Legal Updates


July 16, 2019

On July 3, 2019, Governor Evers signed the 2019 Wisconsin Act 9, which is the 2019-21 State of Wisconsin Biennial Budget.  Despite speculation that he would veto the entire budget, Governor Evers only vetoed portions of the budget bill presented to him by the legislature.

In past years, our firm has presented a series of articles on the Biennial Budget.  Unlike in past years, this Biennial Budget does not have a significant number of policy changes that would justify a series of articles on the subject.  Therefore, we will cover the highlights of the 2019-21 Biennial Budget in this single article.

The 2019-21 Biennial Budget increased school funding, including, but not limited to, general equalization aid, per pupil state categorical aid, state special education categorical aid, high cost transportation aid for rural districts, and school library aids, over the biennium.  The 2019-21 Biennial Budget did not restore the two-thirds funding for the public schools. 

The 2019-21 Biennial Budget established and enhanced grants for various programs, including, but not limited to, school milk program, suicide prevention, robotics league participation, work-based learning for high school students, career and technical education, manufacturing classes, school-based mental health programs, and the rural teacher talent program.  However, Governor Evers vetoed provisions that would have supported the Lakeland STAR School and the Lakeland STAR Academy, as well as Robots4Autism programming, and eliminated specific financial support for the Fabrication Laboratory (“Fab Lab”) Grant Program and the Personal Electronic Computing Devices Grant.

Because the 2019-21 Biennial Budget did not include many policy changes, we will be watching the Legislature closely as they take up important issues as stand-alone legislation.  Indeed, there are several bills presently being considered by the Legislature that will impact Wisconsin public school districts in the near future.

In addition, interestingly, on July 10, 2019, just one week following Governor Evers’ signing the budget and exercising his veto power, the Legislature began discussing steps to limit the Governor’s veto power in the future, which would require a constitutional amendment.  The veto authority over spending bills possessed by Wisconsin’s Governor is considered to be the broadest, most powerful veto authority in the country, even after Legislation was adopted to limit the Governor’s veto power in 1990 and 2008. 

For questions regarding this article, please contact the author, Attorney Shana R. Lewis (email:; telephone: 844-826-0902), or your Strang, Patteson, Renning, Lewis & Lacy, s.c., attorney.

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