2017 August

Monthly Archives: August 2017

 Speaker Vos: Statement on Dr. Ellsworth Brown’s Retirement

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Speaker Robin Vos (608) 266-3387
[email protected]

Madison…Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) released the following statement in regards to the retirement announcement of Dr. Ellsworth Brown, Director of the Wisconsin Historical Society.

“On behalf of the Wisconsin State Assembly, I would like to thank Dr. Brown for his unwavering commitment to preserving the state’s rich history and ensuring that the stories of our past can be told to our future. We would also like to wish him well in his retirement.”

‘UpFront’: Evers says Foxconn a ‘Hail Mary,’ not a fair deal

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tony Evers said on “UpFront with Mike Gousha” he would renegotiate the Foxconn deal if he’s elected governor in 2018.

Evers, the state’s DPI superintendent since 2009, said he would renegotiate whichever parts of the deal could be renegotiated.

“I don’t think it’s a fair deal for the people of Wisconsin,” Evers said on the show, which is produced in partnership with Wispolitics.com. “I think it’s a bit of a Hail Mary pass. Three billion dollars, without environmental restrictions on the company and no guarantees on the number of jobs.”

Evers said companies across the state “have expanded greatly for less money and are doing quite well.”

He also said the “enormous” cost of the deal “cramps the state going forward as far as what’s available for schools, for roads, for all number of things that the state is ultimately responsible for.”

Evers also pushed back against Republican charges that he’s a “Madison bureaucrat.”

“I’ve lived outside the Madison bubble for most of my life,” he said. “I was born and raised in Plymouth. I worked all across central Wisconsin, so I know rural, I know urban, I’ve been involved with communities all across the state, and that’s why I’m running, frankly.

“I think it’s extraordinarily important that we seek a change in the outlook of the state of Wisconsin, and invest in our citizens and make sure that we have a middle class,” Evers said.

Also on the program, state Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, whose 21st Senate District is expected to get the Foxconn plant, said he’s heard very little opposition from constituents to the state’s deal with Foxconn.

“The majority of people understand what a game changer this is,” Wanggaard said of the new technology coming to Wisconsin. “This is just going to be game changing for the next five decades.”

Wanggaard said he expected the majority of the Foxconn campus to be located in Racine County, in the Mt. Pleasant-Sturtevant area. The company has not yet announced a site.

Wanggaard said he agreed with the Walker administration’s assessment that 90 percent of the Foxconn workers would be Wisconsin residents, as opposed to coming from Illinois.

“Eventually a lot of those individuals move up to Wisconsin and move into in our state,” he said.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett also appeared on the program to discuss his letter to the governor and lawmakers, asking them to authorize a half-cent sales tax for the city, which Barrett wants to put to a vote of city residents.

Barrett said the half-cent sales tax is needed to hire more police officers.

“I am not asking the state Legislature for a penny,” he said. “What I’m asking them is to help us address our public safety needs.”

Barrett said the city has put more money into the police department, but between the loss of shared revenue from the state, and a state-imposed limit on property taxes, the city can’t do it anymore.

“It is now broken,” he said. “Our hands are completely tied right now.”

He said he was confident that city residents would vote to approve a half-cent sales tax given the opportunity.

Without the additional revenue, Barrett said there will be future cuts to public safety.

“It’s going to happen,” he said. “I’m going to be very clear. There are going to be fewer police officers and there are going to be fewer firefighters on the streets next year if we don’t have this.”

Barrett said he would resist demands from lawmakers that the city make changes in police department leadership or policy, in return for authorization of the sales tax.

“That is a non-starter for me, to have them come and say, ‘OK, we’re going to decide who’s the police chief, or we’re going to decide the policy of the police department,'” he said.

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

‘UpFront’: Hogan, Neitzel say state couldn’t have gotten better deal on Foxconn

The architects of the deal to bring Taiwanese tech giant Foxconn to Wisconsin say they could not have gotten a better deal for taxpayers.

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation CEO Mark Hogan and Department of Administration Secretary Scott Neitzel discussed the deal on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

Gousha asked about criticism that they “gave away the store” in the nearly $3 billion agreement with Foxconn to build a huge plant in southeastern Wisconsin.

“Could you have driven a harder bargain in the negotiations with Foxconn?” Gousha asked.

“No. I don’t believe so. We didn’t meet the number that they asked for, that’s the bottom line,” Hogan said.

“And ultimately when we looked at it, and we looked at the amount of capital expenditures, and the commitment on the company’s side relative to the employment and all of the other things that go with it that you cannot quantify, we truly can sit here today and look at it and say that Wisconsin got a good deal, for a lot of money there’s no doubt about it,” Hogan added. “But there’s an incredible commitment on the part of the company and the opportunity for the state of Wisconsin is limitless.”

Neitzel called the agreement “transformative” and said it will create “an ecosystem for high-tech manufacturing right here in Wisconsin.”

Hogan said the state is currently negotiating the contract with Foxconn.

“Our understanding with the company is $10 billion investment in the state of Wisconsin, 13,000 jobs, and we will provide $2.85 billion in tax credits to the company,” Hogan said.

“The way we set this up is that the company has to invest dollars or hire employees before they get a dime of state incentive money,” Neitzel said.

“They are very committed to being here in Wisconsin. They are very committed to being a part of the Wisconsin business community. They want to make this ecosystem good for the whole state,” Neitzel said.

Neitzel also said Foxconn will have to meet all environmental laws and “all we’re doing is streamlining some of the upfront paperwork.”

Also on the program, state Rep. Dana Wachs, D-Eau Claire, who has announced a bid for governor next year, said he will vote against the Foxconn bill.

“We worked hard to try to find a way to go to yes on this,” Wachs said. “We need jobs. Jobs are important, it’s critical, particularly in the area where this place is proposed to be.”

But the harder he looked at it, Wachs said, the more he became concerned about the needs of taxpayers in the deal, especially with a payback that doesn’t come until 2042-2043.

“It’s not a good deal. It’s not a good deal at all. And I don’t think taxpayers are being well served by this deal.

”And the other thing about it is, they are rushing this through. If we had months to sit down and take a hard look at this and analyze everything, that’d be a different story,” Wachs said. ”But to spend $2.8 billion or $3 billion on this project at this point in time with very little time to reflect on it, I just don’t see how we can do it, I can’t go to yes.”

Wachs also said he had environmental concerns about the Foxconn bill.

About his bid for governor, Wachs said he would be “something different” in the 2018 race.

“I’m not a career politician. I’ve spent my career in the courtroom, in courthouses. I’m a hunter and a fisherman coming from northwest Wisconsin,” Wachs said.

Wachs said he also wanted to give a voice in government to “regular folks.”

“The functional reality is that the government right now is serving the needs of massive corporations. Powerful special interest groups come into that building with baskets filled with money in order to have their way,” Wachs said. “It’s not the people’s government any more. It’s the government of massive corporations.”

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

‘UpFront’: Moore calls for Trump to be removed from office

U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, questioned President Donald Trump’s mental health and said he should be “removed (from office) as soon as possible.”

“I think Donald Trump has come undone,” Moore told “UpFront with Mike Gousha, produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

“He is exhibiting all of the signs of a breakdown. Which is fine, if you’re having a breakdown, you need the care. But we can’t afford to have him as commander-in-chief, because I believe he’s incapacitated,” she said.

She called on Republicans in Congress to join Democrats in using their constitutional tools to remove Trump from office.

“This is all about our integrity and about our democracy, this is beyond partisanship,” she said.

Also on the program, state Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, said she doesn’t think the Senate will make significant changes to the Foxconn bill that passed the Assembly last week.

“I think the Assembly really dug into it and made sure there are some good amendments,” she said. “We haven’t decided whether we are going to accept them or not, or add additional ones.

“But I know the Democrats will be offering amendments and we’ll be very interested in what they have to offer, because we really want this to be a bipartisan bill and in the Assembly it was passed in a bipartisan way, which is a good thing,” Darling said.

Gousha asked her if any Republicans would vote against the bill, citing concerns about “corporate welfare” or government picking winners and losers.

“I think some are considering it, but very few because they realize how thoughtful this process has been on the governor’s part, and Scott Neitzel and Mark Hogan, who are very respected people,” she said.

Darling predicted the Foxconn bill will pass in the Senate before the Sept. 30 deadline, and the budget would be finished before that.

“We’re very close on every part of the budget, even transportation,” she said.

Also on the program, Sarah Geers, staff attorney for Midwest Environmental Advocates, said her organization is concerned about exemptions to state environmental regulations being granted to Foxconn.

Geers said those include exemptions from state wetland and waterway permitting laws, and an exemption from having to do a full environmental impact analysis.

Gousha asked about the Walker administration’s statement that they are just streamlining the process for Foxconn.

“It’s sort of a false distraction to point to all the environmental programs that aren’t touched by the Foxconn legislation, instead of addressing directly the environmental exemptions that are in the legislation,” she said.

Geers also said there could be implications for the Great Lakes Compact, depending on where the Foxconn plant is built, and whether large amounts of water are pulled from Lake Michigan and not returned.

Geers said environmental groups will have a better idea about “litigation options” once they know where the Foxconn factory will be developed.

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

‘UpFront’: Vinehout ‘testing the waters’ for potential guv bid

State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout said she expects to make an announcement in September on whether she will run for governor in 2018.

“I’m out there testing the waters, and I can tell you that the waters are getting warmer,” she said on Sunday’s “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

Vinehout discussed the Foxconn bill, a $3 billion package of incentives the Walker administration has put together to lure the Taiwanese tech giant to Wisconsin.

“There’s certainly a lot of questions and a lot of things I’d like to see changed before it becomes a deal I can support,” the Alma Democrat said.

“Voters are right to question the whole policy of whether or not we should give a great deal of money to one company,” Vinehout said.

She said the tax credits proposed for Foxconn are “front-loaded,” meaning that “we’re going to have to pay out cash” to the company when it starts making capital expenditures.

“We haven’t even seen the state’s cash flow statement going forward. What’s it going to look like to the budget? How much are we going to have to cut schools and health care and local government and roads in order to pay for these tax credits? That’s the math that the Legislature needs to see,” she said.

Also on the program, Kevin Nicholson, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, explained why he switched parties after being active in Democratic politics years ago.

Nicholson said he was raised in a “left-of-center” family and his grandfather, who was his personal hero, was an FDR Democrat.

He said when he went away to college he became active in politics, eventually becoming president of the College Democrats of America. But he said he didn’t like the “identity politics” he saw practiced within the Democratic National Committee.

“I had to find out myself that the vision of the Democratic Party was not my vision for the future,” he said.

“When I talked about joining the Marine Corps, which I’d always planned to do, people looked at me like I was a little bit crazy,” he said. “I knew this probably wasn’t my crowd.”

Nicholson said the rest of his life went in a very different direction.

“My life shaped me. Those are the experiences that made me a conservative,” he said.

Nicholson also said his life experiences, including becoming a father of three and seeing lives lost in combat, changed his outlook from supporting abortion rights to opposing them.

“People will come to this decision in different ways. I can tell you that my experience is hard-earned and it’s the kind of thing that has stuck with me,” he said.

And ABC News Political Director Rick Klein suggests former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus of Kenosha may run for office again in the future.

“He is remaining pretty loyal to President Trump in what he’s said publicly so far,” Klein said. “Personally, I’d be surprised if his name doesn’t make it onto to a ballot in Wisconsin at some point.”

Priebus once ran for state Senate from Kenosha.

Priebus left the West Wing about 10 days ago. President Trump replaced him with retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, who had been secretary at the Department of Homeland Security.

Priebus is a former head of both the Republican National Committee and the Republican Party of Wisconsin.

“Reince Priebus was given a managerial structure that was almost unmanageable,” Klein said.

Klein noted the close relationship between Priebus and House Speaker Paul Ryan of Janesville, and said many in the Trump White House do not have the level of comfort that Priebus had in picking up the phone and talking to donors or people on the Hill.

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

‘Ghost of Stanley’ haunts Green Bay-area prison proposal

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30th anniversary celebration for Gov. Thompson’s first inauguration 🗓

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Wisconsin Club,
900 W. Wisconsin Ave.,
Milwaukee.

For Immediate Release: Contact: Brian J. Nemoir 262.751.0448

(Milwaukee, WI)— In celebration of the 30th anniversary of Tommy G. Thompson’s first inauguration as Governor, an evening dinner gala at the Wisconsin Club will be held on September 18th featuring United States Speaker Paul Ryan.

“This past May, we began the celebration of the 30th anniversary of Tommy Thompson’s inauguration with a well-received public policy symposium looking back at his key policy achievements,” said James Klauser, Chairman of the [email protected] effort and former Secretary of Administration for Gov. Thompson. “The September 18th celebration provides a wonderful opportunity for friends to come together and commemorate the transformative policy and political successes of Tommy Thompson.”

The celebration will feature key guest appearances—former legislative colleagues, members of the Thompson team, family, video features and most-importantly a room full of enthusiastic supporters. The limited-seating event will begin with a 5:00 cocktail reception and a 6:30 dinner and program thereafter. Registration and additional information can be found at www.tommyat30.com.

In 1986 Thompson, as the minority leader and a 21-year member of the Assembly, decided to challenge then-Governor Tony Earl. Considered an underdog in a crowded GOP field, Thompson pulled off a surprising primary upset and effectively campaigned in the general election, unseating the incumbent by an unexpected 7-point margin. After his 1987 swearing-in, Thompson went on to earn national accolades as a policy innovator by championing the nation’s first school voucher program, by replacing welfare with the work-based W-2 program and by encouraging extraordinary job growth

At the request of President George W. Bush, in 2001 Thompson went on to serve as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, the nation’s largest agency. As secretary, Thompson lead the agency’s unprecedented response to the 9-11 tragedy, and championed key legislative victories like the popular prescription drug benefit, Medicare Part D. Thereafter, Thompson has enjoyed private sector successes and remains active on key public policy issues.

The year-long [email protected] project was launched by alumni and colleagues of Gov. Thompson, and will feature several high-profile events throughout the year. Many other Thompson administration alumni are also donating their time and talents to the project. Generous support from foundations, individuals and corporations are helping offset the costs associated with the academic papers, journalistic histories and the documentary. The Executive Director of the [email protected] project is former State Representative Michelle Litjens.

AG Schimel: Seventh Circuit grants state’s en banc petition in Dassey v. Dittman

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MADISON, Wis. – Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has granted the State’s en banc petition in Dassey v. Dittman. Previously, a panel for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the grant of Mr. Dassey’s habeas petition, and the State requested review of that decision from the entire court. With today’s order, the entire Seventh Circuit will rehear the case for habeas. Oral arguments have been scheduled for Tuesday, September 26, 2017.

Relevant court filings can be found here.

AG Schimel: Welcomes Drug Endangered Children Conference to state

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MADISON, Wis. – On Tuesday, August 29, Attorney General Brad Schimel will welcome more than 600 National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children (National DEC) annual conference attendees to Green Bay, Wis.

“I’m excited to welcome the hundreds of multi-disciplinary DEC stakeholders to Wisconsin, not only because our state has so much to offer tourists and out of town guests, but because we have so many criminal justice professionals who are seen as national leaders in their respective fields and who are ready to share their knowledge with conference attendees,” said Attorney General Schimel. “The rise of the opioid epidemic and the return of methamphetamine is tragically pulling countless children into the grip of the illicit drug world and Wisconsin is again leading the nation in our approach to the drug crisis, guaranteeing that children are not forgotten.”

National DEC is a collaboration between law enforcement, prosecutors, social services, medical personnel, treatment providers, prevention experts, probation and corrections, and first responders dedicated to helping children endangered by substance abuse. National DEC ensures that children caught in the abuse, manufacture, and distribution of illicit drugs receive a child-centered approach to receiving help for any emotional or physical damage their caretaker’s actions may have caused.

Topics that will be covered at the conference will include trauma informed care, human trafficking, the effects of marijuana on a teenage brain development, substance abuse’s effect on child abuse and neglect, and how to collaborate with tribal communities.

Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Cindy Giese is current president of National DEC.

Wisconsin has 58 DEC programs, which includes 49 counties and seven tribal communities. Ten more counties and tribes are currently developing DEC programs and hope to have them completed within the next year.

Every year, the Wisconsin Department of Justice hosts conferences and trainings to the more than 16,000 certified Wisconsin law enforcement, jail, and secure juvenile detention officers who are statutorily required to complete 24 hours of annual recertification training. The agency also provides instructor updates and training seminars for new chiefs of police, jail administrators, and sheriffs. Career development programs for mid- to senior-level law enforcement executives are also facilitated and sponsored by DOJ, including First Line Supervisor Training; Leadership in Police Organizations, which is the flagship leadership development training program of the International Association of Chiefs of Police; and the Command College, a nationally accredited leadership and management development training program that is a joint venture of the Wisconsin Department of Justice and the University of Wisconsin.

In addition to the above trainings, DOJ also awarded 47 specialized training grants in the amount of $233,000 to external criminal justice organizations and associations which in turn provided advanced training for more than 4,200 certified Wisconsin law enforcement, jail, and secure juvenile detention officers.

Al Christianson: The real Flambeau Mine story

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

It is refreshing to me to learn that legislation is being introduced to lift Wisconsin’s long-standing moratorium on metallic mineral mining. We here in northern Wisconsin can potentially share in the economic gains that our neighbors in northern Minnesota and Michigan are looking forward to with current mining projects under development. After all, if we are to prosper again we need to look at how we were built in the first place; by logging, agriculture and mining.

Wisconsin’s moratorium cleverly, but unfairly, created an artificial standard that does not allow for the Flambeau Mine at Ladysmith to be cited as an example of a mine that had operated successfully in our state. Although successful and environmentally sound, the Flambeau Mine played out in five years rather than the required ten.

I have enjoyed a long tenure as Ladysmith’s City Administrator. I was new in this role when Flambeau Mining sought to permit the mine in the late 1980s. Since a part of the Flambeau Mine was located within the city limits, I have been involved with it from its inception through its construction, actual mining, reclamation, issuance of the completion certificate, and now post closure.

It is time to quit judging mining by how it was done a century or even decades ago. Please consider it in the context of state of the art mining technology. Other industries aren’t judged this way. They are judged by how they operate today in a world where advances in technology and safety are made daily. It is also time to lift the moratorium and let the people of northern Wisconsin decide whether they want to host mining as they were able to for most of our history. Remember why we were known as The Badger State.

Even though the last ore was mined over two decades ago, Ladysmith continues to get inquiries about supposed mining related problems. That never ceases to amaze me considering local residents like me are unaware of any. Then again, why would we be? They didn’t happen. What did happen was the mine provided an incredible economic boost that remains in town today. The city of Ladysmith can thank the Flambeau Mine for a new library, jobs, a new airport, jobs, a new visitor center, jobs, and a new school playground.

Individuals spent a considerable amount of time and money to prove that some runoff from a parking lot at an office building picked up trace amounts of mineral. In my estimation the time and effort spent proving that used a lot more of the earth’s resources and a lot more people’s time unnecessarily than the supposed problem itself. Scare tactics used to try to stop or slow mining should be brought elsewhere.

The economic decline that is currently underway will continue to drive our children away if this goes on unabated. Allow northern counties a means to deal with aging and declining populations resulting from economic stagnation and allow mineral production taxes to flow south rather than just sending transfer payment north.

Wisconsin has some of the strongest environmental regulations in the world. We need to take some responsibility for what we use. Don’t force the metals you all use daily to be mined in places where regulations are weak, if they exist at all. Allow good paying, mining jobs to once again support Wisconsin families. Let it be “Made in Wisconsin”.

Don’t take my word for any of this though. When you are traveling in the Ladysmith area, stop by one of the local gas stations or restaurants. Fill your tank and get a bite to eat. Stop at a shop. We’ll be glad to have you. Ask the gas station attendant, your waitress or the ubiquitous “man on the street” about the Flambeau Mine. Ask them what they know about it. Probably very little if anything, which is a good thing. If there were a problem they certainly would know. Ask the local fishing guide who says the best fishing in the area is along the stretch of the Flambeau that passes by the former mine site. Then ask these folks what the Flambeau Mine did for the community. They may tell you about the beautiful library that mine dollars paid most of the cost of, or the nice playground at the local elementary school. They may tell you about the hundreds of jobs that were added in the local economy as a result of investment of mining revenues into other business ventures. I believe a large majority of local citizens will tell you they would welcome with open arms consideration of another mine in this area.

Before you draw conclusions about the Flambeau Mine look to see where the information came from. If you want to find out the real story, visit us. Find out from the people like me who witnessed it from the start and hear what we have to say.

This is the Real Flambeau Mine Story.

— Christianson is Ladysmith’s city administrator.

Aldo Leopold Center: Pipers in the Prairie & Festival Fire 🗓

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Contact: Cara Erickson
8/10/2017 (608) 216-9374

Join the Aldo Leopold Nature Center as we light up the night sky at the 15 th Annual Pipers in the Prairie & Festival Fire! A captivating and unforgettable celebration of the harvest season, our major fundraising event of the year is family-friendly and offers a unique blend of activities found nowhere else in Madison.

Location: Aldo Leopold Nature Center, 330 Femrite Drive, Monona

Date/Time: Saturday, September 30 th , 4:30 pm to 8 pm

Tickets: $75/adult (18+), $25/child (ages 5-17), Children 4 and Under Free

To Register, Contact: Kelley Van Egeren at (608) 216-9373 or visit www.aldoleopoldnaturecenter.org

 Complimentary Wine, Beer; Non-Alcoholic Beverages
 Hearty Hors D’oeuvres; Decadent Desserts
 Captivating Celtic music by West Wind
 Irish Dance by Cashel Dennehy
 Prairie Drama Performance by the Green Man
 Silent Auction – Online & Onsite (visit aldoleopoldnaturecenter.org to start bidding on 8/30)
 Nature Activities for Children
 Pipers in the Prairie and Drummers on the Drumlin
 Magnificent Bonfire and More!

All proceeds Pipers in the Prairie benefit children’s environmental education at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center (ALNC).

ALNC sees tens of thousands of visitors per year, with the majority of them school-aged children. Our goal is to provide all children ages 2-14 with equitable access to top-notch environmentally focused education in a setting inspired by Aldo Leopold’s land ethic. By supporting this event, you are supporting ALNC’s mission of engaging and educating current and future generations, empowering them to respect, protect and enjoy the natural world.

Pre-registration is recommended. For information or to register, please visit aldoleopoldnaturecenter.org.

Event Partners: BMO Harris Bank, DuPont, Foley; Lardner (Anne Ross), Great Dane Pub; Brewing Company Media Partners: The Cap Times, iHeart Media, Isthmus, Madison Magazine & WKOW Channel 27 In-Kind Partners: Images Plus

Alliance Defending Freedom: Huge victory for photographer, other Wisconsin creative professionals

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Contact:

(480) 444-0020 or www.adfmedia.org/home/contact

The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Jonathan Scruggs regarding a Dane County Circuit Court’s announcement at a hearing Tuesday in Amy Lynn Photography Studio v. City of Madison that it will issue an order declaring that Amy Lawson and her business are not subject to city and state laws that would otherwise control her artistic freedom because she does not have a physical storefront:

“The court’s announcement has huge implications for everyone in Wisconsin who values artistic freedom. It means that government officials must allow creative professionals without storefronts anywhere in the city and state the freedom to make their own decisions about which ideas they will use their artistic expression to promote. The court found—and the city and state have now agreed—that such professionals cannot be punished under public accommodation laws for exercising their artistic freedom because those laws simply don’t apply to them. No one should be threatened with punishment for having views that the government doesn’t favor.”

The court has not yet issued its order but is expected to do so in the coming weeks.

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.

Alliance for the Great Lakes and other groups: Lake Erie clean up progress lags as region prepares for major summer algal bloom

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Contact: [email protected]

Chicago, Illinois – On the third anniversary of the Toledo water crisis and on the cusp of yet another summer of severe harmful algal blooms in western Lake Erie, environmental and conservation groups are calling on Ohio, Michigan and Ontario to speed up and scale up progress on efforts to reduce the pollution flowing into western Lake Erie. Groups identified three immediate steps, and assessed progress on them across the three jurisdictions, to move the Lake Erie region toward a future where clean water flowing off of farm fields and in the lake becomes the norm.

Two years ago, the Great Lakes region applauded when the Governors of Ohio and Michigan joined with the Premier of Ontario to commit to reducing the amount of runoff pollution, specifically phosphorus, flowing into western Lake Erie by 40 percent. Ohio, Michigan and Ontario are on the hook to create clear plans that allocate pollution reduction goals to all the sources that need to reduce – from chemical fertilizer, manure, wastewater and more.

In an initial assessment released today, environmental and conservation groups identified three practices for Ohio, Michigan and Ontario to implement in the coming 12-24 months to kickstart progress across the region toward meeting the 40% pollution reduction goal. The groups call on the jurisdictions to:

  • Completely ban manure and fertilizer spreading on frozen or saturated ground,

  • Require comprehensive nutrient reduction plans by all farms in the Lake Erie basin that result in clean, not polluted, water coming off of farm fields, and

  • Improve water quality monitoring of the waterways flowing into Lake Erie.

Progress by the jurisdictions on these practices has been assessed as mixed, but mostly lacking in significant steps forward. Additionally, the groups pledged to serve as watchdogs, tracking and reporting regularly on progress on these and other actions across the region.

“This unfortunate anniversary is an annual reminder to the region’s leaders, and all the people of the Great Lakes, that delivering on a commitment means showing measurable progress every year until Lake Erie is once again safe for everyone,” said Molly M. Flanagan, Vice President of Policy for the Alliance for the Great Lakes. “Sadly, the efforts so far have been unambitious, vague, and lacking enforcement requirements.”

“When the Governors of Ohio and Michigan joined the Premier of Ontario to formally commit to reducing the runoff pollution that flows into western Lake Erie, they knew, as did the people around the region, that the goal was ambitious but unequivocally needed,” said Tony Maas, Manager of Strategy at Freshwater Future. “We urge the region’s leaders to fulfill their promises of strong action to Lake Erie communities.”

The leaders of Ohio, Michigan and Ontario are set to report on Lake Erie clean up efforts in October at the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers’ annual meeting. Prior to that meeting, the Alliance for the Great Lakes and Freshwater Future will release a comprehensive analysis of the practices necessary to reduce pollution flowing into Lake Erie and an assessment of progress by the jurisdictions toward implementing them.

“Year after year, residents of Great Lakes states are facing the reality that their drinking water may be contaminated and their beaches may be closed by these toxic algae blooms,” said Charlotte Jameson, Michigan League of Conservation Voters’ Government Affairs Director. “It is time for Michigan’s leaders to take this issue seriously and commit to truly effective interventions that will stop runoff pollution from contaminating our drinking water supplies and our world class beaches.”

“Ohio has taken important steps in reducing phosphorus pollution flowing into Lake Erie, but we need to do more to fulfill the goal of 40 percent reduction of phosphorus by 2025,” said Kristy Meyer, Vice President of Policy for the Ohio Environmental Council. “Ohio’s General Assembly and administration must enact meaningful common sense regulations to address excess manure and fertilizer issues across the state. According to this year’s NOAA forecast, the people who depend on Lake Erie for drinking water, swimming, boating, and fishing cannot afford to wait any longer.”

The Alliance for the Great Lakes, Freshwater Future, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, and Ohio Environmental Council will host a webinar at 12 p.m. Central / 1 p.m. Eastern time today to provide supporters an overview of the Lake Erie harmful algal bloom problem and report on their assessment of progress toward meeting the regional goals for western Lake Erie.

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Amended Foxconn bill heads to full Assembly over Dem objections

The Foxconn bill is headed to the full Assembly Thursday after clearing a committee yesterday evening.

But a Dem who voted against the bill isn’t saying what he’ll do once it hits the floor.

The $3 billion incentive package for the Taiwanese manufacturing company passed on an 8-5 party line vote, after Republicans on the committee shot down more than 20 Dem amendments and adopted a GOP substitute amendment unveiled Friday.

That amendment would add $20 million for a worker training program and require that the final contract with Foxconn encourage the Taiwanese company to hire Wisconsin workers “when practically possible.”

Meanwhile, Dem committee member Rep. Tod Ohnstad, who also worked with Republicans on the substitute amendment but voted against both it and the bill itself yesterday, wouldn’t say how he would vote when the full Assembly takes up the bill.

“Today’s vote is today’s vote, and I look forward to perhaps making some additional changes before Thursday,” the Kenosha Dem said after the exec.

Those changes include language to address environmental concerns, as well amendments focused on concerns taxpayers and officials from both possible locations have raised, he said.

Asked if he would support the bill without any additional amendments, Ohnstad replied: “Ask me that on Thursday.”

Still, Ohnstad said he was “really proud” of the committee’s “exceptional work” on the bill.

“They’ve been very engaged, they’ve read the bill,” he said of his fellow committee members. “They probably read more pages than there are in ‘War in Peace’ on this particular bill and it’s not quite as exciting reading as ‘War and Peace’ was.”

See more coverage from yesterday’s exec in Quorum Call:
https://www.wispolitics.com/category/quorum-call/

American Legion Dept. of Wisconsin: State commander Clewell responds to U.S. VA decision to extend funding for Wisconsin homeless veterans

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Contact:
David Kurtz
608-697-6319

(Portage, Wis.) – The following is a statement issued by Wisconsin American Legion state
commander Laurel Clewell:

“The Wisconsin American Legion is extremely heartened by the overwhelming,
bipartisan response to concerns we raised in late July about the loss of federal grant
money for Wisconsin’s homeless veterans housing programs. This is a rare example of
federal and state elected representatives reaching across party lines and fighting for
veterans care.

“Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has only extended funding for
Wisconsin’s programs for one year. While the action deserves acknowledgment and
appreciation, it is but a temporary fix for a system that clearly needs more permanent
restructuring.

