Skilled Construction Trades and Respected Contractors
Building Wisconsin Together ®
Welcome to Construction Business Group's Industry Updates.  This monthly e-newsletter will help us communicate the important initiatives that we have underway and relevant updates on issues that impact Wisconsin's construction industry.  
Message from Executive Director  Robb Kahl
On November 20, 2019, Governor Evers signed Assembly Bill 426, now 2019 Wisconsin Act 33, the Worker Safety and Energy Security Act ("Worker Safety Act"). The Worker Safety Act is critically important to Wisconsin Operating Engineers and any tradesperson that works on pipeline projects.
As those of you who work in the energy industry know, new pipeline projects have come under intense scrutiny and public protest over the last ten years. A protestor climbed on heavy equipment while in operation in Wisconsin. Equipment in Iowa was set on fire. Workers in North Dakota were physically blocked from a construction site and threatened with bodily injury. Pipe that was being installed in South Dakota was deliberately damaged with torches.
Millions of dollars in property damage and workers quitting in fear for their safety have become increasingly common in the Midwest. Protestors are unfamiliar with an active construction site and its hazards and have no specialized training to be in an active construction zone. This puts the protestors, workers, the public and the environment at risk.
In 2016, the Wisconsin legislature passed laws that enhanced the penalties for trespass and damage to property for "energy providers." Unfortunately, the legislature failed to include oil, petroleum, renewable fuel, water, or chemical pipelines and other infrastructure within the definition of energy provider. The Worker Safety Act corrects the oversight and makes certain that workers on pipeline infrastructure projects fall within the protection of the heightened penalties.
The Workers Safety Act was not without controversy. Environmental and other groups attempted to persuade Governor Evers to veto the bill, alleging that it infringed on First Amendment and other rights to protest. The allegation is simply untrue. The Worker Safety Act specifically and unambiguously preserves the rights to peaceful protest, organization and demonstration. No one has the constitutional right to physically threaten or harm construction workers or damage equipment or energy infrastructure. Such conduct has always been illegal but the penalties in Wisconsin were not sufficient deterrents for today's particularly aggressive and hostile protestors.
Governor Evers did the right thing and signed the Worker Safety Act despite the intense misinformation campaign by the opposition.

Building Wisconsin Together ®
Record breaking numbers attend Externship Day in Coloma

eld in conjunction with National Apprenticeship Week, November 13th marked the fifth successful Externship Day at the Joseph J. Goetz Training Center in Coloma. This year's event was record breaking with  close to 900 students, educators and parents from over 60 school districts in attendance. 

Developed three years ago as a day for Wisconsin's youth to explore the Operating Engineer pathway, this was the largest turnout to date. Outreach events like Externship Day are critical to closing the skilled-labor gap plaguing the construction industry. Externship Day introduces a rewarding and exciting alternative to 4-year college to students who like working with their hands and making lasting contributions to their communities.

Six contractors participated in an employer's roundtable, sharing prac tical advice with the students on what makes a qualified candidate and how the opportunities for advancement are worth considering.  Thank you for your partnership and commitment to joining us for important workforce development outreach events:

Cullen - Mark Ihlenfeldt
JH Findorff - Dennis Schwochert
Integrity Grading & Excavating - Kerry Miller
Intercon - Bryce Hamann
Michels Corporation - Megan Durocher
Walbec Group - Dan Eckstrom

An event of this magnitude could not have been possible if it were not for the amazing work of all the dedicated staff at the Training Center and the over 200 apprentices, members and retirees that helped - driving the buses, serving as tour guides or helping man the hands-on stations. Special commendation to Kip Gutke who spent countless hours planning and organizing not only the logistics of the groups, tables, chairs, food, buses, but also the outreach to all the volunteers. Truly the success of team effort by all!

For more details or to learn about participating in the Spring Externship Day, please contact Laura Cataldo at 608-616-2835 or 

Industry News and Updates
Upcoming Events
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CBG Winter Conference
March 5-6, 2020
Kalahari Resort
Wisconsin Dells, WI
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RSVP for this FREE conference to
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From the News Stand
State Senate Confirms Gubernatorial Cabinet Secretaries

There are 13 state government agencies which are statutorily defined as departments. The leaders of these cabinet-level agencies are appointed by the Governor and subject to confirmation by the State Senate.


The confirmation of gubernatorial appointees is a three-step process. The appointee receives a confirmation hearing before the Senate standing committee with jurisdiction over the agency. Following the hearing, the committee may vote to recommend or reject the confirmation of the appointee. The final step is an up-or-down vote by the State Senate.


Earlier this month, the State Senate unanimously confirmed the gubernatorial appointments of five cabinet-level state agency leaders.

  • Peter Barca - Secretary, Department of Revenue
  • Kathy Blumenfeld - Secretary, Department of Financial Institutions
  • Joel Brennan - Secretary, Department of Administration
  • Kevin Carr - Secretary, Department of Corrections
  • Mary Kolar - Secretary, Department of Veterans Affairs

We expect more gubernatorial appointees to be confirmed by the State Senate before the end of the year.

Schedule Set for 7th Congressional District Special Election

On September 23, Congressman Sean Duffy (R-Weston) submitted his resignation from the United States House of Representatives to the Wisconsin Secretary of State. 
State law requires the Governor to set the timeline to fill this vacancy. Recently, Governor Evers issued the 7th Congressional District Special Election order.
Candidates must file their nomination papers and the necessary paperwork with the Wisconsin Elections Commission by December 2, 2019. If necessary, the primary election is scheduled for Tuesday, February 18, 2020. The special election will be held on Tuesday, May 12, 2020.

2020 State Tax Information Update 

The Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) publishes a quarterly Wisconsin Tax Bulletin which contains timely information on state tax laws, administrative regulations and return filing requirements. The November 2019 edition addressed several topics of interest to small, independent businesses for tax year 2020 including:
  • Individual and Fiduciary Income Tax Rates Reduced
 As provided by 2019 Wisconsin Act 10, the individual income tax rates for the first and  second tax brackets are reduced for taxable year 2019 based on estimated amounts of additional sales and use tax revenue reported to the department from out-of-state retailers and marketplace providers. 
For 2019, the individual income tax rate for the first tax bracket is reduced from 4.00 percent to 3.86 percent, and the individual income tax rate for the second tax bracket is reduced from 5.21 
percent to 5.04 percent. A similar determination will take place for  the 2020 individual income tax rates. The 2020 rates will be  determined no later than November 10, 2020. 
  • Changes to Federal Form W-4 and Wisconsin Form WT-4
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has redesigned Form W-4 for  the year 2020 and federal allowances have been removed. Prior to  this change, an employee could use Form W-4 for Wisconsin  purposes if the employee's federal allowances equaled his or her  Wisconsin exemptions.
Since federal allowances have been removed, the redesigned Form  W-4 cannot be used for Wisconsin purposes. The following applies  for Wisconsin withholding tax purposes beginning in 2020:

         - All newly hired employees must provide Form WT-4 to their employer.


         - Existing employees that change the number of their Wisconsin withholding exemptions

           must provide Form WT-4 to their employer.


 - Existing employees are not required to provide Form WT-4 to their employer (unless the

   employer requests it) if the employee wishes to maintain the same number of Wisconsin

   withholding exemptions used in 2019. 

  • Withholding Tax Update Available
The November 2019 Withholding Tax Update has been posted to the DOR website and is available here
If you would like to receive notification when a new Wisconsin Tax Bulletin is available, subscribe to the sales and use tax or tax professional electronic mailing list.

Governor Establishes Climate Change Task Force

Governor Evers has created a Task Force on Climate Change to advise and assist him in developing a strategy to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.
Members of the task force will work closely with the Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy and report their findings and policy recommendations to the Governor by August 2020. The Governor has appointed Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes to lead this committee.

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