November 12, 2021

KnodlBanner2018.jpg

Transparency in Education

Our state scored a victory for transparency and government accountability this week with the enactment of Act 89, which establishes an online portal which will allow the public to view financial information about their school districts.

Currently, it can be a challenge for members of the public to understand how schools spend their tax dollars. This bill will direct the Department of Public Instruction to take the expenditure data they already receive from school districts and create a public-facing school expenditure portal. There will be no new reporting requirements for schools, and the legislation has a wide base of support, including education associations, open government watchdogs, and taxpayer advocacy groups.

The Government Accountability and Oversight Committee, which I chair, heard testimony on this bill in September and voted to recommend passage on a bipartisan vote of 8-1.

I believe the public deserves access to accessible, accurate, and easy-to-understand information about how governments collect and spend their hard-earned tax dollars. That is why we also passed the enabling legislation creating the State Fiscal Dashboard. I still think that there is a lot of room for improvement, and I will keep pushing for further fiscal transparency reform.

Redistricting Bills Pass

Yesterday, the Assembly voted in favor of the redistricting bills which I discussed last week and the week before. These bills establish a new set of legislative district maps for the next ten years.

The State Senate previously passed the maps on Monday after rejecting the governor's maps with a bipartisan supermajority vote. These bills will now head to the governor's desk.

This is just as our state constitution mandates. I'm happy to stand by our process, which featured the first time in our history that the public had an option to weigh in with their own map proposals, which resulted in over 400 submissions.

The governor sought to change this process, which has served our state for over 150 years, by placing a commission of his own creation and appointment in charge of drawing the maps. In the end, legislative Democrats were so embarrassed by the "People's Maps Commission" final maps they issued their own.

Unfortunately, these also missed the mark. They featured population deviations even higher than those on the governor's map, and also disenfranchise over half a million people by moving those people from an odd to even number district, forcing them to wait additional two years to vote for their state senator.

Both the People's Maps Commission maps and those introduced by legislative Democrats were defeated on a bipartisan vote, indicating how truly flawed they were.

In contrast, the maps passed by the legislature have the lowest levels of disenfranchisement since 1990, maintain 84% district core retention (compared to 60%), and just 0.76% population deviation.

Community Events

Germantown

Event: Germantown Christmas Festival and Parade
Date and Time: November 13th from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM (parade); 2:30 PM to 4:45 PM (festival)
Location: Firemen's Park (festival); Parade starts at Pilgrim Rd and Sylvan Circle, follows Fond du Lac Ave/Main St/Park Ave and ends at Firemen's Park
Description: Activities, cookies/hot chocolate, and live music, with Official Firemen's Park Christmas Tree lighting at 4:30 PM. The festival is sponsored by Gehl Food & Beverage and the parade by Enviro-Safe Resource Recovery. Read more info about the festival (here) and parade (here).

 
Save