2017 May 17

Daily Archives: May 17, 2017

AFP digital ad backs Walker plan to nix state property tax

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Bill punishes adults for allowing underage drinking on property

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Clarke says he’s leaving post to take Trump DHS job

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Dems introduce bills aimed at lowering officer-involved shootings

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GOP lawmakers introduce bill to combat child neglect

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Gov. Walker: Gov. Walker surveys storm damage, declares State of Emergency following severe weather

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Contact: Tom Evenson
(608) 266-2839

Madison, Wisconsin – Governor Scott Walker today declared a State of Emergency for Barron, Jackson and Rusk counties following tornadoes and damaging storms.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the devastating tornadoes that hit last night,” Governor Walker said. “I have instructed state agencies and the Wisconsin National Guard to help those affected by the storms as they recover and rebuild. I thank the Wisconsin National Guard, Wisconsin Emergency Management, and all state agencies for their coordinated response to this emergency.”

Governor Walker surveyed the damage this afternoon near Chetek where a tornado hit a mobile home park last night. One person was killed and 25 people were injured.

Heavy rains also impacted parts of west central and northwestern Wisconsin where some areas have received more than 5 inches of rain causing damage to roads and other infrastructure.

Governor Walker directed state agencies to help those affected by the storms and called the Wisconsin National Guard to state active duty, as Adjutant General Donald Dunbar deems necessary, to assist local authorities in the recovery efforts. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Wisconsin Department of Administration, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Wisconsin State Patrol, and Wisconsin Emergency Management have been assisting with response and recovery efforts.

JFC to take up UW System budget Tuesday

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LegalBoard creator secures agreement to expand distribution

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Brian Potts, creator of the LegalBoard, has secured an agreement to expand distribution for his specialty product.

The Perkins Coie attorney from Madison designed this keyboard specifically for his peers, with often-used words and symbols mapped to easy-to-reach keys. He sells the LegalBoard online for $75, and with initial sales across the country, he says he’s looking forward to expanding the company.

“Things are going great,” Potts told WisBusiness.com. “Better than expected, I’d say.”

He recently signed an exclusive reseller agreement with All-State Legal, a major supplier of office supplies that has been in business for over 60 years. Potts says the reseller does business with close to 20,000 legal firms.

See more at WisBusiness.com

Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin: Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin announces support of every major statewide police & sheriffs organization

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Contact: Brian Reisinger
715-579-9679
[email protected]hilltopstrategiesllc.com

Madison, Wisconsin – Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin today announced the support of every major statewide police and sheriffs association in Wisconsin, adding to the broad coalition that is supporting bipartisan legislation to update our state’s Constitution to ensure equal rights for victims of crime. The following law enforcement groups released statements in support of Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin’s legislation, which was authored by State Sen. Van Wanggaard and State Rep. Todd Novak:

Chief Chris Domagalski, 2017 President of the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association, said: “Police chiefs and the officers who work with them know what crime does to our communities – they see it every day. One of law enforcement’s most important duties is to protect victims of crime, and the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association is proud to support Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin’s fight for equal rights.”

Marquette County Sheriff Kim Gaffney, President of the Badger State Sheriffs’ Association, said: “As Sheriffs, our job is to keep our communities safe, and that means protecting victims. The Badger State Sheriffs’ Association is proud to support Marsy’s Law because it will strengthen our efforts to make victims feel safe in their communities.”

Pierce County Sheriff Nancy Hove, President of the Wisconsin Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs Association, said: “Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs know firsthand the damage crime has on victims and Wisconsin communities. The Wisconsin Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs Association is proud to protect these victims of crime and support Marsy’s Law.”

Jim Palmer, Executive Director of Wisconsin Professional Police Association, said: “Enacting Marsy’s Law here in Wisconsin will not only represent an important extension of law enforcement’s fundamental duty to protect the public, but the state’s proud legacy as a national leader in advancing the interests of crime victims as well.”

Ryan Zukowski, Executive Director of The Wisconsin Troopers’ Association, said: “State Troopers encounter victims on a daily basis, and our members have seen the damage that violence and other crime does to Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Troopers’ Association is proud to stand with victims and support Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin.”

Mike Crivello, President of the Milwaukee Police Association, Local 21, IUPA, said: “Protecting victims of crime is a crucial part of keeping our communities safe; the Milwaukee Police Association proudly joins Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin’s efforts. Victims of violent crime deserve our full support, which means further securing rights for victims of crime.”

