2017 July

Monthly Archives: July 2017

‘Rewind’: Health care, ongoing budget impasse, latest HOPE bills signed

WisconsinEye Senior Producer Steve Walters and WisPolitics.com editor JR Ross discuss the big stories of the week as they relate to state government. Special guest this week is Wisconsin Hospitals Association CEO Eric Borgerding.

‘Rewind’: Transportation deadlock, Bryce’s campaign, Board of Regents recap

WisconsinEye Senior Producer Steve Walters and WisPolitics.com editor JR Ross discuss the big stories of the week as they relate to state government.

‘UpFront’: Gallagher says Congress should skip or shorten August recess to work on key issues

U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, said Congress should skip all or part of its August recess to stay in Washington and work on key issues, including health care reform and the nation’s next budget.

“You just look at the scope and the scale of challenges we face both at home and abroad,” Gallagher said on Sunday’s “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com. “I think it would be unwise for us to take a month off without having tackled those head on.”

The freshman congressman said constituents tell him they want both parties in Congress to work together to solve the nation’s problems.

“We should work as hard as possible, get some things done, and then let the results speak for themselves,” Gallagher said.

Gallagher also discussed Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, saying lawmakers are still not getting at the drivers of rising health care costs.

“This is biggest source of frustration for me as a new member of Congress,” he said. “We’re having this debate over health insurance reform, when really we need to turn to the drivers of health care costs in this country.”

Gallagher said greater transparency in health care pricing and tackling the rising costs of prescription drugs would help control costs. It also would be something Republicans and Democrats could work together on.

“We have to find a way to address the health care crisis in this country,” he said.

Also on the program, state Sen. Duey Stroebel said Gov. Scott Walker’s offer to lawmakers to cut bonding for transportation, while seeking more federal money for key highway projects, could help break the budget stalemate.

The transportation dispute is holding up completion of the state’s next two-year budget.

Stroebel, R-Saukville, said the Department of Transportation is already starting to see savings through changes and improved efficiency. He said that would remain his focus in the ongoing transportation budget discussions.

“We need to find ways to do more with less,” Stroebel said. “We’ve got to be more efficient and effective.”

1st CD candidate Randy Bryce, one of two Democrats hoping to challenge Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan in 2018, also appeared on the program.

Bryce said early reaction to his campaign has been a “big surprise.”

“The launch, it just blew up bigger than I could have imagined,” Bryce said.

Bryce, a union iron worker from Racine County, launched his campaign last month with a video that’s now been viewed more than a half million times online. The video also helped spark donations, and Bryce said he’s already raised more than $400,000 from thousands of donors contributing small amounts of money.

“It just shows that there’s a real hunger to be heard and that working people want one of their own to run for office,” Bryce said.

Bryce accused Ryan of losing touch with the 1st CD, and said the speaker has not held a public town hall meeting in the district in more than 600 days.

“You can’t say he doesn’t have time for us, because he’s traveling around the country, had over 50 fundraising events and not just small dollar fundraising events, you know, over $10,000 to have your picture taken with him,” Bryce said.

See more from the show:
http://www.wisn.com/upfront

‘UpFront’: Packers’ Murphy says Titletown District will boost local economy, diversify team’s revenue

Green Bay Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy says the team opened its new Titletown District to diversify the team’s revenue, attract visitors, and make the city “a better place to live.”

Murphy said on “UpFront with Mike Gousha” that the Titletown District, 35 acres just west of Lambeau Field, will also help keep the Packers in Green Bay. The team spent eight years planning and acquiring property to make it happen.

“If we can strengthen the economic base of this community, that will help ensure over long run the team continues to stay in Green Bay, and not only stay in Green Bay, but remain competitive on and off the field,” he said on the show, done in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

Phase One of Titletown is already open. It features: the Lodge Kohler, a 144-room, 10-suite hotel; the Hinterland Brewing Company; and a Bellin Health sports medicine and orthopedics clinic. Phase Two, which is still under construction, will include a tubing hill, skating pond and trail, public playground and plaza.

Murphy said the Packers did research that shows Green Bay is at a disadvantage compared to cities of similar size nationally in the number of college graduates who live there.

Murphy said he hopes Titletown will help more college grads stay in the Green Bay area.

“We’ve got, obviously, St. Norbert College and UW-GB, and we’re losing a lot of the graduates to Minneapolis and Chicago,” Murphy said. “Also to attract more young professionals to this community.”

Also on the program, which was done on location at Lambeau Field, Joint Finance Committee Co-chair John Nygren said the $10 billion planned Foxconn development “is transformational for our state” and a “game changer” for Wisconsin.

Gov. Scott Walker last week announced the Taiwanese tech giant will build the manufacturing campus in southeastern Wisconsin and would get up to $3 billion in state incentives and employ some 13,000 workers.

Nygren, R-Marinette, also dismissed concerns that the Foxconn incentives amount to corporate welfare.

“In the shadows of Lambeau Field, you don’t score if you never throw the pass,” Nygren said. “It’s the world we live in.”

He also said Foxconn will only get money if they create jobs and meet their promises on capital investment.

And Nygren said he was hopeful lawmakers and the governor would reach agreement on the state budget soon.

The program also looked at efforts of NEW Water, the brand of the Green Bay Municipal Sewerage District, to fight a toxic cyanobacteria that helps create a “dead zone” in the bay every year.

See more from the show:
http://www.wisn.com/upfront

‘UpFront’: Steineke knocks Senate GOP for ‘borrow and spend’ approach to transportation

Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke on Sunday’s “UpFront with Mike Gousha” slammed Senate Republicans for shooting down Assembly GOP proposals to raise revenues for transportation while simultaneously backing an additional $850 million in borrowing for roads.

A group of five GOP senators said Friday they wouldn’t support a new fee on heavy trucks proposed by GOP Rep. Amy Loudenbeck, likely killing a plan that had been discussed by the guv and Republican leadership.

The five senators — Dave Craig, of West Bend; Steve Nass, of Whitewater; Chris Kapenga, of Delafield; Frank Lasee, of De Pere; and Duey Stroebel, of Saukville — argued the recent DOT audit shows the agency does not “deserve new revenues” and instead the state should be looking for savings.

But Steineke, R-Kaukauna, criticized the five for making that comment at the same time Senate GOP leadership is supporting $850 million in new bonding for roads.

“It’s kind of ironic they’re willing to borrow and spend, but they don’t want to pay as you go,” Steineke said on the show, which is produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

Steineke said he agrees reform is needed within the Department of Transportation, but that reforms alone won’t solve a roughly $1 billion deficit in the transportation fund.

While he was optimistic a deal could be reached, Steineke expressed frustration at the Senate GOP for rejecting the Assembly’s proposals.

“The Assembly has proposed solution after solution after solution, and all we keep hearing from some senators is ‘no,’ but no real solid plan coming back other than running up the state’s credit card to pay for things,” Steineke said.

Without an agreement, Steineke said the budget would revert back to spending levels from two years ago, which could result in projects being delayed or shelved.

“We’re going to have to come to some kind of agreement or we’re going to end up at the base budget from two years ago,” Steineke said. “If that’s the way we’re heading, I think it’s a disservice to the state, but it’s better than putting more costs onto the credit card that we can’t afford.”

Also on the show, Gousha sat down with Cathy Myers, a teacher and vice president of the Janesville School Board, who’s running as a Democrat against House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville.

Myers said a key issue with her is health care, and she criticized House Republicans’ health care plan and the proposal the Senate is considering.

Myers said health care a right and that she supports single-payer health care. She also expressed her opposition to the Enbridge pipeline expansion in the district.

Others challenging Ryan include Dems David Yankovich and Randy Bryce, and Republican Paul Nehlen, who lost badly to Ryan in the 2016 GOP primary.

Watch the show: http://www.wisn.com/upfront

AG Schimel: Appoints new Training and Standards Bureau Director Michael Akselrud

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MADISON, Wis. – Today, AG Schimel announced the promotion of Michael Akselrud to Director of the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Training and Standards Bureau (T&S). Akselrud has been a Compliance Officer at DOJ for nearly three years, after serving more than two decades as an officer in the United States Marine Corps.

“Mike has tremendous experience in making sure that people who keep us safe have the training, resources and support they need to do their jobs well, due to his more than 20 years in the military,” said AG Schimel. “That experience and drive for excellence are going to serve Wisconsin law enforcement well, just like they served our military well.”

During his time in the Marine Corps, Akselrud authored the branch’s policy on casualty procedures, recognition of special operations, and assignment to external government agencies. He also developed training and logistical support for more than 500 Marines to build a military police capability prior to deployment in Iraq. In addition, Akselrud developed online and pre-deployment training for more than 200,000 Marines.

T&S works closely with criminal justice partners to coordinate and implement specialized training for Wisconsin law enforcement, jail and secure detention officers. The Certification and Curriculum program section of the bureau assists the Law Enforcement Standards Board (LESB) in promoting and supporting quality training and in establishing and maintaining professional standards. The Justice Programs section of the bureau facilitates the implementation of effective, data driven criminal justice and juvenile justice policies and practices that maximize justice and the safety of the public through the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council and the Governor’s Juvenile Justice Commission.

The former director of T&S, Tony Barthuly, was promoted earlier this year to Administrator of the Division of Law Enforcement Services.

Airbnb to collect room taxes in Green Bay

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Airbnb has agreed with Green Bay to collect and remit the city’s 10 percent room tax for all of its Green Bay hosts — the second such pact in the state.

Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt authorized this agreement, which he says is seen as “an opportunity for visitors to our community and as a revenue source for the city of Green Bay.”

The San Francisco-based company, which lets people rent a variety of accommodations around the world, expects at least $55,000 in taxes to come from this deal. It’s the second so far in the state, following a similar agreement with Madison earlier this year.

The agreement will go into effect Aug.1, about a month before the start of the NFL regular season.

“Home sharing is already infusing significant economic development for Green Bay by expanding lodging capacity during Packer games and other big weekends,” said Laura Spanjian, Airbnb Midwest policy director.

Behind Madison and Milwaukee, Green Bay is the third largest market for Airbnb in the state.

See more at WisBusiness.com 

 

Alderman Murphy: FPC Directive on MPD pursuit policy appropriate, necessary

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Contact: Ald. Michael J. Murphy, (414) 286-3763

Alderman Michael J. Murphy said he is grateful for the directive issued last night (attached) to Police Chief Edward Flynn by the Fire and Police Commission related to the Milwaukee Police Department’s vehicle pursuit policy.

Alderman Murphy, chair of the Judiciary and Legislation Committee, said the unusual step of issuing a directive to the Chief is meaningful for his constituents and other city residents. “I want to publicly thank the members of the Fire and Police Commission for listening to the citizens of Milwaukee on this important matter,” he said.

“The overwhelming amount of input provided to the FPC and calls for action on the topics of reckless driving, speeding and mobile drug trafficking have been heeded and the process of serious review of the MPD pursuit policy has begun. It is a complex problem but we must address it without further delay,” Alderman Murphy said.

According to the FPC, between January and May of 2017 there was a 53% increase in the number of fatal motor vehicle accidents and a 160% increase in the number of hit and run fatalities compared to the same time period in 2016.  Furthermore, between January and April of 2017 there were more than 600 vehicles every month fleeing from MPD during traffic stops, a number that has increased year by year, often in excess of 100%. The FPC states that perpetrators fleeing from traffic stops are issued citations for the offense only 20% of the time.

In April Alderman Murphy sent a letter (attached) to FPC Executive Director MaryNell Regan asking for a review of the MPD pursuit policy “in light of the current number of vehicle flights, mobile drug transactions, and more.”

Alderman Stamper: Community Block Grant input needed at public hearings 🗓

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Contact: Ald. Russell W. Stamper, II
(414) 286-2659

Alderman Russell W. Stamper, II,
chair of the Community and Economic Development Committee, is asking Milwaukee residents and representatives of community organizations and non-profits to attend public hearings scheduled for next week to prioritize funding proposals for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds.

Alderman Stamper said the Community and Economic Development Committee will hold three public hearings to obtain citizen comments on the proposed funding categories for the 2018 Community Development Funding Allocation Plan (FAP):

  • 6 p.m. on Monday, July 17 at the Washington Park Senior Center, 4420 W. Vliet St.
  • 6 p.m. on Tuesday, July 18 at the Mitchell Park Conservatory (Domes). 524 S. Layton Blvd.
  • 5:30 p.m. on Monday, July 24 at the Wisconsin African American Women’s Center, 3020 W. Vliet St.

“We are inviting community members to play an integral and positive role in the CDBG funding process and we strongly encourage neighbors to make plans to attend one or both of the public hearings,” Alderman Stamper said.

“This is a great opportunity to improve our community through making funding recommendations for youth achievement and employment, economic development opportunities, neighborhood revitalization, job creation and community engagement,” he said.

The Community and Economic Development Committee will meet at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 19 in room 301-B at City Hall to adopt the 2018 Funding Allocation Plan.

Alderwoman Lewis: Standing tall when it counts

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

I am pleased for our citizens that the Fire and Police Commission stood tall last evening and took important actions related to the Milwaukee Police Department.

Commission members expressed outrage with the recent change in the department’s standard operating procedure (VIII C, SOP 130) related to foreign nationals, which was executed without a hearing or any communication with the Commission. The change – brought to light by faith group and immigration rights advocates — eliminated a directive that officers were not to question any person about his or her immigration status unless the person met a narrow list of criteria.

A separate change stated that officers “shall inform” federal immigration officials of the whereabouts or behaviors of any “suspected illegal immigrant” when that person is arrested for a felony or other serious crimes, such as those involving terrorism or street gangs.

The MPD announced an about face last night, with Assistant Chief James Harpole telling the Commission that it would immediately alter or strip away the change and allow for officers to use discretion where needed.

The reversal is welcome news to many Milwaukee families who have been worried and living in heightened fear that they might be stopped or questioned about their status and that they might be separated without notice from loved ones.

Secondly, the Commission ordered Chief Flynn to submit a revised vehicle pursuit policy by July 27, this after months of study and public testimony about police pursuits and how the policy may be emboldening young would-be robbery suspects and those taking part in vehicle thefts and car-jackings.

The Commission has a critical oversight responsibility when it comes to public safety in Milwaukee and I am glad to see it taking a stronger stand in demanding transparency and accountability.

Alumni group slams plan that would benefit other campuses at expense of UW-Madison

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The Badger Advocates alumni lobbying group is slamming a plan that would make UW-Madison lose out on some of the state funding going toward the UW System in the next budget.

The regents today will vote on the UW System’s $6.2 billion operating budget for the 2017-18 year, including a $37.8 million increase in GPR. The system is getting $25 million of that because a lapse from the 2015-17 biennial budget is going away.

But UW System leaders want to stray from the usual formula when distributing the $25 million to campuses.

Under their plan, UW-Madison would get $2.9 million of those funds, down from $9.4 million under the typical formula. The $6.5 million difference would instead go to other UW campuses, with UW-Milwaukee and UW-Whitewater benefiting the most.

Badger Advocates Executive Director Matt Kussow called the plan a “short-sighted decision that punishes success and fosters an environment which pits member campuses against each other.”

“UW-Madison alumni across the nation should be outraged at this development,” he said. “I fear this is just the beginning of efforts to erode UW’s position as the System’s flagship university.”

The state hasn’t yet wrapped up its biennial budget, so the system used the provisions that the Joint Finance Committee approved in May to develop its operating budget. It will then incorporate any further changes that could pass the Legislature.

UW-Milwaukee would get the largest share of funding under the UW budget plan. The campus would get about $5.2 million of the funds, about $1.7 million more than it would typically get. UW-Whitewater would get $1 million more than the usual formula, while other campuses would see boosts of at least $200,000 more.

UW System spokeswoman Stephanie Marquis called it a “one-time distribution” of the $25 million in funding.

“We want all our institutions to be strong, and this lapse funding will help support our campuses,” she said.

Under the motion Joint Finance approved in May, UW-Madison would get several funding boosts for specific programs, such as $1.5 million each year for the Thompson Center on Public Leadership and increases in funding for its Carbone Cancer Center and a rural physician residency program.

But the campus is also raising concerns over how the $25 million from the lapse would be allocated.

UW-Madison spokesman John Lucas said Chancellor Rebecca Blank recognizes other campuses face financial difficulties and has said she’s “willing to share some portion of its allocation” because of that.

“But a redirection of this size is deeply concerning and will make it even more difficult for the campus to make the kinds of investments needed to maintain its excellence,” he said.

American Dairy Coalition: ADC applauds the release of the Agriculture Equipment and Machinery Depreciation Act

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Contact: Laurie Fischer

The American Dairy Coalition (ADC) appreciates the efforts of Sens. Pat Roberts (R-KS), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Jon Tester (D-MT), in introducing a new bill that will adjust the tax code, making the purchase of new farm equipment more economical for American farmers.

The Agriculture Equipment and Machinery Depreciation Act will adjust the tax code permanently to set a five-year depreciation schedule for applicable farm equipment purchases.   Producers are allowed a depreciation deduction to recover the costs of specific equipment purchases.  Previously, this deduction period was set at seven years, however USDA studies have determined farm equipment is typically financed for only five years.   To best serve the farmers who wish to utilize this deduction, a timetable that is consistent with the financing of their property is necessary.

“This common sense legislation will give farmers and ranchers the certainty they need to invest in new, more modern equipment so they can create more jobs and growth in our communities. A five-year depreciation schedule allows for predictability and fairness in our overly complex tax code, giving the agriculture community the ability to produce more efficiently and at a lower cost.” – Sen. Roberts, Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

This bill will help replace aging equipment by allowing farmers to write off these expenses more quickly.  More money in the pockets of our nation’s farmers creates more jobs, economic growth, and improved access to safe, nutritious and affordable food for families across the globe.

About the American Dairy Coalition:

The American Dairy Coalition is the united voice of the dairy, agriculture and livestock industry. Successful policy making, in order to best serve this industry, starts in Washington DC. We focus only on top priority issues in order to remain nimble and quickly adapt to the ever changing federal policy making environment. ADC is the only national organization solely focused on advocating to advance the growth and success of progressive producers and agriculture companies.  ADC has collaborated with many groups and individuals to make a significant impact on the agriculture industry.

American Dairy Coalition: Bipartisan H-2A amendment allows for use across all of agriculture

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Contact: Laurie Fischer


The American Dairy Coalition applauds Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) and the House Committee on Appropriations for approving the Fiscal Year 2018 Homeland Security Appropriations Act with a critical program that will allow for permanent dairy, livestock and agriculture workers to utilize the existing H-2A VisaProgram. 

“Today, large segments of American agriculture face a critical lack of workers, a problem made worse by the fact that the H-2A program is not working for all of agriculture. H-2A must be made more workable for farmers, and my amendment clarifies that all of agriculture may use H-2A so it operates effectively as our nation’s Ag guest worker program” says Rep. Newhouse (R-WA).

As part of the 2018 Appropriations Act, the amendment will extend a useful visa tool to large segments of the dairy, livestock and agriculture industries. Previously, the program offered no guarantee that sectors of the industry, particularly those facing year-round labor shortages, could use the H-2A program. This amendment clarifies that the program will be applicable to all sectors of agriculture, such as dairy operations and other types of agriculture that are not seasonal or temporary.

“Fundamental change occurred yesterday with the passing of Rep. Newhouse’s amendment,” noted Laurie Fischer, CEO of the American Dairy Coalition. “It shows both Republicans and Democrats understand the dairy industry demands a visa program to help alleviate the severe labor shortages across large segments of the industry. Our cows need to be cared for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”

The American Dairy Coalition (ADC) supports efforts of Rep. Newhouse and the House Committee on Appropriations in their work to pass this bipartisan amendment to support farmers across the nation. The ADC will continue to work with legislators in finding a workable solution to ensure producers can grow and thrive.

About the American Dairy Coalition: The American Dairy Coalition is the united voice of the dairy, agriculture and livestock industry. Successful policy making, in order to best serve this industry, starts in Washington DC. We focus only on top priority issues in order to remain nimble and quickly adapt to the ever changing federal policy making environment. ADC is the only national organization solely focused on advocating to advance the growth and success of progressive producers and agriculture companies.

In the past year, ADC has grown to represent over 30,000 dairy producers through memberships, as well as national and state dairy associations. ADC has collaborated with many groups and individuals to make a significant impact on the agriculture industry.

Assembly Democrats: Gov. Walker needs to flat out reject Trump request for voter data

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Contact:
(608) 266-5504

Madison – Today, members of the Assembly Democratic Caucus sent a letter to Gov. Scott Walker asking him to reject President Trump’s voter suppression commission’s request that Wisconsin hand over the personal information of Wisconsin voters to the federal government. The governor has failed to take a clear position on the topic. Assembly Democrats are asking the governor’s office to come out strongly against this big brother request from the federal government.

Assistant Assembly Democratic Leader Dianne Hesselbein, lead author of the letter, released the following statement speaking to why it’s important the governor take a stand on this issue:

“Denunciations of this big government request from the Trump administration have poured in since his voter suppression commission made this request of all 50 states late last week. Yet, Governor Walker seems to be sitting on his hands unwilling to stand up for the privacy of Wisconsin voters. For a governor who claims he’s a proponent of smaller government and returning the power and reach of the federal government back to the states, this should be a no-brainer for him. I hope our correspondence will serve as needed encouragement for the governor to take a clear stance on this request.

Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) added:

“This request by Trump’s commission is a violation of voter privacy and many believe is an attempt to give the federal government authority to kick Democratic voters off the voter rolls. We’ve seen these attempts to disenfranchise voters in states across the country. Trump’s commission very likely could become a national effort to silence the voice of his political opponents. It should be easy for Gov. Walker to join other states in refusing to turn over this information.”

Assembly GOP backs guv’s budget plan, but Fitzgerald says ‘no deal’

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Assembly GOP backs guv’s budget plan, but Fitzgerald says ‘no deal’

Assembly GOP leaders today notified Gov. Scott Walker they will accept his offer to redirect $203.5 million in income tax cuts he had proposed and instead pump new cash toward road projects over the next two years.

But Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said this afternoon following discussions with his caucus there was “no deal” yet on the budget in the Senate.

WisPolitics.com reported Wednesday the guv had made the offer to lawmakers in an attempt to break the impasse on transportation. Doing so also would provide the state more financial flexibility in future budgets for a possible incentive package if Wisconsin lands a proposed plan from the electronics manufacturer Foxconn.

The letter, signed by all members of the Assembly GOP leadership team as well as the chamber’s Republican Finance members, praised Walker for leadership that “bridged the gap between our two houses.”

In recent weeks, Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, has pressed Assembly Republicans to drop demands for new transportation revenue, say it was unrealistic with the guv’s threat to veto any hike in the gas tax or registration fee.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, has answered by accepting that prospect on the condition that Senate Republicans drop demands for new borrowing. The budget proposal the Senate GOP released this week sought $712 million in additional bonds, with $350 million of that to be paid off using general fund revenues.

The Assembly GOP letter called Walker’s framework “responsible” and wrote the guv had “offered the possibility of no new transportation bonds.” Still, they added the caucus understood “there is a possibility of new bonding based on future federal appropriations and revenue-supported bonding.”

A spokesman for the guv and did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Read the letter:
https://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/170720Letter.pdf

See more from Fitzgerald in Friday’s AM Update.

Associated Builders & Contractors of Wisconsin: Statement on Foxconn

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Contact: Kyle Schwarm, 608-244-5883
[email protected]

MADISON, WI — Statement from John Mielke, president of Associated Builders & Contractors, Wisconsin Chapter:

“The announcement that FoxConn plans to build an estimated $10 billion manufacturing plant in Wisconsin is phenomenal economic news for our state. The impact will be immense, beginning with more than 10,000 construction jobs in the immediate future and for years to come in the employment of thousands of Wisconsinites. The workforce policies of the Walker Administration are paying huge dividends.”

Baldwin raises $2.5 million in second quarter, ends June with $3.9 million in bank

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U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin raised $2.5 million during the second quarter of the year and finished June with $3.9 million in the bank, her campaign said today.

Between Jan. 1 and June 30, Baldwin raised $4.7 million for her re-election bid, which her campaign said was the best first six months of an off year for a statewide candidate in Wisconsin, including those running for governor.

Baldwin’s campaign did not release how much she spent between April 1 and June 30, the most recent reporting period. But she finished March with $2.5 million in the bank, meaning she banked about $1.4 million of the $2.5 million she raised.

Baldwin’s campaign released her fundraising totals the same day Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign publicized the $3.5 million he raised over the first six months of the year. As a gubernatorial candidate, Walker is limited to individual contributions of $20,000, while Baldwin is restricted as a federal candidate to individual donations of $2,700 for the primary and another $2,700 for the general election.

Neither campaign has released their full reports from the latest periods to determine how much of what they raised was from individuals vs. committees.

Baldwin, Johnson form commission for U.S. marshal candidate recommendations

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U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson on Monday announced a commission to help them recommend candidates to the president for U.S. marshal.

Johnson, R-Oshkosh, and Baldwin, D-Madison, already have a Federal Nominating Commission in place, helping them suggest candidates for vacancies in the judiciary and U.S. attorney spots.

But the new commission will cover the U.S. marshal appointments for Wisconsin’s two districts.

The commission will be made up of:

*Christopher Domagalski, the president of the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association and Sheboygan’s chief of police;
*Nancy Hove, the Pierce County sheriff and president of the Wisconsin Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs Association;
*Mark Podoll, the Green Lake County sheriff who’s also first vice president of the Badger State Sheriffs’ Association;
*and Gerald Staniszewski, the Eau Claire chief of police who chairs the Wisconsin Police Executive Group.

The state Department of Justice is helping with the application process and is taking resumes for the two appointments. Applications are due to [email protected] by 5 p.m. on Aug. 14.

Both of the current U.S. marshals in Wisconsin were sworn in under the Obama administration in 2010.

Kevin Carr, the U.S. marshal for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, previously worked at the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office.

Dallas Neville, the U.S. marshal for the Western District of Wisconsin, did a prior stint in the role from 1994 to 2002 after spending six years as Clark County sheriff. He later was on the Eau Claire City Council and worked at the state Department of Military Affairs.

A Johnson aide said they will stay in place until two new appointees are selected and confirmed by the Senate.

See the release:

U.S. Sens. Johnson, Baldwin: Announce agreement on U.S. Marshals Service Nominating Commission, now accepting applications

Bill Kaplan: GOP health bill slams Wisconsin

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What will be the impact of the Senate GOP health care bill on Wisconsin? Cruel and devastating. The nonpartisan Urban Institute reports that Wisconsin gets slammed willfully: Under the Senate bill 286,000 more Wisconsinites would be uninsured – a 73 percent increase, and Wisconsin would lose $1.2 billion (22 percent) of its federal Medicaid and Affordable Care Act (ACA) funding, including tax credits and cost-sharing reductions. And, the respected Kaiser Family Foundation said: Under the Senate bill the average monthly premium for the Silver Plan (standard on the ACA exchange) in Wisconsin would increase by $418 – 78 percent higher.

However, Wisconsin GOP Senator Ron Johnson, head in sand, said: “I just don’t really see Wisconsin particularly affected by any cuts. We’re not going to cut anything.” But Kaiser Health News reported: “Some of the (GOP) messaging on the (Senate) bill seems nonsensical … (e.g.) the contention that $772 billion squeezed out of Medicaid isn’t a cut”. It gets worse.

The Senate GOP health care bill is mean. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said: Under the Senate bill the number of uninsured would increase by 22 million, including 15 million fewer on Medicaid! The CBO later spelled out “that the GOP legislation would squeeze federal Medicaid spending by 35 percent by the end of two decades, compared with current law” (Washington Post). There’s more.

The Senate GOP bill would result in draconian cuts and changes in federal tax credits to buy private insurance. And, federal help to pay out-of- pocket cuts would be eliminated by 2020. There would be much higher insurance costs for the elderly, sick or those with pre-existing conditions; many would have trouble even buying coverage, particularly in rural areas; states would be allowed to opt out of prohibitions on annual and lifetime limits by private health insurance; and hundreds of billions in tax cuts for the rich (the top 0.1 percent would get an average tax cut of $250,000).

No wonder Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and a handful of GOP senators wrote the health legislation in secret, with no Senate committee hearings. No input from doctors, hospitals or patient advocacy groups. And, all the while Trump keeps trying to sabotage the ACA, e.g., threatening not to pay for cost-sharing reductions. Finally, McConnell and his cronies hid the pain in the bill until after the 2018 elections and beyond. Cover to preserve the GOP majority.

