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MARCH 25, 2019

A Dane County Judge on Thursday ruled in favor of a lawsuit filed by several liberal groups which challenged the so-called "lame duck" laws that were passed by the legislature and signed into law by then-Governor Scott Walker.

Judge Richard Niess, a Dane County Circuit Court ruled that the extraordinary session, a session that is convened outside of the regular legislative calendar and agreed upon by leadership, was unlawful, and therefore he temporarily blocked the laws, pending an appeal. Many have called into question the judge's ruling, as the Wisconsin Constitution explicitly states that legislative chambers may set their own rules for their proceedings.

Since the ruling, GOP leaders have warned that the judge's ruling now threatens to overturn all laws that were passed in past extraordinary sessions. Republicans swiftly filed an appeal to the judge's ruling. It is expected that the law will be appealed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, where conservative judges hold a majority.

Mere hours after a Dane County judge on Thursday blocked the laws which were passed in January, Governor Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul moved to pull Wisconsin out of a multi-state lawsuit, challenging the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare."

Evers campaigned heavily on pulling Wisconsin out of the lawsuit, but was unable to do so due to the "lame duck" legislation, which required his administration to seek approval from a legislative committee before removing Wisconsin from any federal cases.

The lawsuit itself was spearheaded by Texas Attorney General Ted Paxton and former Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel. The argument was that since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 law repealed the individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act, the entire law is unconstitutional. In December of 2018, a federal judge ruled the law unconstitutional, though it continues to work its way through the federal appellate process.

Following the Dane County Judge's ruling, which blocked the "lame duck" laws, Governor Tony Evers rescinded 82 of Governor Walker's appointees which were approved as part of that package of legislation.

An Evers spokesperson said in an e-mail to a Cap Times reporter that the positions are "now considered vacant," and stressed that Evers' administration is working quickly to fill the positions and "minimize the disruption."

In his hand-delivered letter to Senate Chief Clerk Jeff Renk, Evers said; "In light of yesterday's ruling...this letter is to remove the following appointments from consideration for confirmation by the Wisconsin Senate." The letter then went on to list the appointments, all of whom serve in nonpartisan capacities.

In a statement, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said that he believes that the nominees were nominated and confirmed legally, "and will continue to serve in those positions once the constitutionality of the extraordinary session is upheld." He also called Governor Evers' actions "irresponsible," and said that it "shows a disrespect for the law and for the courts."

Governor Evers is looking to increase the amount that persons receiving unemployment benefits can receive, as well as removing "barriers" to qualify for the benefits.

This would be the first time since 2014 that unemployment benefits are increased. Evers is proposing that the maximum benefit allowed be increased to $406 per week from the current $370 per week. He is also proposing that the one week waiting period to qualify for benefits be removed entirely.

Evers would also eliminate the rule which disqualifies an employee from receiving benefits if they were found to be at "substantial fault" for their job loss, or failure to adhere to a "reasonable" policy at work.

Additionally, Evers would like to change the weekly work search requirements, which all recipients are required to perform while receiving unemployment benefits, as well as fully eliminate the drug testing requirements that were passed in 2015.

The State Building Commission on Wednesday refused to pass any of Governor Tony Evers $2.5 billion public construction plans, which relied on $2 billion in new borrowing. In total, there were over 80 individual votes, each of them deadlocked, preventing the commission from formally recommending any of the projects.

Included in the plans were new buildings on UW campuses, as well as a new state office building, and various other renovations and expansions.

According to the State Journal, citing Legislative Fiscal Bureau chief Bob Lang, in the past 48 years, the Building Commission has never refused to forward a single recommendation on to the Joint Finance Committee. Generally, the bipartisan commission will forward recommendations to the Joint Finance Committee, who votes to adopt, amend, or reject the building plans.

UW System President Ray Cross said that the commission's refusal to pass recommendations "doesn't diminish our need, which is 60 percent of our buildings are over 45 years old. And it doesn't help in the attraction of students or preventing safety issues, which those risks only get worse."

The Board of Commissioners of Public Lands unanimously approved more than $7 million in loans from the State Trust Fund to support three community projects around the state.

