JULY 29, 2019
Insurance Commissioner Mark Afable announced last week that the State of Wisconsin's annual workers' compensation rates would decrease by around 9% beginning in October. The commissioner also said that reduction amounts to a $170 million savings for Wisconsin businesses.

Under Wisconsin law, most of the state's employees "reasonable medical expenses" are paid, as well as given money for lost wages as a result of a workplace incident. Currently, employers pay about $2 billion annually.

This will mark the fourth year in a row that rates have decreased, as workplace injuries and illnesses have dropped to 3.7 per 100 full-time equivalent workers from 3.8. In 1999, that number sat at 8.3.
The Department of Workforce Development last week released the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates of unemployment and employment statistics for Wisconsin metropolitan areas, major cities, and counties in Wisconsin for June 2019.

In metro statistical areas, June 2019 unemployment rates declined or stayed the same in eight of Wisconsin's twelve metro areas over the year. The largest decline of 0.1 percent occurred in the Oshkosh-Neenah and Sheboygan metro areas.

Municipalities saw their June 2019 rates decline or stay the same over the year in 23 of Wisconsin's 33 largest cities. Neenah and Mount Pleasant experienced the largest over the year decline of 0.4 percent.

Finally, in Wisconsin's counties, preliminary June 2019 unemployment rates declined or stayed the same over the year in 35 of Wisconsin's 72 counties. Langlade County experienced a 0.6 decrease, which was the largest over the year decrease in the state.
Governor Tony Evers' hand-picked transportation chief is renewing his call on lawmakers to raise the gas tax in future budgets, calling the state's current $6.5 billion in transportation dollars "not enough to sustain...what we need moving forward."

In an interview with Wisconsin Eye network, Secretary-designee Craig Thompson said the state has neglected its roads and "made some poor financial decisions for 15 years. We weren't going to get out of it in two. So we definitely have work to do."

Thompson also told Wisconsin Eye network that he believes the gas tax "for the foreseeable future is still the fairest way to raise the money," adding, "It's in place. There's less than a 1% administrative cost of collecting it and when you get our out-of-state people that come in to golf on our golf courses and fish in our lakes and go to sporting events, they help pay for that."

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told reporters last Friday, "Not going to happen."
A Democrat lawmaker from Madison has proposed legislation that would require the state of Wisconsin to pay for feminine hygiene products to be stocked in all state, local, and school buildings.

The legislation's author Representative Melissa Sargent told reporters that menstrual products are "not a luxury good, nor a government handout" in her accompanying press release. She added that they are a necessity, "and the over 50% of the population who menstruate here in Wisconsin should not have to continue to face the undue and unjust burdens of inaccessibility to essential hygiene products."

Sargent also cited research, which showed that the average women uses 17,000 feminine hygiene products of some kind in her lifetime, though two thirds of people have had to go without such products due to poverty.

Last legislative session, Rep. Sargent gained bipartisan support for legislation that would have exempted feminine hygiene products from the sales tax in Wisconsin.
A proposal being circulated by three Democrat lawmakers, Sen. Dave Hansen, Rep. Jill Billings, and Rep. Katrina Shankland, would cap the costs of insulin in the state, much like legislation passed in the State of Colorado earlier this year.

The legislation would cap the price of insulin at $100 for a month's supply, with one lawmaker citing that a quarter of diabetic individuals have begun rationing or skipping their dosage due to the rising costs. Some individuals have begun illegally purchasing their insulin from Canada, where the costs are up to 90 percent cheaper than in the United States.

The analysis from the Legislative Reference Bureau reads, in part: This bill prohibits every health insurance policy and governmental self-insured health plan that covers insulin and that imposes cost sharing on prescription drugs from imposing cost sharing on insulin in an amount that exceeds the lesser of the following: $100 for a one-month supply of insulin or the greater amount of that is 125 percent of the cost of insulin or the amount generated by subtracting 51 percent of the total rebates received by the policy or plan from the cost-sharing amount that would be charged to a covered person for insulin if it is treated as any other prescription drug under the policy or plan."

