2017 July 13

Daily Archives: July 13, 2017

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.

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.

 

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

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.

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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.

Gov. Walker: Seeks applications for Outagamie County District Attorney

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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: Surveys flood damage, declares state of emergency

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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: 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.

Milwaukee Rotary Club 🗓

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Milwaukee County War Memorial Center,
750 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive,
Milwaukee.

The State of Wisconsin Investment Board invests over $108 billion- most of it for the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) which has over 620,000 members and is one of only two fully funded state pension plans in the country.  Their investments are extremely diverse and over the years this has included significant involvement with Wisconsin businesses ranging from small, family-owned companies to billion-dollar manufacturers shipping worldwide. Michael Williamson, SWIB’s Executive Director, will talk about why the WRS is a national leader, why there is a retirement crisis in this country and why investments in Wisconsin make sense for the pension plan members and the larger state economy.

Rotary meetings are open to members, invited guests and media.

Office of the Commissioner of Insurance: Commissioner Ted Nickel statement on summer storms in Wisconsin

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Contact:
Elizabeth Hizmi, Public Information Officer
(608) 267-9460
[email protected]

Madison, WI—Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner Ted Nickel expressed concern for the citizens of Wisconsin facing property damage and floods after storms in recent weeks.

“Unfortunately, this summer, many individuals throughout the state of Wisconsin have experienced the stress and pain from heavy storms as their homes and business have been damaged,” said Commissioner Nickel. “Make sure to check your insurance coverage and remember OCI and other state agencies are here to help.”

Typical homeowner’s policies usually provide coverage for damage that is the result of severe weather such as damage from hail or high winds. An exception is that damage caused by flooding is typically not covered. For protection against floods, you must purchase a separate policy from the National Flood Insurance Program.

Damage resulting from sewer backup and sump pump problems is also rarely covered in homeowner’s policies but an endorsement providing that coverage may be purchased and added to the policy. Endorsements are added to insurance policies in order to provide additional coverage to the homeowner’s policy.

Most comprehensive auto policies provide coverage for vehicles damaged in a flood. However, if you purchased collision-only coverage, you may not have coverage.

Commissioner Nickel suggests the following tips in dealing with storm aftermath:

  • Notify your insurance agent or insurance company as soon as possible to begin the claim process. Make sure you provide a telephone and/or e-mail address where you can be reached.
  • Pay attention to local news to find out if state and federal agencies are available on-scene to help with relief efforts.
  • Separate damaged items from undamaged items.
  • Make a detailed list of all damaged or lost personal property. It will help to take photos of the damage. Your adjuster will need evidence of the damage and damaged items. Do not throw out any damaged property without your adjuster’s agreement. If local officials require the disposal of damaged items before the insurance company’s claims adjuster can inspect the damages, take photos and keep a swatch or other sample of damaged items for the adjuster (e.g., cut swatches from carpeting, curtains, chairs).
  • Contact your insurance company again if an adjuster has not been assigned to you within several days.
  • Keep a file containing all the claim documentation including telephone logs, photos, estimates and receipts.
  • To avoid scams, make sure to take your time. If you feel pressured to sign a contract quickly, take a step back and investigate.

The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) Web site has many helpful publications including Consumer’s Guide To Homeowner’s Insurance and Personal Property Home Inventory. OCI also offers several publications that may help you as you sort through the claims process, including Settling Property Insurance Claims and Documents and Records, which provides a list of documents that will need to be replaced if they have been destroyed and whom to contact for replacement. All publications are available on our Web site at oci.wi.gov/Pages/Consumers/ConsumerPublications.aspx and may also be ordered free from the agency.

You may contact OCI with questions at 1-800-236-8517 or e-mail at [email protected].

If you need to file a complaint, you may file online at OCI’s Web site oci.wi.gov. Additionally, you may obtain a complaint form by calling 1-800-236-8517, or by printing a form from OCI’s Web site.

One Wisconsin Now: Report suggests Wisconsin voters targeted by collusion between Trump campaign, Russian fake news operation

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

MADISON, Wis. — One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross today called for a response from Gov. Scott Walker to a bombshell revelation that the campaign of Donald Trump may have directed an effort by a hostile foreign power to influence Wisconsin voters. According to a news report, the ongoing federal investigations into collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia is investigating whether the Trump campaign helped guide Russian backed fake news attacks against Hillary Clinton that targeted key demographics and voting precincts in Wisconsin.

