Republican lawmakers are looking to fast-track a constitutional amendment that would give the Legislature final say over how the governor spends federal funds allocated to the state.
The joint resolution, introduced for co-sponsors Thursday by Sen. Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green, and Rep. Robert Wittke, R-Racine, follows Wednesday’s introduction of
another constitutional amendment that would make it harder for violent criminal defendants to get out on bail. If passed by the Republican-led Legislature, both amendments could go before voters on the April 4 ballot.
You decided a bitter election and now, those people you elected started their terms. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on Tuesday, Jan. 3 laid out his vision for his second term.
Both amendments passed the Legislature last session, with the bail amendment passing 70-21 in the Assembly and 23-10 in the Senate, while the
federal funding measure passed 20-11 in the Senate and 60-36 in the Assembly.
Constitutional amendments must pass the Legislature in two subsequent sessions before going to voters. The governor cannot veto a constitutional amendment, and any amendments to the joint resolutions this session would restart the two-year process.
Currently, the governor has sole discretion over how federal funds are spent. Legislative Republicans sought to
secure more control over how the executive office doles out the money last session after Evers oversaw the distribution of billions in federal COVID relief funds pumped into the state.
The Legislature passed laws in the 1930s handing over control of federal funds to the governor’s office as federal dollars flowed into the state near the end of the Great Depression, according to a report from the nonpartisan Legislative Reference Bureau.
Wisconsin lawmakers hope to put bail amendment before voters in April
The new proposal would prohibit any executive branch official or department from allocating any federal dollars without first securing approval from a legislative committee, which would likely be the GOP-led budget committee.
Under the bail amendment, courts would have to consider the totality of the circumstances when determining bail, specifically whether the accused has a previous conviction for a violent crime, the probability that the accused will fail to appear in court, the need to protect members of the community from serious harm, and whether the defendant might intimidate witnesses.
While lawmakers have been working on the measure since 2017, the amendment first came before the Legislature last year after Darrell Brooks Jr. drove an SUV into a Christmas parade in downtown Waukesha, killing six people. Brooks posted $1,000 bail on an earlier case two days before the November 2021 incident.
Wisconsin Republicans propose constitutional amendment to gain control of federal dollars
Legislative Republicans, who lack the votes needed to overturn a veto by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, have increasingly turned to constitutional amendments as a means of bypassing the Democratic governor, who secured a second four-year term in November.
two other proposed constitutional amendments received legislative approval for the first time last session.
One would bar the state from receiving private funds to help administer elections. Republicans proposed it in response to private election grants provided to cities in 2020 by the Chicago-based Center for Tech and Civic Life that they say were used to unfairly increase turnout in the Democratic strongholds of Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Kenosha and Racine.
A staffer for Sen. Eric Wimberger said the Green Bay Republican plans to introduce the joint resolution for second consideration this legislative session.
Another would amend the state Constitution’s provision allowing that “Every United States citizen age 18 or older who is a resident of an election district in this state is a qualified elector of that district” to state that “Only a United States citizen” could vote in that district. That measure is meant to head off initiatives in other states to allow noncitizens to vote in some local elections.
See the Wisconsin State Journal photo staff's favorites of 2022
Elver park after a recent snowfall in Madison, Wis., Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022. AMBER ARNOLD, STATE JOURNAL
Members of the Wisconsin Dells Singers and the Ho-Chunk Dance Troupe gather for an interactive evening of Native American culture at Glen Park in Madison, Wis. Friday, Sept. 16, 2022. Presented by the Madison Parks Division and Ho-Chunk Gaming, the groups performed traditional songs, stories, and dances of the Ho-Chunk people, interacted with audience members and engaged in a question and answer session. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL
Caitlin Patrick, 14, of Mount Horeb, goes into the water using a rope swing during an outing with friends at Stewart Lake County Park in Mount Horeb, Wis., Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022. AMBER ARNOLD, STATE JOURNAL
Chris Ayers of Madison Window Cleaning improves the view of the Wisconsin State Capitol during a seasonal cleaning effort of the panes of the AC Hotel in Madison, Wis., Monday, April 11, 2022. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL
Jim Lorman, right, and his wife, Anne Forbes, of Madison, visit art installation “CarbonEra Cafe” by Beth Persche and Brenda Baker on the Farm/Art DTour route in Prairie du Sac, Wis., Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022. AMBER ARNOLD, STATE JOURNAL
UW Band director Corey Pompey leads his musicians during the Varsity Band Concert at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis. Friday, April 22, 2022. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL
Gov. Tony Evers in a conference room at his office at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison, Wis., Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022. AMBER ARNOLD, STATE JOURNAL
Visitors to the 2022 Festival Foods Lights the Isthmus event at watch a fireworks display to cap the event at Breese Stevens Field n Madison, Wis. Saturday, July 2, 2022. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL
Genevieve Bouska, left, and Lulu Jaeckel, both seniors at West High School, relax in hammocks during an afternoon visit to Vilas Park in Madison, Wis., Wednesday, May 11, 2022. AMBER ARNOLD, STATE JOURNAL
Members of the Forward Marching Band, including Junko Yamaguchi, right, perform for visitors to the 2022 Festival Foods Lights the Isthmus event at Breese Stevens Field in Madison, Wis. Saturday, July 2, 2022. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL
Brinley Krahn, 7, of Cottage Grove reacts as a butterfly lands on her daycare provider, Rhonda Smith, of Sun Prairie, during a visit to Olbrich’s Blooming Butterflies in the Bolz Conservatory in Madison, Wis., Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022. AMBER ARNOLD, STATE JOURNAL
Students at Kickapoo Valley Forest School in Larfarge, Wis., including Finley Thornton, foreground, traverse a trail on the grounds of the Kickapoo Valley Reserve Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL
Monona Grove’s Riley Perkins, right, and Kate Walsh celebrate their win against Stoughton in a No. 1 doubles match during a girls tennis sectional at Stoughton High School in Stoughton, Wis., Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022. The team wore pink with CP initials on the back of their shirts in honor of assistant coach Charles Pyng, who died after collapsing while coaching a tennis match. AMBER ARNOLD, STATE JOURNAL
While sunny skies and slightly warmer temperatures offer a hint toward spring, a pair of snowmen created from the previous day’s snowfall add a wintry touch to Amy Utzig and Jen Schutz’s run along the shoreline of Monona Bay near Brittingham Park in Madison, Wis., Friday, April 1, 2022. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL
Members of Tania Tandias Flamenco and Spanish Dance, from left, Marybel Meier, Tania Tandias, Augusta Brulla and Andrea Chavez-Lazaro, perform at McPike Park for Shifting Gears Bike Path Dance Festival put on by the Isthmus Dance Collective at in Madison, Wis., Monday, Sept. 5, 2022. AMBER ARNOLD, STATE JOURNAL
Martha Siravo shares a moment with her daughter, Jaz, 10, at their apartment in Madison, Wis. Monday, Aug. 8, 2022. She is co-founder and president of Madtown Mommas and Disability Advocates. Her daughter, who has cerebral palsy and epilepsy, needs cognitive, behavioral and mobility support, is entering the fourth grade will be going back to full-time, in-person learning for the first time since 2020. Martha has been wheelchair-bound since sustaining a spinal cord injury in a vehicle accident in 2004. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL
Monona Grove's Karlie McKenzie, right, cheers on a teammate up to bat from the dugout during a game against Beaver Dam at Northlawn Park in Cottage Grove, Wis., Friday, May 13, 2022. AMBER ARNOLD, STATE JOURNAL
Performing under the branches of an oak tree estimated to be at least 180 years old, members of the Madison-based Cycropia Aerial Dance company run through a rehearsal ahead of a pair of appearances at the Orton Park Festival in Madison, Wis. Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022. Formed in 1989, the group has been a staple at the Marquette neighborhood gathering, which features four days of music, food, crafts and family activities. This year’s program entails the work of 29 members, including dancers, stage hands, riggers and sound and video technicians. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL
(From left lower) Roomates Isabella Bortolotti and Rachel Bearder host friends for a pool party in their front yard, including Maddie Gehring, right, Lola Wojcik, top left, and Grover Bortolotti, all college students, on the Near West Side during a heat wave in Madison, Wis., Tuesday, June 14, 2022. AMBER ARNOLD, STATE JOURNAL
With the warmest temperatures of the year taking hold in the area, a walker enjoys the day’s spring-like weather during a walk along the shoreline of Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, Wis., Wednesday, March 16, 2022. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL
Participants dressed in holiday themed costumes ride on State Street toward the state Capitol for Wisconsin Bike Fed’s Santa Cycle Rampage event through downtown Madison, Wis., Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022. AMBER ARNOLD, STATE JOURNAL