In addition to these groups, Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin has earned the support of Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel and prominent district attorneys like Manitowoc County District Attorney Jacalyn LaBre and Brown County District Attorney David Lasee of Brown County. Since first unveiling its legislation April 4, Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin has been co-sponsored by 40 Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature, in addition to Wanggaard and Novak. Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin’s growing statewide coalition also includes victims’ rights groups like Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Sojourner Family Peace Center in Milwaukee, and Golden House in Green Bay.

You can find facts on the bipartisan legislation below:

·         Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin follows a proud tradition in our state, unlike many other states. Wisconsin already has a constitutional amendment on victims’ rights that passed in 1993, and was the first state in the nation to pass a Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights. The state also is recognized as having some of the strongest statutory rights for victims in the country. This means the changes we are proposing are about making sure victims’ rights are truly equal alongside the constitutional rights of the accused – nothing more, nothing less – not introducing new rights as has been done in other states across the country.

·         Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin strengthens rights that already exist in Wisconsin. The proposed amendment would do two things: Elevate certain rights currently under state statute to be fully constitutional rights, and strengthen other rights that are already part of the Constitution. An example of a right that is the law under state statute but needs to be elevated to the Constitution is the right to put victim restitution payments ahead of any dollars owed to government.  An example of a current constitutional right that needs clarification is the right to be heard throughout the legal process, including release, plea, sentencing, disposition, parole, revocation, expungement, or pardon – as opposed to just disposition.

·         Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin is building a statewide legislative and campaign effort. In order to amend the state Constitution, the proposal must pass two consecutive state Legislatures, then be put to the voters on the ballot. It is currently possible for Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin’s proposal to be on the ballot in 2019. A statewide digital ad and billboard advertising campaign has accompanied Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin’s efforts building support in the state Legislature and with allies across the state.

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About Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin

Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin is a grassroots coalition that has developed a unique proposal to give victims of crime equal rights in our state, building on Wisconsin’s laws and history of leading on this issue. Marsy’s Law is named after Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas of California who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Only one week after her death, Marsy’s mother and brother, Henry T. Nicholas, walked into a grocery store where they were confronted by the accused murderer. The family, who had just come from a visit to Marsy’s grave, was unaware that the accused had been released on bail. In an effort to honor his sister, Dr. Nicholas has made it his life’s mission to give victims and their families constitutional protections and equal rights.

Victims and supporters interested in sharing their stories can email [email protected].

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele: Abele issues statement on Sheriff Clarke accepting job with Trump administration

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Contact: Melissa Moore Baldauff, Director of Communications
414.278.4216 Office
772.579.6936 Cell
[email protected]MilwaukeeCountyWI.gov

Milwaukee, Wisconsin — Following is a statement from Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele on the news that Sheriff David Clarke has reportedly accepted a job in the Trump administration.

“I’ve said repeatedly that Milwaukee deserves better than Sheriff Clarke. America does too.

“For the County I love and am privileged to serve, I am genuinely excited about the prospect of a Sheriff I can work with to find evidence-based solutions that will improve public safety and safely reduce our jail population, and who actually cares about addressing the indefensible racial disparities that everyone in Milwaukee should have as their first priority.

“For the Country I love, the last thing America needs is another loud voice angrily and unproductively telling you who to blame and who not to trust.

“The appointment of Sheriff Clarke to a position intended to build partnership and engagement is not a decision made by someone interested in partnership or engagement.”

Peg Lautenschlager: Op-ed misconstrues Supreme Court’s ruling on judicial campaign cash

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The column below reflects the views of the author, and these opinions are neither endorsed nor supported by WisOpinion.com.

Rick Esenberg’s recent op-ed in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “State Supreme Court was Right to Reject Change in Recusal Rules,” argues that judges’ campaign donors essentially have a right to have their cases heard by judges to whom they’ve contributed. He argues that recusal requirements triggered by campaign donations would interfere with donors’ First Amendment speech rights. The op-ed praised the state’s high court for rejecting even a public hearing on a petition from 56 retired judges, who wanted the court to revisit its current rules allowing judges to hear cases involving their biggest campaign funders.

Esenberg claims that, under the proposed rules, campaign contributors who “exercise the constitutional right to make a legal contribution” to judges would “pay a penalty” because those judges to whose campaigns they donated could not rule in the doner/litigants’ cases.

