JULY 22, 2019
NEWS FROM THE CAPITOL AND AROUND WISCONSIN
GOV. EVERS DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY FOLLOWING STORMS
Governor Tony Evers on Sunday declared a statewide State of Emergency following massive storms and torrential rains that hit much of the state on Friday and Saturday. According to a statement from Evers' office, downed trees and power lines have caused major power outages in northern Wisconsin, road closures due to debris and damage to homes and businesses.

"I know many people, especially in northern and central Wisconsin have been impacted by the strong storms and power outages," Gov. Evers said. "The first responders and utilities have been doing a great job, working non-stop since the storms hit. I want to make sure all state resources are available to help get the power back on and debris moved."

On Friday, Evers also declared a State of Emergency and activated the Wisconsin National Guard for the City of Madison and Dane County when two electric substations experienced explosions, causing widespread power outages to tens of thousands in Madison, leaving many without cooling systems during one of the hottest days of the year.

According to the National Weather Service, Wisconsin also experienced nine tornadoes in less than 24 hours. The nine tornadoes were in Oneida, Lincoln, Marathon, Trempealeau, Jackson, Waupaca, and Outagamie counties.
LEGISLATIVE LEADERS WANT VETO OVERRIDE ON EVERS' TRANSPORTATION PROVISION
Republican leaders in the state legislature last week said they are interested in overriding one of Governor Evers' partial vetoes after details emerged from the Governor's office that might result in state dollars being used for Milwaukee's streetcar project.

The plan from the Department of Transportation would create a new grant program for local governments to access $75 million that would be used to pay for up to 90% of total eligible costs on projects related to roads, bridges, transit capital and facilities, bicycle and pedestrian accommodations, railroads, and harbors. Under the plan, counties would be eligible for about $27 million, cities and villages $19 million, and towns $29 million.

In the Republican version of the budget, $90 million were allocated for local roads projects, but one of Evers' partial vetoes cut that amount by $15 million and widened the types of projects for which the money could be used.

A tweet from Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said Evers was "taking money from local road construction to fund Milwaukee's trolley to nowhere," and urged Democrats representing rural areas of the state to join the GOP in overriding Evers' veto. Department of Transportation Secretary Craig Thompson pushed back on idea that the money is going to Milwaukee and Madison, and defending the program saying it offers more flexibility to local governments.
WISCONSIN UNEMPLOYMENT UP IN JUNE
After two months at a record low, Wisconsin's unemployment rate ticked slightly upward in June to 2.9% from 2.8%, according to the state's Department of Workforce Development. Over the year, unemployment is still down from June 2018, when the rate was 3.1 percent.

The Badger State lost 2,300 private sector jobs last month, with the state's labor participation rate also declining by 0.1% to 67.2%. Data from DWD shows that the labor force participation rate has dropped by about 24,000 people since the middle of 2017, when it hit a peak of 68.5%.

"Wisconsin has thousands of residents who remain counted as unemployed by BLS, and even more that are not participating in the labor force, which is why it is incumbent on both government and private industry partners to concentrate efforts on identifying and removing barriers to enter into the workforce and ensuring the skills people learn are relevant in today's and tomorrow's workplaces," DWD Secretary-designee Caleb Frostman said.
WISCONSIN FORECLOSURES AT LOWEST RATE IN TWO DECADES
According to a University of Wisconsin-Whitewater economics professor who keeps tabs on Wisconsin's unemployment numbers, the state is experiencing the lowest foreclosure rate in twenty years due to higher employment, more individuals renting, and stricter lending practices.

The research showed that, in Milwaukee County for example, the number of foreclosures filed per 10,000 people in 2009 was between 36 and 55, but where down to between 11 and 20 foreclosures per 10,000 in 2019. This year, there have been 3,600 foreclosures in the state.

Nationally, foreclosures have also dropped. At the end of April, only 3.6% of the nation's mortgages were in delinquency. At its peak, 15,427 foreclosures were filed in Wisconsin in 2009.

