Daily Archives: December 3, 2018

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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

 

 

 

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

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/

Milwaukee Ald. Donovan: Mayor Barrett again neglects basic responsibilities

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His failure to appoint a new Emergency Government Coordinator leaves him out of compliance with State law

Given the disastrous failure of the Mayor Tom Barrett’s administration to properly administer the Milwaukee Health Department, one might have thought he would be keeping a watchful eye on the other agencies in his charge and ensuring that, at a minimum, critical vacancies were being filled by able people.

Unfortunately, since the departure of Steven Fronk in June of this year, the City has been without an emergency management coordinator and all evidence suggests the Mayor has no clear idea how to get one.

This position is at the cabinet level and s. 62.51(2), Wis.Stats., obligates the mayor to appoint all the members of his or her cabinet with 90 days of a vacancy.  By my calendar, and using a bit of simple math, this vital position should have been filled in September.

Under ch. 323, Wis. Stats., and ch. 6 of the Milwaukee Charter, this position is vested with a broad range of responsibilities in the event of an emergency – responsibilities particularly relating to coordination and communication among our various levels of government and our own first responders.

It bears mention that in September of this year there was a suspicious substance incident in the Mayor’s own office that prompted an evacuation of a portion of City Hall. Thankfully, the substance found was not dangerous, but the communication surrounding the incident was so poor that my colleagues, Ald. José Pérez and Ald. Milele Coggs, put in a file that was scheduled for hearing before the Public Safety and Health Committee. At that hearing the importance of having someone in the position of emergency management coordinator was one of a small number of things on which the many participants in the meeting could agree.

And, finally, turning to the 2019 budget, I see no funding for the position of Homeland Security Director, the position held by Mr. Fronk until his departure, or for anything even sounding like Emergency Government Coordinator.

In the case of Milwaukee’s Health Department, Mayor Barrett allowed gross mismanagement to persist until his luck ran out.  Let’s hope he does something, and soon, with the position of Emergency Government Coordinator, rather than gambling that no incident requiring the position’s services will come up.

MON AM Update: Evers says ‘all options’ being considered as GOP lawmakers seek to limit his powers

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MON News Summary: Medicaid expansion is early flashpoint for Tony Evers

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MON PM Update: Republicans defend lame-duck bills ahead of contentious hearing

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Nygren argues GOP lawmakers have tried some provisions in bills before

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JFC Co-chair John Nygren argued during today’s public hearing some of the changes included in the bills are things GOP lawmakers have tried before only to have Gov. Scott Walker veto them.

That includes, for example, a provision that would require the Department of Veterans Affairs notifying the JFC when transferring funds from the appropriation for the state vets home or vets trust fund. Lawmakers also previously tried to get more legislative appointments to the Group Insurance Board only to see Walker veto the proposal.

Nygren also pointed out that the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. was approved by the Legislature and signed into law nearly eight years ago. Republicans pushing the changes, he said, don’t want to see Gov.-elect Tony Evers come in after eight years and just wipe out what they’ve accomplished.

The bills include a provision that would give the Assembly Speaker and Senate majority leader a majority of appointments on the WEDC Board, which would then appoint the agency CEO. Now, the guv has that power.

“What this requires is for us to have equal representation, an equal voice on the WEDC,” he said.

One Wisconsin Now: Eight days after November election Republican Assembly Leader Robin Vos requested new restrictions on early voting

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

MADISON, Wis. — Assembly Republican leader Robin Vos’ office requested legislation to impose new restrictions on early voting a mere eight days after Wisconsinites turned out in record numbers for a midterm election, according to drafting records reviewed by One Wisconsin Now. A record 2.67 million voters cast their ballots, including over 565,000 who participated by early voting in person or absentee, in the election that saw Republicans suffer losses in every statewide office on the ballot.

“Wisconsin voters sent a clear message on November 6 that they wanted change,” said One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “Robin Vos sent a message back mere days later that he doesn’t respect them, or their right to vote.”

According to records reviewed by One Wisconsin Now, the office of Republican Assembly leader Robin Vos on November 14 requested legislation be drafted to restrict early voting in Wisconsin to no more than two weeks before the election.

The records also reveal that Vos was warned that the new scheme to restrict voter rights could run afoul of a 2016 federal court ruling. In that case, brought by One Wisconsin Now partner organization One Wisconsin Institute, federal Judge James Peterson found the early vote restrictions previously imposed by Wisconsin Republicans discriminated on the basis of race and were intended to give themselves a partisan advantage.

Legislation moving the date of a 2020 election, a move the Senate Republican leader publicly said is intended to help elect a conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice at a cost to state taxpayers of $7 million, was requested concurrent with the early voting restrictions. After Republicans emerged from closed door meetings in the Senate and Assembly they announced they intended to try to rig the election calendar for their benefit, but the early voting restrictions were kept secret until Friday when the bill drafts became public.

Ross concluded, “Robin Vos and his fellow Republicans are playing with legal fire as they keep trying to rig the rules on voting to give themselves an unfair advantage. Voters have said loud and clear they’ve had enough of this kind of stuff and it’s up to the Republicans to knock it off and listen.”

Sen. Frostman: Lame duck GOP proposals an assault on democracy

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Contact: Steve Peters, [email protected] or 608-266-3512

Peaceful Transition of Power and Will of the People Thwarted

I’ve seen this letter many times before, but with the recent passing of George H.W. Bush fresh in our collective conscience, its words and its sentiment hold additional significance. This note symbolizes many of its author’s most admirable qualities – humility, deference, the capacity for self-reflection, and the full embrace and understanding that the will of the people is what advances our political agenda and thus our collective success. His note also demonstrates one of the most unique and precious traditions of the United States: the peaceful transfer of power, which was a novel concept when our country was founded.

By this time, I am guessing that you have heard of five bills proposed by legislative Republicans meant to rig the system for their failed agenda in the aftermath of their election losses, as well as suppress future votes, even while acknowledging that their past voter suppression efforts have been ruled unconstitutional. All of their proposals are abhorrent abuses of power, but the most egregious of which include stripping the Attorney General of many of the office’s current powers, giving Republican legislators, not the incoming Governor, the authority to appoint a cabinet secretary, and moving a presidential primary (against the professional advice of more than half the state’s county clerks, Democrat and Republican, at a cost to taxpayers of more than $7 million) to enhance the chances of a Walker appointee getting elected to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Unlike the tradition of a peaceful transfer of power, and unlike President Bush’s humble words of encouragement to incoming President Clinton, the bills proposed by Speaker Vos and Leader Fitzgerald are hostile to democracy, display the petulance of children denied their third piece of birthday cake, and reek of supreme arrogance.

As Democrats and Republicans, we often differ on how to best distribute the tax burden, invest in our economy, our education system, and our environment. However, hastily changing the rules of the game in a lame duck session after a resounding defeat simply because you can and want to is neither a Democratic issue, nor a Republican issue; it is an issue of morality and integrity, and their proposals, if successful, harm our democracy by essentially canceling last month’s election results in which millions of Wisconsinites let their will be known.

If this unprecedented power grab has sickened and angered you, please call your Assembly representative, as well as Assembly Speaker Vos, Senate Majority Leader Fitzgerald, and Governor Walker’s offices to let them know that this aggression will not stand. Their contact information is below. For the sake of our democracy, I implore you to be vocal and persistent. If you are able, I would also encourage you to visit their offices in the Capitol today (Monday) and up until the final votes are cast.

Joel Kitchens, 1st Assembly District – 608-266-5350
Andre Jacque, 2nd Assembly District – 608-266-9870
Ron Tusler, 3rd Assembly District – 608-266-5831
Robin Vos, Assembly Speaker – 608-266-9171
Scott Fitzgerald, Senate Majority Leader – 608-266-5660
Scott Walker, Governor – 608-266-1212

There is a public hearing portion of the Joint Finance Committee slated to start at 12:30 p.m. today. Please let your voice be heard there, as well. If you are unable to join in person, hearings will be televised on www.wiseye.org.

If your Representatives do not vote against these measures and, just as importantly, speak out against this brazen attempt to cancel statewide election results, they are not worthy of serving as your legislators. Demand they vote these measures down. Thank you for your vigilance in protecting democracy in Wisconsin.

