Budget Votes Begin

The Legislature's Joint Finance Committee completed its public hearings on the 2021-2023 state budget proposal on April 28, and on May 6 it held the first of what will be a series of executive sessions on the budget bill.

Governor Evers' proposal would have increased spending by over $8 billion and raised taxes by over $1 billion.  Needless to say, this is unacceptable to legislative Republicans, as are the hundreds of non-fiscal policy items the Governor attempted to foist on the people of Wisconsin under cover of the budget, things like legalizing marijuana and repealing commonsense labor and election reforms.  Regardless of your position on the merits of these proposals, I think we can agree that they have no place in a budget and should instead be introduced as standalone legislation so that the relevant standing committees can vet them properly.

Fortunately, the Finance Committee approved Motion 19, which removes these non-fiscal provisions and other nonstarters from further budget consideration and gives the committee a "cleaner" document to work from as it creates a budget that better reflects Wisconsin priorities and values.

Besides Motion 19, the Finance Committee also completed its work on a number of small agency budgets.  As the executive sessions continue through May and into June, the committee will turn to larger agencies.  Throughout the process, you may view approved budget motions here.  In addition, the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau prepares "budget papers" for the committee, which provide more detail about budget issues and provide alternatives for the committee to consider.  LFB typically posts budget papers for upcoming agency votes a few days in advance.  (The budget papers use references to page and item numbers from LFB's summary of the Governor's recommendations.)

Session Next Week

The Assembly will meet May 11 to vote on a number of bills, including proposals about elder abuse (Assembly Bills 45 and 46 and Senate Bill 17), summer camps (Assembly Bill 166 and Senate Bills 168 and 171), children (Assembly Bill 142 and Senate Bills 24, 105, 107, and 112), and the use of private money in elections administration (Assembly Bill 173).  The Assembly will also vote on Assembly Joint Resolution 9, which calls for a convention of states under Article V of the U.S. Constitution to propose amendments to restrict the powers of the federal government and impose term limits on federal officials. 

Tuesday's floor session will also include the annual State of the Tribes address from Wisconsin's Native American community.

Protecting Our Borders

Click on photo to view video

Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna) and Assembly Speaker Pro Tem Tyler August (R-Lake Geneva) recently visited the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas to get a better understanding of the brewing crisis down there.  This is not just a Texas problem, but a 50-state problem.  Representatives Steineke and August have sent Vice President Kamala Harris an open letter, asking her to take the problem more seriously in her role as "border czar".

Happy Mother's Day

I hope all mothers and their families have a safe and happy Mother's Day this weekend!
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