2018 March 16

Daily Archives: March 16, 2018

Assembly, Senate GOP leaders at odds over procedure to take up school safety bills

The top Republicans in the Assembly and Senate have staked out different procedural plans for the guv’s school safety proposals, leaving their fate up in the air.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said the chamber will come back for a one-day special session next week to take up the bills. But Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said his chamber will pass a plan in regular session.

For the legislation to get to Walker’s desk, both chambers would have to approve the same versions. That means the Senate could not pass in regular session bills the Assembly took up in special session — or vice versa — for the legislation to hit Walker’s desk.

Vos, who was traveling Thursday to Canada for a trade trip, said legislative leaders met with the guv earlier this week and did not agree on how to proceed on the six bills.

“Fitzgerald did not want to do a special session. We did, and the governor agreed, and that’s why we have a special session,” Vos said, adding the Assembly is looking at March 22 to come in.

Vos said his caucus had not met to talk about the guv’s plan, and he did not know if members would want any changes to the package.

Fitzgerald, meanwhile, has said he plans to amend a bill the Senate plans to take up Tuesday in regular session to add the school safety measures. The chamber would then send the legislation to the Assembly for final approval.

He said in a statement Senate Republicans had a “productive” discussion in caucus yesterday on school safety, but did not commit to any specifics.

“I am fully supportive of what the governor announced, and our proposal will closely align with the Governor’s objectives,” Fitzgerald said. “I look forward to ironing out details with the administration to deliver resources to schools to secure their facilities and bring peace of mind to parents.”

The heart of Walker’s plan is a proposal to create the Office of School Safety and provide $100 million in one-time money for grants for building improvements.

The money would be available to public, private, charter and tribal schools, according to the guv’s office, and the proposed office would decide how to divvy it up.

The $100 million would come from available resources in the 2017-19 budget. But any money that was not spent during the two-year period would carry over, according to the guv’s office.

Democratic leadership is saying the bill ignores pleas from children across the country to address what they argue is the root of the school safety issue: guns.

Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling knocked Walker’s plan for not including background checks or flexibility to schools.

“For a plan that is supposed to be about gun safety, I don’t see anything in here that will keep deadly firearms out of the wrong hands,” she said in a statement.

Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz told WisPolitics.com he agrees universal background checks should have been included, but that Dems in his chamber would be willing to consider funding for safety improvements. Hintz expressed concern the process is being rushed, and stressed it’s important to get the legislation right.

“I certainly think that making sure that our schools are as prepared and have the safety accountability components in the building can be an important piece, but I think it ignores a lot of the other things. We seem to be spending money on bricks and not on our kids,” he said.

Hintz also said he’s spoken to school districts who have already made safety improvements, which could create confusion as to which districts would be able to get money.

If approved, the $100 million in grants would be another draw on the projected ending balance for the 2017-19 budget.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau has projected the impact of bills that have already passed both houses or have cleared the Assembly and are awaiting Senate action would drop the net balance to $117 million from the $385.2 million that was projected in January.

Still, the fate of several Assembly bills on that list was up in the air. The final planned Senate calendar, for example, does not include $50 million for a rural economic development fund that cleared the Assembly. The Senate also plans to take up its version of the guv’s child tax credit without the sales tax holiday the Assembly added. The combined cost of the Assembly plan is $174.4 million, according to the LFB. The child credit alone has a price tag of $122.9 million.

Other provisions in the guv’s package include:

*mandatory reporting for any threats of school violence;
*amending bullying laws to include prompt parental notification;
*adding Trauma-Informed Care and Adverse Childhood Experiences into training programs;
*strengthening school safety plan requirements;
*encouraging cooperation with local law enforcement.

The proposal doesn’t include a plan from State Superintendent Tony Evers and Dems to let school districts raise revenue limits to fund school safety provisions, or language that would allow for the arming of teachers in schools, as AG Brad Schimel had favored.

See the guv’s release:

Bryce campaign: CNN announces Speaker Ryan’s district is no longer rated ‘safe Republican’


Contact: Lauren Hitt, 443-370-3205, [email protected]

RACINE, WI – CNN formally changed their assessment of Speaker Ryan’s vulnerability this morning, saying his District is no longer a “Safe Republican” seat. In altering their rating, CNN’s experts attributed the decision to the strength of Randy Bryce’s campaign, describing Bryce as a “small-dollar fundraising star” and noting that “southeastern Wisconsin is actually friendlier territory to Democrats than southwestern Pennsylvania was.” Read more HERE.