Survival Coalition of Disability Organizations: Concerned about impacts of legislature’s Extraordinary Session bills on people with disabilities

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Contacts: Beth Swedeen, (608) 266-1166; [email protected]
Lisa Pugh, (608) 469-9385; [email protected]
Kristin Kerschensteiner, (608) 267-0217; [email protected]

MADISON- The Survival Coalition of more than 30 disability organizations is concerned about potential consequences of two bills the Republican State Legislature is fast-tracking today.

Specifically, AB1072 will create obstacles and increase the time it takes for the Department of Health Services to make changes and improvements in Medicaid and other programs that help people with disabilities, including Family Care, IRIS, Badgercare, MAPP, the children’s waiver program, Katie Beckett, intensive autism services for children and more. The bill would make the process to make emergency changes to address crisis situations, updates required by the federal government or even simple changes to programs more difficult.

“Any bill that makes big changes like this to programs people rely on needs more discussion and should go through the health committees of the legislature,” said Lisa Pugh, Survival Coalition co-chair. “These proposed change needs significant public input and more than one hearing.”

“There is no way people with disabilities and others have time to understand these bills or to get to the capitol to testify on such short notice,” said Beth Swedeen, Survival Coalition co-chair. “People with disabilities, their families, and their supporters care deeply about programs on which they rely, and want to weigh in whenever significant changes are made. This requires time and advance notice, as well as multiple modes in which they can participate.”

“We also are concerned that another bill (AB 1071) 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,” said Kristin Kerschensteiner, Survival Coalition co-chair. Survival Coalition members request that the Legislature slow down its process and discuss these bills with proper stakeholder input and expert analysis to address unintended consequences.

Tom Steyer: Calls out Wisconsin GOP for changing the rules after historic loss in midterms

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CONTACT: Tom Steyer Press, [email protected]

After Democrats won every constitutional office in Wisconsin in November, Republicans have moved swiftly to pass new laws to kneecap the power of those offices. In response to this blatantly partisan attempt to cling to power, Tom Steyer released the following statement:

“After being clearly rejected by the people of Wisconsin at the polls just one month ago, the Wisconsin GOP, instead of changing its ideas or its agenda, is changing the rules. After losing every constitutional office in the state, the GOP is moving swiftly to pass laws that would kneecap the power of those offices. In a democracy, the will of the people should stand above partisan advantage. But the GOP, in Wisconsin and across the country, have made their preference clear: power first, democracy second, and the American people last.”

Tomorrow, Tom Steyer will hold a town hall in South Carolina with NAACP President Derrick Johnson to discuss the right to an equal vote in a fair democracy, and launch a discussion to explore the different dimensions of the issue and the steps our government can take to protect the right to an equal vote. This is the first of a series of five town halls that Tom Steyer will host on the five rights essential to freedom in the 21st century.

U.S. Rep. Pocan: Statement on Republican attempts to override will of Wisconsin voters

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Contact: Ron Boehmer 202-225-2906

MADISON, WI – Today, U.S. Representative Mark Pocan (WI-02) released the following statement regarding Wisconsin’s Joint Finance Committee taking up legislation today aimed at weakening the authority of incoming Democratic officials.

“Wisconsin Republicans’ shameful and undemocratic last-minute attempt to override the vote of the people is more becoming of a third world dictatorship than the birthplace of Fighting Bob La Follette and it must be stopped. Jamming the last days of the legislative session with voter suppression legislation and attempts at undermining the agenda of a newly elected Governor and Attorney General is a blatant attempt to override the vote by the people of our state.

“Republicans had eight years of the Scott Walker Administration to enact laws if needed, but instead, they waited until the last minute of an exiting administration to make an unconstitutional push for more power. As a former Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Finance, I know that fast-tracking these bills is not only wrong to do, but also shows how wrong the Republicans know these actions are. By rushing these bills, Republicans know they are attempting to deceive the people.

“Wisconsin voters spoke on November 6, electing Democrats to the Governor’s and Attorney General’s offices, as well as other offices up and down the ballot. Governor Walker, Majority Leader Fitzgerald, and Speaker Vos should immediately reverse course and stop seeking to crack down on voting rights, thwart the incoming administration, and shove through laws that will have long-lasting damaging effects on Wisconsin families.”

