Daily Archives: May 16, 2019

AFL-CIO Wisconsin: Senate votes to end tax breaks for outsourcing

0

Contact:  Karen Hickey, 414-573-7579, [email protected]

Assembly Bill 10 ends tax deductions for moving jobs out of state

May 15, 2019 — On Tuesday, April 9, the Wisconsin State Assembly passed Assembly Bill 10, a commonsense bill to eliminate a tax loophole that allows tax deductions for companies that move jobs out of state. Under current law, companies can deduct from their taxes the cost of moving expenses when they move operations anywhere – be it within Wisconsin, outside of Wisconsin, or to another country. Today, the Senate passed Assembly Bill 10 to end this tax loophole.

“Politicians in Madison got it right today by voting to end tax breaks for companies who move jobs out of state,” said Wisconsin AFL-CIO President Stephanie Bloomingdale. “Legislators on both sides of the aisle came together to bring an end to the freebies for companies who move Wisconsin jobs out of our state. We applaud the bipartisan effort and look forward to Gov. Tony Evers signing this bill to update our tax code. We hope legislators continue to work together to protect good Wisconsin jobs, raise wages, and restore worker rights in Wisconsin.”

AG Kaul: Announces Wisconsin, four other states, file lawsuits against Purdue Pharma

0

Complaint Alleges Deceptive Conduct that Contributed to the Opioid Epidemic

MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul announced today the filing of a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma L.P., Purdue Pharma Inc., and Richard S. Sackler, Purdue’s former co-chairman and president, for alleged misconduct in marketing and sales of opioids that contributed to the opioid epidemic. Five states — Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, West Virginia and Wisconsin — filed separate lawsuits Thursday.

“The opioid epidemic has shattered lives and strained communities across the state and the country,” said Attorney General Kaul. “Today, we filed suit against Purdue Pharma L.P., Purdue Pharma Inc., and Richard Sackler, alleging that they misled the public and medical professionals about both the benefits of and the dangers posed by OxyContin and other opioids, and that the opioid epidemic is partly attributable to their conduct.”

Wisconsin’s lawsuit, filed in Dane County Circuit Court, seeks a permanent injunction, abatement of the public nuisance, and civil penalties. It alleges that Purdue Pharma L.P., Purdue Pharma Inc., and Richard S. Sackler, repeatedly made false and deceptive claims regarding opioids, including OxyContin.

Alleged in the complaint:

Purdue Pharma’s deceptive and false marketing created a shift in the understanding of the effectiveness and danger of opioids. The complaint alleges, “[i]n order to combat the concerns about opioids being abused, Purdue deployed an aggressive marketing campaign that sought to increase sales of OxyContin, while changing the accepted norms about opioid prescribing.”

The complaint alleges, “[i]n 2007, Purdue Frederick (and individual executives) pled guilty to a federal felony based on its marketing practices.” It also alleges, “Purdue Frederick specifically admitted that its supervisors and employees, ‘with the intent to defraud or mislead, marketed and promoted OxyContin as less addictive, less subject to abuse and diversion, and less likely to cause tolerance and withdrawal than other medications.’”

The complaint alleges that, after the 2007 settlement, Purdue continued to engage in false, deceptive, and misleading marketing practices, depending on Key Opinion Leaders, Front Groups, sales representatives and “patient advocacy” websites, in order to downplay the risks associated with OxyContin and other opioids. Those risks, as outlined in the complaint, include the risk of addiction, the ease of preventing addiction, the benefits of Purdue’s opioids relative to other opioids or pain relievers, the efficacy of opioids, the ability to control the effects of withdrawal, and the risk to senior citizens.