“We look forward to working closely with veterans advocates, the Wisconsin Department
of Veterans Affairs, Governor Walker, our Congressional delegation and legislative
leaders in crafting a system of compassionate and effective care for our homeless
veterans – a system that will merit continuing federal support.”

Americans for Prosperity: ‘Reforming the American Tax Code’ 🗓

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Hate doing taxes every year?

You’re not alone. America’s tax code is endlessly complex, convoluted and difficult to navigate.

Tax preparation costs Americans more than $230 billion each year. Our tax code is clearly broken.

But there is hope for tax relief this year! For the first time since 1986, Congress is considering enacting comprehensive tax reform that will improve the lives of Wisconsinites and all Americans.

I’d like to personally invite you to join AFP-Wisconsin for dinner and a discussion on the future of America’s tax code.

RSVP here to attend.

This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity that:

*Ends distortive tax credits;
*Simplifies compliance;
*Lowers individual and business tax rates;
*And gives all Americans a better shot at a brighter future.

WHAT: AFP-Wisconsin presents:
Reforming the American Tax Code with Mary Kate Hopkins, AFP Deputy Director of Federal AffairsWHERE: AFP Wauwatosa Field Office
10111 W. Capitol Dr.,
Wauwatosa, WI 53222

WHEN: Thursday, August 31st
6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

*Dinner Provided

Americans For Responsible Solutions: Federal gun bill proposes dangerous threat to Wisconsin’s public safety

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Contact: Sean Simons
215.778.1411
[email protected]

Washington, D.C. – As lawmakers in Washington D.C. prepare to head home for August recess, a new fact sheet released today demonstrates the local impact a bill up for debate on Capitol Hill would have on states like Wisconsin. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act would force Wisconsin to allow unvetted people from out of state to carry loaded, hidden guns in public spaces. It’s important to note that this bill would not create a consistent national requirement across states for who is able to get a concealed carry permit, but instead forces states to recognize the concealed carry laws from other states, including states that have weaker standards for what it takes to carry a loaded, hidden gun in public.

“Make no mistake, this dangerous legislation, championed by the corporate gun lobby, has been specifically crafted to ignore states’ rights and overrule each state’s careful judgements about how to best to protect public safety,” said Peter Ambler, Executive Director of Americans for Responsible Solutions. “If this bill passes, people who currently do not meet Wisconsin’s requirements for what it takes to carry a loaded, hidden gun will be automatically authorized to carry concealed in Wisconsin’s public spaces. Forcing states like Wisconsin to comply with weaker laws from other states will endanger public safety and make it more difficult for police to enforce gun laws that have been proven to save lives.”

Currently, Wisconsin has the right to choose which states’ concealed carry permits it recognizes, which is important because the requirements to carry hidden, loaded guns in public vary drastically from state to state. If the concealed carry reciprocity bill passes, that would no longer be the case and Wisconsin would be forced to allow unlicensed, unvetted people from out of state to carry concealed guns in public spaces.

As of today, 12 states do not require any permit or training to carry hidden, loaded guns in public. If this bill becomes federal law, almost any person from these 12 states would be allowed to carry concealed in Wisconsin, regardless of whether that person meets Wisconsin’s standards for what it takes to carry a concealed gun in public.

To illustrate the devastating impact this bill would have on Wisconsin’s public safety, the fact sheet, released today by Americans for Responsible Solutions, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, compares the requirements to carry concealed in Wisconsin to the requirements to carry concealed in Florida state, illustrating how this bill would drastically weaken Wisconsin’s laws if enacted.

Read The Factsheet: What Federally Mandated Concealed Carry Reciprocity Would Mean For Wisconsin

RELATED RESOURCES & ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 establishes a “weakest link” scenario by forcing the weakest concealed carry laws to become law of the land – undermining state and national standards instead of creating them.

  • Erodes States’ Rights: Right now, each state has the right to determine which concealed carry permits from other states they choose to recognize. This is critical as requirements for obtaining a permit vary significantly among states. Currently there are twelve states that do not require a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Without a permit system, there is no way for a law enforcement officer to determine who is lawfully carrying a weapon. States with high standards for carrying a concealed weapon would have to allow people from states without permits to carry weapons in their state, even if they would otherwise be prohibited in that state.

  • Dangerous for Law Enforcement: Law enforcement groups overwhelmingly oppose federally mandated concealed carry because it would put them in a confusing and dangerous position. Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez argues that officers cannot “effectively do their jobs and ensure public safety” under this bill because there is no way for them to verify that someone is carrying lawfully. Federally mandated concealed carry essentially requires law enforcement to know the permitting standards of every state, a heavy and unnecessary burden. Most alarmingly, the bill in the House of Representatives goes so far as to open up law enforcement to the threat of personal litigation. If a law enforcement officer mistakenly questions a person’s legal authority to carry a concealed firearm, they can be sued, personally. This could have a chilling effect on law enforcement who would fear conducting a thorough investigation and enforcing our laws — two of the core responsibilities as guardians of public safety.

  • Gun Owners Support Requiring Permits to Carry: Federally mandated concealed carry legislation would undermine current concealed carry laws and enable states where anyone’s allowed to carry to carry concealed firearms across the country. Recent polling found that nearly 9 out of 10 American gun owners – about 88 percent – support laws requiring a permit to carry a concealed gun. With these figures, it’s no wonder that 67 percent of gun owners believe the NRA has been taken over by the Washington gun lobby and special interests, and 50 percent believe the organization no longer represents them.

To arrange time to speak with a gun violence prevention expert, contact Sean Simons at [email protected].

###

Andy Gronik: Every Wisconsin family has a story – let’s start listening

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Contact: Brandon Weathersby
[email protected]
414-364-6729

As Wisconsin Governor, Andy Gronik Will Champion Your Story
 

MILWAUKEE, WI – Today, Andy Gronik, a Wisconsin Gubernatorial candidate, released a short film on YouTube produced by Putnum Partners entitled “Their Stories” to champion the stories of people living throughout our state, to fight for our progressive values, to end the Scott Walker era that’s hurting Wisconsin families, and to stand up to Donald Trump.

“I want everyone to have a shot at the American dream but this is not possible under the Walker administration,” Gronik said. “And, I find this completely unacceptable.”

Andy believes in a government that listens and puts the people of Wisconsin first. He knows it possible for Wisconsin families to have a better life in our state – a life where hard work provides for a secure retirement; where everyone has access to affordable healthcare if we get sick; where our kids go to good public schools and have a chance to go to an affordable college. Andy has plans to bring Wisconsin together and build this kind of future for our state – together.

“Their Stories” shines a light on the impacts that Governor Walker’s failed policies are having on families around our state. Unlike Scott Walker, Andy’s plan for economic development will make incentive packages like the ones being offered to Foxconn fully transparent so Wisconsin taxpayers know that deals are being negotiated with their best interests in mind. “Scott Walker is willing to speculate that Wisconsin taxpayers will see payback from the $3 Billion dollar investment in a Taiwanese tech giant in 25 years, but won’t make a long-term investment in our schools, roads and Internet to give our kids and our state what’s needed to thrive throughout Wisconsin. This make no sense to me!” Gronik said. “I’ll put the people of Wisconsin first.”

Gronik has been traveling the state for 19 months, listening to the concerns of people from all walks of life and political beliefs. “I’ll tell you the one thing everyone in Wisconsin has in common,” he said. “It doesn’t matter where you live in our state — nobody thinks government is listening.”

Andy is going to bring people back to the table to have real conversations and identify the very best ideas to move Wisconsin forward. Gronik believes this film is just one of many ways we’re going to rediscover that every Wisconsin story has far more in common than what divides us.

“Our state deserves a leader that listens and puts people first – that’s the kind of leader I’ll be as Governor,” concluded Gronik.

Watch “Their Stories” YouTube and onAndyGronik.com.

Assembly adopts resolution condemning ‘racist, intolerable views’ that caused violence in Charlottesville

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The Assembly this afternoon adopted a resolution condemning the violence that occurred in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend, along with the “racist, intolerable views that caused that deeply tragic day.”

The resolution, adopted with bipartisan support, further condemns the “white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, and all those who rely on violence and hatred to advance their
cause.”

Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke said the violence had “opened our eyes even wider to the hate” that’s present in the country.

Steineke, R-Kaukauna, who had spoken out yesterday against President Trump’s comments blaming “both sides” for the incident in an interview with the State Journal, again emphasized today “there should be no refuge in any political party for perpetrators of violence.”

Meanwhile, Rep. David Bowen, D-Milwaukee, said the resolution shows “we will not stand for individuals who embrace hatred and darkness in their heart,” and that representatives were “very adamant on standing on the right side of history.”

See the resolution:
http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/raw/proposal/2017/-4149 

Assembly approves Foxconn bill 59-30

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The Assembly this evening green-lighted the $3 billion Foxconn incentive package, after rejecting a series of Dem amendments over more than six hours of debate.

The 59-30 vote sends the bill to the Senate, which has already referred it to the Joint Finance Committee for another public hearing.

Three Dems who represent southeastern Wisconsin, where the plant is expected to be located, supported the bill while GOP Reps. Adam Jarchow, of Balsam Lake, and Todd Novak, of Dodgeville, opposed it.

The three Dems, Peter Barca and Tod Ohnstad, both of Kenosha, and Cory Mason, of Racine, had spoken with Republicans about possible changes to the bill ahead of Monday’s Assembly committee vote, where members passed a substitute amendment to the bill.

That version, which was before the Assembly today, would add $20 million for a worker training program and require that the final contract with Foxconn encourage the Taiwanese company to hire Wisconsin workers “when practically possible.”

While Ohnstad and Mason, who is running for Racine mayor, both said they wished more Dem amendments had been adopted, they concluded the promise of 13,000 jobs was too good to pass up.

“Five years ago today, I took a vow to work for job creation,” said Ohnstad, who opposed the bill in committee. “I meant it then and I mean it now, and I will vote yes for jobs tonight.”

Barca, aside from offering a motion to send the bill to JFC earlier in the afternoon, did not speak on the floor before the vote.

Still, other members of the Dem caucus this afternoon dug in their heels against the bill, repeating previously voiced concerns that the bill lacked adequate protections for the environment, needed stronger language on guaranteeing Wisconsin workers would be hired and that the legislation was nothing more than a “corporate welfare” package.

The bill has to clear the Senate before it can go to the guv’s desk with a Sept. 30 deadline in the MOU to have it completed. JFC Co-chair John Nygren said today the committee was still trying to nail down a time and place for a Foxconn public hearing.

Assembly approves Foxconn bill 59-30

The Assembly Thursday green-lighted the $3 billion Foxconn incentive package, after rejecting a series of Dem amendments over more than six hours of debate.

The 59-30 vote sends the bill to the Senate, which has already referred it to the Joint Finance Committee for another public hearing.

Three Dems who represent southeastern Wisconsin, where the plant is expected to be located, supported the bill while GOP Reps. Adam Jarchow, of Balsam Lake, and Todd Novak, of Dodgeville, opposed it.

The three Dems, Peter Barca and Tod Ohnstad, both of Kenosha, and Cory Mason, of Racine, had spoken with Republicans about possible changes to the bill ahead of Monday’s Assembly committee vote, where members passed a substitute amendment to the bill.

That version, which was before the Assembly today, would add $20 million for a worker training program and require that the final contract with Foxconn encourage the Taiwanese company to hire Wisconsin workers “when practically possible.”

While Ohnstad and Mason, who is running for Racine mayor, both said they wished more Dem amendments had been adopted, they concluded the promise of 13,000 jobs was too good to pass up.

“Five years ago today, I took a vow to work for job creation,” said Ohnstad, who opposed the bill in committee. “I meant it then and I mean it now, and I will vote yes for jobs tonight.”

Barca, aside from offering a motion to send the bill to JFC earlier in the afternoon, did not speak on the floor before the vote.

Still, other members of the Dem caucus this afternoon dug in their heels against the bill, repeating previously voiced concerns that the bill lacked adequate protections for the environment, needed stronger language on guaranteeing Wisconsin workers would be hired and that the legislation was nothing more than a “corporate welfare” package.

The bill has to clear the Senate before it can go to the guv’s desk with a Sept. 30 deadline in the MOU to have it completed. JFC Co-chair John Nygren said today the committee was still trying to nail down a time and place for a Foxconn public hearing.

See more at Quorum Call.

Assembly committee shoots down series of Dem amendments to Foxconn bill

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The Assembly Committee on Jobs and the Economy this afternoon shot down a series of Dem amendments to the Foxconn bill, including one that would have revoked the Taiwanese company’s tax credit eligibility if 70 percent of its workforce isn’t made up of Wisconsin residents

The committee’s executive session, which kicked off at 3 p.m., opened by taking up 23 different Dem amendments. So far, members have shot down eight of them on an 8-5 party line vote.

That includes an amendment that would have required the final contract with Foxconn to have the company employ at least 3,000 full time workers by Jan. 1, 2021 and continually from then on.

Republicans on the committee expressed frustration that Dems were proposing so many changes.

Committee chair Adam Neylon, R-Pewaukee, said while Dem Rep. Todd Ohnstad had worked closely with him on the substitute amendment, he didn’t believe any of the other side’s changes “should be considered friendly.”

Rep. John Macco, R-Ledgeview, said committee members had worked hard to put together assurances the bill moves forward.

“I just find this whole thing disingenuous and frustrating,” he said.

But Ohnstad, D-Kenosha, said collaborating on the sub amendment didn’t mean “that we don’t have other concerns that we want to get fixed tonight or get fixed before final vote on Thursday.”

Meanwhile, Dems defended their amendments, including a couple that would have required Foxconn pay a certain hourly wage in order to be eligible for tax incentives, as safeguards for Wisconsin residents.

“If we don’t guarantee a living wage, a high wage, a wage people can actually live on … we’re just creating another whole population of working poor,” said Rep. Christine Sinicki, D-Milwaukee.

But Republicans countered the U.S. Constitution could prohibit Wisconsin from requiring Foxconn to meet a certain percentage of Wisconsin employees. They also pointed to the substitute amendment, released Friday, that includes language requiring that the final contract with Foxconn encourage the Taiwanese company to hire Wisconsin workers “when practically possible.”

Assembly looking at Tuesday committee exec on Foxconn, Aug. 17 floor vote

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The Assembly is now looking at Tuesday for a committee exec on the Foxconn bill with a floor vote to follow Aug. 17, Majority Leader Jim Steineke says.

Jobs and the Economy Chair Adam Neylon, R-Pewaukee, had been looking at an exec on the bill tomorrow, though he said earlier this week that wasn’t set in stone.

Steineke, R-Kaukauna, said the Assembly decided on the Tuesday exec and Aug. 17 floor vote after looking at the number of amendments that came in.

“We want to get it right, not necessarily get it done fast,” Steineke said.

Assembly to convene at 11:30 a.m. Thursday on Foxconn bill

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The Assembly will convene at 11:30 a.m. Thursday to take up the $3 billion Foxconn incentive bill, according to the office of Majority Leader Jim Steineke.

Steineke’s office said leaders from both parties have agreed to 7.5 hours of debate Thursday.

 

Assembly to take up $3 billion Foxconn bill

The Assembly is on the floor today to vote on the $3 billion Foxconn bill.

Members are also taking up a resolution aiming to condemn the “ideology of racial hatred that was witnessed by the world” over the weekend in Charlottesville, Va., Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said yesterday.

Calling the Foxconn vote “one of the most important votes in Wisconsin history,” Vos said the Assembly’s actions today “will speak louder than the ugly words from hate groups.”

“We will approve legislation that will give hope to all Wisconsin families by providing a future that’s rich with career opportunities and a strong, healthy economy,” he said.

Several GOP members of the Assembly expressed concerns with the bill heading into today’s vote.

With a 64-35 majority, Republicans could pass the bill even if all three voted no and they failed to pick up any Dem votes.

Ahead of this week’s committee vote, Rep. Adam Jarchow, R-Balsam Lake, had questions about giving one company exemptions to wetlands regulations that aren’t afforded other companies. He also wanted to make sure the $3 billion in incentives is a good deal for taxpayers.

Following the committee vote, Jarchow said he had hoped some of his concerns would be addressed through changes. But he was “not there yet.”

Rep. Scott Allen, R-Waukesha, said yesterday afternoon he was continuing to gather feedback from constituents on the bill and he was “still thinking about it.” The substitute amendment approved this week addressed some of his concerns, Allen said.

“I think our job is to do our due diligence to carefully consider the different perspectives and different vantage points, making sure we’re doing what’s in the best interest of the state long-term,” Allen said.

Rep. Todd Novak, R-Dodgeville, said ahead of an Assembly GOP caucus yesterday that he was “truly undecided” and has been hearing from constituents on both sides of the bill.

“I’d prefer to have the budget done first,” Novak said. “This is a big deal, and I just would prefer to take my time.”

Follow updates on today’s floor session in Quorum Call:
https://www.wispolitics.com/category/quorum-call/

Aug. 24: WisPolitics Luncheon with Andy Gronik 🗓

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Join WisPolitics for lunch at the Madison Club on Thursday, Aug. 24 with declared Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andy Gronik.

See more on Gronik: www.andygronik.com

Date: Thursday, August 24, 2017
Time: Check in begins at 11:30 a.m., with program going from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Location: The Madison Club / 5 E. Wilson Street / Madison, WI 53703
Cost: Madison Club members and their guests receive discounted pricing for WisPolitics luncheons of $19 per person. Price for general public is $25 per person.

This luncheon is sponsored by: Husch Blackwell, American Family Insurance, Xcel Energy, Walmart, AARP Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Hospital Association.

Register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wispolitics-luncheon-with-andy-gronik-tickets-36733098687

Bill Kaplan: GOP leadership

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

Leadership means being bigger than your political party. It requires courage, moral clarity and truthfulness. Leaders inspire, bringing people together. Few politicians are leaders. Some examples.

Foxconn. Wisconsin GOP Governor Scott Walker has taken the state to the bottom to lure Foxconn. No unions, corporate taxes, environmental regulations or candid discussion of the pros and cons of a deal with Foxconn. Just exorbitant giveaways. Moreover, Walker laments that opponents are “upset because they think this is a victory for me.” Wisconsin is in Walker’s rearview mirror. Another presidential run?

Walker dislikes being challenged by pesky reporters. When asked why Foxconn didn’t build a promised Pennsylvania factory Walker said: “Pennsylvania changed governors. It’d be a pretty good idea not to change governors over the next couple of years.” Walker can’t stop being self-serving. Pennsylvania did change governors, but that was not the reason Foxconn reneged. The Washington Post reported Foxconn blamed the cancellation on “material changes to the business and operating climate at that time”. Another Walker half-truth. More.

Ohio GOP Governor John Kasich wants Foxconn to build a factory there. However, in contrast to Walker, Kasich said: “It’s not going to take us 40 years to make back the investment we make. We don’t buy deals”. Finally, when Kasich succeeds he says: “It’s not an important win for me. It’s an important win for Ohio.” Governor Walker, are you listening? It gets worse.

Afghanistan. Last week, Trump, supported by House Speaker Paul Ryan, doubled down on America’s longest war. There were few details on a new strategy or how many more American troops will be sent. It is a secret plan, reminiscent of Nixon’s pledge to “end” the Vietnam War and “win the peace”. Moreover, Politico reported that the Trump administration has already sent thousands more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, above the publicly declared caps. Only U.S. troops will sacrifice as Trump and Ryan have not called for an earmarked tax to pay for the escalation.

Governor Kasich’s response was spot-on: “Sixteen years and the lives of over 2,000 American heroes are more than enough of a price to have paid to eradicate a terrorist sanctuary. America cannot afford to make an open-ended commitment of further lives and treasure to the improbable proposition of building a cohesive nation in Afghanistan”. It didn’t work for the British Empire or the Soviet Union. More failed leadership. And, real leaders.

Charlottesville. Walker and Ryan failed completely in calling out Trump on his pathetic responses to KKK and Nazi violence. Trump argued that there were “very fine people on both sides”. Walker was silent on that, while Ryan said: Trump “messed up”. Incredible! However, Mitt Romney and Wisconsin GOP Representative Mike Gallagher stood up for the party of Lincoln. Romney exclaimed: Trump “caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep, and the vast heart of America to mourn”. And, Gallagher reacted: “The president needs to be crystal clear that hatred has no place in our society, but he is currently failing at it”. Leadership.

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

Bill Kaplan: Johnson-Trump, loose cannons

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

Wisconsin GOP Senator Ron Johnson and Trump have much in common. Both tycoons are bombastic, imprudent, incendiary and unprepared. These devotees of laissez-faire philosopher Ayn Rand are throwbacks to another era. Most of all they are loose cannons. And, now Johnson and Trump have sunk to new lows.

Johnson, who called the Affordable Care Act (ACA) “the greatest single threat to my freedom, our freedom” (speechless), is still upset over GOP Senator John McCain’s decisive vote against ACA repeal. Johnson was on the radio program “Chicago’s Morning Answer” and said: “I’m not going to speak for John McCain, you know, he has a brain tumor right now, that vote occurred at 1:30 in the morning, some of that might have factored in.” The co-host of the show was aghast at Johnson’s implication that McCain was too sick to vote rationally. Moreover, Johnson’s thoughtless comments were factually incorrect.

The Washington Post reported: “But signals that the Arizona Republican would be the final GOP defector were there all along. After all, McCain is a mostly free spirit from a state that deeply benefited from the Affordable Care Act. And, he likes some drama now and again.” McCain is also a Senate institutionalist who wanted bipartisan debate and deliberation, using Senate committees. In other words, governing.

McCain’s communications director responded to Johnson’s slander: “It is bizarre and deeply unfortunate that Senator Johnson would question the judgment of a colleague and friend. Senator McCain has been very open and clear about the reasons for his vote.” But Johnson is not the only thoughtless Republican. Kelli Ward, 2016 Senate GOP primary challenger to McCain, said: McCain should “step aside” and that she hoped to be considered as McCain’s replacement. What is wrong with some Republicans? Johnson soon realized he had blundered. He slithered away from his false allegation.

However, Johnson was back on the airwaves backing Trump’s reckless and scary rhetoric toward North Korea. Trump’s saber-rattling – “fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before” – was defended by Johnson. He (Johnson) said: “You finally have a president who is saying we’re not going to put up with it. Strategic patience is over.” However, foolish tough talk is not a policy or strategy to deal with North Korea’s nuclear threat. Johnson and Trump are acting like loose cannons. Their miscalculations and stumbling might lead to a catastrophic, horrific slaughter. It would not be antiseptic.

And, if possibly going to war with North Korea was not disconcerting enough, Trump floated the idea of a two-front war. He (Trump) talked about a “possible military option” in Venezuela. Nebraska GOP Senator Ben Sasse said: “No, Congress obviously isn’t authorizing any war in Venezuela.” Will Johnson blindly endorse Trump’s latest broadside against Venezuela? In contrast, McCain has condemned Trump’s incendiary rhetoric toward North Korea. Pay attention, Johnson. NBC News reports Trump is considering a preemptive strike against North Korea. Loose cannons.

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

Bill Kaplan: Rep. Gallagher, bipartisanship

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

Trump: Over six months of deception, drama, hyper-partisanship and narcissism, but nothing for regular folks.  No plan to deal with loss of jobs and lower wages from automation, globalization and unfair trade deals.  No infrastructure program.  No tax reform to close loopholes for the rich and make taxes fairer.  Just another Moby-Dick crusade to take health care coverage away from millions, including hundreds of thousands in Wisconsin.

Meanwhile the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and more revelations of wrongdoing, subsume the White House.  Trump and his closest cronies are increasingly in legal and political jeopardy: Special Counsel Robert Mueller has begun using a D.C. federal grand jury – confirming that he is leading a criminal investigation; a crackerjack team of prosecutors with “expertise in prosecuting national security, fraud and public corruption …” is on the case (Washington Post);  Mueller and his team have asked the White House for documents related to former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and Trump has now admitted that he helped prepare his son’s (Donald Jr.) inaccurate and misleading statement on meeting with the Russians during the campaign.

No surprise that Trump has been trying to force out Attorney General Jeff Sessions so that he could appoint someone to fire Mueller.  And, there’s White House chatter about Trump pardoning himself and others.  Then on Friday Trump retweeted a video clip of a conservative talk show discussion of the Russian probe leading to indictments. The Washington Post said: “for Trump to entertain the prospect of an indictment is an unforced error that plants questions about whether he has any reason to think an indictment might be coming.”   Some congressional Republicans are reacting properly.

First, the Senate adjourned after agreeing unanimously to block Trump from being able to replace Sessions with a “recess” appointment.  Second, there are two bipartisan Senate bills to protect Mueller.  Both would require “judicial review of any move to oust Mueller” (Politico).  One is co-sponsored by North Carolina ultra-conservative GOP Senator Thom Tillis.  A shot across the bow.  Where is Wisconsin GOP Senator Ron Johnson?  Will he support the rule of law, including checks and balances?

Probably more likely to speak up is Wisconsin GOP Representative Mike Gallagher.  He has gained a reputation for independence and integrity with his tweets over Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey.  Gallagher said: “It is imperative that both congressional and FBI investigations into Russian interference in our country continue unimpeded and unaltered.”  Former U.S. Marine Gallagher would be a natural to sponsor a bipartisan House bill to protect Mueller.  And, he displayed similar bipartisanship last week.

Gallagher and 42 other Democratic and GOP representatives have released “a bipartisan fix for health care” that would restrain Trump’s effort to sabotage the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Their plan would help stabilize and strengthen private health insurers by funding cost-sharing payments (out-of-pocket costs) due under the ACA.  It also includes other good ideas like reinsurance to help insurers cover patients requiring costly care.  Bipartisanship at its best.

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

Bill Kraus: Early handicapping on the governor’s race: Walker assumed favorite, but …

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

Gov. Scott Walker’s deal for 13,000 jobs may have the Dems feeling “Foxconned,” but the 2018 governor’s race in Wisconsin still has a ways to go.

The official Democratic field is still in formation, so the list of wannabes below will not all be in the likely August 2018 primary.

Here’s some early handicapping with betting odds.

Care to make a wager?

**Republicans

— Scott Walker: Walker is the only GOP candidate, and it’s likely to stay that way. Money is not a problem. If any of the Dems think, as most Republicans do, that the campaign is all about the money, they might as well withdraw. Nobody in sight or in mind is going to outspend Walker and his allies.

Unless. The unpredictable, unprecedented. President Trump could crash. If he does, those too close to him could crash with him. Like Walker. Walker’s campaign will be about Act 10 and probably Foxconn and the low unemployment rate. All three could go south on him. Lincoln Hills, the 250,000 jobs promise, the transportation budget argument, and the weak wage and job growth generally will not be mentioned.

He is the favorite at the moment unless it becomes obvious to a bigger percentage of the voters that he is still running for president using the governership as a stepping stone and/or one of those swords of Damocles that hang over his head comes crashing down. 2-1.

**Democrats

— Andy Gronik: Gronik is in and under the wing of former WEAC chief Morris Andrews. The campaign will be adequately funded. The revealed issues will be to repeal Act 10 and embellish state employees everywhere with free health care, pensions, and other benefits. If Andy and Morris have read Kathy Cramer’s “The Politics of Resentment,” they didn’t believe it. 25-1.

— Kathleen Vinehout: The western Wisconsin state senator ran for governor before, and made a budget bill her main campaign feature. And there’s no reason to think she won’t do it again. She joined her caucus for the trip to Illinois and can expect a “Where’s her campaign headquarters? In Rockford.” jab from any and every Dem candidate. 25-1

— Dana Wachs: Wachs, a state rep and trial lawyer from Eau Claire, has been a beneficiary of the 2010 gerrymandering, because his district is 90 percent or more Democrats which leaves him free to test the gubernatorial waters. He is on the road giving speeches in places as remote as Milwaukee. He has pretty much self-funded to date and is a big customer of the campaign business. He has bought direct mail advice, issue research, analytics, and other consulting advice from various sources who, he will find, are more interested in their cash flow than in his voters. He should talk to Ben Carson. 50-1.

— Paul Soglin: Madison’s longtime mayor may be toying with us, but there are reasons he should be taken seriously. He is not from Milwaukee, but he is from Madison which is emerging as an outstate stigma. He is, was, always will be a maverick candidate. He is pro city, and putting aside Cramer’s book for the moment, Wisconsin is more and more an urbanized state. The farm vote has been diminished numerically by 5,000 acre farm factories. Political campaigns are a mixture of who, what, and how. Paul would be mostly who. 20-1.

— Tony Evers: the current state schools superintendent represents an attempt to put education issues at the top of the political agenda. He is a kind of one trick pony, but he rides an interesting pony. His candidacy is almost as surprising as Soglin’s. The reaction is sort of “Where did he come from?” And why? Education is perhaps the most important responsibility of state government, and the least important organizationally. The governor is a surrogate schools superintendent. The legislation a ditto school board. The department that Tony heads mostly sorts and distributes the money that comes from elsewhere. It is really hard to take Tony seriously. 75-1.

— Mike McCabe: the former head of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign currently listed as a founder of something called Blue Jean Nation. He is the self-appointed heir to the Ed Garvey mantle and the only contender so far who says the Foxconn deal is less important than other items on the “people’s'” agenda. 100-1.

— Bob Harlow: Harlow is yet another surprise outsider who no one ever heard about. This is not dismissive. He has legislative experience and a website which offers up eight bullet points that are good reasons to vote for him or for anybody for that matter. He is well educated, has a background in government service in former state Sen. Dale Schultz’s office. And he knows what infrastructure really is and what it can do for Wisconsin. But, differing from Soglin, he is mostly a “what” candidate and a “who” no one knows. Yet. He has $650 in the bank. 75-1.

— Matt Flynn: Flynn has interesting credentials [former Dem Party chair and congressional candidate], one very large liability [Milwaukee], and a campaign that is mostly talk. The big announcement was going to be in May. It’s August. No odds yet.

— Mahlon Mitchell: The head of the state firefighters union is also a more talk than action possibility. No odds yet.

