Exclusively for WisPolitics Subscribers



The overwhelming executive authority that I as governor have today will remain constant with the next governor.
– Gov. Scott Walker signing a trio of lame-duck session bills Dems say will curtail some powers under incoming Gov. Tony Evers and AG Josh Kaul. The legislation also limits in-person absentee voting to two weeks before Election Day, among other provisions.

I will be reviewing our options and will do everything we can to make sure the people of the state are not overlooked or ignored.
– Evers.

It’s wrong to retroactively take power from the record number of Wisconsinites who turned out to vote this year.
– Kaul, who called the laws “stunningly bad legislation.”

Record-setting early voting isn’t an emergency; it’s democracy. … It’s not just unprecedented. It’s undemocratic, it’s unconstitutional, it’s un-American.
– One Wisconsin Now’s Scot Ross on limits to early voting contained in the package of lame-duck bills. OWN today pledged to file a lawsuit over the legislation.

Many people in rural Wisconsin turn on their television and see people standing at the polls 45 days out, voting day after day after day. But when they go down to their own town hall, the lights are out and there is no clerk there. That’s inconsistent, and that irritates people. And I think it isn’t fair to rural Wisconsin.
– Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald defending the changes.

I can’t comprehend this. If there’s a good reason for doing it, I haven’t heard it.
– Sen. Rob Cowles, R-Green Bay, criticizing lame-duck legislation that removes requirements for the WEDC to annually verify information submitted by tax credit recipients before it verifies a business is eligible to claim the credit. The legislation instead requires WEDC to annually and independently verify the information from a sample of companies applying for tax credits, according to an analysis from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

We’re very certain about the results we provide. … You’re never going to independently verify over 200,000 employees. It’s just a process that cannot work.
– WEDC Secretary and CEO Mark Hogan saying the legislation wouldn’t change the process WEDC uses and that it “clarifies, and it will identify what we already do.”

This is great news for the workers at the Cold Spring facility as well as the families, businesses and communities of the Fox Valley. Kimberly-Clark has been an anchor company in Wisconsin for over 140 years and I am overjoyed to see that it will continue to be part of Wisconsin’s manufacturing heritage in the future.
– Sen. Roger Roth, R-Appleton, on the WEDC approving an up to $28 million incentive package to keep open Kimberly-Clark’s Cold Spring facility in Fox Crossing. Walker announced the deal Thursday, saying he want it to be his legacy.

Thanks to cooler heads prevailing in the State Senate taxpayers got a much better deal than the one initially negotiated by Governor Walker. It begs the question of what type of savings taxpayers could have seen on the Foxconn deal had the initial agreement been done by a politician with better negotiating skills.
– Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, on the Kimberly-Clark incentives. While he said the original legislation that would have provided Foxconn-style incentives was too expensive, the new deal “is a victory for the taxpayers, the union workers at Cold Spring and for common sense.”

They’ve been plagued with scandal and misuse of money and misappropriations. I’m concerned about the lack of oversight and transparency and legislative responsibility we have to approve these packages.
– Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, criticizing the WEDC for past problems and the process behind the Kimberly-Clark deal.

Are we going to have everything done? We’re going to do our very best. Our mantra over at the transition office is let’s not let perfect be the enemy of good. Let’s just get going every single day, accomplish good things on behalf of the people of Wisconsin, and let’s get to this new administration.
– Tony Evers transition Director JoAnne Anton during an interview on WisconsinEye’s “Rewind” when asked if the incoming administration would have all of its cabinet appointments and a transportation plan in place on inauguration day, Jan. 7.

*See more on this week’s “Rewind”: http://www.wiseye.org/Video-Archive/Event-Detail/evhdid/12978

Eight years into a recovery, with unemployment at historically low levels, 13 percent of the population is still on food stamps.
– U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, explaining his no vote on the farm bill.

This farm bill maintains a status quo that will drive more family farmers out of business. It fails to rein in wasteful subsidies and crop insurance programs that lead to overproduction by big agribusiness, and sends taxpayer dollars to billionaires on Wall Street, and in Chicago and San Francisco.
– U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, detailing his reasons for voting against the farm bill.