Yes, there is much to be appalled and ashamed about the Senate GOP health legislation. And, Senator Johnson was correct in complaining about the secrecy and rush to pass a bill. But is this mere positioning to bargain for a final bill more cruel and draconian? Johnson thinks the bill “relies too heavily on government spending”, supports harsh Medicaid cuts and previously opposed ACA taxes on the rich that paid for giving coverage to the uninsured. He wants to be a “player”. Johnson has a choice: Act like a principled conservative and vote no, or like a mean politician and vote yes. Slamming Wisconsin.

Kaplan wrote a guest column from Washington, D.C. for the Wisconsin State Journal from 1995 – 2009.

Bill Kaplan: GOP health bill worse

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Don’t be fooled. Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell released a “new” bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. And, its so-called replacement is every bit as cruel, draconian and stunningly inadequate as all the other House and Senate GOP plans. Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin, a conservative with a heart and smarts, opined: “There are some constants: All slash Medicaid; All reduce by tens of millions the number of insured Americans; All wind up transferring more cost to sicker, older and poorer Americans; Virtually all medical-provider and patient-advocate groups as well as AARP oppose all of them (and) All are really, really unpopular with voters.” Amen!

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is expected to issue an updated analysis soon. Every CBO report on the multiple GOP bills has been telling – tens of millions more uninsured. The New York Times editorialized: “Experts say that the number (of uninsured) could rise (compared with previous versions of the bill) once Mr. McConnell’s changes are factored in.” Not surprisingly, another review validated the NYT.

Avalere Health, a well-respected consulting firm, presented an analysis of the Senate bill last week to the National Governors Association. The news was grim for Wisconsin: More uninsured, an increase in uncompensated care, possible decline in state revenue and loss of jobs. And, the Medicaid cuts for Wisconsin would be catastrophic: A reduction of federal Medicaid funding – 28 percent decline by 2036, losing $18.1 billion 2020–36.

But Wisconsin GOP Senator Ron Johnson pretends that Wisconsin will not be “affected by any (Medicaid) cuts”. However, on Sunday, Maine GOP Senator Susan Collins laid out the facts: “You can’t take more than $700 billion out of the Medicaid program and not think that it’s going to have some kind of effect. This bill imposes fundamental sweeping changes in the Medicaid program, … very deep cuts that would affect some of the most vulnerable people in our society, including disabled children and poor seniors. It would affect our rural hospitals and our nursing homes, and they would have a very hard time even staying in existence.” Reality hits delusion. There’s more.

Earlier on Friday, Vice President Pence spoke at the National Governors Association to drum up support for the Senate health bill. He attacked Ohio GOP Governor John Kasich who does not support the bill. Pence falsely claimed that 60,000 disabled Ohioans were on a waiting list for Medicaid home-and-community-based services because the state expanded Medicaid. The Washington Post reported that Pence’s allegation was not true. And, that “it alienated many at the meeting ….” A low blow backfired.

Wisconsin GOP Governor Scott Walker was also there. He took multiple positions on the Senate health bill. “He predicted eventual success in the Senate”… (Washington Post); Walker also reportedly told other governors that the bill would not pass the Senate (NYT) and “Walker declined to say if he supports” the revised Senate bill (Time). You can’t make this up. Meanwhile millions, including nearly 300,000 Wisconsinites, stand to lose health coverage.

Kaplan wrote a guest column from Washington, D.C. for the Wisconsin State Journal from 1995 – 2009.

Bill Kaplan: Kasich and Walker

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

The GOP-led Congress returns this week to continue its mean-spirited effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The so-called Senate GOP replacement bill is really a tax cut for the wealthy (top 0.1 percent would get an average tax cut of $250,000), while taking away health care coverage from 22 million, including 286,000 Wisconsinites. However, Ohio GOP Governor John Kasich, along with other GOP governors and some GOP senators, are opposed.

On Thursday, Kasich stood up for fiscal common sense and moral clarity, in successfully facing down the Ohio GOP-led legislature. Earlier, he had vetoed a legislative freeze of Medicaid expansion enrollment. As Republicans in the legislature sought to override Kasich, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and Ohio Hospital Association spoke out against the freeze, which threatened coverage for 500,000 Ohioans. The override effort failed. Kasich tweeted: “It’s not an important win for me. It’s an important win for Ohio.”

Kasich understands that federally funded Medicaid expansion provides health care coverage for the poor (many working), disabled and the elderly. It is not a welfare program. Why? It covers many middle and working class folks who are so sick, disabled or old and frail that they need nursing home care. A lifeline to prevent bankruptcy. Moreover, Medicaid expansion in Ohio has reduced uncompensated hospital care, prevented cost-shifting to employers and private insurance plans, strengthened rural hospitals and generated budget savings for education and roads (jobs).

Wisconsin GOP Governor Scott Walker should pay attention to Wisconsin as opposed to his political career. He has done everything possible to prevent the ACA from succeeding: refusing federal funds for a state exchange to sell ACA private insurance, and turning down federally funded Medicaid expansion (100 percent funding for 3 years, declining ultimately to 90 percent). Focused on running for president, Walker removed tens of thousands of Wisconsinites from Medicaid. They were told to enroll on the ACA federal exchange. Many did and got ACA help to buy private insurance. But all the while Walker keeps calling for ACA repeal! It gets crazier.

Walker replaced the tens of thousands thrown off Medicaid with tens of thousands of other Wisconsinites. Here’s the rub. Walker defied common sense and math, turning down full federal reimbursement, instead using more state funding. Refusing Medicaid expansion made ideological and political points for Walker, while sending hard-earned federal taxes to other states. Moreover, the Senate GOP health bill cuts Medicaid by $772 billion and the Trump budget cuts it further by $610 billion. So much for the Walker “model” as he touts ACA repeal.

However, Kasich stands tall, saying: “I have deep concerns with details in the U.S. Senate’s plan to fix America’s healthcare system and the resources needed to help out our most vulnerable, including those who are dealing with drug addiction, mental illness and chronic health problems and have nowhere else to turn.” Kasich has a heart and understands the Social Gospel. Walker not so much. Time for Wisconsinites to demand better and a change at the top.

— Kaplan wrote a guest column from Washington, D.C. for the Wisconsin State Journal from 1995 – 2009.

Bill Kaplan: McCain, always a hero

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

What a week. Trump escalated his demeaning and vicious attacks against Attorney General Jeff Sessions. And, directed more repellant innuendo at Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Moreover, Trump is reportedly exploring if he has the power to pardon himself. The investigations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election cast a specter over the White House. Collusion with Russia, cover-up and obstruction of justice?

William Ruckelshaus, former deputy attorney general under President Nixon, warned Trump not to fire Mueller. In a New York Times op-ed Ruckelshaus said: “he (Mueller) will conduct a thoughtful and fair investigation”. Note: Ruckelshaus resigned after refusing Nixon’s demand to fire Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. The resultant firestorm – “Saturday Night Massacre” (Cox was fired) – ultimately led to Nixon’s resignation.

Similarly, South Carolina GOP Senator Lindsey Graham said: “firing Mueller could be the beginning of the end” of the Trump presidency. Graham also declared: “If Jeff Sessions is fired there will be holy hell to pay”. Graham plans on introducing bipartisan legislation that would require judicial review before Mueller could be fired. An impending constitutional crisis. Why? Trump’s contempt for the rule of law. Moreover, Trump thinks checks and balances don’t apply to him. There’s more.

The White House exploded in a rant of profanity by Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci against Chief of Staff Reince Priebus. By the end of the week the craven, hapless and humiliated Priebus had resigned, as the Senate failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Note: Priebus and long-time friend GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan had worked to get the House to repeal the ACA. Ryan, acting like an errand boy for Trump and not as a leader of a separate branch of government, led the charge to take away health care coverage from millions, including thousands of Wisconsinites. But there are still GOP giants in the Senate.

Arizona GOP Senator John McCain, a former Navy pilot imprisoned and tortured by the North Vietnamese for over five years, returned to the Senate with a tragic diagnosis of aggressive brain cancer. However, war hero McCain spoke as a prophetic and wise Senate institutionalist. McCain said: “I voted for the motion to proceed (Senate scrapping of the ACA) to allow debate to continue and amendments to be offered. I will not vote for the bill as it is today. It’s a shell of a bill right now. We all know that.” Instead, he called for bipartisan open deliberation, using Senate committees. And, McCain declared: “We are an important check on the powers of the Executive”.

Early Friday morning, the courageous McCain joined Alaska GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski, Maine GOP Senator Susan Collins and all Senate Democrats, including Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin, in finally defeating GOP efforts to repeal the ACA. Wisconsin GOP Senator Ron Johnson, an empty vessel, voted to take health care away from millions. But McCain, Murkowski and Collins reminded Americans that there are still GOP giants. Trump and his enablers are just mean. McCain, always a hero.

Kaplan wrote a guest column from Washington, D.C. for the Wisconsin State Journal from 1995 – 2009.

Bill Kaplan: Next on health care?

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The Trump administration is engulfed in scandals. Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump” along with “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.” Trump is in the midst of an impending constitutional crisis, with his threats against Mueller and his tweet on pardon powers. Moreover, there is nothing to show for regular folks. No infrastructure program to rebuild roads, bridges, mass transit and waterworks. And, no tax reform to make federal taxes fairer and more progressive.

Any wonder that Trump has the lowest approval ratings of all modern era presidents? Trump’s solution is to revamp his PR-sales team. Gone – White House press secretary Sean Spicer and downsized – White House chief of staff Reince Priebus. Ascending – communications director Anthony Scaramucci, a tycoon and former finance chair for Governor Scott Walker’s failed presidential quest. Nothing will change. Trump and the GOP-led Congress continue to be obsessed with repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and perhaps passing a so-called replacement. The GOP-led Senate will try again on Tuesday.

Wisconsin GOP Senator Ron Johnson, hemming and hawing, complained about not having the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score on the Senate GOP’s “latest version”. Here are all the CBO scores: Simple repeal of the ACA – 32 million more uninsured; “latest version” of Senate GOP replacement – 22 million more uninsured, including 15 million fewer on Medicaid; previous Senate GOP bill – 22 million more uninsured; House-passed bill – 23 million more uninsured and previous House plan – 24 million more uninsured. Contrast all the GOP schemes with the central accomplishment of the ACA – sharply reducing the uninsured rate from 16 percent to 9 percent. Well over 20 million, including 216,355 Wisconsinites, gained coverage. What to do?

Stop trying to repeal or sabotage the ACA. Most of all stop terrifying the disabled, elderly and sick, all of us at some point. A trio of moderate GOP senators – Maine Sen. Susan Collins, West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski – have indicated they have had enough. Moreover, a bipartisan group of governors said: “The Senate should immediately reject efforts to repeal the current system (ACA) and replace sometime later. This could leave millions of Americans without coverage.” Thank you Ohio GOP Governor John Kasich. Missing in action – Wisconsin GOP Governor Scott Walker. How about bipartisan cooperation to make the ACA better? One possibility.

Wisconsin Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin has introduced legislation “to help stabilize the health care marketplaces (exchanges) by permanently appropriating the cost-sharing reductions (out-of- pocket co-payments and deductibles), included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and making cost-sharing reduction payments available to more Americans.” Senator Johnson has criticized Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell for a “political blunder” in pursuing a partisan strategy. Accordingly, why not join Baldwin’s effort in “strengthening the health care market and lowering health costs more for Wisconsinites”?

Kaplan wrote a guest column from Washington, D.C. for the Wisconsin State Journal from 1995-2009.

Board of Commissioners of Public Lands: Approves nearly $9 million for community projects

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Contact:
Jonathan Barry, Executive Secretary
(608) 266-8369

MADISON – On Wednesday, July 5, the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) approved nearly $9 million in State Trust Fund Loans to support eleven community projects in Wisconsin.

The BCPL approved the following loans:

  • Town of Christiana, Vernon County / Finance roadwork / $150,000
  • City of Clintonville, Waupaca County / Finance sewer projects / $396,000
  • City of Omro, Winnebago County / Refinance BCPL loan #2005085 / $378,983
  • City of Omro, Winnebago County / Finance water and sewer system improvements / $497,884
  • Town of Pensaukee, Oconto County / Finance building and lighting projects / $68,000
  • Town of Round Lake, Sawyer County / Construct fire station addition / $150,000
  • Town of Sheboygan, Sheboygan County / Finance road projects / $1,500,000
  • City of Sun Prairie, Dane County / Finance land purchase / $4,931,000
  • Village of Suring, Oconto County / Refinance TID #1 debt / $291,600
  • Village of Suring, Oconto County / Refinance municipal building debt / $172,988
  • Town of Wyocena, Columbia County / Finance roadwork / $352,000

The BCPL operates entirely on program revenue, without taxpayer money, and distributes more than 96 cents of every dollar of interest earned on BCPL State Trust Fund investments to Wisconsin’s public schools.  The 2017 earnings of $32.1 million provide the sole source of state funding for K‑12 public school library materials.

A list of 2017 library aid received by each public school district is available at: (http://bcpl.wisconsin.gov/docview.asp?docid=28101&locid=145).

Established in 1848 by the State Constitution, the BCPL consists of the Secretary of State Doug La Follette, State Treasurer Matt Adamczyk, and Attorney General Brad Schimel.  The BCPL manages the Common School Fund, which was created in Article X of Wisconsin’s Constitution, as a permanent endowment to benefit public education.

To learn more about the agency, visit http://bcpl.wisconsin.gov.

Bootler comes to Wisconsin to further simplify online ordering

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A new search engine for food and alcohol delivery services has come to Wisconsin with hopes of further simplifying the online ordering process.

Bootler is a Chicago-based company that got its start in late 2016. It’s now active in over 20 major metro markets and 250 cities overall, according to CEO and Founder Michael DiBenedetto.

He describes the service “like Trevago.com for food delivery — it aggregates multiple services into one site, and shows which services work for which restaurants.” It’s free to use, and includes desktop, mobile, iOS and Android functionality.

This allows users to compare pricing, menu items and wait times between various delivery services like Delivery.com, GrubHub, DoorDash, Postmates, EatStreet and others. They can search by restaurant or food type, and also get alcohol delivered through a partnership with alcohol delivery service Saucey; it’s limited to food delivery in Madison right now, as Saucey’s service area is limited to Chicago and parts of the east coast.

The search engine hit Madison earlier this summer, with a goal of tapping the returning student market at the end of August.

See more at WisBusiness.com 

BrightStar Senior Living Madison breaking ground soon on new facility

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BrightStar Senior Living Madison is breaking ground next month in Waunakee for the construction of a new senior care living facility.

This company is part of BrightStar Care, an Illinois-based franchisor with hundreds of separately owned territories across the country.

Jeff Tews and Susan Rather are franchise co-owners for BrightStar Senior Living Madison; they are also BrightStar Care Madison franchise co-owners, with five locations in Madison, Janesville, Baraboo, La Crosse and the Racine/Kenosha area — a service area which covers 1.3 million people, according to Tews, who says there are at least three other franchisees for BrightStar Care in the state.

Most BrightStar Care Madison employees are certified nursing assistants — or CNAs — and work with people in their homes when they no longer feel safe taking care of themselves, Tews says. They bathe clients, make food, do simple chores, provide transportation and perform other supportive care.

Tews’ franchise also does medical staffing. In the counties it covers, there are about 350 agencies under contract that can call BrightStar Care to temporarily fill positions.

“That’s a thriving branch of our business also,” Tews told WisBusiness.com. “[We have] about 500 employees; 45 of those are managers doing scheduling, supervising field staff, or are case managers working with clients.”

See more at WisBusiness.com

Bryce campaign says he’s raised over $430,000 in race against Ryan

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Iron worker Randy Bryce today said he’s raised more than $430,000 since announcing last month he would challenge House Speaker Paul Ryan for his seat in 2018.

Since June 19, Bryce received more than 16,000 donations, according to his campaign, with the average donation totaling around $25.

Bryce, a veteran and cancer survivor, hit the national stage when he released a viral ad announcing his candidacy, in which he asked Ryan to “trade places” with him and “come work the iron.”

Bryce most recently lost a state Senate bid to GOP Sen. Van Wanggaard. He also ran unsuccessfully for state Assembly in 2012, losing in a Dem primary.

Also running as a Dem against Ryan next year is political activist David Yankovich, and Janesville School Board member Cathy Myers. Republican Paul Nelhen, who lost against Ryan in the 2016 GOP primary, is challenging him again next year.

Bryce Campaign: Bryce shatters fundraising record in first 12 days of campaign

Contact: Nick Ramos (262) 260-9366
[email protected]com

RACINE— Randy Bryce, local Wisconsin activist and ironworker, launched his campaign to challenge Paul Ryan in Wisconsin’s first congressional district on June 19, just twelve days before the 2nd quarter campaign finance deadline. In those twelve days, Bryce’s campaign shattered fundraising records, raising more than $430,000 total, spread out over more than 16,000 donations. Bryce’s campaign saw support from people living in all 50 states, with an average contribution of just over $25.

“Our shared values of putting working people first, fighting for everyone to have access to healthcare, and the importance of leveling the playing field has resonated with thousands of people from all different backgrounds,” Bryce said. “Just a few weeks into this race, we have seen what can happen when you have the power of working people on your side, and I am excited to work with everyone as we continue this fight through next November.”

Bryce’s campaign has seen success not only in fundraising, but also through enthusiasm on online platforms. He has gained nearly 100,000 new Twitter followers since the launch, 31,000 people are following the campaign on Facebook, and the launch video, which was released on June 19, has been viewed by tens of millions of people and has nearly 500,000 views on YouTube alone.

Bryce’s campaign for Congress can be found online at RandyBryceForCongress.com, at facebook.com/RandyBryce2018 and on Twitter at @IronStache.

Bryce campaign: David Yankovich endorses Randy Bryce against Paul Ryan

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Contact:
David Keith
(323) 400-8853
[email protected]com

RACINE– In an effort to unify the opposition to House Speaker Paul Ryan, David Yankovich today ended his campaign and enthusiastically endorsed local ironworker Randy Bryce in the race for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District.

“I have been honored and humbled by the outpouring of support from across Wisconsin and all over the country,” said Yankovich. “The energy and excitement behind defeating Paul Ryan has me more convinced than ever that the people of Wisconsin are ready for a real leader. I got into this race because someone has to stop Paul Ryan’s dangerous agenda and ‘party before people’ approach to governing. I still believe stopping Paul Ryan is critically important, but after spending time with Randy Bryce, it’s clear to me that he is the right person for the job. That is why I have ended my campaign and am putting my full support behind Randy defeating Paul Ryan in 2018.

Randy has proven himself to be a tireless fighter–be it for his community, his family, or even his own life. He knows what it means to struggle to make ends meet and has a unique understanding of the issues facing Southeastern Wisconsin. Randy knows and has experienced Paul Ryan’s disastrous and failed policies. He is the best prepared to win this tough race, and I’m going to do everything possible to make sure that happens.”

The announcement was made at a 1:30 PM press conference at Wilson’s Coffee & Tea in Racine.

“David and I had dinner last night and I am encouraged by his passion and willingness to help our campaign defeat Paul Ryan,” said Bryce. “David’s commitment to progressive solutions to our nation’s most daunting problems is inspiring and I will continue to lead my campaign based on our shared vision for big, bold ideas. I look forward to hitting the trail with David and repealing and replacing Paul Ryan in November 2018.”

This announcement comes on the heels of the Bryce Campaign announcing their record breaking $430,000 haul in just 12 days.

Bryce’s campaign for Congress can be found online at RandyBryceForCongress.com, at facebook.com/RandyBryce2018 and on Twitter at @IronStache.

Bryce campaign: Randy Bryce blasts Speaker Ryan for inaction on homeless veterans

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Contact:
David Keith
(262) 260-9366
[email protected]com

KENOSHA—Today, candidate for Congress Randy Bryce called out Paul Ryan for a lack of leadership on restoring funding for state programs that house homeless veterans in Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District.

“Wisconsin’s veterans need this funding restored immediately,” said Bryce. “Leadership requires strength, and Ryan’s office’s mealy-mouthed response sends the signal he simply doesn’t care or doesn’t understand. Either way, it’s not enough.

“Forget politics – just stand up and clearly say, ‘Restore This Funding,’” said Bryce. “It’s pretty simple.

Senator Wirch and Senator Baldwin spoke out against the change in the Kenosha News, while Speaker Ryan refused to do so and simply said he would “work with” officials.

The letter calling for a restoration of funding from Congresspersons Pocan, Moore, and Sensenbrenner can be found on Medium.

Bryce can be found on Twitter at @ironstache, on Facebook at /randybryce2018, and on the web at randybryceforcongress.com.

Children’s Hospital CEO: Statement on Senate considerations

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Contact:
Andy Brodzeller
External Communication Manager
Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
Office: (414) 266-4797
Cell: (414) 587-6241

In case you were wondering, Children’s/Peggy continues to not support the bills the Senate may vote on this week:

“Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin continues to oppose the repeal and replace health care reform options currently under consideration by the Senate. We remain very concerned that the proposed cuts to funding risk undermining the Medicaid program, which could force states, including Wisconsin, to roll back coverage and benefits for children and families. We urge the Senate to work with stakeholders to ensure any bill does not negatively impact kids.”

Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin: Wisconsin family meets with Sens. Johnson and Baldwin as Senate considers changes to health care bill

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Contact: Andy Brodzeller
Office: (414) 266-4797
Cell: (414) 587-6241
[email protected]

Washington, D.C.The Warpinski family, from Denmark, Wis., was in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, July 13, to meet with Wisconsin senators and representatives. As the Senate debates possible changes to health care coverage and Medicaid funding, the Warpinski family told them about the medical care their son Steve received at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and the importance of keeping Medicaid strong for kids.

Steve’s mom and dad, Molly and Matt, learned Steve had five different congenital heart defects when she was 20 weeks pregnant. Medicaid helped the family with the cost of care during Steve’s first year when he needed lifesaving surgery.

Steve had three open-heart surgeries and continues to receive regular treatment through the Herma Heart Center at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

“Medicaid helped us with a financial burden that would have been debilitating for our family,” says Molly. “That safety net let us focus on what was most important: Steve’s medical care and recovery, and caring for our daughter who was just a year old when Steve was born.”

More of the family’s story can be read on the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin blog.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin: Neighboring Congressman and Citizen Action have health care town hall Speaker Ryan refuses to hold 🗓

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Contacts: Robert Kraig, (414) 322-5324 [email protected]org; Kevin Kane, (414) 550 8280 [email protected]

Web version of news release here.

Racine: Saturday Citizen Action of Wisconsin hosted a health care town hall meeting featuring Wisconsin Congressman Mark Pocan in House Speaker Paul Ryan’s Congressional District. Speaker Ryan was invited but did not attend the meeting that filled an auditorium at Gateway Technical College in downtown Racine. The event was co-sponsored by Wisconsin Federation of Nurses & Health Professionals and Community for Change.

Paul Ryan has not had an open forum with his constituents since the election, despite the intense public interest in talking about the controversial health plan he authored and pushed through the House of Representatives. On Friday, Speaker Ryan said he would hold no public town hall meetings because he does not want “a screaming fest.”

The public town hall that Speaker Ryan skipped on Saturday was anything but disruptive. The session began with three nurses offering their perspective on the GOP health plans, followed by a detailed discussion with Congressman Pocan, who although he represents the Second Congressional District grew up in Ryan’s district in nearby Kenosha. Paul Ryan’s constituents peppered Congressman Pocan with questions about who would be harmed by the Trump-Ryan health care plan, how the Affordable Care Act could be improved, and whether using BadgerCare as a public option could eventually lead to Medicare for All.

Health Care Town Hall Pocan Racine 7-8-17.jpg

“When something happens to a member of a family – whether it’s a physical illness or an accident or a substance abuse problem  – everything else stops and everyone in the family is focused on that member until the crisis is resolved,” said Lee Acord, a retired nursing professor at Marquette University who lives in Racine. “We know family is important to Paul Ryan. . . . All I ask is for the same respect from him. People just want to take care of their families. I just want to take care of my family.  The health care bill that Paul Ryan is pushing targets families and keeps us from being able to take care of our families and that’s just wrong.”

“I work for a Medicaid funded long term care program designed to help people 18 and older with disabilities, and the frail elderly maximize independence, provide choices, and keep down cost,” said nurse Alicia Edwards. “Large cuts to Medicaid would affect the number of people that qualify for theses services.”

The next two weeks may determine whether Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will succeed in radically restructuring the American health care system to fund huge tax cuts for the wealthy. According to press reports President Trump plans a full court press to pressure wavering Republican Senators. They will need to overcome a unprecedented tide of public opposition to their plans to take health care away from over 20 million people to fund huge tax cuts for the rich. According to Axios, the Senate bill is the most unpopular bill in 30 years.

The town hall was part of Citizen Action of Wisconsin’s new Health Care for All organizing co-op which is led by nurses, doctors, and patients. For more information contact Katie Dunn, [email protected]

Web version of news release http://www.citizenactionwi.org/neighboring_congressman_and_citizen_action_have_health_care_town_hall_speaker_ryan_refuses_to_hold

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Robert Kraig
Executive Director 
Citizen Action of Wisconsin
221 S. 2nd St., Suite 300
Milwaukee, WI 53204

Citizen Action of Wisconsin is Proud to be a Union Employer,
 OPEIU Local 9, AFL-CIO

City of Madison Department of Civil Rights: Receives fair housing award from the Wisconsin Fair Housing Network

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Contact: Norm Davis

July 17, 2017 608-267-8759

 

The City of Madison Department of Civil Rights has been chosen to receive this year’s Fair Housing Award from the Wisconsin Fair Housing Network for their work to eliminate discrimination for residents within the city of Madison.

Civil Rights Director Norman Davis said, “The Wisconsin Fair Housing Network review committee expressed particular esteem for the extensive protections offered by the City of Madison, as well as our fresh initiatives to break down barriers and address impediments to fair housing. We are grateful to receive this prestigious award and recognition.”

The Wisconsin Fair Housing Network (WFHN) is a group of state agencies, local governments, real estate organizations, lenders, individuals, fair housing organizations, and non-profit groups dedicated to fair housing education. WFHN annually celebrates the passage of historical fair housing laws by recognizing individuals and groups that have made substantial contributions in support of fair housing and the elimination of housing discrimination in Wisconsin.

WFHN will be presenting the award to the Department of Civil Rights at their annual Fair Housing Conference taking place July 19-20, 2017 at the Radisson Hotel La Crosse in La Crosse, WI.

Coalition for More Responsible Transportation: Statement on continuing budget negotiations

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Contact:
Peter Skopec, WISPIRG Director
(847) 687-7229
[email protected]

Leaders of the Coalition for More Responsible Transportation issued the following statement in response to Speaker Vos’ call to interest groups for a transportation budget solution and to Governor Walker’s letter to Senate and Assembly outlining a compromise to break the transportation budget stalemate:
“Governor Walker’s initial budget, presented in February, got many things right by focusing on local priorities and cutting highway waste. However, the Governor’s new compromise proposal would make it harder to meet Wisconsin’s changing transportation needs. This new plan would take us one step forward and two steps back.
We appreciate that the Governor’s proposal increases local transportation support, provides more funding for infrastructure maintenance, and avoids further delays of ongoing construction projects. We are concerned, however, that this plan would give the go-ahead to new unnecessary megaprojects, such as the billion-dollar expansion of I-94’s East-West Corridor in Milwaukee. As we struggle to find resources to finish major highway expansions begun in previous years, like widening I-39/90 to the Illinois border, green-lighting yet another costly project that may not be needed in its current scope would perpetuate our current funding crisis for years to come. The Governor’s proposal also fails to increase investment in public transportation that connects a growing number of Wisconsinites to jobs and opportunities.
Our coalition has long urged decision-makers to treat the state’s infrastructure crisis not simply as one caused by declining transportation revenue, but also as a problem of misplaced spending priorities. We call on state leaders to strike new highway expansions from their final budget proposal, to increase funding for infrastructure maintenance, and to invest in public transportation.
We should use this year’s budget as an opportunity to learn from past mistakes. A misplaced spending focus on 20th century infrastructure will continue to divert resources away from more forward-thinking investments that address 21st century transportation needs.”

Congressional Progressive Caucus: Condemns Daines’ sham amendment on single-payer

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Contact(s): Sayanna Molina (Grijalva)
Ron Boehmer (Pocan)

Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) released the following statement regarding the Daines Amendment.

“As a caucus that has championed the cause of Medicare For All for the past 25 years, the Congressional Progressive Caucus condemns Senator Daines’ sham single-payer amendment. The debate on health care occurring in the U.S. Senate is not a game and Senator Daines’ attempt to score political points at a moment when millions of Americans are at risk of losing access to live-saving health care, affordable medicine, and financial security is truly shameful.

