JULY 8, 2019
Governor Tony Evers last week signed his first budget as Wisconsin's chief executive into law; a plan which spends $82 billion over the course of two years, and adopts most of the fiscal policies shaped by Republicans on the Joint Finance Committee. Evers called the budget, "in many ways, insufficient," and said Republicans had a "lack of interest" to work together.

Up until last Wednesday, the big question was whether Evers would sign the entire budget, veto the entire budget, or veto only parts of it. Wisconsin gives its governors the most powerful veto pen in the nation. That question was answered when Evers used his veto pen 78 times to strike items with which he did not agree from the spending plan.

Through a series of vetoes, Evers was able to raise the state's per pupil funding for K-12 schools from $679 and $704 in each of the next two years to $742 per pupil per year. That will result in a net increase of $65 million in additional funding over the budget that the Joint Finance Committee sent to the governor.

Evers also vetoed drug testing and work requirements, which would mandate that able-bodied adults using the state's food stamp program to pass tests before obtaining the government benefit.

Also removed from the budget through partial veto were provisions that would have allowed Tesla motors to open their own dealerships rather than sell their cars through third party dealerships in Wisconsin. This was purported to be a last minute deal to gain the vote of Senator Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield), who was rumored to be opposed to the budget until the provision was added. Senator Kapenga said he supported the measure, but it was not the reason he decided to vote for the budget.

Evers also nixed a provision in the bill that would have required the Department of Administration to study security at the Wisconsin State Capitol, and a provision that would have prevented the Wisconsin State Patrol to provide more security for the current Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor than the previous.

Evers axed a plan that would have spent $5 million to acquire property to build a new state prison to replace the aging Green Bay Correctional Institute.

The contentious plan inserted by Republicans to study tolls and a per-mile user fee for Wisconsin roads was also vetoed from the bill, with Governor Evers saying that the most effective way to fund Wisconsin's road maintenance is through the gas tax. Also on transportation, Evers removed a provision that would have created a flat $100 truck registration fee. Instead, the current fee schedule will remain in effect.

Evers provided $10 million for electric car charging stations, and $15 million to replace buses.

Locally, Evers stopped a provision that would have prevented local governments from regulating stone quarries for themselves- an item inserted by the Joint Finance Committee. Local officials feared this would remove their oversight over the process, and hailed Evers' decision to issue a partial veto.

In a statement, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos called Evers' actions "political, partial vetoes," and said that the Republican version of the state budget deserved to be signed into law.

"These vetoes remove dollars from important programs, give more spending authority to government bureaucrats, and allow people to cheat the system by not following the welfare reforms we passed."

Still, most of what the Republicans passed in their substitute amendment created by the Joint Finance Committee was included in the final budget signed by Evers. Some of the larger items were a $200 million increase in the Wisconsin Medicaid program, nearly $700 million in additional dollars for K-12 schools, an increase of $10 in the vehicle registration fee, an increase of $95 in title and transfer fees, increases to Wisconsin Technical Colleges, the University of Wisconsin System, and a $60 million property tax reduction.

On public education funding, schools advocates had mixed reviews up until Monday afternoon, with some groups calling the budget "profoundly disappointing" at what they believe to be low numbers, and other groups disappointed by what they felt was too much spending on K-12 schools. The conservative news publication McIver Institute shared a graph using nonpartisan fiscal bureau figures which demonstrated that Wisconsin's K-12 funding is higher than it has ever been in state history, while student enrollment is at one of the lowest points it has been.

Further, some "good government advocates" along with critics of Governor Evers have been concerned with how the veto pen in Wisconsin allows the governor to appropriate money by using various veto techniques. While Wisconsin voters amended the constitution in 2008 to abolish the "Frankstein veto," or the ability to create a new sentences, words, and monetary figures, Evers was still able to do some stitching of his own to increase funding to various programs.

Overall, because of the level of spending was a near 10 percent increase from former Governor Scott Walker's last budget, the budget Evers signed into law will have a projected $1.4 billion shortfall by 2023. That structural deficit number does not take into consideration new revenues or any spending changes over the next two years.
If you work in Minnesota but live in Wisconsin, or vice versa, you could be again eligible for the states' tax reciprocity programs, which have not been in effect since 2009, when Wisconsin fell behind on payments and then-Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty ended the 40 year program.

Recently, the City of Superior's city council adopted an advisory resolution that supports restoring the program in its entirety in the State of Wisconsin.

After the city passed the resolution, Wisconsin Secretary of the Department of Revenue Peter Barca wrote a letter, explaining that reinstating tax reciprocity between the two states is a top priority for his department, as well as Governor Tony Evers.

The program would apply to about 80,000 individuals combined in both states, with Wisconsin ultimately paying around $100 million per year to Minnesota, since more people in Wisconsin work in Minnesota than the other way around.
A Democrat Wisconsin State Representative is pushing a piece of legislation that would start an entirely new bureau in Madison that would work to assist the state's "clean energy economy."

State Representative Katrina Shankland of Stevens Point is seeking to create the Wisconsin Renewable Energy Development Authority, which would dole out grants and loans to businesses or individuals who are working to produce energy through renewable means. Shankland said the point is to create jobs in manufacturing, research, and construction.

Though the cost of the new department, which would not technically be an official state department through would be required to comply with things like open records laws, has not yet been released, the legislation would allow the new "WREDA" to issue $500 million "in tax free bonds."
Back in April, the Palmyra Eagle Area School District told voters they were issuing an "ultimatum." That directive from the school board, aimed at residents, was to either approve a $11.5 million property tax increase, or the school district would close.

Voters overwhelmingly struck down property tax increases with 61% of the vote, and in April, the school board approved a resolution to consider dissolution of the school district. That's the first step in the lengthy process for closing a school district.

Last week, school board members officially approved the resolution to dissolve. But that's still not the end of the road. A little known group called the "State School District Boundary Appeal Board" within the Department of Public Instruction still has final say in whether or not to shutter the school district after residents roundly rejected tax increases.

The school district will still operate into 2020, and a date for the decision from the state has not yet been scheduled.
Governor Evers on Monday signed Senate Bill 152 into law, now 2019 Wisconsin Act 11, which "expands transportation options and gives municipalities the ability to manage the right balance of safety and access of the right of way for all electric scooter users."

In recent years, digitally-monitored and obtained electric scooters have been available in some of America's large and medium-sized cities. A user obtains by downloading an app, walking up to the scooter, and scanning a code. The fight over who has the right to regulate these scooters has caused an uproar around the country, with some states taking control of the regulations, and in other places, the local government bodies.

"We should be setting the floor, not the ceiling, for local governments in Wisconsin," said Gov. Evers in a statement. "Electric scooters improve access to low-cost transportation options and can serve as a first or last-mile solution to residents and visitors in communities throughout our state. By providing clarity to a rapidly-growing industry, this bill empowers local governments to make the decisions that best fit their area."

The legislation, authored by Republican lawmakers Senator Dale Kooyenga and Representative Mike Kuglitsch codified into law that the scooters are exempt from vehicle registration by the DOT, must observe all rules of the road, may be operated on most roadways, sidewalks, and bicycle lanes, though local governments may regulate the rental and operation of the vehicles.
President Donald Trump will visit the Badget State this week as the honorary guest at a fundraiser hosted by Republican National Committee.

Friday will be President Trump's second visit to Wisconsin in 2019, a sure sign that he is focused on retaining his electoral victories in traditionally democrat-leaning states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

The event will be held in Milwaukee, and will cost over $2,000 to attend, though the exact time and location have not been released.

On Thursday, Democrat candidates for president, including Senators Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, former HUD Secretary Julian Castro, and former Texas Congressman Robert "Beto" O'Rourke, will also be in the state's largest city for an town hall hosted by the League of United Latino American Citizens.
Wisconsin's insurance officials are gearing up to consider whether to approve a proposal that would lower workers' compensation insurance rates.

The Wisconsin Compensation Rating Bureau is proposing a decrease in insurance rates of 8.8%, which would be the third straight year that the premiums have fallen in the state. Changes would go into effect at the beginning of October.

In 2017, 82,400 injuries and illnesses were reported, which was about 300 fewer than 2016. According to Wisconsin Public Radio, the state's rate of workplace illness and injuries are still higher than the national average, which sits at 3.1 cases per 100 full time employees. Wisconsin's is 3.7 cases.
Governor Tony Evers signed a law that prohibits businesses from deducting moving expenses from their income taxes if they are leaving Wisconsin or the United States. Do you support it?
No brainer.

This is good, why pay them if they are leaving.

Businesses shouldn't get handouts, but I'm not sure it stops people from leaving. Make it easier to stay, not kick them on the way out.

Evers has a few smarts...

Why help businesses move?

Its no more then right they these taxes

This is a no brainer. Why would you benefit companies moving out of the state?

I think if they move out they should be PENALIZED. We need more jobs and better pay right here! We also need more independent people...

only makes sense from a economic standpoint

Make them pay two additional years of taxes
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that federal courts have no business ruling on states' gerrymandering maps, essentially throwing the pending Wisconsin case out the window. After reading the article: good ruling or bad ruling?
I support non-partisan redistricting, sort of. It is inevitable that the USA will break apart in 20-50 years in some way. Having these unjust maps will hasten the break-up, and the converse, fixing the maps will only delay the inevitable.

Maps should be left alone, and no redistricting.

Timeto END ... EXTREME gerrymandering... Certainly it makes sence to follow municipality / ward lines NOT cutting wards into snpiiets where ONE home is in a different district than all others in that same ward

Anything that keeps the clowns in Washington out of our state is good.

The Federal goverment has to much control the states. What I have read that State of Iowa has a good method of redistricting

Dems need to quit crying and suck on their bottle

Absolutely. Why is this even a question?

They need to STOP messing with the lines. Leave it alone. Go do your job to gain your support like you are supposed to.

they suck. non partisan all the way!

To the victor go the spoils.

Want a real democracy? Non-political redistricting coupled with attempts to get more people of all “we the people” and not just the ones that look and think like “us”.

Our maps are ridiculous, nonsensical, and designed to favor Republicans. They should be redrawn fairly without favoritism for any party.
The U.S. Supreme Court last week, at least temporarily, blocked a Trump Administration from including a question about citizenship on next year's census. After reading the article: Good ruling or bad ruling?
Why not come here through the Legal process. Then you have nothing to worry about. Everybody feels sorry for them but they are breaking the LAW. Remember What LAW means?

This is just one more way the GOP is trying to game elections instead of having a better message to win votes. Shocking.

Tired of the illegal aliens having more power than actual citizens of my country. I am sick of the way the democrats continually use the mess at the border that they are refusing to fix, and the decisions liberal judges keep making that make it even more of a mess. The reason our healthcare has gone to the dogs, is because no one can be refused care, so the illegals have put a strain on our healthcare by going to the ER everytime they need medical attention. The citizens who have been lawfully required to purchase health insurance pay more for their premuims because the ER costs for the "free" stuff the illegals are given are passed on to the citizens through higher premuims and increasely poor care. Its time the democrats shut up and start doing something!

I don't believe this was in the Census from years back, why now.

I must not understand this because it seems like a silly thing to argue about. If you are taking a census, it seems perfectly logical to have to declare if you are a citizen.

The census should only be used to count the population and then to assign how many representatives each state should have. The census should not practice over reach.

How the hell do you keep your elections fair if we don't know who's voting? DUH!

