May 2021 Legislative Update

2021-23 State Budget Update: Finance Committee Removes Hundreds of Policies and Resets Spending Levels

Currently, the Wisconsin Legislature is focused on constructing a state budget for the 2021-2023 fiscal biennium, which starts July 1, 2021. The Legislature’s budget-writing Joint Committee on Finance, led by Republicans, took steps during the first week of May to remove hundreds of non-fiscal policy items from the governor’s budget, remove major initiatives such as Medicaid expansion and recreational marijuana legalization, and to return overall spending levels to the baseline established in the 2019-2021 budget.

Stewardship Reauthorization: Help Us by Contacting Your Legislators! 

WPRA continues to advocate for a reauthorization of the Stewardship Program and robust funding for the Local Units of Government (LUG) component. The Legislature is working through the budget but has yet to address major components of the DNR agency budget and related programs.

WPRA has met with numerous legislators and continues to work with coalition members. However, the 10-year reauthorization and current funding levels are in severe jeopardy! Current intel from the Capitol is that some JFC members want only a 2-3 year reauthorization and an overall cut to the program. 

NOW is the time to contact your legislator (look up their contact information here) and tell them how important the Stewardship Program is to your community. For additional talking points and template letters click here.

WPRA Registers Questions and Concerns with National Anthem Legislation

  • Assembly Bill 226, which 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, passed the Assembly this month.
  • WPRA was the only organization to provide written testimony on the bill during a recent public hearing.
  • Because the bill passed committee unanimously (12-0 on May 5) and passed the Assembly with bipartisan support (74-22 on May 11), it appears likely that the Governor will sign the bill if it reaches his desk.
  • The Senate has not yet held a public hearing on the bill, and WPRA is pursuing an amendment to exempt clarify that the bill would only apply to events played at venues with a capacity of 500 or more.
  • The bill does not include penalties, enforcement mechanisms, or any specifics as to how the anthem must be played or sung at any event.