Wisconsin farmers are a key driver of our agriculture economy and the backbone of our rural communities, but right now our farmers are facing a perfect storm of challenges that have threatened their businesses and our communities.
– U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, who voted in favor of the farm bill.

–A collection of insider opinion–
(Dec. 8-14, 2018)


Kimberly-Clark: Depending on your perspective, the up to $28 million in taxpayer subsidies the company is in line to receive over the next five years is either corporate welfare or a down payment on securing the manufacturer’s continued presence in Wisconsin. Either way, insiders say it’s a win for the company, which is pledging to invest $200 million in a plant that was on the chopping block. K-C will have to keep its current workforce at both the Fox Valley plant — 388 — and statewide — about 2,400 — to maximize the state subsidies it can receive. Nearly a year ago, the company announced a plan to close two Wisconsin plants as part of a global restructuring that would cut some 5,000 jobs and save the company about $500 million a year, pre-tax. Considering the company’s long history in Wisconsin — it was founded in Neenah in 1872 — backers quickly swung into action with legislation that would’ve given the company Foxconn-like incentives to retain jobs at both plants. But the bill bogged down in the state Senate, where lawmakers from both sides expressed concern over both the cost — up to $115 million over 15 years — and the precedent it would set for other iconic Wisconsin companies that might shed jobs in the coming years. But even as the company announced deadlines for the state to act and GOP legislative leaders ordered an extraordinary session to take up the incentive package, there simply wasn’t any momentum behind the bill to get it through the Senate, which Republicans control 18-15. With Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, saying he only had 10 or 11 GOP votes for the bill, few — if any — saw a way to get at least a half-dozen Dems on board, particularly since they hadn’t been included in the process of drawing up the legislation and backers insisted any changes would torpedo everything. The bill ultimately was just an excuse for Republicans to call a lame-duck session and approve legislation reining in the powers of the incoming Dem guv and AG, Dems grumble. But after his attempts to pin the blame on Dems for the bill’s demise, Gov. Scott Walker declared he was going to make an all-out effort to reach a deal. In the end, Walker’s WEDC agrees to give Kimberly-Clark up to $28 million over five years if the company hits certain benchmarks. That includes maintaining its current payroll level, investing $200 million in the Cold Spring facility, and hitting targets for goods and services bought from Wisconsin companies. Compared to the legislation that had stalled in the Senate, the WEDC deal is one-third the length. But it’s also cheaper, insiders note, meaning each side is getting a little bit less. Critics look at the deal and ask why Republicans were looking to give the company up to $115 million in the original deal. What’s more, because of the way the state’s corporate taxes are structured, the manufacturer has little — if any — tax liability. That means the credits will be straight cash payments, resulting in taxpayers essentially subsidizing the Kimberly-Clark payroll. Ultimately, some note, that’s what the deal comes down to. The company had two plants — one near Neenah, the other in Arkansas — with a lot of overlap and thus decided to consolidate operations at where it would be cheapest. Before the state stepped in, that looked like Arkansas, where wages both for factory workers and white-collar employees are lower than Wisconsin. But with the state’s help, the Wisconsin plant will stay open, and Kimberly-Clark quickly announces the Conway, Ark., plant will close no later than 2021, putting the 344 employees there out of a job.

Assembly committees: Everyone wants a gavel. And when you have 63 members next session — with only eight of them freshmen — that means a whole lot of committees. Speaker Robin Vos announces the new lineup for the 2019-20 session with 41 standalone committees in the Assembly, up from 38 for the 2017-18 session. And every returning member from this session will either chair one of those 41, lead a joint committee, serve on Joint Finance or be in leadership. That means no ruffled feathers. That, however, wasn’t the case when Vos, R-Rochester, announced his chair picks two years ago. Then, five members didn’t get a gavel for various reasons, including a couple who said at the time they weren’t bothered by it because they could wait their turn and the caucus was so large. But Rep. Andre Jacque, who tussled with Vos and is now headed to the state Senate, proclaimed it was a “badge of honor” to lose a chairmanship. And Rep. Jesse Kremer, who decided against seeking re-election after two terms in the Assembly, posted on Facebook that the move was a “slap in the face.” There are any number of reasons why members want to chair a committee. For one thing, it includes additional staff. For another, some say, it means lobbyists keep you in mind when it comes to doling out campaign contributions. So by expanding the number of committees rather than trying to winnow it down to a more manageable number, Vos is keeping members happy, some say.