This argument is a dramatic expansion of the free speech principles defined in cases like Citizens United and it misapplies and misconstrues U.S. Supreme Court precedent regarding conflicts and recusals articulated in cases like Caperton.

In 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Caperton that the Due Process Clause was violated when a West Virginia Supreme Court justice refused to recuse himself in a case involving a coal company whose CEO independently spent $3 million to elect him. The Court said that states could “adopt recusal standards more rigorous than due process requires.” It further stated that some situations, like the matter at bar, could require recusal even though no specific state recusal rules would apply. The Court held that common law principles of recusal would apply in such “extreme” cases. Never did the Court hold, as Esenberg states, that recusal is appropriate only in “extreme” cases.

Fundamental to our democracy is an independent and impartial judiciary. So important is this concept that our jurisprudence recognizes the need to avoid both actual and perceived conflicts of interest in our courts. Indeed, in Caperton and other cases, the U.S. Supreme Court acknowledged the validity of many state-promulgated recusal requirements—no different than those proposed by the 56 retired Wisconsin judges.

At a time when public confidence in our Wisconsin Supreme Court has been eroded by the role of dark money and outrageous campaign expenditures in its elections, the court missed an opportunity to reassure voters that its fidelity is to the citizens of our state and not its well-heeled donors.

— Lautenschlager chaired the Wisconsin Ethics Commission from 2016 to April 2017 and served as the Attorney General of Wisconsin from 2003 to 2007.

Rep. Barca: Rep. Barca issues statement on WEDC audit

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Contact: Olivia Hwang
608.266.5504

Madison, Wisconsin – Today Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) issued the following statement regarding the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) audit:

“There continue to be bi-partisan concerns about how WEDC is spending taxpayer money. It’s time to turn that bi-partisan concern into bi-partisan reform. The purpose of WEDC is to create jobs for Wisconsin workers and grow our economy.

“As a board member, I am heartened that some administrative improvements have been made, but fundamental issues still remain.

“As a legislator, it is disappointing to see that two audits two years apart point out identical problems. WEDC must take immediate steps as the governor has not been willing to correct these problems as part of his budget.

“Walker’s agency is handing out millions of taxpayer dollars without proof that our money is creating jobs or even significantly enhancing the economy. Taxpayers deserve to know that they are getting the biggest bang for their hard-earned bucks.

“Another major issue is that the total number of unpaid loans has skyrocketed from $1.3 million two years ago to more than $11 million today. This also needs immediate attention.”

Rep. Pocan: Bi-partisan group introduces Perkins Loan Extension Act of 2017

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Washington, D.C. – Today, Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21), Mark Pocan (D-WI-02) Louise Slaughter (D-NY-25), John Duncan (R-TN-02), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL-27) and Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA-11) introduced the Perkins Loan Extension Act of 2017 – bipartisan legislation to extend the Perkins Loan Program for a period of two years. The Federal Perkins Loan is a popular and effective campus-based financial aid program, which supports access to higher education by providing low interest loans to students in need.

“The Perkins Loan program helps students struggling to find a way to pay for college in Wisconsin and all across the country,” said Rep. Mark Pocan. “Providing a two year extension of the program is a commonsense step towards ensuring access to this vital tool for making college more affordable. Without Perkins, many students and families would be left with few options to cover college expenses. Two years ago we passed a bipartisan extension of Perkins and I will continue to work tirelessly with my colleagues to make sure it happens again this year.”

“Perkins Loans are an important resource for low income families in my district who are pursuing their higher education dreams,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “As the first Member of my immediate family to graduate from college, I know how critical a college degree is to succeeding in a 21st century economy. We must ensure that low income students have access to a quality education, and the Perkins Loan program is a critical tool to help them succeed. I urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan legislation.”

“A number of students in my District rely on the Perkins Loan Program, so we need to extend the program for another two years,” said Rep. John Duncan. “I believe the entire federal student loan system needs to be revamped and made more efficient, cost-effective, and helpful for our students.  But in the meantime, we need to extend the Perkins Loan program for these students while Congress determines how best to improve federal student loans.”