“The Congressional Progressive Caucus encourages Senators who support Medicare For All to vote ‘Yes’ on an alternative amendment from our CPC colleague, Senator Sanders, which affirms that the United States should join the rest of the world and guarantee health care as a right, not a privilege.”

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The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) is the largest caucus within the House Democratic Caucus, with over 70 members standing up for progressive ideals in Washington and throughout the country. Since 1991, the CPC has advocated for progressive policies that prioritize working Americans over corporate interests, fight economic and social inequality, and promote civil liberties. The CPC champions progressive policy solutions like comprehensive immigration reform, a $15 national minimum wage, fair trade, gun violence reform, debt-free college, and making the federal government a Model Employer.

 

Congressional Progressive Caucus: Responds to DHS appropriations bill

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Contact(s): Sayanna Molina (Grijalva)
Ron Boehmer (Pocan)

Washington, D.C. –Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) released the following statement after the House Appropriations Committee voted to approve the FY 2018 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill yesterday. The bill includes a $1.6 billion border wall fund, increased funding for additional border patrol agents, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers, and immigration detention beds.

“Republicans continue to cater to President Trump’s massive deportation scheme with their latest Homeland Security Appropriations bill that bloats DHS’ funds to more than $44 billion for Fiscal Year 2018. This bill dramatically increases funding for an enforcement-only agenda and further isolates our immigrant communities. Increasing detention beds, Border Patrol agents, and ICE officers sends a clear message: this is only about apprehension, detention, and deportation. The viable path to addressing immigration in this country is not by creating more anxiety or separating families but through comprehensive immigration reform, and we will continue to fight for immigration policies that treat all families with fairness and dignity.”

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The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) is the largest caucus within the House Democratic Caucus, with over 70 members standing up for progressive ideals in Washington and throughout the country. Since 1991, the CPC has advocated for progressive policies that prioritize working Americans over corporate interests, fight economic and social inequality, and promote civil liberties. The CPC champions progressive policy solutions like comprehensive immigration reform, a $15 national minimum wage, fair trade, gun violence reform, debt-free college, and making the federal government a Model Employer.

Council for Sound Tax Policy: Applauds Senate Finance Committee for requesting input on tax reform

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Contact: [email protected]

[Madison, Wis.] – Yesterday, the Council for Sound Tax Policy submitted written comments regarding potential tax reform to the United State Senate’s Finance Committee.

Senator Orrin Hatch recently requested that stakeholders throughout the nation provide ideals, proposals, and feedback on how to improve America’s tax system. The comments were due to the committee on July 17, 2017.

The Council for Sound Tax Policy submitted comments to the committee, a full transcript of the letter submitted by the council can be found below.

“The Council for Sound Tax Policy realizes that America’s tax system is broken,” said Peter Prickett, board member of the Council for Sound Tax Policy. “It is time for our nation’s policy makers to stand together and make meaningful reforms that will give everyday American’s a chance at a brighter future through a fair and balanced taxation structure.”

Full Transcript of Letter submitted to the Senate Finance Committee can be read below or click HERE:

July 14, 2017
VIA E-MAIL
Senate Committee on Finance
219 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-6200

Dear Honorable Members of the Senate Committee on Finance,

The Council for Sound Tax Policy (“CSTP”) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion of tax policies that adhere to the principles of simplicity, transparency, stability, and economic liberty. Our focus is to encourage legislative proposals that improve economic growth while facilitating sound Federal and State tax policy. CSTP appreciates the opportunity to provide comments on how to improve America’s tax code and applauds the Senate Committee on Finance (“Committee”) on this public effort to solicit feedback from stakeholders. In the end, it is our hope that tax reform efforts will include provisions specifically designed to empower Main Street businesses and farmers to thrive in our local communities.

CSTP shares the stated goal of Committee Chairman Hatch in making the nation’s tax code “simpler and fairer for all Americans.”[1] Today, America’s tax code has more than 70,000 pages of regulations that have increased detrimental compliance costs to Main Street businesses because of confusing and ever evolving requirements. In addition, the current tax code provides benefits to certain types of businesses that are not given to others, all of which operate in the same industry. Too many large, profitable businesses are not supporting the critical services provided to the public from the government in the same way as tax-paying businesses.

Economic stimulus occurs when businesses, including farmers, operate in an environment of prudent regulation and reasonable taxation. When businesses are not burdened by the costs of over-regulation, and are subject to a tax code that treats all like-businesses the same, the outcome is innovation, fair competition, and consumer benefit. The impact of reforming the tax code in a meaningful way to stimulate economic growth will directly result in greater revenues back into the federal government. More jobs will be created, worker wages raised, and the overall competitiveness and sustainability of American businesses and farmers improved with substantive reform of our current tax code.

As has been discussed, lowering the overall corporate tax rate is one step in a positive direction of providing stimulus to businesses and farmers. CSTP supports decreasing the corporate tax rate. Another component to this effort is reforming the tax code in a way to assist financial institutions with their commercial and agricultural lending functions. Small businesses and farmers play a critical role in the U.S. economy. Ignoring the institutions that provide loans to these important sectors of the economy will ignore the important multiplier effect that financial institutions by their very nature have on the overall growth of the economy.

In May, Representative Jenkins (KS – 02) introduced the Enhancing Credit Opportunities in Rural America Act, which aims to support American farmers, ranchers and other producers by creating a new, targeted tax incentive for agricultural and rural residential lending, resulting in lower interest rates for qualified borrowers in rural areas as producers. Currently, “low commodity prices pose a serious threat to agriculture and the thousands of jobs connected to the sector in rural America,” said Congresswoman Jenkins.[2] H.R. 2205 is just one piece of the comprehensive tax reform needed to stimulate the agriculture sector.

Patterned after H.R. 2205, CSTP is also working with various members of Congress on an additional tax reform concept to specifically promote more business lending especially among small businesses and farmers. As was noted in a recent Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Economic Letter, “America’s small businesses have struggled securing credit since the end of the financial crisis. Small-business loans – those with original amounts of less than $1 million have shrunk from almost 40 percent of the overall business loan portfolio in 2004 to 20 percent in 2016.”[3] Elements of comprehensive tax reform must focus on providing benefits to businesses and farmers or economic growth will not materialize.

We are in a unique time in this country to be able to substantively reform our tax code to indeed make it “simpler and fairer for all Americans” in a way that provides sustained, economic growth. However, this effort requires thoughtful deliberation accompanied by bold action. CSTP appreciates your consideration of our suggestions mentioned above and looks forward to continuing to work with the Committee on this critical piece of legislation.

Sincerely,

Peter Prickett
President
Council for Sound Tax Policy

[1] https://www.finance.senate.gov/chairmans-news/hatch-robust-and-transparent-effort-required-for-tax-reform
[2] https://lynnjenkins.house.gov/press-releases/rep-jenkins-introduces-bill-to-help-farmers-and-ranchers-in-rural-america/
[3] “Small-Business Lending Languishes as Community Banking Weakens,” Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Economic Letter, February 2017

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Critics complain of insufficient outreach in DNR’s Kewaunee Co. bottled water program

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Dallet raised $271k for Supreme Court bid after giving campaign $200k

Milwaukee County Judge Rebecca Dallet raised nearly $271,000 for her Supreme Court bid last month, thanks largely to the $200,000 personal loan she made to the campaign.

Meanwhile, Tim Burns’ campaign says the attorney will report raising $120,000 after getting into the race May 1. That includes $1,000 of his own money to help start the account.

Beyond the loan, Dallet raised $79,734, including a $20,000 donation from John Miller, founder and principal of Arenberg Holdings, a venture capital fund.

She spent $4,533 and had $279,734 in the bank, according to her report.

Dallet has previously contributed to her circuit court campaign and listed total outstanding loans of $281,000.

The campaign of Sauk County Circuit Court Judge Michael Screnock, the third candidate seeking the open seat on the Supreme Court, is not expected to report much of a haul after getting into the race two weeks before the reporting period closed. His campaign said he did not focus on fundraising in those first few weeks.

Reports covering the first half of 2017 are due today.

Dane Co. Exec. Parisi: Dane County holds inaugural council meeting to confront climate change

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Contact:
608-266-9069

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced the “Dane County Climate Change Council” is holding its inaugural meeting today at 2:00 p.m. in City-County Building, Room 354 to confront problems posed by climate change. The council is made up of local government officials, business leaders, representatives of the University of Wisconsin, local utilities, community groups, and environmental advocates. Together, the Climate Change Council members will work to develop a climate action plan that will provide the roadmap to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and better prepare the county for the effects of climate change.

“With our communities constantly getting bombarded with heavy rains and 100-year floods seeming to take place every year now, the Climate Change Council could not be more timely,” said County Executive Joe Parisi. “I am eager to have the council begin its work and see what further actions Dane County can take to combat climate change and its effects that negatively impact our residents on a more and more frequent basis.”

Parisi created the Dane County Office of Energy and Climate Change as a new division of the Office of the County Executive in his 2017 budget. Keith Reopelle is the Office’s first director and will be responsible for overseeing the council’s work and progression. Director Reopelle has championed Wisconsin’s natural resources for more than three decades and is a well-respected expert in the field of clean energy, environmental sustainability, and climate change.

“This is a critical opportunity to make Dane County a national leader in the fight to reduce dangerous carbon pollution, reap the economic benefits that result from reducing that pollution, and give our children a safer and healthy future,” said Reopelle.  “I am honored and humbled to work with so many outstanding community leaders that are assembled on this council.”

An agreement with the La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin has helped Dane County assess the progress it has made at reducing carbon emissions, increasing green energy production and consumption, and making energy efficiency improvements to facilities. The Climate Change Council will also have access to the intellectual resources available through the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. Both will help the council better prepare Dane County for the impact of climate change while working to mitigate its effects.

Prior to the Climate Change Council’s inaugural meeting, County Executive Joe Parisi announced a partnership with leaders from Cook County, Illinois to join “We Are Still In,” a coalition of governmental and institutional leaders dedicated to keeping America’s promise of mitigating climate change by meeting the Paris Climate Agreement. Under the Accord, the United States agreed to reduce its 2005 carbon emission levels between 26 and 28 percent by 2025. Dane County reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent from 2007 to 2015—already meeting the Paris Agreement’s goal.

In fact, Dane County has developed enough carbon-free, renewable electric generation to offset nearly all of the county government’s electricity use. Not only does the county use compressed natural gas (CNG) in county fleet vehicles, offsetting the use of more than 20,000 gallons of fossil-fuel gasoline and saving county taxpayers roughly $40,000 each year, but the county also converts landfill gas into electricity, generating $3.75 million in gross revenues.

Those interested in following the activities of the “Dane County Climate Change Council” or learning more about the Office of Energy and Climate Change can visit https://climatechange.countyofdane.com.

County Executive Parisi and Director Reopelle may be available today to answer questions about the Climate Change Council and the Office of Energy and Climate Change.

Dane Co. Exec. Parisi: Dane County, Safe Communities Coalition team to expand early intervention program for heroin, opiate overdose emergencies

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Contact:
Ariana Vruwink
608-283-1477

An innovative program that guides people into immediate treatment shortly after experiencing a medical emergency from a heroin overdose will expand to more hospitals in Dane County. The “recovery coach” project, a partnership between the Safe Communities Coalition, Dane County, the Wisconsin Medical Society, and local health care providers, debuted earlier this year at St. Mary’s Hospital.  To date, 87% of the people recovery coaches intervened with at the hospital got into treatment shortly after their overdose.  These positive results from ED2Recovery’s pilot program have led leaders to begin the process of expanding its efforts to more hospitals.

“Data shows early intervention and treatment is by far the most effective means of curtailing the terribly addictive characteristics of heroin and opiates,” County Executive Joe Parisi said.  Parisi included $15,000 in his 2017 Dane County budget to help Safe Communities fund the “recovery coach” program.  “By teaming with the community and health care providers, we are getting people the help they need when the data says they are most likely to be open to getting it; unfortunately, that’s shortly after a close call.”

This collaborative, innovative effort at confronting the challenge heroin poses in the community has garnered national attention.  Video producers for LinkedIn are in Madison this week to highlight the work recovery coaches are doing to connect overdose patients in emergency departments straight to treatment.

“Safe Communities is thrilled with the success of ED2Recovery and is grateful for our partners in Dane County and statewide that have supported recovery coach interventions,” said Skye Tikkanen, Drug Poisoning Prevention Manager at Safe Communities. “Those who are in recovery from addiction offer valuable experience and insight into this epidemic and have truly become part of the solution in Dane County.  We are looking forward to the expansion of this program and to evaluate how this intervention impacts the opioid crisis.”

In addition to addressing heroin and opiate overdose emergencies, the partnership is launching a new program August 1st focused on supporting pregnant women who have an opioid use disorder. As part of Pregnancy2Recovery, recovery coaches will be connected with moms at SSM’s High Risk Pregnancy clinic.  The coaches will connect these moms to appropriate treatment resources, self-help groups, and community services to help them better navigate the challenges that come with babies going through withdrawal after being born.

“SSM Health has been delighted to partner with Safe Communities to launch the ED2Recovery project and is pleased to host a second pilot to assist pregnant women with opioid use disorders in their recovery,” said Melissa Fisher, Director of Emergency Services at SSM Health-St. Mary’s Hospital.

Communities and hospitals across Wisconsin will soon be adopting the “recovery coach” model created in Dane County. Wisconsin Voices for Recovery at the UW-Madison Division of Continuing Studies is administering a grant to employ recovery coaches and certified peer support specialists with the ultimate goal of increasing treatment and recovery support service utilization, reducing emergency department recidivism, and decreasing the number of overdose fatalities throughout the state of Wisconsin. Safe Communities will apply for the funds to help manage the program in Dane County. The grant’s funds were made available following recommendations from the Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse.

DC Wrap: House Dems split on defense spending bill vote; House fundraising roundup

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Welcome to our weekly DC Wrap, where we write about what Wisconsin’s congressional delegation is up to in Washington. Sign up for our mailing list here to receive our newsletter directly.

Quotes of the week, July 14-20

I have no problems with what Donald Jr. did, and I don’t think any prosecutor would either.
– U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wausau, on a meeting President Trump’s son had with Russian officials last year after he was told they would have information that could damage the Clinton campaign. See more from the CNN interview: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/sean-duffy-nothing-wrong-with-donald-trump-jr-meeting-russians/article/2628659

The last thing we can afford to do right now is to say, ‘This is an uphill battle, and the odds are long.’ We’ve got to engage in this fight.
– U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin in an MSNBC interview, saying she hopes the public continues to call their members of Congress about Republican health care legislation. Watch the interview: http://www.msnbc.com/brian-williams/watch/senate-dem-we-ve-got-a-big-fight-ahead-of-us-on-health-care-971624515556

This week’s news

— House Speaker Paul Ryan says U.S. Sen. John McCain has “always been a warrior” and that Americans are behind him as he fights his cancer diagnosis.

McCain’s office said yesterday doctors found a brain tumor as he was going through a procedure to remove a blood clot above his left eye.

“I know John is going to fight this with the same sheer force of will that has earned him the admiration of the nation,” Ryan said.

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, also released a statement saying it’s “been a great privilege to get to know and become friends with John.”

“He is a fighter, and I know he will attack this diagnosis with the strength and perseverance he has demonstrated throughout his life,” he said.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, meanwhile, tweeted: “Anyone who knows @SenJohnMcCain, knows he is a fighter. My heart and my prayers go out to him and his family.”

— The three House Dems from Wisconsin split in their votes for the National Defense Authorization Act, which would pump $696 billion into the defense budget.

The bill, which the House passed on Friday 322-81, has defense funding levels $93 billion above what President Trump had requested.

U.S. Reps. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, and Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, were the only members of the Wisconsin delegation to oppose it. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, did not vote on the proposal, as is custom.

A Pocan spokeswoman said he voted against the bill “because it is a reflection of the Republican budget, which spends too much on defense contractors and too little on other budget priorities,” as well as some “troubling” language concerning Guantanamo also included in the bill.

Meanwhile, spokesman Eric Harris said Moore voted against NDAA because it authorized spending “tens of billions more than even” what Trump requested, while exceeding the 2011 Budget Control Act by around $70 billion. That act put a $549 billion cap on defense spending.

Moore was also against Republicans removing a provision from the bill in committee that blocked the use of any funds for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Harris said that was a “matter of concern” for Moore because she recently introduced similar legislation.

U.S. Rep. Ron Kind was the sole Wisconsin Dem to vote for the bill. A spokeswoman said “one of the key reasons” the La Crosse Dem supported it was the NDAA included a proposal from Kind aimed at making it easier for families of deceased veterans to get replacement medals if the originals were lost.

“While Rep. Kind voted for the bill he strongly believes that we need to work to find ways to cut wasteful defense programs and save taxpayer dollars,” spokeswoman Amanda Sherman said.

The U.S. Senate has yet to take up its version of the bill. A spokesman for U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, said that version “is still in development,” and didn’t comment on the version the House passed.

A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, didn’t respond to a request for comment.

See the roll call vote:
http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2017/roll378.xml#N

— U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, a former Marine, said the bill helps ensure “our service members are trained, equipped and ready to fight at a moment’s notice.”

Gallagher, R-Green Bay, said the bill includes funding for three littoral combat ships, built by Marinette Marine in his district, and gets the Navy closer to its goal of having 355 ships.

“As we look ahead toward conference with the Senate, I will continue to fight tooth and nail to give our warfighters exactly what they need to deter threats, support our allies, and above all, keep the American people safe,” he said in a news release.

U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, said he’s spoken to military members who have raised concerns officials don’t have enough money to repair existing infrastructure.

“While the NDAA isn’t perfect, it will work towards fixing these types of problems to make our military more efficient and keep our troops safe,” he said in a news release.

— House Speaker Paul Ryan has a far bigger warchest than his fellow Wisconsin House members, with U.S. Rep. Ron Kind a distant second.

Ryan reported his re-election campaign had $3.4 million in receipts between April 1 and June 30, $1.7 million in disbursements and $11.15 million cash on hand, according to his report posted at the FEC site. Ryan for Congress is one piece of the speaker’s fundraising operation, which is dubbed Team Ryan.

Kind, D-La Crosse, reported $235,226 raised, $106,725 in expenses and $2.6 million cash on hand.

See a round-up of fundraising from House members:
https://www.wispolitics.com/2017/ryan-has-biggest-warchest-among-wis-delegation-kind-ranks-second/

— Former U.S. Rep. Mark Green, the president’s pick to lead the U.S. Agency for International Development, has started emptying out his state campaign account more than a decade after losing his bid for guv.

Green, R-Green Bay, made $70,000 in charitable contributions this spring, including $50,000 to the World Orphan Fund. He also gave $10,000 to the International Conservation Caucus Foundation and $5,000 each to the Joseph P. Mettner Foundation and World Teach.

Green also paid $5,000 in consulting fees to the Arena Strategy Group and covered $469 in travel expenses.

That left Green with $22,198 in the account at the end of June.

The White House formally announced Green’s nomination in May. The report shows Green made his first charitable contribution April 10 and his last May 18.

See the report:
http://cfis.wi.gov/ReportsOutputFiles/0102847JulyContinuing20177998e7112017122437PMGAB2Report.pdf

— U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan has a new spokesman in his D.C. office.

Ron Boehmer will be taking over as the Town of Vermont Dem’s communications director, replacing David Kolovson, who’s moving to Texas.

Boehmer most recently served as communications director for U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., and has also previously worked for Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

— U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson says he’s introducing a bill to help combat the national opioid epidemic in memory of his nephew, Archie, who died from a fentanyl overdose last year.

Johnson, R-Oshkosh, said on the Senate floor last week his bill would close a loophole that makes it hard to prosecute crimes dealing with fentanyl-like substances. That loophole, Johnson said, lets people change one part of the fentanyl compound to avoid legal issues and then sell those substances throughout the world.

“The fentanyl analogues on the street today serve no known medical purpose and are contributing to the alarming overdose rates throughout the country,” Johnson said.

See more:
https://www.ronjohnson.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=B764D928-A1E2-45FF-9764-72B57AD8A74D

— Johnson’s committee this week focused on findings that the U.S. Postal Service let letter carriers take unpaid leaves to work on union efforts to elect Democrats.

Outside investigators found systemic and longstanding violations of the Hatch Act, which prohibits employees from working on political activities during government time.

Johnson thanked the Wisconsin letter carrier, Timm Kopp, who first flagged the violations for his office for having the “courage of bringing this issue to light” and thanked USPS officials for working to ensure that will no longer happen.

“There were some systemic problems here that people were basically unaware of,” Johnson said at the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, the Missouri Dem who’s the committee’s ranking member, said the findings will help guide other agencies ensure their policies align with federal law.

Watch the hearing:
http://www.hsgac.senate.gov/hearings/the-postal-services-actions-during-the-2016-campaign-season-implications-for-the-hatch-act

— Voting closes July 23 for the Independent Journal Review’s “Cutest Dogs On The Hill” poll, which includes two dogs with Wisconsin ties.

The spokespeople for U.S. Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner and Glenn Grothman have their dogs featured in the poll. Maddie is Nicole Tieman’s dog, while Todd is Bernadette Green’s dog.

Vote in the poll:
https://cutestdogsonthehill.com/

— U.S. Reps. Mark Pocan and Gwen Moore this week joined other House Dems in demanding that the Financial Accounting Standards Board force multinational corporations to disclose country-by-country financial reporting.

The move, the 16 Dems argued in a letter to the board’s chair, would “address the threat posed by offshore profit shifting to investors and the public.” They asked that income, assets, number of employees and taxes paid annually be among the information the corporations would be required to disclose on a country-by-country basis.

“These standards will implement critical safeguards and mitigate risk for investors and provide policymakers and the public with important data relevant to our national well-being,” they wrote. “Companies already use this information internally and report much of it to the IRS, mitigating any alleged compliance burdens associated with such a directive.”

— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin called on President Trump this week to demand action on her Buy America legislation.

The White House has declared this week “Made in America Week,” prompting the renewed push from the Madison Dem.

In a letter to Trump on Monday, Baldwin asked Trump to call on Senate Republicans to take up her bill, given his previously voiced support for the legislation while he was in Wisconsin in April.

“Americans are tired of the status quo in Washington,” she wrote. “We look forward to working with you to ensure that our nation’s drinking water infrastructure is built with American materials by moving this legislation through the Senate.”

See the letter:
https://www.baldwin.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Made%20in%20America%20Week%20Letter%20to%20President%20Trump.pdf

— Baldwin has received two different awards for her conservation work, her office said.

Those include the Lake Michigan Stakeholder’s Lake Michigan Champions of Conservation award and Wisconsin Environment’s Environmental Champion Award.

— Baldwin and Johnson on Monday announced a commission to help them recommend candidates to the president for U.S. marshal.

The two already have a Federal Nominating Commission in place, helping them suggest candidates for vacancies in the judiciary and U.S. attorney spots. But the new commission will cover the U.S. marshal appointments for Wisconsin’s two districts.

See more on the commission:
https://www.wispolitics.com/2017/baldwin-johnson-form-commission-for-u-s-marshal-candidate-recommendations/

— U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner is renewing his push to fully restore the Voting Rights Act following a Supreme Court decision.

Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, wants Congress to approve a new formula for the preclearance system, which gives additional federal scrutiny to voting law changes in areas with a history of discrimination.

The Supreme Court in 2013 decided the system was constitutional but that it should not be based off the formula from 1965 when the law was first passed, effectively nixing the preclearance system until Congress comes up with a new formula.

After a failed push last session, Sensenbrenner is reintroducing his bill to set up a new formula that would subject states to that additional review if they’ve had five voting violations in 15 years. Those violations, determined by DOJ, include reducing the hours that polls are open without giving people enough notice, according to Sensenbrenner’s office.

See the release:
https://sensenbrenner.house.gov/press-releases-statements?ID=2BA9CA56-689B-47CD-B43C-FEB8EE1864E9

— U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, says an ozone regulation bill he voted for would help Sheboygan County manufacturers grow.

The bill would delay until 2025 ozone standards put in place by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Obama administration. The bill passed the House 229-199 vote, with the state’s congressional delegation voting along party lines.

Grothman says the rules would limit Sheboygan County’s growth because it gets ozone blown in from other states neighboring Lake Michigan, affecting its overall air quality readings. Grothman pointed to a Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty report that took a look at the issue.

See more:
https://grothman.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=356

Posts of the week

ICYMI

Johnson says ‘very ill advised’ comments from McConnell put health care bill at risk
https://www.wispolitics.com/2017/johnson-says-very-ill-advised-comments-from-mcconnell-put-health-care-bill-at-risk/

Tammy Baldwin among Lake Michigan Champions of Conservation
http://www.htrnews.com/story/news/2017/07/18/tammy-baldwin-among-manitowoc-lake-michigan-champions-conservation/487999001/

Ron Johnson, Tammy Baldwin, announce nominating commission for two U.S. marshal positions
http://www.jsonline.com/story/news/2017/07/17/ron-johnson-tammy-baldwin-announce-nominating-commission-two-u-s-marshal-positions/485912001/

Baldwin introduces legislation to require LGBT inclusion in federal surveys
http://www.wisconsingazette.com/news/baldwin-introduces-legislation-to-require-lgbt-inclusion-in-federal-surveys/article_f1b9cbde-6bd2-11e7-aef1-8beb67d27701.html

Baldwin, Johnson react after collapse of health care proposal
http://www.wsaw.com/content/news/Baldwin-Johnson-react-after-collapse-of-health-care-proposal-435307683.html

GOP Sen. Ron Johnson Slams McConnell’s ‘Breach of Trust’ on Medicaid
https://newsline.com/gop-sen-ron-johnson-slams-mcconnells-breach-of-trust-on-medicaid/

Ron Johnson blames Senate leadership for Obamacare repeal failure
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/ron-johnson-blames-senate-leadership-for-obamacare-repeal-failure/article/2628998

Sen. Ron Johnson: ‘I don’t think anybody should be meeting with foreign agents’
http://host.madison.com/ct/news/local/govt-and-politics/sen-ron-johnson-i-don-t-think-anybody-should-be/article_4268595a-1b06-5ef4-9bf9-5f3c2f8d291c.html

Grothman: Nobody On Capitol Hill Is Talking About Trump Jr. Russia Story
https://www.wpr.org/grothman-nobody-capitol-hill-talking-about-trump-jr-russia-story

Wisconsin congressman Mike Gallagher proposes trauma awareness month
http://www.postcrescent.com/story/kidsincrisis/2017/07/14/wisconsin-congressman-mike-gallagher-proposes-trauma-awareness-month/479138001/

GOP Rep. Sean Duffy: ‘Get Rid of the Filibuster Rule’
http://www.newsmax.com/Politics/GOP-sean-duffy-rid-filibuster/2017/07/17/id/802075/

DC Wrap: Lawmakers react to Foxconn announcement; Sensenbrenner takes on music industry groups

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Welcome to our weekly DC Wrap, where we write about what Wisconsin’s congressional delegation is up to in Washington. Sign up for our mailing list here to receive our newsletter directly.

Quotes of the week, July 21-27

You know, that would have been a pretty tough ‘no’ vote. So I was happy to join Sen. McCain.
— U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, after voting for a motion to proceed with a debate on repealing the Affordable Care Act. Johnson told reporters after the vote that the “yes” vote from McCain, who returned to the Senate after his brain cancer diagnosis, helped him decide. See more.

As you know, Democrats are in the minority in the House, the Senate, we don’t have the White House. We have been dealt out of this debate, but so have the American people. There haven’t been hearings. It was drafted in secret. And the only way we are going to succeed on the next series of votes to defeat this is if every American speaks out and your stories are told and your voices are heard.
– U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, speaking with fellow Dems outside the Capitol after the Senate voted 51-50, with Vice President Mike Pence serving the tie-breaking vote, to begin debate on the health care bill Tuesday. See the video.

This week’s news

— House Speaker Paul Ryan said at the White House on Wednesday the $10 billion manufacturing facility that Foxconn is building in Wisconsin will be an “absolute game changer.”

He also credited Gov. Scott Walker for quarterbacking the effort to bring Foxconn to southeastern Wisconsin and his past work on helping state manufacturers.

“This is the topper of all toppers,” said Ryan, whose 1st congressional district would include the facility.

U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wausau, called the announcement “huge” on Twitter, adding that Foxconn chose Wisconsin “because America is competitive again.”

U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, said the state is “on its way to becoming a global high-tech manufacturing and technology leader.”

And U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, said it will be “the largest single economic development project in Wisconsin history & will transform our state.”

— Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore said in a statement she declined an invitation from Trump to participate in the White House announcement, saying she was instead using the time to take questions from constituents.

