AUGUST 5, 2019
AGENDA UPDATE
Now that the state budget has passed, two particular pieces of legislation and two work-in-progress policies have caught the attention of WPT, and will be the crux of our legislative agenda moving into the second portion of the 2019-2020 session.
 
First, SB 224/AB 243 relating to delinquent property taxes.
 
Right now, if an individual is on an installment plan for their property taxes and they miss a payment for whatever reason, there are late fees and interest charged to their account. When they do finally make a payment, local governments put that money first towards paying off the penalties and interest, effectively leaving the individual in delinquency, and eventually open to being charged more late fees and interest.
 
Under this legislation, local governments would be required to put any and all money first towards the outstanding principal balance.
 
Secondly, SB 257/AB 288 are the official bills to repeal the remainder of the personal property tax (PPT) in Wisconsin. Though the repeal was not included in the final version of the state, budget, the coalition to repeal is planning to move forward aggressively through the duration of the legislative session. With the state’s fiscal health in good shape, this should be a priority for any lawmaker (or governor) who claims to support Wisconsin’s economy and small businesses. Remember, small businesses employ the lion’s share of Wisconsin’s private sector workforce- not big corporations and companies. It’s Main Street Wisconsin that keeps our state working, and therefore we believe they should be a priority.
 
Next, an idea has been bounced around by some of our members that would prohibit local governments from using property tax dollars to fund political issue advocacy campaigns, or use those dollars to advocate for higher taxes. This idea is still in its infancy, but we believe there is a great case to be made for prohibiting this type of activity.
 
Finally, tax incremental financing, or TIF as it’s referred to commonly. This is a development tool used by government that subsidizes a redevelopment or infrastructure by diverting property tax revenue increases towards the project. No groundbreaking TIF proposals are working their way through the legislature, but WPT is looking to support some common sense reforms that would ensure additional taxpayer protections for local property owners.

If you have any questions, comments, ideas or concerns, please feel free to reach out to WPT at any time by e-mailing info@wptonline.org, or calling (608) 255-7473.
NEWS FROM THE CAPITOL AND AROUND WISCONSIN
NO SALES TAX HOLIDAY THIS YEAR
If you were excited about purchasing certain items later this month without paying sales tax, you are out of luck, according to Governor Tony Evers.

The first-term governor told reporters that there was not sufficient data to show that last year's sales tax holiday, which was implemented by former Governor Scott Walker, changed the buying behaviors of Wisconsin consumers. "Parents are going to be out there purchasing their kids' supplies whether they have an incentive or not," he told Wisconsin Public Radio. "I don't think an incentive that actually worked," he added.

In 2018, 17 states participated. In April of last year, former Governor Scott Walker signed a bill that implemented a sales tax holiday in addition to a $100-per-child tax rebate for Wisconsin parents.

Lawmakers have not authorized a sales tax for 2019, but given Evers' remarks, any such effort would be pointless.
DEMOCRAT LAWMAKER PROPOSAL WOULD END "HAIR DISCRIMINATION"
First term lawmaker, Representative Lakeshia Myers of Milwaukee, has introduced the "Creating a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural hair" bill, or CROWN for short.

The legislation would update the state's employment laws to add protections for individuals who have hairdos known as "afros, braids, locas and twists," according to the press release from Myers' office. Wisconsin currently has employment protections for sex, race, and other notable non-mutable characteristics.

There are currently no laws in either federal or state statutes that protect somebody from employment discrimination based on their hairstyle, however.

"As black people, our natural hair textures have often been weaponized and used as a tol of rejection when seeking or maintaining employment," her statement said. "[Natural hair styles] should not be deemed as unprofessional or used to enforce 'race neutral' grooming policies that overwhelmingly impact people of color."

There is no set date for a public hearing, or any indication that this legislation will move forward during this session.
EVERS TO IMPLEMENT MORE GROUNDWATER PROTECTIONS
Governor Tony Evers is directing the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to implement new standards to protect Wisconsin's groundwater from additional nitrate runoff by targeting liquid manure and fertilizing practices used by farmers.

Evers said the counties that would specifically be targeted are the southwestern counties of Iowa, Grand, and Lafayette. According to the Southwest Wisconsin Groundwater and Geology Study's initial testing, extraordinarily high levels of nitrates were present in wells in those counties. 42% of the 301 wells tested had higher levels of bacteria and nitrates.

