NEWS FROM THE CAPITOL
AND AROUND WISCONSIN
STATE GOVERNMENT WORKERS RAKED IN $80 MILLION IN OVERTIME LAST YEAR Overtime pay for Wisconsin's state government public sector workers jumped 12% in 2018, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's report, with information obtained through the state's Open Records Law.
Wisconsin doled out $80.9 million in overtime pay last year, which was nearly $9 million more than the year prior, with most of those dollars, about $73 million, originating from the state's Department of Corrections and Department of Health Services.
The report also showed than 40 state employees received enough overtime to double or more than double their base pay, and 418 employees made $25,000 or more in overtime alone.
The Journal Sentinel points out that both the Department of Corrections and the Department of Health Services have systemic personnel issues, often struggling to retain prison guards and home health care workers. Due to overtime pay from working 80+ hours per week, one nurse earned $217,000 on state taxpayers' dime, which was $122,000 over her base pay. A corrections office at Dodge Correctional Institute made over $180,000 in 2018, with $112,000 due to overtime pay.
EVERS TO WILL VETO 'BORN ALIVE' BILL IF PASSED BY LEGISLATUREIf a newborn infant is born alive after an attempted abortion- in other words if the abortion fails- and doctors do not give it live-saving medical attention, they would face life in prison under a bill being advanced by Republican lawmakers. Governor Tony Evers said he will veto the bill if it makes it to his desk.
Similar legislation was vetoed last week by the Democrat governor of North Carolina, and is setting up a showdown in statehouses across America. Most of the bills are in response to comments earlier this year by Virginia Democrat Governor Ralph Northam, also a doctor, who explained that in some situations, a baby would be born and then "kept comfortable" while a mother and doctor presumably decided the fate of the child. The comments can be found at the 1:25 mark here.
Governor Evers made a statement that he did not feel it would be a "productive use of his time" to sign the bill into law, also sparking a flurry of outrage from GOP lawmakers in the Capitol. The Governor also said that state law already includes protections and criminal penalties. Abortion advocates say that the legislation is misleading because it addresses situations that only seldom occur.
Even still, Republicans say, the state has no way of knowing how "seldom" infants are born alive after failed abortion attempts, and that life saving measures must be mandatory.
FORMER STATE REP. ED BROOKS DIESFormer State Representative Ed Brooks (R-Reedsburg) passed away last week in hospice care after an ongoing battle with cancer.
Brooks, who represented the 50th Assembly District for a decade, announced in 2017 that he would not seek re-election in 2018, following the diagnosis of his cancer. He also served as chair of the Town of Reedsburg for 30 years.
Funeral services were held at St. John Lutheran Church in Rock Springs this afternoon.
BIPARTISAN BILL WOULD GIVE ADDITIONAL PROTECTION TO HIGHWAY WORKERSA bill from Representative Bob Kulp (R-Stratford) and Representative Jodi Emerson (D-Eau Claire) is gaining traction in the Capitol. The legislation would increase penalties for violations on highways when there are people in the area volunteering.
Clean-up and other volunteer groups would be given the same protections as official highway crews, and comes in direct response to the group of three Girl Scouts and one parent who were killed by an impaired driver in Lake Hallie. Under current law, fines are doubled for traffic violations in construction or maintenance zones.
The legislation has also garnered the support of Chippewa County's highway commissioner, who said officials need to do everything they can to protect workers and volunteers.
LOCAL UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS RELEASEDThe Department of Workforce Development last week released the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates of unemployment and employment statistics for Wisconsin metro areas, major cities, and counties for the month of March.
In metropolitan areas, unemployment rates declined in all 12 major metro areas of the state from March 2018 to March 2019. Wausau metro area declined by a half percent, which was the largest decrease of all 12 metros.
In municipalities, the data showed that rates declined over the year in 32 of Wisconsin's 33 largest cities. The largest decrease was in Manitowoc, which saw a reduction of 0.6 percent.