Abortion rates: Abortions are up slightly in Wisconsin for the first time in eight years, a new report from the state Department of Health Services shows. The state saw a total of 5,818 induced abortions within its borders in 2017, a nearly 3.7 percent increase from the 5,612 in 2016. While abortions in the state have been largely declining over the last few decades, a similar uptick occurred between 2008 and 2009, when the number of abortions rose from 8,229 to 8,542, or 3.8 percent. Abortion detractors blame Planned Parenthood for the increases. Wisconsin Right to Life Executive Director Heather Weininger pointed to the opening of a “brand-new, state-of-the-art abortion clinic” in Milwaukee last October — the first Wisconsin center of its kind in more than a decade, per media reports. She also notes the 2018 numbers could similarly track, given the May opening of a Planned Parenthood clinic in May in Sheboygan that offers medication abortions. That facility is the third in the state that provides abortions; the others are in Milwaukee and Madison. Meanwhile, Pro-Life Wisconsin State Director Dan Miller called for anti-abortion advocates to “redouble our efforts to stop abortion wherever it is being promoted.” That includes, he said, speaking up at churches, school boards and government at all levels. Planned Parenthood Legal and Policy Director Mel Barnes doesn’t disagree that the new Milwaukee clinic — and the increased access it provided — could have played a role in the uptick. Still, she stressed the “unmet need in our state of access to abortion care” and said many go out of state, including Illinois, to have abortions performed. The opening of the new Milwaukee clinic, she added, has allowed “more women to be able to get the care they need here in Wisconsin.”

Cabinet speculation: The Capitol rumor mill hates a vacuum. So with no cabinet picks announced yet by Gov.-elect Tony Evers, the parlor game is in full swing. But as insiders speculate who might end up in the Evers administration, many caution the names being floated are more likely to be some trying to puff up their profile than the transition letting leak who’s going to land a job. With 270 posts to fill, there will be no shortage of appointments. But much of the early speculation is on who Evers will pick to be his Department of Administration secretary. Long nicknamed the “Department of All,” the agency is viewed as the most important for any administration. So what kind of secretary will Evers pick? One option, insiders say, is someone from the private sector who has business experience. Another is going with someone who has a more intimate knowledge of how government works. After all, some add, one of DOA’s main responsibilities is dealing with others in state government. When Evers tapped Aaron Olver to be part of his transition, some saw him as a potential DOA secretary. After all, he has a combination of working in Gov. Jim Doyle’s administration, including as Commerce secretary, and private sector experience. But his job as managing director at University Research Park is too good to leave, some say. Evers transition director JoAnne Anton says during today’s taping of “Rewind,” a collaboration between WisconsinEye and WisPolitics.com, that both she and Olver intend to return to their private sector jobs after the transition concludes. Anton, who leads former U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl’s philanthropic organization, also says during the taping that the incoming administration is also looking for diversity in its first cabinet. She says that’s not just limited to demographics, race or gender — which will be considered — but professional and life experience. Finding the right people to hit that goal, some say, will likely take time. Some insiders are starting to wonder whether the incoming administration is having issues finding good people for top spots since there haven’t been any cabinet picks announced yet. But others are quick to point out Scott Walker’s first — and only — announcement of his cabinet picks came all in one shot Dec. 30, 2010.

