2017 December

Monthly Archives: December 2017

‘UpFront’: Moore says Mueller in danger of being fired, defends vote to impeach Trump

U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, said she thinks Special Counsel Robert Mueller is in danger of being fired by President Trump over the Russia investigation.

“I do think (Mueller) is in terrible trouble right now,” Moore told “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

“We see our colleagues on Capitol Hill shamefully throwing shade on a very distinguished man and an investigation,” she said.

Moore recently was one of 58 House Democrats who voted to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump.

“I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to reject Donald Trump, since I have felt for a long time that he is incompetent, that he has serious mental illness issues, that he does not study, and he’s dangerous, that we could trip into a war in North Korea, that he won’t recognize that Russia has interfered with our election, that he has sexually assaulted folk and continues to support that perspective,” she said.

But she also said she was willing to wait on the results of Mueller’s investigation.

“I don’t particularly need convincing (to impeach), but I understand how important it is to have the country come along with you in order to do that,” she said.

In another segment, attorney Rick Esenberg, president of the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, said it’s an “overstatement” for the attorney general’s office to say that a lawsuit he has filed against the city of Eau Claire imperils the Foxconn deal.

Esenberg sued Eau Claire over its use of a tax increment financing district for a performing arts center. Esenberg contends Eau Claire’s deal with the developers violates the state’s uniformity clause, which says property taxation must be uniform.

The attorney general’s office filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit, saying a ruling in favor of Esenberg and the plaintiffs could imperil the Foxconn project in Mount Pleasant, which also involves a TIF district and cash payments to the company. The case is now before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

“I have great respect for Attorney General (Brad) Schimel and the people in his office, but I think to say that our lawsuit imperils the Foxconn deal may be a bit of an overstatement, ” Esenberg said.

Gousha asked Esenberg about the possibility Foxconn could pull the plug on the project if the terms of the deal had to be changed because of his lawsuit.

“I am confident that they are not going to lose a $3 billion deal over $100 million, which is a lot of money I grant you, but in the context of the Foxconn deal, it’s the type of change that you find in the cushions,” Esenberg said.

“I’m sure that they can restructure the deal, if in fact the Supreme Court rules in our favor, and if in fact, there is not a way to distinguish the payments that are being made to Foxconn, ” he said.

Also on the program, Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette Law School Poll, offered analysis of the recent Alabama U.S. Senate race, won by a Democrat for the first time in 25 years.

Franklin, an Alabama native, said Sen.-elect Doug Jones narrowly won through a combination of factors — a “solid, strong black turnout;” about 30 percent of white voters choosing Jones; and lower voter turnout in Alabama counties that went strongly for Donald Trump in 2016.

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

‘UpFront’: Vukmir says GAB kept her personal emails for political reasons

State Sen. Leah Vukmir says the now-defunct Government Accountability Board’s keeping of some of her personal emails was politically motivated.

The Brookfield Republican said that because she authored legislation revamping the agency — a combined ethics and elections oversight agency — that put her “in the sights of the GAB.”

“I’m certain this is politically motivated. Why else would there be a file that says ‘opposition research?’ My emails are put in a file that say ‘opposition research,'” Vukmir said on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice investigated the leak of documents from the secret John Doe probes to The Guardian, which published the information online in 2016.

The DOJ said it found at least 150 of Vukmir’s private emails, some containing personal medical information about her daughter, in the GAB’s possession.

Vukmir said she did not know her emails were collected and stored by the GAB until the DOJ released its report last week.

“I’m not given any assurance that information can be contained,” she said.

She called it an “egregious overreach of government,” and said it steeled her resolve to make even more reforms so that nothing like this ever happens again, at the state or federal levels. Vukmir is a candidate for U.S. Senate.

Republican Sen. Steve Nass of Whitewater said four former GAB employees who now work for the state Elections and Ethics commissions should resign.

“If those individuals were part of this, and they are listed in the report, and they have any knowledge whatsoever, absolutely I agree with Sen. Nass,” Vukmir said.

Vukmir said she and other lawmakers are “looking at every single option that we have moving forward” both legally and legislatively in response to the GAB’s actions and its former personnel.

“What other oversight needs to be put in place here?” she said. “Something like this tells us, ‘Is there more that we can do?'”

Also on the program, Milwaukee Alderman Michael Murphy discussed the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s projection that it will have investigated 420 drug overdose deaths by the end of 2017.

The office currently is investigating five suspected overdose deaths on a single day last week.

Murphy created the Milwaukee City-County Heroin, Opioid and Cocaine Task Force.

“It’s one of the worst public health epidemics facing not just our community but our country,” Murphy said.

“This should be looked as a brain disease, and treated as such,” Murphy said of the addictions that lead to these deaths.

He also said there’s a stigma associated with it.

“The stigma associated with this drug has really resulted in people stepping back and not doing as much as they should have,” Murphy said.

“If I had told you this was Zika, this would be a wholly totally different conversation, there would be billions of dollars being made available. But because it’s drugs, people have not been there,” he said.

Murphy said drug courts, take-back initiatives, interdiction of drugs being brought into the country and treatment should all be part of the response.

In another segment on the show, Medical College of Wisconsin graduate student Rachel Linderman said she’s worried her taxes could go up sharply if a provision in the House GOP tax plan survives conference committee.

The House tax bill would treat tuition waivers as taxable income. Universities often waive tuition for graduate students who teach or work as research assistants.

Stipends students receive for their work are often low. The House tax bill would tax both the stipend and the tuition waiver.

“The math done so far that I’ve seen says it’s about $250 a month of taxes that would be lost from our pocket,” Linderman said.

“You have to wonder about the impact it’ll have on science going forward considering all of the strides you are theoretically giving up if you are stopping students from going into that,” Linderman said.

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

10th SD GOP candidates differ on Foxconn, budget, taxes

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10th SD GOP candidates differ on Foxconn, budget, taxes

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Several issues set apart GOP Reps. Adam Jarchow and Shannon Zimmerman as they seek the open 10th SD.

Among them: Foxconn, the budget and taxes.

Their campaign bank accounts is another issue that could play in the Dec. 19 primary for the GOP nomination in the race to succeed Sheila Harsdorf, the River Falls Republican who has become state ag secretary.

Zimmerman told WisPolitics.com he plans to primarily self-fund due to essentially a six-week window between circulating nomination papers and facing primary voters. Zimmerman said he put $150,000 of his own money into the campaign and that will be reflected on the finance reports candidates have to turn in next week.

Zimmerman co-founded Sajan, a language translation company, and owns Belle Vinez Winery with his family. He’s working with Persuasion Partners, run by veteran GOP operative Darrin Schmitz.

Jarchow, an attorney, said he does not plan to self fund, adding he’s believes his fundraising will be competitive. He’s working with two Capitol staffers who are on leave — Mitch Sands from his office and Mitch Ohly from GOP state Sen. Tom Tiffany’s.

“There’s only so much you can do with money in two weeks,” Jarchow said.

Votes on two of the biggest differences policy-wise between the two Republicans came in late summer as Jarchow opposed the $3 billion Foxconn incentive package and the state budget. Zimmerman supported the Foxconn deal and said he would have voted for the budget, but was grounded overseas and could not make it back to the Capitol in time for the vote.

Zimmerman’s campaign announcement incorrectly asserted that he voted for the budget. He insisted it was not an attempt to deceive voters, saying he took steps to register his support with the Assembly record.

He supported the budget because it eliminated some taxes while making a “strategic” investment in education.

In a radio ad Zimmerman is running, the narrator says the businessman “stood shoulder to shoulder with Scott Walker to pass needed tax reforms in the state budget,” even though he missed the vote.

“Shannon’s opponent in the Republican primary?” the narrator says. “He sided with the Democrats and voted against Walker and his recent budget tax reforms.”

In a follow-up interview today, Zimmerman said the ad was not misleading, because he registered his support for the budget with clerk and publicly backed the bill.

The spot opens with narrator saying “the swamp has made its way to Wisconsin” as some Republicans side with Dems in resisting Walker’s job and tax reform plans. The spot does not mention Jarchow by name.

Jarchow took issue with the language in Zimmerman’s ad, saying it’s misleading, He also pointed out the budget only cleared the Senate after a trio of conservatives demanded a series of vetoes.

“Most people would find it pretty laughable to think I’m the guy who stood with the Democrats,” Jarchow said. “I stood with about a half-dozen conservatives in the Assembly.”

Zimmerman said in the first interview he was also “proud to stand” with Walker on the Foxconn bill, saying the guv negotiated a “glorious opportunity” that he believes will have a ripple effect across the state and impact suppliers, on top of the 13,000 jobs Foxconn could create directly with an investment of up to $10 billion.

“I can’t turn away from that, because too many Wisconsin families are going to be positively affected by that,” he said.

Jarchow opposed the budget, raising concerns early in the process over a proposal to add employees at the Department of Revenue to perform audits. He wrote a letter to constituents earlier this year saying he was wrong to support the 2015-17 budget, because it included similar positions and would not support this one unless the already approved jobs and the new ones were eliminated.

He also took the issue with the increased spending in the state budget; the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance says general fund expenditures will rise 8.8 percent over the next two years, the biggest jump since 12.1 percent for 2009-11.

Jarchow opposed Foxconn because businesses in his district would not see some of the same provisions such as new exemptions on developments impacting state wetlands. He said that was particularly difficult to accept with a $3 billion price tag.

“I can’t ask the small businesses and farmers in my district to subsidize the payroll of a foreign company that’s going to be located 350 miles away when they have to play by different rules,” Jarchow said.

On other issues:

*The so-called “dark store” bill is pending in the Senate. It would curb a strategy used by major retailers to reduce tax assessments on properties, which local officials say has led to the property tax burden being pushed onto homeowners. Businesses counter assessors have been unfairly upping assessments on big-box stores and the bill would be a tax hike on businesses.

Jarchow said he’s undecided on the bill because of his concern about raising taxes, but is open to supporting the legislation.

Zimmerman said he supports the bill, saying it would end a loophole that can adversely affect local taxpayers.

*Jarchow said he was a “vocal opponent” of the Assembly GOP leadership proposal to offset an increase in the gas tax with tax cuts elsewhere. He said roads are a top priority but have to be funded while the state also looks to reduce the tax burden. Jarchow said that means he’s open to transferring money from the general fund.

“The idea that we can’t supplement the transportation fund with some general fund money to me has never held water,” he said.

Zimmerman said he would “absolutely be against tolls” because it would impact many of the commuters in the district who travel back and forth to the Twin Cities. Zimmerman said he’s open to a gas tax hike, but he would prefer if to be combined with other tax cuts.

He also said he’d like to take a “holistic approach” to the state’s tax structure that could include flattening the income tax or eliminating it altogether. Overhauling the state’s tax structure, he said, could help the state address its workforce needs by attracting talent to Wisconsin.

Zimmerman, who was appointed subcommittee chair of a committee looking at reworking the state’s tax code, said eliminating the income tax would likely have to be combined with an increase in the sales tax. That model is similar to states such as Texas that don’t have an income tax.

“He or she who spends more, pays more. So people can’t really argue with that point,” Zimmerman said of such a move.

Jarchow, meanwhile, is also running on the “homeowners’ bill of rights” he co-authored and saw signed into law this fall. By comparison, Jarchow said voters are frustrated by politics in Washington, D.C., because politicians aren’t getting things done.

“To the contrary, I ran, I told people exactly who I was, what I stood for and what i would do if I got elected and then I went about the business of getting it done.”

Listen to the Jarchow interview:
https://soundcloud.com/wispolitics/160217_001a/s-0MpGl

Listen to the Zimmerman interview:
https://soundcloud.com/wispolitics/160218_001a

2017 Year-end WisPolitics.com Stock Report

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A state budget that dragged into September and a proposed $10 billion Foxconn manufacturing plant in southeastern Wisconsin were some of the top stories of 2017.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, helped shepherd through the GOP tax bill as speculation popped up around his future in politics.

And while Gov. Scott Walker announced plans to run for a third term, a bevy of Dems jumped in the field for a chance to face him.

Throughout the year, WisPolitics.com collected insight from insiders to gauge the fortunes of key political figures and issues. The year-end Stock Report is based off that feedback and the risings, mixed and fallings throughout the year.

Rising

Scott Walker: It wasn’t always pretty. But the guv pushes through a two-year $76 billion budget that boosts K-12 aid while keeping property taxes in check, lands a multi-billion-dollar project from Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn and formally launches his bid for guv. Now, the question is whether it will all pay off in 2018. Walker’s poll numbers took a hit in 2015 as he left the state to run for president, putting the guv underwater. But he dedicated himself to a series of listening sessions around Wisconsin, providing input to his budget planning such as a $649 million boost to K-12 education. Lawmakers eventually trimmed that. But the process dragged into September amid a standoff over transportation funding that insiders say underscored the guv’s failure to come up with a long-term solution that fit with his promise not to raise the gas tax or registration fee. It also exposed deep rifts among Capitol Republicans, especially after Walker agrees to veto pledges to win last-minute support from several GOP senators. But the bottom line for Walker is the ability to go out and sell the education component of the budget along with the elimination of the state forestry tax and a property tax bill on the median-valued home that is projected to be lower in 2018 than it was in 2010. Foxconn, some election-watchers believe, could be a trickier sell with the public. When Walker initially announced the project, it seemed like a grand slam with a commitment to spend $10 billion and create up to 13,000 jobs. But as more details emerged, it looked like less of a clear win, particularly with the state not expected to break even on the deal until at least 2042-43. Then there are the costs beyond the $3 billion state package, including $764 million from the locals, $252 million in borrowing to expand I-94 near the plant, $140 million from ratepayers for a new transmission line to the proposed plant, millions for roads and other costs that push the long-term tab for state residents past $4 billion. But the key for Walker, insiders say, is for the company to show progress on the plant and its workforce in the months ahead of the election to assure the public the project is underway. Still, Dems believe the project is going to be an albatross on Walker the farther away voters live from the planned facility. It also still remains to be seen what kind of challenge a fractured Dem field poses to Walker. The guv has run in GOP waves years in 2010 and 2014, but this could be his first election into a headwind. Dems believe President Trump will hurt Walker and Republicans up and down the ballot in 2018. But the guv’s backers believe the state GOP’s ground game in Wisconsin, Walker’s expected fundraising advantage and what they see as a weak field will combine for a third term.

8 rising, 3 mixed

Tony Evers: The state schools superintendent is a rare bright spot for progressives, easily winning a third term as the state’s top education official. He then uses that win as a springboard to the top tier of Dem guv hopefuls. In April, Evers had a couple of things going for him, insiders say. One, outrage over the early days of Donald Trump’s presidency helped progressives dust themselves off from their losses in 2016 and get motivated. Two, Evers’ challengers were badly flawed. Perhaps the most damaging hit for his opponents were revelations that Lowell Holtz, a retired superintendent, and fellow challenger John Humphries, a former DPI employee, discussing whether one could get a six-figure salary and a driver if the other won the race. Ultimately, Holtz made it through the primary, but he failed to pull conservatives into the race, and Evers won with 70 percent of the vote. That’s the biggest margin in a DPI race since 1989. By summer, Evers was thinking about a bid for guv and ultimately jumped into the field as the only candidate who had run a statewide race and won. That, plus an existing campaign structure and credibility on a key issue, help put Evers in the top tier of a crowded Dem field. Still, Republicans are hitting him hard over a Middleton teacher who was able to keep his license even after viewing porn at work, and the money Evers raised for his DPI bids is a pittance compared to what will be needed to challenge Gov. Scott Walker.

5 rising

Ron Johnson: The Oshkosh Republican spent much of his first term in the U.S. Senate railing against the Affordable Care Act and the debt while looking like a bad bet for re-election. But coming off his come-from-behind win over Dem Russ Feingold, Johnson seems emboldened to be a more prominent voice in the caucus, often to the chagrin of leadership. Insiders attribute Johnson’s elevated status to several factors. One, he’s already said this will be his final term, so he doesn’t have to worry about taking stances that could hurt his standing with voters. Two, the national groups and GOP leadership largely left him on an island while he fought for re-election in 2016. It wasn’t until the closing days when they realized he had a shot to win that national money came flooding in. Johnson, insiders say, won’t forget that, and it means he’s not beholden to anyone. And three, with a 52-48 GOP majority until Dem Doug Jones, of Alabama, is sworn in, Republican leaders have a small margin of error. That means lawmakers such as Johnson can hold things up if a couple of their colleagues get on board. For example, Johnson joins three of his fellow GOP senators over the summer to object to a repeal of Obamacare without changes. He is also one of the GOP Senate voices that raises concerns about the initial tax bill. In the end, he supports both, though the health care bill fails. But his position persuades leaders to change in the tax bill how pass-through businesses — such as the one he helped found in Oshkosh — are treated. Critics denounce what they call the “Badger Bribe” and knock Johnson for saying he’d have a seat at the table for final negotiations only to be left off the conference committee. Still, Johnson in term two is a much bigger player than in his first go-round in DC.

3 rising, one falling

Foxconn: The Taiwanese manufacturer is line for more than $4 billion in taxpayer support for the sprawling complex it plans to build in Racine County. Critics question whether it will be a good deal for taxpayers. Gov. Scott Walker and his team say it will transform the state’s economy. It could be one of the issues that independent voters use in deciding whether to re-elect Walker in November. Walker and President Trump this summer heralded the company’s decision to build a $10 billion facility in Wisconsin and create up to 13,000 jobs. But then some of the sticker shock started to set in. The state negotiated a $3 billion incentive package with the company, and non-partisan legislative analysis of the details projected Wisconsin might not break even on the investment until 2042-43. Then came additional taxpayer support: the local incentive package of $764 million, $252 million the state is looking to borrow to expand I-94 near the plant, $140 million from ratepayers for a new transmission line that would service the massive facility, and other costs for infrastructure around the project. The state is even looking to accommodate Foxconn’s desire to use driverless vehicles around the plant. To critics, the state is bending over backward to please one foreign company at the expense of Wisconsin taxpayers while homegrown businesses that aren’t getting similar special treatment. To backers, the plant represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The company envisions a 22-million-square-foot factory on a 12-acre campus, has plans to start assembly work in 2018 — presumably at a leased facility — and could create a positive ripple effect through suppliers around the state. To underscore that later point, Walker has taken to calling the area “Wisconn Valley.”

3 rising, 1 mixed, 1 falling

Mixed

Tammy Baldwin: The Madison lawmaker is in a league all her own when it comes to fundraising for her re-election bid, and Dems are hopeful 2018 will be a boon rather than a bloodbath thanks to President Trump’s historically bad poll numbers. Still, that doesn’t mean re-election will be a breeze for Baldwin. Election watchers say she faces a GOP turnout machine that has regularly notched wins in Wisconsin, particularly in non-presidential years, and attacks for her office’s mishandling of the scandal at the Tomah VA. Baldwin’s early fundraising clip puts her ahead of where both U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, and former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Middleton, going into their 2016 clash. She raised $7.1 million over the first nine months of 2017 and had $5.3 million in the bank. By comparison, GOP hopefuls Kevin Nicholson, a former Marine and business consultant, raises $417,112 during his first two months in the race — boosted by a $25,000 personal loan — and Leah Vukmir, a state senator from Brookfield, pulls in nearly $242,083 over the first three weeks she got into the contest. Insiders don’t expect either to catch up to Baldwin anytime soon. But thanks to their super PACs, they may not have to. Each Republican lands a wealthy backer with Illinois businessman Dick Uihlein supporting Nicholson and Beloit billionaire Diane Hendricks in Vukmir’s corner. Super PACs are not the end all, be all, insiders warn, because candidates don’t control how that money is spent or the message. Still, outside groups could make things difficult for Baldwin. Just look at the $1.6 million the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce drops on Baldwin in October only to be answered by a $1 million buy from the super PAC backing Senate Dems. Baldwin regularly shows up on national lists of the top 10 Senate races to watch in 2018, though some national prognosticators give her the early edge. The question for many Wisconsin insiders is whether the environment turns out as badly for Republicans as now believed, and if Wisconsin voters will show a penchant for ticket splitting. With a splintered Dem field, Gov. Scott Walker heads into 2018 as the favorite. Some ask: Are there Baldwin-Walker voters out there?

4 rising, 6 mixed

Paul Ryan: The Janesville Republican checks off a major career goal with the GOP tax overhaul, helping boost his relationship with President Trump after a contentious 2016. Still, questions swirl in Washington, D.C., about how long he’ll stick around to enjoy those successes as the Trump’s poor poll numbers have put the GOP at risk of significant losses in 2018. Ryan has been calling for an overhaul of the tax code since he walked in the door of the House nearly two decades ago. So his backers consider the GOP tax overhaul a defining moment in his political career, even as Dems slam the deal as a sop to the wealthy, corporations and Wall Street and high property taxpayers scurry to cope with a cap on state and local tax deductions. But amid the final push for a deal, reports surface that Ryan’s time as speaker could be coming to a close. Those reports suggest Ryan is looking to serve through the 2018 elections , walk away from Congress and the demands the speaker’s job and then spend more time with his young family. Ryan tells reporters he isn’t leaving anytime soon, but he also won’t commit to seeking re-election in November. Ryan made clear ahead of becoming speaker that he didn’t want the job, but he’s managed to — for the most part — keep the caucus in line. Meanwhile, he’s been a prodigious fundraiser in an effort to keep the majority. Through the end of November, Ryan had transferred $32 million to the National Republican Congressional Committee, and his backers regularly touted how he was eclipsing the fundraising pace of his predecessors. Election watchers say House Republicans could use every dollar Ryan can bring in given the Trump’s lousy numbers. The party in the White House typically has a bad off-year election, and some Republicans fear Trump’s poor numbers will only make that worse. The warnings have even begun of a possible Dem wave building. Ryan’s own poll numbers have taken hits the longer he’s been speaker. Not only has his popularity dipped nationally — part of the cost of holding the speaker’s gavel, some say — polls in his southeastern Wisconsin district have shown a mixed view of Ryan. Dem ironworker Randy Bryce has caught fire as a fundraiser with donors across the country using him as a vehicle to register their discontent with Ryan and GOP policies. But even with Bryce’s haul — $1.5 million through the end of September — and a possible Dem wave, some question how serious a threat he’d be to Ryan if the speaker seeks re-election. After all, that $1.5 million is nice, but Ryan had $10.4 million in the bank at the end of September. And his district is much more Republican than when the 1st was a swing seat. Ahead of November, Ryan still has challenges ahead. They include addressing the status of immigrant “Dreamers,” extending the short-term budget deal that staved off a partial government shutdown and tackling entitlement programs — not to mention dealing with Trump-induced drama. Senate Republicans also have signaled they aren’t interested in an entitlement overhaul, with some fearing opening that door could add to the challenging environment for Republicans next fall.

Two rising, eight mixed, one falling

Randy Bryce: The iron worker from Caledonia is a fundraising dynamo for a first-time candidate. But even with a national fundraising profile, Wisconsin insiders aren’t sure how serious a threat he is to House Speaker Paul Ryan — assuming the Janesville Republican runs for re-election,Elections watchers point to some early Bryce stumbles to suggest the former legislative candidate has a long way to go until he’s a serious candidate of substance and not just hype. Still, that hype helped kick his fundraising into high gear. It began with an introductory video that described his personal struggles and challenged Ryan to switch jobs with him. He then rides the attention from that video to nearly $1.5 million in receipts through the end of September, one of the best opening fundraising sprints for any Wisconsin House candidate. While he has a primary opponent in Cathy Myers, a Janesville school board member, Dem groups and politicians have largely coalesced around Bryce. Still, things aren’t always smooth. While Bryce seems to be enjoying the attention with his fundraising trips to the coasts, Republicans knock him for paying more attention to celebrities than his possible constituents. He also apologizes for a tweet about Ivanka Trump over her husband’s possible legal troubles. “Don’t worry @jaredkushner regardless of what might go down – she’ll be okay. #MuellerTime.” Bryce tweeted that along with a picture of Ivanka Trump sitting next to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. What’s more, Republicans enjoy knocking Bryce for his past financial troubles, including waiting to pay some outstanding child support until after he got into the race. Some Dems argue those financial difficulties make him seem more relatable for the average voters. Still, he’s won the support of progressives such as U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders. There’s also the speculation about whether Ryan will seek re-election in 2018. If he drops out, Bryce would start with a significant financial advantage over the rest of the field.

3 mixed, one falling

Falling

Corrections: It has been a steady stream of bad headlines out of the state’s youth prisons, including assaults of staff, “significant unrest” and questions about how young offenders have been treated. Then there’s the story of an incident in August when four juvenile inmates climbed onto the roof of a prison dorm, throwing rocks and pieces of shingles at guards below while brandishing metal pipes. That sent the Lincoln Hill School for Boys into lockdown weeks after a federal judge ordered changes to how the state treats those held there. One of the inmates tells an officer they’re targeting staff to make a statement. The public only cares about the staff, so the inmates are going to continue assaulting them until there’s no one left to work there, the inmate says. The roof incident comes after U.S. District Judge James Peterson in Madison orders changes at how the teen inmates are treated, sparking complaints from Gov. Scott Walker and AG Brad Schimel about a judge dictating prison procedures. But Peterson knocks the use of solitary confinement at the youth prison, saying “Ted Kaczynski has less restrictive confinement than the youth at Lincoln Hills.” Other changes he orders include curtailing the use of pepper spray and restraints, a ruling sparked by an ACLU lawsuit filed on behalf of four inmates alleging their rights were violated. There’s also an ongoing federal investigation that has identified two former guards as targets of the wide ranging probe. Beyond the troubles at Lincoln Hills, questions linger over whether it will become a political issue in 2018 for Walker. The guv has refused to visit the prisons, saying he has faith in the leadership at the Department of Corrections. But Dems slam the guv, arguing it’s a failure of leadership.

3 falling; Lincoln Hills 2 falling

David Clarke: After he served as a top surrogate for Donald Trump during the 2016 election, it didn’t seem like a question of if the Milwaukee County sheriff would end up in the administration. Instead, it seemed like a matter of where and when. Instead, the job he announces he was taking in the administration doesn’t pan out, he ends up resigning his post to join a pro-Trump group, and he leaves office with amid a trail of criticism over his oversight of the jail and his frequent absences from his day job. In May, Clarke announced on a conservative talk show that he had accepted a job as an assistant secretary in the Department of Homeland Security. But the office never confirms the offer, and in June a spokesman says Clarke has “rescinded his acceptance” of the position. The whole thing strikes insiders as odd, even as Clarke backers insist everything was lined up. National media obtain a letter the agency sent Clarke confirming him on his “tentative selection,” although his “appointment date is to be determined.” Once the administration job fades away, Clarke faces limited options back home. While a PAC forms to draft him into the U.S. Senate race, Wisconsin insiders question if he could win re-election as sheriff, let alone a statewide bid against Dem Tammy Baldwin. Ultimately, he resigns from the sheriff’s office in August and joins a pro-Trump group as he continues to serve as a surrogate for the president in conservative media.

1 rising, 1 mixed, 5 falling

Self-insurance: It was one of the core planks of Gov. Scott Walker’s budget: Move the state away from paying premiums to insurance companies to provide health insurance benefits for workers. Instead, the state would give pay employees’ health bills directly and take on the risk that costs could come in higher in any given year. But the plan immediately ran into problems in the Legislature, and the Joint Finance Committee unanimously votes to strip it from the budget before it goes to either house. To make the proposal more attractive, Walker tied the estimated $60 million in savings from his plan to funding for K-12 schools and pay raises for state employees. But lawmakers questioned the projected savings and said the move would be too risky. In addition to possibly taking a hit if health bills came in higher than expected, critics raised concerns about taking some 250,000 public employees out of the state’s insurance pools and the possibility that could drive up costs for other state residents. The Joint Finance action includes a series of directives to the Group Insurance Board to find the savings the administration had planned through the move to self-insurance. But Walker nixes those orders, writing in his veto message it is not appropriate for lawmakers to be so intimately involved in the process.

1 mixed, 3 falling

42nd Milwaukee Hmong New Year Celebration 🗓

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Wisconsin Exposition Center, 8200 West Greenfield Ave., West Allis, WI 53214

Contact: Diana Vang-Brostoff, 920.254.6879

Four decades ago in December, the first 1,000 Hmong refugees arrived in the U.S. and resettled in various cities including Milwaukee. This year, the Milwaukee Hmong-American community will proudly celebrate its 42 nd New Year in America.

“The Hmong New Year is a time for reviving our spirits. At this special event, there is something for everyone. It is a place for meeting with loved ones and to form new bonds with others. We have many vendors that carry a wide variety of ethnic foods, clothing, and much more,” said Junior Vue, Chairman of the Milwaukee Hmong New Year Planning Committee.

Traditionally, the celebration is a time for families to take a break from the year long and busy subsistence agricultural life. It is also a time for the singles to find their mates. Colorful traditional costumes, ball tossing and folk song exchanges are the most symbolic activities of the Hmong New Year Celebration. Such activities provide singles unique opportunities to interact and win over one another’s heart. Other activities such as bull fights and sports like kato, badminton, and spin top are also part of the fun.

The symbolic costume display and ball tossing will remain a major part of the 42 nd Milwaukee Hmong New Year Celebration. Nonetheless, the celebration has transformed to include activities like a woman’s pageant contest which emphasizes leadership and skill building, dancing and singing competitions, a fashion show coordinated by Malika Lor (a
local Hmong fashion designer), and many others. While there will be no bull fights, there will be scholarships given to students, awards given to the outstanding man and woman of the year, lots of shopping opportunities and numerous sponsors present to support the Hmong-American community such as U.S. Bank, Aurora Health Care, and Landmark Credit Union.

The event is hosted by the Milwaukee Hmong Consortium which consisted of leaders in the Hmong community and local Hmong non-profit agencies such as the Hmong American Friendship Association, Inc. and Shee Yee Community, Inc.

What: Milwaukee Hmong New Year Celebration Event
When: Dec. 2 nd and Dec. 3 rd(Opening Ceremony will take place on Dec. 2 nd at 10:15 a.m.)
Where: Wisconsin Exposition Center
8200 West Greenfield Ave.
West Allis, WI 53214

58th AD GOP primary candidates oppose raising gas tax, registration fees for roads

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58th AD GOP primary candidates oppose raising gas tax, registration fees for roads

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None of the four Republican candidates in the conservative 58th Assembly District would support a 5 cent gas tax increase — even if offset by tax cuts elsewhere.

Higher vehicle registration fees, the primary opponents agreed in separate interviews with WisPolitics.com this week, are also off the table as part of a long-term transportation fix.

But one candidate — Trump conservative Spencer Zimmerman — says tolling, specifically along the state’s southern border in an effort to target Illinois residents, is an option that should be explored.

Zimmerman, a 38-year-old chauffeur for Presidential Limousine Service and flight line technician at the Chicago Executive Airport, had first floated the idea back in 2015. Any vehicle with out-of-state license plates entering Wisconsin from the south, he says, would be subject to a $3 toll — although state residents would be exempt.

“I think it’s time that we make Illinois help pay for Wisconsin roads because Wisconsin drivers have been helping pay for Illinois roads for decades driving on the Illinois tollways,” said the now five-time candidate, who challenged U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, last year.

The other three, though, are largely opposed to tolling and instead call for finding greater efficiencies within the Department of Transportation.

That includes Steve Stanek, a 50 year-old West Bend hazardous waste transportation and environmental consulting business owner, who says the best thing the state can do is “be more efficient with our contracting process and our road building” rather than upping revenue.

Still, Stanek says he hasn’t ruled out tolling as an option, adding it’s something he needs to look into.

Stanek is the only GOP primary candidate in the race who has not previously run for office. But he did work on former U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Fitzgerald’s campaign in 2012, although Fitzgerald went on to lose a multi-candidate primary to former Gov. Tommy Thompson.

Of the others in the primary, Tiffany Koehler, 47 and a Slinger resident, ran for the seat in 2014, coming second in a three-way Republican primary to former Rep. Bob Gannon. And Rick Gundrum, a 61-year-old Village of Slinger trustee first elected in April 2009, has also served on the Washington County Board for the past 12 years. He also owns an audio and video production business — McKay Enterprises LLC.

Koehler over the last year worked as a legislative aide in Gannon’s office. That experience, she says, means she was “already doing the job” of taking care of the 58th AD, saying she would attend district events if Gannon had been unable to. After he passed away, she said, she continued to take care of the district until she took unpaid leave from her post to run for the seat.

“I know I have the relationships built here in the district with constituents, with business owners with other legislators… You need support if you want to get things done and I can get results based on — you know, I’m already doing the job,” she said.

The military veteran also says she’s for tax reform and supports eliminating the state income tax, adding that as a “fiscal hawk,” she thinks the “government is taking too much of our money.”

But Gundrum, a distant relative of appeals court judge and former state Rep. Mark Gundrum, says he’s different from the others because he’s served in office — and prioritized low tax rates and priority-based budgeting, moves he said have improved efficiencies and increased transparency.

“You know the other candidates will be saying that they are the most conservative and they should be elected because they are conservative,” he said. “But I am someone who has governed as a conservative. And like I said my record speaks for itself.”

Still, Zimmerman said while he lives in Janesville — but is currently eyeing a condo in Slinger — his experience growing up just north of the district as well as living in other places around the state and serving in the Air Force helps bring a “perspective that I would consider an advantage.”

He added the district needs a Trump conservative like himself “to carry on the policies of Bob Gannon,” noting that he supports term limits for lawmakers, as well as “strong tough on crime laws” to help “confront the crime wave that’s spilling over the border from Chicago” and legislation to ban sanctuary cities.

Zimmerman also knocked Koehler for “supporting Obamacare,” saying it’s a position that’s “not in line with the party.”

CNN in March of this year profiled Koehler, who was diagnosed two years ago with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, for her “change of heart” regarding the Affordable Care Act.

While she initially got health insurance through the Obamacare marketplace, she found the $400 monthly bill was too high, and opted for Medicaid under the state’s BadgerCare Plus program.

But Koehler this week said she doesn’t support the ACA — and she’s particularly against the individual mandate. Still, she said, she’s against having lifetime caps on health insurance and supports coverage for pre-existing conditions.

“Gov. Walker and Wisconsin got it right by expanding BadgerCare Plus and that helped me desperately when I needed it,” she said.

