2018 September

Monthly Archives: September 2018

‘UpFront’: Moore advocates cautious approach to impeaching Trump if Dems win House

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U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, said she is certain that Democrats will win control of the House in November, but she advocated for a cautious approach to the possible impeachment of President Trump.

“I am absolutely certain, as certain as certain can be, that we’re going to see a takeover of the House,” she said Sunday on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

“Whether that margin is by two or three seats, or whether it’s by 20 seats, is where the issue lies,” she said.

Moore said the country is looking to Democrats to put a check on Trump.

“The Republican majority in both houses don’t seem to want to put a check on the presidency of Donald Trump,” she said.

Gousha asked her if Democrats should be talking about impeachment in the run-up to the November election.

“Impeachment is a political act, and it really takes two sides to do it,” she said. “I can’t impeach him by myself. I don’t think Democrats can impeach him, even if we were in the majority. You’ve got to bring the country along.”

Moore said she is willing to wait for the results of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

“I think on a practical basis, the country has got to be convinced, before we overturn the results of an election, the country has to be there with us,” she said.

In another segment, Phil Anderson, the Libertarian candidate for governor, said his message of smaller government and more local control is resonating with people, and that’s part of the reason he drew 6 percent support in the most recent Marquette Law School poll.

“Especially in the face of two candidates that I’m running against, Scott Walker and Tony Evers, who seem to be for a lot of power and control in Madison, and people resist that, they see the corruption in that,” Anderson said.

Anderson, a real estate broker from Madison, said the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association is trying to “protect its clients” by excluding him and other third-party candidates from debates.

Anderson said the WBA has a “conflict of interest” in setting financial criteria for candidates to qualify for debates.

The WBA’s member television and radio stations “have a great financial benefit for arranging the system so that Republicans and Democrats aren’t challenged by people that have thoughtful responses,” Anderson said.

Anderson also said he supports the legalization of recreational marijuana, noting the multiple county referenda on the question.

“It’s really important not just for people to have the personal freedom to consume what they want, which I support, but it’s also the first step toward real criminal justice reform in Wisconsin,” he said.

Also on the program, Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council, discussed the long-term impact of Foxconn on the state’s economy.

He said Foxconn is “really sinking their roots into Wisconsin in a much deeper way, in a much more futuristic way” with a partnership with UW-Madison, and a venture capital fund in Milwaukee.

See more from the show.

‘UpFront’: Roth urges Senate to pass Kimberly-Clark incentives

Senate President Roger Roth said the Senate needs to act fast on a $100 million incentive package to help keep Kimberly-Clark in the Fox Valley, and Democrats should “do what’s right” and vote for the package.

“I feel that the Senate needs to act quickly,” Roth, R-Appleton, said Sunday on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

Kimberly-Clark has said it wants to see action on the package by Sept. 30, but Roth said he is working with the company is see if there is any flexibility “in the case that we can’t secure enough Democrat votes” by the end of the month.

The votes of Democrats will be necessary to pass the package, because two Republican senators, Chris Kapenga of Delafield and Steve Nass of Whitewater, have said they oppose the deal. Republicans have an 18-15 majority in the Senate.

Roth said big tax incentive packages historically have passed with bipartisan support. He cited the incentive plans for Mercury Marine, Foxconn and the Milwaukee Bucks arena as examples.

He said hundreds of jobs are on the line.

“I don’t think it’s too much to ask that in a scenario like this, where we’re trying to save 500 good family-supporting union jobs, that again Democrats and Republicans come together,” Roth said.

“I’m just pleading with Democrats to do what’s right here,” Roth said.

He said there is “significant” support within his Republican caucus for the package.

Roth also said the “political environment,” with an election looming on Nov. 6, is complicating the situation. He said he hasn’t yet seen anything from Democrats that shows they are willing to work with Republicans on the K-C deal.

“The simple fact is that it’s not going to pass if Democrats don’t come to the table,” Roth said. “In any other circumstance, this would have been a done deal.”

In another segment, Dem congressional candidate Dan Kohl of Mequon, running for the 6th District seat, said term limits for members of Congress would help “eliminate a lot of the dysfunction and make Washington work better.”

“I think eight years is enough to go to Washington and make a difference for people and then come home,” Kohl said.

Kohl, who is challenging GOP Rep. Glenn Grothman, also said he would not support California Rep. Nancy Pelosi as leader of House Dems.

“Everywhere I go, people are looking for new leadership, leadership that is focused on solving problems,” Kohl said.

“They’re looking for leaders who want to work to get things done, who aren’t just rubber stamps for their party,” he said.

Also on the program, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Washington Bureau Chief Craig Gilbert discussed Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s struggle this year with independent voters, a group Gilbert said Walker has carried handily in past elections.

Gilbert said current polling has shown Walker down some 10 points with independent voters. He also said polling shows some “soft partisans” defecting from Republicans.

“In a state like Wisconsin, where there’s equal numbers of Republican and Democratic voters, and those hardcore Democrats and Republicans are all voting for their own party, it’s the more independent voters who decide elections,” Gilbert said.

“He’s got some real challenges,” Gilbert said of Walker.

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

‘UpFront’: Thompson says Walker faces his toughest race yet

Former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson said the upcoming election will be “the toughest race that Scott Walker has ever run” but he thinks Walker ultimately will pull out a victory.

“The third one is always tough,” said Thompson, a four-term governor. He appeared Sunday on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

“And this time, whether it’s a blue wave or not, I think there’s a little bit of a fatigue. I think Scott still has a direct path to win, and I think the odds are that he will win, but I think it’s going to be extremely close.”

Thompson’s new book, “Tommy: My Journey of a Lifetime,” written with Madison journalist Doug Moe, looks back at his life and career. Thompson started in politics by running for state Assembly at age 24, and eventually became Wisconsin’s longest-serving governor.

Thompson discussed today’s political discourse and lamented that “the new mantra” is “destroy the other side.”

“The art of civility has gone by the wayside. It’s more of a ‘drag me down, tear me down,’ instead of ‘build me up.’ I just don’t like that,” he said, noting that he is still friends with the men he defeated in his races for governor.

He’s hopeful that after this next election, it will be “time to bring some civility back to politics.”

One of the reasons he wrote the book, he said, is to encourage young people to get involved in politics.

“It’s a great profession,” Thompson said. “I think everybody should run sometime for something. Whether you win or not, it’s not that important. It’s running, and getting involved, it’s your community, it’s your school, and people need to do that.”

He also said he wrote the book to create a record of his achievements.

He said one of his biggest accomplishments came in the global fight against AIDS when he was Health and Human Services secretary in the George W. Bush administration. He said he helped set up a global fund to fight AIDS and convinced Bush of “the rightness of what we were doing.”

“It just revealed to me how important America is, and how much we can do in the area of medical diplomacy to fight these kinds of insidious diseases,” he said.

See an excerpt from the book:
https://www.wispolitics.com/2018/book-excerpt-tommy-my-journey-of-a-lifetime-2/

One of his biggest regrets, he said, is building more prisons during his time as governor and locking up so many people. Thompson said he now sees the need for prison reform and is involved in that effort.

Thompson said 60-70 percent of inmates have substance abuse problems.

“Let’s treat them, and let’s teach them. Let’s turn one of the prisons into a vocational school. And teach those individuals in there how to have a trade, a skill, be able to get out. And then have the businesses in Wisconsin, who need employees, sponsor them, and allow prisoners to work and get an out-of-jail-free card by working, getting educated, getting a trade, getting cleaned up, so you don’t have alcohol or drug problems, and then come out,” Thompson said.

He said he thinks both Republicans and Democrats feel the time is right for prison reform.

“It would be amazing what we could do for prison reform in America, and we could start here in Wisconsin, and become a model for the country. Just like my welfare reform was a model for the country,” Thompson said.

Also on the program, Court of Appeals Chief Judge Lisa Neubauer of Racine discussed her bid for Wisconsin Supreme Court. There will be an open seat on the court after Justice Shirley Abrahamson retires next year.

“I really feel that our courts need to be fair, impartial and independent,” Neubauer said.

“Everybody that comes before our Supreme Court has to have a fair shake. There has to be a level playing field. We have to follow the law. No ideology, no bias, no predetermined outcome. And that’s the kind of judge that I’ve been on the Court of Appeals for over 10 years now, and that is the kind of justice that I will be if I’m honored to be elected to the court by the people of the state of Wisconsin,” Neubauer said.

Neubauer also elaborated on her call for special interests to “stay out” of the 2019 court election.

“This outside money has been, frankly, so toxic. It runs down the court system in the minds of the public; it really undermines the public’s confidence in our judicial system,” she said.

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

‘WisBiz: The Show’: Features Doyenne’s Heather Wentler, Tech Metrics and latest Tom Still commentary

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Contact: Tom Still or Julie Johnson at 608-442-7557

MADISON, Wis. – The latest episode of “WisBusiness.com: The Show” features an interview with Heather Wentler of the Doyenne Group, who talks about women entrepreneurs and how to create more of them. Also, Liz Schrum presents Tech Metrics, which chart key indicators and events in the Wisconsin economy.

In a separate commentary, Tech Council President Tom Still talks about the Tech Council’s oldest and best attended events, the Early Stage Symposium, where companies have the chance to meet investors from Wisconsin and beyond.

Click here to view the biweekly show and Still’s commentary, produced by Red Arrow Production for the Tech Council and WisBusiness.com, as well as archives of past shows. The show is sponsored by UW-MilwaukeeBDO and Exact Sciences.

Miss a show? Visit our archives at https://wisconsintechnologycouncil.com/newsroom/wisbusiness-the-show/

2018 Capitol ornament unveiling 🗓

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Contact: Kara O’Keeffe
608-261-9596
[email protected]org


Madison, Wis. – The 2018 Wisconsin State Capitol ornament, presented by the Wisconsin Historical Foundation, will be unveiled at a press conference on Thursday, Oct. 4 at 10:00 am in the Assembly Parlor at the State Capitol.

This year’s ornament is a tribute to the badger statue located at the entrance to the governor’s office on the first floor of the State Capitol. The bronze statue was created as a gift from the people of the state of Wisconsin for the battleship USS Wisconsin (BB-9) in 1899.

“This year’s ornament is a great way to celebrate the badger statue that all visitors to the State Capitol get to see on tour and touch for good luck,” said Dave Wilder, executive director of the Wisconsin Historical Foundation. “All proceeds from the sale of these ornaments will support the State Capitol Restoration Fund.”

The badger statue was designed by artist Paul Kupper of Milwaukee for the USS Wisconsin (BB-9) and made with bronze salvage from Spanish cannons captured in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. The statue was designed to include the state motto “Forward.” The shield also holds a plow and fouled anchor, which were part of the “arms of the commonwealth.” The statue was placed on the bridge of the ship located directly above the thirteen guns.

In 1987, Governor Tommy Thompson signed an executive order creating a commission to coordinate public awareness about the USS Wisconsin (BB-64) as it was being recommissioned. A staffer of Governor Thompson’s found the badger statue on display in the U.S. Naval Academy Superintendent’s formal garden while at a reception in Annapolis. Governor Thompson worked to bring the statue back to Wisconsin for the 1988 celebration of the second USS Wisconsin recommissioning. In order to persuade the Navy to lease the statue back to Wisconsin for display, Governor Thompson traded the USS Wisconsin’s silver service, which was on loan to the state from the Navy. The Navy now displays the complete silver service at the Naval Yard in Philadelphia. The badger statue is on lease to the State of Wisconsin from the U.S. Navy, and the Wisconsin Department of Administration must renew the lease periodically to maintain the statue in the State Capitol.

Since 2004, the proceeds from ornament sales have supported over $75,000 in restoration projects around the Capitol building. Previous ornament sales have helped to fund the visitor’s bird’s eye view from the glass perch inside the dome of the State Capitol.

The ornament is set in a special gift box and will be available for purchase while supplies last at Orange Tree Imports, Wisconsin Historical Museum, State Capitol Tours, Monona Terrace, The Bruce Company, MMoCA and the Executive Residence. Online ornament purchases may be made by visiting wisconsinhistory.org/capitolornament. This year’s ornament is also sponsored by Fincantieri Marine Group.

About the Wisconsin Historical Foundation
The Wisconsin Historical Foundation exists to advance the mission of the Wisconsin Historical Society: to help people connect to the past by collecting, preserving and sharing stories. The Wisconsin Historical Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, receives grants and private contributions benefitting the Society and administers the membership program. Visit wisconsinhistory.org for more information.

20th Annual Eleanor Roosevelt Reception 🗓

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20th Annual Eleanor Roosevelt Reception

Please join us for the 20th Annual Eleanor Roosevelt Reception in support of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. Please come to celebrate and meet wonderful women fighting for progressive causes!

The event will take place:
Thursday, October 11th, 2018
Edgewater Hotel
The Grand Ballroom
1001 Wisconsin Place
Madison, WI 53703
5:00-8:00 pm

Checks can be mailed to:
Democratic Party of Wisconsin
15 N Pinckney Street, Suite 200
Madison, WI 53703

Levels of Support:

  • $5,000 Host
  • $2,500 Senator Tammy Baldwin Level
  • $1,000 Congresswoman Gwen Moore Level
  • $750 Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling Level
  • $500 Supporter
  • $250 Friend
  • $100 Ticket
  • $25 Young Professional
  • $10 Student (with valid student ID)

For additional information, or to RSVP, please contact Amy Donner at 608-807-0589 or [email protected]

A Better Mount Pleasant: Mount Pleasant moves forward with eminent domain against two homeowners, additional landowner files restraining order against village

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Mount Pleasant homeowners currently fighting the village’s authority to take their property under eminent domain in pending lawsuits have received a 90 day notice to vacate their property. The Village of Mount Pleasant also notified them in a separate letter of immediate actions to beginning cutting down trees and removing vegetation – claiming the property already belongs to the village.

Copies of the notices and court filings are attached below.

Another Mount Pleasant landowner has filed a restraining order and injunction against the Village of Mount Pleasant in response to a Temporary Limited Easement and jurisdictional offer issued by the village in late August. A motion hearing in Racine County is scheduled for October 2, 2018.

See: Racine County Case Number 2018CV001542 Creuziger Farms, Inc. vs. Village of Mount Pleasant et al

Village officials have claimed multiple times in statements to the public they have negotiated all property purchases for the Foxconn development voluntarily. In reality, all land purchased by the Village of Mount Pleasant have been negotiated under threat of eminent domain. The aggressive legal actions taken by the village in recent days represent a clear violation of private property rights and the overreach of local government authority acting to benefit a private corporation.

https://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/180921-Filing-1.pdf

https://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/180921-Filing-2.pdf

A Better Mt. Pleasant: Reneges on agreement to pay relocation benefits for Foxconn

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“Gives handicapped father of four 30 days to get out – now fears becoming homeless”

MT. PLEASANT, WI SEPTEMBER 27, 2018 – Village resident, Sean McFarlane was notified this week by the Village of Mt. Pleasant, that he and his four children have approximately thirty days to vacate a temporary residence which was provided to them when they were displaced by the Foxconn development. McFarlane was also told the village will not pay him $22,000 in relocation benefits they agreed to pay in June.

McFarlane’s rented home was purchased for the Foxconn development in April. As a tenant of that residence, he and his children were eligible for a “displaced person” benefit under Wisconsin law – which the village initially attempted to deny.

In late June, McFarlane signed a relocation assistance package with the village which provided him with a relocation benefit of $22,080 to cover the cost of moving expenses and increased rent for four years.

Due to the village’s delay in providing a relocation assistance package to McFarlane, they agreed to move him and his children to a temporary home and pay his moving fees. An amputee, McFarlane must use a wheelchair. The village promised to make the temporary house wheelchair accessible while his new residence was being prepared. McFarlane planned to use his relocation benefits to pay for significant repairs and accessibility improvements.

As requested, McFarlane notified the village he had entered into a lease for his new residence, making him eligible for the disbursement of relocation benefits. He left several messages, receiving a voicemail message on Wednesday saying that no benefits would be extended to him and he and his children had thirty days to vacate the temporary residence.

The Village of Mt. Pleasant never made McFarlane’s temporary home wheelchair accessible as promised, and the home has no heat. Village officials promised him he and his children could stay until his new residence was ready – a promise made to other residents and then reneged.

With so little time left before eviction, and no funds to fix and prepare for his specific mobility needs, McFarlane fears he and his children will become homeless.

On the heels of a Village Board meeting just this week when a Mt. Pleasant village official was recorded describing concerned residents as “a bunch of assholes,” the contempt and callous behavior of local leaders has become wholly unacceptable.

The primary responsibility of village officials is to the people they represent. All village residents deserve to be treated with compassion and respect. The village must honor its promises and use its authority to help our community prepare for the future – not punish the very people who are sacrificing their homes to make the Foxconn development a reality.

A Stronger Wisconsin: Launches new ad, ‘Daughter’

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Contact:
[email protected]

Today, A Stronger Wisconsin launched a new ad, “Daughter,” urging Wisconsinites to tell Governor Scott Walker to stand up for healthcare for people with preexisting conditions. A woman named Mary tells of her experience with breast cancer and wanting to be there for her daughter’s life milestones. If Walker succeeds in his efforts to allow companies to deny health coverage to people with preexisting conditions, Mary would not be able to afford her life-saving treatments.

This 30 second spot is part of a statewide television buy. A Stronger Wisconsin is a Democratic Governors Association backed issue-advocacy organization.

“If Scott Walker got his way, insurance companies would be able to deny coverage for people with preexisting conditions,” said A Stronger Wisconsin Spokesman Tom Russell. “Wisconsinites should tell Governor Walker to stand up for Wisconsin families and protect health care for people with preexisting conditions.”

The ad can be viewed here, and its transcript is below:

When I heard the words, “breast cancer,” the first thing I thought of was my daughter.

I want to be there when she graduates high school. See what she does with her life.

If Scott Walker takes away the protections for pre-existing conditions, I won’t be able to afford the treatments that are saving my life. It’s a matter of life and death for me.

Scott Walker just doesn’t seem to care about families like mine.

A Stronger Wisconsin: Launches new ad, “Year After Year”

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Contact:
[email protected]

Today, three years after Governor Scott Walker ended his failed presidential bid, A Stronger Wisconsin launched a new ad, “Year After Year,” urging Wisconsinites to tell Walker to stand up for them and lower their health care costs. Health care premiums have gone up in Wisconsin, but Governor Scott Walker put his personal politics first and rejected federal money that could have lowered those costs.

This 30-second spot is part of a statewide television buy. A Stronger Wisconsin is a Democratic Governors Association backed issue-advocacy organization.

The ad can be viewed here, and its transcript is below:

Narrator: Year after year, your health care premiums go up.

That’s the kind of thing you’d like a governor to fix.

But Scott Walker rejected a billion dollars in federal aid that could have lowered health care costs for thousands of families.

Because he thought taking the money would hurt his presidential campaign.

Your costs are through the roof…and he’s putting his politics first. That’s the real Scott Walker… And he’s sure not changing now.

AARP Wisconsin: Wisconsin consumers putting their digital IDs at risk, says AARP survey

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MADISON, WISCONSIN – As data breach incidents proliferate, a new AARP survey finds that that an alarming number of Wisconsin residents have failed to take the basic precautions against identity fraud.

In response, AARP and the AARP Fraud Watch Network launched a campaign to raise awareness of identity theft risks and educate consumers on how to enhance the safety of their personal information.

Reports of data breaches have become commonplace – from Equifax to Target, Uber and Home Depot. According to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, there have been more than 2,000 data breaches since 2015, impacting over 7 billion records. An eye-opening cover story in the September edition of the AARP Bulletin explains how some of this hacked personal information can end up for sale on the Dark Web.

While some security experts say almost all consumers have likely been affected in some manner by a data breach, AARP’s survey shows that many put themselves in even higher jeopardy due to their risky online behavior:

• Password Re-use – Half (51%) of adults have used the same password for more than one online account.

• Bank Account Access – Only 4 in 10 (44%) respondents reported having online access to all of their bank accounts.

• Credit Report – Half of adults (50%) reported that they have experienced fraudulent charges on their credit or debit card, yet very few (17%) have ordered a security freeze on their credit report.

• Digital ID Know-How – 6 of 10 adults (68%) failed a quiz testing their “digital identity IQ”.

“Our survey results indicate that a lot of people may feel overwhelmed, and have just given up,” said AARP Wisconsin State Director Sam Wilson. “Two-thirds of those surveyed said that given the number of data breaches that have occurred, they think it is inevitable that criminals will be able to exploit their credit at some point. But we are emphasizing that there are powerful things you can do to make sure that stolen data can’t be used against you.”

The AARP Fraud Watch Network campaign recommends people take these three steps to protect their digital identity:

· Order a Freeze – Put a security freeze in place with the three credit reporting bureaus so that no one can access your credit file or open a new credit account with your information. For a guide to the process, visit www.aarp.org/CreditFreeze. Traditionally there has been a fee for placing a freeze on your credit report, but beginning later this month the process is free thanks to legislation passed by Congress in May.

· Set up Digital Access – Set up online access to all of your financial accounts – bank accounts, credit cards, 401(k)s, etc. — and regularly monitor the accounts so you can stay up-to-date on all transactions and recognize any fraudulent activity that may occur.

· Use Separate Passwords – Make sure you use unique passwords for each of your online accounts. That way, if one account is hacked, it does not put your other accounts at risk. A good way to manage all of those unique passwords is to use a digital password manager. These services keep all your passwords secure and help you create different, strong passwords for each of your online accounts.

The AARP Fraud Watch Network launched in 2013 as a free resource for people of all ages. Consumers may sign up for “Watchdog Alert” emails that deliver information about scams, or call a free helpline at 877-908-3360 to speak with volunteers trained in fraud counseling.

The Fraud Watch Network website provides information about fraud and scams, prevention tips from experts, an interactive scam-tracking map, fun educational quizzes, and video presentations.

ABC for Health: Launches a ‘next generation’ precision patient advocacy tool to reduce health disparities

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Interview: Bobby Peterson: (608) 444-7197 or Brynne McBride (608) 261-6939 ext. 210

Madison, WI – On Monday, September 24, a Madison-based nonprofit law firm ABC for Health announced the launch of a new Precision Patient Advocacy tool called Advocus™ that screens patients for health coverage options. “We worked toward this moment for a long time,” says Bobby Peterson, ABC for Health’s founder and Executive Director. “Advocus, developed and patented over the course of the last decade is a true game-changer,” continues Peterson.

Peterson says, “ABC for Health’s perspective of nearly a quarter century of direct client services for people seeking access to health care and coverage informed the development of Advocus” a decision support tool that optimizes patient coverage, generates alerts, and creates a health care coverage roadmap for patients. An ABC for Health subsidiary, My Coverage Plan, Inc., developed Advocus with the support of NIH-Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) funds. Peterson continues, “My Coverage Plan, a health IT development company with a social entrepreneurial mission, uses a process we call Precision Patient Advocacy to help health care providers assist patients identify and apply the many health care coverage variables and options that impact patient access to health care coverage.”

“Now, ABC for Health can apply cutting edge technology to help clients of the firm and help demonstrate a deployable solution to address a painful state and nationwide problem. We can avoid many crippling medical debt and collection actions with proactive assistance to identify health coverage, rather than a reactive and punitive approach. In Wisconsin alone, hospitals identified over $1 billion in uncompensated care,” continues Peterson. “Nationwide, that number is up over $38 billion,” says Peterson.

Taylor Smith, Lead Developer for My Coverage Plan, Inc. notes, “Advocus works like TurboTax® and uses an interview process to gather eligibility data, optimize patient health coverage, and create a roadmap for current and future health coverage opportunities. Advocus, used by an advocate or hospital personnel, proactively engages patients to identify coverage and reduce the pain from medical debt and uncompensated care.”

Since 1994, ABC for Health has assisted consumers obtain and maintain health coverage. ABC for Health’s health benefits staff experts, with advanced knowledge across the broad spectrum of public and private coverage programs bring their expertise and the personal stories of over 60,000 family members assisted to My Coverage Plan’s development team. “It is only fitting that ABC for Health be first to deploy Advocus into its workflow,” continues Peterson. My Coverage Plan’s health IT tools will support ABC for Health’s Attorneys, Health Benefits Advocates and Counselors to better help clients resolve coverage questions, avoid medical debt and, says Peterson, “ultimately help low income, underserved, or disparity patients better navigate the complexities of our multi-payor health care system.”

ABC for Health: WI uncompensated care shoots above $1 billion, first time since 2014

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Interview: Bobby Peterson: (608) 444-7197 or Brynne McBride (608) 261-6939 ext. 210

Madison, WI- Uncompensated health care in Wisconsin hospitals is back over $1 billion, as detailed by the just released “Uncompensated Health Care Report–Wisconsin Hospitals, Fiscal Year 2017.” The Report summarizes bad debt and charity care dollars from hospitals alone to be $1.14 billion, an increase of over $142 million over 2016. Nationally, uncompensated care for US Hospitals exceeds $38 billion.

[Chart of Uncompensated Care from WI Hospitals 2013-2017]

“The political sabotage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), ever-changing program rules, red tape, and surprise medical bills combine to create health coverage barriers and increased medical debt for patients and uncompensated care for providers,” says Bobby Peterson, Executive Director of ABC for Health.

Peterson continues, “The ACA, although imperfect, provided new coverage for people that dramatically reduced uncompensated care in Wisconsin from 2013-15. Sadly, those trends reversed from 2015-17 due to myopic policy decisions from the Trump Administration and our own state capitol, segmenting insurance markets and exacerbating health care costs.” Peterson says, “Creating programs that only aim to reduce the cost of insurance, like Governor Walker’s Wisconsin Reinsurance Plan, fail to address the fundamental issue about the cost of health care and offer only short term solutions and long term pain for patients.”

“Bad debt and charity care expenses hurt financial performance, customer relations, and cause real pocketbook pain for patients affected by health disparities,” Peterson continues. “Patients overwhelmed by illness or the expense of treatment get lost in the health care bureaucracy and fail to secure coverage. Patients that are in fact eligible for programs remain unenrolled. Some health care providers and staff may lack even basic training and expertise to effectively help patients identify, optimize and navigate multiple public or private payor resources,” says Peterson.

Peterson concludes, “The high number of un- and underinsured Americans impacts the health care system, which in turn socializes uncompensated care, passing the costs onto all of us. Wisconsin can actively reduce uncompensated care by creating programs and policies that promote seamless comprehensive care and coverage for patients and includes strong consumer assistance and protection—something the current system desperately needs.”

ABC for Health, Inc., is a Wisconsin-based, nonprofit, public interest law firm dedicated to linking children and families, particularly those with special health care needs, to health care benefits and services. ABC for Health’s mission is to provide information, advocacy tools, legal services, and expert support needed to obtain, maintain, and finance health care coverage and services.

Brynne McBride

Chief Operating Officer

ABC for Health, Inc.

32 North Bassett Street

Madison, WI 53703

(608)261-6939 ext. 210

[email protected]

www.abcforhealth.org

ABC of Wisconsin: Apprenticeship program reaches record high enrollment

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Contact: Kyle Schwarm,
608-244-5883; [email protected]

A record 400 new contracted apprentices enrolled in Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin’s apprenticeship program this fall, bringing the program’s total number of active participants to 1,454 across 12 construction trades.

The enrollment numbers are the highest since the launch of ABC of Wisconsin’s apprenticeship program in 1987. The program has trained tens of thousands of workers over the years in carpentry, electrical, plumbing, roofing, HVAC, sheet metal, steamfitting, sprinkler fitting, heavy equipment operating, concrete finishing, heat and frost insulating and construction craft laborer.

“We are very excited to see such strong and growing interest in careers in the trades,” said John Mielke, president of ABC of Wisconsin. “Our apprenticeship program is helping the industry address skilled labor shortages and creating new family sustaining careers without the expense of a four-year college degree.”

ABC of Wisconsin apprentices “learn while they earn,” receiving paid on-the-job and in-class training for three to five years while working in their selected trade. The ABC Apprenticeship Program is certified by the state’s Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards and, just like a college degree, apprentices who complete the program earn a certification in their field. ABC hosts a graduation banquet each spring to salute those who have completed their apprenticeships.

In addition, apprentices from around the state have the opportunity to test their skills against each other during the annual ABC of Wisconsin Skill Competition. Winners of the statewide contest advance to compete against the top apprentices in the country at the National Craft Championships.

Learn more about apprenticeship and careers in construction at www.abcwi.org or www.buildyourcareerwi.org.

ACLU Wisconsin: Inadequate, unclear dress code guidelines in Kenosha Unified School District threatens rights of students across the district

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ACLU Wisconsin: Inadequate, unclear dress code guidelines in Kenosha Unified School District threatens rights of students across the district

ACLU provides recommendations to KUSD’s internal guidelines document on meeting constitutional requirements. 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 10, 2018
CONTACT: Cass Bowers, ACLU of Wisconsin, 414-272-4032, ext. 217, [email protected]
MILWAUKEE—After months of reports from parents and students in Kenosha County that school administrators and teachers were embarrassing students in front of their peers, removing students from class, and threatening to send them home for dress code violations, the ACLU of Wisconsin sent a series of recommendations to the Kenosha Unified School District (“KUSD”).  Based on nationwide best practices, today, the ACLU is suggesting the following ways to improve the District’s compliance with civil rights statutes and constitutional obligations when enforcing the new student dress code:
  • Begin the code and the guidelines with an equity policy
  • Create specific goals that protect against discrimination based on race, national origin, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or body type or size
  • Include clear, written instructions to all staff, not just core staff, prohibiting body shaming and harassment of students while enforcing the dress code
  • Do not allow a student to miss class time for an alleged dress code violation
“We urge KUSD to conduct training and modify its draft guidelines to ensure students are protected from discrimination, harassment, and degrading treatment. Without these changes, female students will continue to disproportionately miss out on classroom time because of minor dress code infractions in violation of their civil rights,” said Emma Roth, Equal Justice Works Fellow, with the national ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project.
Amidst public pressure from student activists and community coalition members, the KUSD school board voted to rescind a discriminatory dress code policy that banned yoga pants, leggings, and tank tops in March of this year.  Despite the vote, the ACLU received reports that the dress code was still selectively enforced against female students in a manner that reinforced discriminatory sex stereotypes.  In a letter sent to the Superintendent, Dr. Sue Savaglio-Jarvis, and KUSD Board President Dan Wade on July 3, 2018, the ACLU asked KUSD to provide assurances that the new dress code would be enforced in a non-discriminatory manner going forward and teachers would be trained on proper enforcement.
The ACLU received a letter from the Superintendent’s office indicating that KUSD had begun planning its efforts to communicate with staff, students, and parents regarding the new dress code but did not share what those efforts were.  Upon request, KUSD provided draft guidelines to the ACLU, but indicated it was not a binding or formal document nor was it shared with parents or students.  The guidelines contained no commitment to anti-discrimination principles, plans for training on enforcement, or prohibition on body shaming and harassment.  Moreover, the guidelines and KUSD policy itself do not contain any requirement for data collection to properly monitor enforcement of the dress code policy.
“Altering a policy on paper with no actual method of proper enforcement is insufficient to foster positive change.  Unequal enforcement of the student dress code in violation of the Constitution and various civil rights statutes will remain a problem unless teachers and administrators are given clear guidelines about what is expected of them,” said Asma Kadri Keeler, staff attorney at the ACLU of Wisconsin. “Having clear policies that will limit knee-jerk reactions or confusion about a dress code violation will help eliminate discriminatory enforcement and make students feel comfortable and safe at school and in their clothes.”
“This is KUSD’s opportunity after facing extreme scrutiny from the Ash Whitaker case to be proactive and become a statewide and even a national leader in how public schools can commit to principles of equity and fairness for students,” said Chris Ott, executive director at ACLU of Wisconsin.  “At its best, public education can foster diverse ideas and cultures, and we hope that KUSD chooses to use that platform rather than selectively try to suppress the way some people dress.”
In the Ash Whitaker case, a transgender student filed a federal lawsuit against KUSD in 2016 for denying him the access to the boy’s restroom, making him room alone on school trips, and referring to him with female pronouns Whitaker won his lawsuit on appeal with a landmark decision from Seventh Circuit ruling that KUSD had illegally singled Whitaker out for discrimination.  This was the first time a federal appeals court ruled that transgender students are protected under the Constitution and Title XI from discrimination on the basis of sex.  KUSD agreed to settle the case for $800,000 and did not pursue an appeal to the United States Supreme Court.
“The ACLU of Wisconsin hopes that by sharing these recommendations, the KUSD will see the value in providing clarity to its staff on how to enforce existing policies to protect the rights of students,” said Kadri Keeler.

ACLU: Federal court rules Wisconsin state employee health insurance must cover transgender workers

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CONTACT: Cass Bowers, ACLU of Wisconsin, 414-272-4032, ext. 217, media@aclu-wi.org
MILWAUKEE – A federal court found that denying health insurance for gender-affirming medical care violates the Constitution and federal non-discrimination law. The federal lawsuit was filed on behalf of Alina Boyden, a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Shannon Andrews, a cancer researcher at the University of Wisconsin Medical School by the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Wisconsin, and volunteer attorneys from the law firm Hawks Quindel.
The decision concluded that there was no reason to exclude medically necessary care for transgender workers and said that some of the state’s arguments appear “unhinged from reality.”
”I’m pleased the court recognized that denying coverage for my medical care was sex discrimination. I, personally, was lucky to be in a position to have retirement funds and savings I could take out to fund my medical care, but had I been less fortunate I would not be alive today,” said Andrews. “I feel vindicated that the court recognized what the state did was wrong. I hope that this will be a powerful signal that trans people are not fair game for discrimination and that our lives and health are not a political football.”
The state’s Group Insurance Board approved health insurance coverage for gender-confirmation surgery for state employees, effective January 1, 2019.  The ACLU views this decision as a step toward ensuring that transgender people’s rights to be themselves are protected.
“As the court found, depriving transgender people of access to transition-related care is sex discrimination,” said Larry Dupuis legal director for the ACLU of Wisconsin. “We will continue our work until all transgender people can get the medical care they need, just like other people can.”

Adamczyk campaign fundraiser 🗓

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Fundraiser for Assembly Candidate Matt Adamczyk
with special guest Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner
Monday, October 22
5:30 – 7:00 PM
Alioto’s
3041 N Mayfair Road
Milwaukee, WI
Host Levels:
$1000
$500
$250
Suggested Contribution: $50
Please RSVP to Matt at [email protected]
Please make checks payable to:
Friends of Matt Adamczyk
PO Box 2282
Brookfield, WI 53008

ADCC Oshkosh fundraiser 🗓

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Wednesday, Oct. 3
ADCC in Oshkosh, hosted by Assembly Democratic Leader Gordon Hintz
with Reps. Dianne Hesselbein, Mark Spreitzer, Chris Taylor, David Crowley, and Amanda Stuck
5 -7 p.m.
Fox River Brewing Company, 1501 Arboretum Drive Oshkosh
$1000 Majority Taker, $500 Change Maker, $250 Wave Builder, $100 Grassroots Leader, $50 Suggested Contribution

ADCC: Rep. Hintz in Madison event 🗓

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Tuesday October 9
Rep. Gordon Hintz in Madison
8:30 – 10 am
The Post, 24 S Carrol Street Madison WI
Champion $1000, Advocate $500, Supporter $250

Advanced screening of ‘The Hate U Give’ with director and Milwaukee native George Tillman, Jr. 🗓

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Media Contact:

Emily Foster, communications & press manager

[email protected]; 414-755-1965 ext. 216

WHAT:

Fresh off of its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, Milwaukee Film is proud to present a special one night only preview screening of The Hate U Give with director, and Milwaukee native, George Tillman, Jr. in attendance to provide a Q&A following the film.

