This update is being provided to help keep citizens informed about important decisions happening at the State Capitol and to stay updated on how elected officials are voting on key issues in Madison.
Joint Finance Committee votes - May 27 and 29
The Joint Finance Committee met on May 27 and 29 to continue voting on provisions of Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed 2015-17 State Budget. Republicans have a 12 to 4 vote majority on the committee.
Long-Term Care – Dept. of Health Services (Motions #513 & #517)
Summary: The Republican majority on the Finance Committee modified the Governor’s long-term care proposal and replaced the current Wisconsin-based Managed Care Organization model with a new, untested system of Integrated Health Agencies. The proposal adopted by the committee eliminates the IRIS self-directing care program as a separate, non-managed care program. Throughout Wisconsin, approximately 55,000 people rely on the state’s long-term care system.
How they voted: The Republican proposal was adopted on a 12-4 party-line vote.
Disability Rights Wisconsin – an advocacy organization for individuals with disabilities and their families – issued this statement following the committee vote: “Families, individuals, small business providers and advocates clearly asked to be at the table from start to finish to develop a plan. This request was not respected. The [Republican] budget motion creates a new entity that no one has ever heard of - an Integrated Health Agency - and eliminates the IRIS program. The future for Family Care is very unstable.”
University of Wisconsin System (Motions #521 & #524)
Summary: Both the majority-party Republicans and minority-party Democrats introduced separate motions to address the UW budget. The Democrats’ motion would have restored Gov. Walker's proposed $300 million cut to the UW and targeted $95 million for talent development and economic growth programs. The Republicans’ motion cuts UW funding by $250 million, allows for tuition increases, eliminates tenure from state statute and modifies the rules for student and faculty involvement in UW governance.
How they voted: The Democrats’ proposal was rejected on a 4-12 party-line vote; and the Republicans’ proposal was adopted on a 12-4 party-line vote.
Dept. of Natural Resources (Motions #520 & #523)
Summary: The Republican majority adopted an omnibus motion including 22 budget and policy changes that will impact Wisconsin’s natural resources. Included in that motion is a reduction of funding for the state’s stewardship land preservation program, the elimination of DNR scientist and educator positions and extensive changes to shoreland zoning regulations which will preempt local ordinances. Democrats offered an alternative motion which was rejected by the majority party.
How they voted: The Republican motion was adopted on a 12-4 party-line vote.
This State Capitol Update is provided by state Sen. Jennifer Shilling, the Minority Leader in the Wisconsin State Senate. For additional information on legislative or committee action, please email Sen.Shilling@legis.wi.gov or call 608-266-5490.