Daily Archives: October 5, 2017

AFP launches TV ad saying Baldwin ‘standing in the way’ of tax code overhaul

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The conservative Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin today unveiled a TV ad that charges U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin is “standing in the way” of overhauling the nation’s tax code.

The group said the “seven-figure” ad buy will run on local TV networks and cable across the state for three weeks beginning Friday.

The spot does not mention Baldwin, who’s up for re-election next year, until the end of the 30-second ad. It features a woman looking directly into the camera who says people are sick of politics, but fixing a broken system isn’t about politics, but helping people.

“It means the powerful, the well-connected, the politicians — they’ll stop benefiting from a rigged system,” the woman says.

She adds it means everyday Americans would have more to spend on what’s important to them before asking, “So what’s stopping us?”

The ad then cuts to an image of Baldwin, D-Madison, and a phone number as the woman says, “Sen. Baldwin is standing in the way of a simple, fair tax system.”

See the spot:
https://youtu.be/5B40ZV2H8Vs

AG Schimel: Offers training, funding and statewide address confidentiality program to victims of domestic violence

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MADISON, Wis. – October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Attorney General Brad Schimel is reminding the public about resources and support available to victims of domestic violence and those in fear of abuse through the state’s address confidentiality program, training for law enforcement, and grant funding for victim services in all 72 Wisconsin counties.

“I have worked in the criminal justice system for 28 years, and I have seen how abuse and the fear of abuse can take a physical, emotional, and psychological toll on families,” said Attorney General Schimel. “At DOJ, we are committed to serving survivors of domestic violence by providing real resources so all Wisconsinites can feel safe and secure.”

Safe at Home, launched in April 2017, provides victims of domestic abuse, child abuse, sexual abuse, stalking, trafficking, and those who fear for their physical safety with a legal substitute address and free mail forwarding service. Enrollment in Safe at Home allows victims of abuse and those who fear for their physical safety to maintain a confidential home, work, or school address and use a secure, legal address provided by DOJ. In six months, Safe at Home has expanded to serve 203 active participants, including 108 children, in 95 Wisconsin households. Also, there are now 320 application assistants across the state who assist participants with safety planning and applying for the program, up from 60 application assistants designated when the program launched just six months ago.

Wisconsin became the 36th state to adopt an address confidentiality program. The program was created after bipartisan legislation, led by authors Senators Scott Fitzgerald and Jennifer Shilling, and Representatives Joel Kleefisch and Chris Taylor, was enacted in 2016 as Wisconsin Act 356. Safe at Home operates through funding provided under the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA).

To learn more about Safe At Home, visit www.SafeAtHomeWI.gov. To enroll in Safe at Home, call 1-800-446-6564.

DOJ provides nearly $2.5 million in grant funding, through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) STOP grant, to support prosecutors, advocates, victim/witness services, and law enforcement who are providing services to domestic and sexual violence victims in Wisconsin. Through this grant funding, DOJ supports five regional Violence Against Women resource prosecutors in Brown, Dane, Eau Claire, Milwaukee, and Waukesha counties. These prosecutors provide training and technical assistance to prosecutors around the state who handle domestic violence and sexual assault cases.

Also supported through grant funding, DOJ trains law enforcement on the best practices for responding to and investigating domestic violence. These trainings emphasize officer safety, trauma-informed interview techniques, domestic violence dynamics, developing a coordinated community response, witness intimidation, and lethality assessments. Survivors of domestic violence often provide testimony at these trainings, offering an important perspective as law enforcement learns how to respond to domestic violence incidents. DOJ financially supports special trainings by subject matter experts on the following topics: working with survivors with disabilities, survivors in underserved communities, and responding to stalking and strangulation cases.

DOJ also routinely provides information and trainings to advocates and victim/witness services on victim’s rights, crime victim compensation, and the sexual assault forensic exam (SAFE) fund. Additionally, DOJ has created an online version of these training materials for overnight and weekend domestic violence shelter staff. This year, DOJ presented regional trainings for advocates and victim/witness services to enhance their collaboration on domestic violence cases and their understanding on the use of restraining orders and no contact orders.

DOJ works closely with End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin, the state domestic violence coalition, who shares the common goal of supporting survivors of domestic violence. Through DOJ, VAWA funding supports End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin’s Lethality Assessment Project, which identifies victims of domestic violence who are at high risk for experiencing lethal violence and works to provide support and services to those victims; as well as the coalition’s Community Response Program Director. DOJ also provides VAWA funding to the Director of State Courts Office to provide domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking training to judges.

In the future, DOJ will continue to expand its efforts to support victims and stop domestic violence in Wisconsin. For advocates, DOJ will be hosting a regional training series that focuses on better understanding and some best practices for working with corrections staff. DOJ is also working with the American Indians Against Abuse to support tribal domestic violence programs and is developing a tribal law enforcement training program. DOJ has also established, with collaboration from law enforcement, prosecution, advocates, and victim/witness services, a plan through 2020 that is dedicated to supporting trauma-informed training and technical assistance and encourages innovative approaches to responding to domestic and sexual violence.

Americans for Prosperity: Launches major TV buy calling on Tammy Baldwin to support tax reform

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CONTACT: Joe Sangiorgio, [email protected]

Seven-figure investment in Wisconsin shows group’s support for unified tax reform framework

You can view the ad HERE.

MADISON, WI – Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin today announced a seven-figure investment in television advertisements encouraging Wisconsinites to contact U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and urge her to support the “Big Six” unified tax reform framework unveiled last week. The ads will run on local and cable networks throughout the state for three weeks beginning this Friday.

Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin State Director Eric Bott made the following statement:

“Hard-working Wisconsinites are reminded with each and every paycheck that our tax system is fundamentally rigged against them. Tammy Baldwin knows full well the tax code is broken but in 16 years in Washington she has done virtually nothing to fix it. With the framework that was unveiled last week, Congress has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to pass tax reform that is pro-growth and puts more money back in the pockets of Wisconsinites. AFP-WI’s base of over 130,000 grassroots activists stands ready to make sure that Tammy Baldwin does not stand in the way of this historic opportunity to unrig our economy.”

Read script below:

People are sick of politics.

I am too. But fixing our broken tax system isn’t about politics – it’s about helping people.

It means the powerful, the well-connected, politicians — they’ll stop benefiting from a rigged system.

It means everyday Americans will have more to spend on what’s important to them.

That’s what tax reform will do. So, what’s stopping us?

Board of Commissioners of Public Lands: Approves loans totaling $2.2 million

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

MADISON – The Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) today approved slightly more than $2.25 million in State Trust Fund Loans to support six community projects in Wisconsin. Board Chair Brad Schimel and Commissioner Doug La Follette voted in favor of the loans with Commissioner Matt Adamczyk voting no.

The BCPL approved the following loans:

· Town of Brule, Douglas County / Purchase fire truck / $340,000
· Village of Coleman, Marinette County / Purchase TID #2 land and extend street and utilities / $863,102
· Town of Newark, Rock County / Finance roadwork / $150,000
· Town of Northfield, Jackson County / Finance roadwork / $50,000
· City of Tomah, Monroe County / Finance TID #8 economic development incentive / $600,000
· Town of Wascott, Douglas County / Purchase fire truck / $260,000

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

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

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

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

Common Cause in Wisconsin: Judicial recusal town hall public hearing 🗓

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Contact: Jay Heck: 60852562686

When: October 11, 6:30 PM-8:00 PM

Where: Marquette Law School: Appellate Courtroom (Main Level) – 1215 W. Michigan St, Milwaukee

Next Wednesday evening, October 11th, Common Cause in Wisconsin is holding its second town hall/public hearing entitled “Access to Justice.” This event is free and open to the public, and will take place from 6:30PM to 8:00PM at Marquette University Law School in the Appellate Courtroom (Main Level) – 1215 W. Michigan St, Milwaukee, WI.

