October WPRA Legislative Update

  • Child Care and Workforce. In September, the Governor called a special session to address the state’s workforce crisis – centered largely investing $340 million of the state’s current surplus to continue a pandemic-funded program Child Care Counts to ensure child care providers can continue keep their doors open. Legislative republicans rebuffed the special session call, but each house took a slightly different path to address it. Assembly Republicans fast-tracked their own package of bills despite the opposition of the child care industry. Senate Republicans, meanwhile, took the Special Session bill and crafted their workforce bill, that did not include Counts. Frustrated with the lack of progress, the Governor announced this week $170 million in leftover pandemic funds to continue the program through June 2025. While this band aid is a welcome relief, this policy debate is far from over in the Wisconsin Capitol.
  • Redistricting is on many minds... still. After receiving national attention and lots of pushback, the Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has backed off at the idea of impeaching newly seated State Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz (at least for right now). In the meantime, he is pushing the Senate to take up a different redistricting bill and not leave it to the state court to decide the fate of the state’s maps. That doesn’t seem to be getting the traction to get to the governor’s desk and in the meantime the Court has accepted the redistricting case and is scheduled to hear oral arguments next month.
  • Take Me Out to the Ballgame. The legislature continues to advance a bill to provide $546 million in state taxpayer money for maintenance at the Milwaukee Brewers Stadium. The bill has already passed the state Assembly and is expected to have a public hearing next week in the Senate committee. The bill has received mixed support, with some Milwaukee Democrats voting with legislative Republicans on the package.