Everything you need to know for the week ahead.
DECEMBER 18, 2018

Members,

Welcome back to another Weekly Insider.

This week will bring you news from the Capitol and around Wisconsin, circulating legislation, your weekly poll responses, and an all new Weekly Member Poll,.

We hope you find this weekly report to be interesting and informative. If there are ever any issues that you would like to see included, or if you ever have any questions or comments, please reach out to us at info@wptonline.org.

Have a great week,

WPT, Inc.
 
NEWS FROM THE CAPITOL  
AND AROUND WISCONSIN 

GOV. WALKER SIGNS ALL THREE LAME DUCK BILLS IN ENTIRETY
Despite telling reporters a day earlier that he was inclined to veto some parts of the bills, Walker on Friday signed into law the three contentious pieces of legislation in in their entirety, effectively scaling back some authority from the incoming governor, curbing the powers of the state's attorney general, changing early voting times, and more.

At a press conference, Walker gave remarks that outlined why he felt the bills will grant taxpayers more accountability and transparency while maintaining some of the strongest gubernatorial powers in the nation.

Legislative leaders applauded Governor Walker's move, particularly Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who has long said that the initiatives would strike a better balance for the legislature in ensuring co-equal branches of state government.

The proposals had drawn sharp criticism from Democrats and others in the weeks leading up to the signing. In addition to incoming Governor Tony Evers, former Wisconsin Governors Scott McCallum and Jim Doyle have urged Governor Walker to use his veto pen to strike some or all of the proposals.

Democrats slammed the bill signing, with Evers saying his team will review "all options" in fighting various facets of the legislation.


DESPITE FAILING IN THE LEGISLATURE, KIMBERLY-CLARK TO RECEIVE MILLIONS OF TAX DOLLARS
Using powers that he and the legislature just removed from Governor-elect Tony Evers, Governor Walker announced last week that Wisconsin taxpayers will give $28 million over five years to a Texas-based paper company who threatened to shutter two of its plants in the Fox Valley if it did not receive a tax dollar-funded incentive package for staying in the state.

The announcement from the governor and WEDC comes after nearly one year of Governor Walker and Republican legislative leaders trying to garner the votes to successfully pass a tax incentive package worth $70 million, modeled after the deal being given to Chinese manufacturer Foxconn.

Kimberly-Clark, which manufactures Kotex pads and Depend undergarments for adults, will receive the full dollar amount if they buy from Wisconsin suppliers, and keep their 2,400 employees in the state. The their "nonwovens facility" in Neenah would still close, though the Cold Spring plant would remain open, which houses about 400 employees. Additionally, the company would need to invest $2.5 million in the plant.

President of the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, a conservative legal action firm which also opposed the Foxconn deal, said the the plans "raise serious questions" and "markets are better at allocating resources than government...Government should focus on providing a good economic environment for everyone and not picking winners and losers."



LIBERAL GROUPS FILE LEGAL MOTION TO HALT NEW EARLY VOTING LAW
In a lawsuit filed yesterday, the One Wisconsin Institute and Citizen Action of Wisconsin say that the recent laws included in the lame duck bills which curb early voting times in Wisconsin were meant to ensure that Democrats have a harder time winning elections in the future.

The motion was filed in federal court with Judge James Petersen, and asks him to stop the enforcement of the early voting restrictions because, according to the groups, the new law defies "judicial directives in 2016 to half their previous attempts to constrain early voting."

The same two groups successfully challenged an earlier law signed by Governor Walker, which resulted in the law being deemed unconstitutional and nullified. Under the laws signed by Governor Walker last week, municipalities may open early voting to the public no later than two weeks before an election.

Additionally, their lawsuit also asks the judge to stop two other provisions relating to the validity of photo IDs. One law, for example, holds that a college or university identification card must expire no later than two years after the date of issuance. Another says that a state-issued card that is not a traditional photo ID can only be used for 60 days rather than 180.

 

FEDERAL JUDGE RULES AFFORDABLE CARE ACT UNCONSTITUTIONAL
On Friday, U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor of Texas ruled that the entire Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional, and overturned the entire law nationwide. That ruling will undoubtedly be appealed, so no new impacts will be felt in the immediate sense.

In a 55-page opinion, the judge said that the federal tax reform legislation from 2017 "knocked the constitutional foundation from under" the Affordable Care Act by eliminating the individual mandate and penalty for failure to obtain coverage. According to the judge, since the penalty and mandate are now separated from the rest of the law, the Affordable Care act is invalid.

