Legal Opinions Differ on Whether State's Move to Self-Insurance would include Local Governments
A recent Legislative Council memo questions whether the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) can include local governments in a self-insurance reboot of the state's health insurance program. However, in a separate memo ETF lawyers disagree and believe that ETF has the authority to include local governments in a self-insurance program.
368 local governments currently participate in the state's health insurance program run by ETF. About 39,500 of the 250,000 people covered by ETF's program are local government employees.
Governor Walker is proposing as part of his state budget to shift ETF's fully insured program to a self insurance model.
ETF said that if they are unable to include local governments in the self-insurance model, it would continue its current fully-insured approach for local governments while switching state employees to self insurance.
Legislators have expressed reservations about Governor Walker's recommendation to move to a self-insurance model and are skeptical about whether the state would save money by making such a move.
Three Recent Quotes by State Leaders on State Transportation Budget
These recent quotes by state leaders perfectly capture the division within the state Capitol over how to proceed on the state transportation budget:
"Let's be clear. I don't support spending less on K-12 education than what's in my budget and I will veto a gas tax increase." Governor Walker tweeted this statement last Thursday while DOT Secretary Dave Ross was being grilled by Joint Finance Committee members over what many of them perceive to be a budget lacking adequate revenue to meet the state's long-term needs.
"We are not going to override Governor Walker on a [gas tax increase] veto. I think there were 1,900 vetoes by Governor Thompson and he was never overridden. It's just not part of the dynamic that exists for a Republican-controlled Legislature to override Governor Walker Work with him up front, try and get some concessions or some changes that make sense for us. That's where we need to negotiate from." Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald.
"If he thinks the only problem is spending, then that's crazy. The problem is both spending and revenue. And that's why we've said we'll take every reform to save money and let's put those in the mix. But to say it's only a spending problem is to ignore the reality of the governor's own three commissions that have all said its a revenue problem and the audit that says we have some of the worst roads in the entire country." Assembly Speaker Robin Vos commenting on Transportation Secretary Ross's testimony before the Joint Finance Committee last week.
JFC State Budget Hearings Begin this Week
The Joint Finance Committee begins holding public hearings on the Governor's 2017-2019 state budget bill, AB 64/SB 30, this week. The full schedule of public hearings dates and locations is provided below. The hearings begin at 10:00 a.m. and typically last all day.
- Monday, April 3 - UW-Platteville, Platteville
- Wednesday, April 5 - State Fair Park, Milwaukee
- Friday, April 7 - Berlin High School, Berlin
- Tuesday, April 18 - Spooner High School, Spooner
- Wednesday, April 19 - Ellsworth High School, Ellsworth
- Friday, April 21 - Marinette High School, Marinette
Legislative Fiscal Bureau summary
of Governor Walker's budget bill,
In the News
Concerns over transportation, self-insurance surface at Wisconsin Legislative budget briefing
On transportation: "Asked whether the proposal would fully meet the state's needs for road maintenance, Neitzel said it would take care of "the most urgent needs" within the state's "ability to pay and borrow."
On self-insurance: "The state would move from paying premiums to 17 HMOs across the state to contracting with six health insurance companies to administer the self-insurance program in four regions - north, south, east and west - statewide." Read the article here...
Wisconsin lawmakers target adults who host underage drinkers
"Groups backing the measure include the Wisconsin Medical Society, the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, the Wisconsin Professional Police Association, the Badger State Sheriffs Association and the Wisconsin Association of Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs, according to the memo." Read the article here...
Join the Lobby Team
May 10: Lobby Day & Legislative Luncheon
This year for the first time, we are joining forces with the Municipal Electric Utilities of Wisconsin (MEUW), the Municipal Environmental Group
Water, the Municipal Environmental Group - Wastewater, the Wisconsin Rural Water Association and the Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin. Registration will be available soon. In the meantime, you can
sign up for the Lobby Team here
Recently Introduced Legislation
AB 179, Brownfields Clean-up. This bill makes several changes to laws governing remediation of environmentally contaminated land, including the following:
-- Changing the way environmental remediation tax incremental districts are created.
-- Authorizes municipalities to make a Property Assessment Clean Energy (PACE) loan to, or enter a
PACE agreement with, an owner or lessee of a premises for a brownfield revitalization project.
-- Provides that a state trust fund loan to a municipality made for the purpose of funding a project related to brownfields may not be included in arriving at the constitutional debt limitation if 1) the term of the loan is not more than 15 years, 2) the loan is not in default, and 3) DNR verifies to BCPL that the site on which the project will occur is a brownfield.
Rep. Jacque (R-De Pere).
The League has not yet taken a position on this bill
Comment to the League on this bill.
, Making Changes to Grant Program for Beat Patrol and Specialized Officers. This bill makes the following changes to the grant program: allows villages, town, and counties, not just cities, to apply; eliminates the cap of $150,000 per grant; eliminates the requirement that DOJ award the grant to the applicants with the highest rates of violent crime; allows grant recipients to use grant funds to pay for law enforcement officers whose primary
duties relate to achieving a law enforcement or public safety goal; and requires annual applications.
By Rep. Sanfelippo (R-new Berlin) The League has not yet taken a position on this bill. Comment to the League on this bill.
AB 190, Sanctuary Cities. This bill prohibits a city, village, town, or county from enacting or enforcing an ordinance, resolution, or policy prohibiting the enforcement of a federal or state law relating to illegal aliens or ascertaining whether an individual has satisfactory immigration status. The bill also requires a political subdivision to comply with a
lawful detainer that is issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and authorizes the attorney general or the appropriate district attorney or sheriff to file a writ of mandamus with the circuit court to require compliance with the requirements created by the bill if he or she believes that the political subdivision is failing to comply with the requirements.
If a court finds that a political subdivision has failed to comply, the department
of revenue must reduce the political subdivision's shared revenue payments in the next year by $500 to $5,000, depending on the political subdivision's population, for each day of noncompliance.
By Rep. Spiros (R-Marshfield).
The League is neutral on this bill.
Comment to the League on this bill.
AB 191/SB 148, Personal Delivery Devices.
This bill authorizes the operation of personal delivery devices (PDDs) on sidewalks and crosswalks unless the municipality prohibits such operation.
Under this bill, a PDD is defined as an electronically powered device that 1) is
intended primarily to transport property on sidewalks and crosswalks; 2) weighs less
than 80 pounds, excluding cargo; 3) is capable of a maximum speed of 10 miles per
hour or less; and 4) is capable of operating with and without active control or
monitoring by an individual.
Introduced by Rep. Kuglitsch (R-New Berlin) and Sen. Kapenga (R-Delafield). The League is
on this bill. Comment to the League on this bill.
AB 81/SB 51, Technical changes to TIF law sought by DOR. By Assembly Committee on Ways and Means, Thursday, April 6 at 10:00 in room 328 Northwest, State Capitol. The League is neutral on this bill.
AB 140, Making several technical updates to tax and liquor licensing law sought by DOR, including the definition of restaurant. By Assembly Committee on Ways and Means, Thursday, April 6 at 10:00 in room 328 Northwest, State Capitol. The League is neutral on this bill.