Thanks for returning yet again for another Weekly Insider.
Why is this the Insider being sent early on a Tuesday morning?
After looking through some data analysis, the "experts" are telling us that the Weekly Insider will reach more members if it's sent at a "more optimal time." When we first began sending out the the former Capitol Report, we figured 6PM on a Monday would be a great time. People would have just finished a work day and might be at home looking to get some news. Alas, we have decided to give this a try.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great week,
PROPERTY TAXPAYER OF THE WEEK
We travel to Waupun today to meet with Pete Lawrie, owner of Pete's Auto Repair and Sales, and long-time member of Wisconsin Property Taxpayers, Inc.
A local native, Pete serves as president of the company, and started the business in 1981. He graduated Waupun High in 1969, and from Moraine Park Technical School in 1972.
"Every business claims to be the best. We just are the best," the company website boasts. "Our satisfied customers speak for themselves, in saying we have exceeded their expectations and continue to provide amazing service beyond just a tune up or tire rotation."
Pete is so confident in his customers' satisfaction that he even links reviews and testimonials on his site.
But from his viewpoint, his company has faced some challenges that aren't too unique to the Wisconsin workforce.
"Finding quality workers with a good work ethic," he responded, when we asked about challenges.
"[We're] very short staffed right now," he said, after sharing his company has two employees, down from five just one year ago.
We asked Pete what his biggest source of pride is when it comes to the company or his career.
"The fact that I have been able to make it work for 37 years," he said.
But the near-four decade-long career might be coming to an end soon, as Pete is in the process of selling the business.
"The business and the property are for sale. I would like to retire," he told WPT.
That would give him more time to spend enjoying several hobbies.
"I have several old cars. I help out some friends that race 360 Sprint cars. I really enjoy this," he shared. "They are also my Napa parts suppliers. Angel Park Speedway in Sun Prairie, and The Sheboygan County Racetrack in Plymouth are my favorite places in Wisconsin."
Pete estimates he's been a member of WPT for about three decades.
"They represent the little guys' interest to make things better for small business. They fight hard to keep taxes down," he said of WPT.
We wish Pete the best in his quest for retirement, and thank him for his years as a member, small business owner, and job creator.
To learn more about Pete's Auto Repair and Sales, visit their website at petesautorepair.com or by calling 920-324-3465.
We are approaching the deadline for WPT members to fill out our health insurance survey. Whether or not you would benefit from, or take advantage of, the opportunity to buy in to a group insurance plan through our organization, the point of the survey was to discern whether a market exists within our group for such a service.
As such, we would again ask that you take a moment to complete the survey by clicking on the following link. The survey is brief, multiple choice, and does not ask for any identifying information. Thank you again for your assistance: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FCN9GJV
Last week, we began working on our 2019-2020 legislative session agenda. We are excited to take all feedback from members, and decide which policies and proposals we will pursue in the legislative session beginning in January.
We also began the process of compiling candidate information for the August primary, and November general elections for the legislature and office of governor. With the June 1st deadline for candidates to submit their nomination signatures, we will now begin the process of reaching out to each candidate to solicit their stances on our core legislative objectives for next year.
If you have any thoughts to share or suggestions to make on our agenda, or dealing with candidates, please contact our Madison office at (608) 255-7473 or email@example.com.
NEWS FROM THE CAPITOL
AND AROUND WISCONSIN
UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE TRUST FUND SURPASSES $1.65 BILLION
Governor Walker announced last week that the Wisconsin Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund reached a positive balance, exceeding $1.65 billion for the month of May. This is a near-reversal from the fund's lowest point of a $1.68 billion deficit several years ago.
The UI Fraud Report also showed that the percentage of benefits obtain fraudulently declined by a massive 42 percent, while total benefit payments dropped 11 percent when compared to both 2017 and 2016.
"We understand how important this safety net is to workers who lose work through no fault of their own," Governor Walker stated. "By strengthening our economy and implementing policies that combat waste, fraud and abuse in the UI system, we are ensuring that the UI program remains cost-effective and available to those most in need."
According to the Governor's office, the UI trust fund borrowed from the federal government beginning in 2009, and reached its lowest deficit point shortly after Walker took office. His office stated that through a series of reforms, the fund stabilized to its current status.
PROPERTY OWNER SUIT AGAINST FOXCONN CONTINUES
An attorney representing a group of property owners in the Foxconn area have filed an appeal with a federal circuit court of appeals in response to liberal federal Judge Lynn Adelman's ruling against the complaint.
The lawsuit, which targeted the Village of Mount Pleasant where the massive Taiwanese plant is set to break ground, alleges that the property owners are not set to receive fair compensation for their land and property, and that the land acquisition process is unconstitutional.
