It’s budget listening session season, your chance to be heard

This is the time in the legislative session when many lawmakers hold budget “listening sessions” or “office hours” at various public locations in their districts to gather input on the proposed budget from their constituents.

At these “listening sessions” members of the public are typically invited to share questions and concerns about matters involving state government, including particularly the state budget.

These “listening sessions” are great opportunities for school leaders to communicate their priorities and viewpoints on the proposed state budget.  We are aware of several “listening session” opportunities and are sharing information about them with you in hopes that you will attend and share your district’s needs and wishes.   If your legislator is not listed below, we suggest you check your local newspapers or your legislators’ e-newsletter or personal website to find the dates, times and locations for listening sessions that may be planned in your area.

Recently, for example, state Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) held joint listening sessions with the  state representatives in his district–state Rep. Travis Tranel (R-Cuba City), state Rep. Tony Kurtz (R-Wonewoc)  earlier this month. Those sessions were held at various locations throughout the Senate district.  State Rep. Katrina Shankland (D–Stevens Point) held two listening sessions in her district on March 22.  State Sen. Jeff Smith (D-Eau Claire) has held two listening session and plans seven more. (See below.)

Here are a few of the most recent announcements of upcoming “listening sessions”:

State Rep. Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna) will be holding a “Lunch with Your Legislator” session on Monday, March 25 from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm at the Black Creek Café. Rep. Steineke will also be holding a number of budget listening sessions starting on April 10. (See below.)

State Rep. Amy Loudenbeck (R-Clinton) has scheduled six listening sessions. The first three will be held on Monday, March 25 (in Johnstown, Harmony and Beloit). The second three will be held on Friday, March 29 (in Elkhorn, Darien and Williams Bay) (View more details and schedule.)

State Sen. Jeff Smith (D-Eau Claire) will be hosting several budget listening sessions at various locations. Each session is from 5:30-7:00 p.m. and is open to the public. Dates and locations are as follows:

  • Monday, March 25: Eau Claire – Joint Listening Session with Rep. Jodi Emerson (D-Eau Claire)- L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library
    • Thursday, March 28: Holmen – Joint Listening Session with Sen. Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) and Rep. Steve Doyle (D-Onalaska) – Holmen Public Library
    • Thursday, April 11: Durand – Durand City Hall
    • Thursday, April 18: Alma – Alma High School
    • Tuesday, April 30: Menomonie – Joint Listening Session with Sen. Patty Schachtner at the Shirley Doane Senior Center
    • Black River Falls – Exact date and location TBD

State Rep. Scott Allen (R-Waukesha) will be holding a listening session on Wednesday, March 27 at the Waukesha Public Library. (View more details and schedule.)

State Sen. Dan Feyen (R-Fond du Lac) will be holding three listening sessions along with the three state Representatives in his Senate district. The first will take place on Wednesday, March 27 in Waupun (w/ Rep. Michael Schraa). The other listening sessions will be on April 4 in Fond du Lac (w/ Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt) and on April 15 in Oshkosh (w/ Rep. Gordon Hintz). (View more details and schedule.)

State Rep. Gae Magnafici (R-Dresser) will be holding in-district listening sessions on Friday, March 29 at three locations (Webster, Balsam Lake, and Somerset) in her district. (View more details and schedule.)

State Rep. James Edming (R-Glen Flora) will be holding listening sessions at various locations on April 4. (View more details and schedule.)

State Rep. Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna) will be holding listening sessions at various locations beginning on Wednesday, April 10 (Kaukauna Public Library). All these listening sessions will take place from 5-7 p.m.   Additional sessions will take place on April 11 (Hobart Village Hall), April 16 (Freedom Town Hall), April 17 (Ellington Community Center), and April 23 (Muehl Public Library, Seymour).

State Rep. Ron Tusler (R-Harrison) will be hosting listening sessions at three locations (Kimberly, Sherwood and Brillion) on Saturday, April 13. (View more details and schedule.)