The Wisconsin Realtors Association in a recent report showed that a growing demand but limited number of homes has also pushed the median price of houses in the state to over $200,000, which is the highest in Wisconsin history.
FRAC SAND COMPANY FILES BANKRUPTCY
According to frac sand business Emerge Energy Services, their company is filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy and owes Wisconsin contractors around $13 million. The company owns eight processing plants and sand pits according to sources.

Construction publication The Daily Reporter says that their data indicates the frac sand boom in Wisconsin, which saw its peak between 2011 and 2014, is over. Lower-quality sands that are cheaper to both mine and transport from places like Texas are being sought over high-quality sands in Wisconsin.

Court filings show that the company is still operational at two of their mines and one processing plant, but overall employment fell from 319 individuals in September to 240 this month. The largest debt of $6.2 million is owed to Eau Claire-based Market & Johnson, a local contractor, according to court documents.
ELEVEN RURAL HOSPITALS STOPPED DELIVERING BABIES IN PAST DECADE
According to a report from the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health, 11 rural hospitals have closed their obstetric units in the past ten years, with now only 56% of rural hospitals overall providing any obstetric delivery services at all.

The most recent obstetric closures were in 2017, when hospitals in Grantsburg and Ripon ceased their operations. The report also showed that five of the current 35 hospitals which still provide baby delivery services are at risk of ending their operations.

Nationally, only 40% of rural hospitals routinely perform deliveries. Some good news from the document showed that 99% of Wisconsin women of child-bearing age live within a 30 minute drive of a hospital with the capabilities of performing such procedures.
TRUMP ORDERS FEDERAL AGENCIES TO PURCHASE MORE PRODUCTS WITH AMERICAN PARTS
President Donald Trump last week signed an executive order that requires federal agencies to purchase more products that use more American parts and components. The current standard under the Buy American Act mandates a preference for American-made products.

Currently, to qualify as American-made, a product must have 50 percent of American-made components. Under Trump's order, that number would increase to 75 percent. Additionally, the threshold would increase to 95 percent for iron and steel products.

Critics say the move will end up costing American taxpayers more money in the long term. Trump said his administration's philosophy is "simple," he added, "If we can build it, grow it or make it in the United States, we will."
WEEKLY MEMBER POLL RESULTS
Two Republican lawmakers are proposing a constitutional amendment that would prevent the Wisconsin governor from increasing funding levels in the state budget beyond what the legislature has already approved. What do you think?
leave it as it is, Repubs whining cause they cant do what they want...

I am very tired of the Republican led legislature constantly "throwing temper tantrums" every time something doesn't go there way.

Have to control spending.

Only sane way to keep things in control.

They need to change the amendment to allow GOP governors to keep this power, but Dem governors lose it. Because that would be fair.

The present system has worked for both parties over the time of Statehood. Gov. Evers will not be in office forever. Why try to restruct this governor as well as every governer in the future .

I feel a governor has no right to increase spending, his only right should be veto a item he does not agree on

Evers is going to run Wisconsin in debt if we don't stop him.

The governor should not be able to boost the budget because HE wants to.

Statement is too vague. Thiscould be construed to mean EVERYTHING Leaving a governor NO power to make SOME adjustment

I'm fine with the governor vetoing portions of a proposed budget; however, if the governor wants funding increases beyond what the legislature has approved, these changes should not be made once the bill is presented for signature. It's simply too late!

Today's Trumpublicans do what they want...if they don't like the outcome of an election...find ways to dissuade people who disagree with them to not to vote...in the name of voter "integrity" of course and if you don't have an executive who does what you want, right laws to limit their powers that you will then give back when another Trumpublican comes back into office.

He has already created a $650 million dollar deficit. Say what you want about Walker, but this is a bad sign that we never had to worry about with him.
Former Governor Scott Walker announced today that he has accepted a position in Virginia and will not seek any office in 2022. Were you hoping Walker would bounce back into office from his narrow loss in November?
If it was Gov. Thompson, yes. Walker divided the state. Good bye.

Governor Walker did an outstanding job as governor. Let him use is God given tallents in other areas.

