JANUARY 20, 2020
Two powerful Wisconsin lawmakers last week called for an audit of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, the agency charged with overseeing the state's public schools system. The lawmakers were Co-Chair of the Joint Finance Committee, Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette), and Chairman of the Assembly Education Committee, Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac).

"Representing nearly one-fifth of the entire state budget, the Department of Public Instruction budget has increased by nearly $3 billion since 2012," said Rep. Nygren. "Despite providing more resources than even for public schools, student achievement in reading, unfortunately, continues to decline."

"Wisconsin's overall test scores are headed in the wrong direction. Especially concerning is the downward trend in reading scores, the core of education attainment," said Rep. Thiesfeldt. "Recent Forward Exam results show that 60% of Wisconsin students cannot read or write at grade level. Taxpayers and students deserve better."

The proposed audit would examine approaches to reading instruction and resulting student achievement. Specifically, the Legislative Audit Bureau would examine methods of reading instruction utilized in Wisconsin's schools, the impact of the Foundations of Reading Test on teacher licensure, and whether DPI consistently measures student achievement. A similar audit was last conducted in 1998.
Local governments last week saw the first of the additional local road funding provided by the 2019-2021 budget. Governor Evers announced that local governments received quarterly payments totaling $132,198,446 for General Transportation Aids, Connecting Highway Aids, and Expressway Policing Aids from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

General Transportation Aids help defray the costs of constructing, maintaining, and operating roads and streets under local jurisdiction. Connecting Highway Aids reimburse municipalities for maintenance and traffic control of local roads that connect segments of the state highway system.

"We're taking the first steps in providing municipalities with the additional resources they need to prioritize and complete badly needed improvements to local roadways," Governor Evers said.

For calendar year 2020, local governments will receive an estimated $521 million to offset transportation related projects, a ten percent increase over the last state budget.
Good news for public employees who pay in to the Wisconsin Retirement System: The main investment fund for almost all of Wisconsin's public sector employees' retirement grew by a whopping 20% in 2019, according to the State of Wisconsin Investment Board.

The "core fund," or fund with least amount of risk, bounced back after losing 3.3% in 2018, and the riskier investment fund, or "variable fund," grew 28.6% in 2018. The five year rate of return on the variable fund is 9.8%, and 7.8% for the core fund.

These investment funds pay for the retirements of over 635,000 current and former public workers, along with the University of Wisconsin System, school district employees, and local government bodies as well.
According to a new study out by Kiplinger last week, which took a look at the economic outlooks of each individual state and Washington, D.C., Wisconsin's projected job growth through 2020 is at 0.4%, or tired for 42nd in the nation.

"Generally, tax revenues flowing to states should remain healthy in the next several quarters due to rising incomes, modest inflation, and local unemployment," a source says. "State spending should rise only modestly in the coming year, according to the report, and states are putting more money in their rainy-day accounts."

The report also lays out why some states may see slower-than-average job growth, including some Midwestern states such as Wisconsin- the trade war between the United States and China, where manufacturing and farmers make up a massive part of the state's economy. The impacts of the new Phase 1 Trade Deal with China could drastically improve these outlooks.
A $700 million natural gas plant planned in the City of Superior was given the green light by regulators with the Wisconsin Public Service Commission last week, on 2-1 vote.

The "Nemadji Trail Energy Center" was given the certificate of public convenience and necessity, moving the plan forward, which will be located between Endbridge Energy's Superior terminal, and the Nemadji River. The plant is expected to produce between 525 and 625 megawatts of power, and is a joint venture between Minnesota Power and La Crosse-based Dairyland Power Cooperative.

The two companies believe that the new plant, which will burn natural gas, will help step in when solar and wind power aren't producing peak numbers. Environmental groups such as the Sierra Club called the decision by the PSC "disappointing," citing the process of extracting natural gas, and impacts on air and water.

