2017 May 18

Daily Archives: May 18, 2017

Alderman Donovan: Additional state funding for foot and bike officers – a plus for Milwaukee

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Contact:
(414) 286-3285
[email protected]

Last year I was joined by Council President Hamilton, Mike Crivello of the Milwaukee Police Association and Dave Seager of the Milwaukee Professional Firefighters Association Local 215 in a meeting with Governor Walker to discuss Milwaukee’s public safety challenges.

One of the things discussed was the need for the state to increase grants for officers on foot and/or bicycle patrol.  Governor Walker included exactly that in his budget and on Tuesday (May 16) the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance voted to move this grant funding increase proposal forward.

This is great news for the City of Milwaukee!

I want to publicly thank Governor Walker for making that important call, as well as President Hamilton, Mike Crivello and Dave Seager for helping make the case to the Governor.

Foot and bike patrol officers have been shown to increase better relations with residents (and the broader community) while helping to reduce crime in challenged neighborhoods. The officers are seen as guardians and get to know residents and business owners, and vice versa. Foot and bike officers establish important bonds and can build trust within neighborhoods – something that is badly needed right now across our city.

While we all were hoping for a larger amount of funding for these officers, the added state funding would increase grants for foot and bike officers by almost three times more than previously allocated.

One City Hall staff member remarked about the state funding: “It’s a step in the right direction.”

 

You bet it is.

Alliance for the Great Lakes: Congress moves to roll back rules meant to prevent invasive species

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Contact:
Jennifer Caddick
(312) 445-9760
[email protected]

(May 18, 2017) Chicago – Today, the U.S. Senate’s Commerce Committee voted to move the U.S. Coast Guard Authorization Act out of committee and to a full vote in the Senate. The bill includes a provision, the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA), that would eliminate U.S. EPA’s authority over ballast water pollution and roll back rules that protect the Great Lakes from invasive species. In response, the Alliance for the Great Lakes issued the following statement.

“Invasive species, like zebra mussels and round gobies, have wreaked havoc on the Great Lakes. Brought in via ballast water tanks on ocean-going ships, invasive species out-compete native species and destroy habitat. They also cost people in Great Lakes communities hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Unfortunately, the shipping industry has convinced some Senators to try to roll back the rules that protect the lakes from these harmful critters.

Despite knowing of the threat posed by invasive species since the early 1980s, it has taken two acts of Congress, a lawsuit, and states passing their own rules to get federal requirements for actual ballast water treatment systems onboard ships in place in 2008. But even after the U.S. EPA and Coast Guard started that process, excessively long timelines for phasing in the regulations mean most ships on the Great Lakes still do not have ballast water treatment installed.

Why has it taken so long for Congress and federal agencies to act? Shippers have asked  for special treatment and exemptions from U.S. law over and over. And it is happening again.

New invasions are all too real. In 2016 a new species of zooplankton was found in Lake Erie. Given that this critter is from the other side of the planet, researchers say that ballast water is a likely way it entered the lakes.  Yet rather than installing treatment technology to stop these invasions as quickly as possible, shippers are staying busy convincing Senators to roll back existing rules.

Several members of the Great Lakes Congressional delegation aren’t buying it, and are working hard to fight off this bad ballast bill. But we need all of them. We urge the Senate to remove these harmful provisions from the U.S. Coast Guard Authorization Act.

We heartily applaud the efforts of Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Gary Peters (D-MI), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), all members of the Senate’s Commerce Committee who voted no on this bill because of VIDA.”

City of Racine: Colonial Park ravine and wetland restoration is underway

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Contact:
Gretchen Herrmann
(262) 497-7339
[email protected]

Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network, in collaboration with the City of Racine, WeedOut! Racine and the Fund for Lake Michigan, has begun a project to increase water quality, plant diversity and spawning habitat.

The Problems Addressed
Root-Pike WIN Executive Director, Dave Giordano, outlined the issues the restoration project is looking to address: “This ravine has been overlooked as a potential opportunity for water quality improvement until Matt Koepnick with the City of Racine brought it to our attention. It has a major impact on the park’s floodplain forest, and with improvements, this could be Northern Pike spawning ground (and other species perhaps). The ravine is very difficult to get to as the area is heavily wooded with both native and non-native vegetation. There are several problems that this project will address: Invasive plants are among the most critical as identified in the SEWRPC’s Root River Nine Element Watershed Restoration Plan. This area has been overrun with buckthorn, reed canary grass and garlic mustard. The plan calls for the removal of invasive species throughout the park and the ravine restoration implementation will include replanting and regrading the ravine to better accommodate erosive flood events. This juncture of structure and vegetation – working hand-in- hand – is where there is as strong possibility to engage other coalition partners in the value of Colonial Park. These partners include WeedOut! Racine, the Root River Council, and UW-Parkside and Carthage College monitoring and volunteer workday groups, etc.

According to Giordano, another issue is that of nutrient loading, which can over-stimulate algae growth. Algae consume large amounts of dissolved oxygen, which has the potential to suffocate fish and other marine organisms, while also blocking available sunlight to bottom dwellers. This is an issue throughout our Lake Michigan tributaries.

Another problem addressed by the Colonial Park restoration project is the accumulation of sediment from a small eroding tributary stream that runs through a steep ravine and enters the Root River at Colonial Park. Downstream of the recent Valley View Drive crossing and culvert upgrade, the stream exhibits evidence of channel evolution. The bed elevation is lowered by routine water action intensified by the slope of the banks, the stream becomes incised and disconnected from its floodplain, further increasing the erosive energy on the stream banks. This causes the banks to erode and the channel to widen. Deposition of a portion of this eroded material in downstream reaches decreases the stream capacity, so the stream spills out of its bank more frequently, resulting in dispersed flow in some locations. Left unchecked, this channel evolution process would continue until the final slope of the stream channel is flat enough that energy in the flowing water is not sufficient to transport the native stream bed material. This process would continue to result in significant export of sediment and nutrients from the ravine. Adding to the situation is human activity impact in the form of increased impervious pavement runoff and over-fertilization.

A portion of the eroded sediment is being deposited in a wetland within the Root River floodplain in Colonial Park and a portion is being carried to the Root River. Deposition of sediment within the wetland limits several ecological functions, including potential use as habitat for fish that spawn in wetlands, such as northern pike. Discharge of sediment and associated nutrients into the Root River contributes to threats to the health of the river and Lake Michigan.

Project Goals and Activities
Root Pike WIN and its partners propose stabilizing this ravine to minimize future export of large quantities of sediment and nutrients. Since the project is located within a park, the project also provides a valuable opportunity for public engagement and education regarding stream and lake health and threats. Colonial Park is an oasis and a rare natural experience surrounded by dense urban development.

Expected Outcomes and Impact on Lake Michigan Water Quality
There are three outcomes of this project – physical repair and biological reestablishment, and water quality. To ensure success in all three areas, work has to progress in a specific order. Giordano explains: “The biological restitution and water quality measures are dependent upon the repairs to the physical environment. So, if the invasive species were removed first and replanted with native species along the ravine slopes without first improving the hydraulics of the ravine’s flow, the biological measures would fail and water quality would decrease again as time goes by. Given that the Horlick dam currently precludes passage of such fish, there are limited opportunities for Lake Michigan fish to utilize the Root River for spawning. Therefore, improving conditions downstream of the dam is an unique opportunity we want to seize. With the help of Inter-fluve and WeedOut! Racine, we will also improve the current plant diversity in the project area as a way to enhance the overall ecosystem.”

Root-Pike WIN is working cooperatively with the City of Racine’s Parks and Recreation Department. Tom Molbeck, Director of the Parks and Recreation department is pleased to be collaborating with mission-drive groups, “Discussion took place on the overall vision for the park, and this project, and our spirit of teamwork, have sparked improvement ideas and we’re working together to sequence the effort and effectiveness to meet a variety of stakeholder needs.”

“There is also another opportunity to engage groups that are concerned with fish habitat and passage,” said Giordano. “In our site survey of the ravine, we noted some small forage fish farther up the ravine than expected. We also noted a few natural springs adding bubbling up before the ravine flattens out into the floodplain. These observations lead us to believe there is a strong potential for a more extensive and high-quality spawning area for Northern Pike perhaps. This realization could fuel more interest in funding the ravine headwaters and eventually the wetland floodplain. Should this all become a reality, the educational experiences within the park should be richer and more diverse… inspiring stuff!”

As the project progresses through design, we will look for opportunities to bring WeedOut! Racine and the Root River Council to advance planning and implementation ideas. Melissa Warner, Jim Chambers and Monte Osterman have already expressed interest in getting involved through Root-Pike WIN initiated conversations. We welcome other groups to participate in the restoration efforts of the park as there is much to do. Colonial Park represents a rare opportunity for residents to enjoy a part of the City of Racine that is still in a naturalized state. We aim to make it the best, ecologically diverse experience for outdoor enthusiasts from students and seniors to fisherman and flower-lovers.

Clarke says he’s headed to DHS, Walker to pick replacement

Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke, who announced in a radio interview today he’s leaving his post to join the Trump administration, said he has several people in mind to replace him.

A Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman did not confirm Clarke’s appointment.

Clarke told conservative talk show host Vicki McKenna while the ultimate decision on a replacement will be up to Gov. Scott Walker, he hopes to have input on the decision because he’s the one who won his latest four-year term, which ends in early 2019.

“Ultimately, the decision will be his,” said Clarke, who’s going to the Department of Homeland Security. “But at the same time, it is for the remainder of my term. I don’t own this office. But I own these next 18 months.”

A Walker spokesman said the process to replace Clarke will not begin until a resignation letter has been received, and one was not yet in as of this afternoon.

Clarke has been under fire in recent months for problems at the county jail as well as his frequent absences as he has become a national media figure. He has openly said for months he would serve in the Trump administration if asked.

A DHS spokeswoman wrote in an email the position is a secretarial appointment.

“Such senior positions are announced by the Department when made official by the Secretary. No such announcement with regard to the Office of Public Engagement has been made,” the spokeswoman wrote.

Reports first surfaced in late April that Clarke was under consideration to be assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security Office of Partnership and Engagement. In the post, which does not require Senate confirmation, he will oversee outreach to state, local and tribal law enforcement.

Clarke toldi McKenna his focus will be on serving as a liaison between the federal agency and local law enforcement officials, which he said often feel the government is dictating to them.

Clarke said he wants to ensure communicating is a two-way street between them and will keep Secretary John Kelly apprised of what’s going on with local law enforcement.

“That’s my biggest role to keep him informed of what’s going on at ground level,” Clarke said.

Milwaukee County Exec Chris Abele, who has frequently clashed with Clarke, slammed the appointment. Still, he added it means an opportunity to work with someone who actually cares about addressing racial disparities in Milwaukee.

“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,” Abele said.

Earnell Lucas, who helps run security for Major League Baseball and had already announced plans to challenge Clarke in 2018, said he will apply for the gubernatorial appointment to fill out the term and still intends to run next year for a full term.

Common Cause in Wisconsin: Calls for removal of restrictions on college student ID as voter ID

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Contact:
Sandra Miller, Director of Information Services & Outreach
608/658-2109
[email protected]

This past November, Wisconsin experienced its first presidential election in which voters had to present a photo ID at the polls – a requirement put into place to address the nonexistent problem of “voter fraud.”

There is little doubt that Wisconsin’s extreme and restrictive voter photo ID law disenfranchised tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of eligible voters who did not have one of the few forms of ID acceptable for voting, such as a Wisconsin driver license or state ID card. Among those most negatively impacted by the requirement were seniors, the poor, citizens of color – and college students (primarily students from out of state).

A college student ID card is listed as an acceptable ID for voting; however, a student ID can only be used as a voter ID if it was issued by a Wisconsin-accredited institution and the ID includes a photo of the student; a signature; the date it was issued and the date it expires. Further, the student ID cannot expire more than two years after the date it was issued… but, the ID can be expired (thanks to a federal court ruling in late July 2016).

Unlike any other form of ID used for voting, a student ID requires additional documentation in order to be used as a voter ID: students must also bring (or show electronically) proof of current enrollment, such as a tuition statement.

Confused? Concerned? It gets worse…

The majority of student IDs issued by Wisconsin colleges and universities do not meet the criteria for use as a voter ID.

According to research conducted by CC/WI over the last year, the standard student ID at only three of the University of Wisconsin’s 13 four-year schools, at none of the UW System’s 13 two-year schools and at only seven of the state’s 23 private colleges can be used as a voter photo ID.

Separate “Voter ID cards” are available upon request at the 23 UW System schools, and at nine of the sixteen private colleges, whose standard student IDs cannot be used as a voter ID – but students must take action in order to get one of those college-issued voter ID cards.

Notice a pattern here? There’s more…

When other IDs are presented as voter ID, poll workers are instructed to only look for a voter’s name, photo and the ID’s expiration date (if one is required); conversely, when examining student IDs, poll workers must also check for the criteria listed above – including a signature. Note that some of the other acceptable IDs do not even include a signature (e.g., some Tribal ID cards) and those that have one, do not need the signature’s appearance on the ID verified when voting.

Bottom line – as a result of Wisconsin’s strict voter ID law – college students are treated differently, facing unnecessary barriers to voting. This deliberate disenfranchisement is wrong and must be addressed; we should be encouraging civic participation by young voters, not preventing it.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a federal court decision overturning North Carolina’s restrictive voter ID law – sending a strong message nationwide that such voter suppression measures are unacceptable.

CC/WI calls on our State Legislature to address the obvious, excessive burden Wisconsin’s voter photo ID law places on college and university students by removing the unnecessary restrictions placed on those who use a student ID as a voter ID.

Even college students in Alabama need only present a valid student ID to cast a ballot.

A voter photo ID is supposed to prove who you are. That’s it.

Dane County Land and Water Resources Department: Launches aquatic plant harvesting survey

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Contact:
Pete Jopke
(608) 224-3733

The Dane County Land and Water Resources Department manages an Aquatic Plant Harvesting Program to cut and harvest Eurasian watermilfoil and other invasives from county waters.

From now through the end of August 2017, Dane County invites area residents to participate in an online survey to complement the county’s comprehensive assessment of aquatic plant communities and the harvesting program.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said, “Every five years Dane County assesses the health of our aquatic plant communities. We also review our management strategies for providing reasonable use of the lakes for boating, fishing and swimming, while preserving the health and balance of the lake ecosystem; and for maintaining flow in the Yahara River to prevent high water issues including flooding.

I invite county citizens to take a five-minute online survey at https://olw-lwrd.countyofdane.com/ to tell us what you think about aquatic plant management needs for area lakes and rivers.”

Public comments and the plant survey field work to be conducted during summer 2017 will provide valuable information for updating aquatic plant management plans for waters across the county where county staff operate mechanical harvesters.

Aquatic plant management plans provide an inventory of existing plants in a lake or stream, and describe how native plants will be protected for their role as the foundation of healthy ecosystems, while nuisance non-native species will be controlled and recreational access will be provided. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources requires these plans in order for them to permit aquatic plant harvesting programs under NR 109 Wis. Admin. Code.

DC Wrap: May 12-18

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This is the 11th sample of a weekly DC Wrap product from WisPolitics.com. Let us know your feedback: [email protected]

Democratic Party of Wisconsin: Speaker Paul Ryan defends President Trump, House Democrats demand independent investigations

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Contact:
Brandon Weathersby
[email protected]
(608) 260-2409

MADISON — The events of the last week have made it clear that the president’s recklessness knows no bounds. President Trump has no credibility and his actions are sowing distrust in our institutions, endangering national security, and weakening the U.S. on the world stage. The President still has at least one fan: Speaker Paul Ryan.

At a press conference today, speaking in the wake of new revelations related to the firing of James Comey, Speaker Paul Ryan defended the President saying “it is obvious – there are some people out there who want to harm the president.” As he exited this morning’s press conference Ryan confirmed that he still has confidence in the President.

With every passing day, we learn of new grave abuses of power from President Trump. Instead of playing partisan politics, Speaker Ryan should schedule a vote immediately to create an independent outside commission and an independent counsel to conduct full investigations of the Trump-Russia connection.

78 percent of Americans – a truly whopping number – want an independent investigation. Only 15 percent prefer a Congressional investigation.

That’s why Democrats in the House are filing a discharge petition to force a vote on H.R. 356, the bipartisan Swalwell-Cummings bill to establish an outside, independent commission to investigate President Trump’s ties to Russia. Speaker Ryan and House Republicans must decide whether they value their oath to the Constitution, or whether they will be accomplices to President Trump’s effort to obstruct justice.

“Speaker Paul Ryan didn’t disavow Donald Trump when he attacked a gold star family. Ryan didn’t disavow Donald Trump when he was caught on tape bragging about the sexual assault of women. And now, as President Trump reveals himself to be a danger to American security and our Democracy, Ryan still has full confidence in Trump,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesman Brandon Weathersby said on Wednesday. “The reality is that there will be no consequences for any of President Trump’s actions unless Speaker Paul Ryan and Republicans in Congress grow a spine and decide to put their country before their party. Unfortunately, it seems that as long as Ryan has the President’s support in kicking 24 million Americans off their health insurance he will not provide the oversight the American people need and deserve to get answers about the President’s ties to Russia.” ​

Democratic Party of Wisconsin: Speaker Paul Ryan swears House GOP to secrecy regarding Trump’s ties to Russia, spokesperson lies about the conversation

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Contact:
Brandon Weathersby
[email protected]
(608) 260-2409

MADISON — Another day, another bombshell report concerning Donald Trump’s ties to Russia. According to the Washington Post, a month before Donald Trump clinched the Republican nomination for president, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy commented that he thought Trump was being paid by Russian President Vladimir Putin – Speaker Paul Ryan immediately stopped the conversation and swore the Republicans present to secrecy.

