Treasurer sworn into office (copy) (copy)

Matt Adamczyk was sworn in as state treasurer in early 2015 after winning statewide election to the post on a pledge to help eliminate it.

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Wisconsin voters will have the chance to eliminate the office of the state treasurer under a resolution approved Wednesday by the Assembly.

Vvoters will decide in the April 2018 election whether they want to amend the state constitution to scrap the office, which has been stripped of nearly all responsibilities and powers. 

Constitutional amendments must be approved in two consecutive legislative sessions, then approved by voters. 

The Assembly voted 68-31 on Wednesday to approve the proposal, introduced by Rep. Michael Schraa, R-Oshkosh. Reps. Joan Ballweg, R-Markesan, and Kathleen Bernier, R-Chippewa Falls, joined Democrats in opposing the resolution. 

"I think we’re going to see overwhelming support," Schraa told reporters before the vote. "I'll make a prediction now it’s probably a 65 percent issue. I say let the people decide. If they decide not to eliminate his position … I’ll be the first legislator to step forward and to put responsibility back into that elected position."

The goal of the bill is to make state government more "efficient and effective," Schraa said.

State Treasurer Matt Adamczyk ran for office on a pledge to support the position's elimination. The previous treasurer, Kurt Schuller, did the same, but later changed his mind.

The office's last major responsibility, overseeing the state's unclaimed property program, was transferred to the Department of Revenue in 2014. The treasurer's only role now is to serve on the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands.

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Under the bill, the treasurer's place on the board would be filled by the lieutenant governor. The BCPL operates a trust which provides aid for public school libraries and offers loans to municipalities and school districts.

Opponents of the effort warned it would eliminate a check on the executive branch, and argued responsibilities should be returned to the office.

Democrats offered an amendment that would put the state superintendent of public instruction on the BCPL, which failed.

Gov. Scott Walker has said he supports eliminating the position if voters approve it. The Senate passed the bill earlier this week, with Sens. Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls, and Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield, joining Democrats in opposing it. 

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Jessie Opoien covers state government and politics for the Capital Times. She joined the Cap Times in 2013 and has also covered Madison life, race relations, culture and music. She has also covered education and politics for the Oshkosh Northwestern.