Moving forward, the project will still need to get offical permits from both the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the City of Superior, and the Army Corps of Engineers.
Wisconsin farmers and businesses seeking to grow their local markets are encouraged to apply for 2020 Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin producer and processor grants. Proposals must be received by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) by noon, February 28, 2020.

Each proposal must include a cover page, a completed budget template and project description. Applications are available online by clicking here.A total of $300,000 is available in grant funding, and the max award for each project is $50,000. Grant applicants must provide a cash or in-kind match of at least 50 percent of the total project budget.

Qualified applicants include individuals, groups or businesses involved in Wisconsin production agriculture, food processing, food distribution, food warehousing, retain food establishments, or agricultural tourism operations.

Since its inception in 2008, the program has funded 58 projects, totaling more than $1.6 million.
The Chippewa Valley Technical College District Board last week approved a resolution calling for a referendum to be placed on the ballot on the April 7 Election Day this year.

The referendum would seek to gain approval from voters to borrow $48.8 million to fund different projects, $28 million to construct a new Transportation Education Center, $9.2 million to add on to and remodel the Emergency Services Education Center, among other items. If approved by voters, property taxpayers in the 11 county district servicing CVTC would pay back all dollars borrowed plus interest. The average property tax increase would be $13 per year per $100,000 of value.

The wording on the ballot was approved to read: "Shall the Chippewa Valley Technical College District, Wisconsin be authorized to issue pursuant to Chapter 67 of the Wisconsin Statutes, general obligation bonds or promissory notes in an amount not to exceed $48,800,000 for the public purpose of paying the cost of capital expenditures for the purchase or construction of buildings, building additions, remodeling and improvements, the acquisition of sites, and the purchase of fixed and other equipment at District locations, including, but not limited to, Eau Claire, River Falls, Chippewa Falls, Menomonie, the Emergency Services Education Center, the Manufacturing Education Center, a new Transportation Education Center, and land near the current River Falls Campus?"
By clicking the link, you acknowledge 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. It is the right of WPT to remove responses that what the organization deems to be vulgar, hateful, or inflammatory language.
What do you think of a legislative proposal that would require written and verbal informed consent before medical students perform pelvic exams while a patient is under anesthesia?
This is a solution in search of a problem.

why would they have to perform when the patient is under? Sounds like a no-brainer to me!

Nobody should be subjected to an unauthorized exam of any nature, especially an exam of thepelvic region. The thought of this practice makes me cringe!

Yes the patient should have the written & and be verbal informed. Your only in there for the precedure that you sign for in the first place.I had never heard of medical students doing this.. I have had many surgeries and after hearing this I feel violated.

I thing was is happening these days i feel a good idea

Do not limit this to only the pelvic area, it should be the entire body.

Seems logical to give someone permission to dig around down there.

Common Sense -didn't think it would be any other way. When Dr's have a student with them during an exam they get consent to have a student in the room during the exam. Why wouldn't they do the same when your under anesthesia?

don't have enough information on this to consider.

I am not sure why we have help professionals doing this without consent, so this keeps all involved from getting in trouble.

I can't believe this isn't a law already.

Allowing med students to perform these exams while patients are unaware should not be allowed.

Yes, I was one of those students. I think informed consent for both patient and student appropriate and necessary in this day in age.

How is this not already a law?

Good call.
Democrat lawmakers have a proposal that would require presidential candidates pay local governments up front for police and public safety costs. Good idea or bad idea?
I sure wouldn't want my village to be stuck with a bill for ANY politician.

Good idea. But I am afraid no Deamonrats would ever be able to have an event in Wisconsin again

I see their campaigns as "advertising". If they want to advertise in my neighborhood they should be required to pay the costs involved.

First amendment violation

Yes they should pay the local governments.. Good idea. Alot of police & public are used for their safety and both parties need to pay. I would say for all candidates who want a visit a town, city, not just presidential.

I agree why should local government pay for there cost

I everyone else must follow that policy the these people should not expect an exception.

