AUGUST 19, 2019
NEWS FROM THE CAPITOL AND AROUND WISCONSIN
WISCONSIN UNEMPLOYMENT TICKS UP FOR SECOND STRAIGHT MONTH
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose a tenth of a percent to 3.0% in July, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall, the state lost 100 jobs but gained 1,800 government jobs in July, according to the BLS data.

Over the year, the state has gained 14,600 private sector jobs since July 2019, and the unemployment rate had been below 3.0% since February of this year.

Wisconsin is still faring better than the national averages for unemployment, which sat at 3.7% in July. The state also has a labor force participation rate of 67.2%, with the national average sitting at 63%.
OPIOID DEATHS DOWN IN WISCONSIN
For the first time in four years, the number of opioid-related deaths are down in Wisconsin, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

In 2018, there were 838 opioid-related deaths, a 10% reduction from 2017. The record was 932 in 2018. Prior to that, 2016 saw 850 deaths, and 613 the year prior. In 2018, 327 of the 838 were due to heroin, 297 were due to prescription drugs, and a staggering 504 were related to synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.

According to the a Wisconsin State Journal study, there have been 8,500 deaths "since the start of Wisconsin's opioid epidemic 20 years ago."

But the recent drop in deaths has officials looking to the future with a more positive outlook. The Deputy Secretary of Wisconsin DHS called the news encouraging, and credited the "collective ongoing efforts to support individuals and communities..."
LAWMAKERS PUT LYME DISEASE IN CROSSHAIRS
A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the State Capitol are targeting Lyme Disease in Wisconsin, which according to the group, is spreading through Wisconsin at alarming rates. According to the Center for Disease Control, the cases of Lyme Disease have doubled since 2009.

Lyme disease is caused by bacteria from the saliva of ticks. If left untreated, it can affect joints, heart, and nervous system. The most common initial symptoms are chronic headache, fatigue, and skin rash.

The legislation would require the Department of Natural Resources to sell insect repellent in every state park and state forest. The bill's co-sponsorship memo says that currently, only five out of the state's 64 parks and forests offer anything to the public for sale. The bill is expected to cost $15,000.

Another bill would require the DNR to postone sign warning people of the dangers of the disease in all public parks, trails, and forests. That part of the initiative would cost $12,500.

The other parts of the legislation would study the disease more thoroughly, hire an epidemiologist for $91,400 to focus on diseases spread by insects, namely ticks and mosquitoes, and also require the DNR to include Lyme Disease awareness information in park publications.
EVERS, DEMOCRAT LAWMAKERS INTRODUCE BACKGROUND CHECK LEGISLATION
Without calling a special session, which is still a possibility, Governor Tony Evers last week introduced background check legislation at the State Capitol while surrounded by a large faction of members of the public and liberal lawmakers.


Evers and the group of lawmakers presented a plan that would require background checks for most sales and transfers of firearms. The bill would not require a background check if guns are sold or transferred to a law enforcement agency, military agency, or a firearms dealer. The law would also not apply to gifts between family members or antique firearms.

Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke said in a statement that, like all legislation, the Republican caucus would discuss at a later date. He also said that Governor Evers is giving the wrong impression by saying background checks would have a dramatic impact on gun violence. He also said Evers' efforts are disingenuous to suggest that these checks would have prevented past tragedies.

It is unlikely that the legislation will move forward.
FEDERAL JUDGE MAKES FINAL RULING ON WI GENDER REASSIGNMENT RULE
After ordering an injunction earlier this year that allowed for transgender individuals on Medicaid to receive gender reassignment surgery at the expense of taxpayers pending his ruling, Obama-appointed Federal Judge William Conley on Friday permanently overturned a rule which banned that type of surgery from being covered.

"There is now a consensus within the medical profession," he wrote "that gender dysphoria is a serious medical condition, which left untreated can cause...anxiety, depression, serious mental distress, self-harm and suicidal ideation." He also wrote that not covering these treatments on the basis of sex violates the Affordable Care Act.

