July 2021 Legislative Update

Governor Signs State Budget With 50 Partial Vetoes

  • On Thursday, July 8, Governor Tony Evers (D) signed 2021 Act 58, the state budget for the 2021-2023 fiscal biennium, which began July 1.
  • The Wisconsin Assembly approved the budget bill (Assembly Bill 68) on June 29, with the Senate concurring in the bill the following day.
  • The two-year budget, assembled by the Republican-led Joint Finance Committee (JFC), spends $87.5 billion and cuts income and property taxes by $3.4 billion.
  • While approving the budget, Gov. Evers used his line-item veto authority 50 times, mostly making minor adjustments to program- and project-specific appropriations and language. The governor’s most notable veto was to nix a transfer of $550 million from the state’s general fund to the budget stabilization (“rainy day”) fund. That money will sit unspent in state coffers unless the Legislature and Gov. Evers agree on how to spend it.
  • Of note for WPRA, the governor also vetoed a provision that set aside $500,000 per year in Stewardship bonding authority for ATV, UTV, and snowmobile projects. This veto did not affect the overall level of funding for the Stewardship program.


WPRA successfully advocated for additional funding for the LUG Stewardship program. Thanks to the hard work and outreach of WPRA members, the committee agreed to provide $9.25 million for grants to local units of government, a $3.25 million increase over the program’s previous authorization.

WPRA Continues to Ask Questions on Implementation of the National Anthem Legislation

  • Recall that as currently written, Assembly Bill 226/Senate Bill 244 would require the national anthem be played or sung at any sporting event held in a venue constructed entirely or in part with taxpayer funds. The bill does not include penalties, enforcement mechanisms, or any specifics as to how the anthem must be played or sung at any event.
  • The bill moved very quickly through the Assembly, passing with bipartisan support (74-22) on May 11, less than two weeks after it received a public hearing. WPRA was the only organization to provide written testimony on the bill during that hearing. WPRA expressed concern that the bill would be a burden on the many small, recreational, and children’s sporting events that our members host.
  • The Senate Committee held a public hearing on June 29th. Prior to the hearing. WPRA requested the bill’s Senate author, Sen. Pat Testin (R-Stevens Point), to consider an amendment so that the bill would only apply to events at venues with a capacity of 500 or more. Sen. Testin declined to amend the bill.
  • WPRA will continue to monitor this legislation.