The complaint alleges that Purdue and Richard S. Sackler were fully aware of the potential profits of OxyContin. At the OxyContin launch party, Richard S. Sackler is alleged to have said, “the launch of OxyContin Tablets will be followed by a blizzard of prescriptions that will bury the competition. The prescription blizzard will be so deep, dense, and white…”

The consequences of the opioid epidemic for Wisconsin have been disastrous. As outlined in the complaint:

  • “In 2017, more people died in Wisconsin from an opioid overdose than from motor vehicle accidents, suicide, or firearms.”
  • In 2017 alone, “Wisconsin lost 916 of its citizens to the opioid epidemic.”
  • “The rate of babies born addicted to opioids and other addictive drugs in Wisconsin has quadrupled between 2006 and 2015…”
  • “Between 1999 and 2015, the volume of prescription opioids per capita in Wisconsin rose 425 percent…”
  • “…between 1999 and 2015, Wisconsin has lost 45,200 workers due to opioids,” and “cost the State approximately $37 billion in real economic output.”

https://www.doj.state.wi.us/news-releases/ag-kaul-announces-wisconsin-four-other-states-file-lawsuits-against-purdue-pharma

Brad Pfaff: Wisconsin dairy needs to expand its markets worldwide

0

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

MADISON – Consumers from around the world enjoy agriculture products that come from our state’s farm fields and agriculture processing firms. Wisconsin is consistently one of the top exporters of dairy-related products in the nation. As milk production in the United States continues to increase, it is more and more important to create value-added products and identify new markets for those products, here at home or around the world.

The 31 members of Dairy Task Force 2.0 recognize the importance of trade and international markets to our state’s dairy community. To help our cheesemakers research and develop new products targeted for export markets, the Task Force called for a study on the possible development of a Wisconsin Cheese Brand and Export Board.

Another recommendation emphasizes the importance of value-added and specialty cheese in our state. Today, nearly half the nation’s specialty cheese is made in Wisconsin by a diverse array of cheese businesses. To better understand changing consumer tastes and demands, Task Force members recommended conducting an in-depth consumer study to gain additional market understanding. They also recognized the significant up-front costs of starting a dairy processing business, and sought ways to establish incubator facilities for start-up dairy processors.

Much of Wisconsin’s specialty cheese is made by artisan cheesemakers who may produce smaller amounts of product. To help reach consumers across the country, the Dairy Task Force 2.0 recommended an analysis on consolidating multiple companies’ products for joint distribution. Other recommendations sought to increase demand for fluid milk consumption and advocated for dairy product vending machines to be placed in Wisconsin public schools.

Dairy Task Force 2.0 members also passed a recommendation asking for an increase in dairy processor grant funding, an item that was included in Governor Evers’ 2019-2021 biennial budget proposal. Increased funding will promote and encourage growth and innovation in Wisconsin dairy plants. To ensure Wisconsin’s innovative dairy products are positioned for success in the marketplace, the Dairy Task Force 2.0 also approved recommendations for truth in food labeling and asking the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make needed regulatory changes to product standards of identity.

Wisconsin’s dairy products are the best in the world. The best products require the best milk. Our state’s hardworking dairy farmers produce some of the highest quality, most nutritious milk every day. Recognizing this, members of the Dairy Task Force 2.0 passed a recommendation supporting the National Dairy FARM program and equivalent programs that are science-based and cow-centric. Members also recommended changes to the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO) to increase our milk quality standards.

The team at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection works to develop our markets locally through Farm to School; Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin; and Something Special from Wisconsin™. The Wisconsin International Dairy Export (WIDE) initiative, in collaboration with industry partners, brings in buyers from across the world to learn more about our state and its dairy products. The work of the Dairy Task Force 2.0 will help guide the state’s marketing efforts for years to come. For more on the Dairy Task Force 2.0, visit dairytaskforce.wi.gov.

– Pfaff is secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

 

Clean Wisconsin: Applauds unanimous passage of SB 91

0

Contact: Amber Meyer Smith, Vice President, Programs & Government Relations, (608) 251-7020 ext. 16 or

[email protected]

Jon Drewsen, Communications Director, (608) 251-7020 ext. 28 or [email protected]

A great bipartisan step in ongoing efforts to protect water from nutrient pollution

MADISON, WI — Clean Wisconsin applauds the Wisconsin State Senate after unanimously passing Senate Bill (SB) 91, which sets up a nutrient pollution trading clearinghouse.

