MAY 29, 2019
NEWS FROM THE CAPITOL AND AROUND WISCONSIN
REPUBLICAN LAWMAKERS APPROVE $500 MILLION FUNDING BOOST FOR K-12
Public K-12 schools in Wisconsin will receive a $500 million boost from their current funding levels under a plan adopted by the Joint Finance Committee on a party-line vote late last week. The plan also includes nearly $100 million in funding for special needs students.

Under Governor Evers' initial budget proposal, K-12 schools would have received an additional $1.4 billion in new spending. Democrats have criticized the $500 million investment, saying it falls short of the investment proposed by Evers.

All of the money in the GOP plan would come from state general purpose revenue, with no property tax increases, though an adjustment was made for historically low-spending school districts.
LAWMAKERS AGAIN CIRCULATE BILL REQUIRING VOUCHER SCHOOL INFO ON PROPERTY TAX BILLS
Several Democrat lawmakers in the Capitol have introduced a bill that would require voucher school spending on property tax bills, the same way the annual bills currently itemize spending for local public schools.

Currently, Wisconsin spends about 2% for voucher schools that K-12 schools receive- approximately $300 million on voucher schools, and about $12 billion on public schools.

Advocates for the legislation say that it gives property taxpayers transparency to see how their dollars are being spent, while school voucher advocates say that there would be no way to uniformly provide the information in districts across the state, since the percentage and numbers vary accordingly.
BILL WOULD ALLOW FOR LIQUOR DELIVERY
Though the legislation is still in the drafting process, one Wisconsin lawmaker would like to expand the options by which consumers obtain alcohol.

Republican Representative Gary Tauchen (Bonduel) is authoring legislation that would allow for stores to deliver alcohol directly to an individual's home who would purchase their beer or spirits either online or by phone.

Currently, the home delivery of alcohol is illegal in Wisconsin.

Bartenders and others who serve alcoholic beverages in Wisconsin are required to take a course and obtain a permit to do so. This legislation would also require the individual delivering the alcohol to receive training, as well as be at least 21 of age.
FINANCE COMMITTEE EXTENDS UW TUITION FREEZE
Republicans on the Joint Finance Committee have extended the tuition freeze for University of Wisconsin System schools for undergraduate students who are residents of Wisconsin. The freeze remain in effect for the next two years.

The committee also provided a $58 million increase to the UW-System, but did not "fund the freeze," or provide additional cash to UW schools for what they "would have" received in tuition indexed to inflation. That would have provided campuses with an additional $50 million in funding.

UW System President Ray Cross told reporters, "I feel like I've been kicked in the shins," and said he was told his budget request was reasonable, and was "shocked by the committee's action."

The tuition freeze began during former Governor Scott Walker's 2013-2015 budget.
FINANCE COMMITTEE THROWS OUT EVERS' REQUEST FOR A 'SCIENCE BUREAU' AT DNR
The state's Joint Finance Committee on Tuesday thew out Governor Tony Evers' request to expand the state's Department of Natural Resources to include a 'science bureau" and to add five staff scientists to run the new department. The axing of the proposal was approved on a party-line vote.

In his budget proposal, Evers said that he wanted to "bring science back" to the Department of Natural Resources, and would have directed the new science bureau to examine and study synthetic chemicals (PFAs), which have a wide range of common uses including food packaging, foam used by firefighters, and more. The entire department would have cost over $700,000 over the course of the budget.

Republicans did, however, create two new research positions to begin working on combating the issue, at a cost of about $290,000, and granted $200,000 to examine firefighters use of the PFA foam, and propose ways to mitigate contamination from its use.
OUTAGAMIE COUNTY APPROVES SALES TAX
The Outagamie County Board last week approved a half-percent county-wide sales tax on a 28-4 vote. The tax, which will bring in around $20 million annually, is earmarked for property tax relief, and infrastructure improvement projects.

Still, liberal County Executive Tom Nelson said he opposes the tax and will "think about what to do next." When talks of the sales tax increase began, he threatened a veto, which will now be impossible since the vote margin on the County Board indicates that the level of support exists to override a veto. The vote was 28-4.

Preliminary estimates show that an average household would pay about $110 more in sales tax per year, but property tax would decrease by about $170.

Counties are permitted by the state to levy their own sales tax, with a maximum of 0.5%. With the new change in Outagamie County, only Manitowoc, Menominee, and Winnebago counties do not impose a county sales tax.
TAX LIABILITY DISCLOSURE PASSES COMMITTEE
The Department of Revenue would be permitted to disclose the tax liability of a business or its inventory if there were prospective buyers who requested the information, under a bill passed by an Assembly committee last week.

The bill is authored by Republican State Representative Amy Loudenbeck and Republican State Senator Dale Kooyenga. Loudenbeck said one of her constituents unknowingly purchased inventory and equipment from a business that still carried a tax liability, for which she then became responsible.

The Department of Revenue had been allowing the business to operate in sales tax delinquent status for a decade, and when the constituent purchased the items, she then received a bill for thousands of dollars in delinquent sales tax. The DOR never attempted to seize the inventory or equipment. According to Loudenbeck, "when the inventory was sold, [DOR] was able to use their power under current successor liability statutes to assess [the buyer] for all of the prior owner's deliquent sales taxes and penalties."

Loudenbeck said she was able to work with the Department of Revenue to pinpoint where the flaws were in the current laws and system, and what statutory changes would need to be made to avoid situations like the one experienced by her constituent.
COMMITTEE APPROVES PAY BOOST FOR DISTRICT ATTORNEYS, PUBLIC DEFENDERS
The Joint Finance Committee yesterday approved an increase in pay for both district attorneys and state public defenders.

The committee voted to additionally create 20 new prosecutor positions and increased the pay for public defenders by $25.6 million, or to $70 an hour from $40 an hour, still lower than all other states in the nation, having gone unchanged since 1995.

The Republicans' plan would also increase pay for district attorneys across the state by providing them with 2% raises in both 2020 and 2021.

All Democrats voted against the plan, all Republicans voted in favor.
WEEKLY MEMBER POLL RESULTS
The state will receive a $753 million cash influx due to a surge in federal tax collections. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Governor Tony Evers favor putting the money into the state's rainy day fund. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald favors using the money, in part, on roads and capital budget projects. Where do you stand?
The GOP are hell bent on not paying for anything. The roads need repair. The schools need repair. Here's $753m and they don't want to, you know, fix stuff. How these turkeys get elected is beyond me.

Save 1/3, spend 1/3, return 1/3 to the tax payers.

Save some spend some.

Using at least some of the money for road repair/replacement would be money wisely used at this time. There are many roads in Wisconsin that need attention. The local townships already struggle to keep their county roads in good shape, especially in the amish communities.

I'm not a fan of "rainy day funds" unless it's earmarked and tracked. I say double it at the casino.

Save it just in case we have a declining economy.

Do some of each

Our roads are pathetic!

save it, we will need it. Tony has already blown any surplus that Walker had

Roads are terrible, they could use this money

Save some and put some in road being needed.

The money should be allocated around the state not just Madison and Milwaukee

Put 2/3 in the rainy day fund. The rest use on road repair.

Save it!! There will always be someone willing to spend it now.

We may have the worst roads in the country, but this surplus won't last. We should put the funds away for the next crash.

These are not earmarked for any use right now. Save them, let everyone argue a bit about its use...

Local roads need repair or replacement and the costs have increased so much over the years it is impossible for most roads to be even kept safe, much less smooth.

The unions and others have spent money on ads telling us our roads are terrible. They obviously have not been to Illinois. We have gravel roads better than some of their major highways. Let's spend additional funds on roads. Don't forget those roads north of Hwy 94. It's not really Canada.

Save some spend some on roads give some to Taxpayers as rebate as it is their money

Save some and put the rest on roads,but don't let the road builders get away with inflated bids, No more roundabouts!

Theroads have been neglected for some time.

Increase the state's share of public school funding and take the increase off the property tax bill. Buildings and land don't send kids to school. The state should pay it's share.

