Republican leaders say they are planning to hold statewide hearings on the Governor’s biennial budget bill. State Representative Robin Vos (R-Burlington), co-chair of the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee, says the details on where they will be held are still in the works though.
Vos says they will make every effort to get as much input as possible on the bill, which lawmakers need to pass by the end of June. However, Vos says Democratic efforts to hold up the process have shortened their time table and he’s unsure just how many hearings will be held.
Democrats have been out of the state for three weeks now to prevent a vote on the Governor’s budget adjustment bill. Governor Scott Walker has said changes made in that measure are key to his budget bill, and changes may be needed if it does not pass in time.
Several Democratic lawmakers have sent letters to Vos and Senate co-chair Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), requesting hearings in their own communities. Vos says he finds it ironic that some Senate Democrats have requested hearings, as they remain in Illinois.
Hundreds turned out to testify on the budget repair bill. The hearing marked the start of nearly two weeks of constant demonstrations inside the Capitol. Vos says he’s not worried about that kind of unrest coming to the biennial budget hearings and he expects an “open, robust” public hearing process on the measure.
Still, Senate Republican Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) on Wednesday hinted that lawmakers are expecting a massive turnout at some of those hearings. Fitzgerald says there has been talk of scheduling a Madison hearing at the Kohl Center and one in Milwaukee at the Bradley Center.
Vos says they hope to set the hearing schedule soon.