This screening is presented in partnership with the Wisconsin Black Media Association.

Tickets are limited and will be made available to the public on Friday, September 28 at orientaltheatremke.com.

FILM:

The Hate U Give

(USA | 2018 | Director: George Tillman, Jr.)

Starr Carter is constantly switching between two worlds: the poor, mostly black, neighborhood where she lives and the rich, mostly white, prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Now, facing pressures from all sides of the community, Starr must find her voice and stand up for what’s right. The Hate U Give is based on the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller by Angie Thomas and stars Amandla Stenberg as Starr, with Russell Hornsby, Regina Hall, Issa Rae, KJ Apa, Algee Smith, Sabrina Carpenter, Common and Anthony Mackie.

THE HATE U GIVE OPENS IN LIMITED RELEASE OCTOBER 5, 2018

EXPANSION OCTOBER 12, 2018

AND IN THEATERS NATIONWIDE OCTOBER 19, 2018

WHERE:

Oriental Theatre

2230 N Farwell Ave

Milwaukee WI, 53202

WHEN:

October 10 at 7PM

AFP-Wisconsin TV ad says state ‘can’t afford’ Evers

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The conservative Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin has a new TV ad that says Wisconsin “can’t afford Tony Evers.”

The second ad the group has run in the general election opens with the narrator saying “every dollar matters,” but “we could pay more, much more” with Evers.

The narrator says Evers is open to a hike in gas taxes, “Even a dollar more per gallon.
New tolls too. He says everything is on the table.”

Shortly after Evers won the Dem primary, Walker suggested his Dem rival would seek to raise the gas tax, now 32.9 cents a gallon, by a dollar. Evers initially said “Everything is on the table” when asked about the suggestion. But his campaign said later in the day he wasn’t open to a hike of $1.

The narrator asks who would benefit from Evers’ higher taxes because his policies “will drive up the costs of construction.”

The narrator concludes the spot, “Higher taxes. Higher costs. We can’t afford Tony Evers.”

AFP-Wisconsin said it’s a $1.3 million buy that will run throughout the state. But it didn’t specify in which markets.

See the ad:

AFP-Wisconsin: Launches new 7-figure TV ad: We can’t afford Tony Evers

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CONTACT: Eric Bott, [email protected]

Group’s New Ad Spotlights Real Costs of Evers’ Policies

MADISON, Wis. – Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin (AFP-WI) on Friday announced a new $1.3 million ad buy to supplement its grassroots efforts urging Wisconsinites to vote against Tony Evers in the race for governor. The 30-second spot underscores Evers’ support for policies that would mean higher costs for road construction and his openness to increasing the gas tax by a dollar more per gallon. When asked about his support for a dollar per gallon gas tax hike, Evers said “everything is on the table.” When asked about how much of a gas tax increase he would consider too much, Evers said “I have no range.” The seven-figure investment is AFP-WI’s second television ad opposing Evers and will run on cable, broadcast, and digital platforms throughout the state.

VIEW THE AD HERE:

AFSCME Wisconsin’s PEOPLE Committee: Endorses Tony Evers for governor

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AFSCME Communications Director, Michael Horecki ([email protected])

AFSCME Wisconsin’s PEOPLE Committee, which is responsible for the union’s political activities, is excited to announce their endorsement of Tony Evers for Governor of Wisconsin!

AFSCME Wisconsin President, Paul Spink, pointed to Tony’s strong record supporting working people as one of the primary reasons for endorsement.

“AFSCME is proud to stand behind a candidate for Governor who understands the value of public service and who will be a powerful advocate for working people,” said Spink. “We represent thousands of public and private sector workers across the state of Wisconsin and we will be working with other labor groups to propel Evers to victory in November!”

Evers, who has spent his career fighting to improve the lives of working class people, highlighted his focus on Wisconsin families.

“I’ve spent my career working to educate and inspire our kids while remaining committed to giving voice to working families,” said Evers. “I know we are stronger when we look out for each other, and when we have an economy that works for everyone. That’s why I’m proud to receive AFSCME’s endorsement and look forward to working to improve the lives of workers across the state as Wisconsin’s next governor.”

Evers will be on the ballot in the General Election on November 6th.

AG Schimel campaign: AG releases first television ad of general election

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Johnny Koremenos, 262-706-1649

Our Attorney General releases first television ad of general election
Leadership on opioid epidemic earns him bipartisan support across Wisconsin

[WAUKESHA COUNTY, Wis…] Our Attorney General Brad Schimel is recognized as a national leader thanks to his strong commitment to combat the opioid crisis. This work has earned him broad, bipartisan support in Wisconsin and is highlighted in his first television campaign ad of the general election.

“The state is much better off with Brad Schimel as our Attorney General, Republican Brown County Sheriff John Gossage says in the spot. “Through his leadership, through his dedication to public safety, I’m glad that Brad Schimel is our Attorney General.”

Gossage’s sentiments are echoed by Democrat Bruce Daniels, the Sheriff of Taylor County.

“I think in this day and age of battling between Democrats and Republicans it’s very refreshing to have a man of either party that follows through on his promises, and I’m glad Brad Schimel is our Attorney General,” Taylor said.

Under Attorney General Brad Schimel’s leadership, the Wisconsin Department of Justice has become a national leader in the fight against prescription painkiller abuse. The award-winning “Dose of Reality” campaign, for example, has raised awareness of the dangers of prescription opioid abuse and has been adopted by six states: Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, Georgia, Arkansas, and Texas.

Wisconsin’s drug take back program has collected more than 400,000 pounds of unused prescription drugs and medications since Schimel took office in 2015, keeping them out of the wrong hands. Wisconsin has consistently led the nation in number of law enforcement agencies participating in the statewide drug collection effort.

The Schimel campaign is garnering bipartisan support across Wisconsin and will continue to reach out to bring other supporters on board in the weeks ahead. The television ad is running on broadcast, cable, and digital networks across Wisconsin.

Schimel faces activist Josh Kaul in the General Election. Whereas Brad Schimel has a nearly three decades long, distinguished career as a prosecutor in this state, Josh Kaul has never prosecuted a criminal case in Wisconsin. Not one, ever. Whereas Schimel has a broad, bipartisan coalition of Wisconsin supporters, Kaul is funded and supported by state and national partisan activists.

As Attorney General, Shimel has also prioritized preventing Internet crimes against children and violence against women. Under Schimel, Wisconsin is a national leader in the fight against human trafficking. Together with a coalition of Attorneys General from across the country, Brad Schimel has led numerous lawsuits challenging overreach by the federal government that would cripple the economy and hurt Wisconsin families.

Brad and his wife, Sandi, raise their two daughters in Waukesha County where Brad previously served as a prosecutor since 1990, including eight years as the elected District Attorney. He was elected Wisconsin Attorney General in 2014.

– 30 –

See the new Schimel Ad: BradSchimel.com/Connecticut

FACT SHEET
“Connecticut” :30 Television Ad from Schimel for Attorney General

Transcript of ad:

Voice Over: “Under Brad Schimel, Wisconsin is leading the nation in the fight against opioid abuse. It’s why 51 Republican and 12 Democratic Sheriffs support Schimel.”

Republican Brown County Sheriff John Gossage: “The state is much better off with Brad Schimel as our Attorney General. Through his leadership, through his dedication to public safety. I’m glad that Brad Schimel is our Attorney General.”

Democratic Taylor County Sheriff Bruce Daniels: “I think in this day and age of battling between Democrats and Republicans it’s very refreshing to have a man of either party that follows through on his promises, and I’m glad Brad Schimel is our Attorney General.”

1. Claim: Under Brad Schimel, Wisconsin is leading the nation in the fight against opioid abuse.

Evidence: The award-winning Dose of Reality public awareness campaign to prevent prescription opioid abuse has been adopted by six states, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, Georgia, Arkansas, and Texas. Attorney General Schimel has twice been featured at the National Prescription Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta, GA. Attorney General Schimel’s team helped the National Association of Attorneys General develop a training curriculum on prescription opioid abuse, and has presented at more than a dozen national opioid trainings and conferences for law enforcement, prosecutors, assistant attorneys general, and public health officials. In 2016, Attorney General Schimel convened an opioid abuse conference in Milwaukee that was attended by attorneys general and attorney general staff from across the country.

2. Claim: 51 Republican and 12 Democratic Sheriffs support Schimel.

Evidence: List of endorsements below.

Adams County Sheriff, Sam Wollin (D)
Barron County Sheriff, Chris Fitzgerald (D)
Bayfield County Sheriff, Paul Susienka (D)
Brown County Sheriff, John Gossage ®
Buffalo County Sheriff, Michael Schmidtknecht (R)
Burnett County Sheriff, Ronald Wilhelm (R)
Calumet County Sheriff, Mark Ott (R)
Chippewa County Sheriff, James Kowalczyk (D)
Clark County Sheriff, Greg Herrick (R)
Columbia County Sheriff, Dennis Richards (R)
Crawford County Sheriff, Dale McCullick (R)
Dodge County Sheriff, Dale Schmidt (R)
Door County Sheriff, Steven Delarwelle (R)
Dunn County Sheriff, Dennis Smith (D)
Eau Claire County Sheriff, Ron Cramer (R)
Florence County Sheriff, Jeff Rickaby (R)
Forest County Sheriff, John Dennee (R)
Grant County Sheriff, Nate Dreckman (R)
Green County Sheriff, Mark Rohloff (R)
Green Lake County Sheriff, Mark Podoll (R)
Iowa County Sheriff, Steve Michek (R)
Iron County Sheriff, Tony Furyk (D)
Jackson County Sheriff, Duane Waldera (D)
Jefferson County Sheriff, Paul Milbrath (R)
Juneau County Sheriff, Brent Oleson (R)
Kenosha County Sheriff, David Beth (R)
Kewaunee County Sheriff, Matthew Joski (R)
La Crosse County Sheriff, Steve Helgeson (R)
Lafayette County Sheriff, Reg Gill (R)
Langlade County Sheriff, Mark Westen (R)
Lincoln County Sheriff, Jeff Jaeger (R)
Marathon County Sheriff, Scott Parks (R)
Marinette County Sheriff, Jerry Sauve (R)
Monroe County Sheriff, Scott Perkins (R)
Oconto County Sheriff, Michael Jansen (R)
Oneida County Sheriff, Grady Hartman (R)
Outagamie County Sheriff, Bradley Gehring (R)
Ozaukee County Sheriff, Jim Johnson (R)
Pepin County Sheriff, Joel Wener (R)
Polk County Sheriff, Peter Johnson (R)
Portage County Sheriff, Mike Lukas (D)
Price County Sheriff, Brian Schmidt (R)
Racine County Sheriff, Christopher Schmaling (R)
Richland County Sheriff, James Bindl (R)
Rock County Sheriff, Robert Spoden (D)
Rusk County Sheriff, Jeffery Wallace (R)
Sauk County Sheriff, Chip Meister (R)
Sawyer County Sheriff, Doug Mrotek (R)
Shawano County Sheriff, Adam Bieber (R)
Sheboygan County Sheriff, Cory Roeseler (R)
St. Croix County Sheriff, Scott Knudson (R)
Taylor County Sheriff, Bruce Daniels (D)
Trempealeau County Sheriff, Richard Anderson (D)
Vernon County Sheriff, John Spears (R)
Vilas County Sheriff, Joseph Fath (R)
Walworth County Sheriff, Kurt Picknell (R)
Washburn County Sheriff, Terry Dryden (R)
Washington County Sheriff, Dale Schmidt (R)
Waukesha County Sheriff, Eric Severson (R)
Waupaca County Sheriff, Brad Hardel (R)
Waushara County Sheriff, Jeff Nett (R)
Winnebago County Sheriff, John Matz (R)
Wood County Sheriff, Thomas Reichert (D)

For more information, visit bradschimel.com

AG Schimel: Announces testing completed on sexual assault kits

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MADISON, Wis. – Attorney General Brad Schimel announced today that a major milestone has been reached as testing has been completed on all sexual assault kits initially inventoried and designated for testing in Wisconsin’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (WiSAKI). WiSAKI is a statewide effort, voluntarily initiated by Attorney General Schimel, to address the decades-long accumulation of previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits (SAKs) that were in the possession of local law enforcement agencies and hospitals across Wisconsin.

“When I took office in 2015, I worked with our team to identify and collect more than 6,000 sexual assault evidence kits that had never been submitted to the crime labs for testing, some of them dating back to the 1980s,” said Attorney General Brad Schimel. “Today, I am proud to announce that testing is complete on all 4,154 kits slated for testing. In less than three years, we will have tested the kits that built up over several decades, and justice can be served to sexual assault survivors.”

As of August 31, 2018, the private labs DOJ contracted with advised us that they had completed testing on all of the 4,154 previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits initially inventoried and designated for testing as part of the WiSAKI. Information on the history of the project, as well as status updates and data on key stages of the project can be found on the project’s website: https://wisaki.doj.wi.gov.

Now that testing is completed on the kits from the initial inventory, the next phases of the WiSAKI project are continuing. The testing results are undergoing technical review. Agencies are being notified of hits. Where appropriate, results are being uploaded the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). Survivors are being notified. And cases are being opened or re-opened for investigation and prosecution. This also includes testing any additional kits a survivor seeks to have tested or any kits that may be identified by local law enforcement agencies or hospitals.

The WiSAKI team is also currently working to expand the statewide sexual assault response training program sponsored by DOJ to equip more law enforcement officers, prosecutors, sexual assault nurse examiners, and victim advocates with the specialized knowledge and resources needed to properly respond to sexual assault cases.

In addition, the team is developing and implementing a sexual assault kit tracking system that will track a kit from the point of manufacture, to hospitals, to law enforcement, and through submission to the state crime lab. This system is intended to offer an option for survivors to access information about the location of their kit and will provide a mechanism for the ongoing auditing of sexual assault kit submissions.

WiSAKI grant funding also supports the By Your Side website and outreach efforts. Developed in collaboration with the WI Coalition Against Sexual Assault, By Your Side helps connect sexual assault survivors with advocacy and support services in their community.  Survivors have the right to know what their options are and what resources are available so that they can decide what choices are best for them. These agencies provide emotional support, information, and referrals no matter how long ago the sexual assault happened.  They can answer a hotline call, meet a survivor at a hospital for an exam, explain the legal system, and assist with basic needs like safe housing or maintaining employment.

All services provided by these agencies are free and confidential.  Their services are also available to family members, partners, and friends of survivors who are dealing with their own reactions to a sexual assault.  For additional assistance connecting with advocacy and support services, contact the WI Coalition Against Sexual Assault at 608-257-1516 or visit ByYourSideWI.org

For more information about Attorney General Schimel’s efforts to address the accumulation of previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits and to review testing results, go to www.wisaki.wi.doj.gov.

https://www.doj.state.wi.us/news-releases/ag-schimel-announces-testing-completed-sexual-assault-kits-0

AG Schimel: Discusses completion of testing of sexual assault kits 🗓

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WHAT: Attorney General Brad Schimel discusses the completion of the testing of all sexual assault kits initially inventoried and designated for testing in Wisconsin’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (WiSAKI).

WHEN: 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, September 12, 2018

WHO: Attorney General Brad Schimel

WHERE: Radisson Hotel Green Bay Airport
2040 Airport Drive
Green Bay, WI

AG Schimel: Leads bipartisan coalition against Trump Administration action in AT&T/Time Warner merger

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MADISON, Wis. – Today, Attorney General Brad Schimel announced he is leading a
bipartisan coalition of nine states, in support of a trial court’s decision to uphold the
AT&T/Time-Warner merger. President Trump’s U.S. Department of Justice has come
under broad, bipartisan criticism for bringing an unusual enforcement action to block
the merger.

“A trial court found this merger is going to save Americans – and Wisconsinites –
money on their cable bills, and will give consumers more choices,” said Attorney
General Schimel. “The federal government’s attack on this deal is completely
wrongheaded, and I’m proud to be leading a bipartisan coalition of States against this
action. No matter who is in power, I will defend Wisconsin against federal
government overreach.”

The trial court, after considering numerous witnesses and thousands of pages of
exhibits, concluded that the evidence demonstrated that this merger will save
consumers many millions of dollars, while giving them additional choices in a
landscape increasingly dominated by highly integrated entertainment companies like
Netflix and Amazon.

Wisconsin’s friend of the court brief is joined by Attorneys General of both political
parties, from the states of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Mexico,
Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Utah.

AG Schimel: Outlines human trafficking initiative with the Wisconsin State Patrol

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MADISON, Wis. – Attorney General Brad Schimel announced today a criminal intelligence sharing initiative with the Wisconsin State Patrol to conduct training and increase identification and law enforcement collaboration related to suspected human trafficking on Wisconsin roadways.

“We know that many traffickers move victims around to make money in different communities, to avoid detection, or to keep victims from establishing ties that might help them escape victimization,” said Attorney General Schimel. “Our focus on the roadways is another strategy to disrupt traffickers and identify victims sooner.  The Wisconsin State Patrol is working with DOJ to incorporate human trafficking awareness and intelligence sharing into their exceptional public safety services – which included over 245,000 traffic stops last year. Traffickers and those who purchase sex should be on alert that law enforcement is working together at all levels to find them, and hold them accountable.”

“The Wisconsin State Patrol works with DOJ and other law enforcement agencies on a variety of initiatives aimed at enforcing laws and protecting citizens,” said State Patrol Superintendent J.D. Lind. “Our officers undergo extensive, ongoing training to help recognize potentially illegal activities. The men and women of the State Patrol stand ready to do all we can to further the fight against human trafficking.”

The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Wisconsin State Patrol intelligence sharing initiative includes public awareness outreach, human trafficking training for new recruits, in-service training for state patrol officers, and special highway interdiction training for officers. The partnership will also develop protocol for case collaboration with special agents in the DOJ Division of Criminal Investigation Human Trafficking Bureau. The Bureau is providing specialized human trafficking interdiction training for state patrol in October.

On Thursday, September 27, DOJ and the Wisconsin State Patrol will join transportation industry partners including the Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association, Badger Bus and Truckers Against Trafficking, to host a meeting about human trafficking with over 100 law enforcement and transportation industry stakeholders. The meeting is the latest in a series of industry outreach projects initiated by Attorney General Schimel to reach members of the workforce in the position to see, recognize and report signs of human trafficking. More information on this meeting will be available on Thursday.

The mission of DOJ’s anti-trafficking initiative is to make Wisconsin inhospitable to human traffickers and to support victim-centered strategies and partnerships throughout the state. Statewide enforcement and investigation of human trafficking is led by the DOJ Division of Criminal Investigation Human Trafficking Bureau, created by Attorney General Schimel in 2017, to identify, target, and prosecute traffickers and provide needed assistance to survivors.

For more information about human trafficking in Wisconsin, go to the Wisconsin Department of Justice human trafficking website: www.BeFreeWisconsin.com

https://www.doj.state.wi.us/news-releases/ag-schimel-outlines-human-trafficking-initiative-wisconsin-state-patrol

AG Schimel: Reaches $148 million settlement with Uber over data breach

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MADISON, Wis. – Attorney General Brad Schimel announced today that he, along with 49 other states and the District of Columbia, has reached an agreement with California-based ride-sharing company Uber Technologies, Inc. (Uber) to address the company’s one-year delay in reporting a data breach to its affected drivers. Wisconsin will receive over $2.1 million. A portion of these funds will be used for a new grant program that will provide legal support to victims of identity theft and online fraud.

“Wisconsin entrepreneurs were made vulnerable by this data breach at Uber,” said Attorney General Schimel. “While the company is taking direct action to ensure this never happens again, this new grant program will be there to provide legal support for Wisconsin victims of identity theft and data breaches in the future.”

Uber learned in November 2016 that hackers had gained access to some personal information that Uber maintains about its drivers, including drivers’ license information pertaining to approximately 600,000 drivers nationwide. Uber tracked down the hackers and obtained assurances that the hackers deleted the information. However, even though the breach of the drivers’ license numbers for Uber drivers triggered Wisconsin law requiring them to notify affected Wisconsin residents, Uber failed to report the breach in a timely manner and waited until November 2017 to disclose it.

As part of the nationwide settlement, Uber has agreed to pay $148 million to the states. Wisconsin will receive $2,112,350.92. A portion of these funds will be used in a new grant program, administered by Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Crime Victim Services, to provide legal representation to victims of identity theft and online fraud.

In addition, Uber has agreed to strengthen its corporate governance and data security practices to help prevent a similar occurrence in the future.

The settlement between Wisconsin and Uber requires the company to:

  • Comply with Wisconsin data breach and consumer protection law regarding protecting Wisconsin residents’ personal information and notifying them in the event of a data breach concerning their personal information;
  • Take precautions to protect any user data Uber stores on third-party platforms outside of Uber;
  • Use strong password policies for its employees to gain access to the Uber network;
  • Develop and implement a strong overall data security policy for all data that Uber collects about its users, including assessing potential risks to the security of the data and implementing any additional security measures beyond what Uber is doing to protect the data;
  • Hire an outside qualified party to assess Uber’s data security efforts on a regular basis and draft a report with any recommended security improvements. Uber will implement any such security improvement recommendations; and,
  • Develop and implement a corporate integrity program to ensure that Uber employees can bring any ethics concerns they have about any other Uber employees to the company, and that it will be heard.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia are participating in this multistate agreement with Uber.

Attorney General Schimel offered the following tips Uber drivers or any consumers concerned about the security of their data can take after a data breach:

  • Place a credit freeze on all of your credit reports. To place a fraud alert on your credit report, contact each of these three major credit reporting organizations.

o   Equifax https://www.alerts.equifax.com or call (800) 525-6285

o   Experian experian.com/fraud or call (888) 397-3742

o   TransUnion transunion.com or call (800) 680-7289

  • Regularly request your free credit reports, inspect them closely, and promptly dispute any unauthorized accounts;
  • Inspect all financial account statements closely and promptly dispute any unauthorized charges;
  • Consider placing alerts on your financial accounts so your financial institution alerts you when money above a pre-designated amount is withdrawn;
  • Beware of potential phishing emails; don’t open any email messages or attachments from unknown senders and do not click on any unknown links. Fraudsters will frequently send coercive and misleading emails threatening account suspension or worse if sensitive information is not provided. Remember, businesses will never ask customers to verify account information via email. If in doubt, contact the business in question directly for verification and to report phishing emails; and,
  • Be on the lookout for spoofed email addresses. Spoofed email addresses are those that make minor changes in the domain name, frequently changing the letter O to the number zero, or the lowercase letter l to the number one. Scrutinize all incoming email addresses to ensure that the sender is truly legitimate.

Wisconsin residents concerned about data breaches and what steps to take to further protect themselves, can find useful information at the Wisconsin Department of Trade and Consumer Protection’s website.

https://www.doj.state.wi.us/news-releases/ag-schimel-reaches-148-million-settlement-uber-over-data-breach-settlements-funds

AG Schimel: Warns against phone scammers appearing as law enforcement

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MADISON, Wis. – Attorney General Brad Schimel is warning citizens about spoof phone calls from people claiming to be police, including the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI).

“If you receive a call from someone claiming to be law enforcement and something doesn’t seem right, you should contact their non-emergency number and they can easily verify the validity,” said Attorney General Schimel. “DCI, or any other law enforcement agency, will never call and request payment over the phone. If you do receive a call like this, do not give out your personal information.”

A few victims alerted DCI they received calls that appeared to be from DCI’s main phone number. The caller falsely claimed to be with the FBI, and told the victim they needed to deposit money into the caller’s bank account. These callers are neither DCI nor the FBI, and you should not give out any personal information to them.

It is not uncommon for people to receive similar calls with scammers asking for payment and claiming to be U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), FBI, IRS, and local law enforcement agencies. In some cases, these scammers have even targeted international students at universities and colleges in Wisconsin. These calls are illegitimate.

If you have received, or do receive, a call like this, you should do the following:

  • Do not give out your personal information and hang up immediately.
  • Notify your banking institution(s).
  • Contact the three major credit bureaus and request an alert be put on your file.
  • If you feel you are in immediate danger, or have already given out your banking information, contact your local law enforcement.
  • File a complaint through the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center: https://www.ic3.gov.

AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin: Saint Louis effort for AIDS and the AIDS resource center announce merger

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The merger enhances and expands programs and services for people at risk and living with HIV in St. Louis  
September 27, 2018—Today the AIDS Resource Center announced a merger with Saint Louis Effort for AIDS (EFA). The merger will enhance and expand programs and services for people at risk and living with HIV in St. Louis by bringing the HIV Medical Home to the area. The HIV Medical Home is an integrated model of health and social services that helps people living with HIV live long, healthy and full lives while reducing costs.

“EFA has a long-standing history in St. Louis of providing strong HIV prevention programs and services for people living with HIV,” said Michael J. Gifford, president and CEO of the AIDS Resource Center. “We are excited to join forces with them to expand services to the people of St. Louis. In January 2019 we will offer primary and HIV medical care, a mental health program, pharmacy, and critical social services that will work hand-in-hand with people living with HIV in and around St. Louis.”

In recent years, EFA has seen an increase in the demand for its programs and services as a record number of people are living with HIV. In St. Louis, there are 6145 people living with HIV; however, only 50 percent are regularly engaged in care according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), Bureau of Reportable Disease Informatics.

“This merger will allow us to offer a new model of care to people living with HIV in St. Louis while also helping us better prevent new HIV infections, reduce AIDS-related deaths, stigma and other barriers to testing, care and treatment,” said Tawnya Brown, the new vice president of operations for the AIDS Resource Center who has 20 years of experience in HIV healthcare. “Additionally, through our partnership with Washington University and other organizations, we will make sure more people with HIV in St. Louis have access to all the HIV care and treatment they need to achieve viral suppression and optimal health.”

The merged organizations also announced their success in securing a $1.7 million grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health. The grant funds will aid in the success of the merger and help in the development and operation of the HIV Medical Home in St. Louis.

“This merger is exciting news for the City of St. Louis and we look forward to working with the AIDS Resource Center to help improve the health of our neighbors living with and at-risk for HIV,” said Mayor Lyda Krewson. “Their model of providing quality healthcare, pharmacy access, social services and prevention will be a great addition to the outstanding network of organizations currently providing care.”

The merger marks the twelfth location—between three states, Wisconsin, Colorado and now Missouri—for the AIDS Resource Center and was effective September 1. Gifford will continue to serve as president and CEO of the merged organization that will continue to operate in St. Louis under the name Effort for AIDS.

“Mike Gifford and I made dozens of presentations to key stakeholders on the benefits that an HIV Medical Home will mean for people living with HIV in the St. Louis metropolitan region. Each interaction helped forge genuine trust and respect for the work we look forward to doing as one organization,” said Cheryl Oliver, retired EFA Executive Director. “The clear message of optimism for enhanced services, a valuable spirit of collaboration, and dedication to delivering the best possible outcomes for people living with or at risk of being infected with HIV make this merger a clear win for our community.”

Patients, clients and others seeking information on the merger should visit stlefa.org.

AIDS RESOURCE CENTER OF WISCONSIN
The AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW) is a nationally-recognized and respected leader in the fight against AIDS. The organization is known for its high-quality patient outcomes for people living with HIV. ARCW operates the only HIV Medical Home in America recognized by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. The ARCW HIV Medical Home offers integrated health and social services, including medical, dental, mental health and pharmaceutical services, along with case management and social support provided by a team of professionals dedicated to patient care. ARCW is also a leading provider of innovative and aggressive prevention services that help at-risk individuals remain HIV negative. The organization operates in three states, including Wisconsin, Colorado and Missouri, and has 12 locations. To learn more about ARCW, please visit arcw.org, and the organization’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

Tiffany Wynn, 414.225.1638
[email protected]

Ald. Bauman: Connecting Milwaukee workers to Foxconn plant on agenda for tomorrow

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Ald. Robert J. Bauman
(414) 286-3774

Connecting Milwaukee workers to Foxconn plant on agenda for tomorrow

On Wednesday, September 26, the Public Transportation, Utilities and Waterways Review Board will receive an update on possible expansion of transit connecting Milwaukee workers to the upcoming Foxconn facility in Racine County. The Board is continuing to review rail and bus opportunities including the proposed expanded Amtrak service line and the proposed expanded Milwaukee County bus line.

Representatives from Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission will join the board as it considers the costs, travel times and frequency of services to-and-from Foxconn, according to Board Chairman Robert J. Bauman.

Alderman Bauman is leading the city’s exploration of connecting low-income Milwaukee residents with the Foxconn facility, conducting multiple hearings on this issue.

“It’s unconscionable that the State of Wisconsin would provide this private company a subsidy to the tune of $4.5 billion yet not invest one penny to improve transitoptions for Milwaukee residents to Foxconn plant,” said Alderman Bauman.

The Public Transportation, Utilities and Waterways Review Board meeting tomorrow (Wednesday, September 26) is at 10 a.m. in room 301-B at City Hall, 200 E. Wells St. The meeting will be televised live on the City Channel (Channel 25 on Spectrum Cable and on AT&T U-Verse Channel 99) and will be carried live atwww.milwaukee.gov/channel25.

Ald. Coggs: Legislation seeks to nurture socially-responsible contractors 🗓

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Ald. Milele A. Coggs
(414) 286-2994

Legislation seeks to nurture socially-responsible contractors
Press event TOMORROW to showcase proposal

Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs will be joined by colleagues and community partners at City Hall tomorrow (Wednesday, September 19) at 1 p.m. to showcase legislation that focuses on socially-responsible contractors. The measure would require the city purchasing director to create a bid scoring system that awards additional points to contractors who make efforts to eliminate or significantly reduce barriers to unemployment.

The legislation (Council file#170638) – to be heard during tomorrow’s Finance and Personnel Committee meeting (9 a.m. in room 301-B at City Hall) – has language requiring the company to fulfill at least three actions and/or programs. Among the examples listed are – hiring persons with a felony conviction; assisting current or prospective employees in earning high school diplomas; providing hours of paid sick leave; and underwriting or facilitating services for employees such as obtaining a valid driver’s license, legal aid services, child care and family-related dependent care, and emergency housing.

 “To create improved conditions in Milwaukee we will need an ‘all hands on deck approach’ that asks everyone to do a little extra in their daily work,” said Alderwoman Coggs, noting other community partners will also be in attendance at the press event. “This legislation puts forth incentives to city-hired contractors for them to be a part of a push in doing things differently to help put people back to work. I believe these extra efforts can help improve conditions and turn lives around for the better, and I want to thank my colleagues who have signed on as co-sponsors to this legislation.”

Co-sponsors of the file are Alderman Russell W. Stamper, II, Alderman Khalif J. Rainey, Alderwoman Chantia Lewis, Alderman José G. Pérez, Alderman Robert J. Bauman, Alderman Ashanti Hamilton and Alderman Cavalier “Chevy” Johnson.

  • WHO: Alderwoman Coggs, 9to5 and the YWCA
  • WHEN: Wednesday, September 19 at 1 p.m.
  • WHERE: City Hall Rotunda, 200 E. Wells St.

Ald. Johnson: Voter participation package passes Council

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Ald. Cavalier Johnson
(414) 286-3777

Voter participation package passes Council

A comprehensive, legislative package designed to increase participation in voting was approved today (Tuesday, September 25) by the Common Council. Lead sponsorAlderman Cavalier “Chevy” Johnson said this proposed approach puts in place a system that allows for opting out of voter registration rather than the current barriers of opting in.

“I find it momentous that on National Voter Registration Day my colleagues and I unanimously passed this measure that will lift barriers to voter participation,” said Ald. Johnson.

The first measure (Council file#180474) directs Milwaukee’s Department of Administration – Intergovernmental Relations Division to seek introduction and passage of State legislation to provide for voting pre-registration of 16-and 17-year-olds; for the acceptance of a mobile-compatible electronic voter identification system, so voters can present their mobile device in lieu of a physical identification card; and for universal voter registration.

There are already 13 states including the District of Columbia that have some type of pre-registration in place. Evidence collected from these states suggests pre-registration has limited to no fiscal impact but has a direct impact on voter registration rates and participation when implemented effectively

The second measure (Council file#180485) urges the Mayor to include voter registration information in the Friday enrichment portion of the Mayor’s Earn and Learn Program, the City’s youth summer job program; requires all City employees who are points of contact with the public to inquire about the residents’ voter registration status and to provide information regarding registration; and directs the Community Development Block Grant Office to insert a requirement that all community-based organizations make voter registration information available to their customers.

The third measure (Council file#180709) urges Milwaukee Public Schools to pre-register all students 18 years of age and older to vote while the students are still in school and prior to graduation.

Council Members that co-sponsored some or all of the resolutions were Ashanti Hamilton, Chantia Lewis, Milele Coggs, Michael Murphy, Russell Stamper, II, and Khalif Rainey.

Additional resources on current practices surrounding voting including early voting, polling locations and upcoming elections can be found on the Milwaukee Election Commission website at Milwaukee.gov/election.

Alderman Rainey: Applauds grant for Sherman Park Phoenix project

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Alderman Khalif J. Rainey

(414) 286-2863

Alderman Khalif J. Rainey congratulates Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC) for receiving a $750,000 federal grant to be used in the Sherman Park area including at the Sherman Phoenix Project. Formerly a BMO Harris bank branch, the Sherman Phoenix building is a $3.5 million reinvestment into Sherman Park’s business community, with minority-owned businesses ranging from fitness centers to ice cream shops.

The grant comes from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Office of Community Services – Community Economic Development (CED) Program.

WWBIC is partnering with Sherman Phoenix LLC, to support the tenant buildout, building operations and programmatic costs. WWBIC will use a share of the grant funds to provide one-on-one technical assistance, along with financial education and coaching for those entrepreneurs and their employees.

“WWBIC’s approach reflects my own philosophy on the importance of investing in inclusive pathways to economic opportunity for our neighborhoods and families,” said Alderman Rainey. Alderman Rainey, who chairs the Zoning, Neighborhoods, & Development Committee, advocated for the creation of the Sherman Phoenix tax-incremental financing (TIF) district. The Common Council supported the revitalization by establishing a TIF which awarded the project a $225,000 grant to begin redevelopment.

The Sherman Phoenix project is expected to be completed by this fall. To learn more about the tenants of the project, visit https://www.shermanphoenix.com/tenants.

American Dairy Coalition panel on Dairy Revenue Protection Program at World Dairy Expo 🗓

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Laurie Fischer
CEO
920-965-6070
Presentation on New Risk Protection Program for Dairy Producers at World Dairy Expo 2018
The American Dairy Coalition calls panel of experts to discuss Dairy Revenue Protection Program
9.20.2018: The American Dairy Coalition will hold an informative panel discussion, entitled the Dairy Revenue Protection Program, detailing a new program designed to help farmers protect themselves from future low milk prices. This in-depth discussion will take place at ADC’s event at this year’s World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis.
ADC’s 2018 Dairy Outlook Forum
Thursday, October 4, 2018
Noon-1:30 p.m. CST
Expert Panelists include:
John Newton
Chief Economist, American Farm Bureau Federation
Dr. Newton will provide an in-depth overview of this new revenue protection program designed for dairy producers. How can this program help farmers protect themselves during times of low milk prices? Find out with Dr. Newton’s overview of the Dairy Revenue Protection Program.
Kurt Petik
Senior Relationship Manager,
Rabo AgriFinance
Kurt will enlighten attendees on how this new program will assist farmers from a banking perspective. Dairy RP can provide a new way for producers to manage risk and protect cash flow and profitability during challenging times.
Laurie Fischer
ADC Founder and CEO
AG & Legal Workforce Act Update: With inflation and worker insufficiency, the dairy industry cannot wait any longer for a new H-2C visa program. This new legislation will create an avenue to allow workers already inside the U.S., as well as new workers coming from their home countries, to use a viable guest-worker program on dairy operations. Discussion will provide an opportunity for attendees to get up to speed on how this new program works and if it will soon become law.
Kim Bremmer
Owner of Ag Inspirations and ADC Executive Advisory Committee Member
Upholding the Integrity of “Milk”: Plant-based beverage manufactures continue to tap into the reputation of consistency and nutritional value that the dairy industry has built the world “milk” to represent. Will these manufactures continue to be allowed to confuse consumers? What can you do to stop the misrepresentation? Find out during Kim’s informative segment.
About The American Dairy Coalition:
The American Dairy Coalition (ADC) is a farmer-led national lobbying organization of progressive, modern dairy farmers. We focus on federal dairy policy. For more information, contact CEO Laurie Fischer at 920-965-6070.

