NEWS FROM THE CAPITOL
AND AROUND WISCONSIN
NEW HEALTH INSURANCE PARTNER MAY CONTACT INTERESTED WPT MEMBERS As a reminder, our health insurance partner Security Plus, may be contacting WPT members who signaled that they are interested in joining or exploring our association health plan.
We are very excited to begin offering an array of various benefits, including life, vision, dental, and more. However, in order to continue to design a health plan that has actual savings for our members, more information is needed from potential employers. This is not a sales call.
STATE BUDGET INCLUDES $78 MILLION BOOST TO BROADBAND EXPANSION PROGRAMThe state budget introduced by Governor Tony Evers includes a $78 million cash influx to the Broadband Expansion Grant Program, which awards cash grants to infrastructure projects aimed at boosting the state's high speed internet access.
Governor Evers said his goal is to ensure that every home and business in Wisconsin is equipped with high speed internet by 2025.
According to a 2018 study released by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 86 percent of Wisconsin residents have access to high speed internet in some form. The numbers also show that 99 percent of residents in cities have high speed internet, though only 43 percent of those living in rural areas have access.
The issue tends to be bipartisan, with some GOP leaders already signaling they are on board with Evers' plan, including State Representative Warren Petryk, who chaired a study committee on rural broadband access last legislative session.
SHOPKO TO LIQUIDATE, CLOSE ALL REMAINING STORESAs part of their bankruptcy plan, Shopko announced today that it will liquidate all of its assets and close all of its stores by June. The company filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, with debt liabilities between $1 billion and $10 billion, and only $1 billion in assets.
In February, the company announced that 250 stores would close, including many in Wisconsin, as part of the original company restructuring. Today, according to their press release, Shopko was unable to find a buyer for the store, and had canceled its auction which was originally scheduled for Tuesday.
FOXCONN TO BUILD PLANT THIS SUMMERChinese technology manufacturer Foxconn said today that they will begin construction on their Racine County factory this summer, and begin production by Q4 of 2020. According to sources close with the decision, construction bid requests will begin in May.
Governor Evers just last week signaled that he is not optimistic on the prospects of Foxconn creating 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin, at least not in the immediate sense.
Speaking to a WTMJ Radio host last week, Governor Evers said, "It's certainly not going to be 13,000 anytime soon," citing the progress the company has already made, and the fact that they missed the benchmarks required by the state to receive tax incentives.
Evers said that job creation is important to his administration, and that leaders in his cabinet would "encourage them to be forthright and create as many jobs as possible, and be as consistent as possible." He also said his administration plans to be "good partners," as taxpayers have "a lot invested in this."
ELECTION COMMISSION IDENTIFIES DOZENS OF POTENTIAL VOTER 2018 FRAUD INSTANCESAccording to the Wisconsin Election Commission, two dozen cases of potential instances of voter fraud have been identified over the past year after the department completed a statewide audit. The audit included February 16, 2018 through February 15, 2019.
The instances include individuals voting twice in one election, voters voting at the wrong location, convicted felons casting ballots, and according to the report, once case of an individual voting who is not a resident. Additionally, a deceased individual's ballot was counted, and multiple other ineligible voters tried to vote.
Municipal clerks from around the state compiled their data locally and sent it to the state's Election Commission. Election Commission spokesman Reid Magney also told the State Journal that none of these particular instances would have been prevented by the state's Voter ID law.
Under state law, Wisconsin only prohibits cases of voter impersonation fraud, when an individual attempts to use somebody else's name when at the polling location. According to the department, they are unsure whether district attorneys have decided to pursue charges in these instances. In the 2016-2017 audit, about 100 reports of voter fraud were received. According to the report, most of those instances were 17 year-olds trying to cast their ballots in the presidential primary election.
WISCONSIN TO JOIN MULTI-STATE LAWSUIT CHALLENGING PRES. TRUMP'S EMERGENCY DECLARATIONGovernor Evers last week Wednesday announced that he has directed Attorney General Josh Kaul to join several other states in a lawsuit that would strike down President Trump's emergency declaration.
The President's declaration, issued in February, would use about $8 billion to construct a wall along the United States' southern border. Since then, both chambers of the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C. have voted in bipartisan fashion to nullify the declaration. President Trump last week vetoed their resolution.
Now, Wisconsin would join about 20 other states in federal court, arguing that President Trump's declaration is unconstitutional, and violates separation of powers between the Congress and President.
Evers called the emergency a "manufactured crisis," which "harms communities, taxpayers, and our country while ignoring the true crisis of separating kids from their families." Attorney General Kaul said that the use of federal funds could otherwise be going to Wisconsin, and could have an impact on local communities here in the state.
EVERS OPPOSES PROVISION IN PRES. TRUMP BUDGET TO REDUCE GREAT LAKES FUNDINGA program known as the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative annually removes toxins from the Great Lakes, and fights invasive species while restoring natural wildlife habitats, among other goals. The program usually receives around $300 million per year from the federal government.
President Trump's budget proposes reducing that funding to $30 million, or 90%, with five governors and Great Lakes states opposing the plan, now including Governor Tony Evers.
Evers last week told reporters that he fears the plan would negatively impact public health, and jeopardize the tourism industry and cost the state jobs. According to the EPA, the program also receives funding from both local and state governments in the region, and more details on the program's future would be announced in the near future.
WEEKLY MEMBER POLL RESULTS
Governor Tony Evers has decided that wedding barns will not need to obtain liquor licenses, settling a policy dispute that has sparked a lawsuit and much debate. Those serving alcohol at wedding barns will still need to be licensed bartenders. Good decision or bad decision?
Less regulation = Better
It is not like they are serving alcohol 7 days a week!!!
More inebriated guests wandering the country side!
Private Property NOT Public Property!!!
Free market economics are saying they want alcohol here. I've been hit - and could have had my whole family and I killed - by a drunk driver. I'm not in favor of more alcohol being served. But I am the minority, I guess.
I guess I don't see the need for liquor license as long as bartenders are licensed
Why shouldsuch an enterprise be required to have an alcohol license? They do not sell or employ a person serving alcohol.
Serving alcohol to the public should be licensed. I own a pub/grill and I have to pay for the privilege to serve alcoholic beverages. Wedding barns should have to follow the same rules.
I give Tony one good credit for now
If they are SELLING the alcohol to attendees by the drink they need a liquor license. If the wedding party is GIVING the alcohol to attendees as part of their payment contract with the wedding barn, then I'm more OK with the decision.
There are not that many barn available for weddings, I do think a license bartender should be present.
These are invited guest. Do you need a liquor licence to serve alcohol to guest at your house. Too many regulations.
Its interesting to see how upset people can get about serving a beer at a wedding.
Cmon, abuse of this privilege? I dont see a problem...
Stop handicapping this small business idea. Taverns won't be losing any business!!
The Democrat Party will host their national convention in Milwaukee in 2020. Do you think this could sway the Badger State back into the blue column in next year's election?
"Milwaukee will show everyone what Wisconsin is" from the Governor. What happened to the rest of the state?
I don't think the "convention in Milwaukee will sway the state" .. I think the state has swayed already. 2018's elections swept all GOP out of statewide offices, leaving the GOP in control of the hyper gerrymandered districts. The GOP "brand" under Trump has done nothing but lose teammates. Wisconsin will vote for the Dem candidate, zero doubt.
They must be desperate to win Wisconsin!
Yes I was a bit surprised. Our accomodations are not the best for such a large crowd. Out weather will be perferable to Miami or Houston for sure. I'm wondering how many may come early to take in Summerfest and our many other beautiful things to see.
Doing everything they can to get us blue
Just what we need ...a city FULL OF DEMOCRATS during the election year! LORD HELP US ALL!
I don't care. If the Republicans want a win, they have to get their heads screwed on straight and start playing the game the right way - IE start representing your voters and quit running your own private agendas!
Don't really care much hope they bring fat wallets and leave with skinny ones
Do not care where either party holds a dog n pony show... May as well hold it in WI spend that $$ HERE
I was surprised. It will benefit a lot of local businesses.
You'd have to be brain dead to vote blue in the coming elections.
They are just trying to stick the Dems down our throats. I am still voting for TRUMP in 2020
No My feeling is that our news or reporters will be nothing but liberal socialist to the general public
I was hoping the Wisconsin did not get the DNC pick, my vote is for President Trump.
I hope the protesters do not make a mess of things.
Great news for the state, think of the revenue and the interest around the country and the world it will bring to Wisconsin.
Eh, more money in the state always a good thing. It aint like there are no democrats in Wisconsin...last time I checked its about half.
tossup the candidate we have to choose from has not yet surfaced yet
Not surprised, DNC thinks they can buy WI.
I hope not! But we failed to re-elect a good Governor so it could happen if we let it
Sadly we've instantly lost the improvements that had been made over the last eight years. Milwaukee & Madison control this state when they want to. There should be some kind of statewide electoral college .
I'm a Independent, and I will not vote for any of those giveaway clowns (called Dems.)
A bit surprised, & yes I care
It's very surprising the DNC chose Milwaukee as it's such a small market. Let's hope this will help sway Wisconsinites away from the GOP.
It will be good for local businesses
Governor Evers' budget includes automatic voter registration. After reading the article, how do you feel about the idea?
I don't think automatic registration will make a material difference in voting numbers, but whatever. Registering more people to vote is a public good.
Absurd!!! Give driving license to everyone so they can vote. Typical.
He passed illegals being able to get drivers license..now lets register them when they go to get their drivers license!!! PURE INSANITY!!!
Illegals would be voting.
Takes long enough time at dmv already
Anything to get more people to vote is a good thing.
Pass out drivers licenses to illegals and automatically register them to vote. That's must be his re-election plan.
Bad idea no control on the day of voting at the polls.
does this even apply to illegals getting the right to v
What happens if the people are deceased,, and they automatically on the register and not taken off. How about the illigals getting drivers liscense are they automatically register too.. This doesn't sound right at all.
why shoudn't we make it as easy to vote as possible as long as we can verify the person is eligible to vote.
Voter registration shows intent to be reponcable. Having the registration available is good, however it should not be automatic.
This would save the towns some time registering people, its a good idea.
automatic resident registration fine, non resident/illegal NO.
talk about fraud to the extreme
What's next? The state will automatically VOTE!!!
Is registering a vehicle the only way to automatically do voter registration?
Bring on the fraud. Think about it; why was registration started? Really think about it.
As long as they are only legal resident being registered
This is how he gets illegals registered. Give them a drivers license, and the're automatically registered to vote.
How do you keep the illegals from voting ?
After relocating to Wisconsin, it was difficult to figure out how to register to vote (I ended up registering on voting day, but was nervous I wouldn't be able to). Registering to vote was part of the questioning when I got my driver's license at the DMV in another state. We must all work to reduce barriers to voting.
Governor Evers is proposing borrowing $2 billion as part of his $2.5 billion capital budget. Do you support this much new borrowing for new government and university construction projects?
Best buildings in the state are state owned
If Walker hadn't neglected his responsibility to maintain public assets, we wouldn't need to borrow so much.
Some borrowing for roads is needed. Put the rest of the construction on hold.
My checkbook has to say $0 or above, his should too. Our surplus is gone and it's only March.
I already feel the universities get to much in funds More should go to tech schools and local school districts
Borrowing for long term assets isn't always bad - the question is: are these the assets we need to be spending our money on at this time.
Is he spending all the surplus that Walker saved? looks like it.
we should pay for our spending now, too much borrowing
I do support the building at Wisconsin Universities. Lets keep our kids getting good educations in Wisconsin.
looks like a new tax. liar.
ridiculous! He is paying back his cronies in Southern WI
We need a balanced budget with little borrowing, I have to live within my means what part does representatives not get
There comes a proposal from the person who will not worry about paying off any of the debt in the future. What happens then?
State Budget has proposed eighty plus billion and they need to borrow more? What about naming rights?��
Daylight Saving Time has begun. Are you happy with the "longer" evenings? Does the increase in daylight minutes help your mood? Do you think we should abolish DST or even stay in DST permanently? OR should we keep doing what we are doing? Is there a benefit?
Daylight Savings Time should be permanent. We need more daylight in the evenings. Instead, though, I'd like Monday-Saturday be reduced to 23 hours 50 minutes. Then we could enjoy a 25 hour Sunday every week. MAKE THIS HAPPEN.
