JUNE 24, 2019
*NEXT WEEKLY INSIDER WILL BE SENT ON MONDAY 7/8*
NEWS FROM THE CAPITOL AND AROUND WISCONSIN
STATE SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS 'LAME-DUCK' LAWS
The state's Supreme Court on Friday handed down its ruling, upholding a bevy of policies passed by the GOP-controlled legislature and passed by then-Governor Scott Walker, which sought to change, and in some cases limit the powers of incoming Governor Tony Evers.

Wisconsin's highest court ruled 4-3 that the legislature was, in fact, allowed to call itself into session, saying that the Wisconsin Constitution mandates the State Legislature meet at times provided by law. The law allows the legislature to make its own schedule, though allows for only the Governor of the state to call them into "special session." The type of session called by the legislature in December was the legislature calling themselves into "extraordinary session," meaning outside of its previously-scheduled times.

Justice Rebecca Bradley wrote for the majority that how "the Legislature meets, when it meets and what descriptive titles the Legislature assigns to those meetings or their operating procedures constitute parts of the legislative process which the judicial branch has no jurisdiction or right to interfere."

Among other things, the laws give various authorities to the legislature, including signing off on large legal settlements, allowing the legislature to block administrative rules from Evers' cabinet, and hire outside counsel to represent the legislature where it believes the Attorney General will not
GOP CONSIDERING LAST-MINUTE CHANGES TO BUDGET
With two Republican state senators already a "no" vote even before the state budget hits the floor of the legislature, GOP leaders are considering making changes that could help ensure the two-year spending plan passes through both chambers unfettered, as both houses will take up the budget bill this week and send it on to Governor Evers.

According to Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, the legislature is planning to offer an amendment to the budget bill that would restrict property tax increases, and also do away with a provision that would allow the Joint Finance Committee to solely decide whether or not to increase vehicle fees. The full legislature would have to pass any such increases. Additionally, a provision would be included to allow Tesla automobiles to sell their products directly to consumers by establishing their own dealerships, rather than privately-owned dealerships.

Currently, Senators Nass and Craig have said they will be opposed to the budget, only giving the GOP in that chamber a one-vote margin. Now attention has shifted toward Sen. Chris Kapenga of Delafield and Sen. Duey Stroebel of Saukville, both among the most conservative of Wisconsin's Senate. Kapenga has not granted an interview about his intentions, though Stroebel is expected to vote for the package.
ASSEMBLY PUTS AN END TO MILLER PARK SALES TAX
If you live in the counties of Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington, Waukesha, or Racine, the 0.1% sales tax that has funded Miller Park's construction and operations since 1996 could soon be gone. Since its implementation, it has covered about $525 million in construction costs, and interest.

The State Assembly last week passed a bill that would effectively end the five-county sales tax by August 31st of next year, with any additional collections going back to the county governments. If any excess dollars are collected, those dollars must be used for property tax relief, public safety, parks, or economic development projects.

The bill was passed on a voice vote by the Assembly last Thursday, and will now head to the State Senate for passage before moving on to Governor Evers' desk.
DWD: UNEMPLOYMENT REMAINS AT 2.8%
The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) last week released the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) preliminary employment estimates for the month of May. The data showed that Wisconsin's unemployment remained at a record low of 2.8 percent.

According to the numbers, Wisconsin's preliminary, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in May remained at 2.8 percent, down from 3.1 percent in May 2018. Wisconsin's labor force participation rate was 67.3 percent in May 2019, down from 68.1 percent in May 2018. The national unemployment rate and labor force participation rate in May were 3.5 percent and 62.8 percent respectively.

Additionally, Wisconsin added 19,600 private-sector jobs from May 2018 to May 2019, and 15,000 total non-farm jobs over the same time period. From April 2019 to May 2019, Wisconsin added 1,800 private-sector jobs and 1,700 total non-farm jobs.
WISCONSIN LOTTERY RELEASES REPORT
The Wisconsin Lottery, which began operations in 1988, is administered by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, and sells instant lottery and other lottery tickets, and participates in the national Powerball and Mega Millions games.