In a decade's time, insulin prices went from $4.34 per milliliter in 2002 to $12.92 per milliliter in 2013, according to a medical study from JAMA. $7.4 million Americans use insulin daily
A proposal from Democrat lawmakers would allow felons to vote in Wisconsin at the very moment they are released from prison. The authors say the bill prevents individuals on probation or parole from voting, and disproportionately impacts African Americans.

According to State Senator Lena Taylor, who represents parts of Milwaukee, Wauwatosa, Shorewood, and Glendale, said about 65,000 Wisconsinites are barred from voting because of a past conviction, albeit temporarily. She told WPR that the same individuals "work, pay taxes, pay rent, own homes..." and deserve a voice in the voting process.

Their package of legislation also changes how prisoners are counted during the gerrymandering process. Under currently law, an imprisoned individual is counted in the community in which they are in prison. The lawmakers propose that inmates would be counted in the communities where they resided prior to their conviction and incarceration.

A 2013 study from UW-Milwaukee showed that Wisconsin has the largest incarceration rates for black men in the United States.
The USDA has begun a $16 billion package that is being used to support farmers impacted by President Donald Trump's ongoing trade disputes with foreign nations. The sign-up period began today, and will run through December 6th. The program is known as MFP, or Market Facilitation Program.

Payments will be made by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) via the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act to those who produce alfalfa hay, barley, canola, corn, crambe, dried beans, dry peas, extra-long staple cotton, flaxseed, lentils, long grain and medium grain rice, millet, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, rapeseed, rye, safflower, sesame seed, small and large chickpeas, sorghum, soybeans, sunflower seed, temperate japonica rice, triticale, upland cotton, and wheat.

"A producer's total payment-eligible plantings cannot exceed total 2018 plantings."

The payment rates will range from $15 to $150 per acre, "depending on the impact of unjustified trade retaliation in that county." Members are encouraged to contact their l ocal FSA for more information
Massive storms ripped through the state over the weekend, causing widespread damage and flooding, and also prompting Governor Tony Evers to declare a State of Emergency.

Did your area experience storms over the weekend?
The power was out for about six hours - inconvenient, but no injuries or property damage.

Damage everywhere you look in Barron County! Many still without power.

Not severe here.

Storms in our area were pretty mild, some wind mostly rain

Typical thunderstorms some wind but not like in northern part of the state

Nothing severe.

just more rain which we not need

no property damage at home but the surrounding areas were hit pretty hard

No damage

Miner damage,mostly limes off of trees.

I had some minor property damage.

Watching the storms was neat. Thank heaven no damage!

The storms were not sever here.

Just a little blow in Fond du Lac, sticks to pickup!

Our big storm damage came BEFORE any of them hit!

Yes, close by but not my property

no property damage


minor damage trees down

3 inches of rain total on two different nites,but no bad storms

lots of trees down and power lines
Due to one of his vetoes, Governor Evers and his administration will create a new grant program for local governments, and expand the types of projects for which the dollars may be used. This has prompted GOP leaders in the legislature to threaten a veto override.

After reading the article...
Let the locals decide.

Yes, I do oppose the use of dollars for the Milwaukee Streetcar

Nothing says the funds will go to Milwaukee. It's a competitive grant program for local governments - there will be criteria for awarding the funds. It's ridiculous to answer this question without knowing the criteria for which the awards will be based.

I think the streetcar is a doomed thing and do not want to see any more money go towards it. I feel sorry for MIlwaukee taxpayers

Milwaukee needs a street car like they need a hole in their head! The rural roads need attention NOW!

No morny for trolleys or bike trails.

Sure, use money for a stupid thing like street cars instead toward our road system in the State

I do not trust Evers. His only motivation is to send more and more to Milwaukee and Dane counties and screw the other 70 counties.

What the hell do these politicians think? The Democrats cry about the horrible economy, things are so bad under Trump, and on and on. Then they get elected and continue to piss away "other peoples money"? Mr. Ever's, must you start paying back all your special interest hacks already? So soon after the election? If the state is lacking in basic infrastructure, What the hell makes you think all the rest of the state wants you to fund a "Milwaukee Streetcar"??? Priorities!!! Fix the roads! Provide Emergency services! We don't NEED a "streetcar named Desire"! SMH

I don't think that Milwaukee's streetcars need to be included in the new grant.. how about our roads, and alot of other things that need to be taken care of.