The Department of Natural Resources has recently begun to reevaluate NR 151, which implemented more stringent groundwater protections for dairy-heavy counties such as Kewaunee in northeastern Wisconsin. Secretary Preston Cole would not say whether those types of standards would be implemented elsewhere in the state.
SEN. MARKLEIN REQUESTS RESTORED FUNDING FOR ELROY-SPARTA, 400 TRAIL REPAIRS
State Senator Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) and State Representative Tony Kurtz (R-Wonewoc) sent a letter to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Secretary-Designee Preston Cole last week to request immediate restoration of funding in the State Budget to repair the Elroy-Sparta and 400 State Trails that were damaged by flooding in 2018.

Governor Tony Evers vetoed the legislative intent of the $100,000 that was allocated to repair the Elroy-Sparta and 400 State Trails from the 2019-20 State Budget. The Governor left the funding of $100,000, but directed the DNR to "prioritize repairs based on the best interest of the state and all trail users."

"The Legislature's budget set aside $100,000 to repair the Elroy-Sparta and 400 State Trails that were damaged by serious flooding in August and September of 2018. Governor Tony Evers vetoed this provision in the budget, but left the funding in your agency," Marklein and Kurtz wrote to DNR's Secretary Cole. "We respectfully request that you implement the legislative intent of this investment and direct your team to begin repairs immediately..."

More than nine miles of the trail are currently closed due to the hazardous conditions.
EVERS REQUESTS FEDERAL ASSESSMENTS FOR STORM DAMAGE
Governor Tony Evers last week requested that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conduct a Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) later this month for the 19 Wisconsin counties and tribes hit hard by severe storms, flooding, straight line winds and tornadoes, according to their office.

This is the first step in potentially requesting federal disaster aid for local governments and communities.

"Since the storm hit two weeks ago, I have traveled the state, meeting with disaster victims and local officials, and viewing damage," said Governor Evers. "Our first responders, emergency managers, utility workers, the Wisconsin National Guard, volunteers, and local, tribal and state officials have been working tirelessly to help those affected by the storms."

The storms being referenced were those that took place between July 18 and July 20, which brought over 5" of rain, causing flash flooding situations in the western part of the state. Some storms also produced winds of up to 100 miles per hour, and downed hundreds of thousands of trees, as well as caused damage to several utility lines. 17 tornadoes were also recorded.
UW SYSTEM REGENTS PLAN TO IMPLEMENT SOME PERFORMANCE-BASED FUNDING
If a university within the UW System his various performance metrics, it would qualify for more money under a new plan being backed by the UW System Board of Regents.

The board approved the proposal last week, in following with a directive from the Joint Finance Committee, which gave the system $45 million in additional dollars, but first required the university system to design a plan for how they would spend the money.

Most of those dollars would go towards performance-based funding, a type of funding model that was first praised by Governor Scott Walker over several state budget battles. The metrics would include "institutions' efficiencies, workforce contributions, student access and progress in degree completion," according to the plan.

The Joint Committee on Finance has yet to approve the plan and release the funds.
EVERS, KAUL PUSHING FOR RED FLAG LAW
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, a Democrat, is pushing for a so-called "red flag" law in the state. The first-term AG reiterated his plan while appearing on Upfront, a popular political and public affairs talk show. The show was taped days before the tragic shootings in Texas and Ohio.

A red flag law allows for family members or law enforcement to ask courts to remove an individual's guns if they are deemed to be a threat to themselves or another person.

Kaul admitted that this type of law is relatively new in the Wisconsin discussion, but believes it would save lives. Defenders of the second amendment expressed concerns, calling the proposal a "gun grab," and asking whether an individual's automobiles or knives should also be removed if they are deemed a threat.

Then earlier today, Governor Evers called on Republicans to pass legislation that would mandate background checks for all gun purchases in the state. He did not say he would call for a special legislative session session, though he said he would consider doing. Evers also said he would consider using executive authority to enact restrictions.
WEEKLY MEMBER POLL RESULTS
Workers' Comp rates are set to drop 9% in October, saving businesses an estimated $170 million per year. Will this reduction in rates apply to you or your business?
Does not apply

Our rates are already quite low.

