Happy October, and welcome back to the WPT 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great week,
NEWS FROM THE CAPITOL
AND AROUND WISCONSIN
DEM CANDIDATE EVERS RELEASES AGENDA
The state's public school chief, and gubernatorial candidate Tony Evers today released several items in his "Government for Us" agenda. The candidate said, if elected, the items would be as follows.
Agency Accountability: Evers would create an Office of the Inspector General that would track Wisconsin's government on a number of metrics. The candidate also said he would ensure state agency cooperation and compliance with audits initiated from the Wisconsin Audit Bureau. Additionally, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation would be replaced with a new economic development agency.
Taxpayer Dollar Responsibility: Evers would call for tracking payments and avoiding overpayments on road projects, reduce use of the Wisconsin's government airplanes, and restore the False Claims Act, which holds corporations and companies liable for defrauding the state.
Eliminate Non-Disclosure Agreements and Legislative Fast Tracking: Evers would prohibit non-disclosure agreements within state agencies which limit public transparency, and require 48 hour periods between public hearings and executive action in legislative committees.
Elections: Evers would support automatic voter registration, and create a nonpartisan redistricting commission.
Professional Appointments: The candidate calls for appointing qualified professionals with relevant backgrounds and expertise in the area for which they are appointed.
LOCAL UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS DROP OR REMAIN THE SAME IN ALL 12 METRO AREAS
The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) has released the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates of unemployment and employment statistics for metro areas, major cities, and counties in Wisconsin. The estimates included updates to July 2018 and preliminary estimates for August 2018.
In all 12 of Wisconsin's metro areas, unemployment rates remained unchanged for August 2018. The rates ranged from 2.3 percent in Madison to 4.0 percent in Racine. It was also the 58th consecutive month in which unemployment rates have dropped or remained the same in Wisconsin's Metro Statistical Areas.
Data for unemployment rates in municipalities showed declines or the same rates for 31 of 32 of Wisconsin's largest cities over the year from August 2017 to August 2018. The Racine experienced the largest decline over the year, 1.2 percentage points, with Superior and West Allis having the second largest declines of 0.9 percentage points. Fitchburg had the lowest rate with 2.2 percent unemployment, with the City of Racine having the largest at 5.0 percent.
In counties, the August 2018 unemployment rates declined or stayed the same over the year in 67 of Wisconsin's 72 counties.
ASSEMBLY ASSISTANT MAJORITY LEADER STEPS DOWN
Republican State Representative and Assistant Majority Leader Robert Brooks of Saukville has stepped down from his leadership position in the statehouse after accusations arose, even prompting Governor Walker to call for his full resignation from the legislature.
According to several sources, Brooks made several racial and sexual comments in the Wisconsin Dells, directed at several of his female colleagues, namely Representatives Jessie Rodriguez, Cindi Duchow, and Amy Loudenbeck. According to the story, Brooks told State Representative Rodriguez he was buying drinks for everybody in the group, except for her, because she is Hispanic.
The three aforementioned female lawmakers said they had accepted his apology, and felt that it already handled. "We have put the incident behind us; we would kindly as others to do the same."
Still, Governor Scott Walker called for more, calling the comments offensive and disrespectful. "They have no place in our society and are inconsistent with the high standards that must be held bu those in public office," Walker said. "He should resign from office, period." As of Monday, it does not appear that will happen.
DNR: GROUSE HUNTING SEASON WILL CLOSE EARLY
In a proactive effort to protect the grouse population in Wisconsin, the Department of Natural Resources board has decided to close the hunting season early.
According to an agency memo, grouse drumming has decreased by 34 percent between last year and this year, along with a declining population. Also of concern is West Nile virus. Harvest declined from 262,943 in 2016 to 185,336 in 2017, with West Nile being detected in Michigan and Pennsylvania. Hunters will begin collecting blood samples this fall.
At a Natural Resources Board meeting in Hayward, the board instead chose to close the season on December 31st instead of their originally-proposed date, November 3rd. Governor Walker has indicated that he will sign the emergency rule when it hits his desk.
JOURNAL SENTINEL INVESTIGATION: WISCONSIN DOT PAID FOR PORTION OF ZOO INTERCHANGE TWICE
Even though an engineer from the Department of Transportation knew ahead of time and alerted those in charge, project managers for the Zoo Interchange project gave the green light for a $404,250 payment, a double-billed payment for 15,000 cubic yards of gravel.
According to the report, nobody has ever investigated recovering the funds, nor has anybody's feet been held to the fire for gross mismanagement. In fact, those in charge at the time are now heading up the latest major project in Wisconsin- the I-94 project at Foxconn.
IMMIGRATION OFFICIALS ARREST '83 CRIMINAL ALIENS AND IMMIGRATION VIOLATORS'
Agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested more than 80 people in the State of Wisconsin last week, though a four-day-long operation. 20 of those individuals were arrested in Dane County.
