CONTACT: Eric Bott, [email protected]
MADISON, Wis. – Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin (AFP-WI) today launched a paid media effort including digital advertisements thanking Senator Ron Johnson for being a consistent advocate for free speech. Sen. Johnson stood up against S.J. Res 64, which would effectively nullify recent improvements to Internal Revenue Service Rules that help protect personal information from being leaked improperly. AFP-WI is thankful for Sen. Johnson’s championing Americans’ right to freedom of expression.
AFP-WI State Director Eric Bott issued the following statement:
“Senator Johnson has been a consistent champion for free speech and protecting Wisconsinites’ privacy. Our activists are proud of his efforts to defend our right to express ourselves freely.”
This week, Americans for Prosperity released a statement expressing disappointment from the passage of S.J. Res. 64 that Sen. Johnson opposed, a resolution that AFP key voted.
For further information or an interview, reach Lorenz Isidro at [email protected] or (703) 887-7724.
Media Inquiries: Beth Swedeen (608) 266-1166
(Madison)- The Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities is disappointed that Governor Walker today signed into law a bill from last week’s Legislative Extraordinary Session that requires the Legislature to approve all changes and updates to Medicaid waivers, including waiver programs people with disabilities and their families rely in such as Family Care, IRIS, Children’s Long Term Supports, MAPP, Katie Beckett.
This bill needlessly makes routine updates to Medicaid waiver programs more complex and time-consuming and adds a layer of bureaucratic requirements that takes Department of Health Services time away from time that could be used making improvements to programs for people with disabilities.
People with disabilities and their families from all parts of the state requested that the Governor veto this legislation because of potential future negative impacts, including delays that could jeopardize federal waiver funding.
Jared Leopold, 202-772-5600
Today, Democratic Governors Association Communications Director Jared Leopold released the following statement on Scott Walker’s decision to sign legislation restricting the powers of governor-elect Tony Evers:
“By signing this shameful and undemocratic legislation, Governor Scott Walker is cementing his legacy of extreme partisanship and divisiveness. This power grab is an assault on democracy – and it will not stand up to legal scrutiny. This is nothing short of an attempt to overrule the will of the voters of Wisconsin.
“In a democracy, you don’t get to change the rules just because you lost. Governor Walker has refused to come to terms with the simple fact that Wisconsin voted for change in November. We urge governors across the country to stand with us in condemning this affront to democracy and gubernatorial responsibility.”
DNC Chair Tom Perez released the following statement after outgoing Republican Governors Scott Walker and Rick Snyder signed legislation limiting the powers of their successors, Governor-elect Tony Evers and Governor-elect Gretchen Whitmer:
“Scott Walker has shown yet again why the people of Wisconsin lost faith in his leadership and voted him out of office. Instead of respecting the outcome of the election, Walker and Wisconsin Republicans chose to undermine the authorities of Governor-elect Tony Evers. This is the schoolyard equivalent of ‘I’m taking my ball, and I’m going home.’
“This legislation is a danger to our democracy and a perfect example of the cynical politics and petty partisanship that will define Scott Walker’s legacy. His administration was an unmitigated disaster devoid of any shred of dignity or decency. Good riddance.
“As if Walker’s power grab wasn’t enough, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder followed suit mere hours later, signing legislation to gut voter-backed minimum wage and paid sick leave initiatives while also stripping power from Governor-elect Gretchen Whitmer. Rick Snyder failed the people of Michigan over and over. The least he could do is respect their voices and the outcome of the election. And yet, he has failed them once more.
“Wisconsin and Michigan Republicans should be ashamed of themselves. Their voters deserve better.”
Wisconsin’s higher education community comes together to develop ideas to improve health care, transportation, housing, and education across the state
Kenosha, WI – Foxconn Technology Group (Foxconn) announced the selection of 88 first round winners of the company’s “Smart Cities—Smart Futures” competition, an initiative that encourages the sharing of fresh ideas and unconventional thinking for the benefit of Wisconsin. During a ceremony hosted at Carthage College, Foxconn recognized outstanding ideas submitted by students, faculty, and staff from the University of Wisconsin System, the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and the Wisconsin Technical College System.
The “Smart Cities—Smart Futures” competition promotes innovative ideas to enhance quality of life, improve working environments, expand transportation networks and living spaces, inspire creative city planning, and promote sustainable energy solutions in Wisconsin. The competition was open to students, faculty, and staff at all University of Wisconsin (UW) campuses, technical colleges, and independent colleges in Wisconsin. First round winners will receive $500 to help further develop their projects.
A panel of 50 judges from partners in academia and the private sector evaluated a total of 325 submissions and determined the 88 submissions that will proceed to the second round. The highest share of ideas was in the energy and environment category. Other ideas fell into the following categories: mobility and transportation, education, e-health, software, the Internet of Things, smart homes, robotics and manufacturing, and big data analytics.
“The “Smart Cities—Smart Futures” competition has been a catalyst for encouraging impactful ideas from the brightest minds in Wisconsin, for Wisconsin. The success of the competition and the quality of submissions speaks to the power of partnerships. As Foxconn continues to partner with the Badger State, its academic institutions, and its industrious people, there’s nothing we cannot achieve,” said Alan Yeung, Foxconn’s Director of U.S. Strategic Initiatives.
“Foxconn is grateful to every student and faculty member who invested their time and energy to participate in this competition. Everyone who took part has distinguished themselves and demonstrated they share a commitment to improving the quality of life in their communities,” he said.
As part of the “Smart Cities—Smart Futures” competition, Foxconn will provide up to $1 million in cash and in-kind technical support in awards over the next three years.
Round Two of the competition starts in mid-December and runs until January 31, 2019. Each submission will be evaluated independently by four judges who will use six criteria to develop a numeric score. Up to 50 winners will be selected and announced on or before January 31, 2019. The winners of the second round will also be invited to participate in the third round of the competition, which starts from March 1st and runs through March 31, 2019.
