2018 December

Monthly Archives: December 2018

 Sen. Marklein: Appointed Chair of Senate Committee on Agriculture, Revenue and Financial Institutions  

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CONTACT: Senator Howard Marklein, 608-266-0703

Madison, WI – Senator Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) was appointed to serve as Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Revenue and Financial Institutions for the 2019-20 Legislative Session today.

“I am honored to be trusted with the leadership of this important committee,” Marklein said. “I requested to be included on the Agriculture committee this session so that I can better represent the farmers in the communities I serve.”

“This committee assignment speaks to all of my strengths and areas of expertise,” Marklein said. “I have enjoyed chairing the Senate Committee on Revenue, Financial Institutions and Rural Issues for the last two sessions.  We have done great work in tax reform, financial institution modernization and broadband in this committee.  However, as the Senator of one of the most agriculturally dense and diverse parts of the state, I am looking forward adding agricultural issues to our work.”

Marklein served as Chair of the Senate Committee on Revenue, Financial Institutions and Rural Issues during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 legislative sessions. The new legislative session begins with inauguration day on January 7, 2019.

‘UpFront’: Fitzgerald says lame-duck bills protect policy, Erpenbach calls them a ‘power grab’

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald described some of the GOP’s controversial lame-duck session legislation as “innocuous items” and said Republicans were just “protecting some of the public policy” they passed in eight years under outgoing Gov. Scott Walker.

In an interview that aired Sunday on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, also predicted Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers would be the most liberal governor Wisconsin has ever seen. “UpFront” is produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

In last week’s extraordinary session, Republicans passed legislation widely viewed as limiting the authority of Evers and Democratic Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul.

Fitzgerald said he and Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos started discussing the legislation “in a vague way” back in September when they became concerned Republicans could lose the governorship and one or both chambers of the Legislature.

Gousha asked him if there would be political consequences for Republicans.

“No, I don’t think so,” Fitzgerald said.

“We won an election too. Both houses, both chambers are Republican, will be under Republican control. And we’re simply starting to realize that this governor, especially over the last couple of days I think, when you see the rhetoric ramped up, (Evers) will probably be the most liberal governor the state of Wisconsin possibly sees,” Fitzgerald said.

“I am very concerned, and I think Wisconsinites should be concerned, that in mid-February when this governor rolls out his budget, it will be the most liberal document that anyone has ever seen,” Fitzgerald said.

“But people did vote for him,” Gousha said.

“They did, they did. Slim margin, and like I said they voted for us too, though. So I think the Legislature feels like we need to just maintain a balance, and protect a state that’s in great shape,” Fitzgerald said.

He also said the new limits on early voting that Republicans passed were a matter of fairness across the state.

“Many people in rural Wisconsin turn on their television and see people standing at the polls 45 days out, voting, day after day after day. But when they go down to their own town hall the lights are out, and there’s no clerk there. That’s inconsistency and that irritates people, and I think isn’t fair to rural Wisconsin,” Fitzgerald said, adding that he thought the new law would hold up to a court challenge.

Fitzgerald also said he found the governor-elect’s rhetoric on the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and some of its projects “alarming.”

Evers has said he wants to get rid of the WEDC and favors a 72-county approach to economic development under the old state Department of Commerce model.

“I’m more concerned about some of the aggressive tone and the posture he’s taken over the last couple of weeks specific to some things that really could derail the economy in Wisconsin,” Fitzgerald said.

“He just doubles down on the same concept that he wants to get rid of it. That should be alarming to everyone,” he said.

Fitzgerald also said he expected “some good news” to be coming out soon on WEDC’s efforts to keep consumer products maker Kimberly-Clark in Wisconsin. A bill that would offer the company tax incentives to stay in the Fox Valley has stalled in the Senate.

“I’ve got my fingers crossed that they are going to come up with something that will keep Kimberly-Clark in Wisconsin,” Fitzgerald said.

In another segment, Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, accused the Republicans of a “really big power grab” in the recent lame-duck session.

“They knew exactly what they were doing,” Erpenbach said. “And they went to work on this, what a couple of days after the election, I think working with a couple of folks in the governor’s office. So it’s not like Gov. Walker didn’t know this was coming.”

“But more importantly,” he said, “we had an election. It was fair. It was legal. Tony Evers won, and then a couple of days later, legislation is developed, introduced and passed within a couple of days. And if you talk to voters around the state whether they supported Gov.-elect Tony Evers or incoming Attorney General Josh Kaul or not, they don’t like what’s going on and they don’t like what they see coming out of Madison this past week.”

Erpenbach said Republicans “set the tone right away” for the next four years of dealing with Evers. And he finds it frustrating, because “we’re all supposed to work together and try and get something done for the state that moves us forward.”

“When you pass that kind of legislation it’s almost like the Republicans are saying ‘We don’t care about the next four years. We’re just going to try and grind things to a halt and sort of run out the clock and see what happens,’ and that’s extremely irresponsible,” Erpenbach said.

But Erpenbach said he still thinks it’s possible for Democrats and Republicans to find common group on big issues like transportation funding and K-12 education.

He said it will be up to Republican leadership as to whether they want to work with Evers.

“Tony is always going to have an open door,” Erpenbach said. “That’s not going to change.”

Also on the program, Scot Ross of One Wisconsin Now said his group was studying a new legal challenge to the two-week limit on early voting that Republicans approved last week. The group brought a previous successful legal challenge to early voting limits.

“Our attorneys are going through what they passed line by line, word by word, syllable by syllable,” Ross said.

Ross said the federal judge in One Wisconsin Now’s 2016 case ruled that the GOP’s previous attempt to limit early voting was “racially motivated and designed to keep people from voting.”

“(Assembly Speaker) Robin Vos and the Republicans are trying to undo the will of the people. They are trying to rig elections for partisan gain,” Ross said.

He said 20 percent of the voting population chose to vote early in the November mid-term election.

“Record-setting early voting isn’t an emergency. It is democracy,” Ross said.

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

‘UpFront’: Roth says K-C deal ‘terrific’ for workers, regional economy

Senate President Roger Roth, R-Appleton, said the lame-duck session bills signed by Gov. Scott Walker on Friday will not prevent a future governor from striking a deal similar to the one Walker reached with Kimberly-Clark last week.

“I think a lot has been overblown in the talking about how Gov. Evers won’t have the ability to do this in the future,” Roth said in an interview that aired Sunday on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

Roth said the Legislature previously authorized the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. to create up to 30 economic development zones. He said a future governor would be able to exceed that cap, but would have to come to the Joint Committee on Finance for review.

“I don’t think in any way, shape or form it constricts a future governor. I actually think it empowers them to be able to do economic development like we saw the governor unveil last week,” Roth said.

On Thursday, Walker and the WEDC announced a $28 million tax credit deal to keep Kimberly-Clark and nearly 400 jobs at its Fox Crossing facility for at least five years.

Roth said the agreement was a “terrific thing” for K-C workers and the regional economy.

He called Kimberly-Clark an “anchor business in an anchor industry” in Wisconsin, and said the deal also would help more than 200 supply-chain businesses and their employees across the state.

Also on the program, U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, said President Trump has been “engaged in criminal activity” and if a sitting president is not able to be indicted, Congress may not have “any choice but to impeach him.”

Moore cited Trump’s connections with Russia, his connections with Saudi Arabia, and the campaign contribution violations that are, in part, sending former Trump lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen to prison.

“This president has been engaged in criminal activity, and it is our constitutional responsibility to do something about it,” she said.

“It is really going to be hard for our colleagues on the other side to continue to ignore this,” she said.

She also said Trump “loves high drama” and seems determined to have a government shutdown in his dispute with Democratic congressional leaders over funding for a southern border wall.

Gousha also asked her about the new, two-week early voting restriction Walker signed into law last week.

“It is clearly a part of the voter suppression strategy of Republicans, and it’s really sad to see someone who was sort of one of the ‘young guns’ sort of persona go out like this,” she said. “I agree with many Republicans that this will hurt, overall hurt (Walker’s) legacy.”

Moore also said Milwaukee is “really in the catbird’s seat” for landing the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

In another segment, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Dan Bice called former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke’s actions regarding Russia and admitted Russian agent Maria Butina “reckless.”

Butina last week pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge. CNN reported that she attempted to “infiltrate Republican political circles and influence US relations with Russia” before and after the 2016 presidential election.

Multiple pictures show Clarke associating with Butina, and he took an all-expenses paid trip to Russia in 2015 that she helped arrange.

Bice emailed Butina and got a response from her before she was taken into custody. He said she wrote that Clarke was a “great guy” and “we were lucky to have him.”

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

A Better Mt. Pleasant: Podcast shines light on Mount Pleasant’s rush to win Foxconn deal

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Contact: Kelly Gallaher
414/350-6858
[email protected]

“Village sacrificed due diligence and public input to claim once in a lifetime development.”

MOUNT PLEASANT, WI – An hour-long podcast from Gimlet Media’s popular “Reply All” show has focused its attention on the Village of Mount Pleasant, future home of Foxconn’s $10 billion LCD factory. Through recorded interviews with Village officials, financial experts and local residents, combined with archived audio recordings of Village meetings, the episode titled “Negative Mount Pleasant” tells the story of Mount Pleasant’s secretive race to secure the most expensive corporate development project in American history.

Reply All reporter and interviewer Sruthi Pinnamaneni and program producer Jessica Yung traveled to Wisconsin in October and spent nearly a week in Mount Pleasant interviewing Village President David DeGroot and residents Al Gardner, Sean McFarlane and Kelly Gallaher, who were featured in the broadcast.

The program also features interviews with University of Iowa economist David Swenson, Wall Street analyst Alberto Moel, municipal financial advisor Todd Taves, and investigative journalist Larry Taback.

“Negative Mount Pleasant” begins by highlighting the somewhat contentious political environment found in pre-Foxconn Mount Pleasant, with then candidate for Village President David DeGroot’s public accusation that his opponent and Gallaher had instigated the egging of his house. Weeks later, leading up to the Foxconn announcement in Mount Pleasant, newly elected Village President DeGroot is censured by the Village Board after he threatens to have resident Al Gardner and Trustee Jon Hansen forcibly removed by police during a Village board meeting and refuses to allow Gallaher to ever speak again until she first submits a written and oral apology to him.

These dramatic recordings serve as the podcast’s foundation for how this part-time Village Board and President will interact with residents once the Foxconn factory location is announced in October 2017.

“This is not a village where the voices of residents have ever really been appreciated or respected,” says Kelly Gallaher, spokesperson for the grassroots organization, A Better Mt. Pleasant. “Once Foxconn came, the concerns, demands and anger of residents fell on the deaf ears of a Village President who didn’t believe he had any obligation to tell us what agreements he was signing. It was all done behind closed doors.”

The public was not allowed to read the development agreement between Mount Pleasant and Foxconn until it was approved by the Village Board in late November 2017, and Trustees who met in closed session negotiation meetings were prohibited from discussing the details with residents.

While the controversial state incentive package offered to Foxconn has come under intense scrutiny since it was announced, to a lesser extent, the financial incentive package offered by Racine County and Mount Pleasant is understood.

Pinnamaneni’s interview with economist Swenson reveals his view that the village is “betting the future of the town with money they don’t have, assuming technology that they don’t understand and benefits that are going to be distributed widely but not necessarily in their community. That’s a fool’s bet.”

By contrast, in the interview with David DeGroot, the Village President offers a childlike exuberance for the deal, offering little understanding of the impact on residents or potential financial implications.

Regarding his local delegation trip to Osaka, Japan, DeGroot says, “I’ve seen the future, and it’s coming to Mount Pleasant.” DeGroot describes the Japanese factory by saying, “It was big. It was massive. There’s, there’s robots that are absolutely ginormous.”

Gallaher is unimpressed. “Our village is on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars that won’t generate revenue for decades – if everything goes well. Foxconn brings a host of possibilities for the region, but the financial future of our village is tied to Foxconn’s success, and we are tied to it’s failure. That risk deserved some thought and due diligence.”

The podcast ends with the voices of Village residents protesting the use of blight and eminent domain actions by the Village to clear the 3,000 square acres of land Foxconn requires. The most poignant moment provided by resident Sean McFarlane, a handicapped father of four who willingly moved into a temporary house for the Village, only to find it dirty and unsuitable to his wheelchair mobility needs. Days after moving in, Village contractors withdrew McFarlane’s promised relocation benefit package, leaving him fearful of becoming homeless and tearfully pleading for help from silent Trustees.

On the podcast episode, Gallaher concludes. “What this podcast did best was to use our own words to tell the real story. Residents deserve more than talking points written by media consultants, and that’s all Village leaders have offered us – when they’ve been willing to speak to us at all. They have forgotten who they serve.”

On the popularity of the show which is downloaded on average 5 million times each month.

“We’ve been getting messages and emails from all over the country. The podcast has clearly struck a chord with people. I think that’s because listeners realize what has happened in Mount Pleasant can happen in their community too.”

AAA: Statement on Governor-Elect Evers’ appointment for secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation

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Contact: Nick Jarmusz, Director of Public Affairs

AAA -The Auto Club Group

Office: 608-828-2495, Mobile: 608-556-4744

[email protected]

Available via Skype

 

MADISON, Wisc. (December 21, 2018) – AAA commends Governor-Elect Tony Evers’ appointment of Craig Thompson as Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Mr. Thompson has been a longtime leader in the field and his background will serve him well as he advances the department’s goals to enhance the safety, efficiency and accessibility of the state’s transportation system. AAA stands ready to help Secretary-designate Thompson identify strategies for improving traffic safety and solutions for transportation funding challenges. We look forward to working with him to ensure that our transportation system is safe, reliable and efficient for all travelers.

ABC for Health, Inc.: Lame duck legislature flies backward on preexisting conditions protections

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Contact: Bobby Peterson, (608)261-6939 ext. 201 or
Brynne McBride (608)261-6939 ext. 210

Madison, WI – This week, the Wisconsin Legislature intends to pass what it calls “preexisting condition protections” in a lame duck legislative session. If it’s anything like the previous bill that failed to make it out of the Wisconsin Senate, “it’s a rotten egg,” says Bobby Peterson, Public Interest Attorney at ABC for Health. “Walker’s language will dilute and disconnect preexisting condition protections from the ACA,” continues Peterson, “The very protections that Walker directed the state to sue to eliminate.”

Peterson says, “The ACA included more comprehensive protections, with explicit requirements that plans must issue policies to all applicants, regardless of health status.” To contain costs, the ACA included market stabilization features like risk corridors and risk adjustment, and consumer cost savings through premium assistance and cost sharing reductions. Peterson continues, “Yet we’ve seen dramatic attempts by the Walker and Trump Administrations to sabotage the ACA in recent years, chipping away at those protections and market stabilization measures and joining lawsuits to strip consumers of ACA pre-existing condition protections.”

Governor Walker and his allies in the Assembly and Senate tout the language of AB365, as bill to “protect consumers.” Of course, that is not true. The newly proposed legislation prohibits a health insurance policy from considering a preexisting condition for the purpose of setting premiums or cost-sharing, but, a person must have continuous coverage for 12 months before the date of policy enrollment. This means there can be no breaks in coverage lasting longer than 63 days, otherwise the preexisting condition protections disappear. “Some protection,” scoffed Peterson. The bill authorizes the Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner to propose a plan to assist people with preexisting conditions and breaks in coverage. “This sounds like the bad old days of HIRSP and health care segregation for sick people,” says Peterson.

“Even if this phony legislation passes, it still ignores important consumer protections like a prohibition against annual/lifetime caps; no mandate to provide major medical; no tax subsidies; no essential health benefits; and of course, since it would be a state law, it would have no bearing on federally regulated plans,” says Peterson. “This is no substitute for the consumer protection language in the ACA,” insists Peterson. “If anything, it’s a reminder of the failed policy decisions of the Walker Administration that increased the number of uninsured patients, and increased and socialized medical debt and uncompensated care to the tune of over $1 billion, which is passed on to all of us.”

Peterson concludes, “Wisconsin will take a step backward with this legislation. The end of session chicanery and duplicity is insulting. As Walker and the legislature backslide to the bad ole days of insurance, we can only hope that new leadership in the state in 2019 moves us forward by bolstering the protections already in federal law, creates programs and policies that promote seamless comprehensive care and coverage for patients, and includes much stronger local consumer assistance and protection—something the current system desperately needs.”

ABC for Health: Lame duck legislature seizes power to strip people of health coverage

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Interview: Bobby Peterson: (608)261-6939 ext. 201 or Brynne McBride (608)261-6939 ext. 210

Madison, WI- In “Lame Duck” session, the Wisconsin Legislature seized Executive Branch power and approved two bills intended to strip some Wisconsinites of their health coverage. One bill codifies “work requirements” into the State’s BadgerCare Plus program, a measure that could exclude tens of thousands of low-income adults from their health coverage. Wisconsin’s own cost estimates show this plan will increase administrative and programmatic costs by the hundreds of millions of dollars at taxpayer expense.

The second bill seeks to further thwart Executive Branch discretion to maintain Wisconsin’s involvement in the ridiculous ACA “repeal and replace” lawsuit joined by Walker Administration. The pending lawsuit opposed by Governor-Elect Evers and Attorney General-Elect Kaul, could strip preexisting condition protections and the right to comprehensive health coverage from consumers purchasing private insurance.

“Separation of powers between the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Branches of government is a fundamental part of our governing process,” says Bobby Peterson, Public Interest Attorney at ABC for Health. “This Governor and Legislature forgot some basic high school civics. They ignored the results of an election, then rationalized reckless behavior to seize and maintain power.” Peterson continues, “As the voters showed in November, maintaining health coverage is a top priority for families all across our state. Yet, through a ‘Lame Duck’ process, Walker and his Legislative cronies crammed through legislation in darkness that ignored the best interests and will of the people of Wisconsin.”

“This Legislature and Governor ignored our state motto – we could have moved forward to a new Administration with new ideas and opportunities to increase health coverage to more individuals. Instead,” says Peterson, “Walker will be remembered as the Governor that lit a match to the state constitution on his way out, subjecting the state to litigation and a constitutional crisis.” “We will also remember Walker as the Governor that left us policies that increased the number of uninsured adults, children, and families all while increasing medical debt and uncompensated care to the tune of over a billion dollars that we all pay in the form of increased costs,” says Peterson.

Peterson continues, “Sadly, Governor Walker’s failure to conduct a gracious transition of power to a new Administration will lead to litigation and pain for the people of Wisconsin. We can only hope a new Administration restores the proper balance to our government and expedites the likely litigation over the unprecedented seizure of power by the Legislature, endorsed by Governor Walker.”

Peterson concludes, “Despite these dark days, we remain hopeful that the Evers Administration can exercise appropriate Executive Branch power to permit new ideas and policies that promote comprehensive health care and coverage for patients regardless of income, race, or health status and include the people of Wisconsin in decisions that impact their own health and wellbeing and that of family and loved ones.”

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.

ACLU of Wisconsin: Board of Directors condemns lame duck session

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Contact: Cass Bowers, ACLU of Wisconsin, 414-272-4032, ext. 217, media@aclu-wi.org
At its meeting, December 1st, the ACLU of Wisconsin’s Board of Directors strongly condemned the unfair spirit and underhanded manner in which the hundreds of pages of proposed changes were issued by the legislature during a lame duck session.

This costly legislative overreach seeks to harm Wisconsin families by changing laws pertaining to insurance, elections, and other issues essential to our state.

Drafting sweeping legislation behind closed doors to change the rules after an election violates the public’s trust, and their right to know and be heard, which are rooted in the first amendment.  This limits the people’s access to democracy and their ability to hold their legislators accountable to represent them.

There are real issues that the families of Wisconsin need addressed in order to thrive and this is not the way to solve those problems.

The legislature’s drastic and extreme action seeks to unfairly rush through what should be done during the regular session.  Their current strategy actively undermines the democratic process and the rights of Wisconsin residents.   Let’s return to Wisconsin values of openness and fair play.

ADCC new member fundraiser 🗓

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ADCC 2019 New Member Event
Monday, Feb. 4, 4-6 p.m.
Pasqual’s Cantina, 1344 E Washington Ave., Madison
**parking on site!
$1000 Patron, $500 Host, $250 Sponsor, $100 Friend
Supporter: $50, All contributions gratefully accepted
Contribute here: bit.ly/newmember2019
Please RSVP to Liz at [email protected].

AFP-Wisconsin: Encourages Legislature to work with Evers on public defender reimbursement

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CONTACT: Eric Bott, [email protected]

MADISON, Wis. – Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin (AFP-WI) issued the following statement after Governor-elect Evers signaled a commitment to addressing the public defender reimbursement crisis. Wisconsin’s reimbursement rate for private attorneys willing to take on defendants the government cannot is the lowest in the country. AFP-WI is committed to making smart reforms to the criminal justice system to improve public safety and help provide people with second chances and encouraged the legislature to work with Evers on the issue.

AFP-WI State Director Eric Bott issued the following statement:

“The Sixth Amendment is not optional. People all across the ideological spectrum can all unite to ensure Wisconsin meets its constitutional obligation to provide accused citizens, under the presumption of innocence, with access to counsel. Americans for Prosperity encourages the legislature to work with Governor-elect Evers to address this mounting due process crisis in 2019.”

AFP: Urges legislature to pass regulatory reform legislation

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 4, 2018

CONTACT: Eric Bott, [email protected]

MADISON, Wis. – Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin (AFP-WI) on Tuesday urged the legislature to pass regulatory reform legislation that would bolster legislative oversight and bring about more transparency to the administrative rule-making process. The legislation builds on the reforms implemented by the REINS Act, which the legislature passed in 2017. Lawmakers are expected to consider the reforms during the extraordinary session.

AFP-WI State Director Eric Bott issued the following statement:

“This legislation would be a win for democracy, a win for good government, and a win for the Wisconsin citizen. These reforms would strengthen the separation of powers, bolster transparency, and expand legislative oversight by restoring authority to the legislature – the people most accountable to Wisconsin voters. We look forward to working with the legislature and Governor-elect Tony Evers in the coming years to advance more reforms that shift power back to the people.”

AG Schimel: Announces $6 million settlement with Encore Capital, Midland Credit Management, and Midland Funding to reform debt buying and collection practices

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MADISON, Wis. – Attorney General Brad Schimel announced today that Wisconsin has joined 41 other states and the District of Columbia in reaching a $6 million settlement with Encore Capital Group Inc. and its subsidiaries Midland Credit Management, Inc. and Midland Funding, LLC, one of the nation’s largest debt buyers.

Debt buying involves buying and selling overdue debts from creditors and other account owners. Often purchased for pennies on the dollar, debt buyers seek to recover the full balance from consumers through collection attempts by phone and mail. Debt buyers, including Midland, also take consumers to court to collect the debts they purchase. However, people are often unable to afford attorneys to defend the allegations and cases result in default judgments, hurting credit and putting people in jeopardy of having their wages garnished.

The settlement resolves the states’ investigation into Midland’s collection and litigation practices. Much like the conduct witnessed during the mortgage crisis, the agreement settles claims that Midland signed and filed affidavits in state courts in large volumes without verifying the information printed in them, a practice commonly called robo-signing.

The settlement requires Midland to reform its affidavit signing and litigation practices. Midland must carefully verify the information in affidavits and present accurate documents in court proceedings. When Midland files a lawsuit, it must have account documents about the debt before they file the case, including the amount of the debt, proof of an agreement, and an explanation about why any additional fees are justified.

The settlement offers protections to consumers Midland is collecting from even if they are not being sued. All consumers must receive accurate information about valid debts. If a consumer disputes a debt Midland is collecting, the settlement requires Midland to review original account documents before it continues its collection efforts. Midland must provide these substantiating documents to the consumer for no charge. The settlement requires Midland maintain proper oversight and training over its employees and the law firms that it uses. The agreement prohibits Midland from reselling debt for two years.

As part of the settlement, Midland will completely eliminate or reduce the judgment balances of 16 Wisconsin consumers for a value of $23,554 in cases where Midland used an affidavit against them in court between 2003 and 2009. Midland will notify impacted consumers by mail of the balance reduction and no further action is necessary from the consumer.

Midland has also agreed to set aside a limited fund for additional restitution to eligible consumers. Consumers who disputed a debt with Midland but were sued and had a judgment entered against them in a case where Midland provided an affidavit between January 1, 2003 and September 14, 2009, and have not made any payments to Midland in connection with the debt, are eligible for a credit against any outstanding balance on the judgment. Consumers with questions about this additional set of limited funds may contact the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions at 608-264-7969.

https://www.doj.state.wi.us/news-releases/ag-schimel-announces-6-million-settlement-encore-capital-midland-credit-management-and

AG Schimel: Warns Wisconsinites about online travel scams

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MADISON, Wis. – With the holidays quickly approaching, Attorney General Brad Schimel today issued an advisory warning Wisconsinites about a possible travel scam involving fraudulent hotel bookings online.

“Keeping Wisconsinites safe online has been one of my top priorities over the last four years,” said Attorney General Schimel. “Being safe online isn’t just about children avoiding internet predators. Adults, too, need to be safe online and avoid potential scams and rip offs, especially around the holidays when many families will be traveling across the country to spend time with loved ones.”

Scammers create fraudulent websites and design them to imitate the hotel’s actual website, often using the hotel’s pictures and graphics. Consumers visit these fake websites and book a hotel room thinking they’ve booked their reservation directly through the hotel. Unfortunately, many victims don’t find out they’ve been scammed until it is too late – their money is gone and there’s little that can be done to recover lost funds.

Here are ways you can avoid being scammed when booking online, this holiday season:

  • Be cautious of redirection. It’s easy to be accidentally redirected to another website without realizing it. If you click on an ad or link, you can be led to a fraudulent website – many that appear to be legitimate.
  • Be aware of the website’s URL or address. Pay close attention to the web address, or URL, of the website you are visiting. Many fraudulent websites will include the hotel’s name in their URL to convince consumers they are on the hotel’s real website.
  • Pay the hotel directly, not with a third party payment method. Be sure to submit your payment to the hotel with a credit card and not through a wire transfer or prepaid money card. Credit cards are a more secure method, and credit card companies provide better consumer protections. Also avoid websites that require payment through a third party and not directly through the website.
  • Be wary of “too good to be true” offers. Fraudulent websites tend to offer incredibly low prices – that’s what makes them so attractive to consumers. If the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Be skeptical of overly-glowing reviews. If you notice a website has a substantial amount of positive reviews and little to no negative reviews, re-evaluate the site. Fraudulent websites are known to create their own reviews to convince consumers it’s real.
  • Pick up the phone. If you’re skeptical of the website, find the phone number and call the company. If they’re fraudulent, they’ll be harder to reach than the real hotel, and they’ll be less likely to take your call. Once you have them on the phone, ask where the person is located. Once you’ve made your reservation, call the hotel to confirm – ask about the address, room amenities, and confirmation number. If the hotel cannot confirm your reservation and you prepaid, report it to your credit card company immediately.

Alliance for Health Insurers and America’s Health Insurance Plans: Senate Substitute Amendment to Assembly Bill 365

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To: Wisconsin Legislators
Date: December 4, 2018
From: Alliance for Health Insurers and America’s Health Insurance Plans
Regarding: Senate Substitute Amendment (LRBs 0444/1) to Assembly Bill 365

The Alliance for Health Insurers (AHI) and America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) want to bring to your attention the following technical changes to LRB0444/1 to ensure that the bill only applies to those policies currently impacted under the Affordable Care Act. The first set of changes clarify the insurer accepts the group and issues the small group policy. Without these technical changes, we urge you to oppose LRB 0444/1.

The definition of disability policy under 632.895(1)(a) covers a broad range of policy types. Similar to how the Legislature has limited the types of disability insurance policies that are subject to certain state mandates under 632.895, we believe a similar clarification is needed in Senate Substitute Amendment to ensure that the requirements related to prohibition of pre-existing conditions, community rating and access to coverage only apply to those policies currently subject to those limitations under the Affordable Care Act.

Everyone should have access to comprehensive medical coverage. HIPAA excepted
benefits are a voluntary compliment to major medical coverage. As such they are not subject to many state or federal requirements for major medical, including the current federal requirements related to pre-existing condition limitations.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on these important changes to ensure the proposed substitute amendment does not go beyond the protections of the Affordable Care Act.

For additional information, please contact either:
Mary Haffenbredl, Senior Regional Director, State Affairs
America’s Health Insurance Plans

202.413.9817 cell

R.J. Pirlot, Executive Director
Alliance of Health Insurers

608.445.4410 cell

 

Alliant Energy: To add more renewable energy

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Media contact: Scott Reigstad (608) 458-3145

Investor Relations contact: Susan Gille (608) 458-3956

Wisconsin customers to benefit from clean, affordable wind power

MADISON, Wis. – December 13, 2018 – Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin energy company has received oral approval from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) to build a wind project that will keep energy costs low for Wisconsin customers starting in 2020. The 150-megawatt wind farm located in Kossuth County, Iowa, will provide enough energy to power 57,000 Wisconsin homes and businesses.

“Our customers look to us for sustainable energy solutions,” said John Larsen, president of Alliant Energy. “Investing in state-of-the-art wind generation continues our path to lower carbon emissions and furthers our commitment to provide reliable and affordable energy to our customers and communities.”

The new wind farm in north-central Iowa is in an area with consistently strong wind resources. In addition, the cost to build new wind projects has decreased significantly, which is directly benefiting customers. This is largely the result of continued technological advancements that improve the efficiency of wind turbines, producing more energy for less cost.

Construction of the new wind farm is expected to start in 2019, with completion by fall 2020. Including this project, Alliant Energy’s energy companies in Wisconsin and Iowa plan to invest a total of $2 billion to add 1,150 megawatts of new owned wind generation by 2021. These significant investments are helping the company achieve its target of reducing carbon dioxide by 40 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels.

Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin energy company provides service to 470,000 electric and 190,000 natural gas customers in 35 of the state’s 72 counties. The company delivers the energy solutions and exceptional service customers and communities count on – safely, efficiently and responsibly. The Wisconsin energy company, Wisconsin Power and Light, is based in Madison, Wis. Alliant Energy (NYSE: LNT) is a component of the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq CRD Global Sustainability Index. For more information, visit alliantenergy.com.

American Dairy Coalition: Applauds House and Senate agriculture leaders for passing of Farm Bill

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Media Contact:
Laurie Fischer
CEO
920-965-6070
12.12.2018: The American Dairy Coalition applauds Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Rep. Michael Conaway (R-TX) and Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) — all agriculture-oriented leaders — for the hard work to advance the 2018 Farm Bill through both the Senate and the House of Representatives.  The bill represents a solid step forward in aiding farmers struggling with poor market conditions and many other daily challenges.
The new Farm Bill enhances assistance to farmers when the market price for a corn, soybeans, wheat, etc., falls to critically low levels as well as provides access to more risk-management tools for dairy operations. It also improves vital disaster programs; continues the commitment to the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) by increasing funding for EQIP to $2.025 billion by fiscal year 2023; fosters innovation through Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG); and builds on the success of International Food Aid and Food Security Efforts.
The American Dairy Coalition appreciates the bipartisan effort that resulted in the advancement of the Farm Bill. The passing of the Farm Bill is a great step in the right direction, but much more needs to be done to help pull our nation’s dairy farmers facing financial crisis as a result of low milk prices and the impacts of retaliatory tariffs on dairy product exported to some of our major dairy trading partners.

American Heart Association: Announces Life is Why sponsorship with ThedaCare

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APPLETON, Wis. – The American Heart Association (AHA) announces ThedaCare, an Appleton-based community health system, as the first Life is Why sponsor in Wisconsin. 