As long as the candidates know up front what they are getting and we live up to our end of the bargain.

Pay up or stay home.

left or right, i think it better if that cost is public and paid prior or soon after. Difficult to consider the total cost until after the event; a deposit made public would be better.

I am not sure why the locality is not taking legal action to recover costs. At the same time the candidates should be give a cost estimate for the VIP protection.

How would you know what those costs are? What if there is minimal cost and you over-paid? This sounds like a way to take more money from people. I do not like this...

Communities shouldn't have to lose money on this.

Who is paying for whose party? You want to elect someone and have regional support staff that is taxpayer funded help you for no cost?? I think not!

isn't that part of why they fundraise? taxpayers shouldn't have to fund candidates travels

I feel this is unacceptable, they should be held to a higher standard than that, but its politics so its always been a scam at taxpayers expense, and always will be

As long as it is the same for both parties

If other organizations have to pay in full to get a permit, presidential candidates should, also. It’s disgusting that the 2016 campaigns have outstanding balances.

Local governments are already strapped for money. Why shouldn’t the candidates pay for it.

With the ungodly amount of money campaigns spend, surely they should be able to pay the municipalities for their costs for police and other bills that are incurred!
Milwaukee will again consider providing fifty low-income families with $500 per month for 18 months. Thoughts?
We need to start planning for the future where robots take all jobs. I don't mind a program like this.

Giving money discourages work.

and after 18 months-what happens?

What gfood does this do for 18 months? Makes people more dependent on others rather than themselves. I feel that absolutley NO property taxes should be used for this ridiculous idea.

"Would this help people?" Yes. It would help 50 low income families get deeper into not being able to provide for themselves. This would create a competition to become one of the 50 lowest income families in order to get the free $. Think about it. I could work 5 extra hours per week to earn an extra $50 per week or $200 per month OR I could work 5 fewer hours per week to qualify for $500 of free money! Does somebody really think this will work?

Give people $500 a month if they give back 20 hours a month to the city

Property taxes should not be used for the low-come families. I think they should see if this really helped these families.

Who ever thought of this idea should have thier head examined, but this liberal thinking

No comment just a bad idea.

You cannot legislate people out of poverty. Maybe look into expanding jobs, helping your failing schools so people up here don't have to pay for it. Milwaukee is the armpit of WI and is the reason for many of it's problems.

This will end up as society paying for adults most likely with ill legitimate children. Why should I pay for your kids when you didn't have the finances to afford them in the first place. Go get a job, there are thousands out there.

Try it and see what happens- required financial counseling and knowing not all will be successful.

This will balloon quickly, This is not the job or responsibility of Government.

Who would choose gets the cash? Seems like a poorly planned agenda item.


This is ridiculous!

No. NO.

there's enough welfare out there to help people who are interested in helping themselves

why even try to work?

Hand outs funded by the taxpayers is crap

Taxes are too high!


There's plenty of help wanted signs out there where someone could easily make the $500 on their own.

Let’s see what happens.

Are you kidding? I guess it is really easy to spend taxpayers money

Work for what you recieve. Entitlement is not a reason to employ at this time.

A good plan if it is watchdogged properly.
A state board decided to override Palmyra-Eagle voters last week. After reading the article, should this be allowed?
Tough issue. The kids need to go to school, but the taxpayers don't want to pay for it. Probably best that there's an independent board that makes that call.

The voters are paying for it so they should have a final say. However, the kids have to be able to go to school at a reasonably convenient place at taxpayers expense.

Isn't this still a democracy? What was the justification behind the board's refusal to accept the will of the people?

majority should rule

To many outsiders giving they say.

T am not fully informed of the situation but I feel locally people should should have a say about their school district

Why even have the vote? Unelected people are not supposed to overturn the will of the people. It sounds like they were asked twice.

That's why we vote........

This could ruin the communities.

Its hard to argue with people who no longer vote because they say they have no voice, hard to argue that when this happens. So tired of government!