— Others: Susan Happ: the Jefferson County DA made a respectable run for AG in 2014 and might be sniffing at this race, but really hasn’t spoken up yet. Rep. Gordon Hintz of Oshkosh is another sniffer as is state senator Jon Erpenbach of Middleton; both are members of the Joint Finance Committee. Supreme Court Justice Ann Bradley, who has been at the top of Stevens Point sage Bob Williams’ list of favorites for years, and Barbara Lawton, the former lieutenant governor who got pushed out of a race earlier by DC know-nothing-about-Wisconsin-know-it-alls also deserve a mention. No odds yet.

— Kraus, a former leader of Common Cause in Wisconsin, is a longtime Wisconsin politico
who advised Govs. Dreyfus and Knowles.

Blain’s Farm & Fleet: Welcomes Speaker Ryan and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue for the ‘Back to Our Roots’ Tour 🗓

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Contact: Dormie Roberts
(608)754-2821 ext. 5044
[email protected]

Janesville, Wisconsin – Blain’s Farm & Fleet is honored to host the U.S. Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, on Thursday, August 3 at 4 pm for a private listening session as part of a five-state RV tour entitled the ‘Back to Our Roots’ Tour. The tour seeks to gather input on the 2018 Farm Bill and increasing rural prosperity. Blain’s Farm & Fleet is recognized for best-in-class service to farm and rural customers and for deep expertise in the business and governmental factors influencing the agriculture industry; as such, Blain’s Farm & Fleet has been selected to discuss the industry’s challenges and opportunities with the Secretary and Speaker. Media outlets wishing to attend this listening session must RSVP to [email protected] and [email protected] by 6 p.m. on Wednesday, August 2.

“We have immense appreciation and respect for the farmers and family-owned farms that are the anchors of our communities and the fabric of America. After 62 years of serving customers with ‘rural sensibilities’ we are honored to be their voice on this occasion,” says Owner/President and CEO of Blain’s Farm & Fleet, Jane Blain Gilbertson.  “We are encouraged by discussion of an interagency task force focused on agriculture and rural prosperity, and we hope to hear more about how he is bringing leaders together to prioritize rural Americans in an unprecedented way.”

“The ‘Back to our Roots’ Farm Bill and rural prosperity RV listening tour will allow us to hear directly from people in agriculture across the country, as well as our consumers – they are the ones on the front lines of American agriculture and they know best what the current issues are,” Secretary Perdue said in a statement released by the White House yesterday. “USDA will be intimately involved as Congress deliberates and formulates the 2018 Farm Bill.  We are committed to making the resources and the research available so that Congress can make good facts-based, data-driven decisions.”

Thursday’s listening session attendees will include leadership from the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation and agriculture buyers, senior leadership and store managers from each of Blain’s Farm & Fleet’s 38 locations across Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois.

The Secretary chairs the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity, which kicked off in June 2017 with efforts to examine the current barriers to economic prosperity in rural America and how innovation, infrastructure and technology play a role in long-term rural prosperity.

Blain’s Farm & Fleet is committed to supporting farmers from an early age through their generous donations to local FFA and 4-H programs. In 2016, Founders Bert and Claude Blain were inducted into the Agriculture Hall of Fame by the Ag Business Council of Rock County for their work in supporting agribusiness and creating a business climate conductive to attracting and retaining the agriculture industry.

“We, as both the Blain’s family and Blain’s Farm & Fleet, take great pride in the hard work of our farmers and what the industry means for the success of our local and national economy.  It is our honor to be selected to represent the industry to our nation’s leaders,” adds Blain Gilbertson.

###

About Blain’s Farm & Fleet: Blain’s Farm & Fleet is a second generation, family-owned business which was opened in 1955 by Blain Gilbertson’s dad, Bert Blain, and uncle, Claude Blain. For 62 years, the family-owned and operated stores have proudly served 38 communities throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa, with headquarters in Janesville, WI.  Blain’s Farm & Fleet has over 4,400 associates with 600 in two Janesville locations.  Blain’s Farm & Fleet is trusted to provide high quality products, competitive prices and reliable service both in its stores and throughout the USA at FarmAndFleet.com.

Brown County Exec. Streckenbach: Bold infrastructure plan ready for next chapter

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Contact: Deputy Executive Jeff Flynt
(920) 448-4083

Brown County, Wisconsin –  With the Brown County Board of Supervisors adopting the resolution executing the room tax cooperation and pledge and security agreements, the final hurdle for projects for the County’s Debt Reduction, Infrastructure and Property Tax Cut Plan has been cleared.

Corporation Counsel David Hemery has completed the formal sending of documents to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue informing them of plans to enact a temporary 72 month half-percent sales tax beginning January 1, 2018.

“Our plan to address our long-term infrastructure needs is a go,” says Streckenbach. “This major investment in Brown County’s infrastructure can move forward in a fiscally-responsible manner and make Brown County competitive in attracting businesses, families and tourist to our community.”

The following capital projects identified in Brown County Chapter 9.02 in the Code of Ordinances are as follows:

  • Infrastructure, Road and Facilities
  • Library
  • Jail and Mental Health
  • Expo Hall Project
  • Medical Examiner and Public Safety
  • Museum
  • Park and Fairgrounds
  • STEM Innovation Center

These projects now go through the traditional budget process with Brown County, where a plan is developed before it is placed within a departmental budget and adopted by the County Board of Supervisors.

###

Bryce campaign: Bryce demands Speaker Ryan censure President Trump over outrageous Charlottesville response

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Contact: David Keith
(262) 676-2731
[email protected]com

Caledonia, Wisconsin – Randy Bryce today issued the following statement calling on Speaker Paul Ryan to initiate censure proceedings in the U.S. House of Representatives against President Donald Trump for his divisive and disturbing comments that vindicated the violent actions of white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, VA.

“There is no moral equivalence between the repugnant peddlers of hate and violence, and those who bravely stand up to them. Yesterday President Trump used the presidential seal to give political cover to vile racist extremists. The forces of deadly bigotry will only be emboldened by Trump’s comments.

“When former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke, thanks you for your remarks – as he did yesterday – you are on the wrong side of history, decency, and American values. These dangerous comments require more than statements of outrage. They demand an official expression of condemnation from Congress, on the record, for all the world to see, and made permanent for history.

“Speaker Ryan, it is time to put action behind your words. As the leader of the House, it is incumbent upon you to ensure that body moves decisively. Demonstrate courage and leadership, not only rhetoric. Initiate censure proceedings now in the U.S. House of Representatives against President Trump for the chief executive’s outrageous, unacceptable and un-Amercian remarks.”

Background

According to Legal Dictionary at thefreedictionary.com —

“Censure is a formal and public condemnation of an individual’s transgressions. It is stronger than a simple rebuke, but not as strong as expulsion.”

“While censure is not specifically mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, Congress has the right to adopt resolutions, and a resolution to invoke censure falls into this category.”

“Probably the most infamous censure case was the condemnation of Senator Joseph R. McCarthy (R-WI) in 1954. McCarthy took the national stage at the height of the anti-Communist movement following World War II. McCarthy spent several years making claims that known Communists had infiltrated the U.S. government, and although he never offered proof of even one claim, his crusade was popular and powerful.”

# # #

Burns campaign: Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg endorses Tim Burns for the Wisconsin Supreme Court

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For Immediate Release
Contact: Amanda L. Brink
Madison, WI – Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg has endorsed Tim Burns for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Burns is running for the seat now held by Justice Michael Gableman, who has announced his retirement from the court. The non-partisan election will be held in the spring of 2018.
“Tim Burns is an outstanding attorney whose expertise in complex areas of the law has earned him widespread recognition as one of the best lawyers in the nation,” Judge Kloppenburg said. “His intellect, his deep understanding of legal issues, and his love of the law make him exceptionally well suited to service on our Wisconsin Supreme Court. In addition, he has strength of character and the courage of his convictions, both of which are on display in his campaign.”
Tim Burns is a partner at a law firm in Madison, WI. He is a former co-chair of the Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee of the American Bar Association.
A graduate of University of Missouri-Columbia Law School, Tim is licensed in Wisconsin, Illinois and Missouri. Tim’s national practice focuses on making insurance companies live up to their obligations to their policyholders. Tim also serves on the national board of the American Constitution Society and he chairs the Fair and Impartial Courts Committee of the Civil Rights and Social Justice Section of the American Bar Association.
Tim and his wife Pam, have chosen Middleton to raise their family. Married for over 20 years, they have three children.

Chris Larson: Foxconn: Economic renewal or ruin?

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

Each of us has a stake in having strong and prosperous communities. Therefore, investing in the economic stability of our state is a top priority for our friends, families, and neighbors of all political persuasions. Our Wisconsin economy must be built on rewarding hard work and innovation and creating more opportunities for our small businesses to grow and reach their full potential.

Unfortunately, the scales of our economy are too often tipped toward benefiting major corporations rather than investing in our homegrown businesses. As we look to grow prosperity and opportunity in our state, we can’t allow our neighbors who work hard every day on Main Street to be left behind by Wall Street speculators.

As conversations regarding the Trump and Walker Foxconn proposal continue, we must make sure that we stick to our core Wisconsin values and ensure we are getting the best deal for our state. Over the past two weeks, I have heard from our neighbors who have questions about the process for passing this proposal and its hefty price tag. We will get into some of these details below, but first, what exactly is ‘Foxconn?’

What is Foxconn?
Foxconn, which is headquartered in Taiwan and formally known as Foxconn Technology Group, is the world’s largest electronics corporation. It supplies electronics for well-known companies all over the world, such as Apple, Amazon, and Google. If you’ve heard about this corporate giant in the news, it may have been regarding the reported horrible working conditions and human rights abuses.

While Foxconn is one of the largest employers in the world, it does not have an American plant. Trump and Walker recently proposed a corporate giveaway for Foxconn to make LCD panels.

We must Protect Wisconsin Taxpayers and our Shared Lands and Lakes  

As it stands now, Walker, with Trump’s backing, is proposing that we hand over $3 billion to Foxconn, with no guarantee that Wisconsinites will get their money back if they fail to create jobs for our neighbors. According to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, Foxconn will cost the state more than the tax money that will be brought in until the 2032-33 fiscal year. Even worse, under the best case scenario, they projected it will take until 2043 for taxpayers to break-even on the multi-billion dollar project, under the best-case scenario. Other costs to our state and local governments include a troubling $50 million in lost sales tax revenue.

All this, and there are some whopping what-ifs and hefty handouts to go along with the deal:

  1. Wisconsin would only recoup our billions in 25 years if the company actually makes good on its 13,000 jobs promise and all of those employed are actually Wisconsinites. With a proposed plant location near the Illinois border, this seems unlikely. Plus, Illinois, who won’t have to commit any of their tax money, would reap the benefits of taking these jobs and income taxes for their state. Legislators need to know the exact location of the plant before striking a deal, as noted in this article by the GazetteXtra, which breaks down the U.S. Census commuter data in counties south of Kenosha.
  2. Despite a budget impasse with transportation borrowing at the center of the issue, the Trump and Walker Foxconn bill proposes to expand the I-94 area near the region being considered for a plant location, costing $408 million. Of this, Walker proposes to borrow $252 million. With the transportation deficit at nearly $1 billion already, most Wisconsinites agree this is a lot for one foreign company with no history in our state.
  3. Some of Walker’s special handouts designed specifically for Foxconn would be overseen by the scandal-plagued Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). I was impressed with this 27 News article that questioned whether Walker’s failed jobs agency could be trusted with the money, noting the problems WEDC has had in the past with tracking job creation and failing to recoup money from companies who outsource jobs.

Additionally, an editorial in the Racine Journal Times recently outlined some of the dangerous carve-outs blindly given to Foxconn under this proposal, including a free pass to ignore many of our state’s environmental safeguards. The Foxconn proposal being pushed by Walker and Trump would be designated as a special “electronics and information and technology zone.” Essentially, this means that no state Environmental Impact Statement would be required for Foxconn and they would not need a state permit to fill wetlands areas or destroy the natural path of our rivers and streams.

By stripping away Foxconn’s obligation to have an Environment Impact Statement, we will remain in the dark on any potential environmental dangers of this project. Further, by failing to safeguard our wetlands, we risk destroying a natural flood protection for our neighbors. With the heavy rains and flooding already seen across the state this summer, it defies logic to wipe away protections for our flood-reducing wetlands.

A Pattern of Broken Promises
Recently, Public Policy Polling found that a majority of our neighbors don’t trust Walker’s claims on the Foxconn giveaway. The poll further showed that voters are skeptical of this deal because it includes corporate carve-outs and is being fast-tracked through the Legislature.

Wisconsinites are right to be leery of the deal, given Trump and Walker’s long history of breaking big promises. One of the most concerning aspects of the Foxconn scheme is the trail of broken promises the corporation has left, both globally and here in the U.S. This leaves many of our neighbors questioning whether or not they will hold up their end of the bargain. A quote from this Washington Post article summarizes why Wisconsinite’s ought to be skeptical, “The company caught a reputation in the past for abandoning plans. Four years ago, Foxconn unveiled a plan to build a new $30 million plant in Pennsylvania, and the state’s governor praised the move. But after the political attention faded, Foxconn never built that factory.”

Here are just a few more instances examples of Foxconn’s shady past:

  • 2007 — Foxconn pledged to invest $5 billion in Vietnam, but the project went bankrupt.
  • 2011 — Foxconn pledged to invest $12 billion in Brazil and create 100,000 local jobs within six years. They are now set to discontinue all manufacturing in the country.
  • 2013 — Foxconn announced they would invest $30 million in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and hire 500 workers. A claim that never materialized.
  • 2014 — Foxconn promised a $1 billion investment in Indonesia, which has still not happened.
  • 2014 — Foxconn said it would invest $5 billion over five years in India and create 50,000 jobs. Reports show that only a fraction of this has happened so far.
  • 2016 — Foxconn fired 60,000 employees to be replaced by robots. In a statement to the BBC, Foxconn confirmed that it was automating “many of the manufacturing tasks associated with our operations” but denied that it meant long-term job losses.

Our neighbors have already been victim to the governor’s grandiose bait-and-switch job schemes before. The headlines have been grabbed, but now it’s time to see what’ really going on.

Slow Down, Proceed with Caution
If you’ve been following the news over the past two weeks, you’ll find no shortage of editorials cautioning diligence and patience with the Foxconn deal. In this one, by the Wisconsin State Journal, our neighbors are reminded of the hefty price tag associated with Foxconn coming to Wisconsin. Not only would the corporate giant enjoy $3 billion in tax credits, but they also won’t need to pay their fair share in state income taxes. A recent editorial by the Cap Timesreminds us that there are a lot of investments that could be made with $3 billion, such as investing in our schools that have seen historic cuts.

This is a great reminder as our local schools looking at fall being just around the corner and they still do not know how much their schools will receive from the state. Walker and legislative Republicans must turn their attention back to the critical issues facing our state budget and allow for more time for our neighbors to take a deep dive into the Trump and Walker Foxconn deal. Just like we want to make sure our state budget will invest in our kid’s education, we must also ensure we are not dooming their future with a hastily passed corporate handout that will take at least a quarter-century to recoup.

— Larson, D-Milwaukee, represents the 7th Senate District.

Citizens, activists want additional areas covered by groundwater protections

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Common Cause Wisconsin: What college and university students can do NOW to be ready to vote in Wisconsin

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Contact:
Sandra Miller
(608) 658-2109
[email protected]

With just a few short weeks before students return to their public universities and private colleges in the state, this is a good time for them to make sure they are ready to vote in Wisconsin.

Remember, everyone needs a specific type of photo ID to vote in Wisconsin.

The next opportunity to cast a ballot is approaching sooner than you might think.

Wisconsin’s Spring Primary is on February 20, 2018 – followed by the Spring Election on April 3, 2018 – when we will choose a new State Supreme Court Justice, two Court of Appeals Judges, and Circuit Court Judges.

If you value the integrity of our state’s judicial system, mark your calendar with these two important dates, and then get ready to vote now so you’re not scrambling later.

The Spring judicial elections will be followed soon by elections for Governor of Wisconsin, the State Legislature, U.S. Senator, and members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Go to our webpage now:

Three Things College Students Need to Do To Vote in Wisconsin

Students will find straightforward information on registering to vote and voter photo ID. If students have a Wisconsin driver’s license or Department of Transportation-issued Wisconsin ID card, then they already have an ID acceptable for voting. But, if they don’t have one of these forms of ID, we provide information on alternative IDs for voting, including if the standard student ID at their school can be used to vote – and if it cannot be used at the polls, how and where to get an acceptable school-issued “voter ID” if their school offers one.

We will continually update this resource as new information is received or changes. So please check back often. And share this link widely with anyone you know who is attending a college, university or technical school in Wisconsin!

Get this done now, so you won’t have to worry about it later.

County Exec. Abele: Reaffirms commitment to Affordable Care Act, Women’s healthcare protections

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Contact:

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

MILWAUKEE –  A landmark achievement of President Barack Obama and a bipartisan coalition of Congressional leaders, the Affordable Care Act is still empowering healthier lives in Milwaukee County and around the country, despite repeated attempts in Congress to repeal the Act and its critical health protections. Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele today reaffirmed his support for the Affordable Care Act, and especially for the critical women’s health protections the ACA guaranteed five years ago today.

Milwaukee County has experienced a 58 percent reduction in the County’s uninsured rate since the law took effect. In 2015 alone, 38,242 people in Milwaukee County — many who had never been covered before — enrolled into the Marketplace during President Obama’s Healthy Communities Challenge, making Milwaukee County the winner of the national Challenge and, more importantly, ensuring all our residents have access to affordable, comprehensive healthcare, including women’s reproductive healthcare.

Five years ago today, on August 1, 2012, the Affordable Care Act expanded preventive healthcare coverage for women’s health and well-being, requiring all health insurance plans to cover: well-woman visits; counseling and screening for sexually transmitted infections; screening for gestational diabetes; comprehensive breastfeeding support and counseling; contraceptives and family planning services; and screening for domestic violence.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has projected that anywhere from 17 million to 24 million people would stand to lose their healthcare under recent proposals to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Recent federal healthcare plans have also proposed the elimination of funding for Planned Parenthood, which is the largest community-based reproductive healthcare provider in Wisconsin.

In March of 2017, County Executive Chris Abele introduced a resolution opposing the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and the elimination of funding for Planned Parenthood. And in December of 2016, County Executive Abele introduced a resolution recognizing Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin as a vital asset to the health, safety, and well-being of Milwaukee County women, men, and families. (Note: Neither of these items have ever been brought forward by the County Board for a public discussion or vote.)

“I believe that access to affordable healthcare, to include comprehensive reproductive healthcare, is a fundamental human right,” County Executive Chris Abele said. “The Affordable Care Act has helped tens of thousands of women, men, and families in Milwaukee County get the coverage they need to live stronger, fuller, healthier lives. We’ve seen example after example of its success in Milwaukee County, from moms using our Mamava lactation suites in the Zoo, Courthouse, and airport, to patients getting connected to coverage that treats mental illness or substance abuse out at the Behavioral Health Division. I remain a proud supporter of the Affordable Care Act.”

County Executive Parisi: Alliant Energy Center caps successful year with the 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games

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AEC Hosted Many New National Events Bringing in Over $12 Million to Dane County

This week Dane County’s Alliant Energy Center Campus will be hosting the 2017 Reebok CrossFit games set to be one of the biggest events the campus has hosted in its history. Within the last 12 months, the collaboration between the Alliant Energy Center (AEC), the Greater Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) and the Madison Area Sports Commission (MASC), has yielded exceptional business. The majority of the events that have taken place over the last year are first-time events for Dane County, including the 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games which will debut in Madison on August 3rd.

“We are very proud of the work we have done to make the AEC campus successful,” said Dane County Executive Parisi. “The Alliant Energy Center brings in millions of dollars of economic impact into Dane County every year. We are proud to be hosting some of the nation’s best shows.”

The CrossFit Games will be televised nationwide on CBS Sports and CBS Network and is expected to draw over 60,000 spectators. The preparation for the Games by the Alliant Energy Center, the GMCVB and MASC and CrossFit is unprecedented, including an amazing, temporary transformation of the AEC campus. The transformation of the campus has been possible by the investment of CrossFit and its sponsors and utilizing a team of people from across Dane County departments including Administration, Public Works, Lakes and Water Resources. Being able to tap into the resources such as personnel, equipment, and labor, the County has been key to being able to host CrossFit and other  successful national shows.

In 2013, Dane County, the Alliant Energy Center and the Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) collaborated to establish a closer sales relationship  by establishing a permanent position on the GMCVB staff to assist and generate sales for Alliant Energy Center. The new sales collaboration worked well and when the announcement of the new pavilions was made,  sales prospects and results grew overnight. With the additional muscle of the Madison Area Sports Commission (MASC), launched by the GMCVB in 2010, the AEC, GMCVB and MASC teams began to create more and bigger opportunities for high-return-on-investment business for the AEC campus. The results have been outstanding.

New national shows in 2017 include: International Women’s Flat Track Derby Association Playoffs, Wisconsin State Compulsory Gymnastics Championship Meet, Trampoline and Tumbling Association National Championships, All-American Junior Sheep Show, American Dairy Goat National Show, U.S. Baton Twirling Championships, and the Reebok CrossFit Games.

In addition to the annual business the AEC hosts, the new business that has been staged on the campus includes business which will bring over $12 million in economic impact to Dane County.

In 2016 the 169- acre county owned AEC campus hosted over 400 events, welcomed over 800,000 attendees, generated 177,000 room nights, spurred $76 million in spending.

 

Since taking office, Dane County Executive Parisi has invested in improving the AEC Campus and has built the award winning New Holland Pavilions– 290,000 square feet of state-of-the-art multi-use space, made many improvements to the coliseum and campus as a whole. Just in the last year the county has invested over $2 million into updates and improvements to the Coliseum.

 

 

Stephanie Wilson Miller

Communications Director

Dane County

608.267.8823 o

920.470.4618 c

Facebook @DaneCoJoe

 

Cranberry yield expected to make up most of nation’s harvest

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The state’s cranberry production is expected to hit 5.6 million barrels this fall, making up a significant majority of the country’s production of the tart fruit.

But an issue is facing producers all over the country, as these numbers contribute to an already-existing surplus. With that in mind, the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association and others are taking steps to control inventory levels and increase demand.

“The Wisconsin cranberry industry is a major economic driver that supplies thousands of jobs and brings in a total value of nearly $1 billion each year,” said Tom Lochner, executive director of the WSCGA. “At the same time, the oversupply is a challenge for our growers. With the commodity price for cranberries well below the cost of production, many growers in Wisconsin and across the country are experiencing low returns and financial difficulties.”

The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service also projected that the country will produce about 9 million barrels overall for this year’s harvest. The other top cranberry producing states are expected to be: Massachusetts, with about 2.2 million barrels; New Jersey, with 590,000 barrels; Oregon, with 480,000 barrels; and Washington, with 180,000 barrels.

See more at WisBusiness.com. 

Cross: UW would need funds to address Foxconn demand for engineers

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UW System President Ray Cross today hailed the opportunity that the Foxconn development would have on the state, though he said UW would need money to turn out even more engineers than it does today.

Cross told lawmakers at today’s Assembly public hearing that Foxconn would be a “magnet” for top students from around the world.

But Cross, responding to questions from Dems on whether UW needs more funding, said the system would need additional state support to hire faculty and upgrade its equipment and labs.

“We’re studying that right now because we would like to say to the Legislature and to the governor: If you want us to increase our engineers by x percent, here’s what it would take to do that,” he said.

UW-Milwaukee Chancellor Mark Mone, meanwhile, said the boost in funding needs to be accompanied by approval of construction projects from state lawmakers.

“I think those two pieces have to go hand in hand,” he said.

But the two highlighted the major opportunities for the state economy, with Mone saying the Foxconn development would increase enrollments and employment opportunities for students — both at Foxconn and other companies in its supply chain.

UW-Parkside Deborah Ford, who highlighted her campus’ strength in computer science, said Foxconn would draw in students for “exciting careers” in a field with groundbreaking technology.

“Wisconsin becomes a destination for education because it becomes a destination for exciting careers beyond today’s horizon,” she said.

Meanwhile, Marquette University President Michael Lovell recalled his days in Pittsburgh, close to where he grew up, and seeing the area struggle when the steel industry left town.

But Lovell, who later worked at the University of Pittsburgh, also recalled the “tipping point” for the city: when Google decided to set up shop there — followed by several other tech companies like Intel and Microsoft.

Foxconn, he said, will create a “high-tech corridor” that in 20 years will rival the likes of Silicon Valley.

“Foxconn has an even bigger potential than what I saw in Pittsburgh because the scope is so much larger,” said Lovell, who was the UW-Milwaukee chancellor before taking on the Marquette job.

Dairy Business Association: Lawsuit seeks to stop DNR from overreaching its authority

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Contact:
Jamie Mara
(920) 209-3990
[email protected]

GREEN BAY, Wis. (Aug. 3, 2017) — Standing up for hundreds of dairy farmers across Wisconsin, the Dairy Business Association is demanding that the state rein in the Department of Natural Resources for overreaching its legal authority on key regulations.

The dairy group on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the DNR that centers on how the agency implements new regulations without going through an approval process required by state law.

The lawsuit deals specifically with one example of this pattern of unlawful behavior: changes to how farmers manage rainwater that comes into contact with feed storage or calf hutch areas. Those changes, in which the DNR abruptly abandoned its own earlier directives, are causing costly fixes and still more uncertainty for farmers.

“We’re not looking for a free pass on regulations. We’re asking the DNR to follow the rules,” said Mike North, president of the association. “The agency clearly is overstepping its legal boundaries on this and other issues.”

For years, the DNR encouraged farmers to build what are called vegetative treatment areas (VTAs) where the water is safely and naturally treated to prevent runoff and protect water quality. In 2016, the agency suddenly did an about-face and began requiring farmers to collect all the water and add it to manure pits for spreading on fields.

The move circumvented Act 21, which requires agencies to follow a specific method of rulemaking based on public transparency and lawmaker oversight. The lawsuit seeks to stop DNR’s ongoing efforts to skirt the formal rulemaking process.

“Farmers are not above the law. The Department of Natural Resources shouldn’t be either,” North said.

The reversal on VTAs is causing farmers to spend millions of dollars on new storage lagoons and calf hutch improvements, creating confusion and uncertainty, and actually increasing the risk of pollution, he said.

“The DNR — unfairly, unnecessarily and illegally — is putting the livelihoods of dairy farm families at risk,” he said. “They need to be treated fairly and provided with predictability in order to run their businesses successfully.”

The lawsuit also addresses a farm’s duty to apply for a permit. Despite a state law that binds the DNR to federal standards, the DNR has incorrectly adopted its own contradictory requirement. North said the hope is the lawsuit will result in a harmonization of state and federal law, while still providing for environmental oversight of farms.

“Dairy farmers are committed to doing the right thing for their cows, their communities and the environment,” he said. “Now, we need the DNR to do the right thing in regulating our farms.”

Moreover, North said, “This lawsuit is about more than VTAs and calf-hutches; it is about preventing the DNR from ignoring the law.”

“And this affects more than farmers,” he said. “Many businesses and others who deal with the DNR are frustrated as well. All of us — the public — should be concerned when a state agency exceeds its authority. There is a tremendous amount at stake.”

MORE ABOUT THE ISSUE

Background

For years, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources encouraged farmers to build vegetative treatment areas (VTAs) on farms to land treat rainwater that comes into contact with feed or waste from calf hutches.

In spring 2016, the agency abruptly abandoned the practice and began requiring farmers to collect all that water and add it to manure pits for spreading on fields. While that position has since softened, the general stance is in favor of significantly more collection and against the use of VTAs.

Despite claims by the DNR that it’s following directives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the collection of water in this way is not required by federal law.

What is a VTA?

As defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (www.ars.usda.gov), a vegetative treatment area is “an area of planted or indigenous vegetation situated down slope of cropland or animal production facilities that provide localized erosion protection and contaminant reduction. Planted or indigenous vegetation preferably includes perennial vegetation including forages, grasses, or pasture. These crops are used to treat runoff through filtration, evapotranspiration, adsorption, settling and infiltration.

What does the science say?

There is no scientifically sound reason to believe that the DNR’s reversal on VTAs will improve the environment. The research is incomplete. Water sampling was conducted on a very limited number of farms. The samples looked at whether rainwater was leaving the vegetative treatment area or calf hutch area, but not whether it was actually reaching a navigable surface water or harming ground water. Drastic increases in the amount of liquid that farmers need to apply to fields during Wisconsin’s very narrow windows for spreading (spring and fall) will increase — not reduce — the risk of runoff.

What is at stake for farmers?

Farmers will need to spend millions of dollars on new storage lagoons, calf hutch area improvements or calf barns. Farmers are willing to invest in scientifically sound practices to benefit the environment, but these changes are likely to have the opposite effect. Additionally, with low milk prices and a tightening farm credit market, the compliance costs could be out of reach for many.

Not only do these new requirements harm existing users of these systems, they create uncertainty for farmers who want to grow or make other improvements to their facilities.

Dallet campaign: Rebecca Dallet earns support from 89 judges in Wisconsin Supreme Court bid

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Contact:
Jessica Lovejoy
(608-318-3065)

MILWAUKEE — Judge Rebecca Dallet announced support from 89 current and retired judges from across Wisconsin today, showing continued momentum in her campaign to be the next Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice.

“I strongly endorse Judge Rebecca Dallet for the Wisconsin Supreme Court,” said Appeals Court Judge Lisa Stark of Eau Claire, who is presiding judge of District III. “I am continually impressed with Judge Dallet’s passion for the law and her performance on the bench. Her significant judicial experience, service with distinction and integrity, intelligence, and independence make her the best candidate for our court.”

“No other candidate for the Supreme Court has Judge Dallet’s depth of experience,” said Dane County Circuit Court Judge William Hanrahan, who is deputy chief judge of the Fifth Judicial District. “Without question, she is the best choice to be our next Supreme Court Justice.”