“While Hillary Clinton may not have campaigned in Wisconsin in the fall of 2016 it sure looks like the Russians were, potentially with the help or at the direction of Republican Donald Trump’s campaign operation,” said Ross.

He noted that Scott Walker has been an eager surrogate for Donald Trump in Wisconsin, appearing with him at high dollar fundraising events, campaigning on his behalf and attacking his political opponents in the media.

Yet Wisconsin’s Governor remained silent on the Trump-Russia scandal, even with this latest revelation, that the Trump campaign may have directed an effort by a hostile foreign power to influence Wisconsin voters.

Walker has also demurred in responding to Trump’s election commission’s controversial and possibly improper request for sensitive personal information about registered voters, including portions of social security numbers, birth date, voting history and any information about individual’s partisan political preference.

According to the story:

Congressional and Justice Department investigators are focusing on whether Trump’s campaign pointed Russian cyber operatives to certain voting jurisdictions in key states – areas where Trump’s digital team and Republican operatives were spotting unexpected weakness in voter support for Hillary Clinton, according to several people familiar with the parallel inquiries.

It goes on to note that:

By Election Day, an automated Kremlin cyberattack of unprecedented scale and sophistication had delivered critical and phony news about the Democratic presidential nominee to the Twitter and Facebook accounts of millions of voters. Some investigators suspect the Russians targeted voters in swing states, even in key precincts.

A member of the Senate Committee investigating the alleged Trump campaign – Russian collusion commented:

The Russians appear to have targeted women and African-Americans in two of the three decisive states, Wisconsin and Michigan, “where the Democrats were too brain dead to realize those states were even in play,” Warner said.

Twitter’s and Facebook’s search engines in those states were overwhelmed, he said, meaning they couldn’t discern fake news from real news.

“On your news feed, you suddenly got … ‘Hillary Clinton’s sick’ or ‘Hillary Clinton’s stealing money from the State Department,’” said Warner.

Ross concluded, “Scott Walker has been an eager surrogate for Donald Trump and intimately involved with his campaign in Wisconsin, appearing with him at high dollar fundraising events, campaigning on his behalf and attacking his political opponents in the media. We’re owed answers about these serious allegation about meddling with the election in Wisconsin from the governor of Wisconsin.”

Rep. Zepnick: Statement on requiring Milwaukee Common Council Confirmation of Milwaukee Police Chief

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Contact:
608-266-1707

As a longtime Legislator from Milwaukee’s South Side, I am strongly urging other Legislators to NOT sponsor this legislative proposal.  With all due respect to my friend and colleague Rep. Crowley, I have serious concerns that this type of State Legislative intervention would further politicize the operations of Milwaukee’s critical public safety programs, by far the largest percentage of taxpayer dollars spent by the City of Milwaukee.

 The role of police chief is too important to become a matter of City Council politics and would break a longstanding history of citizen involvement and oversight of the Police and Fire Department through the work of the Fire and Police Commission.

What’s next?  Aldermen getting to effectively dictate which city blocks or neighborhoods get allocated police services?  Who gets hired (or fired) from the Police or Fire Department?

A civilian-led and professional police and fire department are key components of a successful urban community.  The checks and balances afforded by a Fire and Police Commission, which includes policy oversight by the State Legislature, ensures that the shared priorities of fairness, safety, accountability, and smart use of taxpayer dollars remain the framework for hiring a Police Chief and that individual’s related management of sworn duties.

Like many other urban areas, Milwaukee faces serious challenges and ordinary citizens have every right to call into question a policy or hold accountable those who work in public safety and are hired by the taxpayers.  Frustrations over results, style of management, or what frankly amount to many, many things outside the control of one person or government agency that are contributing to dangerous behaviors and crime — should not be the impetus for a power grab by the Milwaukee Common Council and insertion of its already overburdened workload and political challenges.

For my part, I remain committed to working with Republican and Democratic State Legislators to find additional state funding for Milwaukee’s public safety needs.  Along with additional financial help,  I feel strongly that the Mayor, Police Chief, rank/file employees, citizens and community leaders, all have a role to play to find more cost-effective ways to prevent crime and the unsafe disruption of neighborhoods that cause deteriorating quality of life for individuals, families, businesses, schools and many others.