We have so many roads to fix. We need to get our infrasrtucture back in order before any new ideas like a streetcar.


There is nothing wrong with a little flexibility in the funds as long as it stays within the budget.

Worried about mass transit in the metro areas? Damn shame walker didnt accept fed dollars for light rail, huh?

yes I would,our checks and balances are in the assembly and the senate. The governor should not be able to change it!

No tax dollars for Milwaukee's street car

I am in the middle, but do not understand why we have a budget if it is not followed.

fix the dam roads

big cities get the most for there pet projects

$ for Barret's streetcar? Give me a break!
A new report from the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health showed that 11 rural hospitals have closed their obstetric units in the past decade, but still 99% of women of child-bearing age are within 30 minutes of a hospital that provides these services.

Obstetrics aside, in the event of an emergency or need for critical care, are you within 30 minutes of a hospital?
These types of issues have been played out for decades. Cities have more access to professional services than farming areas. That's never going to change, sorry. If you have need to be near hospitals (or dentists, lawyers, accountants, etc) .. you'll need to move closer to a bigger city.

Those who choose to live in the rural areas do so knowing that access to services will be limited.

I don't do healthcare, Obama ruined healthcare for me.

I think 30 minutes is not that far and actually my doctor is closer

In a perfect world, I'd want them within a few blocks but I'm comfortable being 10 minutes away

No. yes


I'm glad our politicians are keeping an eye on this situation, so people in rural areas, especially Mothers can count on good care.

I'm more concerned with how hard it is to get in to see a doctor in a timely manner. Last time I had strep, I had to start at the ER, then go to Urgent Care, and THEN I could be seen by my doctor. Ridiculous. And you WONDER why health care costs so much!!!????

30 minutes seems to be just fine from my perspective

One minute, 30 minutes or hours it is our life choises where we live the risk we want to take and the faith we have.

Near two of them,about 20 minutes away,but we are between Milwaukee and Madison. Many rural areas are probably underserved.

We are at least 45 minutes from a hospital. Hospitals like Mayo take rural hospitals and destroy them. They are even destroying their hospital in La Crosse. Maybe it is a result of our health care system as a whole in this country, but it seems that only urban citizens are able to have timely health care in times of emergencies...those of us in rural areas...well if we make it to the hospital great, if not...too bad.
President Donald Trump issued an executive order that increases the level of "American made" products that federal agencies must purchase.

Do you go out of your way to purchase American Made products?
Sorry, I don't consider where a product is made because nothing is made in America anymore, there's no point in searching.

American flags MUST be purchased by an FMAA-Certified Retailer to guarantee they are 100% Made in the U.S.A. with U.S. materials, labor, and facilities.

It really all depends on price; American made products are usually more expensive and really no better quality

I wonder if this new law will apply to the Trump family! I am guessing not by their past record.

Its tough to get American-made, prefer American-made hand tools

The problem we still have alot of products still have parts made in other countries especially China

Canned goods,

Sometimes I don't have a choice.

American made products are always of a high quality. I'm not a big fan of Donald Trump but here he is on the right track. He must be working with Tammy Baldwin.

Durable goods. Cars, appliances, tools. Its getting harder too.

I try to buy American made. My store SELLS American made. We support SMALL business, and avoid franchises, because it's become obvious that "franchises" offer worse quality stuff that's normally junk, and you get better prices, service and selection from SMALL businesses. Don't believe me? Try it. I dare you. You'll be HAPPY you did!

cars and trucks

Most of the time I have no idea where it is made. We all what high quality, cheap price and high wages. The world will only let you have two of the three.

most American companys use foreign made parts

yes,especially food.

As a retailer I see what consumers want....cheap as they can get. We used to carry for example American made galvanized pipe and we used to get yelled at for our expensive product. We were forced to switch to Chinese made pipe...we sell it every day. Just an example.
The Wisconsin State Fair begins next Thursday, and lasts for 11 days. Do you visit the State Fair each year? Have you ever been? Is there a county fair in your area? Do you have a favorite food that you buy at fairs?
I'll go to the State Fair every few years. Frankly, I don't understand why farmers would spend time and energy exhibiting their animals.