But what many Wisconsinites do not know is that the state's lottery is required to provide unmodified financial statements for their fiscal years, and release their operations' numbers to the general public. Most notably for property taxpayers is that any revenues gained by the department are required to go toward direct property tax relief.

Lottery ticket sales increased from $602.8 million in 2016-2017 to $667.4 million in fiscal year 2017-2018. That's a 10.7% increase. Operating expenses also increased by 10.7 percent from $440.3 million in '16-'17 to $487.2 million in 2017-2018. Those expenses include the prizes, retailer compensation, game development and production, and other items.

Last September, the Department of Administration and the Joint Finance Committee authorized the use of $236.5 million in Wisconsin Lottery net proceeds for property tax relief in 2018-2019.
WHO CONTROLS K-12 POLICY: GOVERNOR OR STATE SUPERINTENDENT?
The Wisconsin Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling on a case stemming from 2018 that asks a significant question; who controls school policy in Wisconsin?

In 2017, the legislature passed a law known as the REINS Act, or Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny. That law requires all of Wisconsin's state agencies in departments to obtain permission from the Governor before writing costly regulations.

Last year, the conservative law firm Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) filed a suit against then-Superintendent Tony Evers, alleging that Evers was working outside of that law by writing educational policy and regulations with expressed permission from then-Governor Scott Walker. Others claim that the office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction does not fall into the category as other state departments, since that position is elected and not appointed by the Governor.
EVERS VETOES ANTI-ABORTION BILLS
Governor Tony Evers has vetoed a number of Republican-authored anti-abortion bills, saying he would not sign legislation that restricts "reproductive rights."

Among the bills were policies that would require doctors to provide live-saving attention to infants that survive abortion attempts, ban abortions based on race, ban Planned Parenthood from receiving Medical Assistance money, and other such provisions.

Evers' statement said "everyone should have access to quality, affordable health care," and that "politicians shouldn't be in the business of interfering with decisions made between patients and their health care providers."

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald called the governor's vetoes "appalling," saying the bills were meant to "protect babies born alive after a failed abortion..."

Late last week, leaders in the legislature were joined by
WEEKLY MEMBER POLL RESULTS
After reading the article, how do you feel about the GOP's income tax plan?
More tax cuts = more borrowing. Stop pandering and fix the damn roads!

Save some for emergencies. Borrow LESS. Use some to pay for 'todays' expenditures.

I will not see a reduction. However, I believe this will help single parents, unemployable individuals and the elderly.

No I'd rather see the money be used for highwys and not borrow as much!

so much for helping the middle class

nope, make too much!

Yes

NO

What the heck did they do???? They obviously did NOT listen to constituents, and have turned this into a tit-for-tat partisan war.

When are we going to a see some restraint in spending. There seems to be no interest in using the word NO!

Should feature even more reduction.

middle people under 23,000 do not pay taxes, is this welfare? GOP trying to buy votes?

A $400 million tax cut so the average person will see a $75 reduction? Useless. Put he funds into roads and infrastructure.

bigger government

While it would be nice to have a reduction in income tax, the fact is we are borrowing money to pay for other things. I personally will not receive any break with this "tax cut" because as someone with a family to support I have to make more than $22,900 a year or my children won't have a roof over their head or food to eat. Good for anyone who does get the break but if their income is that low they are probably already receiving all kinds of other state financial benefits (section 8 housing, heat assistance, medicaid, food stamps).

I don’t support this plan, mainly because this isn’t a fair tax plan. Any change or reduction in income taxes should be equal for all taxpayers not just for a select group of individuals. Based on the article, I will not see any of the tax plan reductions. Way to go Republicans! Trying to take a page out of the Democrats playbook and buy your way into keeping yourselves in power!

