to be able to collect sales and use taxes from out-of-state retailers. 2013 Act 20 specifies that the state should be allowed to collect such taxes, the taxes must be used to reduce income tax rates.
    • Different interpretations of the 2013 law necessitates this update in the law
    • Bill provides specific instructions on what the rates should be and effective dates
    • Tax cuts likely in place by 2019 tax year


Puts DOT reforms in place for increased transparency and accountability

  • Eliminates DOT transfers between state and federal highway programs immediately
  • Cuts red tape on certain highway projects, helping to reduce cost
  • Locals must be notified if DOT project is paid by federal dollars, which would mandate federal design standards requirements.


Increases legislative oversight of state operations

  • JCLO will have passive review of security issues involving the Capitol
  • JFC must be notified over any transfer of funds from veterans homes to the veterans trust fund or veterans mortgage loan repayment fund


Increases legislative oversight of DOC

  • Allows legislature to ask DOC for report on individuals who were pardoned or released early.
  • The public have the right to know about released offenders in their communities.


Increases legislative oversight of Attorney General’s Office

  • Oversight of the ability to sue/settle and declare statutes unconstitutional
  • Grants the legislature the right to intervene
  • Gives legislature the ability to appoint a special counsel to defend duly enacted laws
  • Legislation gives oversight into settlement funds; these are tax dollars that will be returned to the general fund so it’s NOT part of a slush fund



We’ll be discussing this more in the upcoming weeks, breaking down the material. I’d encourage anyone with questions to contact my office.


Phone (608) 237-9122