The White House reminded Americans last week that the law is still in effect, and the individual mandate was not repealed until 2019, therefore those who went without coverage this year will still be subject to the penalty on their 2018 taxes.



GOVERNOR-ELECT EVERS MEETS WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP
Incoming Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers and other incoming governors from around the nation met at the White House last week with president Donald Trump to discuss shared state and federal priorities before their terms commence.

The discussions were centered around workforce development, infrastructure improvements, veterans affairs, and the ongoing opioid crisis, according to a White House spokesperson.

Governor-Elect Evers called meeting President Trump "a privilege," and in a guest column in the La Crosse Tribune, the incoming governor reiterated that there are many points on which he and the president disagree, "But at the end of the day, I respect the office of the president of the United States. Also I know I have a job to do."

The Republican Party of Wisconsin issued a statement on Friday, slamming Evers' running mate and former lawmaker, Lieutenant Governor-elect Mandela Barnes.

"While on the campaign trail, Tony Evers' running mate alleged that President Trump's policies were ' a race to create a superior race' and that he wasn't interested in support from Obama-Trump voters," the statement said.



DEMOCRAT ASSEMBLY CANDIDATE CHARGED WITH FELONY
Prosecutors in Jefferson County have charged a former Democratic candidate for State Assembly with a felony, alleging that she forged signatures and falsified information on her nomination papers.

Watertown resident Charisse Daniels planned to challenged incumbent State Representative John Jagler this fall. But when at least one name appeared on her nomination signatures from a voter who was supporting her opponent, an entire can of worms opened, and she was removed from the ballot by the Elections Commission.

According to the criminal complaint, law enforcement officials have 24 sworn affidavits from individuals who said they never signed the candidate's nomination forms. One address on her forms was, in reality, nothing more than a vacant lot.

According to the Journal Sentinel, Daniels had been featured on nationwide TV as a candidate who decided to run because of her opposition to President Donald Trump.

If convicted of the Class I felony, Daniels could serve up to 3.5 years in prison and face a $10,000 fine.

WEEKLY MEMBER POLL RESULTS


  If you were Governor Walker, would you sign the "lame duck" legislation or veto the plan?  
 
If I was Walker and had no shame? I'd sign it all. What a travesty.

Just as with the SCOTUS issue... "Let the NEXT (POTUS) / (Governor) decide.

Why not? It happened when Walker took office.

One of the reasons Governor Walker lost the election was his promise to protect pre-existing conditions, when at the same time he was suing with Wisconsin tax dollars this protection in the Affordable Care Act. He should allow Wisconsin to leave this law suit as many of the voters want.

Media sources have distorted the information so general public have not received the truth on these bills

The democrats seem to forget where this idea has come from. They must have some type of memory lapse from their own party that has tried to do this in the past. So, I say sign it Governor Walker and give them a taste of their own medicine!

Definitely need to change the early voting to only 2 weeks out from the election. I live in a town (rural) and I am not able to vote early at all. I really feel there is voter fraud going on by allowing the early vote. Also do not allow the Attorney General to drop out of the lawsuit to against Obamacare. It looks like some republicans do not support health care for individuals with pre existing conditions, that's too bad, I will not vote for any republican who voted against this, they obviously feel the insurance companies pay offs are more important.

Let's get back to open government. Passing bills in the middle of the night with almost no discussion is not good government.

signing it would give the appearance or being a sore loser. Let the legislative process run it's course.

Leave the voting the way it is. Federal/state dollars for highway improvements is ok.

Need some protection from the liberals

Leave with some class.

Good idea but little chance of surviving the test of law.

sign it all,, going to happen anyway,.

I agree with what republicans are trying to accomplish, but I don't agree with the their methods. Not the best way to start a new relationship.

Sre losers make bad lame ducks. Any attempts to override the will of the people or to restrict our right to vote should be vetoed.

Sign it. Democrats will do way more to limit Republican power when they get the chance. Do what you can while you can. Isn't like Democrats have a mandate from an overwhelming victory. They won governor's office by slimist of margin.

I'm generally on Walker's side, but the balance of power has clearly been fine. Look at what's been accomplished.



 
With the legislature falling short of votes to pass the Kimberly-Clark tax incentive package, Governor Walker has now suggested that he is exploring alternatives for the Fox Valley paper company. Good idea or bad idea?
     
             
No corporate welfare

 
Already Excessive Corporate Welfare.

Where would the help stop? Every company could use help.