Meanwhile, Stanek said his connection with the community through involvement in service groups, sports and the Rotary Club, is one of his strongest assets as he seeks to represent the area.

A WisPolitics.com check of Stanek’s donation history showed he previously donated $3,000 to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s gubernatorial campaign in October 2010 when he battled Gov. Scott Walker for the seat; as well as $500 to former Democratic state Senator Jeff Plale in September 2010.

But Stanek said he felt compelled to donate to the two Dem candidates due to his past position with the Milwaukee-based Alliance Federated Energy, where his boss “essentially held two fundraisers” encouraging employees to donate to both campaigns.

“Those were business decisions at the time but I don’t think you can read anything into those,” he said, noting he’d also donated to other GOP campaigns, including Gannon’s and the state GOP. He later left that position to start his own business.

Koehler, meanwhile, largely donated to herself and various GOP state, county and congressional parties, in addition to one donation to Republican Scott Espeseth, who ran unsuccessfully for the state Assembly in 2014, losing to Rep. Daniel Riemer, D-Milwaukee.

Gundrum has no record of donating, while Zimmerman previously gave to himself and the Dane County Republican Party.

On other issues:

*Foxconn: The four all said they supported the state’s deal with the Taiwanese manufacturer, and none said they would look to make changes to the final contract Gov. Scott Walker and Foxconn Chairman and CEO Terry Gou signed off on last month.

*Constitutional carry: Zimmerman, Gundrum and Koehler said they would support a GOP effort to allow the carrying of a concealed weapon without a permit.

Stanek, a concealed carry permit owner, said he “fully supports” the concealed carry law as it is now, and would need to do more research on the bill before deciding if he backs it.

The primary is Dec. 19. The winner will go on to face Dem and former president and CEO of Glacier Hills Credit Union Dennis Degenhardt, of West Bend, in the general election on Jan. 16.

Hear the interviews, some of which were edited to delete comments made off the record:

*Zimmerman: https://soundcloud.com/wispolitics/171130_zimmerman/s-WiXNx

*Stanek: https://soundcloud.com/wispolitics/171130_stanek/s-jGaDc

*Koehler: https://soundcloud.com/wispolitics/171130_koehler/s-zLz9o

*Gundrum: https://soundcloud.com/wispolitics/171130_gundrum/s-fPuod

AARP Wisconsin: Tax credit will help offset out-of-pocket costs for WI’s unsung heroes: family caregivers

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Contact: Jim Flaherty

AARP Wisconsin

608-286-6308 or (cell) 608-698-0928

MADISON, WISCONSIN – Noreen Holmes of La Crosse knows all too well how fast the costs can add up for family caregivers.

Caregivers like Holmes put in long hours for little or no compensation, helping loved ones with daily tasks such as giving baths, dispensing medications, preparing meals, paying bills, and providing transportation to doctor’s appointments. Some even provide higher levels of care, such as wound treatment, dialysis support and feeding tube maintenance.

Every single day, more than half a million Wisconsinites and 40 million Americans take on these heroic challenges so that family members, relatives or friends can remain living independently as long as possible in their own homes and communities rather than being moved into costly long-term care institutions.

Holmes is a volunteer advocate for AARP Wisconsin, which will also testify today in favor of legislation that would create a $1,000 tax credit to help offset some of the personal costs caregivers incur while taking care of loved ones. The testimony will be given in favor of AB631/SB528 at a public hearing held by the Assembly Committee on Mental Health. AARP also supports AB629/SB518, which would create a uniform adult guardianship jurisdiction.

The tax credit bill, specifically, would create a nonrefundable individual income tax credit for certain expenses incurred by a family caregiver to assist a qualified family member, which AARP Wisconsin State Advocacy Director Helen Marks Dicks says is long overdue.

“Each year, Wisconsin’s 578,000 family caregivers provide about 538 million hours of care – worth an estimated $7 billion – to their parents, spouses, partners, and other adult loved ones,” Dicks said. “They provide this care while also keeping up with their own jobs, running their own households and trying to make ends meet.

“Caregivers do all of this while Wisconsinites are getting older, with thousands of Boomers retiring each day and fewer home health care workers available to take care of them. That’s why we at AARP believe that making small investments in caregivers right now will lead to big savings for Wisconsin and much better care for families down the road.

“Family caregiving impacts all of us at some point in our lives, and it’s high time we step up our game and do more to assist these heroes throughout Wisconsin. We hope state lawmakers will clearly understand that this caregiver tax credit is an important first step to providing this critical support,” Dicks said.

AFP WI: BREAKING: Governor Walker Signs Government Leasing Transparency Bill Into Law

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CONTACT: Joe Sangiorgio, [email protected]

MADISON, WI – Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin applauded Governor Scott Walker today for signing sweeping reform legislation that will give Wisconsin taxpayers more information about how state dollars are allocated for government leases.

“This commonsense law will arm Wisconsin taxpayers with new and improved information about how their money is spent,” said Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin State Director Eric Bott. “By bringing more transparency to government leases, we can avoid the kind of waste, fraud and abuse we saw under the Doyle administration and empower taxpayers to hold their government accountable. This law is a win for the cause of good government, pro-taxpayer reform in the Badger State.”

Under the new law, the Governor or the Secretary of the Department of Administration (DOA) are required to sign leases in excess of $500,000 per year. It also requires DOA to conduct a market comparison and a cost-benefit analysis before entering into a lease and gives the legislature passive review authority over state leases.

AFP-WI activists testified before an Assembly Committee hearing in support of the legislation earlier this year.

AFP-WI: “Extremely disappointed” in Baldwin’s vote against tax reform

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CONTACT: Eric Bott, [email protected]

MADISON, WI – Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin slammed U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin for voting against the Tax Cut and Jobs Act that will provide Wisconsin families and small businesses with much-needed tax relief. The free-market group has been strongly advocating for pro-growth, comprehensive tax reform all year through robust grassroots activism as well as television and digital advertisements.

“Once again, Senator Baldwin has put her far-left ideology over the best economic interests of her constituents,” said AFP-Wisconsin State Director Eric Bott. “Senator Baldwin had a clear choice today: to provide tax relief for the working men and women of Wisconsin or to preserve a rigged tax system that favors the wealthy and well-connected special interests. We are extremely disappointed she chose the latter and AFP-Wisconsin’s base of over 130,000 grassroots activists intend to hold her fully accountable for her vote in the coming year.”

AG Schimel: Major bust leads to 19 arrests for money laundering, bankruptcy fraud, and distributing heroin and fentanyl

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MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Today, the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) partnered with local and federal law enforcement and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin to charge and arrest 19 individuals for various drug, money laundering, and bankruptcy fraud offenses, including the distribution of heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine.

Attorney General Brad Schimel congratulated DCI agents and partner agencies on the success of the investigation.

“Once again DOJ’s DCI agents worked together with federal, state, and local law enforcement to take down a major crime organization that has been flooding southeastern Wisconsin with fentanyl, heroin, and guns,” said Attorney General Schimel. “Today’s bust will put a major dent in this criminal organization’s ability to prey on and profit off of people’s addiction. This is a significant win in the fight against the opioid epidemic and efforts to reduce gun violence.”

In the investigation, law enforcement also executed 17 federal search warrants in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa. Law enforcement also confiscated approximately 1.5 kilos of cocaine, .5 kilos of heroin, 21 guns, and an undetermined amount of cash.

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 998: Endorses Mitchell for governor

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Contact(s): Lis Smith, 224-567-9062

or

Robert Dempsey, 614-546-8377

Today, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 998 announced their support for Mahlon Mitchell’s candidacy for governor. Local 998 represents more than 1,100 members in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Kenosha and Sheboygan.

“Mahlon represents the change we need in Wisconsin, and he has the proven leadership skills to move our state forward,” President of the Amalgamated Transit Union Union Local 998 James Macon said. “He knows that Wisconsin’s quality of life depends on having modern, job-sustaining transit systems. He also understands that we need to grow our middle class by creating good-paying jobs, expanding access to affordable health care, and improving public schools across the state. For all of these reasons, ATU Local 998 is proud to have all hands working for Mahlon Mitchell in this race.”

Mitchell, a 20-year firefighter and President of the Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin, thanked ATU Local 998 for their support, and pledged to be a fighter for Wisconsins’ workers and middle class families as governor.

“I’m grateful for the support of the ATU Local 998 and the growing coalition of groups across the state supporting my candidacy for governor,” Mitchell said. “I will work every day to bring the change we need to Madison and make Wisconsin work for more of our people. Developing modern and safe transit systems is critical to the future of our economy, as families across Wisconsin rely on public transportation to get to work and to school every day. I’m proud to stand with our transit workers in this race, and will be a fighter for them as governor.”

In recent weeks, Mitchell has been endorsed by Congresswoman Gwen Moore, Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney, and the Operating Engineers Local 139.

About Mahlon Mitchell:

Mahlon Mitchell was born in Milwaukee and grew up in Delavan, Wisconsin. He now lives with his wife, April and two children, Sie’anna and Karson, in Fitchburg.

Mahlon followed in his older brother’s footsteps when he became a fire fighter in Madison twenty years ago. His two brothers are fire fighters in Atlanta and St. Paul. These careers came out of a family that instilled values of service and working for others.

This sense of service is also exemplified in Mahlon’s other activities. He was a counselor at the Wisconsin Alliance for Fire Safety’s Burn Camp, which he also directed for five years. This summer camp worked with burn-injured youth to help them cope with their unique situation and build a network of support.

Mahlon also worked as a street outreach coordinator with Briarpatch and Youth Services of Southern Wisconsin, where he linked at-risk youth with services from their community.

Recently, Mahlon was instrumental to passing two pieces of legislation that were a huge victory for fire fighters across the state. The Infectious Disease Presumption fought to make sure fire fighters are covered if they contract a disease or disability on the job. Additionally, the legislature passed a bill that ensures families and spouses of fire fighters who die in the line of duty will have their health insurance premiums covered.

When the fight over collective bargaining began in 2011, Mahlon led the fire fighters in a monumental stand of solidarity with other public servants. Despite being exempted from the bill, Mahlon and his fellow fire fighters marched on the Capitol with fellow working families that were threatened by the Budget Repair Bill.

Mahlon took the opportunity to travel the state as a fire fighter spreading the words about Scott Walker’s divisive policies.

In addition to his service in the community, Mahlon was a real estate agent for six years at First Weber in Madison. He currently serves as President of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin, being the youngest and first African American to serve in the post.

American Dairy Coalition: House Ag Committee Chairman Conaway speaks to American Dairy Coalition members

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Contact: LAURIE FISCHERLAURIE FISCHER

920-366-1880

[email protected]

During yesterday’s American Dairy Coalition’s (ADC) Annual Business Meeting, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Conaway stressed the importance of producers’ voices in pushing progress on immigration reform. As an industry, we must continue to share our story with elected officials. Share personal experiences, help your elected officials understand why current visa programs do not work for employee shortages and what your future looks like without access to reliable labor.

The American Dairy Coalition held its 2017 Annual Business Meeting for members on Wednesday, Dec. 13.  The meeting, attended by producers and allied businesses of the dairy industry from across the nation, featured a presentation by Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX). Rep. Conway briefed attendees on progress the Agriculture Committee has made on the upcoming Farm Bill and urged ADC to rally the dairy industry into a united front for the 2018 Farm Bill.  He reports that everything is on track for the Farm Bill to be brought to the House Floor early next year and the final Farm Bill to be completed by next Fall.
Rep. Conaway also addressed rising concerns over a lack of a reliable safety net tool for the dairy industry. He discussed new policy that is moving forward that will improve current tools dairy producers are using for risk management because of the continued loss of profitability due to depressed milk prices. ADC will release more details as they become available.
Finally, Rep. Conaway addressed concerns over exports. The Chairman visited Canada and reassured ADC Members that, in spite of the strength of Canadian dairy lobbyists, he feels there is still room to complete NAFTA.
In regard to immigration reform, Conaway supports Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and his work on the AG Act to create a new H2-C visa category for Guestworkers for the dairy and agriculture industry.  Rep. Conaway understands the need for reliable labor in the dairy industry and urges dairy producers to share their struggles with their elected officials. Immigration reform is a heavy lift and currently not the top priority of Congress, making it crucial our industry continues to reach out to our Washington, D.C. legislators over and over again.  A constant voice urging Congress to take up the difficult and controversial task of immigration reform is the only way to increase pressure on D.C. legislators to move something forward as quick as possible.

ADC Represents over 30,000 Dairy Producers from Across the Country The American Dairy Coalition will continue to represent dairy producers from across the nation in the coming year and is taking on high priority issues that face the dairy industry such as, ensuring a reliable labor force, increasing the sale of dairy products both domestically and overseas, actively engaging and advocating for members throughout the 2018 Farm Bill process and reducing over burdensome environmental regulations that do nothing more than cost our members additional dollars with no benefit to the environment. To learn more about the American Dairy Coalition and our membership opportunities, please contact us using the information below

American Federation of Teachers Local 212: Endorses Burns for Supreme Court

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Contact(s): David Weingrod
(414) 416-4708

or

Dr. Lisa Conley
(414) 765-0910

Milwaukee, WI – Today the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Local 212 announces their endorsement of Tim Burns for the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Local 212 President Dr. Lisa Conley states, “Economic insecurity and poverty are huge
obstacles to success for our students, many of whom are the first in their family to attend
college. It is hard for students to focus on their studies and to reach their career goals when they are struggling to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads.

That is why I’m pleased to announce Local 212’s endorsement of Tim Burns for the
Wisconsin Supreme Court. Tim understands the plight of many students and their families
as he experienced his family’s financial hardships while growing up. Those struggles have
shaped Tim’s values and the person that he is today.”

Local 212’s Committee On Political Education (COPE) Chair, David Weingrod emphasizes
that, “As a Justice, Tim Burns will look out for all Wisconsinites, regardless of race,
geographic region or income level. He will strive to ensure that the Wisconsin Supreme
Court is unbiased in its proceedings and that the Court works for the betterment of students, their school districts and communities, and working families across Wisconsin.”

AFT Local 212 has been the voice of the Milwaukee Area Technical College’s faculty, counselors and professional staff since 1930.

American Lung Association: Public health groups voice opposition to air quality reduction bills

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Contact: Dona Wininsky, [email protected], 262-703-4840

 

Brookfield, WI — A coalition of public health groups led by the American Lung Association in Wisconsin have voiced their opposition to legislation that would roll back state air laws that protect local communities from the negative health impacts of toxic pollutants.

“Senate Bills 457, 459, 463 and 466 and Assembly Bills 555, 558, 587, and 588 will collectively reduce air quality and increase the potential for negative health impacts in Wisconsin,” the coalition stated in a letter to members of the legislature. “We are writing to ask you to oppose these proposals.”

One of the bills would repeal all state-level air pollutant limits, which protect the public from hazardous air emissions not covered by the federal government, often from smaller businesses that operate in local communities. An estimated two-thirds of all sources emitting dangerous air pollutants are covered only by state laws.

“This proposal will likely impact public health in the neighborhoods of facilities using these chemicals, with children, the elderly and those with existing respiratory problems at the greatest risk,” said the groups in the letter. “Under these proposals, we could see an increase in the number of days children will be at risk for asthma attacks and emergency department visits.”

The coalition is made up of many large, state-wide public health organizations, including Gundersen Medical System, the Wisconsin Asthma Coalition, the Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Society for Respiratory Care, Wisconsin Allergy Society, the Wisconsin Environmental Health Network, the Wisconsin Association of Local Health Departments and Boards, and the Wisconsin Public Health Association.

“Air quality trends in Wisconsin have been improving in recent years. We should not reverse the progress we have made by increasing human exposure to toxic air pollutants.”

Americans for Prosperity Wisconsin: Gov. Walker signs Mining for America Act into law

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CONTACT: Eric Bott, [email protected]

Job-Creating Law Strongly Supported by AFP-WI Activists

MADISON, WI – Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin applauded Governor Scott Walker today for signing the Mining for America Act into law, repealing the Badger State’s long-standing moratorium on mining. The law also modernizes several outdated regulations that have beleaguered the state’s once-vibrant mining industry. AFP-Wisconsin mobilized its base of over 130,000 grassroots activists this year to contact their elected officials and encourage them to support the Mining for America Act.

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

“With his signature, Governor Walker has delivered an early Christmas present to the working men and women of Northern Wisconsin. This law will begin to bring back the good-paying, family-sustaining, blue-collar jobs that once supported the local economy and communities in the Northern part of our state. We also thank Senator Tom Tiffany and Rep. Rob Hutton for ensuring that Northern Wisconsin can again safely and responsibly develop its natural resources.”

Background:

AFP-WI Moving Forward with Accountability Effort on Mining for America Act

AFP-WI Thanks Sen. Pat Testin for Championing Responsible Mining Regulation Reforms

AFP-WI Praises Assembly on Passage of Mining for America Act

AFP-WI Applauds Key Committee Members Who Voted to Support Mining for America Act

Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin Backs Mining for America Act

 

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) exists to recruit, educate, and mobilize citizens in support of the policies and goals of a free society at the local, state, and federal level, helping every American live their dream – especially the least fortunate. AFP has more than 3.2 million activists across the nation, a local infrastructure that includes 36 state chapters, and has received financial support from more than 100,000 Americans in all 50 states. For more information, visit www.AmericansForProsperity.org

###

Ashland School District: Reinstates teacher suspended for personal Facebook post after ACLU asserts First Amendment rights

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CONTACT: Cassandra Bowers, ACLU of Wisconsin, 414-272-4032 x 217, [email protected]

MILWAUKEE – The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin applauds the Ashland School District for its decision to reinstate an elementary school teacher who was placed on administrative leave for views she expressed in a personal Facebook post about the shooting death of her cousin, a Native American student, by a local sheriff’s deputy.

In a letter sent November 30, 2017, the ACLU of Wisconsin said Sandra Gokee’s Facebook post was a form of constitutionally-protected speech, and requested that she be allowed to return to her job teaching the Ojibwe language to Ashland elementary school students without any conditions on her use of private social media accounts.

“The U.S. Supreme Court has long held that the government cannot fire people for exercising their First Amendment right to free speech – and that is exactly what Sandra Gokee was doing when she posted to Facebook about her cousin’s shooting by police,” said ACLU of Wisconsin attorney Asma Kadri. “Sandra Gokee has a right to express her personal beliefs about matters of public concern without fear of retaliation or punishment from the government.”

“After the shooting death of her cousin, Sandra Gokee turned to her personal Facebook page to express her grief and invite a conversation about police violence against Native Americans – and she had every right to do so,” said ACLU of Wisconsin Executive Director Chris Ott. “No one wants to live in a world where the government can police our personal communications and retaliate against us for views it doesn’t like. Thankfully, the Ashland School District is returning Sandra Gokee to the classroom, reflecting an important recognition of the First Amendment rights of its employees.”

Sandra Gokee stated: “I was heartbroken by my cousin’s death and hoped that by sharing my grief and anger, I could invite a dialogue about the epidemic of police violence against communities of color and the greater topic of injustices that Indigenous communities have faced and still face today. Instead, I was removed from the classroom, and may have lost a job I love. I stood up against injustice because I want people – including the children – in our communities to know that they can speak out against injustice and share their feelings, even if those feelings are raw and make some people uncomfortable. Without discomfort there is no societal change or growth.”

The ACLU’s letter noted that the issue of police relations within communities of color is a pressing problem around the country, especially police shootings. While the issue has deep, historical roots for all communities of color, Gokee’s posts and subsequent comments reflect the unique history of Native American interaction with European American authority. For example, on November 13, 2017, CNN reported on CDC data showing that Native American people are three times more likely to be killed by police intervention than whites and at a rate 12% higher than African Americans.

“The issue of police shootings is one of the most pressing and emotional issues throughout Indian country. Indian people should be encouraged to express their views, not punished for it. In fact, all of us, Indian and non-Indian, should be discussing this problem,” said Stephen Pevar, Senior Staff Attorney with the ACLU National Racial Justice Program.

A copy of the letter the ACLU sent to district administrators is available here: http://aclu-wi.org/media/ashland-school-district-reinstates-teacher-suspended-personal-facebook-post

To read more about Sandra’s story, visit: http://aclu-wi.org/issue/sandys-story

Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin: Elects new Board slate for 2018

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 21, 2017

Contact: Kyle Schwarm, 608-244-5883

[email protected]      

ABC of Wisconsin elects new Board slate for 2018

MADISON, WI — Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC) of Wisconsin members have elected Greg Jones, Dave Jones, Inc., Monona, as chair-elect of the organization’s Board of Directors. Jones is president and CEO of Dave Jones, Inc., but he has worked all aspects of the company, including laborer, plumber, project manager and general manager.

Jones will succeed Dan Bertler, Supreme Structures, Fitchburg, as chair in 2019. Bertler became chair-elect a year ago and will serve as chair of the Board of Directors in 2018. Dan has worked in construction since 1988 and has roughly 25 years of experience as a general contractor and commercial builder.

The ABC of Wisconsin membership also elected three new members to the Board of Directors, including: Kevin Day, Corporate Contractors, Inc. (CCI), Beloit; Dan Gotto, Total Electric Service, Inc., Marshfield; and Steve Slawinski, O’Neil, Cannon, Hollman, DeJong & Laing, S.C., Milwaukee. They replace outgoing board members who have completed their terms, including: Bill Monfre (past chair), Quality Insulators, Inc., Green Bay; Stan Johnson, A.C.E. Building Service, Inc., Manitowoc; and Robb Steiner, Steiner Electric, Inc., West Bend.

The ABC of Wisconsin Board of Directors represents all specialties in the construction industry, primarily commercial and industrial, advocating for the merit philosophy and free enterprise in construction. ABC of Wisconsin is the nation’s largest ABC chapter.

Attorney General Schimel and UW System: Team up with Adapt Pharma to expand Narcan availability on University campuses

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MADISON, Wis. – Attorney General Brad Schimel and University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross are expanding access and affordability of the live-saving opiate antidote, NARCAN® Nasal Spray, through a partnership with the drug’s manufacturer, Adapt Pharma, Inc. that was announced today.

“Earlier this year, DOJ partnered with Adapt Pharma to expand NARCAN® access in Wisconsin and once again we are partnering to extend NARCAN®’s reach,” said Attorney General Schimel. “University of Wisconsin System President Cross is committed to the health and well-being of Wisconsin college students, and this new partnership will allow college campuses to have this potentially life-saving medication at the ready.”

Law enforcement and campus security across nine campuses will be provided NARCAN® Nasal Spray 4mg at no cost, including: UW-Eau Claire, UW-Green Bay, UW-La Crosse, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Platteville, UW-River Falls, UW-Stevens Point, UW-Stout, and UW-Superior. UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Parkside and UW-Whitewater have other partnerships in place for NARCAN® doses ensuring that all UW campuses have the antidote available.

“This will be a critical resource for our campus communities, and we are very appreciative of the partnership with the Department of Justice to receive NARCAN® from Adapt Pharma. The UW System has been actively working with recovery stakeholders in Wisconsin to demonstrate our shared commitment in the fight against opioid use, and this is an important tool for our officers,” said University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross.

NARCAN® Nasal Spray is an FDA-approved naloxone in a nasal spray for the emergency treatment of prescription opioid, fentanyl and heroin-related overdose. NARCAN® Nasal Spray is a ready-to-use, needle-free, 4mg dose of naloxone in a single spray. Its design makes it easy for both medical and non-medical personnel to administer a concentrated naloxone dose to restore breathing quickly to those who are experiencing an opioid overdose. The use of naloxone in Wisconsin has been widespread in recent years thanks to the work of Rep. John Nygren and his Heroin, Opioid Prevention and Education (H.O.P.E.) legislation, which has expanded law enforcement training and access to the life-saving drug.

“The NARCAN® Nasal Spray for Schools program demonstrates the important role academic institutions have in educating students about opioid misuse and the risk of opioid pain medications,” said Mike Kelly, President of U.S. Operations at Adapt Pharma. “We applaud the University of Wisconsin System’s leadership in preparing its campuses for an opioid overdose emergency.”

Attorney General Schimel: AG Coalition reach $13.5 million consumer settlement with Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc.

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MADISON, Wis. – Attorney General Brad Schimel and 50 other state attorneys general have reached a $13.5 million settlement with Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (BIPI) regarding its alleged off-label marketing and deceptive and misleading representations made in its promotion of four of its prescription drugs: Micardis®, Aggrenox®, Atrovent®, and Combivent®.

“Collectively, state attorneys general are well positioned to get the attention of large corporations and hold them accountable for alleged violations of the law,” said Attorney General Schimel. “This settlement demonstrates how these types of multistate actions are an efficient use of state resources that result in positive end results for Wisconsin consumers.”

The settlement resolves allegations that BIPI engaged in a course of trade or commerce that constitutes unfair, deceptive, or misleading practices, by making misrepresentations about the above-mentioned prescription drugs and by representing that the prescription drugs had sponsorship, approval, characteristics, ingredients, uses, benefits, quantities, or qualities that they did not have. Specifically, the states allege BIPI: (1) misrepresented that its antiplatelet drug, Aggrenox®, was effective for many conditions “below the neck”, such as heart attacks and congestive heart failure, and that it was superior to Plavix® without evidence to substantiate that claim; (2) misrepresented that Micardis® protected patients from early morning strokes and heart attacks and treated metabolic syndrome; (3) misrepresented that Combivent® could be used as a first-line treatment for bronchospasms associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); and (4) falsely stated that Atrovent® and Combivent® could be used at doses that exceeded the maximum dosage recommendation in the product labeling and that they were essential for treatment of COPD.

The Consent Judgment requires BIPI to ensure that its marketing and promotional practices do not unlawfully promote these prescription drug products. Specifically, BIPI will:

· Limit product sampling of the four drugs to health care providers whose clinical practice is consistent with the product labeling;

· Refrain from offering financial incentives for sales that may indicate off-label use of any of the four drugs;

· Ensure clinically relevant information is provided in an unbiased manner that is distinct from promotional materials; and

· Provide that requests for off-label information regarding any of the four drugs are referred to BIPI’s Medical Division.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia are participating in the settlement.*

*Due to a change in Arizona law, the Arizona settlement does not include certain injunctive terms related to off-label marketing.

Attractive culture key for millennials, business leaders say

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At the New North Summit in Green Bay, business leaders highlighted the importance of creating a company culture that’s attractive to millennials.

Such a culture involves developing a mission that goes beyond just making money, according to Mike Haddad, president and CEO of Schreiber Foods.

“It is the physical environment, it’s the social adjacencies, it’s the tools that they need to fulfill their potential,” Haddad said yesterday. “More and more today, people coming into the workforce want to know that their organization not only allows them to fulfill their potential, but are good stewards to the community, good stewards to the earth — and this is not squishy, this is good business.”

He noted that 45 percent of Green Bay-based Schreiber Foods’ employees are millennials, but says “it’s a sin to homogenize.”

“There are so many different backgrounds and experiences and beliefs in that certain age group,” Haddad said. “But I do think in general that they place a higher value on knowing that the company they work for stands for something.”

Kate Burgess, CEO for Green Bay’s Elevate97 marketing firm, has thought a lot about how to attract millennial talent for information technology, design and creative.

“Millennials want more than just a paycheck,” she said. “They want to connect to a company that has a purpose — show it, and it will help retain.”

See more at WisBusiness.com.

Baldwin Campaign: Politico: The top 10 races of 2018

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This week Politico published their Top 10 Senate Races of 2018 — and Tammy is on it. That means we’re in one of the most vulnerable elections in the country. We’re already the #1 spending target of special interests, and this is only going to encourage them to spend more.

If we’re going to make sure Tammy doesn’t lose against this outside spending, we have to work hard and smart. We know we’re going to have less money to spend, so our team has put together a smart plan that leverages grassroots organizers, smart advertising, and new digital tools. But, we still have to work hard to raise the money we do need. This grassroots team has never let us down before, and we’re counting on you now.

We’re just days away from the end of the year, and there’s no two ways about it — we’re about to fall short of our $85,000 goal for our FEC deadline. Donate $5, or whatever you can, to put us back on track and make sure Tammy has a fighting chance to win reelection.

In addition to this new ranking, an independent analysis found that we have had more outside money spent against us than any other Senator up for reelection. And we know why. We’ll let you in on a little secret — special interests don’t like Tammy. She’s fought her entire career to hold bad actors who take advantage of working folks accountable. That’s why people like the Koch brothers are willing to spend millions before she officially has an opponent.

But, Tammy’s a fighter. And we know you are too. The best way we can fight back is to hit our $85,000 end of year goal. Because when the FEC makes our fundraising numbers public, we want special interests groups to know that we aren’t backing down.

Give $5, or whatever makes sense for you, to send a message to the Koch brothers and prove that we’ve got Tammy’s back. Time’s running out to hit our End-of-Year FEC goal.

Baldwin joins growing list of Senate Dems calling on Franken to resign

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin today called on U.S. Sen. Al Franken to resign, joining a growing list of Senate Dems calling on the Minnesota senator to step aside.

The statement comes after a Politico report this morning that another woman, identified only as a former Democratic congressional aide, said Franken had tried to forcibly kiss her in 2006. That allegation, which Franken denied, is the seventh one levied against the former comedian.

“I believe it is best for Senator Franken to resign,” Baldwin, D-Madison, said in a tweet today.

Franken’s office, meanwhile, announced today the senator will make an announcement tomorrow.

Baldwin’s statement came after at least six female Dem senators today called on Franken to resign: Kirsten Gillibrand of New York; Claire McCaskill of Missouri; Patty Murray of Washington; Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire; Kamala Harris of California; and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii. They join a handful of House Dems who have also called on Franken to step aside.

Franken and other senators had previously called for a Senate Ethics Committee investigation into his behavior after allegations first surfaced last month, a move also supported by Baldwin. The investigation is already underway, according to national media reports.

A Baldwin spokeswoman did not respond to a question regarding why Baldwin is now calling for Franken’s resignation.

Baldwin also previously said she would donate $20,000 to charity to match the donations she had received from Franken’s PAC.

Berge campaign: Licensed professional counselor announces her candidacy for Eau Claire City Council District 1

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Contact: [email protected]

or

[email protected]

Emily Berge, a Licensed Professional Counselor, has declared her candidacy for Eau Claire City Council. She has filed her Declaration of Candidacy, as well as her Nomination Papers, so she can be on the ballot for the April 3rd Spring Election. Emily is running for District 1, which is the Northside of Eau Claire.

Emily has lived in Eau Claire for 16 years; she and her husband, along with their two children, have lived in district 1 for the last nine years. Emily earned her master’s degree from UW-Stout in Mental Health Counseling in 2006, and has been working in the community as a counselor ever since. She has worked in area medical facilities, mental health facilities, schools, and with businesses as a Licensed Professional Counselor. She now owns her own private practice in Eau Claire.

“With my counseling background, I know how to ask questions and seek out people’s experiences. I truly appreciate the process of dialogue and understanding. As someone who has grown increasingly frustrated by our elected officials not seeking out their constituents thoughts or even listening to those who do speak up, I think it is time for me to be the change I want to see.”
Over the last year, Emily has become more civically engaged and has organized events to increase civic engagement among her community members. She looks forward to continuing this trend of bridging the gap between decision makers and the citizens of Eau Claire. If elected, she will represent the Northside in particular and will focus on hearing what her constituents have to say.

Learn more about Emily Berge for Eau Claire City Council at:
https://emilyberge4eauclai.wixsite.com/eb4ec
Connect to the campaign on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/emilyberge4eauclaire/

Bill Kaplan: Tax cuts pass under dark clouds

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

Senate consideration of the GOP tax cuts on Friday was overshadowed by dark clouds. Special Counsel Robert Mueller accepted a guilty plea from disgraced National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who pled guilty to lying to the FBI. Then Flynn dropped a bombshell: “My guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the Special Counsel’s office reflect a decision I made in the best interests of my family and of our country.” The plea agreement suggests more to come. Who directed Flynn to talk to the Russians? Was Trump trying to obstruct justice by leaning on and then firing FBI Director James Comey?

More clouds. The GOP-led Congress went through a pretense of regular order to consider and vote on the tax cuts. The House and Senate bills were drafted behind closed doors. There were no hearings with expert testimony, no Treasury Department analysis, nor was there any interest in working with congressional Democrats, and the tax cuts were jammed through Congress in a pell-mell manner. Then there were the lies.

House GOP Speaker Paul Ryan said that the nation faced “a crushing burden of debt, which will take down our economy.” Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell agreed: “I think this level of national debt ($20 trillion) is dangerous and unacceptable. My preference on tax reform is that it be revenue neutral.” Just posturing. On the eve of Senate consideration of the tax cuts the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) said the Senate GOP bill would add $1 trillion to the national debt. And, the JCT dismissed as wishful thinking that tax cuts would lead to a super-charged economy, magically covering the full cost. It gets worse.

The Senate tax cuts are mostly for GOP donors (Washington Post), corporations, pass-through businesses and the rich – peanuts for the rest of us. The JCT reports that most folks earning less than $75,000 will actually pay higher taxes by 2027. Why? The Senate tax cuts are temporary for individuals and families, but permanent for corporations. What about pass-throughs?

Wisconsin GOP Senator Ron Johnson, always a showboat, made a big to-do about standing up for Main Street pass-throughs. However, the New York Times opined: “About 70 percent of all pass-through income goes to people in the top 1 percent of Americans who receive any income whatsoever.” Johnson pressured McConnell to agree to more tax cuts for pass-throughs — $114 billion (Washington Post). How much will Johnson and Trump benefit from their pass-through assets – and what about regular folks?

The Senate tax cuts passed early Saturday 51-49. Johnson voted yes, while Wisconsin Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin voted no. Baldwin earlier said that the GOP bill was a “tax giveaway to the top 1 percent and powerful corporations.” Worst of all the tax cuts will increase the debt, lead to more inequality and limit the federal response to future economic crises. Moreover, it will lead to cuts in Medicare, Social Security and domestic spending. And, still no budget. One more dark cloud – a possible government shutdown. Soon.

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

Bill Kaplan: Tax cuts will tie our hands

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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, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Wisconsin GOP Senator Ron Johnson live in the 1920s. Tax cuts aplenty, big budget cuts and a minimal role for the federal government. Trump is out of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”, a corrupt empty-headed narcissistic tycoon. Ryan acts like 1920s Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon, obsessed with cutting taxes for the rich. And, Johnson is straight from Sinclair Lewis’s “Babbitt”, a businessman uncaring about regular folks.