Foxconn has partnered with the University of Wisconsin System, the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and the Wisconsin Technical College System on the “Smart Cities—Smart Futures” competition. In addition to the academic partners, the competition is also supported by several groups, including the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, the Wisconsin Technology Council, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the WiSys Technology Foundation, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and the UW-Milwaukee Research Foundation.
For more information about the competition, please visit: https://wismartcities-smartfutures.com/. Social media efforts for the competition are underway with the Twitter handle @SmartCitiesWI and hashtag #SmartCitiesWI, a Facebook page (facebook.com/SmartCitiesWI), an Instagram page (Instagram.com/smartcitieswi) and a LinkedIn page (linkedin.com/company/smartcitiesWI).
Contact: Amy Hasenberg, (608) 266-2839
GREEN BAY – Governor Scott Walker today signed Senate Bills 883, 884, and 886 into law.
“Despite all the hype and hysteria out there, these bills do nothing to fundamentally diminish executive authority,” Governor Walker said. “The bottom line is the new governor will continue to be one of the most powerful chief executives in the country. This includes veto and line-item veto powers; appointing members of the cabinet and other government posts including judges, district attorneys, and sheriffs; broad executive order authority; administrative rule authority; issuing a state budget proposal; and more.
“My criteria when evaluating these bills were simple: Do they improve transparency? Do they increase accountability? Do they affirm stability? And do they protect the taxpayers? The answer is yes.”
Senate Bills 883, 884, and 886 are Acts 368, 369, and 370 respectively.
Contact: [email protected] or 608-267-2560
MADISON – Today, Governor-elect Tony Evers issued the following statement on the lame-duck legislation:
“Today, Governor Walker chose to ignore and override the will of the people of Wisconsin. This will no doubt be his legacy. The people demanded a change on November 6th, and they asked us to solve problems, not pick petty, political fights. The people of Wisconsin expect more from our government than what has happened in our state over the past few weeks.
I’ve said all along that I will put the people of Wisconsin first and work to find common ground. That’s what the people of Wisconsin deserve. We are going to turn our focus to the pressing issues facing our state like fully funding public education, fixing our crumbling roads and bridges, and ensuring health care is affordable and protects people who have pre-existing conditions.”
Contact: Erin Grunze, Executive Director 608-256-0827; [email protected]
MADISON, WI –The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin has long held that the legislature must be responsible to the citizens. Its leaders, committees, and members should represent the state as a whole as well as their own districts. Legislators should not act in their own interest for partisan gains and to retain power.
The sweeping bills Governor Walker signed today were introduced late on a Friday afternoon. The authors of the legislation, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, did not attend the public hearing the following Monday to answer questions about the proposal, which were passed by both houses of the legislature in the wee hours of Wednesday morning that same week.
Good legislation does not result from a rushed, secretive process with little opportunity for input from the public. Such a process results in sloppy errors and wasted tax dollars. Moreover, it reeks of a partisan power grab. Passing legislation shouldn’t be inside baseball. It should be an open and accountable process when those in power are acting on behalf of the people they are representing.
Wisconsinites across the political spectrum value fairness and upholding democratic procedures. These bill and how they’ve been introduced and passed fly in the face of these values.
We are disappointed that Governor Walker signed these mean-spirited bills which will not afford his newly elected successor, Governor-elect Tony Evers, the same authority that he has exercised for eight years, including one he exercised within this past week to solidify the Kimberly Clark deal.
The people of Wisconsin are not well served by partisan shenanigans. We expect our state leaders to work together to serve the people of Wisconsin. It is time to put aside partisanship and start governing.
Mike Browne, Deputy Director
National Redistricting Foundation Will Support the Legal Challenge
MADISON, Wis. — One Wisconsin Institute with the support of the National Redistricting Foundation, a 501(c)(3) affiliate of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, will be pursuing legal action in response to the attack on voting rights passed by the Republican-controlled Wisconsin legislature and signed into law by outgoing Gov. Scott Walker. Perkins Coie will once again represent One Wisconsin Institute.
“This attack by Republicans in the legislature is not just unprecedented — it’s undemocratic, it’s unconstitutional, it’s un-American,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Institute Executive Director. “With the support of the National Redistricting Foundation, our legal counsel will be taking legal action to defend the voting rights victories we won in court in 2016 and protect the rights of Wisconsin voters, present and future.”
A 2016 federal lawsuit, One Wisconsin Institute, et al v. Thomsen, resulted in a number of voter suppression laws adopted by Republicans being struck down, including restrictions on early voting. Judge James Peterson noted in his decision that the GOP’s early voting restriction, “ … intentionally discriminates on the basis of race…”
“This is a shameful attack on our democracy by politicians who will do anything to hold onto power,” said Eric H. Holder, Jr., 82nd Attorney General of the United States. “After losing an election, Republicans in the state legislature are using their gerrymandered majorities and their defeated governor to ignore the will of the people. Their actions are grossly partisan, deeply undemocratic, and an attack on voting rights. They must not stand.”
According to the latest data from the Wisconsin Elections Commission, a total of 565,591 votes were cast early in-person or by absentee ballot. As reported by the Associated Press, a midterm election record 2.6 million Wisconsinites voted, meaning roughly 20 percent of the vote was cast early.
Records obtained by One Wisconsin Now from the office of Republican Assembly leader Robin Vos show that on November 14, Vos’ office 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 specifically warned that the new scheme to restrict voter rights could run afoul of Judge Peterson’s 2016 ruling that found early vote restrictions previously imposed by Wisconsin Republicans not only discriminated on the basis of race, but also were intended to give Republicans a partisan advantage.
“Scott Walker, Robin Vos and the Republicans have targeted the voters who went to the polls in record-setting numbers by attacking the right to vote,” Ross said. “Record-setting early voting isn’t an emergency, it is democracy.”
Contact: Iris Riis
MADISON – Gov. Scott Walker signed several lame-duck bills on Friday, ending his tenure of governor much like it began – by placing politics ahead of the Wisconsin people.
Statement from Nicole Safar, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin:
“In a final power grab before Gov.-elect Tony Evers and Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul take office, Republican legislators ignored Wisconsin voters’ clear preference for more health care and fairer representation in November. This cynical move strips power from the incoming administration, power that Governor Walker consolidated for himself when his party won elections. Taken together, these bills will make voting more difficult in future elections and override the decision voters made this November – to empower Tony Evers and Josh Kaul and the vision they offered our state.