From the Washington Post:
“There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” McCarthy (R-Calif.) said, according to a recording of the June 15, 2016 exchange, which was listened to and verified by The Washington Post. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is a Californian Republican known in Congress as a fervent defender of Putin and Russia.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) immediately interjected, stopping the conversation from further exploring McCarthy’s assertion, and swore the Republicans present to secrecy.

[..]

Some of the lawmakers laughed at McCarthy’s comment. Then McCarthy quickly added: “Swear to God.”

Ryan instructed his Republican lieutenants to keep the conversation private, saying: “No leaks…This is how we know we’re a real family here.”

The remarks remained secret for nearly a year.

[…]

When initially asked to comment on the exchange, Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Ryan, said: “That never happened,” and Matt Sparks, a spokesman for McCarthy, said: “The idea that McCarthy would assert this is absurd and false.”

After being told that The Post would cite a recording of the exchange, Buck, speaking for the GOP House leadership, said: “Thisentire year-old exchange was clearly an attempt at humor. No one believed the majority leader was seriously asserting that Donald Trump or any of our members were being paid by the Russians. What’s more, the speaker and leadership team have repeatedly spoken out against Russia’s interference in our election, and the House continues to investigate that activity.”

“This was a failed attempt at humor,” Sparks said.

Democratic Party of Wisconsin: Statement on Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke

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Contact:
Brandon Weathersby
[email protected]
(608) 260-2409

MADISON — The following is the statement of Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Martha Laning with regards to the news that Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke will leave his post next month to join the Trump administration:

“The public safety of our local communities and our nation isn’t a joke, a game, or a popularity contest – but that’s exactly how Sheriff David Clarke has treated his role over the past few months.

“Sheriff Clarke, facing warranted scrutiny for the deaths of four people in his jail since last April, spent most of the last year traveling the country for paid speeches and hopping in front of cable news cameras to audition for a job in the Trump administration. Public safety is not a top priority for the Sheriff, his record on public safety in his own jail is evidence enough that he has no business working at the Department of Homeland Security.

“I can only hope that Gov. Scott Walker appoints someone who is committed to the public safety of all Milwaukee County residents and will put their job to the people of the county ahead of politics and self-promotion because Milwaukee County certainly deserves better than the likes of Sheriff Clarke.”

Democratic Party of Wisconsin: Walker’s Economic Disaster Corporation still in chaos

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Contact:
Brandon Weathersby
608-260-2409
[email protected]

MADISON — A new audit from the Legislative Audit Bureau shows Gov. Scott Walker’s Economic Disaster Corporation (WEDC) is still fraught with chaos and disorder even as Republican Joint Finance Committee members shockingly recently voted to reinstate the WEDC’s lending authority.

Gov. Scott Walker’s flagship job creation agency is better known for a string of scandals since it’s inception than creating good-paying jobs for Wisconsinites. Instead of creating jobs and helping new businesses thrive, WEDC has lost funds and failed to follow basic practices to track and recoup taxpayer funds.

According to the audit released today, WEDC still cannot accurately measure how many jobs it has created. This is the first WEDC audit since the agency regained its lending authority weeks ago, while Wisconsinites would have hoped that the agency had gotten its act together, today’s audit paints a very different picture.  It isn’t the first time Gov. Walker’s flagship job creation agency has shown an inability to do its duties on behalf of the taxpayers. Past audits have shown WEDC’s internal chaos and disarray, which begs the question why would Republicans give the agency lending authority when WEDC has a history of not doing its job and hadn’t shown any signs of progress.

“A job creation agency is a fantastic idea, but after three consecutive disturbing audits over 6 years, clearly the Republicans have shown they need help getting the job done. Governor Walkers flagship job agency isn’t even tracking whether their loans are creating jobs, enough is enough,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Martha Laning said on Wednesday. “Today’s audit shows that Republicans haven’t been responsible with taxpayers money and reinstating WEDC’s lending authority without fixing the problem is just plain stupid. It’s time for Republicans to partner with Democrats on a real plan to clean up the WEDC mess they created and start putting Wisconsinites first by using tax dollars to spur innovation through our universities, encourage entrepreneurial activity, and thereby create good-paying jobs for hard-working Wisconsinites.” ​

Democratic Party of Wisconsin: Where’s Kevin?

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Contact:
Brandon Weathersby
(608) 260-2409
[email protected]

MADISON — With Kevin Nicholson’s deer-in-headlights expression when confronted with one of his lies at the Wisconsin Republican Party’s convention this weekend, Kevin needs to come out from hiding and answer more questions. Did Kevin Nicholson lie? Did Dick Uihlein know about Nicholson’s 2008 vote? If not, is he still planning to spend millions in support of Nicholson’s run or will he just keep running false ads attacking Tammy Baldwin 18 months before the election? So where is Kevin?

Kevin Nicholson has a history of lying to prove his political allegiances, but after the Republican Party of Wisconsin convention last weekend, Kevin has disappeared.

“Kevin wasn’t ready to address his lies last weekend, but he better figure out his line soon because out-of-state millionaires backing his run must be questioning his Republican credentials,” said Democratic Party of Wisconsin Communications Director Brandon Weathersby. “Did Illinois millionaire and super PAC funder Dick Uihlein know that Kevin Nicholson voted for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama in 2008? What does Dick believe: that the record was wrong or that Kevin has changed?”

Maybe Kevin will reemerge with another smooth answer after pleading with Dick. Maybe not.

GOP bill would require UW to boost three-year degree options

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Gov Walker: Gov. Walker announces creation of steering committee to study automated vehicles

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Contact: Tom Evenson
(608) 266-2839

Madison, WisconsinGovernor Scott Walker issued Executive Order #245 today creating the Governor’s Steering Committee on Autonomous and Connected Vehicle Testing and Deployment, which will advise the Governor on how to best advance the testing and operation of automated vehicles in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin is uniquely positioned to study, test, and develop automated and connected vehicle technology. In fact, the University of Wisconsin-Madison was recently chosen as one of ten ‘Proving Grounds’ by the United States Department of Transportation to research how we can make automated vehicles a reality.

As a result, I’m creating a Steering Committee to assist with this process by advising me and other state agencies on how we can safely and effectively test and study autonomous and connected vehicles on Wisconsin roads.

This is great news for Wisconsin and has the potential to create jobs, spur economic growth, and strengthen mobility throughout the state. We have a long history of contributing to advancements in the automotive field, and I know we will rise to the challenge in this instance as well.

Gov. Walker: Gov. Walker issues statement on Wisconsin’s 3.2% unemployment rate

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Contact: Tom Evenson
(608) 266-2839

Madison, Wisconsin – Governor Scott Walker released the following statement today after the state’s workforce agency announced Wisconsin’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.2 percent in April, down from 3.4 percent in March. This is the lowest our state’s unemployment rate has been since February 2000.

“We have worked hard since 2011 to get our state’s economy back on track, and today’s news is further evidence we are continuing to move Wisconsin forward.

“Our unemployment rate is down from 8.1% when we took office to 3.2% today. This is the lowest it’s been since February 2000, and the number of people in our workforce is at an all-time high. Our reforms are working and our future is bright, but there is more work left to do.

“Now is not the time to raise taxes on middle class families. I call on members of the Legislature to stand with me and provide continued across-the-board tax relief for the hardworking people of our state so our economy can continue to thrive.”

Gov. Walker: Gov. Walker visits Cornell schools to highlight historic K-12 investments included in budget proposal

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Contact: Tom Evenson
(608) 266-2839

Cornell, Wisconsin – Governor Scott Walker traveled to Cornell today, where he discussed the historic K-12 investments included in his biennial budget proposal with Cornell Middle and High School students, teachers, and staff. The governor’s proposal lifts K-12 investment to $11.5 billion over two years, an all-time high and includes $649 million in new state aids for all K-12 schools in the state.

“Students currently in school are our future leaders – our next generation of lawmakers, educators, law enforcement officers, farmers, and manufacturers,” Governor Walker said. “What they’re learning today is laying the foundation on which they’ll build their careers. So by investing in student success today, we’re ensuring the future success of Wisconsin.”

The Cornell School District is estimated to receive $6.082 million in funding from the state under Governor Walker’s biennial budget, including:

  • An increase of $244,620 in Per Pupil Aid. Governor Walker’s budget proposal increases per-pupil funding by $200 per pupil in Fiscal Year 2018 and $204 per pupil in Fiscal Year 2019 – the largest increase since the 2005-2007 biennium.
  • An increase of $17,164 in High-Cost Transportation Aid. High-Cost Transportation Aid provides additional transportation aid to school districts with per-pupil transportation costs more than 150 percent of the state average and with a density of 50 pupils per square mile or less.
  • An increase of $94,473 in Sparsity Aid. Sparsity Aid provides $300 per pupil of additional funding to small rural districts that have less than 745 pupils and a population density of fewer than 10 pupils per square mile of district attendance. The Governor’s budget increases this aid to $400 per pupil. Governor Walker’s budget proposal also creates a $100 per pupil tier of Sparsity Aid funding for districts with 746-1000 pupils, which provides additional stability for school districts that hover around the 745 buffer.

