Pennsylvania Supreme Court debates future of impeachment trial for Philadelphia Prosecutor Larry Krasner

Pennsylvania's highest court on Tuesday weighed whether the Legislature can proceed with an impeachment trial against Philadelphia's elected progressive prosecutor and whether the court or lawmakers should determine what qualifies as misbehavior in office.

What the justices decide after oral arguments in the Supreme Court chambers in Harrisburg will determine the future of efforts to remove District Attorney Larry Krasner, a Democrat, on claims he should have prosecuted some minor crimes, his bail policies and how he has managed his office.

Krasner was impeached by the state House in November 2022, a year after he was overwhelmingly reelected to a second term, sending the matter to the state Senate for trial.



Justice Kevin Brobson, one of the two Republicans on the bench Tuesday, questioned why the court should get involved at this point and suggested the Senate may not get the two-thirds majority necessary to convict and remove Krasner from office.

"Just as I would not want the General Assembly to stick its nose into a court proceeding, I am shy about whether it makes sense, constitutionally, jurisprudentially, for us at this stage to stick our noses" into the impeachment process, he said.

Justice Christine Donohue, among the four Democratic justices at the hearing, said she was not comfortable delving "into the weeds" of what the impeachable offenses were, but indicated it should be up to the Supreme Court to define misbehavior in office, the grounds for removal.

"It would go through the Senate once we define what misbehavior in office means, whatever that is, and then it would never come back again because then there would be a definition of what misbehavior in office is," she said.

Another Democrat, Justice David Wecht, seemed to chafe at an argument by lawyers for the two Republican House members managing the impeachment trial that lawmakers should determine what constitutes misbehavior.

"It’s not just akin to indicting a ham sandwich," Wecht said. He went on to say, "They could have totally different ham sandwiches in mind."

"I mean, it’s whatever the House wakes up to today and what they have for breakfast and then they bring impeachment. And then tomorrow the Senate wakes up and they think of the polar opposite as what any misbehavior means," Wecht said.


Krasner has dismissed the House Republicans’ claims as targeting his policies, and a lower court issued a split ruling in the matter.

A panel of lower-court judges rejected two of Krasner’s challenges — that the opportunity for a trial died along with the end last year’s session and that as a local official he could not be impeached by the General Assembly. But it agreed with him that the impeachment articles do not meet the state constitution’s definition of misbehavior in office.

Krasner’s appeal seeks reconsideration of the Commonwealth Court’s decision.

The Republican representatives who spearheaded the impeachment and the GOP-controlled Senate leadership also appealed, arguing that impeachment proceedings exist outside of the rules of lawmaking and could continue into a new legislative session. Krasner, as a district attorney, gets state funding and that distinguishes him from purely local officials, they argued.

Pennsylvania Rep. Craig Williams enters 2024 race for attorney general

A state lawmaker who is helping lead the effort to impeach Philadelphia's elected prosecutor on Tuesday became the newest candidate for Pennsylvania attorney general, an office that played a critical role in court defending Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in the presidential battleground.

Rep. Craig Williams, a Republican who represents part of suburban Philadelphia, has said for months that he planned to run for the state's top law enforcement office in 2024.

Williams, a former federal prosecutor and former U.S. Marine Corps pilot and prosecutor, is the third Republican to declare his candidacy.



In an announcement video, Williams says, "I'm running for attorney general because I know how to deal with violence. ... I fought the bad guys on the battlefield and I beat them in the courtroom."

Democrats are facing a five-way primary for an office that will be open after next year.

Williams is a second-term member of the state House who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2008, losing by 20 percentage points to then-U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak. He spent about a decade as a lawyer for Philadelphia-area electric and gas utility Peco Energy Co., an Exelon Corp. subsidiary, before running for the Legislature.

As a freshman lawmaker, he became one of two House Republicans tapped to lead the impeachment of Philadelphia's progressive district attorney, Larry Krasner. The process is tied up in court, with Krasner challenging it as a political impeachment based on policy disagreements, not credible evidence of wrongdoing in office.

Williams, 58, born in Alabama, got his law degree at the University of Florida.

The attorney general's office has a budget of about $140 million annually and plays a prominent role in arresting drug traffickers, fighting gun trafficking, defending state laws in court and protecting consumers from predatory practices.

The office also defended the integrity of Pennsylvania’s 2020 presidential election against repeated attempts to overturn it in state and federal courts by Donald Trump’s campaign and Republican allies.