Can't you do some of both?

Spend the money investing in road repairs. They are in bad shape.
Obese and other qualifying state government workers will soon have their weight loss surgeries covered by their health care. Good idea or bad idea?
I'm ok with this. Obese people have high health care costs that ARE covered. If they want to staple their stomachs, they will be less of a health care burden on society. Hell, it should be mandatory!

A stich in time saves nine. Spending a few million now will probably save many millions down the road in health care costs.

I am overweight, have tried to diet many different ways but always unsuccessfully. Good way to avoid diabetes.

Give me a break. I'm ticked it's even considered.

I've never heard of insurance paying for these surgeries.

Why not cut their food allowance

Wow just wow!!!

Well since the workers are now paying a portion of their premuims, I'm OK with it

Why should we have to pay for their surgeries, when the government doesn't pay for ours.

Uh, this isn't a necessity. They can go on a diet just like I am doing, and lose weight by eating properly and exercising.

Good idea - if someone is willing to do the work to go through the surgery and completely change their lifestyle, it should be covered by insurance. The cost of surgery is likely equivalent or less than the expense to care for diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other chronic conditions attributable to obesity. Weight loss surgery should also be covered for appropriate candidates with Medicaid or Medicare.

This is a state supported insurance, spending money on the results of a personal choice driven illness

it's selective

Good idea.It's a situation that plagues many people,

Treat them like everyone else.

Probably save money in the long run

In the middle. The surgeries are not always successful.
A proposal by two Republican lawmakers would allow for pharmacists to prescribe birth control. Good idea or bad idea?
More birth control = fewer single parent families = fewer people in poverty = less welfare = good.

Stream line the process.

Everyone needs a physician. If the costs of health care could be kept under control, people would not have to look else where for their health care.

I think it should be physicians that should issue the prescriptions.

I'm not that educated on if this is a good idea or not.

Depends on what the form asks. Are these women still going to see the OB/GYN?

Very good idea.. gets rid of planned parenthood.

Great idea - pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare providers. Something as essential as birth control should not require a physician sign-off. Give women MORE control over their bodies and MORE access to care!

more availability the better.

all drugs have side effects. can we now sue pharmacists if something goes wrong

Only doctors are qualified to know whether its safe for an individual

There are many interactions that need to be considered.

Pharmacists are qualified to prescribe birth control, this would free up doctors time for more serious health issues.
A Republican lawmaker wants to ban "lunch shaming," and require school districts to provide food to students who request it, even if they are unable to pay. What do you think?
AS with all great intentions.... this will be abused.

Schools are there to educate children, not feed them.

Children can't learn when they are hungry. Why can't the school call the parents and ask what might be going wrong that the lunch money is not reaching the school.

We already offer free and reduced. That should be affordable to anyone, no matter the income.

Let the school decide on their own.

Communities could certainly come together to fund this.

So once some additional parents find out about this, they too will cease paying.

Their mom and dad are already on the public handout. What has happened to that money? More drugs, cigarettes and alcohol?

Someone still has to pay for it?!?!

Make sure the parents pay up. This could get out of hand

I know as a student, at times did not have money for lunches.. Use the money to keep our students not hungry. They will be alot happier and learn better.

Good idea, if handled the same state wide by all schools.

If this happens there will be no students able to pay. Free lunches!!

How can we expect a student to learn when they are hungry? School lunches cost around $3.00 per student - surely, we can afford this.

There is a reason why school lunch programs are in place...money should be entirely secondary to feeding students.

Tough question,I feel sorry for the kid if he/she is poor,On the other hand,where does welfare stop.Some kids will game the system,

Parents are to supply thier childerns food, not the school or other government entity

We already have a school lunch program

Kids should not go hungry. The parents need to be help responsible though.
Next Monday is Memorial Day. What are your plans? Will you attend a Memorial Day Service or vigil? Will you spend the day off with family and friends? Will you still be working? Share your Memorial Day plans here.
Stay home.

I helped start a Memorial Day ceremony in our village five years ago. About 600 people attend each year. It's wonderful.