“Nutrient pollution, especially from phosphorus and nitrates, continues to choke our waterways and contaminate drinking water,” said Amber Meyer Smith, Clean Wisconsin Vice-President of Government Relations. “This bill is another tool to use in the ongoing effort to help communities comply with water quality standards by creating innovative partnerships that protect our water from nutrient pollution. We commend the Senate for unanimously passing this bill.”

Clean Wisconsin appreciates the authors’ efforts to work with concerned stakeholders to produce a bill that has garnered such bipartisan support, and urges quick Assembly action.

Dairy Business Association: Dairy group applauds bipartisan support for water quality credit clearinghouse

0

Contact: Jamie Mara, director of public relations
Dairy Business Association
(920) 209-3990 | [email protected]

State Senate unanimously OKs centralized nutrient trading system

GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Dairy Business Association today commended state senators for their bipartisan support of a streamlined process for trading pollution-reduction credits that would improve the quality of water in Wisconsin’s rivers and lakes.

Senate Bill 91 would create a clearinghouse for such trades between point sources and non-point sources of phosphorous, nitrates and other pollutants. While state law already allows for this type of trading, a centralized system would make this an easier process and likely more popular.

This bill was authored and introduced by Sen. Rob Cowles, R-Green Bay, and co-sponsored by more than 40 legislators from both sides of the aisle. It was approved unanimously today and now moves to the state Assembly. It would require Gov. Tony Evers’ signature as well to become law.

The following statement is from Tom Crave, president of the Dairy Business Association:

Image

“This marks a big step forward for Wisconsin, which has a unique opportunity to create a sustainable statewide market that pays for better non-point source pollution reduction through use of new technologies, more cost-effective permit compliance for our manufacturers and industries, and improved water quality.“As an organization whose members — dairy farmers of all sizes and supporting businesses throughout the state — serve as the backbone of our rural economy, we particularly appreciate the ways in which this bill could provide rural job creation and new economic opportunities.

“It is well known that we face difficult economic times in the dairy community and other aspects of agriculture. This bill would help to address this problem while also helping us tackle water quality challenges. DBA looks forward to the continued vetting of this proposal in the Assembly.”

About nutrient trading:

Various entities, including local water treatment facilities, cheese plants and other factories are required to meet limits for what pollutants or nutrients they can discharge to the environment. Phosphorus is one of the most commonly regulated nutrients. It can be expensive for a facility to filter its discharge sufficiently to reach its assigned phosphorus target.

At the same time, there are environmental organizations and farmers who can implement innovative farming techniques or land use changes that reduce the amount of phosphorus in a watershed. They can sell credits from the phosphorus reductions they achieve and other entities can buy them to offset the amount of phosphorus they need to remove from their waste streams.

Photos:

Click here for a photo of Tom Crave. 

Tweet about this:

Dairy Business Association @DairyForward applauds state Senate’s bipartisan approval of #water quality credit clearinghouse. #NutrientTrading #innovation #solutions

About DBA:

The Dairy Business Association, based in Green Bay, is a nonprofit organization comprised of Wisconsin dairy farmers, milk processors, vendors and business partners who work to ensure that Wisconsin dairy farmers of all sizes have the support they need to thrive in the state’s economy, communities and food supply chain. The association’s core work is advocating for sensible state laws and regulations that affect the dairy community. For more information, visit www.dairyforward.com.

Dane County Exec. Parisi: Dane County makes history by purchasing 160 acres of property for Pheasant Branch Conservancy

0

Contact:  Ariana Vruwink
(608) 267-8823

Is the Largest Conservation Preservation Investment the County Has Ever Made for a Property Acquisition; Will Prevent Flow of 2.6 Million Gallons of Rainwater Each Year into Lake Mendota

Today, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi joined County Board and Friends of Pheasant Branch Conservancy representatives to announce that Dane County will acquire approximately 160 acres of property in the Town of Springfield to become a part of Pheasant Branch Conservancy. Costing nearly $10 million dollars, this is the largest conservation preservation investment for a property acquisition in the county’s history.

