2019 March 18

Daily Archives: March 18, 2019

‘UpFront’: Lasry says raising funds for 2020 DNC will be ‘team effort’

Wisconsin Democrats will make it a “team effort” to raise the $60 million or more needed to pull off the 2020 Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee, the chairman of the city’s bid committee said.

Alex Lasry, a senior vice president with the Milwaukee Bucks, said prominent Democratic leaders including Gov. Tony Evers, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, and U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore would all be working to raise money and make the convention successful.

“We want to show the DNC and the world that cities like Milwaukee can take care of a convention like this,” Lasry said in an interview that aired Sunday on “UPFRONT,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

“If we are successful, that paves the way for a lot of other cities like Milwaukee to be able to put in a bid, and give them confidence to put in a bid,” he said.

Lasry also promised a convention with a “local vibe” that would be “very Wisconsin.”

“This is our chance to reintroduce Milwaukee to the world,” Lasry said. “I think this is hopefully just the start of Milwaukee becoming that top-tier city.”

Also on the program, ABC News Political Director Rick Klein said the choice of Milwaukee as the DNC convention site is “a very clear signal that the Democrats recognize that they cannot win the White House, really functionally win it, without carrying the state.”

Another segment explored the impact on the city of Cleveland when it hosted the 2016 Republican National Convention.

“It absolutely lived up to what we hoped it would be,” said Emily Lauer of Destination Cleveland, the city’s convention and tourism bureau.

Cleveland’s RNC host committee projected a $200 million economic impact before the 2016 convention. A study released about a year later showed the convention delivered almost $190 million in economic impact.

The “short-term revenue” was important, Lauer said, but so was the boost to the city’s image.

“It was really more about changing Cleveland’s narrative, putting us on that national and international stage to really accelerate the trajectory of changing the narrative, changing perceptions about Cleveland,” she said. “And in that regard, it absolutely didn’t disappoint.”

See more from the show:

American Dairy Coalition: Applauds Sen. Baldwin on reintroduction of DAIRY PRIDE Act

The American Dairy Coalition commends Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) on her efforts to reintroduce ”The Defending Against Imitations and Replacements of Yogurt, milk and cheese to Promote Regular Intake of Dairy Every Day Act” — or DAIRY PRIDE Act as it is known.

This bill will prohibit the use of terms such as “milk,” “yogurt” or “cheese” from use on labels to describe products made from nuts, seeds, plants or other non-dairy alternative products. Americans have associated these dairy terms with quality, nutritious and consistent products for years — non-milk alternative products are not equivocal in nutritional value or consistency, making it imperative the FDA stop allowing the confusion to continue.

The DAIRY PRIDE Act would not only require the FDA to enforce the labeling restriction nationwide, but provide enforcement to ensure long term accountability to the rule. Milk provides 30 percent of the daily recommended calcium intake for most of the U.S. population and is the primary source for three of the four under-consumed nutrients of public health concern as identified by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Despite this, the consumption of milk is on the decline and the sale of plant-based alternative products are up 61 percent over the past 5 years — a trend that is expected to continue to increase by up to 5 percent each year. Americans deserve clarity and truthfulness when choosing what to feed their families. Fortified nut juice is not milk.

The American Dairy Coalition encourages members of the dairy industry to reach out to their federal representatives to support this important bill. The future of the dairy industry is in jeopardy as more and more dairy farms go out of business, taking with them jobs and revenue that support rural economies. When the non-dairy alternative beverage trend falls out of favor, it is vital the American dairy industry is still intact to provide the wholesome and reliable dairy products, which have nourished our nation’s families for generations.

Bill Kaplan: Trump’s budget betrays rural Wisconsin


The column below reflects the views of the author, and these opinions are neither endorsed nor supported by WisOpinion.com.

Rural America is in crisis. Farmers are overwhelmed by unrelenting low prices and loss of critical foreign markets (Trump’s trade wars). South Dakota GOP Governor Kristi Noem said: “South Dakota has been devastated by the trade wars … .” She stressed “sustained low commodity prices” and the impact on farmers and main street businesses (Politico). Same for Wisconsin. The state has lost over 700 dairy farms. UW-Madison economics professor Steven Deller emphasized that Wisconsin farmers are running up debt and had a “17.8 percent decline in farm income last year” (Wisconsin Public Radio). The White House is not paying attention.

Trump ran as a populist, saying: “Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it.” He promised a laundry list: “no cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid”, an infrastructure program, e.g., roads and bridges, middle class tax cuts and to “drain the swamp”. Snake oil. And, Trump keeps tweeting: “Farmers, I LOVE YOU!” However, the budget Trump released last week belies his campaign promises and betrays rural Wisconsin.