What is the point of voting!

Voters who live there have spoken!

Where will the students go??

There are too many unknown variables to weigh in on this. Where will children go to school when it’s closed? How will their community be held accountable for the bill? Public school is not free!

it would have been nice if you would have stated their reason for overriding the vote!, more information would help

So where are the students going to go for their education and who pays for the upkeep on th empty buildings? Too many factors to close the district.
This week will mark 53 years since the Green Bay Packers won the first Super Bowl in 1967, when they defeated the Kansas City Chiefs. There were nearly 62,000 people in attendance in the Coliseum in LA. The final score was 35-10, and each Packers player collected $15,000 for winning. Chiefs players received $7,500. (Source: Wisconsin Historical Society)How do you think the Packers will fare against the San Francisco 49'ers next week? Any predictions? Do you think the green and gold will go all the way this year? Share your thoughts and predictions here!
Go Bucks.

They're going to have to be better they have been to beat the 49'ers.

wi win

If the game could be played with computers,the teams wouldn't have to show up.Did anybody think that the Ravens would lose to the Titans? You just never know. Go Pack Go!

Truthfully I am afraid that the Packers may loose this one. They really have not been playing at their full potential. I wish they would go all the way and will be happy to be proven wrong!

Packers all the way!!!

would love to see them win

I sure hope the Packers win. This would great and they have come along way this year, not to win. Go Packers.

I feel they have their work cut out for them but if they play four quarters they could get the job done an on to the super bowl

Hoping for a big win.

Sorry they will get crushed. 49ers are just over the top this year. But remember its just a game-there will be next year.

I'll stay optimistic, but honestly I don't think we can beat San Fran.

vendors will come out on top, anyone selling cheese heads and all grocery stores. Maybe some beer sales too!

I hope the packers will play better than they have earlier, and win. We enjoy a good game.

The Seahawks game surprised me so maybe the Pack can pull it out in SanFran! Go Pack!

Go Pack Go!

It all depends on which team shows up for the Packers. I'd love to see them win.

Gonna be a tough game to win, I hope we pull it off!

The way the playoffs have gone.... anything can happen. The 49ers won in the regular season so it's time for revenge!

Win 35-24

Sorry but the run ends in San Fran

Hope the Packers do well. It pumps a ton of $$ into the state.

The Packers will win! They will gain valuable momentum for a rematch of Super Bowl I

Hopeful that they will win for Wisconsin.

Kansas city wins at home if weather is good. The packers offensive line has to step up or could be a repeat of Novembers game. Would love to see KC-Pack Super bowl.

It will be a tough game. I’d love to see the Packers go all the way, not just because I’m a fan, but because it will be good for my business.
No bills to report.
No bills to report.
LRB-4822   Memo  Absentee Voting (Duchow, Cindi) Authorizing certain overseas and military voters to vote absentee by electronic transmission and granting rule-making authority. Deadline: Friday, January 17, 5 pm

LRB-3979   Memo  Security Deposits (Krug, Scott) The deadline for a landlord to return a security deposit and providing a penalty. Deadline: Friday, January 17

LRB-2596   Memo  Guardian Training (Jacque, Andre) Guardian training requirements and making an appropriation. Deadline: Tuesday, January 21, 5 pm

LRB-5249   Memo  Campaign Payments (Smith, Jeff) Authorizing a local government to require advance payment from a presidential or vice-presidential campaign for certain expected public event costs. Deadline: Monday, January 27, 5 pm

LRB-5041   Memo  School Accounting (Felzkowski, Mary) Creating a computerized uniform school budget and accounting system. Deadline: Tuesday, January 21, Noon

LRB-0326   Memo  Nomination Signatures (Spreitzer, Mark) Nomination signature requirements and circulating or signing nomination papers for more than one candidate for the same office. Deadline: Wednesday, January 22, 5 pm

