OCTOBER 7, 2019
NEWS FROM THE CAPITOL AND AROUND WISCONSIN
GOV. EVERS TO ISSUE FIRST PARDONS IN NEARLY A DECADE
Governor Tony Evers will issue the first executive pardons in Wisconsin since Governor Jim Doyle did so in early 2011, prior to Governor Scott Walker's inauguration to the state's highest office. The sitting governor will pardon Eric Pizer, Kevin Sorenson, Mwangi Vasser, and Steven Nichols.

Steven Nichols was convicted in 2011 of burglary, and now at age 62, would like to hunt and visit the Canadian province of Alberta for the Calgary Stampede, a yearly Canadian festival.

Kevin Sorenson was convicted at age 17 of selling ecstasy at a party, and has since become a civilian employee of the United States Air Force. He told Governor Evers that a pardon would open up more military positions for him, as well as deployment.

At age 19, Mwangi Vasser was arrested and convicted of selling cocaine. He has since earned his doctorate in theology, and now at age 40, would like to become a military chaplain.

Finally, at age 22, Eric Pizer took part in a bar fight, "while celebrating his return home from his second tour of duty in Iraq as a Marine," according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He would like to be able to hunt, and potentially begin a career in law enforcement.

Governor Evers says all four have "paid their debt to society," and have contributed to their communities while making amends. Evers' statement said "I believe they deserve a second chance."
U.S. UNEMPLOYMENT HITS NEAR 50-YEAR LOW
The U.S. unemployment rate in September dropped to 3.5 in September, the lowest it has been since December of 1969, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to Josh Wight, chief economist of iCIMS in New York City, "The unemployment rate usually rises ahead of recession, so a fresh decline pushing out the timeline for any potential recession into late 2020 at the latest."

Non-farm payrolls increased by 136,000 jobs, and total payrolls increased by 145,000. According to BLS, smaller household data "from which the unemployment rate is derived, showed a jump of 391,000 in employment in September."

Still, last week the U.S. Census Bureau released new data showing that Wisconsin exports declined 6.5% in August, bringing the total YTD decline in international exports to 5.2%, putting them on track to drop $1.19 billion in exports over calendar year 2019.

According to the BizTimes, "The drop in Wisconsin exports is being driven by declines to major geographies. Sales to China, in particular, are down 25.3% for the year or $277.9 million. Exports to Canada have seen a similar size drop in dollar figures, down $250 million, which equates to a 5.2% decline. Sales to Europe are also down $132.4 million or 4.3% while exports to Mexico are relatively flat, down 0.2% or $3.4 million."
REPUBLICANS INTRODUCE PROPOSAL TO MAKE PRE-KINDERGARTEN ALL DAY
Republican lawmakers Senator Jerry Petrowski, and Representatives Bob Kulp, Patrick Snuder, and John Spiros have introduced a bill that would make pre-kindergarten, otherwise known as 4K, all day for students, rather than the traditional half-days with one dedicated full day.

The bill would essentially change how students are enrolled so the state aid and revenue limit formulas could be reconfigured.

State law currently counts pre-kindergarten students as 0.5 pupils, but if the state were to require full day attendance all five days per week, the student would be counted as a full pupil, therefore qualifying the school district for more aid from the state.

Public hearings on the legislation will be held on Thursday.
GOP LAWMAKERS WANT TO ALLOW PURCHASE OF LOTTERY PRODUCTS WITH DEBIT CARDS
State Representative Terry Katsma and Senator Alberta Darling are currently circulating legislation which would allow lottery tickets to be bought using a debit card.

Current law requires that all lottery sales in Wisconsin be made with cash, but the lawmakers believe the law should be changed to get in line with current purchasing trends. According to their co-sponsorship memo, 45 percent of American supermarket customers and 41 percent of gas station customers preferred to use their debit cards at the point of sale, compared to 15 percent who preferred to use cash.

Merchants are charged a fee for the use of debit cards, and Representative Katsma believes it is about 1%, but is a negotiated contract between the bank and merchant.

The deadline for lawmakers to co-sponsor this legislation is this Friday at noon.
UPDATE: SPECIAL ELECTION TO REPLACE SEAN DUFFY TO BE PUSHED BACK
Last week, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos wrote to Governor Evers and demanded the special election to replace resigned Congressman Sean Duffy in Wisconsin's 7th Congressional District be changed due to a conflict with a Jewish holiday.

The original dates Evers called the election for, December 30th and January 27th, violated federal elections laws, and therefore need to be pushed back even farther. An spokesperson for the Governor said it would likely be held in the Spring, though experts are looking at how to reconcile a conflict in state and federal laws.

