Daily Archives: December 5, 2018

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.

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

 

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.

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: 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.”

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 3.9%), education & health services (up 2.8%), manufacturing (up 2.6%), and other services (up 1.7%) sectors also posted employment gains.

Five of ten major industry sectors posted year-over-year job declines in October, all under 2%. The steepest decline was registered in the trade, transportation & utilities sector, down 1.8%, followed by the financial activities (down 1.6%), professional & business services (down 1.5%), information (down 1.5%), and government (down 0.1%) sectors.
Results were generally positive among hours and earnings indicators for manufacturing workers. The length of the average workweek for production workers was unchanged from year-ago levels at 42.8 hours. Average weekly earnings for such workers rose by 2% from one year ago (to $990) while average hourly earnings rose 2%, to $23.12.

Declines were posted in both Milwaukee area housing and real estate indicators tracked by the MMAC. October existing home sales for the metro area fell 8.5%, to 1,380, this indicator’s fourth decline in six months. Mortgages recorded in Milwaukee County fell at a 10.8% rate (to 2,057), following a 13.6% decline in September.

New-car registrations in the metro area fell for the fourth consecutive month. Registrations
numbered 1,485 in October, a 26.4% decrease from one year ago. Air passenger figures at
Mitchell International Airport were unavailable at the time of this report.
Other Indicators (latest available) Consumer prices nationally, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers (CPI-U), rose 2.5% in October (vs. October, 2017) to 252.885 (1981-84=100). The Milwaukee area CPI-U reached 232.718 for the second half of 2017, a 1.8% increase from 2016’s second half.

Statistical table attached.

Metropolitan Milwaukee Business Indicators
October, 2018
% chg. % chg. % chg.
Current Previous Year from prev. year to
Month month month ago yr. ago month date (1)
ESTABLISHMENT DATA

Total nonfarm payroll employment (000) Oct-18 879.8 875.8 872.4 0.8% 0.5% 0.9%

Construction, mining & natural res. (000) Oct-18 33.9 33.7 32.4 4.6% 0.6% 3.1%

Manufacturing (000) Oct-18 121.8 122.3 118.7 2.6% -0.4% 2.8%

Trade, transportation, & utilities (000) Oct-18 143.4 142.9 146.1 -1.8% 0.3% -0.9%

Information (000) Oct-18 13.1 12.9 13.3 -1.5% 1.6% -4.7%

Financial activities (000) Oct-18 49.7 48.9 50.5 -1.6% 1.6% -3.1%

Professional & business services (000) Oct-18 127.2 128.5 129.1 -1.5% -1.0% 1.0%

Education & health services (000) Oct-18 175.6 173.4 170.9 2.8% 1.3% 2.2%

Leisure & hospitality (000) Oct-18 79.2 79.3 76.2 3.9% -0.1% 0.9%

Other services, exc. public (000) Oct-18 47.6 47.9 46.8 1.7% -0.6% 2.3%

Government (000) Oct-18 88.3 86.0 88.4 -0.1% 2.7% 0.5%

LABOR FORCE DATA

Civilian labor force (000) Oct-18 825.4 827.8 831.1 -0.7% -0.3% 0.2%

Employed (000) Oct-18 800.9 802.9 805.5 -0.6% -0.2% 0.7%

Unemployed (000) Oct-18 24.4 24.9 25.6 -4.7% -2.0% -12.6%

Unemployment rate

Metro Milwaukee Oct-18 3.0% 3.0% 3.1% -0.1(4) 0.0(4) -0.5(4)

Wisconsin Oct-18 2.6% 2.6% 2.7% -0.1(4) 0.0(4) -0.4(4)

United States Oct-18 3.5% 3.6% 3.9% -0.4(4) -0.1(4) -0.5(4)

New unemployment compensation claims Oct-18 2,702 2,392 3,025 -10.7% 13.0% -8.9%

HOURS & EARNINGS (mfg. production workers)

Avg. weekly hours (manuf.) Oct-18 42.8 43.7 42.8 0.0% -2.1% 3.2%

Avg. weekly earnings (2) Oct-18 $989.54 $1,002.48 $969.85 2.0% -1.3% 7.6%

Avg. hourly earnings (2) Oct-18 $23.12 $22.94 $22.66 2.0% 0.8% 4.3%

HOUSING & REAL ESTATE

Existing homes sold Oct-18 1,380 1,393 1,509 -8.5% -0.9% -0.5%

Mortgages (number) (3) Oct-18 2,057 1,817 2,306 -10.8% 13.2% -6.1%

TRANSPORTATION

Airport passengers Oct-18 N.A. 534,931 564,504 N.A. N.A. N.A.

New-car registrations Oct-18 1,485 1,533 2,018 -26.4% -3.1% -18.0%

OTHER INDICATORS (latest available)

Consumer price index (1982-84=100)

Milwaukee (CPI-U) 2ndH-17 232.718 232.123 228.624 1.8% 0.3% 2.0%

United States (CPI-U) Oct-18 252.885 252.439 246.663 2.5% 0.2% 2.5%

 

Notes: (1) The average or cumulative figure year-to-date vs. the same total one year ago. (2) Not adjusted for inflation. (3) Milwaukee County only. (4) Percentage point change.
Figures are not seasonally adjusted except where indicated (SA). Figures are for metro Milwaukee (Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington & Waukesha counties) except where indicated.

Sources: Wisconsin Dept. of Workforce Development, Multiple Listing Service, Milwaukee County Register of Deeds Office, Mitchell International Airport, Wisconsin Dept. of Transportation, and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Milwaukee Ald. Johnson: Governor-elect understands Milwaukee is a part of Wisconsin, not apart from it

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It’s refreshing to hear our state’s incoming chief executive officer express his desire to be a partner with the City of Milwaukee.

In addressing the Common Council, I was happy to learn that the Governor-elect Tony Evers seeks to focus on issues important to Milwaukee like early childhood education, improving healthcare accessibility, laying the groundwork for additional multimodal transit, and reform in the Department of Corrections.

I was also excited to hear that the governor-elect understands that as a big city, Milwaukee’s needs are unique and that this city should have flexibility as it relates to raising revenue that does not rely so heavily on property taxpayers.

It’s alarming to hear Mr. Evers mention that 160 bills limiting local control passed in the last eight years. Especially when a number of those and what’s been slipped into the state budget process greatly impacted if not directly targeted the City of Milwaukee.

 So I greatly anticipate new potential partnerships between City Hall and the Wisconsin Capitol. Tony Evers knows that what is best for our kids is best for our state and that a strong Milwaukee means a strong Wisconsin.