“Perkins loans help low-income students access the benefits of a higher education,” said Rep. Louise Slaughter. “This program provides low-interest loans that are paid back to the student’s college, creating a revolving system that supports the next class of deserving students. With no additional funding from the federal government, Perkins loans will continue to help low-income students attain an education and allow them to break the cycle of poverty. It is inexcusable that some politicians are targeting this program for elimination since without Perkins, 500,000 low-income students across the country—nearly 50,000 from New York State and over 6,000 from my district alone—would not have access to a critical safety net.”

“The state of California is the second highest recipient of Perkins loans, which help students focus on their studies rather than how they will afford college. By improving affordability of higher education today, we are strengthening the workforce of tomorrow.  I am proud to join colleagues from both sides of the aisle to introduce the Perkins Loan Extension Act to help students continue to receive the assistance they need and deserve,” said Congressman Mark DeSaulnier.

“As a former Florida certified teacher, I’ve been committed to helping students and prospective students achieve their educational goals,”said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. “For years, Perkins Loans have empowered many students in South Florida to realize their dream of a college education, and equipped them with the knowledge and tools to have successful professional lives. It is an honor to join with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in this effort to ensure that these loans remain available to low income students.  I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure the speedy extension of these important loans.”

Absent Congressional action, the Perkins Loan program will expire at the end of September leaving around 500,000 students without access to important financial aid.

Perkins Loans borrowers are predominantly from lower income families and are often the first in their family to attend college. Unlike many other student loan programs, Perkins is administered directly by colleges and universities who originate the loans, counsel their students through repayment, and select contractors for servicing and collection.

Colleges and Universities tailor the program to best fit borrowers’ and institutions’ situations. Perkins is a risk-sharing program with institutions contributing one-third of their students’ awards. This “ownership interest” also contributes to the successful management of this vital program.

-67% of Perkins borrowers are dependent students, 34% of whom are from families with household incomes of less than $30,000.

-20% of Perkins borrowers are independent students, 70% of whom have personal incomes of less than $20,000.

The Perkins Loan program is scheduled to expire on September 30, 2017 if Congress does not act to reauthorize this program. If the Perkins Loan is eliminated, around 500,000 students across the country will not be able to access much-needed financial aid.

Click here for text of the legislation.

What They’re Saying:

“These lawmakers are to be commended for their commitment to extending the Federal Perkins Loan Program and providing higher education access to students who would otherwise be unable to attend or complete college. Each year, more than 500,000 students nationwide rely on low-cost Perkins loans to help finance their education. The Coalition of Higher Education Assistance Organizations (COHEAO) is proud to support these champions in their efforts to extend this long-standing and proven program and we encourage Congress to pass this legislation immediately so that critical funding decisions can be made for these students now.” Maria Livolsi, COHEAO President

“The State University of New York proudly supports the Perkins Loan Extension Act, which would ensure continued financial aid for more than 14,000 of our own students and hundreds of thousands more across the country,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “Thank you to Congresswoman Stefanik, who has always served as a champion of public higher education and the students who attend our colleges and universities.”

Additionally, this legislation is supported by:

Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), American Association of Colleges of Nursing, American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, American Council on Education, American Veterinary Medical Association, American College of Nurse-Midwives, Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, Association of Research Libraries, Board of Directors for the Indiana Association of College and University Business Officers , Coalition of Higher Education Assistance Organizations, Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area, Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, Council for Opportunity in Education, Kentucky Association of Student Receivable Officers, National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) National Association for College Admission Counseling, National Education Association (NEA), National Association Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), Nebraska Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, New Jersey Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, New York State Financial Aid Administrators Association (NYSFAAA), Oklahoma State University, Pennsylvania Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, University of California System, University of Maryland System, United Negro College Fund, Utah Association of Student Loan Administrators, Western Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (WASFAA), Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities

University Support (82):