Walker would have been better running for the US Senate seat than governor again. He made some wrong decisions he last few years as governor that hurt his "brand" in the minds of some of his supporters. I think Walker should have never jumped into the race for the President in 2016, he was not polished enough for that race and it hurt him. I would have supported him if he ran.

I feel he had his term in office

I was hoping he would be back in some capacity but I feel that what he is going to do is very important and am happy for him

He was a great governor and will miss him.

Anything is better than Evers

STAY in Virginia!!

Yes because Wisconsin will surely be broke under evers leadership by 2022, and probably before. And then it will be a Republican's responsibility to repair the budget again!

Absolutely NOT!

I'm sure he will be fine making high dollar indoctrinating Trump Youth into conservative (Trumpian) ideals.

To be honest, anyone but the guy we have now. He's turning out to be a bad leader.

The guy got hired to do a job. He did it. Then instead of staying strong, he started to cave to all sorts of special interest choices. That's why Evers could beat him. I don't think he's a good choice unless he can learn to stand on his platform and not be swayed by everyone who asks him for a favor.

that idiot got another job??

he would receive my vote

One of our worse governors ever!

Yes anything better then a Democrat

He did a good job except for roads,but it's time for new blood.(not an Evers type though)

Good riddins and don't come back.
Wisconsin Dept. of Workforce Development and Dept. of Corrections Secretaries would like the private sector to begin hiring more ex-offenders. Is this something you would consider for your business or farm?
Ex-cons without jobs = trouble. They need to be working.

These people have paid their debt for their misdeeds. If they do not have work, they will be forced back into a life of crime.

Unfortunately, there is so much red tape to receive the incentives from the gov't on these types of things, its not worth it! But we all know the more gov't regulations and paper pushers that are created is the only way gov't makes more jobs!

For minor offences it probably would be ok

I would like to give someone a chance. Can't find additional help any other way

It's hard enough to find good employees yet the state wants me to hire people who already have a problem. Secretary Carr says "It's the right thing to do." How many has he hired? Foxcom is looking for employees. How many excons will they hire? You ask for "Pros". What incentives is the state giving employers? I should put my company in jeapordy because Carr what me to do the right thing. What a joke!

They need money to live.

OARS? I don't want to hire anyone that has a mental illness.

I'm in the middle. I think it is the right thing to do and could be a win-win if the company has an HR representative/department but could be an additional borden for very small businesses.

This is kind of a loaded question...as with anything there would need to be a full vetting to make sure the ex-offender could be someone who would be appropriate for the position they would be applying for. Everyone should be allowed to prove themselves even after mistakes made earlier in life...we can't lock people up forever (mostly) and those who are released need to have opportunities otherwise we will all pay as those people will become desperate and go back to doing even worse things.

Let the private sector do whatever they want, it's their choice to hire as they feel fit for their particular business.

It really depends on if a real life change has occurred. And if not, then that ex-con is more of a liability than not.

Past history doesnt matter. A person has to stand on their owm merits

Depends on what the offense was.

They did their time, if they are straight now they should hired. I have hired Huber Law people and most were very good workers.

It would be taking a chance-might be worth it for some types and a disaster for others given the types that go to jail today.
Democrats will roll out their legislation tomorrow that would make Wisconsin's redistricting a nonpartisan process. Redistricting is required by federal law after every census. Where do you stand?
71% of Wisconsinites agree with non-partisan redistricting. But it'll never happen because politicians want power. The end.

No thoughts on this one.

Thats the way it has always been, if they whole thing was reversed, and as a republican, I've had to endure a guaranteed liberal democrat as my congressional representative for years because I lived too close to Madison. Thank goodness the republicans made some changes and I no longer have to be represented by someone that doesn't come close to sharing my views on much of anything!

I even question this type of system, but the State of Iowa redistricting system seems to work very well

Why would anyone not answer YES to this?!? We need nonpartisan, fair, and free elections so that "We, The People" may elect those who will best serve our needs.

