Senator Kapenga's E-Update
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Introducing the Budgetary Accountability for State Expenditures (BASE) Act

This week, I am taking a break from discussing the various bills that I am currently working on in order to focus on one that is at the top of my priority list. The Budgetary Accountability for State Expenditures (BASE) Act reforms Wisconsin's budgeting process to check the growth of government.
The Problem

Every two years, state agencies submit budget requests to the governor to be considered when crafting the biennial budget. At best, the agencies make zero-growth requests, but more usually, they request funding increases over the previous biennium. Either way, the assumption is that any funding level that was approved in the last budget is already justified for the upcoming biennium. Consequently, o
ver the last 25 years, our state budget has grown at triple the rate of inflation, rising from $26.6 billion to $68.3 billion.

Our Solution

Senate Bill 407 provides a tool that would allow us to begin to reverse this trend by requiring agencies to also submit non-binding budget requests at 0% increased funding and 5% decreased funding. This means that, when submitting budget proposals, agencies will have to consider how they can reduce costs and improve efficiency. It will also enable the governor and the Legislature to assess what the consequences of a reduction in funding would be, and realize savings where the assessment shows government waste and inefficiency.
"For too long, we have worked under the assumption that all spending from the prior budget is justified."
This reform is long overdue, and the bill has already been recommended for passage by the Senate and Assembly committees. Assembly author Representative Rob Hutton (R-Brookfield) and I are working hard to bring this bill to a vote in both houses. Ideally, the reform will be in place to help the state realize savings in time for the 2017-2018 budget process. Stay tuned for further developments.

Working Hard in Madison

It was another busy week in Madison. Here's a snapshot of what I've been working on the past few days.
County Legislators Continue to Advance Waukesha Water Application

You may recall that, in August, several of my Waukesha County legislative colleagues and I sent a letter to Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources, supporting Waukesha's Lake Michigan water application. This week, we continued our push by writing a letter to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. It is our obligation to help facilitate the city's application through both the department and regional review processes.
To read the letter, click here.

Committees Recommend Five Kapenga Bills
This week, several of the bills I've written about in my last few e-updates were recommended for passage by their respective committees. 

On Monday, Senate Bill 405 was approved by the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety. This bill allows both the list price and the actual amount paid for medical services to be entered as evidence for a jury to consider.

On Tuesday, Senate Bill 401 was approved by the Assembly Committee on Public Benefit Reform. This bill brings the penalties for knowingly and intentionally committing unemployment insurance fraud in line with the penalties for theft, deterring abuse of this public benefit.

On Thursday, three bills were approved by their Senate committees. Senate Bill 422, which protects Wisconsin small businesses by affirming the obvious fact that employees of franchisees are employees of the local franchisee rather than the national corporation, was approved by the Senate Committee on Labor and Government Reform. Senate Bill 596, which consolidates several DWD grants for worker training programs, was approved unanimously by the Senate Committee on Workforce Development, Public Works, and Military Affairs. Finally, Senate Bill 344, which reforms the adverse possession process in Wisconsin, was unanimously approved by the Senate Committee on Government Operations and Consumer Protection.

With the approval by their committees, these bills are now available for scheduling in the Senate.

Looking Ahead to Next Week

On Tuesday, both houses will be in session with full calendars. As always, if you have any thoughts or opinions on any of the bills we are considering, feel free to call me at (608) 266-9174 or email me at

Upcoming Town Hall Meetings

Please join me for one of my town hall meetings in March, April, or May. During these meetings, I will be available to answer questions and hear from you about important issues at the state and local levels.

As always, if you are unable to attend these office hours, and you have any comments or questions, please email me at or give me a call at (608) 266-9174.

Today in History

1789 - The Electoral College chooses George Washington to be the first U.S. president.
1826 - The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper is published.
1861 - Six Southern states form the Confederate States of America.
1932 - The first Winter Olympics in the United States open in Lake Placid, New York.
1945 - Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin meet at Yalta in Crimea to discuss the Post-WWII world.
Connect with Chris

(608) 266-9174
(800) 863-8883

33rd Senate District
15 South
State Capitol
P.O. Box 7882
Madison, WI 53708
Local Events
Delafield Town Hall
Wednesday, March 2
7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Delafield Public Library

Congressman Sensenbrenner's
Town Hall

Saturday, March 5
9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Hartland Village Hall

Waukesha Town Hall
Wednesday, April 13
7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Waukesha Town Hall

Ottawa Town Hall
Wednesday, May 4
7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Town of Ottawa Town Hall
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