“While I am relieved my state could potentially see an influx of jobs because of this project, my constituents have no interest in me entertaining the president’s desire to be used as a backdrop in his photo op,” Moore said.

Still, the Milwaukee Dem said she felt some “cautious optimism” about the announcement, although she noted some skepticism about whether the jobs would materialize.

Moore cited, for example, Walker’s campaign pledge more than six years ago to create 250,000 private-sector jobs in the state over four years, which is still unmet. She also cautioned that elected officials often promise individuals “job creation is just beyond the horizon, only to discover that such assurances are merely an attempt to win elections.”

See Moore’s statement:
https://www.wispolitics.com/2017/u-s-rep-moore-issues-statement-on-foxconn-construction-announcement/

See more on the Foxconn announcement:
https://www.wispolitics.com/2017/trump-state-gop-leaders-praise-foxconn-plan-to-build-10-billion-wi-facility/

— The House this week overwhelmingly passed a bill slapping new sanctions onto Russia, Iran and North Korea, with all Wisconsin representatives voting for it.

The bill, which also prohibits President Trump from waiving the sanctions without receiving congressional permission, passed Tuesday on a 419-3 vote, sending the tweaked legislation back to the Senate, after that chamber had originally passed the bill on a 98-2 vote.

U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, said in a tweet the vote shows “Congress is pushing back against foreign aggressors via tougher sanctions & taking an overdue step in re-claiming its constitutional role.”

See the House’s roll call vote:
http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2017/roll413.xml

— U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner is battling with two music industry groups over how to ease a copyright process that he says is “convoluted and difficult.”

Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, said in a news release that bars and restaurants struggle when figuring out whether they can legally play a song, opening them up to lawsuits and fees. So he’s introduced a bill to require the Register of Copyrights to set up an informational database of musical works.

But two leading groups — BMI and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers — announced this week they are setting up their own database instead of a government one.

Sensenbrenner said the groups aren’t “serious about establishing a music database” because they didn’t include other competing groups in their initiative, which wouldn’t solve the issue business owners struggle with. He also said there’s mistrust between those businesses and groups like BMI and ASCAP, so an outside database would bring “much-needed transparency.”

“With their announcement today, they are grasping at straws; trying to maintain power over a failing process that only serves their interests, not those of the American consumer,” he said.

The groups said in a news release Wednesday that they’re joining forces to “deliver an authoritative view” of who owns the vast majority of songs licensed in the U.S., as well as indicate if other performing rights organizations have an interest in a song.

BMI spokeswoman Liz Fischer said the two organizations license around 90 percent of the music in the U.S. and that they hope other groups will join later.

“We believe a marketplace solution is the right solution, created by the experts who know the data best,” she said in response to Sensenbrenner’s comments.

ASCAP spokeswoman Lauren Iossa, meanwhile, called the partnership a “massive step forward” that businesses support.

​”​We support the ability for licensees to have efficient access to correct and complete copyrighted works ownership information​, but we do not believe building a new government-run centralized system is the best approach,” she said.

See the BMI and ASCAP announcement:
https://www.bmi.com/news/entry/bmi-ascap-announce-creation-of-new-musical-works-database

See Sensenbrenner’s latest release on the issue:
https://sensenbrenner.house.gov/press-releases-statements?ID=B0DE914E-C610-4973-B259-ACE65218FB47

— Businessman and former Marine Kevin Nicholson announced Wednesday he will run for the U.S. Senate, the first Republican candidate to officially launch a bid to challenge Dem Tammy Baldwin.

A three-minute announcement video Nicholson released this morning called him a “conservative warrior with the guts to fight Washington” and a conservative outsider. It highlighted his combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the Bronze Star he was awarded.

Nicholson also calls Baldwin a “disaster on national security,” dead wrong on the economy, liberal, divisive, “honestly just embarrassing” and “everything wrong about Washington.”

Baldwin’s campaign hit back at Nicholson as an “opportunist” and questioned his support from Illinois businessman Richard Uihlein, who has pumped $3.5 million into a super PAC to support the Republican’s candidacy.

See more:
https://www.wispolitics.com/2017/nicholson-formally-launches-bid-for-u-s-senate/

— Baldwin spent $1.1 million during the second quarter of 2017 as she collected $2.5 million, according to her most recent campaign finance filing.

Baldwin’s campaign previously announced the Madison Dem had raised $2.5 million and had $3.9 million in the bank. The report filed with the FEC details her spending, which the campaign had not earlier released.

See the full report:
http://docquery.fec.gov/pdf/048/201707180200200048/201707180200200048.pdf

— U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson’s fundraising picked up in the second quarter of the year even as he continued to say he will not serve beyond this term.

Johnson, R-Oshkosh, collected $483,941 between April 1 and June 30, spent $103,210 and had $476,091 in the bank. During the first quarter of the year, Johnson raised $147,883. He said at the GOP state convention in May he would continue to fundraise to help pay off debt and to fund political travel, but again said he would not seek re-election in 2022.

Johnson listed $35,249 in fundraising expenses, including $7,627 for the 2016 general election.

See his report:
http://docquery.fec.gov/pdf/321/201707200200231321/201707200200231321.pdf

— Two dogs with Wisconsin ties were made the top 25 “Cutest Dogs On The Hill” list in the Independent Journal Review’s poll this week.

The eighth-place finisher was spokeswoman Nicole Tieman’s dog, Maddie, in U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner’s office. And ranking fifth was Todd, the dog of Bernadette Green, U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman’s communications director.

See the full list:
http://ijr.com/2017/07/928122-top-25-cutest-dogs-capitol-hill/

— Sensenbrenner’s legislative assistant, Erik Kinney, made it on the Hill’s “50 Most Beautiful” list this year.

Kinney, 27, is from Brookfield.

See the profile the Hill wrote:
http://thehill.com/50-most-beautiful/2017/343808-erik-kinney

— Wisconsin congressional Dems are urging state elections officials not to turn voting data over to the feds, after a judge Monday night gave the commission the go-ahead to collect it.

The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity had previously asked states to submit publicly available data on their voters that includes their names, birthdays and last four digits of their Social Security numbers.

But earlier this month, the commission asked states to hold off on their responses until a federal ruling on a lawsuit filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center was decided. EPIC had asked a judge to block the feds from collecting the information during the suit. But a federal judge in D.C. last night declined to block the commission from collecting the data.

Still, U.S. Reps. Gwen Moore, Mark Pocan and Ron Kind in a letter to the Wisconsin Elections Commission asked state officials to “disregard” the federal request, saying that compiling the voter data in one area “creates an undue risk to the privacy rights of Wisconsin voters.”

Wisconsin Elections Commission officials had previously said they would turn over some of the requested voter data if the feds agreed to pay $12,500.

See the letter from Moore, Pocan and Kind:
https://gwenmoore.house.gov/press-releases/wisconsin-house-democrats-urge-state-officials-to-reject-presidential-voter-fraud-commissions-request-for-sensitive-information/

— U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan said Wednesday it’s “outrageous and shameful” that President Trump decided to once again prohibit transgender people from serving in the U.S. military.

Trump wrote on Twitter he made the decision to ban them from serving “in any capacity” after talking to generals and military experts.

“Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail,” he wrote.

But Pocan said the claim on medical costs is false and that his “decision is based in discrimination and an effort to reverse progress” the Obama administration made by ending that ban. Trump, he said, is telling “more than a million Americans that they are not equaled or valued.”

“Transgender Americans deserve respect and the opportunity to serve our nation in the military,” he said. “With more than 15,000 transgender Americans serving in the military today, President Trump should immediately reverse course on his decision and he should stop using shocking policy shifts on Twitter to distract Americans from his failing health care plan.”

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, meanwhile, thanked transgender Americans for their service in the military because their service “strengthens our military and our nation.”

“A ban against any patriotic American who wants to serve our country is wrong,” she said on Twitter.

— Pocan this week also joined fellow congressional Dems in unveiling their new national economic agenda.

Dubbed “A Better Deal,” it looks to boost wages and job-training opportunities.

Pocan, representing the Progressive Caucus, stressed this week that the agenda represents the “core issues” across the entire Democratic caucus.

“We are all on the same page, and if you look at the Republican Party, not only are they not on the same page, but they’re not reading out of the same book, and whatever books they’re reading from aren’t even in the same language,” he said.

See the release:
https://www.wispolitics.com/2017/u-s-rep-pocan-joins-house-democrats-in-launching-a-better-deal-agenda/

— U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher wants to add sanctions for Hezbollah for using civilians as “human shields.”

Gallagher, R-Green Bay, called the group an “Iranian proxy dedicated to destroying Israel and combating American interests in the Middle East.”

“The SHIELDS Act is a bipartisan effort to diminish Hezbollah’s military capabilities and malign influence in the Middle East while advancing U.S. interests,” he said.

See the release:
https://gallagher.house.gov/media/press-releases/gallagher-suozzi-introduce-bill-sanction-hizballah-use-human-shields

— Gallagher this month was also recognized as a recipient of the conservative Maverick PAC’s “Future 40” award.

That award recognizes young leaders in both the public and private sector. Recipients were honored at the annual Mavericks Conference in Washington, D.C. July 13-15.

See more:
http://www.maverickpac.com/future40/

— Sensenbrenner is looking to help the U.S. fill a shortage in nurses by giving more temporary work visas to those trained in other countries.

Sensenbrenner’s bill would increase the cap on visas for foreign-trained nurses from 3,000 to 8,000.

“During a tumultuous time in health care, nurses provide the constant support and quality care that our nation’s patients need,” he said. “In order to ensure hospitals can continue to keep us and our families safe and healthy, we need to be willing to provide them with the necessary tools.”

See more:
https://sensenbrenner.house.gov/press-releases-statements?ID=4D94A30D-3DAF-43B9-85D5-C437E0548885

— U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman wants Congress to get rid of funding for the area studies programs at universities, such as the Institute for Regional and International Studies at UW-Madison.

Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, led a letter to House appropriators calling those centers “a one-sided sounding board for professors’ anti-American and anti-Semitic political agendas.” The centers get their funding through Title VI of the Higher Education Act, and President Trump proposed eliminating that provision in his budget.

The letter says the $72 million that went into those centers in FY 17 should instead go toward reducing the deficit or toward the National Security Education Program, which has close ties to defense agencies.

See the release:
https://grothman.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=358

Posts of the week

ICYMI

Ryan: Firing Mueller is not ‘in the president’s interest whatsoever’

https://www.wispolitics.com/2017/ryan-firing-mueller-is-not-in-the-presidents-interest-whatsoever/

Ryan says ‘stay tuned’ for Foxconn news, talks taxes at MillerCoors

https://www.wispolitics.com/2017/ryan-says-stay-tuned-for-foxconn-news-talks-taxes-at-millercoors/

Johnson says ‘mess of Obamacare’ would’ve stayed without his vote today

https://www.wispolitics.com/2017/johnson-casts-deciding-vote-to-proceed-with-aca-repeal-debate/

Johnson casts key health care vote

http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/news/4302916-johnson-casts-key-health-care-vote

Ron Johnson: Vote to debate Obamacare repeal will ‘keep the process going’

http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/ron-johnson-vote-to-debate-obamacare-repeal-will-keep-the/article_f5371776-5c1b-5020-9f19-ec074d6f3f07.html

Ron Johnson casts key vote as Senate agrees to take up Obamacare repeal legislation

http://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/2017/07/25/ron-johnson-casts-key-vote-senate-agrees-take-up-obamacare-repeal-legislation/509727001/

Wisconsin senators react to health care vote

http://www.waow.com/story/35969844/wisconsin-senators-react-to-health-care-vote  

Republicans considering run against Tammy Baldwin back effort to reverse Obamacare

http://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/2017/07/25/republicans-considering-run-against-tammy-baldwin-back-effort-reverse-obamacare/509314001/

FOX 11 Investigates GOP targeting Sen. Baldwin’s seat

http://fox11online.com/news/fox-11-investigates/fox11-investigates-gop-targeting-sen-baldwins-seat

Wisconsin Democrats urge the state to reject any data request from Trump voter fraud panel

http://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/2017/07/25/wisconsin-democrats-urge-state-reject-any-data-request-trump-voter-fraud-panel/508422001/

Wisconsin’s Democratic members of Congress urge state not to comply with Trump voter data request

http://host.madison.com/ct/news/local/govt-and-politics/election-matters/wisconsin-s-democratic-members-of-congress-urge-state-not-to/article_1185064e-7222-519d-aca7-4df614893171.html

Rep. Duffy demands both Trump’s and Clinton’s contacts with Russians

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/jul/24/sean-duffy-says-hed-like-to-see-both-trumps-and-cl/

 

Democratic Governor’s Association: Amidst stalled budget negotiations, Gov. Walker takes time to play Iowa politics

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Contact: Jared Leopold
202-772-5600
[email protected]

Wisconsin: Do you know where your governor is?

The state faces a major budget crisis, and has gone 3 weeks past the June 30th budget deadline. Instead of negotiating a deal, Governor Scott Walker is busy playing Iowa politics yet again.

Today, Walker took time away from negotiating table to endorse Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds in her primary. Walker was a frequent visitor to Iowa during his failed 71-day-long presidential campaign.

“After his failed presidential campaign last year, Governor Walker is once again abandoning his job in Wisconsin for politics in Iowa,” said DGA Communications Director Jared Leopold. “Meanwhile, Wisconsin remains without a budget and transportation projects remain unfunded. Scott Walker should do his job and solve the budget crisis, instead of following the glimmering lights of national politics.”

###

Democratic Party of Milwaukee County’s Annual Picnic 🗓

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What: Democratic Party of Milwaukee County’s Annual Picnic
When: Mon, August 21, 6pm – 8pm
Where: Gordon Park Pavilion, 2828 N Humboldt Blvd, Milwaukee
It’s our Annual Picnic. We supply dogs, buns and plates; you bring a dish to share. RSVP please.

Democratic Party of Wisconsin: As budget fight intensifies, Rep. Kooyenga snubbed, D.C. Leah leads Koch brothers fight to cut wages for workers from Colorado

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

MADISON — The state budget is more than two weeks overdue, but while DC Leah schmoozes the Koch brothers in Colorado, Senate Republicans are continuing their war with Assembly leadership over details in the state budget. The latest plan from Senate leaders snubs Rep. Dale Kooyenga, nixing his proposed plans for the transportation budget, and cuts wages for workers as proposed by D.C. Leah.

Senate Republicans proposed borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars to shore up the state’s transportation budget. Effectively kicking the can down the road, creating more debt, and leaving fewer funds for public schools, good-paying jobs, and health care access.

The proposal was just the latest shot across the bow by Senate Republicans, who ignored Rep. Dale Kooyenga’s proposal to give a massive tax giveaway to the wealthiest people in the state while raising taxes on middle-class and lower-income families.

Senate Republicans’ proposal comes just days after D.C. Leah got into a Twitter fight with Speaker Robin Vos over her Americans for Prosperity supported proposal to lower wages for Wisconsin workers. D.C. Leah’s plan to eliminate the prevailing wage will lower wages at a time when Wisconsinites are begging for a raise and outsources local jobs when families need good-paying jobs the most.

D.C. Leah couldn’t even be bothered to attend today’s press conference, as the opportunity to hobnob with extreme right-wingers at an ALEC conference in Colorado and cozy up to the Koch brothers was too strong to good to pass up.

D.C Leah couldn’t wait to share her travels online:


“Republicans have created a budget mess. Instead of leading our state out of a nearly month-long impasse, Rep. Dale Kooyegna and D.C. Leah have only stood in the way of progress,” said Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesman Brandon Weathersby. “Potential Senate candidates Dale Kooyenga and D.C. Leah care more about their wealthy campaign donors than they do hard-working Wisconsin families. Imagine the damage they would do in Washington.”​

Democratic Party of Wisconsin: D.C. Leah does Koch brothers bidding, again

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

MADISON – In case you missed it, yesterday, the Wisconsin State Journal released a story detailing how Leah Vukmir is continuing the budget stalemate in Madison just so she can fight for a favorite pet project of her Koch brothers buddies – lowering wages for Wisconsin workers.

D.C. Leah is already auditioning her Washington credentials, showing off how she can throw the breaks on the democratic process with extreme demands that hurt working people all on behalf of billionaires and special interests.

D.C. Leah even received praise from Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity.​


And is so committed to their cause that she went on to get into a Twitter war with fellow Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos.​



“D.C. Leah is bringing the Washington chaos to Madison just to show power-brokers like the Koch brothers that she belongs in their elite club,” said Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesman Brandon Weathersby. “Wisconsin families need their roads fixed and their schools funded, but instead Leah’s priority is getting in the pocket of a couple billionaires so they’ll back her future U.S. Senate campaign.”​

Democratic Party of Wisconsin: DNC, Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Baldwin for Senate highlight impact of Republican repeal efforts

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Contact: [email protected]

MADISON — Today, the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, and Tammy Baldwin for Senate are releasing a new video that highlights the story of a Wisconsin family and their twin daughters, Anna and Maren who would experience firsthand the damaging effects of the Republican health care repeal bills. Anna and Maren were born premature with a pre-existing heart condition. In the first weeks of her life, Maren faced significant medical challenges and has a history of heart, lung, and kidney disease but was able to receive care life-saving care through Medicaid.

Senate Republican repeal efforts would strip access to quality and affordable coverage away from millions of Americans, drive up costs for people with pre-existing conditions, and gut Medicaid, which families and children across the country depend on every day.

“Republicans are still trying to pass a repeal bill that would be unconscionably cruel and hurt Wisconsin families and children with pre-existing conditions, like Anna and Maren. It’s time we take repeal off the table and come together to make health care more affordable and more accessible so Wisconsin families can afford the comprehensive care that our children deserve,” said Scott Spector, Tammy Baldwin for Senate campaign manager. “Senator Tammy Baldwin will continue to fight for Wisconsinites like Anna and Maren and others who believe that health care is a right for every American, not a privilege for those at the top.

Democratic Party of Wisconsin: Gov. Scott Walker silent on Donald Trump Jr. Russian collusion scandal

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

MADISON – This week, we learned about a June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and a Russian lawyer who sought to pass on allegedly incriminating information about Hillary Clinton to the Trump campaign. Yet, Gov. Scott Walker has remained silent on this troubling revelation.

Democrats have condemned the Trump campaign for their willingness to accept the help of a hostile foreign government to sway the election and called for the President, his family. and his campaign team to come clean about their contacts with Russia. At both the state and the federal level, Democrats have supported an investigation to figure out the truth about Russia’s meddling to ensure that it never happens again and allow lawmakers to get back to work creating good-paying jobs, improving access to health care, and creating educational opportunities for all Americans.

Gov. Walker, the standard bearer for Republicans in Wisconsin, simply hasn’t made any public statement on the scandal as it continues to unfold. On MondayDonald Trump, Jr. released a batch of emails which provided proof that he accepted a meeting with a Russian lawyer under the pretense that she had damaging information to share about his father’s political opponent, Sec. Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump, Jr. wrote, “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”

In the past, Governor Walker went out of his way to criticize Sec. Hillary Clinton for using a personal email account during the four years she was Secretary of State, even taking his attacks so far to say he wouldn’t give her the password to his own phone. But in the days since the scandal surrounding Donald Trump’s campaign team broke, the governor has been silent about the scandal or his confidence in the Trump administration given the apparent close ties of the Trump family and Russians acting on behalf of the Kremlin.

The Governor’s silence can’t be chalked up to budget negations, as the Joint Finance Committee isn’t set to meet this week or the following week. Furthermore, the Governor has had the time to post milk cartons on social media but won’t comment on the latest developments regarding Russian interference in our national elections.

“Governor Walker’s silence on the possibility of the President’s campaign team colluding with a hostile foreign government to influence our elections is appalling. I never thought I would see the day when the Governor of our state would allow partisan politics to come before our national security and the integrity of our elections,” said Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Martha Laning. “It’s clear that Gov. Walker only cares about himself and his political future, but Wisconsin families deserve leaders who will value our national security and safeguard the integrity of our electoral system.”

Democratic Party of Wisconsin: Statement on Senate health care developments

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Contact: [email protected]

MADISON — The following is the statement of Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Martha Laning with regards to the latest developments on the Senate health care repeal bill:

“Wisconsin families are winners today as Republicans in Washington have failed again to garner support for their latest plan to strip health care insurance from millions of Americans.

“The latest cruel proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without any replacement would have taken us back to the days where our state had over 500,000 uninsured individuals. Republicans like Senator Leah Vukmir will argue that we were ‘doing fine’ before the ACA, but families in every corner of our state who gained coverage would certainly disagree.

“While the latest attempt to repeal the ACA has failed, Republicans have shown time and again they will relentlessly pursue repeal in order to put big insurance companies back in the driver’s seat of our health care system. Democrats will continue the fight to protect the care of hard working families in our state. In 2018, the voters will choose progressives who stood up to protect their health care.”

Democratic Party of Wisconsin: Statement on Senate Republicans’ state budget proposal

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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 on the Senate budget proposal revealed today:

“Budgets are about priorities and the top priorities of Senate Republicans don’t reflect the priorities of hard-working Wisconsin families who just want their roads fixed and their schools fully funded.

“The proposal introduced today does not address the desperate needs of public schools today. Local public schools are the heart of our communities and we need to make sure we are retaining quality teachers, investing in modern facilities and meeting high educational standards to give students the best possible opportunity to get ahead.

“Great public schools don’t just lead to better outcomes and more opportunities for students – they are the heart of every local community and a key driving force for economic success. As Democrats, we know that a strong public education is the key to opening the doors of opportunity for millions of Americans.

“Republicans also proposed borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars in a short-sighted attempt to fill holes in the transportation budget. For years, Democrats have offered to work with Republicans interested in a long term solution to solve the current transportation funding crisis. Instead, they’ve proposed kicking the can down the road once again and add more debt for future generations.

“Wisconsin’s roads and bridges have fallen deeper and deeper into disrepair because of the poor fiscal decisions Republicans have made. The time is now to make fixing our transportation infrastructure the focus. We need a serious upgrade to makes sure everyone lives a safe and prosperous life. In order for our economy to grow and for our citizens to have opportunities to succeed, now and in the future, we need sustainable, long-term solutions to our transportation funding crisis.

“The Republican ‘solutions’ offered today fail to prioritize the needs of hard-working families in communities across our state. Frankly, we can and we must do better. It’s time for Republicans to welcome ideas from Democrats so that we can start working together to what is right for the people of Wisconsin.”

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee: Nicholson, Hovde, Vukmir plan to force Wisconsinites to pay more for less care moves forward

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Contact: Lauren Passalacqua, David Bergstein – 202-545-3567

In response to Senate Republicans voting to advance the toxic health care agenda supported by Nicholson, Hovde, and Vukmir, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman David Bergstein issued the following statement:

“Kevin Nicholson, Eric Hovde, and Leah Vukmir all support the toxic Republican health care agenda that spikes costs and strips coverage for hardworking Wisconsinites and today, their horrific and expensive plan came one step closer to becoming a reality. Their party’s proposals would impose an age tax on older Americans, increase premiums, and strip away coverage for pre-existing conditions — all to give big insurance companies and the wealthy a massive tax break. This vote continues to guarantee that their harmful health care agenda will be front and center and, if they decide to run for Senate, voters will hold them accountable.”

Dept. of Administration: Additional twilight tours available to celebrate Capitol’s 100th anniversary

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Contact: Steven Michels, (608) 267-7874

Madison – Capitol Tours is opening three additional twilight tours of the exterior of the Capitol and its grounds.  In honor of the Capitol’s 100th anniversary, these tours will detail features of the Capitol grounds including the statues, monuments, trees and gardens plus the history of the building.

The additional twilight tours will occur on Monday, July 31st at 7:30 PM, Wednesday, August 16th at 7:15 PM, and Wednesday, August 23rd at 7:00 PM.  The tours will last approximately one hour and begin at the Colonel Heg statue on the East Wing walkway (King Street) of the Capitol. 

Tours are free, but space is limited and pre-registration is required.  Please call 608-266-0382 to register.   

Visit the Capitol’s Centennial website for additional events and history celebrating the Capitol. Upcoming events include:

Twilight Capitol Tours

                        Monday, July 31 at 7:30 PM
                        Wednesday, August 16 at 7:15 PM
                        Wednesday, August 23 at 7:00 PM

                        Call 608-266-0382 to register

Dept. of Administration: Gov. Walker’s cabinet to hold roundtable discussions with local government officials, emergency managers in Southeastern Wisconsin 🗓

Contact: Steven Michels
(608) 266-7362

Madison, Wisconsin Following Governor Scott Walker’s State of Emergency declaration for Kenosha, Racine and Walworth counties, members of his cabinet will hold roundtable discussions with local government officials and emergency managers from the area on Thursday.

Representatives from the Department of Administration (DOA), Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP), Department of Health Services (DHS), Department of Military Affairs (DMA), Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Department of Transportation (DOT), Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI), Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM), and Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) will take this opportunity to hear the immediate and long-term needs of the communities.

 

WHAT:          Walworth County Discussion with Local Government Officials and Emergency Managers

 

WHEN:           8:00 AM

 

WHERE:         Walworth County Government Center
                        County Board Room
                        100 West Walworth Street

                        Elkhorn, WI 53121

WHAT:          Racine County Discussion with Local Government Officials and Emergency Managers

WHEN:           11:00 AM

WHERE:         Western Racine County Service Center
                        Eppers Room
                        209 North Main Street

                        Burlington, WI 53105

 

WHAT:          Kenosha County Discussion with Local Government Officials and Emergency Managers

 

WHEN:           2:00 PM

WHERE:         Kenosha County Center
                        Hearing Room
                        19600 75th Street
                        Bristol, WI 53104


The Department of Administration (DOA) has funding available through Community Development Block Grant Emergency Assistance Program (CDBG-EAP). The funds may be used to assist eligible, low to moderate income homeowners for housing rehabilitation, business assistance, and repair local public infrastructure. Local communities should work with the Division of Energy, Housing, and Community Resources to apply. Please visit their website or call (608) 266-7531. The Department of Administration also notified local governments that they may use state contracts to purchase goods and services as they recover from flooding and storm damage. A complete list of contracts available to municipal governments can be found on the State’s procurement website, Vendor Net.  Questions related to state contract can be directed to Jim Langdon, Administrator of Enterprise Operations at [email protected] or (608) 264-6109.

The Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) will connect affected farmers for assistance and counseling through its Farm Center.  The connection can be made by dialing(800) 942-2474.  Food businesses suffering flood damage and needing assistance in determining whether the food can be salvaged should contact James Beix of the Division of Food and Recreational Safety at(608) 224-4665 or [email protected].  Major storms bring transient home improvement workers and scams to Wisconsin communities.  Contact the Bureau of Consumer Protection at (800) 422-7128 or [email protected] to check on complaints against particular contractors.

The Department of Health Services (DHS) is working with local health departments and local human services departments to provide flood-related resources and assistance as requested. One such resource is the Wisconsin Flood Toolkit, which is designed to aid local leaders in offering clear and accurate information about protecting people and property before, during, and after a flood. You can find the Wisconsin Flood Toolkit here. DHS is collaborating with local health and the State Lab of Hygiene on supplying test kits for private wells to local health departments for distribution within their communities. Private well users can contact their local health department with any questions about private well testing. Current FoodShare members living in Racine, Walworth, and Kenosha Counties, who had food lost or damaged due to the July 11 and 12 flooding can request replacement of FoodShare benefits. FoodShare members are eligible for replacement of benefits in the amount of the food lost, but not more than their monthly allotment. FoodShare members must request replacement benefits within 10 days of the loss. DHS is currently seeking a waiver with the federal government to allow up to 30 days for these requests to be made (until August 11); however that waiver has not yet been granted. FoodShare members affected by flooding in Kenosha, Racine, or Walworth Counties who wish to request replacement benefits should fill out this form and submit it to their local income maintenance agency.

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) floodplain engineers, dam safety engineers, the DNR wastewater team and others have been on site all along the flood impacted area monitoring dams on the Fox River and wastewater facilities that were threatened by the initial flooding.  DNR law enforcement wardens have been on site assisting local law enforcement officers on such things as initial evacuations, traffic flow, and other public safety issues.  DNR crews remain in the area assisting with recovery efforts, dam repairs, and providing guidance on what permits might be needed for repairs.  You may contact Joseph Liebau Jr. with questions at (414) 263-8570.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) worked closely with other state agencies and local units of government to provide information and services to impacted areas.  Region staff coordinated with counties and locals to close flooded roadways and provide detour information.  As water receded, they immediately conducted roadway and bridge inspections to ensure that they were safe to open.   They are still actively monitoring WIS 50 as more rain is in the forecast.  State Patrol also provided aerial support units to assess and survey flood damage.  They also provided dignitary protection for officials as they visited the flood-damaged areas.  Questions can be directed to Mike Pyritz, WisDOT SE Region Communications Manager at [email protected] or (262) 548-8833.

