August Legislative Update
  • State Supreme Court Flips. August is usually a quiet month in the state’s Capital city. However, this August – the action hasn’t stopped after Justice Janet Protasiewicz was sworn in as a justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court on August 1. The changeover has shifted the ideological balance of the court to a 4-3 majority of judicial liberals. Judicial conservatives previously enjoyed 5-2 and 4-3 majorities on the court for several years.
  • Redistricting is on many minds. Soon after Justice Protasiewicz’s inauguration, two lawsuits regarding redistricting were filed with the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Both lawsuits ask the court to act on an expedited timeline to rule that the current maps are unlawful and to put new maps in place in time for the 2024 general election. Republican Assembly Speaker Vos has said he believes that Justice Protasiewicz should recuse herself from certain cases, including redistricting lawsuits, based on statements she made earlier this year and publicly flirted with impeaching Justice Protasiewicz.
  • Child Care Headlines Special Session Call: Gov. Evers has called a special session of the Legislature on September 20 “to complete their work on the 2023-25 biennial budget and pass a meaningful, comprehensive plan to address the state’s longstanding, generational workforce challenges.”
    • The governor’s press release lists $1 billion in proposals including about $340 million for the Child Care Counts provider subsidy program, $243 million to create a paid family and medical leave program, and $250 million for the UW System and a new engineering building at UW-Madison.
    • Republicans are expected to gavel in and out of the session without taking any action, with Assembly Speaker Vos calling the proposals “nothing more than a rehash of Tony Evers' tax and spend budget.”
  • Next Floor Period: The legislature’s next opportunity to be on the floor to pass legislation isn’t until September 12th (through 21st). With the heavy $4 billion surplus weighing down the state’s coffers, it is unclear if there will be any compromise between the Governor and legislature on a tax package and the other priorities the Governor set in his special session.