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Joint Committee on Finance (JFC) set for 2021-22 Session

Budget Process in Wisconsin
Budget Process in Wisconsin

Madison – Senate Majority Leader-elect Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) announced his Senate Republican appointees to the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance (JFC) for the 2021-22 Session of the Legislature. The appointments will formally take effect in January. Sen. LeMahieu released the following statement:

“The 2021-23 state budget is expected to be especially challenging and will require a strong finance team to guide difficult decisions the residents of Wisconsin have entrusted us to make. I am excited to announce our newly-appointed finance committee members.”


–     Sen. Howard Marklein / CPA (R-Spring Green)  Co-Chair (Opposed – maybe/leans no on limited medical)

–     Sen. Duey Stroebel / Real Estate (R-Saukville) Vice-Chair (Opposed – Calls CBD Snake Oil)

–     Sen. Dale Kooyenga / CPA (R-Brookfield) (Medical support indicated / Decriminalization-past bill author)

–     Sen. Mary Felzkowski / Insurance (R-Irma) (Limited Medical Bill Author / Decriminalization)

–     Sen. Joan Ballweg / Farm Implement Dealer (R-Markesan) (Opposed)

–     Sen. Kathy Bernier / Full Time Legislator (R-Chippewa Falls) (Limited Medical Bill Author / Decriminalization – past bill author)

LeMahieu said “Our Senate Republican JFC appointees include two CPAs and four members who have previously served on the finance committee – all offering unique skills, backgrounds, and a diverse geographic representation. This capable team will serve and protect taxpayers as we set our state’s spending priorities for the next biennium.”

Senator Devin LeMahieu represents the 9th Senate District, which includes portions of Sheboygan, Manitowoc, and Calumet Counties. He was recently elected Senate Majority Leader for the 2021-22 legislative session. – source

The JFC co-chairs for this coming session are Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) and was set to be Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) (Opposed) (Announced Retirement). Mark Born’s appointment will take place due to the resignation of former chair Rep. John Nygren.

Mark Born / Former Corrections Supervisor (R-Beaver Dam) (Limited Medical Bill Co-sponsor) was elected to the Assembly in 2021 and has served on the JFC since 2017. Born (R-Beaver Dam) will serve as the Assembly Chair, while Rep. Amy Loudenbeck / Former Exec/Manager (R-Clinton) (co-sponsor limited medical) will continue as Vice Chair of the budget-writing committee.

Coming back to the committee is Rep. Terry Katsma / Full Time Legislator (R-Oostburg)(Unconfirmed/Uncommitted Stance) and Rep. Shannon Zimmermann / CEO Small Business (R-River Falls) (Medical). New appointments to the JFC are Rep. Tony Kurtz / Farmer (R-Wonewoc) (Maybe on Medical) and Rep. Jessie Rodriguez / Former Analyst (R-Creek) (Medical).

On the Democrat side, the four seats are a diverse group of people with varying public record of support on marijuana reform:

Senate Minority Leader Janet Bewley (D-Mason) (Decriminalization) has announced she will reappoint Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-West Point) (Medical-Bill Author) and Sen. LaTonya Johnson (D-Milwaukee) (Adult Use/Medical/Decriminalization co-sponsor to all)  to the powerful budget-writing Joint Finance Committee (JFC). Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) announced the reappointment of Rep. Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee) ( Co -sponsor Medical/Author-Decriminalization) and the appointment of Rep. Greta Neubauer (D-Racine) (Medical/Decriminalization – did not co-sponsor any legislation in 2019) who replaces retiring Rep. Deb Kolste (D-Janesville) who briefly replaced outgoing Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison) on the committee.

The Joint Committee on Finance is a statutory, 16-member standing committee of the Wisconsin Legislature, split equally between 8 Senate members and 8 Assembly members.  The majority party in each house appoints six members, while the minority party in each house appoints two members. Republicans currently hold the majority in both houses; Democrats are in the minority.

The Committee’s primary responsibility is to serve as the principal legislative committee charged with the review of all state appropriations and revenues.  It plays a major role in shaping the state’s two-year (biennial) budget. Source

If you need some pointers on how cannabis reform relates to our budget, please use the chart below. We know for a fact that Governor Evers is friendly to medical marijuana and decriminalizing small personal amounts of cannabis from a crime to a fine. We also know for a fact that in the 2019-20 budget process Republicans stripped anything marijuana reform from the final budget. Republican leadership and Republican key committee chairs withheld several bills from even a public hearing, including a medical marijuana start up bill vetted by the Republican Caucus.

Still, the landscape in politics does change and coming off an election we can see which of our newly elected official stands up for our rights and which ones do not. Do not give up the fight!

Keep Bud in the Budget by Jay Selthofner

Even if marijuana reform does not make its way back into the budget or is again stripped out of it, there is no doubt that we still need to hold our newly elected officials accountable and make marijuana reform a priority in the 2021-22 legislative cycle.

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One Comment

  1. Wisconsinites will have one virtual opportunity and three in-person chances to attend public hearings of the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee. These hearings are some of the few chances people have to speak out on issues of the 2021-23 budget.

    The hearing schedule includes the following four hearings, all from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.:

    Friday, April 9, 2021 UW-Whitewater, Whitewater, WI
    Wednesday, April 21, 2021 The Hodag Dome, Rhinelander, WI
    Thursday, April 22, 2021 UW-Stout, Menomonie, WI
    Wednesday, April 28, 2021 Virtual

    People who would like to testify at the April 28 virtual hearing will need to register in advance. The committee has set up a portal to collect input: http://www.legis.wisconsin.gov/topics/budgetcomments as well as an email address budget.comments@legis.wisconsin.gov.

    If you are planning on attending one of the public hearings, here are a few important things to note:
    -The primary purpose of the public hearings will be to hear from Wisconsin citizens, while committee members may ask questions of speakers, it’s not meant to be a debate.

    -Speakers (virtual and in-person) will be given two minutes to speak to make sure the committee is able to hear from everyone.

    -We will be following the guidelines from local public health departments for the host location regarding masking, social distancing and room capacity.

    -We ask that once you are done speaking, you exit the room so other individuals who haven’t had the chance to speak can do so.

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