Restoration of the property will help the Town of Springfield maintain its rural character and reduce sediment and phosphorus runoff, improving water quality within the Pheasant Branch Watershed and positively impacting Lake Mendota. It is estimated that restoring this property to permanent vegetation will reduce more than 550 pounds of phosphorus annually and prevent the runoff of 354,000 cubic feet (or over 2.6 million gallons) of water each year. Roughly one pound of phosphorus can produce up to 500 pounds of algae.

“We are proud to make this historic investment to expand Pheasant Branch Conservancy and do our part to ensure this outdoor recreation destination can be enjoyed for generations to come,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “This acquisition will further our efforts to improve water quality, mitigate flooding, and preserve outdoor spaces as Dane County continues to grow.”

A farmhouse and outbuildings can be found on the property, along with farmland and some pasture. It is bordered by Pheasant Branch Road to the west, Balzer Road to the north, and the 550-acre Pheasant Branch Conservancy to the south. The parcel sits within the Pheasant Branch and Yahara River Watersheds and contains the headwaters of an intermittent stream. This stream flows into Pheasant Branch Creek, and ultimately Lake Mendota. The 160-acre property is also located within the recharge area of the Frederick Springs, found south of the parcel. Restoration of the land will result in less nutrients and pesticides entering the groundwater recharge area directly adjacent to the springs.

“Not only does this acquisition provide unparalleled recreational and conservation opportunities, but it is also exactly the type of action we need to take to be resilient to flooding,” said Dane County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan. “Protection of this property will buffer Pheasant Branch Creek from storm flashes and erosion during big and small rain storms.”

Dane County will seek partnerships with community organizations on the planning and implementation of restoration projects, including prairie development and habitat improvements. This acquisition will add to the outdoor recreation activities visitors of Pheasant Branch Conservancy participate in, whether it be walking, hiking, biking, or viewing wildlife. One future use of the property could also be as a regional bicycle trail connector to Governor Nelson State Park.

Dane County, the City of Middleton, and WDNR all own land that is collectively managed as the Pheasant Branch Conservancy. The Friends of Pheasant Branch Conservancy is a support organization that has dedicated itself to restoring conservancy habitat and educating the public about the area’s resources. There is a 3.3-mile looped bicycle/pedestrian trail that runs through the conservancy, along with multiple hiking trails. The Frederick Springs are located on existing county property and are a beautiful natural feature that draw in many visitors.

The owners of this 160-acre property have had a long history of working with the county to maintain agricultural use and production while striving to improve and protect environmental resources through conservation implementation. The purchase price for the parcel is $9,973,900. A resolution regarding this property acquisition in the Town of Springfield will be introduced at tonight’s County Board meeting.

DC Wrap: Johnson looks to standardize federal data surrounding sexual violence in new bill

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

NOTE: DC Wrap will not be sent out over the next two weeks. It will return the first week in June, following the Memorial Day recess. Thanks for reading!

 

Quotes of the week

Unilateral tariffs will not bring China to the negotiating table. Instead of a tariff hike, we need to work together with our trade allies to hold China accountable for their trade practices, and level the playing field for Wisconsin businesses.
– U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, denouncing the Trump administration’s latest tariff increase on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. The hike, effective May 10, rose duties from 10 percent to 25 percent.  

Steele’s intent of the meeting with the State Department was to maximize the impact of the unverified information that he had acquired in an effort to undermine the Trump campaign.
– U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson, chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, and Chuck Grassley, head of the Finance Committee, in a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and FBI Director Christopher Wray requesting documents tied to past British operative Christopher Steele, who compiled a dossier on President Trump. See the letter.

This week’s news

— A new bill from U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson is targeting the processes key federal agencies use to collect sexual violence data.

The bill, from Johnson and fellow U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, would require the head of the Office of Management and Budget to create an interagency working group that would zero in on federal efforts to obtain such data and standardize the process for reporting it.

The legislation is based on recommendations from a summer 2016 Government Accountability Office report. It noted the wide differences in data collection efforts and estimates of sexual violence in 2011, when estimates ranged from 244,190 rape or sexual assault victimizations to 1.93 million victims of rape or attempted rape.

“We must improve the quality and consistency of sexual assault data made available across government agencies,” Johnson said in a statement. “The time to act on the recommendations of our federal watchdog is now.”

