People’s Budget Listening Session on Schools and Education
6 p.m. Wednesday, December 16
Join Governor Tony Evers and Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes to talk about funding education in the 2021-23 state budget, and then participate in in-depth discussions on education budget items.
Wisconsin Senate says COVID package under development
Incoming Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu says his Republican caucus is working on developing a COVID-19 package that will include proposals similar to those in the Assembly package released
Some of the provisions LeMahieu said he likes from the Assembly include limited liability for schools, businesses and hospitals from COVID-related suits and legislative control over how the governor spends any COVID relief funds. The Senate will likely seek Legislature oversight of future virus-related spending and the state’s upcoming vaccine deployment efforts. Read more.
LeMahieu did not mention where Republican senators stand when it comes to other provisions in the Assembly proposal, like requiring teachers to be physically in school buildings and fining districts utilizing virtual learning.
Republican legislative leaders have not met in session since the pandemic hit in spring and have not brought forward any meaningful proposals. Governor Tony Evers has proposed a $541 million COVID-19 relief package in November, which the legislature has not taken up, and it’s not expected that any package would pass the Legislature before January.
Senate Committee Members Named
The senators who will serve on the Senate Committee on Education are: Senator Alberta Darling (Chair), Senator Kathy Bernier (Vice-Chair) and Senator Steve Nass. See the complete list of senate committee assignments.
Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Virtual Instruction
The Wisconsin Supreme Court this week heard arguments on Dane County’s suspended public health order
that had blocked most in-person instruction for public and private schools to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The Court previously issued an injunction temporarily barring the order, as the court’s conservative-backed majority agreed to hear the challenge from religious schools and parents that the health department overstepped her authority in ordering schools to close.
Significant Wisconsin Court Decisions
The Legislative Reference Bureau released a new report outlining the most recent significant court decisions. Read it here.
State Investment Fund Audit Released
The Legislative Audit Bureau has released a review of the State Investment Fund, which is managed by the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB). The fund invests the excess operating funds of State of Wisconsin agencies, the Wisconsin Retirement System, and the Wisconsin Local Government Investment Pool (LGIP). The audit shows the fund increased $3.1 billion from June 2019 to June 2020. See the briefing sheet.
Economic Outlook Report Released
The Department of Revenue has released a report of current economic conditions and forecasts. Read it here.