I enjoy the State Fair but have not been for several years. The Columbia County Fair is in my area and I do go the that yearly. Vendor participation is depleting, sad to see. At the State Fair my favorite food is the cream puff. At my county fair, I always have a malt from the 4-H stand.

We have never been to the Wisconsin State Fair; usually go to the Minnesota State fair; it is closer.

Do not go to the Wisc State fair. Minn state fair is much closer and better. Love our Barron County Fair!!

Yes, looking forward to attending the fair with my daughter and grandchildren. Our city has a small local fair, it's not too exciting anymore.

Never been to state fair, too far to travel and those kinds of crowds are not my thing. Local county fair has high admission fees so just stay away.

When younger attended county and state fairs.

Been many years since attended the state fair. I did go to Dane county fair mostly because I had grandchildren had a exhibit

Deep fried marshmallows

No, Yes, Yes and Cheese curds

Don't go to the State Fair anymore, but loved the Cream Puffs.

Yes, try to go the state fair every year. Also about 8 county fairs per year. Grilled pork sandwich.

No and No and No!

We attend our county fair every year and the state fair every five years. It is always fun. Our favorite foods are gyros and chocolate malts.

Never been.

Nope. Never been to the state fair. Never been to the county fair. Heck I haven't been to ANY fair since high school because since I have gotten on my own, there's just NO spare money to afford it!

Been maga years sence i when to one

Grand kids participate and I support them. Lots of favorite food. The length of the line determines which one I eat

Have shown seef cattle there since 1960.

Never been to the Wisconsin State Fair...go every year to the Minnesota State Fair though. It's really good.
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No bills to report.
LRB-2170   Memo  Ethanol Dispensing (Feyen, Dan) Requirements for devices that dispense gasoline-ethanol fuel blends. Deadline: Wednesday, August 7 5 pm

LRB-3522   Memo  Insulin Prices (Hansen, Dave) Cost sharing for insulin under health insurance policies and plans. Deadline: Wednesday, July 31, 5 pm

LRB-1693   Memo  Spinal Cord Research Grants (Anderson, Jimmy) Spinal cord research grants and symposia and making an appropriation. Deadline: Thursday, August 8

LRB-1554   Memo  Candidate Tax Returns (Crowley, David) Requiring candidates for president or vice president to file tax returns with the Elections Commission. Deadline: Friday, August 2, Noon

LRB-3677   Memo  Parental Rights (Bewley, Janet) Attempted homicide of a parent as a ground for involuntary termination of parental rights and evidence necessary to support homicide or attempted homicide of a parent as a ground for involuntary termination of parental rights. Deadline: Wednesday, August 7

LRB-3679   Memo  Liquor Quotas (Bewley, Janet) Retail liquor license quotas. Deadline: Wednesday, August 7

LRB-1693   Memo  Spinal Cord Research Grants (Anderson, Jimmy) Spinal cord research grants and symposia and making an appropriation. Deadline: Thursday, August 8

LRB-2441   Memo  Dating Violence (Sargent, Melissa) Teen dating violence prevention education. Deadline: Thursday, August 1, 5 pm

LRB-1449   Memo  Sex Abuse Education (Spiros, John) Requiring sexual abuse prevention education. Deadline: Thursday, August 1, 5 pm

LRB-3404   Memo  OWI Time Limits (Ott, Jim) Time limits for certain offenses related to operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Deadline: Thursday, August 1, Noon

LRB-2402   Memo  Sales Tax Exemption (Marklein, Howard) A sales tax exemption for tangible personal property temporarily stored in this state. Deadline: Friday, August 9

LRB-3667   Memo  UW-System Reporting (Murphy, Dave) Various University of Wisconsin System reporting requirements, commencement of the UW System's fall semester for graduate health science classes, UW System sexual assault and harassment information and reports, and energy cost reduction plan for certain state agencies. Deadline: Friday, August 2, 5 pm

LRB-3098   Memo  UW Tuition (Murphy, Dave) University of Wisconsin System resident undergraduate tuition. Deadline: Friday, August 2, 5 pm

LRB-2023   Memo  UW Fees (Murphy, Dave) University of Wisconsin System segregated fees. Deadline: Friday, August 2, 5 pm