A similar bill from last session cleared the chamber via unanimous consent.

 

— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin and U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan are teaming up to reintroduce a bill looking to curb harassment and bullying on college campuses.

The legislation would compel colleges and universities to create policies to bar harassment on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability and religion.

Called the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act of 2019, the legislation is named after a freshman at Rutgers University who died by suicide after being harassed online.

“No student should have to live in fear of being who they are,” Baldwin, D-Madison, said in a statement. “Our schools should not be, and cannot be, places of discrimination, harassment, bullying, intimidation or violence.”

Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, noted there currently aren’t federal protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

“(The bill) ensures that institutions of higher learning are a place of open expression, which celebrate diversity and embrace students from all different backgrounds,” he said.

The legislation was first introduced in 2010, and has been reintroduced every subsequent session.

— Baldwin is also bringing back a bill aiming to safeguard collective bargaining rights for certain first responders.

Baldwin said the legislation, which would apply to police officers, firefighters and EMS workers, would help ensure “their right to workplace protections.”

“They deserve the same essential labor protections that so many other Americans enjoy – the right to form and join unions and the right to collectively bargain,” she said in a statement.

The Madison Dem introduced a similar bill last session, but it didn’t go anywhere.

 

— U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher is touting his bill to bar Chinese military scientists from receiving U.S. student or research visas.

Those targeted by the Green Bay Republican’s bill would be individuals employed or sponsored by scientific and engineering institutions affiliated with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.

Gallagher in a statement said the GOP-backed legislation would ensure those individuals aren’t conducting sensitive research in the U.S. to develop new military technologies and other things.

“I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that American innovation benefits the American military–and not our adversaries,” he said.

 

— U.S. Rep. Ron Kind has been named to a new House rural broadband task force.

The panel aims to craft legislation to expand rural broadband access to end the digital divide between the country’s rural and urban areas by 2025.

Kind, D-La Crosse, said in a statement he’s looking to aid western and central Wisconsin communities through his involvement in the group.

“Wisconsin students, small businesses, and families in rural communities rely on broadband to stay connected in the 21st-century – but many have been left behind,” he said.

 

— Kind has also introduced a bill to encourage more veterinarians to work in rural areas.

The bill targets the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program. Specifically, it would provide an exemption for the program’s 37 percent federal withholding tax for vets.

“Veterinarians are an important part of a healthy rural and farm economy, but many regions throughout our state are facing a shortage of animal care professionals,” he said in a statement.

 

Posts of the week

ICYMI

Roll Call: Key votes from the Wisconsin congressional delegation this week

Sen. Tammy Baldwin introduces bill to increase broadband access, especially in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Senator’s bill would ease burden on caregivers

Senate Republicans really don’t want to raise taxes to pay for an infrastructure plan

Federal lawmakers reintroduce bill to protect LGBTQ college students from harassment

Ron Kind’s bill to expand funding for target ranges signed into law

Steil named to task force on financial technology

White House trade leader urges tariff-stricken Wisconsin firms to consider greater context

Trade war causing concern for central Wis. industries

Kyrsten Sinema and Mike Gallagher are still the fastest members of Congress

Forward Kenosha and the Kenosha Education Association: Partner to host Wisconsin non-partisan budget forum

0

Contact: Jodi Muerhoff (262) 308-1943, [email protected]

Kenosha, WI – Gov. Evers and Wisconsin Republicans are disagreeing about what should be
included in Wisconsin’s budget. Forward Kenosha and the Kenosha Education Association are inviting constituents to come talk with your elected officials about what has happened so far in the budget process, what to anticipate and how they can get involved.
The following elected officials have been invited to attend: Rep. Samantha Kerkman, Sen. Van Wanggaard, Rep. Tod Ohnstad, Sen. Bob Wirch, Rep. Tip McGuire.