That heavy lifting requires many moving pieces to work together as best as possible, including non-law enforcement examples of necessary public improvements: 

-reforming the criminal justice system’s overcapacity and revolving prison doors;

-ineffective re-entry of ex-offenders which leads to a cycle of dysfunctional or deadly lifestyles;

-mental health treatment and alcohol and drug abuse intervention;

-last but certainly not least the enormous cash underground economy that thrives on illegal gun and drug sales, illicit taverns and related businesses in certain neighborhoods, prostitution and human trafficking, and fraudulent abuse of publicly funded benefits.

Frankly, better handling of those 4 points would allow for more people to get/keep a job and be on a path to self-sufficiency and success in life.

Let’s all roll up our sleeves, establish common ground on the above items, and get to work on practical, affordable solutions.

Sen. Hansen: Northeast Wisconsin legislators introduce resolution opposing UP Back 40 Mining Project

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Contact(s): Rep. Stuck
(608)266-3070

or

Sen. Hansen
(608)266-5670

Madison, Wisconsin – Representative Amanda Stuck and Senator Dave Hansen were joined today by Reps. Eric Genrich & Jeff Mursau in introducing a bi-partisan Joint Resolution in opposition to Aquila Resources’ proposed Back Forty Mining Project along the Menominee River in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

 
“We are calling on the State of Michigan to oppose this project and for the Wisconsin DNR and Governor Walker to voice their concerns about this mining proposals potential negative impacts on Northeast Wisconsin. Jeopardizing everything from tourism, ground and surface water, and property values,” stated Rep. Amanda Stuck.
 
Bi-partisan opposition to the proposed mine is growing in Northeast Wisconsin due to increasing concerns about the potential harm it could cause to the Menominee River and Green Bay as well as the employees and businesses that depend on those waterways for their livelihood.  Several city councils and county boards including Brown County and the City of Marinette have passed similar resolutions opposing the mine.
 
“As polarized as our state is there seems to be strong bi-partisan opposition to the Back 40 Mine,” Hansen said.  “And people are rightly concerned.  Because it is a sulfide mine the potential for great harm to our lakes, rivers and Green Bay is significant. The mine could result in polluting the river, the Bay and area drinking water, not to mention the harm it could have on our area tourism industry and the families who earn their living from it.”
 
With the location of the proposed open pit metallic sulfide to be just 150 feet from the Menominee River, the boarder between Michigan and Wisconsin, which flows into Green Bay, it is imperative that the State of Wisconsin have a say and input on the mining proposal. Any negative impacts from the mine would equally impact Wisconsin as well as Michigan where the proposed mine will be located.
 
“Residents across northeast Wisconsin are very concerned about the impact this mine will have on their community and the health of their children and grandchildren,” Stated Rep. Stuck. “This is too important of an issue to keep quiet, which is why counties across Northeast Wisconsin are speaking out in opposition to the proposal, we join their voices opposed to the Back 40 Mine.”
 
The Menominee River and Green Bay are home to a variety of significant habitat and species including a rebounding sturgeon population and fresh water mussels—all of which could be put at risk if the mine is approved.
 
“Wisconsin should have a say in the process for approving this proposed mine because of the proximity to our border and the harmful impact the mine could have on our natural resources and public safety,” said Hansen.  “That is why it so important that the Legislature take a position on the Back 40 Mine. It is our best chance to slow the process down and to make sure that the interests of our state are taken into account before the mine is approved.”
 
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Sen. Shilling: GOP proposes wage cuts, more outsourcing

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Contact:
Tony Palese
[email protected]
608-266-5490

MADISON, WI – As Wisconsin faces a $1 billion transportation deficit, legislative Republicans are proposing a new round of wage cuts, project delays and outsourcing. The plan being put forward by Rep. Sanfelippo (R-New Berlin) and Sen. Kapanga (R-Delafield) rejects a series of bipartisan revenue solutions in favor of additional red tape and new limits on local control. In response to the plan, Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) released the following statement:

“Once again, Republicans are proposing massive worker pay cuts, project delays and costly borrowing rather than a responsible, long-term solution to Gov. Walker’s transportation funding crisis. It’s like listening to a broken record. We have the third worst roads in the country. Outsourcing jobs and paying workers less isn’t going to fill our potholes any quicker. Instead of maxing out the state’s credit card, we need a real plan that invests in infrastructure, protects Wisconsin jobs and improves the safety of our local roads.”