Milwaukee Ald. Johnson: Statement on Advocate Aurora Health wage increases to $15 per hour

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I commend Advocate Aurora Health’s recent decision to increase the minimum wage for its employees to $15.00 per hour by 2021. Advocate Aurora Health now joins the many other private companies in the United States such as Amazon, Target, and Aetna Inc. who have decided to ensure that their employees earn a living wage.

Advocate Aurora Health plans to increase wages to $13.00 per hour in mid-2019, $14.00 per hour in early 2020, and $15.00 by 2021. This strategy establishes a stable and well-charted plan in order to invest in the health provider’s most valuable resource: its employees.

With so many people struggling to make ends meet and some even working multiple jobs, it’s heartening to learn that Wisconsin’s largest private employer will be raising wages for employees. With a significant number of people spending an outsized portion of their income on housing, this investment in people should help to further stabilize families, homes, neighborhoods, and our city.

The current Wisconsin minimum wage of $7.25 per hour is unacceptable and does not allow for hardworking residents to sufficiently pay for their basic expenses. The Milwaukee Bucks’ recent decision to also increase wages for contractors to $15.00 per hour is an encouraging sign that private businesses in Milwaukee truly care about their workers and believe in every employee’s right to a living wage.

I will continue to push for increased wages in the City of Milwaukee and fight to ensure that all working residents earn enough to provide for themselves and their families.

Milwaukee Aldermen and women: Joint statement on state legislature post-election session

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From Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs, Alderman Ashanti Hamilton, Alderman Michael J. Murphy, Alderman Jóse G. Pérez, Alderman Khalif J. Rainey, Alderman Terry L. Witkowski, Alderman Nik Kovac, Alderman Mark A. Borkowski, Alderman Cavalier Johnson, Alderman Robert J. Bauman, Alderwoman Chantia Lewis, Alderman Russell W. Stamper, II, and Alderwoman Nikiya Dodd

 The lame-duck session measures approved by the Republican-controlled state Legislature are aimed at keeping the Legislature in a position of power and hurting Milwaukee. Taxpayers are ill-served by these measures and should be outraged that they are being approved just weeks after Democrats swept every state-wide race in the November 6 fall general election.

We reject the measures and expect that there will be litigation coming forward to oppose them. However, legal challenges would not be necessary if Governor Walker does not sign them – and we urge him to accept the will of Wisconsin voters and NOT sign them into law.

The post-election session legislation includes reducing early voting from six weeks to two weeks, giving lawmakers additional control of the state agency overseeing job creation; reducing the governor’s ability to write state rules and adjust public benefits programs; and allowing lawmakers to replace the attorney general with private attorneys at taxpayer expense.

The early voting limit (similar to one struck down by a federal judge in 2016) would be especially harmful for Milwaukee residents. Milwaukeeans have embraced early voting and the opportunity it provides for making their voices heard and being engaged in local, regional and state-wide concerns.

In the November election there were 36,659 total early votes cast in Milwaukee, meaning the number of early votes cast in the City of Milwaukee for the 2018 midterm election was more than double the total number of 15,300 early votes cast in the 2014 midterm (a whopping 140% increase over 2014).

We believe that is called success and catering to the desires and will of the people. We also believe the provisions just passed are meant to marginalize Milwaukee and keep entrenched legislators in Madison insulated and protected from the effects of the election.

That is called unfair and undemocratic.

One Wisconsin Now: Republicans reject results of 2018 elections and undermine transition of power

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One Wisconsin Now
MEDIA CONTACT
Mike Browne, Deputy Director
MADISON, Wis. — The following are the statements of One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross on the actions of the Wisconsin State Legislature to consider legislation in a post-election extraordinary session to limit early voting and undermine the transition of power before Democrats, who swept every statewide office on the ballot in the November midterm elections, are sworn in:

“While Gov.-elect Evers is trying change the tone in Madison to solve problems, Republicans in the legislature are rejecting the results of the 2018 elections they lost and actively undermining the orderly transition of power.

“Robin Vos, Scott Fitzgerald and their Republican cohorts swore an oath to uphold the Constitutions of the United States and Wisconsin, and it their duty to listen to and to respect the decisions voters make in elections.

“The GOP’s scheming to limit the voices of Wisconsinites and their right to be heard after electoral results that aren’t to their liking is not only disrespectful and wrongheaded, it is unconstitutional.

“We are a Democracy only as long as elected officials don’t put themselves above the law. But that is what Wisconsin Republicans are doing with their assault on the sacred peaceful transfer of power.

“Who knows what Scott Walker will do now that he has to find a job for the first time since 1993, but ‘Destroyed Democracy in Wisconsin’ is not a skill most potential employers are looking for on a resume.”

One Wisconsin Now: While Wisconsin slept Republicans rejected will of voters and worked against orderly transition of power

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

MADISON, Wis. — The following are the statements of One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross on the actions of Wisconsin Republicans rejecting the results of the November 2018 elections, which they lost:

“While Wisconsin slept last night, Republicans worked behind closed doors on schemes to reject the results of the November 2018 midterm elections, in which they lost every statewide office on the ballot.

“Instead of respecting the will of the voters and the laws and traditions of our nation, Wisconsin Republicans have once again sought to rig the rules for their own benefit and in doing so undermined the orderly transition of power from one administration to the next.

“They have even gone so far as to thumb their noses at the voters and a federal court order by re-imposing limits on early voting.

“Over 2.6 million voters of this state cast their ballots, and they spoke up clearly for a change from eight years of complete Republican control of state government.

“The Republicans’ actions are shameful and not worthy of anyone who calls themselves a public servant.”

Protect Our Care: Wisconsin Republicans’ pre-existing conditions fraud

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View this email in your browser
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 5, 2018
Contact: Gabrielle Brown, [email protected]

Legislature Passes Bill Keeping Wisconsin in Pre-Existing Conditions Lawsuit, Despite Voters’ Wishes

Republicans Did Not Have Support to Even Pretend to Protect Pre-Existing Conditions as Walker Promised

Washington, D.C. – After hours of closed door debate, Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate failed to muster enough support to for legislation that they falsely claimed would ensure protections for people with pre-existing conditions, despite their efforts to invalidate them in federal court. This bill comes after Republicans passed legislation that seeks to deny the duly elected incoming Democratic Governor and Attorney General from withdrawing participating in Walker-Schimel-Trump’s assault on pre-existing conditions in federal court. The bill passed the legislature and now heads to the Governor.

Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, released the following statement in response:

“I’d like to thank the Wisconsin Republicans who just proved that all of Scott Walker’s crocodile tears on the campaign trail about protecting people with pre-existing conditions were a total charade. For a decade, Wisconsin Republicans have tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act and its protections for the 2.4 million Wisconsinites living with pre-existing conditions, and that has never changed.

“By digging their heels in on their lawsuit to eliminate pre-existing conditions and repeal the Affordable Care Act, Scott Walker, Brad Schimel, and Wisconsin Republicans are proving they don’t really care about the health of their constituents and that they’ve learned nothing from the outcome of November’s election. Tony Evers and Josh Kaul were elected because of their pro-health care positions, including their pledges to withdraw from the Walker-Schimel-Trump lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act and its protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and the will of the voters should be respected.”

BACKGROUND:

MILLIONS OF WISCONSINITES AT RISK

2,435,700 Wisconsinites Live With A Pre-Existing Condition. About one in two Wisconsinites, 51 percent, lives with a pre-existing condition. [Center for American Progress, 4/5/17]

1,187,000 Wisconsin Women And Girls Have A Pre-Existing Condition. Approximately 1,187,000 women and girls in Wisconsin live with a pre-existing condition. [Center for American Progress and the National Partnership For Women and Families, June 2018]

308,100 Wisconsin Children Already Have A Pre-Existing Condition. Roughly 308,000 Wisconsinites below age 18 live with a pre-existing condition. [Center for American Progress, 4/5/17]

616,900 Older Wisconsinites Live With A Pre-Existing Condition. 616,900 Wisconsin adults between the ages of 55 and 64 live with at least one pre-existing condition, meaning attacks on these protections significantly threaten Wisconsinites approaching Medicare age. [Center for American Progress, 4/5/17]

THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT OUTLAWED DISCRIMINATION BASED ON PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS — GOP LAWSUIT TO OVERTURN THE LAW BRINGS DISCRIMINATION AGAINST PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS BACK

Because Of The Affordable Care Act, Insurance Companies Can No Longer Deny Coverage Or Charge More Because Of Pre-Existing Conditions. “Under current law, health insurance companies can’t refuse to cover you or charge you more just because you have a ‘pre-existing condition’ — that is, a health problem you had before the date that new health coverage starts.” [HHS]

The ACA Outlawed Medical Underwriting, The Practice That Let Insurance Companies Charge Sick People And Women More. As the Brookings Institution summarizes, “The ACA outlawed medical underwriting, which had enabled insurance carriers to court the healthiest customers while denying coverage to people likely to need costly care. The ACA guaranteed that all applicants could buy insurance and that their premiums would not be adjusted for gender or personal characteristics other than age and smoking.”

The ACA Stopped Companies From Charging Women More Than Men For The Same Plan. The Affordable Care Act eliminated “gender rating,” meaning American women no longer have to pay an aggregated $1 billion more per year than men for the same coverage.

Thanks To The Affordable Care Act, Insurance Companies Can No Longer Rescind Coverage Because of Illness. Because of the ACA, insurance companies can no longer rescind or cancel someone’s coverage arbitrarily if they get sick.

HEALTH CARE WAS THE TOP ISSUE FOR WISCONSIN VOTERS

A Public Policy Polling election day survey of Wisconsin voters found that health care was the top issue for voters in the state — and that they overwhelmingly favored Democrats on it, propelling Tony Evers to victory.

  • 68% of voters said that health care was either a very important issue, or the most important issue to them. Those voters supported Evers over Scott Walker 65-33.
  • When asked to name the single issue most important to them in 2018, a plurality (27%) picked health care. Among those voters who said health care was their single most important issue in the election, Evers defeated Walker by a whopping 89-7 margin.
  • Evers especially had an advantage over Walker when it came to the issue of who voters trusted more to protect people with pre-existing conditions. 50% preferred Evers to protect pre-existing conditions to only 41% who preferred Walker.
  • Scott Walker’s support for the Republican health care repeal agenda hurt him badly. Only 32% of voters said his support for repeal made them more likely to vote for him, while 47% said it made them less likely to support him.
  • An overwhelming majority of Wisconsinites want to see the Affordable Care Act stay in place– 62% think it should be kept with fixes made to it as necessary, compared to only 32% of voters who support repealing it.

Rep. Bowen: Republicans finalize lame duck power grab

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Contact: Rep. David Bowen
(608) 266-7671

MADISON – Representative David Bowen (D-Milwaukee) issued the following statement following the marathon power grab legislative session:

“Wisconsin Republicans have gone too far and people from both sides of the aisle have made that clear by flooding their offices with calls and emails. The fact that they couldn’t get done everything they wanted is a win for those who believe in democracy and my Democratic colleagues who refused to give in to these corrupt tactics. I look forward to when these measures are found unconstitutional and our state can get past this low moment in our history. In the meantime, I encourage everyone to continue to call the governor’s office at (608) 266-1212 to make their voices heard.”

Rep. Considine: Statement on lame duck session

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CONTACT: Rep. Considine
[email protected]
(608) 266-7746

Madison – This week the State Legislature held a “lame duck” legislative session to debate several bills introduced by Republican leadership in the Senate and Assembly. The bills roll back many powers of the Governor’s office and make it difficult or impossible for many departments of our state government to do their jobs. They total nearly 300 pages and were made public only four days before the session.

“My constituents have made it very clear that they want Republicans and Democrats in our state government to work together,” stated Rep. Dave Considine of Baraboo. “This is not how we do that. I voted against these bills because I am disheartened by this pettiness. I have gotten to know some of my Republican colleagues personally over the past few years and I know they are better than this.

“Regardless of what past legislatures have done in lame duck sessions, regardless of who you voted for in November, regardless of what political party you side with, our constituents deserve more. They are asking us to put our bitter feelings aside and follow the will of the people. I am ready to do that.”

Rep. Hintz: Statement on extraordinary session

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Contact: Aaron Collins, 608-266-2254

MADISON – Assembly Democratic Leader Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) released the following statement on actions taken by legislative Republicans during the lame duck Extraordinary Session:

“Nothing we did last night had anything to do with helping the people of Wisconsin. It was about helping politicians. It was about power and self-interest. This is exactly what people hate about politics.

“Normally, the period after the election is the most optimistic time of the two-year cycle. A time to come together and see what common goals we share. And yet, Republicans couldn’t even wait 24 hours after the election to say they were planning to strip Governor-elect Evers of his powers before he has even taken the oath of office. The disrespect to this institution shown by these actions is unprecedented and appalling. No one should pretend what occurred last night is remotely normal. It is hard to overstate the long-term damage this will have on our democracy. Republicans are making our state a national disgrace by this blatant attempt to override the will of the voters.”