The Cornell School District may also be eligible for further funding under Governor Walker’s budget proposal, such as mental health grants, energy efficiency incentives, and special needs grants.

Gov. Walker: Weekly Radio Address- “We Cannot Afford to Abandon Property Tax Relief”

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Contact: Tom Evenson
(608) 266-2839

The audio file of this week’s address can be found here:
We_Cannot_Afford_to_Abandon_Property_Tax_Relief.mp3

A written transcript of the address is below:

Madison, WisconsinGovernor Scott Walker released his Weekly Radio Address today titled “We Can’t Afford to Abandon Property Tax Relief.”

Hi, Scott Walker here.

Like many families across Wisconsin, Tonette and I used to hate to open our property tax bill every year. In the decade before we took office, property taxes across the state had gone up some 27 percent.  

To help Wisconsin’s working families, senior citizens, family farmers, and small businesses, we made property tax relief a priority. Today, I’m proud to say property taxes on a median-valued home are lower than they were in 2010.  

Now, my state budget will push them down even more. Both property and income taxes will be lower in 2018 than they were eight years earlier. And I want to actually eliminate an entire tax. If our budget passes, there will be no more state tax on your property tax bill. How about that for big, bold reform?

Sadly, though, we’re hearing that some lawmakers don’t want to get rid of this tax. They seem to want to keep the state tax on your property tax bill. It seems they might be confused into thinking that just because people don’t grumble about property taxes that somehow we don’t care about them much anymore.  

But I don’t believe that for a minute. That’s why I need your help. Please contact your state lawmaker and tell them to stop the state property tax. Also, tell them to continue to lower your property taxes. They need to know that you really do want property tax relief. 

Our budget plan continues to lower property and income taxes while still making historic investments in K-12 education across the state. I recently saw a billboard that talked about more money for schools and lower property taxes. Years ago, people would have said that could only happen if pigs fly, but the good news is that this is exactly what is in our budget plan for the state.  

To get it passed, however, I need your help. Please contact your state Senator and your state Representative today. Tell them to stop the state property tax and to continue to lower property taxes. We don’t want to go back to the days when people were afraid to open their property tax bills because of the massive increases.  

Together, we can continue to lower our tax burden while still investing in our schools and other priorities. That’s just one more way we’re moving Wisconsin forward. 

JFC approves plan for state to take over Circus World Museum

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JFC changes up allocation of VW settlement money, creates statewide grant program

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JFC rejects Walker plan to eliminate Labor and Industry Review Commission

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JFC to take up Medicaid May 25

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JFC tweaks Walker’s homestead tax credit proposal

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JFC votes down Dem motion to re-open WEDC part of budget

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JFC votes to keep current WTCS performance funding model in place

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Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin: Bipartisan constitutional amendment to create equal rights for crime victims introduced in Wisconsin State Legislature

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

Madison, Wisconsin – Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin’s bipartisan legislation to amend the state Constitution to ensure equal rights for crime victims was officially introduced in the Wisconsin State Legislature with identical companion bills in each House. The State Senate version, Senate Joint Resolution 53, was referred to the Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety and the State Assembly referred Assembly Joint Resolution 47 to the Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety. The legislation – which was authored by State Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) and State Rep. Todd Novak (R-Dodgeville), has the support of 42 Republicans and Democrats, and is now being endorsed by Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin – would update Wisconsin’s Constitution to build on our state’s proud tradition of leading on victims’ rights.

State Sen. Van Wanggaard, Chairman of the State Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety, said: “As a former law enforcement officer, I know firsthand the effects of crime on our communities and the impacted victims. Our focus needs to be on caring for and protecting those victims, not coddling criminals, and we’ll work hard in my committee and with the rest of the state Legislature to build on Wisconsin’s history on victims’ rights by making them truly equal.”

State Rep. Todd Novak, a key member of the State Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety, said: “As someone who resides in rural Wisconsin, I know Marsy’s Law can make the difference between a victim feeling safe and seeing their attacker at the gas station. Victims of crime deserve equal rights, and I’m proud that our bipartisan legislation will give them a permanent guarantee of equality under our state Constitution.”

Christina Traub, a survivor of violent crime from Madison, said: “Anyone who has watched an episode of COPS knows what the rights of the accused are, but almost no one can name the rights of victims. I saw firsthand after I was brutally attacked how easy it is to feel left out of our justice system, and I’d like to thank the bipartisan coalition of legislators fighting to make sure victims of crime have a stronger voice in the process and the equal rights we deserve.”

Since first unveiling its legislation April 4, Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin has been co-sponsored by 40 members of the Legislature, in addition to Wanggaard and Novak. Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin’s growing statewide coalition 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; Attorney General Brad Schimel and District Attorneys across the state; and law enforcement including the Wisconsin Professional Police Association, The Wisconsin Troopers’ Association, the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association, The Badger State Sheriffs’ Association, Wisconsin Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs Association, the Milwaukee Police Association, and local sheriffs such as Racine County Sheriff Chris Schmaling, and Brown County Sheriff John Gossage.

You can read Christina’s story of survival here, and more facts on her fight for equal rights here. Below are key facts on our legislation:

·         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 the 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 have accompanied Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin’s efforts building support in the state Legislature and with allies across the state.

###

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 activists ask Walker to appoint new sheriff

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Milwaukee Alderman Johnson: Proposal aims to help city employees and Milwaukee neighborhoods

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Contact:
(414) 286-3777

Alderman Cavalier Johnson has proposed an ordinance that would change some of the stipulations for city employees when buying a city-owned foreclosed property.

The proposal will be heard by the Zoning, Neighborhoods, and Development Committee at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, May 23, in room 301-B at City Hall, 200 E. Wells St. The meeting will be televised on the City Channel, which can be found on Channel 25 on Time Warner Cable, or on Channel 99 on AT&T U-Verse. The meeting will also be streamed live on the city website at city.milwaukee.gov/Channel25.

Alderman Johnson said the ordinance (File # 161565) would benefit city employees while also improving City of Milwaukee neighborhoods.

Alderman Johnson explained, “The Common Council recognizes that, as of January 2017, the city had 1,268 improved commercial and residential properties, and that most of the improved homes in the city inventory are vacant and unoccupied.”

“The Common Council wishes to encourage sales of city-owned homes, and providing a discount on sales of city-owned homes to employees of the city provides an incentive to them to buy homes, and to help stabilize neighborhoods,” Alderman Johnson said.

With the change, city employees would pay a 50% reduction from the sale price, which can be received by filling out a city Ethics Board disclosure form. The city employee discount proposal is modeled after similar programs that exist in several other cities, including Detroit and Syracuse.

Nass clashes with UW over possible UW-Oshkosh Foundation ‘bailout’

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One Wisconsin Now: David Clarke’s greatest outrages and lowlights

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Contact:
Mike Browne, Deputy Director
[email protected]
(608) 444-3483

MADISON, Wis. — Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke says he’s leaving the job he never shows up to in Wisconsin in order to join Donald Trump in Washington D.C. While Clarke may be familiar to some from his incomprehensible Fox News appearances, he has a lengthy and embarrassing record of extremism, bombast and incompetence as Milwaukee’s sheriff.

“David Clarke is incompetent, bombastic and hates showing up for work. He’s the perfect Trump appointee,” said One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “David Clarke is the human embodiment of the insane email chain your racist uncle forwards you.”

Among the lowlights of Clarke’s tenure, Ross cited just a small sampling of the jaw-dropping conduct of the man ostensibly in charge of the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office:

Multiple deaths at Milwaukee County Jail:
There have been four fatal incidents at the Milwaukee County Jail that Clarke oversees in recent times, including the death of a newborn. According to a notice of claim, jail staff ignored pleas for help from a 30-year-old woman who was nine months pregnant and being held for a probation violation in the Milwaukee County Jail. The woman gave birth while being held and the newborn died. Three other individuals have died while in custody at the Clarke run jail. There was also the case of a 38-year-old man who died of dehydration after being tortured to death under Clarke’s custody by being denied water for seven days. The manner of death was ruled homicide and local authorities are investigating the death as a criminal matter.

Absence after a mass shooting at a Sikh temple:
Clarke was nowhere to be found when one of the worst tragedies in state history struck in Milwaukee County, when a mass shooting occurred at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek. Clarke was notable in his still unexplained absence in which six innocent worshippers were killed and four wounded by a white supremacist madman. When One Wisconsin Now requested records of his whereabouts, Clarke provided a calendar which was almost completely redacted.

Had a Plane Passenger Detained for Shaking His Head at Clarke, Said He Would Physically Attack Anyone Else Who Did It in Future:
Clarke had a passenger on a commercial plane detained by Milwaukee County law enforcement because the man shook his head at him. Not content with that abuse of power, Clarke further declared he would “knock out” anyone else who shook their heads at Clarke.