*See Anton’s interview in today’s “Rewind”: http://www.wiseye.org/Video-Archive/Event-Detail/evhdid/12978


Scott Walker: The guv has been talking about his legacy a lot lately. His Twitter feed is filled with posts touting $8 billion in tax cuts and the state’s unemployment rate. In signing a job-saving deal with Kimberly-Clark, he says that should be his legacy. And he deflects the suggestion that signing the GOP-authored extraordinary session bills will tarnish how people view his two terms. The reality, insiders say, is Walker’s place among the most influential guvs in Wisconsin history was locked in once he pushed through Act 10 and began his conservative makeover of Wisconsin. How his job creation efforts will be judged down the line will largely depend on whether Foxconn succeeds, as he never met his campaign pledge of 250,000 new jobs. And signing the lame-duck bills won’t win over any critics or elevate his standing with voters who rejected his bid for a third term. Even Dems give Walker some credit for the Kimberly-Clark deal after the Legislature failed to pass a bill, and those on both sides note state Sen. Roger Roth, R-Appleton, has to be recognized for his efforts to keep the plant in the spotlight. The guv clearly didn’t want to see the iconic Wisconsin company move forward with shutting down a second plant under his watch. In reaching the deal to keep open the Cold Spring facility, Walker’s WEDC uses benchmarks that include both keeping the 388 jobs at the plant and Kimberly-Clark’s statewide payroll of about 2,400 for the company to be able to reach the full $28 million available. It’s also significant, some say, that Kimberly-Clark is now committing to a $200 million investment in the plant. It’s not just the impact of the one factory that’s so important, some say. It’s the supply chain around Wisconsin and the ripple effect of the company’s presence. Still, others note there’s a reason a bipartisan group of state senators had a problem with the bill. Essentially, Wisconsin is subsidizing the company’s payroll at the plant, and that can be a dangerous precedent, especially if there’s a recession on the horizon. The lame-duck bills have a much more partisan flavor. Republicans complain bitterly that Dems and the media have inflated the bills to be much more impactful than they really are — an argument Walker emphasized during his announcement that he’s signing the bills in their entirety. Dems, however, say no amount of spin from Republicans can change the fact that they looked liked sore losers in pushing the changes through in a post-election extraordinary session. No matter how much they claim to the contrary, Dems say, there’s no way Republicans would’ve convened in December to take up the bills if Walker and AG Brad Schimel had been re-elected. To his critics, signing the lame-duck session bills are a bookend to Walker’s legacy. He came in with a flurry signing Act 10, and he contributes to one more controversy as he prepares to walk out the door.

Ron Kind: The La Crosse lawmaker is one of only three Dems who votes against the farm bill, putting him at odds with the state’s ag community and on the losing end of a lopsided vote as the legislation clears 369-47. But, his backers say, that stance shouldn’t come as any shock. Kind calls the bill “status quo” legislation that will encourage overproduction and increase taxpayer subsidies going to “big agri-business.” That overproduction, he argues, drives commodity prices down more, resulting in more farmers ending up in bankruptcy. Though the ag community — a key constituency in Kind’s western Wisconsin district — largely praises the bill, his backers say there’s little downside for him. The La Crosse Dem has long held himself out as someone willing to take a stand against what he sees as wasteful spending or a lack of accountability. GOP U.S. Reps. Mike Gallagher, of Green Bay, and Jim Sensenbrenner, of Menomonee Falls, along with U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, also vote against the bill. But much of the criticism from the GOP side of the aisle is that it dropped work requirements in the food stamp program that House Republicans, particularly Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, had pushed. Johnson, for example, complained nearly 80 percent of the spending in the bill was directed to the food stamp program and declared he wouldn’t support a bill without reforms to “a runaway spending program.”


Wisconsin health: More people in Wisconsin are dying from opioid overdoses and suicide, according to preliminary data from the state Department of Health Services. The figures show opioid-related deaths rose from 111 in 2000 to 916 last year, a 725 percent hike. Meanwhile, suicides increased by 56 percent, from 588 in 2000 to 915 in 2017. And gun deaths are up 45 percent from 428 in 2000 to 621 in 2017. On the flip side, stats show a decline among car-related deaths, from 865 in 2000 to 599 in 2017, a drop of 31 percent. Meanwhile, Wisconsin has fallen two places in the latest state-by-state health care rankings from the United Health Foundation, which highlights rising levels of obesity and certain diseases. The state was ranked 23rd in this year’s report, and it was listed as worst in the nation for excessive drinking. This marks one of the lowest rankings in the past three decades, which have seen an overall downward slide in the state’s health ranking from the foundation. On the good side, compared to most of the country, the state has lower levels of air pollution, residents are more physically active, smoking rates are down, and a relatively low percentage of its population is uninsured.