The latest Republican proposal includes a full repeal of Wisconsin’s prevailing wage laws. Previous Republican efforts to chip away at Wisconsin’s prevailing wage laws have already contributed to a 53% increase in the number of local construction projects being outsourced. Studies have found that contracts that should be going to local workers have been outsourced to out-of-state companies that bring in cheap labor, deliver substandard workmanship and undercut Wisconsin jobs.

Senate Committee on Economic Development, Commerce and Local Government executive session 🗓

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The committee will hold an executive session on the following items at the time specified below:

Friday, July 14, 2017

1:00 PM

306-S

Pursuant to Senate Rule 25 (4) (am) the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Commerce, and Local Government will vote by paper ballot on the following items:

Schreibel, Thomas B.

Of Hartland, as a Waukesha County Representative on the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District Board, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2019.

Senate Bill 170

Relating to: investment of surplus money by local units of government.

By Senators Testin, Marklein, Stroebel and Wanggaard; cosponsored by Representatives Katsma, Ballweg, Bernier, E. Brooks, R. Brooks, Duchow, Felzkowski, Gannon, Knodl, Kulp, Macco, Murphy, Novak, Quinn, Ripp, Rohrkaste, Skowronski, Steffen and Tittl.

Assembly Bill 229

Relating to: investment of surplus money by local units of government.

By Representatives Katsma, Ballweg, Bernier, E. Brooks, R. Brooks, Duchow, Felzkowski, Gannon, Knodl, Kulp, Macco, Murphy, Novak, Quinn, Ripp, Rohrkaste, Skowronski, Spiros, Steffen and Tittl; cosponsored by Senators Testin, Marklein, Stroebel and Wanggaard.

Ballots are due back to 306-South by 10:00AM on Tuesday July 18th.  Those not returning their ballot will be recorded as not voting.

Senate Democrats: Weekly Democratic radio address- GOP budget still at impasse

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Contact:
Sen. Chris Larson- (608) 266-7505

MADISON, WI – Senator Chris Larson (D – Milwaukee) offered the weekly Democratic radio address today.

The audio file of this week’s address can be found here:
http://media2.legis.wisconsin.gov/multimedia/Sen07/senatorlarsonradio071317.mp3

A written transcript of the address is below:

“Hello. This is Senator Chris Larson.

“All eyes these days seem to be on Washington and the Republican attempts to undermine health care, but it’s important to keep an eye on our own backyard here in Wisconsin, where Republicans still can’t agree on a 2017-2019 state budget.

“Under Wisconsin law, we do budgets that run for every two years, and it must be enacted by July 1 in odd-numbered years. If you’re looking at a calendar, you’ll likely notice this means the Republican majority is already two weeks tardy in getting its budget passed.

 “This failure to lead has a cascading effect across the state. Right now, local communities and school districts are stuck, waiting to find out how much state aid they’ll be allowed to receive and what might be cut so they can balance their own budgets. In particular, it’s difficult for each of our local schools to forecast their budget for the upcoming school year which will determine how many teachers they can afford to keep on.  

 “After years of ‘invite only’ town halls and governing, Republicans are at an impasse. It turns out; they’re unable to get to a budget that satisfies all the special interests that are clamoring for their piece of a $76 billion pie (the most spending of any budget in state history). The biggest topic is how much more transportation debt to pile on as they kick the can down our crumbling, pothole covered roads.

“Our neighbors deserve to have a budget that works for them, not one that just caters to the big-money special interest groups that have stacked the deck in their favor.

“Democrats, meanwhile, have put forward several ideas to ensure our budget is balanced and supports Wisconsin working families by leveling the playing field, restoring the much-needed funds that have been slashed from our kids’ schools the last few years, and by creating common sense paths to economic security.

“For our kids, for our future, and for Wisconsin, we can and must do better than continuing to delay the next budget anymore.”