LRB-1829   Memo  UW Debt Guarantees (Murphy, Dave) State debt guarantees; delegations by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System; organizations affiliated with the UW System; and standards of conduct for certain UW System employees. Deadline: Friday, August 2, 5 pm

LRB-1862   Memo  Course Numbering (Murphy, Dave) Uniform course numbering and the transfer of course credits among technical colleges and University of Wisconsin System schools, and eliminating certain restrictions on the respective educational role of the University of Wisconsin System and the Technical College System. Deadline: Friday, August 2, 5 pm

LRB-3567   Memo  Redistricting Count (Taylor, Lena) Counting individuals confined in state prison to determine population for redistricting purposes. Deadline: Friday, August 2

LRB-1522   Memo  Restoring Voting Rights (Taylor, Lena) Restoring the right to vote to certain persons barred from voting as a result of a felony conviction, changing the information requiring on voter registration forms, and changing voting procedure for certain persons who are convicted of felonies. Deadline: Friday, August 2

LRB-3714   Memo  Menstrual Products (Sargent, Melissa) Provision of menstrual products in state and local buildings and school buildings. Deadline: Thursday, August 8, 5 pm

LRB-3576   Memo  UW Blue Ribbon Commission (Shankland, Katrina) Creating a Blue Ribbon Commission in the University of Wisconsin System. Deadline: Thursday, August 8, 4 pm

LRB-3666   Memo  UW Funding (Shankland, Katrina) Providing additional funding to the University of Wisconsin System and making an appropriation. Deadline: Thursday, August 8, 4 pm

LRB-3574   Memo  UW Tuition Freezes (Shankland, Katrina) Resident undergraduate tuition freezes for the University of Wisconsin System. Deadline: Thursday, August 8, 4 pm

LRB-3577   Memo  UW Student Grants (Shankland, Katrina) Funding for Wisconsin grants for University of Wisconsin System students and technical college students and making an appropriation. Deadline: Thursday, August 8, 4 pm

LRB-3578   Memo  Tuition Remission (Shankland, Katrina) Resident undergraduate tuition remission at the University of Wisconsin System for student teachers and making an appropriation. Deadline: Thursday, August 8, 4 pm

LRB-3575   Memo  Tech College Aid (Shankland, Katrina) State aid for the technical college system and making an appropriation. Deadline: Thursday, August 8, 4 pm

LRB-0286   Memo  Employment Discrimination (Hansen, Dave) Actions in circuit court alleging discrimination in employment, unfair honesty testing, or unfair genetic testing. Deadline: Thursday, August 8

LRB-2692   Memo  Employee Compensation (Hansen, Dave) Prohibiting an employer from relying on information about a prospective employee's compensation when making employment decisions or inquiring about a prospective employee's compensation and from restricting an employee's right to disclose compensation information and allowing actions in circuit court and providing a penalty. Deadline: Thursday, August 8

LRB-0957   Memo  Medical Assistance Claims (Subeck, Lisa) Restoring private individual authority to bring a qui tam claim against a person for making a false claims for medical assistance, actions by the attorney general against a person for making a false claim for medical assistance and providing a penalty. Deadline: Friday, August 9, 5 pm

LRB-3307   Memo  Discarded Appliances (Rodriguez, Jessie) Discarded or abandoned major appliances and providing a penalty. Deadline: Friday, August 9, 5 pm

LRB-0975   Memo  Lost Firearms (Subeck, Lisa) A requirement to report lost or stolen firearms and providing a penalty. Deadline: Friday, August 9, 5 pm

LRB-0978   Memo  Trigger Locks (Subeck, Lisa) Containers or trigger locks provided at a firearm sale and providing a penalty. Deadline: Friday, August 9, 5 pm

LRB-0979   Memo  Firearm Storage (Subeck, Lisa) Storage of a firearm in a house in which a resident is prohibited from possessing a firearm and providing a penalty. Deadline: Friday, August 9, 5 pm

LRB-0984   Memo  Firearm Storage (Subeck, Lisa) Storage of a firearm in residence if child is present and providing a penalty. Deadline: Friday, August 9, 5 pm

LRB-1027   Memo  Firearm Storage (Subeck, Lisa) Storage of firearms in retail facility when unattended. Deadline: Friday, August 9, 5 pm