The Town of Greenville in Outagamie County will receive $6,750,000 to construct a new public safety building. That building has received overwhelmingly negative input from area residents. Additionally, the board approved a $30,000 loan for Lake Denoon Lake District in Waukesha County to finance a weed abatement program, and a $574,731 loan for the Village of Twin Lakes in Kenosha County to purchase a new fire truck.

The program operates without tax dollars, and subsidizes its loans through program revenue. The Board added that the 2018 earnings of $35.7 million provide the sole source of state funding for K-12 public school library materials.

The Palmyra-Eagle Area School District is in the process of pushing for an $11.5 million referendum for the next four years, with the district's total budget coming in at roughly $12 million.

The school district issued what some are calling an ultimatum, vowing that the school district would close if they did not receive approval from voters at the polls this spring. One area resident described the ultimatum from the school district as "putting a gun to the head of taxpayers," according to the local Fox affiliate in Milwaukee.

60 other Wisconsin school districts will head to the polls this spring to approve or deny a total of $1.2 billion from referenda around the state. The Palmyra-Eagle Area School District combined has fewer than 4,000 residents. Palmyra and Eagle, in Jefferson and Waukesha Counties respectively, share a high school, middle school, and two elementary schools.


  Governor Evers' state budget includes a $78 million boost to the state's broadband expansion program. What do you think?  
He is spending to much money.

Why help other communities? That's not the GOP way.

middle Important to future but do we need to do it in one sitting?

Wouldn't private business do this if it was needed or made economic sense?

Not sure about the cost but it should be available to all.

Rural areas with limited broadband hinder business and residential development. Knowing what I have seen of this Governor thought tells me he wont direct this money to rural areas where it's needed. Hes not a fan of rural Wisconsin it seems.

I live the the country outside of town. We do not have high speed internet. Not sure who's getting the $78 million; does that mean I'll get high speed internet for free???

Yes, we need more rural broadband. But let's be honest - rural broadband that's from a satellite is CRAP. Most wireless solutions are also very poor, and badly rolled out. We need more WIRED solutions. I am sick and tired of seeing the rural parts of our state getting screwed on this - except like whitewater and their surrounding area.... but of course that's the big money area of the state...

I want this reality. The last 8 years slowed us down, the longer we wait the more costly it will be.

The people in rural areas should have access to the same internet speeds for the same cost as urban people pay.

good for farmers and rural business.

OK as long as we don't have a tax increase to pay for it

Rural communities need the support

The lack of high speed broadband out in the rural areas is unacceptable. Hard to run a business!!!

I wonder if the broadband companies will contribute.

I live in the country and if it was going to cover everyyone with out broadband, then OK, but CenturyLink is lagging so terribly in my area, I don't think I'll ever see it.

The Wisconsin Election Commission has identified two dozen instances of potential voter fraud from February 2018 to February 2019. Do you think more needs to be done to prevent potential voter fraud in our elections?
Keep better records of who is voting.

The only thing wrong with elections these days is they let the wrong people vote.
cost of enforcement is to high for a couple fraud voters maybe poll workers under 70 would help
Only eligible individuals should be allowed to vote.
Voting in the incorrect location may not be intentional fraud. (as listed in the article). A deceassed voter's ballot being counted also may not be "Intentional" (That would be the Clerk's job to check death notices/ records when tabulating early ballots)
There's a lot more voter fraud than what they tell us they have "uncovered" I suspect.
Two dozen makes twenty four times, that won't change an election. W. E. Commission keep up the good work.
Have honest and thorough people registering these new voters. Two dozen is not alot.
Eliminate the 'legal' fraud first, start with gerymandering. then perhaps the party support all way down to local level. Dems and GOP.
Yes, we should do more audits and then stamp our feet in front of the Capital like some other people we know.
FOR the number of people who voted the amount of fraud is very small
Voter I'd. Can vote absentee only two weeks before and after
Two dozen is not bad. Keep Voter ID and it will be fine
Never going to eliminate every instance
I am not in favor of all the early voting by the big cities. Small rural townships do not offer early voting, and if you can't take the time to vote on election day, then too bad. This early voting has the dems getting all the college students in to vote democratic, I know my niece attends the UW in Madison and they were continually knocking on her door, wanting to take her down to vote.
I think we need to allocate at least $500,000,000. for a statewide voter education program. If they KNEW it was wrong, they wouldn't do it.

