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Rep. Brett Davis: Still time to ban fundraising during budget
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The State Legislature is in the middle of completing the next two-year state budget. The Joint Committee on Finance continues to vote on its version of the budget and the Assembly and Senate are expected to approve the full budget by the end of June, if not sooner.

One piece of important legislation that deserves attention but has stalled in the Legislature, however, is banning fundraising during the budget process. Because the legislation has not been approved, fundraising still is going on by Assembly and Senate campaign committees, state senators and the governor.

On April 28, the State Assembly was in session to vote on a number of issues. It was one of our last chances to approve comprehensive legislation that would have banned fundraising during the budget process. We had a golden opportunity to make a strong statement that fundraising while the budget is being debated is not appropriate for the full Legislature, the governor and other campaign committees.

In fact, Rep. Mark Gottlieb, R-Port Washington, the lead author of the legislation, tried to bring the issue to the floor of the Assembly for a vote last Tuesday. Unfortunately, party politics got in the way and the Assembly leadership blocked the legislation from coming up and the vote failed along political lines.

I believe there still is time to approve legislation to ban fundraising during the state budget. It would be a great way to demonstrate the willingness to work together in a bipartisan fashion to ensure Wisconsin restores its reputation for a clean and open state government. In past legislative sessions it has received support from both sides of the political aisle and should have been one of the first bills approved in both the Assembly and Senate.

The public should note that the State Assembly did approve a rule change that prohibits members from raising money for their political campaigns during the state budget. This policy change was an important step, but should not be viewed as comprehensive. Anything short of a full ban on fundraising by state senators, the governor and other committees means that full progress has not been made.

I support a comprehensive ban on fundraising for all state legislators and the governor during the budget process and will continue to vote for it. This legislation will have the full weight of law and will encompass the Assembly, Senate and the governor. Real reform on this issue is not accomplished by a simple Assembly rule. The public should demand a comprehensive ban and nothing less.

I want to hear from you, so please feel welcome to express your thoughts or let me know if I can be helpful to you in any way by calling (888) 534-0080, e-mailing me at or by writing or stopping by 11 West, State Capitol, Madison, WI 53708.

- Rep. Brett Davis, R-Oregon, serves the 80th Assembly District, which includes all of Green County and parts of Lafayette, Rock and Dane counties.