WHO: Forward Kenosha and the Kenosha Education Assoc.
WHAT: Wisconsin Nonpartisan Budget Forum
WHEN: Thursday, May 23rd – 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
WHERE: Kenosha Union Hall, 3030 39th Avenue Kenosha, WI 53144

“Gov. Evers and Wisconsin Republicans don’t agree on what’s best for the citizens of
Wisconsin. There are fundamental differences in their priorities: whether to accept Medicaid
expansion, which could bring an additional $63 million to Kenosha County alone; whether or not to legalize medical marijuana; whether manufacturing should pay their fair share of taxes; whether a non-partisan redistricting board should determine Wisconsin’s voting maps; and many other important budget items. These were issues which brought voters to the polls in November. Constituents need to understand where their elected officials stand, where there is room for compromise and how constituents can get involved in the process.”

-Jodi Muerhoff, Forward Kenosha

“Strong public schools are the foundation of strong communities; we know that parents and the broader Kenosha community care deeply for the welfare of our students, but the lack of funding being proposed, especially for special education services, will ultimately result in the loss of necessary classroom resources they need to be successful, including access to meaningful mental health services. The state budget is a moral document that should reflect the people’s values to invest in children in our public schools. It’s time for community members and lawmakers to set aside their respective differences and come together to have meaningful discussions that put us on a path towards a brighter future for our schools and communities.”

-Kendra Koeppen-Mulwana, Kenosha Education Association

Gov. Evers: Announces unprecendented state debt payment

0
Contact: [email protected]gov or 608-219-7443
 
 
MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today responded to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau’s (LFB) updated revenue projections, showing general fund tax collections will be higher than projected by $753 million over the next three years. As the Department of Revenue noted yesterday, the increased projections are largely attributed to one-time federal corporate tax policy changes.

In light of these increased projections, the governor today announced he will be making an additional payment on state debt that would pay off $56 million of state debt with an estimated future debt service savings for Wisconsin taxpayers of nearly $70 million.* The governor is also requesting the Joint Committee on Finance use some of the additional funds during the 2019-21 biennium for an estimated additional $15 million in worker training and an additional $18-million increase in the Wisconsin Technical Colleges System. Once the above critical investments have been made, the governor supports transferring the ending surplus balance at the close of the fiscal year to the budget stabilization fund (a.k.a. the “rainy day fund”).

“It’s pretty simple—this is about putting people first,” said Gov. Evers. “After eight years of Republicans racking up debt on our state’s credit card, today we’re making one of the most significant additional debt payments in state history. I’m also calling on Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature to work together to support my proposal to make additional investments in our workforce. Saving taxpayer money and investing in the future is a win-win.”

*These figures are estimates based on initial analyses from the State Budget Office.

Gov. Evers: Seeks applicants for Marquette County district attorney

0
Contact: [email protected]gov or 608-219-7443
 
MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers announced today that he is seeking applications for appointment as Marquette County District Attorney.

The new appointee will fill the vacancy created by the resignation of District Attorney Chad Hendee, effective July 31, 2019. The new appointee will serve for the remainder of the unexpired term that ends January 2021.

To apply, please email a completed application form and supporting materials to[email protected]. Applications must be submitted by May 31, 2019.

The District Attorney application form is available on the “Apply to Serve” page of the governor’s website:www.evers.wi.gov.

For questions about the appointments process, please contact the Governor’s Office of Legal Counsel at (608) 266-1212.

JFC adds money to workforce development

0

This content is for subscribers only. Subscribe now to get access to this and other members-only content.
Subscribe Now or Login

Or purchase access to just this article:
Single-Article Access

JFC Republicans approve $25M tech college boost, Dems wanted more

0

This content is for subscribers only. Subscribe now to get access to this and other members-only content.
Subscribe Now or Login

Or purchase access to just this article:
Single-Article Access

JFC Republicans nix Evers plans to ease property tax limits

0

This content is for subscribers only. Subscribe now to get access to this and other members-only content.
Subscribe Now or Login

Or purchase access to just this article:
Single-Article Access

JFC Republicans reject Evers proposal to increase grants for college students

0

This content is for subscribers only. Subscribe now to get access to this and other members-only content.
Subscribe Now or Login

Or purchase access to just this article:
Single-Article Access

Joint Finance Committee Democrats: Republicans continue to dismantle the “People’s Budget”

