In this update:

  • Evers Administration Updates
  • Pre-Session Updates
  • Election Updates
  • Fundraising Opportunities

Evers Administration Updates 

Evers schedules State of State address, proposes date for budget address

Governor Tony Evers (D-Plymouth) sent a letter to Senate President Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield) and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) this week in which Gov. Evers said he planned to deliver his annual State of the State address on Feb. 7. Gov. Evers also asked the two legislative leaders for authority to deliver the budget address on Feb. 28 or March 7. “A later date this year will allow both the State Budget office and the Legislative Fiscal Bureau additional time to review year-end economic activity in 2022 and updated 2023 economic forecasts,” Gov. Evers wrote. However, WisPolitics reported that it received a text message from Speaker Vos’ chief of staff, Jenny Toftness, who wrote “We will consider the governor’s request, but those dates probably won’t work.”

State law requires the governor to deliver the budget address on or before the last Tuesday in January of odd-numbered years. However, the legislature regularly waives that requirement. In 2019, Gov. Evers asked to deliver his budget March 5, but ended up releasing it Feb. 28.

Pre-Session Updates

Vos reappoints Born as JFC Assembly Chair

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) re-appointed Rep. Mark Born (R-Beaver Dam) as the Assembly Chair of the Joint Committee on Finance (JFC), according to a press release issued by the Speaker’s office on Nov. 23. “Mark has done an outstanding job and has my full confidence to continue to lead this important committee,“ Speaker Vos said. ”His record of success and strong conservative vision will help bring forth another reasonable Republican budget that delivers on our promises and makes investments that are good for all of Wisconsin.”

Co-Chair Born was first elected to the Assembly in 2012 and has served on the JFC since 2017.

Because of legislative retirements, there will be at least 5 new members of the Joint Finance Committee for the 2023-2024 Legislative Session. Current members who are not returning and who will need to be replaced or have been replaced include:

  • State Rep. Amy Loudenbeck (R-Clinton)
  • State Rep. Beth Meyers (D-Bayfield)
  • State Sen. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield)
  • State Sen. Kathy Bernier (R-Lake Hallie)
  • State Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton)-has been replaced by Sen. Kelda Roys (D-Madison)

Study Committee on shared school district services meets

The Legislative Council Study Committee on Shared School District Services met this week to discuss nine preliminary draft bills. Topics addressed in the draft bills include reducing the number of seats on the school board of a consolidated school district, delaying accountability reports for a consolidated school district, providing grants for feasibility studies on consolidation, and increasing aid for transporting students between school districts that share services.

The preliminary draft bill that received the most discussion at the study committee is one that would alter the state’s formula for providing aid to school districts that consolidate. Under current law, when two or more school districts consolidate, the newly consolidated school district receives $150 per student for the first five years after consolidation. In the sixth year after consolidation, the school district receives half of that amount and in the seventh year, it receives a quarter of that amount. The draft bill changes the formula so a consolidated school district receives 9% of the statewide average base revenue limit in the first five years following consolidation. In the sixth year, the school district receives half of that amount and in the seventh year, it receives a quarter of that amount.

Rep. Dave Considine (D-Baraboo), a member of the Assembly Education Committee, said he was concerned the bill would incentivize school districts to consolidate as a way to receive additional funding. “I could go to my community and I could tell them, ‘Hey, we’re going to get another $900 a kid if we consolidate, and then we lose, in my district, we lose the grade school in Arena whatever it is, which I lost,” Rep. Considine said. However, Rep. Rob Brooks (R-Saukville), chair of the study committee, said he thought school districts would only move toward consolidation after going to referendum. “This would be the option of a last resort,” Rep. Brooks said.

Read the preliminary draft bills here 

Election Updates

Special Election in 8th Senate District

Effective December 1st, State Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) has retired midterm from the State Senate, creating a vacancy in the 8th Senate District. Governor Tony Evers (D-Plymouth) issued an executive order on Dec. 2 calling for a special election to be held to fill the vacant seat on Tuesday, April 4, 2023, in conjunction with the 2023 Spring Election. Should a primary be necessary, it will be held on Tuesday, February 21, 2023.

The 8th Senate District is a lean Republican district. In November, Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson captured 54.3% of the vote in the 8th SD and Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels captured 52.0% of the vote. With Sen. Darling’s retirement, Republicans will have a 21-11 majority at the start of the legislative session in January, one seat shy of a veto-proof majority.

Who’s in, who’s out and who is considering?

IN: 24th AD Rep. Dan Knodl (R-Germantown), announced on Dec. 1 that he would be running for the 8th SD seat. “I am running for the State Senate to ensure that the people of the 8th Senate District continue to have a proven commonsense voice in Madison,” said Rep. Knodl. “As State Senator, I will vote to support law enforcement, expand educational opportunities, roll back bureaucratic overreach and pursue continued tax reform.” Rep. Knodl has served in the Assembly since 2009 and was re-elected in November with 61.2% of the vote.

OUT: 23rd AD Rep. Deb Andraca (D-Whitefish Bay) announced this week that she would not run for the open seat. “After a long battle to flip my Assembly seat in 2020, followed by a successful fight to prevent a supermajority in the Assembly in 2022, I want to spend some non-campaign time with my family – especially my younger daughter who will be leaving for college this fall,” Rep. Andraca said.

Dorow announces bid for state Supreme Court

Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Dorow, who presided over the Waukesha parade attacker case, has announced that she will be running for state Supreme Court this spring. Judge Dorow was appointed to the Waukesha County bench in 2011 by former Governor Scott Walker. Since then, she has won six-year terms in 2012 and 2018 where she ran unopposed in both races. Judge Dorow is the fourth candidate to enter the race to succeed conservative Justice Pat Roggensack, who is retiring after two decades on the court. She now joins other conservative and former Justice Dan Kelly, and also the two liberal candidates Dane County Judge Everett Mitchell and Milwaukee County Judge Janet Protasiewicz.

The ideological balance of the court will be up for grabs this election, with the court currently having a 4-3 conservative majority and Justice Roggensack’s departure leaving an opening for the court to flip following her retirement. All four candidates are now circulating nomination papers that must be turned in by January 3rd. The two top vote-getters in the February 21st primary will advance to the April 4th election. After this spring’s election, the next Supreme Court race is scheduled to be in 2025, when liberal Justice Ann Bradley would be up for a fourth 10-year term.

MU Law School releases national poll

The Marquette University Law School Poll conducted a new national poll between November 15-22 which took the temperature on how Wisconsinites feel about the upcoming 2024 Presidential Election. In a hypothetical 2024 matchup, Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has pulled even with President Joe Biden at 42% each, while former-President Donald Trump was 10 points behind President Biden with 44% supporting President Biden and 34% supporting former-President Trump. There is still much debate among Democrats and Republicans if they respectively would like President Biden and former-President Trump to run again in 2024. Among self-identified Democrats who lean democratic, 49% want President Biden to run for re-election in 2024. Among self-identified Republicans and those who lean GOP, 55% want to see former-President Trump run again in 2024.

The survey of 1,004 adults included 840 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points for the sample. The margin of error was +/- 6.1 percentage points for the GOP subsample, and +/- 5.6 percentage points for the Democrat subsample. FiveThirtyEight rates MU Law School an A/B pollster.


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