2021-22 Wisconsin legislative session defined by missed opportunities, extremism, and assaults on voting rights

Jul 06, 2022

Wisconsin Conservation Voters releases its 2021-22 Conservation Scorecard.

MADISON – Wisconsin Conservation Voters released its Conservation Scorecard for the 2021-2022 legislative session today. This session was defined by the legislature’s missed opportunities, extremism, and assaults on voting rights, while Gov. Tony Evers repeatedly protected our freedom to vote and took bold climate action.

The Conservation Scorecard assesses how Gov. Evers and state legislators voted on conservation issues like clean water, clean energy, and democracy. Each representative receives a score for the session and a lifetime score – providing a roadmap for voters to use in the upcoming elections.

“An extremist, gerrymandered Republican majority continued to stop important legislation from passing - legislation that would improve people’s health and environment,” said Government Affairs Director Jennifer Giegerich. “Time and time again, Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu refused to take on any of the real, significant issues that threaten Wisconsin’s land, water, and quality of life – and, in fact, went to extreme efforts to take away people’s freedom to vote.

“Luckily, Wisconsin has Gov. Evers, Attorney General Josh Kaul, and courageous legislators who have protected against the worst impulses of anti-conservation majorities and made real progress on conservation and democracy issues. Thanks to these leaders, Wisconsin was able to make serious achievements on clean energy, clean water, and democracy.”

Through the Conservation Honor Roll, the 2021-2022 Conservation Scorecard recognizes Governor Tony Evers, Attorney General Josh Kaul, Senator Jeff Smith, and Representatives Francesca Hong and Kristina Shelton who put forth extra effort to protect our air, water, land, and democracy.

Gov. Tony Evers vetoed every anti-voter bill that made its way to his desk and used executive order to advance clean energy and clean water issues. Attorney General Josh Kaul protected our environment and freedom to vote in the courts. Sen. Jeff Smith was a leader in the fight against PFAS contamination and Rep. Francesca Hong and Rep. Kristina Shelton fought for equity, clean energy, and clean water in the Assembly.

On the Dishonor Roll, some decision-makers went to extraordinary lengths to jeopardize Wisconsin's natural resources and democracy. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has thrown away over a million taxpayer dollars on a sham election review – attacking our freedom to vote and putting our election workers in danger. Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu was derelict in doing one of the important parts of his job when he refused to take up Gov. Evers’ appointees, a move that has had significant implications for the Natural Resources Board. Sen. Eric Wimberger and Rep. Elijah Behnke represent two of the most PFAS-contaminated communities in the United States and have done little to nothing to address the problem and ensure safe drinking water for their constituents.

The story this Conservation Scorecard tells is clear: Wisconsin’s democracy is in crisis and the climate crisis is not getting the immediate action it needs from the legislature.

“The GOP-controlled legislature dramatically increased the number of anti-voter bills this session,” said Giegerich. “If it were not for Gov. Evers using his veto pen, these bills would have significantly undercut people's ability to cast ballots – particularly voters with disabilities, older adults, and voters of color.”

It is vital that Wisconsinites use their voting power this fall to re-elect democracy and conservation champions like Gov. Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul. Without these candidates in office, our environment and voting freedoms will continue to be attacked.

View the 2021-2022 Conservation Scorecard online or download a PDF here.

For more information

Jennifer Giegerich, Government Affairs Director, Wisconsin Conservation Voters, 608-661-0845 (office), 608-213-1406 (mobile/text), or jennifer@conservationvoters.org