0

Contact:

Sen. Jon Erpenbach (608) 266-6670

Sen. LaTonya Johnson (608) 266-2500

Rep. Chris Taylor (608) 266-5342

Rep. Evan Goyke (608) 266-0645

MADISON – Republicans on the Joint Finance Committee continue to dismantle the People’s Budget and block serious discussions on issues that Wisconsinites care about. Governor Evers proposed a budget that makes critical investments in our communities, and Republicans are defying the will of the people throughout this budget process. Democrats on the Joint Finance Committee offered the following comments regarding today’s executive session:

“As we take up portions of the budget today that relate to health care, it is another reminder of the Republican obstruction on Medicaid expansion,” said Sen. Johnson. “By continuing to deny meaningful conversations on this issue, we are making critical decisions about our state budget without a vital piece of revenue that our state would see through expanding Medicaid. It’s irresponsible to willingly ignore the fact that every piece of our Department of Health Services budget is connected to Wisconsin taking advantage of those federal dollars.”

“Once again we are lagging behind other states under the Republicans’ watch,” Rep. Taylor said. “Other states, red and blue, are aggressively addressing the student loan debt crisis to help young people get ahead and Wisconsin Republicans threw out the governor’s proposal for a study committee on student loan debt refinancing. This is the 4th consecutive session of them saying loud and clear that they don’t care about the student loan crisis and the over one million Wisconsinites with student loan debt.”

“As the committee traveled across the State, we heard a call for investment in the working families of Wisconsin,” said Rep. Goyke. “The negative impact of targeted legislation and policies against Wisconsin workers and working families is harmful and equally real. I stand with Governor Evers and his commitment to invest in Wisconsin workers.”

“Wisconsin voters should choose who represents them, not the other way around,” said Sen. Erpenbach. “Republicans refusal to discuss non-partisan redistricting and fair elections is just another attempt to disenfranchise voters in our state. Democrats are committed to protecting voter access, preventing political corruption, and maintaining Wisconsin’s high ethical standards.”

Madison Mayor Rhodes-Conway: Announces appointment of interim Director of Planning and Community and Economic Development

0

Contact: Katie Crawley
608-266-4611

Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway announced today that she is appointing Nan Fey to serve as the City’s Director of Planning and Community and Economic Development (PCED) until a permanent replacement for the recently retired Natalie Erdman is hired.

The position of PCED Director includes the advancement of the City’s efforts in affordable
housing, development and economic development as well as leading the Department’s
management team. Nan has served on numerous city committees, boards and commissions, having been appointed by Mayors Bauman, Cieslewicz, and Soglin. An attorney by training, she became involved in City policy issues as a neighborhood advocate.
Her focus has been primarily on planning and development issues addressed by the Board of Public Works, Joint West Campus Area Committee, Inclusionary Zoning Advisory Committee, the Plan Commission (chair 2005-12) and the Lamp House Block Plan. Nan has been chairing the Madison Food Policy Council since its creation in 2012. She is a
previous recipient of the Jeffrey Clay Erlanger Civility in Government Award.

“Nan’s committee experience provides her with a great background for this job,” said Mayor
Rhodes-Conway. “She knows the people around the table, from City staff to interested residents and City partners. I am pleased she has accepted this challenge.”

Her first day in her office is May 20th. By City ordinance, a nation-wide search will be conducted for a permanent replacement for the position.

Marsy’s Law: Bipartisan victims’ rights legislation passes State Senate, Assembly with overwhelming bipartisan support

0

One Wisconsin Now: Double dose of disappointment for student loan borrowers from Joint Committee on Finance

0
MEDIA CONTACT
Mike Browne, Deputy Director
Republicans Missed Opportunity to Help Current Borrowers and Take on Root Causes on $1.5 Trillion Crisis

MADISON, Wis. — The People’s Budget introduced by Gov. Tony Evers included measures to help Wisconsinites caught in the $1.5 trillion student loan debt crisis. Unfortunately for the one million-plus student loan borrowers in Wisconsin and tens of thousands of college students the Republican majority on the Joint Committee on Finance refused the opportunity to provide help today. The committee failed to approve proposals to start the process of helping state borrowers to refinance their loans, just like you can with a mortgage, and increasing funding for financial aid for eligible students.