No

no

I won't get any tax cut, an I am retired

What’s the point...
Republicans passed a $1.9 billion spending plan for government and state buildings, and other building projects around the state. After reading the article...
This large capital spending plan wouldn't be so high if the previous administration would have kept up with what was necessary.

I like the idea of closing down the GB Correction Inst and building a new one.

I do not support it...it IS too excessive.

For some people any spending is excessive.

I agree with senator Nass

He may have a point.

True dat!

Senator Nass speaks the truth.

middle, we all want to see tax and spending held in check, but improvements and maintenance needs to be taken care of government or private

There doesn’t seem to be any discussion of which projects receive funds and why.

All government dollars are at the expense of taxpayers. The most inefficient way to spend

I agree with Senator Nass. We need to get back to being able to count on those we elect to office to be able to balance a budget and not spend our state into eventual bankruptcy.

I agree with Senator Nass.

Once again we are spending money to fix or add to sports facilities at the expense of the taxpayers. I am beginning to think there is really only four entities in Wisconsin, the State of Madison, the State of Milwaukee, and now the State of University of Wisconsin system. The rest of the state is left with just pennies to go around. But the northern part of the state will be burden with having to pay the excessive spending for the four entities.

Spend spend spend! I wish my Senator would speak out like this Nass character. I’m with him 100%
What do you think of the legislation that would require wheel taxes (both new and existing) to be approved by voters through a referendum?
Local politicians are elected. If you don't like what they do, vote them out of office -- OR BETTER YET .. run for office and find out how difficult it is to run a municipality when the state handcuffs your revenue stream. Everyone loves to complain, but will they volunteer to lead? No.

The is local control (by the people in that jurisdiction) at it's best

Too many taxes

Tax bicycles too.

I think the voters should have a say in how they are taxed. I think many of us will realize that our roads are in horroble shape and this may be on good way to repair them.

I'm beginning to support toll roads.

taxpayer money taxpayer decision

gas taxes first!! make users pay.

Elected officials should be able to do there job.

Wheel taxes are illegal, unfair, and double taxation. GET RID OF THEM!

This would be a good way for the political class to know what the voters think.

We will not raise taxes, but we sure can fee the heck out of you! all tax should have iron clad designation of where the spending will be used

What are wheel taxes? Poor article without any explanation...

The bigger question I have is why should people who don't even own a vehicle be able to dictate whether or not there is a wheel tax? If the wheel tax is approved then it should be used EXCLUSIVELY for the roads in that particular municipality. I am concerned that the monies collected throughout the state will be mostly spent in the larger urban areas.

I think the “wheel tax” is a big joke! This is just another way for the government entities to collect more money by saying it is only XX.XX number of dollars it will have a minimal impact on people’s money.

we the people should have the final say

The more local voters have a say in the process, the better! Sounds like the bonehead in Appleton is mad that he might not be able to suck cash from unwilling members of the public any longer
Governor Evers has resurrected the Wisconsin Pardon Board, which will oversee the consideration of granting pardons to convicted felons and reinstating certain rights. Evers said he will not commute prison sentences. Where do you stand?
If long term residents of prisons can go through massive vetting and earn a pardon, this is good news, it's one less person we need to spend money on in prison.

Our Judicial and criminal justice systems should be able to do this without a special board.

For some prisoners a parole is a good incentive for good behavior.

there are cases where our judicial system falters. as long as it not abused the pardon board would be an asset.

More waste... We have a judicial system for this already.

support, just more honest and fair than one person dictating rites

Convicted felons need to serve their sentence.

If you are a convicted felon, you have to pay the price of being a convicted felon. By reinstating a convicted felons rights will entitle this person for more social welfare and there will never be a change made by the felon. Remember, the convicted felon had the opportunity to know right from wrong.

all laws need to be supported with penalties if they are broken and no elected official should change it

I’m okay as long as he uses restraint with this.
A proposal in the legislature would ban the sales of cats and dogs at pet stores. What are your thoughts?
This does not need to be regulated. The market will take care of the situation.

