Legislature acts to change make-up of WEDC Board; appointment of CEO
Earlier today, the State Legislature acted on several bills in a special lame-duck legislative session aimed at modifying the balance of power between the Legislature and the executive branch before incoming Democratic Governor Tony Evers is sworn into office in early January. The slate of proposals approved by Republican lawmakers who control the Legislature included provisions to expand the size of the WEDC Board, increase the number of appointments made by the Legislature, and eliminate the governor’s authority to appoint the WEDC secretary (CEO). However, many of the provisions are temporary and expire in Sept. 2019.
Under the bill, which passed both the Assembly and Senate on party-line votes, the WEDC secretary will no longer be appointed by the governor, but rather the WEDC Board. However, that provision does not apply after Sept. 1, 2019. After that date, the WEDC secretary will once again be appointed by the governor.
In addition, the legislation would expand the size of the WEDC Board as follows:
- Six (6) members will continue to be appointed by the governor.
- Four (4) members each would be appointed by the Assembly Speaker and Senate Majority Leader. However, the additional member appointed by both the Assembly Speaker and Senate Majority Lead would serve terms that expire on Sept. 1, 2019. After that date, both of those seats on the WEDC Board would be eliminated.
- One (1) member each would be appointed by the Assembly Minority Leader and Senate Minority Leader
In addition, the bill would terminate the limitation on the number of enterprise zones (currently 30) WEDC may designate. It would also increase WEDC tax credit recipient reporting requirements and require recipients of any WEDC tax credit, grant or loan to submit a statement to the agency attesting to the accuracy and truthfulness of the information provided to secure the award. To become law, the bill must be signed by Gov. Scott Walker before he leaves office.