I think we should stay in DST. The longer evenings are wonderful. I do not see a benefit any longer
Happy with the longer evenings. Lease DST in place and go back in the fall. Leave as is.
Yes I like it being lighter longer in the evening.
Don't change time. Stay one way or the other all year.
I like the system like it is
Don't really care for change with farming no being able to just sleep in later. May be lighter at night but now is dark in morning. We also don't change clocks back in fall until after morning chores
Make DST permanent... OR... Split it down the middle and 'Let-It-Be'
I think we should keep DST year round.
Keep daylight lol the time.
Leave it the way it is right now.
Stay on DST permanently. These changes really mess me up.
I have no problem with daylight savings time
Just go with DST all year
Ye I am very happy.. the increase did help my mood.. I hope it never changes back to regular time. I think even the farmers will like the Daylight saving time.
Get rid of DST. All it does is confuse us! We still have the same amount of daylight minutes that does not change because we change our clocks, duh!!
All the switching is negative value added. Pick a time and go with it all year long. There is a large amount of productivity loss each time the clock is changed.
Yes, I love the spring time sunshine. I hope it brings out a more positive outlook in our state.
DST year round. evening light more important!
If there is a logical reason, keep it. If not, get rid of it!
Abolish dst never like it
Have no idea the benefits. Just know that mornings in DST are very dark--Children are traveling to school.
I am content with status quo. There is a safety function of early daylight in the winter for children heading to school. I very much enjoy the longer sun in the summer evenings.
It does not need fixing as it is not broke!
One or the other, pick one and stop changing the clocks. I don't see a benefit
I am used to the changes,been doing it for 65 years
Keep doing the DST spring and fall dance, in a couple of days you are evened out anyway.
We start work at 5:30 in the morning outside. I wish they would have left DST the way it was before they added a couple of weeks to both ends.
Love the daylight
I am in favor of continuing with daylight saving time. I think it's especially helpful in the northern part of the country.
DST is a ridiculous and unnecessary tradition since the advent of electricity. We should do away with it all together.
Just be done with it. Pick one and be done.
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
Loan Assistance (Darling, Alberta ) Eligibility for physician, dentist, and health care provider educational loan assistance programs. Deadline: Friday, March 22, 4 pm
Health Care Provider Program (Darling, Alberta ) Participation in the Volunteer Health Care Provider program by agencies serving homeless individuals. Deadline: Friday, March 22, 4 pm
Harm to Nurse (Kooyenga, Dale ) Causing bodily harm to a nurse and providing a penalty. Deadline: Friday, March 22
Tuition Payments (Kooyenga, Dale ) Late payment of tuition benefits for student veterans enrolled in the University of Wisconsin System or a technical college. Deadline: Friday, March 22
UW Segregated Fees (Kooyenga, Dale ) Segregated fees for part-time students at University of Wisconsin System schools. Deadline: Friday, March 22, Noon
Laws by Referendum (Hebl, Gary ) Reserving to the people the power of referendum to reject acts of the legislature and the power of initiative to propose and approve at an election laws and constitutional amendments (first consideration). Deadline: Wednesday, March 27, 5 pm
Kidney Month (Myers, Lakeshia ) Proclaiming March 2019 to be Kidney Month in Wisconsin. Deadline: Wednesday, March 20
UW Tuition Grants (Murphy, Dave ) Grants for certain University of Wisconsin and technical college graduates who paid nonresident tuition; granting rule-making authority; and making an appropriation. Deadline: Thursday, March 28, 4 pm
Electric Scooters (Kuglitsch, Mike ) The operation of electric scooters on highways, granting rule-making authority, and providing a penalty. Deadline: Tuesday, March 26, 5 pm
Transportation Aids (Smith, Jeff ) Local reporting requirements related to general transportation aids. Deadline: Thursday, March 28, 5 pm
Container Regulation (Shankland, Katrina) Local regulation of certain containers. Deadline: Friday, March 29, Noon
WRS Military Service (Feyen, Dan ) Creditable military service under the Wisconsin Retirement System. Deadline: Friday, March 29, 5 pm