Mike Browne, Deputy Director
MADISON, Wis. — How far are Republican legislative leaders willing to go to avoid working with Gov. Tony Evers and Democrats to pass a state budget? Based on the recent comments of Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Republican leader Scott Fitzgerald, breaking the law is not out of the question. According to media reports and a social media post from Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, the duo are working on additional legislation in an attempt to convince wavering Republicans to vote lockstep for their budget plan.
“Robin Vos and Scott Fitzgerald are so deeply partisan they’re publicly contemplating breaking the law rather than working together with Democrats to fix our roads, fund our schools and help people get affordable health care,” said One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Analiese Eicher.
After Republican leaders in the Assembly and Senate emerged from secret negotiations amongst themselves to arrive at a deal on transportation related budget matters, two Senate Republicans raised concerns over the Republican agreement with themselves. With a 19-14 partisan advantage in the Senate, the GOP would need to work with Democrats to pass a budget if three or more Republicans refuse to support the Vos-Fitzgerald plan.
To try to head off defections, Vos and Fitzgerald in a joint statement promised to pass additional transportation related measures, “outside of the state budget.”
Promising action on one legislative matter in exchange for action on another separate matter could run afoul of Wisconsin Statute 13.05, “Logrolling prohibited.” Violations of the statute could subject perpetrators to prosecution for a Class I felony, with penalties of up to three years and six months in prison, fines of up to $10,000 or both. In addition, convicted felons are barred from holding state legislative office in Wisconsin.