“PPAWI will continue to mobilize Wisconsin voters, making sure no one forgets how Republican legislators passed these bills as last minute attempt to override the voters in our state. Voters decisively chose Tony Evers and Josh Kaul because their agenda was more health care and expanded opportunity for us all. While the governor-elect and attorney general-elect are focused on working for the people of Wisconsin, Republicans’ actions show that they are out of line with the majority values of our state, and they will stop at nothing to change the rules, ignore the people and make it harder for our new leaders to fight for us and the policies we voted for in November. PPAWI stands with the incoming administration and its efforts to expand health care, fight for fair elections and create healthy communities for us all.”
Contact: Peter Barca, 608.266.5504
MADISON – Representative Peter W. Barca (Kenosha/Racine) issued the following statement:
“I am greatly disappointed to see that Governor Walker chose to defy the will of the voters and citizens of this state and signed into law these bills that disrespect the voters who decided the state needed to move in a new direction.
After the bills were first made public late on a Friday afternoon, thousands of people came to the capitol the following Monday for the public hearing. Over 1,400 people came from across the state to register in opposition, and only one person came to support only 1 of the 44 provisions in these three bills. Of the organizations that registered, 35 of the 36 were opposed, but Governor Walker once again proved that he does not respect the people of this state and only takes extreme measures that have little to no support among the citizens of our state.
While sad he can’t even respect the voters who chose a new direction, it is important to note that he doesn’t even listen to lifelong Republicans, including former Republican Governor Scott McCallum and 8 former Republican and Democratic Cabinet Members (including one of his own), who called on him to veto these bills. With this level of disregard, it is no wonder three of his former cabinet members endorsed his opponent in the election.
It is unprecedented and totally unimaginable that Governor Walker would sign any of this legislation. It is particularly galling that he chose not to veto in part or in full the provisions that were identical or nearly identical to those he chose to veto earlier this session. As Walker said in various veto messages, these bills would impede departments from bringing projects to completion, it is administratively burdensome and redirects staff away from their mission, and perhaps most telling, it would encroach on the executive branch’s responsibility to manage state agency programs within statutes and funding levels. It is also impossible to miss the irony that just yesterday Walker announced a deal with Kimberly-Clark that he states is vital to his legacy and today takes away that same authority from his successor.
It is void of decency and totally hypocritical of Governor Walker to defy principles he outlined as important to Wisconsin in past veto messages while he was Governor and take the opposite view when it applies to the next administration. He has lost any sense of concern for the state and respect for the voters. Additionally, as in North Carolina, the judicial branch will rule much of this unconstitutional!”
Contact: Rep. James Edming
Rusk County Republican to lead new committee during the 2019-2020 legislative session
MADISON – Representative James Edming (R-Glen Flora) released the following statement regarding his appointment by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) as the chairman of the new Assembly Committee on Labor and Integrated Employment earlier this week.
“It is an honor to be named the chairman of the Labor and Integrated Employment Committee. With record low-unemployment, there are many employers around the state who are seeking to hire capable, dependable employees. This is no different in the 87thAssembly District. As I travel the district, I hear from employers, both large and small, who share their need for more workers. Finding new ways to grow our labor force is an important part of keeping Wisconsin’s economy strong.
“During my time in the legislature, I have learned that a group of people who are often overlooked by employers are people with disabilities. Many individuals with disabilities want nothing more than to work in their communities, they just may need a little extra support to do so. I am proud to have authored the Employment First Act this past session that made Wisconsin a national leader in promoting competitive integrated employment for people with disabilities. I am grateful to Speaker Vos for giving me the opportunity to continue to lead in this area by appointing me to chair this important committee.
“I look forward to leading the Labor and Integrated Employment Committee this upcoming session and hope that this new committee can help foster new ideas to help grow the labor force in our state to meet the needs of our state’s employers and allow Wisconsin to continue to lead the nation in promoting community-based employment for people with disabilities.”
Contact: Rep. Goyke 608.266.0645
MADISON – Today State Representative Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee) was appointed by Minority Leader Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) to the legislature’s powerful Joint Committee on Finance for the upcoming 2019-2020 legislative session.
“I am honored to serve next session as a member of the Joint Committee on Finance,” Rep. Goyke stated following his appointment. “I thank Minority Leader Hintz for his confidence and this opportunity to serve my constituents and the State of Wisconsin in this important role. Simply put – I’m ready to get to work.”
The Joint Committee on Finance is comprised of 16 legislators – 12 Republicans and 4 Democrats. Its duties include the review of all state appropriations and revenues, as well as the Governor’s biennial budget recommendations.
Rep. Goyke will be joined by Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison) from the Assembly Democratic caucus.
“Our state is at a critical point in its history. It is a great privilege to have a seat at the table as we begin discussions on the biennial budget that will determine our priorities moving forward. I look forward to bringing my own experience and expertise to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard when making important policy decisions.”
Contact: Aaron Collins, 608-266-2254
MADISON – Today, Assembly Democratic Leader Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) formally appointed Representative Chris Taylor (D-Madison) and Representative Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee) to the Legislature’s powerful Joint Committee on Finance (JFC).
“Representative Taylor and Representative Goyke understand the values and priorities important to people across Wisconsin. I am confident they will champion the long-term investments in public schools, transportation infrastructure, and health care our state needs,” Rep. Hintz stated.
“Representative Taylor has years of experience on this committee and she will continue to be an important, progressive voice. When I served with her on JFC, I valued her legal background and thorough manner of questioning. I am also honored to appoint my colleague Representative Evan Goyke. I am always impressed by Evan’s thoughtful, methodical work and his ability to serve as a voice for the voiceless in our society. I know that he will step in on day one and bring a valuable perspective to the budget process. Both members will play a key role in helping to pass Governor-Elect Evers’ budget.”