Just slightly and we have never had a claim in over 16 years of owning the business

No, small company and have had a few claims that are unbelievable! Unfortunately, when the healthcare providers see a worker's comp claim come in the door, they see $$$$$ signs. Wisconsin needs to look at the workers' comp program and do like many state do, and pay at the medicare level and not limousine coverage level. It is getting to the point that it does not pencil out to have employees.

It is good to see the rates continue to drop. Businesses need all of the breaks they can get.

Yes

Its about time the rates drop, my issue I see people on workers Comp and I fell they could work

Now if you can only set limits on hospitals and doctors.

No

yes

thinking about this, no I have not. I will be sure to let my Insurance agent know to reduce my rate.

no
One democrat lawmaker would like the state to pay for stocking feminine hygiene products in all state, local, and school bathrooms in Wisconsin. Good idea or bad idea?
This is a big nothing burger .. the most irritating part is the bad public relations of this legislator making this an issue. It's not, and only makes her and her party look like idiots.

It is not the taxpayers job to manage peoples personal hygiene needs

That FREE thing again.

Do they provide catheters for those with urinary issues too? That's important too.

This is unnecessary; I do, however, like the idea of making feminine hygiene products tax-exempt.

We had to supply our own when I was in school or bought from a machine.

to me, is next step up from free toilet paper! there is no reason we cant do this.

I support stocking them in the schools. Sometimes very young girls get their periods and need help. Usually it falls on their teachers. I don't think it would be a big deal to stock them in the schools. The schools are aware of who receives free and reduced lunches also.

ridiculous

All I have to say is "REALLY?" Watching the democrats move closer to socialism, they are going to have to seriously consider a party name change next summer. Free everything from caddle to grave, and maybe a guaranteed place in heaven when we die, they sure are promising the moon to any gullible voter.

Then equal rights for men too on their hygiene needs.

Please!

What next ? Every time another thing to cost the taxpayers of this State amountingto more waste instead putting money to roads

Are there not enough stores around our state where they can be bought. Oh wait the Democrats want to give these products away. How about free diapers or depends in the restrooms too.

Are you kidding me???!!!???

More cost, more waste, more money out the door. I do think that having things available is good, yes, but not at the hands of the government. We have better things we should be doing, like lowering outgoing costs (especially elective ones) so we have more money to go into ROADS.

not the lawmakers job we need to vote out of office if this is their best or priority in Madison

for everybody under $50,000.00 annual income. Who pays for all of this, the poor tax payer?

Does anyone have any pride in themselives? We should be able to take care of your own body.

Necessary doesn't mean subsidized. Water and electricity are essential, so will the next step be free utilities? Not to be a dramatic blowhard pundit, but this actually feels like a step towards socialism.

Taxpayer dollars should not be spent to cover personal hygiene products for anyone! If this goes through, where will it end? I would never expect the state to pay for my personal items, and I sure as hell don't want to be paying for someone else's!

would this work? or would people steal. in the middle on this

Guarantee it will then need to be staffed because of stealing for the sake of stealing. "Hey, these are great for cleaning the oil off the garage floor." Then complaints of who maintains them in public restrooms. Will bring way more trouble than it cures. Sales tax free was an appropriate move, however.
A proposal in the legislature would cap the price of insulin in Wisconsin. After reading the article, good idea or bad idea?
Drug companies are run by scoundrals. They have dozens of drugs that people need to stay alive and have no problem with raising their prices because people MUST pay whatever they set the price at. It's price gouging plain and simple, and the only entity that can stop it is government.

Other regulation is necessary. When the Ins. Co. IS the provider.... If that were a stock n bond company we would SCREAM insider trading.

I know insulin is expensive and that some insurance does not pay the whole amount. Being a Type 1 diabetic not yet on insulin, I know how expensive my meds and supplies are.

Prices are way to high.

any steps to reign in runaway pharma prices is better than not.

Its a sin what the drug companies charge for insulin since it is produces quite inexpensively.

Most drugs on the market are not cheap, I feel that this would open up doors for Chemo drugs and everything else. Medical expenses are ot of this world and I understand peoples frustration with insulin but really what makes it more important than other drugs that people need?

I realize so many people use insulin, but like any mandate of this type, everyone who purchases insurance pays for their insurance. Educate yourselves people, and start eating healthier to avoid poor health later in life. I realize some can't help it, but there are many who ignore the warning signs and continue to eat the processed foods that create the problem.