Back to the present. The budget remains a question mark. On Thursday, Congress kicked the can down the road, passing just a two week spending deal to avert a shutdown. All Wisconsin GOP members of Congress and Wisconsin Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin voted yes. Democratic Representatives Ron Kind and Gwen Moore were opposed (Democrat Mark Pocan, recovering from surgery, didn’t vote). Trump said if a shutdown happens he would “blame the Democrats”. However, the GOP is in charge everywhere. This is not governing.

And, neither are the tax cuts speeding through the GOP-led Congress. In September, Trump lied: “(T)ax reform will protect low-income and middle-income households, not the wealthy and well-connected”. Ryan and Johnson peddled similar nonsense. On Sunday, the Washington Post reported: “As top lawmakers from the House and Senate now rush to complete negotiations to push the tax plan into law, it amounts to a massive corporate tax cut, with uneven – and temporary – benefits to the middle class that could end up increasing taxes for many working families in future years.” The rich, including Trump, make out like bandits.

Moreover, the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) said the Senate tax cuts would add $1 trillion to the debt. Johnson attacked the JCT. However, the New York Times exposed Johnson’s premise: “Public statements and messaging documents obtained by the New York Times show a concerted push by Republican lawmakers to discredit a nonpartisan agency (JCT) they had long praised”. Trump, Ryan and Johnson will use the debt created by the tax cuts to demand cuts in Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid and other domestic spending. Ryan is already reaching for our wallets: “We’re going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform (cuts), which is how you tackle the debt and deficit.” Chutzpah!

Make no mistake, Trump and the GOP-led Congress are pushing budget and tax cuts that will tie our hands. Costs for hurricanes, massive fires and other natural disasters are well over $100 billion, with much more to come (NYT). Climate change is real and the bills will be eye-popping. And, Trump can’t tweet away the boom and bust cycles of capitalism. But doing away with the economic tools to mitigate a recession means a 1930s-style Great Depression in the future.

Finally, the tax cuts will put a stake in the heart of any possible infrastructure program to rebuild roads, bridges, mass transit, water and sewer works. It’s all a scam. Take from regular folks and give to the rich. And, our hands will be tied to solve future problems.

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

Bill Kaplan: The GOP is morally bankrupt

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

The Senate election in Alabama, imminent final passage of tax giveaways by the GOP-led Congress, Trump’s continued sabotage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and threatened cuts to Medicare, Social Security and other domestic spending signal the moral bankruptcy of the GOP. Honorable and principled conservatives need to consider a new conservative party.

Trump and the Republican National Committee pulled out all the stops in supporting defeated Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore, despite multiple credible accusations that Moore had molested children. Wisconsin GOP leaders, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senator Ron Johnson and Governor Scott Walker merely called for Moore to “drop out.” Other troubling issues were ignored by them.

The Washington Post opined: “He (Moore) had long stood for lawlessness and disorder. He called for ‘homosexual conduct’ to be outlawed, said a Muslim should not be seated in Congress and waxed nostalgic for the era of slavery.” Not a peep from most GOP national and Wisconsin leaders. They should have learned from President George Bush in 1991.

Back then, David Duke, former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, was the GOP candidate for Louisiana governor. Bush hit a moral home run: “When someone has a long record, an ugly record of racism and of bigotry, that record cannot simply be erased by the glib rhetoric of a political campaign. So I believe David Duke is an insincere charlatan.  I believe he’s attempting to hoodwink the voters of Louisiana, I believe he should be rejected for what he is and what he stands for.” Duke endorsed Trump in 2016, who disavowed Duke’s support, only after much criticism. There’s more.

The final GOP tax bill, barring a miracle, will be passed by Congress shortly, with near-unanimous Republican support, including all Wisconsin GOP legislators (also supported by Walker). The New York Times editorialized: “Most Americans know that the Republican tax bill will widen economic inequality by lavishing breaks on corporations and the wealthy while taking benefits from the poor and the middle class. What many may not realize is that growing inequality helped create the bill in the first place.” The top 1 percent – GOP donors – got what they wanted!

The GOP tax bill will also escalate the GOP effort to eviscerate the ACA by repealing enforcement of the individual mandate. The Washington Post said: “The individual mandate is meant to spur everyone to join the insurance pool.” And, the ACA provides generous financial help for those who can’t afford health coverage. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported that repealing enforcement of the mandate would lead to 13 million more uninsured and a 10 percent increase in insurance premiums. All on top of Trump’s decreasing the ACA enrollment period by half and gutting outreach.

Politico reported: “Behind Trump’s plan to target the federal safety net. Under the banner of welfare reform, the administration is eyeing changes to health care, food stamps, housing and veterans programs.” Moreover, Ryan vows to repeal ACA, and cut Medicare and Social Security. The GOP is morally bankrupt.

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

Bill Kraus: It’s all about the money. Lots of money.

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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 increasingly likely that the total price tag from all players in the 2018 governor’s race will be more than $100 million.

How could that happen?

Who is responsible?

The list of culprits is as long as that in Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express.”

It started with the Supreme Court in its 19th century proclamation that organizations were people and entitled to the free speech privileges of the 10th Amendment.

Every Supreme Court decision on this subject since 1886 has affirmed or expanded on this ruling.

Since then Richard Nixon’s paranoia spawned the Watergate reforms that created PACs and brought in another group of big spenders with free speech rights.

Herb Kohl proved to Wisconsin politicians that money is more important than people in elections in his 1988 campaign.

Barack Obama blew past the attempt to fund presidential campaigns with public money. Wisconsin passed and quickly abolished an attempt to do the same for state Supreme Court races.

The county and district party chairs who once ran most political campaigns were pushed aside by the campaign management business; media experts and pollsters became standard equipment and made TV station owners rich.

The radicals took over the political parties, and the boomers gave up on politics and political organizations.

By 2017 Tony Evers, the school teacher, told everyone he was going to spend $25 million to get elected governor. Dana Wachs said his budget is $20 million. Can Matt Flynn be far behind? And only their bankers know how much Kurt Kober and Andy Gronik are willing to spend to be the next—it’s nobody’s money but mine—Herb Kohl copycat.

And we know from his previous campaigns that the sky is the limit for the incumbent Scott Walker who set spending records in his recall and re-election campaigns.

It adds up pretty quickly to $100 million or more.

And, thanks to serial weakening of laws that tracked the money and revealed its sources nobody will ever know how much is really spent and by whom.

All we know for sure is that it isn’t you or me.

Merry Christmas.

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

Birthday fundraiser for Senator Hansen 🗓

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WHEN: December 18 

5:00-7:00 pm 

WHERE: The Bar 606 Lime Kiln Rd,

Green Bay, WI 

 

Board of Commissioners of Public Lands: $15 million approved for community projects

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

Madison, Wisconsin — The Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) today approved nearly $15 million in State Trust Fund Loans to support fourteen community projects in Wisconsin.  Board Chair Brad Schimel and Commissioner Doug La Follette voted in favor of the loans with Commissioner Matt Adamczyk voting against them.

The BCPL approved the following loans:

  • Baraboo School District, Columbia and Sauk Counties / Finance high school renovation and construction / $1,960,000
  • Town of Chimney Rock, Trempealeau County / Finance 2016 and 2017 floor repairs, $300,000
  • Clark County / Finance road construction / $1,800,000
  • City of Green Bay, Brown County / Finance neighborhood redevelopment / $500,000
  • Town of Harrison, Grant County / Finance roadwork / $350,000
  • Village of Kohler, Sheboygan County / Finance capital equipment and street projects / $610,000
  • City of Menomonie, Dunn County / Finance TID #15 development expenses / $500,000
  • City of Monroe, Green County / Finance TID #9 land acquisition / $1,850,000
  • Village of Pewaukee, Waukesha County / Purchase dump/plow truck / $195,000
  • City of Sun Prairie, Dane County / Finance infrastructure projects / $3,700,000
  • Trempealeau County / Finance road construction / $1,840,600
  • Trempealeau County / Purchase squad vehicles / $132,000
  • Trempealeau County / Finance courthouse upgrades / $757,760
  • Village of Whiting, Portage County / Finance roadwork and associated utility costs / $350,000

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.

# # #

Board of Commissioners of Public Lands: Approves $1.8 million for community projects

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

MADISON – The Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) today approved $1.8 million in State Trust Fund Loans to support seven community projects in Wisconsin.  Board Chair Brad Schimel and Commissioner Doug La Follette voted in favor of the loans with Commissioner Matt Adamczyk voting against them.

The BCPL approved the following loans:

  • City of Beaver Dam, Dodge County / Purchase capital equipment / $170,000
  • City of Lodi, Columbia County / Finance TID #4 economic development project / $500,000
  • City of Lodi, Columbia County / Finance TID #4 economic development project / $150,000
  • Town of Reid, Marathon County / Construct garage / $50,000
  • City of Waupaca, Waupaca County / Finance street and public works projects / $600,000
  • City of Waupaca, Waupaca County / Purchase capital equipment and finance public works projects / $150,000
  • Village of Woodville, St. Croix County / Finance roadwork / $180,00

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.

Bryce campaign: Even Speaker Ryan doesn’t think he can beat Bryce

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

Racine, Wisconsin — After a year of defending and enabling the worst abuses of Donald Trump and pushing a massive tax giveaway for corporations and the wealthy, it appears that even Paul Ryan has realized that he can’t beat a US Army veteran, cancer survivor, and iron worker who will put the priorities of hard working Americans first.

“We knew Paul Ryan was too afraid to stand up to Donald Trump, but now it appears that he’s too afraid to face the voters of his own district as well,” said Randy Bryce. “Ryan must be seeing the same thing we are: his poll numbers are dropping, while our campaign has caught fire.”

A recent survey conducted by the Global Strategy Group showed that Ryan’s poll numbers are tanking at home, with 47 percent of voters in WI-1 saying they view Ryan negatively, compared to just 46 percent with a positive impression — a net drop of 9 points since August. Despite having a fraction of the Speaker’s name recognition, Bryce is already within striking distance of Ryan, trailing 46 percent to 40 percent. When voters learn about Randy Bryce, he pulls into the lead.

“Ryan would rather retire than be held accountable for what he’s done, but one way or another, Paul Ryan will be out of a job in 2018,” said Bill Hyers, chief strategist.

Bryce Campaign: Randy Bryce campaign goes viral with second campaign video

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

“WE CARE, ABOUT EVERYBODY — AND THEY DON’T”

Randy Bryce Campaign Goes Viral with Second Campaign Video

In 24 hours, campaign’s latest video earns nearly 1 million views

Caledonia, WI: Randy Bryce’s insurgent campaign for Wisconsin’s First Congressional District has released its second video, explaining the clear difference between the movement for change fueling @IronStache’s insurgent campaign, and that of the ultimate DC establishment insider Speaker Paul Ryan — “We care about everybody, and they don’t.”

The video message has exploded across the internet, galvanizing a viral following of nearly 1,000,000 views in just 24 hours.

In the video, Bryce explains why “swinging the massive arm of change” back toward working people is needed now more than ever: right-wing ideologues and Washington insiders like Speaker Paul Ryan reward their powerful friends and corporate donors — while offering nothing for middle class and working families. “Because its worth the fight,” Bryce declares.

The video can be found here

The video has resonated powerfully out of the gates, with swift and visceral reaction. The PCCC tweeted that, “It’s time to take back the House — and @IronStache is going to help us do just that.” Democracy for America declared on Twitter, “We’re excited to support @IronStache, a candidate who knows what fighting for all working people truly means.” And in response to the video, comedian and activist Patton Oswalt wrote, “The Stache Is Coming.”

Patton Oswalt
“We launched our campaign because everyday people are sick and tired of Washington DC and the games being played with our retirements, our savings, and our futures,” said Bryce. “Tens of thousands of people quickly joined our movement ever since. The enormous support we received after launching this video is humbling, and is a testament to the passion sweeping Wisconsin and the Nation. We are ready for a change — to repeal and replace Paul Ryan.”

Randy Bryce is a Union Ironworker, Cancer Survivor, and Community Activist. After launching his campaign in June, Bryce reported raising $1.5 million dollars through the third financial quarter of 2017. He has received countless endorsements from organized labor, national progressive organizations, and grassroots leaders. Local and national elected officials–including America’s most popular elected official Senator Bernie Sanders–have joined Bryce’s movement to repeal and replace Paul Ryan.

See samples of reaction to the Bryce’ campaign latest video here:

PCCC

Democracy for America

Working Families Party

Bureau of Transportation Safety Traffic Records Coordinating Committee meeting 🗓

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The STATE of WISCONSIN TRAFFIC RECORDS COORDINATING COMMITTEE

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017
1:00 PM to 3:00 PM

4802 Sheboygan Ave – DOT-Hill Farms Building

Room 364
Madison, WI

1. Introductions, housekeeping, attendance

2. Approval of previous meeting minutes
3. FFY17 project review from grantees
4. FFY18 project progress reports and quarterly review documents
5. Strategic Highway Safety Plan committee introduction
6. New business
7. Adjourn

Burns campaign: Congressman Pocan endorses Tim Burns for the Wisconsin Supreme Court

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Contact: Amanda L. Brink
[email protected]
Twitter: @BurnsforWI
facebook.com/Burns4WI
www.BurnsForWisconsin.com

Madison, Wisconsin – Congressman Mark Pocan 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. There are currently three announced candidates for the seat – Tim Burns, Rebecca Dallet and Michael Screnock. The primary will be held on February 20th, 2018 and will narrow the field to 2 candidates who will advance to the April 3rd general election.

The following is a statement from Congressman Pocan:

“2018 is our year. Democrats are energized and are working hard to lead the resistance and take back Wisconsin. That especially includes taking back our state’s highest court by electing a progressive to the bench this April.

“That is why today, I’m proud to announce my endorsement of Tim Burns for Wisconsin’s next Supreme Court Justice.

“Our courts help shape our economy and political system, and Wisconsin needs a Supreme Court Justice who will bring change to our state’s highest court. As a Justice, Tim Burns will be a champion of progressive values. He will fight to ensure our courts work for all Wisconsinites, regardless of race or income level and he will not just be another rubber stamp for Scott Walker’s agenda.

“Today, I’m asking Wisconsinites from Kenosha to Ashland, to join me in supporting Tim.”

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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 chaired 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.

Burns campaign: Congressman Steve Kagen, M.D. endorses Tim Burns for Wisconsin Supreme Court

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CONTACT: Amanda L. Brink
[email protected]

APPLETON, WI – Former Congressman Steve Kagen, M.D. announced his endorsement of Tim Burns for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. While serving in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010, Dr. Kagen guaranteed access to healthcare as a right, not a privilege, by outlawing discrimination against citizens with pre-existing medical conditions.

Today, Dr. Kagen announced his strong endorsement of Tim Burns for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and issued the following statement:

“I’m endorsing Tim Burns for Wisconsin Supreme Court, because I trust Tim will protect our rights, not take them away. Recently, our state’s Supreme Court has been protecting high-dollar special interests instead of our traditional Wisconsin values. I trust Tim to protect our right to vote, our right to ask for a raise collectively and the right for every woman to determine her most intimate healthcare decisions without government interference. I am honored to support and vote for Tim knowing he is the very best person to serve on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court.”

Cabrera campaign: 2018 announcement

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CONTACT: Arkesia Jackson (414) 533-4664

MILWAUKEE – Marisabel Cabrera has headed the call of Democrats and declared her intent to run for the 9th Assembly District in 2018.

Cabrera stated, “One thing that was clear from the 2016 primary is that many residents of the 9th district desire new leadership and a representative that will be accountable to the voters. We need a representative with integrity who will proactively advocate for our district to secure our fair share of resources. As representative for the 9th district, I will fight for legislation that ensures everyone has access to affordable quality healthcare, restores our public schools, increases public safety, creates living wage jobs, and leads to strong economic development in our community.”

“The 9th district deserves better and I intend to work hard to earn the trust and support of my neighbors so that I am afforded the opportunity to demonstrate what an effective and dedicated representative looks like.”

Marisabel Cabrera is a private attorney who received 47% of the votes cast in the 2016 primary for the 9th Assembly District. Cabrera holds Bachelors of Arts degrees in Spanish and Latin American Iberian Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and received her Juris Doctor from Michigan State University College of Law. Additionally, Cabrera is the Vice Chair for the City of Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission and the former Chair of the Latino Caucus of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin (2013-2017). She is a Milwaukee native and a proud resident of the Garden District.

For more information on Marisabel Cabrera, visit www.facebook.com/votemarisabel.

Cap Times talk with Kathy Cramer 🗓

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UW-Madison political scientist Kathy Cramer was years ahead of her time in examining rural political consciousness in America. Between 2007 and 2012, she traveled in rural Wisconsin to listen to diner and coffee-shop conversations to understand how residents there view the political world. The resulting book, “The Politics of Resentment” published in early 2016, was a prescient look at how that worldview would affect 2016’s momentous election.

Please join us for a special edition of Cap Times Talks featuring Cramer interviewed by our political reporter, Jessie Opoien, at the High Noon Saloon on Tuesday, Jan. 16. They’ll talk about Wisconsin’s 2018 gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races and more as well.

The event is free and will start with a meet-and-greet at 6:30 p.m. at the High Noon, 701 E. Washington Ave. The discussion itself will start at 7, ending after an hour or so.

See more.

See the Facebook event. 

Capital Times: Celebrates 100th anniversary

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Contact: Chris Murphy, [email protected], (608) 252-6420

The Cap Times turns 100 years old this month and we are celebrating
the occasion with a special edition of Cap Times Talks on Tuesday,
Dec. 12 at the Hall of Ideas in the Monona Terrace Convention Center,
1 John Nolen Drive.

Cap Times editors Paul Fanlund, John Nichols and Dave Zweifel will be
on a panel discussing our past, present and future, with the talk
moderated by former Wisconsin Public Radio host Joy Cardin. The
discussion starts at 7 p.m., but the doors will open at 6 for a
reception.

Once the talk is over after an hour or so, copies of a new book by
Zweifel and Nichols and published by the Wisconsin Historical Society
will be for sale — “The Capital Times: A proudly radical newspaper’s
century-long fight for justice and for peace.”

If you would like to record the event with film or audio, please
contact Managing Editor Chris Murphy at (608) 252-6420 or
[email protected]

City of Columbus: Urges passage of legislation on this “Dark Store Day Of Action”

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CONTACT: Patrick Vander Sanden, City Administrator, 920-623- 5900

The City of Columbus joins with many local leaders all across Wisconsin in designating
December 11 as “Dark Store Day” to draw attention to legislation designed to close the dark store loophole. As big box retail chains and single tenant commercial properties use these strategies to significantly reduce their property taxes, other taxpayers, mainly homeowners, will see their property taxes increase as they shoulder more of the tax levy. The Columbus City Council and local leaders statewide are calling on state legislators to stop this unfair tax shift by scheduling a vote in January on Senate Bill 291 (reversing the Walgreens decision) and Senate Bill 292 (closing the dark store loophole).

“Last week, the City of Columbus approved our 2018 annual City Budget,” said Michael Thom, Columbus Mayor “City officials invest considerable time and effort to ensure that our budget is fair and equitable for our taxpayers.” Thom stated -“The dark store loophole is not fair since average homeowners are not permitted to compare value of their homes to an uninhabitable house at half the value.”

“I join my all my colleagues who serve as local officials to urge the Wisconsin State Legislature to pass the Dark Store and Walgreens reversal bills,” said City Administrator Patrick Vander Sanden. “These bills have lots of support. People are beginning to realize what will happen if the loophole is not closed.”

SB 291 closes a gap in Wisconsin’s property assessment laws that allow single tenant
commercial properties, like Walgreens and CVS, to argue that the value of their property is not what it appears to be. As a result of a 2008 Supreme Court ruling, chain drug stores have been paying taxes on their properties in Wisconsin at half their actual fair market selling price; a discount unavailable to residential and owner-occupied commercial properties.

SB 292 nullifies a related but different tax avoidance tactic. National big box retail chains and other commercial property owners are challenging their assessed values using the “Dark Store Strategy” to argue that their thriving businesses must be assessed for tax purposes as though they were a vacant, boarded up property. The Indiana legislature and Michigan courts have recently invalidated the dark store theory in those states. Adoption of SB 292 would make it clear that the Dark Store loophole is closed in Wisconsin.

“The potential property tax loss that would create an increase for other taxpayers in our
community if the dark store strategy and Walgreens decision is fully implemented is for year 2017 $42,333 in tax dollars, said Kim Manley, Columbus Finance Director.

At their December 5, 2017 meeting the Mayor and members of the Columbus City Council
reiterated their call for the Dark Store Bills be passed. Earlier this year, they approved
Resolution 12-17: A Resolution Asking our State Legislators to Support Closure of Loopholes that Shift Greater Property Tax Burden from Commercial Property Owners to Residential Homeowners. Resolution 12-17 was then submitted to State Senator Scott Fitzgerald and State Representative John Jagler for their review.

Today, Columbus City officials including the Mayor and the City Council urge all taxpayers to join them by contacting your elected representatives in Madison, to take action on this
Legislation and to close this unfair loophole.

City of Milwaukee: Alderwoman Coggs receives Milwaukee Urban League award

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Contact: Ald. Milele A. Coggs

(414) 286-2994

Today Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs received the Milwaukee Urban League’s Economic Impact Award for her efforts to secure a new Pete’s Fruit Market grocery store at N. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. and W. North Ave.

The award – presented during the Urban League’s 58th Annual Equal Opportunity Day luncheon at the Pfister Hotel – is special recognition for Alderwoman Coggs’ efforts to not only help attract the store, but also to enhance the Bronzeville district and thus improve the overall quality of life for residents.

“I am grateful to the Milwaukee Urban League for being selected to receive the Economic Impact Award,” Alderwoman Coggs said.

“But in my view, this prestigious award truly belongs to the residents and neighborhood stakeholders who stood firm and made it clear they wanted a grocery store at the location with fresh, nutritious foods and produce,” she said. “They never wavered and today we are very fortunate to have a bustling Pete’s Fruit Market in the heart of Bronzeville at N. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. and W. North Ave.”

Pete’s opened in Bronzeville in September (2017), offering fresh produce and nutritious foods as a full-service grocery store. The store employs many neighborhood residents and has become a key destination business in the Historic King Drive Business Improvement District.

Commission taking a ‘blank slate’ approach to overhauling the state’s school funding formula

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Cooperative Network: Charles Van Sickle Scholarship applications now being accepted

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For more information contact:

Sara Schoenborn, Director of Communications

[email protected]

608-258-4391

www.cooperativenetwork.coop

Charles Van Sickle Scholarship applications now being accepted

MADISON, Wis. [Dec. 22, 2017] – The Federated Youth Foundation is accepting applications for the 2018 Charles Van Sickle Scholarship. The $2,000 award is open to a pre-law or law student who resides in Wisconsin and plans to specialize in cooperative law.

The scholarship is made possible by an endowment established in 2013 to honor Wisconsin’s renowned electric cooperative lobbyist and attorney, the late Charles Van Sickle.

“We continue to see a demand for highly skilled attorneys with knowledge of cooperatively-owned businesses and their unique needs,” says Federated Youth Foundation’s Executive Director, Ethan Giebel. “The Van Sickle Endowment is an extraordinary way to assist students interested in pursuing degrees in cooperative law and honoring the contributions and legacy of Charles Van Sickle. Mr. Van Sickle played an integral role in moving forward the cooperative way of doing business here in Wisconsin.”

More information and the application to apply are available here. Applications are due April 1, 2018 for the spring semester. 

The Federated Youth Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, serves Wisconsin-based cooperatives by promoting youth education and community support through charitable giving. The Federated Youth Foundation accepts unclaimed property, gifts and donations and acts as a trustee and efficient manager of funds, providing for investment growth and distribution. To learn more visit www.cooperativenetwork.coop/fyf.

CUSH Shelter Now Rally 🗓

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Immanuel United Methodist Church parking lot, 5410 Sheridan Road, Kenosha, WI.

Wear purple, the color of homelessness awareness, if you have it.

Dairy Business Association: Endorses Jarchow in race for 10th Senate district seat

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GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Dairy Business Association (DBA) today announced its support for state Rep. Adam Jarchow in his bid to fill the 10th Senate District seat vacated by Sheila Harsdorf.

The Republican primary for the Senate seat will be held Dec. 19 and the special election is set for Jan. 16. Harsdorf was named secretary of the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

Jarchow grew up in rural western Wisconsin where he worked on neighboring dairy farms. He is now a small businessman and attorney representing small businesses, including farms.

Jarchow has represented the 28th Assembly District since 2014. In his time in the Legislature, he has been a strong representative for farmers and has championed the rights of property owners and common sense regulatory reforms. The DBA Board of Directors feels he will continue to be an advocate for dairy farms of all sizes, said Mike North, president of the association.

“Former Senator Harsdorf was a tremendous advocate for the dairy community,” North said. “She has left big shoes to fill, but Representative Jarchow’s record in the Assembly has shown he is up to the task.”

Jarchow said the time he spent on farms as a young man gave him an appreciation for the dedication of Wisconsin’s dairy community.

“Since taking office, I have had the privilege of meeting dairy farmers around the district to learn about their farms and the regulatory challenges they face,” he said.

North said Jarchow appreciates the importance of dairy farming and recognizes the issues facing farmers.

“Our board is confident that he will continue to work for reforms to make sure dairy farmers continue to succeed and invest in the 10th District and the rest of our state,” North said.

Senate District 10 covers parts of Burnett, Dunn, Pierce, Polk and St. Croix counties in northwestern Wisconsin.

About the DBA:

The Dairy Business Association is a nonprofit organization comprised of Wisconsin dairy farmers, milk processors, vendors and business partners. The association works with members to ensure Wisconsin dairy farms of all sizes have the support they need to thrive in the state’s economy, communities and food supply chain. For more information, visit www.widba.com.

Dallet campaign: Former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Butler announces support for Judge Dallet

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Contact: Jessica Lovejoy
(608-318-3065)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin – Former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler announces his official endorsement of Judge Rebecca Dallet in her campaign to replace his past opponent Justice Michael Gableman.
“As a former member of the high court, I know what it takes to do this important job, and I endorse Judge Rebecca Dallet in the upcoming Supreme Court election,” said Justice Louis Butler. “The Court needs a strong, experienced, balanced, and independent Justice to serve the people of this great state. Judge Dallet has significant courtroom experience, a deep understanding of the law and our constitutional rights as citizens, and a record of standing up for Wisconsin values and working families.”
“When he ran for reelection 10 years ago, Justice Butler was up against special interests and dark money donors, who spent relentlessly. They took every chance they had to tear him down and ran offensive, racist ads to defeat him,” said Jessica Lovejoy, Campaign Manager for Judge Rebecca Dallet. “This goes to show how far the other side will go, but electing Judge Rebecca Dallet is our chance to take back the Supreme Court for Wisconsin’s citizens. Justice Butler understands that.”
Justice Louis Butler joins more than 300 local leaders, elected officials, and judges from across the state in supporting Judge Rebecca Dallet for Supreme Court. Judge Dallet will be a champion for victims, women, and children on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. She believes in fair and impartial courts and brings the experience we need at a time when our most basic rights are under attack.
Judge Rebecca Dallet is a mom, an experienced attorney, and a judge. She has served on the Circuit Court bench for almost ten years and worked as a prosecutor for more than a decade prior to that. During her career, Dallet worked to put sexual predators behind bars, and prosecuted drug, gun, and violent crime cases. 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’s campaign can be found online at www.dalletforjustice.com, and on Facebook and Twitter at @judgedallet. For more information or to attend an upcoming event, contact Jessica Lovejoy at [email protected] or (608) 318-3065.
A full list of endorsements is available at www.dalletforjustice.com/endorsements.

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Dane Co. Exec. Parisi: New Federal Tax Bill Jeopardizes Financial Future for Hundreds of Dane County Non-Profit Social Service Organizations, Places New Budget Demands on Local Governments

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Change to Standardized Deductions Makes This the Final “Tis’ the Season” for Tax Deductible Giving for Groups That Care for Kids, Seniors, Disabled

Local non-profit organizations that provide critical services will see fewer end of year donations once Congress passes legislation to rewrite the tax code, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said today. Given the hundreds of partnerships between county government and organizations that care for vulnerable citizens around the clock, creating disincentive for individuals and groups to make tax deductible contributions puts future funding of key services in question.  A drop in donations and corresponding service cutbacks could be felt as soon as next year.

“Dane County’s Department of Human Services alone has 300 different contracts with entities that depend upon charitable giving as a key means of paying for the help they give to people in our community,” Parisi said. “Eliminating the tax deductible incentive makes the always difficult process of fundraising even harder, making it even tougher for some of these groups to survive.”

Making it harder for non-profits to operate means local governments across the country will see increased workloads and new budget pressures Parisi said. That will result in either service cuts or further demand for local tax dollars to make up the difference and in turn higher property taxes.

A recent analysis from the Tax Policy Center projected that nationwide charitable giving would decline up to $20 billion in 2018 alone after the Republican tax bill goes into effect.

“In Dane County, non-profits like Operation Fresh Start, the United Way, and hundreds of countless other amazing groups just like them help people of all ages, every day,” Parisi said. “These groups work with young people to develop employment skills, get those who face homelessness back on their feet, and provide front-line care for kids who are victims of abuse and crime. Jeopardizing their funding hurts local taxpayers and our economy, makes our communities less safe, and hurts real people and families facing adversity.”

Dane County Exec. Parisi: Announces completion of latest solar project

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Contact: Stephanie Miller
608-267-8823

Today, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced that the installation of a solar power system at the Fen Oak Office Building has reached completion. Maly Roofing and Full Spectrum Solar are local companies based in Madison and contracted with the county to replace the building’s roof and install solar panels. The system will go online in the coming days, allowing the home of the Dane County Department of Land and Water Resources and the Dane County UW-Extension Office to harness the Sun’s energy and generate electricity.

“Dane County is committed to incorporating renewable energy into our operations to benefit taxpayers and improve the health of our environment,” said County Executive Joe Parisi. “Working with companies based in our community had the added benefit of stimulating the local business economy while investing in a clean, green energy future.”

Plans for the Fen Oak Office Building roof replacement and solar array were designed by Wisconsin-based companies Czarnecki Engineering and Structural Research, Inc. A total of 128 solar modules were installed on the rooftop. Each module generates up to 270 watts of energy and will have the combined capacity to produce 34.56 kilowatts of power.

This completed solar project adds to County Executive Parisi’s pursuit to harness renewable energy. Each day, hundreds of solar panels on the roofs of county facilities are working to generate clean energy and reduce carbon emissions. Over 800 solar panels are on the roofs of the new Dane County East District Highway Garage and Medical Examiner’s Facility, comprising the largest municipally owned solar project in Wisconsin.

Solar development is currently underway for the rooftops of the Dane County Job Center and the New Holland Pavilions at the Alliant Energy Center. When completed, these projects are expected to generate over 900,000 kilowatts-hours of power. The county will also request proposals for solar development on up to 30 acres of land at the Dane County Regional Airport. Proper approval and development of the project is expected to take place in 2018. When completed, the project will generate up to 6 megawatts of power for the county.

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Dane County Exec. Parisi: Announces grant money available for conservation projects

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                December 27, 2017

Contact: Scott Adrian

608-266-2444

Parisi Announces Grant Money Available for Conservation Projects

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and the Dane County Environmental Council announced that the County is accepting applications for two grant programs designed to support projects that improve, protect, and enhance Dane County’s land and water resources.  As part of the Land and Water Legacy Initiative, the Capital Equipment Grant Program will make awards of up to $2,500 to assist with the purchase or rental of equipment or services that will benefit Dane County conservation projects. In addition, the Community Partners Grant Program will provide up to $1,000 for small projects that promote environmental education, conservation, and restoration.

“There are many dedicated conservation organizations working to improve our environment,” said Parisi. “The County looks forward to partnering with local groups to enhance special places for Dane County’s residents to enjoy.”

The programs, administered by the Dane County Environmental Council, are competitive.  Application forms are due on Wednesday, February 28, 2018 by 5pm CT.

The Dane County Environmental Council is appointed by Parisi and approved by the County Board.  The Council’s mission is to assist groups in recognizing and protecting natural areas in Dane County and to assume an educational role in the awareness, conservation and protection of the environment.

“The Environmental Council plays an important role in protecting Dane County’s land and water resources by partnering with community groups,” said Parisi. “I encourage local organizations to join the Council in enhancing the natural areas that make Dane County unique.”

Grant applications and guidelines can be downloaded from the Dane County Environmental Council website at: <http://www.countyofdane.com/commissions/environmentalcouncil>.

For more information, contact Mindy Habecker at:  [email protected] or call at 608-224-3718.

Dane County Exec. Parisi: Dane County to acquire additional land along Sugar River for outdoor recreation

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                December 26, 2017

Contact: Scott Adrian

608-266-2444

Dane County to Acquire Additional Land Along Sugar River for Outdoor Recreation

Nearly Another Mile of River Frontage, 60 Acres Part of Latest County Effort to Permanently Protect Important Natural Resource Area

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced today the county has successfully negotiated the purchase of additional lands to permanently protect more of the Sugar River corridor south of Verona.  The 60 acre purchase and easement on an adjacent 100 acres making nearly another mile of river frontage open for public fishing and hiking.

“This latest conservation purchase continues the priority we’ve placed on protecting the Sugar River and its surrounding watershed,” Parisi said.  “As we’ve seen with additional properties the county and partners have acquired along the river in recent years, outdoor recreational opportunities abound along what it is truly one of Dane County’s natural treasures.”

The Sugar River is a significant natural and recreational resource that is a popular destination for trout fishing, canoeing and kayaking.  The County and others have been working to increase access to the Sugar River and surrounding lands, and several key Sugar River purchases have been made in recent years, including over 400 acres on what is known as the Falk/Wells Wildlife Area near Paoli and an additional 101 acres at the former Neperud property near Basco.  A section of the Sugar River was restored by Dane County, the DNR, and Trout Unlimited this past summer.  The County Executive included $75,000 in the 2018 budget to restore additional segments of the popular fishery upstream.  That work is slated to begin in the New Year.