“I am humbled and honored to receive the endorsement of so many of my peers,” said Judge Dallet. “I have spent my career fighting for a more just and fair judicial system in our state, and I am encouraged by the overwhelming support we have received in our campaign to bring those values to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.”

Rebecca Dallet is a mom, an experienced attorney, and a judge. She has served on the Milwaukee County Circuit Court for nine years and worked as a prosecutor for more than a decade prior to being elected to the bench. During her career, Dallet worked to put sexual predators behind bars, and prosecuted drug, gun, and violent crime cases in partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s office. She has served as the presiding judge in domestic violence and misdemeanor court, and presided over serious felony, homicide and drug courts, as well as civil court.

Judge Dallet is running because she believes in Wisconsin, and that our state needs unbiased Justices committed to interpreting and upholding the law in a fair and balanced way. She lives in Whitefish Bay with her husband, Brad, and their three teenage daughters.

Judge Dallet’s campaign can be found online at www.dalletforjustice.com, on Facebook, and Twitter. For more information or to attend an upcoming event, contact Jessica Lovejoy at [email protected] or (608-318-3065).

The full list of the 89 judges endorsing today is at www.dalletforjustice.com/endorsements.

Dane Co. Exec. Parisi: Dane County adds second office to help Madison’s southwest side

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Contact:
Joshua Wescott
608-266-9069

Today, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced the opening of a new Joining Forces for Families (JFF) office to strengthen community-based services, help families address their basic needs, and maintain healthy neighborhoods and communities on Madison’s southwest side. The new location at the Elver Park Neighborhood Center, housed under the Wisconsin Youth Company on McKenna Boulevard, will serve as a dynamic resource tool for the Madison neighborhood situated on Morraine View Drive. A contract verifying the lease for the new office is expected to be approved by the County Board this evening.

“Joining Forces for Families has existed in Dane County for nearly 25 years and provides critical resources by molding itself to best fit the needs of local neighborhoods,” County Executive Joe Parisi said. “Improving JFF’s presence on Madison’s southwest side will allow more families to get the services they need while strengthening the community to which they belong.”

The Joining Forces for Families team serving this region of Dane County will be comprised of local non-profit organizations, neighborhood police officers, school social workers, representatives from faith-based organizations, and a school family/community engagement specialist. Previously, this JFF team was based in Middleton. The team agreed to split their time between the Middleton office and this new location following growing requests to serve Middleton Cross Plains Area School District families residing on Madison’s southwest side. The team’s presence will complement the JFF office currently operating on Russett Road.

JFF team members and their collaborative networks work with neighborhood and community residents to support activities identified as priority needs within the area. These types of initiatives include mentor and reading programs, afterschool activities, community get-togethers, parenting classes, and support groups in local neighborhoods.

JFF teams also address the needs of families and children who come to their attention. They can respond to basic requests for food, clothing, shelter, housing, and transportation or to more comprehensive needs like child and family matters, mental health, or alcohol and other drug issues. All efforts work toward negating child maltreatment, youth homelessness, juvenile crime, and child poverty.

Since the inception of Joining Forces for Families, critical resources have been decentralized to provide for better access and more responsive services tailored to the specific needs of neighborhoods and communities. JFF teams stabilized over a thousand families in their living situations in 2016. Its focus on early intervention has also prevented many families from getting involved in the court and shelter systems, resulting in a substantial saving of resources. Overall, JFF’s efforts and partnerships have improved  neighborhood environments and enhanced collaboration across Dane County.

Joining Forces for Families began in 1993 when community social workers were assigned to two Madison neighborhoods and Stoughton to facilitate the development of community teams. Their success ultimately led to several expansions of the JFF program. Following today’s announcement, Joining Forces for Families will have ten urban offices and seven rural site locations.

Dane Co. Exec. Parisi: Dane County welcomes former chief judge to discuss restorative justice practices

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Contact:
Stephanie Miller
920-470-4618

The public is invited to attend a presentation on the cultural base of Circle Keeping and Restorative Justice practices, hosted by Former Chief Judge Dave Raasch, at The Urban League of Greater Madison on August 19 from 1 to 3 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Dane County Department of Human Services and will cover the Native American origins of circle keeping, how circle keeping works as a tool to resolve conflict and restore communities, and the current applications of peacemaking circles as it relates to criminal justice in the United States.

The Dane County Community Restorative Court (CRC) is modeled after the circle keeping process that Chief Judge David Raasch will discuss in his presentation. Dane County formally began CRC in the spring of 2015. The program’s success led the County Executive to expand its services countywide in his 2017 budget.

“Our Community Restorative Court provides a dynamic alternative to the traditional justice system, and I am proud that we are able to spread its services to the entire county,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “Respondents are able to accept responsibility for their actions, be given a second chance, and learn ways in which they can improve themselves and give back to their community.”

The CRC is designed to work with young people, ages 17 to 25, who have committed a misdemeanor crime. When compared to the traditional justice system, studies indicate that Restorative Justice processes resolve cases more quickly, reduce recidivism, generate greater feelings of fairness for both the victim and the offender, and result in a higher percentage of offenders making full restitution payments. Jonathan Scharrer, Director of the Restorative Justice Project at the University of Wisconsin Law School, has also found that Restorative Justice practices demonstrate significant cost per case savings.

“Restorative justice offers a positive way forward from a crime, both for victims and those responsible for causing harm,” said Director Jonathan Scharrer. “This process elevates the voice of victims and offers inclusionary responses and solutions that make a real difference in people’s lives and strengthens the community.”

David Raasch is a former chief judge of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans Tribal Court. He began his career in the justice system when he became a police officer in 1971. He then served as a court administrator for the City of Green Bay until 2004, contributing 20 years of service. He recently retired as a Tribal Project Specialist for the National Criminal Justice Training Center at Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton, WI. He is a member of the National Judicial College and the former President of the Wisconsin Tribal Judges’ Association.

Dane County Exec. Parisi: Slow no wake discontinued for Lake Monona

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Contact: Ariana Vruwink

608-283-1477

Order Remains in Effect for Squaw Bay

Dane County will be lifting the Slow/No Wake Order that has been in effect for Lake Monona. The Slow/No Wake Order will be rescinded for Lake Monona effective sunrise, Saturday morning on August 12, 2017.

A Slow/No Wake Order will remain in effect for Squaw Bay on Lake Monona.

Lake Monona had been under a Slow/No Wake Order since July 26 due to heavy rains. Recent drier weather has helped lake levels decline.

In addition to Squaw Bay, Slow/No Wake Orders remain in effect for Lake Waubesa and Crystal Lake due to high water levels.

Boaters are reminded that all lakes in the Yahara Chain have permanent, year-round 200-feet from shore Slow/No Wake restrictions.

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Dane County Executive Parisi: Announces $12 Million Lakes Clean Up Project Kickoff and Clean Lakes Community Forum Tour

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Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced today the $12 million project to remove the algae- making phosphorous to clean our lakes has begun and he will be embarking on a Clean Lakes Community Forum Tour. Work on the first phase of Dane County’s multi-year effort to remove phosphorus laden sediment from streams began in Dorn Creek last week.  Design and engineering work on the project, known as “Suck the Muck,” is now underway along with preliminary site work that needs to be done in and along the stream prior to the sediment being vacuumed out. Over the upcoming weeks, County Executive Parisi and County staff will present breakthrough research to clean up the lakes by removing hundreds of thousands of pounds of algae-making phosphorus from muck that’s built up in the streams feeding into our lakes.  The County Executive will visit Waunakee, Monona, Middleton, Windsor and Shorewood.

The cornerstone of Parisi’s 2017 Dane County budget was a new $12 million initiative to clean up 33 miles of streams that feed phosphorus directly in the lakes on a daily basis. The work will remove 870,000 pounds of phosphorus, the chief culprit responsible for algae growth, from area waters.

The muck at the bottom of streams is nearly 125 years old and is a much greater contributor to the health of our lakes than earlier thought.  Without another pound of phosphorus run-off, there’s so much material built up in these streams it would take 66 years to achieve the clean water goals laid out in the Yahara Clean Report. The work to “Suck the Muck”, from streams that feed into the chain of lakes will result in cleaner and healthier lakes.

“I am excited to kick off this important project and bring the Clean Lakes Community Forum’s across Dane County to share this important news,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “Like you, I want clean lakes in my lifetime. The time is now.”

Below is a schedule of upcoming Clean Lakes Community Forum Events:

Waunakee Village Board

Monday, August 21st – 6pm

Village Hall

500 Main Street

Monona City Council

Monday, August 21st – 7:30pm

Monona Library

1000 Nichols Rd – Municipal Room (lower level)

Middleton City Council

Tuesday, September 5th – 7:30pm

City Council Chambers

7426 Hubbard Ave

Windsor Village Board

Thursday, September 7th – 5pm

Windsor Municipal Building

4084 Mueller Rd

Shorewood Hills Board

Monday, September 18th – 7pm

Shorewood Village Hall

810 Shorewood Blvd

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Stephanie Wilson Miller

Communications Director

Dane County

608.267.8823 o

920.470.4618 c

Dane County Lake and Watershed Commission: To hold public hearing on its 2018 budget recommendations

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Contact:  Rebecca Power (608-234-2433), Sue Jones (608-224-3764)

Hearing set for August 16, 2017, 5:00 p.m. in City-County Building

(Madison, WI) The Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission will hold a public hearing on its draft 2018 budget recommendations on Wednesday, August 16, 2017, in Room 354 of the City County Building, 210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd in downtown Madison.

Each year, the Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission reviews county departments’ water-resource-related budgets. The budget review process was designed to give the Commission and public a chance to advocate for water resource-related budget initiatives.

The Commission’s draft recommendations can be viewed at https://olw-lwrd.countyofdane.com/. Besides commenting at the public hearing, citizens may also submit written comments to the Lakes and Watershed Commission by sending a message to[email protected]. The deadline for electronic comments is noon on Wednesday, August 16.

Commission chair Rebecca Power said, “These draft recommendations call attention to the valuable work Dane County and our partners do to keep our waters safe and healthy for everyone. So many of us are out there swimming, fishing, boating, and making a living that depends upon our lakes, streams, and wetlands. If you care about water in Dane County, we want to hear from you.”

The Commission’s 2018 budget recommendations focus on initiatives to reduce phosphorus and chloride pollution, manage water volume, and protect public health in ways that engage the public and prioritize equity and inclusion.

After the public hearing, the Commission will refine its recommendations and forward them to County Executive Joe Parisi by September 1 for consideration in his budget. Commission recommendations are also provided to the County Board for their use in budget deliberations. The County Executive’s budget is delivered to the County Board on or before October 1. The County Board and County Executive hold public hearings on the budget during September and October (final dates to be determined). The County Board acts on the budget after receiving the County Executive’s budget, typically adopting a final budget before Thanksgiving.

The Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission is a coordinating and advisory agency within Dane County government, established by the County Board in 1988. The Commission is charged with protecting and improving water quality, as well as the scenic, economic, recreational, and environmental value of Dane County’s water resources. The Commission works with many local, regional, and state partners to complete its objectives.  Learn more about the Commission at https://olw-lwrd.countyofdane.com/Get-Involved/Attend-a-Lakes-and-Watershed-Commission-Meeting .

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David Bowen: Taxpayers shouldn’t have to bribe Foxconn to come to Wisconsin

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

Wisconsin Republicans are failing the people of our state and are unabashedly putting political gain over the needs of its people. While they have managed to push the Foxconn bill to the Assembly Floor for a vote in just one month, they are 7 weeks late on our state budget. Just this week, Milwaukee Public Schools were forced to start classes without knowing how much money they count on for our children’s education. Many schools throughout the state will be soon to start with this same uncertainty. Governor Walker’s relentless attacks on Wisconsin workers have left us struggling to help our future generations by taking away desperately-needed funding from their education, to protect our threatened natural environment through deregulation, and to pay for our roads through poor budget priorities. Walker’s decisions have left Wisconsin in a mess that will take years to clean up, and this Foxconn one will take decades.

When I first heard the news that Foxconn, a Taiwan-based multinational electronics manufacturing company, was looking to build a plant in Wisconsin, my reaction was to be cautious, but optimistic. As Foxconn is a company that is known for being a large contractor in the tech industry, I knew the idea of them setting up shop in Wisconsin to hire Wisconsin workers could be a lift for our economy and could result in the genesis of an emergent high-tech sector of our state.

However, my cautious optimism slowed when I learned about the impending deal between Foxconn and our Governor. Governor Walker wants to doll out a $3 billion taxpayer-funded bribe in order to get the company to do business in our state. Last week, the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau calculated that Wisconsin would not receive a return on investment for Governor Walker’s deal until the year 2042. Walker’s deal seemed like a horrific deal for taxpayers, so my next question was, is it normal for Wisconsin to offer such a deal to a large company?

As of the year 2017, Wisconsin is home to nine Fortune 500 companies: Northwestern Mutual (revenue ~$28.799 billion), ManpowerGroup ($19.654 billion), Kohl’s ($18.686 billion), American Family Insurance ($8.829 billion), WEC Energy Group ($7.472 billion), Oshkosh ($6.279 billion), Harley-Davidson ($5.997 billion), Rockwell Automation ($5.880 billion), and Fiserv ($5.505 billion). As one can see from looking at the numbers, Wisconsin is already home to a number of companies that generate billions of dollars in revenue each year. These large companies contribute a great deal to Wisconsin’s economy, through hiring workers and paying taxes, and culture, such as Harley-Davidson which attracts bikers to Milwaukee from all over the United States. In the same way of these companies, Foxconn also has the potential to have a positive effect on our quality of life. However, these companies did not need a $3 billion bribe from Wisconsin taxpayers. Wisconsin has companies that are comparable in size to Foxconn, and we can see that it definitely isn’t normal for Wisconsin to offer such a deal to a large company.

Furthermore, my cautious optimism went from a slow pedal to a screeching halt upon examining Foxconn’s recent history of deal making with other state and national governments in and out of the United States. According to research done by CNN Money:

In 2011, Foxconn promised $12 billion in investment for production of cell phones, tablets, and TV screens in Brazil. It still hasn’t happened.

In 2013, Foxconn promised to build a $30 million high-tech factory in Harrisburg, PA. It still hasn’t happened.

In 2014, Foxconn signed a deal with Indonesia that it would invest at least $1 billion over 3-5 years. It still hasn’t happened.

In 2015, Foxconn signed a Memorandum of Understanding with India that it would invest $5 billion and employ at least 50,000 new workers. The project still has not yet identified a construction spot.

Why are we working so hard to give away billions, which we usually say we can’t find, to a foreign company with a sketchy history than our own Wisconsin companies and business owners who are already committed to our state?

I want to be very clear, everyone wants to create more jobs and bringing a large company like Foxconn to our state could have the potential to be great for our economy, but we as legislators have a fiduciary responsibility to ensure this is an actual deal for Wisconsin. Unfortunately, the numbers reported to me not only fail to add up, they’re based on assumptions that Foxconn will never automate these jobs and hire all Wisconsin workers. If Foxconn fails to produce the 13,000 jobs they claim or workers in other states take these jobs because Wisconsinites aren’t prepared for them, the numbers go from questionable to no way in heaven. Governor Walker’s giveaway leaves taxpayers on the hook for decades, diverting away money that could have been spent on our budget-strapped public schools, crumbling roads and bridges, and struggling rural and urban communities – not to mention his deal threatens our clean water and air with special exclusions to our environmental protection laws.

If it is really true that Foxconn wants to come to Wisconsin because it believes in the potential of Wisconsin manufacturing and the value of the Wisconsin marketplace, then Wisconsin taxpayers do not need to bribe Foxconn with the largest corporate welfare give away in the history of our state. Foxconn should not have to become a line item on the Wisconsin State budget for the next 25 years.

That is why I have no choice but to oppose the Foxconn bill in its current form and, when it reaches the Assembly Floor, I will be voting against this give away and encourage my colleagues to do the same so we can reexamine how to really invest $3 billion for guaranteed jobs and growth.

— Bowen, D-Milwaukee, represents the 10th Assembly District.

DC Wrap: Pocan says Dems’ new economic agenda will help party pick up votes

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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.

NOTE: There will be no D.C. Wrap until both chambers are back from the congressional August recess, which lasts until the beginning of September. D.C. Wrap will return after the break. Thank you for reading!  

Quotes of the week, July 28-Aug. 3

Obviously I tell the state lawmakers, ‘let’s get this done’ and by the way it’s all contingent, if you look at the actual details, it’s contingent upon the kinds of investments that are coming, it’s contingent on the jobs, so it’s a high reward for us to get this done.

– House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, urging state lawmakers to act on the deal between Wisconsin and Taiwanese technology company Foxconn, in an interview with Fox 6 after a stop on Wednesday in Mukwonago. State lawmakers indicated this week they had different plans for passing a special session incentives bill, with legislative leaders at odds over whether to do the bill or the budget first. See more from the interview.

I’ve learned not to go into high-five sessions until you know what you’re high-fiving.

– U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, this week on the Foxconn deal. He warned reporters in a news conference that some could be celebrating the agreement prematurely, as he urged lawmakers to “do their due diligence” to ensure the promised jobs and wages are there before signing off on the agreement. See more from his comments in an item below.

Let’s not allow either party the ability to block a president being able to staff his administration. Let’s not use Senate floor time that really should be used to debate for example, the debt ceiling, tax reform, how do you fix this mess that is Obamacare, appropriations bills.

– U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, in an interview on his proposal to limit debate to two hours on any presidential nominees who aren’t in the cabinet or on the Supreme Court, saying committees should do heavy vetting on nominees and that “precious Senate floor time” should be focused on other issues. Watch the interview.

This week’s news

— U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan on Wednesday said the Dems’ new economic agenda will help the party engage with voters and help bring them to the polls in the 2018 midterms.

The Town of Vermont Dem said the agenda, dubbed “A Better Deal” and unveiled last week, would help “articulate a coherent economic message to the American people,” something he said the party failed to do in 2016.

“Our presidential campaign was largely ‘I’m not him,’” he told reporters at his downtown Madison office, adding the Dems had “severely lacked a very clear, strong economic message that shows we’re there for people in the middle class.”

But, Pocan said, the new message does that by focusing on how to create “good, family supporting jobs” and addressing issues like the anti-trust law.

And he said talking about those economic issues was a “good first step” for the party in trying to reach out to the Wisconsin voters who didn’t show up to back candidate Hillary Clinton last November.

Pocan also addressed comments from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman this week on whether House Dems would consider a candidate’s stance on abortion rights a litmus test next year.

“We can’t stop anyone running from office, but I think if we’re going to give them support, they should be Democrats in more than just name only,” he said.

Pocan said in the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which he heads, there is a “rigorous questionnaire” for candidates looking to gain an endorsement from the caucus. It includes questions on whether a candidate’s pro choice, and also seeks to ensure the candidate doesn’t discriminate based on sexual orientation, among other things, he said.

“I think there are standards for many groups that are endorsing candidates, but as a party you can’t tell someone you can’t run as a Democrat,” he said.

Hear the news conference:
https://soundcloud.com/wispolitics/us-rep-mark-pocan-news-conference

— Longtime state GOP leader Steve King said at his Senate nomination hearing Tuesday the Czech Republic has “gone the distance” to help the U.S. defeat ISIS.

But King, President Trump’s nominee to be the U.S. ambassador to the country, also said the Czech Republic should increase how much money it spends toward defense and strengthening the NATO alliance.

King testified Tuesday at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing that was chaired by U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh. Johnson chairs the Subcommittee on European and Regional Security Cooperation.

“Steve’s success in public and private sector is a reflection of his strong interpersonal skills a keen understanding of governance and leadership and his personal integrity,” Johnson said to kick off the hearing.

King, meanwhile, thanked Johnson for his role in the subcommittee and public service, as well as his “shared devotion to the Green Bay Packers.”

Read King’s testimony:
https://www.foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/080117_King_Testimony.pdf

Watch the hearing:
https://www.foreign.senate.gov/hearings/nominations-080117

— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin is applauding leaders of the Senate health committee for scheduling hearings on ways to improve the Affordable Care Act.

Baldwin, D-Madison, is a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, which will hold hearings starting in September on the steps Congress can take to stabilize the individual marketplace and ensure plans are affordable.

Baldwin, who’s introduced a proposal aimed at doing so, said Congress should “look past the partisan debate in Washington” and find common ground on the issue.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, is also planning on holding hearings through the committee he chairs.

Johnson said last week that his Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs that his committee will hear testimony to “lay out the realities of our health care system.”

“I am committed to working with anyone who is serious about addressing these issues,” he said. “Americans deserve far better than their elected officials have delivered to this point.”

See Baldwin’s release:
https://www.baldwin.senate.gov/press-releases/help-announcement-stabilize-marketplace

See Johnson’s release:
https://www.ronjohnson.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=2368F762-F094-44FF-B58D-73060E6F0054

— Members of the Wisconsin congressional delegation blasted a federal appeals court decision that keeps gray wolves on the endangered species list in Wisconsin.

The decision, from a three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., yesterday, reaffirmed a 2014 lower court ruling that prevented hunting and trapping of the wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

But U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson, Tammy Baldwin and U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy said in separate statements they continue to support legislation to lessen the oversight of the species and turn over control to the states — ultimately allowing them to choose whether to delist the gray wolf.

Johnson, R-Oshkosh, called the decision “outrageous,” adding that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had previously determined the wolves aren’t endangered “regardless of what judges in Washington imagine.”

“Indeed, the wolf population in northern Wisconsin is causing major problems for farmers and ranchers as it continues to grow unchecked,” he said. “Wisconsin should be permitted to manage the wolf population according to science rather than judicial whim.”

Baldwin, D-Madison, also referenced the government officials’ determination that the gray wolf population had recovered, saying people should “acknowledge that reality and return the Gray wolf’s management back to the State.”

And Duffy, R-Wausau, called on the Department of the Interior to appeal the decision, saying it was “outrageous that activist judges in Washington think they know what’s best for Wisconsin’s ecosystem.”

“Just because wolves might not appear as a problem at environmentalist galas in Washington, they are a very real concern to farmers and ranchers in Wisconsin,” he said. “Our farmers deserve to be able to protect their livestock, and they should not suffer because of the decisions made by an overreaching federal government a thousand miles away.”

The Obama administration in 2011 first delisted the gray wolf. In 2014, it returned to the federal endangered species list after a lawsuit.

— U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, has brought in two familiar faces to become his new chiefs of staff.

The two co-chiefs of staff for the office are: Loni Hagerup, a longtime Sensenbrenner aide who most recently was deputy chief of staff; and Matt Bisenius, who most recently was director of legislative affairs at the National Propane Gas Association but was Sensenbrenner’s senior legislative assistant before that.

They will take over Bart Forsyth, who’s had several roles while working for Sensenbrenner and is now going to work for PhRMA, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

“Bart has been a true asset as a trusted advisor, effective facilitator, and respected leader,” Sensenbrenner said in a statement. “I’m thankful for his distinguished service and wish him continued success as he begins this new chapter.”

His last day was Monday. Hagerup started in the new role on Tuesday, and Bisenius will join the staff on Aug. 14.

See the release:
https://sensenbrenner.house.gov/press-releases-statements?ID=829F087A-41BB-4368-8676-FEA10FA8A990

— Sensenbrenner’s Rapid DNA Act passed the Senate unanimously this week.

The bill, which boosts the use of a new technology that allows for faster DNA analysis, already passed the House and now heads to President’s Trump desk for his signature.

“This technology will help quickly identify arrestees and offenders, reduce the overwhelming backlog in forensic DNA analysis, and make crime fighting efforts more efficient while helping to prevent future crimes from occurring,” he said in a news release. “It will also save time and taxpayer dollars. I look forward to President Trump promptly signing it into law.”

See the release: https://sensenbrenner.house.gov/press-releases-statements?ID=5652A0C7-CD25-4FE1-A34F-5D37F07A55EE

— U.S. Reps. Sean Duffy and Glenn Grothman have introduced a resolution to honor Hmong freedom fighters who helped the U.S. fight in southeast Asia.

See a video of the two discussing the resolution:
https://grothman.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=365

— Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, is highlighting an amendment he made to a defense appropriations bill transferring $30 million in funding to the agency’s joint light tactical vehicle program.

The JLTVs, made by Oshkosh Corp., will “save lives and improve our troops’ effectiveness on the field,” he said.

See the release: https://grothman.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=364

— U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher’s first bill to pass the House would set up a National Global War on Terrorism Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Gallagher, R-Green Bay, is a freshman and former Marine. He said he hopes the Senate passes the bill so that President Trump signs it into law and the memorial “will one day stand alongside others as an enduring reminder of the cost of liberty.”

“We are one step closer to securing our brave warfighters’ rightful place in our nation’s capital,” he said. “The Global War on Terrorism Memorial is for the over 6,800 men and women who have died fighting, those who continue fighting, and those who are still joining the fight against terrorism.”

See the release:
https://gallagher.house.gov/media/press-releases/congressman-gallagher-s-first-bill-passes-house

— A Gallagher amendment that passed the House last week is aimed at prioritizing security research at the Department of Energy.

Gallagher said his amendment ensures that type of research gets priority rather than “Washington, D.C. bureaucrats.”

“As our nation looks to modernize our grid, improve our domestic energy supply, and reduce national security risks, energy storage technologies must become more affordable and reliable,” he said.

See the release:
https://gallagher.house.gov/media/press-releases/house-passes-rep-gallagher-s-energy-innovation-amendment

— U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and the ranking member of his committee are applauding the reauthorization of the agency that helps federal whistleblowers.

Johnson, R-Oshkosh, chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, whose ranking member is U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Dem.

“This bill will help the Office of Special Counsel right the wrongs committed against federal whistleblowers, and it will ensure that federal agencies are taking steps to correct and prevent whistleblower retaliation,” Johnson said in a news release.

See the release:
https://www.hsgac.senate.gov/media/majority-media/johnson-mccaskill-grassley-applaud-passage-of-osc-reauthorization-

— Johnson is praising a decision from the Food and Drug Administration to delay an Obama administration e-cigarette regulation until 2022.

Johnson said he’s glad FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb “listened to industry and consumer concerns in loosening the FDA’s regulatory grip over e-cigarette manufacturers. “

See the release:https://www.hsgac.senate.gov/media/majority-media/johnson-applauds-fda-decision-to-further-delay-implementation-of-harmful-e-cigarette-rule

— U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan joined nearly 20 other colleagues this week in penning a letter to President Trump and urging him to back Mississippi auto workers as they prepare for a vote to unionize a Nissan plant on Thursday and Friday.

“President Trump came to power promising people good jobs,” Pocan said after the letter’s release. “Now is his chance to truly stand up to a foreign company bullying Americans into accepting lower wages and unsafe working conditions.”

See the release:
https://www.wispolitics.com/2017/u-s-rep-pocan-members-of-congress-urge-trump-to-stand-with-americans-against-nissans-anti-worker-campaign/

— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, introduced bipartisan legislation this week backing community banks that she says would help level the playing field.

The legislation, from Baldwin and two other senators, would exempt community banks from having to abide by requirements aimed at larger institutions and give community banks the ability to lend more money to customers, she said.

“It is unreasonable to require small community banks to meet the same capital requirements as large international banks,” Baldwin said. “This bipartisan, commonsense reform will give Wisconsin community banks the relief they need and free up access to credit for Wisconsinites looking to start a small business or own their first home.”

See more:
https://www.baldwin.senate.gov/press-releases/support-community-banks

— Baldwin this week also joined other Senate Dems in unveiling “A Better Deal On Trade and Jobs,” which she says would prevent trade deals from “hurting our workers.”

It would also put in place stronger “Buy America” requirements for taxpayer-funded projects, an issue Baldwin has been outspoken on.

“Wisconsin families depend on our manufacturing jobs and I believe that if we give our workers and a level playing field, we will compete and win,” she said at a news conference.

Posts of the week

ICYMI

House approves Rep. Mike Gallagher’s bill for War on Terrorism Memorial
http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/news/2017/07/28/house-approves-rep-mike-gallaghers-bill-war-terrorism-memorial/517966001/

Gallagher calls for shift in health care debate
http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/news/2017/07/30/gallagher-health-care-reform/519768001/

Pocan To Lawmakers: Take A Close Look At Foxconn Deal
https://www.wpr.org/pocan-lawmakers-take-close-look-foxconn-deal

Progressive Caucus chair Mark Pocan on ‘A Better Deal,’ Democratic ‘litmus tests’
http://host.madison.com/ct/news/local/govt-and-politics/election-matters/progressive-caucus-chair-mark-pocan-on-a-better-deal-democratic/article_ed2abcc1-dde7-54b4-b445-936f556daed3.html

Wis. legislators thank Hmong freedom fighters
http://www.wsaw.com/content/news/Wis-legislators-thank-Hmong-freedom-fighters-437406453.html

Energy Storage Research Gets Funding Boost in House-Passed Spending Bill
https://morningconsult.com/2017/07/27/energy-storage-research-poised-funding-boost-house-spending-bill/

Rep. Ron Kind calls for ACA reform after Senate’s repeal attempts fail
http://chippewa.com/dunnconnect/news/local/rep-ron-kind-calls-for-aca-reform-after-senate-s/article_f9334b06-9a8b-54fb-bfda-27e91326888b.html

Ron Kind, Tim Kabat buoy Authenticom, employees in antitrust suit
http://lacrossetribune.com/news/local/ron-kind-tim-kabat-buoy-authenticom-employees-in-antitrust-suit/article_bd3e0c03-9475-54e1-9a84-58e7bd085ea4.html

New Sensenbrenner Bill Calling For Transparency In Music Is Surprisingly Opaque
http://www.npr.org/sections/therecord/2017/08/01/540655528/new-bill-calling-for-transparency-in-music-is-surprisingly-opaque

A US Congressman Just Called ASCAP+BMI’s Shared Database a Scam
https://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2017/07/27/mic-coalition-ascap-bmi/

Rep. Kind Calls For Bipartisan Approach To Health Care
https://www.wpr.org/rep-kind-calls-bipartisan-approach-health-care

Ron Kind Secures Opioid Program Funding
http://wxpr.org/post/ron-kind-secures-opioid-program-funding

PolitiFact: Gwen Moore says Dontre Hamilton shot by police 14 times for resting in a park
http://www.sheboyganpress.com/story/news/2017/08/01/politifact-gwen-moore-says-dontre-hamilton-shot-police-14-times-resting-park/525489001/

Democratic Rep. Gwen Moore rejected invitation to Foxconn announcement
http://fox6now.com/2017/07/26/democratic-rep-gwen-moore-rejected-invitation-to-foxconn-announcement/

Reps. Royce, Moore sponsor bill to require GSE’s to increase credit risk transfers
https://financialregnews.com/reps-royce-moore-sponsor-bill-require-gses-increase-credit-risk-transfers/

Decision on Foxconn site is ‘imminent;’ starting salary at $20 per hour, WEDC CEO says

0

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation CEO Mark Hogan said a decision on a site for Foxconn is “imminent,” with an announcement likely coming within the next few weeks.