Solutions for Wisconsin: Raises $1.5 million in second quarter

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Contact:  Chris Schrimpf
614-440-8589
[email protected]

Solutions for Wisconsin, a super PAC formed at the end of March to support the potential candidacy of Kevin Nicholson in the 2018 U.S. Senate race, announced today that it will report raising $1.5 million in its second quarter filing.  The additional $1.5 million raised brings the group’s total fundraising to $3.5 million since it was created at the end of March.

Kevin Nicholson, a Wisconsin native, who is a combat veteran, successful business leader and Delafield, WI family man, is widely expected to challenge incumbent Democrat Tammy Baldwin.

“Tammy Baldwin is one of the most vulnerable Democratic Senators in 2018 and Kevin Nicholson would be the perfect candidate to defeat her,” Solutions for Wisconsin spokesman Chris Schrimpf said.  “Kevin is an outsider, a combat veteran and a business leader.  Uniting around Kevin now gives our Party its greatest chance at victory next year.  If he runs, we will do everything we can to help Kevin win and will have the resources to make it happen.”

When Solutions for Wisconsin was announced supporter Richard Uihlein said, “I strongly encourage others to support this effort and avoid a repeat of 2012’s divisive Republican primary.”

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Speaker Vos: Statement on DOT reform bill

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Contact:
(608) 266-3387

Madison…Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) released the following statement regarding the Department of Transportation (DOT) reform bill (LRB 3884), which is being circulated for co-sponsorships.

“Under Governor Walker’s leadership, the Department of Transportation has saved more than $1.5 billion through efficiencies since 2011. But there are still reforms that need to be made, especially those pointed out in the legislative audit of the agency.

“I support many of the reforms and would like to see them included in a comprehensive package to address the transportation needs of our state. I agree with the bill’s authors that a full repeal of prevailing wage is an essential component of a DOT reform package.

“I look forward to working with my colleagues in both chambers to improve the DOT to bring about a more effective and efficient agency. However, it’s important to understand that reforms alone won’t resolve the transportation funding issue that must be addressed in order to maintain a reliable and safe highway system.”

THU AM Update: Ryan to report more than $11 million cash on hand

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THU News Summary: Revised Senate health care bill; National Guard to assist flooded communities; state budget impasse

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THU PM Update: Bill would boost DOT oversight, repeal prevailing wage; Johnson, Baldwin on Senate health care bill

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Voces de la Frontera: Milwaukee urges Mayor Barrett to reverse new anti-immigrant police rules

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

What: Rally & Mass Presence at Milwaukee Fire & Police Commission (FPC) hearing to oppose anti-immigrant changes to Milwaukee Police Department rules

Who: Voces de la Frontera, League of United Latin American Citizens of Wisconsin, hundreds of immigrant community members, religious leaders, business owners, worker leaders, supporters

When: Thursday, July 13th, 5pm. FPC Meeting starts at 5:30pm.

Where: Milwaukee City Hall (200 E Wells St)

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has approved new Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) policies to allow MPD officers to investigate immigration status at anytime. Other changes force officers to call ICE directly if they detain someone they think is an immigrant.

Mayor Barrett and the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission can still rescind the policies. On Thursday, July 13th, hundreds of Milwaukee immigrant community members and supporters will pack City Hall to attend the Fire and Police Commission hearing and urge Mayor Tom Barrett and the FPC to rescind new policies. Community members will rally at 5pm at City Hall before attending the 5:30 FPC meeting.

Vos, Darling comments show continuing divide among GOP on borrowing

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos on Wednesday continued to dig in on his insistence that Senate Republicans need to agree to no new bonding for transportation in the state budget if his caucus has to accept there won’t be a revenue upper for road work.

But JFC Co-chair Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, said no new bonding would shut down projects in southeastern Wisconsin and hurt economic development. She singled out the north leg of the Zoo Interchange, I-94 north-south and I-94 east-west as projects that need funding in the upcoming budget to keep the state’s economy on track.

“I don’t get his endgame,” Darling told WisPolitics.com in a phone interview. “I understand he’s saying he wants a new revenue source that the guv has said he will veto. So that’s a non-starter. I don’t understand why he doesn’t get that.”

Vos told WisPolitics.com this week the Assembly has accepted there won’t be new revenues, a message he again delivered to Capitol reporters Wednesday after meeting with Gov. Scott Walker and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald.

“I have accepted the reality that they don’t want to raise revenue,” he said today. “They need to accept the reality that we’re not going to borrow and spend.”