You should attend this event because Wisconsin is considered among the four worst states in the nation in terms of the strength of our recusal standards for judges receiving campaign contributions.

Wisconsin’s current state recusal “non-standard” was written by ultra-conservative special interest group, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, in 2010. It essentially states that judges may decide for themselves whether to recuse in a case involving a donor or special interest group who contributed to them!

This past April, the Wisconsin Supreme Court discussed in “open conference” a petition by 54 retired Wisconsin judges to establish reasonable thresholds for recusal of judges at all levels when they receive campaign contributions from a defendant or plaintiff – or if they benefited from spending by an “outside” special interest group involved in a case before their court.

Incredibly, the State Supreme Court voted 5 to 2 to reject this petition, and the Court did so without any input from the public.

With a Wisconsin Supreme Court election coming up in early 2018 to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, it is imperative that Wisconsinites fully understand and raise their voices about this issue – which will be prominent in that election.

For more on precisely why stronger recusal rules for judges are urgently needed in Wisconsin, read this excellent analysis by Mary Bottari of the Center for Media and Democracy.

And then, please join me and my fellow panelists: former State Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler, former Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Michael Skwierawski, and Marquette Law Professor Ed Fallone at this free event to learn more about this vital issue. Ask questions, share your thoughts – and above all, make your voice heard.

We hope you can attend, and bring a friend or two with you! Click here for more information and to RSVP.

Co-sponsoring this event with CC/WI are the the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, the League of Women Voters of Milwaukee County and the American Association of University Women-Wisconsin.

Dems ask regents to reject resolution to punish students who violate others’ free speech

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Dept. of Justice: DNR law enforcement save stranded boaters during dangerous summer storm

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During a dangerous storm on Lake Winnebago early this summer, Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Conservation Warden Tom Sturdivant and DNR Ranger Jeff Nieling braved treacherous waters to save a couple stranded on a disabled boat. With little regard to their own safety, Warden Sturdivant and Ranger Nieling continued their search even when the waves threatened to submerge their boat. The details of their heroic rescue are below, as told by DNR Chief Conservation Warden Todd Schaller:

At approximately 7:30 PM on July 19, 2017, Conservation Warden Tom Sturdivant and DNR Ranger Jeff Nieling received calls from Calumet County Sheriff’s Department of a stranded 17 foot boat in the middle of Lake Winnebago. Strong thunderstorms were moving in and the wind was beginning to gust at 30 plus miles per hour. As you can imagine the waves were picking up and the couple on board the disabled boat were fearing for their safety.

Sturdivant and Nieling responded to the call with the DNR’s 28 foot patrol boat (Intrepid) which is docked at High Cliff State Park. They departed the marina and headed south towards the GPS location provided by dispatch. They began searching for the disabled boat, but were unable to locate the boat at the last known GPS coordinates as the waves were so high they blocked the officers’ view. They were provided subsequent GPS locations to check by dispatch and the boat occupants. The storm continued to strengthen and the patrol boat began taking waves over the bow and gunwale’s. Fearing for their own safety Sturdivant and Nieling temporarily suspended the search and headed towards the west shore to ride out the very heavy seas. At one point the water in the patrol boat was over the officers knees. The depth finder, search lights, dash lights all went out during the height of the storm. The officers eventually were able to tie the boat off to a private pier and rode out the storm (A huge thank you to the property owners and their neighbors who assisted in securing the DNR boat at the pier).

To quote Warden Sturdivant “Words cannot describe the mayhem on the water… I was honestly worried we were going down at times….and Jeff volunteered for this adventure.” 

After about 30 minutes the storm slowed enough that the officers felt it was safe enough to leave the safety of the pier and resume the search. The boat was eventually located about 3 miles south and east of Grundman road. The officers brought the very terrified couple onboard their boat. The disabled boat was towed into Grundman boat launch just north of Oshkosh and tied off at approximately 11:10 PM.

I [Chief Conservation Warden Tod Schaller] met the officers at the landing. As I assisted the female passenger out of the patrol boat and onto the dock she gave me a big hug. She was shaking and had tears in her eyes. She told me how grateful she was for the officers that risked their lives to save her and her husband. She said that this was an absolutely terrifying event. 

Both Sturdivant and Nieling were exhausted upon their arrival at the boat landing and it was very clear to me that they gave it their all to save this couple. The patrol boat sustained damage to the props and gunwale during the search and rescue call. Another strong thunderstorm was heading towards Lake Winnebago so shortly after securing the disabled boat to the dock and assisting the passengers to shore Sturdivant and Nieling decided to limp the boat to High Cliff State Park. It began to rain again as soon as they finished tying up at High Cliff State Park.

In Wisconsin, enjoying our beautiful lakes and land is common practice during all four seasons, and law enforcement make it possible to do so safely. Thanks to the heroic actions of Conservation Warden Sturdivant and Ranger Nieling, two people went home safely at the end of the day, luckily, with only repairs needed to their boat.

Dreamers, Dem lawmaker call on Congress to pass clean DREAM Act

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End Citizens United: Endorses Rep. Pocan for re-election

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End Citizens United (ECU) today announced its latest round of House and Senate endorsements for the 2018 cycle led by Rep. Mark Pocan. Pocan is committed to fighting the corrosive and corrupting influence of money in politics.

“Congressman Pocan is fighting against the rigged system in Washington, where too many politicians are in the pockets of special interests and write the rules to benefit their mega-donors. He will continue to fight for reform to end the outsized influence Big Money has on our democracy,” said Tiffany Muller, president of End Citizens United. “We’re proud to back Congressman Pocan’s campaign, and our grassroots members are ready to roll up their sleeves and help him win re-election.”

A robust reform agenda is critical to winning support from voters. A recent study shows that 90% of Americans believe special interests are running the government, and research conducted by ECU found that two out of every three voters believe the amount of money in politics affects their everyday lives. A money-in-politics reform message has been proven to help move voters, particularly among Independents and unaffiliated voters.

End Citizens United will connect Pocan’s campaign with its nearly 17,500 local grassroots members in the district, as well as its 380,000 small-dollar national donors. This cycle, ECU has already raised more than $2 million for its endorsed candidate from hundreds of thousands of grassroots small-dollar donors. For the 2018 cycle, ECU is projected to raise $35 million with an average donation of $14.

The full list of endorsed candidates in addition to Representative Pocan includes: Senators Claire McCaskill (MO) and Mazie Hirono (HI), and Representatives Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Eric Swalwell (CA-15), Al Lawson (FL-05), Val Demings (FL-10), Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08), Katherine Clark (MA-05), Grace Meng (NY-06), Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), and Peter Welch (VT-AL).

ECU is an entirely grassroots-funded organization dedicated to electing members of Congress who will fight to overturn Citizens United and pass meaningful campaign finance reform.

Gov. Walker: Weekly Radio Address: Celebrating Manufacturing Month this October  

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Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839
 
MADISON – Governor Scott Walker released his Weekly Radio Address today titled “Celebrating Manufacturing Month This October.”Hi, Scott Walker here.

We’re celebrating Manufacturing Month throughout Wisconsin in the month of October to honor our state’s strong manufacturing industries.

Manufacturing is the backbone of Wisconsin’s economy, making up nearly 20% of our gross domestic product and employing more than 461,000 Wisconsinites. Manufacturing businesses often serve as a staple in their communities, supporting families and hardworking taxpayers throughout the state.

Thanks to our highly trained, seasoned workforce, our manufacturing products are known throughout the United States and the world for their superior quality and craftsmanship.

In addition to our exports flowing out of the state, Wisconsin’s world-class manufacturing industry also attracts new businesses and new investments into the state. Foxconn, Generac, and Haribo are just a few of the manufacturing companies drawn to expand and invest in Wisconsin by the success of our industry and our top-ten business climate.