*See more on the rankings at WisBusiness.com: http://wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=392917

UW chancellors: Two UW chancellors involved in scandals are being excluded from a pay bump this year. Meanwhile, a third isn’t getting a raise because he already saw a $50,000 boost. That means the remaining 10 public university heads in the state — along with eight others — are left to split some $270,000, accounting for performance raises ranging from $14,421 to $72,668, per media reports. The money’s largely coming from the salary of ex-UW Colleges and UW-Extension Chancellor Cathy Sandeen, who’s now the chancellor at the University of Alaska-Anchorage following the UW System merger plan’s implementation. The decision comes after the Board of Regents met behind closed doors last week to discuss the salary uppers and deny increases to UW-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow and UW-Whitewater Chancellor Beverly Kopper, as well as Dennis Shields of UW-Platteville. Gow recently sparked controversy after he invited porn star Nina Hartley to speak on campus this year about sexuality and adult media, causing UW System President Ray Cross to reprimand Gow and launch an audit into the chancellor’s discretionary fund. As for Hopper, her husband was recently banned from campus in light of a sexual harassment allegation levied against him.


Gov. Scott Walker continued to denounce the “hype and hysteria” surrounding the GOP’s extraordinary session bills this afternoon before signing off on the trio without a single veto.

Ahead of the bill signing, the departing guv also gave a nearly line-by-line defense of the provisions, as he repeated the bills — viewed as undermining the authority of Dem Gov.-elect Tony Evers and AG-elect Josh Kaul — don’t amount to “a power shift.”

“The overwhelming executive authority that I as governor have today will remain constant with the next governor,” Walker said at the Green Bay state office building.

The language, which cleared the Legislature last week, also sets limits on early voting. Walker said early voting should be made uniform across the state to make it “fair.” In addition, the language requires legislative support if the guv requests a waiver from the feds, which Walker said will eliminate the possibility of “competing messages”; and gives legislators more appointments to the WEDC Board, which Walker says “further extends” legislative buy-in.

Evers, meanwhile, said it’s disappointing Walker didn’t issue any partial vetoes, adding he will be “looking at all options.” But the incoming executive didn’t say whether he’d file a lawsuit.

“I will be reviewing our options and will do everything we can to make sure the people of the state are not overlooked or ignored,” he told reporters this afternoon in Madison.

Kaul in a statement slammed the new laws as “stunningly bad legislation,” adding: “It’s wrong to retroactively take power from the record number of Wisconsinites who turned out to vote this year.” But the incoming AG also didn’t say whether he would take any legal action.

Meanwhile, the liberal One Wisconsin Institute today pledged to file a lawsuit on the early voting restrictions under the law. An attorney for the institute previously argued the legislation would go against the injunction U.S. District Judge James Peterson issued in 2016 after the One Wisconsin Institute sued to block restrictions on early voting locations and hours.

Before signing the bills, Walker referenced a Venn diagram-like chart his office made that listed various powers under the Walker administration and incoming Evers administration in two separate circles. Among the powers listed were: appointment authority, budget authority, veto authority, executive order authority and “powerful chief executive.”

The middle of the diagram, where the circles overlapped, read: “Both administrations same powers.”

Critics were quick to point out the guv’s office had misused the Venn diagram, in which the overlap of interlocking circles is used to indicate shared properties.

Dem Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa, D-Milwaukee, tweeted, “1: This isn’t how a Venn diagram works. 2: This isn’t how democracy works.”

Walker later noted that any of the provisions in the law could be reversed if Evers and the Legislature decide to act.

“If the new governor going forward as he’s talked about throughout the campaign, is good at working with both Republicans and Democrats, if there’s something technically that he believes is a challenge, then he’ll be fully capable to work with the Legislature to make that happen,” he said.