Marriage equality meltdown:
Clarke took to social media to post, “Next is rage, then revolt,” in response to the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality. Not content to stop there, Clarke in a media interview pondered, “… who would have thought that in the 21st century homosexuality would come out of the closet and churches would be forced to go into the closet?” and opined, “If we don’t resist, we can see what is happening before our eyes …” It was also reported that in his radio show he advocated for, “pitchforks and torches” and that, “If you call yourself an American, then you have to start a revolution in this country after what happened last week at the United States Supreme Court.” Clarke also took to social media with the call for “pitchforks and torches”.

Use of public tax dollars to promote vigilantism:
Clarke advised Milwaukee County residents that 9-1-1 was not their best option and instead encouraged them to pursue vigilante style justice. In taxpayer-financed radio ads, Clarke urged citizens to arm themselves and shoot people whom they felt threatened by, calling 9-1-1 only after potentially shooting and killing someone.

Shout out from the Cliven Bundy Ranch standoff:
Clarke was praised at a press conference by Richard Mack, Executive Director of the right-wing Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) at the ranch of extremist rancher Cliven Bundy during his standoff with the federal government. While at the Bundy ranch Clarke’s friend Mack, who according to the Southern Poverty Law Center has ties to right-wing militia groups, advocated for using women as human shields to generate sympathy.

Revolting racism:
Clarke declared that, “… blacks sell drugs and involve themselves in criminal behavior instead of a more socially acceptable lifestyle — because they’re uneducated, they’re lazy, and they’re morally bankrupt.”

Support for “nullification” of firearms regulations and other laws:
Clarke is supported by and was named “Sheriff of the Year” in 2013 by the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), an organization that encourages local sheriffs to ignore federal laws, like firearm regulations, that they believe are at odds with the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Childish insults of opponents:
Clarke lashed out at the Milwaukee County Executive and accused him of targeting the Sheriff’s office for budget reductions because of, “penis envy.”

More information and research on David Clarke is available by contacting One Wisconsin Now via email at [email protected].

One Wisconsin Now: Gov. Scott Walker no friend to Wisconsin technical colleges or students

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Contact:
Mike Browne, Deputy Director
[email protected]
(608) 444-3483

MADISON, Wis. — The legislature’s budget committee today takes up the Wisconsin Technical College System in their deliberations on Gov. Walker’s proposed 2017-19 state budget. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross noted that career politician Scott Walker has a long record of sticking it to technical college students, either fresh from high school or as adults returning to upgrade their job skills.

“Gov. Walker may be proposing a budget that he wants to use to run for re-election, but he can’t hide from his atrocious record of hiking technical college tuition and leaving students eligible for financial aid with none,” said Ross.

As a member of the state legislature from 1993 to 2001, career politician Scott Walker voted for budgets that increased technical college tuition by over 56 percent. According to figures from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau technical college tuition was from $1,230 in the 1992-93 academic year, before Walker entered the legislature and rose to $1,920 in 2001-02 academic year, the last year covered by a budget for which he voted.

Year Cost Percent Increase
1992-93 $1,230.00 N/A
1993-94 $1,309.50 6.5%
1994-95 $1,383.00 5.6%
1995-96 $1,446.00 4.6%
1996-97 $1,536.00 6.2%
1997-98 $1,626.00 5.9%
1998-99 $1,710.00 5.2%
1999-00 $1,777.50 3.9%
2000-01 $1,845.00 3.8%
2001-02 $1,920.00 4.1%
Tuition Hike $690.00 56.1%

Source: LFB, 1/2003

As part of his first budget as governor, Walker made the biggest cut to public education in state history, including a reduction of 30 percent in state support for the Wisconsin Technical College System.

In addition, the Walker administration has dramatically underfunded financial aid. The result has been tens of thousands of students eligible for assistance, many of whom attend technical colleges, receive none.

As with students, Gov. Walker has shown he is no friend of technical college graduates who worked hard to get their education and took on the personal responsibility to pay for it. Since it’s introduction in 2013, Walker has opposed the state Higher Ed, Lower Debt Act to help borrowers refinance student loans, just like you can with a mortgage.

One Wisconsin Now: Legislator’s choice- common sense protections of students or Gov. Walker’s way

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Contact:
Mike Browne, Deputy Director

MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to eliminate the Educational Approval Board (EAB) is set to be considered by the legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance on Thursday. According to One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross, Walker’s latest scheme, a similar version of which was rejected by the legislature in 2015, would undermine protections for Wisconsinites from predatory for-profit colleges at a time when it is needed more than ever.

“The for-profit college industry has earned additional scrutiny with a track record of abuses that have left hardworking students in Wisconsin and across the nation deep in debt and without marketable degrees,” commented Ross. “That Gov. Walker would again propose gutting state oversight of the predatory practices all too common in this industry suggests he either doesn’t understand the problem or just doesn’t care.”

In 2015 Walker, as part of his budget, proposed the elimination of the EAB, the repeal of several regulatory provisions and the division of the agency’s remaining functions between the Department of Financial Institutions and the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The legislature rejected the provision at that time.

Included in his 2017 state budget is Walker’s new plan — eliminating the EAB as a stand alone agency including the positions of executive director and board members and moving its functions to the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS).

An analysis of the proposal by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau notes that while the 6.5 employee positions currently authorized at the EAB would be transferred, the employees that currently fill them are not, instead leaving the decisions about when and with whom to fill the slots to the DSPS Secretary.

The elimination of the Executive Director position would also mean that the DSPS Secretary, with no background in higher education issues, would replace the EAB on the Distance Learning Authorization Board that works with other states to regulate distance learning services.

Scrutiny of the for-profit college industry has increased recently, and what has been uncovered is unsavory. Federal government scrutiny has uncovered how the industry targets veterans, minorities and low income students, encourages them to take on large student debts and oftentimes leaves those who graduate with essentially worthless degrees. States are getting involved too with a coalition of over 30 state Attorneys General investigating deceptive marketing and pressure tactics that lead to students taking on large amounts of debt.

In Wisconsin there have been several high profile closures of for-profit college chains including ITT Tech and Globe University. Such closures have left hundreds of state students in limbo, without a way to continue their education or get credit at other institutions for classes they had already completed and paid for.

Ross noted that the kind of disregard for students shown with the EAB is par for the course with Walker. As a member of the state legislature, the career politician voted for budgets that increased tuition at the University of Wisconsin and technical college system by over 50 percent. As Governor, Walker cut state funding for higher education by record amounts, imposed a double digit tuition increase on students and so underfunded financial aid that every year tens of thousands of students eligible for help receive none. Walker has also opposed legislation to create a state based authority to help borrower refinance student loans at lower interest rates, just like you can with a mortgage.

He concluded, “Protecting students trying to improve their skills and making sure bad actors are held accountable is just common sense, but Gov. Walker has shown no inclination to do that. The question tomorrow is what will the members of the Joint Finance Committee choose, common sense or Scott Walker’s way?”

One Wisconsin Now: No politics at $900 million right wing Bradley Foundation?

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Contact: Mike Browne, Deputy Director

Madison, Wisconsin — Internal documents leaked and reported on by the media have invited new scrutiny of the activities of the $900 million Bradley Foundation. The Milwaukee based underwriter of hundreds of right wing noise machine groups was run by Michael Grebe until 2016, who concurrently served as the co-chair of Gov. Scott Walker’s three gubernatorial campaigns and chair of his 71 day presidential run. Grebe was quoted in November 2011 saying he was “very careful” to separate his foundation job and politics but an email obtained by One Wisconsin Now raises questions about that allegation.

“It requires quite a suspension of disbelief that the then-head of one of the largest funders of the right wing noise machines in the nation — who also served as chair of political campaigns, who lobbied for Reince Priebus to be installed as head of the Republican National Committee and who Speaker Paul Ryan credited as his ‘political godfather’ — kept politics out of his day job,” commented One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross.

In a November 2011 story on the Bradley Foundation, Grebe was quoted:

“I’m very careful here,” Grebe said. “I don’t use foundation resources for any of my outside activities. I have a separate email address that I use for politics. I do my political and civic work on my own time.”

An email obtained in an open records request, dated May 2011, lists Grebe at his Bradley Foundation email address among a mix state employees and political operatives to discuss Walker’s first 100 days in office. According to the meeting agenda, Grebe was among a group slated to provide the “Assessment of Governor’s Performance on Message, Policy and Politics.”

Besides Grebe, the email sent by Walker’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign manager then serving as his chief of staff in the state funded Governor’s office, went to key state employees working for Walker and longtime Walker campaign advisors Jim Villa and the notorious RJ Johnson.

Grebe left the Bradley Foundation in 2016, handing over the operations to the Rick Graber, who formerly headed the Republican Party of Wisconsin and served in the George W. Bush administration. One Wisconsin Now has been tracking, investigating and publicizing the activities of the Bradley Foundation since 2009 and maintains the website Bradley Foundation Watch.

Ross concluded, “The Bradley Foundation under the control of Mr. Grebe spent hundreds of millions of dollars and new leaked documents show how every penny was scrutinized so it was spent to advance their right wing ideology. Are we really supposed to believe there’s no politics going on there?”

# # #

One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.

