MADISON -- Representative Romaine Quinn (R-Barron) said that his vote in favor of a package of bills that codified existing agency rules into law and gave the Legislature greater oversight over state bureaucracy was needed in order to ensure that Wisconsin would continue its path of economic success.
“I welcome working with Governor Evers to continue moving Wisconsin forward,” said Quinn. “But he must also be open to the Republican record of accomplishment over the last eight years. Our agenda has helped transform Wisconsin for the better, and voters have elected me to continue that progress.”
Quinn cited the state’s economic development agency, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, as a motivator for calling the Extraordinary Session.
Previously, the Governor had the power to appoint the board and the chair of WEDC. Under the new bill, Governor Evers will be able to choose the CEO come September, but the Legislature will have an expanded role in nominating members to the board, making the board equally represented by the Governor and legislature.
“The Legislature never envisioned a Governor ending WEDC. By giving the Governor time to get to know and work with WEDC before deciding on killing it, we’re giving him a chance to show good faith in working with us to move the state forward,” said Quinn. “WEDC is heavily involved in redeveloping the Johnson Truck Body site in Rice Lake, which is something that has been worked on since before I was mayor. We need to make sure we don’t put local workers and businesses at risk, and we should not be pulling the rug out from under projects that are already underway without first having a discussion."
Many provisions in the package of bills had been discussed or introduced prior to the Extraordinary Session called late November. Some of them are in response to Governor-elect Evers not making his positions clear until after the election.
“This just shows that Democrats have their own convenient amnesia when it comes to what we’ve done over the last eight years,” said Quinn. “Many of these items, such as voter ID and the work requirement for welfare waiver, have been voted on and are already being implemented. Conveniently, Mr. Evers waited until after the election to tell the public he wanted to get rid of our welfare reforms. Some programs have been the law of the land for years now. Taking them from an administrative rule and codifying them into state statute does not take away power from Governor-elect Evers, it preserves the voice of the people.”
The state's prison population, and what to do with them, was also an issue during the campaign.
"If Governor Evers wants to pardon or let someone out of prison early, the bill simply says he must notify the legislature. Why should any Governor be able to leave us in the dark on such an important issue?"
Other provisions bring parity to rural and urban districts. A change to early voting procedures puts in place a two-week period for early voting; currently, Milwaukee has six weeks of early voting, which many rural districts cannot provide. Another provision ensures that the legislature has some oversight before highway funds can be transferred within DOT.
“Our elections clerks can’t afford to hold early voting for six weeks,” said Quinn. “And we should not allow dollars for rural roads to be spent in southeastern Wisconsin without consulting the legislature first."
“Although partisans on the left claim otherwise, this package of bills were always all about making sure we respect the democratic process and have both sides at the table,” said Quinn. “I look forward to continuing this conversation in the upcoming session in January.