Americans For Prosperity-WI: Slams return of buzzkill beverage proposal

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CONTACT: Eric Bott, [email protected]

AFP-WI Slams Return of Buzzkill Beverage Proposal

MADISON, Wis. – Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin (AFP-WI) on Wednesday criticized a new proposal that would create confusion around tailgating by allowing some forms but not others, hurt agritourism and other budding industries, and regulate some private social gatherings. The proposal, which the Legislative Council Study Committee on Alcohol Beverages Enforcement is slated to consider today, resembles the immensely unpopular Tavern League-backed “Tailgate Ban” from earlier this year.

“Special interests are back at it, trying to protect their turf and end competition from the little guy. Their proposal doesn’t taste any better with age. Subjecting responsible adults to absurd inconvenience while insulating established special interests from innovative competition is an outrageous example of protectionism,” said AFP-WI State Director Eric Bott.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty recently released a memo outlining the new proposal. While the proposal ostensibly seeks to address parts of the “Tailgate Ban” that resulted in immense blowback earlier this year, its overly broad language still leaves room for confusion.

Bott added, “Anyone familiar with Wedding Barns knows the rise of the agriculture tourism industry has been a boon to farmers looking for new opportunities to succeed and a dream for couples looking to celebrate their wedding day with rural Wisconsin as the backdrop. Yet this proposal could end all that by requiring property owners to obtain expensive and sometimes unavailable permits. We strongly urge the legislature to reject this anti-competitive and protectionist racket.”

For further information or an interview, reach Lorenz Isidro at [email protected] or (703) 887-7724. 

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

Anderson campaign: Calls for the establishment of a Universal Open Enrollment program in Wisconsin

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For Immediate Release:
Sept. 17th, 2018
Contact: Phil Anderson
Anderson for WI Governor
Phone: 608-361-8608
Email: [email protected]

Anderson for WI Governor: calls for the establishment of a Universal Open Enrollment program in Wisconsin

Madison, WI, September 17th, 2018 – Libertarian Party candidate for Governor Phil Anderson calls for the establishment of a Universal Open Enrollment program in Wisconsin.

“Education shouldn’t be under the exclusive control of bureaucrats in State government,” said Anderson. “Students and parents should have the right to choose any number of options for education, whether those are public, private, or to opt out of any system altogether.”

Anderson also criticized the two major party nominees for governor. “Both Scott Walker and Tony Evers will claim they are going to be the Education Governor, but both share the same dictatorial control impulse over local schools and will just continue the current, underperforming system.”

Anderson proposes a six-point plan for K-12 education reform:

  1. Open up total freedom for parents and students through Universal Open Enrollment. Allow per-student money to move with the student, whether they enroll in a public school, private school, or are home schooled.
  2. Refuse to accept any further Federal funds for schools. Federal dollars account for seven percent of school funding, this amount could be easily done away with since there are added costs attached to following the dictates included with them. Any remaining shortfall could be covered through elimination of wasteful and unnecessary programs imposed on localities by the State.
  3. Return control of public schools to local districts. By eliminating the need to comply with Federal mandates and by getting State government out of the business of dictating policy and curriculum, local districts would be free to pursue whatever programs or educational models they found relevant and attractive.
  4. We would encourage local businesses and industries to offer student internships and other learning and training opportunities. However, we are concerned with attempts by self-serving corporations to intrude into schools for their own self-interest in ways that may distort a well-rounded education. We will absolutely resist any attempts by State entities to encourage such unhealthy relationships.
  5. All manners of innovations in education should be encouraged. This could include parent or teacher co-ops, distance learning, or varieties of learning models. Any state regulations that hinder innovation in the name of protecting union power or supplying the needs of big business or benefiting any other entrenched interests should be removed so that local schools can pursue their own course of education.
  6. Student privacy should be protected at all times. Educational records, test scores, or psycho-social grading should be held as closely as medical records and should never be shared without parental knowledge and permission and should be strictly limited to legitimate educational purposes. We adamantly oppose any model that creates a portable record for students that can be shared with any outside interests, including future employers.

“Public schools should compete for students by providing programs that are up to date and relevant to student needs,” said Anderson. “We believe high quality public schools will thrive, while underperforming schools may not survive, which will serve the interests of students and communities in the long run.”

Annual State of Education Address 🗓

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State Superintendent Tony Evers will present his annual State of Education Address at noon Thursday, Sept. 20, in the State Capitol in Madison. The program will include performances by students, presentation of the 2018 Friend of Education awards, and recognition of the 2018-19 Teachers of the Year.

Additional information is available in the attached news item or on the Department of Public Instruction newsroom website.

Audubon Society: Meets with U.S. Rep. Gallagher to discuss Great Lakes conservation and warming climate 

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Contact:

Graciela González

Communications Manager

w: 312.453.0230, Ext. 2013

c: 312.217.4373

“It meant a lot that he listened to my concerns about the impacts of a changing climate on birds and wildlife, which will ultimately affect our very own community.”

GREEN BAY, WI — Today, leaders from Northeastern Wisconsin Audubon Society and National Audubon Society met with Congressman Mike Gallagher (WI-8) at the Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve where they discussed restoration efforts at the nearby Cat Island Chain Restoration Site. Audubon thanked the congressman for his support of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) and for joining the Climate Solutions Caucus, a bipartisan group of U.S. House representatives working to find policy solutions that address the effects and causes of our warming climate.

“Congressman Gallagher has shown true leadership through his support of GLRI and by joining the Climate Solutions Caucus,” said Rebeccah Sanders, Vice President for the Great at Audubon. “Loss of critical habitat and climate change are very serious threats to birds, wildlife and people. It was great to have this opportunity to show him what can be accomplished here in Green Bay with strong federal investment in Great Lakes restoration and conservation policies.”

The Cat Island Restoration Project, funded with GLRI grants, among other sources, is a multi-partner project that will reconstruct three islands in the lower bay. The islands eroded due to severe storms and high lake levels in the 1970s. The investment will result in more than 200 acres of habitat for a variety of wildlife including shorebirds and waterfowl, and will help to restore approximately 1,225 acres of shallow water and wetland habitat.

“I really appreciate Congressman Gallagher taking the time to see GLRI at work in Green Bay,” added Erin Giese, president of Northeastern Audubon Society and a constituent. “It meant a lot that he listened to my concerns about the impacts of a changing climate on birds and wildlife, which will ultimately affect our very own community.

Because of climate change, some birds will shift north in search of more suitable habitat. Climate change coupled with the loss and degradation of habitat makes the protection of our natural landscapes for birds and other wildlife even more critical. Birds that we have traditionally seen here in Wisconsin, like the state-listed special concern species, Golden-winged Warblers, will likely disappear, and that would be a real devastating loss. We need to find creative solutions to this urgent problem now so that wildlife and future generations can have a fighting chance.”

According to Audubon’s projections, by 2080, Bohemian Waxwings, and Evening Grosbeaks will possibly lose all of their current summer range, meaning that these birds will disappear from Wisconsin in the summer because of climate change. In the case of Golden-winged Warblers, this species may completely disappear from the state.

See Audubon’s Birds and Climate Change Report: http://climate.audubon.org/

See the report’s projections for Wisconsin: http://climate.audubon.org/geographical-search/wisconsin

Baldwin campaign: New Ad: Wisconsin mom of child with pre-existing condition asks what would happen if Leah Vukmir lets insurance companies deny coverage

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Contact: [email protected]

New Ad: Wisconsin mom of child with pre-existing condition asks what would happen if Leah Vukmir lets insurance companies deny coverage
“I’m outraged that Leah Vukmir again sided with insurance companies instead of Wisconsin families like ours.”

SEYMOUR — In a new ad from Tammy Baldwin for Senate, a Wisconsin mom of a child born with heart defects asks what would happen if Leah Vukmir let insurance companies deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

WATCH: “What Would Happen”

“My daughter Zoe has a pre-existing condition and I’m outraged that Leah Vukmir again sided with insurance companies instead of Wisconsin families like ours,” said Chelsey Schaumberg of Seymour. “Leah Vukmir’s plan is to take away my daughter’s health care protections and throw her into a high-risk pool, which have lifetime caps and sky-high costs. I think my daughter deserves better than that, and I’m glad Tammy Baldwin is out there standing up to the insurance companies and fighting for affordable health care for us.” 

Leah Vukmir has campaigned on repealing the Affordable Care Act and gutting pre-existing condition protections, while Tammy Baldwin is leading the fight to protect coverage for Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions.

Leah Vukmir’s record of putting insurance companies ahead of Wisconsin families goes beyond repealing their health care. A previous ad, featuring a Wisconsin cancer survivor, highlighted Leah Vukmir’s votes against requiring insurance companies to cover oral chemotherapy. And earlier this week, Wisconsinites from across the state spoke out against Leah Vukmir’s vote against requiring insurance companies to cover hearing aids and cochlear implants for deaf children in Wisconsin.

Read what Chelsey has to say in the newest ad:
“Zoe was born with two heart defects. She’ll always have a preexisting condition. So do two million other Wisconsinites.

“So, I’m outraged that Leah Vukmir wants to let the insurance companies deny coverage for pre-existing conditions.

“What would happen to Zoe?

“I know it’s Tammy Baldwin who is leading the fight in the U.S. Senate to protect coverage for people with preexisting conditions.

“For our family, the choice is really clear.”

BACKGROUND:

Leah Vukmir supports repealing the Affordable Care Act and gutting pre-existing condition protections: 

  • Leah Vukmir is campaigning on full repeal“Leah understands why people are upset with Republicans who promised to repeal Obamacare and didn’t deliver. She supports full repeal of Obamacare. Period. And she won’t stop pushing for full repeal in Congress.”
  • Leah Vukmir supports Graham-Cassidy. This plan “would bring preexisting conditions back to the individual market, allowing insurers to charge sick people higher premiums — or deny them coverage outright.” 
  • Vice President Pence said in Wisconsin that if Leah Vukmir wins, they will try to pass those repeal plans again: “We made an effort to fully repeal and replace Obamacare. And we’ll continue — with Leah Vukmir in the Senate, we’ll continue to go back to that.” 
  • Leah Vukmir supports the Trump administration’s junk insurance plans, that allow insurance companies to deny customers coverage if they have a pre-existing condition: “Vukmir supports rules recently issued by the Trump administration that aim to chip away at Obamacare by permitting certain types of health plans that don’t meet the law’s requirements.”  

Tammy Baldwin is leading the fight to protect coverage for Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions:

  • Tammy Baldwin introduced legislation to stop those junk insurance plans:
    • AP“Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., who faces a potentially competitive re-election contest in November, will lead the effort to thwart Trump’s short-term health care plans. She said 1 in 4 of her constituents have pre-existing conditions, ‘and they cannot afford to have the health care they depend on threatened.’ The new plans represent one of many Trump administration moves aimed at weakening Obama’s 2010 law, following Congress’ attempt to repeal it last year ended in an embarrassing Senate defeat.” 
    • Vox“Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) is leading the effort, introducing a resolution to unwind the Trump administration’s expansion of short-term insurance plans. Those plans are not subject to Obamacare’s rules for preexisting conditions or essential health benefits and Democrats dismiss them as “junk.”
    • Washington Examiner“Tammy Baldwin pursues legislation to guarantee pre-existing condition protections. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., announced legislation to block a proposed rule that would expand the duration of short-term plans from 90 days to nearly 12 months.”
  • Leah Vukmir has come out against this legislation to protect people with pre-existing conditions. Instead, Vukmir wants to throw people back into high risk pools, which covered some Wisconsinites, but were also “too expensive for many to afford, left more than half a million state residents uninsured, included a six-month waiting period for coverage of pre-existing conditions and imposed a lifetime coverage cap..”

Watch the previous Tammy Baldwin for Senate ads here: “Roddy,” “Skyrocketing,” “Predator,” “Cheesy,” “Knock,” “Stories,” “Fierce,” “They Call It,” “Who’ll Stand Up,” “Shadowy,” “Really,” “Map Made” and “Ashamed.”

Baldwin campaign: Over 100 ‘Veterans for Tammy’ announced at Milwaukee event

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Contact: [email protected]

Over 100 VETERANS FOR TAMMY Announced at Milwaukee Event

Wisconsin veterans from across the state and every branch of U.S. military back U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin’s bipartisan leadership and stand up against special interest attacks

MILWAUKEE — U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin today announced VETERANS FOR TAMMY, a coalition of over 100 Wisconsin veterans from across the state and every branch of the U.S. military who are backing U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin’s bipartisan leadership to support veterans and standing up to special interest attacks against their health care.

“Our veterans have served and sacrificed so much for our country and as a nation, we owe it to them to make sure they have the care and support they have earned and deserve,” said Tammy Baldwin. “Today, I’m humbled to be joined by so many of our Wisconsin veterans from across the state as we call for continued bipartisan action to support and protect our veterans, our active duty servicemembers and our military families.”

“Tammy Baldwin is working to make sure Wisconsin veterans receive the care they deserve, and as a doctor and veteran I’m proud to stand with her,” said Dr. Kathy Hartke, USAF veteran. “Tammy wrote and fought to pass Jason’s Law, which helps stop the overprescribing of opioids at the VA. And she’s pushing to reform the VA and remove red tape so that a veteran and their doctor are at the center of health care decisions.”

“I know firsthand that Tammy Baldwin is doing right by our veterans. Whether it’s ensuring they have the good health care, community support, or opportunities for good-paying jobs, Tammy Baldwin is fighting for us,” said Bob Hesselbein, USAF Lieutenant Colonel (ret.), Vietnam War helicopter pilot. “As a 28-year military veteran, I know what it takes to get things done. I’ve seen Tammy Baldwin in action and I know she cares about Wisconsin veterans, our issues and priorities and gets things done for us in Washington.”

Over 100 Wisconsinites have joined VETERANS FOR TAMMY to support Tammy Baldwin’s work in the Senate to do right by our veterans and make sure they have the care, community support, and good-paying jobs that they have earned and deserve:

Jason’s Law
Wisconsin U.S. Marine veteran Jason Simcakoski went to the VA to get help, but instead got hooked on prescription drugs and tragically died in 2014. Tammy worked closely with the Simcakoski family, Republicans and Democrats, veterans service organizations, and medical professionals, to write and pass bipartisan legislation known as Jason’s Law.

Jason’s Law holds the VA accountable and is helping stop the overprescribing of opioids at the VA. Jason’s Law is working — recent data shows it has helped the Tomah VA decrease the number of veterans on chronic opioids by 47 percent.

Tammy Baldwin is continuing to work across the aisle to support and strengthen Jason’s Law. Just this week, Baldwin successfully secured $52 million in bipartisan appropriations legislation to fully implement Jason’s Law in VAs nationwide.

Improving Veterans’ Care
As veterans face some of the most complex health challenges, Tammy Baldwin has worked across party lines to make sure they receive the best care possible, whether they seek care at the VA or out in their community.

Working with Republicans and Democrats, Tammy Baldwin passed legislation that cuts the VA’s unacceptable appeals backlog and helps our veterans get back to living their lives. And Tammy has stood up to efforts backed by powerful special interests to privatize the VA and put profits ahead of our veterans’ care.

Tammy Baldwin also supported the bipartisan VA MISSION Act, which was signed into law by President Trump this year. This major veterans care law will help fix the broken VA Choice program, remove burdensome regulations, and put a veteran and their doctor at the center of health care decisions. The legislation also included important reforms from Baldwin that will protect veterans receiving care in the VA or in their communities.

Creating Good-Paying Jobs and Strengthening Veterans’ Support
Tammy Baldwin is working to make sure that when our veterans return home, they have the good paying jobs and community support that they need. Tammy introduced the BRAVE Act — bipartisan legislation that reduces the unemployment rate for veterans and creates more full-time jobs for them.

Standing up for our military families, Tammy has worked to protect our active duty servicemembers from unfair eviction, exploitative debt collection practices, and other fraudulent schemes.

When Wisconsin failed to qualify for funding for homeless veterans programs in 2017, Tammy quickly organized a bipartisan effort to reverse the cuts and successfully saved the homeless veterans programs.

VETERANS FOR TAMMY includes: 
John Aldridge of Boulder Junction, USMC
Mark Andersen of Madison, USA
Steve Antholt of Sun Prairie, USA
Mike Balistriere of Wauwatosa, USMC
Andy Berg of Kenosha, USA
Eldor Bethke of Madison, USA
Dave Boetcher of Waunakee, USA
Doug Bradley of Madison, USA
Margaret Breisch of Menomonie, USA
Steve Brown of Salem, USA
Randy Bryce of Caledonia, USA
Tim Burr of Oostburg, USA
William Anthony Busching of Appleton, USAF
Melody Carranza of Milwaukee, USA
Jim Carroll of Gresham, USN
Barb Casper of Fond du Lac, USAF
Bob Chernow of Grafton, USA
Walt Christensen of Fort Atkinson, USA
Bill Christofferson of Sun Prairie, USMC
William Crawford of Coloma, USN
Keith Cribbs of Manitowoc, USN
Doug Curler of Deerbrook, USMC
Jeff “Doc” Dentice of Muskego, USA
James Doherty of Sun Prairie, USN
Don Ekstrom of Washburn, USA
Christian Ellis of Sheboygan Falls, USMC
Walt Ellis of Oostburg, USN
Margaret Engebretson of Balsam Lake, USN
Cari Fay of Merrillan, USMC
Robert Finsland of Superior, USN
Peter Formiller of Madison, USAF
Phil Fransen of Belleville, USAF
Sarah Godsave of Menomonie, USMC
Dan Goglin of Ashland, USMC
Jay Graff of Waupun, USMC, USA
Lyle Gray of Cedarburg, USA
Dr. Kathy Hartke of Brookfield, USAF
Gary Hawley of Stevens Point, USCG
Bill Healy of Cadott, USA
Lee Hennick of Eau Claire, USA
Tyrone Hillard of Milwaukee, USN
Randy Hoelzen of West Salem, USA
Kenneth Holdorf of Marinette, USN
Alice Holstein of La Crosse, USAF
Bob Hood of Columbus, USA
Ben Ingaldson of Mount Pleasant, USAF
Greg Jenson of Stoughton, USCG
Charlotte Jerney of Verona, USA
William Johnson of Mequon, USA
Mary Jonker of Kenosha, USA
Matthew Joyce of Merrimac, USAF
John Kelm of Saukville, USAF
Tim Kenney of Milwaukee, USAF
John Kidd of Chippewa Falls, USMC
Kevin Killeen of Slinger, USN
Richard Kirchhoff of New Berlin, USA
Mary Kolar of Madison, USN
Joshua Koss of Neenah, USMC
Cliff Kruse of Green Bay, USA
Eric Larsen of Eau Claire, USN
Eric Larson of Marinette, USCG
Gerald Luke of Park Falls, USN
James Macon of Milwaukee, USMC
Mark A. Martello of Tomahawk, USN, USA, USAF
Robert Maurice of Verona, USA
Mac McDermott of De Pere, USN
Joseph McGonigle of Madison, USAF
Dan McGlynn of Madison, USA
Scott McIntyre of Superior, USA
Gary Metzer of Oconomowoc, USA
Senator Mark Miller of Monona, USAF
Representative Nick Milroy of South Range, USN
Jeffrey Mirate of Prairie Du Sac, USN
Dave Moffitt of Waupun, USAF
Carolyn Morgan of Madison, USAF
Chris Mullenbach of Whitefish Bay, USAF
Maury Mussa of Green Bay, USA
Henry C. “Hank” Newell of Mosinee, USA
Saul Newton of Milwaukee, USA
John Nusbaum of Green Bay, USAF
John E. “Gene” O’Connell of Big Bend, USN
Chris Olig of Fredonia, USMC
Ervin Ott of Sheboygan, USA
Tom Palzewicz of Brookfield, USN
Stephen J. Piotrowski of Madison, USA
Ted Poull of Saukville, USA
Roger Quindel of Milwaukee, USA
Christine Rahlf of Cedarburg, USN
Jerome Rahlf of Neenah, USAF
Antonio Ramos of Waukesha, USMC
Stephen Rasmus of Chippewa Falls, USN
Steve Rasmussen of Boyceville, USN
Roger Reed of Lancaster, USA
Angela Russell of Waukesha, USA
Curtis Schmitt, Jr. of Greenfield, USA
Mike Schoenebeck of Green Bay, USAF
Robert Sinklair of Prairie du Sac, USN
Mark Smith of Oconto Falls, USAF
Tom Snider of Winneconne, USN
Rebecca Solen of Mt. Pleasant, USA
Clif Sorenson of Eau Claire, USAF
Richard Sperko of Milwaukee, USN
Tracey Sperko of Milwaukee, USN
Luke Sticht of Oregon, USN
Sheri Swokowski of DeForest, USA
Hank Thomas of Menomonie, USN
Bob Turner of Racine, USAF
Kurt Voelkers of Waterford, USN
Keith Wagner of Wilmot, USAF
Richard Wentzel of Edgar, USMC
Stephen White of Milwaukee, USMC

Baldwin campaign: STUDENTS FOR TAMMY announced at events in Madison and Milwaukee

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Contact: [email protected]

MILWAUKEE — U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin today announced STUDENTS FOR TAMMY at events in Madison and Milwaukee.

Across the state, young Wisconsinites enrolled in high school and college have joined STUDENTS FOR TAMMY to support Tammy Baldwin’s fight for debt-free higher education and affordable health care, and speak out against Leah Vukmir’s embrace of Secretary Betsy DeVos’ special interest agenda.

“Young Wisconsinites are working hard and all that they ask for is a chance to get ahead and build a better future for themselves and our entire state,” said Tammy Baldwin. “That’s why I championed allowing people to stay on their parents’ health care plans until they are 26 and introduced landmark college affordability reforms to strengthen Pell Grants and let graduates refinance their suffocating debt.”

“Whether you’re a high school student dreading the overwhelming debt coming your way or a college senior like me who is looking to stay on my parents’ health care until I’m 26 so I can build my career, students are ready to get out the vote for Tammy Baldwin this fall,” said Brianna Koerth, Chair, College Democrats of Wisconsin. “The choice for us is clear: Tammy Baldwin stands with students while Leah Vukmir sides with Betsy DeVos and big banks making big bucks off our debt.”

In the Senate, Tammy Baldwin is an unrivaled leader in fighting for young Wisconsinites. Tammy Baldwin has stood up to insurance companies by requiring coverage for young people and she is fighting the Wall Street banks making massive profits off of student loan debt. Learn more on the STUDENTS FOR TAMMY page.

Leah Vukmir has sided with those powerful special interests and has embraced Education Secretary Bety DeVos, whose agenda cuts vital college affordability programs and puts for-profit schools ahead of students. Leah Vukmir has even called for the end of federal student loan programs, like Perkins and Stafford Loans that help thousands of Wisconsinites access higher education every school year.

BACKGROUND

Vukmir Called DeVos A “Great Education Reform” Leader. @LeahVukmir: ‘Two great education reform leaders! Thank you for all you do! #itrustparents” [Twitter, @LeahVukmir, 3/15/17]

Vukmir Supported Ending The Role Of The Federal Department Of Education. “Vukmir said she is a “strong proponent of federalism,” called for Common Core to be eliminated and said education decisions should be made at the local level. She agreed with the questioner that the role of the Department of Education should be handed over to the states.” [Journal Sentinel, 5/31/18]

Journal Sentinel: “Vukmir Said ‘We Have To Get The Federal Government Out Of The Business Of Loans,’ And Said Students Are Being Set Up For Failure.” [Journal Sentinel, 5/31/18]

On Student Loans, Vukmir Spokeswoman Said Vukmir Thinks “The Federal Government Doesn’t Belong In The Business Of Administering Loans.” “Asked after the forum if Vukmir wants the federal government to stop subsidizing student loans, as President Donald Trump has proposed, Vukmir spokeswoman Jess Ward said “she means that the federal government doesn’t belong in the business of administering loans.” [Wisconsin State Journal, 5/31/18]

Baldwin, Vukmir split on how to proceed with Kavanaugh nomination

Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin and GOP opponent Leah Vukmir are taking opposing sides on the question of how to proceed with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Vukmir on Twitter last night placed blame on Democrats and argued “it’s time” the Senate votes to confirm President Trump’s nominee.

“The fact is Senator Baldwin and her liberal allies are bitter that Wisconsin elected President Trump, and they’ll do anything to stop this highly qualified nominee,” Vukmir wrote.

Three women have accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. The first, California professor Christine Blasey Ford, testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday about the alleged sexual assault she said occured in high school.

Kavanaugh testified in front of the committee later in the afternoon, strongly denying the allegations.

Vukmir on social media said both Ford and Kavanaugh “deserved to be heard,” and lauded that the hearing took place, but concluded Democrats used Ford’s allegations for political means.

“Only 48 hours after his nomination, Senator Baldwin opposed Judge Kavanaugh, and today we learned her Democratic colleagues knew of these allegations for weeks, deliberately withheld them from the public, and leaked them for political gain,” she wrote.

Baldwin opposes Kavanaugh’s nomination. The Madison Dem in a statement to WisPolitics.com yesterday continued to push for an FBI investigation before the Senate moves forward.

“The White House must direct the FBI to reopen its background investigation of this nominee so that all the women who have made credible allegations and any witnesses can provide the FBI all the facts,” she said.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, of Oshkosh, did not return a request from WisPolitics.com seeking comment yesterday.

But after being asked by a New York Times reporter yesterday what he thought of Ford’s testimony, Johnson said, “I think most people listen to Professor Ford and think that she believes what she is saying.”

Pressed on whether he believes Ford, Johnson said, “I think she believes what she is saying.”

See Vukmir’s tweets:
https://twitter.com/LeahVukmir/status/1045458854983716864

See the New York Times report:
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/27/us/politics/kavanaugh-hearings-dr-ford.html

Baldwin, Vukmir split on Kavanaugh allegations

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin continued to call for reopening the FBI investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh following new sexual misconduct allegations.

Meanwhile, GOP opponent Leah Vukmir blasted the new accusations yesterday as “uncorroborated attacks” and called for a vote on Kavanaugh’s appointment this week.

The candidates’ comments came after a second woman Sunday alleged sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh. The woman, Deborah Ramirez, said Kavanaugh sexually harassed her while they both attended Yale University, according to the New Yorker.

The report followed a separate accusation from California professor Christine Blasey Ford, who said Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while they were both in high school. Kavanaugh has denied both allegations.

Baldwin, speaking at an early voting event in Milwaukee, said she had found Ford to be “credible” and her allegations “serious.” And she again called on the White House to reopen its background investigation into Kavanaugh.

“When Dr. Ford’s allegations became public, it seemed like just the appropriate and obvious thing that should have been done,” the Madison Dem said of reopening the investigation. “I still don’t understand why the White House has refused to reopen the background investigation, but now that there are more allegations … it seems like the call should be stronger than ever to reopen that.”

Vukmir called on Dems to stop their “political posturing” over Kavanaugh’s nomination. And she hit Baldwin for an upcoming fundraiser she had planned with Ford’s two attorneys — though the campaign has said both lawyers were dropped from the event after they began representing Ford.

“On the heels of Senator Baldwin not having the time to meet with Judge Kavanaugh, yet having time for a fundraiser with Dr. Ford’s lawyers, we now have additional uncorroborated attacks on Judge Kavanaugh being irresponsibly published by the Fake News media,” she said.

Vukmir also issued a call to action for voters to get engaged in the Senate race. Among other things, Vukmir said in the statement Baldwin has lied about the state lawmaker’s record and said she’s “been through the fires with the people of Wisconsin as Democrats unleashed hell to prevent good governance in Wisconsin. Now is the time for the silent majority and our leaders to have the backbone and once again say enough is enough.”

The call comes on the heels of a Marquette University Law School Poll that had Baldwin up 53 percent to 42 percent. The survey also found 75 percent of Dem voters say they were very enthusiastic to cast ballots this fall, compared to 64 percent of Republican.

Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, of Oshkosh, wasn’t available for comment yesterday. A spokesman said he has spent the day at the UN General Assembly.

See the Vukmir call to action:
https://www.wispolitics.com/2018/vukmir-campaign-issues-call-to-action-for-wisconsin-voters/

Baldwin’s latest TV ad again hits Vukmir on pre-existing conditions protections

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Dem U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s latest TV ad features a nurse who says she can’t support Leah Vukmir because the GOP candidate would allow insurance companies to deny coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.

It’s Baldwin’s third ad this month hitting Vukmir on health care and the second one to focus on protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

Shannon Thielman, of Wausau, opens the ad by saying she’s seen “both sides of how our health care system works” as a nurse and a breast cancer survivor.

She notes like 2 million other Wisconsinites, she has a pre-existing condition.

“So it’s upsetting that Leah Vukmir supports letting insurance companies go back to denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions,” Thielman says to close the spot. “As a nurse and a cancer survivor, I just cannot support Leah Vukmir.”

Baldwin, D-Madison, and Vukmir, R-Brookfield, have exchanges a series of barbs over coverage for pre-existing conditions. On Twitter Thursday, Vukmir, a nurse, told Baldwin to “stop the lies” and wrote she’s committed to covering those with pre-existing conditions, noting Wisconsin previously had a high-risk pool to cover them.

But Baldwin fired back that plan covered less than 1 percent of Wisconsinites who now have pre-existing conditions and asked Vukmir why she supported a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which provides those protections in Wisconsin.

Baldwin’s campaign said it is spending six figures on the spot, which will run statewide.

Barnes, Kleefisch trade barbs on anthem allegations

Dem LG candidate Mandela Barnes called GOP incumbent Rebecca Kleefisch a liar for suggesting without proof that he knelt during the national anthem at the opening of the Wisconsin State Fair.

Kleefisch originally raised the allegation on Twitter Sept. 6 that Wisconsin “neighbors” told her Barnes had knelt for the national anthem. During an appearance in Glendale yesterday, Kleefisch said she was told by others that Barnes knelt during the playing of the anthem at the opening of the Wisconsin State Fair last month.

But Kleefisch said she didn’t see it and didn’t say who had, according to media reports.

Barnes, a former state lawmaker and African-American, charged Kleefisch, who is white, is trying to stir up racial tensions with the allegation as part of a desperate move to win the campaign.

“If they can stir up racial tension to try to win this race, they’re going to do it,” Barnes said in a phone interview with WisPolitics.com. “It’s a shame if they’re going in this direction. But it’s unfortunately what happened.”

Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign referred questions to the state GOP, which also didn’t offer any proof to back up Kleefisch’s claim. Instead, the party released video of Barnes being asked about the kneeling allegation and saying he wasn’t even at the State Fair. The party suggested Barnes can’t be trusted because of the discrepancy.

Barnes said the video was shot by a GOP tracker who caught him off guard with the question and he misspoke in giving his answer.

“Barnes has shown time and again that he supports these disgraceful protests of our flag — he owes families everywhere an explanation,” said state GOP spokesman Alex Zimmerman.

Neither the state GOP nor Walker’s campaign responded to requests for proof to support Kleefisch’s assertion.

Dem state Rep. Daniel Riemer, who was at the opening ceremony for the state Fair, confirmed Barnes was at the event. Riemer said while he didn’t watch Barnes the entire time, he didn’t see him do anything like kneel during the anthem.

Barnes said he was particularly incensed because of the racial undertones of Kleefisch’s allegations.

“That’s like me saying I saw her buying a tiki torch at Home Depot,” Barnes said.

Kleefisch fired back on Twitter: “But here’s the thing: the National Anthem is not like tiki torches. It’s a big deal that matters. (Just like abortions are not like tonsillectomies.)”

The last line of Kleefisch’s tweet references an interview Dem guv candidate Tony Evers did with the Weekly Standard in which he called for Medicaid funds to be available for abortions, saying “restricting it because of a certain procedure, whether it’s a tonsillectomy or any other procedure, seems to me a foolhardy thing to do.”

Better Pleasant: Trustees vote to impose eminent domain Sept. 24

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On Monday, September 24, 2018 at 6:30 pm, the Village of Mt. Pleasant Board of Trustees will discuss and take possible action in the award of damages for nine parcels of land in the Foxconn zone.

Five parcels are being challenged by three owners in Racine County Court. The owners contest the village’s authority to take their property under eminent domain for road construction and that the village is taking far more land than is necessary for road construction – which in one case is already completed – to convey to Foxconn
All three owners face losing their homes, barns and in one case, their business. The property owners have confirmed they will be attending Monday’s Village Board meeting.
The village has notified these property owners that they already own the land and homes, and they have been notified they must vacate the premises on or before November 19, 2018 – three days before Thanksgiving.
Court filings from each case is attached below.

Biden Foundation: Announces new hires for communications, foreign policy

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Melanie Fonder Kaye
[email protected]
(202) 559-1801

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today the Biden Foundation announced several new additions to its staff. Brian McKeon, Advisor for Foreign Policy; Melanie Fonder Kaye, Communications Director; Jordan Montoya, Policy Associate for Shaping Foreign Policy; and Jacob Wellner, Special Assistant.

“I’m thrilled to welcome more talent to the Foundation team,” said Louisa Terrell, Executive Director of the Biden Foundation. “Melanie’s history with the work of Vice President and Dr. Biden makes her uniquely qualified to communicate our vision to the public. Brian and Jordan will be instrumental in expanding our work in foreign policy. And Jacob will be integral to ensuring the Biden Forum continues to spread bold new ideas. I look forward to seeing how this dynamic group of individuals supports the Foundation’s vision of equal dignity and opportunity for all people.”

Brian McKeon comes to the Biden Foundation with over 30 years of experience in all three branches of the federal government, including high-ranking national security positions in the White House, the Defense Department and the U.S. Senate. Previously he served as Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Policy at the Defense Department, and concurrently as Acting Under Secretary for the final seven months of President Obama’s tenure. In the White House, Brian served as Deputy Assistant to the President, Executive Secretary and Chief of Staff of the National Security Council, and as Deputy National Security Adviser to Vice President Biden. In the Senate, Brian served for 12 years as chief counsel to the Democratic members of the Committee on Foreign Relations, and concurrently as Deputy Staff Director for two years. Prior to service on the Committee staff, McKeon served as a legislative assistant for foreign policy and defense to Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Brian has written on national security issues for various publications, testified before the Congress on several occasions, and appeared on MSNBC, Vice News, Fox News, Al Jazeera and Alhurra TV.

Melanie Fonder Kaye is a communications strategist with more than 20 years of experience in advocacy communications, media, and journalism. Before founding her communications firm MFK Strategies, she served as Director of Communications to Dr. Jill Biden. In the White House, Melanie developed and oversaw the communications strategy, which included Joining Forces, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Biden’s initiative to encourage all Americans to support service members, veterans, and military families; helping to raise the profile of community colleges as an innovative pathway to success; elevating the role of teachers; and raising awareness around women’s health, particularly breast cancer. Before that, Melanie was a vice president at GMMB, press secretary for former Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle, and was a reporter covering politics and government for The Hill, the Green Bay News-Chronicle, and WisPolitics.com.

