Author: Andrew Engel – WISCA Lobbyist (Hamilton Consulting)
On August 1st, new Supreme Court Justice Janet Protecewicz was sworn into her new role on the Court switching the 4-3 conservative majority to a 4-3 liberal majority. While this could impact numerous issues in the coming years, many legislators are focusing on an immediate one: redistricting. A successful redistricting challenge could upend Wisconsin’s current legislative district changing the maps and putting every legislator at least at risk for a more competitive district or in some cases a brand new district. While that won’t be the case for most legislators, it will impact some and could impact the heavy majorities in both houses. Senate republicans currently have a 22-11 edge over Senate democrats, a 2/3 majority that can override Governor Evers veto. Assembly republicans aren’t quite at 2/3s, but they do have a 64-35 majority that has continuously expanded over the years. If the redistricting challenge is successful and new maps are drawn, it is expected those majorities would shrink, potentially significantly.
With the redistricting challenge currently in front of the Court, legislators may look to expedite legislative action allowing them more time in 2024 to adjust to new districts. That should mean a fast-paced Fall session that starts in a couple of weeks. Issues that they will be addressing could include a tax relief package to finish the goal that wasn’t achieved in the budget process, a Milwaukee Brewers stadium bill, a long awaited and somewhat controversial alcohol enforcement bill, and some response to Wisconsin’s childcare concerns. On the health care front, we expect to see activity on the bill creating licensure for Advanced Practice Nurses move, hearings on Senator Felzkowski’s health care transparency legislation and discussion on contraception prescribing authority.
The Fall session is just beginning to unfold as is how legislators who may be in more competitive districts next year may approach it. For more information on the session as it unfolds you could subscribe to Hamilton Tidbits to follow along.