According to the Department of Health Services, these types of treatment will cost taxpayers up to $1.2 million annually. State Workers in 2018 were also granted the right to receive this type of surgery at the cost of taxpayers.
LIFE EXPECTANCY DROPS IN WISCONSIN
A new report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum says that Wisconsin's life expectancy has taken a dip for the second straight year due to drug and alcohol-related deaths.

Wisconsin is not alone, however. According to their study, this is a national trend, which is showing much shorter life expediencies overall. However, Wisconsin stood out more than other states due to an increase in mortality rates of African Americans.

For an infant born between 2015 and 2017, the life expectancy is 80 years. In 2014, the life expectancy was 80.2 years.
EVERS MANDATES CARBON FREE GOAL, CREATES NEW GOVERNMENT BUREAU
By executive order last week, democrat Governor Tony Evers mandated that Wisconsin achieve a goal of 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050, and also created a new state bureau to assist his administration in beginning to achieve that goal.

The new Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy, which would be housed within the Department of Administration, would work with other state agencies and the state's utility companies, to ensure that 100% of Wisconsin's electricity is generated with zero carbon emissions.

Evers initially included these items in his budget, but were ultimately removed by GOP members who control the finance committee. He is able to circumvent the legislative process by using executive order.
WEEKLY MEMBER POLL RESULTS
Democrat lawmakers would like to levy a tax on gun manufacturers. After reading the article...
What? It's my god given right to go hunting with my 100 round ammo drum. Or carry it into the grocery store, or my kids' school for that matter.

taxing gun makers will not solve problem.

I would agree with taxing gun manufactures if the tax would also apply to TV and movie shows that show gun valance. Would also tax the video gaming industry for their violence games.

People kill people, if not using a gun, then a knife, vehicle however. The media and democrats are missing the culprit

Hold the shooter responsible for their actions. It was not the guns action that caused the death it was the person who had used it

Prefer red flag law.

That's not going to solve any problems. Stop selling the AK's to Joe Smoe who has a mental illness. I hear people can get a gun in a matter of a day. Not a good thing!!

Additional taxation will NOT help.

Again, we are not asking the ones who do the crime or abuse their gun to account for thier actions. This is like blaming the dishes we eat from because the dishes held the food in front of you, for the excess food you ate.

This is just an excuse by the left to pound on guns.

mental illness and drug traffic need to be addressed, guns do not kill, people kill

Why not alcohol manufacturers also

They think a tax is going to solve crazy people with guns. they are always looking to get money to spent on some foolish issue

The tax will be passed on to gun buyers.Ultimately they could try to tax guns out of existence. Dims love to tax everything!

This is just another reason for the government to create another source of money which may have good intentions, but in the end the money will be spent on the democrats “pet projects”. Plus, it is not the gun manufacturers who are killing or injuring people it is the person who is firing the weapon. Why does the current governor should be more concerned about finding the money for mental health issues within the state budget not by taxing companies who will only pass it on to their customers.

This is ridiculous. The Right to Bear Arms was built into or nation's founding for a REASON. Leave these poor gun manufacturers and gun owners alone already!

Maybe gun makers will get more engaged in cause and not the effects.

In no way shape or form will this do anything to curb gun violence! Typical government logic, "well just add another pointless tax!" The consumer (us) will just end up paying for it! Just downright stupidity!!

this is the most ridicules thing I have ever heard of . gun manufacturer should not be responsible for how people act

Those who kill other people use many other weapons as well. Are the manufacturers of those items to be taxed as well?

Aren't we all a little tired of lawmakers spending business owners money for their "pet"causes. Yet another attemp to make business owners out to be the bad guy and responsible for everything - financially, blame and otherwise
Wisconsin is receiving $3 million from the federal government to assist with combating opioid abuse in Wisconsin, including in rural areas.

Has the frequency of opioid-related deaths and overdoses increased in your community in recent years?
Nah, my local government wouldn't be involved in that, beyond picking up the bodies.

Let doctors control.

$200,000,000/50=$4,000,000. Come on Govenor Evers where is the other million.

Our county is taking action, but legalizing marijuana is only going to make this problem worse. What knuckle head thinks marijuana isn't a gateway drug to harder stuff?!?! They probably smoked a few too many already so those "reasoning" brain cells are gone

Can’t change an addiction. Only person who uses can change. Have personal experience with this

It's increased everywhere. We need help getting these people into rehab.