UW System: Seeks 3% annual increases in 2019-21 pay plan

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Contact: Heather LaRoi, UW System

608-265-3195, [email protected]

MADISON, Wis. – University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross will recommend the Board of Regents take decisive action to approve a pay plan that would provide UW System employees a three percent pay plan increase for each of the two fiscal years starting July 1.

“As labor markets tighten, salaries rise, and inflation increases, reinvesting in UW faculty and staff with modest wage increases will ensure we are not falling behind and losing out on talent we need in Wisconsin,” Cross said. “Attraction, retention, and recognition of high-quality faculty and staff are critical investment opportunities for future student success.”

In five of the last eight fiscal years, UW System employees have received no pay plan increases, with increases averaging less than one percent between June 2011 and July 2019. Notably, these pay plan increases have trailed inflation and benchmark competitors during this period.

“Many of our employees are already paid considerably below higher education market rates,” Cross said. “We must meet competitive pressures and fairly compensate our hard-working employees.”

Faculty salaries, in particular, continue to lag behind their peers. The plan also cites higher health insurance costs for employees.

The proposal, coming after six years of tuition freezes, calls for full state funding of the general wage increase. Typically, the state provides about 70 percent of the UW System pay increase with the rest being funded by tuition.

“A fully funded increase will protect our educational investments that students rely upon,” said Cross. “That is why we are requesting full funding, so that we preserve the investments we have in student classrooms.”

It will be considered by the Board of Regents on December 6 and, if approved, sent to the Administrator of the Division of Personnel Management who will submit a proposal on UW System employee pay to the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Employee Relations. The UW-Madison pay plan request will be the same as the UW System request.

The recommended pay plan increases would be delivered to all University of Wisconsin System employees.

Waukesha County: December is international sharps injury prevention awareness month

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Contact: Kelly Mehring, 262-896-8013

Proper Disposal of Household Medical Sharps Reduce Public Health Risks

WAUKESHA, WI – December is International Sharps Injury Prevention Awareness Month and Waukesha County would like to remind residents to properly dispose of their medical sharps. Wisconsin medical waste rules require safe management and disposal of sharps to prevent accidental needle sticks and other sharps injuries.

“We want to make sure residents understand that improper disposal of medical sharps is illegal and puts curbside collection and recycling facility workers at risk,” said Analiese Smith, Waukesha County Recycling and Solid Waste Supervisor. “Sharps can create a hazardous situation for people who are providing a service to us all.”

Safe Sharps Disposal Options

  • Take sharps to a registered collection station. To find a site in Waukesha County go to www.waukeshacounty.gov/recycling and click on Residential Product Disposal, then click the Medical icon.
  • Use a “mail-back” sharps program, which can be found by searching the internet. The company should provide containers and packaging which meet U.S. postal regulations.
  • Contact your pharmacy, doctor, clinic or local hospital; many health care facilities accept sharps but are not legally required to register, therefore, may not appear on the list of registered sharps collection stations.

More Information About Sharps Disposal

For more information, disposal publications and other locations for safe disposal of medical sharps in Wisconsin visit the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/HealthWaste/HouseholdSharps.html

Wis. Board for People with Developmental Disabilities: Legislature’s Extraordinary Session bills impact people with disabilities

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Contact: Beth Swedeen, (608) 266-1166

Friday afternoon the legislature released a package of bills for the first time, some of which could have significant consequences for people with disabilities and their families.

The bills would limit the authority of the new Governor to make changes to state programs, including Medicaid waiver programs, and make significant changes to voting laws.

AB 1072 would make it much harder to make changes and improvements to Wisconsin’s Medicaid waivers and Medicaid services, programs like Family Care, IRIS, Children’s Long-Term Support, intensive autism services, Katie Beckett, MAPP and more.

“AB 1072 creates real consequences Medicaid participants and the state,” said Beth Swedeen, Executive Director for the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities (BPDD). “AB 1072 would make it more difficult and time consuming to make technical changes, adjust programs to make them more responsive to state needs, make improvements to programs, and make sure they follow federal requirements that are often tied to increased funding for states.”

There is already a time-intensive, involved process between the state Department of Health Services (DHS) and federal government to negotiate changes to any Medicaid program, and the legislature already has the power to direct the Department of Health Services to make changes to waivers.