“Dane County has some of the best parks and recreational opportunities in the country,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “This area of the county is beautiful and will be available for generations so our children can fish, canoe and kayak.”

The purchase price for the approximately 60 acre acquisition and the adjoining public hunting easement on 100 acres has been established at $636,000. Funds for the purchase are available in the Conservation Fund. The County intends to apply for DNR Stewardship grant dollars to offset the purchase price.

The property offers an ideal canoe/kayak launching spot, as well as unique cultural resources, including an 1860’s limestone Greek Revival house that was a historic stagecoach stop and two cataloged Native American mound sites. The purchase also includes a permanent easement for limited public hunting access over an additional 100 acres of adjacent private property.

A resolution to acquire the property was introduced at last week’s County Board meeting and will be considered in the weeks to come.

Dane County Media: Russ Feingold endorses Marilyn Townsend for Dane County Judge

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Contact:
Melissa Mulliken
Campaign Director
608/206-1818

Today, former Senator Russ Feingold announced he is endorsing Marilyn Townsend for Dane County Judge.

“Marilyn will make an outstanding Dane County Judge,” Feingold said. “She is a first-rate attorney who has won important cases. As a municipal judge, Marilyn has demonstrated a commitment to fairness and equal justice, and she has the right temperament for the job.”

Feingold continued, “Further, her campaign is voluntarily limiting the amount of campaign contributions it will accept. There is too much money in judicial races, and it’s important that Marilyn has the courage and integrity to step up on this issue. Marilyn’s values, along with her combination of judicial and legal experience make her the best candidate for Dane County Circuit Court. I urge Dane County voters to join me in supporting her.”

“I am honored to earn Russ Feingold’s endorsement,” Townsend said. “His expertise in constitutional law, his knowledge of our courts and his commitment to a fair, impartial judiciary has been evident throughout his career and during his service on the Senate Judiciary Committee. It means a great deal to have earned Russ Feingold’s trust and confidence as the best candidate for Dane County Circuit Court.”

Dane County Office Executive Parisi: To pursue legal action against pharmaceutical companies for Opioid Epidemic

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Contact: Stephanie Miller

608-267-8823

Today, County Executive Joe Parisi announced that Dane County will pursue legal action against pharmaceutical companies for their responsibility in triggering the nation’s opioid epidemic. A resolution directing Dane County’s Corporation Counsel to pursue whatever legal means necessary to most effectively hold accountable the pharmaceutical companies for the opioid epidemic will go before the County Board at tomorrow night’s meeting.

“The opioid epidemic has hit local communities hard across the United States, and Dane County is no exception,” said County Executive Joe Parisi. “It’s time to tell pharmaceutical companies that enough is enough. This epidemic has strained our resources and has cost local communities across Wisconsin millions of dollars as we try to get people the treatment and recovery they so desperately need.”

Prescription opioids have become exceedingly prevalent in the Dane County community. According to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, more than 500,000 prescriptions for opioids have been dispensed to Dane County residents annually since 2013. On average, 21 million opioid pills are dispensed to Dane County residents per year. That equates to over 39 opioid pills being prescribed to each of Dane County’s approximately 531,000 residents every 12 months.

In just one year, Dane County Emergency Medical Services has seen an over 30 percent spike in suspected overdose incidents. In 2016, there were 486 suspected overdose incidents that took place. That number has jumped to 643 suspected overdose incidents so far in 2017, putting added pressure on Emergency Medical Services units.

A total of 13 opioid involved deaths occurred in 2000, but that number skyrocketed to 85 in 2016. According to Public Health of Madison and Dane County, the rate of prescription opioid involved deaths in Dane County has doubled since 2000, from 6.3 per 100,000 people in 2000 to 12.4 per 100,000 people in 2016. The rate of heroin involved deaths has more than tripled since 2000, from 3.0 per 100,000 people in 2000 to 10.1 per 100,000 people in 2016.

Dane County is working hard to combat this growing epidemic. One program that is funded in part by the county and guides people into immediate treatment shortly after experiencing a medical emergency from a heroin overdose is the ED2Recovery Program. County Executive Parisi included $15,000 in his 2017 Dane County budget to help Safe Communities fund this endeavor. The ED2Recovery Program empowers those in recovery, called recovery coaches, by having them support and guide those who have just survived an overdose through the process of seeking long-term treatment.

Overall, Dane County has allocated a significant amount of resources to help to those struggling with opioid addition. Approximately $7.5 million made up Dane County’s 2017 Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment budget. There was $733,000 in grant revenue from the state and federal governments that specifically provided treatment to those using opiates and using drugs intravenously in Dane County’s 2017 budget. Of the Dane County residents receiving county-funded treatment, 30 percent were seeking treatment for problems with using opiates.

Dave Ciezlewicz: Sweet, but not like home, Alabama

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Democrats are celebrating Doug Jones’ victory in last week’s special election in Alabama, but those who want to interpret that vote as portending victory for the Democrat in next year’s Wisconsin governor’s race might need to curb their enthusiasm.

Jones won his Senate race for two reasons: African Americans turned out for him and suburban women didn’t show up for his Republican opponent, Roy Moore.

Dave Zweifel: Plain Talk: Glad to put 2017 in the rear-view mirror

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It’s nearly time to say goodbye to another year and to this one, I say good riddance.

The year 2017 was a good news year in one major respect. The Capital Times turned 100 and we were able to celebrate all that has meant. Meanwhile, though, it was a year of both a personal challenge and one that marked a dangerous degradation of our government, one that could imperil our future.

David Blaska: Bruce Murphy is at it again: defending the speech police

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Milwaukee’s Bruce Murphy has committed some solid journalism. He broke the Milwaukee County pension scandal that helped elect reformer Scott Walker as county exec and, ultimately, governor of Wisconsin. Good liberal that he is, Bruce has been doing penance ever since.

DC Wrap: Baldwin calls for Franken’s resignation; Moore votes to advance Trump impeachment motion

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Welcome to our weekly DC Wrap, where we write about Wisconsin’s congressional delegation. Sign up here to receive the newsletter directly.

Quotes of the week, Dec. 1-7

The JCT score in terms of dynamic effect is a joke, it’s so laughably small.
– U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, who predicted on a media call late last week the GOP tax plan would decrease the deficit despite a Joint Committee on Taxation analysis — although he didn’t cite a study or model as the basis of his assertion. The committee’s report showed the plan would add $1 trillion to the national debt over a 10-year period after factoring in economic growth.  Johnson later joined 50 other GOP senators in supporting the bill’s passage through the Senate.

In the last hours of this farce, we still don’t have a final version of the #GOPTaxScam. Republicans are trampling over working people, regular order & their own professed values. Is there any line the GOP won’t cross to give a tax break to their wealthy donors? Apparently not.
– U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, in a tweet prior to the bill’s passage early Saturday morning. Baldwin joined all the Senate Dems and GOP U.S. Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee in opposing the tax bill. The bill now heads to a conference committee, where its differences with the House bill will be reconciled.

See more on the conference committee in an item below.

This week’s news

— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin has joined the bandwagon of Dem senators calling for U.S. Sen. Al Franken’s resignation following a seventh woman’s allegations against the Minnesota senator.

Politico on Wednesday reported the woman, identified only as a former Democratic congressional aide, said Franken had tried to forcibly kiss her in 2006. Franken, a former comedian, denied the allegation.

But Baldwin, who’d previously expressed support for a Senate Ethics Committee investigation into Franken’s behavior, took to Twitter on Wednesday after at least six fellow female Dem senators called for Franken to step aside.

“I believe it is best for Senator Franken to resign,” Baldwin, D-Madison, said in a tweet Wednesday morning.

Franken on Thursday morning announced on the Senate floor he would resign “in the coming weeks.” 

A Baldwin spokeswoman did not respond to a question regarding why Baldwin is now calling for Franken’s resignation.

See more in a WisPolitics.com story from Wednesday:
https://www.wispolitics.com/2017/baldwin-joins-growing-list-of-senate-dems-in-calling-on-franken-to-resign/

— U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, was the only Wisconsin member of the U.S. House who didn’t vote to block a Dem impeachment resolution today to remove President Trump from office.  

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, joined the state’s Republican congressmen in tabling the motion on a 364-58 vote. U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, did not vote.

The resolution was brought by Texas Democrat Al Green. It was the first vote the House took on whether to impeach Trump.  

In all, 126 Dems voted down the resolution.

See the roll call vote:
http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2017/roll658.xml  

— Kind this week also joined just five other Dems and all Wisconsin Republicans in the House to pass a GOP bill that would make it easier for gun owners to carry concealed weapons across state lines.

The bill passed on a 231-198 vote, with Moore joining most Dems and 14 Republicans in voting against it.

Kind said in a statement provided he voted for the bill because it was mixed with another that would compel federal and state agencies to run more records into the federal criminal background check system largely used in gun purchases.  

That portion, he said, strengthens “background checks so we keep guns out the hands of people who shouldn’t have them” by setting those “much-needed reporting requirements.”

Meanwhile, Moore after the vote said in a tweet the nation needs “commonsense gun reforms.”

“This isn’t how we should respond to the worst mass shootings in our nation’s history. @HouseGOP doesn’t need to be giving more gifts to @NRA,” she wrote.

Pocan, who also didn’t vote because he’s still recovering from surgery, echoed Moore in a tweet, saying, “Just two months after the deadliest mass shooting in American history, we should not be weakening our nation’s gun laws.”

The bill is the first of its kind passed by either house since the Oct. 1 shooting in Las Vegas, where 58 people were killed.

U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wausau, said a Wisconsin resident’s “Second Amendment right shouldn’t stop at a state’s border.”

“I’m proud to cosponsor the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act because citizens with a concealed carry permit deserve to protect themselves and their families regardless of what state they’re in,” he said.

The bill now heads to the Senate.

See the roll call vote:
http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2017/roll663.xml

— Nearly a month after undergoing triple bypass surgery, a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan says the Town of Vermont Dem is “recovering well.”

Spokesman Ron Boehmer said Pocan, 53, is continuing to do therapy following his surgery Nov. 8, a preemptive measure for a cardiac issue.

“We look forward to having him back in DC in the next few weeks once his doctor gives him the green light to travel,” he said.

— Gov. Scott Walker this week urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan to re-authorize funding for the CHIP program.

Failure to do so would strip Wisconsin of $115 million in federal money each year used to cover the cost of helping provide health care to more than 100,000 uninsured children.

Wisconsin is expected to have enough federal money to continue providing the coverage through the Children’s Health Insurance Program into next year. Other states will exhaust their funds ahead of that.

“There is nothing more important than the health of children in Wisconsin and across the United States,” Walker wrote. “Your immediate attention to the reauthorization of funding for CHIP t o help children throughout the country maintain access to care is critical.”

The House has approved a five-year extension of CHIP, while the Senate Finance Committee has approved a competing plan.

Read the letter:
https://twitter.com/GovWalker/status/938108726271242240

— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin signed onto a letter this week calling on the Federal Communications Commission to delay a Dec. 14 vote to roll back net neutrality rules.

The commission last month said it plans to roll back Obama-era rules blocking internet providers from impeding access to websites and online services or charging higher fees for the highest streaming quality.

Baldwin this week joined 27 other senators in asking FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to push back the commission’s vote, following reports that many of the millions of public comments on the FCC proposal may be fake.

The senators suggested the vote be delayed until the agency can thoroughly review the public record and “provide Congress with greater assurance of its accuracy and completeness.”

“A transparent and open process is vitally important to how the FCC functions,” they wrote. “The FCC must invest its time and resources into obtaining a more accurate picture of the record as understanding that record is essential to reaching a defensible resolution to this proceeding.”

See the letter:
https://www.baldwin.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/171204.Pai.Ltr.NN.Bots.pdf

— Baldwin also joined 43 other Dem senators in demanding the president nominate a new director to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

President Trump had appointed Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney to head the organization. But the move was filled with turmoil after former CFPB head Richard Cordray resigned last month and had named Leandra English to also take control of the agency.

A U.S. District Court judge last week sided with Trump, making Mulvaney the acting head of the bureau.  

Still, the senators this week in a letter to Trump asked he pick a new agency head who has “a track record of being tough” on Wall Street.  

“Assigning leadership of the CFPB to someone who already has a full-time job reporting to the White House and who does not believe in the CFPB’s mission jeopardizes the agency’s independence and effectiveness,” they wrote.

See the letter:
https://www.baldwin.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Letter%20to%20Trump%20re%20CFPB%20(3).PDF

— A bipartisan bill looking to eliminate the so-called “congressional hush fund” that’s used to settle sexual harassment claims is being targeted by a bill from U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher.

Gallagher is a co-sponsor of the bill, which looks to prohibit the use of taxpayer dollars to pay settlements in sexual harassment or assault claims and require perpetrators to reimburse the taxpayers with interest. It also would disclose the payments previously made by the Office of Compliance on its website, while protecting the victims’ identities.

The bill would ]prohibit the use of non disclosure agreements going forward in order to address claims of sexual harassment or assault, while allowing past and present victims to make public statements about their claims.  

“Members of Congress using taxpayer dollars to cover up sexual harassment is unacceptable,” said Gallagher, R-Green Bay. “I urge my colleagues in the House to support this bill to help empower survivors, restore accountability in Congress, and protect taxpayer money. It’s time to hold Congress to a higher standard, and this bill is a necessary place to start.”

See more:
https://www.wispolitics.com/2017/rep-gallagher-calls-for-elimination-of-congressional-sexual-harassment-hush-fund/

— U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner is seeking advice from the Department of Health and Human Services on what the state could do to lower premiums under the Affordable Care Act.

The Menomonee Falls Republican asked DHHS Acting Secretary Eric Margan in a letter Dec. 1 how states are preparing Section 1332 waivers, which let states find other means of providing people with access to affordable health insurance. That includes creating alternatives to the Healthcare.gov marketplace as well as waiving individual and employer mandates.

Sensenbrenner also asked for “specific suggestions” the agency would make to Wisconsin.

“My constituents, along with all Americans, are demanding that their government take action to finally reform our nation’s health care system,” he wrote. “It is our responsibility to help the healthcare system innovate and evolve to bring about the quality and affordable care the American people deserve.”

See the letter:
https://sensenbrenner.house.gov/_cache/files/b/d/bd677b53-86ca-4fb4-9528-82842122a8da/25837DA4BBA0D0A635E3959D689491BE.rep.-sensenbrenner-urges-acting-secretary-of-the-department-of-health-and-human-services-to-address-rising-health-insurance-premiums.pdf

— Sensenbrenner also has a new press secretary: Christopher Krepich. 

Krepich previously worked as deputy press secretary for U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-Penn. He also previously worked as an intern for U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wausau.

He replaces former communications director Nicole Tieman, who took a job as press secretary for Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.

— U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman this week applauded President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocate the American embassy to the city from Tel Aviv.

Grothman said the move “sends a strong message of support for Israel that wavered under the anti-Israeli policies of President Obama.”

“Israel should not be the only nation that’s denied placement of embassies in its capital,” the Glenbeulah Republican said. “Israel is America’s strongest, most stable ally in the Middle East, and today’s announcement is an incredibly important step in recognizing its legitimacy.”

U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, meanwhile, said in a Congressional Progressive Caucus statement that Trump’s “actions are a bad idea given that there is not a peace process in place that has produced a two-state solution.”

“President Trump’s decision to declare U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, before reaching a finalized peace deal or two-state solution between the Israelis and the Palestinians, hurts future agreements and will create unnecessary tensions and violence in the region,” the Town of Vermont Dem said.  

— House Speaker Paul Ryan this week appointed five members of the Ways and Means Committee to the conference committee that will try to hash out differences between the competing tax bills passed by the House and the Senate.

None of the appointees is from Wisconsin.

Those who will serve on the committee include: Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, who will lead the House contingent. The other GOP appointees are: Devin Nunes, of Calif.; Peter Roskam, of Illinois; Diane Black, of Tennessee; and Kristi Noem, of South Dakota.

For provisions in the Senate bill that are outside the jurisdiction of the Ways and Means Committee, the other appointees are: Rob Bishop, of Utah and chair of the Natural Resources Committee; Don Young, of Alaska; Greg Walden, of Oregon and chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee; and John Shimkus, of Illinois.

See more:
https://www.wispolitics.com/2017/speaker-ryan-names-lawmakers-for-tax-reform-bill-negotiations/

— Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Johnson, has said leadership promised him a voice in efforts to hash out a final tax bill, but he will not serve on the conference committee.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s appointees are: Orrin Hatch, of Utah and chairman of the Finance Committee; Mike Enzi, of Wyoming and chair of the Budget Committee; Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska and chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee; John Cornyn, of Texas; John Thune, of South Dakota; Rob Portman, of Ohio; Tim Scott, of South Carolina; and Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania.

Posts of the week

Can't really compete with Governor Scott Walker's red sweater, but wearing my Wisconsin Badgers red for tomorrow's Big Ten Championship! #OnWisconsin!

Posted by Congressman Sean Duffy on Friday, December 1, 2017

ICYMI

Baldwin joins growing list of Senate Dems calling on Franken to resign
https://www.wispolitics.com/2017/baldwin-joins-growing-list-of-senate-dems-in-calling-on-franken-to-resign/

Johnson says he’ll vote to approve Senate tax bill
https://www.wispolitics.com/2017/johnson-says-hell-vote-to-approve-senate-tax-bill/

Ron Johnson: Senate scorekeepers’ projection that tax bill boosts debt by $1 trillion ‘a joke’
http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/ron-johnson-senate-scorekeepers-projection-that-tax-bill-boosts-debt/article_b7b6b5b4-7e9f-59a6-ab5d-5de496a9e458.html

Wisconsin could see $4.4 billion tax cut in 2019 but a $31 million hike in 2027 under Senate bill
https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/2017/12/06/wisconsin-could-see-4-4-billion-tax-cut-2019-but-31-million-hikem-increase-2027-under-senate-tax-bil/921044001/

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin calls on Sen. Al Franken to resign over claims he mistreated women
https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/2017/12/06/u-s-sen-tammy-baldwin-calls-sen-al-franken-resign-over-claims-he-mistreated-women/927249001/

Tammy Baldwin: Al Franken should resign after seventh woman alleges unwanted advances
http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/tammy-baldwin-al-franken-should-resign-after-seventh-woman-alleges/article_9f475e6a-416f-522c-bf99-e9fe2255a689.html

Baldwin wants delay on net neutrality vote
https://www.wrn.com/2017/12/baldwin-wants-delay-on-net-neutrality-vote/

Tammy Baldwin asks Trump OSHA nominee Scott Mugno about Wisconsin barrel plants
https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/investigations/2017/12/05/tammy-baldwin-asks-osha-nominee-scott-mugnoabout-investigation-into-wisconsin-barrel-refurbishing/924450001/

Baldwin highlights efforts to protect biofuel production, rural Wisconsin jobs
http://www.wisfarmer.com/story/opinion/2017/12/05/baldwin-highlights-efforts-protect-biofuel-production-rural-wisconsin-jobs/925769001/

Duffy bill would curb high Consumer Financial Protection Bureau pay rates
https://riponadvance.com/stories/duffy-bill-curb-high-consumer-financial-protection-bureau-pay-rates/

Democratic opponent calls on Rep. Mike Gallagher to denounce Michael Flynn
http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/news/2017/12/01/democratic-opponent-calls-rep-mike-gallagher-denounce-michael-flynn/913725001/

Gallagher Talks Roy Moore, Tax Reform
http://whbl.com/news/articles/2017/dec/05/gallagher-talks-roy-moore-tax-reform/

Ron Kind Warns GOP Tax Bill Would Hurt Medicare As More Wisconsinites Need Program
https://www.wpr.org/ron-kind-warns-gop-tax-bill-would-hurt-medicare-more-wisconsinites-need-program

It’s Rep. Conyers’ Right To Fight Allegations, Rep. Moore Says
https://www.npr.org/2017/11/30/567418878/its-rep-conyers-right-to-fight-allegations-rep-moore-says

DC Wrap: Baldwin calls on Trump to advance ‘Buy American’ report; Pocan backs delaying tax vote until Jones sworn in

Welcome to our weekly DC Wrap, where we write about Wisconsin’s congressional delegation. Sign up here to receive the newsletter directly.

Quotes of the week

The nature of life on Capitol Hill necessitates long hours in close proximity to lawmakers and staff that can create power dynamics of which young people are not fully aware. It would be unconscionable for Congress to not be vigilant and proactive in taking precautions to safeguard these children giving the well sourced allegations against Roy Moore.
– U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, who in a Dec. 8 letter called on the Senate Sergeant at Arms to safeguard the chamber’s pages in preparation for the possible election of Roy Moore. He ultimately lost the Alabama Senate special election race to Dem Doug Jones on Dec. 12. But Moore, D-Milwaukee, wrote on Twitter that same day that Roy Moore supporters had been calling her office posing as AP reporters.

See a WisPolitics.com story on Moore’s letter.

Alabamians didn’t want somebody who dated 14-year-old girls.
– U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, when asked by national reporters what message the Alabama election results sent. Johnson was also asked whether the results were a message to former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, to which he replied: “I hope he pays attention that you need good candidates to win Senate races, yeah.” See the NBC News video.

You know the thing we like about WORT, it’s a safe station. You’ve heard about safe spaces? This is a safe station. You can listen all week without hearing ‘Hotel California’ by the Eagles.
– U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, who in September recorded an hour of his favorite music at WORT, a community radio station in Madison. The broadcast, which aired this week, featured artists ranging from Bob Dylan to The Four Tops to Deep Purple. Hear the broadcast and see an Isthmus story on the Glenbeulah Republican’s hour spinning records.

This week’s news

— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin this week pressed the Trump administration to complete an overdue “Buy American” report the president previously called for in April.

During President Trump’s visit to Snap-on Inc. in Kenosha, he signed an executive order he said is aimed at boosting the federal government’s use of American made goods and ensuring companies hire American workers.

Part of that executive order, Baldwin wrote in a letter to Trump this week, tasked the administration with completing a report on “Buy American” laws within 220 days — or by Nov. 24. She urged the administration “to expedite the publication of this now late report.”  

“I again urge you to prioritize the completion of the report,” the Madison Dem wrote. “And, I remain hopeful that we can work together to ensure Congress strengthens our government’s commitment to buying American-made goods in order to improve wages, boost growth, and support American manufacturers.”

Trump in April told WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee he agrees “100 percent” a Baldwin bill that would require American steel and iron to be used in certain projects.  

See Baldwin’s release.

— While Republicans have reportedly reached an agreement on a tax cut deal, Dems including U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan are asking to pump the breaks until newly elected Dem Alabama Sen. Doug Jones is seated.  

“The #GOPTaxScam vote should wait until Doug Jones is seated, or is @SenateMajLdr McConnell scared that the more time Americans have to learn about the bill, the more opposition he will face?” Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, wrote in a tweet Wednesday.  

National media reports on Wednesday showed GOP House and Senate leaders reached a broad consensus that would set the corporate tax rate at 21 percent, drop the top individual income tax rate to 37 percent and remove the corporate alternative minimum tax.

A final bill is expected at the end of the week, according to those reports, and both houses are expected to vote on the legislation next week.  

CNN reported this week Jones won’t be sworn in for the next few weeks. That’s because each county in the state has until Dec. 22 to report the results to the Alabama secretary of state’s office. After that, the State Canvassing Board will have until Jan. 3 to certify them. The board would then notify the Senate and at that point Jones would be sworn in.

— U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson introduced a bill this week targeting the multi-state plan program under the Affordable Care Act.

The Oshkosh Republican introduced the bill with Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., to end the program, which looks to set up multi-state health plans to compete with private ones in an effort to spur competition on the healthcare exchanges.

Johnson, though, said in a statement the requirement is instead “diverting necessary resources” from the Office of Personnel Management, which was tasked with contracting with two national health plans under Obamacare.  

“Congress needs to let the OPM focus on its job, eliminate this failed program and work to ensure health care is more affordable for all Americans,” he said.

See the release.

— Johnson this week also introduced a bill aimed at helping students better understand their student loans.

The bipartisan bill from Johnson and U.S. Sens. Joe Donnelly and Amy Klobuchar would require colleges and universities to send a yearly letter to students outlining each one’s total loan debt, projected monthly repayment amounts and estimated interest rate for each loan.

“Students borrowing to pay for college should be fully aware of the financial obligations they are taking on,” Johnson said. “Making student loan information more transparent is an important step in the right direction toward helping students make responsible borrowing decisions.”

See the release.

— U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman’s resolution condemning the persecution of Christians unanimously passed the House this week.

“H. Res. 407 will condemn the persecution of Christians around the world and calls for all discriminatory countries and extremist groups to cease their persecution of religious minorities and force leaders to uphold universal religious freedom,” the Glenbeulah Republican said on the floor prior to the vote.

See more.

— U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner applauded the federal Department of Justice for reportedly making moves to investigate the transfer of fetal tissues by abortion providers.

Sensenbrenner’s statement comes after a DOJ official last week requested certain documents from the Senate Judiciary Committee surrounding a 2016 committee investigation into the exchange of fetal tissue, according to national media reports.

“It is heartbreaking and disgusting that anyone would profit from sale of innocent unborn human body parts,” the Menomonee Falls Republican said in a statement.

See the release.

Posts of the week

ICYMI

DC Wrap: Gwen Moore calls Roy Moore’s possible election a ‘threat’ to safety of Senate pages

Baldwin Criticizes Trump at Victory Institute Conference

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin presses Donald Trump administration for ‘Buy American’ report

Congresswoman: Roy Moore Poses ‘Threat to the Safety’ of Teenage Pages at the Senate

U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore asks for Senate pages to be protected from Alabama’s Roy Moore

Democratic lawmaker calls on Senate to protect Page program participants from Roy Moore

Safe space

Wisconsin congressmen voice priorities on Farm Bill

Where members of Wisconsin’s Congressional delegation stand on net neutrality rules

DC Wrap: GOP tax overhaul bill heads to Trump’s desk; Wis. Republicans laud its passage

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Welcome to our weekly DC Wrap, where we write about Wisconsin’s congressional delegation. Sign up here to receive the newsletter directly.

Register today for the March 7 WisPolitics.com DC breakfast with U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher and the Millennial Action Project. See more details and register.

NOTE: This is the last DC Wrap product of 2017. The weekly newsletter will return on Jan. 11. Thanks for reading.

Quotes of the week, Dec. 15-21

The idea that after passing tax reform, as if it’s the only thing I care about, I’m just going to leave, get up and go, it’s ridiculous. It’s a thought that never entered my mind, let alone discussed it with anybody. So I really see this as sort rank speculation among the D.C. beltway press, speculating these things.
– House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, this week on multiple national media reports that he’s considering retiring after the 2018 midterm elections. Ryan disputed the reports — including from Politico Magazine and CNN — on “CBS This Morning,” saying they were “fairly irresponsible speculation.” See Politico’s coverage of the interview. See a WisPolitics.com story on the reports.    

I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to reject Donald Trump, since I have felt for a long time that he is incompetent, that he has serious mental illness issues, that he does not study, and he’s dangerous, that we could trip into a war in North Korea, that he won’t recognize that Russia has interfered with our election, that he has sexually assaulted folk and continues to support that perspective.
– U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore on ‘UpFront with Mike Gousha” on her support of a motion to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump. Moore, D-Milwaukee, was one of 58 House Dems this month to back the impeachment resolution, although she was the only member of the Wisconsin congressional delegation to do so. Read more from the segment.

This week’s news

— The GOP tax overhaul bill is now heading to President Trump’s desk after clearing the Senate once and the House twice this week.

In all three cases, the state’s congressional Dems voted against the bill.

The latest 224-201 vote on Wednesday in the House vote came after the bill cleared the Senate on Tuesday night. In that chamber, U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson split on the bill, which ultimately passed on a 51-48 party-line vote.

Before that, the bill passed the House earlier on Tuesday, but was sent back to the chamber on Wednesday after the Senate parliamentarian found several provisions violated that chamber’s rules governing what could pass with a simple majority.

U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, missed both House votes. A spokesman said he has not yet been cleared by doctors to fly after triple bypass surgery in November. Pocan is expected back in DC during the first week of January.  

Meanwhile, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, joined his fellow Wisconsin Republicans in supporting the bill. As speaker, Ryan rarely votes on legislation.

— Wisconsin Republicans on Wednesday lauded the bill’s passage.

Ryan called the legislation a “once-in-a-generation tax reform bill.”

“This is the end of a long journey to deliver major tax relief to the American people,” he said. “Now, this historic legislation will be sent to the president’s desk so we can start 2018 with a new tax code.”

And U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, said while there’s more work to be done to get people back into the workforce, the bill Congress approved this week is a “huge step forward.”

“For the first time in over 31 years, Congress passed comprehensive legislation to reform our outdated, unfair, and overly complicated tax code that has stifled growth for manufacturers and punished working families in Northeast Wisconsin,” he said.

But Dems continued knocking the bill as a “#GOPTaxScam.”  

Pocan in a tweet countered the plan “a ‘once-in-a-generation’ bill that will have generations to come paying for it.”  

And Baldwin, D-Madison, called on Congress to act to fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program.  

“While Congressional Republicans give a huge gift to the wealthy, powerful corporations and Wall Street, nearly 170,000 kids in Wisconsin are at risk of losing health care if we don’t act to #FundCHIPNow,” she wrote in a tweet.

See more via WisBusiness.com on how Wisconsin business leaders are reacting to the tax bill.

— A bipartisan bill from Baldwin that looks to provide family caregivers with more support cleared the House this week.

The bipartisan legislation, which the Madison Dem and Maine GOP Sen. Susan Collins first introduced in July 2015, passed the Senate unanimously in December of that year. It would direct the Health and Human Services secretary to create a national strategy to recognize the nation’s family caregivers.

“Our legislation will provide much-needed support for family caregivers, ensuring that our older adults and loved ones with disabilities receive the highest quality care in their own homes,” Baldwin said in a statement.

— Baldwin and 18 other senators also called on the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to address sexual harassment in the food and hospitality industries.

The letter, to Acting Chair Victoria Lipnic, noted that EEOC data shows the “accomodation and food services” industry — including restaurants and hospitality — “is particularly rife with harassment,” the senators wrote.    

“Sexual harassment remains a persistent problem for American workers—particularly women and people of color,” they said.

See the letter.

— U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore has introduced a bipartisan bill aimed at combating human trafficking.  

The bill, from Moore, D-Milwaukee, and GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen, of Minnesota, would formally create an Office of Victim Assistance in the Department of Homeland Security to engage victims in trafficking investigations; dictate further law enforcement training; and require federal agencies to quickly report human trafficking data to the FBI.

“For far too long, America’s criminal justice system has failed to protect those who have fallen victim to human trafficking,” Moore said. “In order to substantively combat this pervasive and complex issue, local and federal law enforcement officials must have the tools and training necessary to identify and respond to human trafficking in all of its forms.

See the release.

Posts of the week

ICYMI

‘UpFront’: Moore says Mueller in danger of being fired, defends vote to impeach Trump

After speculation, Rep. Gwen Moore tells Speaker Ryan to retire now

Baldwin on taxes, #MeToo

ONE ON ONE: Sen. Tammy Baldwin addresses issues facing US

Ron Johnson demands explanation for how GSA turned over Trump transition emails to Robert Mueller

“Going to have to potentially:” Sen. Ron Johnson: Mueller email dispute may require change to the law

Ron Johnson on GOP Plan: ‘Plenty of Tax Cuts for Most Americans’

Rep. Kind blasts House passage of tax bill

Wis. lawmakers vote party line on House tax cut vote

Bice: U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan says Supreme Court endorsement not linked to past donations

Rep. Sean Duffy: Tax reform process more transparent than Obamacare

GOP rep: I have read ‘wide swaths’ of tax bill, not the whole thing

Duffy Stops in Marshfield

Dem attorney announces she’ll again challenge Zepnick next year

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Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee: Grothman must walk the plank again on toxic GOP tax scam

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CONTACT: Evan Lukaske (516) 661-0125

Last week, in the dead of night, the Senate passed its version of the Republican tax scam, an historically unpopular piece of legislation that 52% of Americans oppose. The bill includes tax hikes for middle-class Americans, massive giveaways to corporations and the wealthy, and repeals a crucial part of the Affordable Care Act that would cost 13 million Americans their health insurance and cause premiums to skyrocket. To make matters worse, this Tax Scam sets the stage for massive cuts to Medicare. The DCCC released the following statement on the vote Representative Grothman took today that will begin the process of reconciling the House and Senate versions of the GOP tax scam:

“Representative Grothman is walking the plank again, this time to move forward an even worse version the Republican tax scam,” said DCCC Spokesman Evan Lukaske. “Not only will middle class families see tax hikes while corporations and the wealthy get tax breaks, but now Rep. Grothman will be voting to strip health care from millions. This tax scam went from bad to worse and voters are going to hold Rep. Grothman accountable for raising their taxes and taking away their healthcare.”

Democratic Party of Milwaukee County holiday party 🗓

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Ambassador Hotel 2308 W Wisconsin Ave Milwaukee, WI

CONTACT: [email protected]
(414) 758-1261

Please join us for an Holiday Party to support The Democratic Party of Wisconsin 4th Congressional District and Milwaukee County Democratic Party * 6:00pm, December 15, 2017 * At the Ambassador Hotel 2308 W Wisconsin Ave Milwaukee, WI RSVP by ordering your tickets.

Questions? Please email or call (414) 758-1261. ActBlue provides a unique way for you to make your voice echo in the corridors of power. Please support them with a 10% tip when you contribute.

Donations:

Individual $20
Supporter $100
Sponsor $200

DPMC Events Chair
http://www.milwaukeedems.org/
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Democratic Party of Milwaukee County · 3328 W Vogel Ave, Greenfield, WI 53221, United States

Dems call on Zepnick to resign; he rebuffs calls

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Assembly Dem leaders and the party’s state chair late Friday night called on Rep. Josh Zepnick, D-Milwaukee, to resign following allegations by two women that he kissed them without their consent at political events in 2011 and 2015.

The Capital Times reported neither woman, who spoke to the paper on the condition of anonymity, filed complaints against Zepnick, but the incidents have stayed with them in the years that followed. The paper reported their accounts were corroborated by friends and co-workers.

Zepnick, a recovering alcoholic, said in a statement he will not resign.