Governor Evers has directed Attorney General Kaul to join several other states in challenging President Trump's emergency declaration in court. Good move or bad move?  

Our Governor has nothing to do with the southern boarder.

Manufactured crisis number 724 of the Trump presidency*. But it makes for really good TV, so yay for America.

State Attorney Generals have put politics ahead of their commitment to the state at hand

Why join the law suit? Spend more money? I'm not sure a wall is the answer but some action is needed

Why have any border at all, just let EVERYONE come in. It is only for votes.

The wall will cost at least 20 Billion Dollars. That money could be better spent in other ways to stop crime and illegal drugs. Many land owners in the south oppose the seizing of their land to build a wall. If the land owners don't want it, leave them alone.

Time to face the facts. We as a country cannot afford to support more of the masses.

Secure that border. Quit the partisan bickering. I'm sick of our politicians acting like small children fighting.

ask the border states. no crisis.

Build the Wall!!!!

No surprises there, are governer seems to support anything drug related. So why would he want to close the border? Also he'd be losing some future potential votes!!

Congress should control the purse strings, future presidents will declare everything they want to spend money on an emergency.

Need to stop illegal immigration.

How can this suddenly be a "manufactured crisis" when Trump brings it up and finally proposes a solution when the past four or five Presidents have all talked about the problem of illegal immigration and the need for a solution. This is an ongoing problem that needs to be addressed immediately!

These "immigrants" are violating the law! It also makes it easier for criminals,terrorists and drug dealers to get into our country.

Are you kidding? We are still the United States!

Wisconsin is one of the places that they are heading to. More trouble for us.

I do think it is a manufactured crisis but it's probably a waste of states money

Taking congressionally budgetted money for a campaign promise is contitutionally illegal!! It sets a precidence that could haunt our republic!

who is paying for this lawsuit?

Just a move to appease his national Democrat masters.

Evers and Kaul have lost all my respect. They have a very liberal agenda, and it is only going to get worse. Elections have consequences.

There may be no crisis at the border, but joining a lawsuit is just a waste of resources.

Governor Evers is opposing a plan by President Trump that would reduce the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding by 90%, from $300 million to $30 million. Do you support Governor Evers opposing this?
He needs money for his schools, so what a better way to cut.

$300m is a waste. What has Lake Michigan done for us?

fight for great lakes it is the only ones we have

Lets try to get more Federal money back here

To many unknowns.

Wondering how effectively any "Great Lakes Restoration" money is being spent no matter the sum.

We need and want clean water. Its one of our greatest assets.

The Great Lakes should be important to everyone.

I feel like our Great Lakes are being very much under served and under respected. I want that funding...

the largest fresh water resource in this country needs oversight. Gonna let foxconn do it?

Our fresh water lakes are to important

could reduce some but not 90%.

Restoring the Great lakes is a lot better use of taxpayer dollars than giving Barret big bucks for his Milwaukee streetcar!

I am afraid exotic species will destroy more than the Great Lakes and Asian Carp alone will destroy the Great Lakes!

That $300 million could help a lot of people in Wisconsin, to follow Kaul's and Ever's response to the emergency declaration at the border.

Spending by the Federal Govt. is unsustainable. Cuts need to be made to all existing programs and new programs should not be added until we are able to pay for them

On this day in 1953, The Boston Braves announced that they were moving to Milwaukee. (Source: Wisconsin Historical Society). In 11 days, the Milwaukee Brewers will play their home opener at Miller Park. Do you follow baseball? The Brewers or another team? Do you have any expectations or predictions for 2019 season? Do you think baseball is still "America's pastime," or do you think football is more quintessentially American these days?
Don't follow sports.

Getting to the World Series is hard. The Brewers are a small market club in the bottom third of salary. Last year was magic, and I doubt it repeats.