If it will save money for those whom are need of insulin then it is worth it.

My wife is on insulin and I know the drug companies have raise the price but do we have to pass a law to control price

It will just cause a price hike in other drugs

We have TWO Type 1 diabetic children. We have all sorts of costs involved with their insulin, and the medical community is making it ridiculous to get enough insulin to cover their needs, and makes it horrible if you get a cracked vial or a vial with a broken seal. We have had a LOT of trouble being able to get the correct amounts of insulin, as well as the correct needles, ready availability of all sorts of things. Life-necessary supplies like Insulin should NOT be allowed to be a cash cow. I have a friend in Michigan who has to pay over $1500/month for his insulin needs. Capping insulin costs for type 1 diabetics is great. For Type 2 diabetics, a lot of them need to get on the road to becoming non-insulin-dependant.....

Government needs to control price of all prescription drugs not just insulin, ask Canada or Mexico how they control the largest greed/lobbyist group

If you cap the price will the supply dwindle?

I do not need this, but if there is gouging for needy people, that is wrong.
A group of democrat lawmakers would like to ease voting restrictions for convicted felons who have been released from prison. After reading the article, good idea or bad idea?
Once you've paid your time, you've paid your time. If you keep ex-cons as 2nd class citizens, they will behave like 2nd class citizens.

It's just a step closer to getting illegal aliens to vote

Provided they have completed their sentence ... why not return that civic right?

I believe if you are a convicted felon, the right to vote should not be a repeat offender for a period of time before voting rights are returned to prove they have been rehabilitated.

Great idea - voter suppression is NEVER okay! The current laws are racist.

No they should not have the right to vote,, that why their prison they lost their rights.

penalty paid. free people. no reason to restrict voting rights.

I think people should have to prove themselves worthy of voting again. If they turn their lives around let them vote.

Convicted felons do not deserve to vote!

I think our society as a whole is still about redemption, once a person does their time and pays their debt, if they show their voting privilege should be restored, but all means let them participate in elections once again.

When the individual broke the law, they lost their legal rights.

Advantage Dems

They are convicted felons next democrat lawmakers will come up with the idea when in prison they can vote, my understanding you committed a crime you loss your to vote

NO voting rights for convicted felons, ever. That is part of their punishment

That is a privilege people lose when they commit a felony.

Quit messing with voting laws. Quit re-drawing districts. Go do your jobs and earn your votes the right way, and not by getting absentee ballots from college kids.

do the crime do the time, convicted felons will have more rights than the working class

no they lost there rights

Dumb

By committing a felon you give up your right to take part in your election process.

I believe that it is fundamental for American citizens to have a voice in their government. Restrict other freedoms.

why? Because they can not make reasonable decisions?

It is part of the punishment of the incarceration. Do the same democrats say they should get firearm privileges returned to them??
On this day in 1958, NASA was created, as a "civilian agency responsible for coordinating America's activities in space." Earlier this month, we also celebrated the 50 year anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. And last week, Vice President Mike Pence unveiled a spacecraft that NASA is aiming to take astronauts back to the moon in 2024. Were you alive for the moon landing? How old were you? Did you watch it live? Do you think the United States should return to the moon? Are you planning to join more than a million others to storm Area 51 in September? (That's a joke...)
I was 4 months old and sadly remember nothing of the moon landing. I imagine it was quite super.

yes I was alive,I was 15 years old. The U.S. should only return to the moon if there is a good reason to,not just for fun

About 7 YO. Did not watch live TV. on returning ... meh. The aliens have already moved on to another secret location.

Yes I was alive but never watched it.

I was alive and was 4 years old so do remember it and watching it on TV with my parents. I guess it would be ok to return to the moon for good reason or important to exploration.

I was about twenty-seven and remember watching it on TV.

Send Bernie Sanders and the other Dims!

Yes, 19 years, yes I did watch it on tv. I think its great that we have people going to the moom.

6, and yes I watched it...still remember the grainy black and whites with "Live from the Moon" flashing on the bottom of the screen! And we should have never left...waited too long for us to go back. and pass on 51....lol...

I was nine years old when the astronauts made it to the moon. It was awesome. I would like more money to be spent on saving our oceans, rather than going to the moon again.

