Wisconsin GOP votes for fraction of new DSPS workers requested by Evers 

Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee voted Thursday to give the state’s professional licensing agency a fraction of the new positions that Democratic Gov. Tony Evers requested to improve application turnaround times, the Associated Press reports.

Evers had included 80 new positions for the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) in his budget proposal. Republicans voted to give the agency 17.75 new positions, 13 of which would be temporary. They also voted to spend an additional $6.2 million for technology and equipment improvements within the agency.

Dan Hereth, who took charge of the DSPS last year, testified in March that wait times for license applications had decreased to an average of 38 days, an improvement on the nearly 80-day averages reported in 2021.

In other budget actions Thursday, committee Republicans: 

  • Approved providing $15.3 million more annually for workers within the state Corrections Department; 
  • Stripped provisions from Evers’ budget that would have used state dollars to backfill soon-to-expire federal funding for the state Justice Department’s Office of School Safety; 
  • Approved spending $123,600 in the second year of the budget to fund three forensic analyst positions within the state crime labs; and  
  • Deleted the governor’s plan to spend $547,000 over the biennium to add four more DNA analysts to the crime labs.

The committee is expected to finish revising Evers’ budget by the end of June.