The original suit filed alleged that their Fifth Amendment rights had been violated because the village planned to designate the properties as "blighted," which by most definitions means "neglected."
A village official said that the appeal will not impact the Foxconn project, though the property owners plan to continue legal action into the future.
TARIFF RETALIATION MAY IMPACT SEVERAL WISCONSIN INDUSTRIES
Wisconsin's motorcycle, ginseng, cranberry, and dairy industries have all been placed squarely in the cross-hairs of a foreign trade dispute stemming from President Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum.
Igniting an international trade firestorm, the 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent tariff on aluminum imposed by the Trump Administration is now the target of the European Union, who have long threatened this type of action should the tariffs go into effect.
Wisconsin is the world's top exporter of both ginseng and cranberries, motorcycles, and obviously dairy products. The tariffs could also impact prices for additional Wisconsin goods which use steel and aluminum for their packaging, with beer likely to be among the hardest hit. Additionally, agriculture equipment manufacturers are also expected to be harmed in the process.
While the Trump administration has come to a relatively amicable solution with China, which has agreed to draw down the long-standing trade deficit. It's likely the Trump administration sought or is seeking the same type of agreement with EU and other global leaders.
SEN. RON JOHNSON'S 'RIGHT-TO-TRY' LEGISLATION SIGNED INTO LAW
A new federal law was put on the books last week, as President Trump signed Senator Ron Johnson's "right-to-try" legislation into law, with some Wisconsin residents on hand to witness the moment, including the family partially responsible for Wisconsin's own state law passed in 2017.
The law allows patients with terminal conditions to skip over an arduous FDA process in order to obtain potentially life-saving medicine or procedures, though some regulations remain in place. The treatments or medicines have to have the preliminary go-ahead from the FDA, but do not need to have been fully studied and approved before a patient gives consent to try.
Proponents of the policy have long said that experimental drugs and procedures allow patients the "right to try" anything that might save their life, while opponents call it "false hope."
Prior to the new law, patients would have to be accepted into competitive "clinical trials" before being allowed to try unapproved medicines or procedures.
GOV. WALKER OFFICIALLY PROCLAIMS JUNE AS DAIRY MONTH IN WISCONSIN
Governor Walker last week proclaimed June as Dairy Month throughout the State of Wisconsin, and noted some significant facts about the industry in his official gubernatorial proclamation.
According to the Governor's numbers, the state's dairy industry contributes over $43 billion to the Wisconsin economy, and employs more than 80,000 people among the 140 cheese plants and 8,600 dairy farms. The state also produces 600 different cheeses, which no other state can even come close to saying.
In Walker's statement, he said Wisconsin "produces the best milk and cheese in the world, and thanks to our hardworking families, dairy processors, and agribusinesses, Wisconsin produced 30.3 billion pounds of milk and a record 3.37 billion pounds of cheese last year. The industry is more than a part of our economy, it's a part of our state's history, our culture, and our future," he said. "I cannot wait to visit with families at farm breakfasts all around Wisconsin this month."
WI RANKS #3 IN NATION FOR 'DRUG TAKE BACK'
Drug Take Back events were held all over the nation in April. The events are designed to offer a safer alternative to disposing of unused or expired prescription drugs. Rather than throwing them away, or flushing them, the events safely destroy the pills.
Wisconsin had a large showing, raking in more than 60,000 pounds of unused medications across the 390 statewide locations throughout the state. According to one report, Wisconsin safely collected more than Minnesota, Michigan, and Iowa combined.
The nationwide effort is a collaboration between the public and private sectors, including many right here in Wisconsin. 312 law enforcement agencies hosted events on April 28th, and allowed for people to anonymously dispose of drugs through a box and label system.
Agents said that, the effort is a great way to prevent prescription painkiller abuse, as 70% of that type of abuse begins with improper obtainment of medications.
STATE TO HAND OUT SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS FOR THOSE SUSPECTING ELDER ABUSE
According to Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, the state is taking a new, and somewhat unorthodox step towards capturing elder abuse cases, and holding individuals responsible.
The state will begin giving out surveillance cameras to family members if they believe caregivers are abusing their loved ones in any way. According to one source, cases of elder abuse are widespread across the nation due to aging patients' vulnerability. The cases are also difficult to catch.
Wisconsin will become the second state to promote this type of method, and the state's AG thinks this will be a deterrent to these types of crimes, which include molestation, theft, beatings, neglect, credit card fraud, and more.
"Anybody caring for a senior probably should think if they're misbehaving they could get caught for it," he told the Wisconsin State Journal.
The cameras will be loaned out for 30 days. The cost for equipment has been around $1,200 to taxpayers, and will be done on a pilot basis.