Rep. Crowley: Great day for Milwaukee, bad day for America

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Contact:
608.266.5580

MADISON, WI – State Representative David Crowley (D-Milwaukee), Chair of the Milwaukee Legislative Caucus, issued the following statement today following the announcement that Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. will be leaving to take the position of Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

“It is a good day for the residents of Milwaukee County but an equally bad day for our nation. Through the efforts of thousands of Milwaukee citizens, local and state officials, and advocacy groups like Voces De La Frontera, Sheriff Clarke faced warranted scrutiny and saw the best way to make Milwaukee great again was to jump ship.

“In his time as Milwaukee County Sheriff, David Clarke had 4 inmates die under his supervision, repeatedly made inappropriate and incendiary comments, promoted violence, and used threats and intimidation against innocent citizens. How could anyone possibly think that this would be a good candidate for any position in Homeland Security, let alone the Assistant Secretary? Unfortunately, a fearmongering loud voice promoting division and hatred is exactly the type of person that President Donald Trump is looking for. Today I join my city in rejoicing the resignation of Sheriff Clarke but my thoughts and prayers are with our nation.”

Republican Party of Wisconsin: Josh Kaul silent on policies critical of Wisconsin police officers

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Contact: Alec Zimmerman
(608) 257-4765

Madison, Wisconsin—While the rest of Wisconsin is honoring the brave men and women who protect our communities every day, Madison liberals in the State Assembly once again introduced legislation critical of Wisconsin’s hard-working law enforcement officers.  This has been a trend among liberals in Madison, and yet Democrat candidate for Attorney General Josh Kaul has yet to weigh in on this matter.  Will Kaul back the badge? Or will he add his voice to the chorus of Democrats blaming the law enforcement community?

“Wisconsin’s hard-working police officers go to work every day to make their communities a safer, better place to live,” said Alec Zimmerman, spokesman for the Republican Party of Wisconsin.  “Instead of standing with our officers in support, Madison liberals find it easier to tell police officers how do their jobs. Will Josh Kaul stand with brave law enforcement officers across Wisconsin?  Or will he become just another Madison liberal against the law enforcement community?”

Background
  • Assembly Democrats yesterday introduced numerous bills that would place an increased burden on hard-working law enforcement officers, requiring additional training that experts say is already received.[1]
  • Experts have been critical of such efforts in the past citing de-escalation training alone as dangerous with potential to place officers in harm’s way.[2]
  • Democrat Candidate for Attorney General Josh Kaul has remained silent on the issue.

Sen. Erpenbach: Weekly Democratic radio address- Wisconsin health care protection package

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Contact:
(608) 266-6670

MADISON, WI – Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) offered the weekly Democratic radio address today.

The audio file of this week’s address can be found here:
http://media2.legis.wisconsin.gov/multimedia/Sen27/erpenbachradio051817.mp3

A written transcript of the address is below:

“Hi this is State Senator Jon Erpenbach a Democrat from Middleton.

“Access to affordable health care and the opportunities that come with a healthy life are important to our communities.

“But broken promises created by President Trump has caused anxiety in families all across Wisconsin and the nation. We all deserve fair access to health care no matter what happens in Washington DC.

“Governor Walker recently said that he would be open to dropping protections for people with pre-existing conditions, that’s not how we do things in Wisconsin.

“Democrats are not willing to risk the opportunities of a healthy life. That’s why we have introduced the Wisconsin Health Care Protection package.

“Our families deserve the security of knowing their insurance policy will cover them no matter what happens in life.

“Our Wisconsin Health Care Protection would safeguard families from being denied access, or charged more for health insurance because of pre-existing conditions.

“We would help protect Wisconsin families from financial ruin by prohibiting lifetime and annual limits.  And we would keep out-of-pocket health care costs down by requiring preventive services to be continued at no cost.

“We promote community health and economic security by requiring health insurance plans to cover essential health benefits, and to ensure that family planning patients are covered with state reimbursement because we value the health of everyone in all of our communities.

“If Republicans won’t keep their promises to the American people, Wisconsin Democrats WILL. Wisconsin Democrats will stand up for Wisconsin families and work hard to do the right thing.”

Sen. Larson: Lock your doors, protect your neighbors

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Contact:
(608) 266-7505

Madison, WI – Senator Chris Larson released the following statement in response to news that Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke has accepted an appointment as an assistant secretary in the Department of Homeland Security.

“With this disturbing news, it’s clear that Trump continues to betray the nation’s trust with his appointment of Milwaukee County Sheriff as the newest member of the Trump Deportation Team. This is the same person who attempted to incite violence against the very institutions he has sworn to protect by telling people to get their ‘pitchforks and torches.’

“In January, Clarke threatened violence to fellow air passengers saying, ‘next time he or anyone else pulls this stunt on a plane they may get knocked out.’ That threat came after a passenger on a plane shook his head at him. Sheriff Clarke has, again and again, shown our community and the nation a disturbing pattern of bizarre, irresponsible and menacing behavior. Our neighbors are right to be concerned with the damage Clarke could wreak on the national stage.

“Trump knows that Clarke will back bad policies that betray our values, harm our neighbors, and enforce policies that rip families apart. As Milwaukee County Sheriff, Clarke recklessly pursued joining the Trump administration in their implementation of 287(g), which gives local law enforcement the ability to operate as federal immigration agents. Many of our neighbors oppose the program as it allows law enforcement to stop and question people based on just their appearance.

“It’s no wonder Clarke was seeking an escape from his Milwaukee County mess before the next election, as he is facing communitywide anger for his gross mismanagement of the Milwaukee County Jail, including the recent tragic death of Terrill Thomas by dehydration. In a span of just months, four families lost their loved ones due to Clarke’s negligence and lack of supervision over his department.

“Clarke has a history of mocking, belittling and intimidating our neighbors. He is yet another bad actor in a cast of clowns.”

Sen. Taylor: Celebrates Sheriff David Clarke’s decision to giddy up and leave

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Contact:
Jordan Krieger
(608) 266-5810

(MADISON) – Today, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke stated that he has accepted a position with the United States Department of Homeland of Security. Following the news, Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) released the following statement:

“While Sheriff Clarke’s departure is good news for Milwaukee County, it affirms the 45th President’s lack of clear judgement and regard for the safety of our nation and its people.

“Since Clarke failed in his duty to protect human lives in Milwaukee County’s jail and abused his authority by harassing and threating residents, why would the 45th President even consider Clarke for an appointment?

“Under Clarke’s leadership, children to the mentally ill have suffered and died, resulting in multiple costly lawsuits that stick Milwaukee taxpayers with the bill as Clarke giddy ups and rides to D.C. I pray for the sake of human life that Sheriff Clarke has learned from the horror show that he has left behind in Milwaukee County.”

Speaker Ryan: Honors National Police Week

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Contact:
AshLee Strong or Doug Andres
(202) 225-0600

WASHINGTON—After opening the House of Representatives today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) delivered remarks to recognize National Police Week and honor Wisconsin’s fallen law enforcement officers. Following are Speaker Ryan’s remarks, as prepared for delivery:

“My colleagues, I am proud to stand before the House today to recognize National Police Week. Every year at this time, law enforcement officials from around the country gather here to pay tribute to their fallen brethren and stand with their families. It is yet another measure of their commitment to protect and serve

“Over the last year, four of Wisconsin’s finest have lost their lives in the line of duty:

•             Trooper Anthony Borostowski of the Wisconsin State Patrol.

•             Deputy Dan Glaze of the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office.

•             Officer Michael Ventura of the Town of Salem’s Department of Public Safety.

•             Detective Jason Weiland of the Everest Metropolitan Police Department.

“Earlier this year, Detective Weiland was killed establishing a perimeter during a standoff with a shooter who took the lives of three civilians. Jason left behind a wife and two children.

“Anna, almost 11, spoke at the funeral. ‘Our dad was an amazing man that saved lives every day,’ she said. ‘We all know he is always and will be forever in our hearts. He’ll be looking down on us laughing and crying.’

“Looking down that day, Anna’s dad saw some remarkable things. He saw thousands of people—many of whom he had never met—lined up to pay their respects. He saw cops in uniform from all over—from New York, Chicago, Oregon, and Canada. He saw mourners and even pallbearers in green and gold to honor his love of the Packers.

“And he saw blue ribbons everywhere.

“In a time when law enforcement is targeted and too often politicized, we must never take for granted the dangers they face.

“Every day—and every night—they leave their homes and families to protect ours. They put their lives on the line to protect ours.

“For their loved ones, all they hope for—all they pray for—is to hear the car pull into the driveway and see that familiar face come through the door.

“And when the unspeakable happens…when their watch is cut short, ours is only beginning. The support we give to their families, the respect and appreciation we show for their fellow officers—it is the least we as citizens can do, and must do. This week, and every week.

“Today, I ask the whole House to join me in expressing our profound gratitude to law enforcement officers here in our Capitol and across the nation.”