Weigh in on the issue by creating a Polco account and voting:

The exchange shows the continuing divide between the two GOP caucuses on a key issue to finishing the state budget, which is almost two weeks late. Wisconsin is one of five states that have not yet enacted a budget for fiscal year 2017-18.

Senate Republicans have continued to ratchet down their target bonding number over the next two years. At one point Fitzgerald mentioned $850 million before dropping that to $750 million last week. On Wednesday, Darling, R-River Hills, said the caucus is now looking at $712 million, though she said that could change. She said the final number would not come in above $750 million and some of it would include general obligation bonding, which would not rely on transportation revenue to pay off the debt.

About $300 million of the borrowing her caucus is considering would go toward mega projects in southeastern Wisconsin, she said.

Both Darling and Vos insist they’re ready for the Joint Finance Committee to meet on topics the two sides can agree on.

But they also suggested it was the other house that was an issue in making that happen.

Wisconsin Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection: Facing Flood Damage? Don’t be left high and dry by storm chasers

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Contact(s):  Jerad Albracht, Senior Communications Specialist
608-224-5007

or

Bill Cosh, Communications Director
608-224-5020

Madison, Wisconsin – This week’s torrential rains have brought devastating flooding to southeastern Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) asks affected property owners to seek trusted local contractors for repairs and to be on the lookout for transient contractors (or “storm chasers”).

“Out-of-state work crews move from town to town, popping up in storm-damaged neighborhoods seeking money for quick repair projects,” said Frank Frassetto, Division Administrator for Trade and Consumer Protection. “At best, these teams could make some repairs but are not accountable for the quality of the work or for any damage they may cause to your property. At worst, they may be rip-off artists looking take your money and run.”

Always use caution in your interactions with storm chasers, never let them into your home, and do not give in to their high-pressure pitches. Start your search for help with a storm repair project by researching trusted local contractors. Seek references from friends, family members, local home builder associations and co-workers, and contact DATCP’s Consumer Protection Hotline (800-422-7128) to find out about complaints against particular businesses.

Consider these additional tips if you are seeking help with a home repair following a major storm:

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

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

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

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

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Wisconsin DOJ: AG Schimel announces medical assistance fraud charges against Hartford, WI therapist

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MADISON, Wis. – Attorney General Brad Schimel filed ten felony counts of medical assistance fraud against Hartford therapist Sharon N. Medina in Dane County Circuit Court today.

“Public assistance fraud not only steals hard-earned taxpayer dollars, but also takes financial resources intended for our neediest citizens and gives it to criminals,” said Attorney General Schimel. “We must prosecute criminals who intentionally defraud the system and undermine taxpayer confidence in medical assistance programs.”

Medina, who has a history of financial trouble, including multiple bankruptcies, is alleged to have fabricated dates of service and submitted claims for services not rendered, from 2013 to 2015, when she was a Medicaid service provider.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice Medicaid Fraud and Control Unit participated in the “National Healthcare Fraud Takedown” being coordinated by the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Hartford Police Department assisted DOJ with this case.

Assistant Attorney General Peter M. Tempelis is representing the State of Wisconsin.

Attorney General Schimel requests the assistance of all Wisconsin citizens in fighting health care fraud and patient abuse. Please use the statewide hotline number at 1-800-488-3780 to report Medicaid fraud or elder abuse.

Wisconsin Legislature: Legislative Republicans propose DOT reform bill

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Contact:
Sen. Chris Kapenga (608) 266-9174
Rep. Joe Sanfelippo (608) 266-0620
Sen. David Craig (608) 266-5400
Rep. Rob Hutton (608) 267-9836

Madison, Wis. – A large coalition of Legislative Republicans circulated legislation for co-
sponsorship which would fundamentally alter the way the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) delivers, finances, and administers state highway projects. This reform package will result in significant savings to taxpayers which is a must-have component of a long-term path to fund Wisconsin roads.

The audit released earlier this year confirmed that our DOT suffers from years of mismanagement. Rep. Sanfelippo said, “This bill will restore taxpayer confidence in an agency that has strayed from the sound fiscal and good-government principles we expect.”

“After demonstrating a poor use of taxpayer dollars, substantial reform is essential at the DOT,” said Sen. Kapenga. “These reforms have been proven around the country to save significant money and deliver projects in a more efficient and effective manner. It is part of what is needed to help get the agency back on track.”