Hogan, taking questions from members of the Assembly Committee on Jobs and the Economy, also said the Taiwanese technology company is ready to start building, although the Senate and Assembly are at-odds over whether to do the Foxconn special session bill or the budget first.

And he said the average salary would be $20 per hour, and 9,000 of the 13,000 jobs would be filled by hourly operators making at least that, plus benefits.

Meanwhile, Department of Administration Secretary Scott Neitzel said the Foxconn payroll could reach $800 million annually “when fully up to speed.”

Asked by Rep. Bob Kulp, R-Stratford, what the incentive packages looked like from other states, Hogan said that was never a topic of discussion, adding that they were “focused from day one about what Wisconsin has to offer.”

And Neitzel said Foxconn was drawn to Wisconsin because they saw “people who are committed to growing the state.”

“It’s us, it’s the state of Wisconsin, it’s the people of Wisconsin,” he said.

Hogan also declined to go into specifics on clawback provisions, after being asked by Rep. Joan Ballweg, R-Markesan, saying WEDC and Foxconn haven’t yet had formal conversations on that topic yet.

Meanwhile, Rep. Christine Sinicki, D-Milwaukee, asked Hogan why there isn’t a minimum requirement for Wisconsin workers being outlined, saying “we are pretty much opening our doors to them and giving them whatever they want.”

Hogan said while they’ll fill as many jobs as possible with Wisconsin workers, putting a minimum requirement in legislation or a contract isn’t an “effective way” for a company to manage its business.

Dem guv candidate Evers’ first radio ad targets Foxconn deal

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Dem guv candidate Tony Evers knocked Gov. Scott Walker for orchestrating the Foxconn deal in his campaign’s first radio ad, as he called for a “new approach” to supporting the middle class.

The ad, called “Foxconned,” also links Walker to President Trump, with Evers saying their $3 billion deal “might sound good until you look at the fine print.”

“Sounds good for Foxconn but what’s in it for the rest of us? Just think if we invested that money in our schools instead,” said Evers, who also heads the Department of Public Instruction.

The ad is airing in the Milwaukee, Green Bay and Wausau markets.

Dem motion to send Foxconn bill to Finance fails on party-line vote

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Shortly after debate kicked off this afternoon on the Foxconn bill, a Dem motion to send the incentive package to the Joint Finance Committee failed on a 57-32 party-line vote.

The Senate is already set to take up the bill in JFC, likely next week.

But Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, who made the motion, said sending the bill to finance would result in a “better, stronger deal” for taxpayers, workers and small businesses and enhanced environmental protections.

“I think we could have a deal that would be very meaningful, that would offer the kinds of protections Wisconsin taxpayers expect from us,” the Kenosha Dem said. “The real issue is why can we not work together to put together the strongest possible deal for the taxpayers.”

Rep. Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, joined Barca in knocking the process and the bill itself, expressed disbelief that Taiwanese manufacturing company would deliver 13,000 jobs and $10 billion in investments.

“How much Kool-Aid do you have to drink to believe that’s going to happen?” he asked.

And he voiced support for Barca’s motion, as the .

“Usually if you rush things, FYI, it’s because the deal stinks,” he said.

But Rep. Joan Ballweg defended the process, saying it was “wise” to send the bill to the Assembly Committee on Jobs and the Economy.

She noted there were 13 representatives, including herself, working on the bill in that committee, which is more than the eight members the Assembly has on JFC.

“I think the Assembly is well ready and has more than enough time to thoroughly vet this proposal,” said Ballweg, R-Markesan.

Ten representatives did not vote, including four Dems and six Republicans.

Democratic Members of the Joint Finance Committee: New interactive map shows Democratic education funding plan best option for Wisconsin schools

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Contact:
Sen. Jon Erpenbach, 608.266.6670
Sen. Lena Taylor, 608.266.5810
Rep. Gordon Hintz, 608.266.2254
Rep. Katrina Shankland, 608.267.9649

MADISON –An interactive map released today shows how a Legislative Democratic plan increases funding for every school district in Wisconsin. Democrats on the Joint Finance Committee released the K-12 funding plan in June and asked that Republicans join them in restoring funding levels for schools that have seen deep budget cuts since Gov. Scott Walker took office in 2011. The map is available here.

“Our public schools are struggling after losing $1 billion in state aid,” said Katrina Shankland (D – Stevens Point). “How can Gov. Walker parade around the state taking credit for his budget while refusing to fully invest in our kids’ education? He’s consistently prioritized special interest giveaways over the future of our children ever since Republicans took total control. Our plan puts us back on track so our kids can have a brighter future.”

“Our children in Milwaukee have been back at school for more than a week, but Gov. Walker and his Republicans in Madison still can’t get their act together,” said Sen. Lena Taylor (D – Milwaukee). “This budget should have been funded before the fiscal year started on July 1 and the budget should have fully restored the funding our schools need. It’s not just enough to keep the lights on, we have to make sure our teachers have the resources they need to educate the next generation of Wisconsinites.”

Gov. Walker went on tour in 2017 to applaud small funding increases from the last budget to the fiscal year 2017 – 2019 budget. His tightly controlled press stops failed to mention the historic reductions in K-12 funding made by a Republican-led legislature that left many schools cutting teachers, training, school repairs, and supplies.

“The only reason Republicans haven’t been able to increase school funding in the last three budgets is that they chose not to,” said Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton). “When Republicans don’t prioritize local schools, they hurt our ability to build a strong workforce. This map shows that the Democratic education plan is the best plan for Wisconsin families.”

“If education is truly the biggest priority for Wisconsin state leaders, there should be no disagreement. Our plan restores school funding, reduced property taxes and expands education opportunities across the state. The fact that the majority continues to stall and argue over adequately funding public education makes it clear this issue is still not a top priority for Republicans,” said Rep. Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh).

A copy of the Democratic education funding plan is available here. A PDF of the data used to compile the map is available here. Data were provided by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

Democratic Members, Joint Committee on Finance: Updated Link: New interactive map shows Democratic education funding plan best option for Wisconsin schools

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Contact: Sen. Jon Erpenbach, 608.266.6670
Sen. Lena Taylor, 608.266.5810
Rep. Gordon Hintz, 608.266.2254
Rep. Katrina Shankland, 608.267.9649

 

MADISON – An interactive map released Friday shows how a Legislative Democratic plan increases funding for every school district in Wisconsin. Democrats on the Joint Finance Committee released the K-12 funding plan in June and asked that Republicans join them in restoring funding levels for schools that have seen deep budget cuts since Gov. Scott Walker took office in 2011. The map is available here.

“Our public schools are struggling after losing $1 billion in state aid,” said Katrina Shankland (D – Stevens Point). “How can Gov. Walker parade around the state taking credit for his budget while refusing to fully invest in our kids’ education? He’s consistently prioritized special interest giveaways over the future of our children ever since Republicans took total control. Our plan puts us back on track so our kids can have a brighter future.”

“Our children in Milwaukee have been back at school for more than a week, but Gov. Walker and his Republicans in Madison still can’t get their act together,” said Sen. Lena Taylor (D – Milwaukee). “This budget should have been funded before the fiscal year started on July 1 and the budget should have fully restored the funding our schools need. It’s not just enough to keep the lights on, we have to make sure our teachers have the resources they need to educate the next generation of Wisconsinites.”

Gov. Walker went on tour in 2017 to applaud small funding increases from the last budget to the fiscal year 2017 – 2019 budget. His tightly controlled press stops failed to mention the historic reductions in K-12 funding made by a Republican-led legislature that left many schools cutting teachers, training, school repairs, and supplies.

“The only reason Republicans haven’t been able to increase school funding in the last three budgets is that they chose not to,” said Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton). “When Republicans don’t prioritize local schools, they hurt our ability to build a strong workforce. This map shows that the Democratic education plan is the best plan for Wisconsin families.”

“If education is truly the biggest priority for Wisconsin state leaders, there should be no disagreement. Our plan restores school funding, reduced property taxes and expands education opportunities across the state. The fact that the majority continues to stall and argue over adequately funding public education makes it clear this issue is still not a top priority for Republicans,” said Rep. Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh).

A copy of the Democratic education funding plan is available here. A PDF of the data used to compile the map is available here. Data were provided by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

###

Democratic Party of Wisconsin: Kevin Nicholson changes his story on choice, scrubs cemetery content from ad

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Contact:
Jon Knudson
[email protected]
608-260-2409

MADISON — It’s been a rough week for Kevin Nicholson, with two more examples of his dishonesty and opportunism getting headlines.

First, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on Nicholson’s struggle to get his story straight on his changing views on a woman’s right to a full array of healthcare options. In a telephone news conference this week, Alexandra Acker-Lyons, former Vice Chair of College Democrats of America, spoke about her experience working with Nicholson when he was Chairman of the CDA, whose platform “endorsed a woman’s right to choose.” 

“Kevin never offered an amendment counter to that platform position,” said Acker-Lyons. 

The story also noted Nicholson’s speech to the 2000 Democratic National Convention included his support for “a woman’s right to choose,” despite his claims on conservative talk radio this week that he had simply been handed a piece of paper to read, implying he was anti-choice at the time. But that doesn’t add up.

“He also faxed a letter on June 28, 2000, to EMILY’s List, praised the group’s work and said there was “great potential for a strong partnership.”

“EMILY’s List seeks to raise money for female candidates who support abortion rights.”

Then today, the Journal Sentinel reported that Nicholson scrubbed a campaign video that included footage of a veterans cemetery.

Nicholson “edited out footage of what appears to be a veterans cemetery from the campaign video announcing his candidacy.

“The move came after No Quarter asked Nicholson’s camp if the clip may have violated federal rules. A National Cemetery Administration official said the use of filmed footage of veterans cemeteries in political ads is “incompatible” with a federal policy requiring these cemeteries be treated with dignity and respect.”

“Jessica Schiefer, a spokeswoman for the National Cemetery Administration, said her office had not received a filming request from the Nicholson campaign. She also said she could not determine whether the cemetery featured in his biographical ad is owned by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

“But Schiefer emphasized that the rules are strict.

“NCA policy states that filming may not be used for the expression of partisan or political viewpoints as they are not compatible with preserving the dignity and tranquility of national cemeteries as national shrines,” Schiefer said via email.”

Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesman Jon Knudson said, “Kevin Nicholson’s slick campaign announcement had to be edited, just like his position on choice. Kevin Nicholson can’t be trusted to tell Wisconsin voters the truth.”

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee: WisGOP Senate primary heating up, but every candidate backs toxic GOP health care plan

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Contact: Lauren Passalacqua or David Bergstein
202-545-3567

It’s no surprise the Republican Senate primary in Wisconsin is heating up — as The Washington Post reported:

Republicans have struggled to recruit top candidates…[and] a lack of a clear leader is leading to a bunch of lower-tier candidates jumping into the race, which means Republicans could spend the next year in potentially expensive (and, in some cases, divisive) primaries.”

But no matter who emerges from this intensifying intra-party brawl, every Republican candidate has one thing in common: they all back the GOP’s toxic health care agenda that would spike premiums, impose an age tax on older Americans, and strip away coverage for pre-existing conditions.

From David Bergstein, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Spokesman: “Republican recruitment failures are setting the stage for divisive, crowded GOP Senate primaries — but every potential GOP candidate backs a toxic health care agenda that will spike premiums by 20 percent, impose an age tax on older Americans, and strip away coverage for pre-existing conditions — all to give more tax breaks to big insurance companies and the wealthiest few. As this race develops we’re sure to hear exactly what these Republicans don’t like about each other — but they all agree on an expensive, unpopular health care agenda that will force working families to pay more for less care.”

See for yourself:

  • Vukmir Backed The GOP Health Care Plan.”“‘After more than six years of Obamacare, 28 million people remain uninsured and premiums have gone up year after year,’ said Wisconsin Senator Leah Vukmir. ‘The American Health Care Act ensures a stable transition away from the Affordable Care Act, and it is imperative Congress works to loosen federal requirements on states so they may have greater authority over how they deliver healthcare – only then can there be true reforms.’” [ALEC, Press Release, 3/7/17]
  • Hovde Supported BCRA, Saying He “Absolutely” Would Have Voted To Start Debate On The Bill. “Some of the Republicans considering running against U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin showed support for Tuesday’s move to end or scale back Obamacare.   ‘You’ve got to address Obamacare because it is collapsing,’ said businessman Eric Hovde.  He said he would ‘absolutely, 100%’ vote to launch debate on repealing Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act. Republicans in the Senate voted to open that debate Tuesday, but it remained unclear whether they had enough votes to give final approval to any legislation changing former President Barack Obama’s namesake health care law.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 7/25/17]
  • Nicholson Supported BCRA. “Some of the Republicans considering running against U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin showed support for Tuesday’s move to end or scale back Obamacare. […] Also considering a run is business consultant Kevin Nicholson, who has the support of a super PAC that has raised $3.5 million. In a statement, he said he hoped the Senate would repeal Obamacare. ‘Republicans have been promising for seven years to repeal Obamacare, and it’s time they deliver on that promise,’ Nicholson said in his statement. ‘Hopefully, today’s Senate vote will be a step towards repeal, but I’m always nervous when politicians get together. Only time will tell with what they’re up to in DC, but I know we need more competition and market forces in health care — and less government.’” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 7/25/17]

###

Department of Administration Secretary Neitzel: Wisconn Valley will be made in America, right here in Wisconsin

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August 22, 2017
Contact: Steven Michels, (608) 267-7874
Sturtevant – Department of Administration Secretary Scott Neitzel appeared before the Joint Committee on Finance in Sturtevant to discuss Foxconn’s transformational investment into the State of Wisconsin.  Secretary Neitzel was joined by representatives from the Department of Natural Resources, Department of Revenue, Department of Transportation, Department of Workforce Development, and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to explain the value of this historic Wisconsin investment.  

“We are pleased to take this opportunity to share with members of the Joint Committee on Finance the historic impact of bringing a new industry to the United States,” Secretary Neitzel said.  “We’ve said from the beginning that Foxconn’s investment in Wisconsin would be transformational and the latest report projects this as well.  With an estimated return of nearly $4 for every $1 in state subsidy, we are proud to say that these electronics will be made in America, right here in Wisconsin.”

A copy of the testimony can be found here.

 
###

Department of Children and Families: Launches Twitter account

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

(MADISON) – The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) recently expanded its communication channels to include a newTwitter account aimed at providing Wisconsin families, foster youth, agency partners, and interested citizens with timely information about DCF efforts to improve the economic and social well-being of Wisconsin’s children, youth and families.

“By providing this additional communication resource, we hope that families will have better knowledge of the services offered by the Department and our partners,” said DCF Secretary Eloise Anderson. “We aim to equip families with tools to assist them in their efforts to achieve self-sufficiency and to help children thrive. Every family faces unique challenges, but by informing families of DCF’s mission and the tools and services available, we hope to put them in the best position to be successful.

By following @WisDCF on Twitter, Wisconsin citizens can gain access to important information on Department programs and services, including:

  • Child Care
  • Child Protection
  • Employment Services
  • Child Support
  • Foster Care
  • And much more!

Follow the Department of Children and Families today @WisDCF and help us spread the word about the exciting initiatives taking place to support families, protect and educate children, teach work skills, and guide youth.

Social media should not be used as a channel to report child abuse and neglect. To learn more about the signs of abuse and how to report, visit https://dcf.wisconsin.gov/reportabuse.

 

Department of Workforce Development: Gov. Walker encourages Wisconsinites to submit nominations for Wisconsin Job Honor Awards

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CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722

On the Web: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/news.htm

On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WIWorkforce

On Twitter: @WIWorkforce

Nominations are due September 4, 2017

MADISON – Today, Governor Scott Walker joined Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Ray Allen in calling for Wisconsin citizens to submit nominations for the third annual Wisconsin Job Honor Awards.  The program recognizes individuals who have overcome significant barriers to employment while honoring both their accomplishments and the employers who provide them the opportunity to demonstrate their workplace abilities.  Previous nominees have overcome physical and mental disabilities, criminal convictions and other barriers to achieve gainful employment.  Nominations are due September 4, 2017.

“With an unemployment rate of 3.2 percent and a labor force participation rate that ranks in the top five among all states, it is critical to provide the necessary supports so that anyone who wants to work can overcome barriers, achieve their employment goals and fill the many job openings that are available in our state’s growing economy,” Governor Walker said. “The Wisconsin Job Honor Award provides a way to recognize workers and employers for extraordinary achievements in connecting talent with opportunity.”

Last year, Larson Companies, an Eau Claire based company that operates hotels and restaurants, was recognized for the development of hospitality training academies to provide individuals with disabilities with the training necessary to acquire employment in the hospitality industry.  Larson Companies partnered with DWD’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to identify candidates to participate in the eight-week in-house training program.  Due to the program’s success, Larson Companies has expanded the program.  Larson Companies operates the Holiday Inn, Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse, Clarion Inn, Green Mill Restaurant, and other properties in the Chippewa Valley.

Hosted by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC), the awards will be presented during their Future Wisconsin Economic Summit at the Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center scheduled for November 29, 2017 in Madison.

“Wisconsin’s workforce development system is centered around collaboration and innovative strategies that tap the talents of all who want to work,” DWD Secretary Ray Allen said.  “It is also important to raise awareness of the employers and workers who have transformed lives through the power of employment success.  We thank America’s Job Honor Awards for creating this award program and urge people to submit nominations today.”

For more information, or to submit a nomination, please visit http://www.jobhonor.org.

###

Dept. of Administration: Community development block grant funds available for storm damage rehabilitation

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Contact: Steven Michels, (608) 267-7874

Local governments may apply for low- to moderate-income household assistance

Madison – The Department of Administration has Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds available to assist low-to moderate-income households with storm damage rehabilitation and repairs to their primary residence.  Examples of assistance include the repair or replacement of furnaces and water heaters, electrical, and foundation repairs.  Water sources (main water line, well pump repair/replacement) and sewer/septic repairs are also eligible activities under CDBG.

Following Governor Walker’s emergency declaration, representatives from DOA are partnering with the local governments to utilize the CDBG Emergency Assistance Program in Kenosha, Racine, and Walworth counties.  Coordination efforts are underway in the counties as they organize a long-term recovery group for southeast Wisconsin.

A CDBG application must be submitted by a local unit of government.  Application materials can be found here.

Dept. of Administration: Wisconn Valley will transform the state of Wisconsin

0

Contact: Steven Michels
(608) 267-7874

Madison, Wisconsin – Today, Department of Administration Secretary Scott Neitzel, along with representatives from the Department of Natural Resources, Department of Revenue, Department of Transportation, Department of Workforce Development, Public Service Commission, and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, appeared before the Assembly Committee on Jobs and the Economy to discuss Foxconn’s historic investment into the State of Wisconsin. Secretary Neitzel issued the following statement:

We are thrilled to work with the legislature on this once in a generation project.  The 13,000 new family supporting jobs and $10 billion capital investment Foxconn will create in Wisconsin alone are historic, but what makes this project transformational is the multiple ripple effects of this economic investment across our entire state.  Wisconsinites will make high-tech electronic products we use every day in Wiscconn Valley turning Wisconsin’s “Brain Drain” into a Wisconsin “Brain Gain.”

A copy of the testimony can be found here.

Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection: ‘Save the Dates’ for the 2017 Edible Startup Summit Nov. 17-18 in Madison

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

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

MADISON – If you’re considering starting a local food business or already in the early stages of development, then make plans to attend the Edible Startup Summit scheduled Nov. 17-18 at the American Family Center in Madison.

Co-hosted by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection’s Ag and Food Center and Dane County UW-Extension, the two-day summit offers a comprehensive and interactive education on what it takes to develop a local food business.

Local and regional experts will provide information on a wide range of topics, including: how to raise money to start or grow a food business; how to create a unique brand; current market trends; food safety requirements; how to get a product onto the grocery shelf; how to do a demo; how to work with a distributor; and business concept planning. Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with industry veterans, network with other entrepreneurs, and attend a field trip to food business incubators.

“Past attendees have been impressed with what amounts to a very comprehensive education on what it takes to develop a local food business,” said Kietra Olson, DATCP local foods program manager. “Whether you’re just getting started with your business, or ready to take it to the next level, the Edible Startup Summit can be a great source of information.”

More information on 2017 registration, along with a summit agenda, will be posted on the DATCP website in coming weeks. Visit https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/Edible%20Startup%20Summit%20and%20Edible%20Extended%20Workshop.aspx

For more information, contact DATCP’s Kietra Olson at 608-224-5112 or [email protected]or Becky Paris at 608-224-5051 or [email protected].

Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection: ‘Something Special’ companies dominate at State Fair Eats & Treats competition

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

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

MADISON – Member companies in the popular Something Special from Wisconsin™ (SSfW) program proved they are indeed “something special” by capturing 22 of 31 possible awards at the Wisconsin State Fair Eats & Treats judging competition.

When final judging concluded last week, SSfW member companies had dominated the competition, taking home seven 1stPlace awards; four 2nds, five 3rds, and five 4ths, along with the coveted Best of Show – Grand Champion Award. That award was captured by Honestly Cranberry, a Wisconsin Rapids-based company.

Open to Wisconsin small professional food businesses with yearly sales under $250,000, the Wisconsin State Fair Eats & Treats competition is ideally suited for small- to mid-size players in the food processing industry. Judging takes place in nearly a dozen categories, such as relish and pickled vegetables; barbecue and hot sauces; cookies, candies, chocolates and frosting; fermented products; snack foods; and condiments.

The 22 awards were won collectively by the following SSfW companies: Pleasant’s Best Sauces, Minocqua; Diana & Daughters LLC, Manitowoc; Dashelitos Enterprises LLC, Madison; Howling Wolf Gourmet Foods Inc., Theresa; Garden of Eden Kingdom, Milwaukee; Living Sweet P’s Pantry, Oconomowoc; Duck Creek Vineyard and Winery, Denmark; Honestly Cranberry, Wisconsin Rapids; Timber Hill Winery, Milton; Grammy’s Pasty’s, Green Bay; Pop’s Kettle Corn, Muskego; and WisConian Delectables, Kenosha.

Founded in 1983, Something Special from Wisconsin™ is a trademarked marketing program administered by the Division of Agricultural Development of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).

The easily-recognizable red, white and yellow SSfW program logo helps member companies stand out from the competition by providing a quick and reliable way to identify genuine Wisconsin products and services at grocery stores, retail outlets, farmers’ markets and restaurants. Any Wisconsin business, no matter how big or small, can apply for approval to use the SSfW logo if at least 50 percent of the value of the product or service is attributable to Wisconsin ingredients, production or processing.

Products showcasing the logo enjoy a competitive edge with consumers, with surveys indicating more than 70 percent of Wisconsin consumers are more likely to purchase a commodity made or grown in Wisconsin than one from outside the state. The program currently has nearly 500 members.

“We are extremely pleased with the success of our SSfW member companies at the Eats and Treats competition,” said Lois Federman, SSfW director. “The SSfW logo brings instant recognition and credibility which helps products stand out above the rest, and the results of the competition are testament to the fact that SSfW companies are producing products of truly the highest quality and desirability.”

For more information, contact Lois Federman at 608-224-5124 or [email protected]. For more information about the Something Special from Wisconsin™ program, go to https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/Growing_WI/SomethingSpecialFromWisconsin.aspx

Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection: Costly timeshare resale fraud targeting Wisconsin consumers

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Contact:  

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

Editor’s Note:  A Federal Trade Commission (FTC) infographic on timeshare scams is available here.

MADISON – The State of Wisconsin is asking residents to be on the lookout for a sophisticated timeshare resale scam that is currently targeting Wisconsin citizens.

The Wisconsin Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) have recently received reports from consumers who followed through on fraudulent offers to sell their timeshare properties. The victims were repeatedly asked to send money to overseas entities and were threatened by phony law enforcement officials when they stopped engaging with the scammers. DATCP and DOJ are working with local and state law enforcement agencies to investigate this matter.

Consumers who receive similar timeshare resale pitches are urged to file a complaint with DATCP and to take no further action with the solicitor. Despite the solicitors’ threats, you will not be at risk of arrest, legal action or financial penalty for failing to follow through on these offers or send them money or personal information. File your complaint at any time on the DATCP website (datcp.wi.gov) or by calling DATCP’s Consumer Protection Hotline and requesting a complaint form by mail.

This fraudulent operation can take several forms including advance-fee fraud for the sale of the timeshare property, extortion, and/or advance-fee fraud for a phony victim compensation fund.

Consumers should be extremely skeptical of any of these timeshare resale tricks:

  • Unsolicited phone calls or emails regarding timeshare resales, even if the consumer had previously placed classified advertisements to sell the properties.
  • Urgent requests for payments. Victims are often encouraged to complete every payment as soon as possible, or the entire deal could collapse and they could lose the money they had already spent. In actuality, criminals pressure victims to take quick action knowing that any extra time could give a consumer a chance to think through the actions or ask for advice from others.
  • Demands for payment by wire transfer. Wiring money is like sending cash – once it is sent, it is nearly impossible to recover.

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

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

Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection: Cranberry growers re-elect one director, elect another

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Contact:

Rick Hummell, 608-224-5041 [email protected]

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

MADISON – Wisconsin’s cranberry growers have re-elected one director and elected a new director to the industry’s market order board. Re-elected is Fawn Gottschalk of Wisconsin Rapids. The newly elected director is Amy Gebhardt of Warrens.

The two will serve three-year terms starting September 1, 2017.

The seven-member Wisconsin Cranberry Board, Inc. is responsible for overseeing the collection and use of about $488,000 in assessment fees paid by Wisconsin cranberry growers. The money is used to support the industry through research, market development and consumer education.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) administers elections for the Wisconsin Cranberry Board and other commodity marketing boards in the state. To learn more about the market order boards, visit https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/About_Us/MarketingBoards.aspx

Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection: Two directors re-elected to Wisconsin soybean board

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Contacts:

Rick Hummell, 608-224-5041 [email protected]

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

MADISON – Wisconsin’s soybean growers have re-elected two directors to the industry’s market order board. The re-elected directors are: Andy Bensend, Dallas, District 1; and Matthew Wagenson, Bear Creek, District 7.

The two directors will serve three-year terms starting September 1, 2017.

The two districts involved in the election represent the following counties:

District 1 – Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Burnett, Clark, Chippewa, Douglas, Iron, Marathon, Portage, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Taylor, Washburn, and Wood.

District 7 – Brown, Calumet, Door, Florence, Forest, Kewaunee, Langlade, Lincoln, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto, Oneida, Outagamie, Shawano, Vilas, and Waupaca.

The seven-member Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board, Inc. is responsible for overseeing the collection and use of about $2 million in assessment fees paid by Wisconsin soybean growers. The money is used to support the industry through research, market development and consumer education.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) administers elections for the Wisconsin Soybean Board and other commodity marketing boards in the state. To learn more about market order boards, visit https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/About_Us/MarketingBoards.aspx 

Dept. of Financial Institutions: Net income, lending up double digits for state-chartered credit unions

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Contact: George Althoff, Communications Director, 608-261-4504

MADISON – Net income and total lending grew by double digits at Wisconsin’s 135 state-chartered credit unions in the first half of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016, according to data released today by the Department of Financial Institutions (DFI).

In the six months ending June 30, 2017:

  • Net income totaled $171.7 million, up 11.3% from $154.3 million in 2016.
  • Total loans were $25.9 billion, up 12.1% from $23.1 billion.
  • Net worth was 10.95%, up from 10.91%.
  • The delinquent loan ratio was 0.63%, down from 0.69%.

“State-chartered credit unions have had an impressive first two quarters,” DFI Secretary Jay Risch said. “Their continued solid performance is another indicator that the Wisconsin economy is strong and continuing to grow.”

A full report on credit unions’ second-quarter 2017 performance will be available on the DFI website, www.wdfi.orgby the end of August.

Dept. of Natural Resources: Issues outdoor report summary

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Contact(s): Paul Holtan, DNR Office of Communications, Madison
608-267-7517

or

Charlie Nettesheim, DNR Office of Communications, Madison
608-267-0541

Water levels across the state are still above average, but a small break from the recent heavy rains has allowed some area water bodies to stabilize a bit. This and breaks of brilliant sun in between the rough weather have brought out hikers and bikers, anglers and kayakers, bird watchers and butterfly spotters alike.

On the Winnebago system, Oshkosh DNR fisheries staff and a host of volunteers began the annual bottom trawling survey. The trawling assessment provides critical information on year class strength, population trends, and abundance of game and nongame fish species. Recent walleye catch on Winnebago is made up of adult fish between 15 and 18 inches. There are also good numbers of perch and crappie ranging from five to seven inches. Surveying will continue throughout the next few months. Angler report productive walleye fishing on Lake Winnebago as well as good perch fishing throughout the system.

