Wisconsin Senate Approves Constitutional Amendment to Grant Legislature Power over Dispersement of Federal Funds


Lawmakers in the Wisconsin State Senate on Tuesday approved a measure that would alter the state’s constitution to award the legislature more power when distributing federal funds awarded to the state.

Under current provisions, the governor of the state has the authority to disperse the funds without legislative approval.

However, if fully approved, Senate Joint Resolution 84 would give the appropriating authority to a joint committee of the Legislature to give its approval first.

According to Senator Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield), who introduced the potential constitutional amendment, the move is centered around leveling the balance of the branches of government.

“Long ago, the legislature abandoned its responsibility to help decide where federal funding is spent. It’s time to restore the accountability that the legislative process brings. Neither of these proposals is about who is currently the governor, they’re about ensuring Wisconsin thrives long into the future by locking in fiscal responsibility and accountability today,” said Sen. Kooyenga.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Governor Tony Evers used the current system to direct billions of federal coronavirus relief funds to different areas—some of which Republicans opposed.

Because the proposal would become a constitutional amendment, it faces a complex path to approval. The state Assembly must also advance the bill. Furthermore, lawmakers in both legislative chambers would have to approve it again for a second time during the next session of the Legislature.

After the consecutive approval, the measure would then be placed on a ballot for voters of the state to give final consent.

If all steps were completed, Evers, or any executive, could not veto the amendment.

“Never before have we seen this much federal money pour into our state – it is, I believe, a defining moment in our state’s history – to have one person alone make the decision for where the money is spent just isn’t good governance no matter the political affiliation,” added State Rep. Robert Wittke (R-62 District), who co-authored the piece.

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Cooper Moran is a reporter for The Star News Network. Follow Cooper on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Sen. Dale Kooyenga” by Wisconsin State Senator Dale Kooyenga. Background Photo “Wisconsin State Capitol” by Bohao Zhao CC BY 3.0.





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