The JFC is the principal legislative committee charged with the review of all state appropriations and revenues, including a comprehensive review of the Governor’s biennial budget recommendations. The committee has 16 members, comprised of 12 Republicans and 4 Democrats. Representative Taylor and Representative Goyke welcomed their appointments, and are looking forward to the process of beginning work on the biennial budget.
“I am honored to continue serving on the Joint Committee on Finance and to work closely with Governor-elect Evers’ Administration on a state budget that reflects who we are as a state. Nothing is more important to me than doing everything I can to ensure the priorities of the people are funded and are the focus of state policies,” Representative Taylor stated. “In my role on this committee, I will do all I can to direct the people’s money to the needed public investments that make a difference in the lives of Wisconsin families. I am ready to get to work on a budget that works for everyone in Wisconsin, not just those at the top.”
“Being appointed to the Joint Committee on Finance is a unique opportunity and I look forward to stepping up to the challenge. I want to thank my legislative leadership for the ability to serve my constituents, and the people of Wisconsin, in this added capacity,” Rep. Goyke said. “Our state is at a critical point in its history. It is a great privilege to have a seat at the table as we begin discussions on the biennial budget that will determine our priorities moving forward. I look forward to bringing my own experience and expertise to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard when making important policy decisions.”
Contact: Aaron Collins, 608-266-2254
MADISON – Assembly Democratic Leader Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) released the following statement after Governor Walker signed SB 883, SB 884 and SB 886 in their entirety. These bills would strip power from Governor-Elect Tony Evers and Attorney General-Elect Josh Kaul before they take the oath of office.
“This is a disappointing day after a disappointing eight years. The good news for the people of Wisconsin is Scott Walker will only be Governor for another three weeks. Today cements his legacy of division and a willingness to put politics over the people he was elected to represent.”
Contact: Rep. Greta Neubauer, 608-237-9166
Wisconsin was watching, and we won’t forget.
MADISON – Today, Governor Walker signed the lame-duck bills legislative Republicans forced through the legislature in the early hours of December 5th, 2018. The bills enact sweeping changes to the balance of powers and the social safety net in Wisconsin, including an unprecedented effort to remove powers from the Governor and Attorney General’s offices. Representative Greta Neubauer (D-Racine) issued the following statement in response:
“Today, Scott Walker defined his lasting legacy in Wisconsin. By signing the lame-duck bills, Walker endorsed hyper-partisan and winner-takes-all politicking over bipartisanship and respect for Wisconsin voters. The people of Wisconsin chose a new direction in November, but Scott Walker would rather undermine our democracy than allow a fair election to deviate from his plans.
“The importance of a peaceful and respectful transition of power cannot be overstated. The people of Wisconsin deserve better than desperate attempts to cling to single-party control. Wisconsin was watching today, and we won’t forget,” Neubauer concluded.
CONTACT: Michael Tierney, 608-266-7521(office)
MADISON – Representative Lisa Subeck (D-Madison) blasted Governor Scott Walker after today’s bill signing of SB 883, SB 884, and SB 886:
“Governor Walker had a choice today. He could have ended his time in office on a high note by vetoing the GOP power grab. Instead, he signed the bills into law in their entirety, sealing his legacy as a leader who puts politics and partisanship ahead of the people.”
CONTACT: STATE REPRESENTATIVE ROB SWEARINGEN (608) 237-9134
Madison, WI – This week, Representative Rob Swearingen (R-Rhinelander) released the
following statement after being appointed by Speaker Vos (R-Rochester) as Chair to the
Assembly Committee on State Affairs and to the Wisconsin Building Commission.
“I want to thank the Speaker for the honor and privilege to have been named as Chair of the Assembly Committee on State Affairs for the 2019-2020 session,” said Swearingen. “I look forward to working with my fellow committee members on key legislative issues that impact Wisconsin residents.”
“I also look forward to working with members of the Building Commission on projects which
are in the best interest of the taxpayers”, stated Rep. Swearingen. “I am honored to be one of the six legislators appointed to this important committee.”
The Building Commission is an eight member body chaired by the Governor, along with six
legislators from both the minority and majority party, and a citizen member. The groups’ mission is to plan, oversee, and approve building projects around the state.
For More Information, Contact: Rep. Chris Taylor, 608-266-5342
On 6th anniversary of Sandy Hook, we must come together to address public health crisis
MADISON – On this 6th anniversary of the Sandy Hook murders, where 20 children and 6 staff members were gunned down, a coalition of physicians and medical professionals called for bipartisan common sense measures to protect the health and safety of children and communities. Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison), who joined these physicians, issued the following statement:
“I had a six year old child when the Sandy Hook massacre happened. Now he’s 12 and after multiple school shootings, we must come together to protect the safety of our children. Our children have literally grown up with the fear that they will be shot in their classrooms. The truly sad thing is that it hasn’t gotten better – it’s gotten worse. The irresponsible, hands-off approach to sensible, popular safety measures continues to jeopardize the safety of our children and of our communities. We can and must do better.”
Speaker Robin Vos (608) 266-3387
Madison…Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) released the following statement after Governor Walker took action on the extraordinary session bills.
“I would like to thank Governor Walker for signing the extraordinary session proposals into law. Through his actions, he’s acknowledging the importance of the legislature as a co-equal branch of government.
“As Democrats and the media continue to inflate these laws into something they’re not, Assembly Republicans are focusing on the new legislative session and will work to find common ground in divided government.”
Contact: (608) 267-7669
Milwaukee—Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa (D-Milwaukee) released the following statement on Gov. Walker signing three anti-democratic bills into law that will limit the powers of the incoming governor and attorney general:
“Gov. Walker should be ashamed. Instead of leaving office with dignity and respecting the will of the voters, he signed bills into law that make sure his Republican friends hold on to power. The people of Wisconsin voted out Republicans in every statewide office, but the GOP has decided that their one-party rule should continue no matter what the election results.
“I’m also heartbroken that early voting will now be limited. A thriving democracy depends on as many people voting as possible. We need to make voting easy and accessible. Voter suppression should not be used as a political tool.
“The people of Wisconsin have said what they want loud and clear. It’s too bad Gov. Walker wasn’t listening.”
