FEBRUARY 3, 2020
The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) last week released the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates of unemployment and employment statistics for Wisconsin metropolitan areas, major cities and counties in Wisconsin for December 2018.

According to the data, in metro areas for December, unemployment rates declined or stayed the same in two of Wisconsin's 12 metro areas over the month. The largest decline occured in Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis metro area.

In municipalities, unemployment rates declined or stayed the same over the month in 18 of Wisconsin's 33 largest cities. The largest decreases occurred in Caledonia, Kenosha, Greenfield, Milwaukee, and West Bend.

Unemployment in counties declined or stayed the same in nine of Wisconsin's 72 counties over the month. The largest decrease occurred in Menominee County.
Today, Senator Patty Schachtner (D-Somerset), along with Senate Democrat Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) introduced a bill that would require the state to buy American-made materials for state projects.

"Buy American bills strengthen America's economy by supporting our nation's hardworking men and women in a variety of industries," a statement from Senator Schachtner's office reads. "[The bills] would require that Wisconsin taxpayer money is used to support American businesses when purchasing materials. It would also create a provision that requires public contractors to use materials manufactured in America."

Another lawmaker, Rep. Tip McGuire (D-Kenosha) introduced bills that would amend the state's constitution, which currently requires that stationary purchases be awarded to the lowest bidder. "This legislation requires that Wisconsin purchase from the lowest bidder operating in the state, unless no Wisconsin-based companies bid," his statement says.
A move in the State Legislature to allow bars in the Milwaukee area to stay open until 4:00AM during the Democrat National Convention in July is being tethered to a proposal that would require individuals who open their private barns for private parties, also known as "wedding barns," to obtain a $2,000 per year license to serve liquor on their property.

The measure would also require wedding barn owners to obtain certain forms of insurance and force them to close their establishments by midnight. The lawmaker pushing for the changes is the former head of the Wisconsin Tavern League, a powerful lobby in the halls of the State Capitol, and an organization that in the last legislative session pushed to require Wisconsin's farmers making extra money by renting out their barns to obtain a Class A liquor license- a next to impossible task for individuals already struggling to make ends meet. The bill went so far that it would have made tailgating outside of Lambeau Field and Miller Park illegal.

Late last week, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald signaled that he did not feel the legislation would move forward in the Senate, which is expected to wrap up its business for the year in March.
State Senator Kathy Bernier (R-Chippewa Falls) and Representative Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma) are pushing to receive a public hearing in the Capitol regarding their legislation that would legalize and tightly regulate medical marijuana in Wisconsin.

Rep. Felzkowski, who serves as Assistant Majority Leader of the Republican Assembly Caucus, told Wisconsin Eye network last week that there are an estimated 600,000 individuals in Wisconsin who would use medicinal marijuana if they could.

Sen. Bernier echoed a "slippery slope" argument that she has heard from her fellow Republican colleagues that if you legalize medicinal marijuana, it would all but open the door for recreational use in the state- which is why they would not support Governor Evers' budget proposal for medicinal legalization.

The legislation has not yet been scheduled for the public hearing in a standing committee. The State Assembly is expected to adjourn the legislative session by the end of February for the year.
Governor Tony Evers last week signed Executive Order #67, creating the Governor's Task Force on Student Debt. The task force will be chaired by Department of Financial Institutions Kathy Secretary Blumenfeld.

The task force is charged with assessing student debt in Wisconsin and providing long-term strategies to reduce education-related debt, prevent abusive practices by loan companies, and improve financial literacy education. Student loan debt has recently surpassed $24 billion, with 64% of each college graduate in 2018 having an average $30,000 loan debt.

“For too many Wisconsinites additional education or job training is out of reach. We need to address college affordability and ensure that a great education doesn't come at the cost of decades of crippling debt,” said Gov. Evers. “Student debt is preventing folks from buying a car, starting a business, saving for retirement, and starting a family, and that is ultimately holding back our state and our economy. Student debt isn't going away any time soon, but this task force will be a meaningful first step in addressing this issue in our state.”