Jordan Montoya is a Policy Associate at the Biden Foundation, working to support and further develop the foreign policy pillar as well as the higher education and military families pillars. Jordan graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in international relations and minor in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies. Following college, Jordan joined the 2008 Obama/Biden campaign and traveled domestically as part of the national advance team. From 2009 to 2012, Jordan worked at the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) for Secretary Ken Salazar as advance staff, and later, as Deputy Press Secretary. Following her time at DOI, Jordan transitioned to the White House where she served for three years as Deputy Director of Advance for Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden. Most recently, Jordan was an Associate Director at Save the Children, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to serving and protecting children in the U.S. and around the world.

Jacob Wellner serves as the Special Assistant for the Biden Foundation and as an assistant to the Chief Editor of the Biden Forum and works to support the Foundation’s Strengthening the Middle Class pillar. Jacob was previously a fellow at Atlantic Media’s Ballast Research, a strategy consulting firm that works directly with senior policymakers across sectors to inform advocacy and engagement in federal and state policy. Prior to his fellowship, Jacob was a White House intern with the National Economic Council, focusing on financial regulation, housing finance, and consumer protection. He also interned with the Hillary for America finance team in Brooklyn, at Promontory Financial Group in D.C., and in Senator Dick Durbin’s Capitol Hill office.

About the Biden Foundation:
The Biden Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation established to carry on Vice President and Dr. Biden’s lifelong commitment to public service. Through educational programming and public policy analysis, the Foundation works to build a world where all people are equal in dignity and opportunity.

For up-to-date information on the Biden Foundation, visit bidenfoundation.org or follow the Biden Foundation on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

Bill Kaplan: GOP failing farmers and other regular folks

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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 Farm Journal headline said it all: “Farmers Helped Elect Trump, But Trade Wars Erode Their Support”. Its survey showed Trump’s poll numbers sinking. “That’s because the trade wars strike the balance sheets of farmers who are already fighting through the fourth year of tough times – with no relief on the horizon” (Farm Journal). A clueless Trump has declared a trade war against the world. And, a spineless GOP-led Congress has abandoned longstanding Republican free trade principles. Meanwhile, Wisconsin GOP Governor Scott Walker, supposedly “unintimidated”, whispers fecklessly.

Wisconsin farmers are reeling. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) headline: “U.S. Cranberry Industry Feels the Bite of Retaliatory Tariffs”. Wisconsin growers produce the most cranberries in America. They were “already beset by falling prices” (WSJ). So trade wars with loss of export markets spell doom. “Mark Mariani … of Mariani Premium Dried Fruits, which employs about 400 workers in Wisconsin, said his largest export market was China, and he is watching his warehouses fill with excess supply” (WSJ).

Retaliatory tariffs from Canada, China, Mexico and the European Union are hitting state dairy farmers hard. Wisconsin Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin said: “The retaliatory tariffs are also taking effect at a time when the agriculture economy is already facing severe challenges with low prices and oversupplies. In the past year, Wisconsin has lost more than 500 dairy farms”. When Wisconsin dairy farmers lose export markets for cheese and other dairy products it means the ruin of farm equipment suppliers, trouble for community banks when loans can’t be repaid and the hollowing out of small towns.

Same story for producers of beef and pork. Also true for farmers growing corn, ginseng, kidney beans and soybeans. Trump’s self-inflicted farm disaster is occurring in an election year. Congressional Republicans, already facing the loss of the House, pushed the panic button. Trump announced a short-term aid program for farmers. It was a “tacit acknowledgment that the trade war is hurting people in the United States …” (Washington Post). Ohio GOP Governor John Kasich said: “You have to wonder, is this about vote-buying?”

And, other GOP policies will hit rural Wisconsinites with a sledgehammer. Take health care. Many in rural counties are getting generous subsidies to buy private insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The subsidies are often higher in rural areas because of fewer health and insurance providers. But Governor Walker wants to blow up the ACA. Walker and his Attorney General, Brad Schimel, with 19 other GOP-led states, asked a federal judge to declare the ACA unconstitutional. Worse, they want an immediate permanent injunction to prohibit the government “from implementing, regulating, enforcing, or otherwise acting under the authority of the ACA”. Hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites will lose coverage. So much for “bipartisan” Walker – more like heartless Walker.

Senator Baldwin has denounced Walker and his lawsuit, making the point that 852,000 Wisconsinites with preexisting conditions could lose coverage. Farmers and other rural Wisconsinites need to “raise hell” and vote Democratic to save their farms and health.

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

Bill Kaplan: GOP, Trump and Walker running scared

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

All signs point to voters across America, including Wisconsin, voting for change in November. Over 40 state legislative seats, including 2 Wisconsin Senate seats, have flipped from GOP to Democratic in regular and special elections since 2017. Moreover, Democrats flipped a U.S. Senate seat in Alabama and a U.S. House seat in Pennsylvania. And, Wisconsin voters flipped a state Supreme Court seat, formerly held by the hard-right. Polls for the GOP, Trump and Wisconsin point to a Democratic wave. The House looks winnable for Democrats, with a too-close-to-call Senate. Finally, Wisconsin GOP Governor Scott Walker’s reelection has gone from “leans GOP” to “toss-up” (nonpartisan Cook Political Report and Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball).

So the GOP, Trump and Walker are running scared. All they have left is constant deception, while revving up division and fear. “Trump has accused Democrats of trying to ‘raid’, ‘rob’ or ‘hurt’ Medicare and Social Security, while suggesting he has made both ‘stronger’. Neither claim is true” (New York Times). In addition, the Times reports that Medicare and Social Security (retirement) trust funds will run short earlier than predicted because of GOP tax cuts. Meanwhile, Trump continues to sabotage the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to make it harder for regular folks to enroll: “the administration shortened the open enrollment period (for private insurance) … from three months to six weeks; cut 90 percent of the funding … to advertise …; and slashed the funding available to groups (e.g., Covering Wisconsin) that help people navigate the complex enrollment process” (Nicholas Bagley and Abbe Gluck, health law experts).

However, Walker has trumped Trump with a breathtakingly heartless lawsuit to have the entire ACA declared unconstitutional. Nearly 20 million Americans, including hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites, would lose ACA health coverage. Consumer protections including coverage of preexisting conditions (852,000 Wisconsinites, Kaiser Family Foundation); no discrimination based on health status or sex and no annual or life-time insurance limits would end. Worse, Walker is seeking an immediate permanent injunction to blow up the ACA.

Walker’s campaign spokesperson, Brian Reisinger, said: “if something were to change” (think of the Massachusetts gas company calling last week’s destruction of many houses by gas explosions an “inconvenience”), Walker would ask the state legislature to pass a bill to cover preexisting conditions. A disingenuous election year promise. Walker’s fallback is a high-risk pool. When Wisconsin went down that road there were big problems: only 21,000 Wisconsinites were covered, leaving out hundreds of thousands, as well as high out-of-pocket costs and a 6-month waiting period. Cancer does not wait.

If the ACA is declared unconstitutional and enjoined, Walker’s plan to replace ACA coverage and consumer protections boils down to Trump’s short-term insurance scheme. Wisconsin Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin wisely said: “Trump’s junk insurance plans don’t have to provide health care coverage for people with preexisting conditions” … (or) “cover essential services like prescription drugs, emergency room visits and maternity care”. It’s time for checks and balances for Trump and long past time for Walker to go. Vote!

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

 

Bill Kaplan: Kavanaugh, health care and pensions

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

Many Republicans are falling over themselves to show that they care. Wisconsin GOP Senator Ron Johnson wants the Senate to “listen” to Professor Christine Blasey Ford who said Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her three decades ago. Johnson, who earlier said that “30 years ago he (Kavanaugh) would have passed unanimously”, now wants to “look at the evidence …”. Caveat – Johnson single-handedly blocked UW-Madison Law Professor Victoria Nourse from being considered by the Senate for a seat on the 7th U.S. Court of Appeals. He wouldn’t even meet with her.

Wisconsin GOP Governor Scott Walker also wants to show a softer side: “The Senate should absolutely take this seriously (sexual assault accusation against Kavanaugh). … I’m glad we’re going to hear from her.” Meanwhile, Trump tweets personal attacks against Ford: “I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have immediately been filed …”. Shameful! And, GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate will “plow right through” to confirm Kavanaugh. No tweets of protest from Johnson and Walker. Their position seems to be let Ford vent and offer tissues, then confirm Kavanaugh quickly.

Wisconsin GOP “caring” also extends to health care. Walker has trumped Trump by giving the go-ahead to Wisconsin GOP Attorney General Brad Schimel to file a lawsuit to have the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA) declared unconstitutional, including coverage of preexisting conditions. But in his 2018 State of the State Address Walker said: “We want to guarantee coverage for individuals with preexisting conditions.” Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tony Evers said that if Walker really cared he should “drop Wisconsin from this lawsuit today because actions speak louder than empty political promises.” The millions of Wisconsinites that have strong consumer protections under the ACA do not want to go back to when the health insurance carriers were in the driver’s seat.

Along the same lines Walker’s replacement for the ACA would be Trump’s short-term insurance scheme or as Wisconsin Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin says “junk insurance plans”. They offer puny coverage that excludes preexisting conditions. Baldwin has introduced legislation “to overturn the Trump administration’s expansion of junk insurance plans.” She is strongly supported by the American Cancer Association, American Heart Association and national physician groups. Moreover, GOP Governors Larry Hogan (Maryland) and Phil Scott (Vermont) have approved legislation limiting short-term insurance to three months or less. Substandard insurance is not comprehensive coverage.

Finally, Wisconsin GOP Senator Ron Johnson has expressed sympathy for 25,000 Wisconsinites (1.5 million nationally) who could lose their hard-earned pensions because of underfunded pension plans such as the Central States Pension Fund. Johnson “listens” but does not act. He has no legislative solution, unlike Senator Baldwin. A bipartisan House-Senate committee must propose a solution by November 30.

Many of the retired truck drivers voted Republican. I hope that they and moderate (McCain) Republicans will decide to elect Democrats to tackle our problems. Tony Evers, to Walker’s chagrin, has support from two Walker appointees.

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

 

Bill Kraus: Bring the people back in

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

In his recent book “The Fall of Wisconsin,” Dan Kaufman does a thorough job of itemizing all the wonderful things the people of the state and the people they elected did for Wisconsin and the country.

The fall that Wisconsin took from its historical highs was large enough to be worth a book.

Politics and governance everywhere took a tumble as well as both became more professional, less social, and unprecedented waves of big money exerted power.

The political parties became less representative and campaigns became more entrepreneurial.

Politicians turned less to their families, neighbors, and friends for support and more to their pollsters and media experts. The costs of winning went from manageable to astronomical almost overnight.

The people counted less. The money more.

This hit everywhere, but the blow to Wisconsin was harder, because at its historical best Wisconsin was full of people who did count and the people who did count belonged.

This was most visible in Wisconsin, because Wisconsin’s incumbents relied on them more.

Every governor makes thousands of appointments. Every governor has citizen-populated Blue Ribbon commissions. Wisconsin had the most.

Wisconsin had [has?] a system that put together committees of citizens and public figures to work on subjects that were high priority and higher controversy.

Then professionalization set in, and the people went home.

And resentment followed. The halls of the Capitol were no longer full of contributing citizens from business, the professions, and educational institutions of which Wisconsin had a plethora.

Socializing was endemic. The citizens not only knew who their representatives were, they knew where their offices were, and they were welcome visitors when they showed up in them.

A kind of governmental/citizen camaraderie was widespread.

In the reading of a couple of recent political bios [one of which is still a work in process] the names of people who were not in government or politics are everywhere, from the once well-known Kellets and Schlicters to a lawyer like Jack Pelisek or Brady Williamson, or a teacher or union leader who was in somebody’s neighborhood in some part of the state.

The Wisconsin Idea was alive and well and accepting contributions of participation as well as money from one and all.

Without this as a daily, important part of the government and politics, the Wisconsin Idea became more a slogan than a reality.

That was why the the fall in Wisconsin registered with Dan Kaufman.

Big money is not going away nor is the campaign business, but citizen participation, unlike Humpty Dumpty, can be put together again.

— Kraus is a longtime Republican strategist and former co-chair of Common Cause in Wisconsin.

Board of Commissioners of Public Lands: Approves nearly $4.3 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 nearly $4.3 million in State Trust Fund Loans to support four 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:

Village of Gilman, Taylor County / Purchase plow truck / $100,000

  • Town of Jump River, Taylor County / Finance Roadwork / $114,000
  • Town of Lake Holcombe, Chippewa County / Finance bridge replacement and roadwork / $160,000
  • City of Menasha, Calumet and Winnebago Counties / Finance street and building improvements / $3,890,000

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 2018 earnings of $35.7 million provide the sole source of state funding for K‑12 public school library materials.

A list of 2018 library aid received by each public school district is available at: (http://bcpl.wisconsin.gov/docview.asp?docid=28530&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: Communities receive nearly $2.4 million for projects

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

MADISON – The Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) today approved nearly $2.4 million in State Trust Fund Loans to support four 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 Horicon, Dodge County / Finance road reconstruction / $1,775,000
  • City of Kewaunee, Kewaunee County / Finance sewer and water main projects / $340,000
  • Legend Lake Protection & Rehabilitation District / Menominee County / $100,000
  • Village of Trempealeau, Trempealeau County / Improve wastewater treatment plant / $174,000

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 2018 earnings of $35.7 million provide the sole source of state funding for K‑12 public school library materials.

A list of 2018 library aid received by each public school district is available at: (http://bcpl.wisconsin.gov/docview.asp?docid=28530&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.

Book excerpt: “Tommy: My Journey of a Lifetime”

This is an excerpt from a new book published by the University of Wisconsin Press: “Tommy: My Journey of a Lifetime,” by Tommy G. Thompson and Doug Moe. It’s the life story of Wisconsin’s longest-serving governor, first elected in 1986, and his time in Madison and Washington, D.C., where he served as national health secretary in the aftermath of the 9-11 tragedy.

Reprinted by permission of the University of Wisconsin Press. ©2018 by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. All rights reserved.

Buy the book: https://uwpress.wisc.edu/catalogs/fall18.htm

Around that time—December 1985—Kenyon Kies, who was managing director of the Wisconsin Utilities Association, had a holiday party at his office in downtown Madison, and across the room I spotted Jim Klauser, who had encouraged me to forgo a run for governor in 1982 and position myself for 1986. At that moment there was probably no one in Wisconsin whose political abilities I respected more.

I waited until I saw Jim walk into the kitchen to refresh his drink. I followed him.

“Jim?”

“Yeah, Tommy.”

“I’m running for governor, and I need your help.”

“Tommy,” Jim said. “You don’t want to run.”

What Jim was really saying was that he didn’t want to get involved in another political campaign. His lobbying business was becoming very successful. He had just helped push through an important bill for Exxon, and new clients were knocking on his door. Jim was tired, looking at even more work, and felt the last thing he needed was to sign on to my run for governor.

I knew all that, but I also knew I needed him. We had received a report the first week of December from Brian Sweeney, a Republican campaign consultant, essentially an analysis of what my campaign for governor needed to be successful, and his top recommendation was that it needed to be run more professionally.

That evening in Kies’s office, I said, “Yes, Jim, I am running.” I said again I needed his help.

Klauser began to list the reasons why he couldn’t help, and I stopped him. “Think about it over Christmas. I know I can win, but I can’t win without you.”

In early January, Klauser came to see me in my assembly office. “I’ve made my decision,” he said. “I am going to support you. I think you can win. What do you want me to do?”

I said, “I want you to run my campaign.”

“I am not going to run the campaign, Tommy. I don’t have time.”

Instead of pushing him, I figured it would be better to just get him onboard in some capacity. If that happened, knowing Klauser, he might end up running things anyway.

I said, “You know what I would really like you to do? Make damn sure I don’t go into debt.”

I knew that would resonate with Jim. He had talked to me about Jack Steinhilber, who ran in the primary for Bill Steiger’s congressional seat—the one Petri won and I finished second—and Jack had been caught up in the race and found himself something like $35,000 in debt when it was over.

I told Klauser, “I don’t have any money. Very few assets. I’m putting it all on the line with this race. I won’t have the assembly seat anymore. I won’t have much of a law practice, after spending a year campaigning. If I’m in debt, I don’t know how I will ever pay it off. I’ve got three kids. They’re my first responsibility. I can’t go into debt.”

Klauser nodded. “OK, that’s my job.”

Jim was onboard.

He and his wife, Shirley, were in my assembly office the morning I made the official announcement of my candidacy. Jim has said since that I was nervous, but I think it was more that I was excited. It was April 6, 1986. I was practicing the speech in my office. Marlene Cummings, who later became my secretary of regulation and licensing, introduced me on the assembly floor at the capitol. I gave my speech and then I was off on a whirlwind two-day tour of the state.

That first day, after the announcement, we hit Mauston, La Crosse, and Milwaukee and wound up at Cliff and Ceil’s, a restaurant and ballroom in Green Bay that has since closed. A group of builders—builders were among my earliest supporters—was meeting there that night. The next day I was in Rhinelander, Wausau, Superior, Eau Claire, and finally back in Madison, for a rally of my supporters at the Badger Bowl.

It was a great two days. I enjoyed it and fed off the energy of the people who came to see me. I was an official candidate for governor. We had crisscrossed the state in those two days, and that would continue. Occasionally a private plane would be made available for the campaign, but more often we drove, and therein lies a tale.

Back in December, I had received a letter that meant a lot to me at the time and later had a greater impact on the campaign than anyone could have then known.

It was written by John Tries, president of the Milwaukee Police Supervisors Organization. He was writing to tell me his organization was supporting me.

“Our organization has never given its endorsement to any candidate in the past,” Tries wrote. “We are extremely impressed with your past accomplishments and your plans for the future.”

I was grateful, and Tries was to become an important part of that first run for governor. John was a big, tough guy, a Milwaukee police sergeant who was a native of Austria. He had recently injured his back to the extent that he went on disability from his police job. As I remember it, he was tossing his riot gear in the trunk of his car, moved the wrong way, and ripped some vertebrae in his back. In any case, he wasn’t working, and he said, “I’ve really got nothing else to do. I will be your driver.”

I said, “You’re kidding me.”

“No,” John said. “I want to help you win.”

He helped, all right. I had a 1984 Buick with maybe twenty-five thousand miles on it when we started the campaign. It was the only asset I had that was paid for. By the end of the campaign it had over two hundred thousand miles on it. John put most of those miles on that Buick, and I read or slept in the seat next to him. He was a warrior.

He was also fun to travel with. John liked Jimmy Buffett songs, and there is a Buffett lyric that describes “good days, bad days and going half mad days.” That’s what a campaign is like. I recall we arrived late one night at a motel in Sheboygan—we always slept in one room with two beds to save money—and John was checking us in, using my credit card. I came shuffling in as they were finishing up.

“Who are you?” the desk clerk asked.

“I’m Tommy Thompson.”

The desk clerk looked at John, pointed at me, and said to John, “Do you know his name is on your credit card?”

Another time, in Racine, the campaign had booked us into a terrible hotel that was located above a tavern. A band was playing and we couldn’t sleep. There was no question of going somewhere else—there wasn’t money for that. So we got through the night, and in the morning, when John was taking a shower, the bathroom ceiling collapsed. Everything, including John, was covered with plaster.

I think John’s favorite moment in the whole campaign came in a motel room in Waupun when he noticed a little laminated card next to the phone that said, “Please do not pick up this receiver unless it rings.” I don’t know what it meant unless they didn’t allow outgoing calls. John thought it was the funniest thing he had ever seen. Don’t pick up the phone unless it rings! John took the card with him when we left and kept it with him in his wallet until the day he died, which came too early, in 2006. John was just sixty and had battled some health problems. I liked and respected John Tries enough that once I was elected governor I appointed him secretary of the Department of Employment Relations. You log the kind of miles together in a campaign together that we did, and you feel a kinship. John’s memorial was at Turner Hall in Milwaukee. They served Beck’s, his favorite beer, and played Jimmy Buffett songs.

While John and I were bouncing around the state, we also managed to get a small campaign office open in Madison. Jerry Mullins was a businessman who owned quite a bit of property in downtown Madison, including the Park Motor Inn, later the Inn on the Park. He didn’t want to contribute to my campaign, but he liked the idea of a Republican governor. He said there was a basement office in a building adjacent to the hotel that we could use if we cleaned it up. It took some cleaning. We didn’t have any kind of storefront presence—you entered from a side door—but the place had its advantages. Ave Bie and Diane Harmelink could walk across the street from the capitol on their lunch hours or after work, and it was also close to Jim Klauser’s law office. At first Klauser stopped by once a week or so to check the books, but then, as I had hoped might happen, he got more involved despite himself.

One spring day—it was probably late April—we were both in the campaign office one noon when Jim suggested we go next door to the Park Hotel coffee shop for a hamburger. After we ordered, Jim said he thought the campaign needed to bite the bullet and do some heavy spending on advertising leading up to the state Republican convention in Milwaukee in early June. He said we had around $100,000 on hand.

“How much do you want to spend?” I said.

“All of it,” Jim said.

I’m sure I gave him a look. Klauser explained that he felt we needed to win the straw poll at the convention. Despite my statewide grassroots efforts over the past several years, some of the big-money Republicans, the country club Republicans, were either backing Jonathan Barry outright or taking a wait-and-see position. Jim felt a big win for us at the convention would pop Barry’s balloon. And if we won—even though the straw poll was not a formal endorsement—money would not be an issue. We’d be able to raise money. If we lost, well, at least we had given it our best shot.

We didn’t lose. We spent all but a few hundred bucks on a radio and TV blitz, and even though some party regulars tried to sabotage me—they moved the straw poll to Sunday, because some of my rural supporters had to leave Saturday night—we won big. I got 62 percent in the straw poll. Barry got 20. Many of our people stayed an extra day. There was a backlash against the effort to stack the vote against me.

The radio and TV campaign helped, too, but Klauser was not happy with the advertising firm we were using. I found that out a short time later, after giving a speech at the La Crosse Club. I remember a couple of things about that night. Jerome Gundersen and Charles Gelatt, two of the leading citizens in La Crosse, were in attendance. Gelatt approached me after the speech, shook my hand, and said, “I really like you. How much can I contribute to your campaign?”

“Well,” I said, “you can contribute $10,000. That’s the individual limit.”

He was shocked. “I’m not giving you that much!” he said. He shook his head. I don’t know why he even asked me. In the end, I think he wrote me a check for $1,000.

At some point I looked across the room, and there was Jim Klauser. That was unusual. Klauser didn’t get out of Madison much. He said he needed to talk to me. I was going to catch a plane to Superior to give a speech the next morning, and Jim said he would walk me to my car, which he did.

“Good speech, Tommy,” he said. “I wanted to let you know that we released most of the campaign staff today.”

I stopped walking and looked at him. I was shocked.

“You campaign, and I’ll take care of it,” he said. As it turned out, it wasn’t everybody. But a couple of things were going on. Jim was unhappy with the quality of our television spots in the run-up to the convention and went so far as to change the imagery in the last six or seven seconds. They had me looking funereal, Jim said. He found something brighter and spliced it in at the last minute, before the spots aired. Klauser was also unhappy with our campaign manager. They had tussled over the organization of the field staff. Klauser wanted it more hands-on, and the guy said, “I talk to them on the phone. It works.” Jim told me he was intending to fire him, but never got the chance. It turned out the campaign manager was in a romantic relationship with the head of our campaign ad agency. When Klauser said he was changing agencies after the convention, the campaign manager said, “Then I quit.”

Klauser was running things anyway by then, and he was tough. Around this time, one of our fundraisers made the mistake of telling Jim she was wasn’t going to turn over the money she had raised until she was paid. “That money is not yours,” Jim said. “If it is not in the Madison office by noon tomorrow I will get an arrest warrant from the district attorney.” She brought it in. Klauser paid her, and fired her.

We could get by without any particular fundraiser, but we needed a campaign manager. Klauser had talked to Gerald Whitburn, who was involved with Kasten’s Senate reelection campaign, and Whitburn had suggested we get in touch with a guy named Robert “Buzz” Buzinski, a Wisconsin native who had worked as a field representative for the Republican National Committee in states across the country. Klauser flew to Washington to meet with Buzinski. It was almost like destiny. They were having lunch in a D.C. restaurant when a camera crew from a local TV station showed up and said they were trying to do a piece on the “entertainment deduction” on tax returns, which had become controversial. The three-martini lunch was on the way out. The TV crew offered to buy Klauser and Buzinski martinis if they could take some shots of them sipping from the glasses. They didn’t have to ask twice. Jim and Buzz, as it happened, both enjoyed martinis. Buzz signed on to the campaign.

We still didn’t have much staff, or money either, but we gained momentum as the summer went on. Our campaign circulated a three-page memo that pointed out how liberal Jonathan Barry had been during his many years as a Democrat. The ultraliberal Capital Times had given Barry its third highest score out of ninety-nine members of the assembly in assessing his votes on select key issues. The memo was pretty devastating—true, but devastating—and Barry was outraged. It was while he was addressing it in an interview with the Milwaukee Sentinel editorial board that Barry called me “a two-bit hack from Elroy.” I think he knew he was in trouble.

By the day of the primary—September 9—I was feeling confident we would win. Sue Ann and I had dinner that night at the University Club in Milwaukee with Jim and Shirley Klauser and John and Peggy MacIver and afterward went to the Astor Hotel, where the victory celebration was being held. The early numbers were very positive and Klauser was telling me I needed to talk to the television reporters even though my opponents hadn’t conceded yet. I wasn’t sure, but Jim insisted. It worked out well because at one point during the interview, Tony Earl came on and we were together via a split screen. Tony congratulated me and said he was looking forward to the campaign. It was a classy thing to do but a bad move from the standpoint of political strategy: it served to put me on equal footing with the governor. I held my own in the conversation. I think maybe Tony and his people were relieved that Jonathan Barry didn’t win the Republican nomination. They had become obsessed with him, and I was an afterthought. It was probably why their campaign didn’t advertise for several weeks after the primary, another terrible move in hindsight. They still weren’t taking me seriously.

That night at the Astor, after Jonathan and the others had called to officially concede, I addressed my supporters and pointed out that there was still much work to do. “We’ve won the pennant,” I said. “We are now moving on to the World Series.”

They liked that.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” I said, “we are going to sweep the Series.”

Brown County Exec. Flynt: First human case of West Nile virus reported in Brow County

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 27, 2018

Protect Yourself Against Mosquito Bites

BROWN COUNTY, WI – State and local health officials are advising residents to continue to protect themselves against mosquito bites as they announce this year’s first confirmed human case of West Nile virus (WNV) in a resident of Brown County.

The majority of WNV human cases in the state occur during the months of August and September. However, the risk of contracting WNV and other mosquito-borne illnesses is present anytime mosquitoes are active, so it is important for people to be vigilant about preventing mosquito bites throughout the summer and early fall.

The chances of a person contracting WNV are low and most people infected with West Nile virus will not have any symptoms. Those who do become ill may develop a fever, headache, and rash that lasts a few days. Symptoms may begin between three to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. In rare cases, WNV can cause severe disease with symptoms such as muscle weakness, stiff neck, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, paralysis and coma. Older adults and people with compromised immune systems are at an increased risk of severe disease from the virus.

There is no specific treatment for West Nile virus other than to treat symptoms. If you think you have West Nile virus infection, contact your healthcare provider.

WNV is spread to people through the bite of an infected mosquito and is not transmitted person to person. Although few mosquitoes actually carry the virus, tips to minimize your exposure and eliminate breeding grounds for mosquitoes include:

· Limit time spent outside at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.

· Apply an insect repellant with DEET, IR3535, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus to exposed skin and clothing.

· Make sure window and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquito entry.

· Prevent mosquitoes from breeding by removing stagnant water from items around your property, such as tin cans, plastic containers, flower pots, discarded tires, roof gutters, and downspouts.

· Turn over wheelbarrows, wading pools, boats, and canoes when not in use.

· Change the water in bird baths and pet dishes at least every three days.

· Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas, and hot tubs; drain water from pool covers.

· Landscape to prevent water from pooling in low-lying areas, and trim tall grass, weeds, and vines since mosquitoes use these areas to rest during hot daylight hours.

The Department of Health Services (DHS) has monitored the spread of West Nile virus since 2001 among wild birds, horses, mosquitoes, and people. During 2002, the state documented its first human infections and 52 cases were reported that year. During 2017, 51 cases of West Nile virus infection were reported among Wisconsin residents. West Nile virus infections in humans have been reported from June through October.

Surveillance for West Nile virus will continue until the end of the mosquito season.

For more information on West Nile virus: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/arboviral/westnilevirus.htm

Brown County: Groundbreaking for game changing STEM Innovation Center

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Deputy Executive Jeff Flynt
(920) 448-4083

Center Promotes Private/Public Collaboration, Innovation, Entrepreneurship

(Brown County, Wis.) – Governor Scott Walker, Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach, UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary L. Miller and Einstein Project CEO Kelly Ellis helped break ground on the transformative Brown County STEM Innovation Center on the UW-Green Bay campus.

“This STEM Innovation Center is the future of Brown County with regards to helping create long-term, family-supporting jobs,” says Streckenbach. “For me, this day represents being a hands-on partner for providing solutions to help secure our region’s manufacturing future, helping create economic development for years to come, and ensuring all our students have opportunities to be tomorrow’s innovators.”

The Brown County STEM Innovation Center will serve as the home of UW-Green Bay’s school of Engineering, which will address Northeast Wisconsin’s educational training and skills gap of qualified employees to support manufacturing growth and entrepreneurship. Additionally, the space will enable the co-location of The Einstein Project, UW-Extension and Brown County’s Land and Water Conservation departments.

“This community has been asking for engineering and STEM careers for decades,” said Gary L Miller, Chancellor of UW-Green Bay. “Through our partnership with Brown County in the STEM Innovation Center, we established the Richard J. Resch School of Engineering to help meet the needs of this community. This is the first School of Engineering established and based in Northeast Wisconsin, and we believe it will transform the economy for generations.”

The center will be an approximately 63,730 square feet, and received $5 million from Governor Walker’s 2017-19 capital budget, $5 million from Brown County and $5 million in donations through UW-Green Bay for construction. This unique collaboration will have a positive impact on Northeast Wisconsin’s economy and received broad support of the local business community, employers, the State of Wisconsin and the UW System.

“The Einstein Project has long been a leader in STEM education in the state and we were founded on the principle that if education and industry partnered we could do so much more together than alone,” says Ellis. “The STEM Innovation Center project is going to provide wonderful opportunities for the entire community. The collaborative initiatives that will take place in our new center for learning and innovation will impact everyone who lives in the Greater Green Bay area in a meaningful way.”

Brown County and the greater Northeast Wisconsin region have a long history in the manufacturing industry. Manufacturing is the largest employment sector in the region with nearly one of every five workers in Brown County employed in industry. The Brown County STEM Innovation Center will serve as a focal point for the region’s growth plans by providing engineering training to meet Brown County’s 18.5% increase in demand for engineering professionals since 2010 (according to NAICS data) to enable Northeastern Wisconsin to remain competitive in manufacturing. The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS), Baccalaureate and Master’s Engineering Supply and Demand in Wisconsin study determined that in 2013 there was a need for Baccalaureate Degree engineers in Northeast Wisconsin with a demand of 1,110 and supply of eight, resulting in a demand/supply ratio of 134 which is a significantly higher demand than any of the other Wisconsin regions studied.

Bryce acknowledges he’s ‘made mistakes in the past’ in latest TV ad

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1st CD Dem Randy Bryce in his latest TV ad acknowledges he’s “made mistakes in the past.”

The 30-second ad opens with Bryce addressing the camera, saying he’s “a lot of things,” including an ironworker, veteran and cancer survivor.

“And I’ve made mistakes in the past,” he says. “It’s a shame that people feel that if they’ve had some brushes with the law or done something in the past that it’s going to disqualify them from being able to stand up for their neighbors.”

Bryce has been arrested nine times, including three for driving with a suspended license. His record also includes a drunken driving arrest from 1998.

The ad includes footage of Bryce talking with others others on a porch, as he says “people do make mistakes and I was raised to own up to what I did in the past that was wrong.”

“It’s not about who’s the more perfect person to represent you,” Bryce continues as the ad cuts to footage of him standing on a sidewalk in a sunny neighborhood, before jumping back to him addressing the camera. “It’s about who understands the hardships that you’re going to face in order to make your world a better place.”

A Bryce spokeswoman says the campaign is spending $175,000 on the spot.

Bryce backer urges Steil to ‘knock it off’ in new TV ad

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Dem 1st CD candidate Randy Bryce’s latest TV ad features a supporter who demands GOP rival Bryan Steil, “knock it off.”

The spot features Patti, who is identified in the ad as a Kenosha teacher. She was featured in a previous spot that called Bryce’s rival “lyin’ Brian Steil” and has been identified as a campaign volunteer.

In the new ad, Patti says she believes Steil is “nothing but a corporate lawyer who ships jobs to China and Mexico. She goes on to say there are “enough people in Washington that lie” and Steil can’t tell the truth about his occupation.

“How safe is that?” she says to close the spot. “Bryan Steil, you’re not an outsider. You’re more of the same.”

The Bryce campaign didn’t release details on the ad buy.

Bryce campaign: Announces debate participation

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Contact: Julia Savel, 973-525-5579, [email protected]randybryceforcongress.com

RACINE, WI – Today, First Congressional District candidate Randy Bryce announced his participation in three debates. The debates will be held across the district in order to allow voters from every corner of Southeastern Wisconsin an opportunity to hear Randy’s vision for building a bigger table.

The debates are:

  • WisconsinEye in Oak Creek
  • Kenosha News, Racine Journal Times, and Carthage College in Kenosha
  • WCLO, Janesville Gazette, and WFAW-AM in Rock County

“Randy looks forward to speaking to voters directly and sharing with them why his experience as a working person makes him most qualified to represent Wisconsin’s First District,” said campaign manager David Keith. “Randy anticipates having a lively discussion on what is best for the working people in this district– not what benefits billionaires, millionaires, and CEOs. Working folks are the people, like Randy, that build our country and economy. Randy believes they deserve better than what politics has given them today. As we confirm additional details about the debates, Randy promises to continue listening and talking with working people, not just on debate and town hall days, but every day, about how Washington can work better for them.”

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 school. 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: Randy Bryce discusses his past in campaign’s latest television ad

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Contact: Julia Savel, 973-525-5579, [email protected]randybryceforcongress.com

RACINE, WI – Today, the Randy Bryce for Congress campaign released a new ad, titled “Who Understands”, in which Randy discusses his past and explains why he is still the most qualified candidate to represent Southeast Wisconsin. You can find the ad here.

“Randy knows the struggles of the people in this district because he has struggled alongside them for years. Randy never thought he would be running for office – but he stepped up because working families across the district needed someone to fight for them in Washington,” said communications director Julia Savel. “Randy is so much more than his past, yet time and time again, he has owned up to his mistakes and worked hard every day to be someone that his son can look up to. For the past decade, Randy has devoted himself to standing up for the rights of working people. He hasn’t been outsourcing Wisconsin jobs or catering to millionaires and billionaires like his opponent. And that’s the record that matters in this race — Randy understands what working people are going through and they know he will fight for them in Congress.”

About Randy Bryce

Randy Bryce is a U.S. Army veteran, cancer survivor, and union ironworker. He was raised in Southeast Wisconsin, and went to public school. 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: Randy Bryce endorsed by the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin

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Contact: Julia Savel, 973-525-5579, [email protected]

RACINE, WI – Today, the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin endorsed Randy Bryce for Congress, citing his commitment to issues affecting the health and safety of fire fighters and his support of unions in Wisconsin.

