Legislature Passes Foxconn Bill

Before completing its work on the state budget, on Sept. 5, the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) first took up the Foxconn bill that the Assembly had passed in August. JFC added a GOP Senate amendment that, among other provisions, would allow for the direct review of circuit court decisions relating to the manufacturing zone by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The Foxconn bill as amended passed JFC in a 12-4 vote and headed to the Senate, then back to the Assembly for votes this week.

The Senate took up the Foxconn bill on Sept. 12. The Senate passed the JFC substitute amendment with two additional amendments offered by Sen. Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau). Am. 1, adopted via voice vote, specifies that Foxconn must meet certain job creation thresholds established by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation in order to claim capital expenditure tax credits. Am. 13 modifies the direct Supreme Court review provision as passed by JFC to maintain the role of the appeals court, but also set up an expedited process for appeals. Am. 13 was adopted 19-14, with Sen. Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) the only Republican voting no. Democrats also offered several amendments calling for more assurances for holding Foxconn accountable, more environmental protections, and more public input on the deal, but none were adopted.

The Senate passed the amended bill in a 20-13 vote. Sen. Cowles was again the only Republican to vote against it. Sen. Bob Wirch (D-Somers) was the only Democrat to vote in favor of the bill.

The Assembly took up the Senate-amended version of the bill on Thursday, Sept. 14. After a scheduled three hours of debate, the bill passed 64-31 with Rep. Adam Jarchow (R-Balsam Lake) and Todd Novak (R-Dodgeville) the only Republicans to vote no. Minority Leader Rep. Peter Barca (D-Kenosha), Rep. Jason Fields (D-Milwaukee), Rep. Cory Mason (D-Racine), and Rep. Tod Ohnstad (D-Kenosha) were the only Democrats voting yes.

The bill now heads to Gov. Scott Walker’s desk for signature.