Legislative Update: February 15

The GOP tax bill has made its way to Governor Tony Evers’ desk, but is drawing opposition from the governor and others. The Wisconsin Budget Project outlines why it says the governor’s plan is better: Governor’s Middle Class Tax Cut Includes Workers with Low Incomes.

Updates from the Governor’s Office. Governor Evers this week unveiled a plan for $70 million in clean water initiatives and another to ensure access to dental health care. It’s expected that we’ll hear more about his health care plans next week, and other bits and pieces of the budget he’ll hint to leading up to the budget unveiling on February 28. You can expect the budget rollout to last a few weeks into March – so stay tuned for opportunities to turn out to support public school funding as the governor makes the rounds across Wisconsin. We’ll likely also see some more listening sessions, in addition to the Joint Finance Committee hearings. 

Special Education. The Wisconsin Policy Institute released two tools this week worth checking out: Special Education Funding Report and New tool allows for examining, comparing school districts.

Peter Barca’s Seat. Governor Evers has called a special election for April 30 to fill the Assembly seat Democrat Peter Barca left to join the governor’s administration as Revenue Secretary. Evers’ executive order also means the expected primary for the strongly Democratic seat would line up with the April 2 general election. Under the order, candidates can begin circulating nomination papers today, and they’ll be due at 5 p.m. March 5. 

Joint Legislative Council Votes. The panel approved the recommendations from task forces on dyslexia and school trust funds. 

New Report on Retirement Systems. The Legislative Council has released a new report titled, “2017-18 Comparative Summary of Major Public Employee Retirement Systems.” The report compares major state and local public employee retirement systems in the United States. The report is prepared every two years, and this year’s report compares the same 87 public employee retirement systems that were compared in the previous report. While the report does not cover all major public employee retirement systems, it does describe at least one statewide plan from each state.

Secretary Nominations. Public hearings for state administration secretary positions start next week.

Bills Introduced:

  • AB 22: Driver education instruction on human trafficking. 
  • AB 23: Career and technical education incentive grants.

Circulating for Co-Sponsorship: 

  • Youth Apprenticeship Programs (LRB 1990/1 and 1991/1). Makes changes to the current youth apprenticeships.
  • Voter Protection Act(LRB 1404/1). This updated draft of the 2009 Voter Protection Act introduces universal voter registration, includes electronic voter registration, grants greater rights to voter suppression victims, and more.

  • Prohibiting the Assembly and Senate from passing certain bills following a general election (LRB-1152/1). This constitutional amendment, proposed to the 2019 Legislature on first consideration, provides that after the November General Election, the Assembly and the Senate may not pass any bill that affects a series of areas, including the powers and duties of the Legislature, until after the next political year commences. 

  • Prohibiting GPS monitoring for truancy cases (LRB 1058/1). This bill prohibits a municipal court or court from ordering the use of electronic monitoring for children in truancy cases. 

  • Required funding of state mandates (LRB 0172/1). This bill creates a legislative Joint Committee on State Mandates, which would create a report to determine if the bill has a negative uncompensated fiscal effect on local governmental units. If so, the committee must offer an amendment appropriating funds to offset the cost of the mandate. 

  • Teacher Loans (LRB-1376). Expands the minority teacher loan program. 

  •  School Lunch Requirements (LRB-1212). The Hunger Free School Zone Act would prohibit “lunch shaming.”