“This endorsement is an honor. Having marched alongside my fellow union brothers and sisters from the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin in the fight for working people during the Act 10 protests, their support now means so much to me,” said Randy Bryce. “For too long, Paul Ryan and the Republicans have listened to everyone except Wisconsin’s working people– and I believe his hand-picked replacement will do the same. This needs to change. Good health care is vital when you work a dangerous job. Social Security and pensions are earned with every day of hard work– and they need to be preserved and protected for the working people of our state. We need to create more good-paying union jobs where people can earn a living wage. I know the working people of the First District deserve more than what they have been getting for the past 20 years. I am ready to roll up my sleeves and fight for the people of Southeast Wisconsin.”

“We need to elect more candidates like Randy Bryce to fight for working people in Congress,” said Mahlon Mitchell, State President of Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin. “As a fellow union member, Randy Bryce has the full support and endorsement of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin. Randy knows what it is like to put in long hours in order to put food on the table. Randy knows how important it is to have access to good healthcare. Randy knows how important unions are in order to make sure everyone has a safe workplace where they can go and earn a living wage. And I know when Randy is elected our members can rest assured that they will have true representation in Congress.”

Bryce targets Republican opponent as ‘Lying Bryan Steil’ in new TV ad

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1st CD Dem Randy Bryce goes after GOP opponent “Lying Bryan Steil” in a new TV ad, saying the attorney “has not manufactured anything in his life.”

The 30-second ad opens with the narrator hitting Steil, the general counsel at a plastic film manufacturing firm, as an image of him on the screen says he “worked to send Wisconsin jobs overseas.”

“Lying Bryan Steil has not manufactured anything in his life,” the narrator says, who the campaign identified as a volunteer named Patti. “There’s enough people lying in Washington. We don’t need another one.”

The ad then shifts to focus on Bryce, who she says has “a heart of gold.”

He’s a great dad,” she says. “He will fight for what’s right.”

Bryce campaign spokeswoman Julia Savel said the ad began running last week across media markets in the 1st CD. Savel declined to provide further details on the volunteer in the ad, including where she’s from and her last name, out of concerns for her privacy.

Bryce’s brother backs Steil in latest CLF ad

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The Congressional Leadership Fund today released a second ad in as many days attacking Dem 1st CD candidate Randy Bryce, this time featuring his brother expressing support for Republican candidate Bryan Steil.

James Bryce opens the spot saying he’s been a cop for more than 23 years and FBI assaults against law enforcement have gone up the last few years. He believes it’s “motivated in part by cop-hating rhetoric.”

James Bryce adds he’s been to three police officers’ funerals in the last two years, saying two were shot while trying to protect people from violent criminals.

“When people refer to police officers as terrorists, that hits a little close to home,” James Bryce says as the screen shows a 2012 tweet from Randy Bryce that included the phrase “When police become the terrorists.”

The ad then shows a Randy Bryce mugshot and a headline from a story on his nine arrests.

“I don’t think people want to be represented by someone who’s shown contempt for those in law enforcement,” James Bryce says to close the ad. “That’s one of the many reasons why I’m voting for Bryan Steil for Congress.”

The CLF, which is linked to House GOP leadership, said the ad will run on Milwaukee TV and digital platforms in the 1st CD.

Center for Media and Democracy: Attorney General Schimel withholds documents related to his legal war against the Affordable Care Act

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Contact: David Armiak,  [email protected]
(608) 229-6808

MADISON –The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) filed suit today against Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel and the Department of Justice (DOJ) for refusing to disclose public records related to his high-profile legal war against the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

In February of this year, Schimel and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit, joined by 18 other Republican AGs designed to do what Congress couldn’t — kill the Affordable Care Act. The suit seeks to strike down the law’s individual mandate and would eliminate coverage for preexisting conditions, the ACA’s most popular provision.

CMD submitted an open records request on August 3, 2018 for internal records and communications from the offices of Attorney General Schimel and the Solicitor General regarding the ACA. CMD limited the request to records between January 1, 2018 and August 3, 2018.

On August 20, 2018, the DOJ identified 1,940 relevant emails, but denied CMD’s request outright by claiming it would be “excessively burdensome” to review and redact them.

“Schimel’s case against the Affordable Care Act is of significant public interest. Why he would deny the public information about this controversial suit, which may ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, is unknown. But the citizens of the state deserve answers,” said CMD Executive Director Arn Pearson.

“Wisconsin’s Open Records Law has a strong presumption of public access,” said Pines Bach attorney Christa Westerberg, who is representing CMD. “The Department’s denial is a burden on the public’s right to know on a matter of obvious public concern.”

If successful, Schimel’s ACA suit could result in 17 million people losing their health insurance. Insurance companies could be allowed to reject those with pre-existing conditions or jack up their rates.

Congress attempted to repeal and replace the ACA in 2017, but ultimately could not muster the votes in the Senate. Now Republican attorneys general are using their 527 political organization, the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA), to coordinate attacks on the ACA to weaken it and, with the latest suit, upend it.

Two of RAGA’s top donors, the billionaire Koch brothers, have spent hundreds of millions on the ACA repeal effort since the law was enacted. Koch Industries has contributed close to half a million to RAGA over the last year and a half and $10,000 directly to Schimel’s reelection campaign. RAGA, in turn, has pumped $44,000 into Schimel’s campaign.

“It is puzzling that Attorney General Brad Schimel, the man who created Wisconsin’s Office of Open Government, would deny a reasonable records request that clearly meets the criteria of Wisconsin’s Open Records law,” said David Armiak, a researcher with CMD.

The Center for Media and Democracy is a non-profit investigative watchdog group. Our reporting and analyses focuses on corporate influence and money in politics. We publish ExposedbyCMD.org, PRWatch.org, SourceWatch.org, and ALECExposed.org.

The complaint can be accessed on our website here.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services: Medicare in Wisconsin, 2019

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Contact: CMS Media Relations
(202) 690-6145 | CMS Media Inquiries

Medicare continues to offer seniors and people with disabilities flexibility and choices while providing high quality healthcare services. Whether through Original Medicare (Parts A and B), Medicare Advantage, or the prescription drug benefit (Part D), 1,137,525 beneficiaries in Wisconsin continue to have access to the benefits that Medicare offers.

In Wisconsin in 2019:

  • 101 Medicare Advantage plans are available.
  • 100 percent of people with Medicare have access to a Medicare Advantage plan.
  • $0 is the lowest monthly premium for a Medicare Advantage plan.
  • 100 percent of people with a Medicare Advantage plan have access to a plan with a lower premium than what they paid in 2018.
  • 28 stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plans are available. All Medicare beneficiaries have access to a Medicare prescription drug plan.
  • 100 percent of people with a stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plan have access to a plan with a lower premium than what they paid in 2018.
  • 23 percent of people with a stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plan get Extra Help (also called the low-income subsidy, or LIS).
  • $14.00 is the lowest monthly premium for a stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plan.

2019 Medicare Open Enrollment Important Dates

Medicare Open Enrollment runs from October 15, 2018, to December 7, 2018. People with Medicare should take the opportunity to review their healthcare needs for the upcoming year and determine if changes to their current coverage are necessary. Plan costs change each year, so everyone with a Medicare health or drug plan should check to make sure their plan still meets their health needs and budget. By shopping available plans and comparing costs, beneficiaries may be able to find a Medicare health or drug plan with better coverage or a lower premium in 2019.

September 2018

October 2018

  • Beneficiaries can begin shopping and comparing plans on Medicare.gov starting October 1, 2018.
  • Beneficiaries should watch their mail for notices from Medicare with information about changes in 2019.
  • Medicare health and drug plan 2019 Star Ratings will be available on Medicare.gov on or around October 10, 2018.
  • Medicare Open Enrollment begins October 15, 2018.

December 2018

  • Medicare Open Enrollment ends December 7, 2018.

January 2019

  • Medicare plan coverage for 2019 begins January 1, 2019.

Chris Larson: Starting school

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

Like many other anxious parents across Wisconsin, next week will be my daughter’s first day as a public school student. With this looming milestone comes a lot of gut-wrenching anxiety, both as a parent and as a lawmaker. Like it or not, every parent is staring down the harsh reality of a new school year and what it means for their family. I can’t help but think how her academic experience will be impacted by the Lost Walker Decade of cuts to schools, the vilifying of our public school teachers, and the prioritizing unaccountable private voucher schools over schools that serve everyone.

The values deficit is the $1 billion that has been cut from our neighborhood public schools over the last eight years of which $183 million still remains unrestored. As long as we have these unrestored cuts to public education, Governor Walker cannot claim any kind of budget surplus and our children who rely on a strong neighborhood school will pay the price. This deficit represents smaller class sizes for more focused education, special education programs that kids desperately need, and an increased burden on local tax-base when they are called on to fill the gaps.

In Wisconsin, we now have a Dickensian system where year after year school districts are forced to go hat-in-hand to taxpayers and beg for more funding through ballot referendums. Like Oliver Twist, our school districts’ bowls are empty and they are repeatedly left asking, “more please.” It is unfair for Wisconsin communities to be forced in a situation, by Republicans, where they are left wondering if they can count on funding for their school districts. In the Milwaukee area this fall, 10 school districts are asking taxpayers for a combined $429 million through ballot referendums. That’s on top of the 510 school funding referendums passed since Walker’s cuts to education, representing nearly 5.5 billion dollars. Asking locals, teachers, and others to pick up Walker’s slack is not a sustainable solution for education funding and more and more parents are taking notice.

At the same time, we have asked our public school teachers to give more and more of themselves while compensating them with less and less. Teacher wages are largely stagnant. Even still, public school teachers spend $500 out of their own pockets on supplies for their classrooms each year. Is it any wonder Wisconsin has a shortage of teachers? It has gotten so bad that the GOP controlled legislature has had to lower the bar for teachers’ licensure just to fill positions. Instead, we should be fully restoring cuts to our children’s education and restoring a sense of dignity to our valued educators.

Access to a quality education should not just be for those who can afford it. While over $1 billion has been cut from public schools over the last eight years, Wisconsin taxpayers have spent $1.31 billion in private voucher school funding. This is not a funding gap, this is a values deficit. The fact is, 75% of students who are using the new statewide private school voucher program were already enrolled in a private school the previous school year. Taxpayers should not subsidize private schools while we continue to starve our local, open public schools. A strong public school is the foundation for many neighborhoods and they deserve to have the peace of mind of secure and sustained funding.

So, as I prepare to send my daughter to school for her first year of public school, it is with a keen sense that much more could be done to support her school and teachers. With a realignment of our priorities, we can restore funding back to pre-Walker levels. We can fix the teacher shortage by restoring the dignity that should come naturally to those who dedicate their lives to guiding our kids through how the world works. We can and should finally fix the values deficit that has built up between the public school system and the unaccountable private voucher system.

Each and every one of our kids deserve a school and a state that values them.

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

 

City of Monona: Post-flood lake levels dropping

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Contact:
Leah Kimmell
Monona City Hall
(608) 216-7408
[email protected]

Because of the extensive rain on Wednesday, the level of Lake Monona rose 2”, setting an all-time record of 10” above the 100-year flood level. However, we have seen a decline of 3⁄4” inthe last 24 hours, and there is no rain in the forecast for the foreseeable future. Water is stillflowing into Lake Mendota from its tributaries, and water continues to be released from Lake Mendota into Lake Monona. But with the dry weather, we can expect to see a 1⁄2”–1” drop per day in the level of Lake Monona. Because of the record high level of the lake, however, it will still take many weeks for lake levels to recede, and additional rain will further slow the process.

Residents should not remove sandbags and should continue to monitor their walls for breaches. The City has seen a tremendous response from calls for volunteers, so there is an ample supply of filled sandbags stockpiled at Oneida Park for the time being. We thank all of the great volunteers who have come out to fill and place sandbags over the last three weeks. Additional sandbagging efforts are not needed at this time, but the City will send alerts if efforts are needed in the future.

Residents who have experienced flood damage should complete a 2-1-1 Wisconsin Disaster
Report at https://211wisconsin.communityos.org/damage-report. Reports can also be made by calling 2-1-1; however, the United Way prefers online reports at this time because of the great amount of phone calls they are receiving. All three City of Monona boat launches remain closed until further notice. The launches are located at Winnequah Trail, Tonyawatha Trail, and Lottes Park. A slow-no wake order also remains in effect.
The City will continue to keep residents updated through emergency alerts and updates via the City of Monona website at MyMonona.com, on City social media sites, and on its radio station – WVMO 98.7 FM. Residents can sign up to receive email and text message alerts by going to MyMonona.com and clicking on the “Notify Me” icon, then selecting “Emergency Alerts.”

Clean Wisconsin Action Fund: Endorses Liz Sumner for State Assembly

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Contact: Liz Sumner
Phone: (414) 909-2917
CWAF protects Wisconsin’s clean water and air and advocates for clean energy
FOX POINT – Liz Sumner, Democratic candidate for Wisconsin’s 23rd Assembly District, today issued the following statement:
“When knocking on doors all across the district, I hear one common theme: people are concerned about the future of our natural environment. Not only is this important to them, it’s important to me. I want to see our environment and our state’s greatest assets, like Lake Michigan, protected not only for this generation, but for all generations yet to come. It’s the right thing to do for the people of Wisconsin, and it’s the right thing to do for our economy,” said Sumner.
“Liz Sumner is the candidate who will work to restore common sense to protection of our natural resources. Liz knows that a healthy environment and a healthy economy go hand in hand,” said Mark Redsten, Clean Wisconsin Action Fund Board member.
Liz Sumner is a resident of Fox Point, a small business owner, a current member of the Fox Point Village Board, mother of two young children, and is the Democrat running to represent the 23rd Assembly District in the general election on Tuesday, November 6, 2018.

Clean Wisconsin: Applauds county leadership to initiate well water study for Southwest WI

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Contacts:
Scott Laeser, Water Program Director, [email protected] or (608) 251-7020 x13
Jon Drewsen, Communications Manager, [email protected] or (608) 251-7020 x28

MADISON, WI —Today, Clean Wisconsin applauded the announcement of a new private well water quality study for Grant, Iowa, and Lafayette counties, stating that the study is a significant and long-needed step toward addressing potential drinking water contamination in the region.

“This study is long overdue,” said Clean Wisconsin water program director Scott Laeser. “We have called on the state for almost two years to initiate a study of well water quality in Southwest Wisconsin. We applaud Grant, Iowa, and Lafayette counties for their leadership in stepping up to fund this work.”

The Southwest Wisconsin Groundwater & Geology Study (SWIGG) will look at a broad set of private wells in the three counties to determine the extent of contamination from nitrates and bacteria.

“While other parts of Wisconsin with drinking water contamination have received attention from the state, Grant, Iowa, and Lafayette Counties have quietly dealt with similar issues, despite exhibiting similar risk factors to Northeast Wisconsin,” said Laeser. “The SWIGG study will shed necessary light on whether well water is contaminated in Southwest Wisconsin and if so, what the source of that contamination is.”

For residents interested in learning more about this important work, Clean Wisconsin is hosting a public event will be held on October 17th at 6pm at the Mineral Point Opera House in Mineral Point, WI. Researchers and county officials will be on hand to discuss water quality issues Southwest Wisconsin faces and the study itself.

Both pathogens and nitrate pollution can present serious health risks for citizens that consume contaminated water.  High nitrates are particularly dangerous for women that are pregnant or young children, and pathogens like Salmonella, E. Coli, and Cryptosporidium, which have been found in well water elsewhere, can cause stomach illness and occasionally more serious health issues.

At least 20 percent of wells in each of these three counties have tested positive for coliform bacteria pollution based on current data from the UW-Stevens Point Center for Watershed Science & Education. Lafayette county has the highest rate of contaminated wells, with nearly 30 percent testing positive for bacteria.

“While we do not have a lot of water quality data for this part of the state, the information we do have and the region’s vulnerability to groundwater contamination because of the geology is a warning sign for a more systemic problem in Southwest Wisconsin,” said Laeser. “This study will help to fill in the knowledge gaps so the counties can make sound decisions to address the issue down the line.”

The SWIGG study is funded by Grant, Iowa, and Lafayette counties and will be conducted in collaboration with UW Extension, the Wisconsin Geological & Natural History Survey, the US Geological Survey, and the US Department of Agriculture.

“While the state has made strides in addressing drinking water contamination issues elsewhere in Wisconsin, they have largely ignored Southwest Wisconsin,” said Laeser. “Citizens have been clamoring for action, and county officials have stepped up to the plate.”

CLF ad says Bryce unfit for Congress, cites his nine arrests

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The Congressional Leadership Fund, the super PAC endorsed by House GOP leadership, announced a $1.5 million buy today that knocks Dem 1st CD candidate Randy Bryce as unfit to serve in Congress, citing his nine arrests.

The group said the ad, its first TV and digital spot in the race, will run on TV in the Milwaukee market and on digital platforms throughout the district.

In the spot, the narrator ticks off Bryce’s arrests for drunk driving, disorderly conduct, property damage and theft.

The narrator then says Bryce’s nine arrests may be why he compares “cops to terrorists and supports liberal policies that undermine law enforcement.”

The spot shows video of Bryce’s arrest at a March protest in March over the Dream Act.

“Randy Bryce has no business making the law,” the narrator says to close the spot. “He’s spent his life breaking the law.”

Coalition for a People’s Sheriff: Responds to Schmidt budget request

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CONTACT: Ryeshia Farmer, 414-659-4526

Coalition Releases First Statement Following August Primary

MILWAUKEE–As the County Executive kicks off Budget Open Houses throughout the county, the Coalition for a People’s Sheriff issues the following statement in response to outgoing Sheriff Richard Schmidt’s 2019 Budget Request:

On August 14th, Earnell Lucas was overwhelmingly chosen by Milwaukee voters, ousting Interim Sheriff Richard Schmidt. Now, the Milwaukee County Executive must, in the best interests of the residents of Milwaukee County, determine the budget of the sheriff’s department, as overseen by its exiting administration.

“We, the Coalition for a People’s Sheriff, believe that a county’s budget reveals its priorities and that our elected officials inherit and work in the parameters of those priorities,” said Ryeshia Farmer, organizer for the Coalition for a People’s Sheriff. “Last month, the people of Milwaukee County voted, overwhelmingly, for an administration that would introduce a revitalized and people-oriented style of leadership to the sheriff’s department. Now, County Executive Chris Abele has the opportunity to demonstrate that he sees the will of the voters as a priority, and he can do that by enacting a budget that meets the accountability, transparency, and best practices not seen under Sheriff David Clarke.”

Specifically, the coalition seeks to understand why Schmidt’s budget request indicates that staffing costs and overtime costs are rising simultaneously. In addition, we wonder why the administrative expenditures are skyrocketing from $855,003 in 2016, to $593,808 in 2017, $1,911,326 in 2018 and finally requesting $2,800,468 for the 2019 budget? Lastly, we want to know what the causes of turnover in the sheriff’s department are, if those causes are related to forced overtime labor, and if the office’s turnover is leading to higher costs.

Additionally, the coalition highlights the following issues:

  • Body Cameras: We are at a decision point for body cameras in the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department. As the trial program is set to end next year, we strongly recommend that this program be expanded to every division in the department and made permanent.

  • Training: Recent events have shown just how necessary it is to train sheriff’s deputies on proper procedure and on the department’s jurisdiction. Regarding the training components of Sheriff Schmidt’s budget request, how much on-the-job training do new deputies receive? What determines if a long-term deputy is qualified to provide that on the job training, and how much of the budget goes toward that? Also, what falls under “on-the-job training”?

  • Racial Profiling: Given past practices of racial profiling and recent events involving the Sheriff’s office, how are the saturation patrols prioritized and carried out. Also, how is the sheriff’s department ensuring against racial and other profiling?

  • Mental Healthcare for Incarcerated Persons: The budget mentions that four captains will be assigned to the County Jail as wellness coordinators in order to improve service to inmates with mental health needs. What are their qualifications on mental health? Do they have qualifications regarding mental healthcare specifically for marginalized individuals?

“We urge the County Executive to attain answers to these questions, and to fight for a budget in line with the wishes of the people of Milwaukee — increased training and an end to racial profiling, body cameras for law enforcement, increased mental health and healthcare for incarcerated people, and spending that prioritizes true public safety and wellness for all,” said Ryeshia Farmer, organizer for the Coalition for a People’s Sheriff.

Coffee Klatch with Rep. Taylor 🗓

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RSVP to [email protected]

The Park Hotel
22 S Carroll St
Madison, WI 53703

Common Cause in Wisconsin: 2018 statewide and state legislative candidates who support ending partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin

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Contact:
Jay Heck
Executive Director
608/256-2686 (office)
608/512/9363 (cell)

On August 30th, CC/WI issued a press release announcing that we would be posting the names of the statewide and state legislative candidates in 2018 who support ending partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin.

Since that time we have heard from, or know that two statewide candidates, 33 candidates for state representative to serve in the Wisconsin State Assembly, and eight candidates for the Wisconsin State Senate support non-partisan redistricting reform and, specifically, the “Iowa Plan.”

To view that listing now, go here on the CC/WI website.

During the 2017-2018 Legislative Session, non-partisan redistricting reform was the leading political reform initiative in the media and among citizens throughout Wisconsin. CC/WI helped unite pro-reform legislators and citizens behind a single measure – Assembly Bill 44/Senate Bill 13 – that is modeled after Iowa’s highly successful, 38-year-old redistricting process that takes the partisan politics out of redistricting and delegates the boundary-drawing to a non-partisan state entity that does not utilize partisan political considerations in their task.

This issue has received the unprecedented endorsement of 19 Wisconsin daily newspaper editorial boards and thousands of citizens expressed their support for ending gerrymandering in letters to editors, communications to legislators and by attending one of numerous “reform forums” CC/WI and other organizations organized over 2017-2018 in every part of Wisconsin.

While the legislative leadership continues to oppose this reform and refused to hold even a public hearing during the past legislative session, redistricting reform will be very much an issue during the current election season. The citizens of this state overwhelmingly support this needed common sense reform and it is now a front and center election issue this Fall.

We wanted to make it simple and easy for Wisconsin voters to see which state legislative and statewide candidates support the non-partisan redistricting reform embodied in the “Iowa Plan” by providing  an updated list of those candidates on our website.

Any statewide or state legislative candidate (or their authorized proxy) who supports the “Iowa Plan” and would like to see their name listed on our site should contact CC/WI by phone at (608) 256-2686 (leave a message if no answer), by email or by letter: CC/WI, P.O. Box 2597, Madison, WI 53701-2597.

Citizens can urge candidates to support non-partisan redistricting reform and request that they get their names on this list. Candidates must be pro-active to have their names appear on this site!

We will update the list constantly and have published a link to it in the sidebar of our website for anyone to check to see who is on it and therefore in support of the Iowa Plan.

There is more that you can do to advance non-partisan redistricting reform in Wisconsin in the next few months. First, you can download and print the postcard sized information sheet with questions to ask state legislative and statewide candidates at candidate forums and to distribute to your friends and family to do the same.

Challenging candidates in person or through the media to support redistricting reform is very powerful and effective.

Second, if you haven’t done so yet, please “sign” the online petition in support of the “Iowa Plan” for Wisconsin and urge friends and family to do so as well. We already have about 4,000 “signatures” and would love to have well over 5,000 to present to the new Wisconsin Legislature, after the election, in early 2019.

Let’s make ending partisan gerrymandering a central focus during this election season and finally achieve the redistricting process Wisconsin voters of all political persuasions want and deserve.

Common Cause in Wisconsin: 68 state legislative & two statewide 2018 candidates support ending partisan gerrymandering

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Since CC/WI announced on August 30th that we would be posting the names of all “pro-active” November 2018 election state legislative and statewide candidates who support non-partisan redistricting reform, and specifically, the “Iowa Plan,” we have heard from, or know of, 68 state legislative and two statewide candidates who do so.

A total of 68 Democratic candidates and two Republican candidates support this critical and needed reform measure. We have not heard from any third party candidates to date.

Here is the updated list of supporters, as of this morning, September 24th.

There may be candidates for state office who support redistricting reform but are not yet on our radar screen. Any statewide or state legislative candidate (or their authorized proxy) who supports the “Iowa Plan” and would like to see their name listed on our site should contact CC/WI by phone at (608) 256-2686 (leave a message if no answer), by email or by letter: CC/WI, P.O. Box 2597, Madison, WI 53701-2597.

Citizens can urge candidates to support non-partisan redistricting reform and request that they get their names on this list. Candidates must be pro-active to have their names appear on this site. That shows us and the voters of Wisconsin that you are “paying attention” to this issue. So no complaints that CC/WI “should have known” of your support for this reform, please!

We will update the list constantly and have published a link to it in the sidebar of our website for anyone to check to see who is on it and therefore in support of the Iowa Plan.

There is more that you can do to advance non-partisan redistricting reform in Wisconsin in the next six weeks before the November 6th election.

First, you can download and print the postcard sized information sheet with questions to ask state legislative and statewide candidates at candidate forums and to distribute to your friends and family to do the same.

Challenging candidates in person or through the media to support redistricting reform is verypowerful and effective.

Second, if you haven’t done so yet, please “sign” the online petition in support of the “Iowa Plan” for Wisconsin and urge friends and family to do so as well. We already have just over 4,000 “signatures” and would love to have well over 5,000 to present to the new Wisconsin Legislature, after the election, in early 2019.

Let’s make ending partisan gerrymandering a central focus during this election season and finally achieve the redistricting process Wisconsin voters of all political persuasions want and deserve.

On Wisconsin!

Conservatives for a Clean Energy Future: Wisconsin state leaders named clean energy champions

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Contact: Jeff Gaunt, 847-714-4014

Lt. Governor Kleefisch and Representative Novak recognized for leading on conservative energy policy solutions

MADISON, Wis. – Conservatives for a Clean Energy Future (CCEF), a national nonprofit focused on state-based clean energy efforts, today announced that Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and State Representative Todd Novak (R – Dodgeville) have been recognized as 2018 Conservative Clean Energy Champions.

CCEF’S Conservative Clean Energy Champions are state and local policymakers across the country who have shown consistent and exceptional support for conservative policy initiatives that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch has been an ardent supporter of the state’s renewable energy sector. She has worked to educate the public and her fellow state leaders about the economic benefits of clean energy, highlighting the significant impact that affordable and reliable renewable sources like bioenergy and solar power have had on the growth of rural Wisconsin. Similarly, Representative Todd Novak has supported renewable energy development throughout the state and in his district, which is home to the Quilt Block Wind Farm. He is dedicated to helping position Wisconsin as an energy leader for decades to come, recognizing homegrown clean energy’s role in drawing investments and innovation to the state.

“Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and Representative Todd Novak are strong conservative leaders dedicated to paving the way for a clean energy future,” said Mark Pischea, president of CCEF. “These Champions have been vocal supporters of conservative energy policy solutions that emphasize clean, renewable energy and energy waste reduction. It’s polices like these that spark true innovation, create jobs, protect ratepayers and grow the economy in states like Wisconsin.”

CCEF has recognized 44 Champions across 14 states. To learn more about the 2018 Conservative Clean Energy Champions, visit www.conservatives4energy.org.

Dan Kohl releases new TV ads focusing on outsider status, rejection of corporate PAC money

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6th CD Dem candidate Dan Kohl is out with three new TV ads in which he declares he’s not a politician, won’t accept corporate PAC money and wouldn’t support Nancy Pelosi for House speaker.

It’s part of a $280,000 campaign that began airing on cable, broadcast and digital platforms in the Madison, Milwaukee and Green Bay markets Tuesday.

The first 15-second ad, “This Money,” begins with an old man in a suit standing in a wind tunnel booth with the label “Corporate PAC Money” above him as he flails his body and howls while dollar bills fly circles around him.

The scene is then frozen and a red stamp that reads “career politician” is placed over the screen.

Kohl then introduces himself and says “I’m not a politician, and I won’t take money from corporate PACs.”

The second 15-second spot, titled “This Limit,” commences with the same old man, this time riding a mechanical pony to carnival music with a sign behind him that reads, “Limit: 1 Ride.”

The pony stops, prompting the old man to place another coin in the machine to keep it going. The screen then freezes and the same “career politician” stamp is overlaid on the screen.

Kohl then enters then introduces himself and again claims he’s not a politician.

“I’ll fight for term limits, and I won’t serve for more than eight years,” he says.

The last 15-second spot, titled “This Vote,” features the old man sitting at a table to vote. The camera pans to two other men who whisper into the old man’s ear, telling him to press the button to vote “yay,” which he does.

As with the other ads, the scene then freezes and the stamp “career politician” is placed over the screen, and Kohl introduces himself and says he wouldn’t vote to make Pelosi, D-Calif., speaker because “both parties need new leaders.”

See the ads:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W99Qbd-ccP0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mj-AEREP3-8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vmHp9kf-nU

Dane County Exec: 2018 Dane County youth survey results show gains; however, emotional health challenges persist

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 For more information contact: Casey Slaughter Becker, 608-267-8823

MADISON – The Dane County Youth Commission released the results from the 2018 Dane County Youth Assessment (DCYA) today. The assessment, administered every three years to keep pace with youth trends, shows encouraging declines in high school alcohol use, however, troubling increases in emotional health issues persist.

This year, more than 21,000 students in seventeen school districts completed the survey. The DCYA asks 7-12th grade youth about their attitudes, behaviors, and experiences across life domains to provide educators, policy-makers, and funding bodies data to inform grant writing, program development and public policy.

The survey has been administered since 1980 and includes topics related to health and nutrition, alcohol and other drug use, emotional and mental health, sexual activity and knowledge, bullying experience, out-of-school time activities, employment, and many other risk and positive behaviors engaged in by youth in the Dane county community.

Among positive trends is that high school youth report a decline in alcohol use in the past 30 days, decreasing to 22% in 2018 from 32.6% in 2015. Reported alcohol use among high school youth over a 12-month time frame has continued to decline with 31% reporting use in 2018, compared to 35% in 2015, and 43% reporting use in 2012.

Additional positive indicators include a decrease in high school bullying and use of tobacco cigarettes, regular youth participation in volunteer activities and exercise, high parent interest and support, and increasing opportunities for high school youth who want to work being able to find employment.

“The Dane County Youth Assessment reports some promising improvement in areas related to alcohol abuse, tobacco cigarettes, and high school bullying, among others,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “However, we cannot ignore the persistent emotional health concerns that our youth report struggling with, particularly among young women, LGBQ, and low-income youth. The results speak to the continued need for school based mental health services that Dane County has supported and expanded over the years.”

In the 2018 DCYA, high school youth report increased rates of anxiety, and suicidal thoughts or ideation from previous surveys.  High school females, youth who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, or Questioning their sexual orientation (LGBQ), and youth living in low-income households report higher incidences of emotional health issues when compared to their peers.

Responding to survey questions about persistent worrying, feeling on edge or anxious, and that problems felt so high they could not be handled, 35.6% of high school youth report feeling anxious “often or always” compared to 25.7% of youth in 2012. Considering the same cluster of anxiety questions:

  • 47% of high school females compared to 23.6% of high school males report feeling anxious often or always;
  • Youth who identify as gay or lesbian (63%) report higher levels of anxiety compared to youth who identify as heterosexual (30.8%);
  • Low-income youth report more anxiety (69.5%) compared to higher income peers (28.8%).

Reported suicidal ideation in the past 30 days for middle and high school youth has increased to 20.7% in 2018, up from 12% in 2012. High school females (26%), high school youth who identify as gay or lesbian (42%), and low-income high school youth (46%) report having suicidal thoughts at higher rates than their peers.

Reported depression, defined as sustained sadness that interfered with their activities in the past 12 months, remains in a 4% range for high school youth from 19.4% in 2012 to 23.5% in 2018. Reported rates of depression are higher for high school females (34%), youth who identify as gay or lesbian (52%), and low-income youth (62%).

An emerging issue raising concern is the use of e-cigarettes by Dane County high school youth, with 19% reporting use of vapor electronic cigarettes in the last 30 days (compared to16% in 2015).  In addition, 55% of high school youth believe there is “slight to no risk” to e-cigarette use, compared to 18% of youth who perceive little risk in using tobacco products.  According to the Surgeon General, there is evidence showing that young people who use e-cigarette products are more likely to switch to regular cigarettes in the future.

“The Youth Commission thanks our partners in making this important community project possible” said Commission Chair, Meghan Benson. “The results of this survey will be used extensively to understand the needs of youth in our community and plan effectively and collaboratively to meet these needs.”

The cost of the DCYA is $31,571, paid for by the Dane County Youth Commission and Dane County Department of Human Services ($7,411), Public Health Madison & Dane County ($4,000), United Way of Dane County ($4,000), the City of Madison ($4,000) and participating school districts ($12,160).

The Youth Commission plans to hold a conference in November 2019 inviting national researchers who have analyzed DCYA data to share published research results.

The 2018 Dane County Youth Assessment Overview Report and Middle and High School Grade Reports are available at https://www.danecountyhumanservices.org/yth/yth_asmt_2018.aspx.

Dane County Exec: Dane County to waive construction permit fees for flood damage victims

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Josh Wescott 608-266-9069

Chair, Dane County Board of Supervisors                                                            County Executive’s Office                 

Dane County to Waive Construction Permit Fees for Flood Damage Victims

 Help for Those Hit by High Waters, Resolution Authorizing Dane County’s Emergency Declaration Slated for Action This Evening

Dane County homeowners who suffered severe damage as a result of recent flooding rains will get a bit of a break in the cost of rebuilding and repair thanks to action by County Executive Joe Parisi and the County Board of Supervisors. A resolution authorizing Dane County’s State of Emergency Declaration will be considered by the County Board this (Thursday) evening. A separate resolution will waive zoning permit, erosion control, and other county fees related to building projects for those who experienced damages in the recent floods. The exemption is similar to one adopted by county government in the aftermath of the 2005 Stoughton area tornado.

“Recent floods have affected countless Dane County families, with thousands of reports of homes and businesses damaged, “County Executive Joe Parisi said. “Waiving these fees is a small gesture county government can do to make life a little easier for those who face the long, hard road of recovering from this historic flooding.”

“The damage and costs that the property owners in Dane County have incurred due to the rainfall events in August and September are enormous,” County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan said. “Waiving County permit fees is the right thing to do to help alleviate mounting costs to rebuild and repair properties that have been damaged in the last few weeks.“

While repairs like replacing dry wall or carpet don’t require a zoning permit, more extensive home rebuilding projects resulting from flood damage could otherwise require one. Those who reside in areas under the jurisdiction of county zoning, primarily townships, would benefit from the fees being waived.

According to recent estimates, Dane County experienced well over $150 million in damages from recent heavy rains and subsequent lake flooding.  A recent preliminary damage assessment showed  over 1650 homes and businesses suffered varying degrees of damage countywide. Those figures are being shared with both the state and federal governments for consideration of potential Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) dollars to support the local rebuilding effort. Representatives of FEMA are expected to visit flood damage in various parts of Wisconsin in the coming weeks.

Dane County Exec. Parisi: Announces $3.17 million in funding recommendations for seven affordable housing development proposals

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 Casey Slaughter Becker, 608-267-8823

MADISON – Over $3 million in awards from the Dane County Affordable Housing Development Fund (AHDF) has been recommended for seven proposals in Madison, Sun Prairie, and Fitchburg, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced today. Pending final approval by the Dane County Board, this year’s proposals could create 451 units of affordable housing, and 61 units of market-rate housing, for a total of 512 new housing units.

In addition to providing more affordable housing, this year’s recommended proposals seek to create more housing options for veterans, individuals experiencing homelessness, individuals re-entering the community from incarceration, individuals with developmental disabilities, and seniors. The resolution authorizing the awards will be introduced to the Dane County Board for their consideration on Thursday.

