In a video and through a press release, Gov. Tony Evers today announced that he will call the Legislature into special session tomorrow morning (Tuesday 7/27) to take up a proposal that Evers called “what’s best for our kids and our schools.”
In his Executive Order calling the Legislature into a special session, the governor urges lawmakers to take up a draft bill that would invest a combined $550 million in Wisconsin’s K-12 schools and students, and higher education.
The proposal would provide:
- $440 million for K-12 schools
- $240 million for increasing per-pupil aid by $146 per student
- $200 million into special education aids
- $110 million for higher education
- $90 million for the University of Wisconsin System
- $20 million for the Wisconsin Technical College System
At the time Gov. Evers signed the 2021-23 biennial budget, he announced that would make more than $100 million in federal funds at his discretion available for K-12 public schools.
The governor also used his broad veto authority to make over 50 partial vetoes to the budget bill, including stopping a $550 million transfer to the budget “rainy day” fund—which the governor says already holds a record high balance—to, in his words, ensure state resources would be readily available to invest in our kids and our schools. The $550 million to be used for education in the governor’s proposal was arguably freed up for that use by the veto of the transfer of those funds.
According reporting by Wispolitics.com, a subscription news service, the State Assembly is expected to meet in extraordinary session tomorrow, possibly for the purpose of overriding some of the governor’s vetoes, including Evers’ veto of legislation seeking to cut off enhanced federal unemployment benefits prior to their Sept. 1 expiration date, and perhaps to take up some additional bills that haven’t yet been passed session as well.
In the past, majority Republicans have largely bypassed the governor’s previous special session calls, gaveling in (convening) and gaveling out (adjourning) without voting on any bills.
In response to today’s call for a special session, the co-chairs of the Legislature’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee–Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) and Rep. Mark Born (R-Beaver Dam)–issued a statement declaring “[t]oday’s special session call is nothing but political posturing,”
The co-chairs added, ““We’ve said it over and over again – the influx of federal funding has to be a part of this conversation. The Legislature’s budget, which he (Evers) signed, accounted for the massive Federal funds for schools, made significant investments in our student’s education and respected taxpayers. It was a good budget and we continue to stand by our decisions.”