He said he has no recollection of the alleged incidents, though “there is never an excuse for inappropriate behavior.” He said he has “confronted and apologized for many mistakes I made during my years of irresponsible drinking,” takes the claims seriously and apologizes to the women.

“My life is back on track and I’ve been sober for over two years,” Zepnick said. “I will not be resigning and I will continue to work hard on behalf of my constituents.”

Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, said in a statement the chamber’s Dem leaders take the allegations seriously.

“While we acknowledge Josh has taken steps to to deal with his abuse of alcohol his past actions should not be minimized,” the statement said. “Accordingly, it is our hope that Representative Zepnick will take the appropriate action and resign.”

One of the women who spoke with the Capital Times was identified as a former legislative staffer, while the other previously worked for the state Dem Party.

State Dem Chair Martha Laning called on Zepnick to resign “immediately.”

“As Democrats we lead with our values. Sexual harassment will not be tolerated under any circumstance in our party,” she said. “We are disturbed by the incidents that we learned about this afternoon involving Rep. Josh Zepnick’s behavior at two statewide events in 2011 and 2015, directed at an employee of our Democratic Party of Wisconsin and a legislative staff member.”

Zepnick, whose sister was killed by a drunk driver and cited her death in arguing for a crack down on those operating under the influence, was arrested for drunk driving in 2015. He was challenged in a Dem primary last year, but won with 53.1 percent of the vote, a margin of 149 votes.

The 49-year-old was first elected to the Assembly in 2002.

Dems vying for 66th AD share similar views, highlight different backgrounds

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Dems vying for 66th AD share similar views, highlight different backgrounds

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The two Dem candidates vying for the 66th AD in Racine both say they would have voted against the Foxconn deal on the Assembly floor — a bill that the seat’s current occupant, Rep. Cory Mason, voted to support.

That’s because, the two said in separate interviews with WisPolitics.com this week, they would have liked to see stronger environmental protections, a guaranteed minimum wage, union contracts and other provisions surrounding local and diverse hiring.

Both also said if they won election, they’d work to ensure their constituents benefited positively from the deal.

For Great Neubauer, 26, that includes advocating for resources for job training and public transportation.

“If we are going to be putting $3 billion of taxpayer money into this deal, we need to make sure that people in Racine get those jobs,” she said.

Neubauer, who’s the daughter of former Racine Rep. Jeff Neubauer, most recently worked in Mason’s Madison office as a research assistant, where she had a hand in the state budget, Foxconn and more. Meanwhile, fellow primary candidate John Tate II, 33, has been serving as a Racine city alder since his April election. Both are currently full- time candidates and both live in Racine.

The primary is one of three special elections Tuesday to fill recent vacancies in the Legislature created by: Mason’s election as mayor, Sheila Harsdorf’s move to head the state ag department and the death of GOP Rep. Bob Gannon. In the 66th AD, no Republican candidate is running, meaning the primary winner will effectively win the seat.

Neubauer and Tate see eye-to-eye on many issues and can point to past experiences working on campaigns. But Tate says his background in social work has allowed him to work with people from all socio-economic levels and has given him insight into how policy and government “can influence and affect a person’s circumstances.”

Those experiences working with people who “really need to have their voice amplified in Madison” make him “particularly and uniquely qualified to represent the district,” he said.

And Tate, who’s African American, said because the district is a majority-minority one, it’s important to elect officials like him who “understand that experience,” especially giving the current level of “divisiveness based on racial lines and ethnic lines.”

The last African American representative of the district was former Rep. Robert Turner, who served for 22 years in the Assembly.

Meanwhile, before working in Mason’s office from August until she resigned to run for his seat in November, Neubauer headed the nonprofit environmental group Fossil Fuel Divestment Student Network, now called the Sunrise Movement.

Neubauer said her past 10 years working as an organizer and on campaigns — which started at 16 when she helped organize Racine High School Students for Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign — will help her “be an effective advocate for people in this community.”

“I really do think we have an opportunity in this moment, and I intend if I’m elected to use this position to lift up the organizing work and leadership already happening in this community,” she said.

On other issues:

*Opportunity Schools and Partnership Program: Both candidates said they would seek to repeal the OSPP, which was initially created in the last budget and targets underperforming school districts, offering the potential for a state takeover. But the current biennial budget also sets up a process for area villages to form their own school districts, rather than going into the OSPP.

Tate said letting villages vote to create their own districts would only re-segregate Racine-area schools.

“I think it’s completely unnecessary, “he said. “If it ever were to be fully enacted, what the end result will be a segregated school district, which has a majority white students with a higher tax base and more funding and a majority-minority school districts with higher needs and fewer resources and much more poverty.”

*Constitutional carry: Both candidates said they’d oppose a bill that would allow for concealed carry without a permit.

While Neubauer said she sees hunting as “an important part of our culture here in Wisconsin” and supports the Second Amendment, she added doesn’t think there’s a need to roll back regulations around gun safety or concealed carry.

“I think we need to be making sure that we have every regulation in place to make sure that we have gun safety laws that are able to be enforced,” she said.

*Transportation funding: Neubauer said she was against both tolling and higher vehicle registration fees but could support indexing the gas tax.

But she said she wouldn’t back a 5 cent gas tax increase, saying it would hit low-income people harder than those who are better off.

“Generally I think we need to be focusing on taxing the wealthy and corporations rather than imposing regressive taxes,” she said. “So we if we are able to give the kind of tax cuts to the wealthy that Scott Walker has given we need to be very careful about imposing taxes that will hit low income people the hardest.”

Tate, meanwhile, said he’s not opposed to raising the gas tax, although he’s not sure what the right amount is — but he’s open to considering anything under 9 cents.

While he called a gas tax increase “much more palatable” than a vehicle registration fee upper, Tate said lawmakers would still need to consider the length of time to impose the tax “because I would be concerned with indefinite increases without a clear rationale as to why.”

And he said tolling is off the table, adding that if tolling was implemented along the state’s southern border, it would hit Wisconsinites harder than those living out-of-state.

Tate also backs investing greater state funds into regional transportation systems, including buses, trains and high-speed rail.

“If we can find more cost-effective ways to get people to and from the places that they work, the roads can last longer and our environment can be healthier,” he said.

Hear the audio:

Neubauer: https://soundcloud.com/wispolitics/171211_neubauer/s-ahv41

Tate: https://soundcloud.com/wispolitics/171212_tate/s-HJrwK

Department of Workforce Development: BLS Data: State unemployment drops to 3.2 percent in November

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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 October and preliminary estimates for November 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, Wisconsin added a significant 40,600 total non-farm jobs and 42,900 private-sector jobs from November 2016 to November 2017, with a significant year-over-year gain of 16,900 manufacturing jobs. The state also gained 2,500 total non-farm, 2,800 private sector jobs and 2,000 manufacturing jobs from October to November 2017. The number of total non-farm and private-sector jobs in Wisconsin reached all-time highs, according to the preliminary numbers.

Place of residence data: A preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.2 percent in November 2017, down 0.2 percent from 3.4 percent in October and below the national unemployment rate of 4.1 percent. Wisconsin’s 3.2 percent unemployment rate is the lowest November rate since November 1999. Wisconsin’s labor force participation rate increased in November to 68.9 percent and continues to be above the U.S. rate of 62.7 percent. Wisconsin’s total labor force also reached an all-time high in November, based on preliminary estimates.

DWD Secretary Ray Allen issued the following statement: “With our lowest November unemployment rate since 1999 and our total labor force reaching an all-time high, we will continue to pursue strategies that ensure that everyone who wants a job can find a job right here in Wisconsin.”

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.
Additionally, 2017 YTD totals for both initial and continuing claims through week 49 are both below 2016 YTD totals for the same time period.
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 Administration: State agencies experiencing web application outages

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CONTACT: Steven Michels, (608) 267-7874

Madison – Many state of Wisconsin agencies are currently experiencing outages with web based applications. The Department of Administration, Division of Enterprise Technology is working with the vendor to fix the hardware issue.
During this outage, state agency websites and processing functions may be temporarily unavailable.

We appreciate your patience while we work to resolve the issue.

Dept. of Administration: Unveils revamped website, new logo

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MADISON – The Department of Administration (DOA) announces the launch of its redesigned website, doa.wi.gov.  The modernized site includes navigation which makes it easier for users to find information and connect with DOA services. The updated site is mobile responsive, allowing taxpayers to access content from tablets and mobile devices.  The new design is also more cohesive with many other state agency websites, including the Wisconsin.gov state portal.

“It is important that the taxpayers and governmental bodies we serve are able to efficiently find the information they are looking for,” Secretary Scott Neitzel said.  “The mobile responsive design of our revamped website increases the effectiveness and efficiency of our operations.  We are excited about the improved user experience of the website and the new look of DOA.”

Popular DOA website resources include:

With the launch of the revamped website, DOA also unveiled a new logo. The new logo has begun appearing on our electronic items, such as websites, electronic letterhead, and newly acquired business cards.  It may take some time to fully decommission DOA’s previous logo, as we will efficiently use remaining resources that display the old logo.

Additionally, the DOA Division of Personnel Management launched dpm.wi.gov, in conjunction with DOA’s launch, to build a more robust site and accommodate the human resource shared service responsibilities established under the 2017-19 state budget.  The resources will continue to be developed as human resource shared services are implemented.

The website and logo were developed through a partnership with the Wisconsin Interactive Network, LLC.

About Wisconsin Interactive Network
Wisconsin Interactive Network is part of the eGovernment firm NIC’s (NASDAQ: EGOV) family of companies. Its focus is accelerating the number of online services available to Wisconsin citizens and businesses through the state’s official portal, Wisconsin.gov.

Dept. of Justice: AG Schimel continues to fight opioid epidemic through prevention, treatment, and enforcement

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CONTACT: John P. Koremenos, Jr., Communications Director (608) 266-1221

MADISON, Wis. – Attorney General Brad Schimel continues to direct the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) to fight the opioid epidemic with a three-pronged approach: prevention, treatment, and enforcement.

“Years ago, I first saw the opioid epidemic take hold in Waukesha County. As district attorney, I met with parents, community advocates, elected officials, pharmacists, doctors, and law enforcement to come up with solutions to the drug epidemic,” said Attorney General Schimel. “As Attorney General, I have continued this fight. Last year, opioids killed 827 people in Wisconsin[1] and we must continue prioritizing prevention, treatment, and enforcement.”

Prevention
“We cannot arrest our way out of the opioid epidemic,” said Attorney General Schimel. “We will not be able to regain control unless we curb the demand for opioids. Prevention has been at the center of my strategy to stem the opioid epidemic.” There are several proven avenues to successful drug abuse prevention. Attorney General Schimel has brought together key experts and employed a multidisciplinary approach that has had measurable success.

1. In September 2015, Attorney General Schimel launched Dose of Reality, a nationally recognized prevention campaign designed to raise awareness about prescription drug abuse and its effect on the opioid epidemic. The campaign has prevention messages for the medical community, students, coaches, parents, educators, employers, and seniors and caregivers. This award-winning campaign has been adopted in Nebraska, Maine, and Minnesota as well as many community, faith-based, medical, and educational organizations.

2. DOJ has also partnered with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for Drug Take Back Day, a nationwide event to prevent drug diversion and abuse by getting all unwanted and unused prescription and over-the-counter drugs out of medicine cabinets and safely destroyed. Since October 2015, Wisconsinites have successfully disposed of nearly 360,000 pounds of unused medications.

3. In order to prevent and deter pharmacy robberies, DOJ and the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin developed a training for local law enforcement and pharmacists. The Pharmacy Robbery Prevention and Response training, is provided to pharmacies by law enforcement and teaches pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, clerks, and other pharmacy personnel how to deter a robbery; what to do when a robbery occurs; and what to do after a robbery occurs.

4. With fentanyl cases in Wisconsin increasing, law enforcement are exposed to potentially dangerous unidentified powders. To prevent accidental overdoses, Attorney General Schimel recently directed the state crime lab to permit law enforcement officers to perform their own field tests at the lab, instead of at an uncontrolled location. Under the trained guidance of state crime lab technicians, law enforcement is now able to proactively protect itself from potentially lethal powders.

5. In order to prevent incentives in the health care industry that increase opioid-prescribing, Attorney General Schimel joined a coalition of 37 states and territories urging health insurance companies to examine financial incentives that contribute to the opioid epidemic in Wisconsin. In a letter addressed to industry trade groups and major insurance providers, the attorneys general urge insurers to review their coverage and payment policies that create opioid-prescribing incentive structures across the insurance industry. Partnering with insurance providers to identify problematic policies and encouraging reforms would spur increased use of non-opioid alternatives for treatment of chronic, non-cancer pain.

6. As a national leader on the opioid epidemic and educational resources, Attorney General Schimel and DOJ expert staff regularly serve as instructors for the National Attorneys General Training and Research Institute. They share Wisconsin’s successful opioid epidemic prevention and harm reduction techniques with other states. Attorney General Schimel also hosted his attorneys general colleagues in Milwaukee in October 2016 for a conference to discuss a state attorney general’s role in fighting the opioid epidemic, offering DOJ’s efforts as a model.

Treatment
“After 26 years as a prosecutor, I can say, without reservation, that treatment courts are the best thing the criminal justice system has ever done, and it’s not only me that believes that,” said Attorney General Schimel. “The fact is, the DAs, police, social workers, public defenders and everyone in between – we all agree. We are finally recognizing that we cannot ’incarcerate our way out of problems’ related to addiction. Yes, jail and prison are sometimes necessary parts of our approach to punish the crime that is driven by addiction, but confinement alone will not change a person’s disease or their behavior. Treatment courts combine accountability and an opportunity to earn a second chance by demonstrating commitment and hard work. This approach ultimately makes our communities safer and healthier.”

DOJ provides critical support to the state’s treatment alternatives and diversion program; has increased access to lifesaving opioid antidotes; and lobbied Congress to increase access to addiction treatment.

1. To increase treatment options, DOJ’s treatment alternatives and diversion (TAD) program offers offenders the opportunity to enter diversion or treatment court programs, which typically involve drug and/or alcohol treatment and other risk reduction services as a safe alternative to jail or prison confinement. Through 2018, these programs will be funded in 51 counties and two tribes, with more than $6 million provided annually to support these local programs. DOJ is also improving TAD by working with criminal justice partners to develop standards and provide training for programs, and by developing a comprehensive reporting system that will support collection of participant-level data from these programs, gathering data that will help to evaluate and inform both current and future programs.

2. In 2018, local law enforcement participating in a DOJ-led pilot program will be able to divert non-violent offenders with substance use issues to a treatment option, thanks to legislation signed into law by Governor Scott Walker in July.

3. Opioid-related overdoses are less likely to be fatal if naloxone, also known as Narcan®, a lifesaving opioid antidote, is accessible. DOJ has increased access to naloxone by negotiating with drug manufacturers Amphastar Pharmaceuticals and Adapt Pharma, Inc, to make naloxone available at a discounted rate to Wisconsin first responders, government agencies, and community-based organizations. DOJ’s Training & Standards Bureau also provides local law enforcement support in developing naloxone use guidelines, overdose response strategies, and fentanyl field testing training.

4. Attorney General Schimel has also called on Congress to increase access to treatment. In October 2017, the attorney general sent a letter to Congress, along with a bipartisan coalition of 39 other state attorneys general, calling on Congress to pass the Road to Recovery Act, legislation that changes federal law to make treatment for drug addiction more affordable and accessible for Americans who most need it by eliminating a decades-old Medicaid rule that limits residential treatment options.

Enforcement
“Every day, DOJ investigators are leading or assisting with the take down of major drug trafficking operations. We are supporting local law enforcement’s efforts to stop the illegal drug trade and flow of controlled substances into our communities, and investigate the actions of legitimate organizations whose actions may have exacerbated the opioid epidemic or violated state consumer protection law,” said Attorney General Schimel. DOJ has taken enforcement action in order to dismantle the criminal networks that bring heroin and fentanyl to Wisconsin communities; and is investigating pharmaceutical companies whose practices may have had a role in prolonging or creating the opioid epidemic.

1. DOJ’s Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) has partnered with local and federal law enforcement to capture drug traffickers, and recently increased investigative resources when Governor Scott Walker signed 2017 Wisconsin Act 35, which added four new agents to the division to investigate heroin trafficking crime networks.

2. In addition to supporting local law enforcement in local investigations of drug traffickers, last year DCI seized more than 660 grams of heroin and fentanyl, and nearly 1,000 doses of opioid pills, such as Oxycodone, Percocet, and Vicodin. Recently, DCI executed two major law enforcement operations with the DEA in southeastern Wisconsin that led to the seizure of more than two kilos of heroin, 33 grams of fentanyl, and the arrest of 30 drug traffickers.

3. DOJ also supports local law enforcement’s efforts to dismantle these drug trafficking networks by administering U.S. Department of Justice funds to drug task forces across the state. 18 drug task forces, covering 56 counties and eight tribes in Wisconsin, are provided more than $1.7 million annually in federal and state grant funding to enforce drug laws. Another $1.5 million in grant funding has been used to create a statewide anti-heroin task force, which provides funding to local and state law enforcement agencies for overtime for heroin/opiate investigations and testing equipment related to opioids in the state crime lab. DCI agents also train local law enforcement in drug overdose investigations.

4. Currently, DOJ is working with a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general to investigate what role the opioid manufacturers may have played in creating or prolonging this epidemic and are utilizing investigative tools, including subpoenas for documents and testimony, to determine the appropriate course of legal action to address the ongoing opioid epidemic. Most recently, investigative subpoenas were served for documents and information, also known as Civil Investigative Demands, on Endo, Janssen, Teva/Cephalon, Allergan, and their related entities, as well as a supplemental Civil Investigative Demand on Purdue Pharma.

5. DOJ is also leading a 42-state lawsuit against Indivior and MonoSol RX, the manufacturer of Suboxone, a prescription drug used to treat opiate addiction. The lawsuit alleges the companies engaged in a scheme to block generic competitors and cause purchasers to pay artificially high prices. It is among the largest ever litigated multistate antitrust case.

Improving Data Quality
“As public safety challenges, like the opioid epidemic, continue to grow in communities across the state, DOJ and local law enforcement agencies must find ways to stretch a dollar. DOJ’s robust collection of opioid data will help law enforcement better prioritize and use scarce resources,” said Attorney General Schimel.

1. Through collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), using funds provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), DOJ is working with local counties and tribes to develop overdose fatality review projects in Wisconsin. These projects will provide in-depth review and analysis of overdose deaths to identify potential areas of intervention and prevention that could help reduce future overdoses and overdose fatalities. This project has launched in Kenosha, Milwaukee, and Sauk counties; the project is currently expanding to three additional locations.

2. DOJ is also working in collaboration with the Medical College of Wisconsin and other partners under the Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program to aggregate data into a connected technology system that would link data from multiple criminal justice systems with data from medical examiners/coroners and the Office of Emergency Management. Connecting this data will provide additional background and context on opioid-related incidents and will help to examine the patterns across systems to support intervention and prevention strategies.

Among the other partners already mentioned, many other state agencies have joined the attorney general in the fight against opioid abuse through opioid-related programs and initiatives, including the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection; Department of Natural Resources; Department of Military Affairs; Department of Safety and Professional Services; and DHS. Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch has also been key in bringing together all of Wisconsin’s stakeholders to fight the opioid epidemic through the Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse. Representative John Nygren has championed critical legislation that was then signed by Governor Scott Walker. Other critical partners include the DEA, Medical College of Wisconsin, Medical Society of Wisconsin, Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Chiropractic Association, Wisconsin Hospital Association, and Wisconsin Dental Association. The successful collaboration of Wisconsin’s many able hands, has a powerful effect on reducing the harms of the opioid epidemic in our state and subsequently our nation.

Dept. of Public Instruction: Evers congratulates Wisconsin’s 2017 AP State Scholars

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CONTACT: Tom McCarthy
DPI Communications Director
(608) 266-3559

MADISON — State Superintendent Tony Evers extended congratulations to Wisconsin’s 2017 Advanced Placement (AP) State Scholars: Teresa Wan of New Berlin West High School, and Christopher Xu of Memorial High School in Madison.

The College Board grants the State AP Scholar Award annually to the top male and female students in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia each year for their performance on AP exams. Students are chosen for the award for earning scores of three or higher on the greatest number of AP exams and then the highest average score (at least 3.5) on all AP exams they have taken.

“Christopher and Teresa obviously took challenging coursework in high school, including multiple AP classes, to prepare themselves for postsecondary studies. Congratulations on this award and on graduating college and career ready,” Evers said.

Wan is attending the University of California at Berkeley. Xu is attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass.

The AP program offers students the opportunity to take college-level courses while in high school and to take end-of- course exams to demonstrate their mastery of the subject area. The AP Program offers exams in 38 subject areas. Students earning a score of three, four, or five on AP exams generally receive college credit, advanced standing, or both at many colleges and universities worldwide.

In 2017, 2.4 million public high school students took almost 4.3 million AP exams. In Wisconsin, Wan and Xu were among 42,783 students across the state who took 72,637 AP exams in May 2017. Among state students, 65.9 percent earned scores of three, four, or five on their exams, 9.9 percentage points higher than
students nationally.

Dept. of Transportation: Gov. Walker Announces Infrastructure Improvements Completed in Southeast Region of Wisconsin

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For more information, contact:
Office of Public Affairs
(608) 266-3581[email protected]

2017 was a year for enhancing the future of Wisconsin roadways

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) announce their “Year in Review” of state and federal projects that were completed in 2017.  WisDOT continued to focus on the effective use of resources, cost saving opportunities, and performance improvement. Mobility, accountability, preservation, safety, and service continue to be the departments’ performance goals.

“Under Governor Walker’s leadership, WisDOT is operating under a new paradigm. Governor Walker directed WisDOT to reinvest let savings to advance a number of highway projects, identify cost savings and efficiencies, and effectively use its resources while maintaining a focus on safety,” said Dave Ross, WisDOT Secretary. “We remain committed to continuing to move Wisconsin forward in 2018.”

In Fiscal Year 2017, 600 miles of State Trunk Highway and local highways were improved and work was initiated or completed to rehabilitate or replace 387 deficient state and local bridges. In all, more than $946 million in construction projects on state and local road systems were contracted through the Department of Transportation.

Southeast Region project highlights for 2017 include:

Zoo Interchange (Milwaukee County): Major milestones where reached during the ongoing Zoo Interchange reconstruction. During 2017, two new system ramps were completed and reopened to the public. The new westbound I-94 lanes from the core of the interchange out to the project limits were also opened to traffic with the connections to and from WIS 100 fully open as well. Work completed during the year is allowing the completion date for the Core of the Interchange to be set for late August of 2018. https://projects.511wi.gov/zoo-interchange-project/

Hoan Bridge (Milwaukee County): Crews finished the final season of repainting the bridge steel along one of Milwaukee’s most recognizable landmarks. The Hoan Bridge handles about 40,000 vehicles per day and required 3 million square feet of painting.

I-794 Lakefront Gateway (Milwaukee County): This project included multiple interchange ramp realignments linking Milwaukee’s downtown, lakefront and Third Ward District. A two-and-a-half acre site opened by the ramp realignments made room for the planned construction of a high-rise building and adjacent pedestrian access to downtown and the lakefront. 

Marquette Interchange (Milwaukee County): A new polymer overlay was applied throughout the interchange located in downtown Milwaukee. This high tensile strength application was used to seal, protect, and extend the life of the bridge decks. Minor closeout items to take place in 2018.

https://projects.511wi.gov/marqint/ 

I-94 (Waukesha County): Repaired a section of pavement along I-94, from the Waukesha County Line to WIS 16. To safely implement this improvement while maximizing traffic flow for motorists, most of the project work was conducted at night.

WIS 50 (Walworth County): WIS 50, in downtown Delavan, received spot reconstruction improvements and was also resurfaced to help address congestion and delays, and to update pavement conditions.

WIS 145 (Washington County): Roadway conditions were updated along WIS 145, from Mequon Road to County P, in the village of Germantown. In addition, spot safety improvements were made such as updating the existing guardrail at the bridge over the Menomonee River, as well as replacing the railroad crossing on Pilgrim Road.

WIS 175 (Washington County): Crews resurfaced WIS 175, from Maple Road to Beechwood Industrial Court, and from Polk Street to WIS 60. Safety improvements at major intersections were implemented including a new roundabout at WIS 175 and Lannon Road.

US 45 (Kenosha County): This project resurfaced US 45 from the Illinois State Line to 86th Street, and reconstructed US 45 from 86th Street to WIS 50 near the town of Bristol. Various intersections were realigned and improved throughout the corridor, including the addition of Emergency Vehicle Preemption (EVP) detection.

US 14 (Walworth County): A resurfacing project that had an original duration of three months, was completed in one to mitigate traffic impacts in the downtown district of the village of Walworth. Crews worked with local businesses along the town square to coordinate a full closure of the roadway to expedite construction operations.

WIS 165 (Kenosha County): This two-year project rehabilitated approximately three miles of WIS 165, from I-94 to WIS 31. It also consisted of building a new bridge over the Des Plaines River, while rehabilitating the existing bridge. This work created twin bridges to accommodate lane expansions.

WIS 120 (Walworth County): Updated roadway conditions by resurfacing WIS 120, from the Illinois State Line to Willow Road, and rehabilitating the bridge deck over Nippersink Creek. In addition, spot safety improvements were made such as updating existing beam guards and installing concrete barrier under the Wisconsin and Southern Railroad bridge. 

WIS 36 and County Y (Racine County): This project improved the overall safety of the intersection by adjusting the alignment of the left turn bays to alleviate sight distance issues, and by installing more visible traffic signals.

WIS 16 (Waukesha County): This project rehabilitated WIS 16 from County P to I-94, replaced beam guard, added new signage, and incorporated new pavement markings. As a separate project in 2018, cable barriers will be installed along the median throughout the corridor. https://projects.511wi.gov/wis16-i94/

Park and Rides (Southeast Region): This project rehabilitated 10 park and rides around southeastern Wisconsin and required constant communication with transit services and users, summer events, and festivals.

 I-41 and Capitol Drive (Milwaukee County): Work was completed over the summer months that resurfaced the connecting ramps in this interchange in addition to the installation of new traffic control devices. The timely completion of the work is allowing the route to be used as a detour route for work in I-41. 

Watertown Plank Road Bridges (Milwaukee County): Two bridges were rehabilitated along Watertown Plank Road that spanned Underwood Creek. This project is removing and replacing the existing bridge decks while making updates to the existing girders. Work continues this winter with an anticipated opening in fall 2018. https://projects.511wi.gov/wtp/

I-41 Nor-X-Way (Waukesha County): The project centers around replacing a small bridge on both the I-41/US 45 southbound entrance ramp and on the I-41/US 45 mainline near the village of Menomonee Falls. To safely implement this improvement while maximizing traffic flow for motorists, most of the project work was conducted at night. Crews will return next construction season to finish the work.  https://projects.511wi.gov/41wauk/

I-94 North/South County K Crossroads (Racine County): County K was reconstructed approximately ¾ mile east and west of the I-94 ramps. Improvements included adding traffic signals at all four legs of the County K and East Frontage Road Intersection, and replacing the existing stops signs for the north and south movements. Work is scheduled to be complete in spring 2018. https://projects.511wi.gov/i94northsouth/county-k-crossroads/

WIS 50 Bridge Flooding (Kenosha County): WisDOT staff and State Patrol worked with multiple government and law enforcement agencies on various efforts to ensure a coordinated response to the flooding emergency that hit southeastern Wisconsin in July. This included helping with short-term and long-term state highway closures, and detour routes. One of the most impacted highways was WIS 50 at the Fox River in New Munster. After historic water levels receded, crews inspected the bridge to ensure safety, rebuilt washed out shoulders, and immediately began designing the new elevated bridge to be constructed in 2018.

Devin Gatton: Wisconsin needs tax cuts now

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

The United States House of Representatives recently passed their tax reform bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and as we speak the Senate is putting finishing touches on their bill. Small businesses in Wisconsin and across the country are counting on the final tax cut legislation to deliver well-deserved tax relief.

Main street businesses are the true victims of the strains of the current tax code. At the moment, nearly 95 percent of small businesses are taxed as “pass-through entities,” which means a business’s income is taxed at the owners’ top marginal individual rate. On the federal level, that rate reaches almost 40 percent, and once state and local taxes are added in, small businesses can be forced to relinquish almost half of their income to the government – far above the international norm.

Proposed tax legislation would fix this uncompetitive status quo. The tax proposals from both the House and the Senate contain promising provisions for our nation’s leading job creators, and are a step towards creating an equal playing field for small businesses across the county.

In the version the House of Representatives just passed, a separate small business tax structure is created. For starters, a new top marginal rate is established at 25 percent, which is nearly 15 percentage points lower than the old rate. Earnings below this rate are taxed at an expanded 12 percent bracket. (The 15 and 28 percent brackets are eliminated completely.) Perhaps most excitingly, the bill also creates a new nine percent rate on the first $75,000 of taxable income for businesses that make less than $150,000.

The current version of the bill the in the Senate does not create a separate small business rate. Instead, it creates a 20 percent deduction for all small businesses earning less than $500,000 a year, and for non-professional services businesses above that threshold. According to the Tax Foundation, 97 percent of small business pass-throughs earn $500,000 or less, meaning nearly every small business in the country will earn this substantial and long-overdue relief.

Small businesses have waited over 30 years for Congress to fix the current tax code. But the plan would help far more than just them.

In a score by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, they estimate the Senate bill will create 925,000 jobs and increase average after-tax income by over $2,500 for middle-income families. The same study finds Wisconsin would see the creation of almost 19,000 jobs and an income increase of over $2,600, which is higher than the national average.

Most small business owners would use a tax cut to expand their business, create jobs, and increase employee wages, helping local economies and their residents across the state and country.

Small businesses are currently facing one of the most stressful times of the year: Holiday shopping. The excitement of the Christmas season is coupled with the anxiety of finishing the year strong, jumpstarting growth for 2018.

Passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would be an incredible early Christmas present for Wisconsin’s main street businesses. Congress should make good on their promise and pass it now.

— Gatton is the president of Wisconsin’s Chapter of Log Cabin Republicans.

Doe judge withdrawing from case due to tweets

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DOJ recommends contempt proceedings over John Doe leak, mishandling of evidence

At least one person illegally removed documents from the old GAB and leaked them to The Guardian, but the needed proof does not exist to convict anyone, the state DOJ concluded in a report released today.

Still, the 92-page document paints the Government Accountability Board as being sloppy in its handling of the records. That, along with what the Department of Justice said was a partisan atmosphere at the defunct agency, opened the door to the leak and now prevents prosecutors from proving criminal liability.

It also recommends contempt proceedings against nine people who worked for the GAB, the Milwaukee County DA’s office or the Elections Commission, along with special prosecutor Francis Schmitz.

DOJ alleges all nine “grossly mishandled” secret John Doe evidence and then failed to turn all of it over to the Wisconsin Supreme Court as ordered.

“Moreover, DOJ is deeply concerned by what appears to have been the weaponization of GAB by partisans in furtherance of political goals, which permitted the vast collection of highly personal information from dozens of Wisconsin Republicans without even taking modest steps to secure this information,” the agency wrote in its report.

The DOJ report also revealed for the first time a third John Doe investigation was opened as part of the secret probe that was eventually shut down by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. That third investigation targeted members of the Wisconsin Republican Party and included the collection of hundreds of thousands of documents.

That included emails GOP state Sen. Leah Vukmir, who’s now running for the U.S. Senate, exchanged with her daughter that included private medical information, according to the report.

DOJ was not able to determine why investigators obtained the emails, “let alone saved and labeled” them in a folder that was labeled “Opposition Research.”

Vukmir, who co-authored legislation to disband the GAB, called the actions criminal and said those involved belong in prison.

“My privacy has been violated in such a brazen way by those who targeted me, my friends, and even my family,” Vukmir said. “No political motivation justifies this. The thought of my government intentionally and illegally targeting me is sickening.”

Those singled out for contempt proceedings besides Schmitz include: former GAB Director Kevin Kennedy; former GAB legal counsel Shane Falk; former GAB employee Molly Nagappala; former GAB administrator Jonathan Becker; Elections Commission Counsel Nathan Judnic; Milwaukee ADA David Robles; Milwaukee Administrator James Krueger; and Milwaukee DA Investigator Robert Stelter.

The contempt proceedings are not criminal charges, and any penalties would be left up to the judge who oversaw the investigation into the leak, a DOJ spokesman said.

Several of the targets said they had not seen the report and were not aware of the findings before being contacted by WisPolitics.com. None contacted immediately responded to requests for comment.

E.G. Nadeau and Luc Nadeau: The grinches are trying to steal Christmas

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

Whether it’s lying about the health effects of tobacco, the negative consequences of climate change on society and the planet, or the massive unfairness of the Republican tax reform, it’s always possible to find a minority of scientists – and, unfortunately, sometimes a majority of Republican legislators – who will enthusiastically agree that up is down.

In a recent case of pseudoscience, 100+ economists were happy to conclude in an open letter to Congress: “Economic growth will accelerate if the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passes, leading to more jobs, higher wages, and a better standard of living for the American people.”

Some interesting facts related to that letter:

  • A number of the signers were not economists, or were working for organizations that have vested interests in tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy;
  • Another group of about 200 economists – real economists – also wrote an open letter, including the following statement: “Our central problem is not insufficient profits for corporations. Consumers, not employers, are the real job creators and cutting the corporate tax rate won’t jumpstart the economy.”
  • in a survey of prominent economists, 37 of 38 “agreed that the GOP tax bills in Congress would cause US debt to increase ‘substantially’ faster than the economy.”
  • The Joint Committee on Taxation, the tax research arm of Congress, and the Tax Policy Center put numerical estimates on the increase in the national debt over the next decade – 1 trillion to $1.4 trillion.

Corporate tax cuts are only part of this cobbled together monstrosity of a tax bill. In addition to generating only a marginal increment in economic growth at a cost of more than a trillion dollars in increased debt, there are other insidious impacts as well. Both the House and the Senate versions of the bill primarily benefit wealthy individuals and families. By 2027, the Congressional Budget Office calculates that, on average, families earning less than $75,000 per year will face a tax increase, while wealthier families will continue to receive tax benefits.