Contact: Sen. Tim Carpenter
(MADISON) – On November 6th, with a record turnout, Wisconsin voters spoke loud and clear. They rejected eight years of the divisive and polarizing politics of Governor Scott Walker.
Sadly, Speaker Robin Vos and Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald immediately launched a coup to undo the election results. They blatantly chose to ignore the wishes of the majority of voters by restricting incoming Governor Tony Evers’ powers.
On Thursday, Governor Walker used these same powers to negotiate a $28 million deal with Kimberly Clark. Then, he promptly requested the lame duck session bills stripping his successor of this power and more be sent to him. It’s shameful and hypocritical.
While voters turn their attention to friends and family and away from politics as the holiday season approaches, Governor Walker will show how hypocritical he really is with his actions on the lame duck session bills today. Republicans will be able to steamroll this power grab into law, simply because they know they can get away with it.
They are not counting on voters awakening as they did previously when Republicans, under the same cover of night, quietly voted to gut Wisconsin’s open records law. In the light of day, when voters learned of this GOP treachery, they were outraged and angry by the Republicans’ autocratic and arrogant actions. It’s the same sad story, but a different day.
Voters want their elected officials to work together to address the important issues of education, health care, safe roads and job creation – not descend yet again into constant partisan bickering.
Governor Walker, unless you act wisely, the well will be poisoned even before the new session begins. Treat Governor Evers the same way you would want to be treated. Don’t let the 2019 legislative session begin with distrust, dysfunction and division.
Contact: Scott Fitzgerald
[Madison, WI] — Following Governor Scott Walker’s public signing of bills passed by the Senate and Assembly during the extraordinary session, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald issued the following statement:
“Today’s bill signing by Governor Walker helps protect reforms that have been eight years in the making. I want to thank him, Speaker Vos, and my colleagues in the Senate for their work.
“These bills protect taxpayers, expand transparency over the pardoning of convicted felons, provide a sense of stability moving forward in economic development, and more. The incoming governor-elect will remain one of the most powerful executives in the country.”
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) represents the 13th Senate District, which covers portions of Dodge, Jefferson, Waukesha, Washington, Dane, and Columbia counties.
Contact: Scott Fitzgerald
[Madison, WI] — Following today’s news that Governor Scott Walker, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, and Kimberly-Clark reached an agreement that keeps hundreds of jobs in Wisconsin, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald issued the following statement:
“I want to thank Governor Walker, the WEDC, and Senator Roth for fighting to keep these jobs in Wisconsin. Thanks to their tireless advocacy, hundreds of jobs for hard-working Wisconsin families will remain in the Fox Valley.
“Wisconsin’s economy is thriving, thanks to the work of the WEDC. With more people working than ever before, unemployment hitting historic lows, and our state’s manufacturing sector strong, Wisconsin is headed in the right direction.”
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) represents the 13th Senate District, which covers portions of Dodge, Jefferson, Waukesha, Washington, Dane, and Columbia counties.
Contact: Sen Larson, 608.266.7505
Milwaukee – Today, Senator Larson released the following statement regarding Governor signing the Republican power grab bills.
“Scott Walker is leaving the Governorship the same way he arrived: in chaos.
“Since taking office in 1993, Scott Walker’s appetite for the ‘divide and conquer’ accumulation of power was always clear. In his years in office, he has held back Wisconsin from pursuing more affordable health care by rejecting the Medicaid expansion. He held Wisconsin back from being connected to the rest of the country via high speed modern rail. He stood in the way of grants for high speed internet, refused to invest in homegrown renewable energy, and cut education more than any Governor in the history of our state.
“Never before in our rich 170 year history, has a Governor signed lame duck bills into law that are specifically designed to curtail the power of his successor. These bills are an affront to everyone who voted on November 6th. Now, we will have an incoming Governor whose ability to manage both WEDC and DHS is severely hindered, a Governor who won’t be able to pull us out of the lawsuit that will put people with pre-existing conditions in danger, and a Governor who will be legislatively stopped from fulfilling the central campaign promises Wisconsinites voted for.
“Now, in his last act in public office, he eschewed any shred of moral courage and instead went along 100% with the bills as given to him despite the fact that there were bipartisan calls for him to veto the entire package or portions of these regressive bills.”
CONTACT: Sen Larson
December 14, 2018 608.266.7505
Milwaukee – Today, Senator Larson released the following statement regarding the $25 million handout to Kimberly-Clark. “Scott Walker continues to make the case for why he should no longer be Governor and why we should move up the inauguration of state elected officials to immediately after elections are certified.
“To be clear, this $25 million extortion of Wisconsin taxpayers through WEDC is happening for Kimberly-Clark because this highly profitable company threatened Wisconsin jobs and they are still going to fire workers.
Kimberly-Clark posted a staggering $3.3 billion operating profit just last year, had their federal tax rate cut from 35.7% to 19.2% just last year, then callously decided to cut jobs and shutter plants just last year. “Their total contribution to state taxes was $1 over the last four years. But, when they saw Governor Walker and Republicans pay through the nose for Foxconn, they decided to squeeze us for even more.
“This isn’t an economic development strategy, this is an extortion.”
“By paying this ransom to a profitable corporation, Republican economic mismanagement opens Wisconsin up to further extortion from other profitable companies. As of 2017 there were 733 other businesses in Wisconsin with similar employment numbers as Kimberly-Clark. Each of them are watching what is happening. They’d be silly not to threaten to leave unless they get a handout from us, too. If we go down this path, the total lost could
exceed our states biennial budget. We need to stop investing in companies that aren’t invested in us. Instead, we need to invest in our neighbors through K-12, higher ed, and apprenticeships. We cannot afford to continue to go down this road of corporate handouts.”
December 13, 2018
Governor Scott Walker
Room 115 East
Wisconsin State Capitol
Dear Governor Walker,
We write today to urge you to veto the recently passed Extraordinary Session bills (SB 883, SB 884, and SB 886). These bills would limit the powers of the executive branch and override the will of the people. After introducing hundreds of pages of bills late on a Friday afternoon, a public hearing was held the following business day. 1,424 Republicans, Democrats, and Independents from all corners of our state spoke with one unified voice in opposing the process by which these bills were being pushed and the substance of the bills themselves. Only two people registered in favor of the legislation. They came from all over the state and from all different walks of life.
