Exclusively for WisPolitics Subscribers
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Quotes of the week
- Political stock report
- Source: Possible WEDC package for K-C wouldn’t replace deal hung up in Senate
- Attorneys add new Dem plaintiffs in redistricting case, file additional lawsuit
- UW System’s capital budget requests most taxpayer-backed borrowing since 2001
- Week ahead
- Political TV
- Names in the news
- Lobbyist watch
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
I urge Sen. Shilling to bring her caucus together to measure how much support there is amongst Senate Democrats for the Kimberly-Clark bill. Along with the Governor’s efforts to build support for the proposal, I am continuing to work on bringing the votes together within the Republican caucus.
– Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, calling on Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, to gauge support within the Dem caucus for a Foxconn-style incentive package to help keep Kimberly-Clark’s Fox Crossing plant open, one of two the company is planning to shutter. With Sens. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, and Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield, opposed to the bill, at least one Dem vote is needed to pass it if all remaining Republicans support it. The company has requested a vote on the plan before month’s end.
Senators Fitzgerald and Roth seem to have forgotten that they are still in the majority and are trying to pass the blame because of their inability to get this done. They have already killed this bill once, and it doesn’t look like their Republican majority is any closer to getting a deal done this time around.
*See more in an item below.
That’s a lie. I never said that. We will not release violent criminals. We’re not going to get in the gutter with Scott Walker.
– Dem guv candidate Tony Evers responding to an ad from Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign that said Evers supports halving the state’s prison population, and that the plan could result in the release of violent felons, including those “who’ve committed rape, assault, robbery and even kidnapping.”
I think if you turn on the TV or you listen to the radio or you look at other advertisements, you’ll see that almost every ad directed at me is a negative one. You’ll see that the ads we talk about are the ads talking about our plan to keep Wisconsin working for generations to come.
– Walker, saying he’s run a positive campaign.
The governor’s seemingly offhand comment that the decision to widen our highways is driven by outside interests is not factually based, and is profoundly disrespectful to the professionals in the private and public sector who are trained to design and build safe and efficient highways for all to use.
– Walker’s former transportation secretary, Mark Gottlieb, criticizing the governor for suggesting special interests are behind highway expansion plans that may be unnecessary given the changing transportation habits of younger people. A Walker spokesman replied that the governor is committed to investing in the state’s roads and bridges.
Make no mistake about it: Tammy Baldwin let our veterans down at the Tomah VA. To have sat on a report, to have been the only person in this congressional delegation to have known that a doctor was over-prescribing opioids, a veteran died and many others became addicted, to me, it’s unconscionable.
– GOP U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir accusing Dem U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin of failing to address problems at the Tomah VA.
Veterans face some of the most complex challenges at the VA, and Tammy Baldwin is working on solutions to do right by them and their families.
– Curtis Schmitt, a U.S. Army combat veteran, in a statement for the Baldwin campaign.
I’m a cause guy. I’m going to be working on the causes I care about in some other capacity.
– House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, during a WisPolitics.com Q&A in Washington, D.C., on his plans after leaving Congress.
*Read more at DC Wrap: https://bit.ly/2QwlrYP
POLITICAL STOCK REPORT
–A collection of insider opinion–
(Sep. 8-14, 2018)
Brad Schimel: Insiders said it’s good for the Republican AG Brad Schimel that he got to announce the backlog on rape test kits has essentially been wiped out. It’s a plus that he’s up on the air with his first TV ad. And it’s a big bonus that the Republican Attorneys General Association is running ads praising his work on school safety. But in the end, insiders add, none of it may be enough if the environment continues to deteriorate for Republicans. Because if the generic ballot advantage for Dems that some national polls show holds up, it’s difficult for a down-ballot GOP candidate to swim against the tide. Insiders have long said Schimel’s best chance to survive a bad national environment for the GOP is to carve out his own identity separate from the party. To that end, the RAGA’s first ad is targeted at parents, particularly women, with its pitch about Schimel’s role in the $100 million school safety grant program proposed by Gov. Scott Walker and approved by the state Legislature. Likewise, Schimel plays up endorsements from sheriffs on both sides of the aisle in his first TV ad, though he takes a ding since the Dem sheriff who is featured — Bruce Daniels of Taylor County — sparked an FBI probe after locking a sergeant out of his personal Dropbox account for sharing case files with the TV program “Cold Justice.” Some insiders also roll their eyes at a report that Schimel directed agency employees to sign a nondisclosure agreement barring them from revealing confidential information about their work even after they leave the agency. It’s a reminder to some of the criticism Schimel has faced while running the agency on various fronts, including the swag he purchased with the initials K.A.E.D for his agency motto — “kick ass every day.” Insiders note the attack ad is already teed up to contrast Schimel spending money on those challenge coins while rape kits went untested. On that front, Schimel announces tests have been completed on all the kits he targeted for analysis more than three months ago. That leaves just five to be tested, and all of those were submitted by agencies for analysis after Schimel identified the 4,154 kits he wanted tested. Some see that as a big step in shoring up that issue ahead of November. But Dems insist it won’t be enough considering Schimel didn’t move to wipe out the backlog until an election year, even though the agency had been allocated money to get the testing rolling. Even so, every day that Schimel and the RAGA are on the air and Dem rival John Kaul or his allies aren’t is a good thing for the incumbent, some add. The attacks from the other side are coming. But depending when they hit the airwaves, they might get drowned out in the noise of the guv’s race and U.S. Senate contest. One of the great unknowns is what the environment will look like come November, insiders add. Twelve years ago, Republican J.B. Van Hollen was able to overcome a Dem wave to win the then-open AG’s office by 8,859 votes even as Dem Gov. Jim Doyle won re-election by 159,688. Some wonder if Schimel’s team could replicate that, should Gov. Scott Walker fall short in his bid for a third term. Still, several polls emerge with an advantage for Dems of at least 10 points on the national generic ballot. That number will likely fluctuate between now and Election Day, some say, and Republicans believe they can minimize their losses if it gets even to the mid-single digits. Still, if the tide is strong enough, it’s hard for some to see candidates such as Schimel to fight against a true wave.
