Capitol Update: State of the State, Supreme Court Forum, and More

January 29, 2018 | MacIver News Service

We’re nearly a month into the New Year, and have already started to see friction at the Capitol. This week was no different–liberal supreme court candidates sizing each other up, the stalling of a Base Budget Review bill, the undusting of legislation from the Great Depression. All of this and more are summed up below in this week’s Capitol Update!

Gov. Walker’s State of the State

This past Wednesday, Governor Scott Walker gave his annual State of the State address to the Legislature. Gov. Walker began by listing off the positive economic indicators for Wisconsin, and then briefly laid out plans for the upcoming year.

The plans, namely reform programs, include redistributing state surplus money to the citizens of Wisconsin, seeking health care stability after the American Care Act, welfare reform and education and economic development.

Read a full report from MacIver’s Matt Kittle here.

Full Video from MacIver of Supreme Court Forum

Last Monday, the state Federalist Society hosted a State Supreme Court Forum, featuring the two different viewpoints in the race to replace Judge Michael Gableman: judicial activists and a constitutionalist.

While the two liberal candidates, Judge Rebecca Dallet and attorney Tim Burns, fought about politics and activist credentials, the third candidate, Judge Michael Screnock, remained “mostly remained above the fray,” according to MacIver’s Matt Kittle. The primary election for the non-partisan race will be held February 20, and the general election will be held April 3.

The full video of the forum can be accessed below.

Base Budget Review Bill

In 2009, former Governor Jim Doyle scrapped a law that required the Wisconsin Legislature to consistently review the entirety of the Wisconsin State Budget. After gliding smoothly through the Senate, a reintroduction of a Base Budget Review Bill found itself stalled in the Assembly on January 17. Right now, taxpayers are scammed by the base-year doubled budgeting model where a bureaucrat looks at last year’s budget, adds in three to five percent more spending without justification or thought and calls that the bare-minimum base budget that cannot under any circumstances be “cut.”

According to MacIver’s Matt Kittle, “The Assembly on Tuesday passed an amended version of reform legislation requiring state government agencies, the courts and the Legislature to periodically review – and justify – their budgets.” The Senate now has to vote again, but on the amended version. Read more about the bill here.

Conservation Corps Bill 

This week, the State Legislature decided to vote Wisconsin back to the Great Depression Era. Assembly Bill 688 reestablishes “Conservation Corps,” a program that was created initially as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal.” The program was established to provide public works jobs to young men affected by the Depression.

“Those who cherish liberty should always be leery of ideas that expand government. Taxpayers know all too well that once a government program is created, it is nearly impossible to ever end that program, no matter how outdated that program is. The resurrection of the Conservation Corps is proof that even when you are successful in killing a government program, you really haven’t killed it,” said MacIver Institute President Brett Healy.

The bill cleared the Assembly on Tuesday.  Read MacIver’s Chris Rochester’s update on the bill here.