I was disappointed on the ruling, why not know if your a citizen of USA

Of course it's a census of our citizens. Were it any other way we would also pass our census forms to deplaning loads of tourists on Census Day.

The census wants to know everything else about you. Why not citizenship. If you are not a citizen you are a "guest". Not sure why a "guest' should be counted in the census

If any census is to be valid,we certainly need to know how many legal citizens we have,and how many illegals we have living off of our tax dollars

You should be a citizen to vote.

I think there's too much "Fight the President" spirit after the last 24 years. They are the President, suck it up, support them, and vote in 2020. Kind of like may of us have a governor we didn't vote for, but I'm not out constantly bashing them, because they did win the vote (albeit in a very strange and underhanded way)

Another common sense ruling. However I doubt any illegals would fill out the form and send it in

My wife just became a citizen, and she is unhappy that a non-citizen would be counted as having a voice in our government.

Again, it was a bit too subtle attempt to suppress votes of “the others”.

The question will be used for discrimination. The court is right to rule against its inclusion.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a Wisconsin law enforcement officer acted legally when he obtained blood from an unconscious man he believed to be intoxicated having operated a vehicle. Good ruling or bad ruling?
Breaking the LAW! Test him.

Drunk driving is an abomination.

Im in the middle on this one.

When one obtains that DL... you give implied consent to obtain breath / other sampling methods.

As long as it isn't random...ie: to establish fault in traffic accidents, etc. when there is property damage, injuries.

Its about time police have the right to do some thing

Been there, done that as a LEO. It was never challenged back in the day

Horrible ruling! This is turning into a police state. Taking rights away from any individual conscious or unconscious is a bad idea.

Too many drunks on our roads. Get these people off the roads at any cost.

Quit restricting our law enforcement. Let them do their jobs, please. If they have suspicion you are intoxicated or otherwise inhibited due to chemicals in the blood stream, let them check!

We have to stop the drunk and distracted drivers.

Common sense ruling

This is a double edged sword. This application of the law seems reasonable but does that now mean that law enforcement has the right to draw in all unconscious individuals? Victim and perpatrator alike? If a victim is injured by another, but has been drinking will agencies like insurance etc. now be able to hold the victim culpable if a blood test demonstrates the alcohol intake? What if a person was having some drinks while watching an event like car racing? Could they then hold the victim culpable?
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Assembly Bill 56 (State Budget Bill): Relating to state finances and appropriations, constituting the executive budget act of the 2019 legislature. Signed as 2019 Act 9

Senate Bill 152 (Electric Scooters): Relating to the operation of electric scooters on highways, grant rule-making authority, and provide a penalty. Signed as 2019 Act 11.
LRB-1859   Memo  Camp Regulation (Felzkowski, Mary) Regulation of recreational and educational camps, providing an exemption from emergency rule procedures, and granting rule-making authority. Deadline: Friday, July 12, 3 pm

LRB-3612   Memo  Camp Health Records (Oldenburg, Loren) Electronic health records a recreational and educational camps. Deadline: Friday, July 12, 3 pm

LRB-0119   Memo  Nurses at Camps (Magnafici, Gae) Temporary practice by registered nurses at cams, providing an exemption from emergency rule procedures, and granting rule-making authority. Deadline: Friday, July 12, 3 pm

LRB-0118   Memo  Doctors at Camps (Edming, James) Temporary practice by physicians at camps, providing an exemption from emergency rule procedures, and granting rule-making authority. Deadline: Friday, July 12, 3 pm

LRB-0238   Memo  OWI ATV/UTV (Jacque, Andre) Intoxicated operation of all-terrain vehicles, utility terrain vehicles, off-highway motorcycles, snowmobiles, and motorboats and providing a penalty. Deadline: Tuesday, July 16, 5 pm

LRB-2323   Memo  Regulating Public Adjusters (Feyen, Dan) Regulation of public adjusters and granting rule-making authority. Deadline: Wednesday, July 17, 5 pm