CNN joins experts across the country in noting Ryan’s vulnerability:

Michael Murphy, Republican Strategist: “Don Lemon: Pennsylvania’s 18th district is a — is listed on R plus 11, right? According to the Cook political report partisan voter index. Meaning that Republicans had an 11 point advantage there, over Democrats. Devin Nunes and Cathy McMorris Rodgers are listed as R plus eight. Paul Ryan and Lee Zeldin are only R plus fives. Are these guys safe? Murphy: Well, no, like many Republicans in swing seats, they’re in a real tough environment. I mean, let’s look at this Pennsylvania 18 thing and step back. We couldn’t carry a Pittsburgh district that Romney won by 17 and Trump by 20, a week after we passed steel tariffs for Pittsburgh. And yet still our guy lost.” (3/14/2018)

University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato: “[Sabato’s] other notable decision was to move House Speaker Paul Ryan’s seat from “Safe Republican” to “Likely Republican” based on the fact that Ryan may not run for reelection and that, based on past election results, the district ‘is actually competitive.'” (3/18/2018)

Washington Post: “Meanwhile, Ryan’s concerns may go beyond messaging. Lamb is ahead in a district that voted for President Trump in 2016 by 20 points and is rated as leaning Republican by 11 points by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. Ryan’s own district, Wisconsin’s 1st, voted for Trump by only 10 points and has a five-point GOP lean, according to Cook.” (3/15/2018)

About Randy Bryce

Randy Bryce is a U.S. Army veteran, cancer survivor, and union ironworker. He was raised in southeastern Wisconsin, and went to public schools. Randy’s father was a police officer, and his mother worked in a doctor’s office. After graduation, Randy enlisted in the U.S. Army, and was posted to Honduras, where he earned the Army Achievement Medal. After returning stateside, Randy was diagnosed with cancer, which he survived, but only after struggling through the bankruptcy that came with the medical bills. Once in remission, Randy found his way to an apprenticeship as an iron worker, a trade he’s now been practicing and fighting to protect from anti-labor laws for nearly 20 years. Randy currently resides in Caledonia, WI with his son, Ben, who attends public schools like his dad. Randy joined the race for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District in Summer 2017.

Bryce Campaign: Releases statement on Ryan’s Kenosha County campaign stop


For Immediate Release: March 16, 2018
Contact: Lauren Hitt, 443-370-3205[email protected]com
Bryce Releases Statement on Ryan’s Kenosha County Campaign Stop

RACINE, WI – This evening, Speaker Ryan is scheduled to speak at the Republican Party of Kenosha County’s Lincoln Day Dinner. Ahead of the event, Democratic congressional challenger Randy Bryce released a statement, criticizing Ryan’s inaction on opioids for affecting the County. Last month, a bipartisan coalition called on the Speaker to dedicate more funds to combatting the opioid crisis in light of the President’s declaration of a public health emergency. Kenosha County has seen six suspected overdose deaths in the last two weeks, and the County is currently suing opioid manufacturers for the personal devastation and fiscal strain the opioid crisis has caused the County’s residents.

“It is unacceptable that Speaker Ryan has not only failed to designate significant new resources to the opioid crisis following the President’s declaration of a public health emergency, but that he also continues to take campaign contributions from irresponsible pharmaceutical corporations. Paul Ryan is no longer looking out for the Wisconsin families and communities who are trying to fight back against this crisis, he is looking out for the donors and lobbyists he’s seen every day in Washington for last two decades in office.”

In a report filed this week with the Federal Election Commission, opioid manufacturer Allergan disclosed that it donated $2,500 to Team Ryan, Paul Ryan’s joint fundraising committee, last month. Team Ryan also accepted $5,000. the federal maximum contribution, from Allegran in 2017. Allergan is currently being investigated by 41 state Attorneys General for marketing and distributing their products illegally. The overprescription of opioids and misleading statements by pharmaceutical manufacturers like Allergan have been identified as a leading cause of the opioid crisis.

Bryce is accepting no contributions from corporate PACs in his campaign for Congress. Paul Ryan has been the third largest recipient of donations from the pharmaceutical industry, collecting nearly $300,000 in the 2017-2018 election cycle to date.

Dallet campaign: Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin endorse Rebecca Dallet for Wisconsin Supreme Court


Contact: Gillian Drummond, (414) 975-0586

[email protected]

MILWAUKEE — Today, the Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin announced their support of Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Rebecca Dallet.

Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin State Secretary Treasurer Steve Wilding voiced his support, “Judge Rebecca Dallet is the right choice for Wisconsin’s Supreme Court. Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin have seen the erosion of working peoples rights, and as professionals in a highly dangerous field, we strongly endorse Judge Rebecca Dallet because she will stand up for working people, not the special interests trying to buy the court.”

“I am so thankful for the support of the men and women who keep our communities safe,” said Judge Rebecca Dallet. “Every day they wake up and put on the uniform, they are prepared to put themselves in harm’s way to keep Wisconsin families safe. As they stand in harm’s way for us, I will always stand up for working people over the big-money, special interests that have bought Wisconsin’s Supreme Court.”

Democratic Governors Association: “Unrig the Map” announces multi-million dollar ad buy in Wisconsin


For Immediate Release:

March 16, 2018


Jared Leopold, 202-772-5600

[email protected] 

DGA’s “Unrig the Map” Announces Multi-Million Dollar Ad Buy in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is a Targeted State for 2018

Today, the Democratic Governors Association announced a multi-million dollar ad buy in Wisconsin as part of the group’s Unrig the Map program. Last month, Unrig the Map named Wisconsin as one of eight top targets this year.

“Wisconsinites deserve a governor who will grow the economy, protect health care, and stand up to the chaos coming out of Washington, D.C.,” said DGA Executive Director Elisabeth Pearson. “This ad buy is part of an unprecedented financial investment to redistricting, and marks the next step in the DGA’s aggressive plan to fight back against Republicans around the country. Democrats are on offense this year, and the DGA is fully committed to success in Wisconsin.”

The DGA’s Unrig the Map project, launched in 2015, is a zero-overhead fund to win targeted gubernatorial races that are key to 2021 redistricting. In 27 of the 36 races in 2018, the governor has veto power and plays a significant role in the redistricting process. Unrig The Map scored a significant victory in November 2017, as Democrats won the battleground of Virginia.

The Wisconsin buy is part of a $20 million DGA ad buy this week in 4 Unrig the Map target states, including Nevada, Michigan, and Ohio.

Last month, the DGA announced its initial 8 targets as part of the Unrig The Map project. In addition to Wisconsin, the targets include Nevada, Michigan, Ohio, Maine, Florida, Pennsylvania and Colorado.

Department of Health Services: State agencies award grants to six counties to combat fatal drug overdoses


CONTACT: Jennifer Miller, 608-266-1683
Elizabeth Goodsitt, 608-266-1683
Johnny Koremenos, Department of Justice, 608-266-1212

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and the state Department of Justice (DOJ) today announced they have awarded $200,000 to six counties to create or enhance local partnerships to review fatal drug overdose cases.

The counties sharing the award include Dane, La Crosse, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Sauk, and Winnebago.

“These reviews will help us better understand the life of each person we have lost,” said State Health Officer Karen McKeown. “Getting a full picture of what brought each person to the moment of overdosing is the key to finding intervention and prevention strategies (link is external) that will make a difference on the local and state level.”

Local public health and law enforcement will be joined in the reviews by medical examiners or coroners, and representatives from emergency medical services, hospitals, treatment providers, and treatment courts.

“These reviews are not about finding who to blame, but about preventing people from falling through the cracks,” said Attorney General Brad Schimel. “We can’t arrest our way of the opioid crisis, because it is more than a criminal justice issue, it’s also a public health issue.”

DHS, through its Division of Public Health, is partnering with DOJ in the development and implementation of the reviews and is providing a majority of funding through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. DOJ is providing data support to the local counties, and will manage, analyze, and report on the data collected during the reviews. Support for training and technical assistance is being provided by the Medical College of Wisconsin, and additional funding has been provided by the United States Department of Justice.

This collaboration is part of Governor Scott Walker’s call for “all hands on deck” in the state’s efforts to end the opioid overdose epidemic.

Evers Campaign: Statement on UW-Stevens Point’s program cuts


MADISON – Tony Evers, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, member of the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents and Democratic candidate for Governor released the following statement on UW-Stevens Point’s plans to cut 13 liberal arts majors from their programming while shifting resources to other programs.

UWSP is currently facing a $4.5 million deficit and in 2015 when Governor Scott Walker cut $250 million from UW System, UWSP had one of the largest cuts of any UW campus at $6.5 million.

“Since this announcement nearly two weeks ago, I’ve been talking with students, educators and community members impacted by this proposal.  People are angry, frustrated and feel like the rug has been ripped out from under their feet.

