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Fitzgerald Casts Doubt on School Funding, Pre-Existing Conditions Proposals

By John Forester | October 17, 2018

From WisPolitics.com …

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald yesterday cast doubt on two Republican proposals that would increase funding for public education and ensure protections for pre-existing conditions.

The comments came after the Juneau Republican revealed Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has floated an extraordinary session in early December to consider additional legislation beyond the incentive package for Kimberly-Clark.

Fitzgerald said he and the Assembly speaker have had no further discussions on what type of legislation would be introduced. But Vos at a WisPolitics.com luncheon earlier this month said he’d like to take up a bill that previously cleared the Assembly to ensure protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

Fitzgerald cast doubt on whether his caucus has enough votes to pass the bill.

“I wouldn’t rule it out, because obviously it’s generated a lot of heat during this campaign and the election cycle,” he told reporters after a WisPolitics.com luncheon with Senate leaders. “But I know I got members that probably are not on board, which is one of the reasons that it wasn’t something that we tackled at the end of session.”

Fitzgerald’s comments come after Gov. Scott Walker posted a campaign video in which he pledged to protect pre-existing conditions as long as he’s governor.

The Assembly bill cleared the chamber in June 2017, but failed to pass the Senate.

Vos’ office didn’t immediately return a request seeking comment.

A Walker spokeswoman referred WisPolitics.com to the campaign, which didn’t immediately respond.

Fitzgerald also cast doubt on a proposal from Walker for the state to fund two-thirds of K-12 public education costs.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau has estimated such a proposal would have cost $130 million more in the 2018-19 fiscal year, however, the agency has not estimated what it would cost in future budgets.

The state is at 65.8 percent for the 2018-19 school year, according to LFB.

“Now you’re talking a big chunk of change, so I think you’re going to have to get some fresh fiscal numbers to see whether or not you could pull that off,” Fitzgerald said during the WisPolitics.com luncheon.

Still, the Senate leader said it’s likely the state could fund another proposal from Walker to increase state transportation funding for counties and towns that would together cost about $110 million annually.

“That’s actually where there’s a lot of pressure for legislators back home in the district. I think that is a commitment you can live up to,” he said.

See Wisconsin Public Radio coverage here.

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