“Affordable housing is a critical component to increasing opportunity for all of Dane County’s residents,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “The public-private partnerships that the County’s Affordable Housing Development Fund creates continue to make a meaningful impact in this area.”

The Dane County Affordable Housing Fund had $3,173,508 in funding available in 2018. Eleven responses to this year’s AHDF request for proposals (RFP) were received, with the requests totaling over $6.3 million.

The largest recommended award this year is $1,043,963 to Gorman Company for their proposed Valor on Washington development at the former Messner property on East Washington Ave. in downtown Madison. The 59-unit development would be entirely comprised of two and three-bedroom units, providing a needed boost to the availability of family housing in Dane County.

50 of Valor’s 59 units will be targeted to persons earning 30-60% of the Dane County Median Income (DCMI), and all available units will target families with a veteran member of the household. In the event no veteran families are on the housing waitlist, families in need of affordable housing who meet remaining rental criteria will be able to apply.

The remaining recommendations for 2018’s awards are:

  • $34,352 to the partnership of Mirus and Movin’ Out for a 70-unit development on Acewood Blvd. in the City of Madison, with 59 units targeted to persons earning 30-60% of the Dane County Median Income DCMI. The development proposes 1, 2, and 3 bedroom units, with a target population of tenants who either have a permanent disability or income eligible veterans.
  • $591,346 to MSP for a 112-unit development on Cottage Grove Rd. in the City of Madison, with 95 units targeted to persons earning 30-60% of the DCMI. The development proposes 1, 2, and 3 bedroom units, with a target population of persons re-entering the community from incarceration, veterans, and/or individuals experiencing homelessness or at-risk of becoming homeless.
  • $403,200 to Stone House Development for an 80-unit development on South Fair Oaks Ave. in the City of Madison, with 68 units targeted to persons earning 30 – 60% of the DCMI. The development proposes 1, 2, and 3 bedroom units, with a target population of families that are experiencing homelessness or at-risk of becoming homeless, and veterans.
  • $403,513 to CommonBond for a 54-unit development on Tree Lane in the City of Madison, with 51 units targeted to persons earning 60% or less of the DCMI. The development proposes 1 and 2 bedroom units, with a target population of seniors and veterans, with some units targeted to individuals who have a permanent disability and are experiencing homelessness.
  • $300,000 to Gorman Company for a 64-unit development on Main St. in the City of Sun Prairie, with 55 units targeted to persons earning 60% of the DCMI. The development proposes 1, 2, and 3 bedroom units, with a target population of veterans and families with low-income.
  • $397,134 to J.T. Klein for a 73-unit development on Fish Hatchery Rd. in Fitchburg, with 100% of the units targeted to persons 55 and older earning 30 – 80% of the DCMI. The development proposes 1 and 2 bedroom units, with a target population of seniors.

The County’s Affordable Housing Development Fund  was created in 2015, and is part of the County’s commitment to address our housing gap by partnering to increase affordable housing units for people in need across Dane County.

Since 2015, the County has contributed to the anticipated creation of 1,020 units of affordable housing in municipalities throughout Dane County, with 36% of the units located outside the City of Madison.

The proposals for the 2018 Affordable Housing Development Fund were reviewed, and recommendations put forth, by a County staff team led by the County Executive’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development.

Dane County: Executive, Board of Supervisors, announce $18 million to aid flood recovery, lake health, future resiliency

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For more information contact:
County Executive’s Office: Casey Slaughter Becker, 608-267-8823
Dane County Board of Supervisors: 608-266-5758

Dane County Executive, Dane County Board of Supervisors, announce $18 million to aid flood recovery, lake health, future resiliency

MADISON – In the wake of historic late summer flooding that resulted in millions of dollars of damage in Dane County, over $18 million in new initiatives will be included in the 2019 Dane County Budget to ensure Dane County can recover, rebuild, and remain resilient during future flooding events, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan announced today.

The initiatives focus on moving water more quickly through Dane County’s chain of lakes – Mendota, Monona, Waubesa, and Kegonsa – and the tie that binds them, the Yahara River; restoring damage to natural areas due to flooding; mitigating the amount of stormwater that enters our lakes from urban and rural areas, and improving Dane County’s resiliency and preparedness with new equipment to blunt the impact of future flooding.

“This summer’s historic rains brought flooding and destruction to many areas throughout Dane County,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “Our charge moving forward is to come together as one community to ensure that we will recover, continue to partner to improve our lakes and waterways, and strengthen our infrastructure and emergency response to become even more resilient in the future.”

“Preparing for a resilient system that reduces chances for flooding and increases our ability to recover from heavy rain events is essential,” said Dane County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan. “These budget proposals help Dane County move in that direction.”

Maximizing Water Flow Management
The faster water moves through the Yahara River, the quicker lake levels decline. Currently, it takes two inches of rain two weeks to leave the Yahara Lakes system. Nearly a month after August’s rains lake levels on Lake Monona were eight inches higher than its downstream neighbor, Lake Waubesa.

To maximize water flow, the 2019 County Budget will invest over $2.5 million to analyze and address potential pinch points in the river where the flow may be constricted. Dredging decades of compacted sediment in the river, expanding the County’s weed cutting fleet and debris removal equipment, and analyzing and addressing bridge crossings that can collect debris and slow water flow will all be included.

The budget also includes $75,000 to conduct real time modeling of the benefits and considerations for various lake level scenarios. The modeling will assist the anticipated community conversation led by the Lakes and Watershed Commission, recently introduced by the County Board and endorsed by the County Executive, on how to best manage lake levels given an increased frequency of heavy rains.

Flood Recovery
From Black Earth to Belleville, August’s flash flooding decimated homes, roads, and the places communities recreate and rely on for the quality of life Dane County offers. August’s rains turned Black Earth Creek, Pheasant Branch Creek, the Sugar River, and other gently flowing waterways into raging rapids. The 2019 County budget will create a $1 million matching grant for park and trail repair, as well as a $500,000 stream bank restoration fund to help communities recover, reduce future erosion, and promote a healthy habitat for fish and other wildlife.

Natural Mitigation
Wetlands are Mother Nature’s best remedy for reducing the devastation caused by flooding. One acre of wetland, typically three feet deep, can hold 325,000 gallons of floodwater. In the Towns of Dunn and Pleasant Springs, the Door Creek Wetlands prevented worsening flood conditions for homes in those communities.

The 2019 County Budget will create a brand new Dane County Conservation Reserve Program to help convert lands at a greater risk of run-off into prairies and grasses that can hold more soil and keep water where it lands. The new $750,000 program will pay farmers and property owners to convert portions of their lands to this permanent cover. An additional $9 million is included in the 2019 budget to permanently secure properties that will improve the county’s ability to reduce stormwater run-off and improve water quality in key areas.

While the magnitude and frequency of extreme rainfall is anticipated to continue due to climate change, it’s important to recognize that rainfall increases explain only 50% of the observed increases in the Yahara River stream flows. The remaining half is due to the increase in urban and suburban stormwater runoff into the lakes from streets, parking lots, and rooftops as the county has developed over the last 20 years.

The average annual stormwater runoff from undeveloped agricultural land is about 2 inches per year, compared to stormwater runoff from a developed lot of 5 inches – about 120,000 gallons per acre per year. Since 1990, this amounts to an increase of 3.2 billion gallons of water run-off. To expand Dane County’s partnership with municipalities that wish to improve the quality and reduce the volume of urban stormwater runoff, the 2019 County Budget will fund an addition $1 million for the Urban Water Quality Grant Program, and will add stormwater volume control as an eligible project type.

Improved Resiliency/Preparedness
The increased frequency of flash flooding events in our quickly growing, more urbanized area means Dane County Government needs to enhance its emergency response capabilities. County government issued over 400,000 sandbags and deployed two sandbagging machines during the August rains and subsequent flooding. The 2019 County budget will include dollars to acquire three more fast-fill sand bagging machines, another 250,000 sandbags, and equipment that can re-open roads faster and maintain emergency operations if the power goes out.

The County also plans to look at more roads prone to flooding, and explore raising their elevation to prevent future flooding. The 2019 budget includes $200,000 to raise Highway W in the Town of Christiana, a route that was underwater on separate occasions this summer.

Additional funds for emergency responders are included as well. The Sheriff’s Office will receive $80,000 to purchase a second airboat, watercraft that proved invaluable when flooding of Black Earth Creek inundated the Village of Mazomanie, and required a number of residents to be evacuated quickly.

The County’s 911 Center will receive funds for a new web-based phone communication system, used during Hurricane Harvey, that allows callers seeking help to report their emergency through a website when 911’s lines are full. And a new $25,000 investment included in the budget will help with emergency housing for those with special needs who need to be moved from harm’s way in a short time.

DATCP: Applications accepted through November 2 for dairy processor grants

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Media Contacts: Rick Hummell, 608-224-5041 [email protected]wisconsin.gov
or Bill Cosh, Communications Director, 608-224-5020

MADISON – Wisconsin dairy processors are invited to apply for Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Dairy Processor Grants intended to foster innovation, improve profitability and sustain the long-term viability of Wisconsin’s dairy processing facilities. DATCP is accepting applications through November 2, 2018.

“The demand for quality Wisconsin dairy products continues to grow,” said Kathy Schmitt, director of DATCP’s Agriculture and Food Center. “To meet the demand, dairy processors need to be innovative, efficient and adaptable. They need to be able to meet a number of regulatory requirements. These grants are designed to help them do so.”

The Dairy Processor Grant is customizable for each processor and can be used to hire consultants to address a wide range of business needs including food safety, staff training or modernization. Eligible applicants must operate a licensed dairy processing plant located in Wisconsin which is engaged in pasteurizing, processing or manufacturing milk or dairy products. Recipients will be chosen through a competitive selection process.

A total grant up to $50,000 is available per dairy processor per year. The dairy processor is required to provide a match of at least 20 percent of the grant amount.

Find application materials at https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/Growing_WI/DairyDevelopment.aspx Persons having additional questions can contact Juli Speck at 608-224-5134 or [email protected]

Wisconsin’s dairy industry contributes $43.4 billion annually to the economy. DATCP’s Farm Center provides services to the dairy industry and other sectors including business planning, financial planning and technical assistance. Learn more at https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/Growing_WI/FarmCenterOverview.aspx

DATCP: Cut flowers to be focus of Specialty Crop Field Day

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Media Contacts: Rick Hummell, Communications Specialist, 608-224-5041 [email protected]
Bill Cosh, Communications Director, 608-224-5020 [email protected]

MADISON – Individuals interested in learning how to grow, harvest and market cut flowers are invited to attend a specialty crop field day Wednesday, Sept. 19, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., at Greenlight Farm in Prairie Farm.

“We’ll be covering production techniques, flower varieties, markets for cut flowers, harvesting techniques and more, and all attendees also will receive a packet of related resource materials to take home with them,” said Kietra Olson, manager of DATCP’s specialty crop program, which is coordinating the event.

“Our specialty crop program hosts field days around the state that focus on different specialty crops, and for this field day, we’re focusing on flowers,” said Olson. “We’re pleased to have the field day hosted by Greenlight Farm, which specializes in the production of cut flowers.”

Located in northwestern Wisconsin, the family owned Greenlight Farm grows more than 40 varieties of flowers which are sold to wholesalers, florists and through a subscription service. Visit Greenlight Farm’s website here.

Specialty crops are defined as “fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture).”

The cost to attend is $20, which includes lunch. Persons interested in attending can register at http://somethingspecialwi.com/events/details/cut-flower-field-day-1663. The registration deadline is September 16.

For more information, contact Kietra Olson at [email protected] or Angie Sullivan at [email protected]

For more information about DATCP’s specialty crops program, visit: https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/Growing_WI/SpecialtyCrops.aspx

DATCP: Depopulated elk at Richland County farm test negative for chronic wasting disease

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Media Contacts:
Leeann Duwe, Communications Specialist, (608) 224-5005
Bill Cosh, Communications Director, (608) 224-5020

MADISON – The Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory confirmed that no additional elk from the depopulated farm in Richland County tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD). On August 16, a team comprised of Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and USDA-Wildlife Services staff coordinated the humane depopulation of the farm’s 11 elk. All 10 adult elk were tested for CWD.

The 20-acre elk farm had been quarantined since May 31 when DATCP confirmed a two-year-old female elk tested positive for CWD. According to the herd owner, one month prior to passing away the elk had exhibited seizures. The owner will receive a state indemnity payment after completing required cleaning and disinfection of the farm. The farm will remain fenced and is not allowed to have any CWD-prone animals for at least five years.

CWD is a fatal, neurological disease of deer, elk, and moose caused by an infectious protein that affects the animal’s brain. Testing for CWD can only be performed after the animal’s death. For more information about CWD visit DATCP’s website. DATCP regulates deer farms for registration, recordkeeping, disease testing, movement, and permit requirements. To learn more about deer farm regulations in Wisconsin, visit DATCP’s farm-raised deer program. The Department of Natural Resources also provides resources for CWD and monitors the state’s wild white-tailed deer for CWD.

DATCP: New federal law puts credit freeze fees on ice

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

MADISON – Good news for anyone looking to lock down their credit to protect their identities: starting today, a new federal law makes all credit freezes free and extends fraud alerts from 90 days to one year.

“A freeze on your credit account is one of the strongest tools we have to protect against financial identity theft,” said Michelle Reinen, Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). “We hope all Wisconsin consumers consider taking the time to lock down their accounts.”

To simplify the process of establishing these protections, each of the three major credit bureaus – TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian – were required to create a webpage for requesting fraud alerts and credit freezes. Those pages are available now:

TransUnion: https://freeze.transunion.com

Equifax: www.freeze.equifax.com

Experian: www.experian.com/freeze

The law will provide a number of services including:
Free account freezes: Placing a credit freeze with the major credit bureaus restricts most access to your credit file, locking out identity thieves who may try to open new accounts in your name. You will receive a PIN number when you place the freeze and it will remain in place until you lift it. Before this new law was signed, freezing an account with a credit bureau required fees that varied by state, plus an additional fee to unfreeze an account.

Free account freezes for minors: The new law will also allow parents and legal guardians nationwide to freeze the credit file for a child under age 16. Prior to the new federal law, Wisconsin had a law to allow guardians to create and immediately freeze a credit report for minors.

Extended fraud alerts: For consumers who want to protect their credit histories without completely locking down the account, a fraud alert is a special message on a credit file that states the consumer is or may be a potential identity theft victim. It requires businesses to take extra steps to verify the identity of an applicant before issuing lines of credit or service. Fraud alerts will be extended to a year (from 90 days) and remain free to place.

Credit monitoring for military members: Within one year, the credit reporting agencies must offer free electronic credit monitoring to all active duty military members.

To learn more about fraud alerts and credit freezes, read DATCP’s Credit Report Security Freeze fact sheet.

For additional information, visit the Consumer Protection Bureau at https://datcp.wi.gov, call the Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-422-7128 or send an e-mail to [email protected] Connect with us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wiconsumer or Twitter: @wiconsumer.

DATCP: Recognizes National Cyber Security Awareness Month with daily safety tips

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

MADISON – October is not just a time for black cats, jack-o-lanterns, and bed sheet ghosts…it is also National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Given our reliance on mobile devices and the increasing number of web-connected devices we are welcoming into our homes, Wisconsin consumers are asked to use this month to consider ways to stay protected from scam artists looking to trick you and treat themselves to your personal information and hard-earned money.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) will recognize this campaign through a cyber safety tip each weekday in October, with each week addressing a different theme. The agency will release each daily tip through the Bureau of Consumer Protection’s Facebook and Twitteraccounts.

To assist media partners that may wish to cover the cyber tip topics, DATCP will send out a release each Thursday in October with the next week’s messages (the first week’s tips are included on the second and third pages of this advisory).

Media partners can contact Jerad Albracht (Senior Communications Specialist, 608-224-5007,[email protected]) if they would like to speak with a Bureau of Consumer Protection representative about the campaign or about a specific tip.

DATCP: Scams 101: Twenty-somethings are not immune to fraud 

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

MADISON – College students never get scammed, right? Wrong. In fact, younger people who reported scams to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2017 lost money significantly more often than older consumers.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) asks college students to study up on common scams, recognize the risks they present, and learn about ways to stay protected.

“College-aged consumers who fell for financial scams in 2017 had a median loss of $400, which is a significant amount of money for a student who may need to set aside cash for textbooks, electronics, or rent,” said Michelle Reinen, Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The last thing a student wants to think about is scam protection, but given that there is real money on the line, it can’t be ignored.”

Many young people believe they are safe from scams because they are more web-savvy than older consumers, but con artists still hit victims hardest by phone (70% of 2017 fraud reports to the FTC involved contacts by phone). Younger consumers need to be on the lookout for unexpected contacts and solicitations and should be aware of “imposter scams”: threatening calls that claim to come from government agencies or well-known businesses (often utilities and tech companies) demanding money or personal information. Students may want to consider downloading a call-blocking app on their phone in order to limit these contacts.

Identity theft was another major issue for consumers last year, with credit card, employment, and utility-related fraud driving the majority of these complaints. College-aged consumers may be facing their first credit offers, finding their first jobs, or paying their first utility bills, so they need to be particularly cautious in responding to requests for information relating to these issues. They should start developing a habit of monitoring their credit reports to look for any inconsistent or unexpected entries. A consumer can access one free copy of their credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies each year by visitinghttp://www.annualcreditreport.com.

Scam education is not about knowing the intricacies of each and every fraudulent operation. Many scams are the same at their core but are packaged in a unique way. The best way to stay protected is to familiarize yourself with some of the main fraud themes and to learn how to spot the common “red flags” that run through these operations.

  • DATCP’s “Ten Tips to Avoid Fraud” fact sheet is an excellent place to start your scam education.
  • Discussing news stories about financial scams and the common red flags is an important part of awareness and prevention. Students or family members with questions or concerns about consumer issues should check out the consumer protection and identity theft fact sheets on the DATCP website. They can also reach out to DATCP’s Consumer Protection Hotline (800-422-7128;[email protected]) for guidance.

Some of the red flags that are common among many scam operations include:

  • Requests from strangers for personally identifiable information. Never share sensitive information in an unsolicited phone call or in response to an unsolicited email or text message.
  • Requests for wire transfers. Never wire money to someone you don’t know.
  • Requests for payment by prepaid debit or gift card. Be extremely suspicious of requests to make payments using prepaid debit cards or store gift cards, and remember that government agencies and utilities will never request payment by iTunes or Google Play gift cards.
  • Requests for you to cash a check on their behalf. If a stranger asks you to cash a check and send them back a portion, the check is fake and you will be on the hook for the full amount and any associated fees when the bank discovers the fraud.

For additional information or to file a complaint, visit the Consumer Protection Bureau athttps://datcp.wi.gov or contact the Consumer Protection Hotline.

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

DC Wrap: Axios editor says ‘blue tsunami’ possible this election cycle; MU Law poll finds Trump’s numbers dipping

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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, Sept. 14-20

This woman is willing to come forward and tell her story and we should listen to her.
– U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, in an interview with WTMJ-AM Milwaukee radio host Steve Scaffidi, saying the Senate Judiciary Committee should hear from California Professor Christine Blasey Ford and U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Ford is accusing U.S. Kavanaugh of sexual assault  while they were in high school. The committee later invited Ford and Kavanaugh to testify on the allegations.

Before the Judiciary Committee takes any further steps on a lifetime appointment to our highest court, the FBI must reopen its background investigation of the nominee to include this serious sexual assault allegation and ensure the Senate has all the facts.
– U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin on Twitter Wednesday. The Madison Dem earlier in the week had said Ford and Kavanaugh should appear before the committee. Her new call came after Ford’s attorneys in a letter Tuesday night argued an FBI investigation should come before she appears before the committee to ensure senators are “fully informed,” per national media reports. The FBI had closed an investigation into Kavanaugh’s history, though Dems have urged the agency to reopen it.

This week’s news

— Axios Editor-in-Chief Nicholas Johnston says he’s anticipating this midterm cycle will mark a “blue wave” election, and he’s on the lookout for signs it may turn into a “blue tsunami.”

Johnston, who spoke at a WisPolitics.com luncheon at UW-Milwaukee’s Zilber School of Public Health this week, said while he had previously referred to the cycle as a “blue ripple” — denoting his team’s reporting the House would flip — further polls and data points make him “feel confident” a blue wave us on the way. And he’s watching to see if that could turn both the House and Senate, as well as possibly down-ballot races.

He also said Wisconsin appears to track with those broader, national trends in the upcoming general.

President Trump was the first Republican presidential candidate since 1984 to win Wisconsin. But now he’s under water, according to the polls.

Asked whether the midterms are about Trump, Johnston responded that “everything’s about Trump.”

“The way the White House has approached this election, they’re making it about Trump,” he said. “The way they’ve approached this election is not a base-broadening election but a get-out-the-vote election, making this about immigration, making this about the wall, making this about cultural issues to get those core Trump voters out.”  

And he referenced a focus group Axios conducted in Ohio last week of “change voters,” or voters who supported President Obama and then Trump, or Mitt Romney then Hillary Clinton.

Johnston noted the Obama-Trump voters largely were motivated by their desire for “something different,” and they said they “would be open to voting for Democrats” this cycle.

Meanwhile, he noted a “key group” of Trump voters that Axios had been struggling to model, known as the “never-Hillary independents,” are also trending more toward the Democrats now.  

Those voters, who voted for Trump because they didn’t want to support Clinton, are generally suburban and rural white men, Johnston said, though he noted tracking their income demographics has been difficult.

“That is a key sort of swing demographic, I think, and we found those also in the Trump-Obama voters and what we’re seeing in those is they are trending more towards Democrats now sort of as a vote against Trump and a vote against everything again,” he said.  

 

— The new Marquette University Law School Poll found President Trump’s numbers dipped from August.

Now, 42 percent of registered voters approve of his job performance, while 54 percent disapprove. In August, that split was 45-51.

Poll Director Charles Franklin in unveiling the poll results Tuesday noted that Trump’s standing with Republican voters had slipped. Last month, 87 percent approved of the job Trump was doing. But that dropped to 81 percent this month, which Franklin said was the first time Trump has dipped into the low 80s among Republicans during his presidency.

Among independents, Trump’s approval was unchanged at 41. But his disapproval number inched up to 54 this month, compared to 52 in August.

Meanwhile, Dem voters were more enthusiastic about voting this fall than Republicans.

Last month, 69 percent of Republicans said they were very enthusiastic to vote, compared to 67 percent of Dems. This month, 75 percent of Dems said they were very enthusiastic about voting, compared to 64 percent of Republicans. Other than last month, Dems have had an advantage on that question of between 4 and 10 points on this year’s previous surveys.

Franklin said that number typically will bounce around as the campaign season progresses.

— The poll also found House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, upside down with likely voters. Forty-two percent had a favorable impression of him, while 49 percent didn’t.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson’s split was 41-37.

Ryan isn’t seeking re-election this fall, and Johnson has said he doesn’t intend to run for a third term in 2022.

— In the U.S. Senate race, Dem U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin was backed by 53 percent of likely voters, while 42 percent supported GOP rival Leah Vukmir.

Last month, it was 49 Baldwin, 47 Vukmir.

Along likely voters, Baldwin’s favorability split was 48 percent to 40 percent, compared to 46-42 a month ago, while Vukmir’s was 26-38 after coming in at 30-29 last month.

The survey was in the field Sept. 12-16. The sample of 800 registered voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. That included a pool of 614 likely voters that had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percent points.

The sample was 46 percent Dem and 45 percent Republican. Last month, it was a plus-2 GOP sample.

See the poll results.

 

— Baldwin and Johnson have partnered on a bill to name a Milwaukee post office after of one of the city’s pioneering civil rights activists.

The legislation, introduced Tuesday, would designate a Milwaukee post office the “Vel R. Phillips Post Office Building” in honor of the former Wisconsin secretary of state who passed away earlier this year. A companion bill, authored by Milwaukee Dem U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, cleared the House last week.

In a statement this week, Baldwin, D-Madison, called Phillips — the first female judge in Milwaukee County and the first African American elected to statewide office in Wisconsin — someone who “paved the way for other Wisconsinites to help make a difference in people’s lives.”

 

And Johnson, R-Oshkosh, in a statement called the bill “just one meaningful way that we can honor her years of hard work and sacrifice.”

 

— U.S. Rep. Ron Kind has called on Gov. Scott Walker and AG Brad Schimel to withdraw from a lawsuit seeking to eliminate the Affordable Care Act.

The La Crosse Dem’s request follows a lawsuit Wisconsin and 19 other states filed in federal court earlier this year. The lawsuit argued the ACA is invalid due to Congress’ decision to eliminate the act’s individual mandate under the GOP tax overhaul bill last year.

 

Schimel and Texas AG Ken Paxton later filed a preliminary injunction against the feds asking their request be granted by Jan. 1, 2019, when the individual mandate’s tax penalty is officially eliminated under the tax overhaul law.

In the filing, the two argued the ACA’s individual mandate forces individuals to purchase insurance they don’t need and compels states to spend millions to comply with the law.

 

Kind wrote in a letter this week to Walker and Schimel that the lawsuit’s success would “threaten the health care coverage for millions of Wisconsinites who live with a pre-existing condition” and put more than 220,000 Wisconsinites in jeopardy of losing health coverage they purchased through the ACA.

 

“It is unconscionable to think that the Governor and Attorney General would willingly put the lives of over half of our state at risk, all while forcing Wisconsinites to foot the bill for this appalling lawsuit,” Kind said in a statement earlier this week. “Instead of taking away health care for people with pre-existing conditions, we need to work together to improve the quality, affordability and accessibility of health care in Wisconsin.”

 

— The U.S. Senate has voted to pass bipartisan opioid crisis response legislation, which includes provisions from Baldwin.

The Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 passed Monday on a 99-1 vote, with GOP Sen. Mike Lee of Utah opposed. It includes more than 70 provisions from multiple committees.

This comes at a time when opioid overdoses are killing more people in Wisconsin than car crashes — 883 in 2017, according to the Department of Health Services. For nearly 20 years, that number has been on the rise, with over seven times as many deaths in 2016 as in 2000.

And first responders last year transported nearly 1,000 Wisconsin seniors with suspected unintentional opioid overdoses.

The bill aims to provide new solutions to these and other drug-related problems in Wisconsin and around the country. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill would authorize $7.9 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services, and other agencies.

Baldwin wrote several of the provisions as part of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

These include: the Opioid Response Crisis Act, which expands a targeted grant program; a provision to fight against infectious diseases related to opioids; and the RESTRICT Illicit Drugs Act, which would up preventative measures at international mail facilities.

“In Wisconsin, we have seen a growing problem of methamphetamine abuse in our state and a spike in fentanyl overdose deaths,” she said in a statement. “That is why I have worked to provide more resources and flexibility to help Wisconsin fight this epidemic, and to stop the flow of illicit drugs, like fentanyl, meth and illegal opioids, coming from other countries into America.”

The House and Senate will need to combine their versions of the bill before it’s sent to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.

Johnson’s “Stopping Overdoses of Fentanyl Analogues Act” was not included in the bill, but it’s possible it could be added to the final version in the conference committee. It aims to help the Drug Enforcement Agency to more quickly schedule fentanyl analogues as they’re identified.

“Communities across our state have been devastated by the scourge of opioid addiction. I’m pleased that the Senate came together in a bipartisan fashion to pass this important bill to combat the opioid epidemic on multiple fronts,” Johnson said in a statement. “To improve upon the work of the Senate, I will continue to work with my colleagues on the SOFA Act.”

Posts of the week

ICYMI

Marquette poll: Tammy Baldwin opens wide margin over Leah Vukmir in U.S. Senate race

Tammy Baldwin defends Tomah VA record and introduces veteran supporters, including Medal of Honor recipient Gary Wetzel

PolitiFact Wisconsin examines Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s Supreme Court voting record

Rep. Kind hosts roundtable focusing on safeguarding rural economy

Pension Premium Relief for Charities Left Out of Tax 2.0 Package

VIDEO: Kind discusses trade, tariffs

Debate on new tax cuts undercut by GOP election pressure

Wisconsin Senators Introduce Legislation to Designate the Vel R. Phillips Post Office Building in Milwaukee

New bill seeks to delist gray wolves

New bill would give small businesses a $10 million exemption from online sales tax collection

Bill Would Put Brakes on US States‘ Rush to Tax Internet Sales

DC Wrap: Duffy’s gray wolf bill advances in House; Pocan to meet with ICE officials

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Quotes of the week

This growingly rogue agency is significantly off its mission.
– U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, as quoted in a Channel3000 article in response to reports that Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested of 83 people in Wisconsin over the last week, including 44 who had prior criminal convictions and 16 who did not. Pocan, who previously introduced legislation to disband ICE, said in a statement he’s planning to meet with officials from the agency Thursday. He also demanded more information on those who had been detained without a prior criminal record or those who had “minor offenses including traffic violations.”

I still don’t understand why the White House has refused to reopen the background investigation, but now that there are more allegations … it seems like the call should be stronger than ever to reopen that.
– U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, call for reopening the FBI investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Her comments in Milwaukee came Monday, one day after a second woman, Deborah Ramirez, alleged sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh, but before a third woman, Julie Swetnick, came forward Wednesday. Kavanaugh is testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday, with a vote scheduled for Friday.

On the heels of Senator Baldwin not having the time to meet with Judge Kavanaugh, yet having time for a fundraiser with Dr. Ford’s lawyers, we now have additional uncorroborated attacks on Judge Kavanaugh being irresponsibly published by the Fake News media.
– Republican U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir, in response to Baldwin’s comments. She referenced an upcoming fundraiser Baldwin had planned with California professor Christine Blasey Ford’s two attorneys — though the campaign has said both lawyers were dropped from the event after they began representing Ford, who was the first to publicly accuse Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. Ford is also testifying Thursday before the Judiciary Committee.  

This week’s news

— U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy’s legislation seeking to delist the gray wolf has been sent to the full House floor after clearing a committee this week.

The bill aiming to remove the gray wolves from federal threatened and endangered species list across the continental United States passed the House Natural Resources Committee on a 19-15 vote Wednesday.

“Wisconsin farmers are now one step closer to having the legal means to defend their livestock from gray wolves,” Duffy said in a statement.

The Wausau Republican, as well as U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin, have been vocal in their support for delisting the gray wolf. The three last year introduced legislation that would nix gray wolves as endangered in various Great Lakes states and Wyoming.  

The Obama administration in 2012 first delisted the gray wolf in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. In 2014, the wolves were returned to the federal endangered species list after a lawsuit, resulting in the end of wolf trapping and hunting.   

— Duffy also touted the House’s unanimous passage of two of his resolutions aiming to make additions to the National Register of Historic Places.

The first resolution asks U.S. Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke to add the Lumberjack Bowl to the register.

The second resolution, brought by Duffy and U.S. Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner, Mike Gallagher, Glenn Grothman and Ron Kind, asks Zinke that Rib Mountain also be added to the National Register of Historic Places.

“Paul Bunyan was a larger than life figure who still embodies the frontier spirit and an important part of Wisconsin’s history,” Duffy said in a statement about his second resolution. “I’m thankful that my Republican and Democrat colleagues unanimously approved my resolution to officially recognize Rib Mountain as his rightful burial site.”

— U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner’s office says the Menomonee Falls Republican has been in communication with the Walker administration over his federal online sales tax bill that would affect Wisconsin’s plan to collect the taxes.

The bill is in response to a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June allowing states to collect online sales taxes from retailers without a physical presence in the state. Wisconsin’s Legislative Fiscal Bureau has projected the state could collect an additional $90 million in the current fiscal year if it began collecting the tax Oct. 1. It would then bring in an estimated $120 million annually.

The Walker administration has previously said it plans to begin collecting those sales taxes Oct. 1. A Sensenbrenner spokesman said the congressman “has been working on Internet sales tax policy for a long time and we’re been in communication with the Walker Administration during the process.”

The office of Gov. Scott Walker referred comment to the state Department of Revenue. A DOR spokeswoman said the state is still planning to start collecting the taxes Oct. 1 and has been reaching out to retailers to alert them. But she declined to comment on how the bill could impact the process and said the agency hasn’t been in contact with Sensenbrenner’s office.

Sensenbrenner’s legislation, introduced earlier this month, would require states to begin collecting the tax after Jan. 1 and bar them from retroactively collecting sales taxes on remote sellers for sales prior to the court decision on June 21.

In an interview last week with Bloomberg Tax last week, Sensenbrenner said if his bill is signed into law, states that began collecting the tax before Jan. 1 would have to refund it to the seller. The seller would then need to refund it to the purchaser.

Sensenbrenner’s bill would also create an exemption for remote sellers with gross annual receipts less than $10 million in the nation. The state Department of Revenue under an administrative rule in July created an exemption for smaller retailers. Under the rule, retailers must have annual sales of at least $100,000 in Wisconsin or at least 200 transactions before having to collect the sales tax.

The bill is currently awaiting a markup in the House Judiciary Committee. The spokesman said Sensenbrenner expects a markup before the end of the year.  

— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin has introduced a bipartisan bill to up transportation access across the nation.

The bill — called the “Connecting Opportunities through Mobility Metrics and Unlocking Transportation Efficiencies Act” — would require the federal Department of Transportation to give states access to data on the accessibility of different modes of transportation to various destinations, including health care facilities, jobs, affordable housing areas and more.

“This bipartisan legislation is about investing in better and more efficient transportation so workers and families can get to job hubs, health care services and other important destinations, and keep our Made in Wisconsin economy moving forward,” the Madison Dem said in a statement.

— Baldwin this week is also pushing a bill targeting maternal health care coverage.

The “Maximizing Outcomes for Moms through Medicaid Improvement and Enhancement of Services Act” would extend Medicaid coverage for women after giving birth; up the Affordable Care Act’s access to primary care providers; and expand pregnant women’s access to doula care, among other things.

“Wisconsin is seeing troubling increases in maternal and infant mortality, so we need to do everything we can to make sure women and families have access to quality, affordable health care,” she said in a statement.

— U.S. Rep. Ron Kind has cosponsored a bipartisan effort to make available more assistance to veterans facing domestic violence.

The Violence Against Women Veterans Act would create a National Task Force on Domestic Violence to determine how to provide support to veterans in those situations, as well as connect violence shelters and the Department of Veterans Affairs to better offer services.

“We need to do everything in our power to ensure women and children in Wisconsin are safe from harm,” the La Crosse Dem said in a statement. “Opening communication between the VA and community resources for domestic violence survivors will help identify the unique challenges veterans face in crisis situations, and better serve their needs.”

Posts of the week

One down, seven to go! Rachel and I say goodbye to Evita today as she starts her freshman year of college. We already miss you, Evita!

Posted by Congressman Sean Duffy on Monday, September 24, 2018

ICYMI

Tammy Baldwin calls for White House to reopen Brett Kavanaugh background investigation

Know your candidate: Democrat Tammy Baldwin, running for U.S. Senate

Lawyers for Brett Kavanaugh accuser no longer hosting Tammy Baldwin fundraiser

Wisconsin Senate race: 6 things you need to know about the Tomah VA scandal

Video: Sen. Tammy Baldwin on the Middleton shooting

Ron Johnson presses administration to end state Medicaid ‘shell games’

Know your candidate: Republican Glenn Grothman, running for 6th Congressional District

Know your candidate: Republican Mike Gallagher, running for 8th Congressional District

Online Tax Bill Will See Action This Year, Rep. Sensenbrenner Says

Leah Vukmir finds ally in Sean Duffy as she seeks northern Wisconsin votes in Senate race

House Committee Advances Duffy Bill to Drop Wolf Protections

Pocan addresses flood relief during Reedsburg visit

Capital City Sunday: Leah Vukmir & Congressman Mark Pocan

DC Wrap: Gallagher says he’ll continue efforts to overhaul ‘broken’ Congress

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Join WisPolitics.com on Wednesday for a Q&A at the U.S. Capitol with House Speaker Paul Ryan. The event starts at 4:45 p.m. ET. See more details and RSVP here.