The two other Republicans who have announced their candidacies are York County District Attorney Dave Sunday and former federal prosecutor Katayoun Copeland.

The Democrats running are Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer, state Rep. Jared Solomon of Philadelphia, former state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, former federal prosecutor Joe Kahn and Keir Bradford-Grey, the former head of Philadelphia’s and Montgomery County’s public defense lawyers.

No Republican has been elected attorney general since 2008.

Candidates must file paperwork by Feb. 13 to appear on the April 23 primary ballot.

The current officeholder, Michelle Henry, is filling the last two years of Gov. Josh Shapiro 's second term as attorney general and doesn't plan to run for the office. Shapiro nominated Henry, his top deputy, in January when he was sworn in as governor.

Tennessee Supreme Court justice announces retirement

Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Roger Page announced on Monday that he plans to retire in August 2024.

In a statement from Tennessee's court system, the 68-year-old said his time as a judge has been humbling, inspiring and the honor of a lifetime. He was first appointed to the high court by former Republican Gov. Bill Haslam in 2016. His last day will be Aug. 31.

"The Tennessee judiciary is truly a family, and I have been fortunate to walk this path with my great friends in the judiciary," Page said in a statement. "I will miss all of them and treasure their friendship."


The decision will give Republican Gov. Bill Lee a chance to appoint his third justice on the five-member court. The five current justices were all appointed by Republican governors.

Page has spent more than 25 years as a judge at the trial court, intermediate appellate and Tennessee Supreme Court levels. Haslam appointed him to the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals in 2011 before picking Page for the state Supreme Court about five years later. Page served as the chief justice from 2021 to 2023.

During his tenure, Page helped secure funding for electronic filing for the court system, advocated for access to pro bono services and promoted livestreaming of appellate arguments, according to the statement.


Page grew up on a farm in the Mifflin area of West Tennessee. Before his legal career, he worked as a chief pharmacist and assistant store manager for Walgreens.

"If I hurry, I might have time for one more career," Page said.

He praised the work done by Tennessee's judiciary system during the pandemic, including advances in technology.

"It has been incredibly gratifying to watch the start of an evolution across the judiciary," Page said. "I look forward to following those changes and to catching up with my judicial family in between trips I have been planning for years, watching my grandkids play sports, and spending time with my wonderful wife."

In Tennessee, the governor's picks for Supreme Court must also be confirmed by state lawmakers. Republicans have supermajority control in both legislative chambers. Additionally, Supreme Court justices face "yes-no" retention elections every eight years. Voters retained Page and the other four justices at the time during the 2022 election.

Wisconsin Supreme Court weighs challenge to constitutionality of state-funded school choice programs

Supporters of Wisconsin's taxpayer-funded school choice and independent charter school programs urged the state Supreme Court on Tuesday to reject a lawsuit seeking to declare the programs unconstitutional, saying such a move would create chaos for tens of thousands of families with students currently enrolled.

Private schools, parents with students who attend them, advocacy groups and the state chamber of commerce argue in court filings that the 32-year-old program has benefitted families for a generation and the effort to undo it is politically motivated, after the Supreme Court's majority shifted to liberal control earlier this year.

"A mere change in membership should not create an opportunity to challenge precedent," supporters of school choice programs, being represented by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, contend. "A single election is not a mandate to radically change the law."


The lawsuit was filed two months after the state Supreme Court flipped to 4-3 liberal controlled. With that change, Democrats hope the court will rule in their favor in pending cases seeking to overturn Republican-drawn legislative electoral maps and undo the state’s ban on abortion.

The school choice lawsuit comes after decades of complaints from Democrats who have argued that the program is a drain on resources that would otherwise go to public schools.

The nation's first school choice program began in Milwaukee in 1990. Then seen as an experiment to help low-income students in the state's largest city, the program has expanded statewide and its income restrictions have been loosened, and it served more than 52,000 students at a cost of $444 million in the last school year.

Democrats including Gov. Tony Evers, who previously served as state superintendent of education, have been longtime critics of the program. But Evers this summer agreed to increase spending on the programs as part of a larger education funding package that was also tied to a deal sending more money to Milwaukee and local governments.

The first question for the Wisconsin Supreme Court to decide is whether to take the case directly or first have it work its way through lower courts. The plaintiffs want the high court to take it directly, which would mean a ruling could come in months rather than perhaps years if it had to go through the lower courts.