Foxconn alone stands to revolutionize Wisconsin’s economy, state, and workforce in constructing a $10 billion high-tech manufacturing campus and employing up to 13,000 Wisconsinites, in addition to providing more than 10,000 construction jobs and 22,000 additional indirect and induced jobs.

Wisconsin’s manufacturing industry is on solid ground, and the future looks even brighter.

Join me this October in celebrating Manufacturing Month, and together we’ll keep moving this industry and Wisconsin Forward.

James Comer and Jim Holte: Teaming up to revitalize an agricultural industry

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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’s not every day that a congressman from Kentucky and a farmer from Wisconsin ignite a national conversation on a specific issue. However, when it comes to industrial hemp no two states are more historically intertwined. We once defined and dominated hemp production in this country and we are poised to do it once again, but first, a little history lesson.

Hemp has been utilized since 8,000 B.C. Early colonial settlers in America were required to grow hemp because it was vital to their everyday existence. It was considered legal tender and could be used to pay taxes. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams grew hemp on their farms and advocated for its commercialization, Even the Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper.

Kentucky was a national leader in hemp production until the early 20th century. Research and processing innovations led to Wisconsin taking the top spot into the late 1950’s. However, Wisconsin growers were dependent on getting their seed from Kentucky farmers who produced the finest seed varieties worldwide.

When our supply lines were cut off from Southeast Asia after the Japanese entered World War II, the U.S. Department of Agriculture championed hemp’s cultivation and use with its ‘Hemp for Victory’ campaign. Grown extensively across the country, hemp fiber was used for rope, parachute webbing, soldiers’ shoes and clothing, and various other uses to aid in the war effort. Unfortunately, a combination of cheap labor in foreign countries and regulatory stipulations in the Marihuana Act of 1937 brought an end to legal and profitable hemp production in the United States by the mid-fifties.

Understanding the past is worthwhile, but now we are looking to the future. With the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill, and under supervision of research universities or state departments of agriculture, states were authorized to ‘study the growth, cultivation, or marketing of industrial hemp’. Since that time more than 30 states have passed some form of legislation legalizing this type of research, but its full-fledged production and commercialization is extremely hindered by its current designation as a Schedule 1 controlled substance.

The United States is the only major industrialized country that cannot legally grow hemp as a crop, yet we are the largest importer of its materials with annual sales exceeding $600 million, most of it coming from Canada. This is not only a lost economic opportunity for America’s farmers, but also for the hemp processing and manufacturing industries that could flourish. There is a vast market for hemp in foods and beverages, cosmetics, personal care products, nutritional supplements, textiles, paper, construction materials, supercapacitor batteries, automotive products and so much more.

That is why it’s so vitally important for Congress to pass HR 3530, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017. This federal legislation would treat industrial hemp as it should be – a crop. Wisconsin Representatives Glenn Grothman, Mike Gallagher, Gwen Moore, Mark Pocan, and Ron Kind already back the proposal and we are asking the rest of the Wisconsin congressional delegation to join the effort.

As this federal legislation gains steam, Wisconsin is also moving forward to legalize the growing and processing of hemp. A large, bi-partisan group of legislators, led by State Rep. Jesse Kremer and State Sen. Patrick Testin, all recognize that the state has tremendous potential in joining Kentucky on the national forefront of hemp cultivation, research and manufacturing. We urge Wisconsin residents to contact their state elected officials to support Senate Bill 119 and Assembly Bill 183.

With the backing of the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and the National Conference of State Legislatures, we believe we are at a tipping point as Washington, D.C. and statehouses across the country are openly accepting industrial hemp as a sustainable, eco-friendly and profitable crop. It’s time for us to once again embrace our hemp heritage and revitalize a dormant industry that has incredible potential in the 21st century.

— Congressman James Comer represents Kentucky’s 1st Congressional District and is the primary author of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017. Jim Holte, a grain and beef farmer from Elk Mound, is president of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation.

McCabe campaign: Gubernatorial candidate McCabe to hold Milwaukee town hall

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Political Activist and Gubernatorial Candidate Mike McCabe is holding a Q&A Town Hall on Milwaukee’s North Side

MILWAUKEE – Mike McCabe’s Principle over Party campaign continues to make its way around the state. Thursday night’s Town Hall at Milwaukee’s African-American Women’s Center (3020 W Vliet St, Milwaukee, WI) is the latest stop. The Town Hall style event on October 5th, will begin at 6pm with a short speech from the candidate. The majority of the evening will be questions from the floor. The event is free to attend and all are welcome.

Mike’s goal is to inspire and engage people from all over the state to get back into the driver’s seat. Democracy is not a spectator sport. Mike’s message continues to explain and educate why this campaign must be People Powered and Crowd Funded if it is to succeed.

“If money decides the election, the people will continue to be stuck with elected representatives who scratch the backs of those who scratched theirs, and our government will continue to be controlled by the wealthy and well-connected. Breaking free of this trap involves risk. It requires faith and the courage of conviction,” he said. “Political insiders will call this unilateral disarmament. No, it’s acting on principle. The insiders say you have to spend four or five hours a day begging rich people for money if you want to be taken seriously. That’s exactly what has gotten us into the mess we’re in.”

McCabe continues, “If money is allowed to rule our elections and our political system, some candidate will win, but the People of Wisconsin will lose.”

In 1995 McCabe was a founding member of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a nonpartisan watchdog group that specializes in tracking the money in state elections and works to make people matter more than money in politics. He led the group for 15 years as its director and during that time exposed money’s influence and called out wrongdoing by state officials, earning a reputation as a leading government whistle blower and one of the nation’s best political money trackers.

Before the Democracy Campaign came along, the only way to see who was donating to elected officials and candidates for office was to travel to the old state Elections Board office in Madison and personally examine mountains of paper reports. The Democracy Campaign entered all of the information on those reports into an electronic database and published it online, making it vastly easier to follow the money in Wisconsin politics. For its efforts under Mike’s leadership, the Democracy Campaign was named the Citizen Openness Advocate of the Year in 2012 by the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council and the state chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

For more information on the campaign visit: GovernorBlueJeans.com.

McCabe campaign: Releases debut video

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1,641 miles. This campaign has gone from Curtiss to Wausau to Green Bay to Milwaukee to La Crosse – with many stops in between. Each mile over the first two-weeks of the kick-off tour showcased Wisconsin’s beauty as well as its current challenges.
Our debut campaign video captures the energy of day one on the farm. It gets to the heart of why Mike is running. It offers a glimpse of Mike’s vision for a more just and equitable future for Wisconsin.
For more information visit the campaign website: GovernorBlueJeans.com

Milwaukee Alderman Stamper: City’s budget needs to make neighborhoods a priority

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Contact: Bill Arnold
Public Information Manager/City of Milwaukee/Public Information Division/Office of the City Clerk/Phone: (414)286.3285/ [email protected]

The Mayor announced his proposed budget for 2018 last week and what he proposes as his priorities. It is now time for the aldermen to peruse the city’s budget and determine what’s best for the people of Milwaukee.

We must have a budget that addresses the urgent need to put Milwaukee back to work by focusing on job creation, infrastructure improvement, workforce development and creating opportunity for entrepreneurship. We have to invest in Milwaukee’s neighborhoods by developing a neighborhood –by- neighborhood campaign to revive local real estate, launch small businesses, and train residents for in-demand jobs- all at the same time and as quickly as possible.

Milwaukee is ranked as one of the poorest cities in America. We have more than 250,000 people living in persistent poverty in Milwaukee – most by far are children and minorities…this is an unsustainable situation that must be intentionally and aggressively addressed in the city’s budget…the status quo is no longer acceptable in Milwaukee. The fiscal constraints are real which makes these priorities I’m proposing in need of immediate action.