Good to protect good paying jobs, but how many industries can we give special tax incentives to.

sink or swim ask kmart and sears how their government package helped

Once again, we need to do something to keep the large employers in the state of Wisconsin. Incentives are currently the name of the game in either recruiting new businesses to locate in Wisconsin or current businesses to stay in Wisconsin. WE should all be working to keep the good people of Wisconsin employed.

Governor Walker, its no longer your problem, let Evers fight to keep those jobs if he so wishes. Its not your battle any longer. Your desire to keep the jobs are noble, but quit truthfully, I'd just allow the bills passed in lame duck session happen because of no action on your part, Wisconsin voters can reap what they sow, its no longer your problem.

No more corporate welfare.

Keeping good paying jobs in the State is important. However, with new industries moving in and emploment at an all time high, displaced workers will be able to find work.

I don't think the majority supports the plan. One of Walker's downfalls.

My question why is big companies always looking for tax incentives, is it poor mangement or safisty stock holders
Get the message, enough is enough.

What is the taxpayers cost to replace these jobs?

I think you need to weigh the job loss and revenue loss vs revenue and job gains. if the Fox Valley has enough jobs available to hire the displaced workers, maybe the investment is not worth the money. Also have to consider Kimberly's tax bill to teh state and local government.

not sure how much "skin in the game" Kimberly-clark has. We are a high tax state and if new governor elect gets his way it will get higher. It is a world market and a national market. Lots of jobs can be lost not just kimberly clark but all the supporting companies.

 

  
A report from the U.S. Census Bureau shows poverty down and incomes up in Wisconsin. Has your income risen in the past five years?  
   



I've worked for the same company for years .. 3% raises every year.

Farmers are barely getting by or are living on equity in many cases

Upon retirement the income stays the same.

We are farmers and the agriculture industry is struggling under low prices for commodities and high costs for our expenses like insurances, seeds and fertilizers.

Income has gone down Bad farm prices

My spouse had to give back 30% of her hourly wage in the form of reduced hours or money in order to keep her company operating. That was 15 years ago and she has not seen any of that money return to her and nor has she had a wage increase in that time period. She does not for see any kind of wage increase anytime soon. She is happy that she has a job and has health insurance.

Income has gone up, but our business is heavily ag based. Something needs to turn the ag sector around fast, this sector is hurtiing big time and needs some good news.

Economy has gotten better in last 5 years.

But not enough to keep up with inflation.

Farming income is in the pits!!! Maybe some of that help that Gov. Walker wants to give Kimberly Clark should go to help the dairy farmer!

I have as much faith in the U.S. Census Bureau as in the Bureau of Lieing Statistics.

N/A Retired

Yes SS finally went up,, so did the insurance.

Incomes in my area are up across the board. High school kids part time are making more than minimum wage.

Income up and property taxes down or at least remained flat. Thank you Walker.




The report from the U.S. Census Bureau also shows that there is still a "digital divide" in Wisconsin, with large portions of the state not owning a smart phone or having broadband/high speed internet (cable, DSL, etc.) Where do you fall?  
   
 
Internet usage in our house is constant. That being said, 80% of all 'broadband' usage is for video content. It's a bummer for rural areas to not have cheap high-speed internet, but let's remember, it's just so they can stream Netflix. The concept that the lack of 'broadband' internet for rural areas is somehow 'holding them back' is stupid talk. You can exist without Hulu and Youtube.

Still have my flip phone and delighted with the service. No texting, ... I send/ receive calls. It is ALL I need.

We do have broadband internet and a smart phone, but both are quite expensive and sometimes we wonder if its worth it.

there is still a generation turnover taking place and not all rural communities have access at a affordable price

maybe some of the folks without the tech don't want it

Don't want a smartphone. I see a lot of smartphone addicts who are constantly looking at their phone.

A large percentage of our residents have no need for or ability to operate a smart phone. I hope we didn't spend taxpayer money to research this worthless statistic!

I have WiFi in my residence and use the internet continuously for both work and pleasure. My only wish is that Western Wisconsin would have access to more competition from other internet providers.

High speed internet is not available in my area of dodge county. The telephone company constantly sends me junk mail telling me it is available, but when I contact them, I get, sorry not in your area. Century Link is a poor commications company.

I frequently use the internet at home and I also have WiFi

I have slow internet. As for phone a old flip top. I no plans to get a smart phone,all it does take away privately to more scams

Is Centurylink considered broadband? I think it stinks.