The lawsuit was brought by several Wisconsin residents and is being funded by the liberal Minocqua Brewing Super PAC. Kirk Bangstad, who owns the Minocqua Brewing Co., is a former Democratic candidate for U.S. House and state Assembly. His brewery produces beer with politically themed names that tout Democrats, such as "Evers Ale," a nod to the governor.

Bangstad's super PAC has funded previous lawsuits targeting Republicans.

The lawsuit asks the court to stop three state officials from continuing the choice programs: Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, Superintendent of Public Instruction Jill Underly and Secretary of the Department of Administration Kathy Blumenfeld.

All three of them faced a Tuesday deadline to file arguments.

The lawsuit argues that the state’s revenue limit and funding mechanism for voucher school programs and charter schools violate the Wisconsin Constitution’s declaration that public funds be spent for public purposes.

It also contends that vouchers defund public schools, do not allow for adequate public oversight and do not hold private schools to the same standards as public schools.


The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled in 1992 that Milwaukee’s voucher program was legal. But the current lawsuit alleges that as the program has expanded, the situation has dramatically changed.

At the start of last school year, enrollment in choice programs was more than 29,000 in Milwaukee, 3,900 in Racine and 17,000 elsewhere in the state, according to the state Department of Public Instruction. Another 2,200 disabled students received vouchers under a special needs scholarship program.

Ending the programs now would cause "chaos," for tens of thousands of families, argued 22 parents of voucher-enrolled students, private schools and choice advocacy groups.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, a conservative activist law firm, on Tuesday released a report claiming that if the school choice program ended, the Milwaukee school district would have to open about 17 additional buildings to accommodate the influx of students. Statewide, more than 3,700 teachers would have to be hired in public schools, the report said.

Former Wisconsin Chief Justice ordered to turn over records related to Protasiewicz impeachment advisement

A Wisconsin judge on Friday ordered the former chief justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court to produce records related to her work advising the Republican Assembly speaker on whether to impeach a current justice.

Former Chief Justice Patience Roggensack was one of three former Supreme Court justices asked by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos to give him advice on pursuing impeachment. Vos has floated impeachment against liberal Justice Janet Protasiewicz based on how she rules on a pending redistricting lawsuit Democrats hope will result in new legislative electoral maps.

The liberal watchdog group American Oversight filed a lawsuit seeking records from Vos and the three former justices. Vos and two of the former justices, David Prosser and Jon Wilcox, turned over records. That included an email from Prosser to Vos advising against impeachment. Vos turned over more than 21,000 pages of documents last week, American Oversight attorney Ben Sparks said at a Friday hearing.


Wilcox told The Associated Press he did not produce a report, but verbally told Vos impeachment was not warranted.

The only former justice who did not produce any records was Roggensack. She has not said what her advice was to Vos and he has refused to say what it was.

When American Oversight attempted to serve Roggensack with a subpoena at her home, an elderly man who answered the door said he did not know anyone by that name and closed the door, Sparks said in court while quoting a statement from the process server.

On Friday, Dane County Circuit Judge Frank Remington issued an order giving Roggensack 30 days to produce any records she has.

"Wisconsin has had and continues to have a long and storied tradition on the responsibility of open government," Remington said.

All of the former justices have a responsibility to produce records they maintain related to their work "whether they understood it or not in accepting the invitation to opine on the question presented," he said.

Roggensack's attorney, Robert Shumaker, did not return a phone message or email seeking comment.

Vos originally said he was considering impeachment if Protasiewicz did not recuse herself from the redistricting case. She did not recuse. Vos did not move to impeach her, following the advice against impeachment from the former justices. But now he’s suggesting he may attempt to impeach her if she does not rule in favor of upholding the current Republican-drawn maps.

The Wisconsin Constitution reserves impeachment for "corrupt conduct in office, or for crimes and misdemeanors."


Republicans have argued Protasiewicz has pre-judged the case based on comments she made during the campaign calling the current maps "unfair" and "rigged."

Protasiewicz, in her decision not to recuse from the case, said that while stating her opinion about the maps, she never made a promise or pledge about how she would rule on the case.

The redistricting lawsuit, filed the day after Protasiewicz joined the court in August and flipped majority control to 4-3 for liberals, asks that all 132 state lawmakers be up for election next year in newly drawn districts.