Milwaukee DNC bid: Hurricane Florence is bringing life-threatening conditions to parts of the East Coast. It’s also reminding some of one potential drawback to holding the Democratic National Convention in Miami Beach or Houston in two years. And that’s seen as another factor in boosting Milwaukee’s case to host the event. Politico, citing five Dems with knowledge of the selection process, reports at least some site committee members view the race to host the convention as between Houston and Milwaukee — and that was before the weather bearing down on the East Coast served as a reminder of hurricane havoc. Those supporting Miami Beach have pointed out the area is less prone to hurricanes in mid-July, when the convention will be held, and the same goes for Houston’s experience with big storms. Still, Republicans also lost one day of their 2012 convention in Tampa Bay amid a hurricane bearing down on Florida. Those backing the Milwaukee bid believe they’ve made a strong case — Wisconsin’s perennial swing state status, the new Milwaukee Bucks arena as a possible venue and other city features, including typically pleasant weather in July. One downside is a lack of nearby hotel rooms, but Milwaukee boosters note that many rooms are available in the easily accessible corridor south of Milwaukee down to Racine and Kenosha. Still, some note other considerations could come into play. There are those who have questioned going to Miami Beach considering its hard partying reputation, particularly with a party looking to prove its in touch with the heartland. What’s more, a good fall for Dems in Wisconsin or Texas could bolster their cases. Ultimately, some say, whatever is best for the party politically will likely carry the day. And with Democrats looking for revenge in Wisconsin, it could be the right time for the Midwest and Milwaukee.
CWD rules: Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to curb the spread of chronic wasting disease may be fleeting if the Legislature dismantles the effort. Walker in May urged the Department of Natural Resources to act quickly to implement emergency rules outlining additional fencing requirements and prohibitions on the movement of deer carcasses from CWD-affected counties. But those changes are set to go in effect Oct. 1 — the same day the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules is planning to meet to roll them back. GOP Sen. Steve Nass, who co-chairs JCRAR, spearheaded the effort in an email to fellow legislators highlighting his concerns about the rule’s impact on Wisconsin hunters. Under the rule, hunters wouldn’t be able to transport deer carcasses harvested in CWD-affected areas out of the county, though hunters could move the whole deer if they’re heading to a licensed meat processor. Hunters can still quarter their deer in the county it was harvested in and move the meat as long as the deer’s head and spinal column aren’t moved as well. Nass, R-Whitewater, wrote in the email the provisions amount to “substantial and burdensome changes to the way Wisconsin hunters will deal with deer carcasses with little advance notice or education.” Just two days after sending out the message, Nass spokesman Mike Mikalsen tells WisPolitics.com JCRAR is set to hold a public hearing and executive session to take up a motion on suspension for all or part of the rule. Mikalsen says members ultimately have three options in considering the motion: rescind the whole rule; suspend language outlining the extra fencing requirements; or roll back the prohibitions on moving deer carcasses. While it’s still unclear which path legislators would support, Mikalsen notes the office has received strong support from a swath of lawmakers following the Nass email. Nass wasn’t the only one to publicly express concerns over the rule. Outgoing Rep. Adam Jarchow has also been vocal in his opposition, writing in a letter to Walker there’s “absolutely zero evidence the rule will have any substantive impact” on confining the spread of CWD. The Balsam Lake Republican, who shared the letter on Twitter, also raised issues about the rule’s timing, the “incredible hardship” it would cause hunters and Walker’s decision not to address the issue with the help of the Legislature earlier this session. Walker’s office, meanwhile, hasn’t weighed in on the pushback. Despite active attempts to dismantle the rule, backers emphasize support remains for legislative efforts to curb CWD — perhaps through a normal rule process paired with a bill to appropriate more money for CWD testing, for example.
