TUE AM Update: JCRAR to take up DPI rule on lifetime teaching licenses; Ethics Commission meets

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From WisPolitics.com …

— The Joint Committee for the Review of Administrative Rules is meeting this morning for a public hearing and executive session.

Included on the committee’s agenda is an emergency rule from the Department of Public Instruction on lifetime teaching licenses, language that was part of a bill Gov. Scott Walker signed into law earlier this year.

The panel’s meeting comes after the Legislature last week signed off on lame-duck session bills that included provisions to alter the administrative rules process. But the office of Co-chair Sen. Steve Nass said the body isn’t planning to discuss the potential changes when it convenes today.

— The Ethics Commission is meeting this morning to again review draft social media guidelines for elected officials.

The meeting comes as the commission is in the midst of moving its office to 101 E. Wilson St., Suite 127, in Madison. The move is expected to be finalized by Dec. 18, per the meeting materials.

— Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt says he’s considering bringing back his “Teacher Protection Act” next session — but in a series of bills rather than just one.

Still, the Fond du Lac Republican cautioned he hasn’t yet made a decision about introducing it again given that the “dynamics have changed” with incoming Dem Gov.-elect Tony Evers and a new Department of Public Instruction head.

Thiesfeldt, who also chairs the Assembly Education Committee, noted there were portions of the bill earlier this session “that DPI was not opposed to, so I would hope that that would hold true” going forward.

The sweeping bill included a series of provisions aimed at safeguarding teachers and addressing violent behavior in schools. The original bill would have: let teachers review their students’ behavioral records; give teachers the ability to appeal directly to their school board if administration refuses to suspend a student; and require police to notify school administrators if a student is taken into custody for a violent felony or misdemeanor, among other things.

But the version that ultimately cleared the Assembly in February only consisted of a provision to allow teachers who were the victims of an attack by a student to avoid penalties for breaking their contract. That legislation was never taken up in the Senate.

“Being that a lot of the work is done already, I would hope to certainly get it introduced in the first six months of the session. But I’m not going to hold myself to that,” Thiesfeldt said.

See more on the bill:

— Gov. Scott Walker will be in Pewaukee today to give remarks at the annual Governor’s Small Business Summit.

From WisBusiness.com …

— Caroline Gomez-Tom, navigator program manager for Covering Wisconsin, is hopeful that this year’s open enrollment period will see nearly as many signups as last year, despite dwindling federal funding.

“At least here in Wisconsin, it’s not as turbulent as we saw last year,” she told WisBusiness.com.

During last year’s open enrollment period for 2018 coverage, she notes Molina had left the marketplace due in part to uncertainty around the future of the Affordable Care Act. But Molina has since re-entered Wisconsin’s ACA marketplace, and the other insurers have stuck around as well.

So far, signups during this year’s open enrollment period have lagged behind last year. Though many factors are at play, Gomez-Tom says the slow sign-ups could be explained in part by consumers choosing to let their plans automatically renew.

She explains that those who were happy with their previous coverage can wait out the open enrollment period to be auto-enrolled with the same plan by Dec. 15, when open enrollment ends.

“Many people could be doing that,” she said. “At this point, we are still ahead of where we were at in 2016.”

Last year was somewhat of a special case, she says, as open enrollment was held during a 45-day window — half the time allotted in previous years. At the same time, there was “a lot of urgency” about open enrollment due to how much ACA repeal was being discussed on the national stage.

“This year, there’s not as much awareness on a national level,” Gomez-Tom said. She says the federal push to get people enrolled is still lacking, “so we’ve relied on what we’ve been doing locally.”

See more: http://wisbusiness.com/index.Iml?Article=392894

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Walker has not received lame-duck bills, deadline to act is Dec. 27
… Walker has the ability to call for the bills when he would like to do so. … Senate chief clerk will bring the bills to Walker’s office at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 20 if the governor has not called for them by that time … Walker has six days, not including Sunday, to act on the bills from the point he receives them. … “The governor is reviewing the legislation. We will advise when he takes any action,” the governor’s office said in a statement. … Evers told NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday he’s not optimistic that Walker will veto the bills [as Evers personally requested].

WEDC CEO ‘very certain’ agency can verify jobs under lame-duck changes
… Hogan told reporters Monday that it won’t change how the agency currently verifies those jobs numbers. Hogan said examining a large-enough sample of jobs data can provide accurate information without subjecting the agency to what he described as the “crushing” burden of independently verifying each job. “We’re very certain about the results we provide. … You’re never going to independently verify over 200,000 employees,” he said. “It’s just a process that cannot work.” … said WEDC began more than two years ago seeking the changes passed last week. … Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling said in a statement. “The last thing that agency needs is less accountability measures.” … Evenson, said Monday that the governor was still reviewing the measures.

Evers announces science, agriculture advisory panel
… vowing to “bring science back to decision-making” … panel will work with Evers’ transition team “on identifying strategies to protect Wisconsin’s natural resources, strengthen our agricultural industries, and work toward clean energy innovation. … we have to get to work on addressing these issues that affect our kids and our future,” Evers said in the release. Panel includes ex-rep. Black, ex-DNR chief Hauge, NR Boarder Cole, ex-DNR forester DeLong, ex-NR Board chair Clausen, WI Land + Water’s Krueger.

Evers: Bipartisan compromise possible on criminal justice reform
… “Red states like Texas have passed comprehensive criminal justice reform, and I know Republicans and Democrats can work together to get it done here in Wisconsin,” Evers said. Evers wants to halve prison population, end solitary confinement and give ex-convicts more help, noterd blacks 10 times more likely to be jailed. 30-member council “to start prioritizing people, not prisons” includes ex-justices Butler and Geske; ex-sheriff Raemisch, Avery defender Strang, Black Leaders’ Lang, WPPA’s Palmer, ex-DOC sec. Dickey, Milwaukee Deputy Ball, PD chief Thompson, ex-DNR sec. Frank. Leaders Vos, Fitzgerald did not respond. Evers also named nat resource, ag advisory panels.

Attorney shortage causing court delays in [Racine] county, state
… “The private bar attorneys who accept appointments are an integral part of Wisconsin’s indigent defense system,” State Public Defender Kelli Thompson stated in a petition filed with the Supreme Court of Wisconsin. “These private attorneys have a substantial impact on the delivery of justice and the state public defender (SPD) is a full supporter of its private bar partners.” … problem is twofold … shortage of criminal attorneys in the area. … low public defender reimbursement rate … $40 an hour. … set in 1995, and is the lowest in the nation.

Ocasio-Cortez: Ryan got called a ‘genius’ when he was elected at 28, I get accused of being ‘a fraud’
… “Double standards are Paul Ryan being elected at 28 and immediately being given the benefit of his ill-considered policies considered genius; and me winning a primary at 28 to immediately be treated with suspicion & scrutinized, down to my clothing, of being a fraud,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, linking to an article from Vox editor-at-large Ezra Klein entitled “Paul Ryan’s long con.” Klein tweeted, “I gave Paul Ryan the benefit of the doubt. I was wrong.”

Madison war veteran led pricey Saudi lobbying operation in Trump hotel
… [former Walker DVA Deputy] Jason Johns said … he did nothing wrong in overseeing the Saudi-funded program … aimed at repealing a law that allowed families of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to sue Saudi Arabia. … under a contract with the Washington-based Qorvis/MSLGroup … wasn’t involved in booking the hotel and didn’t even know that Trump still owned it … “This was an effort these veterans believed in,” Johns said … resigned in 2012 for family reasons, and the next year started Wisconsin Legislative Strategies … also runs NMLB Veterans Advocacy Group … registered as an agent of the Saudi government when he started working for Qorvis and let the registration lapse in 2017 after the program ended. Program details.

Meet the Craft Distillers of Native America
… Congress two weeks ago voted to lift a 184-year-old ban that prohibited distilleries on tribal lands. … The future of Native American distilling already has begun in northern Wisconsin … Here on the heavily forested, sparsely populated reservation of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, down the snow-covered road from the lakefront casino, sits Copper Crow, the first Native American-owned distillery in the United States. … [owner Curt] Basina, a former Wisconsin highway patrolman of 17 years, is one of 7,300 members … “The crow helps you find your purpose in life,” Basina said later, taking a sip of homebrewed medicinal tea made from foraged chaga mushrooms. “It’s very meaningful in the tribal culture.” … In 1834, when Congress banned distilleries in Indian Country, legislators said it was to “preserve peace on the frontier.” Nearly two centuries later, Basina is glad to see the language go. … and perhaps, move past the stereotype of the “drunken Indian” that has long haunted its people. … “We weren’t immune to it,” said [Linda] Basina, a special education teacher’s aide. “We tried to be sensitive to it. Yes, we are Native Americans, but we can also be successful at this business and give back to the community.” … [tribal vice chair] Gordon now encourages the other 10 tribes throughout the state to sell Copper Crow vodka in their casinos. There’s no word, he said, on whether other tribes are considering their own distilleries now. … wo dozen people gathered outside Bayfield Wine and Spirits to hit a piñata in the 25-degree chill, warmed slightly with free samples of Copper Crow vodka and a cranberry-infused slushy that passersby gladly imbibed. “It’s the talk of the town,” said server Liz Bodin, one of the Basinas’ daughters and a local school media specialist, wearing a Christmas-light tiara — “a beacon” for their cocktail.

Power line opponents pan draft review of Dubuque-Middleton transmission project
… A coalition of conservation and environmental groups issued a joint statement Monday complaining that the 627-page environmental review “includes only a cursory review” of non-transmission alternatives. … It will be up to utility regulators in Iowa and Wisconsin to determine if the project will benefit ratepayers and, if so, which route it should follow. … will also need federal permits to cross the Mississippi River.

Senators Oppose FCC’s Declaratory Ruling on Text Messaging in Letter to Chair Pai
… “We urge you to right this wrong and classify text messaging as a telecommunications service, affording this vital means of communications protections that promote innovation and support freedom of speech,” according to the letter from Markey and [Dem] U.S. Sens. Wyden, Gillibrand, Baldwin, Blumenthal, Smith, Cardin, Warren, Sanders, Feinstein.


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– 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.: Governor’s Small Business Summit with Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. Pewaukee.

– 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.: Wisconsin Ethics Commission meeting. Members are to review draft guidelines for public officeholders’ use of social media.

– 10 a.m.: Leg Council Study Committee on Property Tax Assessment Practices study meeting.

– 10 a.m.: Leg Council Study Committee on Bail and Conditions of Pretrial Release study meeting.

– 11 a.m.: Joint Committee for Review of Administrative rules public hearing.

– 11:05 a.m.: Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules executive session.

– 4:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.: Gov.-elect Evers, Lt. Gov-elect Barnes: “Building the People’s Budget” tour. Green Bay.

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