The budget must establish clear outcomes as to how the City’s resources will be leveraged with private sector investment to create jobs and expand economic opportunities for all. I will be fighting for a budget that has the following objectives:

· Ensure that significantly more Milwaukee-based companies and workers are participating in the development and maintenance of the City’s infrastructure
· Prepare the City’s workforce to be the most competitive workforce in America
· Support entrepreneurship and the growth of small businesses
· Be fair, inclusive and equitable to all residents of the city
· Minimize Red tape
· Eliminate as much bureaucracy as possible

I strongly believe that the City of Milwaukee must work for the people of Milwaukee, it’s not the other way around. The City’s budget must reflect our commitment to the people of Milwaukee and I am committed to working with the Mayor, my colleagues in the Council and the community to make that commitment a reality.

Myers Campaign: Makes powerful plea for Paul Ryan to finally take action to stop mass shootings

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Contact: Dennis Hughes
[email protected]
262-455-1542

JANESVILLE, WI – Cathy Myers released a video calling on Paul Ryan to take action on gun violence. After the tragedy in Las Vegas, the country watched as Congress did nothing, and Cathy could not stay silent.

In 2016, Paul Ryan received $171,977 in contributions from the gun lobby, more than any other Member of the House.

Cathy Myers is a single mother of two, a 23-year veteran high school English teacher, and a candidate for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District. Her career started at the age of 10 when she started working at her family-owned truck stop. As the daughter of an Army veteran and Army Reserve nurse, Myers had a dedication to her community instilled in her at an early age, which lead to her service on the Janesville School Board since 2013.

Find out more about Cathy’s campaign for Congress at her website, www.cathymyersforcongress.com; Facebook, www.facebook.com/CathyMyersforCongress; or Twitter, @CathyMyersWI.

Full Video Transcript:

“Hi, my name is Cathy Myers and I’m running for Congress against Paul Ryan. I grieve with the families in Nevada who are hurting and who have lost so much. No one should have to endure that kind of pain. Americans are using assault weapons to slaughter other Americans. They have slaughtered innocent men and women – they’ve targeted children. And every time it happens there’s the same outrage in the news. Republicans send their thoughts and prayers – and our Congress does nothing. We are at a moment where thoughts and prayers are not enough.”

“Republicans say that now is not the time to talk about how we can stop these horrors. That it’s not appropriate right now to question why a man needs easy access to a weapon that can kill dozens of people in under a minute. They say it’s too political to suggest that we should do whatever we can to stop this from happening.”

“Well Paul Ryan, when is the god damn time? You’ve been in office for almost 20 years, so why haven’t you found the time? You found time to collect over $170,000 from the gun lobby in 2016 and to schedule a vote to loosen restrictions on gun silencers. Why could you not find time to allow a vote to require universal background checks for all purchases, or to ban assault weapons, or to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers?”

“There are many reasons that we need to replace Paul Ryan. But I cannot think of one more important than to ensure that our member of Congress is someone who will actually take action to stop the senseless violence that has continued to tear apart our nation day after day after day.”

“Paul Ryan has failed Wisconsin in a lot of different ways, but it has never been clearer just how deadly the consequences of his lack of leadership have been. Inaction is a political decision too, and it’s one we can no longer afford.”

Racine Co. leaders praise Foxconn’s decision to build manufacturing campus in Mount Pleasant

Racine County leaders hailed Wednesday’s announcement from the electronics manufacturer Foxconn that it’ll build a manufacturing campus in Mount Pleasant as a historic moment for southeast Wisconsin.

A top Foxconn executive also promised that the news is not only about the $10 billion facility and 13,000 jobs that Foxconn is planning — but the additional $30 billion or so in investments from suppliers and other companies that would expand in the area.

“We are looking for partnerships. I think that’s where the excitement is,” said Louis Woo, the special assistant to Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou.

The announcement took place at the SC Johnson iMET Center in Sturtevant, a building owned by Gateway Technical College where at least two dozen Foxconn employees are already working.

Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave said the announcement was a “turning point in the history” of the county.

“I am thrilled and so very proud that an international company of Foxconn’s magnitude has chosen to invest in Racine County,” he said.

Delagrave also said that local officials will hold three informational sessions for residents, emphasizing that he wants citizens’ input as the process moves forward.

Mount Pleasant Village President David DeGroot, meanwhile, said the state’s investment will “pay for itself,” bringing in substantial revenues from the company, its suppliers and the economic growth that will spread to local retailers and restaurants.

He also thanked President Trump for following up on his “very bold promise” to bring manufacturing jobs to the U.S.

“Here’s what we have before us today: $10 billion of investment, 20 million square feet of industrial build-out, thousands and thousands of very well-paying jobs, increasing our middle class,” he said. “It’s everything that we can ask for, so I think it’s fair to say that he delivered on his promise.”

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation is finalizing the contract with Foxconn for WEDC board approval. Racine County and Mount Pleasant are also considering local incentives, beyond the $3 billion incentive package that Gov. Scott Walker signed into law last month.

See the announcement and details on the informational sessions:
https://www.wispolitics.com/2017/foxconn-racine-county-village-of-mount-pleasant-announced-as-future-home-of-foxconn-advanced-manufacturing-campus/ 

See a website with more info on the project:
https://www.foxconnracinecounty.com/ 

Rep. Grothman: Offices to remain open on Columbus Day

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Contact: Bernadette Green, (202) 225-2476

(Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Glenn Grothman (R-Glenbeulah) today announced that his Washington, D.C. and Fond du Lac offices will be open to serve constituents on Columbus Day, Mon., Oct. 9, 2017.

If you would like to contact either of Congressman Grothman’s offices on Columbus Day, please call 202-225-2476 (Washington, D.C.) or 920-907-0624 (Fond du Lac).

“I keep my offices open on most federal holidays because it’s simply not fair that your government isn’t working while hundreds of thousands of folks in the Sixth District are getting up and heading into work,” said Grothman. “If you need my office on Columbus Day, know we’ll be here to answer your calls.”

Rep. Sargent: Legislators announce bill banning firearm modifier possessed by Las Vegas shooter

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Contact(s): Rep. Taylor, 608.266.5342
Rep. Melissa Sargent, 608.266.0960

Madison, Wisconsin – State Representatives Chris Taylor (D-Madison), Melissa Sargent (D-Madison), Lisa Subeck (D-Madison), and Terese Berceau (D-Madison) introduced LRB-4465 today to ban bump-fire stocks, or “bump stocks,” in Wisconsin, devices which were found affixed to firearms that might have been used in the recent Las Vegas mass shooting.

“We simply cannot wait any longer to start addressing gun violence in Wisconsin,” said Taylor. “LRB-4465 is about keeping our communities safe, preventing future violence, and ensuring responsible gun use. Bump stocks present an unnecessary, added danger for which there’s absolutely no justification.”

The legislation introduced today comes after a similar proposal was announced yesterday by U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California). LRB-4465 would prohibit the possession, use, and sale of bump stocks and similar attachments, devices, or combinations thereof that are designed to accelerate the rate of fire for semi-automatic weapons.

“This is simply good public policy. I have a family full of hunters and responsible gun owners–no typical gun owner needs a fully automatic weapon or a weapon modified to act like one,” Sargent said. “There’s a reason fully automatic weapons are illegal, and it’s because they’re dangerous and likely to be used nefariously.”

Bump-fire stocks or “bump stocks” are used to modify firearms to effectively fire automatically or in rapid succession. Semi-automatic weapons require a trigger to be pulled manually to fire each round; however, by modifying a semi-automatic weapon with a bump stock, the weapon is capable of simulating automatic firing. Bump stocks are attached to the receiver of semi-automatic weapons and use the recoil to propel the weapon backward and bounce it forward, ‘bumping’ the trigger into the unmoving trigger finger, thereby firing the weapon repeatedly.

“We ban fully automatic weapons but allow semi-automatic weapons modified to act like fully automatic weapons—that’s nonsensical. If someone needs access to a weapon that’s effectively fully automatic, we should probably be asking why,” Subeck added.