Evers signed the executive order at Waukesha County Technical College in Pewaukee.
Last week, State Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) introduced a bill that is aimed at addressing the growing issue of PFAS contamination, and to go farther than the legislation that was passed the prior week.

"Today, we are pleased to announce a bipartisan bill that will help the state better regulate PFAS chemicals and endure clean drinking water for residents in contaminated areas," said Sen. Hansen and Rep. Nygren. "This bill is another piece of legislation in response to PFAS contamination that togther represent a swift and aggressive response by the state to ensure clean drinking water for residents across the state of Wisconsin."

"This bill, which is supported by the Department of Natural Resources, provides the regulatory framework to clean-up and stop the flow of PFAS into the environment and our constituents' drinking water. The bill also funds additional research to help Wisconsin stay ahead of future contamination issues and creates a grant program to assist local units of government with the clean-up of PFAS contamination."

In their statement, the lawmakers recognized that this is just another step in the fight to clean up and combat PFAS contamination, and that the legislation is not the complete answer to the problem. The lawmakers also signaled they intend to get the bill passed and to Governor Evers before the end of the legislative session.
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After reading about Governor Evers' proposals for dairy farmers, what do you think?
Our government needs to look into the growing monopoly control of agribusiness. Much of it is controlled by 4 businesses: Bayer/Monstanto, Chem China/Syngenta, Corteva/DuPont and Agreliant Brands. When the farmer goes to sell his products he is met also with a limited number of places to sell their products.

Seems like a lot of hot air from Evers. Doesn't he realize hot air creates "Global Warming"

I don't think Evers can influence a world market.

As a former dairy farmer, I don't think dairy farmers are looking for hand outs, but let them earn a living. It doesn't help when the USA/Mexico/Canada was held up so long by the House

I like he's looking at helping small farms and not just the giant farms that are popping up everywhere. Expanding the mental health access for farmers is a really good option. Too many farmers have suffered and agonized over trying to keep their farms and way of life afloat. The number of farmers who have committed suicide in the last few years keeps going up. The mental anguish of being the generation that couldn't make it weighs very heavy on them

push exports

I think to many large dairy farms.and not putting much effort to small family farms, also there is other farmers in this state that could use help

The governor’s package does more to increase the size of government than actually help our rural areas.

This is just another case of the Dems with a feel good ideas what will make press but no difference at the producer level.

His plans always involve massive government subsidies, which I think needs to be reduced/removed in all industry.

Leave WEDC alone - it's fine, and doesn't need any new sections to do this. It's very existence is to do this. You just need to let them know to focus there.

It's wonderful that the science and technology of farming has increased efficiencies. However, dairy farmers are producing a product without any demand; they are their own worst enemy. Meanwhile, our wells, lakes, and rivers are polluted with more and more runoff. Why is the state continuing to foster an industry that's destroying our natural resources? Just because we always have? It's time to reconsider the state's economic drivers and environmental costs...

Without milk price supports for small dairy it will do little good. You are not going to keep people farming if they need a second job to support it!

why keep subsidizing?

President Trump's trade deals will do more for our farmers than Evers throwing money around will ever do.

the devil is in the details

to little to late for the small family farms

What help would any of these proposals amount to in $ in their pockets

Why did it take so long!

Timeline is to slow!

It seems to me that he is trying to take credit for the export deals that have been worked out by our president. Lets give credit where credit is due!
Governor Evers has created a "People's Maps Commission." After reading the article...
Our state is both naturally and artificially divided. Having open maps decided by non-politicians would be a good thing, but the GOP will fight it as hard as they can because they need to cling to power by manipulating districts instead of getting more votes.

I am very skeptical about this

The legislature controls the maps, but the Governor can make his suggestions.

Show me how we get a truly non partisan committee and I would agree with the idea. Everyone brings some "baggage" to the table no matter how "impartial" they claim to be. BAD IDEA EVERS

Constitution says legislature draws district maps.

I live close to Madison, and for years I was represented by liberals that didn't share any of my views, not too fun. I am now represented by someone with my same views and many of those living in my area.

