Rotunda Report: Staying in the Legislative Loop: Joint Finance Committee and the State Budget:

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  • Rotunda Report
    May
    14
    2013

    Staying in the Legislative Loop: Joint Finance Committee and the State Budget

    Katie Stenz

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    The Joint Finance Committee will meet in executive session at least twice this week to discuss the 2013-15 biennial budget.

    May 14, 2013 – The Joint Finance Committee will meet in executive session at least twice this week to discuss the 2013-15 biennial budget.

    The first scheduled meeting was held on Monday and the second one is scheduled for Wednesday (with a possible meeting on Thursday) at the Capitol in Room 412 East. Twenty-five agency budgets will be reviewed.

    Two agencies of interest to the State Bar had their budgets reviewed on Monday:  Judicial Council and Judicial Commission.

    Katie StenzKatie Stenz is the public affairs coordinator with the State Bar of Wisconsin. She can be reached at org kstenz wisbar wisbar kstenz org, or by phone at (608) 250-6145.

    The governor’s proposed 2013-15 budget allocation for the Judicial Council was $113,300. The budget allocation also included a recommendation: adjusting the council’s base budget for: a) full funding of continuing position salaries and fringe benefits (-$3,700 in each year); and b) full funding lease and directed moves costs ($500 in FY14 and $800 in FY15). The governor also recommended that the council not restore its requested $116,000 in funding and a part-time position.

    During Monday’s meeting, Joint Finance Committee members moved to override the governor’s last recommendation, instead moving to provide the council with its requested additional funding and part-time position. This motion failed 4-12. A second motion struck both parts of the governor’s first recommendation. That motion passed 13-3. The Judicial Council will now be funded at the governor’s suggested amount of $113,300. Half of the funds will come from GPR and the other half from the director of the state court's budget.

    The funds will aid the council in its role of advising “the supreme court, the governor, and the Legislature on any matter affecting the administration of justice in Wisconsin.” The 21-member council also recommends legislation to change the procedure, jurisdiction, or organization of the courts.

    The Judicial Commission plays a different role in the Wisconsin Court System. The Judicial Commission, which has a nine-member board, an executive director and an administrative assistant, functions to investigate and prosecute “allegations of misconduct or disability on the part of Wisconsin judges and court commissioners.” The commission’s proposed and accepted biennial budget allocation is $578,900.

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