The bill introduces a design-build-finance model which is a common delivery method employed by other states to realize significant reductions in construction costs and completion times on road projects. The bill also contains structural reforms to the DOT and related agencies including: repeal of prevailing wage, “fed swap,” referendum requirements for roundabouts and local wheel tax, and an outside audit of DOT operations.

Hutton added, “As with most government agencies, the issue is one of spending not funding. This legislation rightly addresses several critical areas of fiscal and operational reform within the DOT.”

Sen. Craig stated, “These are necessary changes that together can realize significant savings and result in more road per dollar without raising taxes.”

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce: Court decision to uphold Right-to-Work a win for Wisconsin

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MADISON – On Wednesday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld Wisconsin’s Right-to-Work law, which guarantees workers the freedom to choose whether or not they want to join a union. Shortly after the decision was announced, WMC Director of Health and Human Resources Policy Chris Reader released the following statement:
“Once again, a court has rejected the ridiculous argument that labor unions have a right to workers’ wages. The ruling today is a tremendous victory for workers in Wisconsin and affirms the constitutionality of the state’s Right to Work law. Our economy has benefited greatly from Right to Work, and today’s ruling should be celebrated.”

WisDems: Issues statement on revised Senate Trumpcare bill

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

Madison, Wisconsin — The following is the statement of Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Martha Laning in response to the latest TrumpCare bill release:

“After four different versions of Trumpcare it’s clear that Republican calls to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act were about politics and not about increasing access to affordable health care for all Americans.

“The latest version of Trumpcare spikes costs and strips coverage for millions of people in our country. The bill released today isn’t a health care bill, but a massive tax giveaway for millionaires, billionaires, and big corporations.

“Republicans like Senator Ron Johnson, Governor Scott Walker, and Senator Leah Vukmir’s support for Trumpcare shows they want to take us back to the days when big insurance companies made the rules, costs were sky high, and Wisconsinites went uninsured. Democrats will continue the fight to protect the care of hard working families in our state. In 2018, the voters will chose progressives who stood up to protect their health care.”

WisDems: Nicholson Super PAC throws Hail Mary to save embattled candidacy, before it even begins

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

Madison, Wisconsin — After weeks of terrible news about Kevin Nicholson’s secret candidacy for U.S. Senate, the Super PAC that first propped up his run has thrown another $1.5 million behind him. Not only has Nicholson faced multiple questions about his honesty, ranging from when he became a Republican to his vote in the Democratic Primary for President, he’s been called out as an “opportunist” by the people who know him best.

To save his flailing candidacy that hasn’t even launched yet, the super PAC started by Nicholson’s out-of-state sugar daddy Dick Uihlein, has dropped an additional $1.5 million, to prop up the campaign. That brings the PAC’s total to influence Wisconsin’s election to $3.5 million.

“Its not surprising that the only person willing to support Kevin Nicholson is an Illinois multimillionaire. If Kevin Nicholson has time to woo out of state millionaires, he should stop hiding from the people of Wisconsin. The people he hopes to serve deserve to know where Kevin stands on the Senate Republican health care bill that benefits people like Dick Uihlein, but hurts hard working Wisconsinites.”
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WisDOT: One lane closed on I-39/90 northbound, at mile marker 144, near Madison

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Contact: Steven Theisen
[email protected]

One lane is closed on I-39/90 northbound over Siggelkow Road, at mile marker 144, near Madison in Dane County. The lane will be closed until 5 p.m. today (July 13). Maintenance crews will complete pavement repairs in this area.

Backups and delays are expected in this area. Motorists are urged to plan ahead, use alternate routes and allow extra time to safely reach their destination. Travel information on Wisconsin highways can be found at www.511wi.gov.

Working Families Party: Announces endorsement for Randy Bryce for Congress

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Contact(s): Joe Dinkin (WFP)
978 223-5868
[email protected]

or

David Keith (Randy Bryce for Congress)
323 400-8853
[email protected]com

Today, the Wisconsin Working Families Party announced its endorsement for Randy Bryce, the union ironworker and veteran running an insurgent and inspiring campaign for Congress against House Speaker Paul Ryan. The endorsement marks the WFP’s first federal endorsement of the 2018 cycle in the nation, with WFP organizers pledging to make Bryce’s candidacy a top priority, and is a show of momentum for the campaign.