Federal law requires that military and voters living overseas be able to receive absentee ballots at least 45 days before any election is held for a federal office.
DEMOCRAT LAWMAKERS ROLL OUT LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES FOR REMAINDER OF SESSION
Democrats in the Wisconsin Legislature rolled out their priorities for the remainder of the 2019-2020 legislative session today, calling their plan the "Forward Together" plan.

Among others, the plans call for working on the following issues facing Wisconsinites:

  • Prescription drug prices
  • Expand opioid treatment options
  • Expand Medicaid
  • Increase access to women’s health care
  • Increase special education funding
  • Fair funding for rural schools
  • Expand access to early child education and full day 4K
  • Make college affordable
  • Address student local debt
  • Strengthen workforce development programs at technical colleges
  • Replace lead pipes
  • Promote sustainable water management for farms
  • Fix contaminated wells
  • Limit runoff for large industrial farms
  • Prevent toxic PFAS contamination
  • Raise the minimum wage
  • Cut taxes for working families
  • Increase access to affordable child care
  • Broaden paid family leave options
  • Ensure equal pay for equal work
  • Secure retirement
  • Improve rural broadband access
  • Close the Dark Store loophole
  • Support start-up companies, entrepreneurs and family care
  • Oppose unfair tariffs on Wisconsin farmers and businesses
  • Reform marijuana laws
  • Keep juveniles out of the adult prison system
  • Ensure criminal justice system is fair for everyone
  • Improve background checks on all firearm purchases
  • Help people in crisis and prevent suicides
  • Protect domestic abuse survivors
  • Create non-partisan redistricting process
  • Improve election security
  • Implement automatic voter registration
  • Reform campaign finance system
  • Address racial disparities in communities

WEEKLY MEMBER POLL RESULTS
Taxpayers have saved over $13 billion since 2011 when the GOP took control of state government. Which taxes would you like to see reduced further?
The issue should be stated differently: Legislators cut the compensation of public employees and didn't pay them $13b they would have received for their work so that taxpayers could save a few bucks each year. Imagine the outrage if that happened in YOUR industry.

Reduce all of the above!

None. I would like any extra money to go to fixing our roads

Capital gains

Incometax hurts me the most.

Taxes are getting out of hand

It's getting harder and harder to keep a family home with how high property taxes are getting

with less property tax people have more money for home improvement.

Half pay ZERO federal taxes

Income, everyone who has an income would benefit.

My property taxes keep increasing every year and I have made no improvements, by the time I am old enough to retire, I'll have to move or keep working just to pay the property taxes!

Property,.my son could not afford to build a house by the lake on farm land we have owned for generations.

Get rid of the personal property tax once and for all

Taxation on income and its use {purchases} is double taxation! remove one.

property taxes are still pretty high, I would like to see it go lower.

All of them

$22000+ is why

Only for middle class and lower - tired of corporations getting all the tax breaks

Those "hidden" taxes / fees on Phone service.

Lessen the burden1

I believe we the people should be able to spend our income the way we want to, tax on the purchases to keep things more consistant.
Speaker Robin Vos is demanding that Gov. Evers change the special election dates for the 7th Congressional District. After reading the article...
What a bunch of stupid politics.

Would not vote on Christmas!

It’s already been changed

We wouldn't have the election on Christmas day would we?

Evers hopes for a low turnout.

Good question. Made me rethink and change my vote. I would still vote on Christmas, but would think it beyond rediculous.

We should make voting fair for all of our citizens of Wisconsin. No I would not vote on Christmas.

My Christian beliefs are constantly being ignored by gov't why should there be any provisions for other religions. Liberals want separation of church and state, this should not have any bearing on when things are planned. If they can't vote on the election day vote a month early with an absentee ballot, shucks maybe you can even vote today if you live in Dane or Milwaukee county.

Vos grandstanding. ignore.

I voted change it, but I really don't care... If you held an election on Christmas I think you're asking for a heap of trouble.

Evers and his crony's would scream at the republicans if they did this.

Evers needs to use his head and think things through.

Evers should admit it was an oversight and just move the date.

Christmas would be a big deal so this is the same to those

Already have too many Gubbermint recognized "Holidays".

Makes a whole lot of sense1

yes
A bipartisan bill would create a lifetime fishing license. After reading the article...
Not a fisherman, didn't even know you need a license. If this helps them out, great.

If somebody has big bucks lying around .let them spend some.

It would make everything a little easier.

It's an annual pain in the ass.