LRB-3811   Memo  Hmong-Lao Veterans Day (Petrowski, Jerry) Creating Hmong-Lao Veterans Day. Deadline: Friday, January 17, 5 pm

LRB-5337   Memo  Condemning Impeachment (Tiffany, Tom) Opposing and condemning the passing and holding of the Articles of Impeachment against our duly elected President, Donald J. Trump. Deadline: Tuesday, January 21

LRB-2535   Memo  Wild Parsnip Grants (Shankland, Katrina) Grants to map, control, eradicate, monitor, and minimize the spread of wild parsnip, funding for the Bureau of Natural Heritage Conservation, granting rule-making authority, and making an appropriation. Deadline: Tuesday, January 21, 4 pm

LRB-4458   Memo  Parole Revocation (Sanfelippo, Joe) Recommendation to revoke parole, probation, and extended supervision if a person is charged with a crime. Deadline: Wednesday, January 22, Noon

LRB-4469   Memo  Juvenile Placement (Sanfelippo, Joe) Acts for which a juvenile may be placed in correctional placement or the Serious Juvenile Offender Program. Deadline: Wednesday, January 22, Noon

LRB-4736   Memo  Firearm Possession (Sanfelippo, Joe) Prosecuting a violent felon for the crime of illegal possession of a firearm. Deadline: Wednesday, January 22, Noon

LRB-5335   Memo  Retail Theft (Sanfelippo, Joe) Mandatory minimum sentence for three or more convictions for retail theft and providing a penalty. Deadline: Wednesday, January 22, Noon

LRB-5321   Memo  Parole Release (Sanfelippo, Joe) Earned release from parole or extended supervision and discharge from probation. Deadline: Wednesday, January 22, Noon

LRB-5231   Memo  Videoconferencing (Knodl, Dan) Criteria for the court to consider when determining whether to use videoconferencing at a proceeding. Deadline: Wednesday, January 22, Noon

LRB-5240   Memo  Deposition Testimony (Knodl, Dan) Using testimony taken by deposition in a criminal trial if witness is at risk of being intimidated. Deadline: Wednesday, January 22, Noon

LRB-5227   Memo  Victim Intimidation (Knodl, Dan) Intimidating a victim of domestic abuse and providing a penalty. Deadline: Wednesday, January 22, Noon

LRB-0346   Memo  Probationary License Violations (Hebl, Gary) Restriction violations by persons holding probationary motor vehicle operator's licenses and providing a penalty. Deadline: Wednesday, January 28, 5 pm

LRB-4305   Memo  Radon-Resistant Construction (Riemer, Daniel) The use of radon-resistant construction materials and techniques in new construction of public buildings, places of employment, one-family and two-family dwellings, and modular homes and requiring the exercise of rule-making authority. Deadline: Tuesday, January 21, 4 pm

LRB-4115   Memo  Radon Disclosures (Riemer, Daniel) Disclosures regarding radon in real estate transactions. Deadline: Tuesday, January 21, 4 pm

LRB-4190   Memo  Stewardship (Loudenbeck, Amy) The ending date of the Warren Knowles-Gaylord Stewardship 2020 Program and granting bonding authority. Deadline: Friday, January 24, Noon
LRB-4951   Memo  Hunting Approvals (Billings, Jill) Hunting and fishing approvals for persons with disabilities. Deadline: Tuesday, January 21, 5 pm

LRB-0515   Memo  Wineries (Shankland, Katrina) Authorized activities of brewers and wineries. Deadline: Wednesday, January 22, 5 pm

LRB-4149   Memo  Employment of Blind (Steffen, David) Purchase and renovation of a center for the employment of blind and visually impaired individuals, sale of the existing center, granting bonding authority, and making an appropriation. Deadline: Wednesday, January 22, 5 pm

LRB-4616   Memo  Open Enrollment (Thiesfeldt, Jeremy) Expanding the part-time open enrollment program. Deadline: Monday, January 27