Taylor, Sargent, Subeck, and Berceau were joined in introducing the bill by many legislative Democrats and are hopeful Republicans in the Legislature will support the proposal. They welcome ongoing discussions with Republican leadership on this issue and will diligently pursue bipartisan support.

“This isn’t about politics. This is about decency, about being reasonable, and it’s about common sense–it’s time legislators to pass responsible gun safety legislation,” concluded Berceau.

Rep. Taylor: UW Board of Regents should reject anti-free speech proposal

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Contact: Rep. Chris Taylor, 608-266-5342
Sen. LaTonya Johnson, 608-266-2500

Madison, Wisconsin –Today, Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison) and Sen. LaTonya Johnson (D-Milwaukee) held a press conference urging the UW Board of Regents to modify their “Commitment to Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech” policy, which infringes on constitutionally protected free speech.  The legislators and UW Madison students highlighted their many concerns with the proposal, which will be voted on by the UW Board of Regents this Friday.

This proposal reflects the misguided and constitutionally infirm provisions in AB 299, previously passed by the state Assembly earlier this year but not yet acted on by the state Senate.  It mandates that students must be suspended or expelled should they engage in “violent or other disorderly misconduct that materially and substantially disrupts the free expression of others.”  It also mandates that “protests and demonstrations that interfere with the rights of others to engage in or listen to expressive activity shall not be permitted and shall be subject to sanction,” without defining this broad prohibition.  During the Assembly debate on this measure, the bill’s sponsors could not confirm whether a student shouting out “No!” or “Yes!” during a speech would violate these prohibitions, and cause the student to be suspended or expelled.

Currently, individual UW campuses have the authority under UWS Chapters 17 and 18 to sanction students for engaging in disorderly or violent conduct, in addition to a range of other behaviors.  The Regents’ proposed policy, however, mandates severe sanctions should a student disrupt the free expression of others.

Sen. Johnson expressed, “It’s disappointing that the UW System Board of Regents are willing to consider a policy that will give comfort to people coming to our campuses preaching hate and that we are threatening expulsions for students who stand up to hateful rhetoric and actions. Someone like my daughter, a black student on the UW – Milwaukee campus, should never have to feel threatened or fear for their safety because of the color of their skin.”

Kat Kerwin, UW Madison student and Associated Students of Madison Representative, stated, “The Board of Regents Freedom of Speech Resolution is a one sided attack on student power. As a campus leader and activist I am concerned that the vaguely defined definition of punishable protest may put my education at risk at the expense of my activism. I call the Regents to vote with student interests.”

The speakers encouraged the Board of Regents to abandon the pieces of the proposal that could chill speech and instead work to create a robust proposal that truly reflects the UW-System’s long commitment to academic freedom and freedom of expression.

Rep. Taylor concluded, “The Board of Regents doesn’t even mandate that serial rapists get expelled from UW, but if you are found to have disrupted a speech, you’re out!  These broad, vague prohibitions will leave students, faculty and staff in the position of not knowing what type of conduct is prohibited.  Rather than encouraging rigorous debate and the free exchange of ideas, this proposal will curtail robust discussions and protected expressive activity.”

###

Rep. Zamarripa: DACA means hope for young immigrants

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Contact: Justin Koestler
(608) 267-7669

Madison – Today, Wisconsin Democratic Legislators held a press conference to get the word out on the renewal deadline and to discuss the Trump administration’s neglect of DREAMers.

For nearly 1 million young people eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
program, including nearly 7,600 right here in Wisconsin, the United States is the only home
they’ve ever known. Nazka Serrano has lived in Madison since her family moved here when she was 10 years old. She graduated from Monona Grove High School and Edgewood College and became a community organizer. She has been a DACA recipient since 2012.

“DACA gave us the recognition as people, a validation that most people take for granted. It
allowed us to have a bigger voice. The uncertainty we face now is a tough place to be in as a community. We’re students. We’re workers. We’re activists,” said Serrano. “Today we’re trying to live our lives, but there’s anxiety in the back of our minds that our lives will change completely based on what happens with our [DACA renewal] applications. This is our reality every day.”

Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa (D-Milwaukee) is calling on Speaker Paul Ryan and legislative
Republicans to pass a clean DREAM Act. Rep. Zamarripa is also sponsoring a bill to allow all
graduates of Wisconsin high schools to attend college or tech schools and pay in-state tuition, regardless of immigration status.

“DACA has provided hope for thousands of Wisconsinites who only make our state better. We should not play politics with the lives of these young people who simply want to work, study and contribute,” said Rep. Zamarripa. “Immigrants made this country what it is today. We need to be doing more to provide resources for those who want to come here, make a living and raise a family. We cannot give in to a culture of fear and hate.”

Sen. Darling and Reps. Ballweg and Rohrkaste: Bill reduces red tape and reforms family and medical leave

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Contact:
Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills)
1-608-266-5830
Representative Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan)
1-608-266-8077
Representative Mike Rohrkaste (R-Neenah)
1-608-266-5719

Madison- Taking time off to care for a loved one or for a medical condition can be confusing for both employees and employers. Lawmakers are trying to streamline those rules.

On Thursday, Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and State Representatives Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan) and Mike Rohrkaste (R-Neenah) are authoring a bill which help clear up the confusion between the state and national versions of the law. Wisconsin is currently one of 13 states who has a state family and medical leave law that conflicts and overlaps with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

“It’s time Wisconsin ends the confusion about family and medical leave laws.” Darling said, “This is a common sense reform to streamline and simplify family and medical leave laws for employers, while still protecting this critical benefit for Wisconsin’s employees.”

While the state and federal family and medical leave codes are very similar, their differences result in immense difficulties and confusion for employers.

“As a former Human Resources executive, I have seen firsthand how Wisconsin’s family and medical leave laws and the federal FMLA together create an unnecessary regulatory burden for employers across our state,” Rohrkaste said, “This legislation will ensure that Wisconsin employees are protected, while also simplifying an overly complex system for local employers.”

Under the bill, employers who are covered under the federal family and medical leave law are exempt from the state family and medical leave law. The bill maintains a state provision which allows employees to take leave to care for a spouse, child, parent, domestic partner, or parent-in-law who has a serious health condition.

“We have made great strides over the years to make Wisconsin a desirable place to do business and for employees to build a career,” Ballweg said, “I believe this is another positive step that maintains important protections for employees and simplifies regulations for employers.”

The bill is now circulating in the Senate and Assembly for co-sponsorship.

Sen. Larson: Senate Democratic Radio Address: Stewardship heritage under attack

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Contact: Sen. Larson (D-Milwaukee) 608-266-7505

MADISON – Today, Senator Chris Larson offered the following Democratic Weekly Radio address regarding preserving our shared, public lands and waters.

The audio file can be found here:

A written transcript of the address is as follows.

“Hello. This is state Senator Chris Larson.

“As you know, Wisconsin is a place that prides itself on our clean and abundant water. Each of us expects and deserves access to safe water to drink and the reassurance that our state policies reflect a long-term commitment to safeguarding the quality health of our shared natural land.

“Across Wisconsin, our neighbors are concerned about the health and quality of our rivers, streams, and forests after years of Republicans putting polluters and profits over people. It’s no secret that they have been quietly eroding our heritage of good stewardship.

“Right now, a dangerous bill, Senate Bill 395, is being pushed through by the Republican-controlled Legislature. This, despite broad concerns from the public and conservation advocates. Senate Bill 395 threatens the health and safety of our land and water by getting rid of a decades-long ‘Prove it First’ mining law that requires mining corporations to prove they can mine responsibly without hurting local drinking water before being granted a sulfide mining permit. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, sulfide mining is America’s most toxic industry, proving a common sense need for an effective reporting system like the one currently in place. If passed into law, this bill would hurt Wisconsin’s water and our reputation.