Finally, in counties, unemployment rates declined or stayed the same over the year in 62 of 72 counties, with Door County experiencing the state's largest decrease from March 2018 to March 2019, of 1.0 percent.
ASSEMBLY GOP PROPOSES EXPANDING ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING STATIONS Republicans in the State Assembly are proposing that $10 million from the state's share of a national lawsuit settlement with Volkswagen be used to build charging stations for electrical vehicles along Wisconsin's freeways. The proposal came as part of a package of Earth Day legislation from Assembly Republicans.
The proposal would first begin with charging stations along I-94 in the Milwaukee and Madison areas, and the bill's author said he would like to see the ultimate plan to build out these stations at intervals ranging from 60 to 70 miles throughout the state.
According to the Department of Energy, the state already has over 300 vehicle charging stations and nearly 600 charging outlets.
Another GOP Earth Day plan calls for $7 million annually for renewable energy rebates for homeowners.
GOP INTRODUCES BILL TO ALLOW LOTTERY WINNERS TO REMAIN ANONYMOUSAssembly Speaker Robin Vos last week introduced a bill that would allow individuals to remain anonymous after winning the Wisconsin Lottery.
The bill comes after 24-year-old Manuel Franco of West Allis won the Powerball jackpot of $768.4 million and publicly accepted his winnings at a news conference at the Department of Revenue in Madison last week Tuesday. For measure, that is the third largest lottery winning in U.S. history.
Under current state law, lottery winners cannot remain anonymous. But the bill's authors said that the individuals often become victims of fraud and harassment after claiming their prize. After taxes, Franco's take-home will be over $400 million.
EVERS 'DISAPPOINTED' THAT PARDON REVIEW BOARD HAS NOT BEEN ESTABLISHEDGovernor Tony Evers last week said he was disappointed that a pardon review board has not yet been established in his administration, and that his office's attorneys have not had enough time to look at the issue. Since March, more than 1,000 individuals have contacted his office to inquire about or request a pardon.
Evers repeatedly promised on the campaign trail, that he would reverse the policy of former Governor Scott Walker, who did not grant any pardons in his eight years as the state's executive.
Governor Evers said that his attorneys have been too tied up defending his administration from the "lame duck" laws, but would work to establish the pardon board by this summer, saying that the issue is exceedingly important, and a "top priority."
WEEKLY MEMBER POLL RESULTS
Governor Evers is looking to change the state's contract with Foxconn, in reaction to his belief that the company's footprint in Wisconsin will be much smaller than originally anticipated.
Do you think it's a good idea that the contract be negotiated?
HOLD them to the 13K jbs PROMISED. NOT 13K spread throughout WI at sattelite campuses / research labs.
Yeah, it should be renegotiated again. This time, maybe Wisconsin's interests will be represented.
The original contract handled all the concerns about water contamination and was correccted. I think this will bring bad faith to those who try to deal with Wisconsin again if our Governor feels he can "renegotiate".
I thought that is Foxconn did not meet a certain number of employees that they would not receive the tax credits.
How can any organization have faith in any government state or federal if that government goes back on their word?
The less the state is on the hook for the better. Walker and these jokers from foxconn really took us for a ride!
get traction for the underwhelming Foxconn
Govenor Evers should ensure clean water exiting from the plant and make sure they keep to a reasonable amount of their promises to the state.
Do not believe Gov. Evers would negotiate a contract better for Wisconsin
I don't often get to negotiate my commitments after I've made them. I think this is further partisan bickering.
A contract is a contract. Both sides must abide by the contract.
a contract is a contract until it expires
This Governor could not make Milwaukee Public Schools work - so he is capable to telling Foxconn how many jobs will be created?!
Why do we need a new contract Tony? Aren't the parameters already established? If they don't get the numbers, they don't get all the money! Does Tony just need to feel important? Stay out of business, Mr. Ever's.
I think this is a bad idea to try and renegotiate the contract seemly becuase Evers thinks he has a better idea. I have always thought once a contract was signed by both parties it was final, but not in the eyes of the Deomcrats who always think they have a better idea. Let the contract stand or the coulsd possibly endup in court.