Scott Walker: The guv insists he’s running a very positive campaign that focuses on his vision for Wisconsin’s future. But insiders are much more interested in the attacks Walker and his allies are lobbing at Dem rival Tony Evers and what they say about the state of the race. After first knocking Evers over a teacher who kept his license even after viewing porn, Walker opens up a new line of attack, going after the state schools superintendent over his support for cutting the state’s prison population. The new ad says Evers wants to release violent criminals “back into our communities” and voters can’t trust the superintendent “to keep us safe.” Evers protests Walker is taking the race into the gutter. But insiders see the Walker drumbeat against his Dem rival taking two tracks. One, with Walker’s numbers in mediocre territory, it’s easier to tear down Evers than it is to build up the guv. Two, Walker needs a jazzed-up GOP base. With unemployment down and jobs waiting to be filled, some Republicans fear the base has grown complacent. Add in those turned off by President Trump, and some insiders see a scenario in which some GOP voters simply sit this one out. But reminding those conservative voters of the alternative should Evers win might be the jolt some need. And even as polls consistently show a tight race, some Dems are wondering if those Republicans will come home by Election Day and help the guv yet once again — as they have in the recall and in his 2014 re-election. Walker’s ad knocking Evers on violent offenders is just one in a flurry of new spots. That includes Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, a cancer survivor, in a new TV ad that counters the Democratic Governors Association spot charging the guv wants to take away protections for those with pre-existing conditions. Evers, meanwhile, goes up on cable with a spot responding to the attacks over a Middleton teacher who viewed porn at school and made inappropriate comments about female students. That one features Ellen Lindgren, the school board president at the time of the incident, who says the teacher kept his job because of a “legal loophole” and Evers worked with lawmakers to change the law. Republicans continue to insist the attack is moving voters, but Dems say it’s not. Meanwhile, to bulk up Kleefisch’s pledge on keeping protections for those with pre-existing conditions, Walker’s campaign issues a statement today saying while those folks are already covered, the guv “would call a special session in a heartbeat” if that were to change. This prompts howls from Dems, who point out Walker supports a lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act, which provides those protections. Beyond the airwaves, Republicans jump on comments by Dem lt. guv nominee Mandela Barnes that the ticket isn’t interested in voters who backed Barack Obama in 2012, switched to Donald Trump four years later and still support the Republican president, saying “you can keep them.” Republicans seek to compare the comments to Hillary Clinton calling Trump supporters a basket of deplorables, and some see the rapid responses on both sides as an indicator of the hand-to-hand combat for every independent voter the campaigns can reach. Nationally, prognosticators continue to move the Wisconsin race into the toss-up category, and Dems argue if this early flurry of attacks on Evers doesn’t have an effect, it’s questionable what would move voters. Some insiders, meanwhile, see the non-stop drama out of Washington, D.C., with Trump and wonder if a the public has grown weary of the constant churn of controversy, pushing them to simply tune out any attacks thrown up on the air, no matter how bombastic.
Kimberly-Clark: The company puts the squeeze on Wisconsin lawmakers to vote before the elections on an incentive package that could keep one of its plants open in the Fox Valley. But the power move doesn’t seem to be swaying critics of the package, even as Gov. Scott Walker implores senators to come back and take up the deal. For those backing the package, the best-case scenario had seemed to wait for the pressure of the upcoming election to die down and then see if enough votes could be scraped together to get the bill through the Senate. But while lawmakers have been focused elsewhere, Kimberly-Clark reached a deal on concessions with the union that represents workers at the Cold Spring plant in Fox Crossing and has faced a choice between shutting down that facility or one in Arkansas that makes many of the same products as part of the company’s cost-cutting measures. Itching to get something done, the company issues the call to vote by the end of the month, prompting a flurry of activity around the state Capitol. After Walker’s call for lawmakers to come back on the bill, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald tried to pressure Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling to gauge how many of her caucus members back the package. But Shilling, D-La Crosse, accused Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, and fellow GOP Sen. Roger Roth, one of the bill’s main backers, of trying to “pass the blame because of their inability to get this done.” And the task of finding enough support to pass the bill took another hit when Sen. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, became the second GOP member to publicly oppose the bill. Sen. Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield, has previously said he couldn’t support the package. Nass aide Mike Mikalsen told WisPolitics.com the lawmaker doesn’t believe it’s “sustainable to go with Foxconn-level tax credits” for Kimberly-Clark. So with an 18-15 majority, Fitzgerald would need every remaining GOP vote and at least one Dem member to pass the bill. But it remains unlikely Fitzgerald could bring along the rest of his caucus, insiders say. A number have quietly expressed concerns with the packages and its Foxconn-like incentives. A big subsidy to land an entire industry is one thing. But this is to keep jobs, and it’s a tough sell that the state should be so generous. What’s more, some add, with unemployment at near historic lows, those who might lose their jobs at Kimberly-Clark would likely have little trouble finding work elsewhere. And there’s concern about setting a precedent for other Wisconsin companies that hit tough times and then expect similar help. What’s more, some are having a hard time justifying such generous tax credits to a company that turned a profit of more than $3 billion last year. To others, however, it’s not just about Kimberly-Clark, but the suppliers around the state that would be impacted. And while Kimberly-Clark workers might be able to find jobs elsewhere, they’d also be losing years of seniority and benefits they’ve built up. But even as Walker continues to pressure lawmakers — including a new letter to senators today — some see little chance the Senate comes back by the Sept. 30 deadline.
*And see an item below.