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, cardiovascular disease took the lives of more than 11,000 Wisconsinites in 2016 alone. The sponsorship, reaching the ThedaCare service area including the Fox Valley, provides support to the American Heart Association’s mission: to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives.

“We appreciate the opportunity to help educate the public about heart health and the potentially life-saving choices people can make every day,” said Imran A. Andrabi, MD, President and CEO of ThedaCare. “Our “why” is putting our patients and their loved ones first. We are dedicated to serving Northeast and Central Wisconsin and sponsoring the American Heart Association’s Life is Why program is another vital way we can advance our mission of improving the health of the communities we serve.”

Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States and the second leading cause of death in Wisconsin. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. and is the number three killer in Wisconsin. Focus throughout this three-year sponsorship will be on creating a culture of health for residents of the Fox Valley area. The American Heart Association’s work is centered around changing policy, leading breakthroughs in science and technology, changing systems, transforming healthcare and transforming communities.

Here are just a few ways residents in the Fox Valley and beyond will see the Life is Why commitment in the community:

  • Promote employee wellness in local workplaces
  • Instill heart-healthy habits in kids through the American Heart Association’s Kids Heart Challenge in more than a dozen local schools
  • Distribute 100 CPR Anytime kits in the community and train residents in the life-saving skill of CPR
  • Community-wide education and awareness on a variety of health and wellness topics.

“We are thrilled to have ThedaCare as a major sponsor of our work in Wisconsin,” said Kim Friend, Senior Vice President, Eastern Field Operations for the American Heart Association. “This relationship will raise awareness of our leading health threat and create a culture of health through policy and systems change, education, prevention and research programs designed to make an impact right here where we live, work and play.”

Life is Why is a national brand element which emphasizes an emotional connection to the work of the AHA. The campaign encourages people of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds to consider what or who they are living for and turn that into their personal motivation for making lifestyle changes that add up to healthier, happier and longer lives with the ones they love. 

For more on Life is Why, visit www.heart.org/lifeiswhy. For more information about the work of the AHA in the Fox Cities, find us at @AHAWisconsin on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin: Thanks Sen. Johnson for defending free speech

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CONTACT: Eric Bott, [email protected]

MADISON, Wis. – Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin (AFP-WI) today launched a paid media effort including digital advertisements thanking Senator Ron Johnson for being a consistent advocate for free speech. Sen. Johnson stood up against S.J. Res 64, which would effectively nullify recent improvements to Internal Revenue Service Rules that help protect personal information from being leaked improperly. AFP-WI is thankful for Sen. Johnson’s championing Americans’ right to freedom of expression.

VIEW AD:

Johnson.png

AFP-WI State Director Eric Bott issued the following statement:

“Senator Johnson has been a consistent champion for free speech and protecting Wisconsinites’ privacy. Our activists are proud of his efforts to defend our right to express ourselves freely.”

Background:

This week, Americans for Prosperity released a statement expressing disappointment from the passage of S.J. Res. 64 that Sen. Johnson opposed, a resolution that AFP key voted.

Sen. Johnson’s record of voting to protect free speech has been consistent in the U.S. Senate, including his vote against S. 3369in 2012, and S.J. Res. 19 in 2014.

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

Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin: Thanks Speaker Ryan and Rep. Sensenbrenner for leadership on criminal justice reform

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AFP-WI State Director Eric Bott issued the following statement:

“This reform is a crucial first step toward breaking the cycle of incarceration, bringing families together, and creating safer communities in Wisconsin and across the country. The FIRST STEP Act is also proof that we can make meaningful progress on key issues, break down barriers to opportunity, and help people improve their lives when lawmakers have the courage to put policy ahead of politics.

“Wisconsin should be a place where people who want second chances get them. Speaker Ryan has been a leader on several bold reforms, but his parting gifts to Wisconsinites this holiday season – increased safety and redemption – is notably welcome. We thank Speaker Ryan for his service as a representative for Wisconsin and we thank Rep. Sensenbrenner for his work on criminal justice reform.”

BACKGROUND:

  • The FIRST STEP Act requires the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to place inmates no more than 500 driving miles from home, helping spouses, parents, and children more practically visit their family members behind bars and making it easier for inmates to reintegrate into society upon release.
  • Fixes a mistake in federal law to ensure that all well-behaved prisoners not serving life sentences can accrue 54 days of “good time credit” off their sentences per year, instead of the 47 per year that 178,000 inmates currently receive.
  • Directs the BOP to let low-risk low-needs inmates serve home confinement for up to 6 months of the end of their sentences.
  • Retroactively applies the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, which reduced the crack-cocaine sentencing disparity from 100:1 to 18:1, to current inmates sentenced before 2010.
  • Expands eligibility for the federal “safety valve” (18 U.S.C. § 3553(f)) to keep more low-level drug offenders from incurring mandatory minimums meant for high-level drug traffickers, creating more proportional punishments.

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

APWA-WI: Statement on Thompson appointment for secretary of the Department of Transportation

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CONTACT: Scott C. Solverson, P.E., AVS., [email protected] (Email), 414-559-4700 (Phone)

Scott C. Solverson, P.E., AVS, President of the American Public Works Association – Wisconsin Chapter, issued the following statement on the appointment of Craig Thompson as Secretary of the Department of Transportation:

“As President of APWA Wisconsin, I commend Governor-elect Evers on his appointment of Craig Thompson as Secretary of the Department of Transportation. Having known Mr. Thompson for many years, I can say unequivocally that he shares the vision that APWA Wisconsin has for connecting our citizenry in a cost-effective and responsible manner”.

“I have worked with Mr. Thompson in his capacity as Executive Director of the Transportation Development Association on the efforts to amend the Wisconsin Constitution to protect the transportation fund. TDA, under the leadership of Mr. Thompson, brought all sectors and regions of the State together to get that constitutional amendment placed on the ballot in 2014. Craig and TDA worked tirelessly to garner support and as a result it passed with an 80% “yes” vote.

“It is my experience working with Mr. Thompson on this, and many other issues, that leads me to whole-heartedly endorse this selection by Governor-elect Evers. Craig is a proven leader, a thoughtful professional, and a tremendous asset, and advocate for the people of the State of Wisconsin’.

Bayfield Chamber and Visitors Bureau: Pikes Marina wins National Marina of the Year award

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Contact Person:
Karlee Dunlap, 715-779-3900, [email protected]
Pikes Bay Marina, 84190 Pikes Bay Road, Bayfield, WI 54814
PHOTO ATTACHED: Steve Linton, general manager of Pikes Bay Marina in Bayfield, Wisconsin, receives the prestigious National Marina of the Year Award.
Pikes Bay Marina Wins “National Marina of the Year” Award
Bayfield,WI— Pikes Bay Marina has won the prestigious “National Marina of the Year” award presented by Marina Dock Age (MDA) magazine at the DOCKS EXPO Conference in Nashville, TN, on December 5, 2018. MDA is the premier magazine in the marina industry and bestows the annual award on one marina with 250 slips or fewer, and one in the over 250 slips category.
With 208 full-service, state-of-the-art slips ranging in size from 30 to 60 feet, Pikes Bay Marina qualified for the small-slip category and went through a highly selective application process. The application focused on demonstrating superior customer service, well-trained staff, industry-leading technical vessel services, environmentally responsible practices, safety compliance, leadership and participation in marine industry organizations, as well as community/state affiliations and partnership programs.
Pikes Bay Marina, owned by Goldridge Group, offers a world-class recreational boating location in a weather-safe harbor on the shore of Lake Superior – the largest fresh water lake in the world. Guests have access to explore the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, fish, dive sunken wrecks, walk the unspoiled sandy beaches, and tour the historic lighthouses. The current slip ratio is 58% sailboats and 42% power boats.
First-rate amenities and Infrastructure at Pikes Bay Marina include a well-appointed clubhouse with a full kitchen, gas grills on the deck, laundry facilities, private full bathrooms, two boaters’ lounges with cable TV, and free WiFi. There is also a Ship Store and Yacht Sales office. Pikes Bay Marina General Manager, Steve Linton is quick to share that what they are most proud of is their friendly, caring service. They even have a dog exercise area and doggie treats for canine guests.
The stable floating docks, wide piers and wide fairways at Pikes Bay Marina offer easy boarding and docking. Fuel pumps and a pump-out station are conveniently located at the harbor entrance. The new Marine Service Center, the most recent addition to the marina’s infrastructure, offers extensive vessel repair capabilities by certified techs.
Linton summed up the importance of the “National Marina of the Year” award with these thoughts: “It is
 a great honor for Pikes Bay to receive this award. It really is a tribute to our staff. In any successful business, the quality of your staff is the key ingredient to a business’s success. Pikes Bay Marina has been fortunate to assemble one of the best.”
For more information about Pikes Bay Marina, go to pikesbaymarina.com.

Bewley campaign: If they had done their jobs, they would have kept their jobs

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For Immediate Release

Primary Contact: [email protected]

Instead, one month after the people of Wisconsin rejected the divisive agendas of outgoing Governor Walker and Attorney General Schimel, legislative Republicans spent the final throes of this session doubling down on their record of failure.

They held an unprecedented lame duck session, extraordinary only for its failure to do anything for the people and taxpayers who paid for it.

Did they come in to deal with Wisconsin jobs at Kimberly Clark, the whole point of this session in the first place? No.

Did they come in to make good on Governor Walker’s promises to people with preexisting conditions and their families? No. They proved those promises empty, and worse.

After seven years of trailing the nation in private sector job creation, legislative Republicans acted to make WEDC – an agency that has proven itself unable or unwilling to count jobs, a permanent source of hefty handouts at your expense.

After working tirelessly to take protections away from people with preexisting conditions, Republicans offered ineffective protections with one hand while the hand behind their back guaranteed their ability to continue the greatest threat to people with pre-existing conditions: Republicans’ costly and anti-Wisconsin lawsuit to repeal the ACA.

Then they created a blank check so they can hire a legion of high-priced attorneys at your expense to file endless lawsuits. Then they created a whole new bureaucracy in a legislative committee to create more red tape, delays and cost.

This was another act of a seven year pattern of GOP politicians putting their own jobs ahead of the people who vote, and pay, for them. They’ve granted themselves powers the constitution gives to the executive branch, and thanks to the heavily-gerrymandered districts they drew for themselves in 2011, they won’t be giving back that power anytime soon.

Unfortunately, it’s the taxpayers of Wisconsin who have to live with, and pay for, the consequences of this contemptible pettiness.

Bill Kaplan: Governing vs. rabble-rousing

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

Trump and defeated Wisconsin GOP Governor Scott Walker have demonstrated again that they reject governing and embrace rabble-rousing. Why? The building blocks of successful governing are a willingness to compromise, negotiate, respect for opponents and acknowledgement of generally accepted facts. However, Trump and Walker are rabble-rousers: constant deception, stirring up division, appealing to fear and pretending to be for regular folks, while serving corporations and the rich.

For example, the GOP-led Congress has failed to fund the entire government. A shutdown looms December 21. Democratic congressional leaders Representative Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer met with Trump in the hopes of avoiding a harmful shutdown. Instead of a serious meeting, Trump arranged for press to be there as he berated and patronized Pelosi and Schumer, while reading from note cards. Pelosi responded to Trump: “The American people recognize that we must keep the government open, that a shutdown is not worth anything, and that we should not have a Trump shutdown.”

Having failed to persuade Mexico to pay for a wall at the U.S.-Mexican border, Trump wants Congress to fund it. Pelosi, a strong supporter of border security, but not an expensive gimmick, wanted an “evidence-based conversation” on securing the border. Then Trump threw a tantrum, saying: “If we don’t get what we want, one way or the other … I will shut down the government.” An enfant terrible vs. a grown-up.

It’s the same story in Wisconsin. Sore loser Walker signed all the bills passed by the lame-duck GOP-led state legislature eroding the constitutional powers of Democratic Governor-elect Tony Evers and Democratic Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul. The sweeping and unprecedented legislation curbs Evers’ role in economic development, prevents state withdrawal from Walker’s lawsuit attacking the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and hamstrings Evers and the executive branch in implementing state law.

Walker has been on a twitter rant. He has posted multiple tweets about his “Legacy”. However, highly respected Ohio GOP Governor John Kasich was spot-on about Walker’s legacy. CNN asked Kasich if he considered Walker’s actions “a power grab aimed at undermining Democrats”. Kasich said: “Of course that’s what it is. It’s outrageous… . When you lose, you say you lost. You don’t go and try to reverse the election by manipulation… . These power grabs are just outrageous.”

Finally, a Texas federal court delivered one more terrible legacy. It declared the ACA to be unconstitutional. Wisconsin Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin said: “Scott Walker’s lawsuit threatens guaranteed health protections and would raise costs for … Wisconsinites with preexisting conditions that he promised to protect. This ruling is not the final word and this attack on Wisconsin families must not stand.” Baldwin was echoed by American Medical Association President Barbara McAneny: “No one wants to go back to the days of 20 percent of the population uninsured and fewer patient protections, but this decision will move us in that direction”. Chip Kahn, President of the Federation of American Hospitals, said: “The judge got it wrong.” Trump and Walker’s rabble-rousing legacy.

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

Bill Kaplan: The economy and GOP sink lower

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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 stock market plunged last week amid Trump’s lies about trade concessions from China. “The Chinese did not acknowledge a 90-day deadline for the (upcoming) talks or say that they plan to ‘immediately’ increase purchases of U.S. farm goods” (Washington Post). Trump just makes stuff up. For example, he said China would buy $1.2 trillion of U.S. agricultural and factory products (U.S. expected to export only $126 billion this year). Added to the mix – higher oil prices, rising interest rates and a lackluster jobs report. All signs point to a looming recession.

As Wall Street declined, the nation mourned Bush 41. But hours before the funeral the Wisconsin GOP-led legislature passed sweeping and unprecedented legislation eroding the constitutional powers of Democratic Governor-elect Tony Evers and Democratic Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul. It was a slap in the face of voters who chose change on November 6. Former Democratic Governor Jim Doyle pointed out the contrast between bipartisan eulogies for Bush and the power grab by petty unscrupulous Wisconsin GOP politicians.

In 2014, the 25th anniversary of Bush 41’s presidency, former Wisconsin Democratic Representative Dave Obey joined a bipartisan celebration. Obey said: “If there’s a single word that you can use to describe Bush’s approach to politics, it’s governance. It was a case where the adults ran the show.” A jarring contrast with Trump and the last gasp of unchallenged GOP rule in Wisconsin.

While his GOP-led legislature was doing the dirty work, defeated GOP Governor Scott Walker attended Bush’s funeral. Did Walker listen? Bush has an honorable legacy because he broke with GOP orthodoxy. He raised taxes to pay for the first Iraq War. Walker’s final defining moment has come. Will he veto the mean-spirited power grab? Wisconsin Republicans are also trying to manipulate voting regulations. A federal court previously struck down limitations on early voting, but GOP politicians are at it again. On par with Trump.

After losing the popular vote in 2016 Trump said: “I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally”. A big lie. Even weak-kneed House Speaker Paul Ryan said: “I’ve seen no evidence to that effect…”. However, Republicans keep pretending that Democrats are trying to steal elections. But they are awfully quiet right now. Why?

The Washington Post exposed voter fraud by North Carolina (NC Ninth Congressional District) GOP House candidate Mark Harris. It’s clear that voter fraud took place both in the GOP primary and the general election. Absentee mail-in ballots were illegally collected by the Harris campaign and tampered with or disregarded. Many of the ballots came from black voters. Democratic candidate Dan McCready, down by only 905 votes, tweeted: “I didn’t serve overseas in the Marines to come home to NC and watch a criminal, bankrolled by my opponent, take away people’s very right to vote”. Politico’s headline was blunt: “Alleged fraud has GOP bracing for loss of NC seat”.

The party of Lincoln sinks lower in Wisconsin and nationally, while a troubled economy goes down.

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

 

Bill Kaplan: Worst week for Wisconsin GOP and Trump

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

On November 6, Wisconsin voters chose change. Wisconsin Republicans lost every statewide office on the ballot. However, Wisconsin GOP politicians have decided to disrespect voters. Acting like sore losers, they are scheming to limit the constitutional powers of Democratic Governor-elect Tony Evers and Democratic Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul. And, the Republican hacks want to stack the deck by manipulating voting regulations and changing a 2020 election date to benefit a conservative incumbent Supreme Court justice. These desperate moves demonstrate anew why voters tossed state Republicans out. It’s time for former GOP state Governor Tommy Thompson to take this churlish bunch to the woodshed.

As Wisconsin Republicans hit new lows, the shining glitter on Trump’s economic promises dimmed. Case in point. “General Motors (GM) said … that it will close five factories and lay off nearly 15,000 … a move that shows the economy may be starting to slow and dents President Trump’s claim to be leading a renaissance for industrial America” (Washington Post). Remember Trump’s extravagant phony rhetoric: “If I’m elected, you won’t lose one plant, you’ll have plants coming into this country, you’re going to have jobs again, you won’t lose one plant, I promise you that” (2016 Warren, Michigan – one of the factories GM is closing). Hot air.

Wisconsin knows what’s coming for these GM workers. When the Janesville GM plant was closed under Bush 43, the city was devastated. Later, as President Obama moved to save the U.S. auto industry, Trump told the Detroit News that automakers should move to states that paid workers less! Can’t GM Chief Executive Mary Barra show some heart and cut her $millions in salary and stock awards? Will Trump do anything beyond bloviating as he does with his trade policies?

Wisconsin has been hit hard by Trump’s trade war against Canada, China, European Union and Mexico. Retaliatory tariffs have Wisconsin manufacturers facing catastrophe. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (MJS) headline blared: “As tariffs continue, panic beginning to sink in among Wisconsin manufacturers”. Similarly, Wisconsin farmers are fighting for their lives. The New York Times headline was blunt: “A $12 Billion Program to Help Farmers Stung by Trump’s Trade War Has Aided Few”. And, the MJS reported: “Dairy farms are receiving about 80 percent of the $10,4 million coming to the state, with an average of $2,390, not much for some farms losing thousands of dollars a month from low milk prices”.

A showman presidency. As economic reality intrudes, so does Special Counsel Robert Mueller. He accepted another guilty plea from Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime personal lawyer and fixer. Cohen admitted lying to Congress about Trump’s attempt to build a project in Moscow, while campaigning for the GOP presidential nomination. Remember Trump’s 2016 tweet: “I have ZERO investments in Russia”. So far Mueller has chalked up indictments against 33, with 7 convicted and/or entering plea deals. And, the GOP-led Senate Intelligence Committee has referred perjury cases to Mueller. The whole rotten Trump edifice is collapsing. The worst week for Trump and Republicans.

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

Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding informational hearing 🗓

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Madison- The co-chairs of the Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding, Rep. Joel Kitchens (R- Sturgeon Bay) and Sen. Luther Olsen (R- Ripon), are announcing the next meeting on Wednesday, December 19 in Madison at the Wisconsin State Capitol.

The commission meeting will begin at 9:00am, with members discussing and finalizing the commission’s recommendations for improving the school funding formula based on previous public hearings. No public input will be heard at this time.

December 19, 2018

Informational Hearing

9:00 a.m.

Wisconsin State Capitol

Joint Finance Room – 412 East

2 East Main Street

Madison, WI 53703 

Board for People with Development Disabilities: Statement on Gov. Walker signing extraordinary session bills

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Media Inquiries: Beth Swedeen (608) 266-1166

(Madison)- The Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities is disappointed that Governor Walker today signed into law a bill from last week’s Legislative Extraordinary Session that requires the Legislature to approve all changes and updates to Medicaid waivers, including waiver programs people with disabilities and their families rely in such as Family Care, IRIS, Children’s Long Term Supports, MAPP, Katie Beckett.

This bill needlessly makes routine updates to Medicaid waiver programs more complex and time-consuming and adds a layer of bureaucratic requirements that takes Department of Health Services time away from time that could be used making improvements to programs for people with disabilities.

People with disabilities and their families from all parts of the state requested that the Governor veto this legislation because of potential future negative impacts, including delays that could jeopardize federal waiver funding.

Cain campaign: Municipal Judge Steve Cain announces candidacy for Ozaukee County Circuit Court and support from judicial leaders

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Contact:     [email protected]

Cedarburg– Cedarburg resident and Mid Moraine Municipal Court Judge Steve Cain announces his candidacy for Ozaukee County Circuit Court.   Judge Cain has already secured the endorsements of Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices Daniel Kelly and Rebecca Bradley as well as incumbent Ozaukee County Judge Joe Voiland.  He looks forward to earning support from the legal community, law enforcement, and the citizens of the county.

Judge Cain offered the following statement:

“I am honored to announce my candidacy for Ozaukee County Circuit Court. It is my sincere hope that the citizens of Ozaukee County will recognize my service as a municipal judge, lawyer and active community member.  I am committed to running a race focused on the proper role of a judge – to apply the law as written, not as I wish it to be.  I am grateful for the early support of Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices Daniel Kelly and Rebecca Bradley.  I want to thank Judge Voiland for his service to our country, his service to the County the last six years, and his support of my candidacy.”

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly issued the following statement:

“I am pleased that Judge Steve Cain has chosen to pursue a position on the Ozaukee County Circuit Court.  Through his service as a municipal court judge, he has already demonstrated that he is a very capable jurist who will faithfully apply the law as written.  Along with Judge Voiland, I look forward to welcoming him to the bench.”

About Steve.  Judge Cain has served as a municipal court judge for nearly 10 years and has practiced law in Ozaukee County for nearly 20 years.  He is an active community member having served as President of the Cedarburg-Grafton Rotary Club, Wisconsin Municipal Judges Association and Ozaukee County Bar Association.  He resides in Cedarburg with his wife Heather and two sons.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: Health insurance exchange open enrollment deadline less than two weeks away

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Contact: Elizabeth Schinderle

(312) 886-0945 | [email protected]

Three Things Wisconsinites Need to Know

Since Open Enrollment began on November 1, 3,198,163 people selected plans using the HealthCare.gov platform. The HealthCare.gov Open Enrollment Period runs from November 1, 2018, to December 15, 2018, for coverage starting on January 1, 2019. Whether consumers are new to the HealthCare.gov Exchange or returning, CMS is making sure that Wisconsinites who want coverage through the Exchange are aware of the upcoming deadline so they do not miss the opportunity to sign up for 2019 coverage.

“The focus for this year, as it was for last year, is to provide a seamless Open Enrollment experience for HealthCare.gov consumers,” said CMS Regional Administrator Jackie Garner. “We’ve made important improvements to customer service this year.  We streamlined the application to simplify the process for consumers, improved content and help information to make it easier for people to understand and worked to deliver better customer service. The website has performed optimally, consumers have been able to easily access enrollment tools to compare plans and prices, and the call center consumer satisfaction rate has remained at 90 percent.”

Since Open Enrollment began on November 1, 82,493 Wisconsin consumers have selected a plan in the Federally Facilitated Exchange.

As we approach the December 15 deadline, here are the 3 things Wisconsin consumers need to know:

  1. The deadline to sign up for coverage is December 15, 2018.

Wisconsin consumers have until December 15 to sign up for coverage that starts on January 1, 2019.  Wisconsinites who do not enroll by the December 15 deadline can’t get 2019 coverage unless they qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. Consumers in Wisconsin can visit HealthCare.gov and CuidadodeSalud.gov to preview 2019 plans and prices and sign up for coverage today.

  1. Now is the time for Wisconsin consumers to go to HealthCare.gov or CuidadodeSalud.gov to update their information or add it for the first time, and select the plan that best meets their needs.

CMS is encouraging Wisconsinites who need health insurance to join the millions of people who have gone to HealthCare.gov and found health insurance.  The plans on HealthCare.gov are comprehensive and offer:

  • Annual Checkups at no extra cost; and
  • Coverage of doctor visits, prescription drugs, and certain preventive care with no out-of-pocket costs.
  1. Nationally, average premiums have decreased and the number of plans have increased on the Federal Exchange for 2019.

For the very first time since Healthcare.gov started offering coverage, average premium rates for a benchmark silver plan in 2019 have gone down across the 39 states that use the federal platform. Consumers have more plans to choose from to find the best fit for themselves.  There are 23 more issuers on the federal Exchanges for 2019 than there were in 2018.  And, 29 issuers are expanding their service area into new counties.  Consumers should come back to HealthCare.gov to compare plans and prices, as they may be able to find a plan that saves them money and better meets their health needs.

 Help is available!  Wisconsin consumers can get help filling out their application in 3 ways:

  • By phone.  Consumers can call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325). Available every day, except certain holidays.
  • In-person help.  Consumers can use the Find Local Help tool on HealthCare.gov to see if they can get in-person help in their community.
  • Health insurance agents & brokers.  Agents and Brokers can help consumers enroll through the Exchange or handle the whole process. Search for health insurance agents and brokers using the Find Local Help tool.

Concordia University: Curt Gielow retires from Concordia University

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After over ten years of service to Concordia University, Curt Gielow, vice president of administration and campus executive of the Concordia University Ann Arbor campus, has announced his retirement. In this relatively brief time at Concordia, Gielow has left his mark as a key team member behind some of the university’s boldest moves, including: starting a new School of Pharmacy at Concordia University Wisconsin, acquiring the North Building at CUAA, starting a School of Nursing and a physician’s assistant program at CUAA, and, perhaps, largest of all, making the unprecedented integration of two different universities in two different states work.

His Concordia career began in 2007 on the Mequon, Wisconsin campus, where he was tapped as a consultant by CUW President Rev. Patrick T. Ferry, PhD, to explore the feasibility of starting a pharmacy school to address the acute shortage of pharmacists in the state. Gielow was highly suited for the task. At that time, he was retiring from four years in the Wisconsin Assembly. Prior to his election to the Assembly, Gielow worked in health care management, business and executive search consulting, and had previously practiced pharmacy.

Gielow and the assembled committee of advisors affirmed the shortage of pharmacists and advocated for the school to fill the need. In 2008, Gielow was appointed executive dean of the new School of Pharmacy project, and he, along with newly appointed academic dean, Dr. Dean Arneson, and executive assistant, Janet Mushall, got to work to start Wisconsin’s second School of Pharmacy (LINK) from the ground up. In 2010 the first class was enrolled.

Coincidently, Gielow also was elected mayor of the City of Mequon that same year and served the community in both capacities for the next three years.

Gielow noted that it was a remarkable move for a small, Christian, liberal arts college to take on such a heavy science program. That move had a ripple effect at Concordia that led to growth in volume and reputation in multiple areas of study, including business, health care, and sciences.

After the School of Pharmacy was successfully up and running, President Ferry and Concordia’s leadership were working on another remarkable move: to acquire the struggling sister school, Concordia University in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and preserve the provision of a Lutheran, Christian higher education alternative in the Ann Arbor region.

Based on Gielow’s success as a leader who could turn a vision into a thriving realty, he was, once again, tapped by President Ferry and the university’s leadership to carry out a successful integration between the two Concordias.

Under Gielow’s management, CUAA grew incrementally in its size and offerings. When he arrived in 2013, enrollment was around 600 students and the university did not offer any health care programs. Since then, enrollment has doubled to over 1,200 (LINK) students and, this year, CUAA will graduate the first School of Nursing students. (LINK)

In his five years at CUAA, Gielow oversaw the purchase of the North Building, (LINK) the former Cooley Law School located a couple miles north of campus. That building now houses the School of Nursing (LINK), athletic training (LINK), and is making room for the physician’s assistant (LINK) program to welcome their first class in fall 2019.

Of all the remarkable accomplishments that Gielow has been a part of, he is most proud that he played such a pivotal role in the successful integration of Concordia University Wisconsin and Concordia University Ann Arbor.

As Gielow steps aside, he is succeeded by a campus leader who has ties to both CUW and CUAA and joined the CUAA campus community in 2013, at the same time as Gielow.

Rev. Dr. Ryan Peterson, campus pastor and an alumnus of CUW, has been promoted to vice president of administration and the chief liaison to the Office of the President, effective Jan. 1, 2019.

Pastor Randy Duncan will assume the title of campus pastor and lead the campus ministry work at CUAA with Peterson’s support and counsel.
“We are a small, Christian, faith-based university nestled on a beautiful piece of property in the best college town in America,” says Gielow. “With a visionary like President Ferry steering the ship, and leaders like Dr. Peterson and Pastor Duncan on the ground protecting and extending that vision, Concordia could continue to buck the higher education trend and attract more students to our culture of faith and learning and our community where everybody knows everybody.”
Gielow plans to move back to Wisconsin, but, he will remain active and involved in the continued growth of CUAA. As the campus continues to redefine itself and come into its own, there will, no doubt, be many more bold university moves that will require the skills and fortitude that Gielow has spent his lifetime acquiring.

Dane County Exec. Parisi: Announces PARC and Ride bike trail grants totaling $500,000 for municipalities

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Today, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced awards totaling $500,000 for the Dane County PARC and Ride Bike Trail grant program, the maximum amount available for 2018. The program, brought back in the 2018 budget, provides matching grants to communities interested in expanding trail interconnectivity throughout Dane County. Municipalities were eligible to receive grants matching up to 50 percent of a project’s costs to offset bike trail design, engineering, and construction expenses.

“Dane County has become known for its bike trails that offer picturesque views and an ever-growing network of connections,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “We are excited to partner with local governments to enhance our trails so they can continue to draw people into our community and bring enjoyment to Dane County residents year after year.”

Grants were awarded to capital projects that expanded bike trail interconnectivity, created destination-oriented regional bike trails, and improved bike safety. Projects needed to provide a regional shared-use trail connection, as identified in the 2018-2023 Dane County Parks and Open Space Plan, and could include associated amenities like trailheads/parking areas, signage, and safety facilities.

A resolution to approve these project allocations will be introduced to the Dane County Board at tonight’s meeting.

Funded Projects Include:

The Village of Cambridge was awarded $209,250 for its CamRock/Glacial Drumlin Connector project. This 3,600 ft. trail connection will extend from the terminus of the CamRock Trail to State Farm Road and will ultimately connect to the Glacial Drumlin State Trail. The total project cost will be $418,500.

The Village of Cottage Grove was awarded $182,500 for its Main Street Community Trail. This extension of paved trail along Main Street will provide a trail connection between the Glacial Drumlin Trail and McCarthy County Park. In total, the project will cost $365,000.

The Village of Windsor was awarded $81,600 for its 1,000 ft. paved trail and bridge project that will provide a connection for the proposed trail from Token Creek County Park to the Upper Yahara River Trail. The total project cost will be $163,200.

The Village of Shorewood Hills was awarded $26,650 for its Blackhawk Path Extension. This project will feature a 1,400 ft. extension of the University Avenue Path that will cover a missing link between Shorewood Hills and University Bay Drive. In total, the project will cost $211,996.

DATCP: ‘Tis the season for returns 

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

Editor’s Note: This release was included in the DATCP Holiday Release Package distributed on November 13.

MADISON – Even the most heartfelt presents sometimes end up back on the store shelves.  Maybe the color was wrong. Perhaps the fit was not quite right. There can be any number of reasons why an item needs to be returned, and planning ahead for this possibility can be a great help to a gift recipient.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection asks shoppers to pay close attention to the different stores’ policies while they shop, to ask for gift receipts at the register, and to keep all sales documentation throughout the holiday season.

“Different businesses have different return and exchange policies, and it is important to ask about a store’s policies before you make a purchase,” said Michelle Reinen, Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Some stores will not honor a return or refund request without a receipt, so it is important to ask for gift receipts at the time of purchase and to include them with the package. Drop the gift receipt in the box or tape it to the front or side of the box before you wrap the item.