Adelphi University, Augustana College, Austin College, Arizona State University, Ball State University, Biola University, Boston College, Butler University, University of California System, Chicago State University, Coe College, The College of New Rochelle, College of Saint Mary, The College of William and Mary, Columbia University, Creighton University, D’Youville College, Daemen College, Dartmouth College, DeVry University, Drexel University, Eastern Kentucky University, Emerson College, Fairleigh Dickenson, Fordham University, Florida Institute of Technology, George Washington University School of Medicine, Gonzaga University, Golden Gate University Hobart and William Smith Colleges, La Salle University, Loyola University Chicago, Le Moyne  College, Marquette University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Molloy College, Morehouse College, New York Law School, Northwestern University, Ohio University, Otterbein University, Regis University, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Rochester, Saint Louis University, Santa Clara University, University of San Francisco, Seton Hall University, Smith College, South Dakota State University, Southeast Missouri University, Southern Methodist University, Southern Utah University, Spring Hill College, St. Olaf College, St. John Fischer College, Suffolk University, State University of New York System (SUNY), Tabor College, Temple University, Trevecca Nazarene University of Tulsa, University, University of Bridgeport, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, University of Minnesota Duluth, University of Montana, University of New Hampshire, University of Oregon, University of Pennsylvania, University of Portland, University of Southern California, University of the Pacific, Temple University, Union College, University of Virginia, University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, University of Wisconsin Madison, University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, Valparaiso University, Virginia State University, Wayne College, Western University of Health Sciences, Widener University, Wheaton College, Xavier University

Rep. Young: Rep. Young issues statement on the GOP American Health Care Act

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Madison, Wisconsin – State Representative Leon Young (D-Milwaukee) The American Health Care Act has passed the House of Representatives and will soon be in the U.S. Senate. Our health care is not safe and the fight is not over yet. We can’t trust Governor Walker or Republicans in Washington to do what is right for all American citizens. What they are doing is dishonest. Its giveaways to the rich at the expense of the rest of us.

Among other things, currently 852,000 Wisconsinites have pre-existing conditions. Without protections in state law, thousands of Wisconsin residents could lose access to health care, see their premiums skyrocket and end up buried in medical debt when lifetime limits kick in. This is unacceptable.

Democrats have offered a package of bills that that would A) Prohibit lifetime annual limits. B) Prohibit pre-existing condition exclusion and rate setting based on pre-existing conditions C) Coverage of certain essential health benefits. D) Ensure family planning providers are covered via state reimbursements.

We need access to affordable health care for all. The current GOP health care bill would be a disaster for Wisconsinites and the American people.

Ryan warns against ‘rushing to judgment’ on Russia investigation

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U.S. Rep. Moore: Joins efforts to launch independent Trump-Russia commission

In response to the recent revelations surrounding President Donald Trump’s disclosure of classified information to Russian officials, Congresswoman Gwen Moore (WI-04) released the following statement:

“Today, I eagerly joined a discharge petition filed by House Democrats to force a vote on legislation to create an independent commission to investigate President Trump’s links to Russia. This bill has thus far been blocked by Speaker Paul Ryan and his Republican colleagues seven times, despite bipartisan outcries from constituents across the ideological spectrum.

“The termination of FBI Director James Comey sent shockwaves throughout my district and prompted numerous calls from outraged Milwaukee residents. They, like 78 percent of Americans, want an independent investigation into the Trump Administration’s ties to Vladimir Putin and the abrupt removal of Director Comey. Yet, Republicans continue to obstruct our attempts at pursuing the transparency and accountability our constituents demand and deserve on this urgent matter.

“As we move forward without the support of our colleagues across the aisle, I urge every Member of Congress to help us uncover the truth regarding the Kremlin’s influence on the White House. The time has come for Speaker Ryan and his colleagues to prioritize being Americans above being Republicans. The risks to our national security are far too great to put party politics before the people who elected us to represent them.”

Voces de la Frontera: “Sheriff Clarke is unfit for any office”

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Contact: Sam Singleton-Freeman
414-469-9206, [email protected]

In an interview Wednesday afternoon on right wing talk radio, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke announced he will leave office next month for a job with the Trump Administration as an Assistant Secretary in the Department of Homeland Security. Voces de la Frontera issued the following statement from Executive Director Christine Neumann-Ortiz.

“Clarke is unfit for any office and should face criminal charges for the deaths and abuses at the jail. Trump’s appointment of Clarke shows this administration’s disregard for human rights. Scott Walker must appoint a sheriff who will withdraw from 287g, end collaboration with Trump’s campaign of mass deportation and terror against immigrant families, and support reforms to prevent deaths and abuses at the Milwaukee County Jail.”

Walker creates committee on automated vehicles

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WED AM Update: Committees hold hearings on underage drinking, shutting down state gov’t on Veterans Day

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WED News Summary: JFC action; reaction to Trump intelligence disclosure

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WED PM Update: Audit finds WEDC improved operations, issues remain; Clarke lands DHS post

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Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty: WILL applauds introduction of occupational licensing reform legislation

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Contact: Cameron Sholty, WILL Communications Director
[email protected]414-727-7416262-409-9816

Milwaukee, Wisconsin The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty applauds the introduction of a new occupational licensing reform bill in the Wisconsin legislature. The bill is a step in the right direction towards giving more Wisconsinites the freedom to earn a living.

