May 23, 2019 – Summer is right around the corner, leaves are returning to the trees, and flowers are in full bloom. Likewise the work of the legislature is in full swing, and some of the reform and funding efforts we have been advocating for are beginning to take shape. Here’s a quick rundown on where we are at with some of our top legislative priorities:
The Assembly passed AB 33, re: expungement reform, on May 15 and now awaits action in the Senate. The bill has bipartisan support, with 57 Assembly and 17 Senate co-sponsors, serving as an example of bipartisan cooperation in a time of split government. We continue to encourage our members to reach out to your state Senators
to either thank them or ask them to support SB 39.
Private Bar Rate and Justice System Funding
There have been many areas of disagreement between Republicans and Democrats on budget priorities this year, but there has been broad consensus developed around the need for additional funding for the criminal justice system. The biennial budget proposal retains provisions for an increase in the private bar rate to $70 per hour, as well as increased funding for positions for DOJ and District Attorneys offices. The Joint Finance Committee will vote on criminal justice measures on Tuesday, May 28th. Please consider sending your Senator a message about the importance of raising the private bar rate.
Grassroots Advocacy Network Meetings
Face-to-face meetings between State Bar constituents and their lawmakers are one of the most effective ways to educate, influence, and empower reform efforts. Our latest meeting was held May 16 with the Fond du Lac County Bar Association with guests Senator Dan Feyen and Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt. Attendees received a brief update on the State Bar’s grassroots work and legislative priorities, heard from their state lawmakers, and held engaging discussions about what is important to Fond du Lac attorneys.
Interested in holding a meeting in your region with your lawmakers and fellow members of the State Bar? Reach out to Devin Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help make one happen.
Our next Grassroots Advocacy Meeting will be a breakfast panel in Green Bay, Wednesday, June 12th from 8:00 to 9:30am, prior to the State Bar’s Annual Meeting and Conference, at the KI Convention Center in Green Bay. It will be open to all who are interested in attending, but focused on regional lawmakers and attorneys. Send an email to email@example.com to ask questions or RSVP.