But it gets worse. A number of Republicans are already expressing concern that the national debt is too high, at the same time that they are in the process of making it higher. So, what’s the solution? Cut back on federal expenditures, with an emphasis on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, health programs, and other parts of our safety net for the elderly, the unemployed, the poor, people with disabilities, and the sick. (See here, for example.) So, the tax bill can be seen as the first punch in a two-punch combination, with reduced expenditures for social programs as the second. If this happens, the result will be a dramatic increase in inequality in the United States and a reduction in the standard of living for most Americans.

We know, however, that there are Republican legislators who are concerned about the negative consequences of the proposed tax reform. Some are strongly on record in opposition to increasing the national debt; some have raised concerns about increasing inequality in society; others have expressed a commitment to maintaining an adequate social safety net.

In addition to these expressions of concern, there is also a very pragmatic issue: if Republicans are seen as responsible for a major decline in the quality of life in the United States, they are likely to pay for it at the polls in 2018, 2020, and beyond. Are the short-term benefits of a skewed tax cut worth the long-term loss of Republican credibility with the American people?

In the United States, we have been on a trajectory of increasing economic inequality for decades. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act promises to further exacerbate this inequality. What kind of legacy do we want to leave our children: one in which we’re all fighting each other for the scraps, or one where a fair allocation of economic resources creates a shared abundance?

Surely there are three Republican senators who recognize that the tax bill is not the path to improve the lives of US citizens. They have the power to prevent the grinches’ Christmas heist.

E.G. Nadeau and Luc Nadeau are authors of “The Cooperative Society: The Next Stage of Human History.”

End Domestic Abuse WI: Domestic violence advocates see disaster in Senate GOP tax bill, warn of cuts to future services

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CONTACT: Chase Tarrier, Public Policy Coordinator,
End Domestic Abuse WI
[email protected], 608.237.3985

Madison— Advocates for victims of domestic violence all across Wisconsin are raising their voices in opposition to the Senate’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which could be scheduled for a vote in the US Senate today. With reports showing that the proposal will raise the deficit by over $1 trillion and lead to 13 million more people without health insurance over the next 10 years, advocates see passage of the proposal as a major threat to the health and safety of survivors and their children. Advocates also expressed concern about future cuts to critical domestic violence prevention funding streams like the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) as well as social safety net programs like Medicare, Medicaid and many others that victims of violence rely on every day.

“As if $1.5 trillion added to the deficit just to line the pockets of the wealthiest Americans isn’t bad enough, this tax bill poses a threat of major cuts to programs that are absolutely vital to the work advocates do to protect and empower victims in our state,” said Patti Seger, executive director of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin. “By providing huge tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy on the backs of middle and low income citizens while simultaneously kicking 13 million people off their health insurance over the next ten years, supporters of this proposal are showing us exactly where their priorities lie. If passed, this bill would be a huge step backwards for the safety and autonomy of survivors in Wisconsin, and we are calling on Senator Ron Johnson to oppose it on behalf of domestic violence victims everywhere.

“Whether it’s the higher taxes on low and middle income families, repealing key provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) leading to millions more uninsured or future cuts to social safety net programs like Medicaid and Medicare, this bill would be a disaster for domestic violence victims, particularly those that are already struggling to get by,” said Seger. “We hope our elected leaders will reconsider this tax break for the ultra-wealthy and corporations and instead look for ways to support the most vulnerable Americans, including domestic violence victims.”

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that the proposed Senate tax legislation would negatively impact individuals in the lowest income brackets, affecting those who make less than $30,000 per year by 2019, while most of those making under $75,000 would be negatively affected by 2027.

End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin: Bill to Address Teen Dating Violence Officially Introduced in WI Legislature

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CONTACT: Chase Tarrier, Public Policy Coordinator,
End Domestic Abuse WI
[email protected]608.237.3985

Madison— A bi-partisan group of state legislators is hoping to move the Badger State towards a more comprehensive approach to addressing and preventing teen dating violence with legislation that would implement dating violence curricula in Wisconsin schools. Advocates say that the newly introduced bill will not only improve the health and safety of Wisconsin teens by breaking cycles of dangerous behavior that contribute to increased risk of drug abuse, truancy and suicide for current youth victims, but will also help to lower the risk of abuse occurring in future generations.

Teen dating violence, which advocates define as a pattern of destructive behaviors used to exert power and control over a dating partner, is increasingly recognized as a widespread problem. One in three teens in the US is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner. This rate is higher than all other forms of youth violence. Over half of teens, 57-percent, know someone who has been physically, sexually, or verbally abusive in a dating relationship. Advocates report that this legislation is a critical part of ongoing efforts to prevent abuse in future generations.

“Each new generation brings enormous potential, particularly during this period when a spotlight is being shined on gendered and sexual violence in many different forms” said Patti Seger, Executive Director of End Domestic Abuse WI (End Abuse). “With greater understanding that harmful relationship dynamics take hold during teenage years, we can now more intentionally instill values of equality and mutual respect in the next generation and thereby lower the rate of domestic violence in the future.”

LRB-5038, which was circulated for co-sponsorship earlier today, would require school boards to adopt policies addressing teen dating violence, including:

  • Prohibiting teen dating violence at schools or school-related events and activities;
  • Model, age-appropriate instruction about preventing and responding to teen dating violence for pupils in grades 7 through 12;
  • Training and procedures for identifying, preventing, and responding to teen dating violence for school district employees, and identifying school district employees responsible for receiving teen dating violence incident reports.

“We appreciate the efforts of the bi-partisan group of legislators working on this initiative, including lead authors Rep. Melissa Sargent (D-Madison) and Sen. Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) as well as Sen. Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) and Representative John Spiros (R-Marshfield), who has worked tirelessly on the legislation in previous sessions and remains a strong supporter of the bill,” said Seger. “Now we are looking to the full Wisconsin Legislature to show that dating violence is not a partisan issue by coming together to support this common-sense proposal that will move our state closer to addressing the root causes of domestic violence.”

If LRB-5038 is signed into law, Wisconsin would join the growing list of over 20 states that have implemented dating violence curricula in schools.

EPA: Announces Appointment of Cathy Stepp to Region 5 Administrator

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt announced the appointment of Cathy Stepp to become regional administrator for Region 5. Ms. Stepp will oversee environmental protection efforts in: Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Cathy Stepp currently serves as a principal deputy regional administrator for Region 7 and will return to the Midwest region where she previously served as the secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources from 2011 to 2017.  While serving as a state cabinet secretary, Cathy lead the third largest agency in the state with about 4,000 employees and was responsible for state enforcement and protection of: wildlife, fisheries, state parks, trails, forests, and environmental permitting.

Ms. Stepp also previously served as a Wisconsin state senator from 2003 to 2007, where she represented nearly 160,000 constituents and authored and advanced legislation on regulatory reform, job creation, and other issues. Prior to entering public service, Ms. Stepp owned a small business, a home building company.

“Cathy Stepp’s experience working as a statewide cabinet official, elected official, and small business owner will bring a fresh perspective to EPA as we look to implement President Trump’s agenda.” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

Her nomination is receiving high accolades from across the region:

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker: “Cathy is a strong, trusted reformer who will continue to serve the country well as an EPA regional administrator. As Wisconsin’s DNR secretary, she led an outstanding workforce committed to preserving and promoting our natural resources while placing a strong focus on customer service and common sense. We wish her all the best in her new role.”

Ohio DPA Director Craig Butler,: “I am very pleased that Cathy Stepp will be the USEPA region 5 administrator.  She is a strong leader with proven state experience. She knows how to get things done and I look forward to working closely with her.”

Commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency John Linc Stine: “I’m really looking forward to working with Cathy Stepp as she takes on this new role. I’ve collaborated with Cathy before on our shared waters (Lake Superior and the Mississippi River) in her role as the Wisconsin DNR Commissioner and in her work with the Environmental Council of States (ECOS). I’m confident she understands the key environmental protection issues facing the Midwestern and Great Lakes states in EPA Region 5.”

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce President & CEO Kurt Bauer: “Wisconsin and the other states in EPA’s Region 5 will be well-served by Cathy Stepp. As Secretary of the Wisconsin DNR, she routinely balanced the needs of a growing economy with the importance of protecting our natural resources. As Region 5 Administrator, I have no doubt that she will take a common-sense approach to environmental oversight, just as she did for nearly seven years in Wisconsin.”

Wisconsin Realtors Association Senior Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs Thomas D. Larson: “No problem is too big for Cathy Stepp.  Her enthusiastic, can-do attitude, combined with her tireless energy and superb problem-solving skills make her the perfect choice to serve as the Regional Administrator for EPA’s Region 5.”

Eric Borgerding & Stephanie Harrison: Health care partners call on Congress to address critical health programs

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

Critical health programs, all of which have bipartisan support, have been fighting for Congressional attention for months. On September 30, funding for Community Health Centers (CHCs), the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), along with important Medicare policies like the Medicare Low-Volume Hospital Adjustment (LVA) and the Medicare Dependent Hospital (MDH), all expired. Children, families and those that provide care across Wisconsin rely on these programs to offer affordable services, well-trained doctors, and care that is close to home. While we continue to hear from some in Congress that these programs will be funded, the clock continues to tick down. We urge Congress to act now.

Funding for all of these programs are critical for many communities across the state. For example, Community Health Centers in Wisconsin stand to lose $29 million in federal funding without action. That is funding currently used to provide care for families in financial need, including care management and much-needed addiction treatment and recovery services.

In addition, Community Health Centers and other critical providers in high-need areas will be negatively impacted without the NHSC’s loan repayment program. This program helps recruit doctors and dentists and, currently, 150 FTE clinicians, including nearly 50 FTE dentists, utilize this valuable program.

Both of our organizations also strongly support the continuation of the CHIP program, which provides access to health care for Wisconsin children and families. The estimated impact of could be as much as $137 million to the State without federal funding. And finally, rural areas will be impacted without LVA and MDH adjustments–two targeted, but important Medicare reimbursement policies that help protect smaller, rural hospitals that see very high or very low Medicare volumes.

During this time of heightened change in the health care sector, ensuring ensure programs like these remain strong are essential to our nation’s and Wisconsin’s health care infrastructure.

Join us in calling on Congress to fund these programs before the end of the year.

– Borgerding is CEO of the Wisconsin Hospital Association; Harrison is CEO of the Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association.

Erin Grunze: Wisconsin Elections Commission needs to be run by the best administrators

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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 troubling to see the John Doe investigations and fallout back in the news as it has escalated to the point where legislative leaders are calling for Elections Commission Administrator Mike Haas and other officials to resign, despite no accusations of wrongdoing or any recommendation by the DOJ for their resignation.

The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin trust the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission to be able to evaluate their staff and make decisions about their ability to maintain nonpartisanship of our elections.

Under Haas’ leadership, the Elections Commission has successfully administered the 2016 statewide presidential recount, implemented online voter registration, provided training for clerks across the state on changes in election law, and implemented a new statewide voter database and election administration system. The League has interfaced with Mr. Haas and other WEC staff in our voter service work and always found them to be helpful, nonpartisan, and highly professional.

Heading into an election year our hope would be that lawmakers be concerned with how to support the Wisconsin Elections Commission in running accessible and fair elections. They can do that by restoring the needed staffing which the Governor cut in the state budget. They certainly will not improve elections by stripping the agency of its leadership at a critical time. Bringing a partisan dispute to a bipartisan commission that has been functioning well harms the reputation of the Wisconsin Elections Commission in a time when it is working to address the real challenges with election security, how to implement new and evolving technology, and educating voters so they can understand and comply with the many changes in voting laws.

Our commitment to an adequately funded Wisconsin Elections Commission with strong leadership has only grown stronger in the face of recent challenges. Faith in our election system is a bedrock of democracy. We need to work on strengthening voter confidence in the system, so that citizens feel, as they rightly should, that their vote matters and will be counted. Casting doubt on the process, by unduly trying to dismantle the leadership of the agency responsible for running our elections, is not keeping voters’ interests at heart. It harms the whole system.

Call off the attack on the Elections Commission and Ethics Commission staff who are not implicated in the recent DOJ report and let them do their jobs.

– Erin Grunze is the executive director of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin.

Eschewing tradition, Supreme Court candidate Burns openly shares political views

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Ethics Commission administrator wants agency investigation to clear his name

Ethics Commission Administrator Brian Bell is requesting the commission launch an investigation into his conduct, saying the move would help set the record straight on allegations legislative leaders have made against him.

Meanwhile, the commission is also weighing holding its own public review of Bell’s performance should the Senate opt not to hold a confirmation hearing. But commissioners in the meantime decided to send a letter to Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald to request more information on whether the chamber will hold a hearing prior to the up or down vote that could take place in January.

Bell said today an Ethics Commission review into his conduct would “refute the baseless allegations that have been made against me.”

“I believe that an objective review of my conduct in service to the state would definitively show that I have consistently conducted myself in a nonpartisan and impartial manner,” he said.

As part of an investigation, the commission would have the power to subpoena records and call witness in to testify under oath, Chair David Halbrooks noted.

Bell’s request comes after Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, urged both Bell and Elections Commission Administrator Michael Haas to step aside because the two “have lost the confidence of our caucuses to be an impartial administrator.”

Haas yesterday sent a letter to Vos and Fitzgerald demanding an apology for “trashing my name and reputation,” adding their statements implying he had been involved in criminal activity are “verifiably false” and the lawmakers have not offered “the least bit of evidence to support those claims.”

Spokespeople for Fitzgerald and Vos didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

Commissioners today again signaled their support for Bell, as members opted to uncover more information about a possible confirmation vote next month in the Senate.

Fitzgerald previously threatened to force Senate votes next month on the nominations of Bell and Haas unless they resign. Fitzgerald said they would “never” get enough votes to win confirmation.

But commissioners including GOP Commissioner Mac Davis, an appointee of Gov. Scott Walker and former state senator, stood behind Bell. Davis said Bell was being “unfairly tarred by the dark shadow of the Government Accountability Board’s conduct.”

He added has has “seen no inkling of any kind” of partisanship from Bell.

And Halbrooks, who pushed for the commission to agree to hold a hearing for Bell if the Senate was planning not to, said in Bell, commissioners “found a person who we can all rely on to be fair and not take any partisan leanings into account.”

“I would not ask for someone’s resignation based on this alone,” said Halbrooks, referring to the letter from Vos and Fitzgerald last week.

Ethics Commission chair: Will provide clarifications on DOJ Doe report

The state Ethics Commission will provide “clarifications” to the DOJ report on how agency staff handled John Doe records and will seek the release of sealed court documents to back up the contention employees acted properly, the commission chair tells WisPolitics.com.

David Halbrooks, speaking after the agency called an emergency meeting today, also said the commission has no concerns about administrator Brian Bell and counsel Brian Buerger amid a call from GOP Sen. Steve Nass for them to resign.

Halbrooks said the agency just finished Bell’s job performance review earlier this week and concluded Bell was exceeding expectations.

“It’s not even a question, because when we get to tell our story, there will not be a question,” Halbrooks said of Bell and Buerger’s performance with the agency.

DOJ spokesman Johnny Koremenos said if the commission wants to access “the very secret documents that they mishandled in the first place, then DOJ would oppose that request.”

The DOJ report concluded at least one person illegally removed documents from the old GAB and leaked them to The Guardian, but the needed proof does not exist to convict anyone. It also painted the old Government Accountability Board as being sloppy in its handling of the records from an investigation into coordination between Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign and conservative groups in the recalls. It also recommended contempt proceedings against nine people who worked for the GAB, the Milwaukee County DA’s office or the Elections Commission, along with special prosecutor Francis Schmitz.

Halbrooks said one of the clarifications the commission plans to provide will refute DOJ’s assertion in its 92-page report that Bell and Buerger asserted their Fifth Amendment rights and refused to speak with counsel.

According to the DOJ report, the agency requested another interview with both men June 7, but they refused the next day and invoked their right to counsel.

Halbrooks provided WisPolitics.com a timeline that showed the pair told DOJ they would have to talk to the commission before agreeing to the interview because it “previously instructed outside counsel before taking individual interviews.”

The timeline includes requests for DOJ and then Gov. Scott Walker’s office for counsel. Eventually, the guv’s office appointed a special counsel, according to the timeline.

Halbrooks said DOJ wanted to speak with Bell and Buerger separately, which necessitated outside counsel because Buerger is the staff attorney who would otherwise represent Bell in such an interview.

“We had to have somebody there listening,” Halbrooks said, stressing, “There was no refusal to answer.”

Koremenos disputed Halbrooks’ characterization of Bell and Buerger’s actions.

“Ethics employees refused to talk to DOJ without an attorney present in the context of a criminal investigation,” he wrote in an email. “That is a Fifth Amendment right. This is not up for debate.”

Halbrooks also took issue with the suggestion in the DOJ report that there was a lack of cooperation from the Ethics Commission as investigators sought documents.

Schimel has agreed to make one correction to the report, saying he would drop a footnote that incorrectly suggested a Journal Sentinel columnist’s wife was working at the Supreme Court when DOJ investigators went to the office to review records.

The footnote was included in an attempt to explain what may have tipped off the media to the February 2017 visit. She left the court in November 2015.

Ethics Commission, DOJ spar over Doe leak report

The state Ethics Commission Tuesday countered DOJ’s investigation into leaks from the John Doe probes, saying the report failed to accurately describe the agency’s efforts to cooperate or the steps it took to secure records after replacing the GAB.

But AG Brad Schimel fired back, saying questions the Ethics Commission raised were nothing more than disagreements over the agency’s characterization of certain events. He also said the commission had issue with DOJ’s tone, but not the substance of the report.

What’s more, Schimel suggested Ethics Commission Chair David Halbrooks has a conflict of interest because he was a witness in John Doe I, which involved aides and associates of then-Milwaukee County Exec Scott Walker. Schimel wrote in a letter Halbrooks should recuse himself from any further involvement and for the full commission to review the chair’s actions since the report dropped last week.

Meanwhile, the Elections Commission signed off on a resolution asking Walker to appoint an attorney to help with issues raised in the report. The resolution also outlined commissioners’ support of Administrator Michael Haas, who was among those called on to resign last week by Sen. Steve Naas.

Still, the resolution didn’t mention Elections Commission attorney Nathan Judnic, who Nass also singled out and is among those Schimel recommended for contempt proceedings.

The dueling letters from Schimel and Halbrooks and Ethics Commission Vice-Chair Katie McCallum are the latest twist since DOJ last week released its report. The report found a crime was committed when documents from the secret investigations were released to The Guardian. But DOJ said it could not pinpoint who was to blame because of sloppy record keeping by the now defunct Government Accountability Board. The report also was critical of the Elections and Ethics commissions, which were created to replace the GAB.

That report also for the first time detailed the existence of what DOJ called John Doe III, an investigation that collected hundreds of thousands of emails from Republican aides, operatives and a state lawmaker and included a folder marked “Opposition Research.”

The Ethics Commission letter suggested the folder was not prepared by a GAB employee and was instead illegally seized by investigators from a target of John Doe III.

DOJ countered that “cannot possibly be true” because it was created on a GAB hard drive on April 10, 2012, which post-dates any of the documents found in the folder. Schimel also said most of the emails in the folder were personal and did not include “any items that a Republican would label as ‘Opposition Research.'”

The Ethics Commission letter outlined some of the issues Halbrooks raised to WisPolitics.com late last week in response to the DOJ report. 

That included the allegation that administrator Brian Bell and counsel David Buerger invoked their Fifth Amendment rights while interviewed by DOJ employees. Halbrooks and McCallum countered it was the commission that wanted an attorney present during the interviews with each agency employee.

They also wrote in Tuesday’s letter the DOJ report failed to acknowledge the “major security improvements” the commission has put in place since replacing the GAB.

Along with rejecting the DOJ description of how the Ethics Commission handled the records once they were transferred from the GAB, Halbrooks and McCallum pushed back on DOJ’s questioning of why the agency did not report a crime after The Guardian published the leaked documents.

“There is not a single person in our agency who had knowledge of the content of the leaked documents before they were published, and as such none of us were able to identify that a crime had occurred at the time,” they wrote.

Schimel, though, insisted Bell and Buerger invoked their Fifth Amendment rights to counsel.

He wrote they spoke with DOJ attorneys and investigators on turned over documents on several occasions. It was only after the so-called “Falk boxes” of records were found that they requested an attorney. The name refers to former GAB counsel Shane Falk; DOJ says the documents leaked to The Guardian were all on his hard drive, which is still missing.

“When a witness in a criminal case refuses to talk to investigators without an attorney present,  this is an invocation of the witness’s Fifth Amendment rights,” Schimel wrote. “Although the commission wishes to characterize this event differently, the report is correct and speaks for itself.”

Schimel also disputed the commission’s assertion that it could not report a crime when the documents were leaked. He wrote the commission was in custody of John Doe evidence at the time of the leak. While they could not review the documents, commission employees could identify boxes, files and electronic folders.

Read the Ethics Commission letter:
https://ethics.wi.gov/Resources/LetterFromTheEthicsCommissionToTheAttorneyGeneral_20171212.pdf 

See the WisPolitics.com story from Friday:
https://www.wispolitics.com/2017/ethics-commission-chair-will-provide-clarifications-on-doj-doe-report/ 

Read the DOJ response:
https://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/171212DOJ.pdf 

Evers campaign: Statement on Foxconn tax

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Contact:
Maggie Gau, 715-581-0406
[email protected]

“Today it was revealed that Wisconsin electrical customers are being asked to foot the bill for 40 years to build a new $140 million dollar facility to provide electricity for Foxconn. It
wasn’t enough for Walker to give Foxconn a $3,000,000,000 sweetheart deal paid for by Wisconsin taxpayers. Now Foxconn wants Wisconsin ratepayers to cough up another $140 million from their own wallets. This deal just keeps getting worse and worse. Scott Walker should be ashamed of himself.”

Families USA: Short-term CHIP deal shortchanges America’s children

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CONTACT: Annette Raveneau
Thursday, December 7, 2017 [email protected]
(202) 626-0611

Washington, D.C. – Congress set the deadline for the renewal of CHIP funding more than 2 years ago and they are now nearly 70 days past the their own deadline. House leadership has announced a short-term funding plan to help states. Following is the statement of Families USA’s Executive Director, Frederick Isasi:

“Since September 30, states have been cobbling together funding to keep their CHIP programs up and running. Due to Congress’s inaction, states are now struggling to make sure their programs can continue to operate without interruption. The short-term patch recently announced by House leadership to help states piece funding together is not what Congress has promised and not what states and kids need.

“The news that Congress is continuing to delay action on a full 5-year extension means that states have no choice but to begin alerting families that their coverage is in jeopardy.

“Already, Colorado has notified families CHIP will shut down by January 31 if Congress doesn’t act. In early 2018, families in Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington may receive similar notices as these states are expected to run out of funds for their programs. As funding is not renewed and states have to work through the policies and requirements to prepare to disenroll families, states are spending precious CHIP resources on administrative operations, instead of on children.

“Over the last several months, Congress has repeatedly signaled its broad and bipartisan support for CHIP and they have promised time and again that they would get CHIP done. Now is the time for their actions to match their promises and fully fund the program.

“Time is up. Families need Congress to make good on its promises and to enact a bipartisan 5-year funding extension of CHIP as quickly as possible. No more excuses and no more delays.”

Fitzgerald appoints Stroebel to Joint Finance

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Flynn Campaign: Flynn will restore voting rights in Wisconsin

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For Immediate Release
December 5, 2017
Contact: Bryan Kennedy – (414) 517-3864

Matt Flynn Will Restore Voting Rights in Wisconsin

Democratic candidate for Governor will end discrimination and voter suppression tactics

(Milwaukee) – Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Matt Flynn today announced his proposals to restore voting rights in the state, following years of suppression tactics by incumbent Scott Walker and his Republican allies in the State Legislature.

“For over 100 years, Wisconsin was a leader in expanding voting opportunities and making voting easier. We were the first state to ratify the 19th Amendment, upholding women’s suffrage. Wisconsinites have always looked at voting as a right. Since Walker and his Republican donor cartel took over the state, they have systematically impeded voting. They have targeted those who are most negatively impacted by the Republicans’ terrible policies,” Matt Flynn charged. “I will restore our progressive tradition of expanding voting rights. I will simplify how we conduct elections. I believe in fair elections and in leveling the playing field.”

Since Walker and the Republicans took over in January 2011, they have curtailed voting rights, by:

  • Passing Voter ID bills, despite almost no cases anywhere of voter impersonation;
  • Closing DMV buildings and limiting hours of those facilities around the state, making it difficult to obtain a permissible Voter ID;
  • Gerrymandering the state so that Republicans won nearly 2/3 of Assembly seats, despite garnering roughly half of the popular vote in state elections;
  • Curtailing early voting and making voter registration more difficult;

Flynn said, “The victims of their assault on voting have been students, the elderly, the poor, and minority voters. After decades of increased voter turnout, the 2016 election saw a dramatic drop-off, particularly in counties that have college campuses and large minority populations. That was the Republicans’ goal. This is unacceptable and violates Wisconsin’s great tradition of inclusion.”

“The Supreme Court has decreed ‘one person, one vote’ and guaranteed voting rights in our country. I will fight to uphold the laws of our country. When I am elected Governor, I will introduce the most extensive reforms for voting and elections in Wisconsin’s history. It’s time that Wisconsin once again embraces ‘one person, one vote.’”

Flynn’s proposals include:

  • Automatic voter registration at age 18, or whenever someone 18 or older obtains a driver’s license or state ID.
  • Ending Voter ID laws.
  • Expanding early, in-person voting.
  • Requiring that every touchscreen terminal produce a paper ballot.
  • Encouraging mail-in balloting to increase voter participation and turnout.
  • Neutral redistricting with maps drawn by an independent, nonpartisan commission, comprised of neutral judges.

Flynn Campaign: Matt Flynn responds to Scott Walker’s move to drug test food stamp recipients

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For Immediate Release
December 12, 2017
Contact: Bryan Kennedy – (414) 517-3864

Matt Flynn Responds to Scott Walker’s Move to Drug Test Food Stamp Recipients

Democratic challenger calls it intrusive, wasteful, and offensive

(Milwaukee) – Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Matt Flynn today responded to the Walker Administration’s recent announcement that the state would drug test its food stamp recipients, despite previous warnings from the federal government that such a policy was illegal.

“I condemn this in the strongest terms. First, it is hypocritical. Walker and his Republican allies claim to be against intrusive big government, but there has never been a more intrusive, big-government administration in our state’s history.

“Second, this is foolishly wasteful of our state’s limited resources. By the administration’s own admission, fewer than one-third of one percent of all food stamp recipients will likely be identified as drug users. Numerous states have passed similar ‘reforms’ and have actually found that recipients of these programs test positive at a lower rate than the general population. These ‘reforms’ always cost more money than they save.

“Third, and most importantly, this policy is offensive in the extreme. It demeans people experiencing poverty. It is unconscionable.”

Flynn campaign: Matt Flynn supports local elected officials on dark store legislation

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Contact: Bryan Kennedy – (414) 517-3864

Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Urges Passage of SB 291 and SB 292

(Milwaukee) – As mayors and village presidents around the state spend December 11 educating the public about dark store legislation and urging the State Senate to schedule a vote on SB 291 and SB 292, Democratic candidate for Governor Matt Flynn added his support to their collective effort.

“Without the passage of these bills, more and more of the property tax burden in Wisconsin will be shifted to homeowners,” said Flynn. “Middle class families should not be asked to shoulder any more of the tax burden.”

SB 291 and SB 292 were introduced in response to a 2008 Wisconsin Supreme Court decision that allowed a big box store to have their property assessed as if the store were a vacant “dark store” instead of a thriving business. When those business entities pay less than market rate assessment, the burden of those taxes is shifted to residential property owners, who see a tax increase. It becomes a shift of responsibility from businesses to homeowners. These two Senate bills have overwhelming, bipartisan support. SB 291 has 58 co-sponsors and SB 292 has 68 co-sponsors.

“I do not want to see homeowners face a tax increase,” Flynn remarked. “The State Senate should stop dragging its feet and schedule a vote on these two bills immediately.”

###

Matt Flynn is a Navy veteran, attorney, and former Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. He attended law school at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

For additional information, visit www.ForwardWithFlynn.com.

Flynn campaign: Presses for automatic voter registration

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Contact: Bryan Kennedy
(414) 517-3864

Madison, Wisconsin — Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Matt Flynn today addressed news media outside the Wisconsin Elections Commission to propose automatic voter registration in Wisconsin and to protect voting rights.

Flynn said, “Scott Walker and his Republican legislature have intentionally made voting more difficult and confusing in Wisconsin. By passing a Voter ID law, limiting access to DMV centers, curtailing early voting, and gerrymandering the state beyond comprehension, they have waged an all-out assault on the spirit of democracy. It led to a dramatic drop-off in voting in 2016, especially among students and minority voters, just as the Republicans intended.

“I believe in fair elections and in leveling the playing field. As governor, I will restore our progressive tradition of expanding voting rights and simplify how we conduct elections.

“Today I want to discuss one way we will simplify elections: by creating automatic voter registration. I propose automatically registering to vote all U.S. citizens who legally reside in Wisconsin, are over the age of 18, and have a driver’s license or state ID issued by the Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles.

“A new resident who moves to Wisconsin is already required to go to the DMV to obtain a new driver’s license or state ID. Automatic voter registration would remove the extra step she needs to take to register to vote. A young adult who has a driver’s license or state ID will automatically be registered when he turns 18, making it easier for him to start exercising his right to vote.

“Not all states have the same voter registration laws. New voters are often confused about when and where to register. Automatic registration will eliminate that confusion.

“All residents will be made aware that they are automatically being registered to vote. If they choose, they will be allowed to opt-out of voter registration.

“Automatic voter registration has already been adopted by 10 states in the past three years. Wisconsin should join that growing list.

“Of course, this is only one of the policies we will need to pass to protect voting rights. We also need to eliminate the state’s voter ID law, encourage more early voting and mail balloting, and require a paper trail for electronic touch-screen voting terminals. We also need to create an independent redistricting commission made up of neutral judges so that voters can choose their politicians, instead of politicians choosing their voters.”

###

Matt Flynn is a Navy veteran, attorney, and former Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. He attended law school at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

For additional information, visit www.ForwardWithFlynn.com.

Four sexual harassment complaints filed in Legislature over past 15 years

Four sexual harassment complaints have been filed in the state Legislature over the past 15 years, including one in the Assembly this year and another years-old case that led to a former senator’s aide getting a $75,000 taxpayer-financed settlement.

Jana Williams, a former aide to then-Dem Sen. Spencer Coggs, did not reach the settlement over her sexual harassment complaint filed with the Legislature, but in a separate case with the Department of Workforce Development.

None of the other complaints resulted in settlements, the chief clerks’ offices in the Senate and Assembly said in response to a WisPolitics.com request.

The most recent complaint was filed this year. But the chief clerks declined to release details on any of the four complaints beyond the year in which they were filed.

WisPolitics.com last month had requested both the number of complaints and dollar value of any settlements reached over the last 15 years, as well as records surrounding disciplinary investigations into complaints alleging sexual harassment or misconduct.

But the latter request was denied by both chief clerks, who each said the release of any sexual harassment records “would have a negative/chilling impact” on those filing complaints.

GOP and Dem leaders in the Senate and Assembly last week voiced support for keeping those complaints confidential, saying it was the best way to protect the victims.

According to the records, the Senate and Assembly have each logged two separate sexual harassment complaints since 2002.

For the Senate, those were in 2009 and 2011, while the Assembly’s were in 2014 and 2017.

According to the Senate chief clerk’s office, Williams filed her complaint in 2009. She was fired following the 2010 elections after Dems lost control of the chamber and had to reduce staff.

She later filed a complaint with the Equal Rights Division in 2011 over her termination, alleging she was discriminated against and Coggs made an unspecified sexually suggestive remark.

The agency ruled most of the allegations she raised fell outside the allowed window for filing a complaint. The ERD also ruled there was no probable cause to support allegations Williams made about other alleged incidents that fell within the allowed time frame and found there was no evidence Coggs engaged in or permitted sexual harassment in his office.

But in 2015, an administrative law judge ruled probable cause existed to believe the state Legislature violated the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act by failing to prevent the sexual harassment of Williams. At the time, Judge Deborah Cohn encouraged the parties to use mediation to resolve the matter.

Williams separately filed a complaint with the old Government Accountability Board accusing Coggs of hiring a Capitol staffer to largely to work on his lt. guv campaign and had other employees in his office attend to personal family matters, including helping his wife’s business. The agency eventually dismissed the complaint.

The records from the Assembly chief clerk’s office did not include any information about who filed the complaints or the targets.

Still, former Rep. Bill Kramer, R-Waukesha, was the subject of a complaint in 2014, according to records released at the time by the Assembly chief clerk. That complaint followed a GOP fundraising trip in February 2014 to Washington, D.C. He later did not seek re-election after facing separate sexual assault charges.

And while the Capital Times last week reported two women alleged Rep. Josh Zepnick had kissed them without their consent at separate political events in 2011 and 2015, the publication reported neither woman pursued complaints against the Milwaukee Dem.

See the settlement:
https://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/171204Settlement.pdf

See more in Monday’s PM Update:
https://www.wispolitics.com/2017/mon-pm-update-four-sexual-harassment-complaints-filed-in-legislature-over-past-15-years/

Foxconn Racine County: Foxconn makes major investment in Racine County with $60 million deposit

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FOR RELEASE:

December 22, 2017

Media Contact:

James Madlom

262-770-5189

[email protected]

FOXCONN MAKES MAJOR INVESTMENT IN RACINE COUNTY WITH $60 MILLION DEPOSIT;

VILLAGE EXERCISES OPTIONS ON 1,400 ACRES

MOUNT PLEASANT, Wis. – Today marks an historic day for the Village of Mount Pleasant and Racine County, as Foxconn has deposited $60 million for use by the Village for land acquisition. The investment marks a major Foxconn investment as the company brings its $10 billion manufacturing campus and thousands of associated jobs to the Village. As a result of the deposit, the Village is providing notice to property owners of the Village’s exercise of its options on 1,400 acres of land across numerous parcels in areas one, two and three of the Foxconn project site for $82 million.

“The project team has been hard at work for months to make the Foxconn project a reality,” said Dave DeGroot, Village of Mount Pleasant President. “This major monetary investment is a significant milestone that should be marked and celebrated.”