The weather started to clear up just as last weekend rolled in, bringing out anglers and pleasure boaters alike. On Green Bay, anglers at the mouth of the Peshtigo were landing walleye, drum, catfish and small mouth; anglers on the Oconto were seeing much of the same, with some very large perch, middling walleye and rock bass added to the mix. The walleye bite has picked up some on the lower bay with angler off Suamico, Bayshore and Geano beach all finding a fairly consistent bite, with the majority of the boats bringing in three to four keeper walleyes.

Fishing pressure was high in Door County this past week due to a salmon tournament. Although it was a tough bite due to warm water conditions, chinook salmon and rainbow trout were being caught from Sturgeon Bay to Washington Island. A few anglers reported success with smallmouth bass around Egg Harbor. Yellow perch fishing has been fairly good with good numbers of fish being caught and fish up to 13 inches have been reported.

In southeast Lake Michigan harbors, anglers reported a mixed bag of coho and chinook being landed in addition to browns, lakers and rainbow trout. Alewives have moved farther down the water column and many anglers are using spoons. Many of the boaters in Ozaukee were there to participate in salmon derby. The majority of catches again went to trout and salmon. Those catching trout have been seeing success late and midday. Water temperatures on the surface have been right around 68 to 70 degrees.

Buck antler growth has almost ended and they’ll begin to shed velvet in a month or so. Continue to keep an eye out for fawns at roadsides as this year’s youngsters grow up and start to move more independently.

On marshland across the state, Canada geese are starting to flock and stage on oat, cut hay fields and other open areas. Turkey broods with poults of all sizes are being seen, indicating there has been some renesting. Other birds out in the open include pelicans, egrets and herons.

The mosquitos have backed off just a touch, but expect them in force wherever wet areas meet woods. Blueberries are just passed peak and will start to decline while blackberries are ripening. Prairie flowers are in bloom and close to peak in most areas, much to the delight of local butterfly and bee populations. Keep your eye out for monarchs in your area! Compass and cup plant, blazing star, purple coneflower and swamp milkweed are just a few of those blanketing the open spaces in between woods, field and stream.”

Archery, birding, cooking, hunting and fishing are among the fun things to be taught by Department of Natural Resources staff and expert volunteers during the free and family-friendly August Horicon Marsh Outdoor Skills Day on August 5.

Dept. of Transportation: 511 Wisconsin ready for labor day travel

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Contact:

David Hunt, Division of Transportation System Development
608-261-6121[email protected]

Paul Keltner, Bureau of Traffic Operations
414-227-2141[email protected]

Know before you go with mobile-friendly features that incorporate weather, traffic speed, trucker information and more to help you get where you’re going safely

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has improved functionality of the 511 Wisconsin website, 511wi.gov, by building in additional features meant to help travelers, commuters and commercial drivers alike.

The website is optimized for mobile technology and more easily creates overlays for drivers to better understand how traffic, road work and weather might affect the road ahead. Additionally, a host of information for commercial drivers has been added to streamline information on permitting and lane restrictions.

There have been more than fifteen million visits to 511wi.gov since the site first launched in 2008.

“It’s about more than picking the shortest route or the fastest route, but helping everyone stay safe with the latest information about everything that’s going on with the roads,” said Paul Keltner, State Traffic Management Supervisor. “We aim to reduce the number of crashes, and help drivers avoid delays caused by construction, special events and other incidents. Whether you’re getting around town for errands, commuting to work, traveling through the countryside or hauling a big rig cross-country, 511wi.gov offers customized solutions to help you know before you go.”

With the Labor Day holiday weekend approaching, drivers are asked to plan ahead, be patient, alert and safe. 511wi.gov features can help, including:

  • Major weather events and forecasts on planned routes
  • Multiple route options
  • Customizable views from the statewide traffic camera system
  • Speed data to better understand traffic flow
  • News about incidents, restrictions and closures

Under the “Trucker Information” tab, 511wi.gov is offering enhanced service to the commercial driving community. Additional features include:

  • A real-time overlay with robust information regarding speed, width, height and weight restrictions
  • Weigh station and rest area locations within the route
  • Links to important permitting resources

WisDOT asks that all drivers plan ahead or put 511wi.gov in the hands of a navigator. Know before you go. Please limit distractions and avoid using a smartphone while driving.

Becoming a member of 511wi.gov is free and easy. Members can lock down customized settings in order to more easily plan for travel. Click on the “Register/Login” tab at the top of the website’s homepage to get started.

How to create, save and customize personal routes:

1.     Go to the My 511WI tab and select “Manage Routes & Alerts” in the drop down menu.

2.     Select the “Create New Route” button.

3.     Enter your start and end location then select “Drive.”

4.     Enter a route name and click “Save.”

5.     To customize routes, click on “Create Alert” on the right-hand side of your saved route.

6.     Customize the alert information to your liking.

7.     Click the “Save” button at the bottom of the page when finished.

Dept. of Transportation: Federal redistribution amounts announced

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Contact:

Michael Pyritz
Communications Manager
Wisconsin Department of Transportation
414-313-8003

Wisconsin receives $66.4 million, historically high amount.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) has received $66.4 million in redistribution funds from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The redistribution dollars announced today by FHWA represent federal transportation improvement funds that were allocated, but not used by other state DOTs. The funds are not tied to any specific project and will greatly assist the Department in it’s efforts to improve the safety and quality of the roadways in Wisconsin.

Based on FHWA records, the $66.4 million is the highest amount ever received by Wisconsin. The previous highest amount received by WisDOT was $39, 472,925 received back in Federal FY 2014. “We could not be more pleased with this historic amount of funding that is being received,” stated WisDOT Secretary Dave Ross. “ I would like to thank the people at FHWA and the hard work that the team here at WisDOT have put in working together to arrive at this record level of funding.”

Dept. of Transportation: Nicolet-Wolf River Scenic Byway becomes fifth scenic byway in the state

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Contact:

Mae Knowles, Office of Public Affairs

(608) 266-7917[email protected]

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) today announced the designation of the state’s fifth scenic byway. The Nicolet-Wolf River Scenic Byway is a 145-mile route traversing parts of the state’s northcentral counties of Forest, Langlade, Oneida and Vilas.

This scenic byway is named in honor of two of its nationally-recognized resources: the Nicolet National Forest and the Wolf River, a National Scenic River. A variety of recreational opportunities are available to travelers ranging from activities on the extensive multi-use trail systems to water-based sports.

“This newest scenic byway is the result of individuals, local governments and organizations coming together to have a positive economic impact on their communities,” said WisDOT Secretary Dave Ross, who officially designated the scenic byway. “Their efforts will provide travelers with a genuine Northwoods experience.”

The route winds through the Nicolet National Forest and various communities, including: Langlade, Hollister, Lily, Pickerel, Mole Lake, Crandon, Argonne, Alvin, and Nelma on WIS 55; Choate on WIS 52; Hiles, Carter, Wabeno, Padus, and Laona on WIS 32; as well as the Sokaogon Chippewa and the Forest County Potawatomi communities.

The historic Dinesen House in Mole Lake and the Forest County Potawatomi Cultural Center near Crandon provide visitors an opportunity to explore the tribal culture and heritage. The region’s logging heritage comes alive at the Lumberjack Steam Train and Camp 5 Museum complex in Laona, and the Wabeno Logging Museum. More details are available on the Nicolet-Wolf River Scenic Byway website at: https://www.nicolet-wolfriver-scenicbyway.com/.

Wisconsin’s Scenic Byways Program is a cooperative effort between local communities and WisDOT to identify, promote and enhance some of the most scenic and historic state highway corridors.

Started in 2005, Wisconsin has four other scenic byways – the Door County Coastal Byway (which includes WIS 42 and WIS 57); the Great River Road National Scenic Byway (WIS 35); the Lower Wisconsin River Road (WIS 60) and the Wisconsin Lake Superior Byway (WIS 13). A scenic byway is a numbered highway, at least 30 miles long, that offers travelers numerous scenic views and historic resources. Its designation serves to boost a region’s attractiveness as a tourist destination.

For more information about the Wisconsin Scenic Byways Program, visit: http://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/travel/road/scenic-ways/default.aspx

Photo of WIS 55: http://wisconsindot.gov/PublishingImages/travel/road/scenic-ways/hwy-55.JPG

Graphic of Wisconsin Scenic Byways: http://wisconsindot.gov/PublishingImages/travel/road/scenic-ways/byways-map.png

Dept. of Veterans Affairs: Wisconsin veteran housing and recovery programs to remain in operation

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Contact: (608) 266-2256[email protected]gov

MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) announced today that its programs for homeless Veterans located at King and Union Grove will remain open and are accepting new participants. The announcement comes as WDVA signed an agreement offered by USDVA to extend funding for the transitional housing programs.

“Helping Veterans regain mental and physical health, maintain steady employment, and find quality affordable permanent housing are the goals of our highly successful programs,” WDVA Secretary Dan Zimmerman said. “We are excited that USDVA will once again partner with us as we continue to meet these goals.  I’d also like to thank all of Wisconsin’s elected representatives who advocated on behalf of Wisconsin’s Veterans.”

On August 16th, USDVA provided WDVA with unofficial notification of a one-year grant extension to continue operations under each program’s current approved structure. Today, the agreement was signed.

A new federal grant opportunity is also due for release as early as October 2017.  It will outline new guidelines and rules for applying for a one-year grant (October 2017 – September 2018) with the possibility of a one-year extension.

WDVA plans to submit new grant applications for both King and Union Grove in close coordination with each program’s supporting USDVA medical center.  And, as it did in its previous grant applications, WDVA will again pursue program models that best fit the needs of Veterans statewide, with a focus on underserved areas.

WDVA’s homeless programs have long been successful. USDVA inspects each program quarterly and annually, and each program has routinely met or exceeded individual program standards and, consequently, had been continually funded for over two decades. The average time it takes a Veteran to complete the program and gain permanent housing is about 10 months. In 2016 alone, WDVA’s transitional housing programs assisted 124 Veterans, to include many who began full time employment and moved into permanent housing.  We are pleased to continue building on this success.

Dept. of Workforce Development: BLS data: Wisconsin gains 25,000 private-sector jobs year-over-year

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Contact:

DWD Communications, 608-266-2722

On the Web: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/news.htm

On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WIWorkforce

On Twitter: @WIWorkforce

MADISON – The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) today released the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revisions for June and preliminary estimates for July covering employment and job statistics for the state of Wisconsin. In brief, the seasonally adjusted estimates show:

  • Place of work data: Based on preliminary data, the state added 26,500 total non-farm jobs and 25,000 private-sector jobs from July 2016 to July 2017, with a significant year-over-year gain of 9,600 manufacturing jobs. The state added 3,600 total non-farm and 100 private sector jobs over the month.
  • Place of residence data:  A preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.2 percent in July 2017, up slightly from 3.1 percent in June. The rate remains lower than the national unemployment rate of 4.3 percent in July 2017. Wisconsin’s labor force participation rate decreased slightly to 68.8 percent and continues to outpace the U.S. rate of 62.9 percent in July.

DWD Secretary Ray Allen issued the following statement: “Following the announcement that Foxconn will be bringing 13,000 jobs to Wisconsin, it is exciting to see that our economy continues to experience year-over-year job growth, specifically 9,600 jobs in manufacturing. Under Governor Walker, Wisconsin’s economy is performing at historic or near historic levels. The Governor’s investments in workforce and economic development have prepared Wisconsin for this once in a generation opportunity to bring thousands of family sustaining jobs and years of prosperity to the citizens of Wisconsin.”

New Quarterly Job & Wage Data – First Quarter 2017

Today, DWD also released the latest available QCEW figures covering the first quarter of 2017. Key highlights of 12-month changes through March 2017 include:

  • A gain of 27,723 private-sector jobs.
  • An increase of 29,745 total jobs.
  • A 7.7 percent increase in total quarterly private sector wages.

Wisconsin has received the BLS’ sign-off on the state quarterly data covering the first quarter of 2017. The BLS will incorporate the data in its next QCEW release scheduled for September 6. Information about the QCEW, including data through 2016 fourth quarter, can be accessed through the BLS website at http://www.bls.gov/cew/. DWD will post the first-quarter data on its WORKnet site in the coming days.

The BLS uses three data sets to measure employment and unemployment:

  • Current Employment Statistics (CES): compiled from a monthly survey sent to about 5,500 employers (3.5 percent of Wisconsin employers). CES data has been shown to be volatile and subject to revision.
  • Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS): compiled from a monthly survey of 985 households and unemployment insurance claims. Measures the labor force, employment, unemployment, and the unemployment rate.
  • Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW): compiled quarterly based on Unemployment Insurance records from some 96% of Wisconsin business establishments. Considered by most economists to be the most accurate measure of jobs, the QCEW includes data from almost all employers in Wisconsin.

Other indicators of the state of Wisconsin’s economy include:

  • Initial UI claims ended 2016 at their lowest level in their last 30 years. Year 2017 initial UI claims are running at the lowest in at least the past 30 years.
  • Continuing unemployment claims ended 2016 at their lowest level since 1973. Continuing unemployment claims in Wisconsin are running at the lowest in at least the past 30 years.
  • Moody’s Investors Service has upgraded the states credit rating, noting that “(T)he stable outlook reflects the expectation that the state will experience moderate economic growth and will continue its prudent fiscal management practices.”

Dept. of Workforce Development: To retire automated telephone system for weekly claim filing Aug. 30, launches Spanish weekly claim online application

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Contact: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722
On the Web: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/news.htm
On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WIWorkforce
On Twitter: @WIWorkforce

Madison, Wisconsin – Beginning August 30, 2017, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) will continue the transition to online services that began in May by retiring the 1990’s-era automated telephone system for unemployment insurance (UI) weekly claims, shifting nearly all filing of weekly UI claims to DWD’s free, fast and secure 21st century online application. Currently, over 92 percent of all weekly claims are filed using the online application.  If individuals need help using online services or are unable to go online, DWD’s Help Center staff will provide assistance via phone.

“Since transitioning away from the automated telephone system for the filing of initial claims in May 2017, nearly 92 percent of all claims, both initial and weekly, are now being filed through our modern and easy to use online claim filing system,” DWD Secretary Allen said.  “In addition to our customer-friendly online application we are also pleased to announce the addition of Spanish online weekly claims to provide even better customer service to those whose primary language is Spanish.”

The addition of Spanish online weekly claims brings the convenience of online weekly claim filing to Spanish- speaking customers.

The advantages of filing weekly claims for UI online include:

  • The ability to enter work search information online preventing any payment delays that may be caused by providing information via fax or U.S. Mail.
  • The online application is mobile-friendly, allowing claimants to file their claim using any smartphone, tablet or computer.
  • Provides claimants the ability to save their claim and return later that same day to complete the claim.
  • A convenient employer search tool to add important employer information to a claim.
  • Clarifying help text and questions to support greater self-service and accurate claim filing.

DWD is following the lead of other states such as Iowa, Idaho, Hawaii, and Indiana in transitioning to a predominately online-based claim filing system.  In late 2016, DWD began notifying claimants of the plan to retire the 1990’s-era telephone system with messages on the phone system, online, and through direct mailings.  Later this fall, DWD plans to retire the automated telephone system for UI inquiries, instead encouraging claimants to utilize DWD’s robust online system to locate UI information.  As with previous transitions, individuals who need help using online services or are unable to go online will still be served via phone by DWD Help Center staff.

By utilizing DWD’s modern online claim filing and inquiry system, customers can quickly access account information through the online claimant dashboard, such as:

  • Individual claim information, payment status, and remaining benefit balance.
  • Printer-friendly documentation of payments received for housing or energy assistance.
  • 1099-G tax forms to view and print.
  • Personal information including the ability to update an address, tax withholding, payment method, and bank information.

Additionally, other important information for claimants is also posted online in the UI claimant handbook.

To file an unemployment claim, or to seek answers to claim questions online, UI claimants can log on to https://my.unemployment.wisconsin.govand create a username and password.

For more information, please visit http://dwd.wi.gov/ClaimsOnline

###

Dept. of Workforce Development: Wisconsin business closing & mass layoff (WARN) notice: Brennan’s Market

0

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

Brennan’s Market – As was previously reported, Brennan’s Market will be closing all of its facilities no later than September 30, 2017.  The closure is expected to impact 139 full and part-time workers.  The Waukesha-Ozaukee-Washington, South Central and Southwest Rapid Response teams will offer services to the affected businesses and employees.

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: Fortis Management Group, LLC

0

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

Fortis Management Group, LLC. – Fortis Management Group, LLC entered receivership and notes that there will be a layoff of a number of employees who are employed by the Milwaukee WI office located at 111 West Michigan St, Milwaukee, WI 53203. Currently, there are approximately 225 Fortis employees who are employed by the Milwaukee Office. They anticipate 25% or more of these employees will be laid off within sixty (60) days of this letter (August 21, 2017) and they anticipate the Milwaukee Office will close in its entirety by the end of September, 2018. However, employees may be employed beyond this date due to business need or through the court supervised receivership proceeding. Also, it is possible that some employees of the Milwaukee Office could be offered employment by new operators, and that a new operator could operate certain facilities out of the Milwaukee Office and occupy the Milwaukee Office. DWD and the Employ Milwaukee Rapid Response Team will work with the affected parties to offer rapid response services.

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: PDQ Food Stores, Inc

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

PDQ Food Stores, Inc. – On October 9, 2017, PDQ Food Stores Inc., will lay off Wisconsin employees due to its decision to sell its assets and close its locations, which will be operated under new ownership. Approximately 313 employees will be affected. The notice states the buyer may hire some of the affected employees after the sale is complete.  DWD will coordinate initial communication with the company and will work with the Southeast, WOW, and South Central WDA Rapid Response teams to offer services to the affected business and workforce.

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/.

Discussions continue on possible budget deal

Republicans Tuesday continued to detail a possible budget deal, including about $160 million in bonding for roads on top of what’s in the Foxconn bill and a new fee on hybrid and electric cars.

But even as Gov. Scott Walker said there was a deal “in principle,” the Legislature’s top GOP leaders and the co-chairs of the Joint Finance Committee cautioned discussions were ongoing and details were still fluid. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos described it as “similar goals” rather than a deal.

For example, lawmakers have been discussing the idea of a roughly $75 million cut in the personal property tax through exempting one schedule and then reimbursing local governments for the lost revenue.

Still, Senate Republicans previously proposed a full repeal and creating a new appropriation to backfill the lost property tax revenue for local governments at a cost of $239 million in the second year of the biennium. JFC Co-chair Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, said some of her members would still like to see that happen.

“Until I hear it from both leaders and the governor’s office, I would say that’s premature,” Co-chair John Nygren, R-Marinette, said of whether a deal is in place.

Still, Nygren and Darling discussed more details to an outline that first emerged last week.

A key provision would be to keep bonding for roads at roughly $410 million between the budget and the Foxconn incentive package. That bill, which was before JFC today for a public hearing, includes $252.4 million for I-94 north-south. That would leave about $160 million in borrowing for the state budget.

In their last offer, Senate Republicans sought to borrow $712 million with $362 million of that supported by the transportation fund and $350 million by general fund revenues.

Assembly Republicans, meanwhile, have been insisting on no new bonding unless there was an accompanying revenue stream.

The possible fee on hybrid and electric cars would be a new revenue for transportation, while the bonding in the Foxconn bill would be contingent upon receiving federal aid.

But talks were still ongoing with Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, meeting Tuesday on remaining differences between the two caucuses. That includes, for example, whether to raise the income eligibility limit for the statewide school choice program to 300 percent of the federal poverty level, as the Assembly has proposed, or 220 percent, the Senate’s position.

The difference is an income of $73,800 for a family of four, under the Assembly suggestion, and $53,826 under the Senate position.

The current limit is 185 percent, which was $45,263.

Other provisions in the outline are similar to what WisPolitics.com first reported Friday: a reduction in the personal property tax, likely by exempting non-manufacturing equipment, and squirreling away as much cash as possible in case revenue collections soften during the upcoming two years. That would mean nixing the guv’s proposed $203.5 million in income tax cuts.

In anticipation the two sides can reach a final deal, the co-chairs told WisPolitics.com they have an outline of when JFC and the full Legislature would complete work on the budget.

Along with the hearing for Thursday that has already been noticed, JFC is looking to come in Monday to take up education and Sept. 5 for transportation. The Assembly would then take up the budget the week of Sept. 11 with the Senate to follow the week of Sept. 18.

Walker said he expects to sign the budget by Sept. 22, when summer ends, though there are “a few little details” that need to be worked out.

See Tuesday’s PM Update for more.

DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp leaving for EPA role

Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp is stepping down to take a job at the U.S. EPA, Gov. Scott Walker announced today.

Stepp will be the deputy administrator for Region 7, which includes Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska along with nine tribal nations. Her last day at the DNR is Wednesday, according to a spokesman.

In a statement, Stepp, who’s served as DNR secretary since 2011, said the agency under her leadership “demonstrated how we can have job creation and environmental protection.”

“I’m excited and humbled at the opportunity to bring many of the reforms we’ve implemented in DNR to the national scene,” she said.

Meanwhile, Walker appointed DNR Deputy Secretary Kurt Thiede to serve as interim secretary starting Thursday. Thiede started at the DNR in 1999, and was appointed as deputy secretary in 2015, according to his agency bio.

Stepp last year campaigned for then-presidential candidate Donald Trump at two political rallies in Wisconsin. She also previously served one term in the state Senate, and was appointed to the Natural Resources Board in 1998 by then-Gov. Tommy Thompson.

DNR: Groundwater Coordinating Council report highlights need for additional private well testing

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CONTACT: Bruce Rheineck, Groundwater Section Chief, 608-266-2104; Andrew Savagian, DNR communications, 608-261-6422

MADISON – Since Wisconsin’s groundwater resources play a critical role in human health and the economy, it’s important that more private well owners test their wells on a regular basis. That’s one of the findings in the 2017 annual Groundwater Coordinating Council report.

Nearly three-quarters of Wisconsin residents rely on groundwater as the primary source for their drinking water. “Unlike public water systems, protection and maintenance of private wells is largely the responsibility of homeowners,” said Pat Stevens, Environmental Management Division administrator for the Department of Natural Resources and council chairman. “We recommend that private well owners test their water at least once a year for coliform and E. coli bacteria, important indicators of health risk.”

In some counties, such as Dane, Portage and Kewaunee, more than 10 percent of private wells, on average, are tested for coliform bacteria each year. However, the state average of private wells tested annually for total coliform bacteria is only about 6 percent.

The Groundwater Council’s report also shows some positive movement in nitrate contamination across the state.

“Nitrate is Wisconsin’s most widespread groundwater contaminant, and it correlates with the presence of other contaminants,” said Bruce Rheineck, DNR Groundwater Section chief. “The report includes a finding that 11 counties – including Polk, La Crosse and Wood – show decreasing nitrate concentrations. The decrease in these counties represents a positive trend.”

Rheineck added that ongoing monitoring will be needed to help show how pervasive the trend is and whether beneficial agriculture practices in these counties may be applied in other areas. A home well also should be tested for nitrate at least once a year, and on a regular basis if there is agricultural activity in the area.

The 2017 report notes the steps taken to protect groundwater from contamination and helps the public better understand the sources and distribution of naturally occurring contaminants in groundwater. It also highlights the need for ongoing research into the factors that affect groundwater supplies and helps identify next steps to protect and preserve our valuable groundwater resources.

The Groundwater Coordinating Council was formed in 1984 to help state agencies coordinate activities and exchange information on groundwater. Today, the council and its subcommittees regularly bring together staff from more than 10 different agencies, institutions and organizations to communicate and work together on a variety of research, monitoring, data management, education and planning issues. These activities increase coordination across agency lines to avoid duplication, create efficiencies and benefit Wisconsin’s taxpayers.

For more information, visit DNR.wi.gov and search “Groundwater Coordinating Council.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bruce Rheineck, Groundwater Section Chief, 608-266-2104; Andrew Savagian, DNR communications, 608-261-6422

Door County Land Trust: Protects 37 acres near Rowley’s Bay

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Contact: Tom Clay, Executive Director
[email protected]
or

Cinnamon Rossman, Communications and Outreach Manager
[email protected]doorcountylandtrust.org

Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin – In late August, landowners Bruce and Joan Pikas donated a 37-acre conservation easement on their boreal forest tract to the Door County Land Trust. The conservation easement, located east of Sister Bay adds to existing protected land in the area which includes several other Door County Land Trust conservation easements, The Nature Conservancy’s Mink River Estuary and the Land Trust’s Three Springs Nature Preserve. Ten rare plant species and 15 rare bird species are found within this protected landscape.

Bruce and Joan Pikas have lived in the Rowley’s Bay area for more than 40 years. When the opportunity arose to purchase this forested property, they purchased the land to protect it from being divided and developed. Joan said, “The longer we’ve owned this land, the more we realized it needed to be protected forever. The conservation easement with the Door County Land Trust ensures it will remain the same.”
“We love walking the property in every different season. We see turkeys, coyotes, porcupines, ruffed grouse….And we want to make sure that will never change,” says Bruce. More than 150 species of birds have been documented migrating through nearby protected lands.
Door County Land Trust’s land protection specialist Drew Reinke says, “Conservation easements are a key tool for protecting wildlife corridors and ensuring opportunities for wildlife to move freely across the landscape, while keeping the property in private ownership.” A conservation easement is a legal agreement made by landowners which protects the ecological value of property forever, regardless of future ownership.
Land Trust executive director Tom Clay says, “Some of Door County’s most wild and ecologically diverse lands are privately owned, but deserve the same level of protection as our nature preserves. We look forward to partnerships with landowners to create conservation easements that enhance our land protection efforts throughout the county.”
Protection of the Pikas property adds to current conservation efforts of the Door County Land Trust and the Nature Conservancy in this area. The most southern extents of Arctic boreal forest in North America are found along the Lake Michigan shoreline of northern Door County, making the boreal forest of the Pikas property particularly significant. To the east of the property is the North Bay Lowlands Area which contains several high quality wetland communities. The property also lies within an 11,000-acre coastal wetland corridor recognized as a “Wetland of International Importance” by the Ramsar Convention.
About the Door County Land Trust: The Door County Land Trust’s mission is “To protect Door County’s exceptional lands and waters…forever.” It is a nonprofit, community-based organization that actively works to conserve land via the purchase or acceptance of donations of land or conservation easements. Founded in 1986, the Door County Land Trust has protected more than 8,000 acres from Washington Island through southern Door County.

Trail maps for 14 featured Door County Land Trust nature preserves may be found on our website, hiking map and trail map apps. These preserves are open year-round to the public at no charge for hiking, cross-country skiing, wildlife observation, hunting, and other low-impact, non-motorized recreational activities. For more information and to become a Land Trust member visitwww.doorcountylandtrust.org or call (920)746-1359.
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DotCom Therapy bound for California after winning pitch competition

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An early-stage tele-health company will join the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce in a California-bound business delegation.

Yesterday’s Pressure Chamber took the form of a head-to-head pitch competition in which five startups each had 5 minutes to tell their story. Participants were graded in part by judge scoring and in part by audience votes. The event was put on by GMCoC as part of Madison’s Forward Fest.

DotCom Therapy, a recent addition the Madison startup ecosystem, was chosen as winner.

Emily Purdom and Rachel Robinson, co-founders for DotCom Therapy, will join the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce on an upcoming trip to San Francisco, where they will have the chance to meet with top Silicon Valley venture capital firms.

See more at WisBusiness.com.

Draft Clarke super PAC paid for Trump inaugural tickets, raised little from Wisconsin

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EconomicsWisconsin: Economics for Opinion Leaders 🗓

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Contact: EconomicsWisconsin | 414-221-9400

[email protected] | www.EconomicsWisconsin.org

August 28th & 29th
Lambeau Field
Green Bay, WI

EconomicsWisconsin
 invites you to participate in a two-day seminar on basic economic concepts. The seminar features presenters who are talented, experienced economists with a unique ability to help you understand and communicate economic principles in ways that are powerful, entertaining, and engaging to those with little or no formal training in economics.  A Wisconsin school finance expert will help you better understand Wisconsin school district financial issues. Registration fee is $45 and includes breakfast and lunch both days of the seminar, along with a reception following day one of the seminar.  A $150 stipend will be offered to those in full attendance for both days (8AM to 5PM).

EconomicsWisconsin: Economics For Opinion Leaders 🗓

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Contact: EconomicsWisconsin | 414-221-9400
[email protected] | www.EconomicsWisconsin.org

August 28th & 29th
Lambeau Field
Green Bay, WI

EconomicsWisconsin
 invites you to participate in a two-day seminar on basic economic concepts. The seminar features presenters who are talented, experienced economists with a unique ability to help you understand and communicate economic principles in ways that are powerful, entertaining, and engaging to those with little or no formal training in economics.  A Wisconsin school finance expert will help you better understand Wisconsin school district financial issues. Registration fee is $45 and includes breakfast and lunch both days of the seminar, along with a reception following day one of the seminar.  A $150 stipend will be offered to those in full attendance for both days (8AM to 5PM).

Edgewood College women in Journalism panel 🗓

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Anderson Auditorium
Edgewood College
1000 Edgewood College Drive
Madison, Wis.

Madison, Wis. (August 17, 2017) – Edgewood College is pleased to invite Greater Madison to a special and timely panel discussion.

The Battle is Never Over

Overcoming adversity in the news business.

4:00-6:30 p.m.

Monday, August 28, 2017

On The Edge, the Edgewood College student newspaper, hosts a discussion on the challenges facing those in the news business.

Five impressive and experienced women journalists, including an alumna of Edgewood College who now makes her living as an editor and writer in the international community, will share their ideas and answer your questions about the new challenges in print and digital journalism—and the dilemmas facing journalists in the wild and wooly media future.