Rep. Jacque: Applauds passage of agency transparency reform

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Contact: Rep. André Jacque
(920) 819-8066

Adoption of Rep. Jacque/Sen.Craig bill a big win for Wisconsin residents

Madison, WI –State Rep. André Jacque, R-De Pere praised the inclusion and passage earlier today of his “Agency Transparency Reform Act”, co-authored by State Sen. David Craig (R- Big Bend) and previously introduced as Senate Bill 745 / Assembly Bill 880:

“I am excited that several long overdue reforms I introduced early this year are becoming a reality with this bill. This legislation will provide more transparency, accountability and oversight of state agencies and give the public greater access and opportunity for input, ensuring that state agencies are not overstepping their regulatory authority and imposing new regulations that have not been through the rulemaking process.

I am thankful to my colleagues for their assistance in passing this reform to close what is commonly known as the wink-and-nod “sue and settle” loophole through which agencies have sought to grant themselves regulatory authority rubber-stamped by venue-shopped courts outside of the legislative process, and to eliminate undue deference given to state agencies outside of the plain language of the law and used against Wisconsin residents when challenging agency decisions.

This bill also clearly defines what a guidance document is and lays out a process through which proposed guidance documents are published. Often, in order to avoid the somewhat lengthy, deliberative process of rulemaking, agencies will make new “guidelines” that they claim have the force of law on Wisconsin communities and citizens through guidance documents. Sometimes, simply through sending a letter. While guidance documents are meant to be used to explain the law as it exists, I have frequently heard from constituents, small businesses and local governments how guidance documents have been abused as a vehicle to actually change the law and been hidden from sight, or dusted off after decades. Guidance documents buried in an agency’s desk drawer should not be used as a vehicle to avoid the rulemaking process without any accountability or oversight by those elected to create laws.

These Agency Transparency Act provisions are needed, common sense steps forward for good government.”

Rep. Neubauer: Statement on lame duck session

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Contact: Rep. Greta Neubauer, 608-237-9166
[email protected]

Legislative Republicans need to let Gov.-Elect Evers do his job

MADISON, WI – Over nine hours after the scheduled start of session for the Wisconsin State Assembly for the December 4, 2018 lame-duck Extraordinary Session, the Assembly was finally called to order at 10:00pm. As of 1:00am on December 5, 2018, the Assembly stands in recess for Republican caucus. Representative Greta Neubauer (D-Racine) issued the following statement:

“In our floor debate so far today, we have heard Republican leaders repeating over and over again that they are acting to “protect” the changes to state law made under Governor Walker. What does this mean? It means that, despite thousands of Wisconsinites traveling from across the state to testify yesterday, and untold others contacting their legislators via phone, email, social media, and more, Republicans think they know better than the people of Wisconsin.

“Last month, Wisconsin voted for change,” Neubauer continued. “They voted for a government for the people, not eight more years of Republican partisan games. From last month’s election to the overwhelming constituent outreach on these bills to the amazing citizen turnout at the Joint Finance Committee last night, it is clear that the people of Wisconsin want legislative Republicans to let Governor-Elect Tony Evers do his job.

“In contrast, my Republican colleagues have made it clear that they don’t care that the people of Wisconsin voted for a new Governor. They are willing to change the rules when they lose, play politics for partisan gain, and undermine our democracy, instead of listening to their constituents.”

Rep. Ohnstad: Response to Republican lame duck sore loser laws 

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Contact: Rep. Ohnstad, 608-266-0455

MADISON – Today, Representative Tod Ohnstad (D-Kenosha) issued the following statement regarding yesterday’s extraordinary legislative session.

“I am deeply disappointed in legislative Republicans’ decision to override the will of the people and ignore voters’ clear desire for change.  Put simply: the Republicans are sore losers.  These proposals are exactly the kind of political games voters rejected on November 6th.  Republicans should try listening to voters to learn why they lost, instead of changing the rules for short-term political gain.”

Rep. Pope: Republicans override the will of Wisconsin voters

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Rep. Sondy Pope
608-266-3520

GOP strips Governor-Elect & Attorney General-Elect of Powers

MADISON, Wis. – Early this morning, Republicans passed a series of sweeping changes to limit the powers of Governor-Elect Tony Evers and Attorney General-Elect Josh Kaul. This action nullifies the wishes of over a million voters in the Nov. 6 election, in which Republicans saw each statewide constitutional office taken by Democrats. The proposals were made public last Friday and were rammed through the legislative process with little regard to procedure or public opinion. In response, Representative Sondy Pope (D-Mt. Horeb) released the following statement:

“The idea that Republicans would override the will of over a million Wisconsin voters is outrageous. These actions set a terrible precedent for politics in our state and flies in the face of the Republicans’ insincere calls for bi-partisanship. In addition to gerrymandering and voter suppression, the passage of these bills is yet another shameful chapter in the Republicans’ history of subverting the will of the people. Wisconsin deserves better.”

“In spite of these unfortunate events and looming GOP obstruction, I have full confidence that Governor-Elect Evers will able to accomplish what the people of Wisconsin elected him to do – make Wisconsin a better place to live, work and learn.“

Rep. Shankland: Legislative Republicans override the will of the voters

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Contact: Rep. Katrina Shankland
Office: (608) 267-9649

(Madison, Wis.) – After an all-night session, the State Assembly passed lame duck legislation to limit the powers of the governor and attorney general. In response, Rep. Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point) released the following statement:

“Wisconsin voters made it very clear what they wanted on November 6 – change. When they elected a full roster of new Democratic constitutional officers this fall, they didn’t expect Republicans to override the will of the voters through lame duck legislation that limits the powers of the governor and attorney general,” said Rep. Shankland, a member of the Joint Finance Committee.

“It’s very telling that these bills were introduced by Speaker Vos late Friday afternoon, and that he refused to testify at the public hearing two days later. They couldn’t even give us real fiscal estimates to tell us what these bills will ultimately cost our state. It could be very costly, not only to our taxpayers, but also to our democracy.”

“These bills were drafted two weeks after the November election when Republicans lost every statewide office. This amounts to nothing more than a power-hungry move by politicians desperately trying to cling to power. They should keep their grubby hands off our democracy. I don’t believe for one second that we would have had a lame duck session to take away power from Governor Walker and Attorney General Schimel if they had been re-elected. Republicans have had complete control of all levers of state government for eight years, with every opportunity to enact these changes.

“The record turnout in the midterm election underscored one message: voters want us to work together to fix our roads, protect and expand access to healthcare, and invest in education – not waste our time and taxpayer money on this abuse of power. If this lame duck session were truly meant to advance the best interests of the people of Wisconsin, we would not have seen delay after delay of the start time, to the point that voting took place overnight, at times when most of the public were sleeping.”