Quotes of the week, Aug. 31-Sept. 6

The Democrats have more than enough information to understand that this is a highly qualified jurist that should be the next Supreme Court justice.
– U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, praising President Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, in an interview on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.” Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee began this week.

Today, my colleagues in the Senate asked a crucial question: “What is the GOP hiding?” Why won’t they let the VAST MAJORITY of Kavanaugh’s paperwork be made public? #WhatAreTheyHiding #StopKavanaugh
– U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, on Twitter, referencing a recent White House decision to withhold thousands of pages of documents from Kavanaugh’s time with the George W. Bush administration, though more documents were released Monday night. National media reports indicate more than 400,000 pages had previously been handed over to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

If Trump succeeds with this sabotage, insurance companies will again be able to deny coverage or charge higher premiums for more than 130 million Americans with a pre-existing condition.
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, on Twitter in opposition to a lawsuit brought by 20 states, including Wisconsin, seeking to strike down the Affordable Care Act. A U.S. judge heard oral arguments this week in the case, which argues the ACA can no longer stand given Congress, through its December 2017 tax overhaul, removed the individual-mandate tax. The federal DOJ has said it wouldn’t defend the ACA in court. Proponents have argued striking down the law would turn over control to states, which are better suited to handle health care.

This week’s news

— U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher says he’ll continue championing efforts to overhaul an “all so broken” Congress in the wake of two GOP House members facing indictments from the federal Department of Justice.

The Green Bay Republican was active during his first term in working to “drain the swamp” through legislative efforts such as instituting congressional term limits and ending the amount of time members of Congress spend fundraising for reelection.

And he said Congress needs to look at the influence of money in politics as well as the constant re-election cycle following indictments of U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., surrounding misuse of campaign finances and U.S. Rep. Chris Collins, R-NY, for insider trading.

“The influence of money gets worse every single year, and that’s not the way it should be,” he said in a recent interview with WisPolitics.com. “I think we want people in elected office to spend every waking moment thinking about how they can legislate, how they can represent their constituents and not what can I do so I can raise more money for re election and use my office as a stepping stone or a way to get rich.”

In talking about the issue, Gallagher referenced former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal lawyer, as examples that show “how many influence peddlers there are in D.C.”

Manafort was convicted in August for a series of charges related to financial fraud, while Cohen pleaded guilty to charges including tax evasion and violating campaign finance law.

The freshman rep also pledged to continue his efforts to “send a signal that this isn’t a career” by pushing to end congressional pensions and proposing lobbying limits. Gallagher had introduced legislation aiming to establish a five-year ban for members of Congress from engaging in lobbying at the federal level.

“If we continue business as usual in the swamp, in D.C., we are going to continue to get suboptimal results, and, on big issues, we are going to keep punting to the next generation — and that’s my generation,” the 34-year-old former Marine said. “That’s unacceptable.”

— On trade, Gallagher downplayed the Trump administration’s threats to leave Canada out of a potential NAFTA substitute as “more of a negotiation tactic right now than an actual final agreement.”

Gallagher said that while he has only seen the Trump administration’s talking points on a deal that would create a bilateral trade agreement between the U.S. and Mexico, “the devil will be in the details.”

While the U.S. and Canada have resumed efforts to renegotiate NAFTA, an agreement Trump has called one of the worst trade deals ever made, the president tweeted Saturday that “there is no political necessity to keep Canada in the new NAFTA deal.”

“If we don’t make a fair deal for the U.S. after decades of abuse, Canada will be out,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Congress should not interfere w/ these negotiations or I will simply terminate NAFTA entirely & we will be far better off.”

Gallagher added he has been hearing concerns from 8th CD manufacturers and farmers who have seen price increases as a result of steel and aluminum tariffs imposed earlier this year.

He called tariffs “taxes that distort the free market” and said — referencing a Green Bay manufacturer — the increased prices often get passed down to the taxpayer.

— Meanwhile, Gallagher attributed Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election to weak foreign policy under past administrations that allowed for a “permissive environment.”

But he praised the Trump administration’s “very hawkish” approach to dealing with Russia, referencing defensive assistance to Ukraine and recent sanctions rolled out in response to a lethal chemical attack in the UK.

“If we are strong with Russia abroad, we also deter their willingness to attack us here at home,” the House Homeland Security Committee member said.

On election security, Gallagher noted the influence of cyber actors could be fought through better communication between federal and state governments.

Gallagher also said Congress is beginning to turn its attention to what he thinks is a bigger problem — Chinese influence and efforts to undermine the U.S. economy.

“Rather than putting tariffs on our allies… it’s [best] to unite the free world in opposition to the predatory practices of China,” he said.

— GOP U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir knocked U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin this week for refusing “to perform a basic function of her job and meet with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.”

The Madison Dem announced in July she would oppose the nomination of Kavanaugh, who was before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week to begin the public hearing on his nomination.

Still, Baldwin’s campaign said the senator has always planned to meet with the nominee and has reached out to the White House to schedule a meeting. The campaign said Baldwin was awaiting a response from the White House on possible dates the senator has suggested.

Vukmir, R-Brookfield, on Tuesday also pledged to meet with every Supreme Court nominee if elected.


— U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson has introduced a bill aiming to shore up protections for chemical facilities.

The legislation, called the “Protecting and Securing Chemical Facilities from Terrorist Attacks Act of 2018,” aims to improve the Department of Homeland Security’s Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards program.

“This bill reauthorizes the CFATS program, which regulates ‘high-risk’ chemical facilities to reduce the risk of terrorist attacks,” said Johnson, R-Oshkosh. “In addition to reauthorization, it introduces management reforms to the CFATS program to bring much-needed regulatory relief to the U.S. chemical industry without compromising the safety and security of these facilities.”

— U.S. Rep. Ron Kind has called for an investigation into the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau following the resignation of a top student loan official.

Former Student Loan Ombudsman Seth Frotman stepped down last week because the Trump administration has “turned its back on young people and their financial futures,” per his resignation letter.

Kind, D-La Crosse, requested in a letter that the Office of the Inspector General open an investigation into issues Frotman brought up as he resigned from his post.

“Now more than ever, students need to feel confident that the CFPB is looking out for the best interests of student borrowers, not for powerful special interests,” Kind wrote.

Posts of the week

ICYMI

‘UpFront’: Moore advocates cautious approach to impeaching Trump if Dems win House

Sen. Ron Johnson: 30 Years Ago, Kavanaugh Would Have Passed Unanimously

Wisconsin U.S. Senate race: Tammy Baldwin, Leah Vukmir clash on health care

Baldwin Seeks to Overturn Trump Rule on Short-Term Health Insurance Plans

Glenn Grothman vs. Dan Kohl: Donald Trump is key figure in hotly contested House race

Rep. Kind urging Wisconsinites impacted by storms to contact his office

DC Wrap: Ryan undecided on future after Congress, says businesses should ‘be patient’ through Trump administration tariffs

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Quotes of the week, Sept. 7-13

Part of the joy in so many families is introducing the new generation to hunting, to fishing, to hiking, boating, all sorts of things.
– U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, touting Congress’ need to reauthorize the critical Land and Water Conservation Fund, which provides federal dollars to further conservation efforts. The fund is set to expire Sept. 30. Republican U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir said in a statement to WAOW Baldwin “pretends she’s on the side of our sportsmen.”

My guess is they’re not really nuts about those efforts.
– U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson in comments to The Weekly Standard following a meeting with White House trade adviser Peter Navarro last week. Johnson, a co-sponsor of a bill that would limit the president’s ability to impose tariffs on the grounds of national security without congressional approval, told reporters the bill hadn’t come up during their meeting. But he said the administration’s “probably not real nuts” about the legislation.

This week’s news

— Speaker Paul Ryan says he still hasn’t decided what he’ll do after he leaves the House.

While the Janesville Republican says he has plans to be a volleyball coach come January, he added he’ll figure out the rest once his term is officially up.

Ryan also said he doesn’t have any regrets about his time in Congress, telling the crowd at a WisPolitics.com Q&A in D.C. yesterday he’s “really, really at peace with things.”

“I’m honored to have been able to get our team to put together an agenda, to take it to the country, then to have unified government and the opportunity to put this agenda in place,” he said.

And he touted a series of bills that cleared both chambers so far this session, including the tax overhaul effort, heightened defense spending and legislation to expand veterans’ access to VA-funded health care, among other things.

Ryan said while he’s leaving Congress, he “won’t divorce myself from politics and policy.”

“I’m a cause guy,” he said. “I’m going to be working on the causes I care about in some other capacity.”

 

— Ryan said companies affected by the tariffs should “be patient” as the Trump administration continues pursuing its trade policies.

While he said he doesn’t like tariffs, he agrees the U.S. needs trade agreements with its North American and European allies that “fit the 21st century.”

After that, he said, the U.S. can “rally the developed world” to put pressure on China to “play by the rules.”  

“So I think the idea and the strategy of — it’s hard ball, it’s tariffs, it’s tough talk — but if it results in good agreements with our allies and a unified developed world front to go get China to play by the rules, then that’s a pretty darn good outcome,” he said. “So I would simply say, be patient for that.”

Asked if the advice also applies to farmers, Ryan said yes, referencing recent conversations he’s had with Wisconsin ag producers who “like the end game and they like the fact that the president is trying to get a fairer deal at the end of the day for the country.”

— Ryan also blamed rising deficits on entitlement spending.

“The issue is entitlements,” he said. “It always has been and always will be.”

Recent CBO reports show over the first 11 months of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, the deficit was $895 billion, $222 billion higher than the last fiscal year.

But Ryan defended the tax cuts within the massive GOP tax overhaul package President Trump signed into law in December. Noting that revenues have increased 1 percent so far, he said the nation will see more corporations stay in the U.S. along with new jobs and better living standards that mean more “people that are coming of poverty and paying taxes.”

“Let’s keep our eye on the ball, which is we need to get control of our entitlement programs and the good news in that story is good reforms means we can better fulfill the mission of these important programs, health and retirement security, without bankrupting the country,” he said.  

See a CSPAN video of Ryan’s comments.


— U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan says the idea of impeaching President Trump is largely a “moot conversation” given the current makeup of Congress and its leadership.

The Town of Vermont Dem, who in early 2017 brought up the possibility of impeachment on the House floor, told reporters at his Madison office this week that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian involvement in the 2016 election is “flowing extremely well” and the best thing Dems can do is let it run its course.

“I think this is the best way to let it happen, and let’s get as much information as possible,” he said. “But Paul Ryan’s not going to let this Congress do anything to affect this president, so it’s kind of a moot conversation in many ways.”

Asked about the prospect of impeachment if Dems win the House in November, Pocan said Congress would first need to “change some of the players” and then wait for more information from the Mueller investigation “that’s going to be most relevant” to continue talks around impeachment.

Both, he said, “are very likely to happen at this point.”

Hear Pocan’s comments to reporters.

See more in Monday’s PM Update.


— U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy is again pushing legislation to remove gray wolves from the federal endangered species list.

The Wausau Republican, as well as U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin, have been vocal in their support for delisting the gray wolf. The three last year introduced legislation that would nix gray wolves as endangered in various Great Lakes states and Wyoming.  

The Obama administration in 2012 first delisted the gray wolf in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. In 2014, the wolves were returned to the federal endangered species list after a lawsuit, resulting in the end of wolf trapping and hunting.   

Duffy in a statement touted the effort, saying Wisconsin officials “know what’s better for our state’s ecosystem better than activist judges in Washington.”

“I’m proud to introduce bipartisan legislation to delist the gray wolf because Wisconsin farmers deserve to be able to protect their livestock, and they should not suffer because of the decisions made by an overreaching federal government a thousand miles away,” he said.

 

— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin is calling on Speaker Paul Ryan and the House to include a permanent ‘Buy America’ commitment in the chamber’s water infrastructure legislation.

This standard would require water infrastructure projects funded through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund only use American-made iron and steel.

While the Senate version of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) which has passed the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee includes Baldwin’s permanent ‘Buy America’ requirement, it is not included in the House version of the bill.

In further efforts to advance this legislation in the House, Baldwin has sent a letter to President Trump, who has previously spoken in support of the bill, asking him to ensure that there is a permanent ‘Buy America’ commitment in the final version of legislation he receives from the House.

 

— Dem U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore has introduced a bill to expand federal dollars for implementing new water treatment technologies.

The legislation is a companion bill to U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s “Water Technology Acceleration Act,” and would look to bolster funding for state and local governments.

Moore, D-Milwaukee, said in a statement the bill would “ensure communities have the resources they need to test and implement new water technologies that keep our water clean and our children healthy.”

“Inaction is unacceptable at a time when thousands of cities across the country, including Milwaukee, have drinking water with unsafe levels of lead,” she said. “We must unlock this innovative research to solve our nation’s water challenges.”

 

— U.S. Rep. Ron Kind is calling on lawmakers to implement stricter limits on subsidy payments under the farm bill.

The La Crosse Dem’s call comes as members of the House and Senate have begun meeting to reconcile differences between the versions of the farm bill that cleared the chambers in June.

Kind in April had sent a letter to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office claiming wealthy farmers are reorganizing their operations to receive Title I subsidies, which are meant to provide price and income support to certain producers.

The CBO responded last week with a letter that Kind says “proves that Washington is lavishing huge taxpayer subsidies on millionaires and billionaires, leaving Wisconsin’s small and family farmers behind.”

“The Farm Bill’s Title I section is an unacceptable misuse of taxpayer dollars, and must be fixed before it leaves conference committee,” Kind said in a statement. “This is Washington incentivizing poor behavior.”


— Kind is also spearheading cosponsoring legislation aiming to expand mental health care access to veterans.

The “Veterans Mental Health Accessibility Act” would allow veterans to access mental health services through the Department of Veterans Affairs from hospitals and nursing homes. Veterans currently lose their priority status within the VA for mental health care after five years, according to Kind’s office.   

“Our veterans have earned and deserve the best quality care we can provide, including comprehensive mental healthcare,” Kind said in a statement. “This important bill will help provide Wisconsin veterans streamlined access to mental health services within the VA, and help the VA better address the needs of our veterans – regardless of when they served our country.”

Posts of the week

ICYMI

Sen. Tammy Baldwin hosts roundtable discussion with Wisconsin hunters

Baldwin touts the importance of federal outdoor program in jeopardy

Wisconsin U.S. Senate race: Leah Vukmir and Tammy Baldwin exchange barbs on Tomah VA scandal and health care

Wisconsin U.S. Senate race: Tammy Baldwin, Leah Vukmir headed to crucial stage of campaign

60 Percent of Baldwin’s Campaign Contributions Are from Outside Wisconsin

Flooding Update, Tariffs, Farm Bill With Rep. Ron Kind

Rep. Pocan not sure how much federal aid for flooding will come

Ron Johnson Talks Tariffs With Peter Navarro

Rep. Duffy discusses farm aid

Welders wanted: Military work drives need for skilled workers in Wisconsin

Democratic Governors Association: Former aides give Wisconsin Gov. Walker re-election headache

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Contact:

Melissa Miller, 202-875-9188

[email protected]

 “I have never seen a situation like this where there seems to be a building insurrection for a governor running for re-election,”

A new report out from the Associated Press highlights a problem Governor Scott Walker’s campaign is facing from an unusual source: former top members of his own administration. Not only have three former cabinet secretaries spoken out against Walker for putting politics ahead of what’s best for Wisconsin, but even former GOP Governor Tommy Thompson has criticized Walker on criminal justice issues.

Read excerpts from the AP’s reporting below or see the full story online HERE.

 Former aides give Wisconsin Gov. Walker re-election headache

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — As Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker fights for his political life, some of the most devastating attacks aren’t coming from Democrats. They’re coming from a handful of former top officials from his own administration.

Three former Walker Cabinet secretaries have blasted the two-term Republican incumbent publicly — not through anonymous editorials or off-the-record comments.

Former Corrections Secretary Ed Wall writes in a tell-all book that he was driven to the brink of suicide by the way Walker and others treated him. Former Financial Services Secretary Peter Bildsten said Walker was beholden to special interests and consumed by his political standing. And former Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb said Walker isn’t telling the truth about road funding.

Even former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson, long a supporter, distanced himself from Walker on prison overcrowding. Thompson said he regrets expanding the prison population as governor, even as Walker looks at building yet another prison and making his Democratic opponent’s plan to reduce the number of inmates a campaign issue.

“I have never seen a situation like this where there seems to be a building insurrection for a governor running for re-election,” said Dale Schultz, a former Republican state senator who spent 32 years in the Legislature. Schultz has been highly critical of Walker and other Republicans since retiring in 2015.

The criticism comes as polls show Walker is in a tight race with Democrat Tony Evers. Walker is seeking a third term after beating back a recall attempt in 2012 and a failed presidential bid in 2016. The race is being closely watched as a signal of GOP strength in Wisconsin after President Donald Trump put the state in the Republican column for the first time since 1984.

…Evers is rushing to capitalize on the family feuding. He has already cut two digital ads featuring Wall and Bildsten blasting Walker.

“I just think it is pretty powerful,” said Democratic U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, a former state lawmaker who has sparred with Walker for years. “Usually if someone does it they’re about to switch parties and run for office, or something self-serving. In this case, I don’t see that. These are people who are just seeing a wrong direction for Wisconsin. … Scott Walker’s starting to make Donald Trump look competent.”

…“People need to pay attention to what former administration people are saying,” Wall said. “My purpose in writing the book is not grinding an ax but to tell the truth. … There was a pattern of mistakes and dishonesty going on with this administration you should know about.”

Bildsten once was such a Walker believer that he joked at Walker’s first Cabinet meeting that he was going to tattoo Walker’s promise to create 250,000 jobs on his shoulder. But Bildsten left in 2015 amid what he said was a dramatic shift away from doing what is best for the state toward doing what is best for Walker politically.

“I became very frustrated with the influence of special interests,” Bildsten said.

Bildsten, who is semi-retired, said he’s voting for Evers.

Gottlieb was a Republican leader in the state Assembly before joining Walker’s administration in 2011. He left in 2015 and recently said that Walker was “not truthful” and “increasingly inaccurate” in comments about transportation funding, another hot topic in the race.

Democratic Governors Association: Scotty doesn’t know: Walker unable to answer on pre-existing condition protections

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Contact:
Melissa Miller, 202-875-9188
[email protected]

Governor Scott Walker, who signed off on a lawsuit to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and its protections for pre-existing conditions, has recently taken to preposterously telling Wisconsin voters that he wants to protect provisions of the very law he is seeking to overturn. But according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Walker gives no details on how state would ensure pre-existing coverage if Affordable Care Act is suspended.”

Earlier this week, Tony Evers called on Walker to protect Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions by dropping the state’s lawsuit. Walker has declined to do so.

“Walker’s been caught red-handed in one of the most absurd political two-steps in history,” said DGA Press Secretary Melissa Miller. “Walker has spent his eight years as governor working to undo the Affordable Care Act’s protections for preexisting conditions. Voters know whose side Walker is really on and see right through his pathetic campaign season claims.”

Democratic Party of Wisconsin: ALEC expert and Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions expose Leah Vukmir’s special interest record 

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Contact: [email protected]

BREAKING NEWS ON THE CALL: Leah Vukmir set to attend national ALEC Gala and ALEC-hosted fundraiser in Washington, D.C. today;
Wisconsin nurse and cancer survivor responds to Vukmir letter: “very insulting and very offensive”

MADISON — On a media call today, an ALEC expert and Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions highlighted Leah Vukmir’s ties to ALEC, a shadowy corporate special interest group. Listen to the audio of the call here.

On the call, Wisconsin State Rep. Chris Taylor, who has attended ALEC annual meetings, broke news about Leah Vukmir’s plans in Washington, D.C. today:

“According to reports this morning in the Associated Press and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Leah Vukmir is in Washington, DC tonight to attend the 45th ALEC Anniversary Gala at the Trump International Hotel,” said Rep. Taylor on the call today. “And I also have some additional breaking news: According invites that have become public, Leah Vukmir is not only attending this ALEC Gala at the Trump Hotel, but she is also attending an ALEC fundraiser with these very powerful special interest donors, including ALEC CEO Lisa Nelson. This is so important, I think, because it does demonstrate where Leah Vukmir is getting support, and who she is really obligated to.”

Following Rep. Taylor, Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions who’ve been featured in two recent Tammy Baldwin for Senate ads (watch here and here) shared their stories and explained what it means for them when Leah Vukmir sides with powerful special interests over Wisconsinites.

One of those Wisconsinites was Shannon Thielman of Wausau, a nurse and breast cancer survivor. Last week, Leah Vukmir sent a letter accusing Shannon of perpetuating a lie. Shannon responded on the call:

“Leah Vukmir wrote a letter to me, saying I wasn’t smart enough to know what our health care system is like and that I was spreading lies. I find that very insulting and very offensive,” said Shannon Thielman on the call. “I want her to know that I do not lie and I’ve also paid enough attention to the nursing code of ethics to understand that a nurse’s responsibility is to fight for the rights of all patients, be they rich or poor.”

Kirsten Jome-Robley of Manitowoc also commented on Leah Vukmir’s vote against requiring insurance companies to cover oral chemotherapy, which Kirsten relied on in her battle against brain cancer:

“One of those lonely votes was Leah Vukmir. Why? Leah Vukmir said it was because she doesn’t believe we should place mandates on insurance companies. Mandates like covering oral chemo. Or mandates like covering pre-existing conditions,” said Kirsten Jome-Robley on the call. “That is who Leah Vukmir is: More concerned about insurance companies than cancer patients like me.”

In addition to today’s breaking news, last week, HuffPost published a new report on Leah Vukmir’s career of introducing legislation based on ALEC’s corporate lobbyist-influenced model policies.

Audio of the call is available here.

Democratic Party of Wisconsin: Leah Vukmir attends ALEC gala at Trump Hotel DC

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Contact: Brad Bainum, [email protected]

Last week, Vukmir said she was “proud” of advancing ALEC’s agenda; This week, she tried to hide her attendance at ALEC’s 45th Anniversary Gala

Vukmir has earned tens of thousands in campaign contributions from ALEC members in exchange for advancing their corporate special interest agenda at the expense of Wisconsinites

MADISON — SPOTTED: Republican U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir attending Wednesday night’s ALEC 45th Anniversary Gala at Trump Hotel DC. Earlier in the day, Vukmir ducked Associated Press and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel inquiries as to whether she would attend the ALEC Gala.

Vukmir’s reluctance to come clean about attending the ALEC Gala was out of character, given that Vukmir recently claimed she’s “proud” of her work to advance ALEC’s agenda — legislative efforts that include Vukmir championing at least 24 ALEC model bill-inspired measures in exchange for tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions.

WATCH:

Democratic Party of Wisconsin: Leah Vukmir heads to D.C. for ALEC meet-up with special interest backers

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Contact: Brad Bainum, [email protected]

This morning, Vukmir attended a fundraiser co-hosted by ALEC’s CEO and she’s tonight set to attend ALEC’s 45th Anniversary Gala at Trump International Hotel DC

Despite being under fire for her longtime ALEC ties, Vukmir maintains that she is “proud” of earning tens of thousands in campaign contributions from ALEC members in exchange for advancing their corporate special interest agenda

MADISON — Tonight, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir is set to attend a corporate special interest lobbyist-infested gala at the Trump International Hotel DC commemorating the 45th Anniversary of ALEC, the insurance industry, Big Oil, and Big Pharma-funded special interest group where Vukmir’s been a member since 2004.

The Associated Press reports that Vukmir is on a Washington D.C. fundraising trip that includes a Wednesday morning fundraiser co-hosted by ALEC CEO Lisa Nelson followed by an evening stop at ALEC’s 45th Anniversary Gala.

Vukmir has faced heavy criticism over her ties to ALEC — most notably, that she passed 24 measures inspired by ALEC model bills while reaping tens of thousands in campaign contributions from ALEC members.

Vukmir’s response: “I’m proud to have been a part of [ALEC] — I was a national chairman.”

Read more from the Associated Press.

Dep. Financial Institutions: Financial literacy is key to financial preparedness

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Contact: Bob Nenno, Communications Director, 608-261-4504

Financial literacy is key to financial preparedness

MADISON – Gov. Scott Walker has proclaimed the month of September as Preparedness Month and the fourth week of September (9/23-29/2018) is designated as “Saving for an Emergency Week.” The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions’ (DFI) Office of Financial Literacy can help anyone looking for ways to save. “Personal financial literacy is an important life skill that can substantially improve the quality of life for people of all ages,” according to DFI Secretary Jay Risch. “Financial education gives people the tools they need to achieve their dreams, to expand their opportunities, and to attain financial security for themselves and their families.”

Why is personal financial literacy important? “Many people live paycheck to paycheck,” Dave Mancl, Director of the Office of Financial Literacy, responded, adding, “More than half do not have a ‘rainy day’ fund equal to three months of their income, and 60% of state residents did not comparison shop for credit cards.”

In 2010, just 25% of Wisconsin high schools required a course in personal finance in order to graduate.

In 2016, that number had risen to 64% thanks in part to DFI awarding more than $833,000 in grants to K-12 schools for new and innovative personal finance programs. Today, based on DFI’s most recent survey, more than 70% of high schools now have such a requirement. With the signing of Assembly Bill 280, all Wisconsin school districts are required to incorporate the teaching of this life-long skill into their curricula.

Every year, DFI’s Office of Financial Literacy:

  • Works with dozens of communities across the state to promote Money Smart Week Wisconsin, through which thousands of citizens receive personal financial training;
  • Works with the Governor’s Council on Financial Literacy to elevate financial literacy and capability for youth and adults; and
  • Coordinates the Finance and Investment Challenge Bowl, in which dozens of high school teams compete at locations across the state.

Department of Veterans Affairs: 2018 Wisconsin Conference on Veterans Issues 🗓

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Register now for the WDVA’s 2018 Wisconsin Conference on Veterans Issues at the Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton. The conference is free and open to all.

Sessions will begin at 1:00 p.m. on September 24th and conclude at 3:00 p.m. on September 25th.

Check out the agenda and full program here.

Register Today!

Department of Veterans Affairs: 2018 Wisconsin Conference on Veterans Issues 🗓

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Register now for the WDVA’s 2018 Wisconsin Conference on Veterans Issues at the Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton. The conference is free and open to all.

Sessions will begin at 1:00 p.m. on September 24th and conclude at 3:00 p.m. on September 25th.

Check out the agenda and full program here.

Register Today!

Dept. of Administration: Gov. Walker proclaims September 2018 coastal awareness month in Wisconsin

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Contact: DOA Communications, (608) 266-7362
 
   Dept. of Administration: Gov. Walker proclaims September 2018 coastal awareness month in Wisconsin
 
MADISON – Governor Scott Walker has proclaimed September 2018 as Coastal Awareness Month in Wisconsin in recognition of the important impact that the Great Lakes has on the state. Lake Michigan and Lake Superior are integral to Wisconsin’s economy, recreation, tourism, cultural history and quality of life. The Governor’s proclamation is a reminder for the people of Wisconsin to protect, promote and enjoy the state’s Great Lakes.

In recognition of Coastal Awareness Month and the importance of the Great Lakes, the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program (WCMP) is proud to announce the release of the 2018 Wisconsin Great Lakes Chronicle. Now in its seventeenth year, the Chronicle promotes public awareness of Wisconsin Great Lakes issues, provides a vehicle for experts to educate public policy leaders, and creates an historical record of Great Lakes events and perspectives. The 2018 edition will feature several articles including those on Ashland Ore Dock Redevelopment, Public Access on the Great Lakes, Coastal Resiliency, and Dunes Lake Restoration. The 2018 Wisconsin Great Lakes Chronicle, including past issues, are available on the WCMP website.

The Department of Administration’s WCMP, now in its 40th year, works cooperatively with Great Lakes stakeholders to help protect and enhance the natural, cultural and historical resources of the Great Lakes while encouraging responsible economic development. The policy direction for WCMP is set by the Wisconsin Coastal Management Council. Members of the Council are appointed by the Governor and represent state agencies, local and tribal governments and the general public. To celebrate its 40th Anniversary, WCMP, in partnership with the Wisconsin Historical Society, is releasing the Great Lakes Chronicle Compendium bringing together more than one hundred articles published since 2002. The official book release will follow the Wisconsin Coastal Management Council meeting. All interested parties are welcome to attend:

To further celebrate Coastal Awareness Month, the WCMP is again pleased to announce that it is accepting grant proposals to enhance and protect resources within Wisconsin’s coastal zone. The Department of Administration’s WCMP anticipates awarding approximately $1.5 million in grant funding. Application materials and the Request for Proposals are available on the WCMP website (http://coastal.wisconsin.gov). Applications are due November 2, 2018.

The program, as part of its 40th Anniversary, is supporting the following local events highlighting the importance of the Great Lakes in the community:

  • 2nd Annual Harbor Fest, Milwaukee, Saturday, September 8, 2018
  • Valley Week, Milwaukee, September 22-29, 201813th
  • Annual Sturgeon Fest, Milwaukee, Saturday, September 29, 2018
  • Wild About Rice Festival, Superior, Saturday, September 29, 2018

 

The WCMP was the first program in the Great Lakes and among the first ten nationally established through the federal Coastal Zone Management Act. Its mission since 1978 is a balance of resource protection and sustainable development within Wisconsin’s 15 Lake Michigan and Lake Superior counties. To learn more about WCMP please visit http://coastal.wisconsin.gov.

 
Connect with DOA On Twitter: @WisconsinDOA.
 

Dept. of Children and Families: Workforce Development Month: Connecting parents to family-sustaining jobs

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Contact: Gina Paige ― 608-266-9000

(MADISON) – For most, the thought of being unable to secure a job and succeed in employment is completely foreign. But for some parents with significant challenges, finding steady employment can be a daunting task. Through the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) various employment services programs, Wisconsin parents are receiving services and support that empower them to transition into self-sufficiency through work.

With today’s thriving economy and all-time low unemployment rate in Wisconsin, DCF’s Wisconsin Works (W-2) and other employment programs are bringing innovative workforce development solutions to rural, urban and suburban areas across the state.

“Connecting individuals to employment has a wealth of benefits,” said DCF Secretary Eloise Anderson. “With stable employment comes increased social and emotional well-being, and the opportunity to make a more positive contribution to one’s community.”

To assist parents find meaningful work and stay employed, DCF continues to develop new tools aimed at helping participants secure employment that allows them to utilize their unique skills and interests. Through a new assessment tool, W-2 caseworkers are better able to evaluate a participant’s strengths and prepare a career plan, not just an employment plan.

“Passion is contagious and helps motivate individuals,” said Secretary Anderson. “When participants get connected with something they are passionate about, we see better outcomes and more sustained employment.”

By making participants a key player in their employment plan, DCF has continued to see a decrease in caseloads and a reduction in the number of people cycling into and out of jobs. To learn more about how DCF is working to move parents from dependence to independence, visit https://dcf.wisconsin.gov/w2/parents or follow @WisDCF on Twitter.

Dept. of Corrections: Minimum-security inmate Eddie McCalley escapes from Department custody

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Tristan D. Cook
Communications Director
Wisconsin Department of Corrections
608-240-5060 (office)

Minimum-security inmate Eddie McCalley, confined at Felmers Chaney Correctional Center, has escaped from Department custody.

The incident has been reported to the Milwaukee Police Department.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of this inmate should immediately contact law enforcement.

Name: Eddie McCalley
Year of Birth: 02/19/1991
Gender: Male
Race: Black
Height: 6’0”
Weight 209 lbs.
Eye Color: Brown
Hair Color: Black
County of Conviction: Milwaukee

Offense information is available on the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access website.

Dept. of Financial Institutions: New Edvest 529 college savings benefit offering – payroll direct deposit

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Media contact: WI Department of Financial Institutions
Bob Nenno
608-261-4504
[email protected]

Hassle-Free Way for State Agencies & Businesses to Help Employees Save for College

MADISON – The Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) is pleased to announce that Edvest, Wisconsin’s 529 College Savings Plan is now available to state and municipal employees, school districts, UW-System employees, and every Wisconsin employer as part of their employee benefit package. Similar to a 403b or 401k program for retirement, account holders may now contribute from their payroll with direct deposit. For information on how to sign up, visit: www.Edvest.com/Benefit .

“We are excited that Edvest is now part of the employee benefits package for state employees,” said Jay Risch, Secretary for the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. “Our mission is to make saving for college easier and integrating Edvest contributions into payroll direct deposit helps us do just that.” This fall, Edvest is featuring this special benefit offering at more than 33 benefit fairs for government employers and employees across the state. (See attached list).

Funds saved through Edvest can be used for higher education expenses, such as tuition and fees, room and board, books, computers and related technology at colleges, universities, technical colleges, graduate schools and certificate programs nationwide. No matter where a student chooses to attend school, their Edvest funds will go with them. Additionally, Wisconsin residents who contribute to an Edvest account may be eligible for a state tax deduction of up to $3,200 per beneficiary for the 2018 tax year. Limitations apply*.

Open to All Wisconsin Employers

Edvest payroll direct deposit is available to all Wisconsin businesses, associations, technical colleges, municipal governments and school districts at no charge. Moreover, Edvest provides all account servicing and support. As Wisconsin companies compete to recruit and retain talent, offering Edvest can give companies a serious edge. HR professionals, benefits managers and business owners can learn more at Edvest.com/benefit.

New Tax Credit for Wisconsin Employers

Businesses that contribute to their employees’ Edvest accounts may be eligible for a state tax credit. Employers may receive a tax credit equal to 25% of the contributions that the employer makes up to a maximum of $800 for 2018 (adjusted annually for inflation) per employee per tax year.  Employers should consult a tax adviser regarding the availability and ramifications of this credit.

About Edvest

Edvest is Wisconsin’s 529 College Savings Plan designed to help families save for higher education expenses. Account owners can choose from 17 investment portfolios, enjoy one of the lowest cost 529 plans in the U.S., and take advantage of a state tax deduction for Wisconsin.SavingforCollege.com recently ranked Edvest as one of the Top 10 529 Plans in five-year performance for 1-, 3- and 5-year performance and awarded the program a 5-Cap Rating.**

*To learn more about the Wisconsin College Savings Plan, its investment objectives, tax benefits, risks and costs, please see the Disclosure Booklet at Edvest.com. Read it carefully. Investments in the Plan are neither insured nor guaranteed and there is the risk of investment loss. If the funds aren’t used for qualified higher education expenses, a 10% penalty tax on earnings (as well as federal and state income taxes) may apply. Check with your home state to learn if it offers tax or other benefits such as financial aid, scholarship funds or protection from creditors for investing in its own 529 plan.  Consult your legal or tax professional for tax advice, including the impact of the new federal tax changes. TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services, LLC, Member FINRA and SIPC, distributor and underwriter for the Wisconsin College Savings Plan.  495837

**Savingforcollege.com, March 2, 2018.The Edvest College Savings Plan received a 5-Cap Rating for Wisconsin residents and 4.5-Cap rating for non-residents. A 5-Cap Ratings represents the attractiveness of a 529 plan, relative to all other 529 plans, by assigning an overall rating to each 529 program ranging from 1 Cap (least attractive) to 5 Caps (most attractive). 5-Cap Ratings represent an assessment based on many considerations such as flexibility, liquidity and availability, ownership rights, state benefits, investment approach and safety, program resources and financial aid impact. It is not strictly a measure of historical returns, and it is not a predictor of future investment performance, level of investment risk or financial solvency of the program funds. These ratings are not the result of a fixed formula and a significant portion of the analysis is subjective. Before establishing a 529 account and making contributions, it is imperative that investors read and understand all enrollment materials and disclosures from the programs.