The event will be moderated by Ellen Foley, former Editor of the Wisconsin State Journal. Panelists include Dee Hall, Co-Founder of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism; Judith Davidoff, Editor, Isthmus; Jessica Benton Cooney, ’04, USAID Center for Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights & Governance; Teryl Franklin, Senior Editor for Audience Development, Wisconsin State Journal; Karen Lincoln Michel, Editor, Madison Magazine, and President, Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

Please visit www.edgewood.edu/women-in-journalism for more information, and to RSVP (optional).

A reception will follow immediately after the panel session.

About Edgewood College

Located in Madison, Wis., Edgewood College is a liberal arts Catholic college in the Dominican tradition. We serve approximately 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students at our Monroe Street and Deming Way campuses, and online. The College offers more than 40 academic and professional programs, including master’s degrees in business, education, and nursing, and doctoral degrees in educational leadership and nursing practice. For more information about Edgewood College, please visit www.edgewood.edu, or call Ed Taylor in Marketing & Strategic Communications at 608-663-2333.

Contact: Ed Taylor, Director of Strategic Communications 608-663-2333

Evers campaign: Hits bad Walker-Trump Foxconn deal in new radio ad

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Nathan Henry, 608-695-8331
[email protected]

First ad of the Governor’s race to play in Milwaukee, Green Bay & Wausau 
MADISON – Tony Evers’ campaign for governor today released the first ad to hit the airwaves of the gubernatorial campaign targeting Governor Scott Walker and President Donald Trump’s bad Foxconn deal. The radio ad will air in the Milwaukee, Green Bay, and Wausau media markets.

In the ad entitled, “Foxconned,” Evers takes aim at the massive $3 billion giveaway to a foreign corporation for a project that won’t break even for 25-years. Evers condemns the deal’s failure to require that new jobs go to Wisconsin residents and that building contracts go to Wisconsin contractors. He closes by criticizing the exemption of Foxconn from environmental protections.

In the ad Evers says, “Did you know the Trump-Walker deal will take Wisconsin taxpayers twenty-five years just to break even? That means a kid born today could graduate college by the time we might see a nickel on the return for our investment.” Evers later remarks, “Sounds good for Foxconn… but what about the rest of us? Think if we invested that money in our schools instead.”

Evers concludes the spot stating, “I’m running for governor because we need a new approach that will grow the economy for the middle class and invest in Wisconsin workers and our future.”

Listen to the radio ad titled, “Foxconned,” at the link below:
https://youtu.be/h5jTKwzvvd0 

FURTHER BACKGROUND
In his gubernatorial announcement speech last week, Evers criticized the awful Trump-Walker Foxconn deal by comparing it to the favorable deal the City of Verona made with Epic Systems to create jobs in Wisconsin. Evers said in his remarks, “Take a look at Epic in Verona. They invested in Wisconsin because we already had a talented workforce. And they did this all with $9 million dollars of city of Verona investment – not $3 billion like Foxconn. Epic has created almost 10,000 jobs. It’s on a campus almost entirely off-the-grid in terms of its use of utilities…There is a huge difference between this strategic investment and the awful deal Scott Walker and Donald Trump cut with Foxconn.”

Evers went on to say that, as Governor, he would re-negotiate the Foxconn deal to require the company to pay its employees a living wage of at least $15 an hour in exchange for the state support it will receive in taxpayer funds.

FULL AD SCRIPT:
Have you heard the saying, if it’s too good to be true… it probably is? Well, the Donald Trump-Scott Walker three-billion-dollar deal for Foxconn might sound good…until you look at the fine print. For starters, did you know the Trump-Walker deal will take Wisconsin taxpayers twenty-five years just to break even? That means a kid born today could graduate college by the time we might see a nickel on the return for our investment.

But worse, those promised Foxconn jobs aren’t even required to be jobs for Wisconsin residents. The contractors that build the facilities aren’t required to be Wisconsin contractors. And the deal would exempt Foxconn from critical environmental protections.

Sounds good for Foxconn… but what about the rest of us? Think if we invested that money in our schools instead. I’m Tony Evers.

I’m running for governor because we need a new approach that will grow the economy for the middle class and invest in Wisconsin workers…and our future.

Evers campaign: State Superintendent Evers kicks off campaign for Gov., promises to invest in middle class, unite Wisconsin

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Contact: Maggie Gau
715-581-0406
[email protected]

Fitchburg, Wisconsin – State Superintendent Tony Evers officially announced his candidacy for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination today at the McKee Farms Kids Crossing Dream Park in Fitchburg, Wisconsin.

The Evers campaign also released a short video highlighting Tony’s background and vision for the state. It is available at www.tonyevers.com.

“I’m running for Governor because as a lifelong educator I’ve always believed that what’s best for our kids is best for our communities, our economy, and our democracy,” Evers said. “As State Superintendent, I’ve seen first-hand how Scott Walker’s policies have made it tougher for all public schools, and the families they serve.”

Evers understands that the greatest engine of economic growth is a strong, well-funded public school system. “I understand the best way to prepare our kids for 21st Century jobs, and bring those jobs to Wisconsin, is to build a skilled workforce by investing in our schools. As Superintendent, I have led a resurgence of career and technical education in our public school system that has led to more students being college and career ready. If we invest in public education, K-12, technical colleges and the UW System, new jobs and industries will come. And they’ll come without having to write billion dollar checks to foreign corporations.”

Evers also pledged to end the divisiveness that has paralyzed Wisconsin’s government under Scott Walker. “Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen the consequences of having leaders who seek to divide us rather than bring us together. People are getting hurt. Families and friendships are being destroyed. People are scared. Make no mistake – Donald Trump is using the same playbook Scott Walker has been using in Wisconsin for years to create divisions and pit people against each other. The targets of their efforts are different, but their tactics are the same. Trump and Walker are not a symptom of our divisions – they are the cause.”

“Enough is enough. If I am elected to serve as your Governor, the politics of division stop on day one. I’ve won three statewide elections by building a coalition of Democrats, Independents and Republicans because they know that I treat my political opponents with respect and have worked across party lines to get things done for our kids.”

Tony Evers has been elected three times to serve as State Superintendent of Public Instruction, winning 70 of 72 counties in his last election, with 70 percent of the vote statewide. Evers has spent his entire career educating our kids, previously working as a science teacher, a high school principal and as school district superintendent. As State Superintendent, Evers runs one of the largest agencies in the state, with responsibility over 70,000 educators and 860,000 students. Evers is the father of 3 children and 6 grandchildren, raising his family in communities throughout Wisconsin, including Plymouth, Baraboo, Tomah, Oakfield, Omro, Oshkosh and Verona.

Evers to formally announce guv bid Wednesday

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DPI Superintendent Tony Evers will formally announce his bid for guv on Wednesday, according to an email his campaign sent to supporters that was shared with WisPolitics.com.

According to the email, Evers will get into the race “because we need a real change here in Wisconsin. That change starts with putting our kids first, investing in our schools, and rebuilding Wisconsin’s middle class.”

The email asked recipients to spread the word about a Fitchburg event by sharing the email. But it asked recipients not to post anything on social media until Wednesday, when Evers will make his announcement at the McKee Farms Kids Crossing Dream Park. The email was sent by Jeff Pertl, a senior policy adviser to Evers at DPI, from a private email account.

Evers filed for guv in early August, but said the change in his campaign registration was part of exploring whether he should run. He will join the likes of Milwaukee businessman Andy Gronik, state Rep. Dana Wachs, Cross Plains businesswoman Michele Doolan and Bob Harlow, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in California last year, as Dems who have formally announced plans to run. At least a half-dozen other Dems are considering a bid.

Evidence-Based Health Policy Project’s seminar “Community Health in the Fox Valley: How are Local Groups Sharing What They Know?” 🗓

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Community Health in the Fox Valley:
How are Local Groups Sharing What They Know?
FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Friday, September 8, 2017
10:00am-12:00pm
James W. Perry Hall at UW-Fox Valley
1478 Midway Road 
Menasha, Wisconsin 54952
Many public and private groups work to improve the health of our neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, and communities. They address issues that include substance use, mental health, obesity, and aging-related diseases. But whatever the focus, all these groups build a vital base of knowledge and expertise.
Join us to discuss what this ongoing work looks like in the Fox Valley. This program will bring together groups working to improve the health of the region, and ask them…
How is your organization learning and using evidence? 
How is your organization teaching new findings? 

And how can you and others do this most effectively?   

 
 
This program will be co-hosted by
State Representatives Dave Murphy, Mike Rohrkaste, and Amanda Stuck
and feature panelists from:

Weight of the Fox Valley

 Sarah Wright, Program Manager

Lynn Ann Clausing Rusch, Program Coordinator 

National Alliance on Mental Illness – Fox Valley
Maren Peterson, Executive Director 
East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission
Melissa Kraemer-Badtke, Principal Planner — Safe Routes to School
Produced by the Evidence-Based Health Policy Project, based at the UW-Madison Population Health Institute, in cooperation with UW-Fox Valley. This program advance the project’s mission: to find relevant expertise and knowledge — generated in the community, on campus, or elsewhere — and promote its use in Wisconsin’s health-policymaking process.

Fightforthefuture.org: Net neutrality activists launch crowdfunded billboards targeting key members of Congress during August recess

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Contact: Tiffiniy Cheng, 413-367-6255[email protected]

Billboards in six states single out lawmakers who support the FCC’s plan to gut key safeguards preventing ISPs from charging new fees, slowing traffic, or blocking websites

Today digital rights organization Fight for the Future unleashed a series of crowdfunded billboards targeting lawmakers who support FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s efforts to repeal the country’s net neutrality rules.

With members of Congress back in their home districts, the billboards – paid for by hundreds of small donations – appear in six different states just weeks before the FCC’s final deadline for public input on their proposal to gut net neutrality rules that prevent companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T from charging extra fees, throttling, or blocking websites, apps, and online services.

See PHOTOS of some of the billboards here: https://imgur.com/a/lhEko

Since the massive July 12th day of action, millions have contacted their representatives – who have oversight over the FCC – to ensure these key protections are not changed or removed. The billboards send a strong message to any Members of Congress contemplating support for the FCC’s plan to repeal net neutrality, which is currently being tracked through a “congressional scorecard” on BattleForTheNet.com. So far very few lawmakers have been willing to publicly support Ajit Pai’s plan, likely in light of polling that shows voters — including Republicans — overwhelmingly oppose it.

The billboards encourage constituents to contact their elected representatives; for example, Speaker Paul Ryan’s billboard in Janesville, WI asks, “Want slower, more expensive Internet? Rep. Paul Ryan supports Charter’s plan to destroy net neutrality. Ask him why: (608) 752-4050.”

The outdoor ads feature some of the few members of Congress who came out with early support for FCC’s plan to repeal net neutrality rules, including:

  • Clarksville, TN – Rep. Marsha Blackburn.

  • Dalton, GA – Rep. Tom Graves.

  • Bakersfield, CA – Rep. Kevin McCarthy

  • Janesville, WI– Rep. Paul Ryan

  • Rapid City, SD – Sen. John Thune

  • Jackson, MS – Sen. Roger Wicker

“Politicians need to learn that they can’t attack free speech on the Internet and expect to get away with it,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future (pronouns: she/hers), “Voters from across the political spectrum all agree that they don’t want companies like Comcast and Verizon dictating what they can see and do online. No one is fooled by corrupt lawmakers’ attempts to push for bad legislation while they strip Internet users of protections at the FCC. Hundreds of people donated to make these billboards possible. When you come for the Internet, the Internet comes for you.”

The billboards highlight the increasing scrutiny on Congress – who have important oversight authority over the FCC. With no viable legislation on the table, net neutrality supporters remain opposed to any attempt at legislation that would undermine the strong rules at the FCC, which were fought for by millions of Americans, and are calling on lawmakers to publicly oppose Ajit Pai’s plan, and require the FCC to act with transparency and address serious irregularities in its rulemaking process.

Fight for the Future was also one of the leading organizations behind the historic Internet-Wide Day of Action for Net Neutrality on July 12which drove a record breaking 2 million+ comments to the FCC and Congress in a single day. Learn more at fightforthefuture.org

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Fitch Ratings: Foxconn may have positive impact on some Wisconsin local governments

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Contact: Monica Guerra, Associate Director
+1-646-582-4924
Fitch Ratings, Inc.
33 Whitehall Street
New York, NY 10004

The recent announcement by Foxconn, a Taiwanese electronics manufacturer, that it will make a $10 billion investment in southeastern Wisconsin could have a positive effect on Fitch’s consideration of revenue growth prospects as well as the affordability of debt and pension liabilities for local governments in that region. While the final location for the Foxconn development has yet to be determined, the corporation has identified several potential locations in Racine and Kenosha counties. Fitch does not expect the Foxconn
development to result directly in any rating changes for municipalities in the state.

The Wisconsin state legislature is currently in special session to consider a bill that would grant Foxconn approximately $3 billion in tax incentives over a 15 year period and a $252 million state debt issuance for required infrastructure improvements to the Interstate-94 corridor. Foxconn has pledged to create an initial 3,000 jobs which are expected to increase to 13,000 once the site is fully operational in exchange for the tax credits.

Property tax base growth will likely be limited by incentive agreements, but local governments may stand to gain from the development deal through the significant influx of high paying jobs. The average salary estimate is reported to be approximately $55,000, which is equal to 132% and 126% of per capita personal income in Kenosha and Racine counties, respectively. Significant employment and salary growth may lead Fitch to revise upward its assessment of the affordability of a local government’s long-term liabilities. This assessment measures debt and unfunded net pension liabilities against personal income. Increased spending power may also drive growth in county sales tax revenues, improving growth prospects for revenues over time.

Fitzgerald critical of Assembly process on Foxconn bill

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says he doesn’t know if he has the votes for the Foxconn bill and the Assembly’s decision to work on amendments without input from his caucus threatens to delay passage of the legislation.

Meanwhile, the Assembly is targeting a Tuesday committee exec and Aug. 17 floor vote on the bill, though Jobs and the Economy Chair Adam Neylon said that is a moving target as he wades through some 60 amendments that have been proposed so far.

And Gov. Scott Walker maintains that state officials “can do both” the Foxconn deal and the budget at the same time this month.

Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said Thursday he’s still going through the Legislative Fiscal Bureau’s analysis of the bill, saying it’s striking the state wouldn’t break even on the $3 billion incentive package for 25 years. He also said this was new territory for lawmakers and even LFB in trying to project the impact of a project that backers hope will have a ripple effect on Wisconsin’s economy for years to come.

A Fitzgerald spokeswoman clarified he has not counted votes in the caucus, in part, because his members are still working their way through the bill and that discussion is not complete.

“Certainly we should be cautious,” Fitzgerald told reporters after meeting with the guv. “That’s what we’re doing right now is our due diligence to make sure it’s a good deal for the state, a good deal for locals and ultimately creates this high-tech campus that everyone is hoping for.”

Fitzgerald said Senate Republicans caucused Tuesday and will meet again today with DOA Secretary Scott Neitzel, who is invited to attend as his caucus considers the bill.

He added the bill appeared to include adequate protections that ensured Foxconn hit job creation goals before receiving some credits. But his caucus is looking at what happens if the company builds the campus in southeastern Wisconsin, but the jobs don’t come as quickly as forecast to make sure there are “some kind of protections there,” including for local governments.

Fitzgerald added the Assembly’s decision to work on amendments without input from his caucus means Senate Republicans will have to review them all to see which ones they’ll consider. He said that process is unusual.

“I’m not going to dismiss them as amendments that aren’t valuable, but I also know that the Senate will take a look at each one of them and see whether or not we agree from a policy standpoint,” Fitzgerald said.

A spokeswoman for Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, did not immediately return messages seeking comment. But Vos tweeted, “@WIAssemblyGOP is working WITH Gov Walker to improve the deal and get it to his desk!”

Fitzgerald also continues to hold open Aug. 21-23 because his Finance members are all available in that window, hoping progress can be made on the budget and Foxconn.

He said his caucus continues to refine its position on the personal property tax, transportation and how much of a cash balance the state should have after the budget is completed.

During an appearance on conservative host Mark Belling’s radio show, Fitzgerald said he has spoken with Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling about getting Dem votes for the Foxconn bill.

But he added that hadn’t been ironed out.

Shilling’s chief of staff Kara Pennoyer wrote in an email the La Crosse Dem expressed to Fitzgerald concerns she’s been hearing from members about the bill.

“Senator Fitzgerald has not indicated to her that he does not have the votes or how many of his members do not plan to vote for the bill,” Pennoyer wrote.

Neylon said he’s looking at a substitute amendment on the Foxconn bill that would include more than a dozen changes he’s considering with others.

The goal is to have that substitute amendment done by Friday or possibly Monday. Either way, he wants it out at least 24 hours before his committee votes and if the package isn’t done Monday, that could push back the exec again.

At one point, Assembly Republicans were targeting Tuesday of this week for a committee vote and then possibly today before delaying it again.

“We’ve had an unprecedented level of amendments that have been proposed that we’re working on,” Neylon said.

Walker told reporters in Wausau he’s open to an amendment that encourages Foxconn to pick Wisconsin companies as the company considers which suppliers it will work with.

Walker said the Constitution prohibits states from requiring that companies can only do business with others in the state, though he said he’d be open to including language that encourages Foxconn to hire Wisconsinites and work with local companies.

“We’re very much open to that as long as we can abide by the Constitution,” Walker said.

He said he’s willing to work with lawmakers on both sides on a “whole series of amendments,” emphasizing that there’s still time to finalize changes to the special session bill he proposed.

“We’d like to have this done in August, but it doesn’t have to be today or tomorrow or next week,” he said.

Fitzgerald, Vos disagree over Foxconn bill process

The Legislature’s top Republicans disagreed Tuesday on how to move forward with an incentive package for Foxconn, while Walker said he’s open to small changes to the legislation.

Among the issues: how quickly to move the bill setting up $3 billion in incentives for the Taiwanese electronics manufacturer; if the Foxconn bill should be the priority over the overdue state budget; and whether the legislation should go to the Joint Finance Committee.

Walker said he’s open to small changes to the legislation, which was formally introduced Tuesday. Still, he said there’s “plenty of time” for the public to weigh in on the Foxconn deal, which will be up for a public hearing in the Assembly on Thursday with a committee vote expected next week.

Walker told reporters after talking to the Senate GOP caucus that Dems under former Gov. Jim Doyle “pushed through the biggest tax increase in the history of the state” in under two days without a public hearing.

“I think two to three weeks is a pretty good amount of time,” he said.

Walker said while there could be “a few tweaks here or there” to the special session bill, he doesn’t expect major changes. The big required item, he said, is letting the state “pay for growth” and let Foxconn get $3 billion in incentives as it meets certain targets.

“I think that’s the key,” he said. “The other components are all things we can certainly work with [lawmakers] on. That’s really what we heard here today, were just questions more than anything.”

Dems accused Republicans of rushing through a $3 billion incentive package that could push aside work on the budget, now about a month overdue.

Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling called the Foxconn bill a “shiny object” that’s distracting Republicans from working on the budget. She called the Assembly timeline for the bill, which includes a possible floor vote in mid-August, “overly ambitious.” She also questioned why some Republicans want to rush on the bill, noting Foxconn has not lived up to promises made in other states.

The La Crosse Dem declined to offer an acceptable timeline to vote on the bill other than saying a week to 10 days of deliberations is not enough.

“We’ve seen the track record of this company, and we just want to make sure that communities are protected, taxpayers are protected and makes sure we’re not giving away the state of Wisconsin to a Taiwanese company,” Shilling said.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said it’s “more important” to get the state budget done, while Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said he thinks the Foxconn bill should be the priority.

Vos added it would be “ideal” if the budget and Foxconn bills could progress concurrently, but Fitzgerald showed no interest in that approach.

“We’re still focused on: Let’s get the state budget done. Let’s get K-12 their funding numbers. Let’s make sure that everyone knows that we’ve got this under control before we try and jump in with both feet on Foxconn,” Fitzgerald said.

The Juneau Republican said Walker “was great” in responding to questions from GOP senators in Tuesday’s caucus.

But he said his caucus wants to wait for a full analysis from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau to answer questions that members have. That includes whether any incentives might be paid out this year if construction on the Foxconn facility kicks off. Another question, he said, is how the $3 billion in incentives would spread out throughout the years.

He said he disagreed with Vos’ approach to refer the bill to the Assembly’s Jobs and the Economy Committee instead of placing that bill directly in the Joint Finance Committee, which oversees budget issues. Vos said the bill could still end up at JFC, but made no commitment to send it there.

Fitzgerald said he talked to Sen. Dan Feyen, R-Fond du Lac, who chairs a similar committee in the Senate, about why he thinks why JFC is the “appropriate place for this to be.” The JFC, he said, should hold a public hearing on the bill and an executive session.

Fitzgerald said a JFC meeting isn’t likely until the week of Aug. 21, when it looks the committee might have the “three days they probably need to wrap up the state budget.”

“If they want to also have a public hearing on Foxconn that day … I think I’m open to that, but, you know, it’s more important to get the state budget done,” he said.

Vos, meanwhile, said he’s looking forward to sitting down with the Senate again on the budget, but pointed out the Assembly has already accepted Walker’s latest offer on transportation, a key hurdle in negotiations.

That approach would take $203.5 million Walker had wanted to put toward income tax cuts and instead use the money for a cash investment in road projects. The guv also has proposed only doing additional bonding for transportation if the state received federal money to help cover the costs of borrowing.

With that discussion continuing, Vos said his caucus wants to make sure the Foxconn bill moves.

“For us, the biggest priority is making sure that we have Foxconn moving along because we know that the sooner we’re able to do our due diligence on the legislation, the sooner they’re able to choose a site and hopefully begin construction, start employing people and get money into the pockets of everyday Wisconsinites.”

The Rochester Republican also noted the Foxconn bill would have little impact on the 2017-19 state budget. There is a provision that would set aside $10 million for grants to local units of government to help with their costs, including infrastructure and public safety. The bill also calls for $252.4 million in general obligation supported borrowing for I-94 north-south, though that would be contingent on the state receiving federal aid. If that happened, the state’s payment on the bonds would be $2.9 million in the 2017-19 biennium.

He also held off committing his caucus to the Foxconn bill as drafted, saying Assembly Republicans only went through policy aspects of the bill and were awaiting a more in-depth look at the financial side.

“I don’t want to prejudge that the bill is perfect just like it’s drafted or that it requires changes,” Vos said. “That’s why we want to have a good, long, thorough process in the Jobs and Economy Committee to see what positive changes need to happen to make this bill the best it can be.”

Fitzgerald, Vos disagree over Foxconn bill process

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Forward Fest event highlights drones, entrepreneurship

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A group of enthusiastic kids got the chance try out industry-level drones as part of Madison’s Forward Fest.

They also heard about new and interesting ways drones are being used in a variety of commercial applications, as well as by the U.S. Army and casual hobbyists.

The event was held yesterday at University Research Park by the Wisconsin chapter of Bunker Labs, a national nonprofit which supports veteran-owned and operated businesses. A few drone-centric startups were there to show off their tech and give short presentations on how they and others are leveraging drone capabilities to bring value to diverse industries.

Chris Johnson, founder of Pilot Training System and instructor for a drone-flying course offered by UW-Madison, says the idea of aerial vehicles collecting useful data is nothing new. It’s been done by U.S. military planes in every conflict since WWI.

“Over time, the aircraft have become more and more capable and more and more autonomous, to the point where we’ve got these military-grade drones that still conduct surveillance and data collection missions,” he said. “But just recently, drones have made it from a military context to a civilian context.”

See more at WisBusiness.com.

Fox Cities Chamber: To host area mayors at August Lunch ‘n Learn 🗓

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Contact: Emily Feagles, Marketing & Communications
[email protected]

Appleton, Wisconsin – The Fox Cities Chamber will host a special lunch ‘n learn event, CEO of the City, featuring three area Mayors on Wednesday, August 16 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel. Mayors representing Appleton, Kaukauna and Neenah will participate in the panel discussion to share their experiences and stories.

Back for the second edition, this luncheon will provide attendees with a better understanding of activities and projects happening in the Fox Cities. Mayor Tim Hanna from Appleton, Mayor Gene Rosin from Kaukauna and Mayor Dean Kaufert from Neenah will participate in the interactive panel discussion formatted to ask the Mayors about current projects happening in their communities. The discussion will also include coverage on topics such as the workforce shortage in the public sector as well as utilizing technology to better inform their residents. Audience participation will be strongly encouraged at this event.

The CEO of the City lunch ‘n learn event will be held on Wednesday, August 16 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Radisson Paper Valley Hotel, Salon A, located at 333 W. College Avenue in Appleton. This event is open to the public. General Admission is $15. Please register at foxcitieschamber.com or call (920) 734-7101.

For additional news and information, follow Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce on Facebook and Twitter @FoxCitiesChmbr. 

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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.

 

Foxconn bill passes Assembly committee on party-line vote

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The Assembly Committee on Jobs and the Economy pushed through the $3 billion incentive package for Foxconn this evening over Dem objections.

The bill passed following the party-line adoption of a GOP substitute amendment that would add $20 million for a worker training program and require that the final contract with Foxconn encourage the Taiwanese company to hire Wisconsin workers “when practically possible.”

Dems, though, argued the risks associated with Foxconn were too great, the incentives too generous and the protections lacking.

“If we really want to grow economic development here, this just isn’t the way to do it,” said Rep. Amanda Stuck, D-Appleton.

Meanwhile, Rep. Jason Fields said lawmakers weren’t dealing with issues “that could potentially make this successful,” including establishing regional transportation networks and a greater pipeline for Wisconsin residents to fill the available jobs.

“Three billion dollars is a lot of money to risk of taxpayers on should’ve, could’ve, maybe that’ll happen,” said Fields, D-Glendale. “We’re not there yet. This deal is not there.”

While GOP Rep. Joel Kleefisch said some of Fields’ concerns were valid, he said it was “far better to have a worker shortage than a job shortage.”

And he said once the company began, workers would “find ways to get there,” pointing to Madison’s ride share program.

“I’m telling you, nothing comes without some risk,” the Oconomowoc Republican said. “And you know what, the fact that you’re questioning this, I’m all right with this.”

A floor vote on the bill is slotted for Thursday.

Foxconn bill receives praise and criticism in public hearing

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Representatives of many of the state’s business associations, universities and advocacy groups — as well as some independent speakers — recently weighed in on the Foxconn bill at a public hearing in Madison.

The Assembly Committee on Jobs and the Economy heard testimony for nearly 10 hours on Thursday evening. Some testified in support of the Foxconn plan, citing long-term economic benefits, while others expressed concerns about environmental impacts and the burden on Wisconsin taxpayers.

Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council:
“If this legislation passes, Wisconsin will no longer be a flyover state. It will be a destination state. What took decades to build in the Silicon Valley and the Research Triangle of North Carolina will be built inside a decade here if Foxconn comes to Wisconsin.”

Gale Klappa, chairman of WEC Energy Group and co-chair of Milwaukee 7:
“The potential impact for manufacturing leadership, economic growth and family-sustaining career opportunities is beyond anything Wisconsin has ever seen.”

The Sierra Club’s John Muir Chapter:
“Removing permit requirements and environmental review will open the door to many avoidable negative environmental outcomes.”

See more at WisBusiness.com. 

See all written testimony here.

Foxconn expected to create ‘entirely new opportunities for students’

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Foxconn building a high-tech manufacturing plant in southeastern Wisconsin will create “entirely new opportunities for students,” according to Michael Shiels, a dean at Waukesha County Technical College.

The dean of the tech college’s School of Applied Technologies says the proposed project is “very exciting” for the entire state, but particularly for Wisconsin’s technical college programs, as it will provide opportunities to train members of the skilled workforce needed to run the facility.

In his position, Shiels oversees the college’s programs in engineering, manufacturing, construction trades, apprenticeships, transportation and architecture — about 31 associate degrees and diplomas in total.

He works closely with various groups to obtain data on the latest techniques and best practices for industry, collaborating with faculty and local employers.

Sometimes, WCTC provides short-term training programs tailored to certain employers’ needs; other times, Shiels says the school links employers with specific program areas so they can hire out of those programs. He also helps to make connections for internship programs, so students can get hands-on experience before graduating.

See more at WisBusiness.com. 

Foxconn sub amendment would add worker training money, promote Wisconsin workers

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The state would provide $20 million in new money to develop a plan to meet the possible job demands of a new Foxconn plant while requiring WEDC to promote Wisconsin workers “when practically possible,” under a substitute amendment released today.

According to a summary of the changes from the speaker’s office, the amendment would clarify language to ensure tax credits don’t apply until a job is created with a minimum salary of $30,000 a year.

See more in today’s PM Update.

Foxconn tech exhibition showcases diverse products

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Waukesha County Technical College’s two-day exhibition of Foxconn technology showcases diverse products offered by the Taiwanese electronics manufacturer and its subsidiaries.

Foxconn’s just-announced Wisconsin plant is to make liquid crystal display panels. It will make these LCD screens for many industries — education, entertainment, safety, surveillance and health care — with Wisconsin-made products ending up in self-driving cars and aircraft systems, according to a fact sheet Gov. Scott Walker’s office shared with lawmakers.

The two-day demonstration, which ends today, gave the curious a chance to get their hands on cutting-edge devices that incorporate these LCD panels.

In WCTC’s Richard T. Anderson Education Center, tables around the room displayed specialized high-definition panels of all shapes and sizes — but not all the technology was strictly screen-related.

The INTELLOS automated unmanned ground vehicle (pictured here) from Sharp, a subsidiary of Foxconn, was being shown off at the event.

See more at WisBusiness.com 

Foxconn’s state tax credits could max out at $312.4 million annually

Foxconn’s state tax credits would max out at $312.4 million annually from 2023 to 2026 before tailing off, according to a Department of Revenue analysis of the $3 billion special session bill now before lawmakers.

The agency’s projections show Foxconn would get more than 40 percent of the nearly $3 billion in state tax breaks over that four-year period if it builds a planned $10 billion facility in Wisconsin and hits 13,000 employees.