“The people of Wisconsin need to know that we absolutely heard them at the ballot box and in their testimony in opposition to this lame duck extraordinary session. While the politicians who gerrymandered themselves into office might not be listening, I hear you loud and clear. We owe it to our constituents to do our jobs and put people before politics, and I encourage my Republican colleagues to work with us to improve the lives of our constituents.”

Rep. Sinicki: Statement on the ‘lame duck’ session

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Contact: Rep. Sinicki 608.266.8588

MADISON–
“The statewide elections on November 6th highlighted the clear will of the Wisconsin people. We voted to move away from Gov. Walker’s zero-sum politics toward progressive, honest solutions to challenges facing our state. The actions of Republican legislators during the lame duck session, however, prove their continued disregard for the voices of Wisconsin voters. Instead of listening, Republican legislators undermined our representative democracy in exchange for short-term political gain.

“In short, legislative Republicans severely curtailed the authority of Governor-Elect Tony Evers and Attorney General-Elect Josh Kaul. The devil is certainly in the details, but Republicans’ repressive actions continue Governor Walker’s and their own tradition of voter suppression and blatant gerrymandering. They continue to strip the state of Wisconsin of its system of true representation.

This lame duck session was nothing more than the coalescing of power in the hands of a few who no longer possess the true backing of the Wisconsin people. Viewed through a wider lens, Republicans’ actions here mirror the same alarming trend in other states. In North Carolina, Michigan, Ohio, and Missouri, elected Democrats are also battling similar attacks by Republican legislatures. Moreover, these attacks are evocative of repressive political trends in Europe, where several elected democracies, like Hungary, are tilting away from representation toward autocracy.

“I am sickened by the way this lame duck session has shamed our state in the eyes of the nation. Republicans have sunk to the lowest level: willfully overruling the will of the people in a desperate act of self-preservation. I am infuriated by Republicans’ orchestrated removal of the Wisconsin people from our own democratic process. I believe today marks a dark day in Wisconsin that history will judge harshly, and that sets a dangerous precedent for the road ahead.

Rep. Spreitzer: Opposes extraordinary session bills seeking to override Wisconsin voters

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Contact: Rep. Spreitzer, 608-266-1192

MADISON—Today, State Representative Mark Spreitzer (D-Beloit) voted against three unprecedented proposals offered by Legislative Republicans. These proposals, SB 883, SB 884, SB 886 would strip incoming Governor-Elect Tony Evers and Attorney General-Elect Josh Kaul of many of the essential functions that millions of Wisconsin voters said they wanted Evers and Kaul to have on November 6th.

“This is a blatant attempt to override and disrespect the will of Wisconsin voters,” said Rep. Spreitzer. “Legislative Republicans need to stop putting politics before people and should work together with the incoming administration on the problems facing our state.”

Encompassing nearly 300 pages of text, Assembly Republican Speaker Robin Vos released four new proposals at 4:30 PM on Friday, November 30. The Joint Finance Committee then called for a committee hearing the following Monday and a vote of the entire assembly was scheduled for Tuesday (Dec. 4). Drafting files indicate that Robin Vos began drafting these proposals a week after Democrats won every single statewide election on Nov. 6th.

“The people said loud and clear on November 6th that it’s time for a change,” Rep. Spreitzer added. “There are many things in these bills that are bad, but the central issue is that Republicans lost the only elections conducted outside of gerrymandered districts and are now trying to override the will of the people. We have checks and balances for a reason, and this attempted subversion of the voters shows why those checks and balances are more important than ever.”

Rep. Taylor: Wisconsin Republicans override the will of Wisconsin voters

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For More Information, Contact: Rep. Chris Taylor, 608-266-5342

MADISON – This morning, legislative Republicans overrode the will of the Wisconsin electorate and passed a series of bills that disregard institutional checks and balances and drastically expand their own power. The wide-ranging bills give legislative Republicans the power to hire private attorneys to replace the democratically-elected Attorney General, give additional tax benefits to the wealthy, and hamstring the ability of executive agencies to effectively serve the people of Wisconsin.

“On Monday, the Wisconsin Elections Commission certified the results of the November 6th General Election,” said Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison). “Today, legislative Republicans nullified the results of that election and overrode Wisconsin voters. Never before in the history of our state has an Extraordinary Session been used to disregard the will of the voters and take away power from a newly elected Governor and Attorney General.”

“The people of Wisconsin spoke on November 6th – They want a government that works together and focuses on their priorities, not a government for Republican politicians,” continued Rep. Taylor. “Wisconsinites have suffered over the last eight years of Republican control, and want their roads fixed, expanded access to healthcare, and investments in their public schools – What Republicans did today makes it more difficult for our government to function, to thrive, and for the will of the people to be carried out.”

Republicans tweak bill to strip Evers of power to appoint WEDC CEO, but restore it in September

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Lawmakers would still strip Gov.-elect Tony Evers of the power to appoint the head of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., under a revised proposal the Senate and Assembly approved Wednesday.

But that power would be restored in September in a move that appears designed to give the new guv and the GOP lawmakers a window to feel each other out on the direction of the state’s job creation agency.

That revision was one of several changes Republicans made to a bill that would alter the relationship between the Legislature and the guv and attorney general ahead of Evers and fellow Dem Josh Kaul assuming those offices. It also included a host of other provisions, such as new restrictions on in-person absentee voting after a federal judge issued an order preventing the state from enforcing similar steps.

In tweaking the bill, GOP lawmakers, for example, previously planned to give themselves the authority to remove the AG from a case challenging the constitutionality of a state statute.

The amended bill instead would give lawmakers the power to intervene in those cases. It also would give them final approval of a settlement in such a case.

The bill cleared the Senate 17-16 after GOP Sen. Rob Cowles, of Green Bay, joined Dems in opposition to the bill. The Assembly approved it 56-27.

Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, accused Dems of fear-mongering and stirring people up about the contents of the extraordinary session bills.

“You are so grossly exaggerating what is in this bill, it makes me sick,” Vos said. “Because you’re supposed to be legislators. You’re spending most of your time talking about what the executive branch needs and does.”

Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, says Republicans have rigged the system when they’ve won with gerrymandering, “and you’re rigging it this morning when you lost” by seeking to limit the powers of Evers and Kaul.

She also accused Republicans of being ashamed of the legislation, noting that Vos didn’t show up to Monday’s Joint Finance Committee to defend his bills.

The WEDC proposal approved today was slightly different than the original plan.

GOP lawmakers first wanted to give the Assembly speaker and Senate majority leader a majority of the appointments on the WEDC Board, which would have the power to appoint the agency CEO.

