Capitol Update

by Senator Howard Marklein

January 13, 2023

The 2023-24 Legislative Session Begins

On January 3, 2023, I was sworn-in for my third term as your State Senator to represent the 17th Senate District. I am honored to have earned the opportunity to serve for another four years. I am also extremely grateful to have another opportunity to lead the Senate’s work on the state budget, as well as to serve on the Senate Committee on Agriculture & Tourism. Both of these roles capitalize on my expertise and background. I am excited to get to work!
The legislative session cycle follows a similar schedule every two years. New and re-elected members were sworn in on January 3, 2023. We have scheduled floor session dates and standing committees are already meeting to consider new legislation. Joint Finance Committee (JFC) members will begin briefings about state agency spending within the next week. We are meeting with a wide variety of stakeholders on all different kinds of issues. I am holding listening sessions in every county of the 17th Senate District. It is a very busy time.
Governor Tony Evers is scheduled to give his State of the State address on Tuesday, January 24, 2023 at 7 p.m. to discuss his overall priorities for Wisconsin.  He is then scheduled to deliver his Budget address on Wednesday, February 15, 2023 at 7 p.m. to propose his version of the state budget. The Governor’s budget address officially kicks off the legislature’s work on the state budget.
From mid-February through March, the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) analyzes the Governor’s budget and provides an overview of the administration’s proposal. The JFC is also working diligently, during this time, to understand taxpayer and stakeholder priorities.
In mid-Spring, the JFC will invite many of the state agencies to provide briefings and to answer questions. About the same time, the JFC will hold public hearings throughout the state. These are great opportunities for citizens to provide input on the state budget and listen to ideas offered by other taxpayers. We have not yet decided where they will be. Stay tuned.
Following the public hearings, the JFC will hold Executive Session meetings to craft the legislature’s version of the state budget and then both houses will vote on it before it is sent to the Governor for signature.
Throughout the budget process, the legislature as a whole continues to meet in committees, hold floor sessions and work on non-budget issues. Advocacy groups hold “lobby days” to share their priorities and ideas on a wide variety of issues – everything from agriculture to rural EMS to libraries to economic development. Some days, I have meetings on a different topic every 30 minutes. It is a lot to digest and understand, but it is also fascinating to learn about all of the amazing things that are happening in our state!
The start of the 2023-24 legislative session this month basically resets all legislative activity. All of the legislation that we worked on in the last legislative session is closed and we have the opportunity to start fresh. This means that any bills that were not signed into law must be re-drafted, re-circulated and re-introduced. We must hold new public hearings and new executive sessions before new floor session debates.
In addition to continuing our work on past initiatives, I am also looking for new ideas. I have held a couple of listening sessions already and am looking forward to the sessions yet to come. The best legislation I sponsor comes from you and the communities I serve. Your ideas are extremely important. Please join me for a listening session, send me an email or call my office to share your thoughts and ideas. I look forward to hearing from you.
As always, please do not hesitate to connect with me to provide input, ideas or to seek assistance.  Send an email to sen.marklein@legis.wisconsin.gov or call 608-266-0703.