“Congress already has enough millionaires, but it doesn’t have enough iron workers,” said Wisconsin Working Families Party director Marina Dimitrijevic. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to support a working families hero and one of our own, Randy Bryce. We won’t rest until Randy Bryce is in Congress and Wall Street Paul is no longer a danger to the sick, elderly, and working class of Wisconsin and of our nation.”

The Working Families Party pledged to make Bryce’s candidacy a top priority, announcing plans to help raise small dollar contributions and mobilize voters in the district to get involved in the campaign by volunteering to knock on doors.

“The people deserve a voice, workers deserve a voice, families deserve a voice. That’s why I’m a proud member of the Working Families Party in Wisconsin and why I’m throwing my hard hat into the ring to run for Congress,” said Randy Bryce. “These issues aren’t a game to me. I don’t know what I’ll do if my mom loses her healthcare. I’m running to make sure Southeastern Wisconsin gets a fair shake and I’m proud to have the backing of the WFP.”

Bryce has been active in the Working Families Party since it launched in Wisconsin in 2015. Bryce has also participated in WFP-organized protests that have criticized Paul Ryan for refusing to hold a single open town hall meeting in his district yet this year. Working Families Party organizers first asked Bryce to consider running.

The WFP’s enthusiastic endorsement for Bryce is the latest sign of momentum for a campaign that might have looked like a long shot when it was launched less than a month ago, but seems more and more credible by the day. WFP organizers say the feeling of momentum for Bryce is real. In the first 12 days of his candidacy Bryce raised more than $430k and has amassed 120,000 twitter followers so far. The campaign’s launch video tallied more than a million views on Youtube and Facebook.

WFP organizers also note that Ryan’s district is rated as an “R+5” district by the 2017 Cook Political Report, a much narrower Republican advantage than in any of the closely-watched special Congressional elections earlier this year.

Wisconsin WFP launched just two years ago, and has since earned a reputation as an effective and principled political organization that delivers for working families, winning surprising victories — among them a clean sweep on the Racine school board for its endorsed candidates in the fall of 2016.

Nationally, progressive Working Families Party-backed candidates are winning upsets around the nation this year, including Christine Pellegrino, a teacher and former delegate for Bernie Sanders who won a special election to a State Assembly seat on Long Island in a district Trump won by more than twenty points and Larry Krasner, the Democratic nominee for District Attorney in Philadelphia, who upset a crowded field running on a platform of bold criminal justice reform.

“Randy Bryce is someone who knows the challenges that working families are facing right now, because he’s facing them too. Paul Ryan can’t be bothered to hold a single open meeting in his district,” said Clinton Rodgers, a board member of the Wisconsin Working Families Party and a union rep for CWA District 4. “He’s too busy raising money from Wall Street CEOs and millionaires, and working to strip away healthcare from hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites. We need Randy Bryce in Congress. He will work hard to defend working families from people like Paul Ryan and fighting for healthcare for all.”

Paul Ryan has come under criticism for his key role in the development and House passage of the so-called “Affordable Health Care Act” more commonly known as Trumpcare, which would result in more than 20 million Americans losing their healthcare coverage, including nearly 400,000 in Wisconsin alone, according to an analysis by the Center for American Progress.  

“As a resident of Racine, I’ve never seen people this fired up almost eighteen months before an election. Randy Bryce is a hardworking Wisconsinite, a family man, a veteran and a friend. I think working people of every stripe are going to like what they hear from him,” said John Tate II, a Working Families Party member from Racine who is also serving as Bryce’s campaign treasurer. “He’s someone we can count on to stand with us. He will side with Main Street over Wall Street every single time. And that’s what’s getting people ready to fight for Randy — because he’ll fight for us. “

About The Wisconsin Working Families Party: The Wisconsin Working Families Party is a grassroots political organization that believes our political leaders should answer to Wisconsin’s working families, not wealthy donors and political insiders. WFP fights for justice, freedom and a better life for working families — good jobs with decent wages, healthcare for all and high quality public schools. The Working Families Party is electing the next generation of progressive leaders who share that vision to office at every level.

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July 14, 2017 | July 12, 2017
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