Additional return tips include:

  • Stores are required to honor the return guidelines they represent to consumers. If the store’s policy is not posted, ask a salesperson or manager about the terms before making a purchase.
  • Pay attention to the time frame allotted by the retailer for returns. Find out if the countdown to the last day for returns begins on the date of original purchase of the item or if there are extended holiday return deadlines.
  • As you wrap gifts, leave the price tags and UPC codes intact and keep the original packaging. Some stores charge a restocking fee for opened items or those without their packaging (especially electronics).
  • Review the conditions that apply when you buy products on sale or clearance. Some stores may not allow you to return these items.
  • If you are shopping online or by phone, find out who pays return shipping fees if you have a problem with the product. Does the retailer pay those fees or does the consumer? Are return shipping fees deducted from the refund amount?
  • Gift cards may not be eligible for returns, so check the store’s policy before you purchase one.

If you believe a retailer is not honoring its posted return policy, file a complaint with the Consumer Protection Bureau at datcp.wi.gov, send an e-mail to [email protected] or call the Consumer Protection Hotline toll-free at 1-800-422-7128.

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

DATCP: Application period opens for specialty crop block grants

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

MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is accepting applications for the 2019 Specialty Crop Block Grant (SCBG) program. Applications are due to DATCP by February 15, 2019.

Grants are awarded to projects intended to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crop industries through research, education or market development. Qualified projects are those meant to benefit the industry as a whole as opposed to benefiting one individual, farm or company. DATCP will use a competitive review process to select the most qualified projects and will submit Wisconsin’s state plan to the USDA for approval and funding.

Specialty crops include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, nursery crops, herbs and more. Find a full list of eligible crops and more information about the program at www.ams.usda.gov/scbgp.

Non-profits, producer organizations, government agencies, universities and other agricultural organizations are encouraged to apply. Applications may involve collaborations or partnerships between entities.

Grant funds will be awarded for projects up to three years in duration. Typical projects are awarded between $10,000 and $100,000. In anticipation of receiving funding, project contracts and work would begin in the fall.

Eligible project expenses include compensation for personnel, consultant services, materials and supplies, and miscellaneous costs.

Optional grant-writing workshops scheduled

Optional grant-writing workshops will be held for interested applicants on the following dates:

  • Tuesday, December 18, 2:00-4:00pm in East Troy, WI
  • Wednesday, January 9, 2:00-4:00pm in Madison, Wi

Requests for Proposals information and application materials are online at https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/Growing_WI/SpecialtyCrops.aspx

For additional dates, locations, and times o to register for the free workshops, contact DATCP Grants Specialist Juli Speck at [email protected] or 608-224-5134.Find more DATCP news in our Newsroom, on Facebook or on Twitter.

DATCP: Petition period opens for 2020 Ag Enterprise Areas

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Contacts: Donna Gilson, (608) 224-5130 or [email protected]
Bill Cosh, Communications Director (608) 224-5020. [email protected]wisconsin.gov

Please note:  Although the petition deadline is not until June 21, 2019, the petitions typically require months to prepare.

MADISON – Communities interested in being designated as agricultural enterprise areas in 2020 can submit petitions until June 21, 2019, to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

Agricultural enterprise areas, or AEAs, are blocks of land that are used primarily for farming and for businesses that serve the farming sector. They are created when at least five landowners and their local governments petition for an AEA designation and the department approves the petition.

AEA designation allows farmers within the AEA to receive tax credits of $5-$10 per acre if they enter into farmland preservation agreements with the department. The designation can also be used with local planning and zoning, conservation easements, agriculture economic development incentives, and other tools to support farming and the local farm economy.

“AEAs allow farmers and agribusinesses to invest with some confidence that there will be an infrastructure to support their operations into the future,” said Lacey Cochart, director of the department’s Bureau of Land and Water Resources, which houses the AEA program. “They are just one tool that rural communities can use to help maintain their agriculture economies.”

Petitions typically require meetings and data gathering, so they may take several months to prepare. Interested landowners and businesses should contact their local government officials to begin the process. The team that reviews petitions considers the level of local support in deciding whether to recommend areas for AEA status, so petitioners should involve their communities from the beginning.

Petition materials are available online at http://datcp.wi.gov by searching for “petition materials.” Completed petitions are due to DATCP by June 21, 2019. Petitioners should notify the department of their intent to apply, so they can receive announcements of workshops or webinars to help them prepare their petitions.

When AEAs designated this year take effect on Jan. 1, Wisconsin will have 37 AEAs totaling 1.32 million acres in 26 counties, 108 towns, and the Bad River Reservation. DATCP has the authority to designate up to 2 million acres for AEAs.

For more information, farmers and local government officials can call Natalie Cotter at 608-224-4611 or email [email protected]gov.

DC Wrap: Baldwin says U.S. needs to make new NAFTA deal ‘better’ for Wis.; Gallagher calls on GOP to widen support post-midterms

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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, Nov. 30-Dec. 6

Throughout his life, George H.W. Bush fought for freedom and prosperity for all Americans. From his service in World War II as a naval aviator to his efforts organizing international disaster relief, the nation and world will never forget his years of public service.
– U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, following the 41st president’s passing last week.

This is a lame-duck coup, plain and simple.
– U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, on Twitter this week following the Legislature’s passage of bills aimed to limit Dem Gov.-elect Tony Evers’ and AG-elect Josh Kaul’s powers.

See coverage in Quorum Call.

Look, I get it. No Labels is slick, and I got duped. But no other current or newly elected member of Congress should fall for its shtick.
– U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, in an editorial in the Huffington Post this week denouncing No Labels, a group that bills itself as one focused on promoting bipartisanship in D.C. Pocan says he joined the group and the group-sponsored “Problem Solvers Caucus” shortly after being elected to Congress in 2012, but said a number of red flags led him to drift away from the group in the intervening years. Pocan’s column comes after a report in the Daily Beast showed the group encouraged funders “known for backing hyperpartisan causes” to donate to its super PACs. Recent reports also show the group had sought to oppose House Dem leader Nancy Pelosi.

This week’s news

— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin says she would support the new trade deal between the United States, Mexico and Canada only if the U.S. can “make it a better deal” for Wisconsin.

The United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement was signed by the leaders of the three countries last week. Congress and the legislatures of Canada and Mexico will need to give final approval on the deal.

Baldwin in a statement addressing the signing said “unfair trade practices” have harmed Wisconsin’s agriculture economy and cost the state “thousands of manufacturing jobs.” She added that the USMCA should confront “Canada’s unfair trade barriers and Mexico’s limits on Wisconsin cheese exports.”

The Madison Dem said Congress needs to ensure the new agreement works for Wisconsin farmers, manufacturers, businesses and workers.

“As Congress works on legislation for this new deal I will be working to ensure that this new deal increases market access for our Wisconsin dairy farmers and cheese makers,” Baldwin said.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan called the deal “NAFTA 2.0” and “incomplete.” The Town of Vermont Dem said in a statement the new deal will “not stop the damage done by NAFTA.” He listed job outsourcing, wage suppression and environmental degradation as key issues that need to be addressed in the USMCA.

“We have been clear about these goals from day one, and I will continue to push the Trump Administration in the upcoming months to fulfill their promise of a new trade framework that supports working families,” Pocan said.

— U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher says his party needs to engage the state’s Dem strongholds and “go places Republicans don’t often go” in order to increase a GOP candidate’s statewide viability in future cycles.

The freshman congressman, who just won his second term Nov. 6, said the latest election shows Republicans also need to assess their appeal among suburban college-educated women.

“I think we would be foolish not to reflect on that,” the Green Bay Republican said in a recent interview with WisPolitics.com.

Gallagher, who logged 63.7 percent of the vote over his Dem opponent Beau Liegeois’ 36.3 percent according to unofficial returns, said he thinks it’d “be wise to engage” parts of Madison and Milwaukee, as well as working more broadly to actively expand GOP voters.

Still, he noted that while Dems swept the statewide races, Republicans at the local and congressional district level “did quite well.”

“I think that’s a function of people just responding to the needs of the district, representing the needs of their district and not trying to get caught up in all the national controversies and the various sort of crises of the day,” he said.

As a millennial, the 34-year-old Gallagher said he spends much of his time considering how to “craft a conservative message that’s appealing to the next generation.”

That generation, he said, would likely “be sympathetic to the idea of local solutions to local problems and not having the federal government dictate outcomes for Wisconsin.”

Gallagher also said he’s hopes Democratic control of the House doesn’t mean Congress devolves “into pure partisan tribal warfare” come January.

“It’s not just divided government; it’s also every single Democrat’s going to be running for president,” he said. “So that’ll create a circus of its own.”

But he expressed optimism that both parties would be able to work together in three areas: continuing to “rebuild the military,” investing in infrastructure and price transparency in health care, including rising drug costs.

See more from the interview in last Friday’s Report.

— U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan says he’s won’t take donations from corporate PACs going forward.

The announcement means the Town of Vermont is joining 36 new House Dems and five returning members in refusing the funding.

Pocan said rejecting corporate money will show that Washington “should work for average Americans, not big corporate special interests.

A check of Pocan’s latest campaign finance report, filed at the end of October, shows PAC money accounted for nearly $606,000 of his donations over the current election cycle. But that figure also includes contributions from other candidate committees.

By comparison, he logged nearly $412,000 in receipts from individuals.

— U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore has introduced a bill aiming to ensure vulnerable populations have the resources they need to maintain basic living standards.

The “Social Security Enhancement and Protection Act” would update the special minimum benefit policy in the Social Security Act to 100 percent of the poverty limit, as well as reinstate the student benefit for children with disabled, diseased or retired parents. The legislation would also increase an individual’s Social Security benefits 20 years after becoming eligible for retirement.

Moore, D-Milwaukee, said in a statement that Congress needs to “improve the fiscal outlook of Social Security.” She added that this bill will make the Social Security program more effective by “relying on proven anti-poverty tools” to ensure low-income populations receive the support they need.

“Cash assistance, food stamps, and social services afforded me the tools I needed to lift my family out of impoverishment and to construct the foundation upon which I’ve built my life,” Moore said. “I came to Congress to make sure all Americans have that same chance, and this bill is an important part of that mission.”

— New GOP U.S. Rep.-elect Bryan Steil has named Rich Zipperer as his Wisconsin chief of staff.

Zipperer, a former state lawmaker who went to serve as Gov. Scott Walker’s chief of staff, said he will remain in Wisconsin and work out of Steil’s Janesville office.

“Congressman-elect Steil is a problem solver, and I am excited about this opportunity to work with him to help solve the problems and address the concerns of the people of the 1st District,” Zipperer said.

Zipperer also served as U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner’s deputy chief of staff before joining the Legislature.

Steil also announced Ryan Carney will serve as chief of staff in his Washington, D.C., office. Carney is currently chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., who lost his re-election bid this fall.

Walker in March appointed Zipperer to the Public Service Commission, but the Senate didn’t confirm the appointment. His term is now scheduled to end March 1, but without Senate confirmation, Gov.-elect Tony Evers can replace him immediately after taking office.

Zipperer said he will resign Jan. 7, the day Evers takes office. He planned to submit his resignation letter to the guv this week.

See the release.

Posts of the week

ICYMI

‘I was duped’: Congressman urges colleagues to snub ‘No Labels’ — the ‘corporate org working against Democrats’

GOP Sen. Johnson explains why Senate delayed vote on new ICE director

Flags ordered to half-staff in honor of 41st President

Decision nears on the host of the 2020 Democrat National Convention: Here’s how Milwaukee shapes up

DC Wrap: Farm bill heads to Trump after mixed support from Wis. delegation

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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.

Note: This is the last DC Wrap newsletter until after the new Congress is sworn in. Happy holidays and thanks for reading!

 

Quotes of the week

It is a contradiction of our American values to wreak havoc in the lives of millions who help weave our diverse cultural and economic framework.
– U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, in a letter to the Dept. of Homeland Security decrying a potential rule change that would make it more difficult for individuals who get certain government assistance to obtain a green card, per national media reports. Moore in the letter said she thinks the intent of this proposed rule is to “instill fear” in the immigrant community.

We’re very glad to see that one go away … We ran in 2018 on increasing access to health care, and increasing people’s wages. … Anything that took us off this conversation does not serve us well.
– U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont and co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, in an interview with The Washington Post after House Dems said they won’t advance a proposed rule that would require three-fifths majorities to sign off on tax increases. The Post notes some lawmakers feared the rules would make it hard for certain legislation, such as free universal college, to clear the chamber.

I can’t get a stand-alone bill out of the Senate. A lot of senators, Democrats and Republicans who say they support it don’t want to work for it.
– U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wausau, at a town hall meeting in Rhinelander about his bill to delist the gray wolves, which cleared the House earlier this fall. Duffy says the bill’s unlikely to clear the Senate, so he’s trying to get the language into a spending bill, according to a report from WPR.

This week’s news

— Wisconsin House members split over their support of the $867 billion farm bill, which is now heading to the president’s desk after clearing the chamber.  

The bill, which passed 369-47, authorizes agriculture assistance and nutrition programs for the next five years. But it doesn’t include stricter work requirements for food stamps pushed by House Republicans and President Trump.

The state’s Democratic and Republican representatives were largely divided over the legislation. In all, two GOP congressmen — Sean Duffy and Glenn Grothman — joined U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, to support it.

Meanwhile, Republican U.S. Reps. Mike Gallagher and Jim Sensenbrenner, as well as Democrat Ron Kind, opposed it.

Kind, D-La Crosse, slammed the bill in a statement following the vote, saying it “maintains the failed status quo” by continuing to support ballooning crop insurance programs and unnecessary subsidies while doing “nothing to address the damage caused by the President’s trade war.”

The office of Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, didn’t return a request for comment, but a statement from Gallagher, R-Green Bay, said the bill should have prioritized workforce stability and creating a more favorable trade environment to fix “the real issues” farmers are facing.

Neither U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, nor Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, voted. Ryan rarely does due to his leadership role.

Still, Ryan praised the legislation in a statement, saying it “provides relief and certainty to guard against the volatility of the agricultural economy” and includes language to bolster rural families’ access to broadband and alleviate poverty.  

Wisconsin lawmakers were also split in the Senate. There, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, voted to back the legislation while U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, opposed it. It ultimately passed 87-13.

Johnson complained nearly 80 percent of the spending in the bill was directed to the food stamp program, while Baldwin lauded the provisions she’s pushed for that were included in the bill, namely money for local health resources and suicide prevention programs for those who work in agriculture.

 

— Baldwin’s bill aiming to ensure women in rural areas have better access to maternity care is on its way to President Trump after clearing the Senate.

The bipartisan “Improving Access to Maternity Care Act” would help reduce maternity care shortages by identifying areas lacking maternal health professionals and incentivizing providers to practice in these communities. The bill has already passed the House and now heads to the president’s desk.

Baldwin in a statement said too many Wisconsin communities face a shortage in qualified maternity care professionals and services.

“This bipartisan legislation will identify shortages to better target resources so providers can deliver the care that expecting mothers in Wisconsin so desperately need – no matter where they live,” she said.

 

— U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore’s bill to name a Milwaukee post office after one of the city’s pioneering civil rights activists has been signed into law.

The legislation designates 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.

Moore in a statement announcing the passage of the legislation called Phillips a “soldier for civil rights,” adding that she “paved the road of change and lifted up” Milwaukee’s push for equality and prosperity.

“Today, I stand on her shoulders and take solace knowing that her legacy of love, service and commitment now will be memorialized in Milwaukee,” Moore said. “I believe Vel would be honored to know that her representatives in Washington worked together, across aisles and chambers, to celebrate her legacy in our great city.”

 

— A bill from U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher that would impose sanctions on Hamas and Hezbollah for using civilians as human shields is on its way to the president’s desk.

The bill won approval from U.S. representatives this week, after the Senate passed legislation to combine measures that previously cleared the House sanctioning Hamas and Hezbollah separately, according to a statement from Gallagher.

“This bipartisan legislation sends a clear signal that the United States will not tolerate this behavior,” the Green Bay Republican said.

 

Posts of the week

ICYMI

Wisconsin senators on 2018 Farm Bill passage through senate

Rep. Duffy’s Wolf De-Listing Bill Likely Going Into Spending Bill

Duffy Says Border Security Funding Causing Rift In Congress

U.S. lawmakers propose bill to ban sales to Chinese sanctions violators

GOP Rep on Trump Jr.-Ocasio-Cortez Twitter Feud: ‘Social Media Is Making Us All Stupid’

Jim Sensenbrenner urges VA Secretary to take ‘immediate’ action on underpayment of GI Bill benefits

Deacon campaign: Endorsed by Milwaukee Ald. Lewis

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Contact: Shyla Deacon
Phone: 414-213-9956

Ald. Lewis represents Milwaukee’s 9th district

Milwaukee – Today, Shyla Deacon, candidate for MPS School Board Director District 1 issued
the following statement.

“I’m honored to have the support of City of Milwaukee Alderwoman Chantia Lewis. She has served the residents of Milwaukee with honor and tenacity. I know that with leaders such as Ald. Lewis at city hall, we can address the pressing issues in our community.” commented Shyla Deacon.

“I’ve known Shyla for a long time as someone who is committed to improving education
outcomes in Milwaukee. Her knowledge of education policy will be an important addition to the MPS School Board. I look forward to casting my vote for her in April and would encourage those who live in her district to vote for her.” noted Ald. Chantia Lewis.

Shyla was raised on the northwest side of Milwaukee and has lived in the district for most of my life. She attended Milwaukee Public Schools, including graduating from Vincent High School. She attended the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and graduated with a undergraduate degree in Educational Policy and Community Studies and masters studies in Cultural Foundations of Education. She is a board member for Next Door Foundation, a former member of the Early Education Task Force for the City of Milwaukee, a member of the State of Wisconsin’s Impact Partner Committee for Children’s Mental Health, Family Engagement and Trauma Recovery, and a Parent Advisory Council member for MPS to increase Montessori options in the District. The election for MPS School Board District 1 is April 2nd, 2019.

Dem Governors Association: Statement on Walker signing power grab legislation

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Contact:
Jared Leopold, 202-772-5600
[email protected]

Today, Democratic Governors Association Communications Director Jared Leopold released the following statement on Scott Walker’s decision to sign legislation restricting the powers of governor-elect Tony Evers:

“By signing this shameful and undemocratic legislation, Governor Scott Walker is cementing his legacy of extreme partisanship and divisiveness. This power grab is an assault on democracy – and it will not stand up to legal scrutiny. This is nothing short of an attempt to overrule the will of the voters of Wisconsin.

“In a democracy, you don’t get to change the rules just because you lost. Governor Walker has refused to come to terms with the simple fact that Wisconsin voted for change in November. We urge governors across the country to stand with us in condemning this affront to democracy and gubernatorial responsibility.”

Democratic Governors Association: Statement on GOP power grabs

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For Immediate Release:

December 4, 2018

Contact: Jared Leopold, 202-772-5600, [email protected]

Today, Democratic Governors Association Chair Governor Gina Raimondo (RI) released the following statement on the attempts by Republican lawmakers to restrict elected Democratic governors in Wisconsin and Michigan.

“Changing the rules when you don’t like the outcome is a move befitting a playground bully, not elected leaders in the world’s greatest democracy. Yet unfortunately, that’s exactly what we’re seeing lame-duck Republicans attempt in Wisconsin and Michigan.

“Governors-elect Gretchen Whitmer and Tony Evers both won elections to serve as governor. Yet, Republican legislators are contradicting the will of the voters and attempting to undo the election results. That is a dangerous assault on our democracy.

“It’s time for Republican governors to join Democrats in condemning these attempts to weaken the office of the governor. This is a threat to checks-and-balances in state government, and every governor should speak up regardless of party.”

Democratic National Committee: Editorial boards cry foul on Republicans’ power grab in Wisconsin and Michigan

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Editorials across the nation are calling for Republicans to stop their lame-duck madness and to respect the rules of democracy. In rushed last-minute sessions — sometimes at night — Republicans have pushed through legislation that only promotes their own interests instead of those whom they were elected to serve. Editorial boards agree the people of Wisconsin and Michigan deserve leaders who will work together to solve problems and create opportunities, not more of the same political games. Read for yourself:

MLive: “Michigan’s legislators need to immediately stop pushing these types of bills through a lame duck session and allow those Michigan voters are sending to office have a voice. And Gov. Rick Snyder needs to do the right thing and not sign these into law.”

Lansing State Journal: “This behavior is unacceptable. Regardless of where people stand on issues, bullying through controversial legislation in a lame duck session is not the appropriate way to legislate.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “We haven’t mentioned political party because this isn’t about party platforms – that’s what elections should be about. This is about keeping the citizens in charge of their government. It doesn’t matter which party is coming in and going out of office — we would say the exact same thing. In fact, we would shout it — just as we are now.”

Washington Post: “Scott Fitzgerald (R), Wisconsin’s Senate majority leader, admitted Monday that Republicans would not be trying to limit the governor’s powers if outgoing GOP Gov. Scott Walker had won a third term, explaining that Republicans do not trust the incoming Democrat. It does not matter if they trust the next governor. Wisconsin voters chose to do so.”

USA Today: “These blatant power grabs show a palpable contempt for voters. For decades, even as the political debate has grown more caustic, lawmakers of both parties have shown an admirable reverence for popular sovereignty, democratic elections and graceful transitions of power. Now, that is very much in doubt.”

Chicago Sun-Times: “We hold elections to let voters steer government in the direction they choose. To manipulate the system to go in a different direction is simply undemocratic.”

The Cap Times: “Unfortunately, [Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos,] appears to be determined to turn that tantrum into a messy power grab that seeks to thwart the will of the people. Hours after Evers was elected, Vos announced that ‘maybe we made some mistakes giving too much power to Governor Walker and I’d be open to looking at that to see if there are areas we should change.’”

The Cap Times: “But that was nothing compared to what came next. Shaken by a steady pattern of defeats at the polls this year — special election defeats, the loss of a conservative seat on the Supreme Court, the statewide wipeout — the Republicans signaled their intention to rig the game before they lose again.”

La Crosse Tribune: “That’s hardly enough time to digest the details of the Republican-run Legislature’s attempt to dilute the power of the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general, who were elected Nov. 6 and take office Jan. 7. Nor does it allow citizens time to explore the implications of restricting early voting, changing health insurance rules or altering the structure of the state’s job-creation agency.”

La Crosse Tribune: “When voters elected Evers and other Democrats for every statewide office Nov. 6, they didn’t intend for the losing side to ignore their decisions. Yet that’s what’s happening as Republicans — who relied on gerrymandering to help keep control of the Legislature — are rushing to advance troubling proposals that could have many unintended consequences.”

The Janesville Gazette: “Republican legislators seem only capable of fuming over their November defeats and seeking revenge. And it’s laughable to hear Republican claims of pure motives.”

Democratic National Committee: Republicans in Wisconsin and Michigan dismiss voters in undemocratic power grab

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After Democrats won every statewide office on the ballot last month, Republicans in Wisconsin and Michigan are overriding the will of the voters and working to reduce the power of the incoming administrations simply because they aren’t happy with the results of the election.

Wisconsin Senate GOP Leader Scott Fitzgerald summed up the GOP’s power grab motives before the lame duck session saying Republicans “don’t trust Tony Evers right now.”

Wisconsin Senate GOP Leader Scott Fitzgerald: “I mean, most of these items are things (that) we never really had to kind of address because guess what — we trusted Scott Walker and the administration to be able to manage the back and forth with the Legislature. We don’t trust Tony Evers right now in a lot of these areas.”

Following an all-night, behind-the-scenes session, Wisconsin Republicans passed a wide-ranging package that diminishes the power of Governor-elect Tony Evers.

The New York Times: “The legislation was aimed at undermining Democrats. There would be a new limit on early voting, which tends to benefit Democratic candidates, after an election that saw record-breaking turnout. Lawmakers, not the governor, would control the majority of appointments on an economic development board. The legislation would also prevent Mr. Evers from banning guns in the Wisconsin Capitol without permission from legislators.”

The Wisconsin GOP bill to bypass Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul limits the office’s authority over litigation, ensuring Wisconsin continues to back an unpopular lawsuit to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

The New York Times: “The attorney general could no longer appoint a solicitor general to represent the state in major lawsuits, and would be restricted in how he spent settlement money, which lawmakers would now oversee.”

Wisconsin election officials say that limiting early voting to 14 days will disenfranchise voters and create confusion.

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: “‘This will create an unnecessary hardship for a lot of voters. And I don’t think creating unnecessary hardship is consistent with democracy,’ said Neil Albrecht, executive director of the Election Commission for the City of Milwaukee, where almost 10 percent of voters cast in-person absentee ballots in November’s midterm elections.”

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: “But, much like voter ID laws and other restrictions, it is widely seen by critics as a move to curtail voting, especially in large, urban areas that tend to vote Democratic. Many point to the latest governor’s race, which was decided by 30,000 votes.”

In Michigan, Republicans are working to slash voter-backed proposals to raise the minimum wage to $12 per hour and require employers to provide sick time for employees.

The Detroit News: “The Michigan Legislature has never attempted to adopt and amend a citizen initiative in the same session. But Republican legislators are attempting to do so in the lame-duck session after adopting paid sick leave and minimum wage initiatives in September. Keeping them off the ballot made them easier to change, requiring a simple majority instead of a three-quarters vote in both chambers.”

Michigan Republicans are also working to limit Attorney General-elect Dana Nessel’s role and advance a proposal to strip campaign finance oversight from Secretary of State-elect Jocelyn Benson’s office.

NPR: “Well, one of the bills that they are upset about would let the state House and Senate intervene in state legal proceedings. That’s something traditionally left to the governor or attorney general. The bill is sponsored by Michigan State Representative Robert VerHeulen.”

The Detroit News: “Benson will be the state’s first Democratic secretary of state since 1994, but Robertson’s proposal would strip her office of a key responsibility by creating a new commission to oversee campaign finance laws.”

Dept. of Corrections: Minimum-security inmate Clarence Saffold escaped from Felmers Chaney Correctional Cente

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Minimum-security inmate Clarence Saffold, confined at Felmers Chaney Correctional Center, has escaped from Felmers Chaney Correctional Center.

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: Clarence Saffold

Date of Birth: 10/09/1968

Gender: Male

Race: Black

Height: 5’10”

Weight 210 lbs.

Eye Color: Brown

Hair Color: Black

County of Conviction: Milwaukee

Offense information is available on the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access website.

Dept. of Health Services: New grants to rural hospitals address health care workforce shortages

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Contact: Jennifer Miller, 608-266-1683
Elizabeth Goodsitt, 608-266-1683

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announced today the recipients of new grants totaling close to $300,000 over two years to assist rural hospitals in filling “high need, high demand” positions – those where the demand for specific professionals exceeds the supply of available workers. The grants support education and training for an array of allied health professionals, including surgical technologists, substance abuse counselors-in-training, central service technicians, sonographers, and phlebotomists.

“We know that quality care requires a skilled workforce,” said DHS Secretary Linda Seemeyer. “Governor Scott Walker and the legislature are committed to addressing this need by investing in quality training with a special focus on meeting the workforce needs of our rural hospitals.”

Hospitals were required to form partnerships with educational organizations and health systems. Successful partnerships receiving funding through this initial round of awards are:

  • Ascension St. Mary’s, Rhinelander; Nicolet Area and North Central Technical Colleges—$112,480
  • Columbus Community Hospital, Columbus; Madison Area and Moraine Park Technical Colleges—$42,401
  • Hospital Sisters Health System St. Clare Hospital, Oconto Falls; and Northeastern Technical College—$55,762
  • Marshfield Medical Center and Hospital, Marshfield; and Mid-State Technical College—$88,218

DHS continues to work with the Wisconsin Hospital Association and the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative to provide technical assistance to interested organizations prior to a second request for applications, tentatively scheduled to be issued in the spring of 2019.

The Allied Health Professionals Education and Training Grants and the Advanced Practice Clinician Training Grants are part of Governor Scott Walker’s initiative to improve the state’s health care workforce and ensure that all Wisconsinites have access to quality care.

Dept. of Revenue: Collections, November FY2019

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CONTACT:  608.266.2300 or [email protected]

General Purpose Revenue ($ in thousands – rounded)

  Collections for Month Collections to Date
Revenue Source FY18 FY19 % change FY18 FY19 % change
       
Individual Income          575,418          625,240 8.7%      2,967,844      3,161,216 6.5%
         
General Sales & Use          436,342          472,148 8.2%      1,831,579      1,940,800 6.0%
         
Corporate            12,596                     -9 -100.1%          219,330          280,355 27.8%
         
Excise Taxes            63,552            58,476 -8.0%          248,211          244,167 -1.6%
         
Other          210,488          196,573 -6.6%          242,607          250,374 3.2%
         
Total GPR      1,298,395      1,352,428 4.2%      5,509,572      5,876,913 6.7%
             

Notes:

  1. Individual Income includes 66.0% of pass-thru withholding. Corporate Income includes the remaining 34.0%.
  2. The Other category includes estate, utility, and real estate transfer tax collections.
  3. Total does not include insurance premium taxes.
  4. This report is generated from the STAR Accounting System. Timing differences may cause the amounts in this report to differ from reports produced by the Department of Administration.
  5. All data are preliminary and unaudited.

Disability Rights Wis.: Extraordinary Session puts Wisconsinites with disabilities at risk

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Contact: Barbara Beckert, 414-292-2724 or [email protected]

Madison, WI- Disability Rights Wisconsin is deeply concerned by the Legislature’s rush to push forward bills released late Friday in the Extraordinary Session planned for today. The proposals give oversight of Wisconsin Medicaid waivers to the legislature, leaving state agencies potentially unable to carry out their core mission. This shift has the possibility to affect services that are critical to adults and families of children with disabilities, including Family Care, IRIS, mental health services, Children’s Long-Term Waiver and Katie Beckett. The rush to advance these dramatic changes without time for careful analysis and for constituents to weigh in with their legislators, puts our most vulnerable community members at risk.

Mitch Hagopian, Managing Attorney at DRW, said, “These new laws would create significant
inefficiencies, making it difficult for agencies to do their day to day work. Because people with disabilities are disproportionately dependent on government agencies for the service and support they need to live, they are at greater risk to experience significant detrimental impact of these proposals.”

The bills unnecessarily interject the legislature into what has historically been the purview of state agencies to decide, and will create unneeded bureaucracy. This will limit the ability of the Department of Health Services to be responsive to community needs, including the needs of Wisconsinites with disabilities who rely heavily on Medicaid and other DHS programs.

“The Disability movement had long held the idea of nothing about us without us,” said Barbara Beckert, Milwaukee Office Director. “The proposed bills are major changes to the way Wisconsin operates. We call on the Legislature to slow down the process, and meet with their constituents to better understand the impact of their proposals. Given the magnitude of these proposals, this should include holding public hearings across the state.”

Proposed changes to Wisconsin elections and absentee voting would decrease participation of voters with disabilities in the electoral process, create confusion, and add to the difficulties and cost for Wisconsin’s 1800 plus municipalities to administer the elections and to provide legally required support for voters with disabilities.

Disability Rights opposes the majority of these bills and asks the legislature to slow down this process and to allow time for full public input on such major changes.

Disability Rights Wisconsin: Names new executive director

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Contact: Lea Kitz, 608-267-0214, ext. 2643

Madison, WI – Disability Rights Wisconsin (DRW) has named Lea Kitz as the disability advocacy organization’s new Executive Director. Kitz has managed DRW’s Family Care and IRIS Ombudsman Program for nearly 8 years. Before joining DRW, she served as Executive Director of Arc-Winnebago County Disability Association. Kitz brings her extensive hands-on and leadership experience in the areas of domestic abuse, employment, benefits, and disability advocacy. “We are pleased to have Ms. Kitz step into this key role,” says Sue Gramling, DRW’s Board President. “She is knowledgeable about disability issues and the work of the Protection and Advocacy system.”

Founded in 1977, Disability Rights Wisconsin is the state’s designated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) agency, charged with protecting the rights of individuals with disabilities and keeping people free from abuse and neglect. DRW expands its P&A work with the addition of victim advocacy services, support for Disability Benefits Specialists around the state, and programs to assist individuals with disabilities in managed care systems. “I am excited to take on this new role and move DRW’s important mission forward,” says Kitz. “I have the fortune to know already the fantastic group of dedicated professionals who carry out individual and public policy advocacy. I look forward to collaborating with them and our many community partners.” Her official appointment begins on January 1, 2019. DRW is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and relies on grants and contributions to offer its services to individuals with disabilities at no cost.

Disability Rights Wisconsin is the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy system for the State of Wisconsin.

Discovery World: Names John Emmerich interim president

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Contact: Paul Fladten
Tel. (262) 745-6754
Email: [email protected]

Organization to launch search for President and CEO to replace Joel Brennan

Milwaukee (Dec. 19): Discovery World, Wisconsin’s largest science and technology center, announced today that, in light of President and CEO Joel Brennan’s appointment as the new Wisconsin Secretary of the Department of Administration under Governor-elect Tony Evers, John Emmerich will be leading the organization on an interim basis, effective January 7.

“The Board is thankful for Joel’s years of service and leadership, helping establish Discovery World as a vibrant, sustainable organization, critical to educating Milwaukee’s future leaders,” said Dennis Krakau, Discovery World’s Board Chair. “Joel has done a tremendous job growing Discovery World over the last decade and we are confident that new leadership can continue to build upon the foundation of success that he has helped establish.”

With more than a decade of experience at Discovery World, most recently as Vice President of Exhibits and Audience Engagement, John Emmerich will assume the Interim President and CEO role, maintaining donor relationships and overseeing operational and growth plans.

The Discovery World Board of Directors is establishing a search committee, which will be led by Mary Jo Layden and tasked with identifying a permanent President and CEO of Discovery World.

 “It has been an enormous privilege to have led Discovery World during an important period of transformation and growth,” said Joel Brennan.  “I’m confident that I’m leaving Discovery World in excellent fiscal health and very capable hands.”

DNC: Statement on outgoing Republican governors in Wisconsin and Michigan limiting the powers of their Democratic successors

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DNC Chair Tom Perez released the following statement after outgoing Republican Governors Scott Walker and Rick Snyder signed legislation limiting the powers of their successors, Governor-elect Tony Evers and Governor-elect Gretchen Whitmer:

“Scott Walker has shown yet again why the people of Wisconsin lost faith in his leadership and voted him out of office. Instead of respecting the outcome of the election, Walker and Wisconsin Republicans chose to undermine the authorities of Governor-elect Tony Evers. This is the schoolyard equivalent of ‘I’m taking my ball, and I’m going home.’

“This legislation is a danger to our democracy and a perfect example of the cynical politics and petty partisanship that will define Scott Walker’s legacy. His administration was an unmitigated disaster devoid of any shred of dignity or decency. Good riddance.

“As if Walker’s power grab wasn’t enough, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder followed suit mere hours later, signing legislation to gut voter-backed minimum wage and paid sick leave initiatives while also stripping power from Governor-elect Gretchen Whitmer. Rick Snyder failed the people of Michigan over and over. The least he could do is respect their voices and the outcome of the election. And yet, he has failed them once more.

“Wisconsin and Michigan Republicans should be ashamed of themselves. Their voters deserve better.”

DNR Waste and Materials Management Study Group meeting 🗓

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Friday December 7, 2018
9:30 am – 12:30 pm

WDNR Central Office, 101 S. Webster St., Madison, Room 513
9:30 am Welcome Meleesa/Chad

9:40 Agenda review and adjustments Meleesa/Chad
& review of notes from last meeting

9:45 DNR updates Joe Van Rossum
Staffing
Programs
Budget
Guidance documents

10:00 Hazardous Waste Rule Revisions Andrea Keller

10:35 2018 Re-cap – DNR follow-up Kate Strom Hiorns
Alternative Capping Plans
C&D Recommendations
Groundwater Monitoring Guidance

10:45 Break

11:00 Charter, Group Expectations, and Subgroup Plans
https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/waste/documents/studygroup/wmmstudygroupcharter.pdf
Food and organics residuals reduction management Meleesa/Bart
Offboarding discussion for the subgroup
Reflection of what was accomplished/future policy needs
Construction and demolition waste Alan/Bart/John
C&D Landfills subgroup final proposals timeline
Recycling innovation – on hold Amber/Lynn/Meleesa

12:00 Succession/Leadership Planning, 2019 meeting dates and topics

12:30 Wrap-up and adjourn

Next Meeting: February 8, 2019, location tbd

Drew Slocum: The ROI of D&I: How diversity and inclusion fuels innovation and productivity in the workplace

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

Over the last 50 years, the United States has passed legislation outlawing discrimination based on religion, race, gender, sexual orientation and political affiliation. In fact, Wisconsin was the first state in the country to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation back in 1982. Yet, as the racial and ethnic composition of the country continues to change, and the disruptive business landscape requires new skills and unique perspectives in the workforce, it’s no longer enough for companies to simply remain within the laws. To spur growth and engagement in the workforce, today’s leaders must redefine their corporate communities to create welcoming environments that go beyond a standard diversity and inclusion program.

Diversity and Inclusion Drives Innovation
Embracing diversity and demonstrating an ongoing commitment to employees not only drives innovation and productivity, but helps to promote a culture of learning, increases revenue, and helps to attract and retain new talent. A study by Bank of America Merrill Lynch found that gender-diverse companies perform 15 percent better than those that lack D&I efforts, and ethnically diverse businesses perform 35 percent better.

As noted by Katie Burke, Chief People Officer at HubSpot Inc., the only way to stay relevant and competitive in today’s global economy is to ensure that the diversity of the workforce reflects the diversity of the customers that an organization is serving. Companies dedicated to creating and maintaining a diverse and inclusive culture will see a significant ROI because their employees are at the center of important changes. When people feel accepted, valued and engaged in the workplace, new ideas and innovations thrive, which allows companies to strengthen relationships with shareholders as they authentically meet and exceed the market’s needs.

Embracing Two-Dimensional Diversity
Looking beyond race, gender or nationality to embrace acquired diversity, such as technological literacy, military experience and language skills, is another fundamental step for organizations seeking to build out their D&I efforts. According to a report from Harvard Business Review’s Center for Talent Innovation , companies that incorporate both inherent forms of diversity with these unique skill sets as part of the hiring process are 45 percent more likely to improve market share, and 75 percent more likely to implement marketable ideas than organizations that ignore such nuances in diversity.

Experts agree that teams are better off when there are multiple viewpoints or perspectives. This diversity of thinking fosters innovation and productivity, improving marketable ideas and market share. Greater diversity also sharpens competitive edge by making the workplace more reflective of buyers, by providing insight into how to create the best solutions for customers.

Inclusion Matters
Though often mistaken for the same concept, diversity and inclusion are two separate entities. Whereas building a diverse workforce is significant, inclusion helps individuals, and their companies succeed.

Fostering an inclusive culture in which employees feel comfortable expressing their true selves at work is the key element that will fuel innovation and drive results across the organization.

According to research conducted by Harvard Business Review , 37 percent of African Americans and Hispanics and 45 percent of Asians feel the need to conform to company standards to excel in their roles. Rita Sola Cook, Midwest Region Executive of Global Commercial Banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, believes the most effective approach to maintaining an inclusive workforce is encouraging employees to share their unique perspectives and express their differing points of view.

Empowering a New Workforce
At the end of the day, a company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion has a powerful impact on the morale of its workforce and its long-term growth. As reported in a recent Bank of America Merrill Lynch whitepaper, for every 10 percent increase in diversity and inclusion among executives, a company boosts profitability by 8 percent.

By embracing the nuances of diversity within today’s workforce and investing in employee resources that support and empower a culture of inclusion, companies will be better equipped to strengthen their competitive advantage in the market, promote innovation and drive sustained growth by helping a powerful, new workforce realize their full potential.

–Slocum is senior vice president of Global Commercial Banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Wisconsin.

DRIVE: Statements of support in appointment of Craig Thompson to DOT Secretary

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CONTACT: Bill McCoshen, (608) 444-7526

(MADISON, WI) – The three leaders of DRIVE (Devote Resources, Invest for a Vibrant Economy) today released this statement regarding the appointment of Craig Thompson as DOT Secretary:

“It is with great pleasure that we announce our support of the appointment of Craig Thompson to the Secretary’s office at DOT,” stated Tom Diehl, DRIVE president and owner of Tommy Bartlett Inc. in the Wisconsin Dells. “Tourism generates billions of dollars for Wisconsin – and we cannot grow this industry without good roads. Craig has been the head of the TDA for the past 10 years, he’s been a steady and trusted advocate for finding a transportation funding solution for Wisconsin and we are very pleased to have him serve as DOT Secretary.”

“Craig Thompson will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Secretary’s office at DOT,” added Jim Holte, DRIVE treasurer and president of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation. “He understands that investing in local roads and bridges is an integral part of any 21st century transportation system.

“Agriculture is an $88 billion industry that thrives on a system of roads, rails and rivers to connect us to regional and global markets. That system must be effective and efficient if our farmers are to remain competitive. We’re hopeful Mr. Thompson also shares that vision.”

Steve Baas, vice president of DRIVE and senior vice president of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce’s government affairs team agrees. “Craig Thompson is the right man for the job,” said Baas. “Craig was appointed by Governor Walker to be on the 2012 Transportation Finance and Policy Committee, which developed a comprehensive plan for solving the transportation funding crisis. He’s been on the front lines advocating for a funding solution for the past several years. We are looking forward to working with Craig on these important funding issues.”

Economic Trends Conference 2019 🗓

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The annual Economic Trends Event, presented by BizTimes Milwaukee, hosts a vibrant discussion between prominent Wisconsin business leaders, state representatives, and industry experts on the state of the economy. This annual event includes a macroeconomic outlook on the economy from Michael Knetter, Ph.D., economist and president of the University of Wisconsin Foundation.

Economic Trends caters to all business leaders, providing insight into the economic outlook through analysis of industry trends and current economic indicators. Selected panelists bring perspectives from their industry while providing forecasts about the year ahead in business. This event has been annually attended by business leaders in Southeastern Wisconsin and for many has become the first significant business function of the calendar year.

Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative: Sees positives for dairy in farm bill

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Contact: Jamie Mara
Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative
(920) 209-3990 | [email protected]

Co-op urges Congress and president to approve legislation

GREEN BAY, Wis. — One of the largest dairy cooperatives in the country, representing farmers throughout the Midwest, today applauded improvements for the dairy community in the new farm bill after details were released Monday night.

The bill must be approved by the full House and Senate, and the president must sign it, for it to become law. This legislation, which touches nearly every aspect of the country’s food system, includes important priorities for dairy farmers. (Click here for text of the bill and comments from congressional leaders.)

Image
The following comments are from Brody Stapel, president of the board of directors for Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, who farms with his family on a dairy in eastern Wisconsin:

“We are breathing a sigh of relief that the bill has made it to this point — and that it includes important priorities for dairy farmers. Now, we call on Congress and President Trump to act quickly to make it law.

“A great deal of work and time will be lost if we let this bill falter now so close to the finish line. We cannot afford to start the process over.

“Dairy farmers are hurting and have been hanging on in hopes of something positive, and this bill delivers improvements for our farmers.

“We appreciate the leadership of Representatives Mike Conaway and Collin Peterson and Senators Pat Roberts and Debbie Stabenow, along with everyone else who worked so hard to ensure that the dairy community’s needs were reflected in this legislation.”

Stapel noted these specific parts of the bill which Edge –– as the voice of milk –– pushed for aggressively in its advocacy work on Capitol Hill:

Trade promotion –– Programs to promote trade were fully funded. This critical investment will open opportunities to sell dairy products around the world.

“In the long run, trade equals stability and success for the dairy community.”

Risk management –– The bill creates Dairy Margin Coverage, which improves upon the former Margin Protection Program; allows simultaneous use of multiple risk management ; and expands potential coverage to all-size farms. These changes will give farmers options that work best for them.tools

“When it comes to farmers protecting our businesses, one size doesn’t fit all. We need to be able to choose what makes most sense for individual farm families.”

Nutrition Title –– The bill develops a framework to health eating for people in lower-income nutrition programs. Options could include fluid milk.incentivize

“If the goal is to promote healthy eating, it only makes sense to include milk in those programs. You won’t find a much more nutritious option.”

Edgewood College: Makes top ten nationally in new U.S. News ranking for social mobility

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Contact: Ed Taylor, Director of Strategic Communications 608-663-2333

Madison, Wis. (December 6, 2018) – Edgewood College has been named one of the top ten colleges or universities in the country for promoting social mobility, according to U.S. News & World Report. The 2019 list is the first ranking in this new measurement for U.S. News.

“While we have been committed to offering a transformative educational experience at Edgewood College for more than 90 years, it is especially rewarding to have external recognition for this kind of student success at this time in our history,” Christine Benedict, Vice President for Enrollment Management, said. “We are tremendously proud to help all students excel well beyond what statistics might have projected, but grateful for the recognition specifically for our work with low-income/Pell-eligible students. Making a high-quality education accessible and affordable is one way we live out our mission to contribute to a more just and compassionate world.”

The ranking calculates social mobility through two separate indicators: the first compares the graduation rates of students who received federal Pell Grants with those who did not. Pell Grants are given to students from families with an annual household income of less than $50,000. This indicator measures schools’ success at supporting their students from low-income families to the point of achieving equity with students from families with stronger financial backgrounds. The second indicator looks only at the graduation rate of students who received Pell Grants.

Edgewood College is in the seventh position in the 2019 ranking, along with Rutgers University. The complete rankings are available at usnews.com/education.

About Edgewood College

Located in Madison, Wis., Edgewood College is a liberal arts Catholic college in the Dominican tradition. We serve approximately 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students at our Monroe Street and Deming Way campuses, and online. The College offers more than 40 academic and professional programs, including master’s degrees in business, education, and nursing, and doctoral degrees in educational leadership and nursing practice. For more information about Edgewood College, please visit www.edgewood.edu, or call Ed Taylor in Marketing & Strategic Communications at 608-663-2333.

Employers looking to coding bootcamps for junior developers

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Some Wisconsin employers are looking outside of traditional higher education to find job-ready software developers.

 

That’s according to Paul Jirovetz, director of operations for DevCodeCamp, a coding bootcamp with headquarters in Milwaukee. The program also recently opened a location in Madison.

 

“We’re just happy that we can find people who want to up-skill, who want to get into tech, and then we can marry them with a company that has these major needs,” Jirovetz (pictured here) told WisBusiness.com.

 

That starts a relationship in which employers can return to DevCodeCamp whenever they need more junior developers. He says Northwestern Mutual alone has hired 10 graduates, and others like Penta Technologies, Baird, Rockwell Automation, Milwaukee Tool, U.S. Bank and the Milwaukee Brewers have also hired out of the program.

 

“People have to remember that this is a bootcamp — this is not school,” Jirovetz said.

 

Over the 12- to 24-week program, he says participants and instructors spend as much as 500 hours together.

 

“All we do is immerse ourselves in code, which means that when they leave here, they are day one ready; they are a hireable junior developer,” he said.

 

See more at WisBusiness.com.

Erpenbach charges Vos doesn’t have ‘guts’ to testify on extraordinary session bills

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Dem Sen. Jon Erpenbach today slamming Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, for authoring the bills, but not having the “guts” to testify on them before the Joint Finance Committee.

“If you don’t have enough guts to show up and testify and defend this stuff, it shouldn’t be introduced in the first place then,” Erpenbach, D-Middleton, said at the beginning today’s public hearing.

The hearing had a contentious start as Co-chair John Nygren, R-Marinette, brought the hearing to order and then chided members of the audience on committee rules as some chanted, “Respect our vote!”

Nygren said members of the public will get two minutes each to testify with the public hearing to conclude at 9:30 p.m. The committee, controlled 12-4 by Republicans, will then move to an executive session to vote on the legislation.

“We will respect you if you respect us,” Nygren said.

Over the first hour of the hearing, Nygren ordered Capitol Police to remove two members of the public.

Evers announces four more cabinet picks, including Thompson at DOT, Pfaff at DATCP

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Gov.-elect Tony Evers today announced another four cabinet picks, including Brad Pfaff as DATCP secretary and Craig Thompson to lead DOT.

Pfaff was the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wisconsin Farm Service Agency executive director during the Obama administration. He went back to work for U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, as deputy chief of staff, after leaving the Obama administration. He was raised on a dairy farm in northern La Crosse County and lives in Onalaska.

The other picks are:

*Rebecca Cameron Valcq for the Public Service Commission. She is a partner at Quarles & Brady in the firm’s Energy, Environment & Natural Resources Practice Group out of its Milwaukee office. Before joining the firm, she spent 15 years as regulatory counsel for WE Energies and represented the company before the PSC, according to her profile on the firm’s website.

*Mark Afable for Insurance commissioner. He is chief legal officer at American Family Insurance in Madison. He has been with the company since 1994, according to his LinkedIn profile, and was an executive vice president before becoming chief legal officer in 2014.

Thompson, who WisPolitics.come and other media reported yesterday would be the DOT pick, has been head of the Transportation Development Association since 2007.

Evers, in announcing the picks, said he’s “absolutely confident” in the people he’s bringing on.

“When we embarked on this process, as I said before, we’re looking for some folks that connect the dots. But at the end of the day it is about talent,” he said. “Whether you’re in the public sector or the private sector, your success is based on the talent that the people that you bring into that enterprise possess.”

Evers calling on JFC members to oppose lame-duck legislation

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Governor-elect Tony Evers is calling on the members of the the Joint Committee on Finance to oppose any extraordinary session legislation, saying the bills represent “unfettered attempts to override and ignore” what voters decided in the midterm election.

In written testimony sent to the state’s powerful budget committee, Evers hit on many of his campaign promises, including fully funding public education, fixing infrastructure issues, and ensuring protections are in place for people with pre-existing conditions.

“The election was not about Republican values or Democratic values — it was about our Wisconsin values of decency, kindness, and finding common ground,” Evers wrote. “It was about solving problems, not picking political fights.”

He says both the extraordinary session and the bills being considered upset the checks and balances in state government, which he says are meant to “prevent power-hungry politicians from clinging to control when they do not get their way.”

See the full testimony here: https://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/TE-JFC-Testimony_12.3.18_bcv3.pdf

 

 

 

Evers decries GOP’s WEDC changes at economic development summit

Gov.-elect Tony Evers says one of the most concerning outcomes of this week’s extraordinary session is a bill that would temporarily take away his power to appoint the head of the state’s top economic development agency.

That power over Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation leadership would be restored Sept. 1, after nine months of control by a board led by appointees of GOP legislative leaders.

“If the governor is precluded from being part of that effort, I think that’s a mistake,” Evers said Thursday at the New North Summit in Appleton. “This is about making sure the governor’s office is in a position to marshall the resources of state government around economic development.”

Evers told reporters his staff is in the process of setting up a phone call with Gov. Scott Walker, and he expects to speak with him in the next few days. He’s hoping to convince him not to sign the lame-duck bills into law, but Walker has previously expressed support for some of their provisions.

If his appeal to Walker fails, Evers said “then we go to Plan C.” Though he said litigation is one option, he wouldn’t provide details on other potential avenues to challenge the Republican legislation.

“We will not just lie down and accept this,” he said.

In his speech to summit attendees, the Democratic Gov.-elect framed economic development as a regional effort requiring input and participation from all 72 Wisconsin counties. He pledged his support to the New North region, saying “we must make sure we’re not pitting one part of the state against the others.”

“In my opinion, yes, southeast Wisconsin needs economic development and people thriving, but so does Price County, so does Iron County, so does the New North area,” he said. “Your collaborative efforts really help us get to that point.”

Becky Bartoszek, president and CEO of the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce, said after his speech that she’s excited about his focus on talent. She says the chamber has been reaching out to other organizations and areas to “create new networks to bring that talent to the Fox Cities.”

“As we bring in new jobs, we need people to fill those jobs,” she said. “So it sounds like we’re very much in alignment with the direction that he’s going to move in the future.”

Evers said he will be announcing an economic development advisory council this week, adding he hopes the New North plays a significant role.

Jennifer Stephany is executive director of Appleton Downtown Inc., a nonprofit group promoting events and economic development in the city.

She said Evers’ points on economic development resonated with her, also adding the lame-duck bill regarding his powers over WEDC is “definitely of interest” to her organization.

She said the potential impact of that bill is important to “a lot of the downtown organizations in the state that work closely with WEDC and need their support to keep moving the state forward.”

She added: “We’re watching it carefully.”

In his speech, Evers also touched on an issue discussed often on the campaign trail: transportation.

“The truth of the matter is, we have to find a long-term solution to our transportation problem, and we’re going to need your help to do this,” he said. “In my observation — look at any surveys that survey businesses; one of the most important things they need is access to good highway systems.”

He says that “doesn’t happen cheap,” and called for a sustainable, long-term plan.

“We can’t continue borrowing going forward, and that means we either have to cut places or find revenue sources,” he said. “That’s the bottom line for me.”

Evers Inauguration Office: Gov.-elect Evers and Lt. Gov.-elect Barnes announce 2019 Wisconsin Inauguration Committee co-chairs and Inaugural Gala details

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Contact: Brandon Weathersby, [email protected]org or (608) 571-4041

Madison, WI – Today, Governor-elect Tony Evers and Lt. Governor-elect Mandela Barnes announced Tanya Atkinson & Laurie Reisener, Jackie & Michael Barber, Anna Brown, Michael Childers & Glenn Carlson, Beth & Dan Flaherty, Jennifer Gonda & Chris Abele, Herb Kohl, Bethany & Vincent Lyles, Marcia & Ed Manydeeds, Duff Martin, Anne & Tom Metcalfe, Angela & Darryl Morin, Sarah & Jack Salzwedel, Sue & Pete Turney, and Karen Walsh as co-chairs of the 2019 Wisconsin Inauguration Committee.

“We’re thrilled to have so many people from around the state stepping up to support our efforts to organize the 2019 Inauguration,” said Governor-elect Evers. “We look forward to the opportunity to celebrate with our friends, family, and supporters from all across the state. With the help of our co-chairs and the rest of our Inauguration team, we’ll come together to honor Wisconsin and our shared values as we kick off a new day in our state’s history.”

The Inauguration committee also announced today details of the 2019 Inaugural Gala to be held on January 7th, 2019 at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center. Please visit www.ourwisconsinourvalues.org for more information. The Inauguration committee encourages the public to visit this website to stay up to date on planned inauguration activities. Tickets to the Inaugural Gala can be purchased on the site.

Information on additional Inauguration events will be released in the coming days, and the public is encouraged to access the site for the latest news.

Evers Inauguration Office: Gov.-elect Evers, Lt. Gov.-elect Barnes announce Kids’ Galas in Appleton, Madison and Milwaukee

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Contact: [email protected]org or (608) 571-4041

Madison, WI – Today, Governor-elect Tony Evers and Lt. Governor-elect Mandela Barnes announced three Kids’ Galas to be held in Appleton, Madison, and Milwaukee in the days leading up to the 2019 Wisconsin Inauguration. All events are open to the public and ticketing information is listed on the official 2019 Wisconsin Inauguration website.

“Not only have I been an educator my entire adult life I’m also a parent and a grandparent. I’ve always believed that what is best for our kids is what is best for our state. As we usher in a new day in our state’s history, I am excited to share my passion for civics and government with kids and families in communities across Wisconsin,” said Governor-elect Evers. “Our Wisconsin is one where kids in every corner of the state can thrive and where their bright futures are essential to our plans to change the direction of our state for the better.”

Tickets for Kids’ Galas can be obtained on www.ourwisconsinourvalues.org. Details of each event are listed below. Kids’ Gala events will be open to members of the media.

Milwaukee Kids’ Gala
Saturday, January 5, 2019
3:00 PM  – 5:00 PM
Discovery World
500 North Harbor Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53202

Madison Kids’ Gala
Saturday, January 5, 2019
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Madison Children’s Museum
100 North Hamilton Street, Madison, WI 53703

Appleton Kids’ Gala
Sunday, January 6, 2019
12:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Fox Cities Performing Arts Center
400 West College Avenue, Appleton, WI 54911

Evers names Brennan DOA secretary, three other Milwaukeeans to cabinet

Gov.-elect Tony Evers today announced Joel Brennan, who ran Tom Barrett’s 2002 guv campaign and has been CEO of Milwaukee’s Discovery World for the past 11 years, will be his first DOA secretary.

Evers also tapped three others from Milwaukee for his cabinet:

*Preston Cole at Natural Resources. He now serves as a commissioner for the Department of Neighborhood Services under Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and is a member of the state Natural Resources Board that advises DNR. According to a profile on the city’s website, he was the first African-American forester hired by the Conservation Department.

See Cole’s profile:
https://city.milwaukee.gov/Comm-Biography.htm#.XBpHzVVKi70

*U.S. Marshal Kevin Carr at Corrections. He was sworn in as a marshal in 2010 after 30 years with the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office and is a member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.

See Carr’s profile:
https://www.usmarshals.gov/district/wi-e/general/marshal.htm

*Sara Meaney, Tourism. Earlier this year, she was hired to be chief marketing officer for Milwaukee Film. Meaney has served on the organization’s board of directors since 2012.

Several GOP lawmakers had lobbied Evers to keep Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett in that role.

See more on Meaney’s background from the announcement of her Milwaukee Film hire:
https://mkefilm.org/news/mke-film-welcomes-sara-meaney-as-cmo!

Brennan also ran Barrett’s 2004 campaign for Milwaukee mayor and worked as the executive director of Milwaukee’s Redevelopment Authority before going to Discovery World. His brother-in-law is Kevin Conroy, the CEO of Exact Sciences Corp. and the co-chair of Evers’ transition.

Evers, responding to criticism that his first four picks are from Milwaukee, stressed the importance of the city to the state’s success, but said future picks will allay concerns he is ignoring rural Wisconsin.

“I happen to be in Milwaukee and these four happen to be from Milwaukee,” Evers said. “We will have more announcements in the near future, and I think the criticism will be dissipated as we move forward.”

During an interview Friday with WisconsinEye’s “Rewind,” a joint effort with WisPolitics.com, transition Director JoAnne Anton said the incoming administration was looking for diversity in its hires. She said the team wasn’t limiting that to include demographics, race or gender, but geographic and life and professional experience as well. Both Carr and Cole are African-American, though all four of Evers’ first picks are from Milwaukee, which was key in the Dem’s win last month.

 

Evers names Kolar Vets secretary, Blumenfeld to lead DFI

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Gov.-elect Tony Evers today announced Mary Kolar, a Dane County supervisor and retired Navy captain, will serve as his secretary of Veterans Affairs.

He also announced Kathy Koltin Blumenfeld, the executive vice president of special operations at TASC, will lead the Department of Financial Institutions.

And Brian Pahnke, who served under Evers at DPI as the assistant state superintendent for finance and management, will be the state budget director.

So far, Evers has announced nine cabinet secretaries and his pick for the PSC. All but one — Brad Pfaff at DATCP — are from Madison or Milwaukee counties. Turnout in both — the state’s most populous and Democratic — helped propel Evers to victory over Gov. Scott Walker in November.

Still, the emphasis on the two counties has generated criticism from Republicans that Evers is not building a cabinet that adequately represents outstate Wisconsin.

But Evers downplayed that criticism, saying Madison and Milwaukee also happen to be “two areas that have a lot of people living there.

“What we always do is strive for talent and making sure that we have good people who can connect the dots, and we will continue to do that,” Evers said, adding there will be more geographic diversity in his remaining picks.

Evers has yet to announce appointments for Health Services, Revenue, Children and Families, Safety and Professional Services, Workforce Development, and the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority. He also hasn’t announced a selection for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., though GOP lawmakers earlier this month stripped Evers of the power to appoint that agency’s head until Sept. 1.

Kolar, who was elected to the Dane County Board in 2013, served 28 years on active duty and chaired the Dane County Veterans Service Commission. She’s also vice president of the Wisconsin Veterans Museum Foundation Board of Directors and is in her third term on the Wisconsin Counties Association Board of Directors.

She noted her grandfather, father, four brothers and husband have all served in the military, while her oldest son is currently deployed on a U.S. Navy submarine.

Kolar pledged the agency will work with vets groups and unaffiliated veterans to “ensure that all voices are heard” and helps veterans achieve their employment, education and quality of life goals.

“We will work with them and legislators to ensure nonpartisan policy is developed that best serves veterans, their families and Wisconsin,” she said.

Prior to joining TASC, which provides businesses a host of services include tax planning, Blumenfeld spent 25 years at CUNA Mutual Group, including a stint as vice president of lending and payment security. She also served as an aide to former Dem state Sen. Joe Strohl, of Racine.

She stressed both facilitating economic growth by ensuring access to capital and protecting consumers.

“In order to remain relevant, our financial institutions will need to continue to innovate,” she said. “We will ensure that we have an environment that fosters both innovation and economic growth.”

In addition to his work at DPI, Pahnke has served in numerous budget and finance positions at state agencies during 28 years working for the state. That includes almost five years in the state budget office during the Thompson administration.

He thanked the Walker administration for its work with the Evers team on the transition and said the budget listening sessions Evers and Lt. Gov.-elect Mandela Barnes did around the state have provided a head start on the document that will be released early next year.

“As we know, budgets are about priorities and yours remain clear: health care, education, transportation and infrastructure, middle-class tax relief, the environment, and criminal justice reform,” Pahnke said.

Evers to name Carolyn Stanford Taylor as new DPI head

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Gov.-elect Tony Evers plans to appoint Carolyn Stanford Taylor as state superintendent, his Department of Public Instruction announced Thursday.

Stanford Taylor, who currently oversees DPI’s Special Education Team, will officially be appointed on Jan. 7 after Evers is sworn in as guv, per the announcement.

Evers had the option to call a special election to fill the seat. But by making the appointment, Taylor will fill out the remainder of Evers’ term, which ends in April 2021. DPI noted that option was last exercised after Superintendent Herbert Grover resigned in 1993 and then-Gov. Tommy Thompson appointed former Gov. Lee Dreyfus to lead the agency.

Stanford Taylor will be the state’s first African-American DPI superintendent.

“Carolyn is a dedicated, thoughtful leader, who puts the best interests of kids before all else,” Evers said. “She is known and respected throughout the education community for her commitment to equity and her work to help all students reach academic success.”

Gov. Scott Walker earlier this year gave Taylor the Virginia Hart Special Recognition Award, which is given in honor of Wisconsin’s first female cabinet member.

According to a biography prepared for the award, Taylor’s was one of the few families to integrate the schools in her native Marks, Miss. She then came to Madison in 1975 to attend the University of Wisconsin, where she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

In 1980, she became a teacher in Madison and a principal before joining DPI in 2001.

“I am blessed to be surrounded by the talented and devoted staff in the department, who care about the work they do to improve the lives of our state’s youth,” Taylor said. “I look forward to this opportunity, and know that together, we can continue to advance educational equity for all students.”

 

 

Evers, Steil voted “WisPoliticos” of 2018

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The “WisPoliticos” of 2018 have been selected.

Voters in the annual contest selected Gov.-elect Tony Evers as the Dem “WisPolitico” of the year and U.S. Rep.-elect Bryan Steil as the GOP “WisPolitico” of 2018.

Evers beat Gov. Scott Walker to win back the governor’s office for Dems after eight years, while Steil won southeastern Wisconsin’s open 1st Congressional District after House Speaker Paul Ryan’s surprise retirement.

Voters also picked the Safe Transportation Over Politics “Scotholes” campaign as Dem ad of the year.

And they picked U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy’s “Just Like Dad” spot as the GOP ad of the year.

Nominees were based on feedback from WisPolitics.com subscribers, who then joined web viewers and social media followers in voting on the awards.

See the STOP video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6Jfp7evKI4

See the Duffy video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RldEn5NCvCI

See more.

Evers: ‘All options’ being considered as GOP lawmakers seek to limit his powers

MILWAUKEE — Gov.-elect Tony Evers says his team is considering “all options” if Republicans’ lame-duck legislation to limit the powers of him and incoming Attorney General Josh Kaul become law.

“We are looking at all options,” Evers said at a Milwaukee press conference Sunday. “Obviously litigation is one of them, but there are maybe other options for us.”

Evers said he is calling on the public to reach out to their lawmakers to encourage them to vote against the legislation, which seeks to protect changes Republicans have made to state government over the past eight years.

Among other things, the bills would remove Evers’ power to appoint the head of the WEDC, prevent the Evers administration from undercutting a series of drug screening and work requirements for food stamps, require the state Department of Health Services to implement the state’s plan to start work requirements for some Medicaid recipients, and compel the commissioner of insurance to abide by the terms of Walker’s “Wisconsin Healthcare Stability Plan.”

The proposals would also move the 2020 presidential primary off the April ballot, make changes to in-person absentee voting and state tax law, and require the attorney general to get the Legislature’s permission to withdraw from any current lawsuit the state is involved in.

Evers said he is encouraging outgoing GOP Gov. Scott Walker to consider his legacy as he decides whether to sign the legislation if it is passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature.

“His legacy will be tied to this,” Evers said. “As he thinks about signing this bill, whatever ends up coming to his desk, I hope he thinks about how he could govern under those circumstances and how this will impact his legacy.”

Evers called the proposed legislation an attempt to nullify the Nov. 6th election in which Democrats won all statewide elected offices.

“The entire package is an effort on the part of the Republican majority to take us back to Nov. 6 and hopefully change that result,” Evers said. “It’s not going to change. I’m here. Tony Evers is going to be governor in a few short weeks.”

Evers succeeds Walker on Jan. 7.

The GOP-run Joint Finance Committee was scheduled to take up the legislation Monday. Evers said he won’t testify, but he expects there to be “good numbers” of people there to speak against it. He added there is a “good-faith effort to make sure civility reigns” during the process.

See more on the legislation: https://www.wispolitics.com/2018/gop-bills-would-restrict-evers-kauls-powers-limit-in-person-absentee-voting/

First Lady and Governor Walker to Participate in Menorah Lighting Ceremony 🗓

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Contact: Amy Hasenberg, (608) 266-2839

Governor Scott Walker and First Lady Tonette Walker will participate in the Menorah Lighting Ceremony tomorrow at the Wisconsin Executive Residence in Madison.

WHAT: Menorah Lighting Ceremony

WHEN: Monday, December 3, 2018
Start Time: 3:30 p.m.

WHERE: Wisconsin Executive Residence
99 Cambridge Road
Madison, WI 53704

First Lady Walker: Welcomes visitors to the Executive Residence to see holiday decorations

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Contact: Amy Hasenberg, (608) 266-2839

MADISON – First Lady Tonette Walker today invited the public to tour the Wisconsin Executive Residence during the holiday season. Visitors are invited to come to the residence to see Holiday decorations created by florists and decorators from across the state.

“Every year the Wisconsin Executive Residence is decorated by talented florists and decorators from across the state, and this year they did an incredible job,” said Mrs. Walker. “I hope families will visit the residence this year to enjoy our beautiful decorations.”

Tours will be held at the Wisconsin Executive Residence (99 Cambridge Road, Madison, WI 53704): December 12th, 13th , 19th , and 20th  from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Visitors do not need to make a reservation, but tours are first come first serve. Groups larger than 20 should call (608) 246-5501 to make arrangements.

Fitzgerald says he’s not ruling out accepting Medicaid expansion

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says he’s not ruling out accepting the federal Medicaid expansion, a tenet of Gov.-elect Tony Evers’ campaign.

While the Juneau Republican said he doesn’t see support from his members “right now,” he added “there’s a lot of moving parts.”

“So I don’t want to be presumptuous and say it’s completely ruled out,” he told reporters at the Capitol during a year-end news conference Thursday.

Evers has said since winning the Nov. 6 election that accepting the Medicaid expansion dollars would be in his first budget. Gov. Scott Walker first rejected the federal funding in 2013.

Fitzgerald also signalled the Senate is open to Evers’ proposal to cut the income tax 10 percent.

“I think we’re always open to having that discussion,” he said. “The state’s in a great position, because of the policy decisions we’ve made.”

Fitzgerald says he’s guessing the Legislature will work off a base budget during the upcoming session, rather than Evers’ two-year plan.

Fitzgerald said he and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos are anticipating using the base and allowing the Joint Finance Committee to “build from there.”

While Fitzgerald was hesitant about dismissing Evers’ budget out right, he said he’s “still assuming” the Legislature will work off a base budget.

He’s also expecting to find areas of “common interest” with Evers and his incoming administration, including possible “veto assurances, where maybe he can keep his pen off” certain areas of the budget.

He noted that under Dem Gov. Jim Doyle’s first term, when Republicans held majorities in both the Senate and Assembly, there were “very little discussions” regarding veto assurances under Doyle’s first budget. But during his second, “there was a little more effort in that direction.”

“I’m hopeful that that process will emerge and kind of lend itself to cooperation along the way,” he said.

Evers spokeswoman Britt Cudaback noted the guv-elect has been holding budget listening sessions around the state to hear “what the people of Wisconsin want in this budget.”

“So, it’s unfortunate that Speaker Vos and Majority Leader Fitzgerald are once again going to ignore the will of the people of Wisconsin by disregarding a budget crafted by and with the people of our state without ever having seen it,” she said.

Going into next session, Fitzgerald said he and Vos are prepared to work closely together, and will prime each of their caucuses to do the same.

He also said he expects “more give and take” between the two majorities since Walker won’t be there to drive policy or set “the table for the policy discussions.”

“We’re going to absolutely have to work closer together instead of kind of butting heads, which we’ve seen in some past budgets and some other individual pieces of legislation. And the speaker and I talked about that,” he said.

Fitzgerald expected the biggest differences between Evers’ budget priorities and legislative Republicans’ would be in the areas of transportation, Medicaid and K-12 funding.

Hear the audio: https://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/181220Fitz.mp3

By Briana Reilly

Forest County Potawatomi Community: Take aggressive steps to end opioid abuse in Forest County

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For More Information:

December 6, 2018 George Ermert 414-405-0838

(Crandon, WI) – The Forest County Potawatomi Community has launched a public awareness campaign aimed at eliminating opioid abuse in Forest County. The public awareness campaign will begin with television ads and print displays around Forest County.
It also includes a website, www.fcpchelp.com, with specific details on where people can find addiction treatment and inpatient / outpatient counseling services.

A copy of the television ad can be viewed on the Forest County Potawatomi Facebook page.
The Tribe hopes these ads will help bring attention to the opioid problem in Forest County and compel individuals to seek help for themselves or others fighting addiction.
“The opioid problem is devastating effect on Forest County. Too many lives have been lost and too many families have been torn apart,” said Tribal Chairman Ned Daniels, Jr. “Together we can solve this problem, but we need the entire Forest County community to help.”

The Tribe has taken a number of additional steps to help combat the opioid problem in Forest County in addition to the public awareness campaign. Earlier this year, the FCPC made a commitment to provide additional funding to several Forest County
law enforcement agencies to hire additional officers. The Forest County Sheriff’s Department will receive nearly $450,000 over the next two years to hire two additional drug enforcement officers. The Crandon Police Department will also receive more than $225,000 over the next three years to hire an additional police officer. These contributions are in addition to the on-going support that the FCPC provides local law enforcement each year.

The Tribe has also brought together key stakeholders from state and local agencies to share information and discuss ways to improve the treatment and prevention of opioid addiction. The FCPC is also taking a very aggressive approach to treat those struggling with addition. FCPC AODA provides access to treatment services for not only the Tribal community, but Forest County and the surrounding area as well. With the help of a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services the Tribe has set up new programs and hired additional specialists to help those individuals struggling with addition.

This includes the addition of, or enhancements to, the following programs:

  • Behavioral Health Services
  • Primary Care Services
  • Inpatient Treatment
  • Transitional Living
  • Wellness & Tribal Court
  • Culturally-based Supports
  • Self-help Supports (NA/AA)
  • Recovery Coach Support

Rise in Opioid Abuse in Forest County:
According to data from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Forest County has experienced some of the worst effects of the opioid epidemic based on population. From 2010 – 2016, the average Wisconsin county suffered a 74% increase in the rate of opioid-related discharges. However, Forest County has more than quintupled that average increase, seeing its rate explode by 415% over the same period.

In addition, opioid-related hospital encounters in Forest County have sky-rocketed. From 2011 – 2016 the number of opioid-related hospital encounters for people 15 – 24 years of age increased by 750%. Over the same period, the number of encounters for those between 25 – 44 years of age increased by an astounding 1,100%. Combined, these two age groups comprised nearly 84% of all Forest County hospital counters due to opioids in 2016.

Data from the Forest County Sheriff’s Department shows that the county has seen 37 non-fatal opioid related overdoses and nine deaths related to opioids so far in 2018.

Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce: January Business Breakfast Bytes, from the Fox Cities Chamber, to provide insight on the impact of professional development for employee retention

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For information contact:

Emily Feagles

Director, Marketing & Communications

[email protected]

APPLETON, Wis. (December 20, 2018) – The Fox Cities Chamber’s monthly educational program, Business Breakfast Bytes, will provide attendees with education on the need for investing in professional development for employee retention and satisfaction at the morning session on January 15.

This session will feature a panel of experts who are knowledgeable on the reasons why an employer should encourage their employees to continue education and the ways they, as a business, can provide incentives or assistance with that process.

In a business climate where finding and retaining quality employees is dire, employers should be constantly seeking ways to create an appealing workplace and top-notch staff. One way to do so is by encouraging their employees to continue in education. This can be done by providing specific and occasional opportunities (such as partnering with a local university to offer certification courses to your employees), to a more in-depth process such as providing financial assistance for an employee to go back to school (whether through full or partial tuition reimbursements).

Scott Jensen, Director of Marketing & Digital from Wisconsin Herd, will lead the session and facilitate the presentation featuring a panel of local experts:

  • Christie Evers, Senior HR Generalist, SECURA Insurance Companies
  • Dale Feinauer, Assistant Dean of Graduate Programs, UW Oshkosh College of Business
  • Tara King, Leadership Development Specialist, Menasha Corporation
  • Amy Pearce, Fox Cities Director, Lakeland University
  • Sarah Schneider, Regional Director of Centers, Concordia University Appleton
  • Arthur Shattuck, Financial Technology Consultant, Associated Bank

“This panel will identify opportunities for companies in the Fox Cities to add to their benefits packages including tuition reimbursement incentives and guide professionals interested in furthering their education a road map to achieve their educational goals,” shared session facilitator Jensen.

Business Breakfast Bytes are a monthly business educational program focused on providing our small to mid-sized business members across the Fox Cities Region with education and resources addressing top business concerns.

Registration for each individual session is required. Fox Cities Chamber members are allowed to bring a guest and may use the registration link on the Chamber website or call (920) 734-7101 to register. Please visit the Chamber website for complete details of the January session, sponsored by Menasha Corporation in Neenah and co-hosted with the Leadership Fox Cities Alumni Association from 7:30 AM – 9:00 AM on Tuesday, January 15. Details and registration can be found at foxcitieschamber.com.

For immediate questions, please contact MiKayla Kunde, Member Programs Manager, by email [email protected] or phone (920) 734-7101.

Foxconn Technology Group: Reveals first-round winners of ‘Smart Cities-Smart Futures’ competition

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Wisconsin’s higher education community comes together to develop ideas to improve health care, transportation, housing, and education across the state

Kenosha, WI – Foxconn Technology Group (Foxconn) announced the selection of 88 first round winners of the company’s “Smart Cities—Smart Futures” competition, an initiative that encourages the sharing of fresh ideas and unconventional thinking for the benefit of Wisconsin. During a ceremony hosted at Carthage College, Foxconn recognized outstanding ideas submitted by students, faculty, and staff from the University of Wisconsin System, the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and the Wisconsin Technical College System.

The “Smart Cities—Smart Futures” competition promotes innovative ideas to enhance quality of life, improve working environments, expand transportation networks and living spaces, inspire creative city planning, and promote sustainable energy solutions in Wisconsin. The competition was open to students, faculty, and staff at all University of Wisconsin (UW) campuses, technical colleges, and independent colleges in Wisconsin. First round winners will receive $500 to help further develop their projects.

A panel of 50 judges from partners in academia and the private sector evaluated a total of 325 submissions and determined the 88 submissions that will proceed to the second round. The highest share of ideas was in the energy and environment category. Other ideas fell into the following categories: mobility and transportation, education, e-health, software, the Internet of Things, smart homes, robotics and manufacturing, and big data analytics.

“The “Smart Cities—Smart Futures” competition has been a catalyst for encouraging impactful ideas from the brightest minds in Wisconsin, for Wisconsin. The success of the competition and the quality of submissions speaks to the power of partnerships. As Foxconn continues to partner with the Badger State, its academic institutions, and its industrious people, there’s nothing we cannot achieve,” said Alan Yeung, Foxconn’s Director of U.S. Strategic Initiatives.

“Foxconn is grateful to every student and faculty member who invested their time and energy to participate in this competition. Everyone who took part has distinguished themselves and demonstrated they share a commitment to improving the quality of life in their communities,” he said.

As part of the “Smart Cities—Smart Futures” competition, Foxconn will provide up to $1 million in cash and in-kind technical support in awards over the next three years.

Round Two of the competition starts in mid-December and runs until January 31, 2019. Each submission will be evaluated independently by four judges who will use six criteria to develop a numeric score. Up to 50 winners will be selected and announced on or before January 31, 2019. The winners of the second round will also be invited to participate in the third round of the competition, which starts from March 1st and runs through March 31, 2019.

Foxconn has partnered with the University of Wisconsin System, the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and the Wisconsin Technical College System on the “Smart Cities—Smart Futures” competition. In addition to the academic partners, the competition is also supported by several groups, including the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, the Wisconsin Technology Council, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the WiSys Technology Foundation, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and the UW-Milwaukee Research Foundation.

For more information about the competition, please visit: https://wismartcities-smartfutures.com/. Social media efforts for the competition are underway with the Twitter handle @SmartCitiesWI and hashtag #SmartCitiesWI, a Facebook page (facebook.com/SmartCitiesWI), an Instagram page (Instagram.com/smartcitieswi) and a LinkedIn page (linkedin.com/company/smartcitiesWI).

FRI AM Update: Evers to announce more cabinet picks today; weekly radio addresses

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FRI AM Update: Hintz appoints Goyke, Taylor to JFC

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FRI AM Update: Regents to hear UW System restructuring update; weekly radio addresses

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FRI News Summary: Evers says his Board of Regents appointees will be independent; lame-duck legislation news and analysis

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FRI News Summary: Evers to tap TDA’s Thompson for DOT; state ends fiscal year with $588M surplus

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FRI News Summary: K-C to receive up to $28M under new deal; Walker to act on lame-duck bills today

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FRI REPORT: Fitzgerald knocks Evers’ DOT pick Thompson over ties to roadbuilders

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FRI REPORT: Records review suggests Schimel had limited involvement in crafting school safety plan

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FRI REPORT: Walker signs extraordinary session bills, draws Dem criticism

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Gov. Thompson: Statement regarding Gov.-elect Evers’ appointment of Craig Thompson as Secretary of the Department of Transportation

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“I commend Governor-Elect Evers on his appointment of Craig Thompson as
Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. As leader of the
statewide, multimodal Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin for
more than 10 years, Craig has developed a deep understanding of the connection
between a strong infrastructure and a strong economy and how all modes of
transportation play a role in our economic success.

“Craig served on Gov. Walker’s blue-ribbon Transportation Finance and Policy
Commission in 2012 and played an important role in the successful campaign in
2014 to amend the state’s Constitution to ensure that transportation revenues be
used exclusively for transportation investments. He understands the needs of our
transportation system as well as anyone who
has ever held the position.

“Gov.-Elect Evers has made a wise choice in this selection of a bi-partisan
consensus builder to tackle the significant transportation challenges facing
Wisconsin.”

Gov. Walker: Appoints Burnett County District Attorney

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 4, 2018
Contact: Amy Hasenberg, (608) 266-2839

MADISON –Governor Scott Walker today appointed Attorney Joseph Schieffer to the position of Burnett County District Attorney. Schieffer will fill the vacancy created by the resignation of William Norine.
“I am pleased to appoint Joe Schieffer as Burnett County district attorney,” said Governor Walker. “I am confident that his legal acumen and dedication to the rule of law will serve the people of Burnett County well and build on Joseph’s success as a district attorney.”

Joseph Schieffer works as a special prosecutor currently in the Burnett County District Attorney’s Office. In this role, Schieffer appears on behalf of the State of Wisconsin and Burnett County in cases involving juveniles, domestic violence, theft, and various other felony and misdemeanor level offenses. Prior to this role in the community, Schieffer was a sole practitioner at his Cumberland based firm, Schieffer Law, LLC. Schieffer successfully managed a heavy caseload involving cases in civil litigation, criminal defense, and family law. Schieffer was also an associate attorney at Smith & Smith Law, LTD, and an assistant district attorney in the Barron County District Attorney’s Office.

In addition to his legal experience, Schieffer is on the board of directors on Kinship of Cumberland & Turtle Lake. Schieffer was previously the treasurer of the Barron County Bar Association.

Burnett County Circuit Court Judge Melissia Mogen wrote in support of Schieffer, “Mr. Schieffer will be a great asset to those involved in the Burnett County criminal justice system. In the time that he has been special prosecutor for Burnett County, he has shown that he has a positive work ethic, integrity, and the professional experience to serve the people of Burnett County well.” Judge Mogen adds, “The experience Mr. Schieffer gained from being an assistant district attorney in Barron County and as a special prosecutor for Burnett County is valuable and will help him make decisions that are critical in his new role as district attorney.”

Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald recommends Schieffer stating, “Joe is seen as an attorney with integrity and unwilling to compromise his principles. Although he has more recently been a criminal defense attorney, the respect he has shown law enforcement while at the same time advocating for his clients has allowed him to maintain the respect of our deputies. He treats everyone with respect.”

Schieffer received his juris doctor from Marquette University, his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh, and his associates degree from Chippewa Valley Technical College.

He resides in Cumberland with his wife Hilary.

Gov. Walker: Appoints Columbia County District Attorney

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 4, 2018
Contact: Amy Hasenberg, (608) 266-2839

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker today appointed Attorney Tristan Eagon to the position of Columbia County District Attorney. Eagon will fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Jane Kohlwey.

“Tristan Eagon is a respected community leader who has distinguished herself in her career as a state public defender and civil litigator,” said Governor Walker. “I am confident that her tireless work ethic, integrity, and judicial philosophy will serve the people of Columbia County well.”

Tristan Eagon currently works at Sterling Law Offices, LLC where she practices family law. Eagon previously worked at the Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office. In her role as an assistant state public defender, Eagon appeared as defense counsel in juvenile delinquency proceedings and adversarial counsel in CHIPS/JIPS cases. She also appeared as advocacy counsel in Wisconsin Chapter 51, Chapter 54, and Chapter 55 cases. Prior to this role, Eagon worked at Richard B. Johnson & Associates, LLC where she represented clients in civil litigation, criminal defense, family law, mediation, bankruptcy, and medical malpractice cases. In addition to her litigation experience, Eagon was a police legal advisor at the Lansing City Attorney’s office in Michigan, a police officer at the Surfside Beach Police Department in South Carolina, and a former law enforcement officer in Bryan, Ohio.

Eagon is a team member and volunteer on the Columbia County OWI Treatment Court. She is a member on the Junior League of Madison, the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), and the Women in Aviation. Eagon is also a volunteer with the American Legion.

Columbia County Assistant District Attorney Crystal Long wrote in support of Eagon, “Attorney Eagon is a zealous advocate for her clients and defends their rights to the fullest extent of the law. She is also realistic in her expectations and does not make frivolous motions and/or unreasonable demands.”

Attorney Ronald Benavides of the State of Wisconsin Public Defender’s Office recommends Eagon stating, “she is a person and a lawyer of high integrity and ethics, and that she relates to and communicates with people of every station in life effectively and with a sense of humanity.” Attorney Benavides adds, “Tristan is a very talented negotiator, and she is very effective in the courtroom”

“I am thoroughly impressed with her understanding of the law, and her ability to articulate even complex legal issues in a manner that makes them easy to understand,” said Attorney Todd Snow. “She is a staunch advocate for her clients, and proponent of the rule of law. Her work ethic and dedication to the legal profession are unparalleled.”

Eagon received her juris doctor degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School, her bachelor’s degree from Muskingum University, and her associate’s degree from Zane State College.

Gov. Walker: Appoints Daniel Gabler to serve as Milwaukee County judge

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Contact: Amy Hasenberg, (608) 266-2839

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker today appointed Attorney Daniel J. Gabler to serve as a judge on the Milwaukee County Circuit Court, replacing retiring Judge Richard J. Sankovitz.

“I am honored to appoint Daniel Gabler to the Milwaukee County Circuit Court,” said Governor Walker. “Gabler has established himself as a respected and accomplished attorney in the Milwaukee County area for over 27 years. This experience, coupled with Gabler’s judicial temperament and firm commitment to the rule of law give me great confidence that he will make an excellent judge.”

Upon learning of the appointment Gabler said: “I am pleased that the Governor has the confidence in me to succeed Judge Richard J. Sankovitz in Branch 29 of the Milwaukee County Circuit Court. While I know I won’t be taking over Judge Sankovitz’s calendar, succeeding him is an honor and a privilege of the highest order. I will do all that I can to fill the huge void of knowledge and experience created as a result of his retirement after a distinguished and laudable career serving the residents of Milwaukee County as a judge.”

Since March 2017, Daniel Gabler has worked as the chairman of the Wisconsin Parole Commission. During this time, Gabler ensured public safety by assessing inmate rehabilitation and evaluating the liberty interests of more than 1,500 long-term prison parole eligible inmates. Prior to this role, Gabler served as an assistant district attorney for Milwaukee County for more than 17 years. During this time, Gabler successfully prosecuted and convicted thousands of the most dangerous and violent criminals in Milwaukee County. He also gained experience in litigating scores of domestic violence and child support cases. Gabler was previously a compliance officer at Goodwill Industries and a public affairs manager at Time Warner Cable.

Gabler is an active member of the Federalist Society, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and the Milwaukee Bar Association. He is also an arbitrator for the Milwaukee Better Business Bureau. In addition to his vast legal experience, Gabler is a school board member at St. Eugene Catholic School, a chairman and member on the stewardship committee at St. Eugene Parish, and an advisor for Junior Achievement of Southeastern Wisconsin. Gabler also volunteers his time at the Milwaukee Rescue – Joy House.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley wrote in support of Gabler, “I have no doubt that he thoroughly understands the proper role of the judiciary, would faithfully uphold the rule of law, and apply the law as it is written.” Justice Bradley adds, “I also know him to be a person of strong moral character and utmost integrity.”

Wisconsin Court of Appeals Judge William Brash III highly recommends Gabler stating, “He has a wealth of experience which he would bring to the bench in serving Milwaukee County.” He adds, “Dan is a good and moral individual.”

Gabler received his juris doctor degree from Marquette University Law School and his undergraduate degree from Creighton University. He resides in Milwaukee County with his wife, Marybeth.

Gov. Walker: Appoints Paul Dedinsky to serve as Milwaukee County judge

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Contact: Amy Hasenberg, (608) 266-2839

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker today appointed Attorney Paul C. Dedinsky to serve as a judge on the Milwaukee County Circuit Court, replacing retiring Judge Mary M. Kuhnmuench.

“I am confident that Paul will step into the role of circuit court judge seamlessly and I am delighted to appoint him,” said Governor Walker. “His reputation and his credentials demonstrate service, integrity, and impeccable character.”

Paul Dedinsky has over 25 years of legal practice including over 20 years serving as a prosecutor in Milwaukee County from 1997-2017. His legal experience ranges from criminal law, civil law, and appellate advocacy to administrative law, employment law, contracts, and corporate board governance. During his time as an assistant district attorney in Milwaukee County, he prosecuted misdemeanor, domestic violence, delinquency, and sensitive crimes and served as Milwaukee family drug treatment court team captain. Dedinsky has also advised and taught Legal Ethics to state employees.

E. Michael McCann, retired Milwaukee District Attorney, predicted that Paul Dedinsky will be “a judge of great competence and impeccable integrity.” Milwaukee County Deputy District Attorney Elizabeth Mueller highly recommends Dedinsky stating, “His temperament and knowledge of the law are exceptional. His willingness to assist others and provide sound legal counsel are unparalleled.”

Liz Marquardt of the Sojourner Family Peace Center touted Paul Dedinsky’s “strong morals” and “stellar service” as a past sexual assault and child abuse prosecutor, and in his service as the former Director of the Milwaukee District Attorney’s Domestic Violence Unit: “Paul has touched many lives as a prosecutor and believes deeply in serving his community. As a result, support for Paul is widespread, diverse, and includes many, many professionals as well as community members.” Marquardt added, “When he and I worked to end domestic and sexual abuse, he was extremely active in the Milwaukee Commission on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and was a part of many community efforts.”

Dr. Kristi Cole, of Milwaukee College Prep and formerly of MPS, spoke of Paul Dedinsky’s pioneering work in the area of Restorative Justice and his work as the Milwaukee, “I had the privilege of learning about restorative justice from retired Supreme Court Justice Janine Geske and Paul Dedinsky, both of whom worked so well together. Paul trained literally thousands of MPS teachers, principals, social workers, school counselors, and school psychologists in restorative practices from 2008 to 2014, as well as thousands of students in the greater Milwaukee area.”

In addition to his vast legal experience and serving as the Milwaukee family drug treatment court team captain, Dedinsky is a board member on the anti-opiate addiction group SOFA, Inc., a service director for Schoenstatt International Province & Retreat Center, a faculty presenter at St. Clare Center for Catholic Life, and serves on his parish pastoral council. Dedinsky also has teaching experience as an adjunct professor at Cardinal Stritch University and Marquette University Law School. After serving most recently as the Chief Legal Counsel as the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection, Dedinsky will return home to live on Milwaukee’s east side. Paul is married to Lisa, and the couple has three children.

Gov. Walker: Appoints Racine County judge

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 4, 2018
Contact: Amy Hasenberg, (608) 266-2839

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker today appointed Attorney Maureen Martinez to serve as a judge on the Racine County Circuit Court, replacing retiring Judge Emily Mueller.
“I am pleased to appoint Maureen Martinez to the Racine County Circuit Court,” said Governor Walker.

“Martinez has established herself as a distinguished and respected attorney in Racine County for over 20 years. Her reputation for integrity, legal acumen, and commitment to the rule of law give me great confidence that she will be an excellent judge.”

Maureen Martinez has practiced law since 1996, serving as an Assistant District Attorney in Racine County and currently as Deputy District Attorney. During this time, Martinez has specialized in felony cases involving the sexual assault of children and adults, homicides, child abuse, and neglect. In addition, Martinez represents the office on the statewide Drug Endangered Child Committee to increase awareness about the effects of drug use and abuse among children. Martinez also serves as an office representative on the county’s Child Death Review, the Multidisciplinary Team, the Sexual Assault Response Team, the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, the Juvenile Justice Coordinating Committee, and the Juvenile Alternative to Detention Initiative.

In addition to her vast legal experience, Martinez is a board member on the Caledonia Conservancy and a tutor for middle school students at the John Paul Center at the St. Patrick’s Parish in Racine.

Racine County Circuit Court Judge Robert S. Repischak wrote in support of Martinez. “She has
exhibited a strong knowledge of the law; a passion for the administration of justice, especially for
the safety and well-being of children.” Judge Repischak adds, “she has the personal and professional
temperament to sit on the bench.”

Martinez received support from Racine County Circuit Court Judge Faye M. Flancher who said, “she has prosecuted hundreds of cases in all of the criminal courts. She has obtained convictions for some of the most dangerous criminals in our county.” Judge Flancher adds, “Maureen is always prepared and always on time. She has the highest ethical standards.”

Martinez received her juris doctor degree from Marquette University, her masters degree from the University of Illinois, and her undergraduate degree from St. Mary’s College of Notre Dame. She resides in Racine with her husband Michael.

Gov. Walker: Governor and first lady Walker wish the people of Wisconsin a merry Christmas and happy holidays

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Contact: Amy Hasenberg, (608) 266-2839

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker and First Lady Tonette Walker today wished the people of Wisconsin a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

“The Christmas season is one of the best times of year because it brings loved ones together to celebrate the birth of Christ,” said Governor Walker. “As we reflect on this magnificent story, we also should remember what is most important in each of our lives. My family and I are counting our blessings and looking forward with love, joy, and hope as we approach the new year. To all the families who are not together because of a serviceman and woman overseas, thank you for your selfless sacrifice and your service to our nation.”

Gov. Walker: Highlights eight years of reform at the 8th Annual Governor’s Small Business Summit in Pewaukee

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Contact: Amy Hasenberg, (608) 266-2839

PEWAUKEE – Governor Scott Walker today with Lieutenant Governor Rebeca Kleefisch hosted the 8th Annual Governor’s Small Business Summit in Pewaukee. The summit brings together leaders from across Wisconsin to discuss the challenges faced by small businesses.

“We enacted bold reforms over the last eight years that lowered the cost of doing business, removed barriers to work, and created a strong environment for jobs and economic success,” Governor Walker said. “Thanks to our reforms and a growing economy, there are more people working this year in Wisconsin than ever before, and we set a record for the lowest unemployment rate in state history. I thank Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and all of the outstanding leaders here today for making this year’s summit a great one.”

There are more than 448,000 small businesses in Wisconsin employing 1.2 million workers.

“I’ve so enjoyed helping to plan and host the Governor’s Small Business Summit these past eight years. As a former small business owner myself, this endeavor is personal to me,” said Lt. Governor Kleefisch. “The Governor’s Small Business Summit has served as a valuable resource for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs across our state, and I know this year’s event will be no exception.”

The featured speaker for the 8th Annual Governor’s Small Business Summit is Dick Leinenkugel, President of Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co., LLC.

Gov. Walker: Kimberly-Clark to keep Cold Spring Facility open in Wisconsin

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Company, WEDC reach agreement on tax incentives that will retain nearly 400 jobs
at Fox Valley facility

NEENAH, WI. Dec. 13, 2018 – Kimberly-Clark and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) have agreed to terms on a five-year agreement that will provide the company with up to $28 million in tax incentives and allow it to continue operations at its Cold Spring facility in Fox Crossing.
Under the terms of the agreement, Kimberly-Clark will retain 388 technical manufacturing jobs with an annual payroll of over $30 million at the facility. The company will also continue to support hundreds of businesses across the state that supply approximately $56 million in goods and services to the facility annually. In addition, Kimberly-Clark will invest up to $200 million in the Neenah Cold Spring Facility over the next five years to fuel continued innovation and growth.

“We have been working diligently over the last few months to ensure that Kimberly-Clark, a company with a long legacy in a key Wisconsin industry, will continue to have a strong presence in the Fox Valley. We are also pleased that Kimberly-Clark is making the commitment to continue to invest and grow in our state for years to come,” said Governor Scott Walker, who joined company officials Thursday in announcing the plans. “Keeping longstanding businesses in our state is just as important as attracting new ones. This agreement is a win for Wisconsin and the company, but more importantly for the employees at Kimberly-Clark and the many businesses and communities who rely on the company for their partnership and support.”

“Wisconsin has been an important home for Kimberly-Clark since 1872, and we are grateful for the many proactive efforts to create an economic situation that would allow us to keep the Cold Spring facility open,” said John Dietrich, Vice President of Global Manufacturing for Kimberly-Clark. “We look forward to continuing our 146-year commitment to making lives better for our consumers, and to continue being a strong corporate citizen in Wisconsin.”

To ensure that Kimberly-Clark remains in Wisconsin, WEDC is awarding the company up to $28 million in state income tax incentives over the next five years. The full amount of credits can be earned if the company retains all of its 388 employees through 2023 and makes at least $200 million in capital investment at the Cold Spring facility over that time. The company can also earn tax credits based on how much it purchases in goods and services from Wisconsin companies.

The tax incentives are performance-based, which means the company must first carry out the terms of the agreement and provide supporting documentation before it can receive any tax credits.

“Our office worked closely with Kimberly-Clark, WEDC Secretary Mark Hogan and his staff, State Senator Roger Roth and other key stakeholders to develop an incentive package that made sense for the company but also protected Wisconsin taxpayers,” Governor Walker added. “We have been proactively engaged with Kimberly-Clark and our local partners since Day One to ensure the company’s continued presence in the Fox Valley- and we’re pleased to preserve hundreds of family-supporting jobs in the region.”

Added state Senator Roger Roth, who worked closely with the company to help ensure its continued presence in the region: “This is great news for the workers at the Cold Spring facility as well as the families, businesses and communities of the Fox Valley. Kimberly-Clark has been an anchor company in Wisconsin for over 140 years and I am overjoyed to see that it will continue to be part of Wisconsin’s manufacturing heritage in the future.”

Gov. Walker: Lights Capitol Christmas Tree

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 4, 2018
Contact: Amy Hasenberg, (608) 266-2839

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker lit the 2018 State Capitol Christmas Tree today at the Wisconsin State Capitol. The balsam fir is decorated with “Wisconsin’s Dairyland” themed ornaments made by students from throughout the state.
“This year’s Capitol Christmas Tree is a symbol of many of our state’s strong traditions,” said Governor Walker. “The tree itself stands as a symbol of our state’s history in the logging industry, the ornaments represent our state’s ever-important dairy industry, and everyone coming together to decorate and visit the tree represent the sense of community we all love about Wisconsin. Thank you to everyone who helped with this year’s tree including the hundreds of students who helped decorate and Don and Mary Miller of Plainfield who donated the tree.”

The 2018 State Capitol Christmas Tree was coordinated by the Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association and arrived earlier this month. The tree is between 35 and 40 feet tall.

Gov. Walker: Operation Santa is ready

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Contact: Amy Hasenberg, (608) 266-2839

Follow Santa as he travels through Wisconsin Christmas Eve

MADISON – As children across the state wait patiently for Christmas Eve, Governor Scott Walker is directing the Wisconsin National Guard and Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) to be ready to assist Santa Claus as he delivers presents to all the good boys and girls across Wisconsin.

“We look forward to this mission every Christmas Eve,” Governor Walker said. “The last few days everyone has been busy gathering extra reindeer feed, baking Christmas cookies and preparing hot cocoa to make sure Santa has everything he needs while in Wisconsin.”

Maj. Gen. Donald Dunbar, Wisconsin’s Adjutant General, said the Wisconsin National Guard and WEM are ready to respond to help Santa as he travels across the badger state Monday night.

“It’s an exciting night for us. We have been coordinating with the North Pole to make sure we are set for Operation Santa,” said Dunbar. “I have seen the official list for Wisconsin and we owe our best to all the children.”

According to the secret Operation Santa Plan, a KC-135 Stratotanker from the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 128th Air Refueling Wing in Milwaukee will link up with Santa in the skies over Lake Superior, providing carrots, reindeer feed and water for the reindeer, as well as hot chocolate and cookies for Santa.

The Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing has F-16’s on alert and ready to assist Santa should the need arrives. The 128th Air Control Squadron, based at Volk Field, Wisconsin, will keep other air traffic out of Santa’s delivery corridors during his brief time in Wisconsin.

Meanwhile, the Wisconsin Army National Guard stands ready with ground and logistical support to assist this mission as necessary. This includes loading the sleigh with more presents and candy canes.

WEM will provide Santa with up-to-date weather reports for safe travel, as well as current data on snow and ice cover to assist with rooftop landings. In addition, local law enforcement, fire, emergency management, and emergency service agencies from across the state are also ready to assist Santa with directions and extra cookies as he delivers Christmas presents.

You can join ReadyWisconsin and follow Santa as he travels across Wisconsin beginning at 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Updates will be posted every five minutes on ReadyWisconsin’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Remember to use the hashtags #SantaAlert and #OperationSanta to track the tweets and interact on social media.

Gov. Walker: Orders flags to half-staff as a mark of respect for former state Sen. Walter John Chilsen

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Contact: Tom Evenson, (608) 266-2839

Chilsen represented the 29th Senate District for six terms from 1967-1990

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker today ordered flags to half-staff on Friday, January 4, 2019, as a mark of respect for former State Senator Walter John Chilsen of Weston. Chilsen, a World War II veteran and Purple Heart recipient, passed away on Christmas morning at the age of 95.

Chilsen represented the people of the 29th Senate District for six terms from 1967 – 1990. Following his service in the Wisconsin State Senate, Chilsen served on the Weston Town Board from 1990 – 2017.

Governor Walker’s executive order is here.

Gov. Walker: Orders flags to half-staff honoring Former President George H. W. Bush

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Contact: Amy Hasenberg, (608) 266-2839

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker ordered flags to half-staff on Saturday, December 1, 2018, in honor of former President George Herbert Walker Bush. Flags will remain at half-staff until sunset on December 30, 2018.
Governor Walker’s executive order is available here.

Gov. Walker: Orders flags to half-staff honoring Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, U.S. Navy Seaman 1st Class William Bruesewitz

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Office of Governor Scott Walker
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 7, 2018
Contact: Amy Hasenberg, (608) 266-2839
 
 
MADISON – Governor Scott Walker ordered flags to half-staff on Friday, December 7, 2018, in honor of Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day and United States Navy Seaman 1st Class William Bruesewitz.On December 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy,” the Empire of Japan attacked American forces at Pearl Harbor in a surprise and unprovoked aerial assault, killing 2,335 American military personnel and 68 civilians. The following day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed Congress and requested it formally declare war against the Japanese Empire, effectively leading the United States into World War II.

One of the military casualties at Pearl Harbor was United States Navy Seaman 1st Class William Bruesewitz of Appleton, Wisconsin, who was assigned to the USS Oklahoma. During the attack, the USS Oklahoma capsized and sank after it was struck multiple times by Japanese torpedo bombers, leading to the deaths of 429 of its crewmen, including Bruesewitz.

Bruesewitz will be buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery on Friday, December 7, 2018.

“Seaman 1st Class William Bruesewitz embodied the values our nation holds dear, and the people of Wisconsin are forever indebted for his service and sacrifice in defense of our country,” Governor Walker said. “I encourage citizens to take time on Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day to reflect on the countless heroic Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice 77 years ago.”

Governor Walker’s executive orders are attached.

Gov. Walker: Signs extraordinary session legislation into law in Green Bay

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Contact: Amy Hasenberg, (608) 266-2839

GREEN BAY – Governor Scott Walker today signed Senate Bills 883, 884, and 886 into law.

“Despite all the hype and hysteria out there, these bills do nothing to fundamentally diminish executive authority,” Governor Walker said. “The bottom line is the new governor will continue to be one of the most powerful chief executives in the country. This includes veto and line-item veto powers; appointing members of the cabinet and other government posts including judges, district attorneys, and sheriffs; broad executive order authority; administrative rule authority; issuing a state budget proposal; and more.

“My criteria when evaluating these bills were simple: Do they improve transparency? Do they increase accountability? Do they affirm stability? And do they protect the taxpayers? The answer is yes.”

Senate Bills 883, 884, and 886 are Acts 368, 369, and 370 respectively.

Gov.-elect Evers and Lt. Gov.-elect Barnes: Announce additions to administration team

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Contact: [email protected] or 608-267-2560

MADISON – Today, Governor-elect Tony Evers and Lt. Governor-elect Mandela Barnes announced three new members of the administration.

Mary Kolar will serve as Department of Veterans Affairs secretary; Kathy Koltin Blumenfeld will serve as Department of Financial Institutions secretary; and Brian Pahnke will serve as the state budget director.

“The team members we are announcing today will help our administration connect the dots on important issues facing our state,” Tony Evers said. “I am confident they will make sure veterans and their families receive the benefits they have earned, work with the Wisconsin business and financial communities to encourage economic growth in all 72 counties, and help us build a sate budget that reflects the priorities we heard at our budget listening sessions.”

“We must move past the us-versus-them mentality and work together on the issues facing the state,” said Mandela Barnes. “Adding these talented individuals to our team, who are committed to working together to solve problems, will help us move our state forward.”

“I look forward to being part of a team that will increase our reach to and communications with all Wisconsin veterans to ensure they and their families receive the benefits they have earned,” said Mary Kolar. “We will work to ensure veterans achieve their employment, education, and quality of life goals.”

“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve alongside this talented leadership team,” said Kathy Koltin Blumenfeld. “I am very optimistic about the future of our state and look forward to collaborating with our team, stakeholders, and leaders around the state to foster an environment of innovation and economic growth.”

“The state budget has many challenges, but it is also a great opportunity to work in a collaborative manner to advance a budget that reflects the values Wisconsin citizens shared with us during the budget listening sessions around the state,” said Brian Pahnke.

Mary Kolar, Department of Veteran Affairs

Mary Kolar is currently a Dane County Supervisor for the first district. She was elected in 2013 and is serving her third term as a director on the Wisconsin Counties Association Board of Directors. She is a retired U.S. Navy Captain who served twenty-eight years on active duty and chaired the Dane County Veterans Service Commission. Kolar has also served as the vice president of the Wisconsin Veterans Museum Foundation Board of Directors.

She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and graduate degrees from the U.S. Naval War College and the University of Rhode Island.

Kathy Koltin Blumenfeld, Department of Financial Institutions

Kathy Koltin Blumenfeld is currently the executive vice president of special operations at TASC. Before joining TASC, she worked for CUNA Mutual Group for twenty-five years, most recently as vice president of lending and payment security. Blumenfeld served as a certified public accountant at two large firms and worked for State Senator Joe Strohl.

She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Brian Pahnke, Department of Administration, State Budget Office

Brian Pahnke currently serves as the assistant state superintendent for finance and management at the Department of Public Instruction (DPI). He has held numerous budget and finance positions at several state agencies during his twenty-eight years of state service, including nearly five years in the state budget office during the Thompson administration.

He received his undergraduate degree from Miami University in Oxford, OH and his master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Gov.-elect Evers and Lt. Gov.-elect Barnes: Announce Agriculture, Energy, and Natural Resources Policy Advisory Council

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Contact: [email protected] or 608-267-2560

MADISON – Today, Governor-elect Tony Evers and Lt. Governor-elect Mandela Barnes announced their Agriculture, Energy, and Natural Resources Policy Advisory Council. The Council will work directly with the transition team on identifying strategies to protect Wisconsin’s natural resources, strengthen our agricultural industries, and work toward clean energy innovation.

“We’re going to bring science back to decision-making in Wisconsin,” Evers said. “Whether it’s ensuring we have clean drinking water, protecting our natural resources, standing up for our family dairy farms, or investing in clean, renewable energy, we have to get to work on addressing these issues that affect our kids and our future. There’s no time to waste, and my Agriculture, Energy, and Natural Resources Policy Advisory Council will work directly with my transition team to ensure we’re tackling these issues head-on.”

Governor-elect Evers’ Agriculture, Energy, and Natural Resources Policy Advisory Council includes:

Dee Allen, Lac du Flambeau Tribal Natural Resources Department
Lauren Azar, Former Public Service Commissioner; Formerly of the U.S. Department of Energy
Spencer Black, Former Chair, Wisconsin State Assembly Natural Resources Committee
Dave Clausen, Veterinarian; Former Department of Natural Resources Board Chair
Preston Cole, Milwaukee Department of Neighborhood Services
Paul DeLong, American Forest Foundation
John Dickert, Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative
Tom Hauge, Formerly of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Tyler Huebner, RENEW Wisconsin
Mary Jean Huston, The Nature Conservancy
Bruce Keyes, Menomonee Valley Partners, Inc.
Matt Krueger, Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association
Kim Marotta, Molson Coors
Peter McAvoy, UW-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences
Ron McDonald, Valley Transit
Ashwat Narayanan, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin
Tia Nelson, Outrider Foundation
Kara O’Connor, Wisconsin Farmers Union
Mark Redsten, Clean Wisconsin
Brian Rude, Dairyland Power Cooperative
Kerry Schumann, Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters
Dan Smith, Cooperative Network
Rebekah Sweeney, Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association
Christine Thomas, UW-Stevens Point College of Natural Resources Dean
Adam Warthesen, Organic Valley
For additional information about Governor-elect Evers, Lt. Governor-elect Barnes, and the transition team, please visit evers.wi.gov.

Gov.-elect Evers and Lt. Gov.-elect Barnes: Announce inauguration partner and date

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Contact: [email protected]gov or 608-267-2560
 
 Inauguration demonstrates state coming together, Evers’ commitment to our kids’ future
 

MADISON – Today, Governor-elect Tony Evers and Lieutenant Governor-elect Mandela Barnes announced the date of their inauguration and gala as well as the nonprofit partner highlighting their commitment to improving the futures of Wisconsin children. The official inauguration ceremony will begin at 11am on Monday, January 7, 2019, and a celebratory gala will be held that evening.

“Wisconsinites are ready to move past the endless political battles and chart a new path forward for our state,” said Governor-elect Evers. “Our inauguration will celebrate the diversity of our state, bring people together, and begin to refocus our government in service to the people of Wisconsin.”

An educator his entire adult life, Governor-elect Evers has always put what’s best for our kids and their future first, which is why he and Lieutenant Governor-elect Barnes have forged a partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Milwaukee, an affiliate of the nation’s oldest and largest youth mentoring organization. As a premier provider of youth mentoring, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Milwaukee shares their passion for supporting children and invests its resources in providing children with strong one-to-one mentoring relationships for producing positive youth outcomes including, but not limited to, educational success and social and emotional development. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Milwaukee will serve as the fiscal agent and recipient of charitable contributions associated with inaugural celebrations.

“I am excited to celebrate the bright future of our state with the people of Wisconsin,” added Evers. “I invite all Wisconsin residents to join us in this celebration of our future.”

The Inaugural Committee and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Milwaukee will announce additional information about inaugural events soon.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Milwaukee

Big Brothers Big Sisters is dedicated to building minds, building dreams, and building futures for children in Metro Milwaukee. Our programming makes a profound impact in the lives of approximately 1,400 youth each year. With research and proven outcomes at our core, Big Brothers Big Sisters works to ensure children facing adversity have the support and guidance they need for healthy development and long-term success. Through strong one-to-one relationships with caring volunteer adult mentors, youth in our program achieve:

  • Educational success
  • Avoidance of risky behavior
  • Social and emotional development

Gov.-elect Evers and Lt. Gov.-elect Barnes: Announce Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Policy Advisory Council

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Contact: [email protected]isconsin.gov or 608-267-2560

MADISON – Today, Governor-elect Tony Evers and Lt. Governor-elect Mandela Barnes announced their Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Policy Advisory Council, bringing together people from all sides of the criminal justice system to work with the transition team on exploring solutions for reforming Wisconsin’s criminal justice system.

“We have to start prioritizing people, not prisons,” said Evers. “In Wisconsin, African Americans are ten times more likely to be imprisoned than white people, and we spend more on corrections than on our entire UW System. Red states like Texas have passed comprehensive criminal justice reform, and I know Republicans and Democrats can work together to get it done here in Wisconsin.

“That’s why I’m proud of our Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Policy Advisory Council that brings together people from all sides of the criminal justice system to work toward a solution that works for us,” Evers concluded.

The Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Policy Advisory Council includes:

Denita Ball, Milwaukee County Chief Deputy Sheriff
Michelle Bryant, Courier Communications
Louis Butler, Former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice; DeWitt Ross & Stevens
Sean Daley, AFSCME Council 32
Walter Dickey, University of Wisconsin Law School; Former Department of Corrections Secretary
Sarah Diedrick-Kasdorf, Wisconsin Counties Association
Matt Frank, Murphy Desmond; Former Wisconsin Department of Corrections Secretary; Former Assistant Attorney General
Sarah Ferber, Ex-Incarcerated People Organizing (EXPO); WISDOM
Janine Geske, Former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice
Kit Kerschensteiner, Disability Rights Wisconsin
Gary King, Eau Claire County District Attorney
Vince Kurta, Bad River Band of Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians
Angela Lang, Black Leaders Organizing for Communities
Edgar Lin, Lowenberg & Lin; Formerly of the Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office
David Liners, WISDOM
Dave Mahoney, Dane County Sheriff
John Manydeeds, Eau Claire County Circuit Court Judge
Craig Mastantuono, Mastantuono & Coffee; Wisconsin Hispanic Lawyers Association
Louis Molepske, Portage County District Attorney
The Honorable Derek Mosley, Milwaukee Municipal Judge
Ali Muldrow, GSAFE
Jim Palmer, Wisconsin Professional Police Association
Rick Raemisch, Former Wisconsin Department of Corrections Secretary; Colorado Department of Corrections Executive Director; Former Dane County Sheriff
Jonathan Scharrer, Restorative Justice Project, University of Wisconsin Law School
The Honorable James Schlender, Jr., Lac Courte Oreille Tribal Court; Sawyer County Court Commission and Board of Supervisors
Tammy Sternard, Door County Sheriff
Dean Strang, Strang Bradley
Kelli Thompson, Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office
The Honorable Mary Triggiano, Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge
The Honorable Donald Zuidmulder, Brown County Circuit Court Judge; Former Brown County District Attorney
For additional information about Governor-elect Evers, Lt. Governor-elect Barnes, and the transition team, please visit evers.wi.gov.

Gov.-elect Evers and Lt. Gov.-elect Barnes: Fox Valley residents share their budget priorities at first stop on ‘Building the People’s Budget’ tour

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Contact: [email protected]gov or 608-267-2560
 
“Having these kinds of roundtable conversations with our community is really important”
 

GREEN BAY — Governor-elect Tony Evers, Lt. Governor-elect Mandela Barnes, and transition policy staff heard from Fox Valley residents who attended the first “Building the People’s Budget” event at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Governor-elect Evers and his team are focused on building a budget that reflects the values and priorities of the residents of Wisconsin. As part of the process, they’ve invited Wisconsinites to share their ideas on how best to tackle the problems we face and improve our state.

Transportation, public education, healthcare, and jobs were among the highest priority issues for attendees in Green Bay. Fox Valley residents welcomed the opportunity to be heard during the listening sessions.

“The budget session facilitated really good conversations with the entire crowd,” said Tehassi Hill, Tribal Chairman, Oneida Nation. “Having these kinds of roundtable conversations with our community is really important.”

Joan Swigert, a retired teacher from Green Bay added, “It’s really important for people to have a voice and I think it’s going to take a while to being used to having a voice. A lot of ideas are coming together and this format worked really well for that.”

In small groups facilitated by transition policy staff to ensure meaningful feedback and discussion, attendees also expressed their opinions on natural resources, criminal justice reform, entrepreneurship, and renewable energy.

“The people of Wisconsin made their voices clear when they elected me as governor — they want to see a responsible budget that begins to fix our crumbling roads and infrastructure, fully fund our public schools, and address skyrocketing healthcare costs in Wisconsin,” said Governor-elect Evers. “I’m encouraged by the great conversations we had in Green Bay and look forward to hearing from Wisconsinites around the state in the coming days. Through this process of hearing directly from the people we will build a budget that reflects the values and priorities of the residents of Wisconsin.”

If you are unable to attend a listening session in person, but would still like to offer feedback, please submit your thoughts using this form.

About the ‘Building the People’s Budget’ Tour

The statewide tour began on Tuesday, December 11, in Green Bay and will end next week in Milwaukee. Each session is open to the public and will give participants the ability to share their budget priorities directly with Governor-elect Evers, Lt. Governor-elect Barnes, and transition policy staff.

Gov.-elect Evers, Lt. Gov-elect Barnes: ‘Building the People’s Budget’ Tour 🗓

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Contact: [email protected]gov or 608-267-2560
 
Governor-elect Evers and Lt. Governor-elect Barnes Announce Additional Stop in Superior on ‘Building the People’s Budget’ Tour
 
MADISON—Governor-elect Tony Evers and Lt. Governor-elect Mandela Barnes today announced an additional stop on their statewide ‘Building the People’s Budget’ tour in Superior.

“It is important to us that everyone has their voice heard in this budget process,” said Governor-elect Tony Evers. “We are already hearing from many people across the state about their budget priorities, and I encourage all Wisconsinites to share their ideas with us, so we can make a budget that helps all of the people of Wisconsin.” 

The Building the People’s Budget heard from Green Bay residents yesterday. It also includes stops in Wausau, La Crosse, and Milwaukee over the next two weeks.

Wisconsinites interested in attending this budget session may register online using the link below. Anyone not able to attend who would still like to submit their budget priorities may do so at online as well. That link can be found here.

WHO: Lt. Governor-elect Mandela Barnes, transition policy staff.

WHAT: Building the People’s Budget tour. Members of the public are invited to participate and share their policy ideas with the Lt. Governor-elect and the transition staff. 

WHEN: Monday, December 17, 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM   

WHERE: Superior Middle School, 3625 Hammond Avenue, Superior, WI, 54800. Register for the Superior session at this link.

Gov.-elect Evers, Lt. Gov-elect Barnes: ‘Building the People’s Budget’ Tour 🗓

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University of Wisconsin Green Bay,
Phoenix Room.,
2420 Nicolet Drive,
Green Bay.

MADISON – Governor-elect Tony Evers and Lt. Governor-elect Mandela Barnes today announced their statewide Building the People’s Budget tour.

The statewide tour will start on Tuesday, December 11 in Green Bay and end the following week in Milwaukee. Each session is open to the public and will give participants the ability to share their budget priorities directly with Governor-elect Evers, Lt. Governor-elect Barnes, and transition policy staff.

“The people of Wisconsin elected me to solve problems and listen to the needs of everyone,” said Governor-elect Evers. “I invite Wisconsinites to share their ideas with us on how we can tackle the problems we face and improve our state. Through this process we are going to hear directly from the people and build a budget that reflects the values and priorities of the citizens of Wisconsin.”

Wisconsin citizens interested in attending any budget session may register online at the links listed below.

WHO: Governor-elect Tony Evers, Lt. Governor-elect Mandela Barnes, transition policy staff

WHAT: Building the People’s Budget tour. Members of the public are invited to participate and share their policy ideas with the Governor-elect and his staff.

WHEN and WHERE:

December 11, 4:30PM-6:00PM: Green Bay, University of Wisconsin Green Bay, Phoenix Room. 2420 Nicolet Dr, Green Bay, WI 54311. Register for Green Bay session at this Green Bay link.

December 12, 12:00PM-1:30PM: Wausau, Wausau Labor Temple. 318 South Third Avenue, Wausau, WI 54401. Register for the Wausau session at this Wausau link.

December 18, 12:00PM-1:30PM: La Crosse, American Legion Post 52. 711 6th St South, La Crosse, WI 54601. Register for the La Crosse session at this La Crosse link.

December 19, 4:30PM-6:00PM: Milwaukee, United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County Volunteer Center. 200 West Pleasant Street, Milwaukee, WI 53212. Register for the Milwaukee session at this Milwaukee link.

Gov.-elect Evers, Lt. Gov-elect Barnes: ‘Building the People’s Budget’ Tour 🗓

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Wausau Labor Temple,
318 S. Third Ave.,
Wausau.

MADISON – Governor-elect Tony Evers and Lt. Governor-elect Mandela Barnes today announced their statewide Building the People’s Budget tour.

The statewide tour will start on Tuesday, December 11 in Green Bay and end the following week in Milwaukee. Each session is open to the public and will give participants the ability to share their budget priorities directly with Governor-elect Evers, Lt. Governor-elect Barnes, and transition policy staff.

“The people of Wisconsin elected me to solve problems and listen to the needs of everyone,” said Governor-elect Evers. “I invite Wisconsinites to share their ideas with us on how we can tackle the problems we face and improve our state. Through this process we are going to hear directly from the people and build a budget that reflects the values and priorities of the citizens of Wisconsin.”

Wisconsin citizens interested in attending any budget session may register online at the links listed below.

WHO: Governor-elect Tony Evers, Lt. Governor-elect Mandela Barnes, transition policy staff

WHAT: Building the People’s Budget tour. Members of the public are invited to participate and share their policy ideas with the Governor-elect and his staff.

WHEN and WHERE:

December 11, 4:30PM-6:00PM: Green Bay, University of Wisconsin Green Bay, Phoenix Room. 2420 Nicolet Dr, Green Bay, WI 54311. Register for Green Bay session at this Green Bay link.

December 12, 12:00PM-1:30PM: Wausau, Wausau Labor Temple. 318 South Third Avenue, Wausau, WI 54401. Register for the Wausau session at this Wausau link.

December 18, 12:00PM-1:30PM: La Crosse, American Legion Post 52. 711 6th St South, La Crosse, WI 54601. Register for the La Crosse session at this La Crosse link.

December 19, 4:30PM-6:00PM: Milwaukee, United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County Volunteer Center. 200 West Pleasant Street, Milwaukee, WI 53212. Register for the Milwaukee session at this Milwaukee link.

Gov.-elect Evers, Lt. Gov-elect Barnes: ‘Building the People’s Budget’ Tour 🗓

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American Legion Post 52,
711 6th St. S.,
La Crosse.

MADISON – Governor-elect Tony Evers and Lt. Governor-elect Mandela Barnes today announced their statewide Building the People’s Budget tour.

The statewide tour will start on Tuesday, December 11 in Green Bay and end the following week in Milwaukee. Each session is open to the public and will give participants the ability to share their budget priorities directly with Governor-elect Evers, Lt. Governor-elect Barnes, and transition policy staff.

“The people of Wisconsin elected me to solve problems and listen to the needs of everyone,” said Governor-elect Evers. “I invite Wisconsinites to share their ideas with us on how we can tackle the problems we face and improve our state. Through this process we are going to hear directly from the people and build a budget that reflects the values and priorities of the citizens of Wisconsin.”

Wisconsin citizens interested in attending any budget session may register online at the links listed below.

WHO: Governor-elect Tony Evers, Lt. Governor-elect Mandela Barnes, transition policy staff

WHAT: Building the People’s Budget tour. Members of the public are invited to participate and share their policy ideas with the Governor-elect and his staff.

WHEN and WHERE:

December 11, 4:30PM-6:00PM: Green Bay, University of Wisconsin Green Bay, Phoenix Room. 2420 Nicolet Dr, Green Bay, WI 54311. Register for Green Bay session at this Green Bay link.

December 12, 12:00PM-1:30PM: Wausau, Wausau Labor Temple. 318 South Third Avenue, Wausau, WI 54401. Register for the Wausau session at this Wausau link.

December 18, 12:00PM-1:30PM: La Crosse, American Legion Post 52. 711 6th St South, La Crosse, WI 54601. Register for the La Crosse session at this La Crosse link.

December 19, 4:30PM-6:00PM: Milwaukee, United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County Volunteer Center. 200 West Pleasant Street, Milwaukee, WI 53212. Register for the Milwaukee session at this Milwaukee link.

Gov.-elect Evers, Lt. Gov-elect Barnes: ‘Building the People’s Budget’ Tour 🗓

0

United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County Volunteer Center,
200 W. Pleasant St.,
Milwaukee.

MADISON – Governor-elect Tony Evers and Lt. Governor-elect Mandela Barnes today announced their statewide Building the People’s Budget tour.

The statewide tour will start on Tuesday, December 11 in Green Bay and end the following week in Milwaukee. Each session is open to the public and will give participants the ability to share their budget priorities directly with Governor-elect Evers, Lt. Governor-elect Barnes, and transition policy staff.

“The people of Wisconsin elected me to solve problems and listen to the needs of everyone,” said Governor-elect Evers. “I invite Wisconsinites to share their ideas with us on how we can tackle the problems we face and improve our state. Through this process we are going to hear directly from the people and build a budget that reflects the values and priorities of the citizens of Wisconsin.”

Wisconsin citizens interested in attending any budget session may register online at the links listed below.

WHO: Governor-elect Tony Evers, Lt. Governor-elect Mandela Barnes, transition policy staff

WHAT: Building the People’s Budget tour. Members of the public are invited to participate and share their policy ideas with the Governor-elect and his staff.

WHEN and WHERE:

December 11, 4:30PM-6:00PM: Green Bay, University of Wisconsin Green Bay, Phoenix Room. 2420 Nicolet Dr, Green Bay, WI 54311. Register for Green Bay session at this Green Bay link.

December 12, 12:00PM-1:30PM: Wausau, Wausau Labor Temple. 318 South Third Avenue, Wausau, WI 54401. Register for the Wausau session at this Wausau link.

December 18, 12:00PM-1:30PM: La Crosse, American Legion Post 52. 711 6th St South, La Crosse, WI 54601. Register for the La Crosse session at this La Crosse link.

December 19, 4:30PM-6:00PM: Milwaukee, United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County Volunteer Center. 200 West Pleasant Street, Milwaukee, WI 53212. Register for the Milwaukee session at this Milwaukee link.

Gov.-elect Evers, Lt. Gov.-elect Barnes host Appleton Kids’ Gala 🗓

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Contact: [email protected]org or (608) 571-4041

Madison, WI – Today, Governor-elect Tony Evers and Lt. Governor-elect Mandela Barnes announced three Kids’ Galas to be held in Appleton, Madison, and Milwaukee in the days leading up to the 2019 Wisconsin Inauguration. All events are open to the public and ticketing information is listed on the official 2019 Wisconsin Inauguration website.

“Not only have I been an educator my entire adult life I’m also a parent and a grandparent. I’ve always believed that what is best for our kids is what is best for our state. As we usher in a new day in our state’s history, I am excited to share my passion for civics and government with kids and families in communities across Wisconsin,” said Governor-elect Evers. “Our Wisconsin is one where kids in every corner of the state can thrive and where their bright futures are essential to our plans to change the direction of our state for the better.”

Tickets for Kids’ Galas can be obtained on www.ourwisconsinourvalues.org. Details of each event are listed below. Kids’ Gala events will be open to members of the media.

Appleton Kids’ Gala
Sunday, January 6, 2019
12:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Fox Cities Performing Arts Center
400 West College Avenue, Appleton, WI 54911

Gov.-elect Evers, Lt. Gov.-elect Barnes host Madison Kids’ Gala 🗓

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Contact: [email protected]org or (608) 571-4041

Madison, WI – Today, Governor-elect Tony Evers and Lt. Governor-elect Mandela Barnes announced three Kids’ Galas to be held in Appleton, Madison, and Milwaukee in the days leading up to the 2019 Wisconsin Inauguration. All events are open to the public and ticketing information is listed on the official 2019 Wisconsin Inauguration website.

“Not only have I been an educator my entire adult life I’m also a parent and a grandparent. I’ve always believed that what is best for our kids is what is best for our state. As we usher in a new day in our state’s history, I am excited to share my passion for civics and government with kids and families in communities across Wisconsin,” said Governor-elect Evers. “Our Wisconsin is one where kids in every corner of the state can thrive and where their bright futures are essential to our plans to change the direction of our state for the better.”

Tickets for Kids’ Galas can be obtained on www.ourwisconsinourvalues.org. Details of each event are listed below. Kids’ Gala events will be open to members of the media.

Madison Kids’ Gala
Saturday, January 5, 2019
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Madison Children’s Museum
100 North Hamilton Street, Madison, WI 53703

Gov.-elect Evers, Lt. Gov.-elect Barnes host Milwaukee Kids’ Gala 🗓

0

Contact: [email protected]org or (608) 571-4041

Madison, WI – Today, Governor-elect Tony Evers and Lt. Governor-elect Mandela Barnes announced three Kids’ Galas to be held in Appleton, Madison, and Milwaukee in the days leading up to the 2019 Wisconsin Inauguration. All events are open to the public and ticketing information is listed on the official 2019 Wisconsin Inauguration website.

“Not only have I been an educator my entire adult life I’m also a parent and a grandparent. I’ve always believed that what is best for our kids is what is best for our state. As we usher in a new day in our state’s history, I am excited to share my passion for civics and government with kids and families in communities across Wisconsin,” said Governor-elect Evers. “Our Wisconsin is one where kids in every corner of the state can thrive and where their bright futures are essential to our plans to change the direction of our state for the better.”

Tickets for Kids’ Galas can be obtained on www.ourwisconsinourvalues.org. Details of each event are listed below. Kids’ Gala events will be open to members of the media.

Milwaukee Kids’ Gala
Saturday, January 5, 2019
3:00 PM  – 5:00 PM
Discovery World
500 North Harbor Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53202

Gov.-elect Evers, Lt. Gov.-elect Barnes: Announce ‘Building the People’s Budget’ Tour

0

MADISON – Governor-elect Tony Evers and Lt. Governor-elect Mandela Barnes today announced their statewide Building the People’s Budget tour.

 The statewide tour will start on Tuesday, December 11 in Green Bay and end the following week in Milwaukee. Each session is open to the public and will give participants the ability to share their budget priorities directly with Governor-elect Evers, Lt. Governor-elect Barnes, and transition policy staff.

 “The people of Wisconsin elected me to solve problems and listen to the needs of everyone,” said Governor-elect Evers. “I invite Wisconsinites to share their ideas with us on how we can tackle the problems we face and improve our state. Through this process we are going to hear directly from the people and build a budget that reflects the values and priorities of the citizens of Wisconsin.”

Wisconsin citizens interested in attending any budget session may register online at the links listed below.

WHO: Governor-elect Tony Evers, Lt. Governor-elect Mandela Barnes, transition policy staff

WHAT: Building the People’s Budget tour. Members of the public are invited to participate and share their policy ideas with the Governor-elect and his staff.

WHEN and WHERE:

December 11, 4:30PM-6:00PM: Green Bay, University of Wisconsin Green Bay, Phoenix Room. 2420 Nicolet Dr, Green Bay, WI 54311. Register for Green Bay session at this Green Bay link.

December 12, 12:00PM-1:30PM: Wausau, Wausau Labor Temple. 318 South Third Avenue, Wausau, WI 54401. Register for the Wausau session at this Wausau link.

December 18, 12:00PM-1:30PM: La Crosse, American Legion Post 52. 711 6th St South, La Crosse, WI 54601. Register for the La Crosse session at this La Crosse link.

December 19, 4:30PM-6:00PM: Milwaukee, United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County Volunteer Center. 200 West Pleasant Street, Milwaukee, WI 53212. Register for the Milwaukee session at this Milwaukee link.

Gov.-elect Evers, Lt. Gov.-elect Barnes: Announce Inauguration Partner and Date

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Contact: [email protected] or 608-267-2560

Inauguration demonstrates state coming together, Evers’ commitment to our kids’ future

MADISON – Today, Governor-elect Tony Evers and Lieutenant Governor-elect Mandela Barnes announced the date of their inauguration and gala as well as the nonprofit partner highlighting their commitment to improving the futures of Wisconsin children. The official inauguration ceremony will begin at 11am on Monday, January 7, 2019, and a celebratory gala will be held that evening.

“Wisconsinites are ready to move past the endless political battles and chart a new path forward for our state,” said Governor-elect Evers. “Our inauguration will celebrate the diversity of our state, bring people together, and begin to refocus our government in service to the people of Wisconsin.”

An educator his entire adult life, Governor-elect Evers has always put what’s best for our kids and their future first, which is why he and Lieutenant Governor-elect Barnes have forged a partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Milwaukee, an affiliate of the nation’s oldest and largest youth mentoring organization. As a premier provider of youth mentoring, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Milwaukee shares their passion for supporting children and invests its resources in providing children with strong one-to-one mentoring relationships for producing positive youth outcomes including, but not limited to, educational success and social and emotional development. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Milwaukee will serve as the fiscal agent and recipient of charitable contributions associated with inaugural celebrations.

“I am excited to celebrate the bright future of our state with the people of Wisconsin,” added Evers. “I invite all Wisconsin residents to join us in this celebration of our future.”

The Inaugural Committee and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Milwaukee will announce additional information about inaugural events soon.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Milwaukee

Big Brothers Big Sisters is dedicated to building minds, building dreams, and building futures for children in Metro Milwaukee. Our programming makes a profound impact in the lives of approximately 1,400 youth each year. With research and proven outcomes at our core, Big Brothers Big Sisters works to ensure children facing adversity have the support and guidance they need for healthy development and long-term success. Through strong one-to-one relationships with caring volunteer adult mentors, youth in our program achieve:

*Educational success
*Avoidance of risky behavior
*Social and emotional development

Gov.-elect Evers, Lt. Gov.-elect Barnes: Announce Next Generation Workforce and Economic Development Policy Advisory Council

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Contact: [email protected]gov or 608-267-2560

 

MADISON – Today, Governor-elect Tony Evers and Lt. Governor-elect Mandela Barnes announced their Next Generation Workforce and Economic Development Policy Advisory Council bringing experienced economic development stakeholders from across Wisconsin to work with the transition team on creating an economy that works for everyone.

“More than 800,000 families in Wisconsin can’t afford basic necessities. Investing in an economy that creates good-paying, family-supporting jobs for the people of Wisconsin is a top priority for our administration,” said Evers. “Our Next Generation Workforce and Economic Development Policy Advisory Council will help our transition team put together a comprehensive plan to support working families and foster an economic climate that attracts and retains a talented workforce.”

The Next Generation Workforce and Economic Development Policy Advisory Council includes:

  • Masood Akhtar, CleanTech Partners
  • Jan Allman, Marinette Marine
  • Stephanie Bloomingdale, AFL-CIO
  • Zach Brandon, Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce
  • Julie Cayo, EMPLOY Milwaukee
  • Tina Chang, SysLogic and MMAC Board Member
  • Bruce Colburn, Amalgamated Transit Union
  • Kevin Conroy, Exact Sciences
  • Paul Ehrfurth, Oconto County Economic Development Corp.
  • Morna Foy, Wisconsin Technical College System
  • Roberta Gassman, Former Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Secretary
  • Sarah Godlewski, State Treasurer-Elect
  • Betsey Harries, Ashland Area Development Corporation
  • Paul Jadin, Madison Region Economic Partnership
  • Joe Kirgues, Gener8tor
  • Kim Kohlhaas, AFT-Wisconsin
  • Juan Jose Lopez, Department of Workforce Development Division of Employment and
  • Training, Latino Professionals Association of Greater Madison (LPA), Latino Chamber of
  • Commerce of Dane County
  • Terry McGowan, International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 139
  • Bob Meyer, UW-Stout
  • Mahlon Mitchell, Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin
  • Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Voces de la Frontera
  • Saul Newton, Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce
  • Chuck Pruitt, ABD Direct
  • Lisa Pugh, ARC Wisconsin
  • Jason Rae, Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce
  • Peter Rickman, Milwaukee Area Service & Hospitality Workers Organization (MASH)
  • Joel Rogers, COWS
  • Joanne Sabir, Sherman Phoenix, Juice Kitchen, and Shindig Cafe
  • Michael Waite, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee
  • Dean Warsh, IBEW, Local 494

For additional information about Governor-elect Evers, Lt. Governor-elect Barnes, and the transition team, please visit evers.wi.gov.

Gov.-elect Evers: Announces additional Cabinet appointments

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Contact: [email protected]gov or 608-267-2560
 
 
MADISON – Today, Governor-elect Tony Evers continued to fill out his cabinet with the announcement of four more appointments. Rebecca Cameron Valcq will serve as Chair of the Public Service Commission; Craig Thompson will serve as Department of Transportation secretary; Mark Afable will serve as Commissioner of Insurance; and Brad Pfaff will serve as Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection secretary.

“As Governor, my focus will always be the people of our state, and a key part of that is bringing together a cabinet that shares my goal of solving problems rather than picking political fights,” Governor-elect Tony Evers said. “I am confident this team will help us work toward responsible resource use and energy innovation, find a long-term solution for Wisconsin’s transportation funding crisis, ensure health insurance is affordable and accessible while protecting coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, and support and protect family farms across Wisconsin. Lt. Governor-elect Mandela Barnes and I are honored to have them join our administration and look forward to working together to move Wisconsin forward.”

“I want to thank Governor-elect Evers for offering me the opportunity to serve the people of Wisconsin,” said Rebecca Cameron Valcq. “I look forward to making sure the Public Service Commission is proactive and engages in a robust exchange of ideas with all stakeholders.”

“I am honored to have this opportunity to work with Governor-elect Evers and his team to bring this state together to tackle our infrastructure problems,” said Craig Thompson. “We have to address the needs of the entire state to keep Wisconsin competitive and I can’t wait to get started.”

“Tackling the availability and affordability of health insurance is critical and I am excited to be part of a team that is dedicated to making Wisconsin an even greater place to live and do business,” said Mark Afable. “As commissioner, I will work diligently to ensure that consumers are protected.”

“Whether they live in a small town or a city, Wisconsinites appreciate how important our agriculture heritage is to our state and our economy,” said Brad Pfaff. “I am excited for this opportunity to work collaboratively with the State Legislature, other state agencies, and private industry to develop policies that benefit farmers, rural communities, and strengthen the economy of the entire state.”

Rebecca Cameron Valcq, Public Service Commission

 Rebecca Cameron Valcq is currently a partner at Quarles & Brady in the Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Practice Group. Prior to joining the firm, Valcq spent 15 years as regulatory counsel for We Energies where, among other responsibilities, she represented the company before the Public Service Commission in Wisconsin and advised management on multiple areas of compliance.

 She received her undergraduate degree from Drake University and her law degree from Marquette University.

 Craig Thompson, Department of Transportation

Craig Thompson currently serves as the Executive Director of the Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin (TDA). Prior to joining TDA in 2007, he served as the legislative director for the Wisconsin Counties Association where he managed legislative initiatives at the state and federal levels. Thompson, a Racine native, has also been appointed to numerous boards by Wisconsin governors from both parties.

He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Mark Afable, Commissioner of Insurance

Mark Afable currently serves as the chief legal officer at American Family with corporate legal, government affairs, and compliance and claims legal divisions reporting to him. He joined American Family in 1994 and has served numerous roles in the company. Before joining American Family, Mark served as counsel for the National Association of Independent Insurers and worked for Allstate Insurance in the corporate legal area.

He earned his undergraduate and law degrees from Marquette University.

Brad Pfaff, Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection

Brad Pfaff currently serves as the deputy chief of staff to U.S. Representative Ron Kind. Born and raised on a dairy farm in Western Wisconsin, he has spent most of his career working on behalf of Wisconsin farmers and rural residents. Previously, he served in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency as the executive director, where he oversaw the implementation of federal crop assistance programs, the Conservation Reserve Program, and federal farm loan programs. Pfaff grew up on a dairy farm in La Crosse County.

He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and his Master’s degree from George Mason University.

Gov.-elect Evers: Announces key Cabinet appointments

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Contact: [email protected]gov or 608-267-2560
 
 
MILWAUKEE – Governor-elect Tony Evers today announced the appointment of secretaries for the Departments of Administration, Corrections, Natural Resources, and Tourism.

Joel Brennan will serve as Department of Administration secretary; Kevin Carr will serve as Department of Corrections secretary; Preston Cole will serve as Department of Natural Resources secretary; and Sara Meaney will serve as Department of Tourism secretary.

“I’ve said all along that my goal is to build a Wisconsin where people come together to invest in a brighter future for everyone, and I believe that starts with assembling a Cabinet that represents Wisconsin values,” Governor-elect Tony Evers said. “The broad depth of experience this team brings to our state will ensure that we bring science back to the Department of Natural Resources; that we can reform our criminal justice system and address racial disparities while improving public safety; that we can highlight for the world all that Wisconsin has to offer; and that we do it all by running an efficient, effective government that is focused on bipartisan solutions, not political fights. On behalf of myself and Lt. Governor-elect Mandela Barnes, I am thrilled to welcome our new cabinet secretaries to the team. I look forward to partnering with them as we begin to tackle the problems we face and improve our state.”

“I am honored to have the chance to work with Governor-elect Evers and his team as we build a government that can shape lives and futures in the state we love,” said Joel Brennan. “Serving in the administration is a major responsibility but a fabulous opportunity, and I can’t wait to do great and important things together with this team.”

“We have much work to do, but I share Governor-elect Evers’ vision to maintain public safety, build safer communities and create resources that are effective and responsive to people, as well as recognizing the value and human dignity in every person,” said Kevin Carr. “I’m grateful for the opportunity.”

“It is an honor to serve as Secretary of Tourism, along with my esteemed fellow cabinet members, under the leadership of Governor-elect Evers,” said Sara Meaney. “I look forward to working collaboratively with the leaders of our State Legislature to ensure that all people from all walks of life feel welcomed with warm Wisconsin enthusiasm and inspired to put our great state at the top of their travel lists.”

“Words cannot express how humbled and honored I am to serve as the secretary of the Department of Natural Resources,” said Preston Cole. “As a natural resource professional, I endeavor to work tirelessly to serve the citizens of Wisconsin by restoring our rich history of conservation.”

Joel Brennan, Department of Administration

Joel Brennan has served as the CEO of Discovery World since 2007. Prior to that role, he was the Executive Director of the Redevelopment Authority of Milwaukee and the Vice President of the Greater Milwaukee Convention and Visitors Bureau. Mr. Brennan also spent time working at Miller Brewing after beginning his career as a legislative assistant to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett when Mayor Barrett served in Congress.

Mr. Brennan received his undergraduate degree from Marquette University and his Master’s from the University of Chicago.

Kevin A. Carr, Department of Corrections

Kevin Carr currently serves as a U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Mr. Carr has a 39-year law enforcement background, including 30 years with the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office. He served four years in Internal Affairs and led a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Gang Task Force for two years.

He received his undergraduate degree from Concordia University and is a graduate of the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command and the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

Preston Cole, Department of Natural Resources

Preston Cole currently serves as the Commissioner of the Milwaukee Department of Neighborhood Services. Mr. Cole drew distinction for becoming the first African-American forester hired by the Conservation Department. Previously, Mr. Cole was the Director of Operations for the City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works. In this position he was responsible for 2400 employees, O&M and Enterprise budgets of $300 million and a capital budget of $108 million. Additionally, he previously served as the former Parks Superintendent for the City of St. Louis, as well as a Resource Forester for the Missouri Department of Conservation.

He holds a Bachelor of Sciences degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia in Forest Management.

Sara Meaney, Department of Tourism

Sara Meaney currently serves as the Chief Marketing and Development Officer for

Milwaukee Film and has served on the Board of Directors for the organization since 2012. Ms. Meaney brings more than 20 years of marketing experience, most recently as managing director at BVK, a full-service, top 25 advertising agency. In early 2009, Meaney launched the strategic communications firm Comet Branding. The company merged with Hanson Dodge Creative in 2011, where Meaney then served as partner and president.

She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from UW-Madison.

Gov.-elect Evers: Statement on extraordinary session

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Contact: [email protected] or 608-267-2560

MADISON – Governor-elect Tony Evers released the following statement on the extraordinary session:

“Wisconsin has never seen anything like this. Power-hungry politicians rushed through sweeping changes to our laws to expand their own power and override the will of the people of Wisconsin who asked for change on November 6th.

Wisconsin values of decency, kindness, and finding common ground were pushed aside so a handful of people could desperately usurp and cling to power while hidden away from the very people they represent.

Wisconsinites expect more from us and I hope at some point the Legislature will rise to the occasion and work with me to solve the pressing issues facing our state. That’s what the people of Wisconsin want, that’s what the people of Wisconsin deserve, and that’s more than what they got from government here tonight.”

Gov.-elect Evers: Statement on lame-duck legislation

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Contact: [email protected] or 608-267-2560

MADISON – Today, Governor-elect Tony Evers issued the following statement on the lame-duck legislation:

“Today, Governor Walker chose to ignore and override the will of the people of Wisconsin. This will no doubt be his legacy. The people demanded a change on November 6th, and they asked us to solve problems, not pick petty, political fights. The people of Wisconsin expect more from our government than what has happened in our state over the past few weeks.

I’ve said all along that I will put the people of Wisconsin first and work to find common ground. That’s what the people of Wisconsin deserve. We are going to turn our focus to the pressing issues facing our state like fully funding public education, fixing our crumbling roads and bridges, and ensuring health care is affordable and protects people who have pre-existing conditions.”

Gov.-elect Evers: Testimony to the Joint Committee on Finance opposing extraordinary session legislation

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 3, 2018
Contact: [email protected] or 608-267-2560

MADISON – Today, Governor-elect Tony Evers released his testimony to the Joint Committee on Finance in opposition to legislation before the committee for extraordinary session.

Members of the Joint Committee on Finance:

Thank you for the opportunity to submit written testimony on the legislation before you today.

For the past year, I spent time traveling around the state talking with people about the things that matter most to Wisconsin families—issues like fully funding public education, fixing our crumbling roads and infrastructure, and ensuring that health care is affordable, accessible, and maximizes protections for people who have pre-existing conditions. The bottom line, though, is that the election this November was not just about these issues, and it was bigger than any name on the ballot.

The election was not about Republican values or Democratic values—it was about our Wisconsin values of decency, kindness, and finding common ground. It was about solving problems, not picking political fights.

On November 6th, Wisconsinites said they agree that we are more than the sum of our differences, and they said it is time for a change from divide-and-conquer politics. The people of Wisconsin asked us to stop putting politics first, they asked us for a government that works for them, and they asked us to set aside partisanship and political ambitions to work together on the pressing issues facing our state.

Yet, the legislation before you today and the spirit of this extraordinary session are unfettered attempts to override and ignore what the people of Wisconsin asked for this November. This is rancor and politics as usual. It flies in the face of democratic institutions and the checks and balances that are intended to prevent power-hungry politicians from clinging to control when they do not get their way.

That’s why today I am submitting this testimony in opposition to this legislation and the extraordinary session. I urge you to stop any and all attempts to override the people of Wisconsin by opposing any extraordinary session legislation, and to stop the extraordinary session going forward.

Wisconsinites expect more from our government than what is happening here today. I’ve said all along that I believe we can work together. I believe there is a lot of common ground we can find. I remain hopeful that we can rise to the occasion. That is what the people of Wisconsin expect from us, and that is what the people of Wisconsin deserve.

Gov.-elect Tony Evers: Calls on Governor Scott Walker to withdraw last-minute appointments

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 4, 2018
Contact: [email protected] or 608-267-2560

MADISON – Today, Governor-elect Tony Evers released the following letter he sent to Governor Scott Walker asking him to withdraw the nearly fifty appointment referrals submitted to the State Senate:

The Honorable Governor Scott Walker

115 East Capitol

Madison, WI 53702

Via Hand Delivery

Governor Scott Walker:

The list of nearly fifty names you submitted yesterday for appointment to the State Senate that are expected to be voted on yet today is the latest example of putting politics before people.

In the midst of this already-extraordinary legislative session, it is extremely disappointing to see more attempts to further override the will of the people of Wisconsin. It is in these very times that the public expects so much more from us as elected leaders.

These appointments should be fully vetted in the next legislative biennium. Many of them have had no public hearing and some have not filed a statement of economic interest. Given the rushed timing and the fact that many of these appointments have gone unfilled for extended periods of time, I must request that you withdraw this slate of names to allow ample time for full review, not only for the State Senate, but for the people of Wisconsin, too.

As Governor, you have had the privilege for eight years to appoint Wisconsin citizens to more than 200 boards, commissions, and other bodies. Recognizing the important role these individuals play in affecting the lives of the people of this great state, these appointments should not be jammed through without transparency and time for full consideration by the people of Wisconsin and the State Legislature.

Respectfully,

Governor-elect Tony Evers

Governor Walker: Announces the state ended fiscal year 2017-2018 with a $588.5 million surplus

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Contact: Amy Hasenberg, (608) 266-2839
 
State to enter fiscal year 2018-19 with the second-largest opening balance since 2000
 
MADISON – Governor Scott Walker today announced the State of Wisconsin, for the eighth year in a row, has ended the fiscal year with a surplus. Fiscal year 2018-19 ended with a $588.5 million surplus according to the state’s 2018 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) issued by the Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) today.“Thanks to eight years of our strong financial management and growing economy, Wisconsin has ended every fiscal year we have been in office with a surplus,” said Governor Walker. “We are leaving a $588.5 million surplus, allowing the state to enter fiscal year 2018-19 with the second-largest opening balance since 2000. We are leaving Wisconsin in the best financial condition in a generation. This is part of our legacy and it will continue to drive Wisconsin forward.”

Highlights of the state’s financial condition include:

  • Wisconsin has ended every year with a budget surplus under Governor Walker. The state ended fiscal year 2018 with a positive balance of $588.5 million based on cash accounting.
  • The state deposited $33.1 million into the state Budget Stabilization Fund. The balance is now $320.1 million.  This is the largest balance in state history and 190 times larger than the balance in fiscal year 2010.
  • General fund tax collections were $18.4 million above estimates. The growth was $626 million or 4 percent over last year.  Individual income taxes were $99.2 million higher than estimated.
  • State expenditures were $174 million less than budgeted in 2018.

The latest CAFR GAAP report for the state of Wisconsin is available online

Governor-elect Evers: Statement on Kimberly-Clark announcement

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Contact: [email protected]gov or 608-267-2560
 
 
MADISON – Governor-elect Tony Evers issued the following statement today on the Kimberly-Clark announcement.

“The Republicans’ lame-duck session overriding the will of the people would affect the governor’s ability to lead on economic development through proposals like the one announced for Kimberly-Clark today. Unfortunately, Republicans played politics with this issue for months, leaving Kimberly-Clark workers and their families in the dark and uncertain about their futures.

I’ve said all along that we need a long-term, industry-wide solution to the challenges facing the paper industry – the governor of our state shouldn’t be hamstrung when it comes to economic development, and that’s why I continue to call on Governor Walker to veto the lame-duck legislation.”

Great Lakes Center for Education and Research: When publicly funded schools exclude segments of the public

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Contacts:
William J. Mathis: 
(802) 383-0058, [email protected]
Julie F. Mead: (608) 263-3405, [email protected]
Great Lakes Center: (517) 203-2940, [email protected]greatlakescenter.org

EAST LANSING, Mich. (Dec. 6, 2018) – In Indiana, a private religious school receiving over $6.5 million in public funds via the state’s voucher program placed an LGBT counselor on leave because she had married her same-sex partner. In Milwaukee, where students with disabilities constitute 12-20% of public school enrollments, they constitute only 2% of enrollments in private schools participating in the city’s voucher program. Similarly, charter schools enroll a lower percentage of students with disabilities (particularly more severe disabilities) when compared to traditional public schools. In response to these and other issues of access and discrimination, some defenders of these schools have argued that the schools have broken no laws—and they are often correct. How can this be?

To answer that question, professors Julie F. Mead of the University of Wisconsin and Suzanne E. Eckes of Indiana University authored a policy brief, titled How School Privatization Opens the Door for Discrimination, which analyzes discrimination in an era of education privatization.

The brief’s review of relevant laws reveals that voucher and charter school programs open the door to discrimination because of three phenomena. First, federal law defines discrimination differently in public and private spaces. Second, state legislatures have largely neglected issues of discrimination while constructing voucher laws; charter laws are better, but they fail to comprehensively address these issues. Third, because private and charter schools are free to determine what programs to offer, they can attract some populations while excluding others.

After briefly examining the history of discrimination in schools, the brief analyzes each of these three enabling factors and then outlines recent developments. Finally, based on its analyses, the brief offers the following recommendations to help address the issue of publicly funded programs currently failing to serve all segments of the public:

  1. Congress should amend federal anti-discrimination laws to clarify that states supporting charter schools and states directly or indirectly channeling public funds to private schools must ensure that those programs operate in non-discriminatory ways.
  2. Federal agencies should explore whether governmental benefits should be withheld from private schools failing to meet non-discrimination standards.
  3. State legislatures should include explicit anti-discrimination language in their state voucher laws to ensure that participating private schools do not discriminate against students and staff on the basis of race, color, sex, race, class, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, national origin, or primary language.
  4. State legislatures should adopt or amend charter school laws to ensure that policies and practices are reviewed throughout the process of approval and renewal. Schools failing to attract and retain reasonably heterogeneous student populations should be directed to address the problem and should be considered for non-renewal if the problem is not corrected.

Find How School Privatization Opens the Door for Discrimination, by Julie F. Mead and Suzanne E. Eckes, at: http://greatlakescenter.org/

This policy brief was made possible in part by the support of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice (http://greatlakescenter.org/).

About The Great Lakes Center
The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develop research-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform.  Visit the Great Lakes Center Web Site at: http://www.greatlakescenter.org.   Follow us on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/greatlakescent.  Find us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/GreatLakesCenter.

Green Bay Mayor Schmitt: Celebrates the Centennial of bird protection law

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“Migratory Bird Treaty Act” Proclamation for City of Green Bay

Passed in 1918 the Migratory Bird Treaty Act is Audubon’s founding victory.

City of Green Bay, Wisconsin (December 20, 2018). In recognition of the importance of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt signed a proclamation on December 11th celebrating 100 years of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in the Year of the Bird.

2018 marks the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, one of the most powerful and important bird-protection laws ever passed. In honor of this milestone, the National Audubon Society, National Geographic, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and BirdLife International have joined forces with more than 150 other organizations and millions of people around the world to celebrate 2018 as the “Year of the Bird.”

The City of Green Bay’s Year of the Bird Proclamation describes the importance of Green Bay and its natural habitats to more than 320 bird species as well as the importance of birds to people for birdwatching and hunting. Green Bay is a recognized ‘Bird City,’ contains two Important Bird Areas, and has many beautiful parks and natural areas for people to enjoy and birds to utilize. The proclamation was drafted by the Northeastern Wisconsin (NEW) Audubon Society in an attempt to raise awareness about the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the beautiful birds that use Green Bay throughout the year.

“We are positively thrilled that Mayor Schmitt acknowledged the significance of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act by signing this proclamation. Green Bay provides critical natural habitats for a variety of birds, and thanks to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, birds are offered important protections to conserve them for future generations,” said NEW Audubon President Erin Giese.

Audubon and partner organizations have been running monthly activities to raise the visibility of birds and inspire action through #BirdYourWorld in 2018. More information about the Year of the Bird can be found at audubon.org/yearofthebird. To learn more about the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s website: https://www.fws.gov/birds/policies-and-regulations/laws-legislations/migratory-bird-treaty-act.php.

About Audubon

The National Audubon Society saves birds and their habitats throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon’s state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon’s vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a non-profit conservation organization. Learn more atwww.audubon.org and @audubonsociety.

Since 1963, NEW Audubon has been active locally in environmental issues, conservation, scientific investigations, habitat preservation, and environmental education. NEW Audubon releases two newsletters each year, co-coordinates a lecture series on bird-related topics with the Bay Area Bird Club, and hosts an annual banquet in the spring. They sponsor and coordinate a variety of programs and projects, including the annual Christmas Bird Count, Spring’s Wings, Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II, Project SOAR (Snowy Owl Airport Rescue), and more. Learn more at https://newiaudubon.org/. Follow us at https://www.facebook.com/NortheastWisconsinAudubon/.

Grubb campaign: Judge Grubb submits nomination signatures

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BELOIT, Wis. – Yesterday, Rock County Circuit Court Judge Derrick Grubb submitted over 350 signatures to the Wisconsin Elections Commission in support of his candidacy to get on the ballot for the spring election. The Commission requires 200 signatures.

Judge Grubb said, “I am proud to have a strong showing of support from the Rock County community. Rock County has a tradition of a strong judicial system and I look forward to continuing to serve the people of Rock County on the bench.”

Judge Grubb, a resident of Beloit, has over 27 years of legal experience in Rock County and has served as a Rock County Circuit Court Judge since September. Judge Grubb primarily practiced in the area of civil (law) litigation during his 27 years in private practice prior to him taking the bench. He now presides over civil law cases.

The spring election will take place on April 2, 2019.

Hintz appoints Goyke, Taylor to JFC

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Ho-Chunk Nation: Leaders tout Beloit Casino

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Contact: Collin Price, Public Relations Officer
608-772-8848
[email protected]

Nation’s leaders stress jobs, economic impact, and local support for casino

          Beloit, WI  – Several current and former leaders of the Ho-Chunk Nation appeared tonight at a hearing in Beloit, Wisconsin, to testify on behalf of the Nation’s proposed Beloit casino and entertainment center project. The hearing, conducted by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, brings the much-anticipated project one step closer to fruition.

          “The proposed Ho-Chunk casino, waterpark, and hotel will provide Beloit, its local businesses, and the surrounding communities with an incredible economic boost,” said Ho-Chunk Nation President Wilfrid Cleveland earlier today, “including 1500 new full-time jobs for the community.”

          “The Ho-Chunk Nation has been proud to partner these last several years with city leaders and the local business community to make this exciting project a reality, and today we are one more big step closer.”

          Several current and former Ho-Chunk Nation legislators, business development executives, and members appeared at the hearing to support the project. They were joined by several local Beloit officials, business leaders, and others who were also enthusiastically supportive.

          The Ho-Chunk Nation’s proposed investment in Beloit is expected to directly create thousands of construction jobs, as well as another 1500 full-time jobs; to generate substantial revenue in taxes and fees for the community; and to provide a significant boost in local economic activity and growth.

          Representatives of the Bureau of Indian Affairs conducted the public hearing at the Aldrich Middle School auditorium in Beloit.

Hogan says lame-duck provisions wouldn’t change WEDC job creation verification process

The head of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation says proposed changes to the way the agency verifies job creation under a new lame-duck bill wouldn’t alter WEDC’s current process for certifying jobs.

Instead, WEDC Secretary and CEO Mark Hogan told reporters Monday the legislation “clarifies, and it will identify what we already do.”

The bill is currently awaiting Gov. Scott Walker’s signature.

Hogan’s comments come after the Legislature last week approved a bill that would remove requirements for the agency to annually verify information submitted by tax credit recipients before it verifies a business is eligible to claim the credit. The legislation would instead require WEDC to annually and independently verify the information from a sample of companies applying for tax credits, according to an analysis from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

Still, WEDC spokesman Mark Maley said the level of verification under the agency’s current system is going to continue.

During a news conference this afternoon at the WEDC offices, Hogan said the current law, under which the agency is required to independently verify each job created, sets an “unrealistic definition” of verification. He and other WEDC officials said auditing 100 percent of the jobs created would be “crushing,” both in terms of the financial cost and the required resources.

Hogan said the change is something the agency has been discussing and working with leadership on over the last two years.

“This is not something that just happened in the last two weeks or the last two months,” he said.

Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling in a statement called for “stronger accountability measures” for WEDC to up the state’s confidence in the agency and “deliver positive economic development results.”

“Gov. Walker’s WEDC has been plagued by scandals, mismanagement, and under-performance,” the La Crosse Dem said.

See the LFB memo:
http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/misc/lfb/bill_summaries/2017_19/0002_december_2018_extraordinary_session_bills_as_passed_by_the_legislature_12_6_18.pdf

Hogan also said discussions with Kimberly-Clark officials are ongoing, as the company weighs closing its Cold Spring plant in Fox Crossing.

“I’ve been actively engaged with Kimberly-Clark since the end of January,” Hogan said. “We continue to talk and try and figure out if there’s a way to work with them. But relative to where we are in that process, I’m not prepared to say.”

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, has said he’s hopeful WEDC will announce a plan to keep the plant in the Fox Valley, saying on an interview on “UpFront with Mike Gousha” airing yesterday that he expects “some good news” to be coming soon from the agency.

A bill that would offer the company tax incentives to stay in northeastern Wisconsin stalled in the Senate last week, after it cleared the Assembly earlier this session.

Walker has said on Twitter in recent days that a new incentive package could be possible for the company.

Hogan also said he would stay at the helm of WEDC under the incoming Evers administration if he’s chosen to do so.

The extraordinary session bill that cleared the Legislature last week would give the WEDC board the power to pick the CEO, after giving the Assembly speaker and Senate majority leader a majority of the appointments on the board.

The board would then drop to 16 members Sept. 1 as the Assembly speaker and Senate majority leader would each lose one appointment. At that time, the guv’s power to appoint the agency CEO would also be restored Sept. 1.

“If the board decides I’m the person to stay on, I’m happy to be here,” Hogan said.

Indivisible Madison: “Pack the Capitol” for Joint Finance Committee hearing 🗓

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Joint Finance Committee hearing:

WHEN: Monday, Dec. 3, 2018 at 12:30 pm

WHERE: Wisconsin State Capitol, Room 412East

WHO: Indivisible Madison

MEDIA CONTACT: Linda Kessel, Lead Organizer, Indivisible Madison
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 920-475-1989

FACEBOOK POST: https://www.facebook.com/1335083823215842/posts/2106862839371266/

Indivisible Madison: #RESPECTMYVOTE rally 🗓

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#RESPECTMYVOTE rally:
WHEN: Monday, Dec. 3, 2018 at 5:30 pm

WHERE: State St. steps of the Wisconsin State Capitol

WHO: Indivisible Madison

MEDIA CONTACT: Linda Kessel, Lead Organizer, Indivisible Madison
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 920-475-1989

FACEBOOK EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/2491983410817496/

Indivisible Madison: Stop the Wisconsin GOP power grab

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Indivisible Madison calls for people statewide to  ”Pack the Capitol” for the JFC Hearing on Mon., Dec. 3 at 12:30 pm – and the #RESPECTMYVOTE rally on Mon., Dec. 3 at 5:30pm

Wisconsin Republican leaders will not #RESPECTMYVOTE. These elected officials refuse to accept election results that saw Democrats take every statewide office.

A 141-page bill introduced in extraordinary session would consolidate power with the GOP-controlled legislature. It virtually overturns Wisconsin voters’ call for new leadership. This is nothing less than
a coup.

Indivisible Madison is leading the resistance to the GOP leaders’ proposals. They have called for voters from all over the state to pack the Capitol for the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) hearing on Monday, December 3, at 12:30pm. They also have organized the #RESPECTMYVOTE rally at 5:30pm the same day for voters to voice their objections to this power grab.

The Facebook rally event (https://www.facebook.com/events/2491983410817496/) has been shared 800 times as of this writing. 1.2K are going or interested. And a notice to pack the Capitol for the JFC hearing has been shared more than 400 times.

Twitter has been alive with the help of Ben Wikler – DC Director for MoveOn and a Madison, WI native. He has attracted a lot of national attention and he’s been invaluable advisor to Indivisible Madison. He’s heading from DC to Wisconsin to be at the hearing and rally.

 

Details for Madison, WI resistance events:

Joint Finance Committee hearing:

WHEN: Monday, Dec. 3, 2018 at 12:30 pm

WHERE: Wisconsin State Capitol, Room 412East

WHO: Indivisible Madison

MEDIA CONTACT: Linda Kessel, Lead Organizer, Indivisible Madison
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 920-475-1989

FACEBOOK POST: https://www.facebook.com/1335083823215842/posts/2106862839371266/

 

#RESPECTMYVOTE rally:

WHEN: Monday, Dec. 3, 2018 at 5:30 pm

WHERE: State St. steps of the Wisconsin State Capitol

WHO: Indivisible Madison

MEDIA CONTACT: Linda Kessel, Lead Organizer, Indivisible Madison
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 920-475-1989

FACEBOOK EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/2491983410817496/

Janis Ringhand: Lame duck session truly extraordinary

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

Last week, the Republican controlled State Legislature convened in a lame-duck session to throw its final temper tantrum of 2018. Speaker Robin Vos (R-Burlington) and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) evidently did not like the fact that the voters of the state elected Democrats Tony Evers Governor and Josh Kaul Attorney General. In self-serving fashion, they moved to restrict the power of the incoming Governor and Attorney General.

Throughout our lives, there are times when we have to deal with sore losers. Rather than taking some time to evaluate the reasons they lost the election, Wisconsin Republican’s swiftly moved to protect and expand their own political power. They did not even bother to defend their hyper-partisan actions. Instead, they sat silently throughout the night while voting to increase their own power at the expenses of the majority of people who elected Tony Evers and Josh Kaul.

For their efforts, national headlines were generated. Americans nationwide now see Wisconsin Republicans as “crooked”, “power grabbing”, “self-serving” and “sore losers”. The type of politicians who are willing to ignore the will of the voters. Wisconsin Republicans showed the nation their true colors by dishonoring their positions as representatives of the people all in the name of stripping powers from two people who were elected by a majority of the state.

The partisan make-up of the Wisconsin legislature has gone back and forth over the years. It is safe to say that it will not be under Republican control forever. Many people throughout the state see the actions to curb the power of the incoming Governor and Attorney General as a crooked power grab by self-serving sore losers.

Governor Elect Evers and Attorney General Elect Kaul won their elections fair and square. They deserve the opportunity to do the job the people of Wisconsin elected them to do.

–Ringhand, D-Evansville, represents the 15th Senate District.

JFC approves three extraordinary session bills along party lines

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The Joint Finance Committee voted 12-4 along party lines early Tuesday to approve three GOP-authored extraordinary session bills after making several tweaks to the legislation.

The bills, which the Legislature plans to take to the floor today after they were introduced Friday, would make a series of changes to state law to give the Legislature more oversight of the incoming Tony Evers administration and say over the decisions of AG-elect Josh Kaul.

Dems slammed the bills as a power grab, while Republicans insisted they were just an attempt to balance the power between the executive branch and the Legislature.

“You rig the system when you win and you rig the system when you lose,” said Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison. “How is it you lose an election and you add more power after you lose?”

But JFC Co-chair John Nygren, R-Marinette, said 19 of the 45 proposals before the committee were either in the 2017-19 budget, would codify existing administrative rule, or update existing state law to reflect court decisions or federal law.

He said Gov.-elect Tony Evers didn’t this fall saying he would reject the waiver of a work requirement under the Medicaid program. But he is bringing it up now. If Evers really wants to work with Republicans, who will continue to control both houses of the Legislature next session, it would be best if they’re as equals.

“Him being able to undo what we’ve done with a simple signature is not a co-equal branch of government,” Nygren said.

Republicans originally released five bills, including one that incorporated all of the provisions in the other four. But the committee didn’t take up the omnibus legislation.

JFC also didn’t take up a bill that would move the 2020 presidential primary off the April ballot and to a new election day in March. That bill also included two provisions on absentee voting. Those pieces on absentee voting were instead added to another extraordinary session bill.

Nygren said he doesn’t believe Republicans have the votes to approve the primary change and he believes GOP leaders don’t intend to take up the bill on the floor today.

Other changes the committee made to the legislation include:

*removing a provision that would’ve exempted the Department of Public Instruction from administrative rules requirements that are part of the package. The state Supreme Court has ruled that DPI isn’t subject to changes Republicans made to the administrative rules process in 2011, though a conservative group is now pushing the justices to reconsider that decision. Some conservatives had raised objections to the provision exempting DPI because it would’ve codified that earlier Supreme Court ruling.

*keeping a window of about two weeks for in-person absentee voting as proposed in the original package. But the committee deleted restrictions on the time of day it can be offered and specified that clerks or election commissioners could offer more than one voting location. The GOP motion also made clear that in-person absentee voting can be offered every day over the two-week period. Previously, Republicans limited the hours it can be offered and prohibited clerks from offering it on Sunday. But a federal judge issued an injunction banning enforcement of those restrictions.

*modifying a provision that would give the Joint Committee on Legislative Organization the authority to appoint a special counsel to say the body would have to make the appointment in the consultation with the Department of Justice.

*adding a prohibition on local governments from using their own workforce or contract with another political subdivision for a local road or bridge project funded, in whole or in part, with state money. The provision also says local governments would have to to bid out any local road or bridge project funded with state money.

Judge Neubauer campaign: Announces bipartisan support from law enforcement

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Contact: Jessica Lovejoy, 608-318-3065
[email protected]

Announces endorsements from more than 65 sheriffs and district attorneys

RACINE, WI – Judge Lisa Neubauer, Chief Judge of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, announced today that she has been endorsed by more than 65 current and former sheriffs and district attorneys from across the state. She also has earned the support of more than 300 judges since she announced her campaign in mid-summer. Her entire list of endorsing judges can be found on her website.

“Our campaign has traveled across the state for six months working hard to earn every vote, and I’m honored to have bipartisan support from our law enforcement officials,” said Chief Judge Lisa Neubauer. “I am committed to a justice system that works for all of us and we must start with courts that are fair, impartial, and independent.”

“Judge Neubauer is the right choice for Wisconsin Supreme Court. She has shown that she has the independence and the commitment to public safety that we need on our state’s highest court. I support her today just as I did in her re-election for the Court of Appeals in 2014,” said Winnebago County Sheriff John Matz (R).

“Wisconsin needs a justice who will stand up for the rights of our citizens and the rule of law. Judge Neubauer will be that kind of justice. I am proud to support her candidacy for Supreme Court,” said Dane County Sheriff David Mahoney (D).

After being appointed to the Court of Appeals, Judge Neubauer was elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2014, and has served as Chief Judge since 2015. She had almost two decades of experience as a litigation attorney at Foley & Lardner before joining the appellate court and also served as a law clerk for Judge Barbara Crabb, then-Chief Judge of the United States District Court, Western District of Wisconsin. Judge Neubauer lives in Racine with her husband, Jeff, and they are the proud parents of three children.

For more information on Judge Neubauer’s campaign, visit her website JudgeNeubauer.com or follow her on social media (facebook.com/judgeneubauer or @JudgeNeubauer).

Katrina Shankland: Lame duck legislation will be costly to taxpayers and our democracy

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

Here in Wisconsin, we value decency and fairness. That’s why it was astounding to see Republicans convene a lame duck legislative session, overriding the will of the voters. This isn’t just mean-spirited or unfair – it’s undemocratic. In record turnout, the people of Wisconsin spoke loud and clear this November: they want change. They didn’t expect the legislature to limit the ability for the newly-elected governor and attorney general to do their jobs, but that’s just what Republican legislators did. Over 72 hours, mostly in the dead of night, they fast-tracked bills for their own political gain, even as 1400 people registered against their bills.

Assembly Speaker Vos said, “The situation that we are sitting in right now if we do not pass these proposals is that we are going to have a very liberal governor who is going to enact policies that are in direct contrast to what many of us believe in.” Senate Majority Leader Fitzgerald said, “Listen, I’m concerned. I think that Governor-elect Evers is going to bring a liberal agenda to Wisconsin.” They clearly broadcast their intent: to halt the change Wisconsin voted for.

In one fell swoop, Senate Republicans approved 82 appointees, including two members of the Board of Regents. They cut early voting hours in half, directly defying the orders of a judge who already struck down their law limiting early voting as unconstitutional. They passed legislation requiring the attorney general to ask the legislature for permission to withdraw from lawsuits, like the challenge to end the Affordable Care Act, which would end protections for people with pre-existing conditions if successful. They required the governor to get permission from the legislature to change benefit programs run by the state and federal governments. From allowing legislators to hire private attorneys using taxpayer money, to giving legislators the power to intervene in lawsuits, these bills are loaded with ways to bloat the authority of power-hungry politicians while forcing taxpayers to foot the bill. These bills aren’t just costly to taxpayers, but also to our democracy.

You’ll notice they didn’t advertise any of these changes on the campaign trail. In fact, drafting notes reveal these bills were drafted two weeks after the election, when Republicans lost every statewide race. This isn’t just about being sore losers — this is about consolidating their power. If this were an important part of their agenda, why didn’t they pass these bills over the last eight years? One thing changed: they no longer hold every lever of power in state government. Just as they have with partisan gerrymandering, flooding more money into campaigns, and limiting voting access, Republican legislators are abusing their power to help themselves over their own constituents. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should — and the courts will decide if they even could. After all, the separation of powers in our Constitution isn’t a suggestion.

It’s dangerous for democracy to wield your power by undermining the very checks and balances meant to make our government work. We are in a new era of politics where craven politicians feel insulated enough from the public that they’ll do anything to cling to power. However, I have faith that the people of Wisconsin will see this lame duck legislation for what it is and urge Governor Walker to veto these bills. I hope he listens, or he’ll leave office in disgrace. Instead of overriding the will of the voters, it’s time to put the people of Wisconsin first and work together to improve your lives. After all, that’s what you asked us to do in November.

–Shankland, D-Stevens Point, represents the 71st Assembly District.

Kimberly-Clark could get up to $8.5M in first year of incentive deal

Kimberly-Clark could receive up to 30 percent of a potential $28 million incentive package during the first year of its newly announced agreement with the state’s jobs agency to keep open a company plant in the Fox Valley.

Gov. Scott Walker last week announced the five-year agreement to save 388 jobs at the Cold Spring facility in Fox Crossing. The deal, which includes a mixture of job retention credits, capital investment credits and supply chain credits, also calls for Kimberly-Clark to invest at least $200 million in the plant over the period.

A copy of the contract, obtained by WisPolitics.com from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. under the state’s open records law, shows Kimberly-Clark would be eligible for up to $8.5 million in tax credits in the first year of the deal, spanning from Jan. 1, 2019 to Dec. 31, 2019.

Going forward, the company could qualify for $5.8 million in the second year, $4.9 million in the third year, and $4.4 million in each of the fourth and fifth years. The final year of the deal runs from Jan. 1, 2023 to Dec. 31, 2023.

The bulk of the awards Kimberly-Clark could receive each year comes from capital investment credits, which total $20 million over the five-year deal, or 10 percent of the $200 million the business has pledged to invest at the Cold Spring facility.

But the contract notes any unearned capital investment credits can be carried forward for the company to earn in the later years of the deal.

In order to receive the tax credits, the contract requires Kimberly-Clark to maintain 388 full-time jobs at the Cold Spring facility and 2,418 total full-time employees across the state.

A WEDC spokesman says the statewide employee count is made up of the company’s 19 plants — including Neenah Nonwovens, another Fox Valley facility. That plant, though, is slated for closure by the middle of next year.

Around 110 workers are employed at the Neenah Nonwovens facility, per media reports.

Kimberly-Clark spokeswoman Brook Smith said she expects “a majority” of the those jobs would be made up through hires at the Cold Spring facility as the company invests money into its expansion. That would allow Kimberly-Clark to continue hitting the 2,418 full-time statewide employee threshold in future years.

See the contract:
https://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/181117WEDCKimberlyContract.pdf

By Briana Reilly

LAB: WEDC policy would allow Foxconn to get credits for workers outside Wisconsin

Foxconn could collect tax credits on workers who don’t live or work in Wisconsin under a written policy with the state jobs agency, a policy that violates state law and the company’s contract, a new report finds.

The report, from the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau, recommends the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. change its written procedures to ensure those program credits are only awarded for the Foxconn employees who live within the state’s boundaries.

LAB’s findings show WEDC established written policies detailing how it’ll award the program tax credits. Under those policies, which don’t have to be approved by the agency board, WEDC is allowed to award the tax credits for “any employee that does not live in Wisconsin and is designated as ‘remote’, ‘working at home’, or ‘sales” as long as those workers are paid in the electronics and information technology manufacturing zone.

But the policy goes against current law, LAB notes, as well as WEDC’s contract with Foxconn.

LAB also recommended WEDC provide its Board of Directors with a copy of the written procedures and report to the Joint Legislative Audit Committee by Jan. 31.

In WEDC’s response, CEO Mark Hogan wrote the agency is researching the LAB recommendations and “will modify its procedures, if necessary, to comply with statutes and its contract.” He also pledged WEDC will appear before JLAC and provide a copy of the policies to its board “prior to any tax credits being awarded to Foxconn.”

Audit Committee Co-chair Sen. Rob Cowles praised LAB’s “diligent work.”

“This audit has given the Legislature and WEDC the ability to identify this issue and correct it prior to any tax credits being awarded,” the Green Bay Republican said.

Wednesday’s LAB report is the first evaluation of WEDC’s process for verifying information from Foxconn tied to its eligibility for program tax credits. The bureau is required to conduct four additional annual audits under the law Walker signed off on last year to bring the company to the state.

See the audit:
http://legis.wisconsin.gov/lab/media/2798/18-18full.pdf

By Briana Reilly

League of Wisconsin Municipalities: Bockhorst elected League of Wisconsin Municipalities president

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For more information, contact: Jerry Deschane, League Executive Director, 608-267-2380
Tammy Bockhorst, Village of Shorewood Trustee and League of Wisconsin Municipalities Board President, 608-772-0106

Lake Delton, WI – Tammy Bockhorst, Village of Shorewood Trustee was elected the League of Wisconsin Municipalities Board of Directors President at the League’s 120th Annual Conference in Lake Delton. The League serves Wisconsin’s cities and villages, providing advocacy, training and legal services.

Bockhorst is the 101st League President, and the 8th woman to be in that role. She will lead the League board of directors, appoint new board members as vacancies arise, and work closely with the League staff to implement the League’s priorities. Although both the League & Shorewood Boards are now majority female, a personal priority for her is to continue to diversify representation. Her first board appointment nominee, Tomika Vukovich, Glendale Alderwoman and School Board Member, will be the second African American female to serve on the League’s Board of Directors.

Bockhorst is fascinated by the League’s rapid evolution. “I was recruited to serve on the League board by other municipal leaders who told me that we were going to change things; that we were going to look at everything the League does and see how we can do it better.” She credits prior board members for setting high expectations; expectations that the League staff have met. “We have real momentum at the League, in our advocacy efforts, in education, and in communication with the cities and villages of this state. My role as President is to fuel that momentum; to keep us moving forward.”

Bockhorst will lead the League at an important time. The Governor and Legislature will consider several issues of importance to the future of Wisconsin’s cities and villages in the 2019-20 Legislative Session. The League’s legislative agenda includes transportation aids, legislation to close the Dark Store Loopholes and policy that would provide communities with the ability to set their own priorities.

Bockhorst says she’s excited to serve. She’s a five-year veteran on the Shorewood Village Board. She’s a health care finance professional, a former Sergeant in the Army National Guard, a high school and college teacher. In one way or another, Bockhorst says she has been working in public service all her life.

“This new role with the League is a natural extension of my entire career. All of my work, both professional and volunteer, has been aimed at making a difference; at making things better. The Shorewood Village Board does that on a daily basis. We touch people’s lives every day in some very straightforward and practical ways.” The League’s focus on serving its members through state and federal advocacy, education and building networks among Wisconsin’s 602 cities and villages, “is a logical next step in that process.”

League of Women Voters of Wisconsin: Statement on the governor’s signing of extraordinary session bills

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Contact: Erin Grunze, Executive Director 608-256-0827; [email protected]

MADISON, WI –The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin has long held that the legislature must be responsible to the citizens. Its leaders, committees, and members should represent the state as a whole as well as their own districts. Legislators should not act in their own interest for partisan gains and to retain power.

The sweeping bills Governor Walker signed today were introduced late on a Friday afternoon. The authors of the legislation, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, did not attend the public hearing the following Monday to answer questions about the proposal, which were passed by both houses of the legislature in the wee hours of Wednesday morning that same week.

Good legislation does not result from a rushed, secretive process with little opportunity for input from the public. Such a process results in sloppy errors and wasted tax dollars. Moreover, it reeks of a partisan power grab. Passing legislation shouldn’t be inside baseball. It should be an open and accountable process when those in power are acting on behalf of the people they are representing.

Wisconsinites across the political spectrum value fairness and upholding democratic procedures. These bill and how they’ve been introduced and passed fly in the face of these values.

We are disappointed that Governor Walker signed these mean-spirited bills which will not afford his newly elected successor, Governor-elect Tony Evers, the same authority that he has exercised for eight years, including one he exercised within this past week to solidify the Kimberly Clark deal.

The people of Wisconsin are not well served by partisan shenanigans. We expect our state leaders to work together to serve the people of Wisconsin. It is time to put aside partisanship and start governing.

Legislative Audit Bureau: Announces the release of report 18-18

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The Bureau announces the release of report 18-18, Electronics and Information Technology Manufacturing Zone Program.

In November 2017, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) executed a $2.85 billion contract with Foxconn to create jobs and make capital investments over the 15-year period from January 2018 through December 2032. WEDC may first award tax credits to Foxconn in 2019, based on the jobs Foxconn created in 2018. Statutes and WEDC’s contract require WEDC to award Foxconn tax credits for the wages of employees who perform services in Wisconsin. WEDC established written procedures that allow it to award tax credits for certain employees who do not perform services in Wisconsin, as long as these employees are paid in the zone. In this way, these written procedures do not comply with statutes or WEDC’s contract. We recommend WEDC modify its written procedures to require it to award program tax credits only for the wages of employees who perform services in Wisconsin.

Briefing Sheet

A mobile-friendly version of the briefing sheet is also available:

Mobile Briefing Sheet

For additional information, please contact the Audit Bureau at (608) 266‑2818.

Report fraud, waste, and mismanagement to 1-877-FRAUD-17.

Legislative Audit Bureau: Announces the release of report 18-19, State of Wisconsin Investment Board

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The Bureau announces the release of report 18-19, State of Wisconsin Investment Board.

SWIB managed $117.0 billion in assets, largely within the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS), as of December 2017. The WRS Core Fund and Variable Fund exceeded five-year benchmarks with investment returns of 8.6 percent and 13.3 percent, respectively, in 2017. However, the Core Fund 20-year investment return did not meet the long-term expected rate-of-return assumption of 7.2 percent in 2016 and 2017. From 2013 through 2017, SWIB’s annual expenses increased by 21.7 percent. After considering the effect of increases in assets managed by SWIB, we found the increase in annual expenses was attributable to higher management fees for more-complex investment strategies, an information systems implementation, and the hiring of additional staff.

Briefing Sheet

A mobile-friendly version of the briefing sheet is also available:

Mobile Briefing Sheet

For additional information, please contact the Audit Bureau at (608) 266‑2818.

Report fraud, waste, and mismanagement to 1-877-FRAUD-17.

Madison Mayor Soglin: Announces Sally Jo Spaeni as Madison Senior Center and Services Manager

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Contact: Jim O’Keefe
December 19, 2018 608-266-7851

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin announced today that Sally Jo Spaeni has been selected to be the nextMadison Senior Center Services and Facility Manager. She replaces Christine Beatty who is retiringafter 30 years at the Center. Spaeni has been a City of Madison employee since 2001, most recently in Public Housing, working with a diverse population of residents as the Housing Site Manager at the Community Development Authority (CDA) Triangle Apartment Complex “I am delighted that Sally Jo will be leading the team at the Senior Center,” said Mayor Paul Soglin.

“Her work managing federally subsidized housing on the CDA Triangle, where 350 aging and disabled adults live, provides her with a wealth of experience.”

“My experience and training will help me to ensure that the Senior Center continues to be a welcoming facility, that provides relevant services for all,” said Spaeni. “I am excited to serve our aging population along with the well-established team at the Senior Center and believe that together, we can make a positive contribution to our community.”

She has a degree in Human Services from Madison College and has also earned a certificate in Gerontology from the University of Central Florida. Spaeni’s first day in her new position was December 17.

Madison Rotary Club 🗓

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Park Hotel,
Madison.

Guest speaker is Alta Charo, professor of law and bioethics at UW-Madison, who is to discuss ethical policy issues raised by human genome editing.

Rotary meetings are open to members, invited guests and media.

For more information: https://rotarymadison.org/wp-content/forms/newsletters/2018/Nov30A18.pdf

Marshfield Clinic Health System: Completes affiliation with Neillsville hospital

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CONTACT:  John Gardner, 715-221-8659, [email protected]org

Candace Marg, 715-743-8423, [email protected]

An electronic copy of this release can be found at http://marshfieldclinic.org/news

NEILLSVILLE – Marshfield Clinic Health System has completed the affiliation with Memorial Hospital, Inc. and will continue to serve the health care needs of the community as Marshfield Medical Center-Neillsville.

Welcoming the Neillsville hospital into the Health System builds on more than three decades of collaboration between the two organizations, including Health System physicians providing medical care in the community. The Health System’s increased presence in Neillsville will provide more accessible quality health care services to the Neillsville area.

“We look forward to building on the decades of high-quality services Memorial Medical Center has provided to the Neillsville community,” said Marshfield Clinic Health System CEO Dr. Susan Turney. “It is my core conviction that because of the experience, skills and expertise we both bring to the table, together we can build an even better future for health care in Neillsville and across rural Wisconsin.”

This affiliation supports the construction of a new $40 million medical, surgical, and outpatient clinic in Neillsville. The current medical center was built in 1954. The new center will further enable the Health System to provide more accessible health care services to the community. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2019.

“Our organization is excited to be the newest member the Marshfield Clinic Health System. This affiliation most importantly strengthens patient care by adding new programs and technology. In addition provides long term stability to our employment force and economic development for our community,” said Ryan Neville, the former Memorial Medical Center CEO, who will stay on as the chief administrative officer. “We have aggressive goals to expand the local healthcare delivery model and build a medical campus of the future.”

A key element of the agreement is the formation of a local advisory board to oversee local operations. Board members will be selected from the Memorial Hospital’s board of directors, Memorial medical staff and community members as well representation from Marshfield Clinic Health System.

Three clinics also were part of the acquisition.

  • Memorial Medical Center – Neillsville will be renamed Marshfield Medical Center Neillsville Clinic.
  • Memorial Medical Center – Greenwood Clinic will retain its name at this time as it will be consolidated with Marshfield Clinic Greenwood Center in the future.
  • Memorial Medical Center – Loyal will be renamed Marshfield Medical Center-Neillsville-Loyal Therapy Center

Marshfield Medical Center-Neillsville also will continue its partnership with Sniteman Pharmacy, the Art of Optometry and Neillsville Care and Rehab.

Marshfield Medical Center-Neillsville will honor the legacy of Memorial Medical Center in their new building with a Memorial Wall to pay tribute to the individuals and key events that made Memorial Medical Center a successful community hospital for 70 years.

The two organizations first announced the plans in March when a letter of intent was signed. Specific terms of the acquisition aren’t being released.

Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce Policy Hash ft. WisOpinion Insiders 🗓

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MMAC
756 N. Milwaukee Street Suite 400
Milwaukee, WI 53202

MMAC Policy Hash, featuring The WisOpinion Insiders: Scott Jensen and Chuck Chvala
Sponsored by Michael Best Strategies

The WisPolitics.com Insiders – Former Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen and former state Senate Majority Leader Chuck Chvala – will be the featured guests for this month’s MMAC Policy Hash, sponsored by Michel Best Strategies.

Jensen and Chvala’s mix of bi-partisan insight and experience will provide a great look back at the year in politics and a look ahead to the new political realities in Madison and Washington, DC.   We hope you will be able to join us for this insightful and entertaining morning of political talk.

Agenda
7:45-8:00 AM Registration and Networking
8:00-9:00 AM Program and Q&A

Parking
Street parking is available. Other parking options include the parking garage on the northeast corner of Mason and Jefferson Streets (entrance on Mason St). There is also a surface lot on the southeast corner of Mason and Jefferson Streets.

Event Item Name Expires Pricing
MMAC Member Dec 13, 2018
$10.00
MMAC non-member Dec 13, 2018
$20.00

Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce: October economic trends

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For further information contact
Economic Research Director Bret Mayborne, 414.287.4122
October Economic Trends

December 5, 2018 – Metro area economic indicators moved lower in October as 11 of 22
available monthly indicators tracked by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of
Commerce (MMAC) improved from year-ago levels. October’s improvements rank below
the 13 positives registered in September.

“At present, the number of positive indicators in aggregate is at its lowest point since early
2012,” said Bret Mayborne, the MMAC’s economic research director. “Much of this
overall weakness can be attributed to a weaker year-over-year employment trend across a
number of major industry sectors in the metro area.”

Highlights of the report include:
• The overall job trend continued to show lackluster growth. Nonfarm employment in the metro area rose at a 0.8% rate, marking the third consecutive month and the fifth time in six months that metro area year-over-year growth failed to reach 1% or higher.
• Five of ten major industry sectors registered year-over-year job increases in October. The
construction, mining & natural resource sector posted the largest gain – up 4.6% vs. year-ago levels. Conversely, five of ten major industry sectors posted employment declines with the 1.8% drop in the trade, transportation & utilities sector ranking as the biggest percentage fall.
• Both area housing and real estate indicators posted declines in October. Metro area existing home sales fell at a 8.5% pace (vs. year-ago levels) while mortgages recorded in Milwaukee County dropped 10.8%.

Unemployment indicators for the metro area showed modest improvement in October. The
number of unemployed fell 4.7% from one year ago, to 24,400. October’s decline led to a 0.1 percentage point fall in the seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate. Metro Milwaukee’s rate averaged 3% in October, higher than the 2.6% rate posted statewide but below the 3.5% figure recorded nationally.

New unemployment compensation claims in the metro area numbered 2,702 in October, down 10.7% from one year ago. October’s decline follows the 2.1% year-over-year decrease posted in September.

Indicators: October, 2018 vs. October, 2017

Nonfarm employment in the metro area averaged 879,800 in October, a 0.8% increase from one year ago. October’s increase matches the 0.8% gain registered in September (year-over-year) and stands lower than the 1.7% growth recorded nationally over the same time period.

October’s overall job growth was supported by a narrowed base of gains by major industry
sector. Only five of ten major industry sectors in the metro area posted October job gains. The construction, mining & natural resources sector posted the largest gain in percentage terms, with a 4.6% increase over year-ago levels. The leisure & hospitality (up 3.