Dept. of Justice: Federal tax threatens to remove $30 Million from BadgerCare Plus

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AG Schimel Files New Lawsuit Seeking a Restraining Order Against Trump Administration

MADISON, WIS. – Today, Attorney General Brad Schimel announced that the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a new lawsuit, along with a motion for a temporary restraining order,  to prevent President Trump’s Administration from taking more than $30 million from the Wisconsin Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (also known together as BadgerCare Plus). The filing is joined by Texas, Louisiana, Indiana, Kansas, and Nebraska.

“On behalf of Wisconsin, I will continue to fight to protect our healthcare dollars,” said Attorney General Schimel. “Our healthcare programs should not be overburdened with this illegal tax that threatens Wisconsin’s ability to care for those who need medical services the most.”

Wisconsin’s new lawsuit relates to the Health Insurance Providers Fee (“HIP Fee”), which is a tax imposed as part of the Affordable Care Act. Congress specifically exempted the states from paying the tax, yet the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have imposed the tax in such a way as to illegally require the states to pay it.

In 2016, Attorney General Schimel and five other states successfully sued to strike down a rule that allowed the HIP fee to be imposed upon the states. As a result of that ruling, the U.S. District Court recently ordered the federal government to repay $89 million to Wisconsin as a result of the HIP Fee imposed in years 2014, 2015, and 2016. Congress imposed a moratorium on the fee for 2017.

Despite this ruling, the IRS and HHS seeks to impose the tax again in 2018. For Wisconsin, the tax is due on September 25, 2018, and amounts to more than $30 million.

A copy of the lawsuit and the motion for a temporary restraining order are attached, along with a copy of Wisconsin’s affidavit in support of the motion, and a recent letter from Wisconsin to insurance companies that provide Medicaid and CHIP to Wisconsin residents.

Dept. of Justice: Holds financial elder abuse and white collar crimes training for investigators

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APPLETON, Wis. – Today, the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) is holding a two-day training regarding financial elder abuse and white collar crimes for law enforcement partners in Appleton, Wisconsin. The training is being offered for free to local investigators to learn about different scams and types of fraud that target the elderly.

“Our elderly population is increasing rapidly and so are the crimes that are being committed against them,” said Attorney General Schimel. “Law enforcement in Wisconsin needs to be ready and trained for the increasing number financial elder abuse and white collar crimes, which is why we are holding free trainings for our partners so that we can be prepared for the future.”

The Appleton training is the first of three trainings that will be held sponsored by DOJ through consumer protection settlement funds. The trainings will have topics that include: communicating with elderly victims and witnesses; Scams and types of fraud targeting elderly; Sources of information including resources; Case initiation and development; Records examination; Preparation of an investigative file; State statutes and prosecutions; and more. Additionally, two more trainings will be held in Wausau and Pewaukee in October.

A report from 2015 estimates that elders lose nearly $35 billion annually to elder financial abuse. The report also shows that the impact of financial exploitation extends beyond just economic damage, with 954,000 seniors skipping meals due to the abuse.

Attorney General Schimel has prioritized elder abuse, and in August 2017, launched the Attorney General’s Task Force on Elder Abuse. The task force is made up of representatives from Wisconsin Department of Justice, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, the Wisconsin State Legislature, law enforcement, Wisconsin Court System, Board on Aging and Long Term Care, Wisconsin Bankers Association, crime victim services, adult protective services, senior living facilities, and senior citizen advocacy organizations.

The task force is charged with compiling the resources and knowledge of a multi-disciplinary team of professionals to study the impact of elder abuse in Wisconsin and assess ways to improve outcomes for this growing population of citizens. In addition to developing strategies to address barriers in investigations and prosecutions of elder abuse, the task force will strengthen consumer protection for seniors and create recommendations for improved cross-system communications.

Attorney General Schimel also has moved quickly to provide public safety tools to seniors and their loved ones. DOJ worked with law enforcement and aging and senior care experts and advocates to raise awareness about elder abuse and encourage citizens to report abuse against seniors. The public awareness campaign, first launched in January 2018 with radio ads, encourages citizens to report suspected elder abuse of any kind, teaches how to recognize elder abuse, and connects victims with resources. In May 2018, Attorney General Schimel launched a new website, https://reportelderabusewi.org/, and engaged in online outreach aimed at elder abuse victims.

Last month, Attorney General Brad Schimel released a new training video aimed at educating tellers and other banking professionals on how to spot financial elder abuse and report it, alongside the Wisconsin Bankers Association, Wisconsin Credit Union League, and Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI).

In October 2017, Attorney General Schimel expanded Dose of Reality, a statewide prevention campaign designed to raise awareness about prescription drug abuse and its effect on the opioid epidemic, to include resources and information unique to seniors and caregivers.

The attorney general also started the “Safe Seniors Camera Program,” a new pilot project in Brown, Outagamie, and Winnebago counties that allows Wisconsin residents who suspect a caregiver is abusing their loved one to use a covert camera to provide surveillance over someone who may have been harmed by a caregiver in their residence.

To report suspected financial, physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, please contact your county elder adult-at-risk agency or call 1-800-488-3780. If you witness an act of abuse, neglect, or exploitation that requires immediate attention, please call 911.

To learn more about elder abuse, go to https://reportelderabusewi.org/.

Dept. of Justice: Las Vegas man charged with producing child pornography and extortion, threats & stalking via interstate communications

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MADISON, WIS. – Today, Attorney General Brad Schimel announced that after an investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, with the assistance of the North Las Vegas and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Departments, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada, a federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging a Las Vegas, Nevada man with producing child pornography, extortion and threats via interstate communications, and stalking. The prosecution is being handled by the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin.

“We strongly urge any victim who may have been a victim of someone using usernames Zero, Bowromes, Akito, Lelouch, and Kami on Facebook or Kik to please contact law enforcement,” said Attorney General Brad Schimel. “No matter where you are from, services are available for you, and our Office of Crime Victim Services stands ready to support you.”

The indictment charges David Ohmar Harris, 25, with two counts of producing child pornography in December 2016 and June 2018, involving a minor in Wisconsin.  The indictment also alleges that on June 11, 2018, Harris threatened to injure the reputation of an individual with the intent to extort a thing of value, and that between December 2016 and June 2018, Harris used Facebook and Kik to harass, intimidate, and cause substantial emotional distress to the individual. For more information about the case, go to: https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdwi

The investigation to date has revealed that Harris may have used Kik and Facebook to victimize up to 500 teenage girls throughout the United States and internationally since 2012. His user names on these platforms included Zero, Bowromes, Akito, Lelouch, and Kami.

If you think that you or someone you know may have been a victim of someone communicating through these user names, law enforcement asks that you contact them, either by phone at 608-224-9345 or by email at [email protected]. Please provide your contact information and someone from the Wisconsin Department of Justice or the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will contact you to obtain more information.

Alicia’s Law, legislation authored by Senator Van Wanggaard and Representative Joel Kleefisch and passed by the Wisconsin State Legislature last session, assisted investigators in expediting the administrative subpoena process for this case. Alicia’s Law created an administrative subpoena process that expedites the procedure for finding the location of suspected internet sex predators and provides additional funding to the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) program. The law’s namesake is Alicia Kozakiewicz – the survivor of a brutal abduction by an Internet predator and was held hostage and tortured in the predator’s Virginia basement at the age of 13 – an advocate for Internet and child safety awareness.

You are advised that a charge is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Dept. of Justice: Racine County sexually violent person to remain committed

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RACINE, Wis. – On Friday, a Racine County jury agreed with the State and denied Dennis Yarber’s petition for discharge. Yarber, 69, has been committed as a sexually violent person under Chapter 980 since September 2016.

Chapter 980 of the Wisconsin Statutes relates to the control, care, and treatment of sexually violent persons. Under Wisconsin law, a person may be subject to a civil commitment when the person has been convicted of a sexually violent offense, has a mental disorder, and is dangerous to others because the mental disorder makes it likely he or she will commit further acts of sexual violence. A civil commitment is defined in Wisconsin law as commitment to the custody and care of the Department of Health Services for control, care, and treatment until the person is no longer considered sexually violent.

Yarber’s underlying convictions related to charges of Second Degree Sexual Assault of a Child in three separate cases. On April 22, 1996, Yarber received three, 10-year consecutive terms of confinement in the Wisconsin State Prison System for his convictions. Yarber was scheduled for release on October 21, 2014.

To keep Yarber in custody, the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a petition for involuntary commitment on October 17, 2014. DOJ’s petition was successful, and Yarber was committed on September 2, 2016.

On September 18, 2017, Yarber filed a petition for discharge. DOJ objected to his release and the case went to jury trial earlier this month. On September 7, 2018, the jury agreed with the State and denied the Yarber’s petition for discharge.

The state was represented by Assistant Attorney General Devra Ayala.

Dept. of Justice: Wisconsin law enforcement agencies successfully recover missing people with help of Silver and Amber AlertsWisconsin law enforcement agencies successfully recover missing people with help of Silver and Amber Alerts

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MADISON, Wis. – Over the holiday weekend, both a Silver Alert and an Amber Alert were issued after a child and elderly man went missing.  Both alerts aided local law enforcement in the safe recovery of the missing people.

“Our partnership with local law enforcement agencies, as well as the Department of Transportation (DOT), in issuing these alerts provides them with a vital tool to help them quickly and safely recover someone after they go missing,” said Attorney General Schimel.  “Whether it be a child who has gone missing in urban Milwaukee or an elderly man in rural Marquette County, these emergency alerts are instrumental in engaging everyday Wisconsinites and quickly giving them information to help recover people when they do go missing.

In the morning hours on Monday, September 3, two men entered a residence in North-West Milwaukee resulting in the kidnapping of the homeowner’s three year old daughter.  The Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) quickly followed a lead, which led the police to an apartment complex where they found the missing child nearby.  The child was unharmed and returned to her family.

Subsequently, on Monday evening, a Silver Alert was issued for a 71-year old Marquette County man who went missing earlier that day.  Local law enforcement was able to successfully locate the man sitting in his vehicle in a parking lot at a closed building.

Since the start of Wisconsin’s Amber Alert program in 2003, 34 Amber Alerts have been issued resulting in the safe recovery of 45 children.

Wisconsin’s Amber Alert Program is a collaborative partnership between law enforcement agencies, other state agencies, and broadcasters to alert the general public when a child is abducted.  Partners to the program include the Wisconsin Broadcasters, Dane County 911, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, the Wisconsin Lottery, and the Outdoor Advertising Association of Wisconsin.  More information can be found at the DOJ Amber Alert Web Site at www.amberalertwisconsin.org

Since Wisconsin’s Silver Alert program was implemented in August 2014, 270 alerts have been issued.  Last week a DCI UAV was used in the first known success story of Wisconsin where a UAV played a role in successfully finding a missing person after a Silver Alert was issued.  Twice, Wisconsin Department of Transportation dynamic messaging signs on highways have played a role in in a successful Silver Alert recovery.  The Wisconsin Lottery has also been a key partner in the Silver Alert program’s success by displaying Silver Alerts on lottery display terminals throughout Wisconsin to both clerks and customers.  Multiple Silver Alert success stories have resulted from alerts being displayed on lottery terminals.

The Silver Alert program, made possible after the enactment of 2013 Wisconsin Act 264, notifies the public when an adult with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other permanent cognitive impairment is missing.  The program is administered by the DOJ Division of Criminal Investigation.  Silver Alerts are issued when the following criteria are met:

  • The missing person is 60 years of age or older;
  • The missing person is believed to have Alzheimer’s, dementia, or another permanent cognitive impairment that poses a threat to the individual’s health and safety;
  • There is reasonable belief that the missing person’s disappearance is due to the individual’s impaired cognitive condition;
  • The Silver Alert request is made within 72 hours of the individual’s disappearance;
  • There is sufficient information available to disseminate to the public that could assist in locating the missing person.

Individuals can sign up to receive Silver Alerts at www.wisconsincrimealert.gov

Dept. of Military Affairs: Disasters happen. Prepare now. Here’s how.

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CONTACT: Andrew Beckett | [email protected] | 608-242-3211

by ReadyWisconsin

Roughly one foot of rain falls overnight, leading to widespread flooding and emergency evacuations. Highways are closed, and some roads are washed out in places. Continued heavy rains saturate the ground, increasing the risk for flash floods. In addition to torrential rains, strong winds and tornadoes cause damage in communities across the state, including power outages.

That’s not the synopsis of a disaster movie — that’s the past two weeks in Wisconsin.

Disasters can strike at any time, which is why it’s important to prepare in advance and make sure you have plans for how to respond. To encourage people to think about how they can be ready for disasters, Gov. Scott Walker has declared September Preparedness Month in Wisconsin.

“Knowing what to do during a disaster is essential to keeping you and your family safe,” said Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin’s adjutant general and Homeland Security Advisor. “Preparedness Month is a great opportunity to learn more about the steps you can take to be ready.”

During each week of the month of September, ReadyWisconsin is asking people to learn more about a different area of preparedness. The first week is focused on encouraging people to make and practice a disaster plan.

“Developing a family emergency plan is important,” said Wisconsin Emergency Management Administrator Brian Satula. “Make sure everyone in your home knows where to meet during a disaster, how to get in contact with each other, and what to do if your home can’t be reached. Review and practice those plans annually.”

Emergency plans should include details like how you will receive alerts and emergency warnings, where your family should take shelter, and where everyone should meet if you are forced to leave home or are unable to return there. They should also include a list of everyone’s contact information, along with contact information for a friend or family member who lives outside of the area.

During the coming weeks, ReadyWisconsin will provide more information on additional steps people can take to help ensure the safety of their loved ones and others around them. Those include encouraging people to learn a lifesaving skill such as CPR and first aid, checking their insurance to make sure they have adequate coverage, and building up an emergency reserve fund.

“Good preparedness starts before a disaster even strikes,” Satula said. “Disasters will happen, so learn how to prepare now, before you find yourself in a dangerous situation.”

For more information go to readywisconsin.wi.gov. For daily safety tips and information, follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/readywisconsin) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/readywisconsin).

Dept. of Veterans Affairs: REMINDER: Grant applications to help veteran entrepreneurs due Sept. 14 

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Chad McCafferty or Leslie Busby-Amegashie
(800) WIS-VETS
[email protected]

MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) reminded interested parties that completed grant applications are due Friday, September 14, 2018 from registered 501(c)(3)  or 501(c)(6) non-profit organizations that provide entrepreneurship training, or technical, business or other assistance to veteran entrepreneurs to improve employment outcomes.

“Entrepreneurship and military service go hand-in-hand,” Secretary Daniel J. Zimmerman said. “A tireless work ethic, dedication, and selflessness are just a few common elements. Veterans make great entrepreneurs because these traits are nurtured in them from the first days of their military service.  WDVA is excited to support those Veterans interested in realizing their dreams of owning and operating a successful business.”

The Wisconsin Entrepreneurship Grant program includes a maximum total of up to $400,000 during the period of July 2, 2018 – June 30, 2019. To qualify, non-profit organizations must be located in this state and registered and in good standing with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.

In 2017, six non-profit organizations received a Wisconsin Entrepreneurship Grant. Grantees used funds awarded to provide veterans with entrepreneurial training and technical support such as business classes, business skills assessment, educational workshops, field experience, peer support, and business mentoring. Grants were also used to provide veterans career-building skills such as volunteer management, fundraising, scheduling, and marketing.

The following criteria and more will be evaluated as part of the grant application:

  • Background and Organizational History
  • Experience Working with Veterans
  • Need for Grant Funding
  • Outreach and Referral Plan
  • Program Goals and Objectives
  • Past Working Relationships with Start-up Businesses & Entrepreneurship Programs

Click here for application materials.

Developers planning $40 million health and wellness campus in Wausau

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Developers are planning a $40 million health and wellness campus in downtown Wausau, centered around an expansion of the local Woodson YMCA.

 

Plans released this week cover an expansion and revitalization of the YMCA’s facilities, a new senior center with planned educational, social and recreational activities, and a new Aspirus Clinic to be connected to the YMCA through a skywalk.

 

Aspirus is providing much of the funding for a new field house, containing a running track and gymnasium. The Aspirus board has approved the construction, though design plans have yet to completed. Once finished, the clinic will provide primary and walk-in care, as well as imaging and lab services.

 

Matthew Heywood, president and CEO of Aspirus, says the clinic will be about 36,000 square feet and will cost about $20 million.

 

The 15,000-square-foot senior center will be directly connected to the Woodson YMCA, and is fully funded by a grant from the Dwight and Linda Davis Foundation, per a release from Aspirus.

 

The Woodson YMCA Foundation is still gathering funding for the YMCA modernization and expansion, and earlier this week launched a six-week campaign called Strengthening the Heart of Our Community. The total cost of this YMCA initiative is $19 million, and the Aspirus release says “many foundations and individuals” have already pledged $16 million of that number.

 

If the foundation can raise the final $3 million, the YMCA project will expand the gymnastics area, increase parking and alter traffic flow, and create a new wellness center offering various athletic activities.

See more at WisBusiness.com.

DHS: State, counties, tribes commit to transformation of behavioral health system for children

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 12, 2018
CONTACT:

Jennifer Miller, 608-266-1683

Elizabeth Goodsitt, 608-266-1683

State, counties, tribes commit to transformation of behavioral health system for children
Wisconsin’s Children’s System of Care designed to help children reach their full potential

At a meeting today in the Wisconsin Dells, more than 400 behavioral health professionals furthered their commitment to Wisconsin’s Children’s System of Care, a Department of Health Services (DHS) initiative to enhance the public behavioral health system’s care and treatment services for children.

Wisconsin’s Children’s System of Care is not a service or a program. It is a way of addressing barriers to well-being known as wraparound. Wraparound is a planning process that brings people together from different parts of the child’s life. This team creates a plan built around the child’s strengths and needs that includes ways to assure the child can experience success in their home, school, and community.

Until recently, in most counties and tribes, children accessed the public behavioral health system through either Coordinated Services Teams Initiatives or the Comprehensive Community Services program. Wisconsin’s Children’s System of Care blends these supports to provide a seamless network of services united by the values and principles of wraparound.

At today’s meeting, representatives from Adams, Dodge, Sauk, and Sawyer counties shared how they have taken steps to integrate their Coordinated Services Teams Initiatives and Comprehensive Community Services program to meet the goals of Wisconsin’s Children’s System of Care. Staff in the DHS Division of Care and Treatment Services is providing guidance to many more counties and tribes in various stages of this integration effort.

Disability Service Provider Network: Commends Health Services Agency Budget Request Commitment to investing in the long-term care workforce

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DSPN commends Health Services Agency Budget Request Commitment to investing in the long-term care workforce

The Disability Services Provider Network (DSPN) was made aware that a continuation of the Family Care “Direct Care Workforce Funding Initiative” is included in the Governor Walker administration’s Department of Health Services agency budget request.

DSPN CEO Lincoln Burr stated, “Long-term care programs serving persons with disabilities have been facing a severe caregiver shortage crisis. In 2017 the Wisconsin Legislature and Governor Walker recognized this crisis and created an initiative targeting funding increases to caregivers in Family Care. We understand that the Department of Health Services (DHS) recent agency budget request provides a continuation of this much needed funding – and for that we are very grateful.”

DNR: Heavy rains lead to increased mosquito populations – some tips to help control them

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Heavy rains lead to increased mosquito populations – some tips to help control them

DATE: September 12, 2018
CONTACT: Lisa Johnson, Horticulture Educator, University of Wisconsin Extension, [email protected]; 608-224-3721 OR Andrea Diss-Torrance, DNR Invasive Forest Insects Program Coordinator, 608-264-9247

An unusual amount of rainfall in Wisconsin has resulted in lots of standing water in places that are normally dry. Unfortunately for people, mosquito larvae, sometimes called wrigglers, develop in standing water, so their populations have surged over the last few weeks.

Mosquitoes can develop in flood water but also in surprisingly small volumes of water in standing containers, abundant in our yards and neighborhoods in the form of rain barrels, fish ponds, bird baths, old tires, planters, tree cavities, gutters or anything that holds water.

To help control the outdoor mosquito population on your property, eliminate their breeding places:

 

  • Remove and dispose of trash that is holding water such as old tires, sagging plastic bags, or any water-holding containers.
  • Make weekly inspections of water in flower pots and plant containers for stagnant, standing water or the presence of wrigglers.
  • Change the water in bird baths and wading pools frequently. Drain them when not in use.
  • Unclog rain gutters so water doesn’t pool.
  • Drain and fill stagnant, puddles, ditches, or any wet areas around your home and property.
  • Clear weeds and vegetation away from the edges of ponds, near houses, and in nearby lots – adult mosquitoes hide in them.
  • Biological control products containing Bti, a natural mosquito larvicide, may be purchased online and at most lawn and garden stores. These products, which are usually donut-shaped or comes as pellets, are placed in standing water to kill mosquito larvae. They control mosquito larvae for up to 30 days but are harmless to people, pets, birds, fish, and other wildlife. Always follow directions on labels.
  • Cover cisterns, cesspools, septic tanks, fire barrels, rain barrels, and tubs tightly.
  • Use sand to fill in tree holes.
  • Remove tree stumps that hold water.Inside the house, keep window and porch screens in good repair. Use weather-stripping to fill gaps around windows and doors. Remember that mosquitoes also bite animals; provide pets refuge inside the house or in screened-in areas.

    If you must go outside at dawn or dusk when mosquitoes are most active, take precautions to avoid being bitten.

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants thick enough to prevent mosquito mouthparts from reaching skin.
  • Wear light tones – dark colors attract mosquitoes.
  • Use repellants on exposed skin.
  • Citronella can be helpful if the air is still.For more information, see “Mosquitoes in and Around the Home” at https://extension.entm.purdue.edu/publications/E-26/E-26.pdf

 

DNR: Season two of Wild Wisconsin web series launches just in time for archery and crossbow deer hunting seasons

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CONTACT: Sawyer Briel, DNR communications, 608-282-5334

MADISON – The world of hunting is changing, and Department of Natural Resources staff are hard at work to make sure Wisconsin’s hunters have the resources they need for a safe and successful deer season.

Wild Wisconsin is your ticket to enjoying the outdoors this fall. Web series segments, podcasts and more – all at your fingertips. With help from Vortex Optics, Mayville Engineering Company Shooting Sports and The Hunting Public, Wild Wisconsin is back for year two.

Whether you prefer to watch all segments at once, catch one or two before your hunt, or listen to podcasts, Wild Wisconsin has it all. Topics range from public land hunting tips to chronic wasting disease and what it means for Wisconsin’s deer herd.

Wild Wisconsin main series segments – these segments provide a quick overview of helpful hunting-related topics:

Wild Wisconsin bonus segments – a more in-depth look at CWD, public land hunting and more:

For even more hunting content, be sure to check out the Wild Wisconsin: Off the Record podcast – topics covered include a deer hunting forecast, public land hunting guide and much more. You can find the podcast series on iTunes (search “Wild Wisconsin), Stitcher (search “Wild Wisconsin) and YouTube.

All web series segments and podcasts, along with wild game recipes and much more, can be found at dnr.wi.gov, keywords “Wild Wisconsin.” Be sure to follow DNR’s FacebookInstagramYouTube and Twitter pages for more Wild Wisconsin throughout Fall hunting seasons.

DPW: Statement on Scott Walker’s empty promise to protect Wisconsinites’ health care

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Contact: Alex Japko, [email protected]

Just now, Scott Walker said that he would call a special session “if something were to change” to federal law protecting people with pre-existing conditions.

What Walker doesn’t acknowledge: the fact that a lawsuit he signed off on is the greatest present threat to those protections.

DPW released the following statement in response to his empty promises and twisted logic:

“For nearly eight years, Scott Walker has been dead set on undermining protections for people with pre-existing conditions and has no credibility on the issue going forward,” said DPW Spokesperson Alex Japko. “If Walker was serious about protecting Wisconsinites’ health care, he would have done so years before it became a huge political liability. This latest promise is just more squirming from a governor who knows his record on health care is indefensible.”

DSCC: Vukmir supports lawsuit against pre-existing conditions coverage

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Contact: Lauren Passalacqua, David Bergstein – 202-545-3567

Oral arguments in lawsuit that could strip pre-existing conditions coverage for 2.4 million Wisconsinites begin today

Oral arguments in the Leah Vukmir-supported GOP lawsuit to strike down protections for Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions begin today. The lawsuit would make the health care law’s individual mandate unconstitutional, axing protections for pre-existing conditions coverage and skyrocketing health care costs.

Leah Vukmir is on the record saying she supports the lawsuit as a “necessary step.”

In June, the Justice Department decided it would not defend the health care law against a lawsuit by Republican Attorneys General intended to sabotage health care for Americans. Nearly three months later, as their lawsuit is being heard by a federal judge and Senate Republicans like Vukmir are scrambling to rewrite their history and contain voter backlash as they face a backlash from voters.

Beyond the lawsuit, Leah Vukmir also supports two additional avenues for undermining the Affordable Care Act’s protections for Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions. Vukmir supports the Trump Administration’s “junk insurance” rule that the AARP says would let insurance companies “deny coverage to people with preexisting conditions.” And Vice President Mike Pence himself said last week that Vukmir is a vote that Washington Republicans need in the Senate to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a GOP plan that would gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions, strip coverage away from millions, and even let insurance companies charge older Americans more.

“By backing this lawsuit, Leah Vukmir is sending a clear message that she does not want to protect coverage for pre-existing conditions and cannot be trusted to stand up for Wisconsin,” said Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman David Bergstein. “Health care is a top issue for voters who want a senator that will stand up for their families – – by backing a toxic agenda that raises costs and cuts coverage, Vukmir has failed that test.”

Duffy campaign: New Sean Duffy ad titled ‘Back to Work’

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Contact: Mark Bednar

WAUSAU, WI – Wisconsin Congressman Sean Duffy’s campaign today launched a new ad titled “Back to Work,” which highlights the fact that Duffy has fought tirelessly to grow our economy through tax cuts and better trade deals. And now, more Wisconsinites are working than ever. The ad will appear in the Wausau DMA and on digital platforms.

Click HERE to watch the 30-second ad.

Duffy likens family’s political differences to those of the nation in first TV ad

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U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy likens his family and its political differences to those of the nation in his first TV ad, saying he’s “not fighting my family, I’m fighting for yours.”

The 30-second TV ad opens with the Wausau Republican standing beside his wife, Rachel, as Duffy introduces her and their eight kids, who then appear in the frame.

The next shot shows Duffy with his 10 siblings, before jumping to a shot of his parents hugging as he says: “Same parents, different politics.”

Duffy notes some members of his family supported President Trump, Dem Hillary Clinton, former President Obama and Independent Bernie Sanders.

“My brother Tim,” Duffy continues, “He’d rather cast a line than a vote.”

The camera then shows Duffy holding his youngest daughter, Margarita, as he says: “At least Margarita agrees with me.” It then jumps to a shot of Duffy standing beside his youngest son, Patrick, who’s lying on the ground as Duffy says: “Patrick, not so much.”

“America’s one big family too,” he said. “We won’t always agree, but if we treat each other with respect, we’ll be OK.”

The ad closes with Duffy saying he’s “not fighting my family, I’m fighting for yours.”

A Duffy campaign spokesman said the ad amounts to a six-figure buy and is running in the Wausau media market through the end of September.

Duffy faces Dem 8th CD candidate Margaret Engebretson in November.

Duffy’s new TV ad says he ‘went to work so you can go to work’

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U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy is out with a new TV ad that says the GOP congressman “went to work so you can go to work.”

The spot opens with a shot of the 7th CD Republicans from behind as he walks in the woods with an ax. It then shows a series of people at various times, following from behind as they walk.

The narrator says when “Wisconsin goes to work, no one can catch us” and jobs are coming back from overseas after putting “American workers first.” That means bigger paychecks and more people working in Wisconsin than ever before.

“By reforming taxes and trade, Sean Duffy helped turn around our economy,” the narrator says.

Duffy then closes the spot saying, “And we’re not turning back.” He adds the required disclaimer that he approves the spot before adding, “Let’s get to work.”

Duffy’s campaign said it’s spending nearly six figures on the buy, which will run on Wausau broadcast TV through the first week in October.

DWD: Awards technical education equipment grant to 35 Wisconsin school districts

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 11, 2018
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

DWD awards technical education equipment grant to 35 Wisconsin school districts
Equipment upgrades enable tech career skills training for high school students

(MADISON, Wis.) – The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) has awarded a Wisconsin Fast Forward (WFF) Advanced Manufacturing Technical Education Equipment Grant to 35 Wisconsin school districts in the amount of $1 million for advanced manufacturing initiatives.

Many districts took this opportunity to add robotics, laser tools and 3-D printing capabilities to their curricula. Projects ranged from replacing 1970s era tools with up-to-date CNC equipment, to outfitting labs with the equipment necessary to teach students skills such as computer-based milling and machining, metals fabrication, welding and engineering, design, drafting, modeling and prototyping.

“This grant enables school districts to update existing educational offerings, add new classes and increase capacity of career and technical education courses,” said DWD Secretary Ray Allen. “By supporting students learning high-demand technical skills while still in high school, Wisconsin supports an accelerated future workforce.”

The Wisconsin Fast Forward program encourages increased collaboration between Wisconsin’s workforce, employers, local or regional economic development organizations, workforce development boards, post-secondary institutions and private training providers to develop and execute business-led training programs.

Other organizations that received Advanced Manufacturing Technical Education Equipment grants are:

Arrowhead Union High School District $49,000.00 Accurshear Hydraulic Shear
Barneveld School District $13,141.61 Eagles on Autopilot
Beaver Dam Unified School District $50,000.00 Advanced Manufacturing Lab
School District of Bonduel $50,000.00 CNC Regional Manufacturing Center
School District of Brodhead $18,000.00 Welding Program
School District of Brown Deer $50,000.00 Productivity Center
School District of Cadott Community $16,200.00 CNC Machining Program
Clinton Community School District $9,000.00 Advanced Manufacturing Technical Equipment Grant
School District of Cornell $50,000.00 Machine Tool Dual Credit High School Academy
Elkhorn Area School District $35,083.00 Computer Integrated Manufacturing
Germantown School District $50,000.00 Advanced Manufacturing Technical Education Equipment Grant
School District of Grafton $11,380.00 Computer Aided Manufacturing Initiative
School District of Janesville $20,904.21 Advanced Manufacturing Pathway Project
Kenosha School District No. 1 $50,000.00 Implementing Advanced Manufacturing
Kiel Area School District $8,490.00 Electricity Curriculum Kits
School District of Lomira $10,000.00 MakerSpace
Menominee Indian School District $5,000.00 Drafting & Design 3D Printer Project
Milwaukee Public Schools, Lynde and Harry Bradley Technology $11,400.00 Milltronics Controller Upgrade and Trade High School
School District of Mosinee $12,495.66 FABlab upgrades
Mount Horeb Area School District $31,200.00 Advanced Welding Lab Training Stations
Mukwonago Area School District $50,000.00 Mukwonago Advanced Manufacturing Renovation
School District of New Berlin $50,000.00 Teaching “How Machines Work”
School District of New London $12,887.00 Welding Equipment Upgrade
Port Washington-Saukville School District $50,000.00 Advanced Machining and CNC Technology
School District of River Falls $50,000.00 Welding and Metals Fabrication
School District of Sheboygan Falls $8,000.00 CNC Brake Press
School District of Slinger $50,000.00 Advanced Manufacturing Equipment Laser Cutter
School District of Stratford $32,847.00 Innov8 Stratford
Waterloo School District $27,058.33 Developing Manufacturing Skills for Local Industry
School District of Waukesha $15,100.00 Advanced Manufacturing Center
Wauwatosa School District $50,000.00 Center for Design and Innovation Phase II
School District of Webster $13,500.00 Advanced Machining Equipment
West Bend School District Number 1 $7,057.00 Metal Fabrication Upgrade
School District of Westfield $32,256.19 Manufacturing Center

For more information, please visit http://dwd.wisconsin.gov.

DWD: Wisconsin ranks 1st nationally in manufacturing jobs added over last three months

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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 United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) today released state-by-state employment and unemployment rankings showing that Wisconsin’s robust manufacturing industry continues to add jobs at a historic rate, with Wisconsin ranking 1st nationally in the number of manufacturing jobs added from June 2018 through August.  Additionally, the 12-month increase in manufacturing jobs through August 2018 outpaced 48 other states and was Number 1 in the Midwest.  Wisconsin’s addition of 1,500 manufacturing jobs in August ranked 3rd nationally and 1st in the Midwest.

Department of Workforce Development Secretary Ray Allen released the following statement on today’s release:

“Wisconsin’s economy is adding more manufacturing jobs than all neighboring states and our labor force participation rate ranks in the top 5 of all 50 states,” Secretary Allen said. “This news follows yesterday’s report that Wisconsin now has the most total non-farm jobs in state history. Wisconsin’s business-friendly climate and commitment to develop our world-class workforce will keep us positioned win the 21st century.”

Other highlights of today’s state-by-state ranking release include:

  • Wisconsin’s addition of 22,500 manufacturing jobs from August 2017 to August 2018 ranked 2nd nationally and best in the Midwest
  • Wisconsin addition of 7,500 manufacturing jobs from June 2018 through August ranked 1st nationally
  • Wisconsin labor force participation rate of 68.8 percent was the 5th highest rate in the country
  • Wisconsin’s historically low unemployment rate of 3 percent was the 10th lowest rate in the nation
  • Wisconsin ranks 13th nationally in number of construction jobs added in the last six months
  • Wisconsin ranks 16th nationally in number of private-sector jobs added in the last three months

Other indicators of the state of Wisconsin’s economy include:

  • Initial UI claims ended 2017 at their lowest level in the last 30 years.
  • Continuing unemployment claims ended 2017 at their lowest level since 1973.
  • Moody’s investor Service recently upgraded the state’s 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.”

The data included in today’s release can be accessed on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

Early vote rally and concert with U.S. Sen. Baldwin and Bon Iver 🗓

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MADISON — Tammy Baldwin and Eau Claire-based band Bon Iver today announced BON IVER x BALDWIN — an early vote rally and concert on October 20 at The Sylvee in Madison to promote early voting across Wisconsin.

“Voting matters, and voting for Tammy Baldwin keeps it that way,” Bon Iver said in a statement. “We are thrilled to support Sen. Baldwin in encouraging early voting in Wisconsin with a rally and concert at Madison’s brand new venue The Sylvee on Oct. 20.”  

“I’m excited to be joined by Bon Iver to help spread the word and celebrate early voting here in Wisconsin,” said U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin. “Bon Iver has brought Wisconsinites together for years through their music, and this concert is a great opportunity to share with people the importance of getting involved and making your voice heard.” 

Formed and still based in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Bon Iver has achieved worldwide acclaim since the release of its 2007 debut album For Emma, Forever Ago. Such acclaim has led to multiple Grammy Awards, gold and platinum selling albums, international tours and collaborations with a wide range of notable artists, from Kanye West to Bruce Hornsby.

The Sylvee is Madison’s newest live music venue located just east of downtown Madison.

DETAILS:

WHAT: BON IVER x BALDWIN – An Early Vote Rally and Concert

WHO: Tammy Baldwin, Bon Iver, and Chris Rosenau (of Collections of Colonies of Bees)

WHEN: Doors open at 7:00 PM CT

TICKETS: Go to TammyBa