Today, Senators Chris Kapenga and Alberta Darling, along with Representatives Rob Hutton and Dale Kooyenga, introduced a bill to create an Occupational License Review Council to study licenses and their requirements and submit recommendations for reform by December 2018. The Council’s recommendations will be turned into a bill and sent to the appropriate legislative committees, where the legislature has until June 2019 to take action. In addition, this bill creates a process at the Department of Administration for the preparation of a “sunrise” report on any new license proposal to determine whether a license is necessary to protect the health, safety, or welfare of the public.

“These legislators deserve great credit for their efforts to expand opportunity through occupational licensing reform, “said Research Fellow Collin Roth. “These reforms ought to serve as an important correction to the decades-long growth of occupational licensing, red tape, and barriers to entry.”

Previous WILL research found that Wisconsin’s licensing laws have resulted in less employment in low and middle income jobs, such as cosmetology, massage therapy, and  manicurists, among others. And the problem has been getting exponentially worse. Since 1996, the number of licenses in Wisconsin have grown by 84% and affected more than 440,000 workers.

The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) currently regulates around 240 different licenses.

Wisconsin members of congress seek more info on Trump intelligence disclosure

U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher is calling on the White House to give a “thorough account” of a meeting President Trump held with Russian officials where he was reported to have disclosed highly classified information.

Gallagher, a Green Bay Republican and former Marine, said in a series of tweets Tuesday while Trump has the authority to disclose classified information, there’s “a separate question of whether he should.” He also called on the White House to offer a transcript of that meeting with congressional intelligence committees.

“Our allies and partners must have the utmost confidence that sensitive information they share with us will not be disclosed,” he said in one tweet.

Gallagher’s tweets came after a Washington Post report showed Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian officials. The U.S. reportedly had not been given permission to share the information with Russia, which had been provided by “a U.S. partner,” according to the Washington Post. The New York Times reported Tuesday that information came from Israel.

Trump said on Twitter this morning he has the “absolute right” to share any information with Russia and that he wants the country to “greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.”

But Gallagher said it’s “dangerous to believe that Russia can be a reliable counterterrorism partner.”

“The sooner we abandon this fantasy and work with our allies to oppose the Russian-Iranian axis throughout the Middle East, the better,” he said.

See Gallagher’s tweets:
https://twitter.com/RepGallagher

Other Republicans didn’t provide lengthy comments on the issue, though they called on the White House to provide more information.

A spokesman for House Speaker Paul Ryan said after the story broke yesterday that the Janesville Republican “hopes for a full explanation of the facts from the administration” and that “we have no way to know what was said, but protecting our nation’s secrets is paramount.”

Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, is “looking forward to Congress being briefed on the matter,” a spokeswoman said.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, said he “wasn’t privy to the conversation and doesn’t know what was said, but believes the President should work with the intelligence committees to ensure that Congress is fully briefed on what was shared and why.”

And U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson’s office flagged a short interview he did with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The Oshkosh Republican told the newspaper if “classified information was revealed that revealed sources and is harmful to our intelligence collection activities, that’s concerning.”

Dems slammed the news, with U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, saying the meeting threatened “our partnerships with allies in the fight against ISIS and our ability to protect the homeland against terrorism.”

Eric Harris, a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, said the Milwaukee Dem is worried about the implications of Trump sharing classified information, including the “potential to compromise our intelligence gathering capabilities and possibly stymie our ongoing efforts to destroy ISIS through international cooperation.”

Harris added that “with every passing day” the need for an “independent, bipartisan commission to investigate Russia’s influence over this administration becomes ever more urgent.”

And U.S. Reps. Mark Pocan and Ron Kind both said they agreed with Gallagher that the Trump administration should brief Congress’ intelligence committees. Kind, D-La Crosse, said lawmakers on those committees need to know “the full nature of the information revealed and any damage it may cause.”

Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, also said lawmakers “immediately need a special prosecutor appointed, to get to the bottom” of the investigation into ties between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia.

May 18, 2017 | May 16, 2017
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