Take this out of the political parties hands. Each side has manipulated the maps to their benefit and it gets worse every time. The Republicans did it last and it was a gross injustice to the people. This should be done by independent means and not having political party members or lobbyists is crucial

drawing district maps needs to be taken away from the politicians

I can not see this commision be bye partism. I still feel that the State of Iowa system is a good method
The redistrcting process is already set up and seems to work acceptably

Taking things away from elected officials is never a good idea.

I don't trust any politician to do this stuff. I know they said no party involvement, but I've heard that before.

Yes, the people should create the maps. Another commission?

Stop creating more government. Stop messing with this.

The process is always biased to who is in charge, so it may never be used, but I am curious to see how it compares to the Republican and Democrat drawn maps.

The people should pick their representatives, not the other way around. Seems simple enough for me. Wisconsin's current maps are well-documented for gerrymandering and then, millions in taxpayer dollars were spent defending these rigged maps. Evers commission is aligned with how maps are created in Iowa, recognized as a leader in nonpartisan and fair districting.

redistricting is needed to bring fairness back to the voters. This has been abused far too long for political gain.

get the maps straightened out, but do we really need yet another commission to figure this out?

Need to get politics out of districting

It's the legislature's job

Another commission. Not enough people to serve on all of them.

The party in power at the time of census has earned the right to draw the lines, but unfortunately too much manipulation.

Why not be independant lie in Iowa.
Do you think the state should use new projected revenues for the purpose of providing property tax relief?
The last state budget borrowed $332 MILLION DOLLARS. Pay that off first.

my protperty taxes increased $2900. this year. though i hear they were down this year for the state?

I think the money could be spread in 3 areas, first rainy day fund, mental health support in schools, and finally property tax relief. This is great news that our state has some extra money. Don't waste so much time arguing, cooperate. Try it you may like it.


Of course, as a tax payer, I like property tax relief. However, I'm for reducing our debt first.

Build up rainy day fund.

One half should be pit in the rainy day fund and could not be used except in extreme emergency, such as during a recession.

manybe some or roads

How about we ask the people of Wisconsin if they would like it back or use it for one or more of our many needs!

any tax relief would be nice

Put some of this money toward our road system

Property taxes are a killer in Wisconsin

Whats wrong with using it for instructure repair?

Although using extra tax dollars to provide tax relief is a little backwards.

Invest money into fixing our roads. No new roads, just repair what we have.

I think that some of it should go for property tax relief and some of it should fix our roads.

Property tax relief AND put it into the rainy day fund.

Any tax relief would be welcomed.

Partially, yes. Rainy day fund? Yes. Refunding the transportaion budget?

rainy day fund

Maybe rainy day fund or pay off debt. Or could put into roads

Property tax relief and ROADS!!!!!!!!!

Give it back to townships to fix roads.

Yeeeeersssss! Property Tax Relief!!!

Over used source of revenue needs to come down. What better way than with revenue growth instead of some other tax.

We need help.

Need to see it before we decide what to do with the excess!
A GOP bill meant to reduce the impacts of PFAS chemicals on its way to Governor Evers' desk. Democrats argue it does not go far enough. After reading the article...
People deserve clean drinking water.

Its a good start. Also time to look at the environmental impact of factory farms on local drinking water. There should be a limit on how many cows can be concentrated into one area.

Bad idea. So what does Gov Evers plan to replace this firefighting foam with? There are trade offs between saving lifes from fires such as plane crashes and traffic wrecks where foam is needed. It may well be that foam is being used too many times but is an essential tool for firefighters.

Honestly, I haven't looked into it's impact. I think the bill goes far enough, at this point. You have to start somewhere and it sounds like the Democratic bill would take way to much to implement. One step at a time...

If more should be done, let's see, but at least a step in the right direction

They are finding this in the waters near me, seems to me we should do everything we can to keep our environment free of toxins.

Its to bad that we ever used PFAS, as there is other foam products that are not a hazard

It is a start.

We live in a time that one party will always argue against anything the other party does. It's our spiral to our death right now.

