Friday, December 29, 2017

State of the State Address to Be Delivered January 24; Comings and Goings

Earlier this week, Senate President Roger Roth (R-Appleton) and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) invited Governor Walker to deliver his yearly State of the State address on January 24, 2018. A time has not yet been set.

As we near the end of the 2017-18 legislative session, resignations and retirements are starting to be announced. Below is a list of some of the most recent shake-ups.

The next possible floor session for the Legislature begins January 16. The Legislature will likely adjourn the 2017-18 session in February or March.

Comings and Goings

Representative Keith Ripp (R-Lodi) is stepping down from his Assembly seat to become Assistant Deputy Secretary at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. No special election will be held.

Senator Frank Lasee (R-De Pere) is stepping down from his Senate seat to serve as the Division Administrator for Worker's Compensation. No special election will be held.

Senator Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville) has been appointed to the Joint Finance Committee to fill the seat vacated by Senator Harsdorf.

Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls) gave up her seat to become the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Representative Adam Jarchow (R- Balsam Lake) won the Republican primary against Representative Shannon Zimmerman (R-River Falls) in December. Jarchow will face Patty Schachtner, a Democrat from Somerset, in the general election on January 16 to fill Harsdorf's Senate seat. 

Senator Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa) is giving up her State Senate Seat to run for U.S. Senate. Representative Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) is giving up his State Assembly Seat to run for Vukmir’s State Senate Seat.

State Superintendent Tony Evers, Representative Dana Wachs (D- Eau Claire) and Senator Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma) are among the crowded field of Democrats vying to challenge Governor Walker when he is up for re-election in November 2018. The primary will be held August 14, 2018.

Representative Cory Mason (D-Racine) was recently elected mayor of Racine and vacated his Assembly seat. Greta Neubauer, a Democrat from Racine, won the Democratic primary and is unopposed in the general election to fill Mason's seat. 

Representative Bob Gannon (R-Slinger) passed away unexpectedly this year. Rick Gundrum, a Republican from Slinger, will face Dennis Degenhardt, a Democrat from West Bend, in the general election on January 16 to fill Gannon's seat. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

We Need Your Help to Save the Common School Fund!

Draft legislation authored by Representative Hutton (R-Brookfield) and Senator Stroebel (R-Saukville) was released this afternoon that would end the Common School Fund as we know it and end the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) loan program that benefits schools, towns, villages, technical colleges, CESAs and public library systems. 

The bill does the following:

  •  Eliminates the requirement that schools spend Common School Fund disbursements on instructional materials, library books or school library computers/software. Schools would be able to spend CSF funds on any items they would like and those items would not need to be housed in the school library

  • Eliminates BCPL’s authority to make loans. The interest on these loans currently goes into the Common School Fund. 

  • Under current law, the BCPL can delegate some investment authority to the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB), but SWIB can only invest in fixed income accounts. The bill would remove this restriction and allow SWIB to invest state trust fund dollars using their typical investment strategy.

The bill authors are asking other legislators to sign on to this draft bill as co-sponsors. Legislators have until December 21 to sign on to the legislation. Contact your state representative and state senator TODAY and ask them to NOT sign on to this proposal and to oppose it if it is introduced (LRB-4425: Board of Commissioners of Public Lands Reform). 

How to Contact Your Legislators:

The first step in contacting your legislator is knowing who your legislator is. The easiest way to do this is the tool found on the Legislature’s home page, at In the right-hand side of that page is a link that says Find My Legislators!  Type your address in the box below that link to get the names of your state representative and senator.

  • Phone.  You may leave a message for your legislator’s Capitol office or indicate your position on legislation through the toll free Legislative Hotline, at 1-800-362-9472.