We need the revenue

I am not a fisherman but if those who do approve, then so do I.

I do not like to fish, but for advid fishermen it is a good idea.

I'm too old to purchase a life time license at my age!

If someone wants a lifetime license, they should be able to get one.

cost is excessive. and I want to make sure that no future restriction can be placed upon it.

I don't go fishing, found buying a liscense was a waste of money.

I think that the regular collection of these fees is a good revenue stream. Maybe do a 5 year or 3 year license instead? Lifetime is too much lost revenue.

I know so many people that have received tickets from DNR. This seems like a smart idea.

We should be working on repairing our infrastructure not life tim fishing licenses

If you are ten years old and plan on staying and working in Wi. until you're 80, its sounds great. No No.

Things can change in a hurry1
One GOP lawmaker said he would like to see sports betting made legal in Wisconsin. What are your thoughts?
Sure, why not. If you want to bet on sports, there are places on the internet you can do that. Might as well be in Wisconsin.

Opens the door to other problems.

too much gambling already

I think that there are plenty of opportunities to gamble already.

Who will benefit? The people or government.

Why do you as a soceity continually open these pandora boxes that we regret 10years after the fact because a new "society epidemic" pops up. I am so tired of hearing about someone's problem that is no fault of their own, because we allowed them to do something they turn it around and make it a vise for themselves.

Another way for people to blow their money...their choice.

I have never bett on anything,, not going to start.

Look, most people are so far in debt they can't think straight. Sports betting will make it worse. Don't do it. We'll see some foreclosures over it. NOT worth it!

Wisconsinites are sports freaks! Legalize and tax it!

It will make it to the high school level , maybe the refs next

Already have excessive gambling

There are enough ways to lose already1
By mid-week, autumn will be in the air across much of Wisconsin, with temperatures not leaving the 50s for the week ahead. What is your favorite autumn activity? Any favorite places to view the trees changing colors? Do you take part in Halloween? Share your favorite parts of autumn here!
While I love the colors and being outdoors in fall .. it's also a sad time of the death of everything green, so that's not good.

Fall colors.

Head to the cabin. Cut wood. Bow hunt.

I enjoy traveling to all the art fairs that come up this time of year. I think the trees by West Bend are especially pretty.

Walks in the woods

I always travel north to the Two Rivers area once a month so I get to enjoy the changing colors. I did some Halloween decorating.

Having fresh picked apples, pumpkins, and cabbage for eating and canning for winter.

Sure do not like WET autumns, miserable for farmers and color. I enjoy watching the color from my my deck.

Combining corn

not sweating. less bugs on the motorcycle.

I enjoy fall, getting things ready for winter, love the trees changing and this year I have Halloween outside and inside.

North of Tomahawk is the best!!

cutting wood

Trying to get the crops harvested, we'll have fun this year, might need boats.

Haunted house and corn maze!
WEEKLY MEMBER POLL
By clicking the link, you acknowledge 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-4528   Memo  World Homeless Day (Snyder, Pat) Proclaiming October 10, 2019, as World Homeless Day. Deadline: Friday, October 4, 5 pm

LRB-4366   Memo  Justice Stevens (Spreitzer, Mark) Commending the exemplary life and service of Justice John Paul Stevens. Deadline: Friday, October 11, 5 pm

LRB-2534   Memo  Indigenous Peoples Day (Bowen, David) Indigenous Peoples Day. Deadline: Monday, October 14

LRB-4555   Memo  Insurance Law Changes (Craig, Dave) Various changes to insurance laws. Deadline: Tuesday October 8, Noon

LRB-3179   Memo  Lottery Purchases (Katsma, Terry) Use of debit card for lottery purchase. Deadline: Friday, October 11, Noon

LRB-1452   Memo  Psychologist License (Horlacher, Cody) Use of the title psychologist or similar representation and examination requirements for a psychologist license. Deadline: Friday, October 11, 5 pm

LRB-0417   Memo  Lake Districts (Horlacher, Cody) Bid requirements for public inland lake protection and rehabilitation districts. Deadline: Friday, October 11, 5 pm

LRB-3735   Memo  Annexation (Miller, Mark) Limiting the authority of cities and villages to annex territory in certain towns. Deadline: Friday, October 11

LRB-4504   Memo  Mental Health Day (Tittl, Paul) Recognizing October 10, 2019, as World Mental Health Day. Deadline: Wednesday, October 2, 3 pm

LRB-1622   Memo  Passing School Bus (Miller, Mark) Applicability to private roads and driveways of certain rules of the road governing passing school buses. Deadline: Wednesday, October 16