Enough of the gerrymandering! It only leads to more hyper-politization, and wackier polititians on the right and left. Give us some clear headed people who want to help everyone and not just one group or class of people.

We have to be careful who we hire to do this as "nonpartisan".

I don't like the three choices given at all. They aren't good. I think that the districts should stay the same. If you're running for office, your job is to REPRESENT your people in your district, and not re-draw the lines to gain favor by pulling in a few more from some other area. It seems like cheating to me. But, what do I know?

I don't think non-partisan redistricting is possible.
Any trips or vacations planned for the rest of summer? Is there a place to which you travel every year? Have the mosquitoes been awful where you live, or do there seem to be a less-than-normal amount? Are you looking forward to this week's heat wave?
Bring on the heat!

We go to Door County every summer.

Pretty much finished any travels for this summer, too many projects that need to get done before the cold returns. Deer flies and mosquitoes have been awful. The heat is needed and I'd rather have the heat than the more than 30 degrees below zero we had last winter!

Camping weekends and a possible motorcycle trip in September are in the works. Mosquitoes have become bad now. The heat wave is not necessary but we have ways to stay cool. Our winters are too long to complain about the heat that isn't here for that long!

We live in our favorite vacation spot!

The mosquitoes have been quite non existent this year. As for the heat wave; don't mind it as long as the dew point stays down.

Going on a cruise. Who looks forward to a heat wave? Mosquitoes are making it difficult to pull weeds.

Not looking forward to heat wave.. Traveling to a Pig Roast in August , otherwise staying home.

I have a small independent business....no vacations for me. As long as the snow holds off, I'm good.

Mosquitos are awful this year.

door county next month.

Gnats were worst then mosquitoes

Less mosquitoes so far, hope it stays that way. Not ready for all the heat.

Like to go to Prairie du Chien where I cast for bass and my wife looks at woman stuff at The Cannery. Don't like heat waves,surprisingly mosquitos not bad-YET!!

More mosquitoes

no mosquitoes in SE part of the state yet.
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
Assembly Bill 250  Examinations and licensure of sign language interpreters, providing an exemption from emergency rule procedures, and granting rule-making authority. Signed as 2019 Act 17
BILLS IN CIRCULATION
LRB-3716   Memo  Active Duty Service (Stroebel, Duey) Requirements for colleges when service member students are called into active duty. Deadline: Thursday, July 25, 5 pm

LRB-3671   Memo  Gun Safe Tax Exemption (Schachtner, Patty) Sales and use tax exemption for the sale of gun safes. Deadline: Friday, July 26, 5 pm

LRB-3699   Memo  Gun Safe Tax Exemption (Horlacher, Cody) Sales and use tax exemption for the sale of gun safes. Deadline: Friday, July 26, 5 pm

LRB-2726   Memo  Piping Materials (Kapenga, Chris) Generally prohibiting local units of government from excluding from consideration certain piping materials.Deadline: Thursday, August 1, 4 pm

LRB-3676   Memo  Sexually Violent Persons (Sortwell, Shae) Placement of a sexually violent person on supervised release. Deadline: Tuesday, July 30, 5 pm

LRB-3686   Memo  U.S. Women's National Team (Sinicki, Christine) Congratulating the United States Women's National Team on their FIFA Women's World Cup win. Deadline: Wednesday, July 31, 5 pm

LRB-2643   Memo  Family Navigator Program (Ballweg, Joan) Family navigator program in the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation in the Department of Workforce Development and making an appropriation. Deadline: Friday, August 2

LRB-3673   Memo  MA Reimbursement (Thiesfeldt, Jeremy) Reimbursement under the Medical Assistance program for complex rehabilitation technology. Deadline: Thursday, July 25

LRB-2338   Memo  Lake Protection Districts (Gundrum, Rick) Elections to a lake protection and rehabilitation district board of commissioners. Deadline: Friday, July 26

LRB-3680   Memo  Convention of States (Tiffany, Tom) Convention of the States for one or more Constitutional amendments restraining abuse of power by the federal government. Deadline: Thursday, July 25, 5 pm