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Extraordinary Session

The Wisconsin State Legislature convened last week to take up a set of bills in Extraordinary Session. 

What was so important about the Extraordinary Session bills and why would Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature stick their necks out in the face of national media blowback to pass them? Wisconsinites deserve to hear both sides.

Was it to preserve the 172,186 projected jobs the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has committed to help support?

Or to protect the bi-partisan Health Care Stability plan and the $200 million in state and federal dollars that have already been invested to lower health insurance premiums in Wisconsin?

Or the knowledge that hundreds of millions of dollars are routinely spent or transferred between agency programs, without any reporting or oversight?

Or was it because the Legislature didn’t have the right to intervene in cases challenging state laws even though we are the branch of government that creates the laws?

Or was it because we are a co-equal branch of government that wants to make sure policies, programs and waivers that were lawfully and publicly enacted through the legislative process have to go back through the legislative process to be reversed?

The answer? All of the above.

I get it. We had an election in November and Governor-Elect Tony Evers won a plurality of the statewide vote (49.54%). People voted for divided government and expect their elected officials to work together. Personally, I stand ready to work with our new Governor to address the challenges facing our state. I already voted to fully fund his transition team appropriation request and congratulated his staff and wished them well.  

When Governor-Elect Evers is sworn in next month, he will continue to enjoy the powers of a very expansive veto authority, the ability to appoint over 200 new people to advance his agenda, and the option of using Executive Orders to accomplish his goals. Those executive powers haven’t changed, with the exception of short-term changes to WEDC appointments to allow for a smooth transition.

After nearly 10 years of single party rule, Wisconsin will have divided government in 2019. The bills we passed will ensure we start with a level playing field and everyone has a seat at the table. I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to enact good public policy that keeps Wisconsin moving forward. But I will also fight to protect what I believe in and make sure the interests of my constituents are considered.

Groups of people agree and disagree all the time - at home, at work, on volunteer boards, and while serving in public office. Sometimes disagreements can be resolved by providing more information, sometimes there is compromise, sometimes you just agree to disagree and move on.  

As we enter this new era of divided government, let’s remember that fighting and working together are not mutually exclusive. These types of interactions represent normal human behavior and are an important part of the great American experiment we call democracy. Let’s give democracy and divided government a chance to work, together.

Reference Documents

The non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau detailed the provisions that passed in the extraordinary session bills, which can be read here - LFB Memo Extraordinary Session Bills.

 

I also prepared a spreadsheet that shows all of the provisions that were included in the final three bills along with two columns showing which provisions were previously approved by the Joint Finance Committee (JFC), or the WI Legislature, or by federal waiver and which provisions codify administrative rules or executive orders or are in response to litigation or federal law. You will notice that a vast majority of the provisions are not new, and the ones that are new have been noted. The provisions that were removed from the bill completely are listed at the bottom of the spreadsheet. 

My Capitol office is here to help you with general inquires as well as questions and concerns regarding legislative matters. Feel free to contact me or my staff for assistance using the contact information below.  
Rep. Amy Loudenbeck 
State Capitol, Room 304 East
PO Box 8952
Madison, WI 53708

Toll-Free (888) 529-0031 or (608) 266-9967
Rep.Loudenbeck@legis.wi.gov| |