Controversial Bills Introduced in the Wisconsin Legislature


Please contact your state Senator and Assembly Representative as soon as possible and urge them to vote no on these bills!

There are a number of controversial bills that have been introduced in the legislature in the past week or so. It is all moving very quickly so I am sending you this Action Alert covering four proposals the LWVWI strongly opposes. It is possible that the GAB and campaign finance bills below will have a hearing as early as Tuesday, October 13.

For contact information for your legislators, go to:  and enter your address near the map of Wisconsin under the heading Find My Legislators.

SB 285/AB 373 – This is the civil service bill. It has already had a hearing. In 1905 Wisconsin rejected patronage as the basis on which hiring and firing should be determined for state employees. The Wisconsin LWV has strong positions in favor of merit recruitment and selection for state employees who implement programs, investigate complaints, and/or manage employees. This bill would gut the essential structure of Wisconsin’s civil service.

CALL TO ACTION: Contact your state senator and assembly representative and tell them to oppose SB 285/AB 373, which would return Wisconsin to the discredited system of patronage hiring and firing for state employees.

GAB bill LRB−3073/2 – no bill number yet. This bill would undo everything League supported in the creation of the Government Accountability Board. The bill would make the structure of the GAB similar to that of the Federal Elections Commission, with three members appointed by each of the two major political parties. That is a recipe for deadlock and dysfunction. The bill would take Wisconsin back to the type of partisan appointee system that resulted in the Legislative Caucus Scandal of 2002 which sent legislative leaders of both parties to prison on felony counts.

CALL TO ACTION: Contact your state senator and assembly representative and tell them to oppose the bill which would dismantle Wisconsin’s nonpartisan Government Accountability Board.

Campaign Finance bill AB 387/SB 292 – According to Common Cause in Wisconsin, the bill would open up Wisconsin elections to permit campaign coordination between candidates and outside special interest spending groups, something which was prohibited for decades in Wisconsin, until the State Supreme Court in July said such coordination was permissible. That court decision, which is likely to be successfully appealed, is an outlier in the nation. The bill would make contribution limits meaningless because supporters of candidates could contribute or spend unlimited money on a phony issue ad communication and even remain anonymous!

CALL TO ACTION: Contact your state senator and assembly representative and tell them to oppose AB 387/SB 292, which would increase the influence of dark money in politics.

A bill prohibiting transgender students from using the restrooms and changing rooms that correspond with their gender identity. This mean-spirited bill also requires school boards to designate facilities exclusively for one physical sex or the other. According to Fair Wisconsin: “This bill is an unnecessary solution in search of a problem. It singles out, isolates and stigmatizes transgender students, who often already face harassment and exclusion at school. It also undermines the advances many school districts across Wisconsin, and the nation, have made allowing students to use facilities and participate in sports and activities consistent with their gender identity.”

CALL TO ACTION: Contact your state senator and assembly representative and tell them to oppose any bill which isolates and stigmatizes students.

The worst thing would be for partisan politicians to be able to say they did not hear any opposition to these horrifically bad measures. Thank you, League members, for letting your representatives know you oppose these bills. 

Andrea Kaminski, Executive Director
League of Women Voters of WI