LRB-5353   Memo  Housing Reports (Summerfield, Rob) Creating statewide website for municipality housing reports, modifying housing reporting requirements, and requiring annual update of housing fee report. Deadline: Wednesday, January 29, 5 pm

LRB-5204   Memo  Construction Tax Exemption (Kulp, Bob) Creating a sales tax exemption for materials used to construct workforce housing developments. Deadline: Wednesday, January 29, 5 pm

LRB-5351   Memo  Home Rehab Tax Credit (Summerfield, Rob) Creating a refundable income tax credit for certain expenses incurred in the rehabilitation of an older home and making an appropriation. Deadline: Wednesday, January 29, 5 pm

LRB-5348   Memo  Workforce Housing Tax Credit (Summerfield, Rob) State workforce housing income and franchise tax credit and requiring the exercise of rule-making authority. Deadline: Wednesday, January 29, 5 pm

LRB-5366   Memo  Overweight Permits (Stafsholt, Rob) Permits for the overweight transport of the residue material resulting from treatment of municipal sewage. Deadline: Tuesday, January 21

LRB-2578   Memo  Pharmacy Technicians (Horlacher, Cody) Registration of pharmacy technicians, extending the time limit for emergency rule procedures, providing an exemption from emergency rule procedures, and requiring the exercise of rule-making authority. Deadline: Friday, January 24, 5 pm

LRB-5129   Memo  Smart Meters (Sortwell, Shae) Installation of smart meters by certain public utilities and cooperative associations. Deadline: Friday, January 31, 5 pm

LRB-4135   Memo  Vaccinating Minors (Hintz, Gordon) Vaccination of minors without parental consent. Deadline: Thursday, January 23

LRB-4136   Memo  Dentists Vaccinating (Hintz, Gordon) Dentists administering vaccines and granting rule-making authority. Deadline: Thursday, January 23

LRB-4137   Memo  Vaccine Distribution (Hintz, Gordon) Purchasing and distributing vaccines for children and making an appropriation. Deadline: Thursday, January 23

LRB-3944   Memo  Summoning Police (Stubbs, Shelia) Unnecessarily summoning a police officer and creating a civil cause of action. Deadline: Monday, January 27

LRB-5289   Memo  Pen Registers (Jacque, Andre) Pen registers and trap and trace devices. Deadline: Thursday, January 23, 3 pm

LRB-4534   Memo  Water Fund (Shankland, Katrina) Creating a water fund for our future. Deadline: Thursday, January 23, 5 pm

LRB-5372   Memo  Holocaust Education (Darling, Alberta) Incorporating the Holocaust and other genocides into the state model social studies standards and requiring instruction on the Holocaust and other genocides. Deadline: Thursday, January 23, 4 pm

LRB-5368   Memo  Noncandidacy Notice (Ramthun, Timothy) Public notice of noncandidacy for incumbent local elected officials. Deadline: Thursday, January 23, Noon

LRB-3165   Memo  ABLE Savings (Subeck, Lisa) Requiring the Department of Financial Institutions to implement a section 529A ABLE savings account program and granting rule-making authority. Deadline: Friday, January 24,

LRB-3591   Memo  Free Fishing Weekend (Milroy, Nick) Free fishing weekend for veterans. Deadline: Friday, January 24

LRB-5235   Memo  DSPS Credentialing (Kooyenga, Dale) Procedures for granting credentials granted by the department of safety and professional services and credentialing boards, extending the time limit for emergency rule procedures, and providing an exemption from emergency rule procedures. Deadline: Thursday, January 23, Noon

LRB-3944   Memo  Summoning Police (Stubbs, Shelia) Unnecessarily summoning a police officer and creating a civil cause of action. Deadline: Monday, January 27

LRB-2238   Memo  BPA Containers (Taylor, Chris) Manufacture and sale of food and beverage containers that contain bisphenol A and providing penalties. Deadline: Monday, January 27, Noon