The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) released a statement regarding the recent severe storms in Wisconsin and included information on flood insurance and important tips in dealing with storm aftermath.  In addition, representatives from OCI assisted flood victims at the Multi-Agency Resource Center at Burlington High School in Racine County and at Riverview Elementary School in Kenosha County.  You may contact OCI with questions at (800) 236-8517 or e-mail at[email protected].  If you need to file a complaint, you may file online at OCI’s websiteoci.wi.gov.

Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) continues to work with local and county officials assessing the damage and coordinating state resources.  WEM is also working closely with FEMA and other federal agencies to provide situational awareness and review all possible disaster resources.  Questions on state emergency management efforts can be directed to Robby Stoikes, Recovery Section Supervisor,[email protected] or (608) 242-3226.

The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) has emergency housing assistance grants available through its Natural Disaster Program.  The grant monies provide short-term, emergency housing assistance to residents who lost their homes due to the flooding.  The grant is awarded to a local community service provider to administer the funds.  For additional information, contact Kevin Fischer, WHEDA, (414) 227-2295 or (608) 354-3580, [email protected].

 

Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection: Application period open for specialty crop multi-state grant program

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Media Contacts: Rick Hummell, 608-224-5041[email protected]

or Bill Cosh, Communications Director, 608-224-5020[email protected]

 

MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is accepting proposals for the 2017 Specialty Crop Multi-State Program. A federal grant program offered by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, the purpose of the SCMP is to competitively award funds to projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops by funding collaborative, multi-state projects that address regional or national level specialty crop issues, including food safety, plant pests and disease, research; crop-specific projects addressing common issues; and marketing and promotion.

Specialty crops include fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture). Review the 2017SCMP Request for Applications for detailed application instructions.

Grant awards will range from $250,000 to $1 million per project and projects may last for up to three years. Specialty crop producer associations and groups, state government agencies, Tribal government entities, universities, nonprofits, and other stakeholder organizations are all eligible to apply. All SCMP proposals must include at least two partners (referred to as “multi-state partners”) with substantive involvement in the project, and the multi-state partners must be located in two different states to qualify for the program.

The deadline to submit SCMP proposals to Wisconsin is 4:00 p.m. CST on September 25, 2017.  Proposals must be submitted electronically to [email protected]. Questions regarding the SCMP should be emailed to [email protected]

More information about the Specialty Crop program is available on DATCP’s website at https://datcp-auth-prod.wi.gov/Pages/Growing_WI/SpecialtyCrops.aspx

Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection: Consumer protection hotline subjected to ‘spoofing’

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Contact: Bill Cosh, Communications Director, 608-224-5020

MADISON – It appears the Wisconsin Consumer Protection Hotline phone number is being “spoofed.”

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has received a number of reports from consumers stating they received a call from the Consumer Protection Hotline today as our 800 number appeared on their caller ID.

The Bureau of Consumer Protection does not make phone calls to consumers using the 800 number. It is there for consumers and businesses to contact the Bureau to report a problem, file a complaint, or ask questions about consumer laws.

If we do call a consumer, the number that appears on a caller ID is our local phone number with a 608 area code. We will not call you “out of the blue” or randomly. We will only call consumers if you left a message for a return call or if you filed a complaint with us. We also identify ourselves and tell you why we are calling.

One consumer reported the message left by the caller was about the WI Do Not Call list. Others indicated there was no message, only that the 800 number appeared on their caller ID. Wisconsin consumers are not the only ones receiving these “spoofed” calls, as reports have come in from people in seven other states at this point.

Should you receive this call, don’t answer or engage the caller – just hang up.

For more information or to file a complaint, visit the Consumer Protection Bureau at http://datcp.wisconsin.gov, send an email to [email protected], or call 1-800-422-7128.

Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection: Do your homework for back-to-school shopping success

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Contact:  Jerad Albracht, Senior Communications Specialist, 608-224-5007 or Bill Cosh, Communications Director, 608-224-5020
MADISON – Mid-July. Summer sun. Cold drinks. Sandy beaches. 64-packs of crayons.

Wake up!  It’s back-to-school shopping season again!

Each year this shopping event seems to come earlier, and this summer is no exception.  The shelves are stocked and the newspaper inserts are hitting doorsteps.  To make sure you get your money’s worth at the register, take these tips from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) along with your shopping list.

“Whether you are in the market for flip-flops or laptops, notepads or padlocks, there is a sale somewhere geared toward your student’s needs,” said Frank Frassetto, Division Administrator for Trade and Consumer Protection.  “Discounted prices will cross a wide range of products and specific sales terms may apply, so pay close attention at the register to ensure that you receive the advertised prices for your items.”

Follow these simple tips to ensure that you are charged correctly:

  • Before setting out for your shopping run, review the advertisements for restrictions on quantities, sale hours, returns and rain checks.  Check store policies on price matching to consolidate your run.
  • Write down prices or special sales while you shop to have a better sense of the final total before you hit the register. Most pricing errors occur on sale items.
  • Keep an eye on the display screen while your items are being scanned.  Speak up if you think you have been overcharged for an item.
  • If there is a pricing error, Wisconsin law requires that a store refund any overcharge.  Work with customer service to receive a refund while you are in the store.  Double check your receipt before you leave to ensure that the totals are correct.
  • Report pricing errors to state or local inspectors.  To file a weights and measures complaint with DATCP’s Weights and Measures Bureau, send an e-mail to [email protected] or call 608-224-4942.
  • When you are finished shopping, save your receipts and submit any rebates immediately.

Every year DATCP’s Weights and Measures team visits stores statewide to test for price accuracy, and the results show that consumers pay correct prices at Wisconsin stores an overwhelming majority of the time.  In 2016, DATCP inspectors tested more than 58,000 items for price accuracy and found that prices registered accurately or in the consumers’ favor nearly 99% of the time.  Even so, it doesn’t hurt to keep these back-to-school shopping tips in mind during this busy shopping season.

Connect with us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wiconsumer or Twitter: @wiconsumer.

Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection: Register now for value-added feed buyers mission during World Dairy Expo

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Media Contacts: Rick Hummell, 608-224-5041[email protected]

or Bill Cosh, Communications Director, 608-224-5020[email protected]

 

MADISON – Producers of feed and feed ingredients have an opportunity to enhance their sales during the upcoming World Dairy Expo through scheduled one-on-one meetings with international buyers of valued-added feed and feed ingredients. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection’s International Trade Team will coordinate the meetings with prequalified buyers from China, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Colombia, and Mexico.

The mission coincides with World Dairy Expo, scheduled Oct. 3 to Oct. 7 in Madison. Early registration, which includes a cost savings, ends Aug. 11. Final registration ends Sept. 1.

The six participating foreign buyers are interested in a diverse range of products, including alfalfa, alfalfa meal and pellets, amino acids, beet pulp, high protein corn meal, Dried Distiller Grain Solubles, lysine, microbial feed additives, milk replacers, pre-mixed feeds, soybean meal, vitamins and minerals, whey products, baking ingredients including butter, cheeses, milk powder, yogurt, snack food, and infant formula.

Participants in the 2016 Value-Added Feed and Feed Ingredients Buyers Mission projected a total of $17.4 million in sales in the 12 months following the mission. Wisconsin companies interested in exploring new opportunities for their feed products are encouraged to take advantage of this cost-effective way to build relationships with international buyers and to gain valuable insights into the represented markets.

Food Export Midwest and DATCP are the co-sponsors of the event. For more information, contact DATCP’s Jennifer Lu at 608-224-5102 / [email protected] or Enrique Gandara at 608-224-5113 / [email protected].

 

What: Value-Added Feed and Feed Ingredients Buyers Mission

Where: Concourse Hotel, Madison, Wisconsin

When: Tuesday, October 3, 2017 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m)

Wednesday, October 4, 2017 (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m)

Thursday, October 5, 2017 (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)

 

Cost: $150 if you register by Aug. 11; $225 by Sept. 1.

 

Register: https://www.foodexport.org/programs-services/enter-new-markets/buyers-missions/G17FED

Dept. of Children and Families: Wisconsin counties receive award for child care performance

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Contact: Joe Scialfa or Gina Paige – 608-266-9000

(MADISON) – Thirty-four Wisconsin counties were recently recognized by the Department of Children and Families for meeting all performance standards in the administration of the Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy program which supports low-income working families by subsidizing a portion of the cost of quality child care while the parents or caregivers are working or participating in another approved activity.

The counties earned the certificate of excellence by providing timely service to parents in need of child care services and meeting the standards for a high level of accuracy in eligibility and authorizations determination.

“In 2016, the Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy program helped more than 45,000 low income families pay for the safe and regulated child care they needed in order to work or prepare for work,” said Department of Children and Families Secretary Eloise Anderson. “Counties that meet the Department of Children and Families’ high performance standards are doing the best job of helping these families get and keep child care with minimal disruption. We recognize and thank counties for this achievement, which benefits both families and employers.”

The performance standards were put in place in 2013 in consultation between the Department of Children and Families and the Wisconsin County Human Services Association. The child care performance standards exhibited by the following counties directly translates into a high level of services to families, high accuracy in program administration,  and conscientious stewardship of the state and federal funds that support the child care subsidy program: Calumet, Chippewa,  Crawford, Dane, Douglas, Fond du Lac, Grant, Green, Green Lake, Jefferson, Juneau,  Kenosha, Kewaunee, Lafayette, Manitowoc, Marathon, Milwaukee Early Care Administration (MECA), Oconto, Oneida, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Polk, Portage, Racine, Richland, Rock, Shawano, Sheboygan, Walworth, Washburn, Waukesha, Waupaca, Waushara, and Winnebago.

Learn more about the Wisconsin Shares Child Care subsidy on the DCF website at https://dcf.wisconsin.gov/wishares.

Dept. of Workforce Development: State employers save an estimated $637 million in UI taxes since 2013

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Contact:
608-266-2722

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker announced today that Wisconsin employers who are covered under the state’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) program are benefiting from significant savings in the state’s UI program, including an estimated $637 million during UI tax years 2013-18. The savings include $155 million by moving from the highest to the lowest state UI tax schedule over three years, as well as an estimated $482 million in UI tax savings from 2013 through 2017 due to Wisconsin’s significantly improved economy and lower UI claim levels.
“Businesses looking for compelling reasons to locate to or expand in Wisconsin can look to our UI system, which has moved from a Trust Fund that was $1.4 billion in the red in December 2010 to a positive fund balance of $1.3 billion on June 30, 2017, triggering the state’s lowest UI tax schedule this coming year,” Governor Walker said.  “With a significantly improved business climate, economic growth and smart UI system reforms, employers are adding jobs and Wisconsin workers are finding good-paying opportunities to support themselves and their families.” 
The UI Trust Fund is supported by taxes paid by covered employers and funds UI benefits to workers who lose employment through no fault of their own and meet other eligibility requirements.
During and after the Great Recession, Wisconsin employers experienced higher state and federal UI taxes due to the unprecedented level of benefits paid to workers. Wisconsin was one of more than 30 states that were forced to rely on federal loans to pay benefits to eligible workers.
Through a combination of reforms to boost UI program integrity and accountability, as well as a vastly improved state economy, Wisconsin rebuilt its Trust Fund, triggering three declines in the UI tax schedule since tax year 2016 and saving the state’s 140,000 covered employers a combined $155 million:
2016: $97 million
2017:  $38 million
2018:  $20 million (Estimated)
Total savings: $155 million
Additionally, six years of employment and job growth have brought the state’s unemployment rate down from 8.1 percent in December 2010 to a near-historic low of 3.1 percent in May 2017. In 2017, initial UI claims are running at their lowest levels in over 30 years, and the number of unemployed Wisconsinites reached its lowest point in May 2017 since February 2000.  Due to these and other indicators of a strong economy, employers have improved their UI tax account standing which has resulted in an additional $482 million in UI tax savings through tax years 2013-17:
2013:  $88 million
2014:  $87 million
2015:  $65 million
2016:  $119 million
2017:  $123 million (Estimated based on 2016 payrolls)
Total savings: $482 million
“Under the leadership of Governor Scott Walker, Wisconsin’s economy continues to stack success on top of success,” DWD Secretary Allen said.  “Multiple economic indicators, such as our near historic low unemployment rate, record levels of employment and strong wage growth, demonstrate that the pro-growth reforms implemented over the last six-plus years are working.  Employers continue to hire and Wisconsin workers are benefiting from a robust labor market and strong economy.” 
For more information on Wisconsin’s UI program.

 

Dept. of Workforce Development: WisConnect internship website links Wisconsin employers with students, grows tomorrow’s talent

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Contact:
608-266-2722

MADISON – Today, Governor Scott Walker announced the launch of WisConnect, a free, 24-hour online resource at http://InternshipWisconsin.com that matches employers seeking interns with college students seeking opportunities to apply classroom knowledge and build professional networks in Wisconsin.
 
The mobile-responsive and user-friendly website was developed by the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) to help Wisconsin employers create, market and find the best and brightest college talent for internship opportunities in the state. The site is open to all college students with an active .edu email address to create an account, upload their resume and search Wisconsin internship opportunities by geography, college major and more.
“Internships allow college students to put classroom learning into practice, build professional networks and gain an edge in the talent market through direct workplace experience,” Governor Walker said. “With the state unemployment rate at a near-historic low of 3.1 percent and more people employed in Wisconsin than ever before, Wisconsin employers can help meet their workforce needs by growing tomorrow’s talent today through internships.  WisConnect provides an important tool to attract and retain college students here during and after graduation, which will support a strong Wisconsin workforce in the years to come.”
 
WisConnect makes it easy for employers to develop profiles and internship openings that market to college talent. Specific features for employers include:
 

 

  • Employers with existing JobCenterofWisconsin.com profiles can use the same sign in information to access WisConnect; internship openings on JobCenterofWisconsin.com are automatically featured on WisConnect as well at no charge.
  • Access to key resources and assets to start an internship program and post openings, including options to develop an advanced employer profile.
  • Search for internship candidates by location, by major and by key skills and competencies.

 

Resources for college students include:
 

 

  • Access vital resources on how to search, apply, interview and prepare for an internship position.
  • Search employers by company name and search internship opportunities by location.
  • Upload a resume, and other portfolio items such as references, cover letters and more to market themselves to potential employers.
  • Future functionality to build an advanced profile by listing key skills, major(s), and be matched with potential internship opportunities through WisConnect’s state-of-the-art matching technology.

 

DWD is furnishing content on WisConnect in collaboration with education partners in the University of Wisconsin (UW) System, Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (WAICU) and the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS).  Education partners had the following to say about WisConnect:
 
President Ray Cross, University of Wisconsin System:
“Employers tell us they want and need more talent, and we must do all we can to point students towards an internship or other professional experience, which can be instrumental in retaining new graduates right here in Wisconsin,” says UW System President Ray Cross.  “We partnered with DWD to launch the Career Connect website to connect employers with student talent on UW campuses.  WisConnect is another important tool that helps bridge the gap between employers and the talent their businesses require to be successful.  That’s a win-win for our graduates and the Wisconsin economy.”
 
President Rolf Wegenke, Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities:
 
“Internships help our students put their learning into practice and the WisConnect internship website will provide an even wider network of opportunity for our students. Today’s economy is interconnected and evolving and this effort will assist business meet its diverse workforce needs now and in the future.  I am pleased that the WAICUCareerConnect.org website will be part of this one-stop, comprehensive tool.” 
 
President Morna Foy, Wisconsin Technical College System:

“Our colleges’ unique ties to employers directly benefit our students and bolster economic development. Internships and other work experiences are a great way to sustain and strengthen those partnerships, and WisConnect will be a valuable tool.”
 
DWD Secretary Ray Allen thanked partners at the UW System, WAICU and WTCS, which co-hosted Workforce Alignment Workshops last fall and winter in Oshkosh, Platteville, Madison, Menomonie, Superior, Milwaukee and Stevens Point to discuss and seek ideas from employers, educators, students and other industry partners to expand collaborative opportunities including internships. 
The most common theme from employers was the desire for a single resource to find information and resources on starting internship programs and find potential candidates to fill internship openings,” Secretary Allen said. “WisConnect meets the demand for these services and more.”
 
WisConnect is made possible through 2015 Wisconsin Act 283, which Governor Walker signed as part of his college affordability package. The package included legislation authored by state Senator Howard Marklein of Spring Green and Representative Dave Murphy of Greenville to fund positions to increase the amount of internship opportunities available in Wisconsin and increase the amount of college students participating in internships with Wisconsin companies.   Governor Walker thanked Senator Marklein, Representative Murphy and other legislative partners for their support of legislation to expand internships and grow Wisconsin’s talent pipeline.
 
For more information: https://internshipwisconsin.com/

 

Dept. of Workforce Development: Wisconsin business closing & mass layoff (WARN) notice for Garvey Group, LLC

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DWD received an update for the following Wisconsin Business Closing and Mass Layoff (WARN) notice (original notice was dated March 25, 2017):

Garvey Group, LLC – The Garvey Group will cease operations on July 31, 2017 at these facilities: 9980 South Oakwood Park Drive, Franklin affecting 39 workers, and 4601 South Fifth Street, Milwaukee affecting 15 workers. The Garvey Group facility at 7900 Durand Avenue, Sturtevant has closed affecting 12 workers. Closures affect approximately 66 workers in total. DWD and its regional workforce partner, Employ Milwaukee, will continue to offer Rapid Response services to the affected workers.

Contact: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722

Workforce Development Dislocated Worker Services Summary

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Dislocated Worker Program provides transition assistance to workers and companies affected by permanent worker layoffs. The Program’s local Rapid Response Teams help companies and worker representatives develop and implement a practical transition plan based on the size of the layoff event. Types of services include:

  • pre-layoff workshops on a variety of topics such as resume writing and interviewing, job search strategies, and budgeting
  • provision of information about programs and resources through written materials and information sessions
  • career and resource fairs.

Workers affected by permanent layoff may also access basic re-employment services at no charge through the state’s Job Centers. Some services, including training assistance, may be an option for some workers after enrolling in one or more of DWD’s workforce development programs. While all companies faced with permanent worker layoffs are encouraged to seek assistance from the local Rapid Response Teams, some companies may be required to give 60 days notice before a mass layoff or closing under federal and/or state law. More information about advance notice requirements is available at https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dislocatedworker/.

Dept. of Workforce Development: Wisconsin business closing & mass layoff (WARN) notice: C. W. Carlson Company, Inc.

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DWD has received the following Wisconsin Business Closing and Mass Layoff (WARN) notice:

C.W. Carlson Company, Inc. – C.W. Carlson Company, Inc. will be permanently ceasing operations at 2305 Daniels St. Madison, WI 53718 by September 18. 2017. Approximately 49 employees will be affected beginning today through no later than September 18, 2017. The South Central Workforce Development Board Rapid Response Team will contact the company to offer Rapid Response Services if needed.

Contact: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722

Workforce Development Dislocated Worker Services Summary

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Dislocated Worker Program provides transition assistance to workers and companies affected by permanent worker layoffs. The Program’s local Rapid Response Teams help companies and worker representatives develop and implement a practical transition plan based on the size of the layoff event. Types of services include:

  • pre-layoff workshops on a variety of topics such as resume writing and interviewing, job search strategies, and budgeting
  • provision of information about programs and resources through written materials and information sessions
  • career and resource fairs.

Workers affected by permanent layoff may also access basic re-employment services at no charge through the state’s Job Centers. Some services, including training assistance, may be an option for some workers after enrolling in one or more of DWD’s workforce development programs. While all companies faced with permanent worker layoffs are encouraged to seek assistance from the local Rapid Response Teams, some companies may be required to give 60 days notice before a mass layoff or closing under federal and/or state law. More information about advance notice requirements is available at https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dislocatedworker/.

Dept. of Workforce Development: Wisconsin business closing & mass layoff (WARN) notice: Sears auto center unit and Sears full line store

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Contact: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722

DWD has received the following Wisconsin Business Closing and Mass Layoff (WARN) notices:

Sears Auto Center Unit and Sears Full Line Store  – As was previously announced, Sears Auto Center Unit and Sears Full Line Store will be permanently ceasing operations at their 5200 South 76th Street, Greendale WI 53129 location. Approximately 88 employees at the Full Line Store and 8 employees at the Auto Center Unit will be affected during the 14 day period beginning on September 17, 2017.    DWD and its regional workforce partners the Employ Milwaukee Rapid Response team will offer Rapid Response services to the affected workers.

Workforce Development Dislocated Worker Services Summary

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Dislocated Worker Program provides transition assistance to workers and companies affected by permanent worker layoffs. The Program’s local Rapid Response Teams help companies and worker representatives develop and implement a practical transition plan based on the size of the layoff event. Types of services include:

  • pre-layoff workshops on a variety of topics such as resume writing and interviewing, job search strategies, and budgeting
  • provision of information about programs and resources through written materials and information sessions
  • career and resource fairs.

Workers affected by permanent layoff may also access basic re-employment services at no charge through the state’s Job Centers. Some services, including training assistance, may be an option for some workers after enrolling in one or more of DWD’s workforce development programs. While all companies faced with permanent worker layoffs are encouraged to seek assistance from the local Rapid Response Teams, some companies may be required to give 60 days notice before a mass layoff or closing under federal and/or state law. More information about advance notice requirements is available at https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dislocatedworker/.

Disability Rights Wisconsin: Supports Senate health care vote

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Contact:
Amy Devine
(608) 267-0214

Disability Rights Wisconsin, Wisconsin’s designated Protection and Advocacy system for people with disabilities, applauds all U.S. Senators who voted against recent health care reform bills to cut and cap Medicaid and repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The bill passed in the U.S. House in May and the numerous bills recently set forth by the Senate contained devastating cuts to Medicaid, rolled back protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and would have led to loss of health insurance coverage for millions of Americans.

Wisconsin’s cost-effective Medicaid program is critical for 1.2 million children and adults on Medicaid. Wisconsin has been an innovative leader in providing home-based services for children and adults with disabilities to live and work in the community, and two-thirds of federal Medicaid funding is spent on people with disabilities and older adults. Daniel Idzikowski, DRW Executive Director, said, “Because of our close affinity and understanding of Medicaid waiver programs critical for people with disabilities, and because of the extraordinary gains in health care coverage by people with disabilities under the Affordable Care Act, we have firmly opposed any efforts to dismantle the ACA, or to limit, cap, or reduce the federal government’s contribution to the Medicaid program. Medicaid has facilitated the great
transformation to community living for people with disabilities, and continues to provide a critical source of funding when skilled care is required.”

DRW is pleased that the Senate has rejected the health care reform bills and continues to strongly oppose any proposal to dilute the protections now afforded people with disabilities through the Affordable Care Act, including cuts to or caps on Medicaid funding. DRW calls upon all members of Congress to work together in a bi-partisan effort to strengthen the health care system for people with disabilities and to meet with people with disabilities to gain their input for any reform.

Drones in flight above UW campus for new class

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UW-Madison students recently got some hands-on experience with flying drones on campus as part of a new summer class.

Of the 10 students in “Introduction to Unmanned Aircraft Systems,” only one had ever flown a drone before yesterday morning. Each had the chance to test out the sleek white drones at UW-Madison’s new recreational center, sending the buzzing machines on stable flight paths high above the turf field.

The flights marked the accomplishment of getting certified to operate drones for commercial purposes, ending the first half of the course. The students’ midterm exam last week took the form of a Federal Aviation Administration-sanctioned test.

Yesterday’s exhibition was only possible because of a recent rule change by UW-Madison, allowing drones on campus for certain purposes. Student organizations as well as individual students, faculty, staff, contractors and other university affiliates can all apply to be approved for drone flights.

See more at WisBusiness.com 

Emails show early concerns, last-minute changes to UW-Madison Thompson center

The professor who envisioned the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership threatened at the last minute to drop out of the project over concerns the board overseeing it would have too much power, according to emails obtained by WisPolitics.com.

Among other things, UW-Madison officials and Ryan Owens, the political scientist who originally pitched the idea, asked Assembly Speaker Robin Vos to ensure the board, comprised largely of GOP appointees, wouldn’t have final say over the center’s budget.

Owens emailed Vos’ office a day before the center was announced saying he “can’t be a part of” the center if that issue wasn’t resolved, the records show.

“It is unfortunate that we could not come to a compromise on this,” he wrote on May 22. “Perhaps a future endeavor will be more fruitful.”

But Owens got back on board after talking to Vos’ office and UW-Madison and seeing a proposal from the Rochester Republican that addressed his main concern.

That episode and the emails show the last-minute changes behind the creation of the center and the early concerns Vos received over the center’s board. Ultimately, Republicans did not make changes to address some of the objections raised before adding the center to the budget.

The proposal came under fire this week from a UW-Madison faculty lobbying group, which says the board’s powers would put the center’s independence at risk, threatening the success that faculty had envisioned when they first came up with the proposal.

“This is a corporate-style board, not an academic-style board,” said Dave Vanness, the past president of the UW-Madison chapter of the American Association of University Professors.

Owens said a proposal he saw after he sent the email helped win him back over. Vos sent a request to the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee that would have the board approve the budget, but UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank would get the final say on it.

The day after the email, Owens and Blank joined Vos and other top Republicans, including Gov. Scott Walker, at the Capitol to announce the center, part of a day-long celebration of Thompson’s legacy at the state and federal level.

The Joint Finance Committee then passed the motion approving the center — but did not include the provision giving the chancellor the authority to approve its budget.

JFC member Rep. Mark Born, R-Beaver Dam, who led the motion on funding for UW and the center, through a spokesman did not address why Republicans opted against putting that language into the motion. The spokesman said Born looks forward to the center being established and that the proposal “was developed and agreed upon with the university.”

UW-Madison spokeswoman Meredith McGlone declined to comment on the change from Joint Finance but said the current language is “workable.”

Vos spokeswoman Kit Beyer didn’t address questions on why the structure GOP lawmakers approved is better than what faculty are calling for.

“The development of the center was a collaborative effort with the university,” she said. “We are confident that the individuals submitted to be on the board would reflect the same bipartisan spirit and drive to find solutions as the center’s namesake. And, we look forward to honoring Wisconsin’s longest serving governor through the Tommy G. Thompson Center.”

Owens, meanwhile, said in an interview he’s trying to “dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t'” to ensure the center he’s worked on for two years happens. Owens, who worked in Thompson’s legal office for a year while in law school, said he and other faculty working on the project will strive internally to add protections guarding against what his colleagues worry about.

“I just want to get running with things and showcase how good the center can be,” Owens said.

See the full story in the June 30 REPORT.

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Evers files to run for guv after hiring possible campaign manager, but says no final decision

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Evers files to run for guv, hires campaign manager

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State Superintendent Tony Evers today formally registered to run for guv, the latest Dem to make moves toward what could be a crowded field for a shot to take on Scott Walker.

The filing comes on the heels of Evers, who won re-election this spring, hiring Nathan Henry to run a possible campaign, according to several Dem sources.

Evers said in a statement the filing was the next logical step to take, but stressed it was not a “final decision” on a bid.

“My record of public service and leadership on behalf of Wisconsin families, kids, and educators brings a unique and different choice for voters,” Evers said. “One that I believe provides a compelling alternative to the status quo.”

Henry, who has worked for the Mellman Group since 1999, has not returned a call from WisPolitics.com this week.

According to his profile at the Mellman website, Henry’s experience in Wisconsin includes directing research for Justice Shirley Abrahamson’s campaign; working with the Greater Wisconsin Committee, Jim Doyle’s 2006 race and Dem state Senate campaigns in the 2011 and 2012 recalls; and serving as field director for two congressional campaigns.

Evers joins Milwaukee businessman Andy Gronik, former California congressional candidate Bob Harlow, former Wisconsin Democracy Campaign head Mike McCabe and state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout as Dems who have formally filed for next year’s race. Vinehout has said she is just exploring a bid and the filing was not a formal declaration.

State GOP spokesman Alec Zimmerman challenged Evers to define where he stands on Act 10 and what public employees pay toward their health care and pensions.

“With already $5 billion in savings for taxpayers from Gov. Walker’s reforms, will tax-and-spend Madison liberal Tony Evers support having state employees pay nothing toward their benefits?” Zimmerman asked.

Experts say Foxconn deal looks promising, though unknowns remain

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Business experts in the state say the Foxconn deal looks promising for Wisconsin, though some details have yet to be nailed down.

Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council, says there’s “lots of reasons” that the $3 billion incentive package being offered to Foxconn will be worth it in the long run.

He points to the large number of expected jobs, which will not only boost income taxes but will also generate related economic activity.

According to the fact sheet from the Walker administration, 13,000 workers will eventually be employed at the Foxconn facility, while 22,000 additional indirect and induced jobs are expected as well. Still says the additional jobs figure could be an underestimate.

Doug Fisher, director of the Center for Supply Chain Management at Marquette University, says the news is “incredibly impressive.”

With many American companies chasing low-cost sourcing elsewhere in the world, he says this big project being located here in Wisconsin is unique, but makes sense given the state’s rich manufacturing history.

“You don’t hear too many stories like this,” he said.

See more at WisBusiness.com 

Federal appeals court uphold’s Wisconsin’s ‘right-to-work’ law

A federal appeals court Wednesday upheld the state’s “right-to-work” law, ruling that a previous decision throwing out a lawsuit from unions was appropriate. 

The unions have argued the GOP-authored law is is an “unconstitutional taking” of their property by making them give equal representation to non-union members in negotiations with employers.

But a federal judge last year rejected that argument, citing a 2014 ruling from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that dismissed a similar case from Indiana.

A three-judge panel from that court decided the plaintiffs, Local 139 and Local 420, did not provide “compelling reasons” to revisit the court’s ruling in the Indiana case.

Scott Kronland, a lawyer representing the operating engineer unions, said they’re considering their legal options.

“We understood that the panel would be bound to follow 7th Circuit precedent, but we believe that precedent is wrong,” he said.

But Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel said the ruling from the three-judge panel “affirms what we have argued since this law was enacted in 2015,” that the law is constitutional.

“The Constitution does not protect a union’s right to take money from non-union members and I’m proud to have defended the rule of law in Wisconsin,” he said in a statement.

See the ruling and Schimel’s statement:
https://www.doj.state.wi.us/news-releases/ag-schimel-hails-court-decision-upholding-wisconsin%E2%80%99s-right-work-law

First Lady Tonette Walker: Encourages House of Representatives to pass House Resolution 443

Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839
 
 
MADISON – First Lady Tonette Walker encouraged members of the United States House of Representatives to pass House Resolution 443 (H. RES. 443) today. H. RES. 443 works to raise awareness about trauma-informed care at a national level by integrating trauma-informed care principles into existing federal programs and agencies.

“In May, I had the opportunity to meet with lawmakers and federal agency leaders to discuss how crucial trauma-informed care is when it comes to addressing the effect trauma has on the lives of our children and families,” First Lady Tonette Walker said. “The U.S. House of Representatives taking up this important resolution shows our lawmakers are listening. I’d especially like to thank Representatives Gallagher and Davis for their leadership on this issue. This is a step in the right direction, and I encourage our nation’s Representatives to pass H. RES. 443. Together, we have the power to change outcomes by raising awareness and training people to better recognize and respond to toxic stress.”

H. RES. 443 recommends designating September as “National Trauma Awareness Month,” as well as a “National Trauma-Informed Awareness Day” within the month of September. This recommendation promotes national recognition of trauma-informed care and raises awareness about the nature and impact of trauma, the importance of prevention, the impact Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) can have on brain development, and the numerous benefits of trauma-informed care. It further recognizes the importance, effectiveness, and need for trauma-informed care and encourages its use within existing federal government programs and agencies.

“Congressional Resolution 443 is necessary for improving the lives and well-being of children and families across the country,” Governor Scott Walker said. “In Wisconsin, we’ve seen how recognizing the effects of trauma can change outcomes. The benefits of trauma-informed care reach far beyond the person affected, extending to the family, community, state, and even the nation.”

This resolution ties closely with First Lady Tonette Walker’s work to promote trauma-informed care in Wisconsin through her Fostering Futures initiative. Fostering Futures, which launched in 2011, works to transform systems by utilizing trauma-informed care which includes raising awareness about the importance of better recognizing, understanding, and addressing the effects of trauma and toxic stress on the lives of children and families throughout Wisconsin and the nation.

Fitzgerald Open 🗓

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Old Hickory Country Club,
Beaver Dam.

Senator Scott Fitzgerald’s Fitzgerald Open, August 7

Registration, Lunch and Practice Range Open at 9:30 AM
Shotgun Start at 11:00AM
Dinner Reception at 4:30 PM

Contributions:
$4,000 Hole Sponsorship and Foursome
$1,000 Hole Sponsor (no golf, includes two for reception only)
$1,000 per Individual Golfer

Cost includes: Golf, Cart, Lunch, Dinner, Drinks, Prizes and More

$250 for Dinner Reception Only- No Golf PAC, individual, and Conduit contributions accepted. No Corporate.

TO RSVP please email [email protected] or 608-257-8035

Please make checks payable and mail to:
Fitzgerald for Senate
PO Box 2741
Madison, WI 53701

Fitzgerald, Vos continue transpo disagreement as state nears two weeks without new budget

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said yesterday Assembly Speaker Robin Vos needs to move past his push to find new revenues for the transportation fund.

Vos, R-Rochester, said he has, and urged his Senate GOP counterparts to accept what that would mean for the transportation budget.

“The Assembly has moved to accept the fact we’re not going to have new revenue,” Vos told WisPolitics.com in a phone interview. “Now the Senate has to move to accept the fact we’re not going to have new bonding, and then we’re done.”

The latest back-and-forth over the transportation budget comes as Senate Republicans caucused again today, while Vos met with his Finance team.

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The state is coming up on two weeks into the new fiscal year without a new budget.

The impasse lingers while Illinois’ new tax hikes go into effect to end its two-year budget stall. That could further complicate Republicans’ efforts to finalize a budget after the Legislative Fiscal Bureau today notified lawmakers it would result in a $51 million hit to the state’s bottom line over the next two years.

Fitzgerald said after caucus today his members are working on a budget that would include the lowest overall bonding number in “many years” and would borrow less than the $750 million for roads that he’s previously targeted.

To do that, Fitzgerald said his caucus is reviewing projects both in the transportation and capital budgets to determine if they’re needed. The caucus is also taking a closer look at proposed maintenance projects.

“What I’m trying to do is establish what the Senate caucus position is, and I think we’re very close to that,” said Fitzgerald, who declined to offer a number for overall borrowing.

He also continued to argue new revenues are not needed for the transportation fund despite repeated calls from Vos to only borrow more if the state can find additional dollars to pay off the debt.

“He just keeps lobbing things out there, and they keep getting shot down,” Fitzgerald said of his counterpart.

Fitzgerald: No deal on budget, caucus still wants to eliminate personal property tax

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Fitzgerald: No deal on budget, caucus still wants to eliminate personal property tax

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Senate leadership emerged from caucus cautious about the guv’s budget proposal, saying GOP senators are still wedded to the idea of eliminating the personal property tax.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said yesterday there’s still “no deal” yet on the budget in his caucus even though Assembly GOP leaders back Gov. Scott Walker’s offer to redirect $203.5 million in income tax cuts he had proposed and instead pump new cash toward road projects over the next two years.

That’s in part due to Senate Republicans’ commitment to addressing the personal property tax. In their budget proposal this week, senators proposed wiping out the tax in the second year and creating a new appropriation to reimburse local governments for lost revenue. Doing so would cost $239 million in the second year of the budget under the Senate GOP plan.

Putting the money Walker set aside for income tax cuts toward roads instead also would mean there wouldn’t be enough money to address the personal property tax, Joint Finance Committee Co-chair Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, said

“They are very reluctant to give that up at this point,” she said of her caucus.

Meanwhile, both Fitzgerald and Darling say it’s unlikely that JFC will be able to meet as early as next week.

JFC Co-chair John Nygren, R-Marinette, proposed that in a letter to Darling yesterday.

Fitzgerald, though, is eyeing the first week of August, adding the caucuses have “got enough items to hash out.”

Assuming there are two or three days left of work on the budget, Fitzgerald said, he’s hopeful it could all be accomplished in the same week, “and that could put us in the position that hopefully we’ll get a budget done soon.”

Darling was optimistic committee leaders could get together to work out areas the two GOP caucuses agree on and set the foundation for a meeting.

“We need to do that before we go to the table,” Darling said.

Former leggies holding onto campaign finance accounts

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Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce U.S. Navy Week free small business workshop: ‘Doing business with the Navy’ 🗓

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Ms. Emily Harman, Director, Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP) for the Department of the Navy (DON) and chief advisor to the Secretary on all small business matters, will be conducting a small business workshop designed to educate small businesses on how to do business with the Navy and Marine Corps as part of Fox Cities U.S. Navy Week. The workshop will cover how to find out about upcoming contracting opportunities and how small businesses can contribute to the warfighter mission.

When: Thursday, July 27, 2017

Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Where: Bordini Center, Fox Valley Technical College campus, Room BC141, 5 N. Systems Drive, Appleton, WI

Fees/Admission: General Admission is free. This event is open to the public, but registration is required.

Register: http://bit.ly/USNavyWeekWorkshop

Partners: NEW Manufacturing Alliance and North Coast Marine Manufacturing Alliance

Media invited to attend.

For additional information on Department of the Navy Office of Small Business Programs, please contact: Mr. Ollie Cooperwood, Public Affairs Officer at 202-685-6313 or visit them at http://SmallBusiness.Navy.mil.

###

About Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce

The Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce captures the energy of one of Wisconsin’s most dynamic regions and transforms it into innovative programs and services for its business members.  The Fox Cities Chamber serves all of the Fox Cities communities within the counties of Outagamie, Calumet and the northern portion of Winnebago.  The Fox Cities Chamber plays a leadership role in regional economic development efforts in Northeastern Wisconsin.  For more information, visit www.foxcitieschamber.com.

For information contact:

Emily Feagles

Marketing & Communications

[email protected]

Fox Cities Chamber’s “Doing Business With Government,” a free small business workshop 🗓

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Contact: Mark Rahmlow, Vice President, Public Policy
[email protected]

Appleton, Wisconsin – Ms. Emily Harman Director, Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP) for the Department of the Navy (DON), in partnership with the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce, N.E.W. Manufacturing Alliance and North Coast Marine Manufacturing Alliance, will be conducting a small business workshop on July 27th from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM at the Bordini Center (Fox Valley Technical College Campus), as a part of the Green Bay/Fox Cities Navy Week July 24-30.

The DON (Department of the Navy) “Navy Weeks,” coordinated by the Navy Office of Community Outreach, are designed to give Americans the opportunity to learn about the DON, its people, and its importance to national security and prosperity. This year’s “Green Bay/Fox Cities Navy Week” will feature the above small business workshop designed to educate small businesses on how to do business with the Navy and Marine Corps. The workshop will also cover how to find out about upcoming contracting opportunities and how small businesses can contribute to the warfighter mission.

Location:
Bordini Center (Fox Valley Technical College Campus) Room BC141
5 N. Systems Drive
Appleton, WI

Parking: Free, convenient parking is available in the lot outside of the Bordini Center.

Date & Time:
Thursday, July 27, 2017 – 10am -12:00pm

Cost: FREE

This event is open to the public. Reservations are required to attend. To make a reservation please see visit www.foxcitieschamber.com or contact Mark Rahmlow at the Fox Cities Chamber, [email protected].

For additional information on Department of the Navy Office of Small Business Programs, please contact: Mr. Ollie Cooperwood, Public Affairs Officer at 202-685-6313 or visit them at http://SmallBusiness.Navy.mil.

###

About Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce: The Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce captures the energy of one of Wisconsin’s most dynamic regions and transforms it into innovative programs and services for its business members.  The Fox Cities Chamber serves all of the Fox Cities communities within the counties of Outagamie, Calumet and the northern portion of Winnebago.  The Fox Cities Chamber plays a leadership role in regional economic development efforts in Northeastern Wisconsin.  For more information, visit www.foxcitieschamber.com.

Foxconn to partner with Rockwell Automation

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Foxconn has already announced a partnership with a major Milwaukee-based employer: Rockwell Automation.

But observers say more partnerships with companies like Johnson Controls and GE Healthcare are likely to happen as the Taiwanese company finds its footing in Wisconsin.

In one such agreement, Milwaukee-based Rockwell Automation will be collaborating with Foxconn to “increase operational efficiencies in electronics manufacturing to new levels,” Terry Gou, Foxconn chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

The two companies will be working together on workforce development and training. Foxconn says it has committed to work with Rockwell Automation and ManpowerGroup to provide skills training for military veterans.

Blake Moret, Rockwell Automation president and CEO, says Foxconn shares Rockwell’s commitment to “expanding and upskilling the U.S. workforce to ensure there is the necessary talent for advanced manufacturing roles.”

See more at WisBusiness.com 

FRI AM Update: Fitzgerald: No deal on budget, caucus still wants to eliminate personal property tax

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FRI AM Update: UW Regents to vote on free expression resolution, Ryan in Madison

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FRI AM Update: Walker headed to RI for NGA summer meeting; weekly radio addresses

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FRI AM Update: Walker to tour state to tout Foxconn plans; ‘skinny’ ACA repeal fails; weekly radio addresses

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FRI News Summary: Foxconn; ‘skinny’ ACA repeal fails; Ryan on tax reform; Scaramucci targets Priebus

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FRI News Summary: GOP remains divided over transpo; Evers on a potential guv bid; Ryan’s town halls

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FRI News Summary: Senate says no deal yet on budget; Ryan criticizes latest CBO estimate of health care bill

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FRI News Summary: Walker, Ryan visit flooded areas; DOT reform bill; Senate health care bill

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FRI PM Update: Burns campaign touts national reputation despite limited appearances in state courts

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FRI PM Update: Walker calls for special session on Foxconn deal; Priebus out as Trump’s chief of staff

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FRI REPORT: Evers files to run for guv after hiring possible campaign manager, but says no final decision

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FRI REPORT: Records show few drug felons seeking public benefits failed drug tests

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Friends: Kanavas, former state senator, has died

Former state Sen. Ted Kanavas, the chairman and co-founder of Michael Best Strategies, has died, friends and colleagues said today. He was 56.

The Brookfield Republican, who had been battling cancer, was named chair of Michael Best Strategies last week with Rob Marchant succeeding him as the firm’s president.

“Ted was a tremendous business partner and leader, but more than anything, he was a great man,” said Marchant, a former Senate chief clerk “He cared deeply about those close to him and always treated people with dignity and respect. I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked with him both in the Senate and here at Strategies, and I will miss him dearly.”

In addition to serving in the state Senate from 2001 to 2011, Kanavas served as an aide to U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, and worked in the software industry. He co-founded Michael Best Strategies, a government relations and public policy firm affiliated with Michael Best & Friedrich, in 2014.

Rep. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield, said via Facebook today: “Our community lost a giant of compassion. RIP my good friend Sen Ted Kanavas. My mentor, friend and brother in Christ.”

DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp, a former GOP state senator who served with Kanavas, added on Facebook: “My mind is reeling at the news of Ted Kanavas’ passing. He was battling cancer for some time. I’m reliving memories of how he would make me bust out laughing at the most inappropriate times in the Senate floor and in caucus. The pranks we would pull on other senators with my shock gum and shock flashlight, clown nose, etc. He was a smart, funny, and charismatic guy who will be missed, to be sure.”

Kavanas, along with former Democratic state Sen. Chuck Chvala of Madison, were the WisOpinion.com Insiders.

See their final show, which was taped in early June.

GOP bill would boost DOT oversight, repeal prevailing wage

GOP legislators are looking to add more oversight to the Department of Transportation and fully repeal the state’s prevailing wage law in a new bill out Thursday.

More than 20 legislators have already signed onto the legislation, which comes as top Republican leaders try to work through a transportation budget deadlock.

It also comes as Republicans in both caucuses firm up support for including prevailing wage repeal in the state transportation budget — with some drawing a hard line in the sand on the issue.

While the bill doesn’t include any suggested budget fixes, it does adopt a series of non-fiscal policy items that the Joint Finance Committee previously removed from Gov. Scott Walker’s budget, as well as a provision to require local governments to get voter approval before enacting a wheel tax.

Rep. Rob Hutton, one of the lead authors of the bill, said the legislation spelled out areas that “could be and should be reformed before we start talking about any need to raise additional revenues.”

“We want to ensure any tax dollar we collect is being used as efficiently as possible,” the Brookfield Republican said.

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The legislation was sparked by a critical audit of the agency’s highway program in January that showed the agency underestimated by $3.8 billion the costs for major highway work completed over the past decade or still in progress.

It also would require an outside audit of the agency be conducted before next August and assign an inspector general to DOT who would be directed to report any findings of waste, abuse or inefficiency to various legislative leaders.

DOT spokeswoman Patty Mayers said shortly after Secretary Dave Ross’ appointment, he began directing the agency to “review and reprioritize all projects, streamline processes and find more efficiencies.”

“As he has stated multiple times, Secretary Ross welcomes all ideas to make WisDOT more efficient and accountable,” she said.

Meanwhile, some GOP legislators are noting growing support for adding a provision to fully repeal the state’s prevailing wage law in the transportation budget.

GOP Sen. Leah Vukmir, one of the co-authors of a bill to repeal the state’s prevailing wage law for state projects, said in a tweet that “any viable transportation budget proposal must include a full repeal of prevailing wage.”

Speaker Robin Vos, responding to the message, said in a tweet he “agreed” with Vukmir, R-Brookfield. He also wrote in a separate statement “a full repeal of prevailing wage is an essential component of a DOT reform package.”

Hutton, who also co-authored the prevailing wage repeal bill, said there seems to be a “strong consensus” in both caucuses to include repealing prevailing wage in the transportation budget, He noted some of his colleagues would have a “difficult time supporting it” without the provision. Still, he said, it’s not make or break for him.

“I’m concerned that we get prevailing wage done in the budget or a standalone bill,” he said. “It’s important reform legislation regardless of how or where it gets passed.”

Vos also said he supports “many of the reforms and would like to see them included in a comprehensive package to address the transportation needs of our state.”

And Myranda Tanck, a spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said the Juneau Republican is “pleased to see” GOP legislators looking to improve DOT’s efficiency.

A spokesman for Walker did not immediately return a request for comment.

GOP leaders still at odds after Senate Republicans release budget proposal

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GOP leaders still at odds after Senate Republicans release budget proposal

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Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald Tuesday challenged Assembly Republicans to come up with something “palatable” that his caucus could support after unveiling a plan that would repeal the personal property tax, wipe out the guv’s income tax cuts and raise income limits for the statewide voucher program.

But Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, called the Senate plan a non-starter because it also called for $712 million in new borrowing for roads over the next two years. Steineke said he had hoped Senate Republicans would produce something that moved closer to the Assembly GOP and guv on lowering bonding.

“They didn’t come up with something that we could live with,” Steineke told WisPolitics.com in a phone interview.

Fitzgerald, though, said at a Capitol news conference Tuesday the plan his caucus released is more in line with Gov. Scott Walker on several areas, including transportation, because it wouldn’t boost the gas tax or registration fee.

“I just know right now a gas tax increase and a vehicle registration increase, the caucus is not going to go along with that,” Fitzgerald said.

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Still, Fitzgerald also said he had not whipped 17 votes needed to pass the proposal unveiled today, stressing it was not a final document. He expected the proposal to change as talks continue with the Assembly and said some of his members have “parochial” interests in their districts that they would want to see addressed in a final budget.

Walker spokesman Tom Evenson said the guv is more aligned with the Senate’s transportation plan because it sticks to his pledge not to raise the gas tax or registration fees. The guv also does not want to see delays in major highway projects that would likely be caused if the Legislature approved no new bonding for transportation. Still, he added the $712 million in borrowing the Senate GOP proposed is something that would have to be negotiated by the two caucuses.

“We welcome the initiative by the Senate to move the process forward because it’s keeping the governor’s priorities largely intact that he proposed back in February,” Evenson said.

Sen. Jon Erpenbach, a JFC member, said Dems are stunned the state would spend more over the next two years than it has in any previous budget, but Republicans can’t work out a deal to fix Wisconsin’s crumbling roads.

The Middleton Dem also placed the blame on Walker, saying the guv knew two years ago that GOP lawmakers were unhappy with the level of bonding in the 2015-17 budget and wanted a long-term fix in this one. But the guv did not deliver.

“He needs to come back to Madison and do his job,” Erpenbach said.

Subscribers can see more in the Budget Blog.

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GOP senators in competitive districts average more than $100,000 in the bank ahead of 2018

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Gov. Walker: H.O.P.E. for Wisconsin: Governor Walker signs four special session bills into law at Onalaska Police Department

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Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839
ONALASKA – Governor Scott Walker signed four special session bills into law today that are part of the Heroin Opiate Prevention and Education (H.O.P.E.) agenda passed by the Wisconsin legislature during a special session. The bills relate to law enforcement measures to combat opioid abuse in Wisconsin.

“My thanks to the legislative leaders and members of the Task Force on Opioid Abuse for their work on this legislation, and, of course, the law enforcement officers here today and all throughout Wisconsin who work to end opioid abuse and overdose in our state,” Governor Walker said. “In January, I called the State Legislature into a special session to take up bills that address the opioid epidemic and I’m proud to say they passed the 11 bills I’m signing into law today with broad support, creating a multifaceted response to help people receive treatment and recover from addiction. Together, we are working to combat this crisis, save lives, and improve public health.”

Special Session Assembly Bill 2 – increases funding for the Treatment Alternatives and Diversion (TAD) grant program by $2 million annually. It also provides an additional $150,000 each year of the biennium for an expansion of the TAD program and allocates $261,000 annually to create a pilot program for expanded diversion efforts. Authored by Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Senator Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), the bill passed the Assembly with a vote of 97-0 and was concurred by the Senate with a vote of 32-0. It is Act 32.

Special Session Assembly Bill 3 – expands Wisconsin’s “Good Samaritan Law,” which was signed into law in 2014. Current law grants limited immunity to an individual who calls 911 to help a person experiencing an overdose. This legislation extends limited immunity to a person experiencing an overdose. Authored by Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Senator Van Wanggaard (R-Racine), the bill passed the Assembly on a voice vote and was concurred by the Senate with a vote of 32-1. It is Act 33.

Special Session Assembly Bill 5 – allows people with a drug dependency to be committed under the process for those with alcohol dependency. Under current law, individuals with an alcohol dependency can be more easily involuntarily committed to the county for treatment if approved by a circuit court. This bill adds drug dependency as a criterion to commit people under the alcoholism statute. Authored by Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), the bill passed the Assembly with a vote of 97-0 and was concurred by the Senate on a voice vote. It is Act 34.

Special Session Assembly Bill 10 – allocates four additional positions to be used for drug trafficking, thus improving the ability of the Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation to conduct drug enforcement operations. The bill also increases funding in the appropriation for law enforcement services general program operations by $420,000 every year of the 2017-19 biennium. Authored by Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls), the bill passed the Assembly with a vote of 97-0 and was concurred by the Senate with a vote of 33-0. It is Act 35.

Governor Walker is signing a total of 11 bills into law today, all of which were recommended by the Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse. The Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse was created in September 2016 for the purposes of advising and assisting the Governor in a coordinated effort to combat the opioid crisis facing the State of Wisconsin.

Gov. Walker: Announces $2.4 million in grants for Wisconsin’s coastal communities

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Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker announced $2.4 million in grants today to protect and improve the Great Lakes resources in Wisconsin’s coastal communities. Administered by the Wisconsin Department of Administration’s Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, the 34 grants will be used by local and state governments, regional planning commissions, universities, and nonprofit organizations to assist with projects totaling nearly $2.4 million.

Wisconsin’s Great Lakes are an important economic, cultural and natural resource. Lake Michigan and Lake Superior provide the people of Wisconsin with drinking water, commerce and recreation, and are a reason so many people live and visit the state.

The intergovernmental and private sector collaborations aided by the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program advance Wisconsin and regional Great Lakes priorities such as enhancing public access, sustainable use practices, community development, habitat restoration, and pollution control.

Recipients for this year’s grants were recommended by the Wisconsin Coastal Management Council, a Governor-appointed citizen and governmental advisory group. The funds are part of Wisconsin’s federally-funded Coastal Management Program.

The Wisconsin Coastal Management Program balances natural resource protection and sustainable economic development along Wisconsin’s Great Lakes coasts. The program awards federal funds from the Office for Coastal Management in the U.S. Department of Commerce National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to local governments and other entities for innovative coastal initiatives.

Next year’s grant application will be available the first week of August 2017. Staff will be holding application workshops in September where attendees will learn about the program, application process and discuss project ideas, the application deadline will be the first week in November 2017. Additional information about the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program can be found athttp://coastal.wisconsin.gov.

A complete list of grants is attached.

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Gov. Walker: Announces 23 Wisconsin counties Affected by Alfalfa Winterkill are eligible for USDA Aid

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Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839
MADISON – Governor Scott Walker announced today that ten Wisconsin counties have been designated disaster areas due to losses to winterkill and late freezes that hit alfalfa fields especially hard in the first five months of the year.

Farmers in those counties and 13 adjacent counties may be eligible for assistance from the USDA Farm Service Agency in the form of emergency loans.

“We applaud the USDA’s decision to designate the counties affected by alfalfa winterkill as disaster areas,” Governor Walker said. “This aid helps Wisconsin farmers get back on their feet and protects them from crippling losses due to damaged crops. We look forward to working with USDA moving forward on this issue.”

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue informed Governor Walker that ten counties, where losses reached as high as 70 percent, were named as primary disaster areas, including: Brown, Calumet, Kewaunee, La Crosse, Manitowoc, Monroe, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Sheboygan, and Washington. The 13 adjacent counties are also eligible for aid, including: Dodge, Door, Fond du Lac, Jackson, Juneau, Milwaukee, Oconto, Shawano, Trempealeau, Vernon, Waukesha, Waupaca, and Winnebago.

The losses stemmed mainly from the lack of snow cover, which insulates plants from freeze damage, this past winter. Alfalfa is a perennial plant that regrows from the roots every year, and snow insulates and protects the plants from cold damage.

Gov. Walker: Appoints Chief Deputy Knudson as St. Croix County Sheriff

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Contact: Tom Evenson
(608) 266-2839

Madison, Wisconsin – Governor Scott Walker announced today the appointment of Chief Deputy Scott Knudson as the new St. Croix County Sheriff, replacing Sheriff John Shilts, who resigned on July 14, 2017.

“Chief Deputy Knudson has demonstrated he has the skills and expertise to serve as an excellent Sheriff for St. Croix County,” Governor Walker said. “With 21 years of experience, six of which were serving as Chief Deputy, he is ready and able to serve the citizens of St. Croix County as Sheriff.”

Knudson, a resident of Somerset, Wisconsin, holds over 21 years of law enforcement experience, all of which have been in the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office. Knudson has served as Chief Deputy for the previous six years.

During his tenure in the Sheriff’s Office, Chief Deputy Knudson has worked as a Deputy Jailer, Patrol Deputy, Patrol Sergeant, Patrol Lieutenant and Patrol Captain. In addition to his experience in St. Croix County, Knudson served as a part time Patrol Officer and later becoming Police Chief for the Star Prairie Police Department. Knudson graduated from the Northwestern School of Police Staff and Command as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy.

“Scott has demonstrated the kind of leadership, dedication and focus we need in a Sheriff,” said Dr. Christopher Babbitt of St. Croix County Board of Supervisors. “As a psychologist who works with the youth of this county, I’ve seen Scott’s commitment to children and youth through his community work and his ability to both enforce the law but to do so with compassion and an understanding of the challenges faced by those with mental health and substance abuse issues.”

Knudson also engages the community in many ways. Some of the committees he takes part in are the St. Croix County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, St. Croix County Traffic Safety, the Stop Substance Abuse Calendar contest and assisting the Restorative Justice Victim Panels.

“As a Sheriff, I know what qualities it takes for someone to be successful in this position,” said Sheriff Dan Starry of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Minnesota. “His leadership for strategic planning is second to none. He has distinguished himself not only as a remarkable law enforcement officer but also as a leader in community relations and team work. Scott truly is a public servant at heart.”

Gov. Walker: Appoints Jeff Kuglitsch to the Rock County Circuit Court

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Contact: Tom Evenson
(608) 266-2839

Madison, Wisconsin – Governor Scott Walker today appointed Rock County Corporation Counsel Jeff Kuglitsch to serve on the Rock County Circuit Court, replacing Judge Michael R. Fitzpatrick.

“I am pleased to appoint Jeff Kuglitsch to the Rock County Circuit Court,” Governor Walked stated. “Jeff has more than 25 years of public sector experience, the right temperament, and a firm commitment to the rule of law. He will serve the people of Rock County well as a judge.”