Evers and Foxconn need to work on a contract.
Do everything we can to keep them coming here. Especially if it means we can save some of the money we promised them.
Governor Evers is trying to show liberal power , lets see what happens in the future and if Foxcom is not living up to the contract than renegotiate
If they don't meet their marks they won't get their tax credits.
What's Tony going to do different? They don't get paid unless they create the jobs.
From what I've seen out of our new governor, stay out of it!!!!
no, i do not believe in Evers business decisions
If they don't meet the terms of the contract,they don't get the benefits,so what's the problem? Send Evers back to DPI where try as he might,he can't do quite as much harm!
Governor Walker did a poor job negotiating this deal.
Yes, One should do as they say.
Governor Evers has created a task force aimed at stopping "payroll fraud" or "worker misclassification" in Wisconsin.
After reading the article; good idea or bad idea?
That misclassificationbites into more than just income tax. ... It also affects SS / Medicare taxes paid.
Where businesses can screw employees, they will do so.
I don't think it is a major problem.
Not really, when I see this happening it generally is the employees not the employer. P
a solution looking for a problem. unemployment under 3%, not an issue now...
As long as the task force is effective and not just getting paid for being on the force.
When workers earn wages a part should legally go for taxes and social security.
Do not see this as a major problem. The cost of the task force would likely be more than any additonal tax collected.
We deal with this at our store. There is a huge misconception between truth and perception of the truth in a lot of subcontractor areas. In others, yes, they aren't subcontractors and are, in fact, employees. This is going to cause a lot of honest folks a lot of headache.
Just another way to spend money.
is this a big problem in Wisconsin? Payroll reporting is pretty tight now
Not sure - every employer I know is pretty upstanding and I thuinkn they would operate like we do. Everything on the up and up.m
Its is a major problem, and the fraud should be stopped.
I'm an insurance agent and I know of many businesses that practice this.
Is this a major problem or is he just trying to look good to the unions
You create a task force when you don't really want to do anything about the problem.
Of course Tony, it's the evil corporations taking advantage of the poor helpless worker.
We are taxed way too much, but in the end, cheating is cheating and it's wrong.
Not a problem looking for another state agency
Some teeth are needed to get this corrected.
If were a major problem then why does WI have a 600m surplus?
They will never get them all
I don't know enough of the particulars to make an informed decision. Is it illegal to classify an employee as a contractor?
A study from the UW says that Wisconsin will generate $1.1 billion in economic activity if it legalizes medical marijuana.
Where do you stand?
There is APLE evidence of certain canabinnoids having positive medicinal value
Legalization of marijuana in Wisconsin is INEVITABLE. Get it over with and start getting tax revenue.
Tax and regulate it like alcohol and generate the tax dollars.
It is said that marijuana is no worse then alcohol so it is be legalized. Just what we need, drunks and people high on our roads.
The war on drugs is LOST. Unbelievable the amount of money and effort wasted to interdict marijuana.
Don't open Pandora's Box by legalizing recreational marijuana!
I support the use of marijuana for persons suffering with cancer an other disorders to relieve their pain.
Recreational marajuana is destructive to young people and will cause so many more problems.
I think it's a bad idea. I am against it. I'm sick of the potheads we already have, and now we want to legalize it and create MORE potheads? Uhhhh yeah, I don't think so.
A friend of mine uses it for medicimal purposes and it helps her.
CDL drivers are drug tested - to keep the roadway safe....what happens to them when they test positive and lose thier jobs?
The medicinal value is a no-brainer! I think recreational is questionable, but with all the opioid's on the market, I think it is just a matter of time. Legalize it and control it...just like alcohol.
Marijuana is considered a gateway drug leading to other drug abuse. Of course, the Democrats feel this is another line of added revenue they can spend on something totally stupid! The Democrats have also forgotten about the other potential problems associated with legalizing marijuana such as the increased OWI arrests; treatment for the individuals who want to stop using the drug or other drugs.
I don't support the recreation, cause it will get more of our younger generation taking it.. and that will lead to harder drugs..