Wisconsin voters said loud and clear on November 6th that it is time for a change in our state. While we understand it is difficult to lose an election, our democracy only works if we respect the will of the voters by transferring power without political games after an election. In November 2010, you wrote to the Doyle Administration asking the Governor to cease action on a number of matters. You argued that your incoming administration and the next legislature should be given flexibility for the job they were elected to do. We ask that you give the Evers Administration this same level of respect.
You have the ability to do the right and honorable thing as your time in office comes to an end. Today we are asking you, on behalf of our constituents and people all across Wisconsin, to veto these bills in their entirety.
Senate Democratic Leader
32nd Senate District
Assembly Democratic Leader
54th Assembly District
Contact: [email protected]
Bipartisan Farm Bill includes Baldwin reforms to support Wisconsin’s agriculture economy
Wisconsin farmers call Baldwin’s reforms a “much improved safety net for family dairy farmers,” cheesemakers call it a “much-needed boost to the American dairy industry”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Farmers and cheesemakers, farm groups and rural stakeholders are sharing their strong support for Senator Baldwin’s bipartisan reforms that were included in the 2018 Farm Bill that passed Congress this week with overwhelming bipartisan support. The final 2018 Farm Bill includes several key priorities authored by Baldwin to support Wisconsin farmers and help boost Wisconsin’s agriculture economy. The legislation now heads to the President to be signed into law.
Senator Baldwin successfully secured improved risk management tools for dairy farmers, grants for Dairy Business Innovation, mental health resources for farmers and provisions to combat fraudulent organic imports. More information about her efforts is available here.
“Senator Baldwin has been an outspoken supporter for rural communities and Wisconsin’s struggling dairy industry,” said Wisconsin Farm Bureau President Jim Holte. “Wisconsin Farm Bureau appreciates her vote for the 2018 Farm Bill so Wisconsin farmers will have programs in place to help them during these tough times.”
“The passage of the farm bill is welcome news in farm country, where net farm income is at its lowest point in more than a decade. Wisconsin Farmers Union appreciates the tireless work of Senate and House agriculture leaders and their staff to resolve differences in this incredibly important piece of legislation,”said Darin Von Ruden, President, Wisconsin Farmers Union. “Farmers Union appreciates Sen. Baldwin’s efforts to crack down on fraudulent organic imports and her role in bringing forth provisions of the Dairy Business Innovation Act and making sure they were incorporated in the farm bill. We also are pleased to see continued support for conservation programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). We are also encouraged by the reauthorization of the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network, a program that is direly needed given the current economic and mental health crises plaguing rural America, and we urge funding of that to be a priority in the next appropriations cycle.”
“Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association is pleased to see the exciting concepts in Senator Baldwin’s Dairy Business Innovation Act in the new 2018 Farm Bill. Dairy farmers and processors believe a consumer focus – innovating delicious products for families – is the sustainable solution to revitalize the dairy industry. Innovation Centers can concentrate dairy expertise and help new ideas flourish in the marketplace,” said John Umhoefer, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association.
“I would like to thank Senator Baldwin for her leadership and support throughout the entire Farm Bill process. Family farms in Wisconsin are facing economic hardships not seen since the 1980’s coupled with unprecedented trade uncertainties. This Farm Bill will help provide stability through these turbulent times to the family farms that are the backbone of this great nation. Senator Baldwin has once again proven that she is an ally for Wisconsin farmers in Washington D.C. and I look forward to working with her and her staff into the future for the betterment of Wisconsin’s family farms,” said Tony Mellenthin, President, Wisconsin Soybean Association.
“Wisconsin Corn appreciates Senator Baldwin’s support in passing the Farm Bill. It’s no secret that it is a hard time for producers with low prices, trade issues and barriers to ethanol. The passage of the Farm Bill shows our elected officials are listening and we hope this is the first step to a stronger future for Wisconsin corn growers,” said Doug Rebout, President of the Wisconsin Corn Growers Association.
“On behalf of the dairy farmer owners of AMPI I’d like to thank Senator Baldwin for her leadership and for working together with other leaders to come up with a much improved safety net for family dairy farmers in Wisconsin and across rural America. I believe the new policy will provide certainty in very uncertain times and hope for the future of our industry and the rural communities we live in and support,” said Steve Schlangen, Dairy Farmer and Chairman of the Associated Milk Producers, Inc. (AMPI) Board of Directors.
“Given the challenging times in agriculture, especially for dairy producers, the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill is great news and positions us to compete in the future. I commend Senator Baldwin for her leadership in listening to the needs of her constituents, including producers like me who need better solutions to manage operational risks. In addition, she supported measures to address those struggling with mental health concerns due to financial stress and uncertainty in rural areas. Senator Baldwin championed policy that addressed these concerns, in addition to several others included in this bill, and we are fortunate to have a leader like her in Congress,” said Nic Schoenberger, Land O’Lakes Dairy Producer and Board Director, from Kiel, Wisconsin.
“Senator Baldwin’s efforts were crucial to improving the risk management tools for dairy farmers to reflect the reality of today’s dairy economy. Edge was fortunate to be able to work collaboratively with the Senator on the new Dairy Margin Coverage program and on allowing farmers to use various tools simultaneously. Our dairy farmers need to able to manage risk according to their management style and individual farm’s needs,” said Brody Stapel, President of Green Bay-based Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative and Dairy Farmer in Cedar Grove, Wisconsin.
“We are grateful for Senator Baldwin’s bipartisan efforts to protect Wisconsin’s dairy industry in the 2018 Farm Bill. She understands the issues that are critically important to dairy producers across the USA and her support of the Farm Bill shows that she is willing to fight for us. We greatly appreciate the Senator’s advocacy for the entire industry,” said Louie Gentine, CEO of Sargento Foods, Inc.