The revised proposal would still give the speaker and Senate majority leader a majority of the appointments on the board. It would go to 18 voting members with 10 of them appointed by the speaker and Senate majority leader, six by the guv, and one each by the minority leaders.

The board would then pick the CEO.

But the board would drop to 16 members Sept. 1 as the Assembly speaker and Senate majority leader would each lose one appointment. Under the political composition of the next session, that would mean eight Dem picks and eight from the GOP.

The guv’s power to restore the agency CEO would also be restored Sept. 1.

See Quorum Call for more on the Senate and Assembly’s proceedings.

Sen Hansen: GOP lame duck power grab

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Contact: Sen. Hansen
608-266-5670

“Scott Walker’s and Senate Republicans’ Christmas gift to the people of Wisconsin was to ignore their desire for change and instead deny Governor-elect Tony Evers’ and Attorney General Josh Kaul’s the ability to effectively carry out their duties on behalf of people of our state.

“Their actions are an affront to the voters, basic fairness and our democracy. Rather than work to ensure a smooth transition, they decided to undermine the will of the people and the incoming administration before Tony Evers and Josh Kaul take office on January 7th.

“They can try all they want to turn back the clock on the election, but the people are moving on without them. The best thing for all of Wisconsin would be for Scott Walker and Senate Republicans to come to terms with that and work sincerely with Governor-elect Evers and our new attorney general to help address the challenges our state and our citizens and families are facing.”

Sen. Bewley and Rep. Billings: Letter to Sec. Klett on seasonal work provision

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Stephanie Klett Secretary, Department of Tourism 201 West Washington Avenue Madison, WI 53703

S[email protected]avelwisconsin.com

Dear Secretary Klett,

We are writing about an issue of great importance to the tourism industry in Northern Wisconsin. As you may know, late extraordinary session legislation tonight includes a provision that would codify an extremely harmful rule change made by the Department of Workforce Development.

Seasonal employers, especially in Wisconsin’s tourism industry, had long been able to rely on retaining experienced and talented seasonal workers thanks to the way our UI System was administered. However, the state’s Department of Workforce Development cut the number of weeks an employee who is likely to be rehired can draw unemployment during a seasonal layoff to a maximum of just 12 weeks, far shorter than our Wisconsin winters.

This change was the subject of 75% of comments submitted to the Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council when it occurred. Tourism employers were well represented among the businesses commenting on this change.

We know you are aware of the significant challenges tourism businesses face in retaining quality employees, especially in our part of the state. The change that Senate Bill 886 would write into law forces employees to engage in fruitless searches for work that too often force them to leave the area.

As members of the Governor’s Council on Tourism, we ask you to join us in supporting tourism employers by asking Governor Walker to veto this bill

Sincerely,

Janet Bewley State Senator 257 District

Jill Billings State Representative 95th Assembly District

Sen. Feyen: Statement on extraordinary session

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For Immediate Release
December 5th, 2018
Contact: 608-266-5300

Madison – State Senator Dan Feyen (R- Fond du Lac) released the following statement on
today’s extraordinary session:
“Since the release of the extraordinary session bills on Friday night, I have been working
tirelessly with my policy staff, legislative service agencies, my Senate colleagues, and leadership to understand and pare down these bills to common-sense codification and technical fixes that don’t overstep the powers granted to the legislature. I can confidently say that the votes we took today are in good faith and do not usurp the role of Governor-Elect Evers or convolute the election and voting process.

It is my ultimate responsibility as a legislator to represent my constituents. They clearly
communicated to my office their preference that the separation of powers between branches of government be retained. I do not believe the originally proposed legislation was the morally correct way to proceed; the amended legislation passed today ensures legislative intent is upheld while respecting the authority of the incoming administration.”

Senator Feyen voted today to codify existing administrative rules, to provide technical fixes to existing government programs, to codify several judicial rulings, and to codify federal waivers. These provisions simply ensure current practices continue and that Wisconsin’s statutes are in line with all federal laws and court rulings.

Finally, the Senate voted to support continued economic development measures in our state. Economic and workforce development have been the focus of Senator Feyen since taking office and he looks forward to being able to continue supporting Wisconsin’s businesses though today’s actions.

Sen. Fitzgerald: Statement on extraordinary session

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Contact: Scott Fitzgerald, (608) 266-5660

[Madison, WI] – Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald released a statement following the outcome of today’s extraordinary session:

“Today’s extraordinary session codifies into law reforms that have been eight years in the making. Law written by the legislature and passed by a governor should not be erased based on the political maneuvering of an incoming administration.

“We must make sure that Wisconsin’s business environment continues to thrive. That’s why our reforms to protect the WEDC are critical – we will continue to help Wisconsin businesses grow and prosper without the looming threat of the agency being shut down.

“State legislators are the closest to those we represent. We spend countless hours each year holding town hall meetings, communicating with local elected officials, and hearing concerns from our constituents. Citizens from every corner of Wisconsin deserve a strong legislative branch that stands on equal footing with an incoming administration that is based almost solely in Madison.”

Sen. Larson: Unprecedented power grab will break Wisconsin for years to come

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CONTACT:
Sen Larson
608.266.7505

Milwaukee – Today, Senator Larson released the following regarding the lame duck session.

“This morning, fresh of an election defeat, the Republican-controlled legislature voted to subvert the will of the people. The effects of this vote will be felt for years to come.

“Never before in Wisconsin’s 170 year history has an extraordinary session been used in such a cold, calculated way in order to usurp the power of duly elected constitutional officers. It is particularly disturbing that legislative Republicans would chose to poison the well of bipartisanship before duly elected officials are allowed to take office.

“What the Republicans have done is terribly short-sighted and will leave a permanent stain on their and our state’s legacy. It is unfortunate, that by refusing to recognize the voice of the people, they have broken Wisconsin Government. It will be all of our neighbors who suffer for years to come.

“Wisconsinites went to the polls in record midterm numbers and voted for change on November 6th. They responded to the people by essentially appointing the losing side as Attorney General. Now unelected, unaccountable private lawyers can potentially usurp any federal case from the duly elected Attorney General.

“We have a rich American history of peaceful transfer of power for the good of the people. This morning, Republicans instead decided to burn the house down on their way out the door.”

Sen. Ringhand: Republican’s holiday gift to Wisconsin: An assault on democracy

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State Senator Janis Ringhand: (608) 266-2253; [email protected]

(Madison) Today, the Republican controlled State Legislature convened in a lame-duck session to throw its final temper tantrum of 2018. Speaker Vos (R-Burlington) and Senate Majority Leader Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) along with our local Republican legislators evidently do not like the fact that the voters of the state elected Democrats Tony Evers Governor and Josh Kaul Attorney General.

