After media coverage spurred concerns, state budget negotiators voted on Wednesday to restore funding for the removal of dead deer carcasses from Wisconsin roadsides. The Joint Finance Committee voted 16-0, to provide $701,000 to continue a DNR administered program. Governor Scott Walker’s budget had deleted the funding.
The committee also voted 12-4 to eliminate 13.35 DNR positions and delete $1,005,100 from the agency’s fish and wildlife fund. All the positions are currently vacant.
A pair of amendments offered by Democrats on the budget panel were rejected on partisan 12-4 votes. One would have automatically registered to vote anyone with a valid DOT-issued license or ID, with the option to opt out. “This wouldn’t be the right thing to do,” said state Representative Dean Knudson (R-Hudson). “We should consider very carefully when we change elections laws, because we’ve seen how controversial it can be.”
State Senator John Erpenbach (D-Middleton) offered an amendment that would require state agencies to provide quarterly reports on the costs of providing security details for state dignitaries. Erpenbach offered the amendment with Governor Scott Walker’s busy travel schedule as he considers a run for president.
“I’m not saying we’ll be in a position to say no to anything, but for crying out loud, the amount of money for protecting the governor outside of this state and this country is expensive,” said Erpenbach.
“Trade missions are nothing new,” said JFC co-chair, Representative John Nygren, (D-Marinette). “Democratic governors went on trade missions . . . and I would suggest this is political theatre.”
In other action on Wednesday, the budget committee budget committee voted unanimously to allow farm tractors to be used for occasional personal use without being registered with the DOT, and scaled back a proposal to allow for online renewal of driver’s licenses to apply only to new drivers.
No further finance committee sessions are scheduled for this week.