“The Dairy Business Innovation Act will help start-ups and existing companies accelerate and enhance their technology, product development, finance, and marketing. I’m delighted that Senator Baldwin is delivering this much-needed boost to the American dairy industry,” said Bob Wills, Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker and President of Cedar Grove Cheese and Clock Shadow Creamery.
“My family and I know the challenges firsthand of taking on the processing and marketing of our own dairy products. Senator Baldwin’s Dairy Business Innovation Act provides an opportunity for farmers and processors to grow and diversify their businesses to meet customers’ changing tastes,” said Tom Crave, Vice President of the Dairy Business Association in Wisconsin and a dairy farmer and cheese processor in Waterloo, Wisconsin.
“The Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association appreciates the hard work by and support of Senator Baldwin on the issues of importance to our growers in the Farm Bill. The Senator has been a strong supporter of agricultural research programs important to our growers and export promotion programs that help us as we develop new markets for Wisconsin’s largest fruit crop. Like all of agriculture we face challenges and the Senator has been a partner in taking action on behalf of our family farmers as we work toward continues to develop and implement sustainable practices,” said Tom Lochner, Executive Director of the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association.
“The Farm Bill contains the largest commitment of resources ever to ensure organic integrity remains strong. It includes better policy and funding for organic fraud prevention, especially in the international trade arena, which was really needed. Modernizing the organic regulations and increasing funding help the National Organic Program be in a position to better weed out fraud,” said Melissa Hughes, Chief Mission Officer and General Counsel of Organic Valley.“A big thanks to our home-state U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin as well as Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow for leading efforts to strengthen organic oversight. They played a key role in making sure the Farm Bill updated the agency’s ability to crack down on any suspected fraud no matter where it might originate. The work ahead of the organic industry is to now get these changes operational at the National Organic Program as soon as possible, and at Organic Valley, we are going to keep our foot on the gas pedal until these new provisions are fully realized and implemented.”
“We thank Sen. Tammy Baldwin for her leadership that resulted in the bill containing important steps to modernize and speed up federal efforts to prevent organic fraud and to create a transparent marketplace,” said Laura Batcha, CEO and Executive Director of the Organic Trade Association. “The Farm Bill strengthens the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program’s authority and capacity to conduct investigations to keep organic markets strong; it invests in technology and access to data to improve tracking of international organic trade; and requires increased measures that will strengthen global organic supply chain integrity. Reliable oversight and a level playing field are critical to the success of U.S. organic farmers and ensures that consumers are getting what they pay for every time they choose the USDA organic seal.”
“The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) appreciates Senator Baldwin’s leadership in ensuring farmer stress and mental health was a priority in the Farm Bill. First and foremost, nothing is more important to American agriculture than the safety and wellness of our farmers. This provision will go a long way to put farmers and ranchers in touch with those who can help them through serious and personal struggles. State departments of agriculture are the closest connection to producers tackling these issues, so NASDA is pleased to see that all state departments of agriculture qualify as recipients and agents to implement this service,” said Dr. Barbara Glenn, Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture.
“Stress is part of the job, whether you’re a farmer, rancher, farmworker, young or old. We all share a responsibility to ensure mental health assistance remains part of the national safety net for farm families. As growers weather this difficult farm economy, we’re grateful that Congress has stepped up to include these critical resources in the 2018 Farm Bill. When these challenges are left unspoken, swept under the rug or stigmatized, our entire community is impacted. Inclusion of the FARMERS FIRST Act in the Farm Bill is an important first step,” said Andrew Bahrenburg, National Policy Director of the National Young Farmers Coalition.
The entire list of support for Senator Baldwin’s efforts in the 2018 Farm Bill is available here.
An online version of this release is available here.
Gov. Scott Walker says he wants the new deal with Kimberly-Clark — one of the last actions he’ll take in the waning days of his administration — to be his legacy.
The guv Thursday joined Kimberly-Clark officials and state lawmakers to announce the up to $28 million incentive package to keep open the Cold Spring facility in Fox Crossing. The news came nearly a year after the company initially announced the plant, as well as another in the area, would be closed.
Others today questioned directing taxpayer dollars to an international company that reported an operating profit of almost $3.3 billion in 2017. Meanwhile, Gov.-elect Tony Evers didn’t directly address the details of the incentive package. But he used the announcement to knock the extraordinary session bills Republicans approved last week and accused Republicans of playing “politics with the issue for months, leaving Kimberly-Clark workers and their families in the dark and uncertain about their futures.”
But Walker, speaking at a news conference at the Fox Valley plant Thursday afternoon, described his efforts this way: to “protect these kind of jobs, not as a handout.”
“To me, if there was any talk about a legacy, I want this to be my legacy,” he said.
The deal comes after a bill that would offer the company tax incentives to keep open the plant stalled in the Senate, after clearing the Assembly in February. In the days since, Walker has repeatedly stated his commitment to saving the 388 jobs remaining at the facility.
Referencing his pledge to keep the facility open, Walker noted he’s told reporters this week he’ll work til the end of his term to pull together an agreement.
“I don’t care if it’s the last thing they do,” he said. “I don’t care if they’re dragging me down the hall, we’re going to find some way to save the jobs at Kimberly-Clark, because it’s just that important.”
On the same day Walker joined others in announcing the Cold Spring plant will stay open, Kimberly-Clark told employees at a Conway, Ark., facility that that it will close no later than 2021. The plant, which now has 344 employees, made similar products to those produced at Cold Spring.
“This difficult decision was made after the company agreed to the terms of an incentive agreement through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation that, as well as negotiated terms with the union, will enable the company’s Cold Spring facility in Wisconsin to remain open,” a Kimberly-Clark spokesman said.
The deal creates a new enterprise zone without legislative approval, an option that would be stripped from the guv under the extraordinary session bills now on Walker’s desk.
Under current law, WEDC can designate up to 30 enterprise zones under its tax credit program, and it has designated 26, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. The agency can now make those designations without review by any standing committee of the Legislature.