Yes. My local govt is taking steps to remedy, but are not effective. The "war on drugs" taught us anything it would be that you cannot legislate this away...

more rehab facility's and stiffer punishment for dealing and selling, stop producing opioid, use alternate method for pain management

Its good that the Federal government is giving us some money

Throwing money at problems is a sure way to solve them.Sure!

Our local government is not being proactive in the opioid issue. They have a lot of meetings and press releases but as usual it is all talk and no action. Which is exactly the same at our state level of government, more meetings and press releases so they all can be re-elected. It would be nice to see them do something constructive rather than wearing about someone’s hair length and such.

Big pharma the blame here. Also, depressed people who have lost hope in life. Epidemic in our area.

Don't know that throwing millions at it will change that, and with all federal monies come strings - what are they in this case
One lawmaker would like to raise the age for purchasing tobacco from 18 to 21. Where do you stand?
I'd change the tobacco purchase age to 50.

Anything to stop new smokers.

If an 18 year old can be drafted to fight for his country at age 18, it should be his right to smoke.

If they can sign up for the military, they can and should be able to smoke. Daddy Gov.'t should not be involved. They should not make a law simply because you have a bad habit! Should we outlaw certain foods for overweight people? Stupid idea's get stupid results

Never smoked. What about jules?

I do not think it will make any difference.

They are adults, same for drinking. Former smoker, it is a stupid habit, and a tough one to quit. Why fight this so much but legalize marijuana? Makes no sense.

Change the age to the same for a driving license. This will stop teen problems.

I don't smoke, can't stand the smell either. Changing the age is good.

Keep tobacco away from people as long as possible.

nonsmoker. Adult at 18. Again, Adult at 18. You can serve, you can marry. You should be able to drink too.

laws that are not going to be enforced are wasting time, tobacco police

The current age is not enforced

Another Democrat idea to have more control of our lives

So then is the drinking age going up to 21?

This is a good idea, as with the studies done on alcohol use. Those studies showed the average 18 year old’s brain is not fully developed until age 23. So in my opinion yes this is a good idea.

21 to drink and smole better than 18. Our body and mind work better with decreasing our toxic load.

18 year old smokers found ways to get cigarettes long before they were 18 and of legal age to purchase them. Put more effort into educating young people about the effects of smoking.

One more thing for law enforcement to try to police. If they can get opiods which are COMPLETELY ILLEGAL do we really think we'll stop them from getting cigarettes?
The Wisconsin Elections Commission would like to spend about $800,000 to update vulnerable elections equipment, software, and protection ahead of the 2020 election.

Do you support this expenditure?
I hope they aren't secure. If the wrong result comes out, we'll need hackers to make sure our side wins.

I think our local elections are secure.

Some days I do wonder.

Plus voter ID. Why in the hell does anyone have a problem making sure people voting our elected officials are actually citizens and eligible to vote??? SMH

No worries locally, big cities may have problems.

If it is really needed, go for it. But if it is just away to make sure the $800,000 is spent so that it can be asked for in the next budget, Then NO!

MUST have paper ballots. CLEARLY marked with indelible ink

I worry more about voting fraud rather than our numbers being hacked. I feel we should vote on election day, and that day only. The absentee and early voting thing has gotten out of hand, but when the FBI, DOJ and CIA try and unseat a President who won an election, I am not sure if we even have a republic any longer. Loosing faith in our gov't real fast. The past 3 years have been unreal.

We should keep our elections equipement, software & Protection up to date always.

The equipment is secure, it is the people who want to sway elections that we should be concerned about.

Update where needed. I'm not so sure the elections are secure.

No. In the day and age we live in, this question should not be asked. No excuse for voter fraud.

The 2016 election was attacked by those who wish to undermine our democracy. We need to do whatever it takes to protect our democratic process, update software, ensure security...

So long as we do not put the equipment online.

small townships have different problems than large community does, such as great grandma can not figure out how to turn it on

NO!

This issue with elections is so over blown

Where we live yes.In Milwaukee and Madison-no!