Got to start somewhere!

Don't know enough. Based on the article, fire foam is a fraction of the total use since it is in clothes, cookware, etc....

There's not enough information in the article to determine if it goes far enough. I suspect PFAS are banned in California and internationally due to cancer causation. We can always go the extra mile to protect public health.

We may have to do more

Bill goes to far. Really how much of this foam is being used?

Good first step, can always tighten it more.

Its a good start though.

I think that it is okay to start slowly with everything!
No bills to report.
No bills to report.
LRB-5491   Memo  Health Care Discounts (Kooyenga, Dale) Allowing discounts for prompt payment of health care fees. Deadline: Monday, January 27, 5 pm

LRB-5451   Memo  Bail Jumping (Ott, Jim) Bail for a criminal defendant who is charged with bail jumping. Deadline: Tuesday, January 28, 3 pm

LRB-4675   Memo  Vehicle Registration (Schraa, Michael) Registration and operations of certain special interest or reconstructed, replica, or street modified vehicles. Deadline: Friday, January 31

LRB-3546   Memo  Child Welfare Notifications (Emerson, Jodi) Notifying a child welfare agency and a parent, guardian, and legal custodian of the presence of a child in a runaway home. Deadline: Friday, January 31, 5 pm

LRB-2676   Memo  Crowdfunding (Zamarrippa, JoCasta) Crowdfunding projects for creating jobs or promoting economic growth. Deadline: Monday, February 3, Noon

LRB-4877   Memo  PSC Authority (Smith, Jeff) The Public Service Commission's authority to obtain information about Internet service availability, broadband expansion grants, and making an appropriation. Deadline: Wednesday, February 5, 4 pm

LRB-1076   Memo  Advertising Broadband (Smith, Jeff) Advertising broadband and other Internet speeds and providing a standardized broadband label. Deadline: Wednesday, February 5, 4 pm

LRB-4874   Memo  Broadband Grant Priority (Schachtner, Patty) Prioritizing certain farm projects under the broadband expansion grant program. Deadline: Wednesday, February 5, 4 pm

LRB-4883   Memo  Conduit Installation (Smith, Jeff) Installation of empty conduit lines as part of a digging project in a right-of-way and offers of service from fiber optic cable broadband lines installed in rights-of-way. Deadline: Wednesday, February 5, 4 pm

LRB-4876   Memo  Broadband Grants (Smith, Jeff) Broadband expansion grants for cities, villages, towns, and counties and telecommunications-related construction projects of cities, villages and towns. Deadline: Wednesday, February 5, 4 pm

LRB-4875   Memo  Broadband Grants (Smith, Jeff) Requirements for broadband expansion grants and making an appropriation. Deadline: Wednesday, February 5, 4 pm

LRB-5230   Memo  Paper Products Month (Tiffany, Tom) Proclaiming May 2020 as Paper and Forestry Products Month in Wisconsin. Deadline: Monday, February 10

LRB-4567   Memo  Opioid Data System (LeMahieu, Devin) Opioid and methamphetamine data system and making an appropriation. Deadline: Thursday, January 30, 5 pm

LRB-2470   Memo  Parental Choice Phaseout (Brostoff, Jonathan) Phasing out parental choice programs and the Special Needs Scholarship Program, repealing the achievement gap reduction program and the student achievement guarantee program, creating a new student achievement guarantee program, granting rule-making authority, and making an appropriation. Deadline: Tuesday, February 4, 5 pm

LRB-5502   Memo  UW-Madison Women's Volleyball (Taylor, Chris) Congratulating the University of Wisconsin-Madison Badgers Women's Volleyball team on an incredible 2019 season and being NCAA Finalists. Deadline: Tuesday, February 4, Noon

LRB-4321   Memo  Teacher Loan Program (Johnson, LaTonya) Allowing certain child care providers to participate in the teacher loan program and making an appropriation. Deadline: Thursday, February 6, 5 pm

LRB-5482   Memo  Honoring Rick Hill (Steineke, Jim) Honoring the life and service of Richard G. "Rick" Hill, former Chairman of the Oneida Nation. Deadline: Monday, February 10, Noon