Speaker Ryan: Speaker and Democratic Leader announce Task Force on Intergovernmental Affairs

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WASHINGTON—Today, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced the creation of the Speaker’s Task Force on Intergovernmental Affairs, a bipartisan group of lawmakers focused on balancing the interests of federal, state, tribal, and local governments. Speaker Ryan released the following statement:

“Federalism is not a Republican or Democrat principle, but an American principle—and one that is integral to a thriving culture and economy. But in recent years, the principle of federalism has been slowly chipped away at by an overzealous federal government. Under Chairman Bishop’s leadership, the Task Force on Intergovernmental Affairs will study ways to restore the proper balance of power between the federal government and states, tribal, and local governments, and eliminate unnecessary regulatory burdens facing communities across the nation.”

MISSION

1. Partner with states, tribes, and local governments to balance the interests of governments

2. Provide a forum for states, cities, and counties to showcase their innovation and creativity in solving public policy problems

3. Examine the effects of federal rules and regulations on state and local partners

4. Develop proposals to partner with and empower states, tribes, local governments, private institutions, families and individuals

5. Examine the extent to which the burdens shared among states, tribes and local governments may be re-allocated to improve the quality of life in all communities

MEMBERSHIP

CHAIRMAN:  Speaker’s Designee Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT)

REPUBLICANS:

Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL)
Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN)
Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC)
Rep. John Culberson (R-TX)
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY)
Rep. Jenniffer Gonzáles-Colón (R-PR)

DEMOCRATS:

Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA)
Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ)
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA)
Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA)
Rep. Anthony Brown (D-MD)
Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL)

ADVISORY COUNCIL TO THE TASK FORCE

National Association of Counties (NACo)

National Governors Association (NGA)

Council of State Governments (CSG)

National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)

National League of Cities (NLC)

U.S. Conference of Mayors

International City/County Management Association (ICMA)

Speaker Ryan: Speaker Ryan and House leaders meet with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos

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Contact:
AshLee Strong or Doug Andres
(202) 225-0600

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement after hosting a bipartisan meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos:

“It was a privilege to host President Santos at the Capitol today. We reaffirmed our commitment to a strong bilateral relationship between the United States and Colombia, and our support for their government’s counternarcotics efforts. We look forward to working with President Santos to build on the progress our countries have made over the past two decades, including the free trade agreement implemented in 2012.”

NOTE: Today’s meeting took place in the Speaker’s office in the U.S. Capitol. Participants included:

·        House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)

·        House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)

·        House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA)

·        House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD)

Speaker Ryan: Statement on passage of Syria sanctions

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Contact:
AshLee Strong or Doug Andres
(202) 225-0600

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement on House passage of H.R. 1677, the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act:

“Assad’s crimes against humanity cannot go unanswered. With these new sanctions, we will continue to tighten the screws on the Syrian regime and its most prominent backers, including Iran and Russia. I applaud Chairman Royce and Ranking Member Engel for working together in a bipartisan fashion to get this done.”

Speaker Ryan: Statement on the appointment of special counsel

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Contact:
AshLee Strong or Doug Andres
(202) 225-0600

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement on the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel:

“My priority has been to ensure thorough and independent investigations are allowed to follow the facts wherever they may lead. That is what we’ve been doing here in the House. The addition of Robert Mueller as special counsel is consistent with this goal, and I welcome his role at the Department of Justice. The important ongoing bipartisan investigation in the House will also continue.”

THU AM Update: Schimel to appeal ‘cocaine mom’ law decision

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THU News Summary: Clarke to DHS; special counsel in Russia probe

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THU PM Update: JFC rejects tech college tuition freeze, scraps Walker’s plan for VW settlement money

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Veterans of Foreign Wars Department of Wisconsin: VFW calls for PFC to reverse preference points decision

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Contact: Joseph B. Hines
Department of Wisconsin
Veterans of Foreign Wars
[email protected]
608-221-5276

The Wisconsin Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) calls for the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission (PFC) to reverse its decision to downgrade preference points awarded to military veterans when applying for positions in the Milwaukee police and fire departments. Wisconsin VFW Commander Mike Eggleston states that “the decision by the PFC is the wrong approach at the wrong time. After many years of providing military veterans an incentive to apply for careers in the Milwaukee community, the PFC is now sending the message that the training and sacrifice made by veterans is not what they are looking for.”

The VFW has over 30,000 members, many of whom have used the point system to secure long and successful careers as police officers and fire fighters, not only in Milwaukee but throughout the state. While many colleges now give military training credits toward college degrees, the PFC has embarrassed itself by downgrading the value of military service. We hope they will soon realize that highly competitive candidates with skill sets that translate well to the demands of these positions will be looking to other more veteran friendly departments in order to continue their service to the community.

Walker plan to freeze WTCS tuition rejected, JFC shoots down free tuition push

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Walker touts new unemployment rate of 3.2 percent

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Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection:

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Contact:
Rick Hummell- 608-224-5041 or [email protected]
Bill Cosh, Communications Director- 608-224-5020 or [email protected]

MADISON – Adams County will host the 71st annual Alice in Dairyland Finals events in May 2018. Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) Secretary Ben Brancel made the announcement Saturday during the Finale event for the selection of the 70th Alice in Dairyland in Brown County.

Agriculture provides more than 13 percent of the jobs in Adams County, and more than $171 million in economic activity. That amounts to more than 17 percent of the county’s total economic activity. The county consistently ranks among the top five in Wisconsin in the production of potatoes, sweet corn and snap beans. Compared with 3,079 U.S. counties, Adams County is nationally ranked in the top 25 for value of harvested vegetables. Horticulture also contributes to the county’s agricultural diversity, largely through the sales of Christmas trees and greenhouse, nursery and floriculture products.

Alice in Dairyland is a communications professional who works to educate the public about Wisconsin agriculture. Each year, a new Alice is selected from a group of candidates during a month’s-long public job interview, and, each year, a different county hosts the finals. Crystal Siemers-Peterman of Cleveland, Wis. will start work June 5 as the 70th Alice.

Throughout her year, Siemers-Peterman will attend numerous events in Adams County to promote its agricultural industries and the events leading up to the selection of the 71st Alice in Dairyland, which will take place May 17-19, 2018.

The annual Alice in Dairyland interview process includes the three-day finals event each May, as well as a two-day briefing event several weeks earlier. These events include press conferences, agribusiness tours, interviews with local media and speeches. Some of the final interview events are open to the public and include opportunities to showcase local businesses and products.

Learn more about the Alice in Dairyland program at https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/Growing_WI/AliceInDairyland.aspx

Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection: Spring storm damage draws transient contractors

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Contact:
Jerad Albracht, Senior Communications Specialist- 608-224-5007
Bill Cosh, Communications Director- 608-224-5020

MADISON – We are midway through the spring storm season, and flooding, hail and tornados have already impacted a wide range of the state.  For homeowners, the sudden fury of these seasonal storms can lead to extensive structural and landscape damage, leaving them scrambling to hire help in getting their properties back in order.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) asks homeowners affected by storm damage to seek trusted local contractors for home repair projects and to be on the lookout for transient contractors (or “storm chasers”).

“Already our agency is hearing from homeowners and law enforcement who have had contacts with out-of-state work crews canvassing neighborhoods in the aftermath of the recent storms,” said Frank Frassetto, Division Administrator for Trade and Consumer Protection.  “Use caution in your interactions with these groups, never let them into your home, and don’t give in to their high-pressure pitches.”

“These workers move quickly from town to town, leaving you with little or no recourse if you are ripped off, if they damage your property, or if there is a problem with a repair they make on your home,” said Frassetto. 

A good first step with a storm repair project should be to research trusted local contractors.  Ask for references from friends, family members, and co-workers, and contact DATCP’s Consumer Protection Hotline (800-422-7128) to find out about complaints against particular businesses. 

Wisconsin’s “Storm Chaser Law” gives DATCP enforcement tools to protect consumers and honest businesses alike by helping prevent insurance fraud.  Highlights of the law include:

  • Contractors cannot promise to pay all or some of a property insurance deductible.
  • Contractors cannot represent or negotiate with the customer’s insurer on behalf of the customer.  The contractor can, with the consent of the customer, discuss damages and costs associated with the repairs with the insurer.
  • Before entering into a contract with a customer, the contractor must give the customer a questionnaire to determine whether the work requested is related to an insurance claim.
  • Customers have a right to cancel the contract within three business days of being notified that their insurer has denied all or any part of the claim for work.  Contractors must notify customers of this right.

Here are additional Consumer Protection tips for homeowners with storm damage:

  • Ask contractors if they are subcontracting your job.  If they are, find out who the subcontractor will be and check them out as well.
  • Get lien waivers from anyone you pay for home repairs.  Lien waivers protect you if the person collecting the money does not pay the suppliers or workers.
  • Get a written contract with a start and completion date and warranty information. Also, make certain that the contract states exactly what work is to be done and what materials are to be used.  Never rely on a verbal commitment
  • Have someone watch the work being done.  Check with your local building inspector to see if the work requires a permit.  Make sure an inspector visits the job site before you make a final payment.
  • Request a copy of the contractor’s certificate of liability insurance.

Local door-to-door solicitation rules vary by municipality, and there are legitimate businesses that may knock on your door with a sales pitch.  A good practice to follow is to request a business representative’s permit to operate if your municipality has a door-to-door sales ordinance.

