The committee rejected with a 12-4 vote a Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) motion to remove all non-fiscal policy items from the budget. She said items such as expanding school choice should be taken up as standalone legislation. “These are important issues and they shouldn’t be hidden in a budget,” Sen. Taylor said.
Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) disagreed, saying the inclusion of such policy items is standard practice and each item will be open to debate. “This is really the governor’s one kick at the cat,” Rep. Nygren said, “as far as introducing policies of his own.”
In a memo to committee members, co-chairs Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and Rep. Nygren identified 14 of the 35 non-fiscal policy items identified by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau that they believe should be addressed outside of the budget process and taken up as separate legislation. None of the identified items were related to K-12 education. This means all of the K-12 items tabbed as non-fiscal policy will be addressed as part of the budget.