Vox’s headline said it all: “Ahead of 2020, Trump is going after Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid and more”. The Trump budget cuts $845 billion from Medicare through reduced provider payments, while increasing uncompensated care. Social Security is cut by $25 billion, hitting disability benefits. And, Trump yet again calls for repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including Medicaid expansion. “It (Trump budget) proposes cutting $777 billion over ten years from Medicaid and ACA subsidies (to buy private insurance)… .” (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities).

Wisconsin Democratic Representative Ron Kind tweeted ”This budget isn’t a budget for Wisconsinites – it was made for the powerful special interests and Washington elite. I’m committed to continuing the fight to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid from this Administration’s reckless cuts”. And, Wisconsin Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin said: “The Trump Administration continues to attack the health care that millions of Americans depend on. We should be doing more to expand affordable health coverage – not less”. Amen.

However, Trump and his minions want budget cuts to pay for their $1.5 trillion tax cuts, mostly for corporations and the rich, because of resulting $1 trillion deficits beginning in 2022 (New York Times). Remember that clueless Wisconsin GOP Senator Ron Johnson said the tax cuts would lower the deficit through higher economic growth. Now, Trump wants rural Wisconsin to pay big time with catastrophic cuts to programs that help farmers and small towns.

The Trump budget cuts the Agriculture Department by 15 percent, including crop insurance that protects farmers from depressed prices, weather and natural disasters. Conservation programs, rural housing loans and economic development spending are cut or eliminated. And, $220 billion will be slashed from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Then there is the elimination of the McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program, which feeds and educates vulnerable kids in poor hungry countries. Shame on Trump and the GOP. Their budget betrays rural Wisconsin, including farmers and all that is good in America.

–Kaplan wrote a guest column from Washington, D.C. for the Wisconsin State Journal from 1995 – 2009.

CSDNS: Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker selected as national honorary chair of the campaign for federal balanced budget amendment


Contact: Tom Evenson
[email protected]

Madison, WI – The Center for State-led National Debt Solutions (CSDNS) today announced its selection of former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to serve as National Honorary Chair. This summer, CSNDS will launch a 10-state campaign to support the ongoing effort to attain the final 6 states needed to call a convention limited to the proposal of a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“If the CBO’s projections hold steady, we’ll see trillion-dollar interest payments in 5 – 10 years which will account for approximately 25% of federal revenue, yet Congress has proved unable to rein in its spending,” Governor Walker said. “Where Washington has failed, the states must step up and lead – using their constitutional authority to solve the problem.”

Given the dire threat America faces and Congress’ refusal to address it, momentum is building for the states to take constitutional action. Under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, it takes 34 states to call a convention to propose an amendment and 38 states to ratify it. Presently, 28 of the 34 required states have called for a convention to propose a balanced budget amendment.

“Today is a great day for America. With Governor Walker’s involvement, the national campaign for a balanced budget amendment finally has the high-profile leader it has lacked,” said Loren J. Enns, President of the Center for State-led National Debt Solutions noted. “I am now confident that we can achieve the proposal and ratification of a balanced budget amendment before time runs out.”

The national debt is now 6.5 times federal revenue—a serious imbalance which has resulted in massive interest payments. In 2018, the U.S. Government paid $523 billion, or 16% of federal revenue on interest rates rising from 1.5 – 2.25%.

Governor Walker will lead a movement that already includes such luminaries as Gov. Mike Huckabee, Admiral Bill Owens, Comptroller General David M. Walker, U.S. Senator Judd Gregg, Gov. George Allen, and U.S. Senator Norm Coleman.

Dept. of Justice: Office of School Safety releases comprehensive school security framework

WEST MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Attorney General Josh Kaul announced today the release of the Wisconsin School Threat Assessment Protocoland Wisconsin Comprehensive School Security Framework, providing educators and partners a comprehensive set of policies that support school safety efforts. The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of School Safety (OSS) is also this week hosting a free school threat assessment conference for educators, behavioral health professionals and law enforcement.

“The Comprehensive School Security Framework and the Wisconsin School Threat Assessment Protocol can assist teachers, administrators, and others who are working to make our schools safer,” said Attorney General Kaul. “We hope that schools across the state will use these resources.” 

The Wisconsin School Threat Assessment Protocol provides schools access to a threat assessment process developed by subject matter experts from Wisconsin, and reviewed by the National Threat Assessment Center, a division of the United States Secret Service. School Threat Assessments can be applied as an early intervention tool to help identify students that may need additional resources or support, in order to prevent them from committing violence. The use of a school-based threat assessment and team is recommended by the U.S. Department of Education and United States Secret Service. 

