Legislative Week Ahead

A busy and transformative week is ahead for the Wisconsin Legislature. The Assembly is scheduled to vote on Governor Scott Walker’s 2011-13 biennial budget, and the Senate is poised to approve concealed carry legislation.

The Assembly will meet on Tuesday and is expected to pass the budget with few changes. According the the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the budget passed by the Joint Finance Committee earlier this month increases spending by about $200 million over Governor Walker’s initial proposal.

Most notably, the Finance Committee removed the provision that would have removed UW-Madison from UW System. The committee did, however, add a provision that would effectively kill WiscNet, a non-profit association of more than 450 schools, libraries and units of government providing high-speed internet services to the state’s education and research communities. PROFS is actively lobbying to change this provision.

The Senate is expected to vote on the budget as early as Thursday. In the meantime, they plan to meet Tuesday to vote on concealed carry legislation. The Joint Finance Committee met last week and approved an amended version of Senate Substitute Amendment 2 to Senate Bill 93 that would require licensing and background checks of individuals wishing to carry concealed weapons.

The legislation prohibits concealed carry from many public buildings, including courthouses (while in session), school grounds, prisons and jails, police stations, airports (past security checkpoints), and state mental health facilities. Licenses would be issued to Wisconsin citizens 21 years of age or older who complete a background check, provide proof of training, and pay a $50 fee. The state Department of Justice will approve or deny a license within 21 days. Licenses are valid for 5 years. PROFS is opposed to this legislation.