Hamilton Political Tidbits – December 14, 2022

Political Tidbits - December 14, 2022
December 14, 2022
Wisconsin political news for clients and colleagues.
On behalf of the Hamilton Consulting Group, we wish you and yours a blessed and happy holiday season. Our clients and friends are very important to the team here at Hamilton and we greatly value the relationships we have with each of you. We are in your debt for our continued success. Thank you!

2022 was a great year at the Hamilton Consulting Group. Another election season is behind us and we have been getting ready for a new legislative session and another round of biennial budget deliberations. Gov. Evers will be sworn in for a second term on January 3 along with a new Legislature convening.

From all of us here at the Hamilton Consulting Group, we wish you a Merry Christmas, a Happy Holiday Season, and a Happy New Year!

In this edition of Political Tidbits:

If you have any additional questions, please contact a member of the Hamilton Consulting team.
Bits & Pieces:

  • Gov. Evers announced that his 2023 State of the State Address will take place on Tuesday, January 24. The 2023-25 Biennial Budget Address will take place on Wednesday, February 15. Both events will take place at 7 PM in the Assembly Chamber.

  • Wisconsin’s budget is solidly in the black–with a projected $6.6 billion surplus, the 2023-25 state budget deliberations will focus on how to spend those dollars. Recently, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos set a marker down, stating that the Legislature’s budget will cut taxes by at least $3.4 billion. During the 2022 election, Gov. Evers said that his upcoming budget proposal will include additional funding for K-12 education and an increase in shared revenue for municipalities. He also proposed an income tax cut.

  • Two cabinet secretaries are leaving the Evers Administration before the next session begins. Secretary Preston Cole, Department of Natural Resources, retired on November 23. Secretary Karen Timberlake, Department of Health Services, will leave her position on January 2. State Medicaid Director Lisa Olson is also leaving the department soon. Gov. Evers has not yet appointed their replacements.

  • The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) voted 2-1 to approve a petition on third-party financing of small-scale solar power systems. PSC’s order will allow North Wind Renewable Energy Cooperative to build solar panels on a family’s home and lease them to the family. Renewable developers and environmental advocates supported the decision, while utilities argued that solar financers are effectively building power infrastructure and selling energy to the public through leases and power purchase agreements. PSC has yet to issue a full written order, so the legal implications of its decision are still unclear.
Open Supreme Court Seat Attracts Four Candidates
The 2023 spring election will feature a statewide race for an open seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The race has implications for the philosophical makeup of the court. Currently, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has three liberal justices and four conservatives, including retiring Justice Roggensack.

Sen. Darling Retires; Special Election to Take Place in Spring
Sen. Alberta Darling retired on December 1, stepping down in the middle of her eighth term in office. Gov. Evers announced that he ordered a special election for April 4 next year, coinciding with the state’s 2023 spring election. So far, four Republicans and one Democrat have announced their intentions to run for the open seat.

2023-24 Legislative Session: Leadership, Finance Committee Members, and New Legislators
As a result of the November 2022 election, Republicans will continue to control both chambers of the Wisconsin Legislature with strong majorities. Senate leadership from both parties will mostly remain the same, as will Assembly Democrats' leaders. Assembly Republican leadership will have four new members and several other changes:

The 16-member Joint Finance Committee is among the most important committees of the Legislature, responsible for writing the biennial state budget. Three of the four caucus leaders have announced their 2023-24 appointments:

The incoming Legislature will have 31 new members, nearly 25 percent of its total membership:

UPDATED: DNR Begins New Groundwater Rulemaking
In September, we noted that the Department of Natural Resources is renewing its efforts to set groundwater standards for specific compounds in the PFAS family. Today, the Natural Resources Board voted unanimously to authorize the department's scope statement for a new PFAS rulemaking.

News Clips
Utilities & Energy
Employer & Consumer
Transportation & Infrastructure
The Hamilton Consulting Group Political Tidbits is a free newsletter on Wisconsin political and policy developments. Please forward it to others who may wish to receive this service.

If you require additional information about a topic addressed in Tidbits for your organization's board meeting or trade publication, please do not hesitate to contact a Hamilton Consulting Group lobbyist.

To ensure that Political Tidbits never gets caught in your spam filter, please add publications@hamilton-consulting.com to your address book/contacts list. If you are receiving these emails via a workplace email account, please advise your IT service desk to do this for you.