LRB-5506   Memo  Vehicle Theft (Kapenga, Chris) Theft of a vehicle; victim impact panels; increased penalties for reckless driving; increased penalties for fleeing an officer; and providing a penalty. Deadline: Thursday, January 30, 2 pm

LRB-4622   Memo  Anatomical Donor (Thiesfeldt, Jeremy) Electing to be a donor of an anatomical gift when applying for a hunting, fishing, or trapping license; the age at which a person may elect to be a donor of an anatomical gift; and making an appropriation. Deadline: Monday, February 3

LRB-4049   Memo  Bingo Licenses (Magnafici, Gae) Bingo licenses. Deadline: Tuesday, February 4

LRB-3885   Memo  Minority Health Grants (Stubbs, Shelia) Minority health grants. Deadline: Wednesday, February 5

LRB-3540   Memo  Restorative Court Grant (Stubbs, Shelia) Creating a community restorative court program and making an appropriation. Deadline: Wednesday, February 5

LRB-0514   Memo  Community Development Tax Credit (Shankland, Katrina) An income and franchise tax credit for investments in a community development financial institution. Deadline: Wednesday, February 5, 4 pm

LRB-4120   Memo  Access to Data (Zimmerman, Shannon) Consumer access to personal data processed by a controller and providing a penalty. Deadline: Thursday, February 6

LRB-4121   Memo  Deleting Data (Zimmerman, Shannon) Deletion of consumer personal data by controllers and providing a penalty. Deadline: Thursday, February 6

LRB-4122   Memo  Data Restrictions (Zimmerman, Shannon) Restricting controllers from using consumer data and providing a penalty. Deadline: Thursday, February 6

LRB-4148   Memo  Food Packaging Chemicals (Gruszynski, Staush) Regulating certain chemicals in food packaging. Deadline: Monday, February 10, 4 pm

LRB-4959   Memo  Policing Grants (Darling, Alberta) Grants to political subdivisions for additional policing and strategic planning to combat crime and making an appropriation. Deadline: Friday, January 31, Noon

LRB-5536   Memo  Sexual Assault Bill of Rights (Steffen, David) Creating a sexual assault victim bill of rights; collection and reporting of data regarding sexual assault kits; storage and processing of sexual assault kits; tracking of sexual assault kits in sexual assault cases; and requiring the exercise of rule-making authority. Deadline: Friday, January 31, 4 pm

LRB-5377   Memo  Political Sign Display (Darling, Alberta) The rights of members of homeowners' associations and housing cooperatives to display political signs. Deadline: Wednesday, February 5

LRB-4911   Memo  Collective Bargaining (Larson, Chris) Bargaining over wages, hours, and conditions of employment for public employees. Deadline: Saturday, February 8, 4 pm

LRB-4913   Memo  Civil Service System (Larson, Chris) The state civil service system. Deadline: Saturday, February 8, 4 pm

LRB-5582   Memo  School Safety Plans (Kerkman, Sam) School safety plans. Deadline: Monday, February 3

LRB-5428   Memo  Crossing Railroads (Bernier, Kathy) Pedestrians crossing railroads. Deadline: Tuesday, February 4, 5 pm

LRB-5005   Memo  Measuring School Improvement (Craig, Dave) Measuring a school district's improvement for the school and school district accountability report. Deadline: Wednesday, February 5, 5 pm

LRB-5049   Memo  Athletic Facility Grants (Knodl, Dan) Construction of or improvements to indoor, athletic or aquatic facilities, granting bonding authority, and making an appropriation. Deadline: Wednesday, February 5, Noon

LRB-5562   Memo  Black History Month (Myers, Lakeshia) Proclaiming February 2020 as Black History Month. Deadline: Thursday, February 6

LRB-5252   Memo  Savings Plan Distributions (Erpenbach, Jon) Distributions from a federal college savings plan to pay principal and interest on qualified education loans and for materials and equipment used in an apprenticeship program. Deadline: Friday, February 7, 5 pm