“Employers across Wisconsin stress the need for liberal arts majors and appreciate the creativity, innovation and strong critical thinking skills they possess.  Rebuilding a strong workforce depends on these programs and our students pursuing that line of education. We need them to feel valued and we need them here in Wisconsin.

“We must start making decisions with feedback from the students, faculty and staff, before the decision is made, not after.  Up to ten percent of students currently enrolled at UWSP will be impacted by this restructuring decision and now feel as though they’ve been abandoned. We have to work together and begin to reinvest in our UW System, it’s the only way we can get Wisconsin back on the right track.”

FRI AM Update: State GOP files complaint against Dallet over attorney donations

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FRI News Summary: Walker releases school safety package; Holder stumps for Dallet

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FRI REPORT: Records show few meetings between Walker, GOP leaders during budget stalemate

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Gov. Walker: Appoints Tiffany Ringer as Wood County Register of Deeds

Office of Governor Scott Walker
March 16, 2018
Contact: Amy Hasenberg, (608) 266-2839
Governor Walker Appoints Tiffany Ringer as
Wood County Register of Deeds
MADISON – Governor Scott Walker appointed Tiffany Ringer today as the Register of Deeds for Wood County. Ms. Ringer is currently a case manager for the Wood County Child Support Agency and is filling a vacancy created by the departure of Susan Ginter.

“Tiffany Ringer has served the residents of Wood County for the better part of the past decade,” said Governor Walker. “Her experience as a case manager for the Wood County Child Support Agency makes her uniquely qualified to provide continued support and services to families throughout the local community as Register of Deeds.”

During her time as case manager, Ms. Ringer has spearheaded the agency’s collaboration between Wood County Child Support and the Department of Human Services. She assisted customers in their efforts to obtain employment through various Children First and Food Share employment and training programs to ensure family needs were met. In addition to serving the Wood County Child Support Agency, Ms. Ringer has been actively involved in the Child Support Enforcement Association on the state and national level.

Ms. Ringer studied business at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point in addition to business administration at Upper Iowa University. She is currently pursuing a degree in Business Management from Mid-State Technical College.

Gov. Walker: Statement on the passing of former Wisconsin Attorney General Bronson La Follette

Office of Governor Scott Walker
March 16, 2018
Contact: Amy Hasenberg, (608) 266-2839
Governor Walker Statement on the Passing of Former Wisconsin Attorney General Bronson La Follette
MADISON—Governor Walker released the following statement regarding the passing of former Wisconsin Attorney General Bronson La Follette.“Tonette and I send our prayers to the family of former Wisconsin Attorney General Bronson La Follette. He was a dedicated public servant for several decades.”

Governor Walker: Tours schools in Thorp, Cashton, and Hartford to discuss historic investment in K-12 education


Contact: Amy Hasenberg, (608) 266-2839

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker toured schools in Thorp, Cashton, and Hartford today to discuss the historic investments made in K-12 education and highlight the additional investments made in Wisconsin’s rural school districts. Earlier this week, Governor Walker signed Assembly Bill 835 into law which provides additional aid to rural school districts. This investment comes on top of the historic $11.5 billion investment for K-12 education included in the state budget.

“Rural school districts face unique challenges, which is why we wanted to provide more resources to these districts on top of what we put in the budget,” Governor Walker said. “Every student, regardless of where they live, deserves access to a great education, and this additional aid will help these districts and their students succeed.”

The bill signed into law by Governor Walker on Monday in Muscoda helps low-population school districts by modifying the sparsity categorical aid program for school districts and the revenue limit ceiling for school districts. The bill increases the per-pupil sparsity amount from $300 to $400 beginning in fiscal year 2018-19 and appropriates $6,454,600 GPR to fund this increase. This will benefit an estimated 144 school districts. The bill would increase the low revenue ceiling from $9,100 to $9,400 in 2018-19, $9,500 in 2019-20, $9,600 in 2020-21, $9,700 in 2021-22 and $9,800 in 2022-23. Currently, 107 school districts have per pupil revenue base amounts of less than $9,400, and therefore may be eligible for the low revenue ceiling adjustment in 2018-19.