Another bill (AB 1071) 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.

There is no way people with disabilities and others have time to understand this bill or get to the capitol to testify on this bill on such short notice. Any bill that makes big changes like this to programs people rely on needs more discussion, public input and more than one hearing.

BPDD has performed a cursory review, however there is no way people with disabilities and others have time to understand the full implications and consequences of these bills or get to the capitol to testify on such short notice. Any bill that makes big changes like this to programs people rely on needs more discussion, public input and more than one hearing.

Read BPPD’s testimony here: https://wi-bpdd.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/BPDD_ExtrodinarySession_120318.pdf

Wis. Technology Council: 2019 Gov.’s Business Plan Contest open for entries

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

MADISON – The 16th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest is accepting entries online for the 2019 competition until 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019.

The contest is designed to encourage entrepreneurs in the startup stage of tech-based businesses in Wisconsin. The contest links up-and-coming entrepreneurs with a statewide network of community resources, expert advice and mentoring, management talent and possible sources of capital.

Over time, the contest has led to valuable public and media exposure for the top business plans and spurred economic growth in Wisconsin. In 2018, finalists shared in more than $150,000 in cash and in-kind prizes.

For their initial entries, contestants will submit a 250-word (about 2,000 characters) idea abstract online at govsbizplancontest.com. That’s where contestants will also find business plan templates and other information, such as the Entrepreneurs’ Toolkit. The toolkitprovides business startup information and assistance, networking contacts and technical resources.

Contestants who advance to subsequent contest rounds will expand their plan in stages. More than 100 judges drawn from the finance, sales, marketing, research and technology sectors across Wisconsin will score the entries and provide feedback on submissions.

To get started, contestants must create a simple account at govsbizplancontest.comAll entries are submitted through the website. Contestants use their account to gain access to mentors throughout the process, as well as review the judges’ comments and feedback.

Since its inception in 2004, more than 3,700 entries have been received and about $2.2 million in cash and services (such as legal, accounting, office space and marketing) have been awarded. Contest categories are Advanced Manufacturing, Business Services, Information Technology and Life Sciences.

Wisconsin residents 18 years old and older are eligible, as are teams from Wisconsin-based businesses and organizations. Businesses or teams from outside the state are also eligible to compete if they demonstrate intent to base or expand their business in Wisconsin. Entrepreneurs may also enter multiple ideas, though each idea must be separate and distinct.

Companies or individuals that have raised less than $25,000 in private equity for their plans in a current form are eligible to enter. Generally speaking, private equity refers to angel and venture capital.

As with past contests, the 2019 competition will take place in stages:

  • In Phase 1, which is open until 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019, the contest will accept idea abstracts on the website. Entries should be roughly 250 words (or no more than 2,000 characters, including spaces) and will be graded by the pool of BPC judges. The top 50 idea abstracts will advance to Phase 2.
  • In Phase 2, which runs from Feb. 18 to 5 p.m. March 11, 2019, the top 50 idea abstracts will submit an executive summary. The top 20 executive summaries will advance to Phase 3. A mentored “boot camp” for contestants will be held in early March.
  • In Phase 3, which runs from April 1 to 5 p.m. April 22, 2019, the top 20 executive summaries will prepare full business plans. Judges will review the plans and pick three finalists from each of the four categories to advance to the final presentation round. Mentored practice sessions will be offered to the top 12 in late May.
  • The top 12, or “Diligent Dozen,” will square off with oral presentations during the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference on June 4 at Venue 42, in Milwaukee.

Past finalists have launched companies that have raised more than $200 million in angel, venture, grants and venture debt over time – all while creating jobs and economic value for Wisconsin. The contest’s major sponsors include the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

The 2018 grand prize winner was NovoMoto, a Madison company. The model is being implemented in the western provinces of the Congo, where the opportunity for cheaper, reliable power will improve lives and provide a profitable business platform over time. Category winners in 2018 were Shockray Self Defense (Advanced Manufacturing), NovoMoto (Business Services), DataChat (Information Technology), and AmebaGone (Life Sciences).

To enter, become a judge or learn about sponsorship opportunities, visit govsbizplancontest.com.

Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters: Statement on lame duck bills

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Contact: Ryan Billingham, Communications Director, 608-208-1129 (office), 608-213-6972 (mobile/text), or [email protected]

MADISON – On Nov. 6, Wisconsin rejected the destructive agenda and policies of the Walker Administration when the majority of voters elected Tony Evers governor and Josh Kaul attorney general.

Rather than accept the will of the people, in a lame duck session beginning today, top Republicans will attempt to undermine Wisconsin’s democracy with a series of unprecedented and radical bills meant to sabotage the state’s duly elected new leaders.

If passed, the bills will have dire consequences for Wisconsin’s environment – diminishing the roll of scientists and other experts at the DNR, reducing the checks and balances between governor, legislature, and attorney general, and favoring illegal polluters. It would also further restrict voting rights and stack the deck in an upcoming judicial election.

One of the proposed bills, AB1070, contains extensive changes to agency rulemaking that will undermine core protections for Wisconsin’s lakes and rivers, air quality, and drinking water. This comes at a time when thousands of Wisconsinites can’t drink their tap water, our lakes are filling with toxic green algae, and our air quality is worsening.

Conservation voters also strongly oppose reducing the powers of the attorney general. Our public health and the health of our environment depends on maintaining a system of checks and balances that safeguard against undue influence from polluting special interests.

Executive Director Kerry Schumann had this to say about the lame duck bills:

“The people of Wisconsin could not have made it clearer on Election Day: it is time for a change. This goes far beyond being sore losers. It’s wrong, it’s unfair, and it’s dangerous. These lawmakers are willing to completely redesign democracy in Wisconsin to undermine the will of the people, further line the pockets of illegal polluters, and attack our most fundamental civil right – the vote.”

Since Saturday, conservation voters have already sent more than 1,000 messages to lawmakers demanding they reject this political power grab and honor the will of the people.

Wisconsin’s Green Fire: Statement on Extraordinary Session Bill AB 1070

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Contact: Michael Cain; 608.225.6071
[email protected]

Proposed Legislation Will Increase Workload and Costs and Hurt Performance for State Agencies

Madison, WI – Extraordinary Session Bill AB 1070 contains provisions that will significantly constrain the work of executive agencies throughout state government. As an organization comprised of many former and active state employees, Wisconsin’s Green Fire understands that some of these provisions, if enacted, are likely to create un-intended consequences that will compromise effective performance and ultimately harm the citizens and stakeholders the agencies are supposed to serve.

State Agencies rely extensively on handbooks, manuals, and directives, collectively known as “guidance documents” in fulfilling their responsibilities under statutes and administrative rules. Guidance documents assure that employees administering the laws understand the requirements of the law and assure consistency in the administration of programs. In the Department of Natural Resources, guidance documents prescribe activities that include fish rearing, wetland delineation, timber management, and air and water sampling, just to name a few examples. Most other agencies likewise rely extensively on guidance documents to direct work of their employees and serve their customers.

AB 1070 codifies current practice by which agency guidance documents go through a prescribed process of public comment and publication in the Legislative Reference Bureau Register. AB 1070 provides that any guidance document that does not meet the standards set out in the bill within six months would automatically be rescinded. We simply do not believe it would be possible for state agencies to comply with this requirement for so many documents on such a broad array of subjects in a six-month period. Vacating all pre-existing guidance documents not developed using current standards would have effects
on almost every aspect of state government and the work of employees in almost every agency.

While we understand the need to assure that guidance documents are consistent with the law and that parties affected by the guidance have input in the process, the procedure called out in AB 1070 is already standard practice at most state agencies. Forcing a new comment period and re-vision for the likely thousands of older guidance documents that were not developed using current practices would require most agencies to divert available subject matter experts away from critical functions. Rescinding all the agency guidance documents across state government that are not re-worked within six months will create an unprecedented uncertainty in day to day agency operations with impacts that will extend well beyond the work of state employees.

In addition to the changes to law regarding guidance documents, AB 1070 also creates additional requirements on all state agencies to provide quarterly detailed expenditure reports to the Joint Finance Committee, and a requirement that agencies prepare retrospective Economic Impact Analysis for any administrative rule at any time requested. The workload from this requirement also needs to be assessed.