“Keeping our schools safe is a priority for the U.S. Secret Service.  We appreciate the opportunity to have worked with the Wisconsin Office of School Safety on this initiative, which will greatly enhance prevention efforts in the state. We remain committed to furthering this partnership, and we applaud the Wisconsin Department of Justice for recognizing the importance of threat assessment and early intervention,” said Dr. Lina Alathari, Chief of the National Threat Assessment Center at the U.S. Secret Service.

The Comprehensive School Security Framework provides a comprehensive set of policies, practices, and procedures to help guide local efforts to prevent, mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from violence. The framework provides best practices for preventing violence through climate and culture, student engagement, school policies, and physical structure. The framework also provides guidance on assessing potential violence indicators and diverting identified hazards before violence takes place. When violence occurs, the framework addresses how proper planning, preparation and training can minimize the severity of the incident and help the school recover more quickly.

“These resources provide critical policies and tools to keep our students, families and staff physically and psychologically safe. These materials provide the framework to develop, improve, and implement best practices in threat assessment. Systems guidance is provided to increase the collective capacity of school and community members to recognize the risk factors and warning signs that indicate when further stabilization and support of an individual is necessary,” said Trish Kilpin, a school social worker in Greendale. “These materials empower and support threat assessment teams to make decisions, mitigate threat, and take actions, and are in the best interest of our schools and community.” 

Each of these guides were developed in partnership with educators, law enforcement, and mental health professionals, including the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association, Wisconsin School Psychologists Association, Wisconsin School Safety Coordinators Association, Wisconsin Safe and Health Schools Center, U.S. Secret Service, and many others. 

“The Comprehensive School Security Framework and the School Threat Assessment Protocol each provide school districts throughout the state important tools in ensuring the safety of their students and staff. The framework is an easy to use, proactive resource for districts developing a comprehensive school safety plan. Plans developed using this framework will be based on the most recently identified effective practices. TheSchool Threat Assessment Protocol also provides a methodical approach for districts to use in evaluating and responding to potential threats making sure they are neither ignored nor handled in a one size fits all manner. When districts use this protocol, they will find they are not just identifying threatening behaviors but also the underlying causes of the behavior,” said State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor. 

The Office of School Safety is also holding a school threat assessment conference in Lake Geneva, Wis. this week. More than 250 educators and law enforcement from around the state will receive training from state and national exerts on how to establish a comprehensive safety framework in schools. Topics at the conference include threat reporting, school-based threat assessments, and interviewing children with disabilities, information sharing, and training from the National Association of School Psychologists on the effects of trauma in a critical incident.

Learn more about the DOJ Office of School Safety here: https://www.doj.state.wi.us/office-school-safety/office-school-safety

Foxconn announces next phase of construction for ‘Gen 6’ facility

After a series of reports raised questions about the company’s plans for a southeastern Wisconsin facility, Foxconn announced today it will begin the next phases of construction this summer on a “Generation 6” facility to produce LCD screens.

The company said it expects the plant to begin production in the fourth quarter of 2020. It also plans to award bid packages by April 1 for utilities at the site, along with roadways and storm drainage. In May, the initial bid packages will be issued for construction of the Gen 6 fabrication facility and ancillary buildings.

When the project was unveiled, the company originally announced plans for much larger screens at what’s known as a Gen 10 facility as part of a $10 billion investment with plans to hire up to 13,000 people.

Since then, the company scaled back plans for the plant to a Gen 6 facility, at least initially. Media reports earlier this year then raised the prospect the company would move away from a factory altogether and use the site for research and development, assembly and packaging.

But Foxconn then re-affirmed its commitment to the Gen 6 plant six weeks ago.

“We’re investing in Wisconsin because we know manufacturing here is going to drive even greater success and growth for Foxconn and for the community,” said Dr. Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxconn founder and CEO Terry Gou.

Tony Evers spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff said the announcement shows the guv “is getting results” and he will continue conversations to “ensure that Wisconsin taxpayers see a good return on their investment.”

During last year’s campaign, Evers was critical of the up to $3 billion incentive package his predecessor signed with the company. He also has had the Department of Natural Resources review environmental permits issued to the company.

“The governor will continue to make good on his promise to protect the taxpayers by making sure that Foxconn is transparent and accountable as they move forward,” Baldauff said.

See the release. 

Greater Wisconsin hits Hagedorn on abortion in new TV ad


The Greater Wisconsin Political Fund targets Supreme Court candidate Brian Hagedorn on abortion in its latest TV ad, calling him “extreme” in his position.