The legislative electoral maps drawn by the Republican-controlled Legislature in 2011 cemented the party’s majorities, which now stand at 64-35 in the Assembly and a 22-11 supermajority in the Senate. Republicans adopted maps last year that were similar to the existing ones.

Wisconsin’s Assembly districts rank among the most gerrymandered nationally, with Republicans routinely winning far more seats than would be expected based on their average share of the vote, according to an AP analysis.

Wisconsin governor expected to approve bill for early processing of absentee ballots

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers said Thursday that he will sign into law a bill that would allow Wisconsin elections officials to process absentee ballots the day before an election if the Republican-controlled Legislature passes the measure in its current form.

The Republican-backed proposal, which was up for a vote in the state Assembly on Thursday, is intended to ease the workload of local clerks and their staff, who run elections, and prevent ballot-counting from stretching late into election night. The state Senate would also need to pass it before it would go to the governor.

Evers and the Republicans who control the Legislature have seldom found common ground on elections proposals. The governor has vetoed numerous GOP-sponsored elections bills in recent years that he said would make it harder to vote.



"Gov. Evers will veto any bill that enables politicians to interfere with our elections or makes it harder for eligible Wisconsinites to cast their ballot, but if there are common-sense proposals that help ensure Wisconsin’s elections continue to be fair, secure, and safe, he’ll certainly consider signing them," Evers' spokesperson, Britt Cudaback, said in a statement.

Under the bill, elections workers would not be allowed to count votes until after polls close on election day, but they could work ahead to check ballot envelopes for necessary information, verify voter eligibility and take ballots out of envelopes to prepare them for tallying.

Currently, Wisconsin elections workers cannot process absentee ballots until polls open at 7 a.m. on election day. This has led to long processing times for larger cities such as Madison and Milwaukee, sometimes causing swings in initial tallies when large batches of election results are reported late at night. Former President Donald Trump and election skeptics have falsely claimed that those so-called ballot dumps are the result of election fraud.


The Legislature has rejected similar proposals that would have allowed early ballot processing in recent years, despite them receiving bipartisan support. The bill up for a vote on Thursday, which also includes new reporting requirements for local elections officials on election night, was not sponsored by any Democratic lawmakers.

Evers proposed allowing early ballot processing in his budget proposal earlier this year, but that plan was scrapped by Republicans.

If the bill up for a vote Thursday passes in its current form without any "poison pill" additions from the Legislature, Evers will sign it, Cudaback said.

"Gov. Evers for years has proposed allowing county and municipal clerks to begin canvassing absentee ballots the day before an election and is glad to see this effort finally has bipartisan support," she said.

Wisconsin GOP leader downplays pressure to impeach nonpartisan elections czar

Wisconsin's Republican Assembly leader on Tuesday downplayed pressure he's receiving from former President Donald Trump and fellow GOP lawmakers to impeach the state's nonpartisan elections administrator, saying such a vote is "unlikely" to happen.

Some Republicans have been trying to oust state elections administrator Meagan Wolfe, who was in her position during the 2020 election narrowly lost by Trump in Wisconsin. The Senate voted last month to fire Wolfe but later admitted the vote was symbolic and had no legal effect.

Five Assembly Republicans in September introduced 15 articles of impeachment targeting Wolfe, a move that could result in her removal from office if the Assembly passed it and the Senate voted to convict. The Republican president of the Senate has also called on Assembly Speaker Robin Vos to proceed with impeachment.


A group led by election conspiracy theorists launched a six-figure television advertising campaign last month threatening to unseat Vos if he did not proceed with impeachment. On Monday night, Trump posted a news release on his social media platform Truth Social from one of GOP lawmaker's who sponsored the impeachment. The release from state Rep. Janel Brandtjen criticized Vos for not doing more to remove Wolfe.

Vos on Tuesday said Republicans were "nowhere near a consensus" and no vote on impeachment was imminent.

"I can’t predict what’s going to happen in the future, but I think it is unlikely that it’s going to come up any time soon," Vos said.

Vos has previously said he supports removing Wolfe, but he wanted to first see how a lawsuit filed on her behalf to keep her in the job plays out.

The Assembly can only vote to impeach state officials for corrupt conduct in office or for committing a crime or misdemeanor. If a majority of the Assembly were to vote to impeach, the case would move to a Senate trial in which a two-thirds vote would be required for conviction. Republicans won a two-thirds supermajority in the Senate in April.


Wolfe did not immediately return a message seeking comment Tuesday. In September, Wolfe accused Republican lawmakers who introduced the impeachment resolution of trying to "willfully distort the truth."