WEEKLY MEMBER POLL RESULTS
The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that Wingra Redi-Mix cannot dig up a Native American burial mound, even though it is on their property. After reading the article, what do you think of this decision?
Some things need to remain sacred and respected.
The Supreme Court is right. Burial Mounds are protected.
They must have known the mounds were there before they purchased the property. They could have asked the tribe if they were willing to move the remains before they bought the property.
We should protect our burial grounds even if they buy the property. Wisconsin protects burial & cemeteries.
Don't mess with Sacred!
I have a pipeline running through my farm. I am not allowed to dig that up. Do not see much difference. Those mounds have been around far longer than the cement company. i bet they knew they were there when they purchased the land. Time for them to put their big boy pants on and deal with it!
I agree. No different than when you want to do some logging on your property. You need to know if any artifacts are in your area.
We are all dust. Let me lay in the ground for 20-30 years for the benefit of my family, but after that, feel free to dig me up.
Wisconsin banks saw a 22 percent profit increase in the first quarter when compared to the same time in 2017. Do you bank at a Wisconsin-based institution?
Bank Mutual.... Soon to be fully absorbed by Associated Bank.
I don't think that the general public realizes that a 22 percent profit increase means that WE got swindled OUT of all that money as interest paid to the members of the bank. I think more people need to be MAD AS HELL about this! I think Americans have forgotten how this all works, and we're content to be financially flogged by lenders!
Oak Bank in Fitchburg. Locally owned, friendly and helpful.
Kohler credit union, They are the best.
I deal with a credit union!
Ist national bank in Beloit. Family owned and run.
US Bank, formerly based in WI, but also Ally bank for their free ATM withdrawals. Most important factor, no fees.
President Trump's administration will issue an additional 15,000 visas for seasonal non-farm employees to work in the United States. What do you think of this decision?
Even in my smaller town, employers can't find help. Nobody wants to work. A new resturant opened a month or two later than planned because they couldn't hire enough employees.
This should make the farmers happy
Yes, we need this when unemployment is so low.
Immigrants milk most of the cows in the state and provide labor to our tourist industry. Our Governor should work towards sensible immigration laws with our federal government.
We don't seem to have our younger generation in working in seasonal work
What is "seasonal" and how are workers monitored?
Farmers need all the help they can get.
It's a good thing. How do we get them to Wisconsin?
as long as they are required to pay taxes like the rest of us
15,000 for the whole country? That's a drop in the bucket!
Get the people on Welfare to apply for these jobs and take the burden off of us taxpayers
Door County and Wisconsin Dells desperately need this cheap labor force.
Farms are hurting for employees also!!!
The number of law enforcement agencies using drones has doubled in the past 18 months, with Wisconsin being in the top three for number of agencies using the aircrafts. Overall, how do you feel about drones being used by law enforcement?
I feel they allow for safer ways for surveillance and allow for new ways to investigate and monitor situations.
Let Law Enforcement do their jobs however they can. Let them be! They need MORE at their disposal to better catch the criminals.
Drones can be used to save lives in many ways. It might even help to get idiot drivers off the roads. I only know one person who has a drone and he uses it for entertainment and scouting his hunting land.
Are they spying on us,, maybe.
Better not have something to hide.
Against. The eye in the sky. Big brother is watching........
as long as it's not to spy on the average person, only use for investigation of crimes
It's a good tool for law enforcement, I support it. Yes, I own a drone and enjoy flying it and defend the hobby. .1% of drone pilots are up to no good, 99.9% of us are just trying to snap a cool picture of a forest or something. We do not care what you are doing in your back yard.
If it can save lives of officers, or catch someone doing wrong. I am for it. This world needs a cleaning. These days video is needed to prove everything.
How did you spend your Memorial Day this year? Memorial service? Parade? Cookout? Do you have any traditions for this particular holiday weekend?
Working on my Brother's dairy farm.
Chopping alfalfa and planting corn and soybeans at the same time. Seems to be a tradition!
We camped out, we fished, we enjoyed the heat wave, and then we sat in our air conditioned house on Monday and chilled out with the family, enjoying air conditioning!
Cookout with friends.
Planting corn and soybeans and visiting our daughter home from college.
At home, nothing special.
Mainly doing catchup work with visiting son who consistently bails out his aging parents. Recalling service memories of family members.
Went to the northwoods with family members.
Did not do anything special.
No tradition. Probably should
Working around farm - no time off
Long days planting corn. God willing, we get paid this year enough to cover our expenses.
I participated in Memorial Services, which is what Memorial Day is about honoring those service
members who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. It's not a time to celebrate the start of summer or going to the cabin for the weekend.
Yard & garden work