Legislative Council Study Committees Approved

By John Forester | April 18, 2022

The Joint Legislative Committee has approved the interim study committees listed below.  The two highlighted committees are of interest to the SAA.  We have already contacted the staffs of the respective chairs for these two committees regarding the committee scope of work, recommendations for public members, and how the SAA can be a resource for these committees.

The SAA is definitely interested in recommending 2-3 SAA members to be public members on the Shared School District Services committee.  The State-Tribal Relations committee is unique in that it is essentially a “standing” study committee with a fixed membership.  This committee will likely again seek additional Act 31 instructional requirements and we would like to be involved in that discussion.  We will forward additional information on these committees as it becomes available.

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Evers Vetoes Education Bills

By John Forester | April 18, 2022

Last Friday, Governor Evers vetoed the following education bills.  The SAA opposed all of the bills listed.

From The Wheeler Report . . .

AB-963 Parent Rights (Gundrum, Rick) Rights reserved to a parent or guardian of a child. Vetoed (Link)

AB-966 Reorganizing Milwaukee Schools (Wittke, Robert) Reorganizing the Milwaukee Public School System into four to eight school districts and creating a Milwaukee Public Schools Redistricting and Implementation Commission. Vetoed (Link)

AB-970 Choice Income Limits (Wittke, Robert) Eliminating income limits for parental choice programs; eliminating pupil participation limits for the statewide parental choice program; private school tuition charged to a pupil participating in a parental choice program; and creating an education expense reimbursement program for the 2022-23 school year and the summer of 2023. Vetoed (Link)

SB-585 Crime Reporting (Jagler, John) Reporting certain crimes and other incidents that occur on school property or school transportation and granting rule-making authority Vetoed (Link)

SB-695 Charter Schools (Kooyenga, Dale) The number of independent charter schools authorized by the College of Menominee Nation or the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College. Vetoed (Link)

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State Supreme Court Approves GOP Maps

By John Forester | April 18, 2022

ICYMI – The Court announced this ruling last Friday, April 15th.

From WisPolitics.com …

The Wisconsin Supreme Court in a 4-3 ruling today implemented the maps GOP lawmakers had proposed, finding they are race neutral and stick to the least-change approach the justices had previously set as a foundation for the lines.

The maps — barring a further legal challenge — could put Republicans on the verge of two-thirds majorities in both houses of the Legislature after the upcoming elections.

Republicans currently have a 61-38 majority in the Assembly and 21-12 in the Senate.

Under the current maps in place since 2011, Joe Biden won 37 Assembly districts as he took the statewide contest by more than 20,000 votes. If the GOP map had been in place two years ago, he would’ve won 35.

Both the existing Senate map and the one Republicans proposed have 11 Biden districts.

Justice Brian Hagedorn joined fellow conservatives in the majority after originally backing maps Gov. Tony Evers drew. But the U.S. Supreme Court overturned that decision, finding the Wisconsin justices had failed to do the required analysis needed to justify the seven majority Black Assembly districts that Evers had proposed, up from the current six.

Hagedorn wrote in a concurring opinion that he understood the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling as directing the state justices to start with a race neutral map, writing he sees “the Legislature’s proposal constituting our only feasible option.”

The GOP map drops the number of majority Black Assembly districts to five. That could draw a legal challenge, though the majority in today’s ruling argued the lines complied with the Voting Rights Act.

Read the decision here.

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Pope Won’t Seek Reelection

By John Forester | April 14, 2022

From WisPolitics.com …State Rep. Sondy Pope, D-Mt. Horeb, announced this morning she won’t seek reelection.First elected to the Assembly in 2002, she turns 72 later this month.“It is now time for me to step out of this role, and I look forward to the next generation of leaders and the work they will do,” Pope said.Pope easily turned back a primary challenge in 2020 for her strongly Dem seat, winning 67.4 percent of the vote.She is the 22nd member of the Assembly to announce plans to retire, resign or seek another office.See the release here.