Governor Walker also announced his $100 million School Safety Plan yesterday. The Governor’s plan was created with input from both the State Senate and State Assembly, and it has the support of Attorney General Brad Schimel. Governor Walker called a special session of the Legislature to pass his plan. The plan includes seven components:

Establishing the Office of School Safety under the Wisconsin Department of Justice
Creating a $100 million School Safety Grant Program under the Office of School Safety
Requiring Mandatory Reporting for any threats of school violence
Amending bullying statute to include prompt parental notification
Incorporating Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) into training programs
Strengthening school safety plan requirements
Encouraging cooperation with local law enforcement

Milwaukee City Clerk: DeNeve appointed public relations supervisor for Common Council


City Clerk Jim Owczarski

(414) 286-2221

Brian DeNeve has been selected to serve as the public relations supervisor in the Public Information Division of the Common Council-City Clerk’s Office. Mr. DeNeve started March 5 and succeeds Dustin Weis, who left during 2017 for a position in the private sector.

City Clerk Jim Owczarski said Mr. DeNeve will assist in managing all of the division’s public relations, social media and publications functions, including drafting news releases, handling aldermanic newsletters, speech writing, maintaining media contacts, photography, arranging news conferences, help in hosting and producing programs for the City Channel, maintaining aldermanic information on the city’s website (and social media) and other duties. “Brian has a solid background in news and government public information, and we look forward to utilizing his expertise and talent as a key member of the Common Council and City Clerk’s communications team,” Mr. Owczarski said.

Mr. DeNeve most recently worked as a communication manager for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation handling statewide safety campaigns and public outreach for construction projects in southeastern Wisconsin. Prior to that, he spent a number of years as a radio news anchor and reporter in Milwaukee and Madison. His reporting included the Wisconsin Capitol protests, recall elections and a national political convention.

Mr. DeNeve graduated from Western Illinois University with a bachelor’s degree in Broadcasting.

He can be reached at [email protected] or 414-286-3881.

One Wisconsin Now: Michael Screnock’s special ethical conflict


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

MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Scott Walker’s refusal to call elections to fill vacancies he created by appointing the legislators to positions in his administration in December 2017 has triggered a recently-filed lawsuit in Dane County Circuit Court. One Wisconsin Now Research Director Joanna Beilman-Dulin said state Supreme Court candidate Michael Screnock’s conflicts of interest mean he should excuse himself from hearing the case, should he be elected and the litigation over Walker’s malfeasance come before him.

“Michael Screnock helped Gov. Walker manipulate the rules to give Republicans a partisan political advantage when he worked as Walker’s attorney,” commented Beilman-Dulin. “He shouldn’t be able to do it again if he were to be elected to the state Supreme Court.”

Michael Screnock was a hired gun attorney for Scott Walker’s campaign, arguing in court on his client’s behalf to try to delay the 2012 gubernatorial recall election. In addition, Screnock was part of the legal team who helped draw state voter districts that were so political and partisan that they were declared unconstitutional by a federal court. Judicial ethics caution judges from participating in cases involving former clients and issues on which they argued for one side.

Gov. Walker has refused to abide by state law that requires him to call special elections to fill state legislative vacancies occurring before April of an election year. The resignations of the legislators previously representing the 42nd Assembly District and the 1st Senate District occurred in December 2017, well before the statutory deadline for calling elections.

Beilman-Dulin said Gov. Walker fears embarrassing electoral losses in the lead up to his November election bid, even though the races would be run in the districts rigged by Screnock and the Republican legal team.

The lawsuit challenging Walker’s attempt to subvert democracy has been filed in Dane County Circuit Court by a group formed by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin: Endorses Judge Rebecca Dallet for Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice


Contact: Iris Riis
608-256-7549 x2132
[email protected]

MADISON – Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin (PPAWI) announced today its endorsement of Judge Rebecca Dallet for Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice.

Statement from Nicole Safar, Executive Director of PPAWI:

“Judge Dallet is the only candidate on the ballot for Wisconsin Supreme Court who can be trusted to uphold the law – and the values of Wisconsinites – when it comes to women’s access to health care. Abortion can be a complicated and emotional issue for many of us, which is why we need more justices who understand the impact on a woman and her family when politicians take away access to health care. Judge Dallet understands that only a woman knows what is best for herself and her family.

“Her opponent, Judge Michael Screnock has proven through his words, his actions and his endorsements from extreme groups that he doesn’t care about the law, especially in matters of women’s health care.

“PPAWI is proud to support Judge Dallet, a strong voice for women and families, who will return balance and integrity to Wisconsin’s increasingly partisan Supreme Court.”