I was 10 years old and have been meaning to ask my parents if we watched it. I really do not remember see it except in later life videos. I really do not care one way or the other about going back to the moon

Yes, 7 years old. We were at my grandparents house and I remember them telling us to come in a watch the (black & white) TV to see an important event in history. We did, as a 7 years old kid it was like can be go back to playing now! Its fine if we return to the moon, not sure I'd ever want to go visit the Moon.

It would be better use of funds to take care of our own here in the US whom are homeless or need of assistance.

Yes, 11, Yes, Not sure.

I was 12 years old and visiting a great aunt. They had a TV and we were able to watch it.

Yes

I was a toddler and did not watch it LIVE.

such a waste of hard earned tax payer money, what purpose does it serve? will it fix roads or the health care nightmare

I was 27 when we landed on the moon and we should go back on a public-private partnership.

yes 16 at the time

25, I WATCHED IT, yes go back.

We should be back in space. I did watch the landing early in the morning from my extended a expanse vacation to south east Asia. I saw it on a nine inch TV from Fire Support Base, TonTam, South Veitnam. I was 24 years of age.

Nope.

I was 12 when we set foot on the moon. What a moment that united not only the USA, but the world!! I am in favor of a habitat on the moon.

I was 12 years old when the moon landing happened. I remember being at a vacation cottage on Lake Wisconsin with my family.
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-3731   Memo  Conviction Records (Taylor, Chris) Prohibiting the consideration of the conviction record of an applicant for employment before the applicant has been selected for an interview. Deadline: Friday, August 9, 5 pm

LRB-3764   Memo  Lead Line Bonding (Johnson, LaTonya) Bonding for lead service line replacement and granting bonding authority. Deadline: Friday, August 9, 5 pm

LRB-2809   Memo  FEMA Payments (Marklein, Howard) Federal emergency management assistance payments to municipalities. Deadline: Friday, August 9, Noon

LRB-3550   Memo  Tax Credit Repeal (Marklein, Howard) Repealing obsolete refundable tax credits. Deadline: Wednesday, August 14

LRB-0767   Memo  Reporting Emergencies (Cowles, Rob) Falsely reporting an emergency and providing a penalty. Deadline: Monday, August 12, 5 pm

LRB-3233   Memo  Detention Facility Contracts (Cabrera, Marisabel) Local contracts with the federal government related to housing or detaining persons in locked detention facilities and a limitation on establishing county secured facilities. Deadline: Wednesday, August 14, 5 pm

LRB-3246   Memo  Law Enforcement Cooperation Limits (Cabrera, Marisabel) Limiting the cooperation of state and local law enforcement officers with certain federal immigration enforcement activities. Deadline: Wednesday, August 14, 5 pm

LRB-0400   Memo  Overweight Permits (Tiffany, Tom) Overweight permits for vehicles or vehicle combinations with six or more axles. Deadline: Wednesday, August 14

LRB-3687   Memo  Vaping Restrictions (Mursau, Jeff) Restrictions on the use of products used for inhaling or exhaling vapor. Deadline: Thursday, August 15

LRB-0892   Memo  Lead Hazard Tax Credit (Gruszynski, Staush) Creating a nonrefundable individual and corporate income and franchise tax credit for costs paid to eliminate exposure to a lead hazard in a dwelling. Deadline: Friday, August 9, 5 pm

LRB-3827   Memo  Commending Emergency Personnel (Nygren, John) Commending emergency response personnel across the state for their work during the July 2019 severe weather incidents. Deadline: Friday, August 9, 5 pm

LRB-3630   Memo  Hairstyle Discrimination (Myers, Lakeshia) Prohibiting discrimination based on hairstyle. Deadline: Thursday, August 29, 5 pm

LRB-2251   Memo  Advertising Signs (Stuck, Amanda) Outdoor advertising signs, granting rule-making authority, and making an appropriation. Deadline: Thursday, August 15, 5pm

LRB-2839   Memo  Raising Tobacco Age (Marklein, Howard) Raising the legal age for sale, purchase, and possession of cigarettes and nicotine and tobacco products, providing a legal age for sale, purchase, and possession of vapor products, and providing a penalty. Deadline: Monday, August 12, Noon

LRB-1502   Memo  Lead Testing (Ohnstad, Tod) Testing for lead in drinking water in buildings used for child care and granting rule-making authority. Deadline: Friday, August 16