With just weeks into the legislative session, Republicans in the Senate plan to reintroduce a handful of election-related measures that would impose tighter restrictions on mail-in ballots, among other measures.
Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu said the election-related package is likely to be based on last year’s report from the non-partisan Legislative Audit Office, which found no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 elections, but made recommendations on how the elections can be improved.
If passed by both houses, the bills could be vetoed by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who last year rejected similar proposals he declared “anti-democratic” .
Welcome to Capital W, where you can find the Wisconsin State Journal’s top political stories of the week.
- Chris Hubbuch reports that with more than 4,100 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Dane County over New Years weekend, the cumulative number of cases in Wisconsin since the start of the pandemic has exceeded one million . Not a good start for 2022.
- Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has said he wants former state Supreme Court justice Michael Gableman’s review of the 2020 election to be completed by the end of the month so Republicans can draft a bill before the end of the session in March. Vos’s request sets a short deadline for Gableman to conclude his review, which has been mired in multiple court battles over public records and subpoenas.
- Legislative Republicans on Tuesday introduced a package of bills that would divert around $ 25 million in federal COVID-19 relief money towards the recruitment and retention of law enforcement officers, reports Alex Shur. Like nearly all Republicans’ efforts to guide the use of federal spending since the start of the pandemic, the bills could be vetoed by Democratic Governor Tony Evers. Speaking of federal dollars, Senate Republicans have proposed constitutional amendments to have the final say on how the governor spends those dollars.
- The good news this week (for those struggling to find a COVID-19 test, that is): Public Health Madison and Dane County to open an appointment-only testing clinic at Alliant Madison Energy Center on Monday, reports Logan Wroge. Unlike the last time Alliant was used as a test facility, the operation will not be drive-in style.