WEEK OF JANUARY 30, 2017
LEGISLATIVE AUDIT BUREAU RELEASES AUDIT ON THE STATE HIGHWAY PROGRAM

On Thursday, the Legislative Audit Bureau  (LAB) released the highly anticipated audit of the State Highway Program.

Key findings of the audit include:
  • The proportion of state highways rated in good condition decreased steadily from 53.5 percent in 2010 to 41.0 percent in 2015.
  • The Department of Transportation (DOT) budgeted to complete more major highway project work than could be completed with its available funding because it did not sufficiently take into account the extent to which project expenditures increased over time as a result of inflation and unexpected cost increases.
  • DOT generally had effective oversight of the processes for soliciting bids and awarding construction contracts and took steps to control construction costs, but it could take additional steps.
  • DOT potentially could achieve considerable additional savings if it met its performance measure goals.
The LAB made several recommendations that will help DOT use its funds more effectively and improve how it manages the planning, engineering, and construction phases of state highway projects, as well as its maintenance of state highways.

A copy of the full audit and briefing sheets can be found here.
REDISTRICTING

On Friday, January 27, 2017, the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin issued its remedy with regard to its opinion and order issued in November holding that the redistricting plan embodied in Act 43 constituted an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.

The court enjoined the defendants from using the districting plan embodied in Act 43 in all future elections, and further ordered that the defendants have a remedial redistricting plan for the November 2018 election, enacted by the Legislature and signed by the Governor no later than November 1, 2017. The plan may, however, be contingent on the Supreme Court's affirmance of the district court's order.

See the latest opinion from the Western District Court here.
GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES WELFARE REFORM PACKAGE

Last week, Governor Scott Walker introduced his "Wisconsin Works for Everyone" welfare reform package. The package will be included in the Governor's budget proposal. The package:
  • Extends work requirements to able-bodied adults with school-aged children who are receiving FoodShare.
  • Extends work requirements to able-bodied adults receiving housing assistance.
  • Increases investment in job and skills training for the unemployed and underemployed receiving FoodShare, the incarcerated and ex-offenders, and low-income noncustodial parents involved in the child support system.
  • Addresses barriers to work through reforms that reduce occupational licensing, and eliminates the benefits cliff in child care subsidies.
  • Eliminates barriers to work for individuals enrolled in the Medicaid Purchase Plan by removing the premium cliff as people transition into earning more income.
  • Seeks federal waivers to encourage work and enhance self-sufficiency.
Read the Governor's press release here.
WCA ANNUAL LEGISLATIVE EXCHANGE  

Concourse
Do not forget to register for WCA's Annual Legislative Exchange to be held February 7-8, 2017 at the Madison Concourse Hotel in Madison, Wisconsin. Come hear the latest on what is happening at the Capitol, as well as learn about WCA's priorities for the legislative session. 

Parking for WCA Legislative Exchange
Please be informed that the Madison Concourse Hotel will be undergoing construction in the hotel garage and the hotel parking garage will be closed entirely.  Valet parking is available for all overnight hotel guests at the cost of $10 per vehicle. Guests should pull up in front of the hotel and a member of the hotel staff will assist.
                                                                                                                                
For guests that are not staying overnight, parking is available in the State Street Capitol Garage, just a half block from the hotel on 214 North Carroll Street. Day-only guests that are coming to the hotel and not staying overnight will need to pay for the parking ramp charges on their own at the public parking ramp. See the hourly rates for the ramp here. 

Full event details for the 2017 WCA Annual Legislative Exchange can be found here.
COMMITTEE HEARINGS FOR THE WEEK OF JANUARY 30, 2017

Note: The Committee hearings and bills listed below reflect action on legislation impacting county government.  For a complete listing of weekly hearings, please visit here .

Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Senate Committee Judiciary and Public Safety, 12:30 p.m.
Senate Bill 9 - court proceeding for traffic violations. WCA is monitoring this bill.

For a listing of all bills impacting county government and WCA's positions on those bills, please visit the WCA website. 
MARK YOUR CALENDAR FOR WCA REGIONAL LEGISLATIVE MEETINGS

Each odd-numbered year, the Wisconsin Counties Association holds legislative briefings across the state to educate members on legislative issues affecting counties. 

This year, our legislative briefings will include a discussion on WCA's 2017-2018 Legislative Agenda, a review of the 2017-19 state biennial budget, as well as answer member questions regarding legislative initiatives.

Following please find a list of the dates, times, and locations of the 2017 Regional Legislative Meetings. Please feel free to attend whichever meeting is most convenient for you.

Southeast District

Monday, March 13, 2017
9:00 a.m. - Noon
Country Springs Hotel
2810 Golf Road
Pewaukee, WI 53072
Counties in District: Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Washington, and Waukesha

North Central District
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Menominee Casino Resort
N277 Wisconsin 55
Keshena, WI 54135
Counties in District: Florence, Forest, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto, Oneida, Portage, Shawano, Vilas, Waupaca, Waushara, and Wood

East Central District
Thursday, March 16, 2017
9:00 a.m. - Noon
The Meadows Conference Center
850 Kepler Drive
Green Bay, WI 54311
Counties in District: Brown, Calumet, Door, Fond du Lac, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Outagamie, Sheboygan, and Winnebago

Southern District
Monday, March 20, 2017
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
North Star Conference Center at Comfort Inn & Suites
5025 County Road V
DeForest, WI 53532
Counties in District: Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Grant, Green, Green Lake, Iowa, Jefferson, Lafayette, Richland, Rock, and Sauk

Northwest District
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Flat Creek Inn & Suites
10290 Highway 27 South
Hayward, WI 54843
Counties in District: Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Iron, Polk, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Taylor, and Washburn

West Central District
Thursday, March 23, 2017
9:00 a.m. - Noon
Holiday Inn Eau Claire South
4751 Owen Ayres Court
Eau Claire, WI 54701
Counties in District: Barron, Chippewa, Clark, Dunn, Eau Claire, Pepin, Pierce, and St. Croix

Western District
Friday, March 24, 2017
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Radisson Hotel La Crosse
200 Harborview Plaza
La Crosse, WI 54601
Counties in District: Adams, Buffalo, Jackson, Juneau, La Crosse, Marquette, Monroe, Trempealeau, and Vernon
UPCOMING WCA MEETINGS
  • February 7-8 - WCA Legislative Exchange
  • February 13 - WCA Taxation and Finance Steering Committee
  • February 23 - WCA County Organization and Personnel Steering Committee
  • March 3 - WCA Health and Human Services Steering Committee
  • March 10 - WCA Judicial and Public Safety Steering Committee
  • March 17 - WCA Board of Directors
See a complete listing of upcoming WCA meetings here.
HOW CAN YOU FOLLOW THE SESSION WITH US?

As a member-benefit, the Wisconsin Counties Association offers access to The Wheeler Report, WisPolitics, and WisconsinEye.

If you would like to subscribe to any one of these news services, please contact Amy Dias, Office Manager at dias@wicounties.org or at 866.404.2700.
QUESTIONS?

question marks
If you have any questions about anything happening at the state level, please feel free to contact any member of the WCA Government Affairs Team:

Kyle Christianson
Director of Government Affairs
608.663.7188
christianson@wicounties.org


Sarah Diedrick-Kasdorf
Deputy Director of Government Affairs
608.663.7188
diedrick@wicounties.org

Dan Bahr
Government Affairs Associate
608.663.7188
bahr@wicounties.org

Marcie Rainbolt
Government Affairs Associate
608.663.7188
rainbolt@wicounties.org

Chelsea Fibert
Government Affairs Assistant
608.663.7188