In case you missed it, here’s a quick rundown of what happened while we were at the State Education Convention last week:
- It was formally announced that Governor Scott Walker will give the 2018 State of the State Address at 3 pm, Wednesday, January 24, 2018.
- The non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) released some encouraging, updated fiscal projections. According to its memo, LFB estimates that the state’s general fund balance at the end of this biennium (June 30, 2019) to be $385.2 million or $137.5 million above the balance projected at the time the budget was enacted. According to the LFB, the new anticipated surplus is expected to result from increases state tax collections of about $78 million and decreased spending of about $98 million, mainly due to the refinancing of state borrowing. The higher surplus is expected to trigger an automatic transfer of a little more than $38 million into the state’s rainy day fund.
- On Tuesday (Jan. 16), the State Assembly passed Assembly Bill 332, a bill that provides local control and flexibility with respect to the nomination paper signature requirements for school board candidates in school districts that contain territory lying within a second class city. The WASB strongly supports this bill, which we helped develop in response to a request from the North Fond du Lac School Board.
- Three special legislative elections were also held on Jan. 18. While most of the attention was focused on the surprise special election victory of Democrat Patty Schachtner, a Somerset School Board member, in the 10th Senate District in northwestern Wisconsin, two other special elections were held last Tuesday. In the 58th Assembly District, Republican Rick Gundrum, the Washington County Board Chairman and Village of Slinger trustee, defeated Democrat Dennis Degenhardt, while Democrat Greta Neubauer of Racine won the 66th Assembly seat. A former legislative aide, Neubauer was unopposed.
- Gov. Walker also called a special session, starting last Thursday (Jan. 18) at 11 am, on welfare reform. According to Executive Order #271, the Governor is calling the legislature in to take up ten bills.