UW-Stevens Point: Bringing up worst case scenarios is hardly ever a good sign, whether it’s Hurricane Florence’s storm surge or declining enrollment at the Wisconsin college campus. But budget watchers see a worst case scenario developing as UWSP heads into the fall semester. Enrollment at the institution, which has already dropped significantly in the last several years from a high of 9,677 students in the fall of 2012, is down more than 300 students this semester, according to initial figures. Enrollment is currently sitting at 7,725 — down from 8,100 student last year, a decline of more than 4 percent. It has prompted UWSP Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Greg Summers to write a letter to the university’s common council warning that if the school faces a worst case scenario — meaning enrollment dropping to around 7,000 students — that could result in cutting as many as 70 full time positions. That hasn’t happened yet, and officials at the campus say they’re working on recruitment. But recruitment would be coming at a time the college is also looking to trim 13 majors in the humanities and replace them with some others in STEM fields. Summers blames the enrollment problems on a variety of factors. Among them a decline in high school graduates in northern and central Wisconsin, and a robust economy leading some graduates to pursue employment right out of high school. And oddly enough, one problem they’ve largely solved — driving down the time it takes to graduate — has also contributed to enrollment declines. Further complicating matters is the fact UWSP, as part of the UW System restructuring this summer, officially absorbed two two-year branch campuses, UW-Marshfield and UW-Marathon County, that have dealt with their own enrollment problems. Meanwhile, the danger of more cuts looms. The university already cut $2.5 million from its budget last year and exhausted its reserves. And the school still faces a $4.5 million structural deficit, which is still growing. To deal with that, officials are still contemplating a controversial plan introduced earlier this year to cut 13 majors in the humanities and replace some of them with more STEM friendly offerings. Summers and his advisory group are contemplating other potential solutions that focus on combining some programming and reimagining offerings. He’s keeping his cards held close, but insisted to WisPolitics.com he and other faculty and staff are working well together and that they have a part in the process. After he’s finished with his working group deliberations, Summers will submit a plan to university administration in October.
Ismael Ozanne: The Dane County DA has settled a $350,000 lawsuit brought against him by former Assistant DA Bob Jambois — though Ismael Ozanne continues to maintain his innocence. The settlement, which occurred some two weeks before the trial was set to begin, comes a year and a half after Jambois first filed the suit against Ozanne and three other deputy DAs. The filings, media reports show, alleged Ozanne violated Jambois’ First Amendment rights after Jambois challenged Ozanne in the county’s DA Dem primary in 2016. After Jambois’ defeat, documents allege he was harassed and assigned a “crushing caseload” of trials that forced him to retire. Still, the settlement doesn’t include any admissions of wrongdoing, Madison-area reports show, and Ozanne maintains that he agreed to settle only because Jambois reduced his demand from $2.5 million to $350,000, which will be funded by the state. Jambois, who during his bid for DA targeted Ozanne’s management style and said he wasn’t “capable,” celebrated the settlement in a statement from his personal attorney, who said the deal shows his allegations were “legitimized.”
Sept. 20 in Appleton: “How the Paper Industry is Navigating the New Economy”
WisPolitics.com/WisBusiness.com, in cooperation with the Wisconsin Paper Council and WAGET, is staging a panel discussion at the Paper Discovery Center in Appleton on Thurs. Sept. 20.
Confirmed panel members include: Rep. Katrina Shankland. D-Stevens Point; Rep. Dave Murphy, R-Greenville, Prof. Karyn Biasca, chair of the Paper Science and Chemical Engineering Department at UW-Stevens Point; Scott Suder, president of the Wisconsin Paper Council; and Jeff Walch, vice president for container board sales at Green Bay Packaging.
This is the latest “Navigating the New Economy” discussion from WisPolitics.com/WisBusiness, and it will focus on the state of the paper industry in Wisconsin and what the industry is doing to prepare for the future.
This historic industry remains a vital part of the state economy, but it has challenges and recent moves show how the industry is adapting.
Earlier this year, WisPolitics.com/WisBusiness.com staged a Navigating the New Economy panel in Racine on how the BMW experience in South Carolina could provide lessons on managing the huge Foxconn development. Other sessions have focused on local economies in Hudson, Richland Center and Sheboygan.
Guest check-in begins at 4 p.m. The panel discussion at the Paper Discovery Center will start at 4:30 p.m. on Thurs. Sept. 20. The discussion is open to the public and includes free snacks and soft drinks.
Thursday Sept. 20
Check in and reception begins at 4 p.m.
Program begins at 4:30 p.m.
Paper Discovery Center
425 W. Water St.,
Appleton, WI 54911
This event will be held in the River Room – lower level of the PDC. Please park on the lower level and enter through the door marked “River Room”
The event is free, but pre-registration is required. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Wisconsin Paper Council plus WAGET, Wisconsin Academy of Global Education and Training, a supporter of the Navigating the New Economy Series.
The maximum WEDC could offer Kimberly-Clark without legislative action would be a $20 million package to help keep the company from closing a plant in the Fox Valley, according to a source with knowledge of the discussions.
But that approach wouldn’t take the place of a more expansive package now hung up in the state Senate, the source added. Instead, it would be a bridge the state could give Kimberly-Clark until lawmakers could finish work on the larger package that includes Foxconn-like incentives to retain jobs.