If this would make the democrats happy that they have a slim chance to have a fair election in their opinion. But in reality, there is no real perfect system or security to prevent any tampering.

I think as long as it's printed, and you can read and verify the printed output of your votes, it's fine. But upgrades are good...

Anything to help not having a fiasco election.

I have no idea if this will help security

Elections not as secure as they should be

Tha's alot of money for some trumped up charges/allegations
Did you watch the Packers' first pre-season game? How did they look in your opinion? Are you still watching the Brewers? Any predictions on how they will finish the season?
There's no point to watch this year, Packers or Brewers. We all know how the movie ends.

Listened to the game while camping only because someone else had it on, really did not care

Yes and don't know.

I felt the Packers looked good and yes I am still watching the Brewers. I hope they do make the play offs.

Yes...too early to tell. Not a baseball fan but love the Brewer's.

Waiting

Do not watch pre-season football, boring and a waste of time. Still watching Brewers but pitching and inconsistent hitting will be their downfall if this isn't improved. Doubt they will make post season this year. They will finish 3rd in the central.

Don't watch the Packers or Brewers.

no

No

The pre-game season is just a time for the coaches to "try on shoes". Winning is inconsequential. It's watching individual performance in specific settings. It has it's purpose. More fun for the kids.

no

Watched parts of Packer game, they'll finish the season with a 10 and 6 record, if Rogers gets along with the new coach. If not the record will be poorer.

The preseason game played by rookies and free agents and 2nd and 3rd stringers tells you very little about the big boys.Still watching the Brewers-anything can happen.

No, I could not watch the Packers game as it was not available in my area due to the closeness to the state of Minnesota. Never watch the Brewers for the same reason.

With what time do I do this ? I'm too busy trying to make sure I can feed my family, pay my bills, and stay in business.

Yes, watched it but pre-season is pre-season. Come on Brew Crew!

Didnt watch any

Watched the last quarter of the Packer game. Apparently the first three quarters were better!

Yes - can't really tell much. Some guys clinched their spot! Brewers are keeping us on the edge of our seats!

Yes! Go Tim Boyle as he would have had three td’s but receiver dropped one! Brewers still in it and they are very dramatic in their late comebacks this year! They never give up!
THIS WEEK'S MEMBER POLL
By clicking the link, you understand that 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, but does not take responsibility for the individual views and opinions expressed herein.  
LEGISLATION
BILLS SIGNED INTO LAW OR VETOED
No bills to report.
BILLS IN CIRCULATION
LRB-3850   Memo  Fishing License Fee (Duchow, Cindi) The fee for a first-time annual fishing license for residents who are 16 or 17 years old or who are 5 years old or older. Deadline: Wednesday, August 21, 4 pm

LRB-1841   Memo  Physical Therapy Compact (Marklein, Howard) Ratification of the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact, extending the time limit for emergency rule procedures, providing an exemption from emergency rule procedures, and granting rule-making authority. Deadline: Friday, August 23, Noon.

LRB-2253   Memo  Crop Insurance Proceeds (Marklein, Howard) Including crop insurance proceeds in the manufacturing and agricultural tax credit. Deadline: Friday, August 23, Noon

LRB-3437   Memo  UW Free Expression (Horlacher, Cody) Free expression within the University of Wisconsin System, providing an exemption from rule-making procedures, and granting rule-making authority. Deadline: Friday, August 23, 5 pm

LRB-3711   Memo  Ed Brooks (Marklein, Howard) Honoring the life and public service of Representative Edward A. Brooks. Deadline: Friday, August 23, Noon

LRB-3617   Memo  Psychiatry Tax Deduction (Tittl, Paul) Creating an individual income tax deduction for certain income earned by an individual from the practice of psychiatry. Deadline: Thursday, August 22, Noon

LRB-3949  Firearm Background Checks (Johnson, LaTonya) Sales and transfers of firearms and providing a penalty.

LRB-3873   Memo  Crisis Facilities (Schachtner, Patty) Regional crisis stabilization facilities and making an appropriation. Deadline: Friday, August 23

LRB-38950   Memo  Crisis Facilities (Spiros, John) Regional crisis stabilization facilities and making an appropriation. Deadline: Friday, August 23