Foxconn’s $60 million upfront cash investment and Special Assessments paid by the company will provide all funds needed for land acquisitions in the project area.

“We are also pleased to move forward with land acquisition for properties currently under option throughout the three project areas,” said DeGroot. “This is a major milestone as we work to bring new jobs and investment to our community.”  The Village anticipates that it will close on the optioned parcels in early February.

Utility work is also moving forward. Earlier this week, the Racine Water Commission recommended contractors for two water main projects related to the Foxconn project, a water main along the east Frontage Road of I-94 between Highway 20 and Highway 11 in the Village of Mount Pleasant and another located in the Village, along Highway H from the Renaissance water tower south to Highway KR. Both projects will begin in January 2018 in conjunction with Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) roadway improvements.

ABOUT THE PROJECT

Foxconn is investing an estimated $10 billion in Mount Pleasant, in the heart of Racine County, Wisconsin to create North America’s first liquid crystal display (LCD) manufacturing facility. The Foxconn manufacturing campus will be approximately 22 million sq. ft. — by far the largest project in the state and one of the largest manufacturing campuses in the world. The investment represents the return of electronics manufacturing to the U.S. from Asia. Foxconn’s investment will change the economic landscape in Racine County and Wisconsin and establish the state as the electronics manufacturing capital of North America. To learn more about the Racine County Foxconn project, visit http://www.FoxconnRacineCounty.com.

ABOUT RACINE COUNTY

Racine County is located on the shores of Lake Michigan, conveniently situated between Milwaukee and Chicago. The county boasts lakefront beaches and gently rolling hills, vibrant urban areas and peaceful rural retreats. World-renowned businesses like SC Johnson, Twin Disc, Runzheimer, and InSinkErator; first-class amenities like Reefpoint Marina, Racine Zoo, and Racine Art Museum; and nearly 200,000 diverse and welcoming residents all call Racine County home. From Burlington to the City of Racine, and the 15 communities in between, Racine County has something to offer everyone. Learn more at www.RacineCounty.com.

ABOUT THE VILLAGE OF MOUNT PLEASANT

The Village of Mount Pleasant is a community that prides itself in one of its greatest assets – location. Comprising of 36 square miles in Eastern Racine County, Mount Pleasant is one of the fastest growing communities in the State of Wisconsin. Stretching from Lake Michigan to Interstate 94, their location provides easy access to metropolitan Milwaukee and Chicago, including Mitchell International Airport just minutes to the north. Mount Pleasant also offers a wide variety of business opportunities. Numerous local, national, and international companies call Mount Pleasant home, including Putzmeister, Case New Holland, Seda International Packaging, Badger Meter, and many others. Companies are also consistently expressing interest in the community and the area as a whole. This interest in development, despite the economic conditions both nationally and worldwide, has allowed the Village to see consistent growth providing additional jobs and amenities for residents. Learn more at http://www.mtpleasantwi.gov/.

ABOUT RACINE COUNTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION

The Racine County Economic Development Corporation (RCEDC) and its partners provide Racine County Wisconsin businesses with almost every service needed to complete an expansion, relocation, financing, or workforce development project. RCEDC’s dedicated staff is committed to meeting the needs of Racine County businesses and companies interested in expanding or locating in the Chicago-Milwaukee Corridor. To learn more, visit: http://www.rcedc.org.

ABOUT FOXCONN

Foxconn Technology Group is the global leader in manufacturing services for the computer, communication and consumer electronics (3C) industry. Headquartered in Taiwan, Foxconn helps build products for many of the leading U.S. and international brands and household names in electronics. Foxconn also contributes to the development of a vibrant global 8K-5G ecosystem, which is supported by the company’s vertically integrated “silicon to solution” portfolio and supply chain, to deliver intelligent display technology and solutions for use in all aspects of smart lives.

Foxconn also is a leader in research and development, focusing on the fields of nanotechnology, heat transfer, wireless connectivity, material sciences, and green manufacturing process. The company has several research centers and testing laboratories and has received more than 55,000 patents worldwide.

Foxconn generated total annual revenue of $135 billion in 2016 and was ranked No. 27 on the 2017 Fortune magazine Global 500. The company has facilities in Asia, Europe, and Latin America. It’s Racine County facility will be its first significant investment in the U.S.

Foxconn Racine County: Local development agreement with Foxconn to bring $10 billion in new investment, thousands of jobs

0

FOR RELEASE: December 1, 2017

Media Contact: James Madlom

262-770-5189

[email protected]

LOCAL DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT WITH FOXCONN TO

BRING $10 BILLION IN NEW INVESTMENT, THOUSANDS OF JOBS

Village of Mount Pleasant and Racine County sign agreement with Foxconn at ceremony at Village Hall

MOUNT PLEASANT, WIS. – At a ceremony at Village Hall, Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave, Mount Pleasant Village President Dave DeGroot and Foxconn representatives officially signed the Development Agreement that will bring $10 billion in new investment to the community, along with thousands of jobs. The signing event took place after the Mount Pleasant Village Board and Racine County Board unanimously approved the Development Agreement with Foxconn, the world’s largest electronics manufacturer.

“This is a major step forward for what will be a truly transformational project for our community, bringing unprecedented private investment, and thousands of new jobs” said County Executive Jonathan Delagrave. “The protections and guaranties outlined in this agreement ensure Racine County taxpayers will benefit from this unprecedented development.”

Under the agreement, Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) revenue, made possible through Foxconn’s $10 billion direct investment, Foxconn’s upfront cash investment of $60 million and special assessments, will fund all public improvements and development costs.

“This agreement ensures that Foxconn investments fund this project,” said Dave DeGroot, Village of Mount Pleasant President. “We worked hard to protect local taxpayers and capitalize on this once-in-a-generation opportunity.”

The agreement also requires that the majority of the estimated 13,000 full-time jobs Foxconn creates in Wisconsin be located in Racine County.

Workforce Development

The Development Agreement also outlines the County’s commitment to enhancing and sustaining economic and workforce development efforts, programs and opportunities that benefit new and existing businesses.

In 2018, $2.75 million will be allocated to talent recruitment for existing and new employers in the County and promoting advanced manufacturing and trade apprenticeship programs. This includes, $750,000 allocated as part of the budget recently passed by Racine County, as well as $1 million for a trade apprenticeship program that will be funded by the county but reimbursed by the State of Wisconsin and a soon-to-be-announced program providing training resources to benefit Southeastern Wisconsin.

In 2019, 2020 and 2021, subject to County Board appropriation, $1 million will be allocated in support of these programs.

“Foxconn is presenting us with an opportunity to consider how best we can support our existing businesses, as well as those that will come to our community,” said Jenny Trick, Executive Director of the Racine County Economic Development Corporation. “Now is the right time to invest in the programs that will train workers for jobs and connect skilled individuals with opportunities throughout the County.”

ABOUT THE PROJECT

Foxconn is investing an estimated $10 billion in Mount Pleasant, in the heart of Racine County, Wisconsin to create North America’s first liquid crystal display (LCD) manufacturing facility. The Foxconn manufacturing campus will be approximately 20 million sq. ft. — by far the largest project in the state and one of the largest manufacturing campuses in the world. The investment represents the return of electronics manufacturing to the U.S. from Asia. Foxconn’s investment will change the economic landscape in Racine County and Wisconsin and establish the state as the electronics manufacturing capital of North America. To learn more about the Racine County Foxconn project, visit http://www.FoxconnRacineCounty.com.

ABOUT RACINE COUNTY

Racine County is located on the shores of Lake Michigan, conveniently situated between Milwaukee and Chicago. The county boasts lakefront beaches and gently rolling hills, vibrant urban areas and peaceful rural retreats. World-renowned businesses like SC Johnson, Twin Disc, Runzheimer, and InSinkErator; first-class amenities like Reefpoint Marina, Racine Zoo, and Racine Art Museum; and nearly 200,000 diverse and welcoming residents all call Racine County home. From Burlington to the City of Racine, and the 15 communities in between, Racine County has something to offer everyone. Learn more at www.RacineCounty.com.

ABOUT THE VILLAGE OF MOUNT PLEASANT

The Village of Mount Pleasant is a community that prides itself in one of its greatest assets – location. Comprising of 36 square miles in Eastern Racine County, Mount Pleasant is one of the fastest growing communities in the State of Wisconsin. Stretching from Lake Michigan to Interstate 94, their location provides easy access to metropolitan Milwaukee and Chicago, including Mitchell International Airport just minutes to the north. Mount Pleasant also offers a wide variety of business opportunities. Numerous local, national, and international companies call Mount Pleasant home, including Putzmeister, Case New Holland, SC Johnson, Diversey, Seda International Packaging, Badger Meter, and many others. Companies are also consistently expressing interest in the community and the area as a whole. This interest in development, despite the economic conditions both nationally and worldwide, has allowed the Village to see consistent growth providing additional jobs and amenities for residents. Learn more at http://www.mtpleasantwi.gov/.

ABOUT RACINE COUNTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COPORATION

The Racine County Economic Development Corporation (RCEDC) and its partners provide Racine County Wisconsin businesses with almost every service needed to complete an expansion, relocation, financing, or workforce development project. RCEDC’s dedicated staff is committed to meeting the needs of Racine County businesses and companies interested in expanding or locating in the Chicago-Milwaukee Corridor. To learn more, visit: http://www.rcedc.org.

ABOUT FOXCONN

Foxconn Technology Group is the global leader in manufacturing services for the computer, communication and consumer electronics (3C) industry. Headquartered in Taiwan, Foxconn helps build products for many of the leading U.S. and international brands and household names in electronics. Foxconn also contributes to the development of a vibrant global 8K-5G ecosystem, which is supported by the company’s vertically integrated “silicon to solution” portfolio and supply chain, to deliver intelligent display technology and solutions for use in all aspects of smart lives.

Foxconn also is a leader in research and development, focusing on the fields of nanotechnology, heat transfer, wireless connectivity, material sciences, and green manufacturing process. The company has several research centers and testing laboratories and has received more than 55,000 patents worldwide.

Foxconn generated total annual revenue of $135 billion in 2016 and was ranked No. 27 on the 2017 Fortune magazine Global 500. The company has facilities in Asia, Europe, and Latin America. It’s Racine County facility will be its first significant investment in the U.S.

Free Speech For People: U.S. Rep. Moore joints 57 members of Congress in floor vote to impeach Trump

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CONTACT: Edward Erikson, 202-420-9947[email protected]

As Momentum for Impeachment Builds, Free Speech For People Releases a Detailed White Paper on the Legal Case for a Congressional Investigation on Whether to Impeach Donald Trump

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Wednesday, December 6, Representative Moore (D-WI) joined fifty-seven Members of Congress to vote in support of articles of impeachment against President Trump in a floor vote led by Congressman Al Green (D-TX).

Wednesday’s vote shows that momentum is building for the call for an impeachment investigation of President Trump,” says John Bonifaz, the Co-Founder and President of Free Speech For People.  “In the face of opposition from their own party’s leadership, fifty-eight Members of Congress stood up to place country over party and to defend our Constitution and our democracy.  Those numbers in Congress will only continue to grow as millions of Americans across the nation add their voices to this demand to hold the President accountable for his reckless and dangerous defiance of the rule of law.  The constitutional crisis is here and now, and we will keep the pressure on for an impeachment investigation of this President.”

“Just months ago, a single member of Congress was calling for impeachment. Before this vote it was seven,” says Ben Clements, Chair of the Board for Free Speech For People.  “Now it is 58. It’s time for all members of Congress who still believe in the Constitution and the rule of law to step up and join their 58 patriotic colleagues.”

Wednesday’s vote was a watershed moment,” says Ron Fein, Legal Director of Free Speech For People. “We commend the 58 Members of Congress who stood up for the rule of law, even though they did not win a majority. The impeachment process against Richard Nixon began in a similar way. Now it’s time to start holding hearings so the American public, half of which already supports impeachment, can hear the factual and legal arguments on this critical question.”

Free Speech For People released on Wednesday a white paper detailing the legal case for impeachment hearings.  This paper presents a legal analysis based on the text, structure, and history of the Constitution and federal law, and legal and political precedent.  Free Speech For People developed this paper in consultation with a wide range of experts over the past ten months. The case for an impeachment investigation includes the President’s direct and ongoing violations of the two anti-corruption provisions of the US Constitution; obstruction of justice; conspiracy between the Trump Campaign and the Russian Government; giving aid and comfort to white supremacists; abusing pardon power; recklessly threatening nuclear war; eroding the rule of law by directing law enforcement to prosecute political adversaries; and undermining freedom of the press.

Read the Legal Case for a Congressional Investigation on Whether to Impeach Donald Trump here.

Free Speech For People is a national non-partisan non-profit organization founded on the day of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC that works to defend our Constitution and reclaim our democracy. The organization is co-leading with RootsAction ImpeachDonaldTrumpNow.org, a non-partisan campaign of over 1.3 million people pressing for an impeachment investigation of President Trump. To read our proposed Impeachment Resolution, or to learn more, visit: www.ImpeachDonaldTrumpNow.org.

FRI AM Update: Ethics Commission meeting to discuss call for administrator to resign; weekly radio addresses

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FRI AM Update: Officials to sign local Foxconn subsidy deal today; Johnson to vote for Senate tax bill

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FRI AM Update: Schimel drops incorrect footnote from DOJ John Doe leak report

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FRI AM Update: Vos, Fitzgerald urge Ethics, Elections Commission administrators to resign

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FRI News Summary: Johnson to vote ‘yes’ on Senate tax bill; Walker signs 36 bills; REINS Act lawsuit

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FRI News Summary: Ryan dismisses retirement speculation; Vos, Fitzgerald call for elections, ethics administrators to resign

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FRI News Summary: Schimel warns Eau Claire TIF lawsuit could harm Foxconn; Ex-Rep. Roys to join Dem guv field

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FRI News Summary: Senate panel OKs Doe leak investigation expansion; Truax Field selected as preferred site for F-35

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FRI PM Update: Political Stock Report; Ethics Commission administrator wants agency investigation to clear his name

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FRI REPORT: Walker sidesteps questions on past sexual misconduct allegations against Trump

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FRI REPORT: Doe judge withdrawing from case due to tweets

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FRI REPORT: Eschewing tradition, Supreme Court candidate Burns openly shares political views

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Fundraiser for Gwen Moore 🗓

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Congresswoman Gwen Moore, WI – 4

DCCC T.E.A.M. Co-Chair
House Committee on Financial Services

at a holiday reception in Milwaukee

Sunday, December 10, 2017
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Ambassador Hotel
2308 West Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee

Suggested Levels of Support:
$2,700 Chair ~ $1,000 Host ~ $500 Sponsor
$250 Supporter ~ $100 Friend

$35 Individual Guest / $50 Per Couple

**RSVP Online by Clicking Here**

To RSVP or for more information, contact Chris Trull at 337-377-5857 or
414-690-3576/ by email at [email protected]

 

Make contributions payable to Moore for Congress ~
PO Box 16646 ~ Milwaukee, WI 53216 • FEC ID# C00397505

Fundraiser for Josh Kaul 🗓

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Linda Balisle, Michael Covey, Christopher Krimmer, Andrew Schauer and Nicki Vander Meulen

invite you to attend a reception in support of Josh Kaul, Democratic Candidate for Wisconsin Attorney General

on Thursday, December 7th, 2017 from 5:00 – 7:30 pm

at the Madison Club, Terrace Room (Second Floor)
5 E Wilson St, Madison

Become an event sponsor with a contribution of $250 or more!

To RSVP for this event without making a contribution, please email McKinley at [email protected] or call 920-204-5953.

Fundraiser for Palzewicz Campaign 🗓

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Please join Tom Palzewicz 
For a Winter Gathering
In Wauwatosa

Tuesday, January 16th
6:00 PM– 8:00 PM
Red Dot Tosa
6715 W North Ave, Wauwatosa, WI 53213

Contributions of any size are welcome
Suggested contribution levels:
Host: $500 | Sponsor: $250 | Friend: $100 | Supporter: $50

Contribute at the event or online here

Help us by joining the event and sharing on Facebook here

Fundraiser for Rep. Allen 🗓

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Contact: Scott Allen
262-442-8695

(Waukesha, WI) – Scott Allen will be celebrating his 4th annual 49th birthday (he’ll be 52) at La Estacion Restaurant, 319 Williams St, Waukesha, on December 14th.

General reception is from 6-9 pm with remarks by Rep. Allen at 7:15 pm. The cost for this is $49 per person or $20 for a student, and host level contributions gratefully accepted. The event, which will take place in the dining room adjacent to the train cars, will feature a complimentary taco bar. Casual attire is encouraged.

Fundraiser for Rep. Barca 🗓

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Please come and support Representative Peter Barca!
Thursday December 21 from 4:30-7:00 pm
Kemper Durkee Mansion
All donations gratefully accepted.

Fundraiser for Rep. Scott Krug 🗓

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Danny K’s
950 West Grand Avenue
Wisconsin Rapids.

Fundraiser for Rep. Scott Krug with special guest Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steine

Host levels:
$1,000/ $500 /$250
Suggested contribution $50
Please RSVP to [email protected] or (715) 459-2267

Please send contributions to:
Krug for Assembly
1551 Kingswood Trail
Nekoosa, WI 54457

Fundraiser for Sen. Marklein 🗓

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Please Join
Senator Howard Marklein
For a Fundraising Reception
Monday, December 18th 
5:30 to 7:00 PM
Parkway Grill
1621 Progressive Parkway
Platteville, WI  
All contributions gratefully accepted. PAC accepted.
Please make checks payable and mail to:
Taxpayers for Marklein
S11665 Soeldner Rd.
Spring Green, WI  53588

GOP-run Senate panel gives Schimel go-ahead to further investigate defunct GAB

A GOP-run Senate committee Thursday voted to give AG Brad Schimel the go-ahead to conduct an expanded investigation into the actions of the defunct Government Accountability Board.

The vote came after the Elections Commission head’s protests that Schimel is unable to lead an impartial investigation into the John Doe probes. Meanwhile, the Ethics Commission also signaled it’s meeting tomorrow to discuss a call from GOP leadership for its administrator to step aside in light of the leak report.

The Senate Org Committee’s 3-2 party-line vote to authorize the Department of Justice to investigate matters surrounding the three overlapping John Doe cases came after Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald told DOJ he wants it to re-open its investigation.

Sens. Jennifer Shilling and Janet Bewley, the two Dem members of the Senate Org Committee, knocked both the process and their fellow Republicans for supporting an investigation into a defunct agency instead of “helping hardworking Wisconsin families.”

“This request of the Attorney General is an egregious abuse of power, as an open-ended investigation with no clear direction could result in an incredible cost to the taxpayers of Wisconsin,” said Shilling, D-La Crosse. “A request of this nature should be debated in an open forum.”

A DOJ spokesman declined to comment, citing a pending criminal investigation.

Before the vote, Elections Commission Chair Mark Thomsen called into question Schimel’s ability to lead an impartial investigation.

In a letter to the five members of the Senate Org Committee, Thomsen wrote he would support a “credible and unbiased approach” to reviewing the former GAB’s staff and conduct from an “independent review by an impartial factfinder or by a bipartisan fact-finding body.”

But Thomsen said he was concerned Schimel wasn’t able ” to conduct an objective and complete investigation” based on the leak report that he called “one-sided and incomplete.”

“This self-serving and partisan report gives me little confidence that any additional investigation by the Attorney General will be useful to the public or lawmakers who want to know the truth,” Thomsen wrote. “His efforts so far have only misled elected officials and others into making uninformed and, frankly, absurd claims about the G.A.B.’s activities.”

Thomsen also defended commission staffers, saying it was “morally repugnant” for lawmakers to “attack the motives and reputations of hard-working public servants.”

“The character assassinations and slander must stop,” he wrote. “It is time for us to get back to focusing on the important work of running fair elections which the Elections Commission Interim administrator and staff have already proven they do exceptionally well.”

A DOJ spokesman didn’t comment on the letter.

See Thomsen’s letter:
http://elections.wi.gov/sites/default/files/news/corr_sen_org_12_21_17_pdf_40634.pdf 

Gov. Walker Releases Statement on the White House’s Nomination of Gordon Giampietro to Serve on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin

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Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker released the following statement regarding the White House’s nomination of Milwaukee attorney Gordon Giampietro to serve on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

“Gordon’s civil and criminal trial work for more than 20 years in the same court he has been nominated to serve, both in private practice and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, will make him a valuable asset to the Eastern District,” Governor Walker said. “Notably, he also served for three years as a law clerk for the Honorable Rudolph T. Randa. I am confident, like Judge Randa, Gordon will serve our country and Wisconsin with humility, honor, and distinction as a member of the Eastern District bench. I thank Gordon for his years of service and strongly urge the Senate to swiftly approve his nomination.”

In nominating Gordon Giampietro to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, President Trump has continued his strong record of selecting well-qualified judicial nominees committed to constitutional principles and upholding the rule of law.

Gov. Walker: Moves to alleviate propane shortage as Wisconsin faces extreme winter temperatures

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Office of Governor Scott Walker
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 28, 2018
Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839
 
Governor Walker Moves to Alleviate Propane Shortage as Wisconsin Faces Extreme Winter Temperatures
Executive order in effect for 30-day period
MADISON – Governor Scott Walker today signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency exists in Wisconsin in response to propane shortages and increased wait times to obtain propane. These challenges are due, in large part, to the below-normal temperatures experienced across the Midwest and a shortage of drivers. Governor Walker’s order exempts drivers in the process of obtaining or transporting propane from certain federal and state requirements to mitigate the propane supply shortage.

“As Wisconsin faces extreme temperatures, we want to do everything we can to ensure people who rely on propane for heat have access to it,” Governor Walker said. “This executive order is a move to alleviate the propane shortage while ensuring the safety of drivers who are doing the important work of transporting it.”

Governor Walker’s order declares a state of emergency exists in Wisconsin beginning Friday, December 29, 2017, at 12:01 A.M. and expiring on Sunday, January 28, 2018, at 11:59 P.M. It specifically orders the following:

  1. Carriers and drivers of commercial motor vehicles while in the process of obtaining and transporting propane are exempted from federal and Wisconsin hours-of-service requirements in Part 395 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations and in Chapters Trans 325 and Trans 327 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code. This exemption applies to all highways in Wisconsin, including the national system of interstate and defense highways.

  2. No motor carrier operating under the terms of this order shall require or allow an ill or fatigued driver to operate a motor vehicle. A driver who notifies a motor carrier that he or she needs immediate rest shall be given at least ten consecutive hours off­ duty before the driver is required to return to service.
  3. Upon request of a driver, a commercial motor carrier operating under this order must give a driver at least thirty-four (34) consecutive hours off when the driver has been on duty for more than seventy (70) hours during any eight consecutive days.
  4. Upon the expiration of the state of emergency declared by this order, or when a driver has been relieved of all duty and responsibility to provide direct assistance to the emergency effort, a driver that has had at least thirty-four (34) consecutive hours off-duty shall be permitted to start his or her on-duty status hours and 60/70 hour clock at zero.
  5. This order does not suspend the operation of any state or federal laws within the State of Wisconsin except as specifically described in the order. All other laws remain in full force and will be enforced. This order does not authorize any person transporting propane to exceed any statutory vehicle weight, width, length, or height limit. This order does not authorize the use of unregistered or improperly registered vehicles. Vehicles registered in other jurisdictions and not entitled to reciprocity, or not registered for use in Wisconsin through the International Registration Plan, must obtain a permit as provided in section 341.41, Wis. Stats. Motor carriers transporting propane for hire must have proper authority to operate in this State, as provided by section 194.04, Wis. Stats., and must meet the insurance requirements of section 194.41 or 194.42, Wis. Stats. Carriers must satisfy all ordinarily acceptable federal and Wisconsin requirements concerning vehicle equipment, vehicle operations and driver qualifications and conduct.

A copy of Governor Walker’s executive order is attached.

Gov. Walker: America needs a tax cut: 21 governors call on Washington to pass meaningful tax reform legislation

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Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839

“If it can work in our states, it can work for America.”

MADISON – Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and 20 additional governors from across the United States sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urging them to pass meaningful tax reform legislation.

“America needs a tax cut…Since January 2011, Republican governors have enacted $62 billion worth of tax cuts for the hard-working people of our states, according to Americans for Tax Reform,” the governors wrote. “We urge the two chambers to pass meaningful tax reform legislation and send it to the President’s desk. We’ve proven in our states that you can cut taxes, create jobs, and generate budget surpluses all at the same time. If it can work in our states, it can work for America.”

Joining Governor Walker on the letter are Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, Maine Governor Paul LePage, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Utah Governor Gary Herbert, and Wyoming Governor Matthew Mead.

A copy of the letter is here.

Gov. Walker: Announces $1.475 million in funding awarded to minority business organizations

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Contact: Tom Evenson
(608) 266-2839

Madison, Wisconsin — Governor Scott Walker announced today that the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has awarded $1.475 million in grants to four organizations to provide assistance to minority-owned businesses throughout the state.

“Wisconsin’s minority chambers of commerce play a vital role in ensuring that minority-owned businesses have the capital and resources they need to thrive,” Governor Walker said. “As we continue to develop our workforce and grow the economy, the vital role minority-owned businesses play in the overall success of Wisconsin cannot be stressed enough.”

The WEDC funding is being awarded to the African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin; the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin; the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin; and the Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce.

The funds will support initiatives such as business training workshops, financial awareness programs, assistance with securing financing, networking opportunities, and one-on-one mentoring. Each of the minority chambers also administers a revolving loan fund supported by WEDC, and a portion of the funds will be used to administer that program and assist businesses in applying for loans.

Other organizations that will benefit from the funding to those organizations include the Latino Entrepreneurial Network, the Wisconsin United Coalition of Mutual Assistance Associations, the Wisconsin Indian Business Alliance, the Hmong Business Coalition, the Wisconsin Black Chamber of Commerce, the Madison Black Chamber of Commerce and the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County.

For the first time, WEDC provided the four minority chambers with $50,000 each to partner with Kiva to develop a microloan matching fund for minority businesses. Kiva is crowdsourcing mechanism for small businesses that enables financially excluded and socially impactful entrepreneurs to access 0% interest small business loans. These loans are crowdfunded by lenders from around the world who read about the business and offer loans of as little as $500 each.

In addition, WEDC this year designated the state’s four major minority chambers of commerce the organization’s newest Key Strategic Partners, a move that strengthens WEDC’s commitment to the minority business community.

“The core work of the minority chambers helps to carry out WEDC’s mission of advancing and maximizing opportunities for businesses, communities and people to thrive,” said Mark R. Hogan, secretary and CEO of WEDC. “We could not provide the same level of support to minority-owned businesses without the partnership of these organizations, who provide hands-on, direct assistance to new and growing businesses and business owners within their respective communities.”

Since 2011, WEDC has invested $3.375 million in nonprofit minority business associations across Wisconsin because they are well connected in their respective communities and best positioned to award loans for maximum impact.

Governor Walker announced the WEDC funding today at MARKETPLACE 2017, the 36th annual statewide conference for minority, woman, and veteran-owned businesses, held at the Potawatomi Hotel and Conference Center in Milwaukee.

More than 600 people attended the two-day conference, which provides opportunities for businesses to meet with dozens of potential buyers, identify funding sources, connect with business assistance resources and network with other businesses.

Also at MARKETPLACE, Governor Walker announced that Jela Trask has been named to the newly created position of Business and Investment Attraction Director – Key Business Liaison for WEDC. In that role, Trask will serve as WEDC’s liaison for Foxconn, Haribo and other significant commercial or industrial projects in Wisconsin and will assist those companies in identifying and connecting to the resources they need to be successful, particularly in areas such as workforce and supply chain.

Trask, who has more than 25 years of business development and integrated marketing experience, also will be the point person for Wisconsin businesses seeking to engage with Foxconn and other companies expanding or relocating in Wisconsin.

Trask was most recently the director of account management and planning at Nelson Schmidt, a marketing communications agency with offices in Madison and Milwaukee, where she served as account director for WEDC as well as other organizations within Wisconsin’s economic development network. Her leadership was integral in the promotion of Wisconsin as a premier destination for business and personal success.

Gov. Walker: Announces $15 million available in grants for rural school districts to upgrade technology

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Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker today announced the availability of $15 million for Technology for Educational Achievement (TEACH) Information Technology Infrastructure grants. The Department of Administration (DOA) is now accepting applications from eligible school districts. The Information Technology Infrastructure grants assist districts in acquiring the equipment and services necessary to build a modern infrastructure system.
“Our 2017-19 state budget provided historic levels of K-12 education aid, including an increase in TEACH grant funding,” Governor Walker said. “Increasing aid to rural schools for technology is one way we can ensure that students have the tools they need to excel. These grants provide rural school districts with resources to increase and upgrade technology in the classroom.”

Fiscal year 2018 grants are available to rural school districts that have 16 or fewer students per square mile. Available funding is determined by the number of students within the district. A list of eligible school districts and the maximum funding available can be found on the TEACH website. Listed districts are eligible for grants between $30,000 and $60,000.

The 2017-19 biennial budget, 2017 Wisconsin Act 59, provided for $22.5 million in total for Information Technology Infrastructure grants which are a part of the greater TEACH initiative. The grants can be used for infrastructure equipment and services such as access points, antennas, maintenance of internal connections, cabling, caching equipment and services, LAN controllers, routers, switches, UPS/battery backup, and wireless controllers.

Eligible school districts can find application materials for the TEACH Information Technology Infrastructure grants online at the TEACH website. Grant applications must be submitted to DOA by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, February 2, 2018. Late applications will not be considered.

For more information about the grant requirements or application process, please visit the TEACH website.

Gov. Walker: Announces $400,000 for non-profit organizations to help veteran entrepreneurs

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CONTACT: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker and Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) Secretary Dan Zimmerman today announced $400,000 in grants for non-profit organizations that provide entrepreneurship training, or technical, business or other assistance to veteran entrepreneurs to improve employment outcomes.
“Veterans are a major component in our workforce and our economy: when they succeed, we all succeed,” said Governor Walker. “That’s why we’re allocating more support to organizations which help veterans drive economic success and pursue their passions with knowledge and purpose.”

“Because of their training and other intangible qualities, Veterans hold one of the keys to Wisconsin’s economic success,” Secretary Zimmerman said. “We are proud to join together with these organizations that will help give Veterans the tools they need to be successful business owners.”

Earlier this week, Governor Walker announced his Workforce Agenda that focuses on enhancing Wisconsin’s workforce, removing barriers to work, and meeting the state’s current and future workforce needs. The Workforce Agenda specifically aims to support veterans’ post-military career goals.

There are more than 390,000 veterans living in Wisconsin, about half of those are working age. Approximately 11% of all businesses in the state, or 65,000, are veteran owned. Wisconsin’s veteran owned businesses account for about $20 billion in annual sales.

Grant recipients include:

  • Fox Valley Technical College Foundation, Inc., Appleton, is awarded $89,400 to expand the high-demand E-seed Entrepreneurial Training: Veterans Edition (ENVoy) at Fox Valley Technical College, a program designed to help veterans start or expand their own business. The grant will be used to provide entrepreneurial training and technical support, networking opportunities, one-on-one mentoring, and assistance with accounting and legal fees, etc. for veterans.
  • Great Lakes Dryhootch, Milwaukee, is awarded $54,848 to support its Deployment to Employment program. The grant will be used to build community awareness of the unique skills and talents of veterans and the benefits of hiring them as well as to provide peer support for veterans.
  • Horse Sense for Special Riders, La Crosse, is awarded $25,000 to offer career-building skills such as volunteer management, fundraising, scheduling, marketing, and non-profit administration, as well as lessons in therapeutic horsemanship for veterans.
  • Indianhead Community Action Agency, Inc., Ladysmith, is awarded $19,000 to provide veterans with the technical assistance necessary to start or expand small businesses, as well as to provide outreach to veteran entrepreneurs in northwestern Wisconsin.
  • UW-Milwaukee Foundation, Inc., Milwaukee, is awarded $186,752 for its VUB-Veteran Entrepreneurship Readiness and Support program. The grant will be used to expand the program to additional sites with education labs that will provide veterans with business core classes, business skills assessment, educational workshops, instructional support services, field experience, peer support, business mentoring, and information and referral services.
  • Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce, Milwaukee, is awarded $25,000 to expand economic opportunity for Wisconsin veterans, military service members and military families. The grant will be used to help veteran entrepreneurs leverage existing resources, offer educational programming to veterans, help veterans address the unique challenges as they start and grow a business, and organize a new market of consumers.

Gov. Walker: Announces Administration Staff Changes

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Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker today announced the following administration staff changes:

Heather Smith – Medicaid Director and Administrator of the Division of Medicaid Services. Smith most recently served as Governor Walker’s deputy chief of staff for budget, legislative, and intergovernmental affairs. She previously served as chief of staff to Joint Finance Committee Co-Chair Senator Alberta Darling. Smith’s effective start date will be Monday, January 8, 2018.

Jack Jablonski – Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the Governor. Jablonski most recently served as Governor Walker’s deputy chief of staff for communications. Prior to his time in the governor’s office, Jablonski served as the deputy secretary at the Wisconsin Department of Revenue and as the chief of staff to former State Senator Sheila Harsdorf.

Tom Evenson – Communications Director, Office of the Governor. Evenson most recently served as Governor Walker’s deputy communications director and press secretary. He has worked for Governor Walker since 2009 in various roles in government and on his 2010, 2012, and 2014 gubernatorial campaigns.

Amy Hasenberg – Press Secretary, Office of the Governor. Hasenberg, a Wausau, Wisconsin native and graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Madison, most recently served as press secretary for Congressman Todd Rokita (IN – 04). She also served as the public information officer for the New Mexico Public Education Department under Governor Susana Martinez. Hasenberg’s effective start date will be Monday, January 8, 2018.

Gov. Walker: Announces More Than $4.5 Million to Serve the Transportation Needs of Seniors, Individuals with Disabilities

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Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839
 
 
MADISON – Governor Walker announced today 52 agencies in urban and rural areas will receive awards totaling $4,542,898 in state and federal funds to enhance and support local transportation options for Wisconsin seniors and individuals with disabilities. The program assists local public entities and private, non-profit agencies providing transportation services for seniors and individuals with disabilities. Such services include mobility management, operating assistance and vehicle purchases.The specialized transportation program is administered through the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) via the Federal Transit Administration’s Section 5310 Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities Program. The state’s four large urbanized areas (Appleton, Green Bay, Madison and Milwaukee) administer the 5310 programs for their geographic areas. They work in coordination with WisDOT to ensure continuity of the application and project selection process. WisDOT administers the program for the rural and smaller urban areas of the state.