Those that want to use it are doing so already. Regulate it, Tax it and use the revenue wisely.
I can see if we legalize medical marijuana it would lead to the next step of recreational and the $1.1 billion would to used for the problems it would create
It's the first step to hard drugs.
I'm fine with Medical Marijuana, but let's not go the full hippy route.
I support everything if it helps people, although i am concerned about the smell in public places, will the remains lay on the ground all over like cigarette butts?
Bad idea,I am going to the funeral today of a young man that started with just 1 joint.
No Marijuana! We have enough problems.We don't need more dopers!
Legalize and comute all non violent canabis convictions.
Undecided. From my experience with the UW, some of those doing the "study" may have been potheads themselves. How do I know if their numbers are legit?
Its out there now. We may as well benefit from the taxes like Cigs and Alcohol. Same punishment as Alcohol for driving under the influence.
The Assembly Speaker said he is willing to work with Governor Evers on health care proposals in Wisconsin, but would rather use surplus dollars to achieve goals rather than accept federal funding to expand Medicaid.
Do you agree?
Expand Medicaid and use the funds for roads and education.
If this can free up 300 million in tax dollars why not do it.
Stay as far away from Federal government as possible.
We all send money upstream to the feds. dont ignore an opportunity to get some of it back into the state.
No idea the implications of either option.
Why not accept federal dollars if they are offered? If citizens want more people off of programs like Medicaid, why not raise the minimum wage?
Federal dollars are not free.
Our health care and insurance premiums and coverage are in shambles.
I put that I'm in the middle only because there was a definite "NO" to everything. Since Obamacare was passed you have seen everything from co-pays to preminums sky rocket. But when the government was not involved everything involving health insurance seemed to be reasonable. Once again it was the Democrats who created a problem out their need to spend money foolishly. Remember the famous saying by Nancy Pelosi "We have to pass it so we can read what's in the bill."
If you use federal funds then you another goverment layer and our federal goverment can not handle what they do now
Tony, where do Federal dollars come from? Us taxpayers?
I fear that expanding any government program is not the way to go. Every program the government runs is a disaster.
The real question is why is there a surplus at all? Lower the premiums for self-employed, self-funded plans. Medicaid is essential for those with disabilities, children, pregnant women, etc. We should 100% accept federal dollars to expand Medicaid to cover gaps in coverage. Too many loopholes means too many uninsured using expensive ERs for primary care.
Federal $ always come with strings attached.
What happens when federal budget gets cut
None of the above. Will forward separate plan.
We wouldn't need to expand Medicaid if everyone would be RESPONSIBLE for themselves and their families
How was your Easter weekend? Did you celebrate with family or friends? Church? Did you get outside to enjoy the warm weather?
Hosted a family gathering
Went to church, dinner out with family, then visited in backyard. Beautiful day to praise the Lord!
We had a hoppy Easter with family.
Was a beautiful weekend, of course attended church, started with our choir singing in a local state prison's chapel Sunday morning.
1.Church 2. Family and freinds 3. Nice weather
Not religious, spent Sunday with the family, nice sit down ham dinner.
Beautiful weather, Sunrise Service at Church, family for the weekend, did some outside stuff.
All of the above, first Easter Sunday service (beautiful), lunch with family and finally enjoying the outdoors. Spring has finally sprung.
Spent time outdoors enjoying the sunshine and getting the boat ready for the lake
Had the whole family over. First time we've had a outdoor egg hunt in years. Beautiful day.
church with family, spent the day with the family and even had time to be outdoors and enjoy the spring like weather.
Son had us over to his new residence to eat
Family and Friends spent outside
We had Easter breakfast with family at their home. Later in the afternoon was outside working on the lawn and clean up.
Blessed Easter, sunrise service and Easter breakfast at church. It ain't about the Easter bunny.
What a beautiful weekend.
We went to 4 church services Thursday to Sunday and then spent Easter at my daughters house with over 20 members of the family and friends!
We don't celebrate Easter but it was a beautiful Spring day to spend time in the yard.
Church.Family all came for dinner and the rest of the day.
Had a great get together with family, spent the whole day outdoors. Good times !
Great weekend with Church and family
Great! Family. Then I went home to rake and clean up the yard.
It is the policy of WPT, Inc. to publish all comments that are submitted by members each week, often including broad differences of opinion within the weekly responses. Our organization values our role in fostering dialogue within our membership each week, but does not take responsibility for the individual views and opinions expressed herein.
BILLS SIGNED INTO LAW OR VETOED
World Trade Month
(Hutton, Rob) Proclaiming May 2019 at World Trade Month.
Deadline: Friday, May 3, 5 pm
Renewable Energy Authority
(Shankland, Katrina) Creating the Wisconsin Renewable Energy Development Authority to participate in and guarantee certain energy-related loans, implement other energy-related programs, and make certain grants and making an appropriation.
Deadline: Monday, May 6, 4 pm
(Miller, Mark) Allowing local governments to regulate pesticides.
Deadline: Monday, May 6, 4 pm
Polystyrene Packaging Prohibition
(Miller, Mark) Prohibiting food and beverages from being served in foam polystyrene packaging and providing a penalty.
Deadline: Monday, May 6, 4 pm
Dairy Innovation Hub
(Marklein, Howard) Creating and funding a University of Wisconsin Dairy Innovation Hub and making an appropriation.
Deadline: Friday, April 26, 1 pm
(Vos, Robin) Privacy of lottery winner.
Deadline: Tuesday, April 30
State Park Admission Waiver
(Sargent, Melissa) Fee waivers for state park vehicle admission receipts to pupils enrolled in grade 4 and making an appropriation.
Deadline: Monday, May 6, 5 pm
Vehicle Seller Immunity
(Kapenga, Chris) Immunity for motor vehicle sellers.
Deadline: Tuesday, May 7, 4pm
Supplemental School Aid
(Marklein, Howard) Supplemental state aid for consolidated school districts and making an appropriation.
Deadline: Thursday, May 2, 1 pm
(Darling, Alberta) Diabetes care and prevention plan.
Deadline: Tuesday, May 7, 5 pm
Teacher Prep Programs
(Myers, Lakeshia) Teacher preparatory programs and granting rule-making authority.
Deadline: Wednesday, May 8, 4 pm
(Quinn, Romaine) Use of certain public building restrooms.
Deadline: Friday, April 26, 4 pm
(Vining, Robyn) Proclaiming May 2019 as Wisconsin Motherhood Month.
Deadline: Thursday, May 2, 4 pm
Tip Tax Exemption
(Horlacher, Cody) An income tax exemption for cash tips paid to an employee.
Deadline: Thursday, May 2, 5 pm
Lottery Tax Deposit
(Carpenter, Tim) Using taxes collected from a large lottery prize for building and improving local roads and making an appropriation.
Deadline: Tuesday, April 30, 2 pm
Food Allergy Posters
(Snyder, Pat) Requiring food allergy posters to be displayed in certain retail food establishments.
Deadline: Friday, May 3
Food Allergy Statements
(Snyder, Pat) Requiring a statement relating to food allergies on menus at retail food establishments.
Deadline: Friday, May 3
(Bowen, David) Self-defense for victims of sex trafficking.
Deadline: Friday, May 3, Noon
Prize Eligibility Notice
(LeMahieu, Devin) Notices of eligibility to receive a prize.
Deadline: Friday, May 10, 5 pm
(Ballweg, Joan) Placing, possessing, or transporting a bow or crossbow in or on a motorboat, vehicle, all-terrain vehicle, or utility terrain vehicle.
Deadline: Friday, May 10, 5pm
Great Lakes Appreciation
(Meyers, Beth) Proclaiming September 7, 2019, as Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Appreciation Day.
Deadline: Monday, May 6, 5 pm
Honoring Megan Gustafson
(Bewley, Janet) Honoring Megan Gustafson for an incredible college women's basketball career.
Deadline: Friday, May 3, 5 pm