Screnock campaign: Statement on Judge Dallet allegations


Contact: Sean Lansing
[email protected]

(Reedsburg, Wis.) – Screnock for Justice senior advisor Sean Lansing issued the following statement Friday in response to reports the Republican Party of Wisconsin has filed a Judicial Commission complaint against Judge Rebecca Dallet:

“Judge Screnock was shocked and deeply saddened to learn that a sitting judge and Supreme Court candidate would engage in conduct that damages the public’s trust in our justice system and our high court candidates. These are serious allegations and they outline a troubling pattern of behavior by Judge Dallet that warrants further investigation.”


Sen. Hansen: Governor should call special elections before calling special sessions


Contact: Sen. Hansen

(Madison)—State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) renewed his call for Governor Walker to call special elections to fill two legislative seats vacated by Republicans in favor of higher paying jobs in the Walker administration.

“On March 20th the State Senate will take up well over 100 bills dealing with everything from closing down Lincoln Hills to giving Kimberly-Clark over $100 million in taxpayer money to keep two mills open in the Fox Valley. And the residents of the 1st Senate District will have no voice on any of these matters whatsoever,” said Hansen.

Former Senator Frank Lasee resigned on December 29th to take another government job that pays over $100,000 a year. Despite special elections already having been held for other open seats, including the 10th Senate District, Governor Walker said there was not enough time to call for special elections in the 1st Senate District and 42nd Assembly District.

“Governor Walker is playing politics with the voters of the 1st Senate District. Rather than call an election so they have a voice in the decisions being made in the State Senate, he decided it was more important to silence them rather than risk losing another senate seat to a Democrat.

Democrats won the 10th Senate District, a deeply Republican District that had been in Republican hands for over 17 years.

To make matters worse the Governor recently called for a special session to pass a school safety package, another important issue that the voters of the 1st district will have no say on in the State Senate.”

“Because he has chosen not to follow the law and call a special election, thousands of families will have no voice in the decisions that are made about how best to protect their children.”

Governor Walker has already called two special sessions this year and it’s only March. It is entirely possible that more special sessions could be called before the November election resulting in more decisions being made without representation for the people of the 1st Senate District and 42nd Assembly District.

“Our forefathers, who Republicans are fond of quoting, fought against taxation without representation. Yet here we are in 2018 with over 230,000 people paying their taxes but being denied representation because the Governor and Senate Republicans are too afraid of losing their grip on power to do the right thing. It’s shameful.”

“It is time for Governor Walker and Republican leaders to stop playing politics with the rights of the people living in the 1st Senate District and 42nd Assembly District and make the call for special elections.”

Speaker Ryan: Mourns the passing of Rep. Louise Slaughter


AshLee Strong, Doug Andres

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement this morning after learning of the passing of Rep. Louise Slaughter of New York:

“This is just jarring. My first thoughts go out to Louise’s family, friends, and her staff. Louise was a giant in the people’s House, the first woman ever to chair the Rules Committee. That said, Louise did not need a gavel to make a dent in history. She was unrelenting in fighting for her ideas and the people back home in Western New York. But really, the thing that I keep coming back to is how she was tough, but unfailingly gracious. She was simply great.

“In memory of Louise, I have ordered that the flags above the Capitol be lowered to half-staff. The coming days of mourning will bring many tributes to this wonderful public servant. For now, let us pray that God brings comfort to those closest to Louise.”

State GOP files complaint against Dallet over attorney donations


The state GOP has filed a complaint with the Judicial Commission accusing Supreme Court candidate Rebecca Dallet of using her Milwaukee County courtroom to raise campaign donations from attorneys with cases before her.

Dallet’s campaign called the complaint baseless and took a shot at rival Michael Screnock, a Sauk County judge.

“The Screnock campaign is running scared,” said campaign manager Jessica Lovejoy. “Partisan attack dogs can file all the baseless complaints they want; it won’t fix his lack of experience or allegiance to big-money special interests”

The complaint focuses on a Wisconsin State Journal story that detailed $21,100 in contributions from 39 attorneys with 102 cases before Dallet’s court.

The complaint singles out eight cases in which the state GOP claims Dallet solicited and raised contributions within two weeks of a hearing or conference with the attorney who contributed to her Supreme Court campaign. It lists another six cases in which the donations came within a week of the attorneys being in her courtroom.

The complaint says while the Code of Judicial Conduct allows attorneys to contribute to judges hearing their cases, a judge is not allowed “to utilize her courtroom and her court calendar to raise campaign funds in the matter that Dallet did.”

It also charges because of how she received the donations shortly after attorneys appeared before her, Dallet should have recused herself from the cases.