Program funds will fund 80 percent of the cost for 53 vehicles to either replace existing vehicles or expand services. WisDOT holds active contracts with several vendors for minivans, minibuses, medium and large buses. In addition, approved projects for 2017 include funding for 12 mobility management projects to help coordinate transportation services, increase transportation capacity and connect individuals with transportation services in their geographic service area.

Initiated in the mid-1970s, the program has helped fund the purchase of more than 2,228 vehicles in Wisconsin, of which 479 are currently providing transportation services to seniors and individuals with disabilities.

See the complete list of Enhanced Mobility for Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities Program Grants for 2018 at http://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/doing-bus/local-gov/astnce-pgms/transit/enhanced-mob.aspx.

Gov. Walker: Announces more than $4.5 million to serve the transportation needs of seniors, individuals with disabilities

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Contact: Tom Evenson
(608) 266-2839

Madison, Wisconsin — Governor Walker announced today 52 agencies in urban and rural areas will receive awards totaling $4,542,898 in state and federal funds to enhance and support local transportation options for Wisconsin seniors and individuals with disabilities. The program assists local public entities and private, non-profit agencies providing transportation services for seniors and individuals with disabilities. Such services include mobility management, operating assistance and vehicle purchases.

The specialized transportation program is administered through the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) via the Federal Transit Administration’s Section 5310 Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities Program. The state’s four large urbanized areas (Appleton, Green Bay, Madison and Milwaukee) administer the 5310 programs for their geographic areas. They work in coordination with WisDOT to ensure continuity of the application and project selection process. WisDOT administers the program for the rural and smaller urban areas of the state.

Program funds will fund 80 percent of the cost for 53 vehicles to either replace existing vehicles or expand services. WisDOT holds active contracts with several vendors for minivans, minibuses, medium and large buses. In addition, approved projects for 2017 include funding for 12 mobility management projects to help coordinate transportation services, increase transportation capacity and connect individuals with transportation services in their geographic service area.

Initiated in the mid-1970s, the program has helped fund the purchase of more than 2,228 vehicles in Wisconsin, of which 479 are currently providing transportation services to seniors and individuals with disabilities.

See the complete list of Enhanced Mobility for Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities Program Grants for 2018 at http://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/doing-bus/local-gov/astnce-pgms/transit/enhanced-mob.aspx.

Gov. Walker: Announces WEDC support for new Cintas Corp. facility in the Fox Valley

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Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker announced today that the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is providing the Cintas Corp. with up to $575,000 in state tax credits to support the construction of a new facility in the Town of Greenville–a project expected to create about 60 jobs.
“I congratulate Cintas on its expansion and applaud the company’s decision to grow in Wisconsin,” Governor Walker said. “Cintas is a global leader in its industry and we look forward to its continued success in Greenville as well as its eight other Wisconsin locations.”

Construction is now underway on a 54,000-square-foot laundry and maintenance facility near State Highway 15 and County Highway CB. The facility, which should be completed within a year, will provide cleaning and storage for the company’s uniform, floor mat and towel rental services. The building also will include a state-of-the-art operations center for the company.

About 80 employees from the company’s existing operation in Greenville will work at the new facility, bringing total employment to 140.

“Cintas is excited to increase our presence in the Fox Valley,” said Michelle Goret, vice president of corporate communications for the company. “We are committed to being a good corporate citizen and to maintaining a great work environment for our employee-partners.”

WEDC has authorized the company to receive the Business Development Tax Credits over the next three years. The amount of credits Cintas actually receives is contingent upon the number of jobs created and the amount of capital investment the company makes during that time.

Cintas will be the first company to be part of the Town of Greenville’s new 250-acre tax incremental financing (TIF) district. Greenville will use the additional property tax revenue generated by development within the TIF district to help fund public improvements for the new development.

“I’m happy to see our good neighbor Cintas expanding,” said state Rep. Dave Murphy of Greenville. “Their business makes others more productive and it’s a perfect example of how our community and Wisconsin are meeting industry needs better than ever before.”

Cintas leads the industry in supplying corporate identity uniform programs and providing entrance and logo mats, restroom supplies, promotional products, and first aid, safety and fire protection products and services, as well as industrial carpet and tile cleaning. The company operates more than 400 facilities in North America—including six manufacturing plants and eight distribution centers.

Gov. Walker: Announces WIS 441 Project to be completed one year earlier than expected

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Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker announced today that the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) will be completing the WIS 441 project a year early. Savings announced in April 2017 moved a number of projects forward in the WIS 441 expansion, creating opportunities to complete the project a year early and minimize traffic impacts for travelers, residents and businesses. The WIS 441/Oneida Street diverging diamond interchange will now be completed in 2018.

“Thanks to the Department of Transportation’s effective use of resources, cost savings opportunities, and performance improvement, the WIS 441 project will be completed a year ahead of schedule,” said Governor Walker. “This ensures the citizens of the Fox Cities and northeastern Wisconsin will have faster access to reliable infrastructure to accommodate their current and future transportation needs.”

As the west side of I-41 continues to grow and develop, the critical I-41/US 10 System Interchange, scheduled to open in the fall of 2018, will improve access to the region and further enhance local economic development.

“Savings on highway projects and improving more roadways and bridges now will allow WisDOT to more cost-effectively preserve transportation assets and better maintain infrastructure,” noted Wisconsin Department of Transportation Secretary Dave Ross.

Lower fuel prices and more competitive bids on projects have resulted in increased savings on current road projects. Using these savings now means WisDOT will take advantage of the savings to more efficiently preserve our assets, maintain existing infrastructure, and increase safety on Wisconsin roadways.

Gov. Walker: Appoints Captain Cory Roeseler as Sheboygan County Sheriff

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 1, 2017
Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839
 
Governor Walker Appoints Captain Cory Roeseler as
Sheboygan County Sheriff
 
MADISON – Governor Scott Walker announced today the appointment of Captain Cory Roeseler as the new Sheboygan County Sheriff, replacing Sheriff Todd Priebe, who is resigning on January 2, 2018. Mr. Roeseler’s appointment will be effective January 3, 2018.“Captain Roeseler will make an excellent sheriff for Sheboygan County,” said Governor Walker. “With nearly 30 years’ experience in law enforcement, many of which were spent serving in leadership roles, his excellence as an officer and dedication to serving his community commend him as the best candidate for Sheboygan County Sheriff.”

Roeseler, a resident of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, holds over 28 years of law enforcement experience, 26 of which have been in the Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Office. Roeseler has served as Captain of Patrol for the previous twelve years.

During his tenure in the Sheriff’s Office, Captain Roeseler has worked as a Deputy, Corporal, Detective, MEG Unit Detective, Lieutenant of Detective and Captain of Patrol. In addition to his experience in Sheboygan County, Roeseler served as a Patrol Officer and later becoming Chief of Police for the Cascade Police Department. Roeseler graduated from the Moraine Park Technical College with an Associate Degree in Police Science.

“Captain Roeseler is one of the finest law enforcement officers that I have had the honor of working with. He has an excellent work ethic, is an outstanding investigator, is extremely conscientious and his integrity is beyond reproach,” said Peter Thelen of the Mid-States Organized Crime Information Center.

Roeseler also engages the community in a number of ways such as the Governor’s Impaired Driving Work Group, Wisconsin Highway Safety Coordinator Association and as an Elks Club Member. Roeseler also served as an alderman for the City of Sheboygan from 2011 to 2014.

“I firmly believe that Cory Roeseler would be a tremendous asset as Sheriff of Sheboygan County,” said Kris Hughes, Town of Lyndon Chairperson. “He has the innate ability to work with people in our community with a mix of professionalism and finding common ground to resolve issues. He has immersed himself in our community by attending many picnics, benefits, government meetings and firemen’s banquets. All have added to his presence, trust, respect and being very relatable to our citizens.”

Gov. Walker: Approves drug screening plan for able-bodied adults in the FoodShare Employment and Training Program

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CONTACT: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker approved a plan to implement drug screening for able-bodied adults participating in the FoodShare Employment and Training (FSET) program, sending the rule change measure to the State Legislature for review. The rule is part of the policy amendments included in 2015 Wisconsin Act 55, and supports Governor Scott Walker’s efforts to help people move from government dependence to true independence.
“A key component of Wisconsin’s Workforce Agenda, which we unveiled last week, is removing barriers to employment,” Governor Walker said. “Employers have jobs available, but they need skilled workers who can pass a drug test. This rule change means people battling substance use disorders will be able to get the help they need to get healthy, and get back into the workforce.”

The Legislature has up to 120 days to review the measure, and once approved, it will be published in the Administrative Register where it will become effective the first day of the next month. After which, the Department of Health Services (DHS) will work collaboratively with stakeholders on policy and systems development to implement the rule.

Under the rule, able-bodied adults participating in the FSET program are subject to drug screening and, if necessary, a drug test. Those who test positive will have the opportunity to get treatment, regardless of the ability to pay, so they can get healthy. Healthy citizens create a stronger workforce by helping employers fill jobs that require passing a drug test. This initiative also supports Wisconsin’s efforts to be on the forefront in the fight against the opioid epidemic.

Under Governor Walker, Wisconsin has invested more than $60 million in the FoodShare Employment and Training program to help people overcome the barriers to employment. In Wisconsin, able-bodied adults ages 18-49 are required to participate in FSET, or another eligible worker training program, or work at least 80 hours per month to maintain eligibility for the FoodShare program. Since the work requirement began in April 2015, more than 20,000 people in the state have transitioned to the workforce.

For more information about the proposed rule (referred to as DHS 38) visit the DHS website.

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 to approve several key projects across the state including, but not limited to:
The purchase of equipment, software, training, and technical support for a new broadcast automation system in Wisconsin Public Broadcasting’s Operations Center;

Release $5 million GFSB grant for the completion of the St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care’s Bucyrus Campus;

Renovation of Wittich Hall on the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse campus to create a new technology-rich home for the College of Business Administration, including the Small Business Development Center;

Funding to acquire new and replacement equipment for the University of Wisconsin – Manitowoc Science Building and at the University of Wisconsin – Marshfield/Wood County Everette Roehl STEM Center; 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 Jill Billings; and

Citizen member Bob Brandherm.

Gov. Walker: Calls on the FCC to expand broadband by advancing television white space technology

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Contact: Tom Evenson
(608) 266-2839

Madison, Wisconsin – Governor Scott Walker today called on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to finalize rules increasing access to broadband internet by advancing television white space technology. Television white space is the unused spectrum between broadcast television stations which can deliver high-speed internet to underserved areas of Wisconsin.

“Fast, reliable internet access has the power to help businesses reach new markets, create jobs, and improve educational opportunities by connecting students in innovative and engaging ways,” said Governor Walker. “Our budget provides an additional $35.5 million for broadband expansion, but there is an opportunity to do more, which is why we are calling on the FCC to finalize rules advancing this technology.”

The FCC is considering rules which could result in at least three white space channels in every U.S. market to provide broadband Internet. If approved, the private sector is poised to provide underserved communities with access to robust, affordable broadband.

The 2017 – 19 state budget provides an additional $35.5 million to increase broadband access across Wisconsin benefiting rural schools, public library systems, and underserved areas of the state. To learn more about Wisconsin’s Broadband Expansion Grant Program, visit: https://psc.wi.gov/Pages/Programs/BroadbandGrants.aspx.

Gov. Walker: Celebrates re-grand opening of Walter E. Olson Memorial Library

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CONTACT: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839
MADISON – Governor Scott Walker visited Eagle River today to commemorate the re-grand opening of the Walter E. Olson Memorial Library. The library, which has operated in Eagle River since 1910, recently underwent renovations, doubling in space to over 11,000 square feet.

“The Walter E. Olson Memorial Library’s status as a Joint Library supported by six nearby municipalities is an excellent example of communities coming together to share knowledge for the common good,” said Governor Walker. “I’m proud to be here for its renovated re-grand opening, and I’m confident it will remain the area’s historical, go-to public source of knowledge for years to come.”

Walter E. Olson Memorial Library was founded in 1910 by Eagle River residents who started a book sharing association, and has grown to a Joint Library supported by Towns of Lincoln, Cloverland, Washington, St. Germain, Conover, and the City of Eagle River. After shifting locations several times throughout its history, the library has grown from its humble origins to an over-11,000 square foot facility and a staple of the community. For more information, please visit the library’s website.

Gov. Walker: Commemorates Pearl Harbor Day in ceremonies at Veterans homes in King and Chippewa Falls

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Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker attended a memorial ceremony today at the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King to pay tribute to veterans and commemorate the 76th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was joined by one Pearl Harbor survivor, King Veterans Home resident Chuck Davis of the United States Navy. Governor Walker will also be visiting the Wisconsin Veterans Home at Chippewa Falls this afternoon for a similar memorial ceremony.
“Today we remember the brave service members who risked and sacrificed their lives at Pearl Harbor to safeguard our nation’s blessings of liberty,” said Governor Walker. “We deeply appreciate the courage and selflessness of those who lost their lives 76 years ago, as well as all our veterans and service members throughout our history who keep us safe and free.”

On December 7, 1941, the Empire of Japan attacked American forces at Pearl Harbor, killing 2,400 individuals and destroying hundreds of military ships and planes. President Franklin Roosevelt aptly labeled it “a date which will live in infamy,” as it directly resulted in the United States’ entry into World War II. Over the course of the next four years, sixteen million Americans served in the military and over 310,000 died. Wisconsin sent 332,000 men and women to serve in World War II, with more than 8,000 paying the ultimate price.

Wisconsin has direct connections to the attack on Pearl Harbor, as an estimated 200 Wisconsin service members were present on that fateful day, with 58 reported killed in action. Two Wisconsin sailors were awarded Congressional Medals of Honor for their actions at Pearl Harbor: Captain Franklin Van Valkenburgh, the last commander of the U.S.S. Arizona, directed the defense of his ship until a violent blast killed him; and Commander Cassin Young was blown off the U.S.S. Vestal by an explosion, but swam back to the ship and beached her to ensure that the ship could later be salvaged.

Gov. Walker: Discusses ‘If You See Something, Say Something™’ Initiative and Public Safety with Law Enforcement Officials

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Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker joined Major General Don Dunbar, law enforcement officers, FBI, and representatives from the Wisconsin Homeland Security Council today to discuss the public’s role in keeping communities safe. The Department of Homeland Security’s “If You See Something, Say Something™” campaign encourages citizens to report suspicious behavior or activities to local law enforcement, which has proved instrumental in preventing dangerous crimes.
“Our nation’s law enforcement do incredible work to keep us all safe each and every day, but they can’t be everywhere at once: that’s where the ‘If You See Something, Say Something’ campaign comes in,” said Governor Walker. “So as we begin this holiday season and enjoy spending time with our loved ones, we also encourage everyone to be vigilant and report anything suspicious to local authorities. Similar to a neighborhood watch, these civilian tips help our law enforcement better do their jobs in preventing crime and keeping others safe.”

In September 2012, Governor Walker, former Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, Major General Dunbar, and officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security unveiled Wisconsin’s “See Something, Say Something™” campaign. This included the launch of a new website www.wiwatch.org, a special phone number to reach law enforcement agents at 1-877-949-2824 (877-WI-WATCH), and a statewide awareness campaign. The website and phone number are still operational today and several large venues, such as sporting events, continue to promote “If You See Something, Say Something™”.

“Citizens play an important role in keeping our communities safe,” said Major General Don Dunbar, the Adjutant General and Wisconsin’s Homeland Security Advisor. “Reporting suspicious activities to law enforcement such as an unattended backpack or briefcase in a public place, a vehicle that is parked in a strange location, or someone who is acting unusual could possibly prevent a tragedy.”

The Wisconsin “If You See Something, Say Something™” campaign is coordinated by the state’s two fusion centers – the Wisconsin Statewide Information Center (WSIC) in Madison and the Southeastern Wisconsin Threat Analysis Center (STAC) in Milwaukee. Both fusion centers serve local, county, and state public safety customers by sharing intelligence, offering training on the behaviors and indicators of terrorism, protecting Wisconsin’s critical infrastructure through risk assessments, and analyzing national threat information as it relates to Wisconsin. For more information on the “If You See Something, Say Something™” initiative, please visit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s website.

Gov. Walker: Discusses workforce development initiatives at Madison College’s Cisco Networking Academy 20th anniversay celebration

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Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker attended Cisco Networking Academy’s 20th Anniversary celebration today at Madison College to highlight his new workforce agenda and the Academy’s history of providing skills training and career building in information technology.
“Madison College’s Cisco Networking Academy provides engaging education and hands-on job training that leads the way in developing Wisconsin’s highly-skilled workforce,” said Governor Walker. “I’m proud to join in celebrating the Academy’s 20th anniversary, and I look forward to its continued success in enhancing our workforce and preparing workers to excel in the modern digital economy.”

Governor Walker’s Workforce Agenda, unveiled at last week’s Future Wisconsin Summit in Madison, is a comprehensive plan focusing on enhancing Wisconsin’s workforce, removing barriers to work, and meeting the state’s current and future workforce needs. Included in the Workforce Agenda and the 2017-19 state budget are increased investments for Wisconsin’s technical colleges and the UW System to provide well-trained, highly-skilled graduates in high-demand industries.

Cisco Networking Academy is an information technology (IT) skills and career-building program available to learning institutions and individuals worldwide. Cisco’s largest and longest-running corporate social responsibility program, the Academy provides a broad IT curriculum for students of all backgrounds, teaching the hands-on technical and business skills they need to succeed.

The core focus of the curriculum stays true to Cisco’s expertise in networking and security, while adding coursework in emerging fields such as Internet of Things and data analytics in alignment with the future of education and business trends. Curriculum and training for the network’s more than 22,000 instructors are provided free of charge to academy partners, which include high schools, colleges, universities, and other nonprofit community organizations.

Gov. Walker: Employment surges in 2017: Wisconsin’s workforce by the numbers

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Office of Governor Scott Walker
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 28, 2017
Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839
 
Employment Surges in 2017:
Wisconsin’s Workforce by the Numbers
 
MADISON – Governor Scott Walker today released the following information from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development showing solid gains in employment for Wisconsin workers so far in 2017.“Wisconsin is working,” Governor Walker said. “More men and women went to work so far in 2017 than ever before in our history and unemployment claims are at their lowest levels in 30 years. With unemployment near historic lows and businesses hiring across our state, we will continue to focus on worker training initiatives as we move into 2018.”

Wisconsin’s Workforce by the Numbers

  December 2016 November 2017 Progress
EMPLOYMENT UP
Number of Employed Individuals 2,988,100 3,065,700 +77,600
Total Labor Force 3,114,900 3,168,100 +53,200
Number of Private Sector Jobs 2,516,100 2,556,200 +40,100
Labor Force Participation Rate 68.0% 68.9% +0.9 % points
Number of Total (non‐farm) Jobs 2,934,300 2,974,400 +40,100
Number of Manufacturing Jobs 468,400 483,100 +14,700
UNEMPLOYMENT DOWN
Unemployment Rate 4.1% 3.2% 0.9 % points
Number of Unemployed Individuals 126,800 102,400 24,400

(U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov)

Gov. Walker: Follow Santa on Christmas Eve as he travels through Wisconsin

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Office of Governor Scott Walker
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 22, 2017
Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839
 
Follow Santa on Christmas Eve as He Travels Through Wisconsin
 
MADISON – Governor Scott Walker has directed the Wisconsin National Guard and Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) to be ready to respond Christmas Eve to ensure Santa is able to deliver presents to all the good boys and girls across Wisconsin.“This is a special mission we look forward to every year,” Governor Walker said. “We want to make sure Santa has everything he needs, including current weather reports, food and water for the reindeer and extra hot cocoa, candy canes and cookies.”

Maj. Gen. Donald Dunbar, Wisconsin’s Adjutant General, believes the Wisconsin National Guard and WEM are ready to assist.

“We have been updating our Operation Santa plans and exercising for this big night, and we are ready for this mission,” Dunbar said. “It is our favorite night of the year.”

A KC-135 Stratotanker from the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 128th Air Refueling Wing in Milwaukee will link up with Santa in the skies over Lake Superior, providing carrots, reindeer feed and water for the reindeer as well as hot chocolate and cookies for Santa. The Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 128th Air Control Squadron, based at Volk Field, Wisconsin, will keep other air traffic out of Santa’s delivery corridors during his brief time in Wisconsin. Meanwhile, the Wisconsin Army National Guard stands ready with ground and logistical support to assist this mission as necessary.

WEM will provide Santa with up-to-date weather reports for safe travel, as well as current data on snow and ice cover to assist with rooftop landings. In addition, local law enforcement, fire, emergency management, and emergency service agencies from across the state are also ready to assist Santa to ensure he is able to deliver Christmas presents.

You can join ReadyWisconsin and follow Santa as he travels across Wisconsin beginning at 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Updates will be posted every five minutes on ReadyWisconsin’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Remember to use the hashtags #SantaAlert and #OperationSanta to track the tweets and interact on social media.

Gov. Walker: Foxconn, Kwik Trip, Haribo top list of Wisconsin’s 2017 Economic Development Projects

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 26,2017
Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839
 
Foxconn, Kwik Trip, Haribo Top List of Wisconsin’s 2017 Economic Development Projects

 WEDC-supported projects expected to create, retain nearly
30,000 jobs across Wisconsin

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker today announced that the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) had a record year for economic development in 2017 with 59 companies from Wisconsin and around the world agreeing to locate to or expand in Wisconsin. These projects are expected to create or retain nearly 30,000 jobs and result in more than $11.6 billion in capital investment across the state.“When it comes to economic development, 2017 has been a historic year for Wisconsin as global companies such as Foxconn, Haribo and Nestle decided to establish operations in our great state after looking at many other options around the country,” Governor Walker said. “At the same time, many of Wisconsin’s major employers – including Kwik Trip, Generac, Mills Fleet Farm and Johnsonville – announced major expansion plans this year because of our dedicated workforce and the strong pro-business climate we’ve created.”

Not surprisingly, topping the list of projects is Foxconn’s Technology Group’s historic investment in Racine County – a project expected to create up to 13,000 good-paying, family-supporting jobs and generate up to $10 billion in capital investment. WEDC has agreed to provide Foxconn with up to $2.85 billion in tax credits for what is the largest economic development project in Wisconsin history and one of the largest ever in the United States.

The second-largest project of 2017 is Kwik Trip Inc.’s $309 million expansion project in La Crosse that will enable the growing company to meet its current and future capacity needs. The project is expected to create more than 300 new jobs.

Rounding out the top three projects of the year is Haribo’s planned $220 million manufacturing facility in Kenosha County, a project expected to create 385 jobs. WEDC has awarded Haribo up to $21 million in tax credits for the project, which will be the German candy-maker’s first manufacturing facility in North America.

“Each of these companies plays a significant role in continuing to grow the state’s economy by creating family-supporting jobs and investing in Wisconsin,” said Mark R. Hogan, secretary and CEO of WEDC, the state’s lead economic development organization. “2017 was a successful year for WEDC as we assisted more than 300 businesses and communities as part of our mission to advance and maximize opportunities to help them thrive in a globally competitive environment.”

The list is based on all corporate expansion and attraction projects in which contracts between WEDC and the company were executed in 2017. The job projections, estimated project costs and the award amounts from WEDC are based on the requirements set forth in each contract. All WEDC tax credits are performance-based and the amount of credits a company receives is contingent upon the actual numbers of jobs created.

2017 Wisconsin economic development projects

Rank Company Location  County Est. total project cost Type of project Estimated job impact WEDC investment
1 Foxconn Technology Group Mount Pleasant Racine $10.02 billion New advanced manufacturing campus Create 13,000 jobs $2.85 billion in tax credits
2 Kwik Trip Inc. La Crosse La Crosse $309 million Expansion Create 329 jobs $21 million in tax credits
3 Haribo of America Pleasant Prairie Kenosha $220 million New manufacturing facility Create 385 jobs $21 million in tax credits
4 Epicentre Technologies Corp. Madison Dane $148.4 million Expansion Create 20 jobs; retain 114 jobs $750,000 in tax credits
5 Saputo Cheese USA Almena Barron $89.5 million Expansion Create 92 jobs; retain 105 jobs $3 million in tax credits
6 Generac Power Systems Inc. Statewide $86.8 million Expansion Create 400 jobs; retain 1,999 jobs $10 million in tax credits
7 Brakebush Brothers, Inc. Westfield Marquette $86 million Expansion Create 219 jobs; retain 885 jobs $6.5 million in tax credits
8 Great Lakes Cheese Co. Wausau Marathon $84.8 million Expansion Create 125 jobs $2 million in tax credits
9 Mills Fleet Farm Group Chippewa Falls Chippewa $71.7 million Expansion Create 284 jobs $1.5 million loan
10 MilliporeSigma (Merck KGaA Sheboygan Falls Sheboygan $64.1 million Expansion Create 175 jobs; retain 1,177 jobs $1.25 million in tax credits
11 Masters Gallery Foods Inc Oostburg Sheboygan $61.1 million Expansion Create 150 jobs; retain 529 $2.55 million in tax credits
12 U.S. Venture Inc. Appleton Outagamie $58.5 million Expansion Create 214 jobs; retain 489 $20 million in tax credits
13 Gehl Foods LLC Germantown Washington $46.6 million Expansion Create 50 jobs; retain 387 $535,000 in tax credits
14 Schwabe North America Inc. Green Bay Brown $44.9 million Expansion Create 35 jobs $700,000 in tax credits
15 Gold Standard Baking Co. Pleasant Prairie Kenosha $42.7 million New manufacturing facility Create 96 jobs $575,000 in tax credits
16 Electronic Theatre Controls Inc. Middleton Dane $30 million Expansion Retain 787 jobs $1.2 million in tax credits
17 Dynamic Recycling Inc. Onalaska La Crosse $20.6 million Expansion Create 153 jobs; retain 122 $535,000 in tax credits
18 PreventionGenetics LLC Marshfield Wood $20 million Expansion Create 150 jobs; retain 146 $850,000 in tax credits
19 Cintas Corp. Greenville Outagamie $18.1 million Expansion Create 60 jobs; retain 372 $575,000 in tax credits
20 iMark Molding Inc. Woodville St. Croix $18 million Expansion Create 40 jobs; retain 57 $350,000 in tax credits
21 Johnsonville Sausage LLC Sheboygan Falls Sheboygan $16 million Expansion Create 98 jobs; retain 937 $10 million in tax credits
22 Amcor Flexibles LLC Madison Dane $15 million Expansion Create 12 jobs $150,000 in tax credits
23 Nestle Dreyer’s Ice Cream Co. Appleton Outagamie $14.5 million Expansion Create 100 jobs $830,000 in tax credits
24 Amerequip Kiel Calumet $13.8 million Expansion Create 75 jobs; retain 242 $535,000 in tax credits
25 Mill Haven Foods LLC. New Lisbon Juneau $10.1 million Expansion Create 35 jobs; retain 44 $400,000 in tax credits
26 DuraTech Industries, Inc. La Crosse La Crosse $9.5 million Expansion Create 52 jobs; retain 229 $215,000 in tax credits
27 HIEP, LLC Waterloo Dodge $7.9 million New manufacturing facility Create 51 jobs $250,000 in tax credits
28 Heartland Cooperative Owen Clark $7.8 million New headquarters; manufacturing facility Create 16 jobs; retain 115 $280,000 in tax credits
29 Baptista’s Bakery, LLC Franklin Milwaukee $7.8 million Expansion Create 125 jobs; retain 389 $300,000 in tax credits
30 TRU Enterprises LLC Beloit Rock $7.2 million New manufacturing facility Create 41 jobs $275,000 in tax credits
31 Grand Appliance, Inc. Sturtevant Racine $7.2 million Expansion Create 37 jobs $500,000 in tax credits
32 Heartland Technology Group, Inc. Little Chute Outagamie $6.0 million Expansion Create 19 jobs; retain 314 $241,800 in tax credits
33 Steele Solutions, Inc. Milwaukee Milwaukee $5.9 million Expansion Create 125 jobs; retain 105 $596,000 in tax credits
34 Grover Corporation Glendale Milwaukee $5.5 million Expansion Create 109 jobs; retain 56 $750,000 in tax credits
35 Octopi Brewing, LLC Waunakee Dane $5.3 million Expansion Create 13 jobs; retain 10 $300,000 loan
36 LDV, Inc. Burlington Racine $5.0 million Expansion Create 40 jobs; retain 207 $100,000 in tax credits
37 Metal-Era, Inc. Waukesha Waukesha $4.9 million Expansion Create 32 jobs $200,000 in tax credits
38 Prestige Metal Products, Inc. Bristol Kenosha $4.2 million Expansion Create 46 jobs $165,000 in tax credits
39 Krones Inc. Franklin Milwaukee $4.0 million Expansion Create 25 jobs $300,000 in tax credits
40 Artisans, Inc. Glen Flora Rusk $3.7 million Retention Create 11 jobs; retain 76 $800,000 loan
41 Wisconsin Oven Corporation East Troy Walworth $3.2 million Expansion Create 85 jobs; retain 123 $500,000 in tax credits
42 Fischer USA, Inc. Racine Racine $3.1 million Expansion Create 20 jobs; retain 20 $80,000 in tax credits
43 Sussex Tool & Supply, Inc. Sussex Waukesha $2.9 million Expansion Create 22 jobs; retain 38 $100,000 in tax credits
44 Commodore Corporation Dorchester Clark $2.6 million Expansion Create 57 jobs; retain 43 $200,000 in tax credits
45 DOWCO INC Manitowoc Manitowoc $2.5 million Expansion Create 37 jobs; retain 63 $190,000 in tax credits
46 Kage Innovation Corporation Osceola Polk $2.4 million New headquarters; manufacturing facility Create 30 jobs $200,000 in tax credits
47 LaForce, Inc. Green Bay Brown $2.3 million Expansion Create 71 jobs; retain 371 $337,000 in tax credits
48 First Choice Ingredients – Menomonee Falls Menomonee Falls Waukesha $1.9 million Expansion Create 22 jobs; retain 76 $50,000 in tax credits
49 Jacquart Fabric Products Mosinee Marathon $1.9 million Expansion Create 85 jobs; retain 1 $167,500 in tax credits
50 U-Line Corporation Brown Deer Milwaukee $1.8 million Retention Create 34 jobs; retain 109 $340,000 in tax credits
51 Diversified Manufacturing Corp. Prescott Pierce $1.8 million Expansion Create 150 jobs $520,000 in tax credits
52 Fisher Barton Blades Inc Watertown Jefferson $1.6 million Expansion Create 52 jobs; retain 78 $180,000 in tax credits
53 Forefront Management Holdings LLC Manitowoc Manitowoc $1.1 million Expansion Create 241 jobs; retain 149 $850,000 in tax credits
54 The Douglas Stewart Company, Inc. Madison Dane $0.9 million Expansion Create 38 jobs; retain 97 $195,000 in tax credits
55 S3 International LLC Milwaukee Milwaukee $0.35 million Expansion Create 13 jobs; retain 41 $350,000 loan
56 Pro-Active Engineering, Inc. Sun Prairie Dane $0.87 million Expansion Create 20 jobs; retain 45 $80,000 in tax credits
57 Molson Coors Brewing Company Milwaukee Milwaukee $0.6 million New global services center Create 150 jobs $1.7 million in tax credits
58 Errand Solutions, LLC Land O Lakes Vilas $1.4 million New customer service center Create 62 jobs $500,000 in tax credits
59 Nine Realms, Inc. Madison Dane $0.06 million Expansion Create 17 jobs; retain 32 $115,000 in tax credits

Gov. Walker: Governor Walker and First Lady Tonette Walker wish the people of Wisconsin a merry Christmas and happy holidays

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Office of Governor Scott Walker
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 25, 2017
Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839
 
Governor Walker and First Lady Tonette Walker Wish the People of Wisconsin a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays
 
MADISON – Governor Scott Walker and First Lady Tonette Walker released a video message today wishing the people of Wisconsin a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.“The Christmas season is a time like no other: friends and family join together to celebrate the joy of the holidays, reflect on our many blessings, and look to the future with hope and excitement,” said Governor Walker. “As we gather around the tree, sing carols, or sneak one of Santa’s cookies, let’s also come together and take the time to celebrate our shared values, recognize our good fortunes, and enjoy our time with the people we love the most.

We wish you all a Merry Christmas, and may you all be blessed with joy in the year ahead.”

Gov. Walker: Highlights Wisconsin’s economic growth at La Crosse area development corporation’s annual meeting

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Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839

LA CROSSE – Governor Scott Walker attended the La Crosse Area Development Corporations 46th Annual Meeting in La Crosse today, where he discussed economic growth and job creation. Wisconsin ranks 2nd in the nation and 1st in the Midwest for year-over-year manufacturing job.
“As a result of our highly-skilled workforce and pro-business climate, Wisconsin is attracting businesses from across the country and the world to invest in our state, expand our economy, and create family-supporting jobs,” said Governor Walker. “We’ve created over 42,000 private-sector jobs in the last year alone, and our unemployment rate is at its best level in nearly twenty years. That kind of engagement is driving economic growth throughout our state, and the developments here in the La Crosse area are a prime example of that phenomenal growth in action.”

The La Crosse region has been the site of numerous significant economic development projects in 2017. DuraTech, a custom label printing service provider, announced plans in April for a $7.5 million facility expansion projected to create at least 50 jobs. Dynamic Recycling announced its fifth expansion in ten years in August, investing $20 million and creating 153 new jobs in the area. In November, Kwik Trip unveiled plans for a $300 million investment including the construction of a new bakery and augmentation of existing production and distribution facilities, resulting in 300 new jobs.

The La Crosse Area Development Corporation facilitates and promotes economic advancement in the Greater La Crosse Area through the attraction of industry, the retention of business and industry, and the management of the Coulee Region Business Center. The Corporation also works with a variety of local partner organizations to provide and assist with entrepreneurial training, business planning, capital resources, grants, financing, market research, site selection and access to networking and mentors.