Jon Erpenbach

close up of lawnmower showing long and short grass

Any volunteers to mow Sen. Erpenbach’s lawn?

BY: - June 25, 2021

The state Senate voted to declare the past week of June 22 – 26   “Lawnmower Safety Week” throughout the state of Wisconsin. While the joint resolution at first sounds unusual, the purpose of the week is “to raise awareness about the need “for increased education on how to be safe around lawnmowers and help avoid […]

Milwaukee public school teachers, parents, students and supporters staged a large picket line outside MPS administration building on Vliet Street on Milwaukee's west side on April 24, 2018. (Photo by Charles Edward Miller/Creative Commons CC BY SA 2.0)

Angst and uncertainty over Wisconsin’s budget for schools

BY: - June 25, 2021

Blaise Paul, the business manager for the school district of South Milwaukee, calls the Republican budget for schools “the very definition of fiscal irresponsibility.” “It’s shocking to me,” he says. Back at the beginning of the year, Paul says he wasn’t worried about the state budget. He knew the state revenue picture was good and […]

yellow school bus top with blue sky and trees

Wisconsin schools could lose $2.3 billion under GOP budget plan

BY: - June 10, 2021

The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau released a memo on Wednesday estimating that the amount of federal money for schools Wisconsin stands to lose under a Republican budget proposal is significantly more than an earlier estimate of $1.5 billion. The money is at risk, the U.S. Department of Education has explained, because the Legislature’s Republican majority […]

Very tight close up on the eye on a one dollar US bill

Republicans to cut popular Evers’ budget plan, leaving behind a $3.4 billion hole

BY: - May 6, 2021

Republicans on the state’s powerful budget committee — the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) — are kicking off their work on Wisconsin’s biennial 2021-23 budget by tossing hundreds of items proposed by Gov. Tony Evers in his budget into the trash. The text of the motion, recently released by JFC co-chairs Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) […]

Looking up at the Capitol dome from far below right before the entrance door

GOP leaders to Evers: We’re spiking your budget, but come talk with us

BY: - May 4, 2021

State Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-West Point) finds it ironic that Republican legislative leaders sent Gov. Tony Evers a letter on Monday inviting him to meet with them to “share your plans for the federal funding as soon as possible.” One year ago, a group of 43 GOP Wisconsin legislators sent Wisconsin members of Congress a […]

Map of the four Joint Finance Committee hearings on the 2021-2023 budget

Heading into Wednesday’s final budget hearing, testimony favors Gov. Evers’ budget 284 to 30

BY: - April 28, 2021

Thinking back on the three in-person budget public hearings the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee (JFC) has held in this month, Rep. Greta Neubauer (D-Racine) says the most frequent testimony she recalls hearing was widespread support for public education. “I believe the most comments were on the topic of public education — childcare, K-12, higher ed, […]

Democratic donkey and Republican elephant butting heads.

The GOP budget brain versus the Democratic budget brain 

BY: - April 12, 2021

The process of creating a state budget to fund the next two years is underway with a supposed July 1 deadline in state law. It’s often said that budgets are moral documents that lay bare the priorities of the parties crafting them. In Wisconsin, it’s not as simple as Republicans wanting to cut taxes and […]

The ambulance responds to a call at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., July 10, 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Karol)

Lame-duck law stands in the way of money needed to combat COVID-19

BY: - April 2, 2020

The law Republicans pushed through during a Dec. 2018 lame-duck session to thwart the power of the incoming administration of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers — which dozens of health-care entities pleaded with legislators to stop because it could have unintended consequences  — now stands in the way of Wisconsin receiving federal money and other resources […]

People rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court as it hears oral arguments in June Medical Services v. Russo on 3/4/20 Photo: Robin Bravender

Supreme Court abortion rulings loom large in Wisconsin

BY: - March 5, 2020

The June Medical Services LLC v. Russo case, that came before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) for oral arguments on Wednesday, originated in Louisiana. If that law sounds familiar to Wisconsinites — it should be. The contested Louisiana law mirrors a Wisconsin law passed in 2013 under former Gov. Scott Walker that […]

Homeless man & advice on sign in red sleeping bag on the street

A tale of two homelessness bills

BY: - November 27, 2019

On any given night in Wisconsin, nearly 5,000 people are homeless and many more are on the brink of homelessness, staying temporarily on a friend’s couch or other short-term reprieve. In winter weather the crisis becomes acute, and it hits areas all across the state, both rural and urban.  Of the 4,907 homeless in January […]

Wisconsin State Capitol

Senate approves constitutional amendment to curtail governor’s veto

BY: - November 6, 2019

Democrats pleaded with Republicans on the Senate floor yesterday in a fruitless effort to persuade them not to push forward with a Constitutional amendment that would curtail the governor’s veto powers. “I hope we don’t waste too much time on this bill,” said Sen. Fred Risser (D-Madison). “You could argue that this is a bill […]

F_35 fighter jet

Little debate on Senate resolution supporting F-35

BY: - October 9, 2019

A resolution supporting a U.S. Air Force plan to bring F-35 fighter jets to Truax Field in Madison passed on a voice vote without any audible “nay” votes from the Senate floor on Tuesday. An amendment offered by Sen. Fred Risser (D-Madison) and Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-West Point) that would have added a request to […]