“If I was on the losing end of an election that saw my party lose every state wide election this past November, I’d reexamine the positions I campaigned on since a majority of the people in Wisconsin thoroughly rejected them. Astonishingly, the Republicans primary concern is to protect their own power. Instead of reevaluating the right wing ideology the voters rejected, they convened an unprecedented lame-duck session to pass bills limiting ability of the newly elected Governor and Attorney General to do their jobs and to stack state boards and commissions with handpicked cronies,” said Senator Ringhand.

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.

“It is unfortunate that our local Republican legislators did not stand up to their leaders and chose to put politics before the wishes of the people who want both political parties to work together and solve the problems facing our state,” concluded Ringhand.

Sen. Schachtner: Statement on lame-duck extraordinary session

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For more information, contact: Jordan Krieger, (608) 266-7745

(MADISON) – Today, the Wisconsin State Legislature voted to usurp executive branch powers, restrict early voting, and enact new limitations on local control.

The bills taken up by the Legislature include over 40 separate proposals, most of them aimed at reducing the incoming governor and attorney general’s powers. One proposal requires the attorney general to seek legislative approval to withdraw from litigation and allows the legislature to intervene in certain legal proceedings. Another proposal restricts when early voting can begin. In 2016, a federal judge ruled against a similar early voting limitation, stating that it was an attempt to “stifle votes for partisan gain.”

Following the extraordinary session, Senator Patty Schachtner (D – Somerset) offered the following remarks:

“We were sent to Madison to represent the people, not undermine their will,” said Sen. Patty Schachtner (D – Somerset). “It is unfortunate that instead of respecting the prerogative of Wisconsin voters, Madison Republicans are serving themselves by gutting checks and balances and consolidating their own power.”

Senate rejects pre-existing conditions bill

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The state Senate Wednesday rejected a bill to provide new state protections for those with pre-existing conditions, which became a central issue in the fall campaigns.

GOP Sens. Dave Craig, of Big Bend, and Chris Kapenga, of Delafield, joined Dems in shooting down the bill 16-17.

Craig told WisPolitics.com afterward that he sought to amend the bill with a “state-based solution” that included high-risk insurance pools. But once that amendment was rejected, the bill too closely resembled “the failed Obamacare mess.”

Dems slammed the proposal as inadequate because it didn’t include any caps on coverage costs for consumers. They tried to amend the bill to include caps on out-of-pocket expenses, but Republicans shot down the amendment.

“This legislation becomes a very cruel joke on people with pre-existing conditions,” said state Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton.

Among other things, the Affordable Care Act prohibits health insurance policies from imposing preexisting condition exclusions.

If that protection went way, the bill would require every health insurance policy to accept anyone applying for coverage regardless of whether that person has a preexisting condition.

No Republicans stood during the debate in the Senate to address the bill’s merits.

The Dems who knocked it included Sen. LaTonya Johnson, D-Milwaukee, who told the chamber she was diagnosed with a tumor not long after her election to the Legislature and would have died without health insurance.

Johnson also choked up recalling not being able to take her daughter to the doctor because she couldn’t afford it.

“I am just so angry right now,” Johnson said, accusing Republicans of wasting time and resources on the extraordinary session when there were more pressing issues concerning Wisconsin residents.

U.S. Rep. Moore: Statement on Republican power grab

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Washington, DC – In response to the Wisconsin State Legislature’s passage of sweeping lame-duck legislation restricting the powers of incoming Democratic Governor Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul, Congresswoman Gwen Moore (WI-04) released the following statement:

“Voters sent Tony Evers and Josh Kaul to Madison with a clear mandate. Their election should have triggered a peaceful transition of power; instead, Wisconsin Republicans have disgraced the state in a midnight legislative session more befitting of a strong man dictatorship than the United States of America.

“The legislators who engineered this coup retained the majority of the legislature, despite getting fewer overall votes than the Democrats, due to highly gerrymandered district lines. Their actions amount to a smash and grab hijacking of the voters’ will.

“This power grab is a direct threat to our state’s democracy. As Wisconsinites, we must stand strong in the face of greed and intolerance to overcome this period of darkness and begin our return to Wisconsin’s progressive roots.”

U.S. Rep.-elect Steil: Announces Wisconsin, Washington Staff Leadership

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Contact: Andrew Iverson

Communications Director

[email protected]

JANESVILLE, Wis. – Congressman-elect Bryan Steil (R-Janesville) today announced the hiring of his Congressional office leadership team.

Ryan Carney will serve as Chief of Staff in the Washington, DC office for Congressman-elect Steil. He is a graduate of The Catholic University of America and a sixteen-year government relations professional. Carney is currently Chief of Staff for Congressman Tom MacArthur (R-NJ).

Carney will begin his duties on January 3, 2019.

Serving as Wisconsin Chief of Staff for Congressman-elect Steil will be Rich Zipperer. Zipperer currently serves as a Commissioner on the Wisconsin Public Service Commission. Prior to this appointment, Zipperer was Governor Scott Walker’s Chief of Staff from 2015 to 2018. He also served in the Wisconsin State Senate and State Assembly after working for Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner in Washington, DC and Wisconsin. Zipperer will begin serving in the office of Congressman-elect Steil on January 7, 2019.

Congressman-elect Steil issued the following statement in response to the hires:

“I am pleased to have two experienced Chiefs of Staff on-board to help serve the people of Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District. Carney’s depth of knowledge and experience on Capitol Hill and Zipperer’s know-how and understanding of the concerns of the people of Wisconsin will prove to be real assets. This strong, experienced team can help ensure that our voice is heard as we work to solve problems for the people of our part of the state.”

Waukesha County Department of Public Works: Public hearing and availability of environmental assessment

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Contact:

Ed Hinrichs

[email protected]

262-548-7740

  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Calhoun Road to 124th Street in the City of Brookfield and Village of Elm Grove

 (WAUKESHA, WI) – The Waukesha County Department of Public Works will host a public hearing for the North Avenue reconstruction study on Wednesday, January 9, at the Brookfield Central High School (16900 Gebhardt Road, Brookfield, WI) cafeteria. The open-house format hearing will go from 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm. Formal public testimony will begin at 6:00 p.m.

Representatives from Waukesha County and the consultant team will be available to discuss the project and answer questions. Exhibits will be on display for viewing. An Environmental Assessment documenting the project, alternatives, and impacts can be found at the Brookfield and Elm Grove libraries or online at northavenuereconstruction.org.