With that package stalled in the Senate, some have looked at tools already available to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. as an alternative route. But the source said what WEDC could offer wouldn’t suffice to prevent the plant from closing, and the bill would still be needed to persuade Kimberly-Clark to keep open the plant.
Still, the fate of that legislation remained up in the air after a week in which: the company said it wanted a vote on the bill by month’s end, Gov. Scott Walker implored senators to return to take up the legislation, Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said he’d need Dem votes to pass the bill, and Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling said no one had bothered asking her directly yet for any support.
Sen. Roger Roth, whose Appleton-area district includes the plant that is now the focus of the possible state aid, said he believes the bill would pass the Senate if a vote was put off until after the November election. Thus, he’s been working on two fronts. One, he’s asked unions to urge Dems to support the bill if a vote comes before the company-imposed deadline. Two, he’s urging the company to lift its request for a vote by month’s end.
He said the deal to help the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks build a new arena and the Foxconn package were both bipartisan.
“To have bipartisan support to save these family-supporting union jobs is not out of the realm of normalcy,” he said in a phone interview today.
In its current form, the bill would boost the maximum tax credits for job retention to 17 percent, up from the current 7 percent. Kimberly-Clark could also get refundable tax credits for 15 percent of capital expenditures, up from the typical 10 percent, over a five-year period. The company could also get a five-year sales tax exemption on those expenditures.
If the legislation were approved, WEDC would hammer out final details of the package with Kimberly-Clark.
Overall, the bill would cover 15 years and carry a price tag in the neighborhood of $101 million to $117 million. The maximum WEDC could do without legislative approval would be a five-year package, the source said.
If the possible WEDC package became part of the equation, the overall price tag to keep the Fox Valley plant open wouldn’t exceed what’s currently in the bill, the source added. Instead, the WEDC credits would be subtracted from what the agency could negotiate with Kimberly-Clark under the legislation.
The bill was written with the goal of keeping open two Kimberly-Clark plants in the Fox Valley with about 600 jobs. But the effort is now focused on keeping open the larger of the two, the Cold Spring facility in Fox Crossing, and that would lower the overall cost of the credits.
The push to get something done took on an added dimension this week as the company pressed lawmakers for a vote by month’s end, saying action was needed to allow Kimberly-Clark to “finalize our project plans and minimize the uncertainty and distractions being felt at our various sites.”
Walker added fuel to the push when he told reporters in Milwaukee on Thursday that he wanted to see senators return to take up the bill.
Along with his public comments, multiple GOP Senate sources said caucus members are being lobbied by both the guv and Kimberly-Clark to move on the legislation. The sources said that includes Walker personally calling members to push the package.
The guv also sent a letter to senators today underscoring the need for a bipartisan vote by Sept. 30. He urged lawmakers to tour the Cold Spring facility before making their decision, writing “What you learn on a tour will likely surprise you.”
One of the sources also shared with WisPolitics.com an invitation the company’s lobbyists have extended to members and/or their chiefs of staff to tour the Cold Spring facility with opportunities to visit next week. If members aren’t available, the company has asked to speak with members or their aides by phone.
But those GOP Senate sources also saw a difficult path for the legislation. Sen. Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield, previously announced he wouldn’t support the bill, and Sen. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, became the second caucus member to publicly register opposition to it. With an 18-15 majority, Fitzgerald would need every remaining Senate Republican to back the bill along with picking up one Dem vote to secure passage.
Critics of the package have questioned whether Kimberly-Clark needs the state’s assistance when it turned a $3.3 billion profit in 2017. Still, in announcing its reorganization plans in January, the company also said it was looking for $1.5 billion in cost savings from 2018 through the end of 2021.
Some have also noted with the state’s unemployment rate near historic lows, anyone laid off from the plants would likely be able to find work quickly.
Still, there’s also a political component to the dynamic, particularly for GOP state Sen. Roger Roth, whose Appleton area district includes the plant targeted for closure. He’s been one of the biggest proponents of the bill, but some have questioned whether it would impact his re-election bid should the push fail to produce a vote ahead of the November election.
His Dem opponent Lee Snodgrass, the Outagamie County Dem Party chair, this week accused Roth of failing “to bring lawmakers back to the table and get a deal done that protects local jobs.”
“He was quick to pass billions in tax breaks for foreign corporations and the wealthy, but has been AWOL when it came time to stand up for local workers, businesses and communities,” Snodgrass said.
Roth countered the bill now before the Senate is the only realistic option right now to save those jobs, stressing he co-authored the bill and introduced it.
“No one is working harder to build support in the Legislature to get this bill passed,” he said.
See Walker’s letter: https://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/180914Walker.pdf
Democratic plaintiffs today renewed their efforts to persuade a court to throw out Wisconsin’s political maps on the grounds they represent an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.
The U.S. Supreme Court in June vacated and remanded the case, Gill vs. Whitford, back to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin on the grounds the plaintiffs lacked standing because they didn’t prove they suffered “individual and personal injury.”
