December 7, 2018

Protecting Conservative Reforms

Extraordinary Session Called by Legislature

As you may know, the legislature took action earlier this week to protect the strong conservative accomplishments that I have been a part of over the last 8 years. Early actions by the incoming administration have shown an intent to weaken these reforms without including the legislature in the process. I could not idly sit by and let that happen.

As I’ve talked with my constituents, it has become evident that too many times people rely solely on headlines and do not know the full story. Below, I hope to explain the action we took.

The bills we passed focus on ensuring the governor cannot unilaterally go around the legislature to change state law. In fact, the bills' focus is to preserve the constitutional intent that in order to change state law, you need both the legislature and governor to agree. This is not only important, but a bedrock concept in our nation and state.

The changes do not give radical new powers to the legislative branch to act without the governor's approval. We still need to work together to get things done. The people spoke and there is a Democratic governor, I do realize and accept that. However, the people also returned Republican majorities in the Senate and Assembly. By ensuring the governor must work with the legislature, we will make certain that everyone has a say as our state moves forward.

Let’s start with something that was not included in the bills we passed, which received the bulk of attention: a proposal to move the presidential primary date. The legislature wisely listened to a number of county clerks regarding potential problems this change could cause. While there is some merit to separating a partisan election from local non-partisan elections, it would have caused too much confusion at this point.

The main focus of the bills we did pass is ensuring the legislature has a seat at the table with the new governor. The governor-elect has stated a desire to end the state’s successful economic development agency, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). The WEDC has had a positive impact on our state’s economy over the past eight years resulting in a $20 billion economic impact, an addition of nearly 200,000 jobs, and a record nine months of unemployment at or below 3% statewide. The agency was instrumental in landing the Foxconn deal which will have a massive local economic impact with thousands of family-sustaining jobs. We took steps to ensure the new governor cannot simply shut down the WEDC without legislative involvement and put the Foxconn project, and all of those jobs, at risk.

Further, a number of common sense reforms were protected, which could have been weakened by the new administration without legislative oversight. We acted to protect multiple reforms such as: Voter ID requirements, drug testing welfare recipients, work search requirements for unemployment, requiring able-bodied recipients of BadgerCare and Food Stamps to work, and efforts we have taken to help individuals from the high costs of health insurance through ObamaCare. All of these could have been changed without any legislative approval. I think we can all agree that if changes need to be made in those programs, the legislature and administration should work together to produce the best results. These bills simply ensure that cooperation between the co-equal branches happens.

We also acted to cement the implementation of a tax cut that was already in practice. This would ensure that new online sales and use tax collections would be used to reduce income taxes instead of being diverted to grow government and new programs.

Early voting has created confusion throughout the state. Some communities begin voting six weeks before an election, while others were much less. To create a more transparent system, we passed a requirement that all communities uniformly hold early voting for two weeks before an election. This change will give those individuals that can’t vote on Election Day the assurance that they will have ample opportunity to cast their ballot.

Finally, there were two common sense reforms that will result in increased transparency and accountability at the Department of Transportation that will cut red tape and reduce costs. The other will ensure legislative oversight of the Department of Corrections by requiring reports for those prisoners pardoned or released early.

As you can see, despite certain media outlets sensationalizing their stories, the legislation that was passed was responsible and aimed at ensuring the legislature continued to have a seat at the table with the governor. Strengthening the balance between our branches of government is never a bad concept. I will work to find common ground with Governor-elect Evers where possible, though I will pledge to fight for the conservative reforms that have led to Wisconsin’s economic turnaround.

President George H.W. Bush Remembered

This week we remembered our 41st President, George H.W. Bush. He was a great American with a remarkable life that left a significant impact upon our great nation.

Below, I encourage you to click on the link to watch President George W Bush deliver a touching eulogy for his father.


Holiday Tours at the Executive Residence

If you are in the Madison area, consider stopping by the executive residence for a tour. Listed below are the special holiday tour times:

Saturday, December 8th from 10 a.m. – Noon

Wednesday, December 12th from Noon – 2 p.m.

Thursday, December 13th from Noon – 12 p.m.

Wednesday, December 19th from Noon – 2:00 p.m.

Thursday, December 20th from Noon – 2:00 p.m.

Tours are free of admission.

Parties of 20 or more are asked to call (608) 246-5501 to make a reservation.

Street parking is available just outside the residence gates. Handicapped parking available upon request at the time of arrival.

Cameras may be used during your tour.

The Executive Residence is located at 99 Cambridge Road on Madison’s Northeast side in the Village of Maple Bluff.

Photo courtesy of

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

(608) 266-1190