It will be graduation time in our family. We also attend a memorial service at our local cemetery. It is important to remember our servicemen and women.

At this time may watch the parade and enjoy the veterans cookout to support them.

Watch local parade

Memorial program then Spring yard things:)

We may be home, maybe using my air fryer.

Work, work, work

Hope to spend the day with family.

Weekend at the lake boating

Should celebrate Memorial day,but often don't,

Appreciate our armed services.

Spent time with family and friends.

Farming!

Our businesses will be open.
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
No bills to report.
BILLS IN CIRCULATION
LRB-3197   Memo  Highway Designation (Vos, Robin) Bills making honorary designations of state highways or bridges. Deadline: Friday, May 24, 5 pm

LRB-3003   Memo  Homestead Tax Credit (Riemer, Daniel) Increasing the homestead tax credit maximum income. Deadline: Saturday, May 25

LRB-1105   Memo  Voter Registration (Crowley, David) Automatic voter registration and the integration of registration information with information maintained by the Department of Transportation and other state agencies and granting rule-making authority. Deadline: Friday, May 31, Noon

LRB-2413   Memo  CS Gel (Horlacher, Cody) Pepper spray and CS Gel substances. Deadline: Friday, May 31, 5 pm

LRB-1548   Memo  Suicide Prevention Grant (Taylor, Lena) Grants to the Center for Suicide Awareness, Inc., and making an appropriation. Deadline: Thursday, May 30

LRB-2751   Memo  Responder Tax Credits (Testin, Patrick) Creating three refundable tax credits for volunteer emergency responders and making an appropriation. Deadline: Friday, May 31, 5 pm

LRB-1845   Memo  Sexual Assault Bill of Rights (Jacque, Andre) Creating a sexual assault victim bill of rights. Deadline: Tuesday, June 4

LRB-1456   Memo  Voter Registration (Tusler, Ron) Voter registration. Deadline: Thursday, May 23, 5 pm

LRB-2186   Memo  Elections (Tusler, Ron) Elections administration, recall petitions, and recount procedures. Deadline: Thursday, May 23, 5 pm

LRB-2329   Memo  Absentee Voting (Tusler, Ron) Absentee voting, voting procedures, and providing a penalty. Deadline: Thursday, May 23, 5 pm

LRB-3344   Memo  Sales Tax Deposits (Sanfelippo, Joe) Depositing sales tax revenue from the sale of motor vehicles and motor vehicle parts, accessories, and services into the transportation fund. Deadline: Friday, May 31, Noon

LRB-3328   Memo  Zoning Exemption (Sanfelippo, Joe) Exemption from local zoning ordinances for certain transportation project aggregate and concrete production sites. Deadline: Friday, May 31, Noon

LRB-3338   Memo  Highway Improvement Plans (Sanfelippo, Joe) Scope of highway improvement plans. Deadline: Friday, May 31, Noon

LRB-3326   Memo  Materials Bids (Sanfelippo, Joe) Bids proposing the use of alternate subbase materials. Deadline: Friday, May 31, Noon

LRB-3329   Memo  Materials Sourcing (Sanfelippo, Joe) Sourcing materials from within the right-of-way of a highway improvement project. Deadline: Friday, May 31, Noon

LRB-3334   Memo  Wheel Tax (Sanfelippo, Joe) Requiring a local referendum to impose a wheel tax. Deadline: Friday, May 31, Noon

LRB-3327   Memo  Cost Reduction Incentives (Sanfelippo, Joe) Department of Transportation project cost reduction incentives. Deadline: Friday, May 31, Noon

LRB-3332   Memo  Bridge Construction Contracts (Sanfelippo, Joe) A fixed-price variable-scope contract for local bridge construction and maintenance. Deadline: Friday, May 31, Noon

LRB-3335   Memo  Merit Awards (Sanfelippo, Joe) Discretionary merit awards by the Department of Transportation. Deadline: Friday, May 31, Noon

LRB-3331   Memo  Design Inventory (Sanfelippo, Joe) Highway project design inventory for design-build projects. Deadline: Friday, May 31, Noon

