The Republican-controlled Assembly fell short of the needed votes to override Gov. Evers’ veto of Assembly Bill 336, legislation passed – and vetoes by Evers – that would have ended the state’s acceptance of an extra $300 per week in enhanced federal unemployment pay. WEDA supported the legislation in an effort to help Wisconsin employers who are struggling to find enough workers to fill open jobs. As was expected, the GOP’s veto override effort failed on a party-line 59-37 vote.
Tony Evers recently signed a bill (AB 406) into law to prevent any increase in unemployment insurance (UI) contribution rates paid by employers through the end of calendar year 2023. Under the law, the “UI tax freeze” will be offset by transferring $60 million in general fund revenue to the UI trust fund in each of the next two fiscal years.
Republican William Penterman won the July 14 special election to represent the 37th Assembly District, which includes portions of Dodge and Dane Counties. Penterman, a former legislative aide, captured 54 percent of the vote in defeating Democrat Pete Adams, who finished with 44 percent of the vote. With Penterman’s victory, Republicans will hold a 61-38 seat majority in the state Assembly.
Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes has announced he is running for U.S. Senate in 2022, meaning he won’t be seeking a second term as Wisconsin’s Lt. Gov. Barnes is the eighth Democratic to announce plans to run against Republican incumbent Senator Ron Johnson (if he chooses to run). Other Democrats seeking the seat include state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, state Senator Chris Larson (Milwaukee), Outagamie County Exec Tom Nelson, and Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry.
In a rare bipartisan effort, U.S. Representatives Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) and Gwen Moore (D-Milwaukee) have sent a letter to the U.S. Treasury Department requesting more guidance on spending federal COVID-19 relief. More specifically, they asked for greater clarification on how state and local governments can spend the federal funds without violating restrictions. Click here to read a recently released Legislative Fiscal Bureau memo on Wisconsin’s State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds Under the American Rescue Plan Act.