Verbal testimony may be privately given to a court reporter at any time during the hearing from 4:30 to 8 p.m. Written comments may be provided at the hearing or after the hearing as long as they are received or postmarked by January 23, 2019. Comments should be sent to:

Ed Hinrichs

Waukesha County Department of Public Works

515 W. Moreland Blvd, Rm. 220

Waukesha, WI  53188

[email protected]

 

About Waukesha County Department of Public Works

The Waukesha County Department of Public Works is committed to providing the foundations of success for the citizens and businesses of Waukesha County by constructing and maintaining quality transportation and building infrastructure. Get info on projects, plans, and more at www.WaukeshaCounty.gov/DPW.

Follow Waukesha County DPW on Twitter at www.twitter.com/WaukeshaCoDPW.

WED AM Update: Senate passes 3 lame-duck bills; Assembly still in session

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WED News Summary: GOP lawmakers send lame-duck session bills to Walker

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WED PM Update: Evers says he’ll urge Walker to veto extraordinary session bills

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Wisconsin AFL-CIO: In dead of night, Republicans in Legislature attack democracy

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Contact: Karen Hickey, 414-573-7579, [email protected]

Stephanie Bloomingdale, President of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO released the following statement on Wisconsin’s lame duck special session.

“The people went to the polls in November and voted for change. Instead, Wisconsinites continue to witness unprecedented power grabs and ruthless partisan politics from politicians in Madison during a lame duck special session. After only making bills public at 4:23 p.m. on a Friday evening, Republicans rammed through multiple lame duck measures that erode the Wisconsin tradition of fairness, transparency and decency in government in the dead of the night Tuesday. This sore loser, sour grapes recipe to cling to power and limit the authority of our newly elected Governor Tony Evers is a betrayal of democracy.”

Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities: Inserting political process into Medicaid hurts people with disabilities

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Media Inquiries: Beth Swedeen (608) 266-1166

The State Senate and Assembly have passed SB 886/AB 1072 which will add significant bureaucratic requirements into the Department of Health Services’ routine work and inserts a political process into the health and long-term care programs that serve 1.2 million Wisconsin citizens

“All Medicaid waiver programs have been singled out as needing special permission from the legislature to operate and evolve,” said Beth Swedeen, Executive Director for the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities. “This bill creates real consequences for all Medicaid participants in the state.”

Wisconsin’s Medicaid waivers include programs children and adults with disabilities use, like Family Care, IRIS, Children’s Long-Term Supports, Medicaid Assistance Purchase Plan, BadgerCare, autism services and more.

The bill prevents the Department of Health Services from applying for a change to the Medicaid program without getting first legislative approval.

Changes to Medicaid waivers are routine, and the federal Center for Medicaid Services already requires states to renew and update their waivers at least every five years. Many waiver changes are designed to make the programs more cost effective, reward providers that are implementing best practices and achieving desired outcomes, and ensure that people can access the services and supports that keep them healthy and in their homes rather than expensive institutions.

“SB886/AB 1072 makes 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,” said Swedeen.

The legislature already has broad ability to direct the actions of the Department of Health Services and exercise oversight over Medicaid waivers.

The bill awaits signature into law by the Governor.

“We hear from people across the state how critical Medicaid waiver programs are for them and their families. We also hear ideas on ways to improve our systems in ways that will meaningfully improve people’s lives, including their ability to work and contribute to their communities,” said Swedeen. “The Board urges the Governor—who has been a champion for people with disabilities–to consider the long-term negative consequences this bill will have on people with disabilities who are using Medicaid services and supports to stay healthy, work, and be as independent as possible.”

Read BPPD’s testimony on SB886/AB 1072 here: https://wi-bpdd.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/BPDD_ExtrodinarySession_120318.pdf

Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce: Launches new Business Leadership Academy

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Contact: Jason Rae, (715) 790-4334
[email protected]

MILWAUKEE – This week, the award-winning Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce announced the launch of its new Business Leadership Academy. The Business Leadership Academy is a year-long program focused on developing and fostering the next generation of LGBTQ and allied leaders in the workplace.

“Today’s business environment for both small businesses and corporations requires leadership skills like effective communication, creativity, collaboration and the ability to motivate,” said Jason Rae, President & CEO of the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce. “We want to help our members make sure they have the knowledge and tools to grow in their roles.”

The 2019 Business Leadership Academy will meet monthly from February to December on the second Tuesday of each month from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. These workshops will be held in the Milwaukee area. Topics that will be addressed during the program include: Effective Communication, Managing People, Business Financials, Productive Conflict and more.

Interested individuals are encouraged to apply for the program today. Applications are available online at https://wislgbtchamber.com/application/. Applications are due by January 8, 2019. The cost for each participant in the program is $1,500.

“Together, we can break the rainbow ceiling and help get more LGBTQ people into senior leadership positions at businesses and companies in the state,” added Rae.

This past summer, the LGBT Chamber released a study showing that organizations and businesses with one or more LGBT people in senior leadership positions report higher overall firm performance than organizations with no LGBT leadership. The study was commissioned by the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce and conducted by researchers at Marquette University.

“The study showed what we have been saying for years — having LGBT people in leadership positions, whether it as a CEO, a business owner, a part of senior management or on the Board of Directors, is good for a business’s bottom line,” said Jason Rae, President & CEO of the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce. “We’re launching the Business Leadership Academy to ensure we have great LGBT leaders who can be in these business leadership roles.”

More information on the new Business Leadership Academy can be found online at https://wislgbtchamber.com/businessleadershipacademy/.

WisDOT: Open house meeting for stage 2 of Verona Road Project 🗓

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An open house meeting will be held next Thursday, December 13 to discuss design and construction activities for Stage 2 of the Verona Road (US 18/151) Project in Fitchburg.

  • When: 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Thursday, December 13, 2018
    No formal presentation is scheduled; stop by at your convenience.
  • Where: Verona Road Project Field Office
    6200 Nesbitt Road, Suite B, Fitchburg, WI

Maps and exhibits of the Verona Road improvements will be on display. WisDOT representatives will be available at these meetings to discuss the project on an individual basis. We hope to see you there!

Forward this email to family, friends and co-workers and encourage them to register for project email updates!

STAY INFORMEDVerona Road Project website | Project Facebook page | Stage 2 Construction Schedule

For more information, contact:
Steven Theisen
Verona Road Project Communications Manager
(608) 884-1230 | [email protected]

WisDOT and the Verona Road Project Team
www.VeronaRoadProject.wi.gov
Follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/WIVeronaRoadProject

WisPolitics Midday: Dec. 5, 2018

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In today’s WisPolitics Midday:

  • State Senate rejects pre-existing conditions bill.
  • More protests at the Capitol building.
  • Republicans pass three bills in extra session.
December 6, 2018 | December 4, 2018
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