Kuglitsch has served as corporation counsel for Rock County since 2007 and previously served as corporation counsel for Shawano County from 1994-2007 and for Vilas County from 1991-1993. In these roles, Kuglitsch has litigated cases on appeal and handled a wide variety of legal matters, including zoning ordinance disputes, small claims matters, child support, and CHIPS (Child in Need of Protective Services) cases.

Menominee and Shawano County Circuit Court Judge James R. Habeck wrote in support of Kuglitsch, stating “Jeffrey Kuglitsch is an outstanding choice for appointment to the Rock County Circuit Court.” Judge Habeck added, “Kuglitsch understands the legislative process and recognizes his role in enforcing public policy. His calm demeanor fits the ideal judiciary candidate and his personal ethical standards are certainly in line with the conduct expected of Wisconsin’s judges.”

Rock County Board Chair J. Russell Podzilni praised Kuglitsch’s knowledge of the law and legal acumen, calling him a “trusted and well-respected adviser readily available to assist all County Board members, and a skilled legal practitioner with a strong moral compass.”

George K. Steil, Jr. of Brennan Steil S.C. wrote a letter of recommendation, describing Kuglitsch as “highly skilled,” “well-respected,” and “efficient.” “Mr. Kuglitsch will do an excellent job as Rock County Circuit Court Judge,” he said.

Kuglitsch is an active member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Janesville and a former board member of a domestic abuse shelter in Shawano. He received his Juris Doctor degree from Southern Illinois University School of Law and his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Kuglitsch resides in Janesville with his son and daughter.

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Gov. Walker: Calls Legislature into “Wisconn Valley” special session

Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839
Delivers bill that would bring Foxconn’s $10 billion investment and 13,000 jobs to Wisconsin
MADISON – Governor Scott Walker today called a Special Session of the Wisconsin State Legislature to consider legislation that would bring Foxconn, the world’s largest electronics manufacturing services provider, to Wisconsin. Governor Walker’s executive order requires the Legislature to commence the Wisconn Valley Special Session at 11 a.m. on August 1, 2017, solely to consider and act upon the attached legislation.

“This is a once-in-a-century opportunity for our state and our country, and Wisconsin is ready,” Governor Walker said. “Foxconn plans to bring the future of high-tech manufacturing to America, and Wisconsin is going to lead the way. I am encouraged by the bipartisan support we have seen for Wisconn Valley, and I call on the Legislature to support this measure and open the door for 13,000 direct Foxconn jobs, 10,000 direct construction jobs, and 22,000 more indirect or induced jobs related to this project. This is good for our entire state.”

Under a Memorandum of Understanding signed yesterday by Governor Walker and Foxconn Founder and CEO Terry Gou, Foxconn plans to invest $10 billion by 2020 to build a world-class manufacturing campus in Southeastern Wisconsin. The campus will create 13,000 new jobs in the state and represents the largest new greenfield investment made by a foreign-based company in U.S. history.

The legislation proposes a $3 billion incentive package that is performance-based and includes state income tax credits as well as $150 million sales tax “holiday.” Foxconn will be eligible to earn tax credits equal to 17 percent of wages paid or 15 percent of capital invested spread out over a 15-year period.

See Walker’s executive order:

https://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/170728WalkerExecutiveOrder250.pdf

See the bill draft:

https://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/170728FoxconnBillDraft.pdf

Gov. Walker: CANCELLED: Broadband Day Visits in White Lake and Chippewa Falls

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Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839
Governor Scott Walker’s Broadband Day visits to White Lake and Chippewa Falls, originally scheduled to take place tomorrow afternoon, have been cancelled. Broadband Day events will be rescheduled in the near future.

Gov. Walker: Commends WHEFA for their important role in financing for non-profits in Wisconsin

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Contact: Tom Evenson
(608) 266-2839

Madison, Wisconsin – Governor Scott Walker commended the Wisconsin Health and Educational Facilities Authority (WHEFA), which just issued its 2017 Fiscal Year in Review for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017. The report indicates WHEFA saved Wisconsin nonprofit institutions more than $38 million by refinancing outstanding debt and completed 26 financings for such institutions totaling more than $1.3 billion.

WHEFA financings during this fiscal year will help create an estimated 421 new jobs and maintain 1,811 jobs, while an estimated 2,868 construction jobs will be created for new capital projects. The Wisconsin nonprofit organizations employ more than 26,500 people.

“WHEFA is a great partner in our efforts to create jobs and grow the economy,” Governor Walker said. “Nonprofit organizations and the services they provide are vital to Wisconsin’s economy and access to tax-exempt financing is an important and effective tool to finance and refinance their capital improvement and expansion needs. We truly appreciate the work of WHEFA.”

Highlights from the fiscal year in review include 23 different nonprofit borrowers at 32 different Wisconsin locations benefited from the bond process during fiscal year 2017, including seven long-term care organizations, six acute-care organizations, four private colleges, three private K-12 schools, and three other nonprofit organizations.

“Fiscal Year 2017 marked the end of another successful year in WHEFA’s 38-year history,” said Executive Director Dennis Reilly. “WHEFA is proud to have been able to assist so many of Wisconsin’s nonprofit organizations over this past year, allowing them to grow and compete by providing access to low-cost capital. WHEFA is honored to represent the State of Wisconsin and to help the economy move forward by serving all nonprofit institutions seeking to expand and create jobs.”

About WHEFA: WHEFA, created by the Legislature in 1973, has been providing active capital financing assistance to Wisconsin nonprofit organizations since 1979. Bonds issued by WHEFA do not utilize any state funds or constitute indebtedness of the state. The state has no liability to repay any obligation issued by WHEFA under any circumstances.

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Gov. Walker: Fraud prevention efforts reach record-high savings for taxpayers

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Contact: Tom Evenson
(608) 266-2839

Madison, Wisconsin – Governor Scott Walker visited Brown County Human Services in Green Bay, and Racine County Human Services in Sturtevant today to highlight the strong efforts of state and local agency fraud prevention and investigation staff to protect the integrity of Wisconsin’s public assistance programs, including Medicaid and FoodShare. The Office of the Inspector General (OIG), created by Governor Walker in 2011, released its 2016 Annual Report today, which shows fraud prevention and detection savings, including overpayments established and cost avoidance topped $150 million since the creation of OIG, including a record $51 million in 2016 alone.

“Public assistance programs are an important safety net for those who need them,” said Governor Walker. “The fraud prevention and detection work done by the Office of the Inspector General, along with strong partners at the local level, ensures the integrity of these programs and protects taxpayer dollars.”

Shortly after taking office, Governor Walker created the Governor’s Commission on Waste, Fraud, and Abuse, and based on recommendations from the committee, Governor Walker created the Department of Health Services’ (DHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) in October 2011, to consolidate and improve public assistance program integrity and fraud prevention efforts, and to provide additional staffing resources for recipient fraud detection and prevention. Prior to the OIG, DHS had one person working on recipient fraud in the multi-billion dollar programs including FoodShare and Medicaid. The Fraud Investigation, Recovery and Enforcement (FIRE) Section in the OIG now has 30 staff, including 23 positions to support Medicaid and FoodShare Program fraud prevention and detection activities.

Successfully detecting and preventing fraud in public assistance programs requires strong partnerships with aggressive local investigators. The county-level fraud prevention is funded in part by increases in the past two state budgets, providing $1,000,000 annually to ten Fraud Prevention and Investigation Programs (FPIP) consortia and nine tribal agencies. This funds local agency investigators, private investigators, or police investigators. Under these partnerships, investigators processed almost 4,000 complaints submitted to the OIG hotline and web portal.

Brown County/Bay Lake Consortium (Brown, Door, Marinette, Oconto, Shawano Counties)

Since 2012, Brown County has established nearly $7 million in program savings from FoodShare and Medicaid fraud investigations. The Bay Lakes Consortium has saved more than $10 million. The Brown County Human Services Agency collaborates with the Brown County Sheriff’s Department to utilize two deputies to investigate fraud allegations for the five-county fraud consortium.  Brown County also enforces a county ordinance prohibiting fraud, identifying more people in the FoodShare program using benefits fraudulently or improperly – leading to suspension – than any of the other nine fraud consortia in the state over the past 5 years.

Racine County/Wisconsin Kenosha Racine Partnership (WKRP) Consortium (Kenosha, Racine Counties)

Since 2012, the WKRP Consortium has saved nearly $10 million dollars due to FoodShare and Medicaid fraud investigations, including more than $5.5 million in Racine County. Racine County’s team strictly enforces a local anti-fraud ordinance and has established a solid relationship with the Racine County District Attorney’s Office and local courts to prosecute the most egregious cases of public assistance fraud. Racine County’s fraud unit recently had a federal review of fraud policies and processes and was commended for their compliance in all aspects of their FoodShare Program fraud operations.

DHS provides almost $9 billion in benefits to more than 1.3 million people in Wisconsin annually.

For more information on the OIG’s fraud efforts: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/oig/index.htm.

Gov. Walker: Global high-tech manufacturer Foxconn announces $10 billion investment, will create 13,000 jobs in new Wisconsin campus

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Contact: Tom Evenson
(608) 266-2839

Washington, D.C. – Foxconn Technology Group (Foxconn), the world’s largest electronics manufacturing services provider, announced today it will invest $10 billion by 2020 to build a world-class manufacturing campus in Southeastern Wisconsin. The campus will create 13,000 new jobs in the state and represents the largest new greenfield investment made by a foreign-based company in U.S. history. Foxconn Founder and CEO Terry Gou made the announcement at the White House and was joined by President Donald J. Trump and Governor Scott Walker.

“This is a once-in-a-century opportunity for our state and our country, and Wisconsin is ready,” Governor Scott Walker said. “We are calling this development ‘Wisconn Valley,’ because we believe this will have a transformational effect on Wisconsin, just as Silicon Valley transformed the San Francisco Bay Area. Foxconn plans to bring the future of high-tech manufacturing to America, and Wisconsin is going to lead the way. We are honored Foxconn chose Wisconsin, and I thank Terry Gou for all he has done to make this happen.”

Employees at this new facility will manufacture state-of-the-art liquid crystal display (LCD) screens which will be used in everything from self-driving cars to aircraft systems and in the fields of education, entertainment, healthcare, safety and surveillance, advanced manufacturing systems, and office automation, among others. Foxconn is a global leader in manufacturing services for the computer, communication, and consumer electronics (3C) industry – championing innovation that touches the daily lives of people around the world.

“We are thrilled to build a state-of-the art display fabrication plant in America’s heartland, which will be the first of a series of facilities we are building in several U.S. states as part of a robust 8K+5G ecosystem in the United States,” said Foxconn Founder and CEO Terry Gou. “We thank President Trump and Governor Walker for their work to bring Foxconn to Wisconsin. Wisconsin offers a talented, hardworking workforce, and a long track record in advanced manufacturing, all of which presents an extraordinary opportunity.”

Foxconn first established operations in the United States in 1988 and has facilities and offices in Alabama, California, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia. Their operations include manufacturing, assembly and R&D facilities, as well as offices which are involved in sourcing from U.S. supply chain partners, product servicing, and manufacturing sales.

“Cutting edge technology will be made in America; right in the State of Wisconsin,” Governor Walker continued. “Wisconsin has the best manufacturing workforce in the world, a top 10 business climate, and the education and transportation systems needed to attract this type of global corporation. We are moving Wisconsin forward.”

About Foxconn Technology Group

Foxconn Technology Group is the world’s largest electronics manufacturing services (EMS) provider with annual revenues exceeding $141 billion last year and a global workforce of approximately one million employees. The company has facilities in Asia, Latin America, and Europe.

Foxconn also is a leader in research and development, focusing on fields of nanotechnology, heat transfer, wireless connectivity, material sciences, and green manufacturing process. The company has several research centers and testing laboratories and has received more than 55,000 patents worldwide. The company is a recognized leader of innovation and technical knowledge in rankings such as MIT’s or IPIQ’s patent scorecard.

Gov. Walker: Gov. Walker seeks applicants for Juneau County Circuit Court

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Contact: Tom Evenson
(608) 266-2839

Madison, Wisconsin – Governor Scott Walker announced today he is seeking applicants for appointment to the Juneau County Circuit Court. 

The new appointee will replace outgoing Juneau County Circuit Court Judge John P. Roemer, whose resignation is effective August 10, 2017.  The new appointee, should he or she choose to run, would be up for election in April 2018.

To apply, please submit the following:

Cover Letter

Resume (not exceeding two pages)

Two Writing Samples

Judicial Application: found on Governor Walker’s website:  www.walker.wi.gov.

(Select “Governor’s Office” at the top of the page, “Apply to Serve,” and then “Judicial Application”

Complete application materials should be submitted via email to the following: [email protected]wisconsin.gov

All application materials must be received no later than 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, July 26, 2017.  Following submission, you will receive an email confirming that we have received your application, and explaining the next steps in the process. 

Potential applicants with questions about the process should email their questions to[email protected]wisconsin.gov.  If you need to speak with someone immediately, you may contact Robert Berry at 608-266-1212.

Gov. Walker: H.O.P.E. for Wisconsin: Gov. signs three special session bills into law at DC Everest Senior High School

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Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839

SCHOFIELD – Governor Scott Walker signed three special session bills into law today that are part of the Heroin Opiate Prevention and Education (H.O.P.E.) agenda passed by Wisconsin legislature during a special session. The three bills relate to detecting, treating, and preventing opioid abuse in schools.

“In 2014, 843 Wisconsinites died from a drug overdose, some of whom were students,” Governor Walker said. “That’s 843 families that lost their loved ones – and it’s 843 too many lives lost. The bills we’re signing here today at DC Everest provide the resources needed to help detect, treat, and prevent opioid abuse, addiction, and overdose in our schools. The safety and well-being of our children are top priorities, and we remain committed in the fight against the opioid epidemic and drug abuse in Wisconsin.”

Special Session Assembly Bill – allows school bus drivers, employees, and volunteers as well as college or technical college residence hall directors with proper training to administer an opioid antagonistic, such as naloxone or Narcan, to those who appear to be experiencing an overdose. Authored by Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Senator Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield), the bill passed the Assembly on a voice vote and was concurred by the Senate with a vote of 32-0. It is Act 29.

Special Session Assembly Bill 6 – permits the director of the Office of Educational Opportunity to contract for operation of a recovery charter high school as a four-year pilot project. The recovery charter school would combine academic coursework, therapeutic programming, support, and substance abuse counseling in a school setting for high school students who are recovering from a substance abuse disorder or dependency. Authored by Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), the bill passed the Assembly with a vote of 95-2 and was concurred by the Senate with a vote of 32-1. It is Act 30.

Special Session Assembly Bill 11 – requires the Department of Public Instruction to establish a mental health training support program. The program would provide school district and charter school staff with training on Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment, or SBIRT. SBIRT is a public health screening tool and interview model that school staff may utilize to conduct early interventions with students struggling with mental health, alcohol, and drug issues. Authored by Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Senator Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon), the bill passed the Assembly with a vote of 97-0 and was concurred by the Senate with a vote of 33-0. It is Act 31.

Governor Walker is signing a total of 11 bills into law today, all of which were recommended by the Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse. The Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse was created in September 2016 for the purposes of advising and assisting the Governor in a coordinated effort to combat the opioid crisis facing the State of Wisconsin.

Gov. Walker: H.O.P.E. for Wisconsin: Governor Walker signs four special session bills into law at Medical College of Wisconsin – Green Bay

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Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839
DE PERE – Governor Scott Walker signed four special session bills into law today that are part of the Heroin Opiate Prevention and Education (H.O.P.E.) agenda passed by the Wisconsin legislature during a special session. The four bills relate to medical measures to prevent and treat opioid addiction.

“Like many states in our great nation, Wisconsin is experiencing a dangerous trend – a growing number of cases of opioid abuse and overdose,” Governor Walker said. “We’ve taken serious steps to combat this issue, including creating the Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse, but we won’t stop until there are zero opioid overdoses in Wisconsin. The bills we’re signing here today at Medical College of Wisconsin help us work towards that goal by requiring prescriptions for certain controlled substances, creating special fellowship programs, adding additional treatment centers, and establishing an addiction medicine consultation program for doctors.”

Special Session Assembly Bill 4 – requires a prescription for certain Schedule V controlled substances. Under the bill, all Schedule V substances categorized as narcotic drugs containing nonnarcotic active medicinal ingredients require a prescription. In addition to Schedule V controlled substances containing the opioid codeine, this includes Schedule V controlled substances that contain dihydrocodeine, ethylmorphine, diphenoxylate, opium, and difenoxin. Authored by Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Senator Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon), the bill passed the Assembly on a voice vote and was concurred by the Senate with a vote of 32-0. It is Act 25.

Special Session Assembly Bill 7 – allows hospitals to receive grants for addiction medicine or addiction psychiatry specialist residents if they are practicing family medicine, general surgery, pediatrics, psychiatry, or internal medicine and are enrolled in an existing accredited graduate medical training program. Under the bill, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) could award grants to hospitals seeking to develop a new addiction medicine specialty fellowship program. Authored by Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Senator Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green), the bill passed the Assembly with a vote of 97-0 and was concurred by the Senate with a vote of 33-0. It is Act 26.

Special Session Assembly Bill 8 – requires DHS to add two or three more opiate and methamphetamine addiction treatment centers in rural, underserved, or high-need areas. This bill builds upon 2013 Wisconsin Act 195, which required DHS to create two or three regional comprehensive opioid treatment programs in rural, underserved, and high-need areas of the state. Authored by Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls), the bill passed the Assembly with a vote of 97-0 and was concurred by the Senate with a vote of 33-0. It is Act 27.

Special Session Assembly Bill 9 – requires DHS to establish an addiction medicine consultation program for physicians. DHS would be responsible for requesting and reviewing proposals from organizations to establish the consultation program and would fund a provider or providers that meet the required criteria. Authored by Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), the bill passed the Assembly with a vote of 97-0 and was concurred by the Senate with a vote of 33-0. It is Act 28.

Governor Walker is signing a total of 11 bills into law today, all of which were recommended by the Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse. The Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse was created in September 2016 for the purposes of advising and assisting the Governor in a coordinated effort to combat the opioid crisis facing the State of Wisconsin.

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Gov. Walker: Helps bring tens-of-thousands of new jobs to Wisconsin in historic announcement that will transform state’s economy

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Contact:
Joe Fadness
[email protected]

[Madison, Wis.] – In case you missed it, global manufacturer Foxconn announced that it would bring 13,000 new high-tech jobs – in addition to thousands of additional jobs through construction and other economic activity – to Wisconsin as part of a $10 billion investment. The plans will impact the entire state by transforming Wisconsin’s economy, spurring additional growth, and attracting more investment.

Marking the single largest economic development announcement in state history, the Foxconn news shows how Gov. Walker is moving Wisconsin forward and delivering results for hard-working families. The governor joined President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Speaker Paul Ryan, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, and others at the announcement at the White House.

Read the Wisconsin State Journal’s coverage of Foxconn here, or find excerpts below.

Foxconn to build $10B plant in Wisconsin employing up to 13,000
By Molly Beck and Mark Sommerhauser
Wisconsin State Journal
July 26, 2017

In what’s being called the largest economic development project in state history, Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn plans to build a $10 billion plant in Wisconsin that would create liquid-crystal display panels and employ as many as 13,000 people.

The planned Wisconsin plant is expected to open in 2020 and be part of a 20 million square-foot campus on at least 1,000 acres — a location Gov. Scott Walker has dubbed “Wisconn Valley.” …

The Wisconsin facility is expected to employ 3,000 people initially and add up to 10,000 more workers in future years.

In addition to Gou, Trump and Walker, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, and Vice President Mike Pence attended the announcement. Other members of the Wisconsin Congressional delegation, and state lawmakers, were there.

“Today we’re announcing the single largest economic development project in the history of Wisconsin,” Walker said, noting the plant would be 11 times the size of Lambeau Field. “These panels will be made in America, proudly in the state of Wisconsin.”

Ryan said the planned project is “an absolute game-changer” for southeastern Wisconsin, where his district lies. …

The plant is intended to be one of the largest manufacturing campuses in the world, according to Walker’s office, and could draw 10,000 construction jobs over the next four years while the plant is built.

Walker’s office projected the project would create at least 22,000 “indirect and induced jobs” throughout Wisconsin and will generate an estimated $181 million in state and local tax revenues annually, including $60 million in local property taxes. …

Gov. Walker: ICYMI: Governor Walker signs bipartisan H.O.P.E. reforms to help address Wisconsin’s opioid epidemic

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Contact: Joe Fadness
[email protected]

Legislation spearheaded by State Rep. John Nygren offers example of lawmakers delivering results for Wisconsin communities

[Madison, Wis.] – In case you missed it, on Monday Gov. Scott Walker signed into law 11 bills that are part of the bipartisan H.O.P.E. agenda to help address Wisconsin’s opioid epidemic.

The legislation shows how the leadership of Gov. Walker, State Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, and others is delivering results for Wisconsin communities.

You can read WBAY Green Bay TV’s coverage here, or find excerpts below:

New H.O.P.E. laws create recovery charter school, more rural addiction centers
Brittany Schmidt
WBAY TV
July 17, 2017

Gov. Scott Walker signed seven new H.O.P.E. agenda bills into law during visits to De Pere and Schofield Monday.

H.O.P.E. stands for Heroin Opiate Prevention and Education.

“It knows no boundary, therefore we need solutions that cross every boundary possible,” said Gov. Walker during his De Pere stop. “So these are bills that provide more tools, more assistance, along with money in the budget to provide additional assistance.”

The agenda has been a mission for Republican Rep. John Nygren of Marinette. Nygren’s daughter has struggled with heroin addiction. He says Wisconsin has made a lot of progress, but there is still a long way to go.

“Typically in politics it is a one off, and you are done, and you take a victory lap,” said Rep. Nygren. “But on an issue where we are still losing people at a rapid rate to overdose death, in a world we are still struggling with addiction, there is no victory lap.”

Gov. Walker signed four bills regarding addiction treatment and prescriptions at the Medical College – Green Bay campus. He signed three bills regarding schools at DC Everest High School in Schofield.

The bills were passed during a special session with bipartisan support. …

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Gov. Walker: Issues statement on retirement of DATCP Secretary Brancel

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Contact: Tom Evenson
(608) 266-2839

Madison, Wisconsin – Governor Scott Walker released the following statement today after Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) Secretary Ben Brancel announced he will be retiring from state service effective August 13, 2017.

“Ben has served with distinction as a state representative and speaker of the State Assembly, as DATCP secretary under both our administration and Governor Tommy Thompson’s administration, and as a leader of a number of agricultural organizations in our state. His leadership and counsel on agriculture and trade issues have been invaluable to me, and I thank him for his service and dedication to the people of Wisconsin. We wish Ben and his wife, Gail, all the very best as they begin this new and exciting chapter.”

Gov. Walker: Joins Charter Communications in promoting broadband access during Spectrum Internet Assist Day

0
Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839
GREEN BAY – Governor Scott Walker joined Charter Communications, Inc. leaders at The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Green Bay today to promote broadband access and Spectrum Internet Assist, a low-cost, high-speed broadband service now offered through Charter Communications.

“Every Wisconsin citizen deserves access to high-speed, reliable, affordable internet,” Governor Walker said. “And Charter’s Spectrum Internet Assist service helps to make this a reality by offering a new, low-cost broadband option to our students, families, and seniors. We know it’s crucial our small businesses, schools, and citizens have internet access, regardless of their zip code or income, which is why we’ll continue to work with companies like Charter, state agencies, and other local partners to bolster broadband access and move Wisconsin forward.”

Spectrum Internet Assist provides eligible customers with low-cost broadband speeds of up to 30 megabits per second (Mbps) downstream and 4 Mbps upstream. This exceeds the definition of “high-speed” internet put forth by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Spectrum Internet Assist also includes standard features like e-mail boxes, internet security software, and a modem at no additional charge.

“It’s crucial for cable and broadband providers like us to play a role in bridging the digital divide so that everyone has access to the information and tools they need to succeed in today’s economy,” said Adam Falk, Senior Vice President, State Government Affairs. “Charter is uniquely positioned to bring a whole new world of digital access and opportunity to low income families and seniors, from the most populated Wisconsin cities like Milwaukee and Green Bay to some of the most rural areas like Thorp and Weston. Spectrum Internet Assist is an important next step in providing true high-speed connections to those who would otherwise continue to face a digital inequality, and we’re honored to join forces with Governor Walker to celebrate its availability in Wisconsin.”

Those eligible for Spectrum Internet Assist include families with students who participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and seniors who are 65 and older who receive Supplemental Security Income program benefits. To help potential customers in the eligibility process and enrollment, Charter has launched a new Spectrum Internet Assist website.

Charter Communications, Inc., a leading broadband communications company and the second-largest cable operator in the United States, also announced new partnerships with the Green Bay Kroc Center and Scholarship Inc.’s NEW Scholars college readiness program, which will connect families and seniors in the Green Bay area with the tools and resources they need to be successful in the digital world. Both organizations received $10,000 to upgrade essential technology resources.

The Green Bay Kroc Center plans to use the $10,000 donation to fund a new Spectrum Learning Lab, which will help more seniors and students in the community access the tools and information they need to succeed in school, apply for jobs, and access information necessary to thrive in the 21st century workforce.

NEW Scholars of Green Bay, an after-school college readiness program that helps students prepare for college, will utilize the $10,000 donation to help even more local students become the first in their family to attend college.

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Gov. Walker: Kicks off Wisconsin Farm Technology Days

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Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839
ALGOMA – Governor Scott Walker kicked off Farm Technology Days this morning during the opening ceremony in Algoma. The three-day event highlights the latest developments in production agriculture and is held in a different county on a different family farm every year.

“Wisconsin is America’s Dairyland and a top U.S. producer of cranberries, vegetables, and cheese,” Governor Walker said. “It’s safe to say that agriculture is one of our top industries and remains crucial to our economic success. Farm Technology Days is a great opportunity for our farmers and other leaders to learn more about the cutting edge of agriculture technology.”

Launched in 1954, Wisconsin Farm Technology Days is the largest agricultural show in the state. The event runs July 11 through July 13 and is expected to attract thousands of attendees and hundreds of exhibitors. Farm Technology Days allows visitors to tour Ebert Enterprises, the hosting farm, see field demonstrations, speak with commercial exhibitors, and learn about the latest in agricultural research.

Ebert Enterprises, host of this year’s Farm Technology Days, is owned and operated by sixth generation farmer Randy Ebert, and his wife Renee, who began raising heifers and crops after purchasing the farm from Randy’s parents in 1987. The farm employs 40 full-time employees as well as 15 part-time employees. Located in Kewaunee County, the farm doubled in size through internal growth and in 2012 acquired a neighboring farm that increased the farm to their current size of 3,000 cows. They grow corn, alfalfa, sorghum, triticale, and small grains on nearly 5,000 acres.

Agriculture is a crucial aspect of Kewaunee County’s economy, covering 176,735 acres, or 81 percent of the county’s land. The industry employs 2,058 people, approximately 20.7 percent of the county’s workforce. Their top agricultural commodities are milk, grain, cattle, fruits, tree nuts, and berries.

Governor Walker has also proclaimed July 11 – July 13 as Farm Technology Days throughout Wisconsin. A copy of his proclamation is attached.

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Gov. Walker: Orders flags to half-staff in honor of Senator Theodore J. Kanavas

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Contact:
Tom Evenson
(608) 266-2839

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker ordered the flags of the United States and the State of Wisconsin to be flown at half-staff tomorrow as a mark of respect for former Wisconsin State Senator Theodore J. Kanavas. Senator Kanavas represented the people of the 33rd Senate District from 2001 until 2011.

The flags of the United States and the State of Wisconsin shall be flown at half-staff at all buildings, grounds, and military installations of the State of Wisconsin, beginning at sunrise on Saturday, July 8, 2017, and ending at sunset on that date.

A copy of Governor Walker’s order can be found here.

Gov. Walker: Releases Fourth of July statement

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Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker released the following statement today in celebration of the Fourth of July holiday:

This Fourth of July, we gather with family and friends as Americans to celebrate the birth of our great nation and to remember those who keep us safe, today and every day.

We hold our loved ones a little tighter as we remember that freedom is not free. Our founders fought for our liberty, and the brave men and women serving in our United States Armed Forces continue to do so today.

And while we can never repay our men and women in uniform, we thank them from the bottom of our hearts for their service and sacrifice.

I hope you have the chance to watch your local Independence Day parade, grill hot dogs, burgers, and brats, and watch the fireworks with family and loved ones tonight. May God bless you and your family, the State of Wisconsin, and the United States of America.

Happy Fourth of July!

