For the first time since 2008, Republicans and Democrats will split control of state government in Madison. The 2007-08 session saw Democrats controlling both the Governor’s Mansion and State Senate, while the GOP held on to a slim majority in the State Assembly. This version will look drastically different. While Tony Evers (D) will replace Scott Walker (R), the Republicans maintain sizeable majorities in both houses of the legislature. Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) comes back with the same 64-35 seat majority, while Senator Scott Fitzgerald (R-Beaver Dam) increased the size of his caucus to 19 while the Democrats are down to 14.

What does that mean for banking policy? A large portion of our agenda is bipartisan and would have no problem getting passed regardless of who is in power. Anything too partisan will have a difficult time getting passed at all. Evers proposals that might be too left-leaning will not even see a vote in the legislature. GOP bills that are too conservative will simply be vetoed by Evers.

The areas we will watch even more so are any executive orders coming from the Governor’s Office and administrative rules coming out of the departments. Evers appointees to agencies like DOR and DFI will have an entirely different worldview than the Walker administration. For example, it will be important to know what way those at DOR will interpret how to classify personal property or sourcing of revenue. Any changes there could have huge impacts on our industry.

This makes your involvement all the more important in our advocacy efforts. Policy cannot be taken for granted in divided government. Even though each branch can stop certain items from becoming law if they choose, deal-making will rule the day. A budget must be passed and there will be a give and take to get that accomplished. We don’t want to be on the wrong end.

There are a variety of ways you can help including bringing legislators and officials into your bank, attending WBA’s Capitol Day in May 2019, donating to our advocacy funds, and helping us analyze legislation and rules as they come through, among others.

If you have any questions, feel free to give me a call at 608-441-1215 or email jturke@wisbank.com.