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Milroy Won’t Seek Reelection

By John Forester | April 14, 2022

From WisPolitics.com …State Rep. Nick Milroy, D-South Range, announced today he won’t seek reelection this fall to spend more time with his young family.Milroy, who turns 48 tomorrow, has three children.“My children are at an age where they need their dad around more than the Legislature does,” Milroy said in a statement this morning.The former member of the Superior City Council was elected to the state Assembly in 2008. His district has become a swing seat in recent elections; Joe Biden won it by 1.1 percentage points in 2020. The state Supreme Court has yet to release new lines that will be in place this fall.Milroy is the 21st member of the Assembly to announce plans to retire, resign or seek another office.See Milroy’s release here.

See the list of legislators leaving office here.

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Hebl Won’t Seek Reelection

By John Forester | April 13, 2022

From WisPolitics.com …State Rep. Gary Hebl, D-Sun Prairie, announced today he won’t seek reelection after 18 years in the state Assembly.Hebl, who was elected in 2004, turns 71 next month.“The time is right for me to focus on my personal life and my family, and pass the torch to the next generation of legislators,” Hebl said.He is the 20th member of the Assembly to announce plans to retire, resign or seek another office.See the release here.

See the list of legislators leaving office here.

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Sanfelippo Won’t Seek Reelection

By John Forester | April 12, 2022

From WisPolitics.com …GOP state Rep. Joe Sanfelippo told WisPolitics.com today he won’t seek reelection this fall, expressing frustration with the Legislature for not doing more to hold officials accountable for how the 2020 election was run.The 58-year-old from New Berlin said he has enough in his private life to keep him busy without the Legislature. He has a greenhouse, a sod farm and a Christmas tree farm.“I’ve got no patience to work in an Assembly that has such little self-respect that they don’t care whether the laws they passed are enforced or not,” Sanfelippo said in a phone interview.He is the 19th member of the Assembly to announce plans to retire, resign or run for another office this fall.See the list of legislators leaving office here.

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Horlacher Won’t Seek Reelection

By John Forester | April 12, 2022

From WisPolitics.com …GOP state Rep. Cody Horlacher tells WisPolitics.com that he won’t seek reelection this fall as he instead gears up to run for the Waukesha County Circuit Court.Horlacher, R-Muskego, said he intends to seek the seat of Maria Lazar, who last week won a spot on the 2nd District Court of Appeals. Once she joins that appeals court later this year, it will create a vacancy on the circuit court. But Horlacher said he won’t apply for an appointment by Dem Gov. Tony Evers.Horlacher was first elected to the Assembly in 2014. The 35-year-old, who is in private practice and formerly worked in the Walworth County DA’s office, said in a phone interview he decided eight years in the Assembly is enough.“Now is probably a good time to look to do something else, but still remain in state service, serving constituents in a different capacity,” Horlacher said.He is the 18th member of the Assembly to announce plans to resign, retire or seek another office. Nomination papers for the circuit court seat won’t be due until early January. Horlacher said he didn’t think it would be appropriate to run for reelection to the Assembly and then immediately turn around and seek a spot on the court.Under the map Evers proposed and the state Supreme Court originally approved, Horlacher was paired with Rep. Chuck Wichgers, R-Muskego. The justices haven’t yet indicated what they plan to do with the legislative maps after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned their ruling. Horlacher said he had been considering a run for circuit court prior to the court’s decision.He plans to serve out the remainder of his term, which ends in early January.

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Voters Approve 80 Percent of School Referendums

By John Forester | April 11, 2022

Preliminary numbers from last week’s election show Wisconsin voters approved just over 80 percent (65 questions passed, 16 failed) of the school funding referendums on the ballot.  Non-recurring referendums to exceed the revenue limit led the way with a 92 percent pass rate (35 passed, 3 failed).  Twenty-five debt referendum questions passed, with 10 failing.  Finally, five referendums to exceed the revenue limit on a recurring basis passed, while 3 failed.

With these election results, it is clear that many Wisconsin voters continue to see the need for more resources to meet the educational needs of Wisconsin school children.

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Vorpagel Won’t Seek Reelection

By John Forester | April 11, 2022

From WisPolitics.com …GOP state Rep. Tyler Vorpagel announced today he won’t seek reelection this fall.

The 37-year-old from Plymouth was first elected to the Assembly in 2014. He is the 17th member of the chamber to announce plans to retire, resign or seek another office.

Six members of the Senate are poised to leave that chamber after this session.

The combined turnover of 23 members tops each of the last two sessions, which saw 20 lawmakers opt against running again for the seats they had to start the two-year period.

See the release here.

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