To address those concerns, attorneys have added 28 plaintiffs — 40 total — from Assembly districts across the state who support Democratic candidates and policies. All of those plaintiffs, attorneys argue, live in districts that were severely gerrymandered, leading their votes to have less weight than they otherwise would.
And attorneys are going further by filing a new case featuring Assembly Democrats as plaintiffs who argue their constitutional rights have been infringed upon by the state’s political lines.
Assembly Democrats are asking their new case be consolidated with the original Gill vs. Whitford case due to the similarity of their complaints that Wisconsin’s partisan gerrymander violates their constitutional and associational rights and arise from the same facts.
Both cases are seeking to have a three-judge panel invalidate the state’s political maps on the grounds they are unconstitutional.
To argue their point in the amended complaint, attorneys provided an alternative, non-gerrymandered map for several of the affected districts to show how their clients could seek relief.
The attorneys further argue the state’s political maps have harmed plaintiffs in the affected districts because they have weakened the Democratic Party, therefore preventing them from carrying out the state Dems’ activities.
Cases that lack standing usually are dismissed outright. But because the case concerned what Chief Justice John Roberts wrote was an “unsettled” type of claim involving partisan gerrymandering, the court opted to give the plaintiffs another chance to prove “concrete and particularized injuries.”
The original case argued before the court, Roberts contended, was focused on political interests rather than the harm to the individual plaintiffs. As a response, the amended lawsuit tries to specify how each plaintiff has been directly affected by the state’s gerrymandered political lines.
Even so, the case has been complicated by the upcoming departure of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, pegged as a justice who may have ruled for the Whitford plaintiffs. He is likely to be replaced by more conservative nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
The Whitford case is slated to be heard by a panel of three judges: Chief U.S. District Judge James Peterson, appointed by President Barack Obama; 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Kenneth Ripple, appointed by President Ronald Reagan; and U.S. District Judge William Griesbach, appointed by George W. Bush.
If state officials give the green light, the UW System could end up borrowing more money for taxpayer-backed building projects in the next biennium than any other biennium in the last two decades.
The UW System’s capital budget, which outlines funding for large-scale projects and renovations, requests $682 million in general fund supported borrowing in the 2019-21 cycle for projects ranging from a new chemistry building at UW-Milwaukee to maintenance for buildings systemwide.
Regents signed off on the capital budget request Aug. 23 at their meeting in Madison, with UW Regent and 1st CD candidate Bryan Steil the only one to vote against it. Steil cited the high cost and lack of prioritization of projects. Other state agencies are required to submit their budget requests by Monday.
JFC co-chair John Nygren told WisPolitics.com last month he think the UW System should do a better job of outlining why the projects in the capital request and the accompanying state funding are necessary.
Capital requests next head to the state Building Commission and then the Joint Finance Committee next year.
In justifying their request, System officials at the Regents meeting last month underscored the UW System’s aging facilities. They said about 1.1 million square feet of new construction, if approved, would replace 621,000 square feet of existing buildings for science and technology.
Funding in the 2019-21 budget request has been requested for new construction, renovations and replacements at UW-Milwaukee, Eau Claire, Madison, Whitewater, Oshkosh, Parkside, Stout, La Crosse and Stevens Point.
The sizable request aims to get the UW System’s building projects up to speed after the Legislature rejected the System’s full requests for funding over the last two budget cycles.
WisPolitics.com found the UW System in its 2019-21 capital budget request is asking for the most state funding for building projects since 2001 — the furthest back their available records go — after a check of budget papers and verification with System officials.
“Our proposed plan is attempting to catch us up from the lack of funding in the last four years,” Associate Vice President for Capital Planning and Budget Alex Roe said at the meeting.
The UW System had requested nearly $450 million in taxpayer-backed bonding for building projects in 2017-19 and just under $400 million in 2015-17. But lawmakers only approved about $100 million for 2015-17 and a little under $300 million in 2017-19.
According to budget documents, more than 60 percent of the System’s building inventory was constructed between 1950 and 1979 and “much of that inventory has had little renovation or upgrade since its inception.”
Additionally, about half of the overall building inventory is rated in moderate or poor condition, according to the budget documents. To address maintenance, System officials for the 2019-21 biennium have requested $300 million — $200 million of that in state funds. The System has also requested $38 million in state supported borrowing for classroom renovations at System campuses in Madison, Milwaukee, Green Bay, Eau Claire, La Crosse, Whitewater and Menominee
Campus officials say securing the funding, especially after failing to get full funding approved by the Legislature in the last couple budget cycles, is essential to fulfilling their mission.
Geoff Hurtado, UW-Milwaukee vice chancellor for facilities planning and management, argued state funding for regular maintenance as well as a $130 million chemistry building is the only way for UWM to serve students and the workforce needs of the state.
“We’re trying to teach the engineers of tomorrow with the labs of yesterday,” Hurtado told WisPolitics.com. “The faculty do a pretty good job of overcoming that, but imagine what they could do if they had … state of the art facilities.”
He said UWM funding gaps have left the university with a backlog of maintenance work, and he’s had to shut down a number of fume hoods in the 46-year-old current chemistry building, because they’re beyond repair. Hurtado argues replacing is preferred to renovating the facility, because it would allow for chemistry classes to continue while the new facility is built.