Vos called for moving on from the 2020 election.

"We need to move forward and talk about the issues that matter to most Wisconsinites and that is not, for most Wisconsinites, obsessing about Meagan Wolfe," Vos said.

The fight over who will oversee elections in the presidential battleground state has caused instability ahead of the 2024 presidential race for Wisconsin’s more than 1,800 local clerks who actually run elections. The issues Republicans have taken with Wolfe are centered around how she administered the 2020 presidential election and many are based in lies spread by Trump and his supporters.

President Joe Biden defeated Trump in 2020 by nearly 21,000 votes in Wisconsin, an outcome that has withstood two partial recounts, a nonpartisan audit, a conservative law firm’s review and multiple state and federal lawsuits.

Wisconsin Republicans advance election reform-centric constitutional amendments

Republicans who control the Wisconsin Legislature have advanced a series of constitutional amendments that would outlaw private funding for elections ahead of the 2024 presidential contest, bar municipalities from allowing non-U.S. citizens to vote in local elections and enshrine existing voter photo ID requirements in the state constitution.

The proposals debated Tuesday at a joint hearing of the Senate and Assembly elections committees stem from false claims made by former President Donald Trump and his supporters that widespread voter fraud tipped the 2020 presidential election in favor of President Joe Biden.

Constitutional amendments must be passed in two consecutive sessions of the state Legislature before being ratified by voters in a statewide election. The governor cannot veto a constitutional amendment.


Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has previously vetoed more than a dozen Republican-backed elections proposals, including a 2021 bill to outlaw private elections grants.

The Legislature approved the amendments requiring voters to be U.S. citizens and outlawing private elections grants in its last session. The voter ID amendment is a new proposal this year, which means the soonest it could be put on the ballot for voter approval is 2025.

Assembly Majority Leader Tyler August said Tuesday that he hopes to put the amendment outlawing election grants before voters in the statewide April 2024 election and put the citizenship requirements on the November 2024 ballot.

Conservatives were outraged in 2020 by a nonprofit that distributed hundreds of millions of dollars in grants, mostly funded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, to local election offices. Opponents termed the money "Zuckerbucks" and claimed it was an attempt by the billionaire to tip the vote in favor of Democrats, although there was no evidence to support that. Since 2020, GOP lawmakers in at least 20 states have outlawed private elections grants.

There has also been a recent push for states to specifically make clear that only U.S. citizens can vote in state and local elections. Some cities and towns across the country have allowed noncitizens to vote in local elections. Federal law already requires U.S. citizenship to vote in national elections and no state constitutions explicitly allow noncitizens to vote in state or local elections.

The Wisconsin Constitution guarantees that every U.S. citizen age 18 and over is a qualified elector. But it does not specifically say that only U.S. citizens are qualified to vote in state or local elections.

"I don't think anyone in this room believes noncitizens are going to gain the right to vote in the state of Wisconsin anytime soon," said Jamie Lynn Crofts, policy director for Wisconsin Voices. "It should be up to people at the local level to decide if noncitizens should be able to vote in their local elections."

The photo ID amendment would enshrine the state's current photo ID law, enacted in 2011, in the state constitution. The Legislature could still pass exceptions to the requirement.


The move to make photo ID a constitutional requirement comes after the Wisconsin Supreme Court flipped to liberal control. There is no current legal challenge to the state's voter ID requirement, which is one of the strictest in the country. But other election-related lawsuits challenging restrictions on absentee voting and ballot drop boxes could be taken up by the state Supreme Court.

Republican supporters at Tuesday's hearing said the voter ID law is designed to ensure that only qualified voters cast ballots. But opponents say voter ID requirements make it more difficult for people to vote, particularly those with disabilities, the elderly and people who don't have driver's licenses.

Under current law, and the proposed amendment, voters must provide one of a list of approved photo IDs in order to cast their ballot. Acceptable IDs include a Wisconsin driver’s license, U.S. passport, tribal ID, U.S. military ID or student ID. Absentee voters must provide a photocopy of their ID when requesting a ballot.

Voters who do not have one of the required photo IDs can vote a provisional ballot and then return by the deadline with the identification to have the ballot counted. The ability to cast a provisional ballot does not change under the proposed amendment.