Rural internet service in the state is lagging horribly behind a lot of the rest of the nation. In our area, CenturyLink has done next to nothing to continue expanding meaningful broadband into the rural areas. Wireless and satellite ISP's are far too expensive for their poor service. With the technology quantum leaps forward in the past years, there's NO REASON that people who live in the country cannot have access to 100mbps internet - oh wait, there's one reason - ISP's are greedy and aren't spending the money out in the country. CenturyLink has told small towns like ours that they aren't going to invest in these areas, because they would prefer profits from places like, oh, say Las Vegas. Gee, thanks, CenturyStink...

Nobody is using their brain anymore, why is it so important that everyone has to have a smart phone. Get A Life!!!!!

Don't want a smart phone!

I use internet and WiFi everyday however I am not sure we should stick millions into underground internet cable stations since there is emerging technologies like Halo-fi that will make other internet services obsolete.

And what value does this metric have other than collecting free data for providers as to how much market share is missed?

Yes I use the internet alot and have WiFi, also have a hard ahearing phone.

Horrible wifi, thanks TDS.

I suspect this "digital divide" correlates to age more than location or other factors.

Have a smartphone and WiFi at house. I use the internet mostly at house so I don't use my data up on the phone. I'm cheap when it comes to phone data. Never had it been years ago why now. We can live without most of the time. The internet that is we can live without. The cell phone, well probably not now.

Iave all of those things. If you wish to live in really rural Wisconsin there are some things you will do with out or pay more for. Just not enough people to support that infrastructure. Also areas where phones don't work im my area. meal in the ground sucks up the signal !!




This week marks 185 years since the first newspaper in Wisconsin was published; the Green Bay Intelligencer. Do you still subscribe to a newspaper? Which one? Do you get your news mainly online? Which is your "go to" publication for news; local, state, and national?   
 
   
 
 
I'm an outlier: I've been a 7-day a week subscribed to the newspaper for 30 years. I bet I'm the only guy on my block of 40 homes that has a subscription. Indeed, my main news resource is online, but I support print newspapers because their work is vitally important.

We subscribe but only to the online version

Local weekly rag. Most news I see is over the TV.

Will keep subscribing until they raise the cost of my subscription which happens each year. I call and say I cannot afford more and they keep it the same.

We still subscribe to a local newspaper called the Dodge County Pioneer. It is a wonderful source of local news. National news comes from TV and PBS.

local weekly but mainly online news

I subscribe to our local daily newspaper. I can sit in an easy chair and read it, Very relaxing. Do not subscribe to the Journal Sentinel. Too expensive though I do miss the sports coverage.

I do not subscribe to any newspapers and I do get my news from online sources.

No, the local newspaper has become not worth the money they ask for, and rural delivery has been terrible, better without it. Didn't help that the local newspaper was purchased by the Wisconsin State Journal, they ruined our local paper.

I get the WI State Journal 7 days a week. I also watch local news every night

I subscribe to the EC Leader Telegram so I can read the obits and police report to find out which of my customers died and got arrested.

Yes, I don't know why. The Reporter is only four pages some days. Waste of money.

Yes, but getting upset with the liberal agenda and presenting the facts as one sided.

The Beloit Daily Snooze

I subscribe to one newspaper.

No longer get newspaper delivered by mail. Truck too frequently arrived late at P.O. for same day delivery. Paper became so thin that backside bled thru when reading.

BOTH WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL AND THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

no, there was no news, paper was getting smaller and smaller. Bad investment

All digital. Wall Street Journal and Journal Sentinal

Milwaukee Urinal Sentinel. Boy, the quality sure has gone down since Gannett acquisition

yes

Local daily paper

No newspaper. Get everything online!

No

Had daily paper but can't get it delivered.

"If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're mis-informed." -Mark Twain

Yes, I still get a newspaper. Newspaper for local news. Other sources for National and World news.

I subscribe to the Plymouth Review. Get enough news on the TV.

Journal Sentinel

Yes hometown one for local news

While I value journalism, I do not subscribe to a newspaper. I will purchase The NY Times or Wall Street Journal on occasion and I often check out the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel online.

Yes a local paper for our area. And on occasion the State Journal. Mostly Sunday's we pick up.

We subscribe to the local paper.

Sorry too say we still get a newspaper, not worth the price. Price hike about every three months, going to cancel and get the news from TV and internet.

I'm still guilty of skimming the Journal Sentinel every day. Old habits die hard. But online, not a paper subscription.

Mostly online, but get the local news from the Trempealeau County Times
  

THIS WEEK'S MEMBER POLL
 
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.     
 
LEGISLATION  
BILLS SIGNED INTO LAW  
No bills to report.
BILLS BEING CIRCULATED
No bills to report.