The complaint asks the commission to open an investigation into Dallet’s actions.

Read the complaint:

Survival Coalition: Concerned safety plan lacks supports and services for students


Contact: Beth Swedeen, [email protected]; (608) 266-1166;

Kristin M. Kerschensteiner, [email protected]; (608) 267-0214;

Lisa Pugh, [email protected]; (608) 469-9385

Madison, WI- While the Survival Coalition of Wisconsin Disability Organizations supports efforts to make Wisconsin schools safer for all children, disability advocates remain concerned that recent proposals miss the mark when it comes to the needs of students with disabilities. Specifically, Survival Coalition members say Governor Walker’s proposed $100 million investment in school safety does not go far enough to provide the necessary supports and services students require.

“Students with disabilities are more likely to be bullied, they are more likely to have unmet mental health needs. They are increasingly taught by the least experienced teachers. Yet there hasn’t been an increase in special education funding for almost ten years. Costs to educate students with disabilities have increased over time while the reimbursement rate has gone from a high of 66% in 1980 to a low of 26% in 2017.” said Lisa Pugh, Co-Chair of Survival Coalition.

Survival Coalition launched a survey during the month of January to get input from families on the quality of special education services in Wisconsin. The results show that lack of resources is affecting children’s education and social-emotional well-being.

Survival Co-chair Beth Swedeen said, “Over 500 families responded to the survey and many say they have seen declining supports over time. 42% said that their child struggles with more behavioral challenges, and 47% said their child was increasingly socially isolated due to lack of services.”

Research shows that when police presence in schools is increased, the suspension, expulsion of students with disabilities also rises.

“Funds redirected to school mental health services, more school counselors and psychologists would benefit all students and keep them in the classroom and learning,” says Pugh. “The legislature should consider engaging stakeholders including parents before rushing into solutions that don’t provide greater support to students in our schools across Wisconsin,” says Swedeen.

U.S. Rep. Pocan: Statement on the passing of Congresswoman Louise Slaughter



March 16, 2018
Contact: Ron Boehmer 202-225-2906

Pocan Statement on the Passing of Congresswoman Louise Slaughter

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representative Mark Pocan (WI-02) released the following statement regarding the passing of Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-25).

“Louise Slaughter was one of the strongest voices in Congress for New Yorkers and the American people. From her work on the economy and trade agreements, to her role on the House Rules Committee, Louise was a fighter and a tireless champion. Serving with relentless passion, grace, and wisdom, Louise lent her voice and leadership to so many important issues.

“From my earliest days on Capitol Hill, Louise was there to serve as a mentor. Whether it was meeting to discuss the issues facing the American people or sharing a meal together, Louise welcomed me with open arms. With her passing, Congress has lost an extraordinary leader and a remarkable friend. My thoughts go out to Louise’s family, friends, and staff during this time.”

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin: Introduces legislation to combat unfair trade with a targeted approach


Contact: [email protected]

(202) 224 – 6225


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following President Donald J. Trump’s imposition last week of blanket tariffs on steel and aluminum, U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced legislation with a smarter path forward on trade. The Level the Playing Field in Global Trade Act of 2018 takes a targeted approach to crack down specifically on countries that are unfairly subsidizing their products through rock-bottom wages and substandard environmental practices.

“Bad actors like China are not playing by the rules on steel, aluminum and paper. We need the new tools provided in this legislation to take on China’s cheating,” said Senator Baldwin. “As the nation’s leading paper producer, when China cheats, our Wisconsin workers and manufacturers lose. This legislation will help level the playing field and support Wisconsin workers.”

The Level the Playing Field in Global Trade Act would ensure that when other countries undercut American manufacturers by selling products produced under conditions where workers are paid sub-standard wages, or where workplace safety practices and environmental protections aren’t maintained, those failures are treated as unfair subsidies and their imports are penalized.

The bill would require that new free trade agreements include binding, enforceable requirements that manufacturers operating in foreign countries pay adequate wages, maintain workplace safety standards, and abide by environmental standards. Companies or countries that fail to do so would have to pay anti-dumping penalties as they do for any other subsidy under current law. The bill also rewards companies that meet high standards on a global basis in wages, workplace safety and environmental compliance with streamlined trade and protection from enforcement actions.

Over the last 15 years, countries who have cut costs for manufacturers by allowing sub-standard labor and environmental practices have reaped the benefits of trade deals without upholding their end of the bargain. This lack of accountability has contributed to the shuttering of tens of thousands of American factories and the loss of millions of American manufacturing jobs.