Ex-Wisconsin Supreme Court justice fights subpoena over Protasiewicz impeachment advice

A former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice is fighting a subpoena ordering her to appear in court in a lawsuit related to advice she gave about possible impeachment of a current liberal justice, calling it "unreasonable and oppressive."

Republican lawmakers have threatened possible impeachment of current Justice Janet Protasiewicz related to comments she made during the campaign calling GOP-drawn legislative maps "rigged" and "unfair." She joined with the liberal majority of the court in agreeing to hear a lawsuit supported by Democrats that seeks to overturn the GOP maps and enact new ones.

Wisconsin Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos asked three former conservative Supreme Court justices for advice on impeachment. Two of the three told him that impeaching Protasiewicz was not warranted. The third, former Chief Justice Patience Roggensack, has not said what her advice was and Vos has repeatedly refused to disclose it.


The liberal watchdog group American Oversight filed a lawsuit alleging that the three former justices researching impeachment for Vos had violated both the state open meetings and open records laws. American Oversight wants the judge to order the former justices to meet in public and to release records related to their work. It was also seeking attorneys fees.

Last week, Roggensack received a subpoena compelling her to attend a hearing in the case was scheduled for this Thursday. On Monday, she asked to be released from the subpoena.

"I believe it would be unreasonable and oppressive to require me to appear at a hearing on a motion for preliminary injunction and even for the Court to consider such a motion," Roggensack wrote.

The judge scheduled another hearing for Wednesday afternoon, likely to address Roggensack's request.

Roggensack, in her affidavit with the court, said the order being sought, which included requiring the former justices to meet in public, would impair her First Amendment rights of freedom of expression, peaceably assembling and petitioning the government.

Roggensack said that Vos, the Republican legislator, asked for her advice on impeachment. Roggensack said she told him she had been researching the issue on her own "because I found the topic to be interesting and because I had not previously considered the standards for impeachment of a Supreme Court justice."

Roggensack said she never considered Vos’s request to mean she was becoming part of a governmental body or committee as American Oversight alleged in its lawsuit.

Vos himself called the effort a panel when he announced in September that he was seeking their advice.

Roggensack said she had a lunch with the other two former justices, David Prosser and Jon Wilcox, along with Vos’s attorney. Prosser and Wilcox have also said that was the only meeting the three former justices had. They all said that they separately advised Vos and did not collaborate on their advice.


American Oversight filed open records requests with the former justices. Prosser released the email he sent Vos that included his impeachment advice, as well as voicemail messages from Roggensack and text messages they exchanged.

Neither Wilcox, Roggensack, nor Vos’ office have responded to its requests for records, American Oversight said.

Vos originally said he was considering impeachment if Protasiewicz did not recuse herself from the redistricting case. She didn’t recuse. Vos didn't move to impeach her, following the advice against impeachment from the former justices. But now he's suggesting he may attempt to impeach her if she does not rule in favor of upholding the current Republican maps.

The Wisconsin Constitution reserves impeachment for "corrupt conduct in office, or for crimes and misdemeanors."

Wisconsin Gov. Evers finds $170M in federal funds to continue COVID-era childcare subsidies

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers will use newly discovered federal dollars to keep a pandemic-era child care subsidy program going for another year and a half, his administration announced Monday after Republican legislators refused to devote any more money to the program.

Officials with Evers’ administration said Monday they will use $170 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency pandemic response operations to keep the Child Care Counts program running through June 2025. Evers ripped Republicans in a news release, saying that it’s "unconscionable" that the GOP wouldn’t extend the program.

"It’s time for Republicans to get serious about solving our problems and join us in doing the right thing for our kids and families, our workforce, and our state," Evers said.


Spokespersons for Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu didn't immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

Launched in 2020, the Child Cares Counts program provides child care providers across the country with money to help retain staffs as well as cover curriculum, utility and rent costs. The program handed out almost $600 million dollars to nearly 5,000 child care providers in Wisconsin between March 2020 and March 2023, according to the state's nonprofit Legislative Fiscal Bureau.


The program is set to expire in January, leading many to warn that the loss of the subsidies could lead to child care providers shutting their doors or a decline in early education services, particularly in rural areas.

Evers has been trying to persuade Republicans to use Wisconsin's $7 billion surplus to keep Child Care Counts afloat in Wisconsin. His state budget called for spending $300 million in state money for the program over the next two years.

GOP lawmakers stripped the plan from the budget. Evers called a special legislative session last month in hopes of prodding Republicans to take action, but they have refused to cooperate with the governor.