The group said the ad will run on broadcast TV in Madison and via online platforms statewide.

Greater Wisconsin’s third TV ad of the campaign cites Hagedorn’s old blog in saying he supports outlawing all abortions, called the right to privacy ridiculous and suggested rape victims should be denied emergency contraception.

The narrator also says Hagedorn has called for overturning the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion and opposes abortion “even when a woman’s health is in danger.”

“That’s not justice. That’s extreme,” the narrator says before urging a vote against Hagedorn in the April 2 election, when he faces fellow Appeals Court Judge Lisa Neubauer.

MON AM Update: O’Rourke says Wis. ‘fundamental’ to Dem hopes of winning White House

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MON News Summary: Supreme Court debate coverage; O’Rourke makes Madison, Milwaukee stops

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MON PM Update: Dane Co. judge hears arguments in suit challenging lame-duck laws

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Racine County, Mt. Pleasant, RCEDC: Local leaders look forward to next phase of Foxconn’s Racine County advanced manufacturing plant

[email protected]

Mount Pleasant, Wis. – March 18, 2019 – The following statements were issued today regarding Foxconn’s plans for the construction of a Gen6 advanced manufacturing plant in the Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park in Racine County, Wisconsin.

President David DeGroot, Village of Mount Pleasant:

“This is a great day for Mount Pleasant. Soon, more employees will be coming to work right here in our great Village, manufacturing LCD displays for industries including healthcare, education and smart cities. I look forward to continuing to see the project site transformed as it becomes a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility.”

County Executive Jonathan Delagrave, Racine County:

“Today’s announcement sets in motion a tremendous amount of momentum. Foxconn will be manufacturing in Racine County – and soon. I am encouraged by and look forward to this next phase of continued growth and investment by Foxconn in our community.”

Jenny Trick, Executive Director, Racine County Economic Development Corporation (RCEDC):

“Our region will soon be home to another world-class manufacturing facility. Even sooner than that, Foxconn will hold information sessions for contractors and hundreds of local construction and trades workers will be employed for this project. It’s an exciting time for the entire state.”

Ray Cross: UW System partner Fund for Wisconsin Scholars improves lives


The column below reflects the views of the author, and these opinions are neither endorsed nor supported by WisOpinion.com.

One of the pleasures of leading the University of Wisconsin System is listening to students describe how our campuses have improved their lives.

I had another reminder of that at the recent 10th anniversary celebration of the Fund for Wisconsin Scholars (FFWS), the magnificent $175-million gift from UW-Madison alumni John and Tashia Morgridge.

I left inspired – by the ingenuity and dedication of the students and the generosity and passion of the Morgridges.

The Fund for Wisconsin Scholars helps fulfill the mission of the UW System: to increase higher education access and affordability, to improve lives and enrich communities, and to advance knowledge throughout the state of Wisconsin.

Higher education opens doors and lays the foundation for young people to achieve their dreams. And the FFWS provides some of our most needy students the resources they need to enroll in college and progress toward a degree.

Why is this important?

With the number of high school students remaining mostly flat in the coming years and employers in desperate need of talented, skilled workers, it’s critical for the UW System to provide as many opportunities as possible for our young people to feed the talent pipeline.

In the last 10 years, the FFWS has provided more than 7,200 Pell grant-eligible students at UW System campuses with nearly $74 million in renewable grants that do not have to be repaid. Each year 575 new four-year UW System students are randomly selected to receive a FFWS grant. Since inception, grant recipients have come from every county in Wisconsin.

Because grant aid alone doesn’t guarantee that students will stay enrolled and progress toward a degree, FFWS began a mentoring program in 2015-16 at three UW campuses. The program has now expanded to 10 campuses.

We’re incredibly proud of the work we do at the University of Wisconsin System.

In 2017-18, a record number of students graduated from the UW System. Our 36,825 graduates at all levels is a 13% increase over 10 years ago. Furthermore, the number of students of color who graduated at all levels was also a record.

All across this state, people are working together to help invigorate Wisconsin’s economy and enhance the quality of life for all of our residents. This collaborative effort between the Fund for Wisconsin Scholars and the University of Wisconsin System is another way we are helping to maintain and expand access to our universities and to keep it affordable for Wisconsin’s students and families.

–Cross is president of the University of Wisconsin System.