For additional information or to file a complaint, visit the Consumer Protection Bureau at datcp.wisconsin.gov, send an e-mail to [email protected] or call the Consumer Protection Hotline toll-free at 1-800-422-7128.

Wisconsin Department of Justice: AG Schimel seeks to reinstate Unborn Child Abuse Law

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MADISON, Wis. – Today, Attorney General Brad Schimel announced his decision to ask the United States Court of Appeals to reinstate Wisconsin’s Unborn Child Abuse Law.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge James Peterson, sitting in Madison, Wisconsin, refused to stay his April 28 decision striking down Wisconsin’s law, which provides drug addiction treatment services to pregnant women. Attorney General Schimel will now ask the Court of Appeals in Chicago to stay that lower court decision.

“I’ve spent a large part of my law enforcement career, both as AG and Waukesha DA, fighting drug abuse to make our state healthier and stronger. There is no question Wisconsin faces an epidemic of drug abuse, especially from heroin and now a growing crisis with meth,” said Attorney General Schimel. “This law allows the State to provide critical services to pregnant women, and contains important tools to protect unborn children in imminent danger. The law has served Wisconsin well for nearly 20 years, and it deserves to be vigorously defended beyond just the U.S. District Court in Madison.”

The attorneys targeting this law have argued that Wisconsin’s law is unneeded because, among other reasons, they claim drug use by pregnant women does not harm unborn children, and that there is no definitive proof that meth, heroin, and cocaine harm unborn children.

“Those attorneys have obviously never talked with those who work in the neonatal intensive care units at hospitals across our state who report dramatic increases in the babies being born drug-addicted. Drug abuse is harmful to all humans, and is particularly bad for babies. What those addicted babies experience is horrifying. Addiction to drugs like opiates, cocaine, and meth requires treatment. Pregnant women—and their unborn babies—should have every opportunity to get the treatment-related services provided by this important law,” remarked Attorney General Schimel.

The Court of Appeals is expected to rule on the request for a stay in the coming weeks.

Wisconsin Department of Justice: AG Schimel, Sen. Cowles, Rep. Horlacher stand up to child neglect with new legislation

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MADISON, Wis. – Today, Attorney General Brad Schimel, Senator Rob Cowles, and Representative Cody Horlacher announced details about new legislation that will give prosecutors additional tools to fight child neglect.

“For nearly three decades as a prosecutor, I’ve experienced firsthand how child abuse and neglect often do irreparable harm to children and families and continue from generation to generation,” said Attorney General Schimel. “Those of us in law enforcement have no greater responsibility than to protect our children and this legislation will target the worst offenders and hold them accountable.”

Current Wisconsin law requires that the State prove that a person who neglected a child did so intentionally. However, by its nature, neglect is not an intentional act. This proposed legislation would remedy this confusion in our law.

“This legislation reforms the neglect statutes to add substance and clarity. Current statutes have proved to be inadequate in many instances that we all can agree certainly constitute neglect, as a result children have been hurt,” said Senator Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay).

This bill creates additional graduated based upon the severity of the injury to the child. Thus, more severe neglect can be punished more severely than less severe neglect. Under current law a prosecutor can only charge a felony if there is actual bodily harm, otherwise, they have to charge it as a Class A misdemeanor, there are no options in between.

“I am grateful for the input and energy by child advocates, law enforcement, and community members, as well as Attorney General Schimel and Senator Cowles in my work to protect some of our most vulnerable and make sure that our community standards are reflected in this legislation,” said Representative Cody Horlacher (R-Mukwonago).

Similar to what already exists in statute regarding repeated acts of sexual assault or physical abuse, the proposed changes in this bill will increase penalties for repeated acts of neglect and provides the ability to charge repeated acts of neglect when multiple neglectful acts are committed against the same child. It can be very difficult for a child to identify specific dates of violation sufficiently to support charges when there are multiple acts of neglect committed against them so the tools provided to law enforcement in this bill are crucial to ensuring the safety of our children.

Lastly, with this bill Wisconsin joins a list of growing states by creating a Drug Endangered Child component within the neglect law. Children can now be better protected from neglect resulting from the use, distribution or manufacturing of controlled substances.

Neglect can be every bit as damaging to a child as sexual abuse or physical abuse. It is long overdue for Wisconsin to give prosecutors the ability to charge long-term neglect as an ongoing course of conduct so that we can achieve justice for these child victims and prevent offenders from committing future crimes against children.

This bill has been circulated for co-sponsorship and has support from both Democrats and Republicans.

Wisconsin Economic Development Association: State audit highlights WEDC improvements

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Contact:
Brian Doudna, Executive Director
(608) 215-2562
[email protected]

Madison, WI – Today the Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) released its third biennial audit of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), the state’s lead economic development organization. The audit highlighted a range of WEDC’s improvements, including its oversight and administration of various programs that facilitate the advancement of Wisconsin’s economy.

Wisconsin Economic Development Association (WEDA) President Ed White released the following statement on the LAB audit:

“WEDA strongly supports WEDC’s efforts to expand economic development opportunities throughout Wisconsin, and our members who work directly with the corporation have witnessed the many improvements made by WEDC over the last two years. While these improvements were not a surprise to our members, WEDA is pleased the Legislative Audit Bureau has acknowledged these findings.

The audit also provides additional recommendations and WEDA is confident those items will be successfully implemented under the leadership of WEDC Secretary and CEO Mark Hogan.”

Wisconsin Historical Society and Stonefield Historic Site: Visitor Appreciation Day at Stonefield Historic Site

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Contact:
Keri O’Keefe
(608) 261-9597
[email protected]

Cassville, Wis. – Stonefield historic site, one of the Wisconsin Historical Society’s twelve historic sites and museums, is hosting a Visitor Appreciation Day as a “Thank You” to their guests on Sunday, June 4.  Visitors of all ages can enjoy $2 admission all day.
“Holding a Visitor Appreciation Day is our way of saying thank you to our past visitors and giving new visitors a chance to see our site at a discounted rate,” said Susan Caya Slusser, southwest sites regional director at the Wisconsin Historical Society. “Stonefield visitors continue to play a crucial role in maintaining Stonefield as a historic destination.”
At Stonefield, visitors can experience the stories that cultivated Wisconsin’s scenic countryside ranging from the State Agricultural Museum and touring the estate of Wisconsin’s first governor, to exploring an authentic 1901 farmstead.  At the State Agricultural Museum, learn about the rise of the turn-of-the-century dairy farming and the development of modern farm implements, including tractors, reapers and threshing machines.
Visitor Appreciation Day is being held on Sunday, June 4 from 10am – 5pm.  The price of admission for Stonefield is $2 all day.  Wisconsin Historical Society members receive free admission.  For more information, including special exhibits and programs, including the annual Great River Road Festival, call 608-725-5210 or visit. www.stonefieldhistoricsite.org.

Wisconsin Legislature: Self-certification bill will protect consumers

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Contact:

Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills)
Representative Rob Hutton (R-Brookfield)
Madison – Wisconsin is one of the top ten states in the nation for business. The strong reputation of Wisconsin’s workers and businesses can give consumers more confidence in who they choose to hire.
State Senators Alberta Darling, Chris Kapenga, and State Representative Rob Hutton are introducing legislation which will create a self-certification registry for professions not regulated by the state.  Senator Darling says being Wisconsin certified will be good for business.
“The label ‘state certified’ will be a mark of quality for Wisconsin’s businesses and trade workers,” Darling said, “Consumers will know which professionals have earned that rating and which ones haven’t.”
Wisconsin currently regulates 166 professions.  However, over-regulation of some professions creates an unnecessary burden to employment for many low-income people and entrepreneurs. Self-certification will create a middle ground between licensure and completely unregulated professions. This middle ground will increase safety and ensure consumer protection with minimal state involvement.
The Wisconsin certified label will be offered through the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS).  DSPS will enforce the standard and impose fines for lying about accreditation or falsely claiming the title of state certified.
“The self-certification registry will provide a viable alternative to full licensure by sending a market signal to consumers, while still allowing someone to practice in their given field without a credential,” said Senator Kapenga.  “This will be win-win for consumers and businesses alike.”
Senators Darling, Kapenga, and Representative Hutton are currently seeking co-sponsors for the legislation.

Wisconsin Right to Life: Thanks AG Brad Schimel for defending mothers and their unborn babies

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Contact:
Heather Weininger
414-778-5780

“Wisconsin Right to Life thanks Attorney General Brad Schimel for having the courage and compassion to defend our Wisconsin law that protects pregnant mothers and their unborn children who, together, are battling addiction,” stated Heather Weininger, Executive Director of Wisconsin Right to Life. “This Wisconsin law, created in 1997, protects unborn children while giving their mothers the opportunity to seek treatment. We grateful that Attorney General Schimel understands the need for this law and is appealing U.S. District Judge James Peterson’s decision to strike it down. When both mother and child have the resources and treatment that they need, both are given a chance at life.”

May 19, 2017 | May 17, 2017
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