The Taiwanese electronics manufacturer is in line for $1.5 billion in payroll credits for $9.5 billion in payroll over 16 years plus $1.35 billion for capital expenditures projected to be $10.7 billion over five years, according to an agency analysis on the package’s fiscal impact.

DOR, along with other state agencies, prepared fiscal estimates for the special session bill that would give Foxconn up to $3 billion in incentives to build a plant in southeastern Wisconsin.

The Department of Transportation, for example, estimates repaying the $252.4 million in borrowing for I-94 north-south in the bill would require $408.3 million in general purpose revenue between 2018-19 and 2041-42.

The next hearing on the bill could be Thursday. Rep. Adam Neylon has said having his Assembly Committee on Jobs and the Economy exec Thursday on the bill is still his target but that the date is “not set in stone.” He said lawmakers are still deciding amendments to the bill, adding that he wants to make sure they can “tighten up language and have everything as specific as possible” so there aren’t any gray areas in the legislation.

See more on the agency estimates in yesterday’s PM Update:
https://www.wispolitics.com/2017/mon-pm-update-foxconn-could-get-40-percent-of-tax-credits-over-four-years/ 

Freedom, Inc.: Condemns Chief Koval’s plan as racist and dangerous

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One day after Koval’s announcement, police were outside
Freedom, Inc.’s offices arresting an African American man.
PRESS RELEASE from Freedom, Inc.

Freedom, Inc. Condemns MPD Chief Koval’s
Plan as Racist and Dangerous
August 11, 2017

On Wednesday, Madison Police Department Chief Mike Koval announced that he planned to initiate a wave of arrests that would predominantly target African American men.  This plan is an attempt to address the recent increase in gun violence in Madison, even though he admits that there may be no evidence connecting arrested individuals to any homicides.  We at Freedom, Inc. strongly condemn this plan as racist and dangerous, contributing to the already alarming over-representation of African American men in jail in Madison.

“Any policy or legal action that disproportionately targets only one population is racist,” said Kabzuag Vaj, Co-Executive Director of Freedom, Inc. in response to Koval’s plans.

Today, right outside the Freedom, Inc. offices on South Park Street, we were shocked to see an African American man getting arrested for accidentally urinating on himself and the sidewalk.  Not only was this man subjected to humiliation and public trauma, but the amount of Madison police resources used—including 5 officers, an intern, a car, and 3 bicycles—represented a staggering and unnecessary waste to the city.  For the same cost, this man and the many other homeless people in Madison could have found housing so this would not have happened.  There is no way in which the police could connect this man or his crime to gun violence, but it is not a coincidence that this squadron of Madison Police Department members showed up outside our doors to arrest an innocent Black man only hours after Koval’s announcement promising a “blue blanket” over the city.

This strategy of locking up African American men is not new, and the flaws with this way of thinking are well-documented.  Previous attempts in the 1990s to round up Black criminals simply resulted in gross mass incarceration, from which our communities have never recovered.  In Madison, we still see the effects in arrest and jail racial disparities. Such short-term strategies do not move us anywhere near the long-term goal of alleviating the root causes of gangs and gun violence.  The actual causes include poverty, economic underdevelopment, joblessness, lack of education and healthcare, and other systemic issues that are sustained through racist policies, police, and social structures.  To solve these problems, we need both short-term and long-term solutions that directly lead toward economic development, instead of incarceration.

“Gang violence is brought on by fighting because you don’t have enough. If you want to stop that violence, you’ve gotta stop people from not having enough,” said M. Adams, Co-Executive Director of Freedom, Inc. “Don’t eradicate poor people, eradicate poverty! Police care more about urine on the concrete than they care about a Black poor man having nowhere to urinate.

We at Freedom, Inc. seek to end violence through acknowledging its root causes and fighting for community control over the police.  We seek to change the narrative that has so long contributed to fear of African American men without doing anything to reduce crime or violence.  Chief Koval’s “blue blanket” short-term plan affirms an already rampant fear of African American men, and exacerbates the fear that African American men already have of law enforcement.  It will not increase safety, and will not decrease criminal activity.

“Black poor lives matter!” said M. Adams. “We are Black victims of many types of violence, and in the face of violence we say we don’t want no police!”

FRI AM Update: Assembly passes Foxconn bill; weekly radio addresses

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FRI AM Update: Burns, Dallet participate in Supreme Court forum today; weekly radio addresses

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FRI AM Update: JFC approves fee boost for housing juvenile offenders; weekly radio addresses

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FRI AM Update: Neylon to delay committee vote on Foxconn bill to consider amendments

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FRI News Summary: Changes eyed for Foxconn bill; Kind, Pocan on health care reform

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FRI News Summary: Foxconn bill hearing; Johnson’s ‘right to try’ bill passes Senate

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FRI News Summary: Foxconn bill passes Assembly; GOP lawmakers introduce mining bill

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FRI News Summary: JFC votes to end forestry mill tax; Ryan says debt ceiling increase ‘will get done’

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FRI PM Update: Sources: JFC to boost voucher income limit; audit finds nurses’ OT spikes at King home

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FRI PM Update: Vos ‘very confident’ Foxconn bill will pass Assembly next week; new lobbying numbers in

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FRI REPORT: Draft Clarke super PAC paid for Trump inaugural tickets, raised little from WI

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FRI REPORT: Sources: Road map emerging to resolve budget impasse

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Fundraiser for Rep. Dale Kooyenga 🗓

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Fundraiser for Rep. Dale Kooyenga
August 29
6-8pm
Appetizers Served
Milwaukee Athletic Club Rooftop
758 N Broadway
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Gold Host $500
Silver Host $250
$100 To Attend

Fundraiser for Rep. Pronschinske 🗓

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Fundraiser for Rep. Treig Pronschinske with special guest Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch

Date: Wednesday, September 27th
Time 5-6:30pm
Location: The Barn Again Lodge
Address: S683 Lovely Road  Mondovi, WI 54755

Host Levels:
Gold:$500
Silver:$250
Bronze:$100

$50 Suggested Contribution
Please Make Checks Payable to: T E Pronschinke for Assembly
559 North Jackson Street Mondovi, WI 54755

Please RSVP to Paige George at [email protected] or (608) 257-8030

Gov. Kasich: Reacts to President Trump’s Afghanistan policy

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The following statement can be attributed to Gov. John Kasich:
“After sixteen years, we have lost sight of the the United States’ principal goal in becoming engaged in Afghanistan: to prevent the country from being used as a launching pad for terror attacks on the U.S.

The United States should continue to support the Afghan government through our Strategic Partnership Agreement by providing training and funds that will help the Afghans maintain control of major population centers and prevent a Taliban victory.

The time has come, however, for us to forge an agreement with all of the regional players that will allow the United States to draw down forces and bring our troops back home without reigniting civil war in that country.

We must work with neighboring countries to station Special Forces and aircraft in the region in a manner that allows us to eradicate terrorist bases that might reappear in Afghanistan.

Sixteen years and the lives of over 2,000 American heroes are more than enough of a price to have paid to eradicate a terrorist sanctuary. America cannot afford to make an open-ended commitment of further lives and treasure to the improbable proposition of building a cohesive nation in Afghanistan.”

Gov. Walker: Announces $16.9 million in community improvement awards

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Contact: Tom Evenson
(608) 266-2839

Madison, Wisconsin – Governor Scott Walker today announced $16.9 million in awards for 38 Wisconsin communities through Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Public Facility and Planning Funds. CDBG is federal funding used to help towns, villages, and non-urban cities improve streets, infrastructure, and community buildings. These grants are targeted for projects in communities that primarily benefit low-to-moderate income residents.

“This funding will help small communities across Wisconsin continue to grow and thrive so future generations will continue to call Wisconsin home,” Governor Walker said.

Funding is awarded through the Department of Administration’s Division of Energy, Housing and Community Resources. The funds are awarded annually through a competitive process. Funding comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

CDBG Table

Gov. Walker: Announces $840,000 Coastal Resilience Grant for Lake Michigan communities

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Contact:
Tom Evenson
(608) 266-2839

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker announced today that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has awarded Wisconsin a three-year $840,000 Coastal Resilience Grant to help Lake Michigan communities and property owners in Southeastern Wisconsin reduce damages from coastal hazards and sustain the operation of their coastal economic assets. The grant entitled “Improving Economic Security in Coastal Wisconsin” will be awarded to the Wisconsin Department of Administration’s Wisconsin Coastal Management Program.

“This grant is crucial to Wisconsin’s coastal communities,” Governor Walker said. “We’re grateful the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recognizes the challenges our Lake Michigan communities are facing and this is an excellent step as we work towards repairing damage and preserving our coasts for years to come.”

Southeastern Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan bluffs, beaches, and harbor infrastructure are currently being impacted by a combination of high water levels, erosion, and coastal storms. These coastal hazards threaten coastal properties and can impair tourism and commerce in the region.

The new project will support efforts to map shoreline recession to improve hazard planning and provide guidance on options to protect coastal property. The project team will work together with the counties and municipalities of Southeastern Wisconsin to plan and implement actions to reduce the impacts of coastal hazards.

Partners on the project include the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC).

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.

Additional information about the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program can be found at http://coastal.wisconsin.gov.

Gov. Walker: Announces Broadband Expansion Grant recipients

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Contact:
Tom Evenson
(608) 266-2839

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker joined the Public Service Commission (PSC) today in announcing $1,500,000 in Broadband Expansion Grants, awarded to 13 projects in underserved areas throughout the state. Matching funds for these projects amounted to $2,310,475.60 for a total of $3,810,475.60 in broadband infrastructure investment.

“As broadband continues to become an increasingly integral part of our lives, I know that Wisconsin businesses and families will be well-served by these continued investments,” said Governor Walker. “Internet access is a critical component of education, telemedicine, e-commerce, agribusiness, and tourism, just to name a few.  No corner of our state can be left behind.”

Governor Walker created the Broadband Expansion Grant Program in the 2013-15 biennial budget and increased funding for the grants in the 2015-17 biennial budget from $500,000 to $1.5 million annually. The Governor’s proposed 2017-19 biennial budget provides $11 million more for the program over the next several years.

Recipients include:

24-7 Telcom ($153,500) – This project proposes to build a fiber-to-the-home service past 120 homes and businesses located southwest of the City of Menomonie in Dunn County.

Amherst Telephone Company ($170,000) – This project proposes to build a fiber to the home service in rural Portage County, northeast of Stevens Point. The 18 mile fiber route will build past 207 residential and business locations in the Towns of Hull and Dewey.

CenturyTel of the Midwest – Kendall, LLC d/b/a CenturyLink ($167,300) – This project proposes to build a 9-mile fiber route in the central and northeast portion of the City of Baraboo. The route will pass 478 locations (13 businesses and 465 residences) in the underserved portion of the project area.

ChoiceTel LLC ($72,846.40) – This project proposes to complete the construction of a fiber to the home service in the Town of Land O’Lakes in Vilas County, authorized in 3 grants in FY 2016, 2017 and 2018. When construction finishes in 2019, ChoiceTel will have buried over 60 miles of fiber optic cable along the main roads and side roads in the township, and will have connected over 1,000 customers to fiber to the home service.

Florence County ($66,712) – This project proposes to deploy a fixed wireless service from 3 towers in Florence County.

MH Telecom, LLC d/b/a MHTC ($126,162) – This project proposes to build a fiber backbone and fixed wireless service in rural areas of Iowa County.

Oneida County Economic Development Corporation ($45,000) – This project proposes to build two additional towers in rural portions of Oneida County.

Somerset Telephone Company ($90,000) – This project proposes to build a fiber to the home service to 129 locations in St. Croix County.

SonicNet Inc. ($6,746.47) – This project proposes to install a fixed wireless service on a county-owned tower in the Town of Conover in Vilas County. The project will also build microwave links to other SonicNet tower locations.

Black Earth Telephone Company d/b/a TDS Telecom ($285,917.20) – This project proposes to build a DSL service to 307 locations in the Town of Vermont south of the Village of Black Earth in Dane County.

Town of Dunn ($106,395.18) – This project proposes to build a Charter Communications cable facility to 103 homes in the vicinity of Hawkinson Road in the Town of Dunn in Dane County.

Vernon Communications Cooperative ($176,587) – This project proposes to build a combination of fiber to the home and fixed wireless services to 530 locations in Vernon County.

Waupaca Online ($32,815.75) – This project proposes to build a fixed wireless service to the home service to 324 locations in northern Waupaca County.

The Broadband Expansion Grants provide reimbursement for equipment and construction expenses incurred by efforts to extend or improve broadband telecommunications services in underserved regions of Wisconsin.

Gov. Walker: Announces disaster assistance for homeowners and businesses in Southeastern Wisconsin

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Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839
MADISON – Governor Scott Walker announced today the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved his request for federal low-interest disaster loans for individuals and businesses affected by flooding in southeastern Wisconsin last month. The SBA will open disaster loan outreach centers to help flood victims and businesses obtain information and apply for assistance.

“We know many victims are struggling to recover from devastating floods last month,” Governor Walker said. “We’re thrilled the SBA heard our request and is able to provide families and businesses in Wisconsin with low-interest loans to help them get back on their feet.”

The SBA declared Kenosha, Racine, and Walworth counties, along with the contiguous counties of Jefferson, Milwaukee, Rock, and Waukesha, eligible for disaster assistance. Homeowners are eligible for assistance in the form of low-interest loans of up to $200,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed homes. Homeowners and renters are also for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property. Low-interest loans of up to $2 million are available to Wisconsin businesses for physical damage and economic loss because of the flooding.

More than eight inches of rain fell overnight on July 11, 2017 in southeast Wisconsin, causing widespread flooding and setting flood records along the Fox River. Thousands of homes and businesses were impacted, but there were no serious injuries.

The SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Centers will be opening at the following locations:

Kenosha County – Opening Tuesday, August 22 at 10:00 a.m.
Kenosha County Center
19600 75th Street
Bristol, WI 53104
Racine County – Opening Tuesday, August 22 at 10:00 a.m.
Western Racine County Service Center
Eppers Room
209 North Main Street
Burlington, WI 53105

 

Walworth County – Opening Tuesday, August 22 at 10:00 a.m.
Walworth County Sheriff’s Office
1770 County Road NN
Elkhorn, WI 53121

Gov. Walker: Announces Dynamic Recycling, Inc. plans another expansion in Western Wisconsin

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Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839
ONALASKA – Governor Scott Walker announced today that Dynamic Recycling, Inc., a national electronics re-marketing, recycling, and scrap purchasing and logistics company, is expanding its operations in La Crosse County – a $20 million project expected to create around 150 new jobs.

“I thank Dynamic Recycling for its continued commitment to growing in western Wisconsin and I congratulate the company on its rapid expansion,” Governor Walker said. “While we’re always happy to welcome businesses from outside the state to establish operations here, it’s equally important to support existing Wisconsin companies and acknowledge their contribution to the state’s strong economy.”

Dynamic Recycling CEO Miles Hartner said the company is excited about its ongoing expansion in the state.

“We are humbled by the opportunity to continue our history of doing what’s right for our world, helping create and maintain solid local jobs while still giving back. These are all opportunities to continue living our mission,” he said. “The state of Wisconsin and WEDC have been very supportive and have played a large role in our growth over the past 10 years.”

The expansion plans come less than three years after Dynamic Recycling relocated to Onalaska because it had outgrown its old facility in La Crosse. This marks the company’s fifth expansion since it was founded in 2007.

The 140,000-square-foot facility will include additional manufacturing, warehouse, and office space. The project also includes new equipment and solar efficiency improvements. Construction started in May and is expected to be completed by June 2018.

To ensure that Dynamic Recycling expands in Wisconsin, WEDC has authorized the company to receive up to $535,000 in state income tax credits over the next four years. The actual amount of tax credits received will be contingent upon the number of jobs created and the amount of capital investment the company makes during that time.

WEDC also is authorizing up to $17 million in Industrial Revenue Bonds (IRB) to help finance the project through the sale of tax-exempt bonds. IRBs are used to stimulate capital investments and job creation by providing private borrowers with access to financing at interest rates that are lower than conventional bank loans.

“We are excited to see Dynamic Recycling’s continued growth and success as they address an important consumer need.,” said Lisa Herr, CEO of the 7 Rivers Alliance, the regional economic development organization that serves La Crosse County. “We look forward to supporting the expansion of this business and growing workforce in the future.”

In addition to the 153 jobs expected to be created by the company, an economic modeling study estimates the project could indirectly generate 97 additional jobs in the region. Those 250 direct and indirect jobs could generate up to $2.7 million in state income tax revenue over a five-year period.

Dynamic Recycling recycles and reuses some items such as IT equipment, consumer electronics, medical equipment, and electronic and non-ferrous scrap. The company most recently expanded in 2014, when it relocated to its current facility in Onalaska. In 2012, it added 20,000 square feet to its old 40,000-square-foot facility in La Crosse, which it outgrew because of increased customer demand for its products.

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Gov. Walker: Applauds JFC vote to eliminate the state portion of the property tax levy

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Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839
 
 
MADISON – Governor Scott Walker released the following statement today after the Wisconsin State Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee voted to eliminate the state portion of the property tax levy. The provision was included in Governor Walker’s Executive Budget proposal. 

“We are eliminating an entire tax. Once passed in the budget and signed into law, there will be no state property tax collected for the first time since 1931. I applaud the members of the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee for supporting tax reform and relief!”

Gov. Walker: Applauds JFC vote to provide $639 million increase for K-12 education

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Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839
MADISON – Governor Scott Walker released the following statement today after the Wisconsin State Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee voted to approve a $639 million increase in support for all of Wisconsin’s K-12 schools.

“Thanks to the members of the Joint Finance Committee for supporting the education portion of my budget. Once signed, this budget will include more actual dollars for K-12 education than ever before in our history.”

 

Gov. Walker: Appoints Jeff Lyon to lead DATCP as interim secretary

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Contact:
Tom Evenson
(608) 266-2839

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker today appointed Jeff Lyon to lead the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection as interim secretary effective Monday, August 14, 2017. Mr. Lyon currently serves as the agency’s deputy secretary.

Secretary Ben Brancel’s previously announced retirement is effective August 13, 2017

Gov. Walker: Appoints Shaughnessy Murphy to serve on the Eau Claire County Circuit Court

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Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839
MADISON – Governor Walker today appointed Attorney Shaughnessy P. Murphy to serve as a judge on the Eau Claire County Circuit Court, Branch 5, replacing retiring Judge Paul J. Lenz.

“Shaughnessy Murphy will be a strong addition to the Eau Claire County Circuit Court,” said Governor Walker. “His legal acumen and dedication to rule of law give me confidence he will serve as an asset to both the bench and surrounding community.”

Shaughnessy Murphy was an attorney at Ruder Ware L.L.S.C. where he advised clients on a wide variety of business and transactional matters including mergers and acquisitions, real estate, corporate governance, and foreign sanction and trade regulation compliance. Prior to his work in private practice, Murphy served as a senior leadership aide in the U.S. House of Representatives where he advised members of Congress on a variety of public policy and legislative issues.

Murphy is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire where he was a member of the varsity football team and Gonzaga University School of Law where he was a member of the Moot Court Honors Council. In addition to his legal experience, Murphy has been involved within his community as a member of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Alumni Association Board of Directors, Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce’s Good Government Council and Government Affairs Committee, Heart for the Arts Committee, and the Chippewa Valley Business Report editorial board. Murphy and his family are members of St. Patrick’s Parish in Eau Claire.

Circuit Court Judge Steven Gibbs wrote in support of Murphy saying, “Shaughnessy Murphy possesses the common sense Eau Claire values which will serve the citizens of Eau Claire County well. He grew up in Eau Claire, graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and is in tune with the pulse of the Eau Claire community. He possesses a strong commitment to constitutional principles.”

State Representative Warren Petryk highly recommends Murphy stating, “Shaughnessy Murphy is an honest, hard-working, caring man of integrity who will bring the wisdom and balance we deserve to the Eau Claire County judicial system. There is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Murphy’s empathy and kindness to others will be demonstrated in each decision he will make as he carries out his responsibilities to his fellow citizens. He is a superb choice as our newest Eau Claire County judge.”

Murphy resides in Eau Claire County with his wife, Katie, and two sons.

 
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Gov. Walker: Building Commission approves projects

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Contact:
Tom Evenson
(608) 266-2839

MADISON – Today, the State of Wisconsin Building Commission met at State Fair Park to approve several key projects across the state including, but not limited to:

  • Renovations to the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point DeBot Residential Dining Center;
  • Authority for the Department of Transportation to lease new Department of Motor Vehicle Customer Services Center location in Dane County;
  • Construct facility rehabilitation and maintenance to the Department of Military Affairs Fort McCoy Military Academy and Milwaukee Readiness Center;
  • Authority for the University of Wisconsin-Superior to purchase a parcel of land and improvements; and
  • Other various maintenance and repair projects around the state.

“The State Building Commission approved a number of important projects today, which will positively impact Wisconsin residents,” said Governor Scott Walker.  “I would like to thank the members of the Building Commission for taking action on these projects, which will improve facilities throughout Wisconsin.”

The Building Commission is chaired by Governor Walker and made up of the following members:

  • State Senator Terry Moulton;
  • State Senator Jerry Petrowski;
  • State Senator Janis Ringhand;
  • State Representative Rob Swearingen;
  • State Representative Terry Katsma;
  • State Representative Dana Wachs; and
  • Citizen member Bob Brandherm.

Gov. Walker: Encourages nominations for third annual Wisconsin Job Honor Awards

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Contact: Tom Evenson
(608) 266-2839

Madison, Wisconsin – Governor Scott Walker is encouraging nominations for the third annual Wisconsin Job Honor Awards, which will be announced at the third annual event November 29, 2017, in Madison. The awards celebrate Wisconsinites who have overcome significant barriers to employment and the employers who hire them.

“Here in Wisconsin, our focus has shifted from jobs, jobs, jobs, to workforce, workforce, workforce,” Governor Walker said. “Now, our top priority is to help people overcome obstacles to employment so everyone who wants a job is able to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to find a job. The Wisconsin Job Honor Award is an inspiring way we can honor the everyday heroes in our state who overcame obstacles and found meaningful employment by transforming their lives through hard work and perseverance.”

Hosted by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the awards will be presented during their Future Wisconsin Economic Summit at the Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center.

Nominations are due by September 4, 2017, and can be submitted here.

Gov. Walker: First Lady Tonette Walker meets with Rep. Gallagher on Trauma-Informed Care

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Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839
GREEN BAY – First Lady Tonette Walker met with Representative Mike Gallagher and the Brown County Child Abuse & Neglect Initiative today at the Boys and Girls Club in Green Bay to discuss the importance, effectiveness, and need for trauma-informed care. They also discussed House Resolution 443 (H. Res. 443), the first trauma-specific bill initiated in the House with bipartisan support. H. Res. 443 was introduced earlier this summer, on July 13.

“The effect trauma has on the lives of our children and families is significant and trauma-informed care works to change outcomes by changing the way we think about and respond to toxic stress,” First Lady Tonette Walker said. “That’s why House Resolution 443 is so important – it brings national attention to this very important issue and encourages agencies at the state and federal level to incorporate trauma-informed care principles into their existing programs. I’m incredibly grateful to Representative Mike Gallagher for his support of trauma-informed care and for being a strong voice nationally for children and families. It was great to meet with him today and discuss our next steps moving forward.”

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 encourages the use of trauma-informed care within existing federal government programs and agencies.

“I’m encouraged by the level of support my resolution on trauma-informed care has received, and I will continue advocating the vital role it plays in improving health outcomes for people across Wisconsin,” Representative Mike Gallagher said. “I’m proud to be a part of the larger effort, led by First Lady Tonette Walker, to push for wider use of trauma-informed care in order to help children, families, and adults overcome trauma and lead healthy lives.”

The First Lady will continue to work together with Representative Gallagher and Representative Davis of Illinois to bring H. Res. 443 to the floor as well as put together a federal trauma-informed caucus to bring further awareness on the importance of trauma-informed care and spur further action throughout the nation.

First Lady Tonette Walker also continues to promote trauma-informed care in Wisconsin through her Fostering Futures initiative. Fostering Futures, which launched in 2011, utilizes trauma-informed care to transform systems and raises 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.

Thanks to the First Lady’s efforts through Fostering Futures, six Wisconsin agencies, including the Department of Health Services, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Workforce Development, Department of Children and Families, Department of Corrections, and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation are already implementing trauma-informed care principles within their interactions with each other as well as in the services they provide.

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Gov. Walker: Governor Walker, First Lady Tonette Walker host 25th Annual Gift of Life Medal Ceremony

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Contact:
Tom Evenson
(608) 266-2839

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker and First Lady Tonette Walker hosted nearly 300 family members representing 85 organ donors today at the Executive Residence for the 25th Annual Gift of Life Medal Ceremony. The ceremony honors citizens who generously gave the gift of life through organ, tissue, or eye donations.

“Today we honor the lives of those who gave the most powerful gift; the gift of life,” Governor Walker said. “More than 800 lives were saved because these individuals chose to become organ donors. Wisconsin is among the nation’s most generous states when it comes to organ donations, and so we celebrate their selfless gifts, the lives saved, raise awareness for the cause, and encourage others to become organ donors.”

The Gift of Life Medal Ceremony is coordinated annually by Wisconsin’s two federally-designated Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs), the University of Wisconsin Tissues and Organ Donation in Madison, and the Wisconsin Donor Network in Milwaukee.

More than two million Wisconsinites chose to register as an organ donor. To learn more about organ donation or register to become an organ donor, please visit your local Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV), or check out www.YesIWillWisconsin.com.

Gov. Walker: Highlights efforts of American Red Cross in wake of Wisconsin floods

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Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839

MILWAUKEE – Governor Scott Walker joined American Red Cross and local business officials today in Milwaukee for a press conference to highlight the flood support efforts by the American Red Cross in Wisconsin.

“In the face of a crisis, the people of our state always find a way to rise above by demonstrating their strength and willingness to help their fellow Wisconsinites,” Governor Walker said. “And the floods throughout the state last month were no exception. Our communities, state agencies, Wisconsin National Guard, local businesses, and relief organizations like the American Red Cross all came together to ensure those affected by the floods received immediate assistance as well as the long-term support they’ll need to get back on their feet. The Wisconsin Region of the American Red Cross is a crucial resource for victims of disasters in our state, and I encourage all our citizens to learn more about how they can support the Red Cross in their efforts right here in Wisconsin.”

Many communities have been dealing with floods and rain damage due to heavy rainfall throughout the state during the month of July. Governor Walker has declared a State of Emergency in 20 counties and directed state agencies to help those affected by the storms. He has also called the Wisconsin National Guard to state active duty, as the Adjutant General Donald Dunbar deems necessary, to help local authorities in the recovery efforts.

The American Red Cross has also been instrumental in assisting Wisconsin’s communities in the wake of torrential rain and floods. Since the floods, the Red Cross has distributed more than 10,000 relief items, served more than 4,000 meals and snacks, opened ten shelters for people seeking refuge, deployed seven emergency response vehicles to impacted areas, and mobilized more than 300 disaster workers. To help people get back on their feet, the Red Cross has provided more than 2,300 flood victims with clean-up kits and other necessary items.

The Red Cross also opened three Multi-Agency Resource Centers, or MARCs, in partnership with organizations like the Salvation Army, Samaritan’s Purse, WE Energies, Aurora Health Care, and state health services. The MARCs have provided flood victims with a valuable resource for meeting with partnering agencies to secure assistance for their long-term recovery.

The Wisconsin Region of the American Red Cross responds to nearly 900 disasters every year. To learn more about how you can help people affected by disasters like flooding, home fires, and other crises, visitwww.redcross.org/Wisconsin.

Gov. Walker: Highlights opportunities Foxconn brings for Wisconsin’s healthcare industry

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Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839
MADISON – Governor Scott Walker joined healthcare stakeholders from throughout the state today for a presentation at University of Wisconsin (UW) Health University Hospital on the opportunities Foxconn presents for Wisconsin’s healthcare industry.

“Foxconn is a transformational opportunity for our state and top industries like manufacturing, construction, and healthcare,” Governor Walker said. “Today, we’re meeting with health leaders to discuss the unique opportunities Wisconn Valley brings to the healthcare industry and how these opportunities will shape Wisconsin moving forward. When we say Foxconn is a once-in-a-generation opportunity, we mean it. Without a doubt, Foxconn’s innovative technology will have a significant impact on our healthcare industry – making us a national leader for years to come.”

Foxconn has had meetings with healthcare companies throughout Wisconsin to discuss opportunities to invest in healthcare technology and expand where Foxconn products are used.

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Gov. Walker: Hosts Blue Ribbon Livestock Auction at Wisconsin State Fair

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Contact:
Tom Evenson
(608) 266-2839

WEST ALLIS – Governor Scott Walker will host the 49th Annual Governor’s Blue Ribbon Livestock Auction this evening at the Wisconsin State Fair. The auction supports Wisconsin State Fair Junior Exhibitors, who raise and show the animals that have been awarded breed champion status in beef, sheep, and swine.

“Every year, the Blue Ribbon Livestock Auction helps support youth in our state who are interested in agriculture,” Governor Walker said. “It not only highlights the strength of our livestock industry, it also helps to ensure the future of agriculture in Wisconsin by supporting the youth exhibitors who want to build a future in farming.”

The Blue Ribbon Sale of Champions Foundation is sponsoring 26 scholarships this year, totaling $30,000. The scholarships recognize the achievements of Wisconsin State Fair Junior Exhibitors and helps them with their educational expenses. To qualify for a scholarship, exhibitors must be between the ages of 17 and 19, be a current or past junior livestock exhibitor who have exhibited beef, sheep and/or swine at the Wisconsin State Fair, and must pursue a post high school education and be enrolled or planning to enroll in a university, vocational/technical school, or university short course.

The auction begins at 6:30 p.m. and will be streaming live at http://gbrla.com.