AB 1070 needs a fiscal estimate from each affected state agency. The assessments needed could happen quickly but simply cannot occur in time to inform good decisions when proposals are introduced on Friday evenings for committee actions on Monday. It would be unfortunate if legislation intended to increase the obligations of state agencies to perform economic analysis was deliberated and voted on by legislators without the benefit of its own economic analysis.

At a minimum, it appears clear that the un-intended consequences of enacting AB 1070 will include the cost of many thousands of hours of staff experts time diverted away from critical program work, and a concurrent disruption to program performance and public services that will directly affect the citizens and customers our agencies are supposed to serve.

WisDOT: Announces nearly $6.3 million to serve the transportation needs of seniors and individuals with disabilities

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Contact: Office of Public Affairs, (608) 266-3581 or [email protected]

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has notified 60 agencies that they will receive 2019 awards totaling $6,255,353 in state and federal funds to enhance and support local transportation options for Wisconsin seniors and individuals with disabilities. The grants assist local public entities and private, non-profit agencies in rural and smaller urban areas and can be used for mobility management, operating assistance and vehicle purchases.

The program will fund 80 percent of the cost for 68 vehicles to either replace existing vehicles or expand services. WisDOT holds active contracts with several vendors for minivans, minibuses, and medium and large buses. In addition, approved projects for 2018 include funding for 17 mobility management projects to help coordinate transportation services, increase transportation capacity and connect individuals with transportation services in their geographic service area. There also are 17 operating assistance grants that will provide driver training, voucher programs and mileage reimbursement for driver’s using their own vehicles.

The specialized transportation program is administered through the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) via the Federal Transit Administration’s Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities Program (Section 5310).

WisDOT administers the specialized transportation program for the rural and smaller urban areas of the state. The cities of Milwaukee, Madison, Appleton and Green Bay administer the federal 5310 program for their geographic areas. They coordinate with WisDOT to ensure continuity of the application and project selection process.

The federal and state program, initiated in the mid-1970s, has helped fund the purchase of 2,216 vehicles in Wisconsin, including the 597 active vehicles currently providing transportation services to seniors and individuals with disabilities.

See the complete list of Enhanced Mobility for Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities Program Grants for 2019 on the WisDOT website.

WisPolitics Midday: Dec. 3, 2018

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On today’s Wispolitics Midday:

  • Governor Elect Evers’ team is gearing up for a fight ahead of the lame duck session
  • Brad Courtney temporarily re-elected to run the Wisconsin GOP

WPS Health Solutions: Steven MacGillis and family saluted Sunday for Operation Fan Mail

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Contact: Katie Hermsen, 920-569-7218
[email protected]

Wisconsin family’s military service spans four generations and more than 100 years

GREEN BAY, Wis.—Dec. 2, 2018—The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Solutions paid special tribute to Lieutenant Commander Steven MacGillis and his family during Sunday’s Packers-Cardinals game for Operation Fan Mail.

The Milwaukee native has been in the U.S. Navy for 15 years, serving in every area of responsibility, including on six continents. He currently serves as an H-60 helicopter pilot, performing combat search and rescue and special warfare support.

Steven MacGillis is part of a family whose military service spans four generations and more than 100 years. His great-grandfather, Crescent MacGillis, enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1918 and served in World War I. Steven’s grandfather, JJ MacGillis, enlisted in the Wisconsin National Guard at age 15 in 1938, serving during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. He attained the rank of colonel and retired in 1983 after serving more than 45 years.

Steven’s father, Patrick, began his military career in 1968 with the University of Wisconsin ROTC program. He served on active duty in the Wisconsin National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve for more than 30 years, and attained the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Steven MacGillis is currently stationed in Omaha, Nebraska, at the U.S. Strategic Command. He is a lifelong Packers fan and is a Packers shareholder.

He attended Sunday’s game with his mother, Jan, of Cedarburg, Wis., as well as his brother, Brian, and nephew, Jack, both of Plymouth, Wis.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to honor families with a member who is on active duty, or a member who is a veteran. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling. The Packers and WPS Health Solutions will host a family at each 2018 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 115 individuals or families have been recognized through the program thus far.

To choose families, the Packers and WPS Health Solutions are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted next season. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628 or submitted online at http://nfl.packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail/.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game.

December 4, 2018 | December 2, 2018
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