Rescue & local humane association.

People make their own choices as to where they buy an animal. If pet stores sell them, it's one more dog/cat that gets a home.

no

Doing so would make it harder for "puppy mills" to produce unhealthy animals. Ethical breeders and Animal Rescue operations should be the only place to buy dogs and cats.

I would rather see breeders inspected just like any farmer.

There are bad puppy mills but there are also a lot of small business pet stores that rely on the business

no. It may not be a popular opinion, but theses animals ARE property.

I always get my dogs from a rescue or Humane Society

Close down puppy mills and

We have two cats from the same litter given to us by friends.

No

Yes, there are some bad actors, however the market takes care of them. We seem to have more emotional reaction to animal abuse than human abuse, that seems telling to me.

Purchased our dog from a breeder, locally. Our cats reproduce themselves and nature controls the population.

Pet stores are irresponsible. Get a rescue pet!

Protect private enterprise.

Homeless and hungry people and people worry about animals. What is missing here?

Just a couple barn cats.

On again the state legislature is trying to exert there control over business. Has there even been any research done in Wisconsin to if this is even an issue in the state.

The loss of liberty in this country is staggering. This is just ridiculous. Do they actually think people won’t just do directly to a breeder?
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
Vetoed: Assembly Bill 179   Abortion Requirements - Requirements for children born alive following abortion or attempted abortion and providing a penalty.

Vetoed: Assembly Bill 180   Induced Abortion Information - Informed consent regarding a certain abortion-inducing drug regimen and reporting requirements for induced abortions.

Vetoed Assembly Bill 182   Selective Abortions - Sex-selective, disability-selective, and other selective abortions and providing a penalty.

Vetoed: Assembly Bill 183   Abortion Provider Certification - Certification of abortion providers under the Medical Assistance program.

Signed: Senate Bill 083   Liquor Sales - Retail sales of intoxicating liquor for consumption off the licensed premises. ( Act 6 )

Signed: Assembly Bill 010   Moving Expense Deductions - Eliminating deductions for moving expenses for businesses that move out of the state of out of the United States. ( Act 7 )
BILLS IN CIRCULATION
LRB-3446   Memo  Juneteenth Day (Taylor, Lena) Recognizing June 19, 2019, as the 57th celebration of Juneteenth Day in the State of Wisconsin. Deadline: Thursday, June 20

LRB-1511   Memo  Jailed Pregnant Person (Taylor, Lena) The treatment of a pregnant or postpartum person in prison and county jail. Deadline: Monday, June 24

LRB-0777   Memo  Staffing Rights (Hutton, Rob) Right to specific staffing arrangements for certain patients in an intensive treatment program. Deadline: Wednesday, June 26, 5 pm

LRB-0728   Memo  Transportation Facilities (Petrowski, Jerry) The transportation facilities economic assistance and development program. Deadline: Friday, June 28, Noon

LRB-2462   Memo  Vehicle Ownership (Tusler, Ron) Evidence of ownership for purposes of obtaining certain motor vehicle certificates of title. Deadline: Friday, June 28, 3 pm

LRB-3544   Memo  Fatherhood Month (Vining, Robyn) Honoring June 2019 as Wisconsin Fatherhood Month. Deadline: Wednesday, June 19, 5 pm

LRB-2606   Memo  Rent Payments (Gruszynski, Staush) Grace period for late rent payments by tenants receiving military housing allowances. Deadline: Friday, June 28, Noon

LRB-3487   Memo  Deer Carcasses (Marklein, Howard) A deer carcass disposal grant program. Deadline: Tuesday, July 2, 5 pm

LRB-3310   Memo  Choking Rescue Devices (Tranel, Travis) Providing grants for the purchase of choking rescue devices and making an appropriation. Deadline: Friday, June 28

LRB-2963   Memo  MA Benefits Extension (Kolste, Debra) Extension of eligibility under the Medical Assistance program for post-partum women. Deadline: Wednesday, July 3, 5 pm