February 26, 2016

Spring Legislative Session Update

We’ve been busy in the State Assembly this year already passing multiple measures that continue to move Wisconsin forward. Below are just a few of the bills that have recently passed that will reform state government.

Budgetary Accountability for State Expenditures (BASE) Act

I am a co-sponsor of the Budgetary Accountability for State Expenditures (BASE) Act, which will drastically change how business is done in Madison. Prior to this bill, state agencies would almost always only submit budgets asking for more money from you, the taxpayer. Under this bill, state agencies would be required to submit budget proposals that would also reduce or at least maintain their budgets with no increases.

Also known as Senate Bill (SB) 407, the legislation passed the State Assembly last week and now goes to Governor Walker for his signature. Enacting this bill will give the Legislature more options and increased transparency when it comes to the state budget process. It will allow for a more efficient and smaller government by providing opportunities to cut state spending where it makes sense instead of agencies always asking for more money even when it is not needed.

Prohibiting Sanctuary Cities in Wisconsin

Assembly Bill (AB) 450 will make sure that so-called “Sanctuary Cities” can no longer exist in the state of Wisconsin. The shooting death of Kate Steinle in San Francisco last October by an undocumented, convicted felon brought the issue of sanctuary cities into the national spotlight.

Specifically, AB 450 would ensure that Wisconsin’s municipalities comply with federal immigration laws and would withhold state taxpayer money from cities or counties that fail to verify the citizenship of arrested individuals. This bill only prohibits a city or county from forbidding law enforcement officers to ask about an individual’s immigration status if they’ve committed a serious and dangerous crime like robbery, homicide, and OWI (other traffic citations are not included). The legislation is directed at Madison, Milwaukee County, and Racine, where the local governments have enacted local directives that are currently ignoring federal immigration laws.

Currently, the legislation has only passed the State Assembly. I join Senator Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) in calling for the bill to be voted on by the full State Senate so that it can be passed before both houses adjourn later this year.

Honoring Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

I also co-authored Assembly Joint Resolution 113 which commends the ardent and remarkable service of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Justice Scalia has influenced a generation of legal thinkers with his adherence to the originalist philosophy of Constitutional interpretation. He will be remembered as a tremendous legal mind and as a pillar of conservatism. May he rest in peace.

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State Capitol Room 119 West
PO Box 8952 Madison, WI 53708

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