U.S. companies and workers are presently at a trade disadvantage against companies and countries that do not pay adequate wages or maintain safety standards and environmental controls. This results in countries and companies engaging in a “race to the bottom,” which puts U.S. manufacturing jobs at risk and is fundamentally unfair to American working families. It’s also terribly destructive to workers around the world, many of whom are forced to work in unsafe conditions for meager wages.

Current American law and trade agreements prohibit “dumping” of products, where companies export products at prices below the cost of production or cheaper than they sell for in the home country, and allow the U.S. to impose duties to make the sale price in America reflect what the true cost would be without cheating. The Level the Playing Field in Global Trade Act would, for the first time, require that any new trade deals considered under Trade Promotion Authority recognize egregious environmental and labor practices as a form of illegal subsidy that can be remedied by U.S. duties. It would also reward companies that adhere to high global standards by creating new trade enforcement incentives.

The bill is supported by the United Steelworkers (USW) and the AFL-CIO.

Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection: No pot of gold with rainbows, international lotteries


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

MADISON – The mythical story of the “pot of gold” says to search for the treasure at the end of a rainbow, but scammers will have you believe that the pot of gold is coming directly to you. Among their favorite tricks are foreign lottery scams. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) warns that foreign lottery promotions are phony – and illegal.

“It is a violation of federal law to participate in a foreign lottery, but that doesn’t stop scammers from pitching them for a quick payout,” said Michelle Reinen, Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Buying a phony lottery ticket sets you up for a double hit: you’ll lose money now and you’ll likely be added to a ‘sucker list’ and face an uptick in scam pitches in the future.”

DATCP occasionally hears from consumers who are tied up in a cycle of payments to scammers after falling for a fake foreign lottery pitch. Once a victim makes an initial payment for a phony prize entry, the scammer will continue to come back to the victim to ask for more money for additional tickets or fees and taxes on the supposed prize. Victims continue to make these payments out of fear of losing out on the prize they are expecting and also out of fear of losing the money they have already invested.

DATCP offers the following tips to avoid these and other prize scams:

It is illegal to enter foreign lotteries and there are no secret systems for winning them.

Ignore all mail and phone solicitations that promise big prizes in foreign lotteries or contests. If you receive what looks like lottery or sweepstakes material from a foreign country, destroy it or report it to the Bureau of Consumer Protection.

You should never have to pay to win a prize or to “improve” your chances of winning (unless you are entering a local raffle).

Never wire money, turn over the card numbers on a prepaid debit card or provide personal or banking information in response to an unsolicited offer.

Some scams may require you to call a “900” number to claim your prize. Calling this number will cost you a per-minute fee.

Legitimate contest offers will include rules, information on how to enter and the odds of winning.

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

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WisGOP: Files judicial complaint calling for investigation into Supreme Court candidate Rebecca Dallet’s unethical fundraising


Contact: Alec Zimmerman
(608) 257-4765

[Madison, WI] — The Republican Party of Wisconsin announced today that it has filed a complaint against Judge Rebecca Dallet with the Wisconsin Judicial Commission for violating the code of judicial conduct by improperly using her court calendar to drive her fundraising operation by soliciting contributions from attorneys who have cases before her. RPW is calling for the Judicial Commission to immediately launch an investigation into Dallet’s conduct on the bench. The following statement was released from RPW Executive Director Mark Morgan:

“Today the people of Wisconsin are seeing that Rebecca Dallet’s hypocrisy on judicial ethics not only knows no bounds — it has led to deeply disturbing and clearly improper conduct. Fairness and equality before the court are cornerstones of the judiciary, and Rebecca Dallet’s use of her court calendar as a fundraising operation calls both of those, and her judgement, into question. Rebecca Dallet needs to immediately explain the disturbing trend of hearing cases while cashing the checks of those who come before her on the bench.”

The complaint calling for an investigation follows a report that Dallet had violated her own standards for recusing herself from cases. Read the full complaint and supporting evidence here.

WisOpinion.com: ‘The Insiders’ discuss the end of the legislative session

Show 40D Insiders Two-Minute Take (3-23-2018) from WisOpinion on Vimeo.

The WisOpinion Insiders, Chvala & Jensen, look forward to the end of the legislative session and debate Gov. Scott Walker’s child tax rebate.

Sponsored by Michael Best Strategies and the Wisconsin Counties Association.

March 17, 2018 | March 15, 2018
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