The annual State of the State address will be delivered at 7:00 p.m. on Tues., January 12, 2021. Gov. Tony Evers had previously announced he will deliver this speech, as well as his budget address next month, virtually. The State of the State typically provides some clues as to what will be included in the Governor’s state budget proposal as well as other priorities for the new legislative session. We will keep you updated here about any K-12 education items that are mentioned in the speech.
The speech is traditionally held before a joint session of the legislature in the Assembly chambers. According to Wispolitics.com, GOP legislative leaders are planning to have lawmakers meet in person tomorrow with TV screens set up in both the Assembly and Senate chambers for lawmakers to watch the speech.
The speech is to be broadcast at WisconsinEye, PBS Wisconsin, Wisconsin Public Radio and streamed online.
Assembly Republicans have introduced the first bill of the 2021-22 legislative session, Assembly Bill 1, their COVID relief package. The bill is on the fast track to passage as it has a public hearing and vote in the Assembly health committee today (Jan. 5) and is scheduled to be voted on by the full Assembly on Thursday, Jan. 7. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) has indicated his GOP colleagues in the state Senate are on board with the legislation but it includes items Gov. Evers does not support and is likely headed for a veto.
The bill includes provisions related to public K-12 education that the WASB supports and well as provisions we oppose based on our member-approved resolutions. (more…)
Both houses of the new legislature will convene today to swear in members, approve the calendar for the 2021-22 session and formally elect leaders. The Assembly will convene at 2pm and will swear in members in two separate groups. In the Senate, members will be sworn in one-by-one between 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The chamber will then convene at 2 p.m. to conclude their business.
According to Wispolitics.com, the proposed calendar is identical to the 2019-20 session other than including a two-week period for floor action May 11-20. The Legislature set aside one week to be on the floor in May 2019.
The resolution also grants Gov. Evers’ request to delay his budget address to Feb. 16. Under state law, governors have a deadline of on or before the last Tuesday in January to deliver the biennial budget message but lawmakers routinely grant delay requests.
See the proposed calendar:
Congressional leaders have reportedly struck a deal on a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package along with the 2020-21 budget and appropriations totaling $1.4 trillion and may be poised to pass the package today.
According to the National School Boards Association (NSBA), the legislation will include the following:
- $54.3 billion dedicated to K-12 public schools
- $4.05 billion for the Governor Emergency Relief Fund which includes a set-aside for private K-12 schools
- $250 million for Head Start
- $10 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant program
- $3.2 billion in emergency funds for low-income families to access broadband through “an FCC fund” (i.e., a new program and not through the E-Rate program)
- $1 billion tribal broadband fund
- $65 million to complete broadband maps pursuant to the Broadband DATA Act approved earlier this year
- New $300 million grant program to fund broadband in rural areas
Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) has announced the Assembly standing committees for the 2021-22 legislative session. For the Assembly Committee on Education, he has reappointed Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac) as chairman and Rep. Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) as vice-chairman.
Rep. Thiesfeldt was first elected to the Assembly in 2010 and has been chair of the education committee since the 2015 session. He is a former teacher, administrator and coach in two Lutheran elementary schools and a Lutheran high school. Rep. Kitchens has been elected to the Assembly since 2014 and served on the Sturgeon Bay School Board from 2000-2014, including serving as board president for 13 years until he resigned from the board to run for the Assembly.