Legislative Update: Remaining Floor Dates; State of the State Address

Remaining Session Dates

Each house of the Wisconsin Legislature is expected to meet once or twice monthly in January, February, and March, and then adjourn for the remainder of the year. Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) has confirmed that the Senate plans to finish its work by March 10, the final day of the Legislature’s planned floor periods.

This month, Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna) has told Assembly members to hold January 20 and 25 for floor session. Sen. LeMahieu has told senators to keep January 25 and 26 open for floor session. The Legislature’s calendar set aside February 15-24 and March 8-10 for possible floor periods.

State of the State Address

In late December, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senate President Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield) sent a letter to Gov. Tony Evers (D) inviting him to deliver his fourth annual State of the State address to a joint session of the Wisconsin Legislature. This year’s address will take place on February 15 at 7 PM in the Assembly Chambers.

The legislative leaders’ letter asks the governor to discuss “how you plan to best address the challenges facing the state of Wisconsin,” including labor and supply shortages, inflation, and the disbursement of federal relief funds.

In 2021, Gov. Evers delivered his address virtually via YouTube and Facebook. He declared 2021 the “Year of Broadband Access” and discussed his priorities for unemployment insurance reform, the state budget, and redistricting.

Legislative Priorities

In an interview with WisPolitics, Sen. LeMahieu said that Senate Republicans’ spring agenda will include “changes to the unemployment insurance program and making it easier for people licensed in various jobs by other states to come to Wisconsin and continue their employment.”

Sen. LeMahieu also told the publication that the Senate will not confirm Gov. Evers’ pending appointments to several state oversight boards. Specifically, they plan to defer on his picks for the the Natural Resources Board, University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents, and Wisconsin Technical College System Board. If Gov. Evers loses his reelection bid in 2022, his successor would be able to replace those appointments with his or her own choices.

A few weeks ago, Hamilton Consulting published our 2022 Legislative Preview, reviewing a few key bills that we will be watching for the remainder of the session.

In other recent news, Gov. Evers acted on 34 bills in December, while Assembly Democrats elected new leaders.