State Budget Update


April 24th, 2015

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One of the things that I always seem to forget when it comes to the budget is that nothing is set in stone. Not even the schedule and the agenda. The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) met on Wednesday but did not take up some of the major issues that everyone was expecting. Instead, the JFC co-chairs (since it is a joint committee, there is one chair from the Senate and one from the Assembly), say they may meet next week but are waiting on new estimates of state revenue.

Like all of us facing a difficult task, the JFC started their budget review process with the easiest options and left the more difficult and consequential decisions for later. Instead of dealing with the pressing issues of transportation funding for our roads, the JFC focused on road kill, hunting licenses, and driverís license renewals. So consider this weekís Budget Update as a lighter version of things to come.

Deer Carcass Removal



  • The Governorís budget ended state funding for the removal of dead deer from the side of the road. Under this plan, local units of government would be responsible.

  • The JFC rejected this idea and voted to fund the program with $700,000 per year over the next two years.


Bear Hunting Licenses



  • JFC voted to end class B bear licenses (required to pursue bears). No license is now required for bear baiting, training dogs to track bears and assisting hunters with tracking bears.

Driver's Licenses



  • The Governorís budget proposed allowing people to renew their driverís license online.

  • The JFC rejected this plan, but approved a proposal to allow people to use a website to upgrade from their instructional license to probationary license to their regular license.

Department of Natural Resources

  • JFC voted to require the DNR to develop a plan to deal with the disparity in the hunting and fishing fees fund.

Non-Driver's License ID Cards

  • The Governorís budget included a measure to allow people 65 and older to get ID cards (not driverís licenses) that will not expire.

  • The JFC voted to approve this.

Voter Registration

  • A motion (similar to an amendment proposed by one of the JFC members) was made to automatically register to vote anyone with a driverís license or other approved voter ID.

  • This measure was rejected.

Governor's Travel Expenses

  • Another motion introduced would have required the Governor to provide quarterly statements on the cost of his travels to the taxpayers.

  • This motion was rejected.

The JFC still has a lot of work ahead of them as they go through the budget process. I remain hopeful that they will use this extra time to listen to what Wisconsinites have been saying about this budget.



State Representative

94th Assembly District



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