The guv earlier this week signalled he was looking at potential line-item vetoes — including a provision in one of the bills to give the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. board the power to pick the CEO until Sept. 1, when it would then be restored to the executive.

But today, he noted that he can only use his line-item veto authority on appropriations bills, and SB 884, which contained the language, doesn’t appropriate funds. Still, he said if lawmakers had passed legislation to take away Evers’ powers to appoint the WEDC head entirely, he would’ve “probably” rejected the bill.

“The fact that it’s delayed by a few months, to me, I think that’s more of a technicality,” Walker said.

Walker also noted the Kimberly-Clark deal he announced yesterday was able to be struck without lawmaker approval, a power the incoming Evers administration won’t have under the law. That’s because the language bars WEDC from creating a new enterprise zone without legislative approval, while under current law the agency can designate up to 30 enterprise zones without review.

Still, Walker said he was confident the deal could have gained approval from Joint Finance, noting the WEDC board, comprised partially of Dem and GOP lawmakers, green-lighted the contract between the agency and Kimberly-Clark Wednesday afternoon.

“As I stood with a whole crew of lawmakers yesterday, I said, ‘Does anybody doubt for a minute if we reach that kind of deal that the Joint Finance Committee, Democrats and Republicans alike, would have signed off on it?'” he said.

See a WBAY-TV video of the bill signing:

See a WBAY-TV video of Evers’ comments to reporters:


The extraordinary session bills Gov. Scott Walker signed today will make a series of changes to the balance of power between the Legislature and the executive branch.

Prompted by a request from Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau in October identified more than a dozen other items that Republicans ultimately didn’t include in the legislation.

The items include amending state statute to limit how the guv’s partial veto authority can be applied to some issues before the Joint Finance Committee, requiring all major highway projects be enumerated by the Legislature and converting more than 50 agency positions to civil service rather than allowing Gov.-elect Tony Evers’ new administration to fill the jobs.

Vos, R-Rochester, has said some of the provisions in the LFB memo that didn’t make the cut are examples of the give and take in the legislative process. He, for example, originally supported the Legislature enumerating projects, though he acknowledged that may have added time to the process. But in his talks with the Senate and Walker’s office, others weren’t on board.

The same goes for changing the guv’s partial veto authority, which Walker has previously said was a non-starter.

Vos again said he began the conversation about possible changes in the spring. He requested the memo from Legislative Fiscal Bureau Director Bob Lang this summer.

He insisted that process backs up his contention that the changes now signed into law weren’t targeting Evers.

“My intention was to have this discussion no matter who the governor was,” Vos said in an interview with WisPolitics.com.

But Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, said it’s telling that Republicans were looking at the issue in the lead-up to the election. The memo is dated Oct. 26, 11 days before the Nov. 6 election.

“This memo shows they knew they wouldn’t win on their policies, so they were working behind the scenes to consolidate their power and override the will of the people,” Hintz said. “This is exactly what people hate about politics.”

Vos mentioned the LFB memo to WisPolitics.com before Republicans introduced the legislation took up during the extraordinary session. But he declined to release it until this week after the three bills that ultimately made the cut cleared both houses of the Legislature.

The eight-page memo includes more than a dozen provisions that ultimately ended up in the bills that Republicans approved. That includes giving the Joint Committee on Legislative Organization authority to enter leases for the Legislature and its service agencies, a power now with the Building Commission and DOA; requiring the Department of Health Services to seek approval from the Joint Finance Committee for any rate changes in the Medical Assistance program; and prohibiting DHS from requesting any waivers of federal laws relating to Medicaid or the food stamp program without legislative input.

What’s also noteworthy are the provisions in the final bills that weren’t included in the LFB memo: changing the WEDC Board to strip the guv temporarily of the power to appoint the agency head; banning those rejected by the Senate from being re-appointed; and giving the Legislature oversight of security changes in the state Capitol.

The memo also didn’t include any of what some see as the most controversial pieces of the original bills that deal with the Department of Justice. The only mention of DOJ in the document was a note that lawmakers could make the agency positions in the Solicitor General’s Office and the School Safety director civil service employees rather than appointed positions. They were among the more than 50 positions — largely chief legal advisers, communication directors and legislative advisers — that LFB said could be turned into civil service jobs.

Ultimately, the bills included a provision to eliminate the Office of Solicitor General and to give the Legislature standing when a state statute is challenged in court, among others impacting DOJ.

Vos said his intention in requesting the memo from Lang was to identify areas in which the Legislature had ceded authority to the executive branch over the years. Vos said he intended that to include provisions related to the Department of Justice. But LFB didn’t address that agency because of how Vos worded the request.

The bills also modified at least one provision LFB identified. Under the legislation, DHS will have to seek approval from the Joint Finance Committee for reimbursement rate changes in the MA program. Providers lobbied hard against the provision, which originally set a threshold of $1 million. The bill that ultimately passed last week raised that to $7.5 million.

But the LFB memo noted a threshold of $10 million would continue to allow the department to have “reasonable discretion to manage the program to meet broad goals.”

Vos said the $7.5 million threshold was a compromise.

“If you’re spending a million dollars of the taxpayers’ money, in many ways the Legislature should either know what’s happening or have the ability to say yes or no,” Vos argued. “Ultimately, our most important function is guardian of the taxpayers’ dollars.”

Read the memo:


Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling says legislative Dems and Republicans are facing an “arranged” marriage in the upcoming session.

Republicans, who will still control both houses of the Legislature, will ultimately need sign off from Dem Gov.-elect Tony Evers to pass their agenda. Dems, meanwhile, will need GOP support to get their bills scheduled for hearings and through the Legislature.

And to repair the frayed relationships inside the Capitol, lawmakers of both parties could use a basic issue to work together on early next year.

She’s just not sure what that issue will be. The two sides are sure to tackle big topics, such as transportation, which could provide common ground.

Shilling told WisPolitics.com in a new interview she sees Republicans going through the five stages of grief after Evers beat Gov. Scott Walker last month. And she’s not sure if they’re fully prepared for what life is like in the Capitol with a guv of the other party.

Next session, only nine GOP members of the Assembly and seven of the Senate will have served in the Legislature when Dem Gov. Jim Doyle was still in the East Wing.

“They are going to find a whole new world that they’re about to be a part of,” Shilling said.

And she suggested what she’s seen from Republicans over the last eight years may not be a good sign of how things will run with split government.

“I hope that this place doesn’t grind to a halt in gridlock. But you know what? The Republicans weren’t so great when they had control of everything, and they had their own internal dynamics of dysfunction,” Shilling said, noting the 2017-19 budget was nearly three months late.

Shilling ripped the GOP extraordinary session bills and has urged Walker to veto them. The legislation covers a host of issues from early voting to who appoints the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. CEO.

Still, Shilling sees one issue underlying the various changes Republicans proposed to the Department of Justice — redistricting.

She suspects the driving reason behind GOP lawmakers looking to create an ability to hire private attorneys on their own is that they will disagree with incoming Dem AG Josh Kaul in any lawsuit over the next maps and want their own say in court.

Shilling said Republicans were trying to set up a “legislative litigation department” that will have no caps on the legal bills private attorneys submit to the state and no transparency.

“I’ve been around here a long time,” said Shilling, who was elected to the Assembly in 2000 and the Senate in a 2011 recall election. “The big prize is redistricting once every 10 years. If you’re the party in power, you fight to keep it. If you’re the party not in power, you fight to get into power.”

See more from the interview in the Wednesday PM Update:

Listen to the full interview:

Editor’s note: WisPolitics.com is scheduled to interview Gov.-elect Tony Evers and Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, next week. It also has requested year-end interviews with Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau; Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester; and Gov. Scott Walker.


Wednesday: Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding informational hearing.
– 9 a.m.: 412 East, state Capitol.

Wednesday: House Speaker Paul Ryan delivers farewell address.
– 12 p.m. CT: Great Hall, Thomas Jefferson Building, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

(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 state Sen. ROGER ROTH, U.S. Rep. GWEN MOORE and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist DAN BICE.
*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 Kimberly-Clark and the lame-duck session bills. They also interview Gov.-elect Tony Evers’ transition head JOANNE ANTON.
*Watch the show: http://www.wiseye.org/Video-Archive/Event-Detail/evhdid/12978

Wisconsin Public TV’s “Here and Now” airs at 7:30 p.m. Fridays. On this week’s program, anchor FREDERICA FREYBERG talks with Dane County Judge SUSAN CRAWFORD on the renewal of a pardon advisory board under the Evers administration; Washington Post Associate Editor DAVID MARANISS on the transition in the U.S. House; and Sen. ROGER ROTH on the state’s newly announced deal with Kimberly-Clark.

“For the Record” airs at 10:30 a.m. Sunday on WISC-TV in Madison.

“Capital 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, host EMILEE FANNON talks with Rep. PETER BARCA and Wisconsin Farm Bureau Government Relations Director KAREN GEFVERT.

“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 evaluate Gov.-Elect TONY EVERS’ transition progress.
*Watch the video or listen to the show: https://www.wispolitics.com/2018/wisopinion-com-the-insiders-evaluate-evers-transition-progress/

Send items to staff@wispolitics.com

Ideas for future WisPolitics.com events? Email mayers@wispolitics.com.

BILL KRAUS, a longtime figure in Wisconsin politics and former adviser to Gov. LEE SHERMAN DREYFUS, died this morning in Madison of complications from pneumonia, according to friends. Kraus, age 92, was an active politico until his death as a member of the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service board and recently as a leader of Common Cause in Wisconsin. He was also a frequent contributor to WisOpinion. He received a lifetime achievement award from WIPPS earlier this year. See more: https://www.wispolitics.com/2018/bill-kraus-wipps-lifetime-achievement-award-for-civic-leadership-acceptance-speech-2/

The League of Wisconsin Municipalities has appointed Milton Mayor ANISSA WELCH to its Board of Directors. Welch previously served as a Milton alderwoman and is in her second term as mayor. See the release: https://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/181211-Welch.pdf

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce Senior Director of Advocacy and Membership JIM PUGH is leaving his post to take a position at the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty in Milwaukee. Pugh also serves as the vice president and treasurer of the WMC Issues Mobilization Council Inc. His last day is Dec. 27, according to a WMC spokesman.

The Milwaukee Press Club is planning to give Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter CROCKER STEPHENSON into the club’s highest honor for journalists, The Knights of the Golden Quill, on Jan. 8 in Milwaukee. Stephenson was first hired by the Milwaukee Sentinel in 1987. See more on the event: https://www.wispolitics.com/2018/milwaukee-press-club-to-honor-journalist-crocker-stephenson/

The Wisconsin Broadcasters Association announced it’s creating a new Legislative Committee comprised of members in each of the state’s eight congressional districts in order to increase engagement in legislative issues, per WBA. The panel will be headed by DON VESELY, of WMTV-TV in Madison; and TOM WALKER, of Mid-West Family Broadcasting. See the release: https://www.wispolitics.com/2018/wba-establishes-legislative-committee/

ENDORSEMENTS: The following is a list of recent endorsements made for statewide candidates, based on emails received by WisPolitics.com:

— Wisconsin Supreme Court:

LISA NEUBAUER: Winnebago County Sheriff JOHN MATZ, Dane County Sheriff DAVID MAHONEY, and more than 60 others. See the release: https://www.wispolitics.com/2018/neubauer-campaign-announces-bipartisan-support-from-law-enforcement/

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/

If you have a contribution, e-mail staff@wispolitics.com

(from the state Ethics Commission)

Five changes were made to the lobbying registry in the past 10 days.

Follow this link for the complete list:

(c)2018 WisPolitics.com.
All rights reserved. Reproduction or retransmission of this publication, in whole or in part, without the express permission of WisPolitics.com is prohibited. Unauthorized reproduction violates United States copyright law (17 USC 101 et seq.), as does retransmission by facsimile or any other electronic means, including electronic mail.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email