He says the current chemistry building could also be used for non chemistry needs down the road.
Similarly at UW-Madison, officials are praising the $300 million systemwide maintenance request. UW-Madison spokesman John Lucas said in a statement maintenance funding is needed to update the university’s mid-century infrastructure.
“When the state provided no maintenance funding for state agencies in the 2015-2017 budget, it placed great pressure on our infrastructure,” Lucas said.
He argued funding for new projects on the campus will also help the state fulfill its workforce needs. He says the $89 million requested to renovate and add to the campus’ veterinary facility will help farmers and pet owners across the state. Several requests in the university’s six-year plan also focus on addressing the needs of STEM majors, which he says Wisconsin businesses are demanding.
Upgrading, renovating and replacing facilities on the scale the System is requesting comes with a hefty price tag. In all, the UW System is hoping to budget $1.4 billion in 2019-21, which includes requests for $547 million in agency-supported borrowing, $79 million in cash and $99 million in gifts.
But given past austerity, campus officials aren’t batting an eye.
“We’re not asking for anything that’s out of bounds here. This is what we need so we can do our jobs,” Hurtado said.
Sept. 19: WisPolitics.com Luncheon with Axios Editor-in-Chief Nicholas Johnston
Join WisPolitics.com for lunch at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health, 1240 N. 10th Street, Milwaukee on Wednesday Sept. 19 with Axios Editor-in-Chief Nicholas Johnston. He is set to discuss the media’s relationship with President Trump and the fall elections in Wisconsin and around the country.
See Johnston’s bio: https://axios.com/authors/nick
See his Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/AxiosNick
Check-in and lunch begins at 11:30 a.m., with the program going from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. There will be a moderated discussion and a Q&A session with audience members.
WisPolitics subscribers and members receive discounted pricing of $20 per person. Price for the general public is $25 per person and $15 for students.
Register and pay here: http://payment.wispolitics.com Just enter “9-19 MKE” in the purpose of payment field. If you are registering on behalf of someone else, or for multiple individuals, you can add names to the purpose of payment field as well.
Venue address, map and parking information: https://uwm.edu/publichealth/contact/
This luncheon is sponsored by University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Wisconsin Academy for Global Education and Training, ELEVEN25 at Pabst, Milwaukee Police Association, The Firm Consulting, Medical College of Wisconsin and Spectrum.
Monday: Leg Council Study Committee on Bail and Conditions of Pretrial Release study meeting.
– 10 a.m.: Legislative Council Large Conference Room, 1 E. Main St., Suite. 401, Madison.
(Check local listings for times in your area)
“UpFront with Mike Gousha” is a statewide commercial TV news magazine show airing Sundays around the state. This week’s show features 6th CD candidate DAN KOHL; Senate President ROGER ROTH on a possible incentive package for Kimberly-Clark; and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s CRAIG GILBERT on the role of independents in the guv’s race.
*See viewing times in state markets here: http://www.wisn.com/upfront/
*Also view the show online each Monday at WisPolitics.com
“Rewind,” a weekly show from WisconsinEye and WisPolitics.com, airs at 8 p.m. on Fridays and 10 a.m. on Sundays in addition to being available online. On this week’s episode, WisPolitics.com’s JR ROSS and WisconsinEye’s STEVE WALTERS discuss developments on the proposed package for Kimberly-Clark to keep jobs in Wisconsin, new campaign charges and AG BRAD SCHIMEL’s announcement on testing rape kits.
*Watch the show: https://shar.es/a1uGMk
Wisconsin Public TV’s “Here and Now” airs at 7:30 p.m. Fridays.
“For the Record” airs at 10:30 a.m. Sunday on WISC-TV in Madison. Host NEIL HEINEN spotlights The Foundation for Black Women’s Health’s 10th Annual Black Women’s Wellness Day event scheduled for Sept. 22.
“Capitol City Sunday” airs at 9 a.m. Sunday on WKOW-TV in Madison, WAOW-TV in Wausau, WXOW-TV in La Crosse and WQOW-TV in Eau Claire. This week, EMILEE FANNON interviews Lt. Gov. REBECCA KLEEFISCH and Milwaukee Bucks Vice President of Strategy & Operations ALEX LASRY.
“The Insiders” is a weekly WisOpinion.com web show featuring former Democratic Senate Majority Leader CHUCK CHVALA and former Republican Assembly Speaker SCOTT JENSEN. This week, the two discuss former Gov. TOMMY THOMPSON’s prison overhaul ideas.