Fourteen counties experienced arrests, and according to the State Journal, 44 of those arrested had criminal convictions, 16 were immigration fugitives, and 21 re-entered the country illegally after having already been deported. 77 were men, and six were women. In more detail, ICE said that one man, 27-years-old, was from Thailand and is a convicted sex offender, and another 27-year-old from Mexico was convicted in 2016 for exposing his genitals to children.
The Madison School District sent out an e-mail to parents, alerting them that their children were safe, and stated "we support our immigrant, refugee and undocumented students and families." They also send links to a "know your rights" publication for families to use.
2017-2018 FLU KILLS ALMOST 400 IN WISCONSIN
According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), nearly 400 residents of the state died from the flu in last year's "flu season," which is double the number of deaths from the 2016-2017 season.
Only about 36 percent of Wisconsinites received the flu shot last year, and more than 7,500 were hospitalized due to complications with influenza. A total of 379 deaths were attributed to the flu. DHS also sent out a statement, encouraging all families and residents in the state to get a flu shot.
They also said to wash your hands often with soap and water, cover your cough or sneezes, don't touch your face, do not share cups or straws, stay away from people who are sick, eat nutritious meals, get rest, frequently clean commonly-touched surfaces, and see your doctor.
NEARLY 400 WISCONSIN SOLDIERS TO BE DEPLOYED TO AFGHANISTAN
In an effort to assist coalition forces in Afghanistan, 400 Wisconsin National Guard soldiers based in Appleton are being deployed to Afghanistan to assist this winter.
The forces in the region that they will be deployed to are engaged in NATO mission named Resolute Support, which helps advise and train Afghanistan's security forces. Specific dates were not provided for the pre-mobilization of the 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry, but the unit is expected to be gone about a year.
The 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry is based in Appleton, but has companies in Clintonville, Green Bay, Fond du Lac, Marinette, Ripon, and Waupun. Their previous mission was in Iraq in 2005-2006, and 2009-2010, making this their first mission to Afghanistan.
WEEKLY MEMBER POLL RESULTS
FEMA will be surveying damage in 17 Wisconsin counties. Was your county on the list?
No damage, some rural town roads had damage
No, just some downed trees.
Nothing a big pile of gravel won't fix as far as our property is concerned. BUT, our neighbor communities were inundated.
Was major damage to property ,crops and roads in the area also the railroad
We were spared this time. Good luck to all effected
None, thank God. Very sorry others had damage.
We are fortunate to live on a ridge but our county was effected. And our local village was really effected bad next to the Baraboo River.
No damage here, just a lot of rain.
Governor Walker has said he wants to provide tax relief to seniors and parents in the next state budget. After reading the article; good plan or bad plan?
Few like paying tax... Tax is necessary to fund government & social programs. Borrowing for routine expendatures is stupid.
Good plan if it can be done w/o wrecking the budget
Tax relief is politically popular, but how are the bills going to be paid? We need long term strategies and good planning not just buying votes. Everyone knows that seniors are faithful voters.
Yes, I'd love to help those in need. However, this appears to me to be leaning toward the socialist views of the Democratic Party. I think it's just campaign positioning.
Tax relief is great, but roads need fixing. Where will the money come from? I'm
f I paid taxes should I not share in any reduction, refund or credit?
I believe both groups need help. I can't believe the cost of child care. My kids were cheap compared to what they pay for our grandchildren.
Seniors, especially, need every break they can get. They live on so much less than when they were working, and the REST of us don't realize it. WE have to wake up on this topic, and do MORE for our seniors.
as long as the budget is balanced in other ways
Great idea for Seniors. They do not get the support they need in there advancing years. We do not do enough for Seniors. Parents with daycare..its a part of having children, I made it without Government help...why must we always look to them for ways to solve our own issues?
give give give I work two jobs to support house hold so government can give away in ELECTION year
He's just trying to get elected. Can't pay for roads, why are we cutting taxes?
State Senator Nass will hold a vote to stop the new hunting regulations from taking effect. Good idea or bad idea?
We hunt, don't understand how the new rules for hunters will change anything. Back when they first were concerned about cwd, dead deer were left in ditches. No one cared about those carcasses spreading the disease.
Are we talking about diapered hunters?
I ready do not solve our cwd sitation
I think we need to take measures immediately to protect the health of the deer population in Wi. and the huge revenue boost hunting puts into our economy.
Does he know more than the DNR?
Would this regulation help? I don't know it would. Would everyone follow the rule?
CWD has been blown out of proportion by the DNR. Today we are finding that there are some deer that genetically less prone to getting the disease. God has a way of having animals adapt to survive.
true sportsmen will be contientious of this anyway, why add more rules? too much red tape already
yes I hunt but this would not impact me in general. This is a silly rule. CWD is all over the place so live with it.
I don't hunt so I don't fully understand the pros or cons of these regulations.
Local craft breweries and distilleries are saving money on recent federal tax reforms. Do you feel you or your business has benefited from the federal tax changes?
At this time as a farmer I will not know until i file my 2018 tax return
Farming has felt the brunt of current federal policy.
glad local companies are getting a break - it all helps our economy
I'll let you know next March.
Our business is getting killed on tariffs.
The Fox Cities Chamber is asking for a Kimberly-Clark vote in the legislature to be delayed until after the elections, so a bipartisan conversation can be held without campaign politics interfering. Do you agree or disagree?
Where will the corporate welfare end?
I own a bar/restaurant is the state going to give me money if I threaten to leave???
Get the vote over with and attach some rules to Kimberly-Clark
Bipartisan conversations are what most Americans are hopeful can happen.
We have jobs available. If KC thinks they can do better elsewhere I say SEE YA! Put the tax money on education and training for the displaced employees to move forward with companies that value our environment and workforce.
How will it not be political after the election?
Is there bipartisan conversation? I'm not sure they can do that!
Kimberly Clark should be patient. Maybe if they didn't create this mess in the first place, it would be different.... But they created this problem by trying to screw the state. Now they can wait. I agree, wait until after the election.
let the company sink or swim on thier own - too many government handouts already
Whether or not K-C stays or goes is irrelevant - the current legislature should finish the work at hand.
the election process is full time, lets get back to getting some action and representation to the constituents
No corporate welfare before or after the election.
On September 25, 1961, Governor Gaylord Nelson signed a law requiring that all 1962 cars sold in Wisconsin be equipped with seat belts. In 2009, Wisconsin required all drivers to wear their safety belts. Still, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly half of all those killed in traffic accidents aren't wearing their seat belts.
Do you always wear your seat belt? Should wearing a seat belt be required by law? For example, how does your not wearing a safety belt endanger anybody other than yourself? Should this be a personal choice? Share your thoughts here.
I always wear it. Race drivers proved it saves lives. We ordered them when they were an option.
I Always use the seat-belt if the vehicle is to be on the road.
I always wear the belt and think it should be required by law. In fact, I thought it was. What should be against the law is talking on a cell phone that is not hands-free while driving. I've seen too many people on their phone causing traffic problems.
yes I always wear my seat belt
I always wear my seatbelt. I also agree with it being required by law. By not wearing a seatbelt you are endangering everyone else in the vehicle because you become a projectile. 2nd, if you are critically injured requiring expensive hospital care beyond insurance coverage it becomes government dollars that cover your care.
I always wear my seat belt.I believe the current seat belt law applies to both drivers and passengers. Wearing a seat belt should be required by law for minors, but not for adults.
I always wear a safety belt and require my passengers to wear them too. With that said, I think it should be a personal choice.
No I do not. The grand kids remind me whenever I get in. They automatically do it. I think the percentage who wear them will go up as time passes
Always wear a seatbelt! I got out of an accident unscathed because I was wearing a seatbelt. Car was totaled by a guy who ran a red lite.If you don't wear one and somebody plows into you,you are partly negligent in regard to your injuries.Should be a law to prevent people from being stupid!
Probably a good law but if you are dumb enough not to wear one maybe we should let natural selection take it's course.
Seat belts save lives. I did not always wear my seat belt until it was required by law. Now its just out of habit, and good habit.
Needs to be a law. People who ignore seat belts reveal their disregard toward good driving habits and safety.
99% of the, usually in Town when driving a couple blocks to another business I don't It should be a law that its require to wear a sit belt. And in force the law on people using cell phones
I'm glad it is the law. Government is only trying to save people's lives. It is a help not an inconvenience.
Required for anyone under the age of 21. IF you're over 21 and stupid enough to think you're not going to get hurt or killed then let nature take it's course.
They drilled it into the kids in school and I've been wearing them ever since
This law saves lives. When you hear people being ejected in accidents, usually they're not wearing a seat belt. Sad. I always wear my seat belt. Feel naked and vulnerable without it!
I always wear a seat belt and so do my all of my immediate Family
I always wear my seat belt. It's the responsible thing to do for your family, the people that love you and the Emergency Response teams that will take care of you should you be in an accident!
Yes, we wear our seat belts ALL the time. I don't let the vehicle move until we're buckled. It saved our lives. We were hit at highway speeds nearly head on, and those seat belts kept us alive.
i wear seatbelts, but feel it's a personal choice. there's enough info out there for people to make informed decisions - don't know why you wouldn't wear them
I always wear my seat belt. I feel naked without the belt. Wearing a seat belt should not be a law and or required. Personal choice. Just like wearing a helmet with a motorcycle.
I personally always wear a seat belt but I feel it should be personal choice.
I think wearing a safety belt is a good idea. I do not always wear my safety belt. I think it should be a personal choice - I'm growing a bit tired of the government always trying to protect me from myself.
I always wear mine, should people be required by law to wear seatbelts, or motorcycle helmets? I say no, that should be your own decision!
Dont like them but l wear them always
Auto and health insurance payments should be forfeited by anyone injured who wasn't wearing a seat belt. Problem solved.
everyone should wear them
I always wear my seat belt.
I always ware a seat belt. Its just common sense.
I wear it everytime I get in a car or truck. I'm glad its a law and I feel safe.
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.