Daily Archives: February 6, 2019

AG Kaul: Statement following death of Milwaukee police officer

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MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Attorney General Josh Kaul issued the following statement after a Milwaukee Police Officer was killed in the line of duty:

“I join all of Wisconsin in mourning the loss of one of our brave law enforcement officers. Those who put on the uniform every day put their safety at risk to protect others and to save lives.

“DOJ continues to assist with this investigation and the Law Enforcement Death Response Team is supporting the Milwaukee Police Department.”

Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection: Releases top ten consumer complaints for 2018

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Media Contact: Jerad Albracht, Senior Communications Specialist

Editor’s Note: For interview requests about the top complaints, please contact Jerad Albracht by email:[email protected]. The list is also available as a free downloadable 8.5″x11″ poster.

MADISON – …and the number one consumer complaint is…

Telemarketing complaints are on the rise (4,860 complaints) and continue to top the annual list of consumer complaints collected by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). More than two out of every five complaints received by the agency in 2018 were in regard to calls from unknown numbers, unwanted sales calls or scam calls. This represents a 17% increase in telemarketing complaints over 2017.

“Consumers are frustrated with the amount of unwanted calls that they receive,” said Lara Sutherlin, administrator for the Division of Trade and Consumer Protection. “At best, these calls are a disruptive nuisance; at worst, they are a threat to the personal and financial information that consumers work hard to protect.”

“Until a fix is identified, many Wisconsin consumers report having some success in minimizing the disruption of robocalls by using call-blocking apps for their mobile phones and letting unknown calls ring through to voicemail,” Sutherlin added.

In only its second year as a formal complaint category, Medical Services jumped two spots to number five with 255 complaints – an increase of more than 30% from 2017’s count (195 in 2017). These complaints cover services related to clinics, hospitals and professional services in the medical field and were overwhelmingly about billing disputes, misrepresentations and unauthorized charges. This category does not include complaints regarding health care providers, medical devices, procedures or products.

“When you have transactions that involve hospitals, specialty clinics, independent providers and more, the paperwork can become complex quickly,” said Sutherlin. “Medical bills and terminology are puzzling for many consumers, and we are increasingly hearing from Wisconsin residents who are seeking help with having their voices heard in these transactions.”

Landlord/Tenant complaints held steady at the second spot with 1,188 complaints. Complaint allegations were primarily in regard to security deposit-related issues, with tenants claiming that inappropriate amounts were withheld or that a landlord failed to return deposit funds at the end of a tenancy. Evictions and unauthorized entry were additional issues cited in many complaints.

“One of the best protections for a tenant is to be educated on your rights and responsibilities as a renter under Wisconsin law,” said Sutherlin. “DATCP offers useful resources on its website to help landlords and tenants alike stay informed about changes in state rental laws.”

Given that nearly every consumer in the state has a mobile phone, home internet service, cable/satellite television package, or bundled service agreement, it is no surprise that Telecommunications remains in the number three spot in the Top Ten list with 681 complaints. Complaints were lodged against a wide spectrum of service providers, with customers making allegations about billing disputes, misleading representations, unauthorized charges and performance issues.

Home Improvement moved up one spot to number four in the list with 489 complaints (up more than 20% over 2017). Home improvement complaints include a wide range of allegations, with consumers alleging that contractors failed to provide the services promised under a contract, charged for services or repairs that were not performed, failed to honor warranties or provided unsatisfactory workmanship.

Rounding out the top ten for 2018:

   6.)  Identity Theft (250 complaints)

  • The primary identity theft issues included fraud, tax identity theft, misuse of Social Security numbers and unauthorized account access.

   7.)  Motor Vehicle Repair (196)

  • Complaints commonly involved unauthorized charges, workmanship, and failures to provide services or honor warranties.

   8.)  Gas Pumps (169; received by DATCP’s Bureau of Weights and Measures)

  • Complaints were primarily from consumers concerned about gas pump accuracy and credit card skimmers in gas pumps.

   9.)  Motor Vehicle Sales (155)

  • Complaints involved inadequate disclosures and misrepresentations.

  10.)  Fuel Quality (119; received by DATCP’s Bureau of Weights and Measures)

  • Fuel Quality complaints centered on concerns about the quality of fuel at retail stations.

In all, DATCP received 11,303 complaints to the Bureau of Consumer Protection and another 390 to the Bureau of Weights & Measures. The agency returned more than $4.6 million in funds to Wisconsin – the majority of which were returned to consumers in the form of mediated refunds, negotiated settlements or court-ordered restitutions.

“Consumers facing issues with businesses are always encouraged to learn more through the many resources offered on the DATCP website. If you need additional help, we are proud to provide guidance through our Consumer Protection Hotline or to help you navigate the situation through our complaint mediation team,” said Sutherlin.

For additional information or to file a complaint, visit the Consumer Protection Bureau athttps://datcp.wi.gov, call the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-422-7128 or send an e-mail to[email protected].

Connect with us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wiconsumer or Twitter: @wiconsumer.

Evers campaign: Responds to DPW Chair Martha Laning’s decision to not seek re-election

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Contact: Sean Elliott, Finance Director
[email protected]

“Chair Laning’s leadership and vision were an important part of our success in November,” said Sean Elliott, Tony for Wisconsin’s finance director. “Martha’s drive and passion to see a better future for our state helped deliver historic victories for Wisconsin Democrats. Though Martha has led the Party through some of its most challenging moments, through all the obstacles, she has maintained a relentless optimism in Wisconsin Democrats’ ability to win and lead.

“The robust Party infrastructure Martha has built will continue to support and deliver victories for Wisconsin Democrats for years to come. Martha is leaving the Party stronger, more competitive, and ready to secure more wins on behalf of Wisconsinites. We on Team Evers are grateful for her leadership and years of service to the cause, and we look forward to working with the Party’s next chair.”

Evers, GOP leaders at odds over middle-class tax cut

Gov. Tony Evers says he doesn’t think he could sign the GOP’s version of a middle-class income tax cut because Republicans had failed to provide a path to pay for it in future years.

GOP leaders, meanwhile, said the version Evers and Dem lawmakers unveiled was a “non-starter” with them, as the two sides remained deeply divided over their shared goal of cutting taxes for the middle class.

Evers Tuesday called his version of the middle-class tax cut “far superior,” saying the proposal from GOP lawmakers would take money that he said is needed to pay for other priorities. It would cut taxes by $892.3 million for individuals over the two-year budget while raising them $518 million on manufacturers by capping an existing credit.

“Right now I cannot support a plan that has no plan for funding in the future,” Evers said.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, testifying on the GOP version at a hearing Tuesday, said the state can fund the plan through its surplus and avoid “jeopardiz(ing) the jobs” that have been created through the manufacturing and ag tax credit.

“We are not going to raise taxes, period; we are not going to raise taxes, especially on our job creators, when we have a huge surplus,” the Rochester Republican said.

And Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, tweeted Evers was “wants to hike taxes on WI businesses to pay for his plan. That’s not a tax cut, that’s a tax shift to create winners and losers. Our plan cuts taxes for families without raising them on anyone else — only creating winners.”

In unveiling the Dem version of the cut, state Sen. La Tonya Johnson, D-Milwaukee, declared “The methods matter.”

The Dem proposal includes a two-pronged approach.

One, there would be a new nonrefundable tax credit equal to 10 percent or $100, whichever is greater, for some earners. Two, those who qualify for the federal earned income tax credit would see a boost in what they could claim as a credit against their Wisconsin taxes. The latter credit would be refundable, meaning those who qualify would get a check if their credit exceeded their tax liability.

For the income tax credit, according to Evers’ office:

*individuals with an adjusted gross income of less than $80,000 and married-joint filers at less than $125,000 would qualify for the full 10 percent credit.

*the 10 percent credit would gradually phase out for individual filers with an AGI of up to $100,000 and married-joint filers up to $150,000.

For the EITC:

*those who qualify could claim a credit to their state taxes equal to 11 percent of the federal credit, up from 4 percent, for one child. For those with two children, the credit would increase to 14 percent from 11 percent. For those with three or more children, the credit would remain at 34 percent of the EITC.

Over the 2019-21 budget, the new income tax credit would equal a cut of $839.2 million, while the EITC proposal would reduce taxes $53.1 million.

Meanwhile, the cap on the credit for manufacturers would hike taxes $518 million.

During Tuesday’s news conference, Dems said the average credit between the income tax cut and the EITC proposal was about $225 per filer.

Dem also talked about a price tag of $373.9 million for the package. But that referenced how much it would cost the state from expected revenues over the two years after deducting the tax hike on manufacturers.

See the Dem proposal:
https://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/190205Tax2.pdf

See a background document from Evers’ office:
https://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/190205Tax3.pdf

Listen to the Dems’ news conference:
https://soundcloud.com/wispolitics/190205_1302a/s-mvksM

Vos during a media availability touted what he sees as the simplicity of the Republican version of the tax cut. 

Vos noted the GOP plan would increase the standard deduction on a sliding scale, a change that doesn’t require anyone “to file any special paperwork” or “go through any extra hoops.”

“I would prefer to have the simplest, easiest way and not make people go through a bunch of bureaucratic hoops,” Vos told reporters at a news conference this afternoon minutes after Dems and Gov. Tony Evers announced their plan.

While Vos said he hadn’t yet reviewed the proposal, “if it’s based on raising taxes on anyone in the state, it’s a nonstarter.”

The Dem proposal would kick in for tax year 2019, which runs Jan. 1-Dec. 31, while the Assembly GOP plan would begin in tax year 2020.

Under the Dem plan for tax year 2020, the middle-class tax cuts would total $441.1 million, while the increase on manufacturers would be $235.4 million with a net reduction of $205.9 million in tax collections for that year.

Under the Assembly GOP plan for tax year 2020, the income tax reduction would amount to $338.1 million.

Hear the audio of Vos’ availability:
https://soundcloud.com/wispolitics/assembly-speaker-robin-vos-comments-to-reporters

See a new LFB memo on the GOP plan:
https://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/190205LFB.pdf

GOP lawmakers touted their version of the tax cut plan at a joint public hearing Tuesday, selling it as a way to return the budget surplus to taxpayers. 

And many Republicans pushed back against the idea of rolling back the manufacturing and ag tax credit to cover the cost, arguing the approach would “raise taxes on the same people we want to cut taxes for.”

Meanwhile, an Evers administration official repeatedly called for bipartisan conversations around the plan, as committee Dems bemoaned their exclusion from Republicans’ work in drafting the bill. They also called for making the tax cut “sustainable.”

“We can work together. I truly believe you’ve got a governor who would love to sit down and roll up his sleeves,” Department of Revenue Secretary Peter Barca said this afternoon. “Let’s come up with a comprehensive plan that meets the goals that we’ve outlined.”

Tuesday’s public hearing — before members of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee and Senate Agriculture, Revenue and Financial Institutions Committee — began shortly after Democrats and Evers unveiled their version of the tax cut.

Under the GOP bill, the standard deduction would increase on a sliding scale.

Republicans, including the bill’s authors, lamented Evers’ initial proposal to pay for his version of the credit. On the campaign trail, the Dem had called for a cap on the manufacturing and ag credit at the first $300,000 of income. But under the proposal unveiled Tuesday, that cap would only apply to manufacturers claiming the credit.

But committee Dems, including Milwaukee Sen. Chris Larson, charged GOP lawmakers are “rushing to spend” the surplus, a decision that could mean a lack of funds for roads or other priorities down the line.

Still, Senate bill author Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green, countered the bill doesn’t spend anything but rather “returns money to the taxpayers that sent it to us in the first place.”

Dems and Barca also called for holding off on the GOP plan and working out the issue over the remainder of the fiscal year through budget talks.

“The appropriate time to do this is part of the budget,” Barca said.

Laning won’t seek re-election as Dem state chair

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Fresh off Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s convincing re-election bid and Dems sweeping the state’s constitutional offices for the first time in three decades, state Chair Martha Laning announced today she will not seek re-election at the party’s convention in June.

Laning, who first won the office in 2015, touted the party’s efforts to build its infrastructure during her time in office, saying it put together an “unprecedented year-round, every-year organizing program to empower activists” and turn out Dems.

“These victories didn’t happen by accident,” Laning said.

Laning also pointed to the party’s fundraising to support those plans. The party raised more than $6.7 million through its state accounts in 2018, compared to about $3.7 million in 2016, the first election year a GOP re-write of campaign finance laws allowed unlimited donations to political parties as well as corporate contributions.

Coming off a failed 2014 bid for state Senate, Laning won a four-way race for chair at the party’s 2015 state convention, beating DNC member Jason Rae, former state Rep. Stephen Smith and former state Chair Jone Wineke. Then-former Rep. Jeff Smith initially got into the race, but dropped out a day before the vote and urged his backers to support Laning.

She then won re-election in 2017 with 52 percent of the vote in a four-way race.

Neubauer campaign: Momentum continues for Neubauer campaign

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CONTACT: Tyler Hendricks, 608-633-0704
[email protected]

RACINE — The Judge Lisa Neubauer for Justice campaign today released fundraising numbers for the pre-primary period, with nearly $175,000 raised over past month, and $715,000 on hand as of February 04, 2019. The campaign now has more than 1300 donors, and has raised over $860,000 since announcing last summer. The cover sheet of their finance report is linked here.

“The momentum continues for Neubauer for Justice,” said Tyler Hendricks, campaign manager. “We are seeing record levels of support across the board, including endorsements from more than 320 current and former judges, and a bipartisan group of 50 district attorneys and 25 sheriffs. Wisconsinites all agree that Judge Neubauer is the fair, independent, impartial jurist we need on the Supreme Court.”

One Wisconsin Now: Questions raised about Assembly speaker benefiting from state tax loophole

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

Is Tax Break Debate Personal for Robin Vos?

MADISON, Wis. — Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has drawn a legislative line in the sand over Gov. Tony Evers’ plan to responsibly and sustainably fund a middle class tax cut by closing a huge loophole being exploited by a small group of high end taxpayers. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Analiese Eicher questioned if Vos has a personal financial stake in the debate fueling his ferocious defense of the tax giveaway to owners of manufacturing businesses.

“Robin Vos has staked out his position that he would rather defend a tax loophole for millionaires than responsibly deliver tax savings for the middle class,” commented Eicher. “Is his interest in more than just the policy or is it also personal for his own bottom line?”

According to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, nearly 80 percent of the tax break Vos is fighting tooth and nail to preserve will go to individuals with adjusted gross incomes of over $1 million for tax year 2019. Under his plan to provide tax savings to middle class families, Gov. Evers has instead proposed limiting the credit for manufacturing claimants.

Vos’ financial disclosures reveal his significant personal wealth that includes millions in real estate holdings and businesses incorporated as Robin J. Vos Enterprises, Inc. and Romata LLP. Romata owns property assessed as manufacturing that houses popcorn manufacturing and packing operations under the corporate umbrella of Robin J. Vos Enterprises.

Tax records obtained by One Wisconsin Now show Romata reported $0 in net state tax liability in 2017 and Robin J. Vos Enterprises reported $0 net state tax liability for 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Eicher noted Vos has a habit of mixing the professional and personal business. For example as Assembly Speaker Vos has taken thousands of dollars in special interest funded travel and perks, including a controversial European junket underwritten by payday lenders that culminated with Vos marrying for the third time, in Italy. The trip came under scrutiny in an FBI investigation that resulted in the resignation of Ohio House of Representatives Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, who in addition to being Vos’ travelling companion, was the best man at his third wedding.

She concluded, “Robin Vos has a history of mixing policy, politics and personal business that casts a shadow over this tax debate.”

Rep. Dittrich: Stands for protecting life

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Contact: Rep. Barbara Dittrich (608) 266-8551

Madison- Rep. Barbara Dittrich (R-Oconomowoc) today was part of a Republican Assembly Press Conference reasserting life as a fundamental right under the constitution and that she is committed to protecting life of every age, stage, and ability.

“Prior to my election I served in the chronic illness, disability, and special needs community for sixteen years”, said Rep. Dittrich. She also states that she is coming at this from a position of compassion for all because there can be so much fear involved in pregnancy.
Now we are about to have thousands of volunteers come together this weekend for beautiful proms for the disabled and those with special needs. We will celebrate them and treat them with the honor and dignity they so deserve. These attendees are remarkable for how they change each of us. Rep. Dittrich goes on to say, “I cannot in good conscience ever support terminating the lives of such a wonderful group of individuals either in the third trimester or shortly after birth. We are human BEINGS, not human doings. Third trimester abortion robs all of us of the value each human intrinsically holds.”

Here is the link to the Press conference:

Life is a fundamental right under the Constitution. Assembly Republicans are committed to protecting life.

Posted by Wisconsin Assembly Republicans on Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Rep. Hutton: Statement on Evers’ tax plan

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Contact: Representative Rob Hutton
(608) 237-9113

Madison – Representative Rob Hutton (R-Brookfield) issued the following statement in response to Governor Evers’ Tax Plan.

“In contrast to the Republican middle class tax plan, Governor Evers’ tax plan clearly demonstrates that he does not understand the private sector as shown by his irrational commitment to punishing our state’s job creators by raising their taxes,” said Rep. Hutton. “Wisconsin’s manufacturers employ 500,000 people in our state and the Manufacturing and Agriculture tax credit has been responsible for creating 42,000 new jobs. Over the past year Wisconsin has the highest manufacturing growth in the Midwest but now Governor Evers’ reckless tax hikes would stop Wisconsin’s manufacturing renaissance in its tracks. Republicans have shown that, through careful fiscal management, we can invest in Wisconsin job creators and still reduce the tax burden on hard-working Wisconsin families. I will continue to fight for all Wisconsin taxpayers to ensure that they are able to keep more of their hard earned money.”

Rep. Ohnstad: Commends Gov. Evers on the dark store loophole

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Contact: Rep. Ohnstad, 608-266-0455
January February 5, 2019

MADISON – Representative Tod Ohnstad (D-Kenosha) applauds Governor Evers on his
announced plan to close the dark store loophole in the 2019-2020 biennial budget.
“For too long, hard working Wisconsinites and local officials have been denied the ability to
assess taxes in a way that is fair to everyone, not just wealthy corporations. In a referendum to end dark stores, 88% of Kenosha voted overwhelmingly in support to end a system benefitting the wealthiest of Wisconsinites at the expense of those who need it most. I would like to commend Governor Evers on restoring equity to our tax codes and putting Wisconsin families first.”

Rep. Shankland: Gov. Evers to close dark store loophole

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

MADISON – This week, Governor Tony Evers announced he will include a provision to close the dark store loophole in the 2019-2021 biennial budget. The loophole allows big box retailers to base their tax assessments on their value as a vacant store rather than a store in operation. The dark store loophole saves national retail chains millions of dollars while shifting the property tax burden onto homeowners and small businesses.

Representative Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point) released the following statement in response:

“For years, local government leaders and homeowners have urged us to close the dark store loophole and offer relief from the costly legal challenges that well-funded national retailers keep bringing to our communities. A resounding majority of Portage County voters went to the polls in November and voted to end this unfair tax loophole, with 81% voting yes. It’s clear that it’s past time to act on this issue.

“That’s why I’m thrilled that Governor Evers announced his plan to end this unfair tax break for national corporate retailers at the expense of homeowners and small businesses. I’m looking forward to working with him to lower the property tax burden for homeowners and put Wisconsin families first.”

Rep. Steineke: Steineke, GOP legislators take stand against disturbing abortion laws

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CONTACT: Rep. Jim Steineke (608) 266-2418

MADISON – Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna) joined legislative Republicans this morning to make clear that legislation being considered in other states allowing for late-term abortions will not be welcome in Wisconsin. Following a news conference in the state capitol, Rep. Steineke released the following statement:

“As not only a Republican, but as a father, I want to make it clear that any legislation allowing for late-term abortions has no place in our state. Seeing support in some legislatures for this type of legislation – and in some cases, becoming law – around the country is vile and disturbing. We in the legislature are committed to the rights of the unborn and all children and to ensuring this immoral legislation has no traction here in Wisconsin.”

Rep. Vining: Commends Gov. Evers’ plan to close dark store loophole

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Contact: Representative Robyn Vining

608-266-9180

MADISON – Yesterday, Governor Tony Evers announced his plan to close the dark store loophole in the 2019-2020 biennial budget. The “Dark Store Loophole” shifts tax burdens away from large companies and onto the shoulders of small business, families and individuals.

Here’s how:

Through the Dark Store Loophole, big box retailers are allowed to base their tax assessments on their value as a vacant store rather than a store in operation. Corporate retailers then save millions of dollars in taxes while shifting the property tax burden to residential and small business taxpayers. Attached is a graphic showing the real life examples in Wauwatosa.

Despite having the majority of the Assembly signed on as co-sponsors of the legislation in the last legislative session, Republican leadership blocked attempts to bring the bill to the floor.

Representative Robyn Vining (D-Wauwatosa) released the following statement in response:

“The Dark Store Loophole is wrong, and we need to close it. The hard work and bipartisan support on this issue has been accomplished.

I applaud Gov. Evers for stepping in and using the power of his budget to close the loophole, relieving small businesses and families and individuals, as well as local municipalities, from an unjust tax burden.

This comes as a tremendous relief to my district. Knowing the burden our local municipalities have suffered, I reached out yesterday to local elected officials in the district to comment on the issue and received positive responses.”

Kathy Ehley, Mayor of Wauwatosa, stated her approval of Gov. Evers plan:

“As Mayor of Wauwatosa, I am very pleased Governor Evers’ budget will include a proposal to close these loopholes. This is an issue that has negatively impacted communities of all sizes throughout this state shifting the tax burden to smaller businesses and homeowners. Closing the loopholes has bipartisan support and should be a nonpartisan issue.”

Steven Ponto, Mayor of Brookfield, shared his support:

“The Wisconsin state government must act to close the ‘dark store’ loophole to prevent a disproportionate share of the real estate tax burden from being shifted from large national retailers to small business and residential property taxpayers.  I support a fix for this problem being included in the state budget.”

Representative Vining continued:

“As you can see from the concert of Mayoral praise, applause is due for Gov. Evers for proposing a final closure to this loophole. Tax refunds of this magnitude caused by the loophole would devastate our communities, leaving less funding for schools and city services. Closing this loophole is a win for the people of our district, and the state of Wisconsin. Thank you, Gov. Evers!”

Sen. Fitzgerald: Wisconsin Republicans stand up to protect the unborn

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Contact: Alec Zimmerman
(608)-266-5660

[Madison, WI]  Across the country, Democrat legislators are promoting new efforts to loosen late-term abortion restrictions. In Virginia, Democrats themselves are admitting that these plans could allow for the termination of a pregnancy up until birth. Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald released the following statement on Republicans standing up to protect the unborn:

“In a short matter of time, abortion activists have seemingly moved on from their message of ‘safe, legal, and rare’ to supporting a position that would drastically loosen restrictions on late-term abortions. With Democrats across the country making this push, Republicans in Wisconsin will fight back.

“I commend my colleagues in the Assembly and the Senate who are dedicated to protecting the life of the unborn and stand with them in their steadfast opposition to late-term abortions. As the author of the bill that banned partial-birth abortions in Wisconsin, I know that we must never go back to those dark days.

“I thank President Trump for speaking directly to this issue at last night’s State of the Union address and am thankful that the pro-life movement has an ally in the White House.”

Sen. Johnson: Statement on tragic loss of Milwaukee police officer

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT:
LaTonya Johnson, 608.266.2500

MADISON – The following is a statement from State Senator LaTonya Johnson on the tragic death of a 35-year-old member of the Tactical Enforcement Unit with the Milwaukee Police Department:

“Today my heart, thoughts and prayers are with the Milwaukee Police Department as they mourn the loss of one of their own, for the third time in less than a year. Members of the Department called the loss ‘tragic and impactful’ and described the 17-year veteran of the agency as being ‘loved by all.’

“Very few of us are willing to risk our lives to ensure a safer community, but this officer made the ultimate sacrifice to uphold his oath to protect and serve. Please pray for the families of our fallen officers and the men and women who are dedicated to keeping us safe.”

Sen. Larson: Larson and Dr. Jessica Brumm-Larson named South-Side Foundation Mardi Gras king and queen

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CONTACT:  Sen Larson

608.266.7505                      

Milwaukee – Today, Senator Larson released the following statement regarding the honor of being named Mardi Gras King.

“My wife and I are humbled and grateful to be named this year’s South-Side Foundation Mardi Gras King and Queen! The South-Side Scholarship Foundation was founded in 1969 and is celebrating its 51st year. During that time they have given away 930 scholarships totaling $600,000. Last year, during their 50th anniversary, they raised $50,000 and gave away fifty $1,000 scholarships.

The Mardi Gras celebration is the South-Side Scholarship Foundation’s premiere benefit, and we are proud to participate in this great organization. The Mardi Gras will be on March 2nd at the Oak Creek Community Center, from 5:30 – 8:00 PM. I hope to see you all there and laissez le bon temps rouler!”

Sen. Stroebel: Craig Thompson’s Transportation Task Force greenlights tax increase

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Contact: Luke Fuller (608) 266-7513

Governor Evers’ handpicked advisors support his tax increase agenda

Madison, WI – Senator Duey Stroebel (R-Cedarburg) released the following statement following the second and final meeting of Governor Evers’ Transportation Task Force

Unfortunately, it’s not a surprise to learn that Governor Evers’ handpicked Transportation Task Force has decided to increase the gas tax by 17%. Governor Evers and Secretary Thompson have been focused on raising taxes since the beginning rather than considering any measures to control cost. The fact the task force is making this recommendation after meeting twice in less than a week is a clear indicator that the task force only existed as a diversion for Governor Evers from his unpopular tax increase policy.

Sen. Stroebel: Statement on death of Milwaukee police officer

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Contact: Luke Fuller (608) 266-7513

Madison, WI – Senator Duey Stroebel (R-Cedarburg) released the following statement following the death of a Milwaukee Police Officer:

I join my fellow Wisconsinites in mourning the loss of a Milwaukee Police Officer in the line of duty. Wisconsinites must remember and honor the commitment police officers make each day to keep our communities safe.

State Treasurer Godlewski: Tomah to receive $180,000 for homeless veterans from Board of Commissioners of Public Lands

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BCPL Chair, State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, says local veterans need critical housing assistance

MADISON- This week, the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) provided financing for the Veteran’s Assistance Foundation (VAF) to address veteran homelessness in Tomah, Wisconsin.  The $180,000 will allow the VAF to renovate 4 new apartments to provide transitional housing, rapid re-housing, and homelessness prevention for veterans and their families in the Tomah area.

Board chair, Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, said, “Veterans have made incredible sacrifices for our nation, and yet despite their service, they sometimes fall through the cracks and need our support. I am proud we can serve this important community.”

According to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, nearly 80,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. While only 7% of the general population can claim veteran status, nearly 13% of the homeless adult population are veterans.

A veteran who had experienced incarceration and chronic illness stated, “The VAF gave me the opportunity to freely open myself up to choices for personal growth and accept responsibility for my continued recovery. Physically, mentally, and spiritually I have made an amazing recovery. I have come full circle and transformed into balanced person.”

In addition to VAF, the BCPL Board approved $1.07 million loan for the city of Tomah to support small businesses and increase economic development.

Board chair, Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, said, “The BCPL is providing critical financing that is making a difference across Wisconsin. I am glad we can play a role in helping communities like Tomah thrive in today’s economy.”

U.S. Rep. Grothman: State of the Union reaction

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Contact: Timothy Svoboda, (202) 225-2476

(Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Glenn Grothman (R-Glenbeulah) released the following statement after President Trump’s 2019 State of the Union address.

“I applaud President Trump for recapping our achievements in the past and for laying out his agenda for his next two years.

President Trump reminded us that he isn’t afraid to stand up to unions by highlighting the passage of Veterans Administration (VA) Accountability Act, a bill allowing the VA to let employees go when their performance is not up to the standard our veteran’s deserve.

We passed a tax cut that, not only energized the American economy, but also doubled the child tax credit to benefit American families.

He reminded us of the massive reduction in government red tape, which, among other things, has led to America becoming the world’s number one oil and gas producer.

He pointed out that Republican policies have led to the biggest decline in prescription drug prices in 46 years.

He reminded people of his bipartisan work on a criminal justice reform bill that will allow non-violent criminals to resume productive lives after being released from prison.

Looking forward, President Trump cemented his promise to increase funding for disease research by telling the heartwarming story of one of tonight’s distinguished guests, 10-year-old Grace Eline, a childhood cancer survivor.

He changed the policy of the last two presidents and promised American combat troops be taken out of Afghanistan after 17 years of involvement in that region. He also called for further negotiations on freeloading by our allies regarding national defense obligations.

I was particularly pleased that President Trump solidified himself as the most pro-life president in American history by endorsing a nationwide prohibition on abortion when babies can feel pain – 20 weeks and older. He condemned the New York and Virginia governors for their ghoulish endorsement of killing a child the day the child is born.

President Trump has tried to get Democrat legislators to understand that compassion mandates a border wall by introducing an angel family, including Debra Bissell, whose parents were tragically killed by illegal immigrants. He also recounted the tens of thousands of American lives lost by drugs coming across our southern border.

I was glad to be part of President Trump’s accomplishments over the last two years, including his tax cut agenda, VA reform agenda, and reduction of government regulations. I eagerly look forward to helping him pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, of which I am a cosponsor, as well as helping him secure funding to build the wall and secure the border.”

U.S. Rep. Grothman: Supports coverage for people with pre-existing conditions

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Contact: Timothy Svoboda, (202) 225-2476

(Washington, D.C.) – This week, at a House Education and Labor Committee hearing, Congressman Glenn Grothman (R-Glenbeulah) reaffirmed his support for retaining coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, and questioned experts on ways we can lower health care costs by the use of company-operated association health plans.

Witnesses included:

  • Ms. Sabrina Corlette, Research Professor for the Center on Health Insurance Reforms at Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute
  • Dr. Rahul Gupta, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical and Health Offer of the March of Dimes
  • Mr. Chad Riedy, an adult with Cystic Fibrosis
  • Ms. Grace-Marie Turner, President of the Galen Institute

Excerpts of Grothman’s questioning

Congressman Grothman: “It seems to me that the Republicans and Democrats are all in favor of protecting coverage for preexisting conditions. Could you just one more time tell us, under current law are workers with preexisting conditions allowed to be charged more or be denied coverage based on their condition?”

Ms. Grace-Marie Turner: “No Congressman.”

Grothman: “So that’s the current law right now. Good. We’ll give you some other general questions. I am from Wisconsin.  In 2018, last year, Scott Walker worked with the Trump Administration and CMS to approve a 1332 state innovation waiver which caused our premiums to drop. Are you familiar with that situation?”

Turner: “Yes, I am sir.”

Grothman: “Could you talk about what we did in Wisconsin?”

Turner: “I mentioned, actually, in my testimony some of the impact that these plans have had.  They have been able to basically repurpose existing ACA money to help increase and improve access to coverage for people with chronic, preexisting conditions, and therefore lower premiums in their general market.  Wisconsin is often taking the lead in health policy innovations and waivers. I think this is important one to move forward with.”

Grothman: “At least I am told that premiums dropped a little over four percent?”

Turner: “Premiums dropped and enrollment increased as a direct consequence.”

Grothman: “Good, and in the past, we saw incredible increases in premiums and open enrollment falling.  We saw that in Wisconsin. Is that true nationwide?”

Turner: “Because the premiums were so much higher, people just can’t afford it, and we talk about high deductibles, they are so high in the ACA plans that if people are not eligible for cautionary reduction subsidies they basically say that might as well not be insured because they can’t afford to pay the first $10,000 every year out of pocket before coverage kicks in.”

Grothman: “I’m glad you mentioned association plans. My experience with health care in general, is when you take a group, not a statewide group because it’s hard for the state to duplicate it. But when you take a business with 1,000 employees or something, a lot of these innovative businesses were doing a very good job. One of the things they did was employer based clinics, which saved a tremendous amount of money for a variety of reasons. Is there any way you could see this sort of thing duplicated through something like Obamacare or is this the type of innovation that is why we want the vast majority of Americans still insured through their employer?”

Turner: “Well the ACA did allow for some innovation incentives for people to do not association health plans, but creative coordinated plans within Medicare and because the rules that were written around the ACA were so strict, even plans like the Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic and others that had been very successful in managed coordinated care couldn’t make it work, so I do think that flexibility is really important and trusting employers.  Some employers have said for example that they feel it’s worth flying their employee to another state to get care at a center of excellence, cardiac care or cancer care, so they really do try to innovate to get the best value and best quality care.

Grothman: “That’s another thing. I did mention employer based clinics but these centers of innovation, flying people to other states, because an employer has the ability to hire somebody, and do a good job. Now I know there are a lot of people who will always feel that setting up another big federal bureaucracy is going to work after that seems to have failed like 120,000 times in a row, but what you’re telling me is the way the private insurance plans, even for individual companies and hopefully to be duplicated by association plans, they are able to find ways to reduce premiums and reduce costs that really as a practical matter are not being duplicated by a government bureaucracy?”

Turner“That’s correct”

Click here to view Grothman’s full remarks.

Additional Information

https://republicans-edlabor.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=403175

U.S. Rep. Kind: Introduces bipartisan bill to increase access to retirement savings

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Contact: Aaron White
Phone: 202-225-5506
[email protected]

La Crosse – Today, U.S. Rep. Ron Kind introduced the bipartisan Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act, a bill that will increase access to retirement savings through employer-provided retirement plans. The bill includes provisions to reduce costs for workers employed by small businesses by adding flexibility to the multiple employer plans, as well as steps to cut costs of pensions for rural electric cooperatives. The Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act was introduced with Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA).

According to the Economic Policy Institute, 55% of Americans have no meaningful retirement savings.

Earlier today, Rep. Kind, a senior Member of the House Committee on Ways and Means, spoke in support of the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act (commonly referred to as RESA) in the Ways and Means full committee hearing on Improving Retirement Security for America’s Workers.

A clip from the Ways and Means full committee hearing, and a statement from Rep. Kind on the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act can be found below:

“As a nation, we have a problem when it comes to retirement savings. We need to take commonsense steps to ensure our businesses are offering their employees flexible retirement plans that set our workers up for success in their golden years,” said Rep. Ron Kind. “I am proud to introduce the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act, and know this bipartisan bill will help Wisconsinites grow savings accounts and help us avoid a retirement savings shortfall in the future.”

U.S. Rep. Moore: Intros bill to stop Trump from using taxpayer dollars for the wall

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Contact: Libbie Wilcox, 202-495-8879

Washington, DC — In response to President Trump’s State of the Union Address, Congresswoman Gwen Moore introduced H.R. 968, the No Taxpayer Funding for the Wall Act. In the wake of the bill’s introduction, Congresswoman Moore released the following statement:

“Last night, President Trump used his bully pulpit to spread lies and instill fear in the hearts of the American public by painting immigrants and asylum seekers as criminals — murderers determined to take down the law-abiding residents of the United States. We must rise above these racist lies and see his words for what they are: a manufactured crisis, designed to scare the public into submission and garner support for his wall.

“My constituents don’t want a wasteful wall. They want effective border security, to feel safe in their homes, and to know their hard-earned tax dollars are used appropriately, especially during tight fiscal times. President Trump’s wall does nothing to further this mission, nor secure the border. Instead, it’s a monumental waste of money that would be better used to advance meaningful measures to feed, educate, and provide health care services to millions of Americans.

“My bill, the No Taxpayer Funding for the Wall Act, will block the president from executing his reckless plan and force him to honor his pledge that Mexico will fund the wall. I call on both Democrats and Republicans to join me in my effort by supporting this commonsense legislation to protect the American public’s tax dollars. We must pass this bill to ensure that President Trump can no longer hold the American people hostage.”

U.S. Sen. Baldwin: Calls on pharmaceutical companies to explain skyrocketing insulin prices 

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Contact: [email protected], 202-224-6225

Senators: “It is clear that these steep price increases are resulting in patients lacking access to the life-saving medications they need.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, joined her colleagues to call on executives at Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi— the three insulin manufacturers in the U.S.—demanding information about rising insulin costs and questioning the companies that recently decided to raise prices for the life-saving drug even further.

“According to the World Health Organization, insulin is an essential medicine, meaning that access to this drug at a price that individuals and communities can afford is a basic requirement of a functioning health care system. Unfortunately, rapidly increasing insulin prices mean that for many patients, access to this essential medicine is threatened. Patients have had to resort to desperate measures when confronted with increased insulin prices or high cost-sharing for their prescriptions. Some patients have turned to GoFundMe pages to request help paying for insulin, and one in four diabetic patients report rationing the medication because of the cost, with potentially devastating consequences. It is clear these steep price increases are resulting in patients lacking access to the life-saving medications they need,” wrote the Senators.

The letter was also signed by Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Doug Jones (D-AL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tina Smith (D-MN) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). 

The letters are available below.

·         A PDF of the letter to Eli Lilly is available here. 

·         A PDF of the letter to Novo Nordisk is available here.

·         A PDF of the letter to Sanofi is available here.

An online version of this release is available here.

University of Wisconsin-Madison: Former badger J.J. Watt to be spring commencement speaker

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CONTACT: Meredith McGlone, University Communications, (608) 263-7523, [email protected]
DOWNLOAD PHOTOS: https://uwmadison.box.com/v/Watt
VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abeENu3KtNc

NFL star J.J. Watt is known as much for his big heart as his athletic dominance. This May, he’ll return to Camp Randall and give back to the Badger community that helped shape him.

Watt, who attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 2008-10 and played for the Badgers, will share his approach to life with graduates on May 11 as the spring commencement speaker.

“I can’t wait to get back to Camp Randall,” says Watt, a philanthropic role model to many. “I’m so excited to see everybody there.”

Commencement speakers are selected by senior class officers. The university covers the speaker’s travel expenses but does not pay a fee or other honorarium.

Watt was born in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and graduated from Pewaukee High School. His rise through the football ranks has become an inspiring tale to underdogs everywhere.

He gave up a football scholarship after one season at Central Michigan University, transferring to Wisconsin as a walk-on. Despite being told he wasn’t big enough or fast enough to play for UW-Madison, he persevered.

“I was gambling on myself,” he told On Wisconsin, the university’s alumni magazine, in 2015. “There was just no option but to make it work.”

As a Badger, he became a star defensive lineman and second-team All-American. He left school a year early and was signed by the Houston Texans as the No. 11 overall draft pick of 2011. He has played for the Texans eight seasons, receiving the Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award three times in his first five seasons.

Sports Illustrated dubbed Watt “the best defensive player of his generation.” His athletic accomplishments, coupled with his charitable efforts, led the magazine to name him co-Sportsperson of the Year in 2017.

After Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston in 2017, Watt’s philanthropic venture, the Justin J. Watt Foundation, launched a goal of raising $200,000. In just a couple of months, the total reached $37 million, including $100,000 from Watt.

“I think it goes without saying that no athlete has ever done this before – just that amount of money in that short amount of time, and part of it was the humble way he started it,” Sports Illustrated reporter Robert Klemko said at the time.

The same year, Watt was named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, an award that honors a player for his excellence on and off the field.

“We are so excited to invite J.J. Watt back to Camp Randall,” says Ronald Steinhoff, senior class president. “When thinking of Badger alumni who are striving to improve their community, J.J. Watt quickly came to mind because of his fundraising efforts in Houston. His ability to lead, on and off the field, made him an easy choice. We can’t wait to hear how J.J. Watt will send graduates out into a world that needs more Badgers who give back, just as he did.”

Watt’s foundation, created in 2010 when he was still an undergraduate at UW-Madison, provides after-school athletic opportunities for children in communities where funding is insufficient or non-existent.

The foundation’s motto might provide a hint to the advice Watt will give graduates: “Dream Big, Work Hard.”

UW System: Record number of students earn degrees at UW System institutions

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Mark Pitsch
UW System
608-265-3419, [email protected]
[email protected]

UW System students of color also graduate in record numbers

MADISON, Wis. – A record number of students graduated from the University of Wisconsin System in the 2017-18 academic year, according to figures released Wednesday on the System’s innovative Accountability Dashboard.

The 36,825 graduates at all levels represent an increase of 13.4 percent over 10 years earlier (2007-08, when 32,475 degrees were conferred). Degrees at the bachelor’s (27,623) and doctorate professional-practice (862) levels were conferred in record numbers.

Moreover, the number of students of color who graduated at all levels, 4,919, is also a record. Underrepresented students of color earned 3,770 degrees at all levels in 2017-18 – more than twice the number of degrees conferred to underrepresented students in 2007-08 (1,839). Degrees earned by underrepresented students made up 10.2 percent of all degrees awarded in 2017-18 and 5.7 percent in 2007-08.

“Students and parents recognize that Wisconsin’s public universities are accessible and affordable, and these graduation numbers indicate that UW System faculty and staff are doing a great job helping students progress toward a degree,” said Ray Cross, University of Wisconsin System president.

Cross said the UW System’s $107.5 million funding request for 2019-21 is designed to help institutions expand access, particularly to high-need programs, and enhance practices aimed at assisting students toward graduation.

The figures released Wednesday show that the number of UW System graduates has been steadily increasing in recent years. UW System institutions are increasingly using high-impact practices, such as undergraduate research, internships, and intensive advising, to better help students progress toward a degree.

The UW System is a key supplier for Wisconsin’s talent pipeline. UW System graduates earn higher wages after receiving an affordable education at one of the UW System’s 13 institutions. Moreover, this education investment stays in Wisconsin: 81 percent of UW System alumni live and work in the Badger State five years after graduation.

UW System degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and health fields are offered at the bachelor’s and graduate/professional levels. Combined, awards in STEM (28%) and health (10%) fields are nearly two-fifths of degrees at bachelor’s and graduate levels.

“The UW System is helping meet the needs of employers in high-need employment areas, contributing to our communities and our economy,” said Regent President John Robert Behling.

More information, including historical data, about UW System degrees conferred can be found at the UW System’s accountability dashboard: https://www.wisconsin.edu/accountability/. The UW System was one of the first state university systems to issue a public accountability report when it began doing so in 1993. UW System accountability measures took their current form as an interactive dashboard in 2015.

Voces de la Frontera Action: Endorses O’Halloran, Peterson, Herndon, Siemsen, and Taylor for Milwaukee School Board

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Contact: Jasmine Gonzalez, 414-502-7493, [email protected]

MILWAUKEE –Voces de la Frontera Action has endorsed five candidates for Milwaukee Public Schools’ Board of School Directors. The endorsed candidates are Bob Peterson (Member at Large), Marva Herndon (District 1), Erika Siemsen (District 2), Sequanna Taylor (District 3), and Megan O’Halloran (District 8).

Megan O’Halloran will be running in the Board of School Directors spring primary on Tuesday, February 19th. The remaining candidates will be up for election during the general election on Tuesday, April 2nd.

“We are proud to support these candidates for the MPS Board of School Directors,” said Voces de la Frontera Action board member and former MPS school principal Rita Tenorio. “We think it is encouraging that so many qualified people are candidates for these positions. They share our vision for transforming our public schools and creating a public education system that nurtures and supports all Milwaukee schoolchildren.”

Voces de la Frontera Action backs these candidates for being strong supporters of public education and opponents of privatization who will support our community’s fight for increased funding for Milwaukee Public Schools and work to strengthen multicultural studies programs, bilingual education, and support for refugee and immigrant students.

Voces de la Frontera Action is the non-partisan 501(c)4 sister organization of Voces de la Frontera, with the same mission to fight for the rights of low-wage workers, students, and immigrants. Voces de la Frontera Action is able to lobby, advocate for legislation, and endorse the candidates that best support our community’s needs. We are not affiliated with any political party or candidate.

WED AM Update: Legislative leaders, cabinet nominees to address WCA; SOTU reaction

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WED News Summary: Evers says he doesn’t support GOP tax cut plan; SOTU reaction

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WED PM Update: Legislative leaders talk tolling, other transpo revenue uppers; Laning won’t seek re-election as Dem chair

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Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction: 2018 graduates had strong showing in AP program

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Contact: Tom McCarthy, DPI Communications Director, (608) 266-3559

MADISON — Wisconsin’s 2018 public school graduates took more than 71,000 Advanced Placement (AP) exams while in high school, with 66.4 percent of those exams scored three or higher on a five-point scale and eligible for college credit, advance standing, or both at many colleges and universities.

Overall, Wisconsin had 22,965 graduates from the class of 2018 who took at least one end-of-course AP exam last May. That number represents 37.5 percent of estimated graduates (61,266). Overall, 26.1 percent of graduates scored a three or higher on an AP exam during high school. Many students take multiple exams from the 38 offered in the AP program. Nationally, more than 1.2 million graduates took an AP exam while in high school and 23.5 percent of those students earned a score of three or higher on an exam.

“The Advanced Placement program provides students an opportunity to take college-level
coursework while in high school. Doing well on the exams gives our kids a head start on postsecondary studies in our state’s public and private colleges and universities,” said State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor.

Participation in AP increased by 1,055 graduates in Wisconsin from 2017 to 2018. The number of exams they took went up by 4,578. Of the 71,238 AP exams 2018 graduates took, 24,835 were in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects. Wisconsin was part of the nationwide leap in increased participation in the computer science principles exam, one of 12 STEM exams. The state had 391 of its 2018 graduates who took the computer science principles exam while in high school. The College Board, which launched the course and exam in 2017, describes computer science principles as ensuring more students, especially those who are underrepresented, are prepared for STEM careers.

2018
Graduates Taking an AP Exam 22,965
Number of Exams 71,238
Percent Taking an AP Exam 37.5
Percent Earning Scores of 3-5 26.1
Wisconsin 2018 Cohort Data

Students from low-income families represent 13.4 percent of 2018 state graduates who took an AP exam while in high school. Among those graduates, 10.4 percent earned a score of three or higher on an exam. Wisconsin public school districts are required to pay exam fees for students whose family income meets guidelines for free or reduced-price school meals. The 2018 AP report says that equity gaps continued to narrow in states that contribute to exam fees for low-income students. Ten years ago in Wisconsin, 6.1 percent of low-income graduates took an AP exam and 4.2 percent earned a score of three or
higher on an exam. Five years ago, 11.5 percent of economically disadvantaged graduates took AP exams with 9.0 percent earning a three or higher on an exam.

“Students of color, students with disabilities, students from low-income families, and those who are learning English often face challenges in accessing advanced coursework and opportunities like the AP program,” Stanford Taylor noted. “We are determined to continue our work with schools and communities to close equity gaps so all students have access to the resources and rigor they need to be successful.”

Wisconsin’s 2018 graduates who earned scores of three or higher on their AP exams are estimated to save nearly $43 million in college costs. The calculation assumes three credits for each AP course scored three or higher and an average cost for in-state tuition and fees of $302.67 per credit hour.

Wisconsin Right to Life: Is ready to work with legislators to protect life

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Media Contact: Heather Weininger

“With the recent events surrounding the abortion issue in Virginia and New York, it has become clear what the endgame is for abortion advocates who support killing our unborn babies: Abortion through all nine months of pregnancy for any reason and, should the baby be born alive after a failed abortion, infanticide,” shared Wisconsin Right to Life Executive Director, Heather Weininger.

“Wisconsin Right to Life has worked for years to protect the most vulnerable. Wisconsin is only one election away from becoming New York, where the unborn, babies born alive after failed abortions, and their mothers literally have no protection.

“During the efforts to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, Sonya’s Law, and many other protective, pro-life laws, Wisconsin Right to Life worked with both Wisconsin State Senate and Wisconsin State Assembly members to ensure unborn children and their mothers were protected. During that time, we had a pro-life governor who signed this legislation into law. We no longer have a governor who will protect the lives of the unborn. Our children are at risk.

“Wisconsin Right to Life will continue to work with our pro-life leaders in Wisconsin’s Senate and Assembly to ensure all innocent lives are protected in Wisconsin. We know that those who want to expand the abortion industry and, in turn, their profits will stop at nothing to get what they want.

“We must do all we can to stand for life at every age, from conception until natural death.”

Wisconsin Working Families Party: Endorses Judge Lisa Neubauer for Supreme Court

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CONTACT: Rebecca Lynch 262-676-2587

Building a fairer system of justice for all Wisconsin residents

MILWAUKEE — Wisconsin Working Families Party is endorsing Wisconsin Court of Appeals Chief Judge Lisa Neubauer for Wisconsin Supreme Court, the state’s highest appellate branch. Wisconsin Working Families Party will provide people power to the campaign, mobilizing volunteers and members to put boots on the ground to educate voters, particularly in Milwaukee where the Wisconsin Working Families Party has endorsed a slate of five candidates for the MPS Board of Directors.

Though the Wisconsin Supreme Court elections are non-partisan, lame-duck state legislative Republicans recently unsuccessfully tried to change the date of the 2020 primary elections to preference their preferred candidate. Democrat-allied members of the state Supreme Court received a boost last year with the surprise win of WIWFP-endorsed Rebecca Dallet. If Neubauer wins her election, the balance of power on the Court will shift toward more progressive jurists. Neubauer will face appellate Judge Brian Hagedorn — former chief legal counsel to former Gov. Scott Walker and an architect of Act 10 — in the non-partisan April 2 election for a 10-year term. Hagedorn has come under fire for blog posts he wrote while in law school that reveal his extreme views, denying basic human rights to women and the LGBTQ community.

“Judge Lisa Neubauer is the kind of jurist that Wisconsin needs on the state’s highest court to ensure that the rights of the many, not just the rich and privileged, are protected,” said Rebecca Lynch, deputy director of Wisconsin Working Families Party. “For the last three decades, Judge Neubauer has demonstrated a commitment to public service. She will fight to return independence and fairness to the Wisconsin Supreme Court by standing up to special interests.”

“I thank WFP for their endorsement of our campaign,” said Judge Neubauer. “Families across Wisconsin are demanding a fair, impartial, and independent court, and that’s the kind of Justice I will be.”

Judge Neubauer has served on the Court of Appeals since 2008 and has been Chief Judge since being appointed by Wisconsin Supreme Court in 2015. In addition to her judicial service, Neubauer is a recipient of the Lynford Lardner Community Service Award in recognition of her volunteer work and civic involvement and a recipient of the Association for Women Lawyer’s Community Service Award. She has served as a board member of the Racine Area United Way, ABCD, the Equal Justice Coalition (now known as the Wisconsin Equal Justice Fund), and Legal Action of Wisconsin.

Now in its third year of operations in the state, Wisconsin Working Families Party has proven to be a potent and effective political operation. In the 2018 election cycle, the Party ran one of the largest volunteer operations in Wisconsin engaging activists and volunteers from all walks of life in texting, phone banking, rallying, and door knocking for Tony Evers and WI WFP board member Mandela Barnes. Wisconsin Working Families Party was also key in the successful elections of Milwaukee sheriff Earnell Lucas and several state legislators, including Robyn Vining (District 14), the only Democratic challenger to flip an Assembly seat from red to blue.

WisDems: DPW Chair Martha Laning makes announcement on chair’s race

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Contact: Courtney Beyer, [email protected]

MADISON — Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Martha Laning, who has served in the role since being elected in 2015, has offered the following statement on her decision not to seek re-election in the Party’s June leadership race:

“Four years ago, I ran to become Chair because I knew that Wisconsin Democrats needed a strong party infrastructure, a robust and engaged grassroots network, and a clear vision for what it means to be a Democrat. Like so many people in our state, I was deeply concerned about how the policies of Scott Walker and Wisconsin Republicans were taking opportunity away from our kids, jeopardizing the future of our communities and turning Wisconsin into a state none of us recognized anymore. I wanted to do my part to help.

“Four years later, I am incredibly proud of the Party we have built. For the first time since 1982, Democrats hold all five constitutional state offices, lead by Governor Tony Evers who will put the people first as he champions our Wisconsin values. We re-elected our Senator Tammy Baldwin so she could continue her work improving the lives of Wisconsinites and protecting those that need it most.

“These victories didn’t happen by accident. We launched an unprecedented year-round, every-year organizing program to empower activists across our state to inspire, engage and turn-out Democratic voters. We bolstered our candidate services team to support down-ballot candidates and helped them run competitive campaigns. We ensured the Party had the financial resources to support our ambitious plans.

“Given these accomplishments and the bright future ahead for Wisconsin Democrats, I believe this is the perfect time for me to transition to my next challenge. I will not stand for reelection as DPW Chair this coming June and welcome the opportunity to support new leadership as they take the helm this summer. I remain committed to the Party and to our Democratic values, and I will continue to lead the Party with the same transparency and vigor as we prepare for the next Chair’s race and leadership transition following June’s election.

“It has been an honor to work with so many caring and passionate activists who give their time to help make our vision a reality. I am humbled to work with a staff that doesn’t see the work just as a job, but as a calling to build a stronger Wisconsin. Chairing the Democratic Party of Wisconsin has been an incredible opportunity, and I couldn’t be prouder of the work we’ve done together to move Wisconsin forward.”

WisDOT Secretary-Designee: Statement on the Transportation Stakeholder Task Force

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For more information, contact:
WisDOT Office of Public Affairs
608/266-3581, [email protected]
Craig Thompson, Wisconsin Department of Transportation Secretary-Designee, released the following statement regarding the Transportation Stakeholder Task Force:
We recently concluded the second of two very productive meetings with individuals from around the state. The Transportation Stakeholder Task Force members represent all facets of Wisconsin’s transportation needs and the people who use the system: local and county roads, trucking industry, freight and rail, harbors, bikes and pedestrians, farming, etc. The task force also included bipartisan members of the Wisconsin legislature, who attended the meetings and participated in discussions. The meetings were fully transparent. The February 4 meeting was broadcast on WisconsinEye. Anyone interested in viewing the footage is encouraged to do so.
 
The information we gathered during this process is meant to help us understand the public’s priorities for transportation. There were no decisions or formal recommendations made; representatives simply shared what they believed were possible alternatives to address Wisconsin’s transportation challenges.
 
We are analyzing the information gathered during the task force meetings and will use the input to make informed recommendations for the transportation budget.

WisPolitics Midday: Feb. 6, 2019

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In today’s WisPolitics Midday update:

  • Reaction to SOTU by Wisconsin’s congressional delegation.
  • Middle-class tax cut debate still happening between Gov and Republicans.

February 7, 2019 | February 5, 2019
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