*Watch the video or listen to the show: https://www.wispolitics.com/2018/wisopinion-com-the-insiders-discuss-tommy-thompsons-prison-reform-ideas/
NAMES IN THE NEWS
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Upcoming WisPolitics.com events in D.C., Madison and Milwaukee include:
*A Wednesday luncheon in Milwaukee with Axios Editor-in-Chief NICHOLAS JOHNSTON. He’ll discuss the media’s relationship with President Trump and the fall elections in Wisconsin and around the country. Register: https://www.wispolitics.com/2018/sept-19-wispolitics-com-luncheon-with-axios-editor-in-chief-nicholas-johnston/
*A Thursday WisPolitics.com/WisBusiness.com panel discussion on “”How the Paper Industry is Navigating the New Economy.” The event, in cooperation with the Wisconsin Paper Council and WAGET, will be held in Appleton. Confirmed panelists include Reps. KATRINA SHANKLAND. D-Stevens Point; and DAVE MURPHY, R-Greenville; Prof. KARYN BIASCA, chair of the Paper Science and Chemical Engineering Department at UW-Stevens Point; SCOTT SUDER, president of the Wisconsin Paper Council; and JEFF WALCH, vice president for container board sales at Green Bay Packaging. The event is the latest “Navigating the New Economy” discussion from WisPolitics.com/WisBusiness.com. Register: https://www.wispolitics.com/2018/sept-20-in-appleton-how-the-paper-industry-is-navigating-the-new-economy/
*A Sept. 27 WisPolitics.com election preview at the University Club of Milwaukee. The event will feature Marquette Law School Poll Director CHARLES FRANKLIN plus Democratic strategist TANYA BJORK and GOP strategist KEITH GILKES. Register here: https://www.wispolitics.com/2018/sept-27-wispolitics-com-election-preview/
*Next month attend legislative election previews with the top leaders. Both luncheons will be at the Madison Club: Oct. 2, Speaker ROBIN VOS and Minority Leader GORDON HINTZ; and Oct. 16, Senate Majority Leader SCOTT FITZGERALD and Minority Leader JENNIFER SHILLING.
Register for the Assembly Election Preview: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wispolitics-assembly-election-preview-with-robin-vos-gordon-hintz-tickets-49901079472
Gov. SCOTT WALKER had a fundraiser planned in Virginia this evening at the home of KIM and PHIL COX, the latter of whom is a former operative for the Republican Governors Association. Tickets range from $250 for a reception up to $10,000 to be a co-chair. See the invite: https://my.scottwalker.com/september-14th-2018/
ROGER FRINGS, of the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, has been elected chair of the State Council on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse. Frings, who joined OCI in 2009, was elected Sept. 7. See more: https://oci.wi.gov/Pages/PressReleases/20180910_RogerFrings.aspx
National firm Consultant Connect has named TRICIA BRAUN, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. deputy secretary and COO, one of the top economic development officials in North America. Braun joined WEDC in 2013 and was named deputy secretary in February 2015. See the release: https://www.wispolitics.com/2018/wedc-deputy-sec-braun-receives-national-recognition-as-a-top-economic-development-official-in-north-america/
TOMMY ANDREWS, House Speaker PAUL RYAN’s director of members services, is leaving the Janesville Republican’s office to take a job in legislative affairs at the White House. He’s worked in Ryan’s office since December 2015, according to his LinkedIn page.
Conservatives for a Clean Energy Future has named Lt. Gov. REBECCA KLEEFISCH and Rep. TODD NOVAK 2018 Conservative Clean Energy Champions for their support of initiatives to bolster renewable energy and energy efficiency. See the release: https://www.wispolitics.com/2018/conservatives-for-a-clean-energy-future-wisconsin-state-leaders-named-clean-energy-champions/
Former GOP legislative aide ETHAN HOLLENBERGER has been hired as the public affairs coordinator for Washington County. See more: http://www.co.washington.wi.us/inner.iml?mdl=news.mdl&ID=253
The Wisconsin Forum has announced its 2018-19 speakers. They include: author RICHARD THIEME on uncovering government secrecy practices Oct. 16; Marquette University Prof. JOHN MCADAMS on the corruption of academia Jan. 16; state Rep. DALE KOOYENGA on the state’s anti-free market laws March 4; and Future of Freedom Foundation President JACOB HORNBERGER on open immigration April 2. See the full list: https://www.wispolitics.com/2018/wisconsin-forum-announces-2018-2019-season/
The Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 Veterans in the Workforce Summit is slated for Sept. 21 in Milwaukee. Keynoting the event is CHRISTOPHER MURDOCH, special adviser to Foxconn’s Wisconsin operations. He’ll highlight the company’s military veteran recruitment campaign. See event details: https://wiveteranschamber.org/event/wisconsin-veterans-in-the-workforce-summit/
ENDORSEMENTS: The following is a list of recent endorsements made for statewide and congressional district elections, based on emails received by WisPolitics.com:
TONY EVERS: Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, AFSCME Wisconsin’s PEOPLE Committee.
— Lt. governor:
MANDELA BARNES: Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters.
JOSH KAUL: Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters.
— State treasurer:
SARAH GODLEWSKI: Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, EMILY’s List.
— 1st CD:
RANDY BRYCE: Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin.
— 5th CD:
TOM PALZEWICZ: Former Dem guv candidate KELDA ROYS.
For more Names in the News, see subscriber products from earlier in the week plus the press release page at WisPolitics.com: https://www.wispolitics.com/
For upcoming events, see the “Week Ahead” in this product and in your e-mail Monday morning. Click here for the online calendar: https://www.wispolitics.com/category/events/
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Six changes were made to the lobbying registry in the past 10 days.
Follow this link for the complete list:
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