Wisconsin's guard Max Klesmit (11), forward Carter Gilmore (14) and guard Jahcobi Neath (0) celebrate a point during the second half of the team’s Brew City Battle matchup against Stanford at American Family Field in Milwaukee, Wis. Friday, Nov. 11, 2022. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL
Julie Horton, of Madison, reads “The Otter,” from author Cynthia Rylant’s Lighthouse Family Series, to her kids, Mabel, 5, and Gilbert, 2, left, as they have a picnic lunch at Vilas Beach on Lake Wingra in Madison, Wis., Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022. AMBER ARNOLD, STATE JOURNAL
Students at O’Keefe Elementary School in Madison, Wis. capture photos with Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers during his visit after being elected to a second term Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL
Marjorie Briskey, 91, watches a virtual concert by accordion player Stas Venglevski, as volunteer Marchelle Mertens, right, holds the tablet for viewing, in Briskey’s room at Agrace hospice in Fitchburg, Wis., Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022. AMBER ARNOLD, STATE JOURNAL
Jackie Thompson, a kindergarten teacher at One City Schools, greets student Hi’Kneef Johnson as he arrives for the first day of classes at the school in Madison, Wis. Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL
Stoughton’s Nicolar Rivera does a flip after his win over Milton’s Matt Haldiman in a Division 1 126-pound championship match during the WIAA Individual Wrestling State Tournament at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis., Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022. AMBER ARNOLD, STATE JOURNAL
Amansu Eason and Stacy “Jukeboxx” Letrice present a dance piece during Moonshine, a traditional performance gathering in celebration of Black History Month presented by UW-Madison’s School of Dance on the campus in Madison, Wis., Friday, Feb. 25, 2022. The annual event features spoken word, dance and music performances by students, faculty and alumni of the university’s arts programs. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL
McFarland's Julia Ackley reacts after clearing 10 feet, 6 inches on her first attempt in the Division 2 girls pole vault during the final day of the WIAA state track and field meet at Veterans Memorial Stadium in La Crosse , Wis., Saturday, June 4, 2022. AMBER ARNOLD, STATE JOURNAL
Looking forward to the birth of their second child in July, Aws Albarghouthi captures photographs of his wife, Maria Zarzalejo, during an afternoon visit to Vilas Park in Madison, Wis. Tuesday, May 17, 2022. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL
Elizabeth Kiko, with R & P Kiko Farm in Salem, Ohio, reacts after being awarded the Junior Champion Female in the International Holstein Show with winter yearling Jawdropping during the World Dairy Expo at Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wis., Monday, Oct. 3, 2022. AMBER ARNOLD, STATE JOURNAL
Visitors to the opening week of the “Immersive Van Gogh” exhibit take in the multi-media experience at Greenway Station in Middleton, Wis. Monday, Nov. 28, 2022. The production, which has been viewed by more than 5 million visitors since its 2020 North American debut, offers audiences the experience of “stepping inside” the iconic works of post-Impressionist artist Vincent van Gogh. Utilizing over 50 projectors casting images on 500,000 square feet of space the exhibit incorporates both an original music score and interpretations of classical works. The limited-run engagement continues through Jan. 8. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL
Mike Mulhaney walks his 9-month-old German Shorthaired Pointer, Monty, in Belleville, Wis., Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2022. AMBER ARNOLD, STATE JOURNAL
Wisconsin's guard Brad Davison (34) reacts as time expires during Wisconsin’s 54-49 second round loss to Iowa State in the 2022 NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball tournament in Milwaukee, Wis., Sunday, March 20, 2022. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL
Angela Burgette, of Madison, with her son, Thor, 12, at right, learns Bollywood-style dancing from Manisha Bhargava with BollyBeat during a Lakeside Kids event on the rooftop of Monona Terrace in Madison, Wis., Tuesday, July 19, 2022. AMBER ARNOLD, STATE JOURNAL
A work entitled “Dynamic Equilibrium” by artist Skunk Control draws the interest of Zach Smith and Rachel Martin during their visit to GLEAM at Olbrich Gardens in Madison, Wis. Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL
Demonstrators protest at the state Capitol after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, in Madison, Wis., Friday, June 24, 2022. AMBER ARNOLD, STATE JOURNAL
Returning to the region during a seasonal migration, several great egrets share the shoreline of Wingra Creek as a light rain shower falls in Madison, Wis. Tuesday, May 3, 2022. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL
Wisconsin Badgers guard Julie Pospisilova (5) and guard Avery LaBarbera (12) react in the fourth quarter of a women’s basketball game against Florida State Seminoles at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis., Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022. AMBER ARNOLD, STATE JOURNAL
The sun rises behind early morning visitors to the Lake Michigan waterfront in Milwaukee, Wis. Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL