NEWS FROM THE CAPITOL
AND AROUND WISCONSIN
JOINT FINANCE CO-CHAIRS TO REMOVE ALL NON-FISCAL POLICY FROM BUDGET Joint Finance Committee Co-Chairs, Senator Alberta Darling and Representative John Nygren, both Republicans, made it official last week that their intentions are to throw out all items from Governor Evers' budget that do not impact the state's fiscal policies, according to their memo.
The leaders of the powerful budget-writing committee also reiterated their intentions to re-write the state budget from base, or its current spending levels, rather than off of the executive budget introduced by Governor Tony Evers. The committee enacted the same procedure for Governor Walker's 2017-2019 State Budget, as well.
Among the list of non-fiscal policy items, which were outlined in a memo by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the committee chairs said they will remove a bevy of items that have grabbed headlines since Evers' introduced his budget. Some of those items include the repeal of the minimum markup of motor vehicle fuel, automatic voter registration, increases to capital gains taxes and manufacturing income taxes, federal medicaid expansion, all medical marijuana provisions, non-partisan redistricting changes, automatic annual increases to property taxes, various changes to voucher schools, re-implementing prevailing wage, and the repeal of Wisconsin's right-to-work law- among many others.
Additionally, the committee chairs issued their own memo, which outlined the rules and procedures of the committee, announced their intentions to begin their "executive sessions" this week, and released the state budget's required Earmark Transparency Report.
FEDERAL COURT RULES ASSEMBLY SPEAKER VOS MUST TESTIFY IN REDISTRICTING CASEAssembly Speaker Robin Vos is required to testify in a federal lawsuit challenging Wisconsin's legislative maps that were drawn in part by his chamber in 2011, and are the focal point of a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the process by which the maps were drawn.
Vos had previously declined to offer a deposition in the proceedings, but in a split decision of 2-1, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago said that the Speaker's testimony was relevant and necessary in discerning the intentions of lawmakers in drawing the maps. The one dissenting judge wrote that Vos should be granted civil immunity since the case before the court dealt with a practice that dates back to the founding of the country.
The same case has already been heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, but last year, the highest court in the nation sent the issue back to the lower court after finding that the liberal groups who brought the lawsuit against Wisconsin had not sufficiently proven they had the legal basis to do so.
EVERS ADMINISTRATION GIVES RAISE TO WORKERS AT SIX PRISONS, FACES BACKLASHGovernor Tony Evers' administration announced last week that employees at six Wisconsin prisons would receive a $5 per hour raise. The move comes as the administration tries to improve the lack of employees at the facilities.
The six prisons would grant the new wage to officers and sergeants through June of next year to those employed at the Columbia, Dodge, Green Bay, Lincoln Hills, Taycheedah, and Waupun prisons. New employees would begin with a wage of nearly $22/hour under the new pay schedule, or more than $10,000 per year more than previously.
But some lawmakers were not happy with the plan since it excluded other facilities in the state, such as Wisconsin's Boscobel prison, which is the state's equivalent to a "super max" facility.
"Less than Three weeks ago, I toured our prisons in both Prairie du Chien and Boscobel with Gov. Evers' Secretary-Designee Carr," State Representative Travis Tranel (R-Cuba City) said in a statement. "We saw the fine work being done by our officers at both facilities and also spoke at length about the need to increase compensation for all DOC employees."
"I am beyond disappointed to learn that DOC has somehow come to the conclusion that it is a good idea to give every single maximum security prison in the state a $5 raise, but exclude Boscobel," he said.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos also expressed concerns with Governor Evers' administration's plan, saying that he doesn't think "cherry picking" which facilities receive more benefits is the right course of action, since the entire system is already due for reform.
GOV. EVERS MEETS WITH FOXCONN CEO, BACKPEDALS ON CONCERNSNearly three weeks ago, Governor Evers said he felt that Foxconn's investment in Wisconsin was an "unrealistic expectation," and as the Milwaukee Journal points out, he also called the deal "lousy" during his campaign for governor in 2018, and said he could "smell something rotten," and it was a "horrible deal."
But following his first meeting with Foxconn CEO Terry Gou last week, Governor Tony Evers told a group of reporters that he was "never not supportive" of the State of Wisconsin's deal with the Chinese tech manufacturer. He also told reporters that he is not "doubting their word," and when he told reporters he did not think Foxconn would create 13,000 jobs in the state, he meant "it could be less, it could be more."
But other Democrats doubled down on their criticism of the tech giant's integrity, with Democrat Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz of Oshkosh saying the company has no credibility.
Chairman Gou, who also met with President Trump last week, reconfirmed his company's commitment to the state. Gou and Evers met at a private airplane hangar in Milwaukee, with Evers first comment being about protecting taxpayers and the environment in Wisconsin. Foxconn said the reason they had stopped working on their plant in Mount Pleasant in late 2018 was due to inclement weather, calling it "snowy and icy cold."
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said his personal meeting with Gou was "another positive step forward in the development of the Foxconn project in Racine County." In a statement, Vos also said that "everytime they are asked, Foxconn officials reiterate their commitment to keeping their promises and growing their investment in our state. Let's hope now that they've met with Governor Evers, we can put the political back and forth behind us."
EVERS SIGNS FIRST BILLS INTO LAWThe "R-Word" will no longer be used when referring to those with developmental disabilities in state statute and rules, thanks to a Republican bill that was signed into law by Governor Evers last week, marking the first time the new governor has used his executive authority to sign a bill into law.
Governor Evers also signed a bill that officially renames the new 41/10/441 interchange in Winnebago County as the Michael G. Ellis Memorial Interchange, in honor of the late State Senator Michael Ellis, a political magnate in state government who represented portions of the Fox Valley in the Senate for decades. He died at the age of 77 last summer. The Act was 2019 Wisconsin Act 3.
Evers also signed a WPT-supported bill as 2019 Wisconsin Act 2, which requires that local governments notify agricultural land owners of changes in their property assessment only when it exceeds $500, saving local governments tax dollars across the state.
A comprehensive overview of Evers' first four Acts as governor can be found below the Weekly Member Poll results.
SUPPORT GROWING FOR DEER "BOUNTY" PLANA plan that would pay hunters for bagging deer that test positive for Chronic Wasting Disease is gaining steam according to the Conservation Congress.
According to the group, 57 percent of those who attended the spring Conservation Congress hearings were in support of the plan, which would dole out between $750 and $1,250 to hunters who kill an animal who is later found to have the disease which is proliferating across the state at alarming rates, according to conservation and natural resources officials.
The plan, "Payments4Positives," has others concerned about the cost, including a Conservation Congress official from Vilas County, who said the program would give away around $1 million in "bounties," just for the DNR pilot program.
One group, Wisconsin's Backcountry Hunters and Anglers has an online portal set up that their members can use to contact lawmakers and the Governor to request money for combating CWD, including taxdollars for the Payments4Positives program.
REPORT: AUTOMATION PUTS NEARLY HALF OF WISCONSIN JOBS AT RISKA study from the Brookings Institute found that about one in four Americans could see some type of "disruption" in their job security if the use of automation for certain tasks continues to advance within America's private sector. According to the study, Wisconsin alone could see 48% of its jobs turn to automation in the future.
The study says that automation often occurs to due variations in community types, educational attainment, and the make-up of the industry in the region. Manufacturing and agriculture were two industries most at risk of automation, according to the report, and industries have a massive presence in Wisconsin. Between September of 2017 and September 2018, Wisconsin added more manufacturing jobs than any state in the nation, according to DWD.
The report also said that strengthening the curriculum in K-12 schools to include more computer-based sciences, statistics, and "coding," could mitigate the effects of job losses due to automation.
WEEKLY MEMBER POLL RESULTS
State workers were paid over $80 million in overtime pay in 2018. After reading the article, what do you think?
This is a non-story. There are hours to be worked and taxpayers have an interest in having the fewest amount of people do the work, to minimize benefits.
Look. I used to work for CESA #11 out of Turtle lake, in a couple of districts as a "service." And when I had Overtime, they wouldn't pay me overtime. They made me bank it as "comp time" for vacation. Then I could never USE it. So when I put in my notice to leave, I had like 210 hours of "comp time" from all the overtime I put it. And they refused to pay it to me. And in the end, we negotiated a deal, and I got hosed. If people put in overtime, let them get paid.
Especially in corrections people are playing games with their hours to collect that over time pay.
With benefits to cover more employees to eliminate the overtime this may be cheaper
State needs to hire more workers
Need to hire the appropriate number of workers so there is not all this overtime. Get off your butts and do your jobs state administrators
I understand that there is currently a shortage of qualified people to fill these positions. However, if the wages for these positions were raised so that the jobs would be more attractive, the cost to us taxpayers would be less than paying 1.5 to 2 times higher for overtime hours.
Some thing must wrong with the system that needs to be corrected
Are there enough people to hire to do those jobs on regular pay???
Working conditions need to be improved. Working 80 hours a week is too much. The effectiveness of these employees is reduced with that many hours worked.
This is what happens when the Public Sector runs "a business"
need more employees but cant find them? pay overtime. In long run is cheaper!
another story of miss handling of government money can workers physically work that many hours? lets fix the shortage of qualified workers and fire the management that does not get it done, simple non political
My son is a corrections officer and gets forced in because they are short. He has no choice. The only way he can be sure to have a day of is to leave town!
Finding good workers is the problem, so the ones that show up are earning the overtime at a cost to the taxpayer
Many times, no one wants to pick up those hours anyway. Pay as worked.
We can't find enough workers. I'm sure the state is in the same position.
Assembly Republicans have introduced a plan that would install electric vehicle charging stations along Wisconsin's freeways. Good idea or bad idea?
It's good to plan for an EV future, but this program is premature -- and frankly, odd coming from the GOP.
Not sure about this, they don't pay gas tax already, but they use the roads
Electric Car means no Gas tax. Electric cars and Hybrids could be taxed in another way. BUT I'm saying this as a non-owner of them, too...
Does the state build gas stations? What roads will not get fixed to pat for this? They better not use gas tax money to pay for this!
Nothing bad about this idea. It is coming.
Who's paying for that? We don't have money in the transportation fund. Carbon footprint for generating electricity is not exactly good. I would like to hold off on the electric vehicles and concentrate more on Hydrogen.
Let the utilities do it, they are the benefactors
Next thing you know they will be in the gasoline business. If there is a demand for charging stations private enterprise should be doing the project just like any other business
Why should this be a STATE responsibility? If there are electric vehicles, let the private sector build them. Did the state build gas stations when gas-powered cars were a new idea?
As far as I know the government hasn't installed any gas stations for my gas powered vehicle. Why should we be intalling "electric stations" for the minority of the cars on the road? Who is going to pay for the electricity if the State installs the charging stations? I don't get my gas for free! Let the vehicle manufacturers install them like Tesla has done across the US. Then charge the vehicle owner for the electricity used.
People that drive electric cars need their registration increased and the money for the charging stations should be use toward road repair
Gas stations should provide charging stations.
If we have electric cars on the roads,we had better provide a means for them to utilize them.I do not have one
I do not drive an electric car. As long as the charging stations are not earning income for the upkeep of the roads why not.
Teh private sector will fill the need as the demand increases. The state would be subsidising those who can afford the electric cars. If the states wish to spend money from that fund spend it on things that will reduce energy consumption of state assets, like insulating state buildings, buying gas on bidding contracts.
Electric cars are a pacifier for the uninformed public. It requires X amount of energy to do Y amount of work. The average efficiency of a plug in car equates to 18 mpg when measured against kilowatt hour cost to recharge. And the left also wishes to shut coal fired power plants then increase grid load? Lobotomize me so I may understand. BTW, I hold four Master ASE Certifications and have repairing cars for 40 years.
we need to start planning for the future
Finally, something good from the republicans.
Reduces revenue from gas tax
Let the market do the investment, not the taxpayer.
Is it a good idea to use public money
Good idea, there will be a charge, right?
Assembly Republicans have introduced a bill that would allow individuals to remain anonymous after winning the lottery. Good idea or bad idea?
Let's also pass a tax law to exempt lottery winnings. Just give the people their dough instead of taking yet another bite out of lottery revenue.
I think it is better for those who do win.
If I won, I would not want everyone to know it.. I have heard so many bad things about it.
Having people come forward has been shown to hurt them. Let them live in peace.
I think it's a good idea. What a nightmare to become center of public attention all of a sudden every one is your new best friend.
Great Idea! It shouldn't be a horrrible experience with all the harassment when everybody knows. They will have enough problems dealing with the government and taxes
If the big winners remain anonymous, how do we know that someone legally won? It opens the lottery up to more fraud. When you bought the ticket, you opened yourself up to people knowing that you are rich.
Why should my name be out there for all you fraudsters to harass me
I agree it protects people from being prey from criminals
will help prevent harassment of winners.
The winners should be required to spend the first dollars they receive learning how to handle money. Too many bad actors out there ready to take advantage of the winner.
Individual privacy is a cornerstone of society.
A person maintains a constitutional right to remain private.
Good idea. Why should they be harassed by con artists and others.
I have no problem with this.
Governor Evers said he is disappointed that his administration has not yet established a pardon review board, and said it is a top priority of his. Do you think this should be a top priority?
Not a top priority. If he said it was a top priority to reduce the ungodly cost of imprisoning so many, then yes.
He probably wants to pardon all those who will vote for a democrat next time around
Really? What the heck is this guy thinking?
If it's a top priority what is the problem Tony?
Its been on the back burner, all of Walkers terms,, and prisoners don't need pardons.
I don't think it's a bad idea, but I think he should reprioritize.
Health care should be the issue that gets worked on as people voted for change on this issue. I'm glad the lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act has been stopped.
They all broke the law to get where they are
There alot of other things that higher priority
If these people have been sentenced,no body else should pardon them. There are enough loopholes that protect criminals already.
Spend the money fixing the prison system and hiring guards.
prisons overcrowded. we incarcerate too many
Let the court system do it's job.
Seriously Tony, people are in prison for a reason lets concentrate on helping the honest taxpayers of Wisconsin
It's fix the roads and help the feds enforce immigration laws.
I suppose he wants to pardon all of the dopers.
I see where the attorneys are too busy with the lame duck issues!!
On April 30, 1942, The Manitowoc Company launched its first submarine into the Manitowoc River. "The Peto" was the first of 28 submarines that the company produced during wartime, and the first ever sideways launch into the river, rather than launching nose-first. The Peto was 311' long, carried 85 men and 24 torpedoes. (Source: Wisconsin Historical Society.)
What do you think the "coolest" Wisconsin Made product or item is? Is there something that you insist is "Made in Wisconsin" before you purchase? Is there something you can only get in Wisconsin and not anywhere else? Tell us about your favorite Made in Wisconsin item?
Arby's is made in Wisconsin, so I'll go with that.
I would prefer Wisconsin made cheese. I think Wisconsin cheese makers do an outstanding job, and I would rather eat Wisconsin cheese.
All Wisconsin Cheese! Cheesemasters here know how to make the best cheese with our excellent milk!
Cheese and beer...and submarines I guess
henry rifles and shotguns
Of course it is Harley!!!!
I enjoy our state's cheese and sausage and so do our out of state relatives.
Beer and cheese are the best WI has to offer
Cher-Make sausage - Manitowoc
Greenbay packers games. A brand that the world knows.
Cheese curds of course, hard to find them anywhere else
Ahh, that wonderful beer made in new glarus.
Coolest " Made in Wisconsin" product? Reality detached Madison socialibs. Without them we would not have a rule by which to measure the real world. Their actions are liken to a Jerry Springer show. Fun to watch, glad it's not me.
Fish frys and cheese curds
The coolest things are our Wisconsin Dairy products produced by our family farmers. Let's support them and show appreciation for their hard work!
Wisconsin cheese is the best!
New Glarus Beer! Green county cheese!
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
2019 Wisconsin Act 1
: Relating to terminology changes for those with intellectual disability in administrative rules. (2019 SB 19)
2019 Wisconsin Act 2
: Relating to notification of changed property tax assessment for agricultural land. (2019 SB 13)
2019 Wisconsin Act 3
: Relating to designating a marking a highway interchange in Winnebago County as the Michael G. Ellis Memorial Interchange. (2019 SB 1)
2019 Wisconsin Act 4
: Relating to denial, suspension, and revocation of certain licenses related to motor vehicle dealers. (2019 SB 3)
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