Survival Coalition: More than 400 members of disability community in Madison Wednesday for annual Disability Advocacy Day


Contact: Survival Coalition of Wisconsin Disability Organizations, Co-Chairs

Beth Swedeen, [email protected]; (608) 220-2924

Lisa Pugh, [email protected]; (608) 469-9385

Kristin M. Kerschensteiner, [email protected]; (608) 267-0214


(MADISON) – More than 400 members of the disability community from across Wisconsin will gather at the Capitol to meet with their state legislators Wednesday, March 20, for Disability Advocacy Day.


Advocates will share their stories about how critical state issues impact their lives. Top priorities include the proposed increases to special education and mental health services included in Governor Tony Evers’ proposed state budget, as well as the need for transportation solutions for non-drivers, and comprehensive solutions to the statewide caregiver crisis, including the lack of direct care providers and stresses on family caregivers.


Disability Advocacy Day will include an overview of disability issues and planning time as legislative teams at Monona Terrace from 10:30 to noon. Participants, wearing their blue Survival Coalition t-shirts, will gather outside the Capitol at 12:15 p.m. for a short rally. Legislative visits are scheduled at 1 p.m. for Senate offices, and 2 p.m. for Assembly offices.


Disability Advocacy Day is organized by the Survival Coalition of more than 30 statewide disability organizations that advocate and support policies and practices that lead to the full inclusion, participation, and contribution of people living with disability in Wisconsin.


WILL: K-12 spending increases unlikely to result in student success

For more information, contact:
Collin Roth | WILL Director of Communication
[email protected] | 414-727-7418
The News: Last month, Governor Tony Evers proposed $1.4 billion in additional spending on K-12 education in Wisconsin. This comes despite record K-12 spending under Governor Scott Walker – $5.8 billion in the last biennium. In short, Wisconsin has spent a lot on education – more than the majority of states. Will further massive increases in spending actually improve student outcomes? A new WILL report says probably not.
The Report: Truth in Spending: An Analysis of K-12 Spending in Wisconsin, by Research Director Will Flanders, PhD lays out the facts about K-12 spending in Wisconsin, where Wisconsin ranks nationally, and which school districts are getting the most bang for the buck. Most notably, using the most recent year of data available from DPI, Dr. Flanders examined the relationship of K-12 spending on public schools and student outcomes. The findings include:
  • K-12 education spending in Wisconsin is in-line with the rest of the country. Wisconsin spends more money, on average, than the majority of states; $600 per pupil more than the median state.
  • Wisconsin, like the United States, spends far more on education – and gets less for it – than economically developed countries in Europe and Asia. Of 41 OECD countries with data, spending in Wisconsin would rank 4th. The United States as a whole would rank 6th. Yet performance on the PISA science and reading ranks 30th.  We can do better.
  • An econometric analysis finds no relationship between higher spending and outcomes in Wisconsin. On average, high-spending districts perform the same or worse on state mandated exams and the ACT relative to low-spending districts.
  • For instance, Slinger and Hartford are examples of districts that spend significantly less than the state average while achieving Forward Exam performance that is significantly higher. In contrast, White Lake and Bayfield have woeful proficiency rates despite spending far more than the average district.
  • The only exception is graduation rates, where higher spending does have some relationship to higher rates of graduation.
  • Private choice schools and charter schools in Wisconsin do more with less. These schools achieve better academic outcomes despite spending thousands less per student than traditional public schools.
Don’t Miss: This report contains an Appendix with Wisconsin school districts listed in four categories:
  • High Spending/High Achieving
  • High Spending/Low Achieving
  • Low Spending/High Achieving
  • Low Spending/Low Achieving
The Quote: Research Director Dr. Will Flanders said, “Wisconsin is simply not getting a quality return on investment for all of its spending on traditional public schools. We spend too much for not enough in return.
“The legislature should carefully scrutinize Governor Evers’ spending plans. Our analysis indicates that Evers’ plan is unlikely to lead to improving test scores for students. Policymakers should focus on smarter spending, targeting schools and programs that work, and expand access to high-performing charter and choice schools.”
The WILL Solution: Wisconsin has major issues with its K-12 education system with struggling urban and rural public school schools and one of the nation’s worst racial academic achievement gaps.
Policymakers should focus on growing high performing traditional public charters and private choice schools, expanding educational opportunities for students, and creating a more equitable and transparent school funding system. These policy solutions can be found within WILL’s “Roadmap to Student Achievement,” one of the most comprehensive reform agendas for Wisconsin.

WisPolitics Midday: Mar. 18, 2019


In today’s WisPolitics Midday:

  • Foxconn says next round of construction will begin this summer.
  • AG Josh Kaul gives schools guidance on safety efforts.
  • Former Gov Walker has a new position.

March 19, 2019 | March 17, 2019
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