“We have an obligation to our children and grandchildren to ensure pollution-free water, air, and land for the health and enjoyment of generations to come. Like the majority of Wisconsinites, Wisconsin Democrats remain committed to our stewardship heritage and the future legacy of our great state.”

Speaker Ryan: Floor speech on the budget

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CONTACT
AshLee Strong, Doug Andres
202-225-0600

WASHINGTON—Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) delivered remarks on H. Con. Res. 71, the House’s budget legislation. Following are Speaker Ryan’s remarks:

“My colleagues, I rise to urge the whole House to support this Republican budget, H. Con. Res. 71. Let me just say a few things.

“First, this is a budget that reflects our first principles. Freedom. Free enterprise. A government accountable to the people it serves.

“It is a budget that will help grow our economy and it reins in our national debt.

“It strengthens our national defense and supports our men and women in uniform.

“It eliminates endless, mindless spending and it maximizes Americans’ tax dollars. It reforms Medicaid. It strengthens Medicare.

“This is a budget that keeps our responsibilities to our children and our grandchildren.

“Remember, we have a responsibility here. Each and every generation. Each and every member: Leave the country better off so your kids and your grandkids can prosper.

“That American legacy is seriously at risk because of our growing, deteriorating debt situation, because our debt crisis. This budget tackles that.

“And there is one more thing this budget does that is so important: it paves the way for historic tax reform. It unlocks the reconciliation process.

“We need to pass this budget so that we can deliver real relief for middle income families across this country.

“We need to pass this budget for the people living paycheck to paycheck in America, who are trying to juggle it all, looking to get out from under this hopelessly broken tax code.

“We haven’t reformed this tax system since 1986. We need to pass this budget so we can help bring more jobs, fairer taxes, and bigger paychecks for people across this country.

“The time for this is now. The opportunity is right in front of us.

“I want to especially commend Chairman Black for her commitment to this vision. I want especially commend the members of the Budget Committee for their steadfast commitment to this vision.

“We would not be in position to pass this budget today without her tireless leadership and the leadership of her members of the committee.

“It is so encouraging that the Senate has passed their budget out of committee. They are on the track too. That means we look forward to working with the Senate to take the next step.

“We have an opportunity to make right by our fellow countrymen. We have an opportunity to make right by the people we represent.

“We have an opportunity to actually restore prosperity in this country. We haven’t seen the kind of economic potential in this country in at least a decade. We can fix that this year.

“We know that debt crisis is coming. We know if we do nothing, the next generation will be worse off. So we can stop that, and fix this, and make them better off.

“That’s what this budget paves the way for. And that is why I urge all of my colleagues to support this budget. I thank the Chair for her steadfast support. I thank the members for getting us to where we are today.

“And I really look forward to the day when we can look at this moment as when we got the country on the right track.”

Speaker Ryan: Issues statement

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Contact: AshLee StrongDoug Andres
202-225-0600

Washington, D.C.—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the following statement today:

“This afternoon I received a letter of resignation from Congressman Tim Murphy, effectiveOctober 21. It was Dr. Murphy’s decision to move on to the next chapter of his life, and I support it. We thank him for his many years of tireless work on mental health issues here in Congress and his service to the country as a naval reserve officer.”

THU AM Update: AFP-Wisconsin ad targets Baldwin; Board of Regents meets today

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THU News Summary: Milwaukee I-94 project shelved; Foxconn site; tributes to Rep. Gannon

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THU PM Update: Roth refers three fetal tissue bills to Senate committee

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Townsend campaign: Townsend is a candidate for Dane County Judge

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Contact: Melissa Mulliken, Campaign Director
608/206-1818

Marilyn Townsend, the Municipal Judge for Shorewood Hills and an attorney with 35 years of experience, is a candidate for Dane County Judge. Townsend has filed to run for Branch 1, the seat once held by Judge John Markson, who retired in June 2017.

“I am running for Judge because I care deeply about fairness and equal justice in our courts. For my entire legal career – as an attorney handling civil rights and employment cases and as a municipal judge – I have focused on making sure everyone gets a fair shake.  I want to put my unique combination of legal and judicial experience to work as a County Judge, to improve our court system, to build on what is working, and to serve as an impartial and independent judge, for all the people of Dane County,” Townsend said.

Already, Townsend has earned the endorsement of more than 370 public supporters including judges, attorneys, elected officials, and community leaders. The list is bi-partisan and growing. The most current list is at her website, marilyntownsendforjudge.com.

“I’ve worked with Marilyn in municipal courts and she has established herself as one of Dane County’s outstanding municipal judges,” said Dane County Circuit Court Judge John Hyland. “She’ll bring the same even temperament, knowledge of the law, and impartiality to the Dane County Bench. She also understands the challenges our courts face in terms of racial disparity and access to justice. She will be an active, collaborative part of finding solutions.”  Townsend has been elected three times as Municipal Judge, and has overseen or decided more than 3,000 cases.

“Marilyn’s proven ability to handle complex legal cases, her deep involvement in the community, and her dedication to improving our legal system to ensure fairness and equal access to our courts will make her a fine Circuit Court Judge,” said Appeals Court Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg.

The non-partisan election will be held in April 2018.

U.S. Sen. Johnson: Statement of support for House gray wolf legislation

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Contact:
Ben Voelkel
WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) issued the following statement Thursdayafter the House Committee on Natural Resources voted to advance H.R. 424, legislation that would delist the gray wolf in Wisconsin.
 
“For years I’ve heard about problems caused by the growing gray wolf population throughout northern Wisconsin. Most recently, those reports include fatal attacks on hunting dogs. Future gray wolf listing decisions should come from wildlife experts, not liberal judges,” Sen. Johnson said. “I will keep pushing my colleagues for congressional action on this bipartisan priority until it becomes law.”
Sen. Johnson has been a leader in the Senate to delist the gray wolf in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Wyoming under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and has introduced legislation in the last two sessions of Congress to do so. Sen. Johnson’s bill restores the wolf to the status determined to be appropriate by Department of Interior wildlife experts and would allow wolf management plans that are based on federal and state wildlife expertise to move forward without any legal ambiguity.

U.S. Sen. Johnson: Threatens subpoena to OPM on congressional exemption from Obamacare

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Contact:
Brittni Palke (202) 224-0382
Ben Voelkel (202) 228-0071

WASHINGTON — Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, sent a letter to Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Acting Director Kathleen McGettigan on Wednesday threatening to subpoena documents regarding the OPM’s regulation that exempted Congress from Obamacare. Johnson also requested transcribed interviews with OPM employees.  This letter follows Johnson’s August letter to the OPM that requested information and documents related to the congressional exemption from Obamacare.

“The Senate has long requested information about OPM’s 2013 regulation.  In 2016, then-Senator David Vitter and I requested material about the development of the regulation.   On August 16, 2017, I wrote to you requesting information and materials regarding OPM’s 2013 regulation.   On September 1, 2017, OPM provided documents consisting primarily of material already provided to the Committee.   This document production is insufficient. The American people have a right to know how and why OPM exempted Members of Congress from the full impact of Obamacare.  If OPM does not produce the entirety of the information and materials requested in my August 16 letter byOctober 18, 2017, the Committee may be forced to consider the use of compulsory process,” Johnson wrote in the letter.

Johnson’s Aug. 16 letter can be found here.

The letter can be found here.

UW Carbone Cancer Center: NIH funds research that may apply to a broad range of tumors

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MADISON- The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced today that Dr. Zachary Morris has been awarded $1.25 million as part of the NIH Director’s Early Independence Award.

Morris is an assistant professor in the Department of Human Oncology (DHO) at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

The prestigious award is given to a small group of exemplary early-career scientists to help them establish their independent research careers. The five-year award will support Morris’s preclinical research on combining radiation and immunotherapies to treat metastatic cancers.

Morris will use the funding to expand research on in situ tumor vaccination. This is a therapeutic approach in which a single tumor site is targeted with treatments that are intended to generate a very strong, local anti-tumor immune response. The idea is to turn a patient’s own tumor into a sort of personalized anti-cancer vaccine. Similar to the immune reaction that occurs following injection of a traditional vaccine (like the flu vaccine), this initially local response may then propagate into a systemic immune response throughout the body. In the context of metastatic cancer, the hope is that following in situ tumor vaccination, a patient’s immune cells will generate a potent local anti-cancer immune response and these immune cells will then circulate throughout the body to attack and eradicate other metastatic tumor sites. To achieve this, Morris and his colleagues are treating the in situ vaccine tumor site with a combination of radiation, tumor-specific antibodies, and immune-activating proteins called cytokines.

So far, Morris and his colleagues have studied the use of immunocytokines, fused antibodies and cytokines, in treating melanoma. The NIH award (DP5-OD-024576) will enable him to study antibodies and cytokines separately in order to better understand their specific roles and how they interact with the immune system. Since tumor-specific antibodies are available for most types of cancer, Morris’s approach could potentially be applicable to a wide variety of tumor types. In the near future, Morris will investigate this technique for treatment of sarcoma, melanoma, neuroblastoma, breast cancer, pancreas cancer, lung cancer, and head and neck cancers.

The award will also enable Morris to develop better tumor models to study in situ vaccination mechanisms. Morris’s group typically uses transplantable models where cell lines derived from a mouse tumor are injected into nearly identical mice. Although this is an efficient way to grow tumors in mice, it does not replicate the process of tumor formation in humans and may result in tumors that may be more readily cured.

Morris, who joined the DHO faculty in 2016 after completing his Radiation Oncology residency training in the department, is grateful for the support of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, the UW Carbone Cancer Center and specifically for the guidance from his research mentors, Dr. Paul Harari, DHO professor and chairman, and Dr. Paul Sondel, DHO professor.

“When I was interviewed for this award, the NIH panel made clear that they viewed our institutional training environment to be incredibly strong,” said Morris. “There’s no question that this factored into my selection for this award. I feel quite fortunate to have trained here and to now have the opportunity to continue this exciting and rewarding research.”

UW System: Board of Regents approves revisions to hiring process for UW System leadership positions

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Contact: Stephanie Marquis, Director of Communications
608-263-1700
[email protected]

Today, the UW System Board of Regents approved a resolution to streamline the hiring process by which the UW System president, chancellors, vice chancellors, and other UW System senior leaders are hired.  Regent Vice President Drew Petersen made recommendations to the Board to revise Regent Policy 6-4, which relates to the UW System’s hiring and selection protocol.  In addition to streamlining and expediting the hiring process, the updated policy also broadens applicant pools so leaders from the private sector may be considered as potential candidates, in addition to those with an academic background.

“Recruiting and selecting the leaders of our institutions is one of the most significant responsibilities we have,” said UW System President Ray Cross.  “I appreciate the hard work done by the hiring workgroup to help streamline our process and also to help ensure that UW institutions, our students, and Wisconsin taxpayers get the fine leaders they deserve.”

“This Board has demonstrated a willingness to modernize our processes to reflect the evolving needs of the university and our state.  We are leading the way in enacting meaningful and impactful reforms to reflect the changing dynamics of higher education, including attracting more non-traditional candidates to executive leadership positions,” said Regent President John Robert Behling.  “We have a wonderful group of chancellors and system leaders.  This policy update simply reflects the consensus that our current search and screen process is cumbersome.”

Vice President Petersen said, “The average amount of time to hire a new chancellor from the announcement of their resignation or retirement to naming a replacement is about nine months.  That is simply too long as we want our campuses to continue to run smoothly during this type of transition.  The changes we are making to our hiring process will make us more efficient and effective in attracting the next generation of university leaders for the UW System.  They also send a powerful message of accountability and responsiveness to our stakeholders, including the legislature and the Governor.”

On August 7, 2017, President Behling announced the creation of the hiring workgroup.  Resolution 4 outlines the policy changes and rationale the workgroup recommended in today’s Agenda and Materials document online.

Wisconsin Department of Health Services: State agencies share new report with important guidance for first responders to avoid exposure to fentanyl and other synthetic opiods

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Contact: Jennifer Miller/Elizabeth Goodsitt, DHS, (608) 266-1683

Johnny Koremenos, Department of Justice 608-266-1221

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and the state Department of Justice (DOJ) are urging police, firefighters, EMTs, and other first responders to heed the directions highlighted in a new report published by the Interagency Board for Equipment Standardization and Interoperability (IAB) to avoid exposure to Fentanyl and Fentanyl analogues.

The Interagency Board for Equipment Standardization and Interoperability report offers comprehensive guidelines on the selection and use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and decontamination procedures for first responders to protect against synthetic opioids.

View the entire news release.

Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services: Launches public statistics dashboard for enhanced prescription drug monitoring program

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Contact: Nicole Anspach, 608-266-6795

[email protected]

Madison, WI – Today, the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) launched the public statistics dashboard for the Wisconsin Enhanced Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (WI ePDMP). The dashboard provides easy-to-use interactive data visualizations for controlled substance dispensing, ePDMP utilization, and law enforcement alerts. Statistics archives dating back to the program’s implementation in 2013 are also available on the dashboard.

“Making this information readily available to the public is one more way to hold the state, prescribers, and law enforcement accountable in the fight against prescription drug abuse in Wisconsin,” said Governor Walker.

Public users can now easily access dispensing data broken down by county, drug type, drug class, alert type, demographic, and the overall number of patients with controlled substance prescriptions dispensed by year. The dashboard also provides WI ePDMP utilization data by healthcare user type, active user accounts, and utilization by non-healthcare users including law enforcement, government employees, and medical examiners. Interactive maps show law enforcement alerts by county and alert type, as well as the number of law enforcement alerts submitted to the ePDMP by year.

“The public dashboard is an important tool that will help us increase awareness and enhance our partnership with prescribers and law enforcement in the fight against prescription drug abuse in Wisconsin,” said DSPS Secretary Laura Gutiérrez. “We are proud of the enhanced capabilities of the ePDMP and are excited to share the statistics dashboard with the public. The dashboard clearly illustrates the importance of the ePDMP in helping healthcare professionals make more informed decisions about prescribing and dispensing controlled substances to patients.”

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel added, “If we are going to beat our state’s drug epidemic, it’s important that everyone know the facts, be it the medical community, law enforcement, or the public. This effort by our partners at DSPS will help inform all stakeholders involved. We live in a data-driven society and having the most up to date opioid prescribing information available will influence the practices and methods used to fight the drug epidemic in Wisconsin.”

The original Wisconsin PDMP was deployed in June 2013 and is administered by the Department of Safety and Professional Services. Since its inception, the PDMP has primarily been a tool to help healthcare professionals make more informed decisions about their prescribing and dispensing practices. It also discloses data as authorized by law to governmental and law enforcement agencies and stores over 48 million prescription records submitted by over 2,000 pharmacies and dispensing practitioners.

The WI ePDMP was launched in January 2017 and allows for value-added healthcare workflow integration, improved data quality capabilities, and maximized public health and public safety use. It also contains analytics and visualizations to draw attention to the most relevant and potentially concerning data in each patient report, such as a high level of opioid consumption or a dangerous combination of drugs.

In March 2016, 2015 Wisconsin Act 267 was enacted providing that PDMP reports be released 30 days after the end of each quarter. The first report released in October 2016 showed that between July 1 and September 30, 2016, there was a 9.63 percent reduction in prescriptions and a 9.89 percent reduction in drug doses as compared to the same period in 2015; an 8.2 million drug dose reduction. Most recently, between April 1 and June 30, 2017, there was a 9.8 percent reduction in prescriptions and an 11.9 percent reduction in drug doses as compared to the same period in 2016; a 17.5 million drug dose reduction.

The WI ePDMP contains data about schedule II-V controlled substance prescriptions reported by pharmacies that dispense in Wisconsin, including out-of-state pharmacies. Currently, all dispensers are required by law to submit dispensing data to the PDMP, and law enforcement agencies are required to submit reports about suspected controlled substance overdose events and violations of the Controlled Substances Act.

 

Wisconsin Economic Development Corp: Viroqua receives $250,000 state grant for expansion of downtown food co-op

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Viroqua Food Co-op to double in size, provide more healthy food choices

MADISON – The City of Viroqua has received a $250,000 state grant to support the expansion of the Viroqua Food Co-op – a project expected to spur further development downtown.

The Community Development Investment Grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will help fund plans to double the size of the co-op’s retail space to more than 9,200 square feet.

Expansion plans include wider aisles, additional indoor and outdoor seating, more checkout lanes, an expanded parking lot and a multipurpose educational area.

Work is now underway on the $7 million project, which is expected to be completed by July 2018.

“The Viroqua Food Co-op is a focal point of downtown that not only provides a variety of healthy food choices to its 3,700 members, but also has become a gathering place for the community,” said Mark R. Hogan, secretary and CEO of WEDC, the state’s lead economic development organization. “WEDC is pleased to be one of the many partners who are helping to make this expansion a reality.”

“With the expansion of the Viroqua Food Co-op, there is an opportunity for growth through increased employment in the area as well as through expanded opportunities for the organic farmers to supply their product to their store,” said Viroqua Mayor Larry P. Fanta. “The Viroqua Food Co-op has a strong alignment within the community and the City is happy to share in its vision for a growing, vibrant economy.”

“The Viroqua Food Co-op has become an essential part of life here for many folks,” said Jan Rasikas, the co-op’s general manager. “Every step we take to provide healthy food choices to our families will take us closer to our mission of healthy individuals, a healthy community and a healthy planet.

Rasikas added that WEDC’s grant would allow the co-op to increase its expansion beyond what traditional financing would allow. “This allows us to expand our building in a way that will last at least 10 more years, similar to our relocation and expansion in 2005. This is the best way to spend our collective commonwealth and keep those dollars right here supporting our local food economy.”

The Viroqua Food Co-op opened in a small rented storefront in 1995 as a natural food-buying club organized by a small group of individuals who worked together to provide their families with healthy foods. In 1999, the co-op renovated and expanded its retail space to 920 square feet. In 2009, the co-op opened a new 4,400-square-foot retail store at 609 N. Main St., its current location.

The expansion is expected to allow for ease of shopping, increase customer satisfaction, and bring in new owner-members that may have previously shopped elsewhere because the current store is at capacity.

The project will feature a significantly larger full-size deli; a bakery with made-from-scratch baked goods and a greater selection of wheat-free goods; and a meat department with room for meat processing, and greater selection of meat and seafood.

The expansion will provide more fresh and healthy food options in a rural community with limited grocery options.

Nora R. Schmidt, executive director of the Viroqua Chamber Main Street, noted that the co-op and the local foods movement are major economic development drivers for the region.

“The expansion will create more opportunities and allow the co-op to further diversify the services and products that they are able to offer,” Schmidt said. “The Viroqua Chamber Main Street is thrilled that the co-op’s membership with our organization connected them to these resources. The Viroqua Chamber Main Street works closely with the WEDC via the Wisconsin Main Street program whose grant opportunities have funded several economic development efforts in Viroqua in 2017.”

WEDC’s Community Development Investment Grant Program supports community development and redevelopment efforts, primarily in downtown areas. Awards are based on the ability of applicants to demonstrate the impact of the proposed project, including public and private partnership development, financial need, and use of sustainable downtown development practices.

“This project is an example of the many ways in which WEDC works with communities throughout Wisconsin to revitalize their business districts,” Hogan added. “Our community development programs are crucial because a vibrant downtown is a major factor in a community’s overall economic vitality.”

Since the program’s inception in 2013, WEDC has awarded $13 million in Community Development Investment Grants for projects expected to generate more than $93 million in capital investments statewide.

WisDems: Kochs latest out-of-state billionaire special interests to boost Nicholson, Vukmir

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Contact: Brad Bainum, [email protected]

“Billionaire puppet Kevin Nicholson and right-wing extremist Leah Vukmir need to tell the people of Wisconsin why they support Trump and Paul Ryan gifting 80% of tax cuts to the top 1%”

MADISON — Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Martha Laning issued the following statement on Americans for Prosperity, a front-group bankrolled by out-of-state billionaire brothers and GOP megadonors Charles and David Koch, launching a new, misleading attack ad against Tammy Baldwin — all because she refuses to support Donald Trump and Paul Ryan’s big tax-cut giveaway for the wealthy few:

“Out-of-state billionaires are attacking Tammy Baldwin on Wisconsin airwaves because they know she won’t support a tax giveaway for CEOs and the super-rich paid for by hardworking Wisconsinites. Billionaire puppet Kevin Nicholson and right-wing extremist Leah Vukmir need to tell the people of Wisconsin why they support Trump and Paul Ryan gifting 80% of tax cuts to the top 1% over the next decade while one in four middle class families pay more.”

WisDems: Vukmir says ending protections for Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions is good for Wisconsin families

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Contact: Brad Bainum
[email protected]

Madison, Wisconsin — At a Tuesday campaign event in Appleton, right-wing state Senator Leah Vukmir expressed supreme regret that Donald Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan were unable to pass the dangerous so-called “Graham-Cassidy” TrumpCare bill that would take healthcare access away from millions of Wisconsinites while putting every single woman, man, and child with a pre-existing condition at risk of being discriminated against by insurers.

“It’s unconscionable that Vukmir and her GOP primary opponent, Kevin Nicholson, continue to stand by TrumpCare plans that would, at worst, take care away from 30 million Americans, and, at best, strip millions of their healthcare access, while throwing people with pre-existing conditions under the bus,” said Brad Bainum, Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesperson for the 2018 Senate race. “Vukmir’s continued claim that ending anti-discrimination protections for Wisconsinites with pre-existing health conditions is somehow good for families, is just the latest proof that her far-right and pro-corporate special interest agenda is completely out-of-step with Wisconsin’s working families’ best interests.”

WisDOT: Three-day closure of Anton Drive at Carriage Street, Fitchburg

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Contact:
Steven Theisen, WisDOT Project Communications Manager
(608) 884-1230, [email protected]

FITCHBURG, WI – Starting Tuesday morning (Oct. 10), Anton Drive will be closed at Carriage Street, west of Verona Road (US 18/151) in Fitchburg (see attached map). The intersection is anticipated to reopen late Thursday (Oct. 12). Alternate local routes are required to access area businesses and residences.

Crews will install watermain facilities as part of the Verona Road reconstruction project. The closure dates are weather dependent and subject to change.

Motorists are reminded to be alert and drive with caution in all work zones, and eliminate distractions when behind the wheel. The public should also continue to patronize the local businesses in the project area.

The public is strongly encouraged to register for weekly construction updates via email on the Verona Road Project website, www.VeronaRoadProject.wi.gov, and follow the project on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WIVeronaRoadProject. Alerts and updates provided via these sites are not intended for use while driving. When driving, your focus should always be on driving.

WisGOP: Thanks to Gov. Walker’s leadership, Foxconn will transform Wisconsin’s economy

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Contact: Alec Zimmerman
(608) 257-4765

Madison, Wisconsin — Thanks to the leadership of Governor Scott Walker, tens of thousands of new jobs are heading to Wisconsin. Foxconn Technology Group’s $10 billion investment will transform Wisconsin’s economy, including over a billion dollars in supply chain activity that has the potential to impact the entire state. Yesterday, Foxconn announced the selection of its new location in Mount Pleasant.

Watch highlights of coverage from the last several weeks, including Foxconn’s announcement, here.
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October 6, 2017 | October 4, 2017
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