Gov. Walker: Releases statement on the best way to repeal and replace Obamacare

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Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker releases statement on the best way to repeal and replace Obamacare:

The best way to repeal and replace Obamacare is to give each state the resources and responsibility for health care.  Specifically, provide each state with an adequately funded block grant as well as full responsibility for decisions regarding health care and health insurance coverage.  Governors and other state leaders are more effective, more efficient, and more accountable to the public.  

Adequately funded block grants to the states should hold Medicaid expansion states harmless while providing some parity to non-expansion states. Giving states full responsibility allows decisions to be make closer to the people so they can accommodate state and regional needs as opposed to a one-size-fits-all mentality from Washington.

The welfare reform law that was signed in 1996 is a model. States were given adequately funded block grants that are still used today and welfare rolls dropped as people transitioned from government dependence to true independence through work.

 

Gov. Walker: Releases statement on the passing of Former Wisconsin State Senator Ted Kanavas

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Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker released the following statement today after learning of the passing of former Wisconsin State Senator Ted Kanavas:

“Ted Kanavas was a great man. He served his district and his state well. It was always a thrill to be around him. Tonette and I send our love and prayers to Mary and his family.”

Gov. Walker: Requests FEMA conduct a damage assessment in Southeastern Wisconsin

0

Contact: Tom Evenson
(608) 266-2839

Madison, Wisconsin – Governor Scott Walker requested the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conduct preliminary damage assessments next week in three southeast Wisconsin counties hit hard by flooding earlier this month. FEMA officials will begin looking at flood-damaged homes and public infrastructure in Kenosha, Racine, and Walworth Counties.

“These floods have devastated so many families in southeast Wisconsin,” Governor Walker said. “Our first responders, emergency managers, volunteers, and local officials have been working tirelessly to help those impacted by the flood waters. I look forward to having FEMA in our state to assess damages as we look towards possibly requesting federal disaster assistance.”

Overnight on July 11, 2017, more than eight inches of rain fell in southeast Wisconsin, flooding thousands of homes and businesses, closing major roads and bridges, damaging dams and other infrastructure, and causing the Fox River to rise to a record flood stage in Burlington and New Munster. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries.

Local damage assessments from three counties show three homes destroyed, 92 homes with major damage, and more than 4,000 with minor damage. In addition, ten businesses sustained major flood damage and 26 reported minor damage. Flooding also caused more than $8.4 million in damage to public infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and dams, and emergency protective measures.

Teams comprised of officials with FEMA and Wisconsin Emergency Management will work with local and state officials in viewing both residential and public infrastructure damage.

Governor Walker continues to be updated about the cleanup and recovery efforts in southwest and west central Wisconsin. Those areas were hit by flooding last week. Damage assessments are just beginning in some of those communities and a decision will be made soon on the next step for assistance.

Gov. Walker: Seeks applications for Outagamie County District Attorney

0

Contact: Tom Evenson
(608) 266-2839

Madison, Wisconsin – Governor Scott Walker announced today that he is seeking applicants for appointment as Outagamie County District Attorney.

The new appointee will fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Outagamie County District Attorney Carrie Schneider, whom Governor Walker appointed to serve as the Outagamie County Judge. The new appointee will serve out the remainder of the unexpired term and will be up for election in November 2020.

Please submit the following:

Cover Letter
Short Resume
References (list of 3-4)

D.A. Application: found on Governor Walker’s website www.walker.wi.gov. (Select “Contact” at the top of the page, “Apply to Serve Wisconsin,” and then “District Attorney Application”)

Resumes, cover letters, and applications must be received no later than 5:00 p.m., Friday, July 28, 2017. Following submission, applicants will receive an email confirming we have received the application and describing the general process for the appointment.

Potential applicants with questions about the appointments process should email their questions to[email protected]gov. If you need to speak with someone immediately, you may contact Kate Wiedel at 608-266-1212.

Gov. Walker: Signs Senate Bill 293 into law

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Contact: Tom Evenson
(608) 266-2839

Madison, Wisconsin – Governor Scott Walker signed Senate Bill 293 into law today at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison.

Senate Bill 293 – makes several technical changes to the state’s voucher programs. It streamlines, simplifies, and clarifies statutory language regulating program administration, pupil eligibility, school responsibilities, and reporting requirements. Authored by Senator Luther Olsen (R-Ripon), Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee), Representative Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay), and Representative Jason Fields (D-Glendale), the bill passed the Senate with a vote of 28-5 and was concurred by the Assembly with a vote of 67-30. It is Act 36.

Gov. Walker: Surveys flood damage, declares state of emergency

0

Contact:
Tom Evenson
(608) 266-2839

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker today declared a State of Emergency for Kenosha, Racine, and Walworth Counties following damaging storms that caused widespread flooding across the southeast region.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the flooding,” Governor Walker said. “I have instructed state agencies and the Wisconsin National Guard to help those affected by the flooding and to continue to provide resources to assist with the response and recovery efforts. I thank the Wisconsin National Guard, Wisconsin Emergency Management, and all state agencies for their coordinated response to this emergency.”

Governor Walker is surveying the damage this morning in Burlington in Racine County with local and state officials including Major General Donald Dunbar, Adjutant General of the Wisconsin National Guard. 

Many homes and businesses have been impacted by flooding. Sandbagging efforts continue throughout the region. So far, there have been no reports of fatalities.

Between 6-8 inches of rain fell overnight Tuesday causing widespread flooding. The heavy rains resulted in several rivers to rise to above major flood stage including the Fox River. The Fox River at Burlington crested this morning at a record 16.1 feet and will crest later today at New Munster in Kenosha County.   The Fox River is expected to remain above major flood stage throughout the weekend.

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

A copy of Governor Walker’s Executive Order can be found here.

Gov. Walker: Walker and Foxconn Founder/CEO Terry Gou sign memorandum of understanding in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE – Governor Scott Walker and Foxconn Founder and CEO Terry Gou today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the Milwaukee Art Museum. The MOU was also signed by Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation CEO Mark Hogan and Special Assistant to the Chairman and CEO of Foxconn Louis K. Woo.

From the MOU:

The parties agree that a long-term mutually beneficial relationship should be established to implement a transformational and sustainable high-tech manufacturing and technology ecosystem in Wisconsin. For the first phase of this historic relationship, the parties agree to as follows…

See the MOU. 

Gov. Walker: Walker and Wisconsin Republicans announce more than $5 million cash on hand after first half of 2017

0

Contact: Joe Fadness
[email protected]

Governor continues to demonstrate fundraising strength, has more cash on hand than at same point 4 years ago

[Madison, Wis.] – Governor Scott Walker and Wisconsin Republicans announced today that they have more than $5 million cash on hand at the conclusion of the recent June 30 finance reporting period, surpassing fundraising totals from his 2014 re-election and that of Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch.

“I am humbled by the overwhelming support for moving our state forward,” Governor Walker said. “With Wisconsin ranking as a top 10 state for business and education, more people working than ever before, and the lowest unemployment rate since 1999, our bold reforms have our state headed in the right direction for hard-working families.”

The fundraising total reflects strong support for the governor’s campaign. The more than $5 million includes:

·         More than $2.4 million cash on hand for Friends of Scott Walker, after raising $3.5 million in the first half of the year. This total surpasses the cash on hand the governor had in the first half of 2013 as he geared up for re-election, and matches what he raised in the same time period.

·         More than $1.2 million cash on hand for People for Rebecca, which gives Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch more cash on hand than any lieutenant governor in the history of Wisconsin.

·         More than $1.7 million cash on hand for the Republican Party of Wisconsin’s state account.

·         More than 85 percent of donations to Friends of Scott Walker total $100 or less, reflecting strong grassroots support for the governor’s campaign and reform agenda.

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Gov. Walker: Walker, Jim Lovell: Wisconsin remembers Apollo era, looks to future of space exploration

0

Contact:

Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker joined Jim Lovell, former NASA astronaut, veteran of four space missions, and the first man to journey twice to the Moon, today in releasing the following column highlighting Wisconsin’s contributions in space and looking forward to the future of space exploration in America.

Wisconsin Remembers Apollo Era, Looks to Future of Space Exploration

Every year about this time in Wisconsin, the Wittman Regional Airport becomes the busiest airport in the world…. busier than Chicago’s O’Hare, than New York’s La Guardia, than Los Angeles, London, Singapore, and all the rest. Oshkosh, Wisconsin is the home of EAA AirVenture, an annual gathering of more than 500,000 flight enthusiasts.

From its beginnings in 1953, the Experimental Airplane Association’s premier event has become the biggest fly-in in the world, featuring everything from kit planes to Warbirds, acrobatics to antiques, unique one-of-a-kind experimental aircrafts to hundreds upon hundreds of private planes piloted by enthusiasts from all over the world. It is a one-of-a-kind event that runs from July 24-30 this year.

But EAA AirVenture doesn’t just focus on the skies  it also looks to the stars. As in years past, the event includes several panels, presentations, movies, and sessions relating to space, and provides the opportunity to meet representatives from NASA and the space industry.

This year is special because 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of the Apollo program that placed Americans on the Moon two and a half years later. It is, therefore, fitting that EAA AirVenture host a “Salute to Apollo” on Friday, July 28 featuring Apollo astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Frank Borman, Joe Engle, Dick Gordon, Fred Haise, Jim Lovell, Al Worden, and iconic flight director Gene Kranz, who will discuss their experiences and talk about America’s future in space.

It is also fitting that this reunion will take place in Wisconsin. Milwaukee’s AC Electronic Circuits and later Delco (forerunners of today’s Delphi Electronics & Safety) were responsible for the Apollo guidance system and built the lunar roving vehicle that first traveled on the Moon.

Today, the United States is getting ready to leave Earth’s orbit once again, preparing to launch into deep space by the end of this decade. Wisconsin is playing a vital role. Almost two dozen companies – including several in Milwaukee and one right in Oshkosh – are helping build NASA’s next great spacecraft, the massive Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the Orion crew capsule. Together, they will take humans farther into space than ever before.

Wisconsin’s manufacturing and engineering expertise will go with them. Companies such as Amorim Cork Composites, 3M, Maynard Steel Casting Company, Pierce Manufacturing, Snap-On, and Oshkosh’s own Multicircuits PCB are contributing manufacturing, engineering, analysis, technology, and exquisite quality control to the exacting task of creating the components and knowledge necessary to launch Americans once more into deep space.

These Wisconsin businesses join hundreds of other companies throughout the nation in forming the backbone of America’s aerospace and aeronautical manufacturing and technology industry.

As important as manufacturing the rocket and crew capsule are, astronauts are of course integral to human space exploration, and Wisconsin is the proud home to half-a-dozen former astronauts. Curt Michel (La Crosse), 3-time space shuttle astronaut Leroy Chiao (Milwaukee), Deke Slayton of the Apollo-Soyuz test project (Sparta), 3-time shuttle and Soyuz team member Jeffrey Williams (Superior), 4-time shuttle astronaut Mark Lee (Viroqua), and 4-time shuttle astronaut Daniel Brandenstein (Watertown) all hailed from Wisconsin.

Today, we especially highlight Deke Slayton’s contributions to the Apollo project. Deke was an American World War II pilot, aeronautical engineer, and test pilot who was selected as one of the original NASA Mercury Seven astronauts and became NASA’s first Chief of the Astronaut Office. Wisconsinites are proud of our historic contributions to space exploration, and we honor the work of Deke Slayton.

President Trump and Vice President Pence have also signaled their strong support of human space exploration by signing recent legislation to fund and advance NASA programs and reestablish the National Space Council. As a fully-invested “space state,” Wisconsin joins them in looking to the stars, ushering in a new era for American leadership and discovery in space.

Scott Kevin Walker is the 45th and current Governor of Wisconsin

A veteran of four space missions, Jim Lovell became the first man to journey twice to the Moon.

About EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) AirVenture Oshkosh is the “World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration” and EAA’s yearly membership convention. It annually attracts 500,000 visitors from more than 70 nations and more than 10,000 aircraft to the weeklong event. Additional EAA AirVenture information, including advance ticket and camping purchase, is available online at www.eaa.org/airventure.

Gov. Walker: Weekly radio address- Fighting fraud in Wisconsin

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Contact:
Tom Evenson
(608) 266-2839

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker released his Weekly Radio Address today titled “Fighting Fraud in Wisconsin.”

Hi, Scott Walker here.

Even before I took office, I knew we needed to curb wasteful state spending and eliminate fraud in Wisconsin, so one of the first things I did when we took office was create the Commission on Waste, Fraud, and Abuse.

Based on the findings of the commission, we created the Department of Health Services Office of the Inspector General to prevent fraud and improve our public assistance programs.

The Department of Health Services provides almost $9 billion in benefits to more than 1.2 million people throughout Wisconsin every year. To ensure the integrity of our public assistance programs, we rely on the Office of the Inspector General to prevent fraud, save the state, and more importantly, save the taxpayers money. And the savings have steadily increased at the state and at the local level over the years.

Today, I’m traveling to Green Bay and Sturtevant to highlight the good work the Office of the Inspector General is doing for the state taxpayers. Government services, including public assistance programs like FoodShare, are important trampolines that help people through unforeseen challenges or setbacks.

But when people abuse the system, they’re stealing taxpayer-funded resources and putting the programs at risk for those who truly need them.

My thanks to the Department of Health Services, the Office of the Inspector General, and to state, county, and local employees for their work to detect and to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse by protecting the integrity of these crucial programs.

As state officials, it is our job to be good stewards of your money – the taxpayers’ dollar – and ensure the services we provide our citizens are free from abuse. We will continue to work with the Office of the Inspector General and other state agencies so Wisconsin government is effective, efficient, and accountable to the citizens of our state.

Gov. Walker: Weekly radio address- Happy Independence Day!

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Contact:
Tom Evenson
(608) 266-2839

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker released his Weekly Radio Address today titled “Happy Independence Day!”

Hi, Scott Walker here.

We came together this week as a state and as a nation to celebrate the birth of the United States of America.

As we celebrate our independence, we also bear in mind those who keep us safe every single day.

We hold our loved ones just a little bit tighter as we remember that freedom is not free. It was paid for by our founders, who paved the way for our great nation by fighting for our liberty. It’s been paid for by the brave men and women who served in our Armed Forces, and by those who continue to serve today.

We can never repay our brave men and women in uniform, but we can thank them from the bottom of our hearts for their service and sacrifice.

I hope that you had a chance to attend your local Independence Day parade, grill hot dogs, burgers, and brats in the great Wisconsin outdoors, and to watch the fireworks with your loved ones throughout the week.

As we celebrate our nation’s independence, may God bless you, your family, the State of Wisconsin, and the United States of America.

Gov. Walker: Weekly radio address- More HOPE for the fight against opioid abuse

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Contact:
Tom Evenson
(608) 266-2839

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker released his Weekly Radio Address today titled “More HOPE for the Fight Against Opioid Abuse.”

Hi, Scott Walker here.

Wisconsin and many other states across the country face a serious problem: heroin and prescription drug abuse.

In 2014, 843 Wisconsin residents died from a drug overdose. That’s 843 families that lost loved ones.

We’re working with first responders, medical professionals, and family members to protect Wisconsin citizens and their families from the dangers of opioid abuse.

In January, I called the State Legislature into a special session to take up bills that address this epidemic, and I directed state agencies to implement recommendations by our Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse.

The Task Force is chaired by Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and State Representative John Nygren. You can learn more about the good work being done at Hope.WI.Gov.

Wisconsin’s state agencies have continued to improve responses to the public health crisis and apply for newly available federal grant money, and we made significant investments in our budget proposal for prevention and education programs.

The Legislature also passed 11 new bills with broad bipartisan support, creating a multifaceted response to help people receive treatment and to recover from their addictions.

On Monday, I’ll sign these bills into law. But our work isn’t done there.

Together, we will continue to combat this crisis, save lives, and improve public health.

Gov. Walker: Weekly radio address- Ready for Wisconn Valley

0

Contact:
Tom Evenson
(608) 266-2839

MADISON Governor Scott Walker released his Weekly Radio Address today titled “Ready for Wisconn Valley.”

Hi, Scott Walker here.

Foxconn is making a $10 billion investment in Wisconsin to build their new, 20 million square-foot manufacturing campus right here in the State of Wisconsin. To put that in perspective, you could fit 11, that’s right, 11 Lambeau Fields inside Foxconn’s planned facility. Now that’s big.

This project will directly create 13,000 new jobs. You heard me right – 13,000 new jobs in Wisconsin. This represents the largest greenfield investment made by a foreign-based company in United States history as measured by jobs.

On top of this, the project will require around 10,000 construction jobs for each of the next four years to build the campus, and construction companies across the state will be needed to complete this massive project. Plus, around 22,000 indirect and induced jobs will be created because of Foxconn’s economic impact. These jobs will come from across our state.

Foxconn also needs around 150 suppliers to support its operations, potentially generating more than $1 billion every year in business for other Wisconsin companies.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Wisconsin, and there’s no doubt it will have a transformational effect on our state for generations to come, just as Silicon Valley transformed the San Francisco Bay Area or the Research Triangle transformed the Carolinas.

That’s why we call this project, and this area now, “Wisconn Valley.”

Wisconn Valley goes beyond Foxconn. It’s a shift, and it represents our willingness and readiness to become a leader in high-tech, advanced manufacturing and technology research and development. Cutting-edge technology will be made in America, right here in Wisconsin.

This is incredible news for people all across our state. The fact that Foxconn, a global leader, chose Wisconsin over every other state in America and every other place in the world should make us feel proud. Our future has never been brighter. We’re ready.

This is big news. It’s transformational. It will attract more talent and more employers to our state and help keep our children here when they graduate.

Wisconsin is ready for Wisconn Valley.

Gov. Walker: Weekly radio address: Ready for Wisconn Valley

0

Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker released his Weekly Radio Address today titled “Ready for Wisconn Valley.”

Hi, Scott Walker here.

Foxconn is making a $10 billion investment in Wisconsin to build their new, 20 million square-foot manufacturing campus right here in the State of Wisconsin. To put that in perspective, you could fit 11, that’s right, 11 Lambeau Fields inside Foxconn’s planned facility. Now that’s big.

This project will directly create 13,000 new jobs. You heard me right – 13,000 new jobs in Wisconsin. This represents the largest greenfield investment made by a foreign-based company in United States history as measured by jobs.

On top of this, the project will require around 10,000 construction jobs for each of the next four years to build the campus, and construction companies across the state will be needed to complete this massive project. Plus, around 22,000 indirect and induced jobs will be created because of Foxconn’s economic impact. These jobs will come from across our state.

Foxconn also needs around 150 suppliers to support its operations, potentially generating more than $1 billion every year in business for other Wisconsin companies.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Wisconsin, and there’s no doubt it will have a transformational effect on our state for generations to come, just as Silicon Valley transformed the San Francisco Bay Area or the Research Triangle transformed the Carolinas.

That’s why we call this project, and this area now, “Wisconn Valley.”

Wisconn Valley goes beyond Foxconn. It’s a shift, and it represents our willingness and readiness to become a leader in high-tech, advanced manufacturing and technology research and development. Cutting-edge technology will be made in America, right here in Wisconsin.

This is incredible news for people all across our state. The fact that Foxconn, a global leader, chose Wisconsin over every other state in America and every other place in the world should make us feel proud. Our future has never been brighter. We’re ready.

This is big news. It’s transformational. It will attract more talent and more employers to our state and help keep our children here when they graduate.

Wisconsin is ready for Wisconn Valley.

Gov. Walker: What they’re saying- Foxconn’s investment in Wisconsin will transform state’s economy

0

Contact:
Joe Fadness
[email protected]

 [Madison, Wis.] – This week Governor Walker joined other Republican leaders for a historic jobs announcement that will transform Wisconsin’s economy and the lives of hard-working families across the state. High-tech manufacturer Foxconn Technology Group will implement the largest economic development project in Wisconsin’s history that will bring 13,000 jobs to the state and spur further economic growth.

Check out what state news outlets are saying about this historic jobs announcement:

From WBAY in Green Bay: “’This is a once-in-a-century opportunity for our state and our country, and Wisconsin is ready. We are calling this development Wisconn Valley, because we believe this will have a transformational effect on Wisconsin, just as Silicon Valley transformed the San Francisco Bay Area.’ Gov. Scott Walker [said]”

From the Wisconsin State Journal: “’Today we’re announcing the single largest economic development project in the history of Wisconsin,” Walker said, noting the plant would be 11 times the size of Lambeau Field. “These panels will be made in America, proudly in the state of Wisconsin.’”

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “At 20 million square feet, the factory would be three times the size of the Pentagon, making it one of the largest manufacturing campuses in the nation. It would initially employ 3,000 workers making an average of $53,900 a year plus benefits and could eventually boast more than four times that.”

From WXOW in La Crosse: “’For something of this magnitude we’re going to have to quite literally start training people now for jobs that will be open over the next couple of years,” Walker said Thursday during an interview on WTMJ-AM. “We’re going to start doing programs specifically targeted towards getting the workforce they’re going to need.’”

 

Gov. Walker: What They’re Saying: Widespread support for Foxconn deal shows impact of Gov. Walker’s reforms

0

Contact: Joe Fadness
[email protected]

Announcement of Foxconn’s historic economic development project receives high praise for bringing tens of thousands of jobs to Wisconsin

[Madison, Wis.] – Governor Walker and Republicans announced last week that high-tech manufacturer Foxconn is planning the largest economic development project in the history of Wisconsin that will bring 13,000 jobs and spur further economic growth in the state.

Support for the investment was broad and bipartisan, which comes as a result of Walker’s bold reforms.

Check out what they’re saying below:

From Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele: “… It’s also a testament to the strength and appeal of our workforce and the commitment from many levels of government to devote the resources needed to invest in the kind of infrastructure that will attract and retain global talent.”

From Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce: “Governor Walker and pro-business lawmakers deserve high praise for their unflinching commitment to enacting reforms that have made our state globally competitive.”

From State Rep. Peter Barca (D – Kenosha): “This has the potential to make an enormous impact economically on the region.”

From Associated Builders & Contractors: “The impact will be immense, beginning with more than 10,000 construction jobs in the immediate future and for years to come in the employment of thousands of Wisconsinites. The workforce policies of the Walker Administration are paying huge dividends.”

From Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett: “I’m certainly excited about the jobs coming to Southeastern Wisconsin and I’m eager to get the ball rolling on connecting Milwaukeeans to those jobs.”

From State Rep. Cory Mason (D – Racine): “’Racine has done manufacturing really well for more than 100 years,’ said Mason, D-Racine. ‘To get a chance at doing 21st Century manufacturing and really excelling at that, that would be phenomenal for us. … We’ve got great people. They work hard. Give them the skills and the opportunity, they’ll succeed.’”

From Americans for Tax Reform: “… Wisconsin has enacted reforms that provide tax relief, spending restraint, and regulatory reform, creating an environment that attracts investment and jobs from companies like Foxconn.”

From Andy Gronik, Milwaukee Democrat: “’Ten-thousand good-paying, family sustaining jobs for Wisconsin is a great thing for our state — period,’ said Milwaukee businessman Andy Gronik, who is challenging Walker next year. ‘This should not be a partisan issue.’”

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Grant to UW-Milwaukee supporting genetic research in Lake Michigan

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A grant from the Fund for Lake Michigan will support genetic research by UW-Milwaukee scientists as part of a broad push to improve the health of the lake and associated water systems.

UWM is receiving $100,000 to analyze the genetics of three underwater animals, including the Yellow Perch and the Green Bay Mayfly. The third has yet to be determined, though it could be a fish species like Lake Whitefish, Lake Trout, Northern Pike or Muskellunge, UWM says.

The university aims to create a database for the genomes of organisms like these, which are determined by DNA analysis.

“We’re incredibly excited,” said J. Val Klump, dean at the UWM School of Freshwater Sciences. “This genomic data will open up new avenues of research and greatly expand the scientific understanding of the impact of human activities, climate change, emerging contaminants and other factors on Lake Michigan’s health.”

The money going to UWM is only one slice of a bigger pie being doled out to 22 different projects around the state. These water-related efforts were originally approved in June, and collectively bring $1.6 million to an effort to improve water quality and natural habitats, promote tourism, and provide broad support to the regional economy.

See more at WisBusiness.com.

Greater Milwaukee Foundation: Violence Prevention Fund established to enhance funding from Google to prevent gun violence

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MILWAUKEE – The Greater Milwaukee Foundation (GMF) has created a Violence Prevention Fund in an effort to augment funding the City of Milwaukee is receiving from Google to support local crime reduction efforts coordinated by the City of Milwaukee Health Department Office of Violence Prevention.

The foundation has already committed $25,000 toward matching funds that Milwaukee is receiving from Google as part of the company’s effort to funnel $2 million in support of grass-roots efforts aimed at lowering gun violence in 10 cities nationwide.

The Violence Prevention Fund is open to philanthropic support from throughout the community, including corporations, groups, or individuals. Contributions of every amount are welcome. Donations are tax deductible and should be made payable to: Greater Milwaukee Foundation Violence Prevention Fund.

Funding will be used to support violence prevention strategies identified in Milwaukee’s Blueprint for Peace.

The Blueprint is a citywide violence reduction plan that focuses on six goals: 1) Stop the Shooting, 2) Promote Healing, 3) Support Children, Youth and Families, 4) Promote Economic Opportunity, 5) Foster Strong Neighborhoods, and 6) Strengthen Capacity and Impact of Violence Prevention Efforts.

The Blueprint has been informed by input from thousands of city residents, agencies, and leaders. Business and philanthropic leaders have also been heavily engaged throughout. Julia Taylor, president of the Greater Milwaukee Committee (GMC), and Ellen Gilligan, president of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, both serve as Steering Committee members for the Blueprint.

“We stand united with our entire city to ensure that we are doing everything possible to make Milwaukee one of the safest places to live, work, and do business,” Taylor said. “We are fortunate to receive this investment from Google into Milwaukee and it would be great to see the rest of our community help support violence prevention.”

“How safe people feel in their neighborhood and in their broader community has a tremendous impact on their quality of life. It’s a value shared by us all. As a community foundation, we stand committed to investing in strategies that we believe will have a measurable impact, and we invite those who care about the safety and security of our community to do the same,” Gilligan said.

The GMC and GMF have partnered with the mayor and the City of Milwaukee Office of Violence Prevention to promote the goals of the Blueprint. In January, multiple organizations including Mayor Tom Barrett, Office of Violence Prevention, the Greater Milwaukee Committee, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Northwestern Mutual, United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County, and 371 Productions hosted a community wide summit titled Safe MKE to bring awareness to the growing public health issue of violence in Milwaukee.

The event brought together community and business leaders, as well as elected officials and policy makers to discuss solutions to all forms of violence in our city. In addition the Office of Violence Prevention has continued to support violence prevention measures throughout the summer including its Trauma Response Initiative, Heal the Hood, We Got This, Pepp Nation in Sherman Park, “I Will Not Die Young,” and many others.

For more information about the fund, contact the Greater Milwaukee Foundation at 414-272-5802.

For more information about the Blueprint for Peace contact: City of Milwaukee Health Department, Office of Violence Prevention at: 414-286-3521

Gronik campaign: Democrat Andy Gronik announces campaign for governor

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Contact: Maura Tracy, (414) 553-6257

DEMOCRAT ANDY GRONIK ANNOUNCES CAMPAIGN FOR GOVERNOR
Gronik: “I’m a business leader with the progressive values necessary to beat Governor Scott Walker and make living in Wisconsin better for all of our residents.”

FOX POINT, WISCONSIN – Progressive businessman Andy Gronik announced today that he will seek the Democratic nomination for governor in 2018.

“It is clear to me that Governor Walker has failed our state. He’s put politics over people and Wisconsinites have paid the price. It’s time for a different kind of leadership in Madison. I’m a business leader with the progressive values necessary to beat Governor Scott Walker and make living in Wisconsin better for all of our residents.”

Gronik created one of the largest appraisal and consulting companies of its type in the world. Each year his business helped thousands of struggling businesses solve problems and access billions of dollars so they could grow and create jobs.

“Back when I was getting started, it seemed to me that if you worked hard, you could overcome challenges and have a fair shot at the American dream. But in the last few years, I’ve become increasingly concerned that the opportunities that were available to me and my family are becoming out of reach for too many.”

Two years ago, Gronik founded an organization dedicated to bringing people together to propose bold ideas for how to move Wisconsin forward.

“I’ve listen to hundreds of people across Wisconsin, and after having countless conversations with families at kitchen tables, it is clear to me that Governor Walker has failed our state. He’s put politics over people and Wisconsinites have paid the price. But I’ve also realized that working together, we can make Wisconsin a global leader, strengthen our public schools and create good-paying jobs in