But one of the extraordinary session bills Republicans approved last week would require approval from Joint Finance for the creation of a new one. WEDC would first have to notify JFC that it planned to designate a new enterprise zone, and the designation would be submitted to the committee under the 14-day passive review process.
The bill also would eliminate the current limit of 30 enterprise zones.
Evers cited the new Kimberly-Clark deal in urging Walker to veto the lame-duck legislation, saying “the governor of our state shouldn’t be hamstrung when it comes to economic development.”
A WEDC spokesman said the agency’s Board of Directors met Wednesday to approve the contract, clearing the way for WEDC to finalize negotiations later that day. The final agreement was then signed by WEDC Secretary and CEO Mark Hogan as well as an official from the company. The deal, spokesman Mark Maley said, doesn’t need additional approval from the Board of Directors, governor or Legislature to take effect.
Contact: Tom McCarthy, DPI Communications Director, (608) 266-3559
MADISON — Wisconsin has 102 teachers who achieved five-year certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards this month, putting the state among 12 nationwide with more than 100 new National Board Certified Teachers for 2018.
In addition to those earning new board certification, Wisconsin has 42 teachers who renewed their national accreditation. Those who received national certification before 2017 have a 10-year credential. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) ranks Wisconsin 19th among states for the number of teachers with national certification. Overall, Wisconsin records 1,184 teachers with national board certification.
“Congratulations to those earning or renewing national board certification,” said State
Superintendent and Governor-elect Tony Evers. “Through this rigorous process, these educators demonstrate dedication to their students, communities, and profession. This transformative investment in professional development has demonstrated benefits for our kids. That is why we included a strategy in our budget to close gaps based on national board certification.”
The Department of Public Instruction’s 2019-21 budget request seeks enhanced incentives for NBPTS teachers working in the state’s five largest districts. These districts – Milwaukee, Madison, Kenosha, Green Bay, and Racine – educate disproportionate shares of student groups experiencing our largest achievement gaps, making them key partners in closing gaps.
According to the NBPTS, research from across the country over the past decade confirms that students taught by board-certified teachers learn more than students taught by other teachers. The increased learning is estimated to be one to two months of instruction with even greater positive impact for low-income students. Most recently, a 2017 Mississippi State University study shows that, on average, kindergarten and third-grade students with a national board certified reading teacher perform at a significantly higher level on literacy assessments than their peers.
Nationwide, 3,907 teachers achieved national board certification and another 4,446 board certified teachers successfully renewed their credential, bringing the total number of board-certified teachers to 122,155. National board certification is a performance-based, peer-reviewed process that requires teachers to demonstrate advanced knowledge, skills, and
practice in their subject area through three portfolio entries and a computer-based assessment. The certification process, created by teachers for teachers, is based on the
Five Core Propositions and Standards for teaching.
Certification is available in 25 areas across 16 subjects and four developmental levels.
The state of Wisconsin offers reimbursement of up to $2,000 toward the cost for earning national board certification. Thereafter, public, private, or tribal school teachers who maintain their Wisconsin license and have a rating of effective or highly effective in the applicable Educator Effectiveness System can receive an annual stipend of $2,500, doubled for those working in high-poverty schools, for each year of teaching with the national credential.
Contact: Karen Hickey
414-573-7579, [email protected]
Stephanie Bloomingdale, President of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, released the following statement as Gov. Walker signs the lame-duck session bills to undermine the election results into law.
“On his way out the door, Gov. Walker has once again stuck it to the voters, ignoring the will of the people and approving last-minute lame duck changes to Wisconsin law that will trample the rights and freedoms of citizens in our democracy for years to come. This shameful power grab is a fitting coda to the Scott Walker era. An era that will go down in history as putting partisan politics and personal political ambition above all else. Scott Walker has once again chosen to rig the system to his own party’s advantage instead of protecting Wisconsin’s tradition of open and honest government. Wisconsinites will remember Scott Walker for failing to create jobs, attacking worker rights, ignoring democratic principles, and always, always putting politics and power above the people.”
Jim Perry, Vice President and Communication Co-chair 920.594-1337, [email protected])
Fred Clark, Treasurer and Development Committee Chair 608.697-2226, [email protected])
Mercer, WI – Terry Daulton, President of Wisconsin’s Green Fire: Voices for Conservation announced receipt of a significant grant from the Evjue Foundation. “We’re pleased and humbled by the confidence that the Evjue Foundation has placed in the work we are undertaking to restore Wisconsin’s Conservation legacy and the role of science as a critical tool in natural resource decision making.” The Evjue Foundation’s own press release indicates the grant is to establish a go-to organization staffed by scientists to answer environmental questions and to refute false claims.
Wisconsin’s Green Fire (WGF) was formed in 2017 to counter the lack of scientific expertise being provided to decision makers, the media, and the general public around natural resource issues. WGF membership includes professionals from public and private colleges and universities, former and current Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), and other state and federal natural resource agency professionals. A survey of WGF professional members in 2017 found their combined years of natural resources experience totaled over 3,500. To date WGF’s workgroups, led by the volunteer professional members, have provided expertise in proposed legislation and rules changes concerning the state’s grey wolf population management, Chronic Wasting Disease and the Wisconsin deer herd, ruffed grouse management, criteria for wetlands designations, and management proposals for state forests, to name but a few.
Daulton opined “Funding from Evjue will allow expansion of WGF’s public policy and education work, and we hope that as Governor-Elect Evers’ team begins to formulate natural resources policy, we can play a positive role in encouraging science-based management, research, and open public involvement in natural resource decision making.”
The Evjue Foundation was established by William T. Evjue, founder of the Capital Times newspaper. Mr. Evjue’s will provided for distribution of the income from his controlling stock in the newspaper back to the community, accelerating the giving. Since its inception, the foundation has awarded more than $60 million in grants.
For more information on Wisconsin’s Green Fire, please visit www.wigreenfire.org.
Midway between the November election and Tony Evers’ inauguration, the WisOpinion Insiders, Chvala and Jensen, evaluate the progress of the governor-elect’s transition.
Sponsored by the Wisconsin Counties Association and Michael Best Strategies.
In today’s WisPolitics Midday update: