Daily Archives: February 7, 2019

AG Kaul: Statement following U.S. attorneys’ notification to prescribers


MADISON, Wis. – Today, U.S. Attorneys Scott Blader and Matthew Krueger notified
medical professionals with relatively high levels of opioid prescriptions to review their
prescribing practices. Following this action Attorney General Josh Kaul issued the
following statement:

“Thank you U.S. Attorneys Krueger and Blader for sending these notices out to
providers. While the medical community has played an important role in addressing
the opioid epidemic, we need to ensure that all medical professionals are prescribing
responsibly,” said Attorney General Josh Kaul.

Members of the public who have unused or unwanted medications can dispose of them
safely and conveniently at more than 400 drug disposal boxes around Wisconsin.
Unused or expired medicine should never be flushed or poured down the drain. Water
reclamation facilities are not designed to remove all of them and trace amounts of
pharmaceuticals are showing up in rivers and lakes.

To find a drug disposal box near you, go to www.doseofrealitywi.gov/find-a-take-back-

American Majority Wisconsin: Launches conservative training forum


Media ContactNate Nelson

[email protected]

Conservative Group to Provide Monthly Training Opportunity in Appleton

Mequon, WI– American Majority Wisconsin is launching a new project called the Conservative Training Forum. It is a monthly training opportunity in Appleton, Wisconsin.  Every month, on the fourth Tuesday, American Majority Wisconsin will be hosting a training event and speaker. The goal is to equip conservatives with cutting edge information about how to organize, mobilize, and win.

The training topics will range from social media, how to run for office, how to volunteer on a campaign, how to organize on an issue, and more. These trainings will be regularly held on the fourth Tuesday of the month at the Machine Shed, 220 Fox River Drive, Appleton, Wisconsin from 11:30am-1:30pm.

The first two events will be:

February 26: Julaine Appling, President Wisconsin Family Council

“Local Government: The Place to Be”

March 26: Matt Batzel, National Executive Director of American Majority

“What Happened in 2018 and How to Prevent It from Happening Again”

Nate Nelson, the Wisconsin Executive Director of American Majority, said “I am excited about the launch of our Conservative Training Forum. This project will be a great opportunity for activists, local candidates, and campaign staff to learn the latest campaign and organizing techniques.”

American Majority works to build a farm team of new leaders at all levels of government. Since opening a Wisconsin chapter in 2010, American Majority has trained 177 winning candidates in Wisconsin and trained more than 8,000 activists.

Badger Institute: Wisconsin legislative leaders say tolling necessary for upgrading, maintaining highway system


Contact: Michael Jahr, 262-442-5208
[email protected]

 – Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos yesterday advocated for tolling as a long-term solution to the state’s transportation funding shortfalls and called for a study that could bring the state one step closer to gaining federal approval for tolling.

During a roundtable discussion at a Wisconsin Counties Association meeting in Madison, Fitzgerald said he does not see a way for the state to address its infrastructure challenges without some form of open-road tolling. He also noted that tolls could generate billions instead of millions of dollars for highway improvements, adding that even a significant increase in the gas tax would fall short of fixing Wisconsin highways.

Analysis from the Badger Institute over the years confirms that tolling on interstate highways is a workable approach for rebuilding and widening the state’s aging Interstate system. It is, in fact, “the only realistic, long-term solution to Wisconsin’s road funding dilemma,” according to Robert Poole Jr., author of Rebuilding and Modernizing Wisconsin’s Interstates with Toll Financing, and Mike Nichols, president of the Badger Institute.
As vehicles become more energy efficient, revenue from gas taxes will slowly decline in coming years.

Borrowing is unsustainable, too. More than 20 percent of all Wisconsin transportation fund revenues already go toward debt service instead of improving our roads. The state spends over a half-billion dollars every year just servicing transportation-related debt.

In a recent Badger Institute commentary, Poole reported that two major studies released late last year strengthen the case for Wisconsin to pursue tolling and validate the need for a Phase 2 interstate tolling study. Funding for such a study was vetoed by Gov. Scott Walker in the last state budget.

A Phase 2 study would allow the state to determine what it would cost to rebuild and widen the state’s aging interstates.

Such a study, he added, could identify “the best ways to ensure that the tolling is done in a customer-friendly way — for example, by offering rebates for fuel taxes on the newly tolled corridors. It also could recommend ways to make the cost of electronic toll collection as low as possible, compared with the high cost of old-fashioned cash tolling. And it could assess value-added features for trucking companies, such as lots of safe overnight parking spaces with various other services, including electric vehicle recharging and alternative fuel sources.”

Modern, all-electronic tolling lets people who use the roads pay for them and provides a fair, quick and convenient way to create a highway system that grows the state economy and allows Wisconsin drivers to reach their destinations safely.

“Wisconsin,” according to Poole, “can pioneer 21st century Interstates, becoming a model for all the other states.”

Dane County Exec Parisi: Announces Tessmann as new Human Service Director


Contact: Ariana Vruwink

[email protected]

Today, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced that Shawn Tessmann has been selected as the new Director of the Dane County Department of Human Services. Tessmann has worked in the Department of Human Services as a senior leadership team member since 2016 and previously worked for the state of Wisconsin in a number of state agencies where she acquired broad experience in Medicaid, FoodShare, Child Care, W-2, and other economic assistance programs.

“I look forward to working with Shawn Tessmann as the new Dane County Human Services Director,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “Between Shawn’s extensive experience working in the public sector and her dedication to serving those in need, the Dane County Department of Human Services has a bright future with Shawn as its next director.”

In Tessmann’s role as Economic Assistance and Work Services Administrator for Dane County’s Department of Human Services, she administered all public assistance functions for Dane County, provided oversight of the County’s commitment to end homelessness, and held leadership responsibility for an eight county income maintenance consortium, among other duties.

“I’m delighted and honored to be asked by the County Executive to lead the delivery of the excellent services and programs we administer to Dane County citizens,” Tessmann said. “I look forward to working with our staff, partners, policymakers, agencies, stakeholders and clients to make sure the department is being as responsive as possible to community needs as they exist now, and as new needs emerge.”

Prior to her work at the Dane County Department of Human Services, Tessmann served as Eligibility Policy and Systems Director for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, where she had primary day-to-day responsibility for all income maintenance functions for Medicaid and FoodShare. Tessmann’s past experiences also include working as the Member and Employer Services Director for the Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds, as Business and Operations Manager for the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, and as Policy Advisor for the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

“I’m pleased that this nationwide search pointed us to a talented individual in our own ranks,” said Dane County Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Corrigan. “Shawn’s career experiences and the respect she has earned from those she works with in the Department will serve her well as the Director.”

For five years, Tessmann was an owner of Isthmus Research and Consulting, LLC. She served as the Project Manager for the independent evaluation of all welfare reform and workforce development programs for the state of Arkansas. She also managed broad-based qualitative and quantitative research projects and worked with Wisconsin legislators to detail program improvements to Wisconsin’s welfare replacement program.

Tessmann resides in Mount Horeb with her husband and son, who is currently a junior in high school. She grew up in the Dane County area and is an active volunteer with her local school board. Her favorite pastimes include reading, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.

Tessmann will replace Lynn Green, who has served as the Director of the Dane County Department of Human Services since 2002 and has spent a total of 46 years serving Dane County. Tessmann’s confirmation as Dane County Human Services Director is pending final approval by the County Board.

DC Wrap: Baldwin responds to calls to run for president; House committee assignments finalized


Welcome to our weekly DC Wrap, where we write about Wisconsin’s congressional delegation. Sign up here to receive the newsletter directly.

Quotes of the week

I think it would just be tragic if we bugged out, left the Kurds who, by and large, have done the fighting and have defeated the ISIS caliphate, the territorial caliphate and ISIS, if we just abandoned them to the mercies, and I use that term loosely, of Russia and Iran and possibly Turkey. It would just be unconscionable.
– U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson in a Fox News interview over the weekend. The Oshkosh Republican pushed back on President Trump’s plans to withdraw all American troops from Syria.

I’m sure there are many Republicans shaking in their boots about that happening with a future Democratic president.
– U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” where the Madison Dem predicted Republicans were getting nervous at the prospect of President Trump declaring a national emergency to begin construction on a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.  

President Trump’s vision for our nation’s future, which includes fighting for American workers and farmers by leveling the playing field on trade, strengthening our military, and securing our southern border, should make every American proud.
– U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wausau, praising President Trump’s State of the Union address, saying “the American Dream is alive and once again achievable.”

I stand ready to work with all of my colleagues to find common ground, and will fight to break down the hyper-partisanship in Congress to make life better for Wisconsinites.
– U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, saying he was “encouraged” by some of the proposals Trump put forward in his speech.

This week’s news

— Tammy Baldwin says she’s flattered by calls for her to run for president next year but says she’s sticking to her role as senator for now.

The Madison Dem’s comments came after a New York Magazine column this week suggested Baldwin is “a uniquely compelling” 2020 candidate, and may be the party’s most “electable.”

“It’s very flattering, but I’m focused on doing my job for Wisconsin and bringing the Democratic Convention to Milwaukee,” Baldwin said in a statement provided by her campaign.

This week’s column — written by Eric Levitz, the magazine’s Daily Intelligencer Associate Editor — pointed to Baldwin’s history as the first openly gay women elected to Congress, her support for single-payer health care and gun control legislation and her double-digit win over Republican opponent Leah Vukmir in November.

Levitz argued Baldwin was able to win Wisconsin “as an unabashed progressive because she gets her state.” He pointed to her “Go Pack Go Act,” which would have allowed Wisconsinites in all media markets watch Packers games.

A potential Baldwin presidential bid also has support from a newly created Twitter account: Tammy Tammy 2020. The account, which has more than 650 followers, is calling for a Baldwin-U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., ticket.

“Time for a Tammy Tammy double whammy! No matter who tops the ticket, a Tammy Tammy twosome will trounce Trump in 2020!” the account’s bio reads.


— Baldwin this week also signed onto three letters calling on executives at three major insulin makers to share information about rising costs.

“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,” she and her Senate colleagues wrote. “Unfortunately, rapidly increasing insulin prices mean that for many patients, access to this essential medicine is threatened.”

See the release.


— Committee and subcommittee assignments for the state’s House members have been largely finalized for the new session.

The group’s lone freshman, U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil, has been assigned to the Financial Services Committee, which oversees insurance, banking, securities and other industries. The Janesville Republican will also serve on three subcommittees: Housing, Community Development, and Insurance; Oversight and Investigations; and Diversity and Inclusion.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner — the dean of the state’s congressional delegation — will continue serving on the House Judiciary and House Foreign Affairs committees. The Menomonee Falls Republican is also the ranking member of the Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee.

His other subcommittee assignments are: Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations; Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations; and Europe, Eurasia, Energy, and Environment.

Meanwhile, other reps’ assignments include:

*U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wausau: member of the House Financial Services; ranking member on Housing and Insurance Subcommittee.

*U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay: Membership on two committees, Armed Services and Transportation and Infrastructure, and five subcommittees: Intelligence, Emerging Threats & Capabilities; Seapower and Projection Forces; Highways and Transit; Aviation; and Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation.

*U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah: member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee and Education and Labor Committee; and member of four subcommittees: Government Operations; Economic and Consumer Policy; Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education; and Higher Education & Workforce Development.

*U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse: Ways and Means Committee member; and will also sit on the Health and Trade subcommittees.

*And U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee: Newly appointed member of the House Ways and Means Committee; also serves on three subcommittees: Oversight, Select Revenue Measures and Worker and Family Support.

*U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont: member of the House Appropriations Committee;  serves on the following subcommittees: Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies; Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies; and Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies.


— U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman has introduced a bipartisan bill aiming to prevent future government shutdowns.

The bill, called the “End Government Shutdown Act,” would prevent government shutdowns by funding the government at the previous year’s levels if Congress fails to pass an appropriations bill.

Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, noted Wisconsin’s state government has had its own version of his bill in place since 1953; it has helped the state complete its budget on time and avoid shutdowns.

“For too long, politicians on both sides of the aisle have used government shutdowns and other budgetary gimmicks that put federal workers in harm’s way,” Grothman said. “My bill, the End Government Shutdowns Act, will eliminate federal shutdowns and force politicians to work together to produce a budget that works for everyone.”

The bill is co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. David Loebsack, D-Iowa.

See more on the bill here.


— U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner is pushing a bill to lower the costs of prescription drugs.

The bipartisan bill, called the “Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples Act,” would bar pharmaceutical and biological companies from engaging in anti-competitive actions to block cheaper generic drugs, according to a release from the Menomonee Falls Republican.

“Americans of all ages are burdened by high prescription drug prices, and we must address this growing issue,” Sensenbrenner said. “I’m proud to sponsor this common-sense bill that will implement market-based solutions, making prescription drugs more affordable, saving taxpayers money, and providing much-needed relief to the American people.”


— U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore is bringing back her bill to block President Trump from using taxpayer dollars to pay for a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

Moore in a statement said she’s introducing the bill — the “No Taxpayer Funding for the Wall Act” — in response to Trump’s State of the Union speech Tuesday.

“My constituents don’t want a wasteful wall,” she said. “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.”

The Milwaukee Dem introduced a similar bill last session that didn’t go anywhere.


— U.S. Rep. Ron Kind is looking to increase access to retirement savings opportunities, under plans provided by employers in a new bill.

The bipartisan legislation, called the “Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act,” is co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa.

“As a nation, we have a problem when it comes to retirement savings. We need to take common sense steps to ensure our businesses are offering their employees flexible retirement plans that set our workers up for success in their golden years,” Kind said in a statement this week.


— Kind has brought on a new chief of staff.

That’s Hana Greenberg, former legislative director, who replaces former chief of staff Brad Pfaff. Pfaff left the La Crosse Dem’s office following his appointment as Tony Evers’ Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection secretary.

Meanwhile, Alex Eveland is taking over as Kind’s legislative director, after working as his legislative assistant.

See the release.


Posts of the week


‘Unconscionable’: GOP Senate Homeland Security chair torches Trump’s Syria policy

There’s a corner in Madison where Baldwin and Johnson meet

How Wisconsin senators, representatives reacted after Pres. Trump’s State of the Union address

Roll Call: Key votes from the Wisconsin congressional delegation

Tammy Baldwin for president? New York Magazine makes the case

Baldwin: ‘We will rue the day’ Trump declares national emergency for border wall

Rep. Mike Gallagher advocates for stronger Congress, border security

GOP Rep. Sean Duffy calls out Democratic pastors for siding with liberals on abortion

Lawmakers from Wisconsin congressional districts carried by Trump push vastly different tariff bills

U.S. Rep. Steil holds Janesville listening session

Rep. Steil holds first listening session in Janesville

Edgewood College panel: ‘Promoting Racial Equity Through Community Development’ 🗓


Contact: Ed Taylor, Director of Strategic Communications 608-663-2333

Madison, Wis. (February 6, 2019) – Edgewood College is pleased to invite Greater Madison to the next opportunity in our School of Business Executive Speaker Series: Promoting Racial Equity Through Community Development.  This panel discussion will take place 5 – 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 19 in Anderson Auditorium. The event is free.

The community development field is grappling with its role in promoting racial equity. This session will provide a framework for understanding the issue of racial equity from the perspective of policy, community-based efforts, and investments. Leaders will share insights on the connection between people, place, and racial equity, as well as ideas on how the field can invest in a more just and equitable society.

Panelists include Dr. Ruben Anthony, President and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Madison, and Mr. Jeremie Greer, Vice President of Policy & Research at Prosperity Now.

Please visit www.edgewood.edu/executive-speaker-series for more information and to RSVP for this event.

Hagedorn campaign: Hagedorn outraises Neubauer in latest finance period


(262) 372-6866
[email protected]

Hagedorn raises more than $236,000 in just over four weeks

Supreme Court Candidate Judge Brian Hagedorn announced Thursday his campaign raised more than $236,000 in just over four weeks’ time, outperforming his opponent over the period. The strong fundraising haul is more than any other Supreme Court candidate raised in the last 10 years during the same period.

“Momentum for our campaign continues to build as Wisconsin voters want a justice who will keep politics out of the courtroom and uphold the rule of law,” Judge Hagedorn said. “We are so grateful for this incredible support, and these funds will be used wisely over the next seven weeks as we run a strong campaign that leads us to victory on April 2.”

Judge Hagedorn’s campaign raised $236,616.25 over the last finance reporting period, January 1 – February 4, 2019. The impressive report builds off the Hagedorn campaign’s historic fundraising start, raising more than $310,000 in the final six months of 2018.

A copy of the cover sheet can be found here.

To learn more about Judge Brian Hagedorn, please visit JudgeHagedorn.com.

Hagedorn outraised Neubauer in latest fundraising period, she has more cash


Supreme Court candidate Brian Hagedorn outraised Lisa Neubauer in the most recent reporting period, but his fellow appeals court judge had more cash in the bank.

Cover sheets from their campaigns show the conservative Hagedorn raised $236,616 between Jan. 1 and Feb. 4, spent $88,265 and had $429,440 cash on hand at the close of the pre-primary period.

Neubauer, who’s backed by Dems, raised $174,292, spent $31,766 and had $715,582 in the bank.

Looking at last year’s Supreme Court race, which was also for an open seat, now-Justice Rebecca Dallet raised $91,746 in the pre-primary period and had $237,090 in the bank ahead of the three-way primary.

Meanwhile, Judge Michael Screnock raised $213,861, including $111,088 from the state GOP, and had $90,212 in the bank, and Middleton attorney Tim Burns had pulled in $79,042 and had $125,937 cash on hand.

Neubauer’s cover sheet listed $44,250 in donations from committees in the most recent reporting period, while Hagedorn’s showed $19,551. Full reports covering the period aren’t due until Monday, and details of those donations weren’t immediately available.

Neubauer has now raised nearly $863,000 since getting into the race last year. That includes a $250,000 loan she gave the campaign in June, which accounts for much of her advantage for cash on hand. A spokesman said the pre-primary report didn’t include additional personal money.

Hagedorn has now raised $547,345.

The two will square off April 2 to replace liberal Justice Shirley Abrahamson.

JFC approves GOP middle-class tax cut along party lines


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JFC approves one-time money for disaster assistance, flood clean-up costs


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Muldrow campaign: Dozens of elected and appointed officials endorse Ali Muldrow for school board


Contact: Ali Muldrow
February 7, 2019 (608) 213-6579

Support Includes 6 State Reps, 5 on County Board, 5 on City Council and Sheriff Mahoney
Madison – School Board candidate, Ali Muldrow, has gained the support of dozens of elected and appointed office holders across Dane County including five county supervisors, five alders, six state representatives, five current and former school board members and Dane County Sheriff Mahoney. They join Judges Kloppenburg, Higginbotham, Mitchell and Townsend and over one hundred adult and youth community leaders across Madison.

Shiva Bidar-Sielaff, who is District 5 alder of Madison’s City Council, shared about Muldrow “Ali has dedicated much of her life to our public schools. She has, with excellence, served as a custodian, as support staff, as an educator and as a student. She has my full support.”
Also from the Madison City Council, District 3 Alder Amanda Hall stated, “Ali is one of the most authentic people in the Madison public policy scene. Her boldness and her heart would make an amazing addition to the BOE,”

District 6 Supervisor of the Dane County Board, Yogesh Chalwa, wrote, “Ali Muldrow has made it her life’s work to close the achievement gap in our public schools. She is committed to creating a safe and inclusive learning environment for all of our students. Ali has an extensive background as both an educator and advocate and she will make an immediate impact for our community on the school board.”

Muldrow thanked the elected and community leaders endorsing her candidacy saying “I am
grateful for this overwhelming show of support. I promise, as a school board member, I will serve not only the students, but our entire community—our methods and strategies should strive to shine light on the part of every one of us that yearns to learn, that explores new ways of solving problems, and seeks out the good in all of us. In my leadership, I will empower all of us—students, teachers, families, and community members—to innovate Madison schools and give all students the chance to love learning.”

An East High graduate, Ali Muldrow is Co-Executive Director at GSAFE and lives in Madison with her partner, MMSD teacher, Sandy and their two daughters.
To learn more about Ali’s platform, visit https://alimuldrow.com

One Wisconsin Now: Brian Hagedorn’s past pays off … with $18,000 campaign contribution from big special interest


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

MADISON, Wis. — Brian Hagedorn’s work as a clerk for former Justice Michael Gableman looks like it’s paying off for his own campaign for the state Supreme Court. According to a filing with the Elections Board, the special interest group the Wisconsin Realtors Association PAC larded Hagedorn’s campaign with an $18,000 contribution on January 25, 2019. In 2010 Hagedorn’s former employer Justice Gableman was the deciding vote to adopt, verbatim, a rule change written by the Realtors Association to allow justices to hear cases involving large campaign contributors.

“Brian Hagedorn’s boss was the deciding vote to adopt, word for word, a rule change on judicial recusal written by the same special interest group that just wrote his campaign an $18,000 check,” commented One Wisconsin Now Research Director Joanna Beilman-Dulin. “It sure looks like Brian Hagedorn is set to follow in the footsteps of his former boss.”

Before moving to the office of then Gov. Scott Walker, Hagedorn was a clerk for state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, one of the most controversial members of the high court in recent history. Gableman was elected after running a false, racist ad that was the subject of Wisconsin Judicial Commission complaint.

On the court Gableman consistently sided with the special interests that funded his campaigns, including his casting of the deciding vote to adopt a change to state “recusal rules”, literally written by special interests, about when or if judges should not hear cases involving large campaign contributors or groups that spent money to boost their campaigns.

A subsequent effort launched by 54 retired judges from across the state and the political spectrum called on the Wisconsin Supreme Court to reconsider the rules on judicial recusal, including those changes written by the Wisconsin Realtors Association. The judges supporting reform noted how important it is for our courts to be free from corruption, or even the appearance of corruption.

They argued that setting objective rules on recusals in cases involving groups or people that spent significant sums to help elect judges sends an important message to Wisconsin regarding our justice system. Their efforts were rebuffed by the conservative court majority, including Gableman.

Rep. Macco: Co-chairs joint hearing on bill to provide tax cut to working families


CONTACT STATE REPRESENTATIVE JOHN MACCO                                            

(608) 266-0485

Madison…Today, the Assembly Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Revenue and Financial Institutions held a joint public hearing on Assembly Bill 4, a bill to provide an income tax cut for middle class individuals and families in Wisconsin.  State Representative John Macco (R-Ledgeview), who chairs the Assembly Committee on Ways and Means, released the following statement:

“I was pleased to hear from Wisconsinites from all walks of life about how a middle class tax cut will make a difference to them.  I am proud to be part of the team that will provide income tax relief to the hard-working middle class families in Wisconsin.  We have taken a great deal of care to ensure that this proposed tax cut is targeted toward hard-working middle class individuals and families in Wisconsin.  Seventy-five percent of the benefit will go to taxpayers earning between $30,000 and $100,000 a year,” said Rep. Macco.

Assembly Bill 4 will provide targeted income tax relief to middle class individuals earning less than $100,000 per year and middle class families earning less than $150,000 a year.  It is projected that the median income family filing jointly would see a $310 reduction in taxes per year.  Sixty-three percent of Wisconsin taxpayers – nearly two million people – will see their income taxes reduced under this proposal.

“These taxpayers deserve to keep more of their hard-earned income.  Additional income could help pay for groceries, clothing or caring for children.  I look forward to working with my colleagues in the legislature to pass this important bill and I call on Governor Evers to follow through on his promise and provide tax relief to the hard-working middle class families of Wisconsin,” concluded Rep. Macco.

Rep. Riemer: Weekly Democratic radio address: An economy that works for everyone


Wisconsin Assembly Democrats: 

An Economy that Works for Everyone

Democratic Weekly Radio Address

By Rep. Daniel Riemer

Audio File of Radio Address

Hello, this is State Representative Daniel Riemer with this week’s Democratic Radio Address.

Voters across Wisconsin elected Governor Evers because they want fiscally responsible policies that put families first.

During his campaign, Governor Evers promised to cut taxes for middle class families in Wisconsin by 10 percent.

True to his word, the Governor rolled out his plan this week, which would give a tax cut to 84 percent of Wisconsinites.

This puts real money in the pockets of people across Wisconsin.

Governor Evers is putting his focus on the middle class by rolling back a massive tax giveaway to millionaires and huge corporations.

Eight years ago, Republicans created a tax plan that allowed 16 people, each earning more than $30 million per year, to receive tax cuts averaging almost $2 million.

That doesn’t make economic sense.

Governor Evers is moving our state in a direction that will create opportunities for everyday people and grow our communities.

The truth is, we can have a tax cut for working families and still make the needed investments in K-12 education, transportation, and health care.

If we work together, and put people above politics, we can build an economy that works for everyone.

Governor Evers wants responsible tax relief for Wisconsin families.

That’s something we can all support.

Thank you.

Sen. Darling, Rep. Nygren: Budget Committee approves middle-class tax cut

Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills)

Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette)

Madison – The Co-Chairs of the budget-writing Joint Committee on Finance released the following statement after approving a middle-class tax cut:

“We are delivering a real, middle-class tax cut for Wisconsin families.

The tax burden in our state is at a 50-year low. Republicans have lowered the tax burden for seven straight years and delivered more than $8 billion in tax relief. Today marks another important step in our goal of making our state the best place in the nation to live, work, raise a family, and retire.

The middle-class tax cut will provide $340 million per year in additional tax relief targeted to individuals making $100,000 or less and families making $150,000 or less. The average Wisconsin family would see roughly a 10 percent tax cut, which equates to about $300. By increasing the standard deduction, 75% of the tax cut benefits go to filers with incomes between $30,000 and $100,000. The proposal is paid for with the surplus created by careful budgeting by Republicans.

After criticizing the GOP middle-class tax cut as unsustainable, the Governor introduced a tax plan that leaves nearly $400 million unfunded. His plan also hikes taxes $518 million on small business manufacturers and companies. At a time when we have a $2.4 billion budget surplus, raising taxes is the last thing we should do. Due to our conservative fiscal reforms, we have more than enough money to fund our priorities without raising taxes on manufacturers and job-creators across Wisconsin.

The Manufacturing and Agriculture Tax Credit directly impacts companies in every corner of Wisconsin. In fact, 87 percent of claimants are small businesses and many of those industries serve Wisconsin farmers. Democrats are proposing a half billion dollar tax increase that will have dramatic impacts on manufacturers and the thousands of family supporting jobs they create.

Governor Evers just put employers in Wisconsin on notice. He expects small businesses to fund his liberal agenda. Despite promising to not raise taxes, his first tax plan breaks his campaign promise. We encourage Governor Evers to reevaluate his position and support tax relief for the middle-class without unnecessarily raising taxes.”

Sen. Risser: Introduces bill to end wildlife killing contests in Wisconsin




(MADISON)—Yesterday, State Senator Fred Risser (D-Madison) introduced a bill that would ban wildlife killing contests in Wisconsin.

“Wildlife killing contests are a cruel stain on Wisconsin’s long legacy of conservation. These contests lead to the indiscriminate killing of wildlife in order to win cash prizes, guns, or belt buckles. Not only are questionable tactics used to attract and kill the animals, but often, the animals are not used for any purpose after they are killed and their carcasses are left to rot.

This senseless violence is not the same as ethical hunting. Wisconsinites have a historic reverence for wildlife, and these wildlife killing contests directly contradict that long and proud history and serve no useful purpose. California and Vermont have passed similar legislation.”

THU AM Update: Neubauer raises $174K in pre-primary period; JFC to exec on GOP’s middle-class tax cut

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THU News Summary: Fitzgerald, Vos back tolling; Laning passes on re-election bid for Dem Party chair

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THU PM Update: Vos says he’s open to negotiations with Evers on funding middle-class tax cut

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U.S. Rep. Pocan: Introduces legislation to protect Americans from prescription drug price gouging


Contact: Ron Boehmer 202-225-2906

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representatives Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Marcy Kaptur (OH-09) today introduced legislation that would penalize pharmaceutical companies that engage in price gouging without cause, leading to price spikes for patients who rely on medication to treat diseases ranging from cancer to addiction. The Stop Price Gouging Act, would hold drug companies accountable for large price increases and result in billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) are introducing companion legislation in the Senate.

The Stop Price Gouging Act would:

  • Require drug companies to report increases in drug prices, and justify the increase.
  • Penalize drug companies that engage in unjustified price increases with financial penalties proportionate to the price spike.

“Despite President Trump claiming victory on declining prescription drug prices, the costs of many drugs are still skyrocketing and becoming increasingly unaffordable for millions of Americans,” said Pocan. “The Stop Price Gouging Act will hold corporations accountable and protect consumers from egregious year-after-year price spikes that are far too common. While American families struggle over whether to pay an electric bill or buy life-saving medications, drug manufacturers and CEOs should not be making excessive profits. Members of Congress should immediately support this legislation and deliver results for the American people who are being hit with outrageous drug prices daily.”

“We must stand up to pharmaceutical companies that are more worried about lining their own pockets and bolstering profits for Wall Street investors than making sure patients can access the life-saving medications they produce,” said Kaptur. “As policymakers, we must shine a light on price gouging. The predatory pricing practice must stop. The health and well-being of millions of Americans depends on it.”

“The purpose of medicine is to help people, not to line the pockets of Big Pharma executives. Too many hardworking Americans still struggle to afford the medicine they need, and often, the culprit is price gouging by big pharmaceutical corporations. It has to stop. The Stop Price Gouging Act would protect Ohioans from prescription drug price spikes by requiring drug companies to report and justify their decisions to increase prices and prevent big pharma from price gouging,” said Brown.

“Too many New Yorkers are suffering because drug companies care more about their own profits than whether sick patients have access to medicine. That is one of the root causes of our country’s skyrocketing prescription drug costs, and Congress needs to step in and solve this problem now,” said Gillibrand. “This urgently needed legislation would finally hold companies accountable and penalize them when they gouge the price of a prescription drug without cause. I am proud to introduce this bill, and I urge my colleagues to join me in fighting to pass it.”

Under current law, pharmaceutical corporations can increase the price of their products without justification. Pocan and Kaptur introduced this billlast Congress and said they would continue fighting to pass it this session of Congress. Any revenues collected through the Stop Price Gouging Act would be reinvested in future drug research and development at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

In 2018, Americans spent an all-time high of $360 billion on prescription drugs. Nearly one-third of Americans polled by Consumer Reports said they had experienced a drug price hike in the past year, shelling out a total of $2 billion more for a drug they routinely take. Their 2016 survey revealed that 30 percent of Americans who experienced a hike in the price of one or more of their medications in the past year left a prescription unfilled because it was too expensive; 15 percent said they cut pills in half to make them last longer.

U.S. Sen. Baldwin: Introduces legislation to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors on Medicare


Contact: [email protected]


Bill would lower costs and put people over Big Pharma profits

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, introduced legislation with Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors on Medicare.

The Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act would authorize the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to negotiate drug prices and, if drug companies refuse to negotiate in good faith, to enable the Secretary to issue a competitive, compulsory license to another company that is willing and able to produce the medication as a generic. The bill is being introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Peter Welch (D-VT) and Elijah Cummings (D-MD).

“We have a broken system in Washington that prohibits the federal government from negotiating lower prescription drug prices for older Wisconsinites,” said Senator Baldwin. “We need to fix this and provide seniors a better deal on prescription drug costs. Let’s allow the government to negotiate directly with drug companies so we can lower costs for seniors and save taxpayers money.”

“The purpose of medicine is to help people, not to line the pockets of Big Pharma executives. Our bill would call Big Pharma’s bluff and demand prescription drug companies offer fair prices, or be boxed out,” said Senator Brown.

“Medicare is one of the largest drug purchasers in the country. It should not be restricted from negotiating the best deal with drug manufacturers,” said Senator Klobuchar. “Americans deserve better. I have fought for years to unleash the bargaining power of seniors on Medicare and this bill offers another important step towards lowering the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs.”

American patients are burdened by high drug prices, as these same patients’ tax dollars go into protecting government-approved, government-funded monopolies. The top health care concern for Americans is skyrocketing prescription drug prices. It is past time for a patient-first plan to lower them.

Big pharmaceutical companies often use scare tactics in order to maintain the highest profits of any industry. Prescription drug companies have previously made threats against negotiations bills, stating that if they were forced to negotiate more competitive prices, they would simply refuse to sell its drugs to people on Medicare. The Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act stipulates that if pharmaceutical companies refuse to agree to a reasonable price on a given medication, the Secretary of HHS could issue this competitive, compulsory license to another company that will offer the drug at a price that’s fair to Medicare beneficiaries and taxpayers.

In 2018, Americans spent an all-time high of $360 billion on prescription drugs. According to a 2016 Consumer Reports survey, 30 percent of Americans who experienced an increase in the price of one or more of their medications left a prescription unfilled because it was too expensive; 15 percent said they cut pills in half to make them last longer.

The full legislation is available here.

An online version of this release is available here.

U.S. Sen. Johnson: Continues push to delist gray wolf with new amendment


Ben Voelkel

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) introduced a bipartisan amendment to the Natural Resources Management Act Wednesday that would delist the gray wolf in western Great Lakes states, including Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota, as well as Wyoming under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. The amendment would restore the gray wolf to the status determined to be appropriate by Department of Interior wildlife experts in 2011, and allow the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to develop a wolf population management program.

“Four years ago, an activist federal judge ignored recommendations from wildlife experts and President Obama’s Department of the Interior to delist the gray wolf as an endangered species in the western Great Lakes. It is past time for Congress to act on what we have heard from state DNR experts, Wisconsin farmers, ranchers, loggers and sportsmen for years: Gray wolf listing decisions should come from wildlife experts, not from courtrooms,”Sen. Johnson said. “This amendment allows wolf management plans that are based on federal and state wildlife expertise to move forward without legal ambiguity.”

Text of the amendment can be found here.

Sen. Johnson’s amendment is cosponsored by Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.). Sen. Johnson has worked to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list in the western Great Lakes region since 2015 when he introduced legislation with former Rep. Reid Ribble (WI-8) to address the issue.

The gray wolf maintains a stable and growing population with an expanding territory in Wisconsin. A brief explanation of the issue from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service can be found here.

UW-Madison: Student-driven oral history project marks 50th anniversary of Black Student Strike on campus


Contact: Doug Erickson (608) 262-0930, [email protected]
Contact information for strike participants and student interviewers available upon request.

Madison – An oral history published online today by the University of Wisconsin-Madison recounts the Black Student Strike of February 1969 through the memories of more than two dozen people who organized, participated in or witnessed it.

The protest, surging and ebbing over roughly two weeks, was among the largest in the university’s history. It galvanized community support behind the group’s demands, which included the enrollment of more African-American students and the hiring and promotion of faculty of color. The strike led to the creation of the current Afro-American Studies Department, another of the group’s demands.

“The student strike was the culmination of three years of efforts – many meetings, agreements made and broken, a relentless faith in the protest process,” says Wahid Rashad, 71, one of the strike leaders interviewed for the project. “It got to the point where we felt that the only power we had left was the power to disrupt.”

On Feb. 7, 1969, black students, propelled by longstanding grievances, called for a campus-wide student strike until administrators agreed to 13 demands. Joined by thousands of white allies, they held rallies to educate the community on racial inequities, boycotted classes, marched to the state Capitol, took over lecture halls and blocked building entrances. The latter actions spurred the governor to activate the Wisconsin National Guard.

The oral history project, which can be found at news.wisc.edu/black-student-strike/, marks the 50th anniversary of the strike. The project was produced by University Communications and University Marketing in partnership with the Black Cultural Center and The Black Voice, a student-run digital campus news site. Student journalists with The Black Voice and student members of the Black History Month Planning Committee conducted most of the alumni interviews.

“There’s been a lack on the university’s part, to some degree, in making sure that students are aware of the history of this campus and especially the histories of black and brown students and communities of color – the role they’ve played and the oppression they’ve suffered during their time on this campus,” says junior Shiloah Coley, of Olympia Fields, Illinois, co-editor of The Black Voice and one of the students who worked on the project. “It’s very important to acknowledge those histories and learn from them, and that’s what this project does.”

Coley interviewed three strike participants, including Liberty Rashad, a prominent organizer.

“As a black woman on campus, it was really cool to hear the perspective and gain the insight from a black woman on campus in 1969,” Coley says. “It offered such an opportunity for us to learn from each other and to exchange knowledge.”

Sophomore Nile Lansana found common ground with his interview subject, Richard Spritz, one of the white allies who participated in the strike. Both say they learned a great deal from rooming with students of a different race. Lansana has a white roommate. Spritz had two black roommates at UW-Madison who introduced him to the issues surrounding the strike and encouraged him to get involved.

Lansana, a Chicago native, says it’s fitting to emphasize this moment in the university’s history.

“Black students spoke up for their rights and for the demands they felt they needed on campus,” he says. “As a black student on campus, it gives me hope for the future. I wouldn’t be here today without that work.”

Sophomore Chelsea Hylton interviewed Harvey Clay, a 6-foot-8-inch football player who says he lost his football scholarship because of his strike involvement. His participation took him away from his studies, and his coaches were not pleased with his activism.

“We need to understand these past experiences because they help us value what we have today and give us insights into how to be resilient like they were and how to continue to fight and resist like they did,” Hylton says.

As part of February’s Black History Month celebration on campus, a panel discussion open to the public will feature several of the strike participants. The event, “A Recollection of the 1969 Black Student Strike,” will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11, at the Play Circle in Memorial Union. A reception will follow from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Black Cultural Center in the Red Gym.

Free tickets are available with a Wiscard or state identification at Campus Arts Ticketing at Memorial Union. For additional information on obtaining tickets, please call the box office at (608) 265-2787. Seating may be available at the door but is not guaranteed.

“For 50 years, we’ve had access to the administration’s take on the events that took place in 1969, and we’ve had access to what news outlets wanted us to know, but we never took the opportunity to hear from those directly involved and directly impacted by the Black Student Strike,” says Karla Foster, assistant director for cultural programming at the Multicultural Student Center, of which the Black Cultural Center is a part. “What better time than now, 50 years to the date, to get the original organizers’ and participants’ take on not just what happened, but more importantly, why it happened.”

Foster anticipates that the live panel discussion will be meaningful to all students on campus. She hopes it will have special resonance for black students.

“I want black students to have the opportunity to hear firsthand accounts and to be able to ask questions and get them answered on the spot,” she says. “I want them to hear, touch, and see the stories that were shared. And I want the student journalists to see who they were interacting with over the phone and deepen those relationships that I hope have just begun.”
– Doug Erickson

WisGOP: State of the Union address receiving widespread acclaim

Contact: Charles Nichols
(608) 257-4765
President Trump Delivered a Visionary Plan for a Prosperous America  
[Madison, WI] — On Tuesday, in his third State of the Union address to the American people, President Donald Trump delivered his inspiring vision for a prosperous America and offered a clear path to move the country forward. After already delivering historic results during his first two years in office, President Trump once again demonstrated his unwavering dedication and commitment to American families and workers. In response, the president’s address has received widespread acclaim for its visionary call for unity, bipartisanship, and compromise. A CNN poll conducted following the address found that 76% of the viewers approved of the president’s speech.
Check out what they are saying about President Trump’s address here:
From The Hill: Three-quarters approve of Trump speech.  Roughly three-quarters of respondents who watched President Trump’s State of the Union address approved of his speech, according to CNN and CBS News polls released late Tuesday. Seventy-six percent approved of the speech in the CBS poll, with 24 percent saying they disapproved. About 59 percent of respondents to the CNN poll had a very positive reaction to the speech, while 17 percent said they had a somewhat positive reaction.
From CNN: State Of The Union Had “Wonderful Moments, Stirring Moments.” CNN’S JAKE TAPPER: “Well, he did at times during the speech. Obviously, the moments with Grace Eline, the young girl battling cancer, the moment at the end with the helped liberate Dachau and the old man who had once been a little boy, a prisoner at Dachau, obviously, these are wonderful moments, stirring moments.”
From ABC: “There Were Moments That Unified The Chamber Tonight.” ABC’S GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: “There is President Trump wrapping up his third speech in the House Chamber and his second State of the Union, echoing the key themes of his campaign Make America Great Again by telling the American people to ‘Choose Greatness,’ and by telling the members of Congress to “choose greatness.” He said coming in, it would be a call to unity and there were moments that unified the chamber tonight, cheering for those D Day veterans, for the first prisoners released as a result of the President’s first offender prison reform, and a sweet somewhat odd moment, the chamber singing happy birthday to a Holocaust survivor of the Pittsburgh Synagogue shootings, Judah Samet.”
From MSNBC’s Garrett Haake: The First Step Act Touted By The President In His Speech Was “Easily The Biggest Bipartisan Legislative Success Under This Administration.” MSNBC’S GARRETT HAAKE: “The First Step Act was a legit bipartisan, bicameral effort to get something done that most Americans agreed on. Easily the biggest bipartisan legislative success under this administration.”
From Washington Post: Trump delivered the best, most Reaganesque speech of his tenure. President Trump delivered the best, most Reaganesque speech of his tenure Tuesday night….From start to finish, Trump did something he rarely does: extol the virtue of the everyday American and give credit to the freedom that is our birthright.
From ABC’s Jonathan Karl: “The President And His Speechwriters Have Accomplished Something Remarkable Here Tonight.” ABC’s CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT JONATHAN KARL: “The president and his speechwriters have accomplished something remarkable here tonight – striking several themes that have drawn applause from both sides of the chamber.”

WisPolitics Midday: Feb. 7, 2019


In today’s WisPolitics Midday update:

  • Republicans approve their version of the middle-class tax cut.
  • Fundraising numbers in the race for the WI Supreme Court.
  • Tuition increases approved for UW by a Board of Regents committee.

February 8, 2019 | February 6, 2019