LRB-3336   Memo  DOT Inspector General (Sanfelippo, Joe) Requiring the state auditor to appoint an inspector general to investigate Department of Transportation programs and activities and making an appropriation. Deadline: Friday, May 31, Noon

LRB-3350   Memo  Highway Improvement Bidding (Sanfelippo, Joe) Bidding procedures for highway improvements. Deadline: Friday, May 31, No
on

LRB-3349   Memo  Water Quality (Sanfelippo, Joe) Water quality management in state highway projects. Deadline: Friday, May 31, Noon

LRB-3333   Memo  Roundabout Approval (Sanfelippo, Joe) Requiring approval by a municipal governing body before construction of highway roundabouts. Deadline: Friday, May 31, Noon

LRB-3330   Memo  Highway Projects (Sanfelippo, Joe) Alternative highway project delivery methods, providing an exemption from emergency rule procedures, and granting rule-making authority. Deadline: Friday, May 31, Noon

LRB-2297   Memo  Contaminant Standards (Miller, Mark) Setting standards for certain contaminants, providing information relating to off-side disposal of certain waste, extending the time limit for emergency rule procedures, providing an exemption from emergency rule procedures, granting rule-making authority, and making an appropriation. Deadline: Friday, May 24

LRB-3238   Memo  Army Week (Kooyenga, Dale) Recognizing June 9 to 15, 2019 as Army Week in Wisconsin. Deadline: Wednesday, May 29

LRB-2167   Memo  Insurance Premium Changes (Felzkowski, Mary) Notice of change in terms or premium amount for insurance policy renewal. Deadline: Thursday, May 30, 5 pm

LRB-3239   Memo  Black Music Month (Crowley, David) Recognizing June 2019 as Black Music Month in the state of Wisconsin. Deadline: Friday, May 31

LRB-1758   Memo  Lyme Disease Signs (Cowles, Rob) Signs informing about Lyme disease in state parks, state trails, state recreational areas, and state forests and making an appropriation. Deadline: Tuesday, June 4, 4 pm

LRB-1759   Memo  Insect Repellant (Cowles, Rob) Making insect repellant available for sale in state parks and state forests. Deadline: Tuesday, June 4, 4 pm

LRB-2738   Memo  Lyme Disease Awareness (Cowles, Rob) Department of Natural Resources' efforts to raise awareness about Lyme disease. Deadline: Tuesday, June 4, 4 pm

LRB-1658   Memo  DHS Positions (Cowles, Rob) Increasing the number of authorized positions for the Department of Health Services and making an appropriation. Deadline: Tuesday, June 4, 4 pm

LRB-1652   Memo  Tick Disease Committee (Cowles, Rob) Establishing a tick-borne disease study committee. Deadline: Tuesday, June 4, 4 pm

LRB-3306   Memo  Fire Fighting Foam (Nygren, John) Regulating fire fighting foam that contains certain contaminants and granting rule-making authority. Deadline: Wednesday, June 5

LRB-3238   Memo  Army Week (Kooyenga, Dale) Recognizing June 9 to 15, 2019 as Army Week in Wisconsin. Deadline: Wednesday, May 29

LRB-1688   Memo  Atomic Veterans Day (Tusler, Ron) Recognizing July 16 as National Atomic Veterans Day in Wisconsin. Deadline: Friday, May 31, 3 pm

LRB-1642   Memo  CCAP Information (Craig, Dave) The availability of information on crimes through the consolidated court automation program. Deadline: June 5, 5 pm

LRB-2615   Memo  Threat to use Weapon (Bewley, Janet) Threat to use a dangerous weapon on school property to injure or kill a person and providing a penalty. Deadline: Friday, June 7

LRB-2512   Memo  Interior Designers (Kapenga, Chris) Registration and the scope of practice of interior designers and granting rule-making authority. Deadline: Friday, June 7, 5 pm

LRB-3220   Memo  Carcass Tags (Wirch, Bob) Deer carcass tags. Deadline: Friday, June 7, 5 pm