We do not follow baseball but enjoy going to the Brewer games! This year is going to be great for Milwaukee! Football seems to be the fan favorite

Love the Brew Crew! Football seems to be king for now but the concussion thing could put an end to that

Me? .... meh! Wife... Nuthing but Brewers.

The Brewers will not be playing in Miller Park this year or in the near future. They will be playing in American Family.

baseball is boring, America is shifting

The liberal agenda (I feel) is going to shut football down. So we will have some sports event. Baseball should remain, but maybe checkers will win the hearts of the liberal meada. People should not get hurt.

I don't really follow baseball. I like basketball and football better.

I am just a casual observer, too expensive to attend many games. I enjoy any sport live but not on tv. I do believe that baseball is more America's pastime over football. The football players and their disrespect for the National Anthem has hurt them immensely.

Glad to have the Brewers. Don't get to games, but follow them. Hope they have a great season!

I'm really not a sports fan. I'm sick of sports over riding everything else good in our nation. And I don't like beer. I get that it's important to have all of this, but I really think that these teams need to provide it out of their exorbitant profits and huge markups.

Both teams are good for Wisconsin's economy.

I'm not a huge Brewer fan but I did watch all the playoff baseball last year and will probably watch more games this year.

I prefer football.

I follow the Brewers.My friend & I were first in line for opening day tickets (in mid February) for the Braves opener that first year. I think football has made huge strides in trying to overtake baseball. I walked into a Packer game at County Stadium in 1958 and easily bought a ticket and there were a lot of empty seats. Vince came the next year and that changed everything However the first Super Bowls were not that hyped up or popular. Look at 'em now.

Go Brew Crew!!

We have a stadium because it was shoved down our throats. It's always wrong when government has to subsidize professional sports.

Go Brewers! The team has set an example as a team in supporting each other and keeping a sense of humor amid stress, and behaving like professionals and role models! Hope the fun continues! The greatest recent example is Uecker giving his allotted 123,000 to charity! The Bucks team success is good too! Hopefully Packers can rebound now too keeping in mind the sense of community that loves our Wisconsin sports teams!

Suing has surpassed Baseball as our National Past time.

Didn't care

Since Mark Attanasio purchased the Milwaukee Brewers, I have been much more into the team. I enjoy following the Brewers much more than the Packers. Heck, the Bucks have brought a lot of excitement to the state as well. It some times takes a shake up to get things going again. Hopefully, the Packers will be more on board this up coming season. Too many players not putting it all out there and too political. The NFL has really shot themselves in the foot trying to be political. I enjoy sports to get away from all the crap, leave it out of sports, PLEASE! Baseball is definitely still America's pastime.

With what football has become in the last decade or so, perhaps baseball is more of an American pastime.

Go brewers

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.     
No bills to report.

LRB-1818  Memo  Chiropractor Education (Petrowski, Jerry) Continuing education program sponsors for chiropractors, chiropractic technicians, and chiropractic radiological technicians.  Deadline: Tuesday, March 26, 5 pm
LRB-2482  Memo  Donate Life Month (Ballweg, Joan ) Proclaiming April 2019 as Donate Life Month in the state of Wisconsin.  Deadline: Wednesday, March 27, 5 pm
LRB-2264  Memo  19th Amendment (Ballweg, Joan ) Celebrating June 10, 2019, as the 100th Anniversary of ratifying the 19th Amendment.  Deadline: Friday, March 29, 5 pm
LRB-1002  Memo  OWI Expungement (Jacque, Andre ) Records of certain offenses related to operating a motor vehicle with a prohibited alcohol concentration. Deadline: Monday, April 1
LRB-1054  Memo  School Board Meeting Notice (Gundrum, Rick ) The method for providing notice of a special meeting of a school board.  Deadline: Monday, April 1, Noon
LRB-0048  Memo  National Popular Vote (Hebl, Gary ) Entering into an agreement among the states to elect the president of the United States by means of a national popular vote.  Deadline: Friday, April 5, 5 pm
LRB-2492  Memo  National Popular Vote (Hansen, Dave ) Entering into an agreement among the states to elect the president of the United States by means of a national popular vote.  Deadline: Friday, April 5, 5 pm