“We know that student loan debt is a crisis and that it is hurting huge numbers of Wisconsinites,” said One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Analiese Eicher. “We also know that helping borrowers refinance their loans, just like you can a mortgage, and increasing funding for financial aid so all eligible students get the awards they’re eligible for are policies that can help.”

Nationally, student loan debt is the second largest form of consumer debt. The total amount owed by over 44 million borrowers exceeds $1.5 trillion. Numerous studies, including the original research by One Wisconsin Institute dating to 2012, show that student debt depresses economic activity including new car purchases and rates of home ownership. Research also finds the crisis is multi-generational and negatively impacts the ability of borrowers to save for their retirement or a child’s education.

The causes of the crisis include excessive profiteering with high interest rates on loans, skyrocketing tuition and underfunding financial aid for eligible students.

All of these conditions have existed in Wisconsin, which under the previous Republican administration became a top ten state in the nation for percentage of college graduates with student loan debt. Tuition was increased by double digits, efforts to help borrowers refinance their loans have been consistently opposed and financial aid was so grievously underfunded that the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau reports over 29,000 University of Wisconsin and technical college system students who were eligible for financial aid received none. Nearly 7,000 eligible students at private colleges were also denied the help for which they were eligible.

To help, Gov. Evers’ People’s Budget included provisions calling for creating a state-based plan to help borrowers refinance student loans, just like you can with a mortgage, and for increasing the amount of funding for financial aid by 5 percent in each year of the two year budget to help address the backlog of students eligible for financial aid receiving no help.

Public opinion research has found that in Wisconsin an overwhelming 79 percent of those surveyed supported “a plan to allow student loan borrowers to refinance their loans, just like you can with a mortgage.” A mere 9 percent were opposed. Support was strong across partisan lines with 85 percent of those identifying as Democrats, 70 percent of Republicans and 82 percent of independents favoring the proposal. In addition, 79 percent of both men and women supported student loan refinancing along with 74 percent of voters age 18-29, 71 percent of voters age 30-45, 87 percent of voters age 45-65 and 77 percent of voters age 65 plus.

Eicher concluded, “The Joint Committee on Finance had the opportunity to help today, the Republicans who refused to work with Democrats on solutions owe their constituents and the people of Wisconsin an explanation for why they chose to do nothing.”

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin: AssemblyRepublicans vote to restrict access to health care

0
Contact: Iris Riis
608-256-7549 x2132

[email protected]

MADISON – Republicans in the Assembly today voted to pass bills that deliberately spread misinformation about abortion care and duplicate current law.

Statement from Mel Barnes, Legal and Policy Director at Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin:

“These bills are being pushed by the same people who want to make abortion a crime in all cases and block access to birth control and sex education. If they were interested in policies that support women and babies, they would be supporting Governor Evers’ Budget. His proposal invests in women’s health by accepting federal dollars to expand Medicaid and funding public health investments through the Healthy Women, Healthy Babies initiative. These are things we should all be supporting.

“With this vote, Republicans in the Assembly have made it clear that they’re not looking for solutions to the public health challenges facing Wisconsin. They’re only looking to score political points and further restrict access health care. These bills are not based in medical science and do nothing to protect women and babies in our state.”

Rep. Allen: General transportation aid reform proposal repositions Wisconsin to better control spending

0

Contact: Rep. Scott Allen                                                                                        (608) 266-8580 

Rep. Scott Allen (R-Waukesha) today proposed a budget motion which would repeal the current formulas for distributing state general transportation aid to counties and municipalities.  The proposal applies the idea of block grants to transportation spending.  

“We’ve seen tremendous success with block grants at the federal level because it introduces market factors like competition into government spending,” said Rep. Allen.  “The current general transportation aid formula has not been modified in decades, and it has led to the sloppy distribution of road dollars.”

The proposal will allow the Department of Transportation to establish district boards across Wisconsin based on population.  Overseeing those boards would be local officials.  Those officials would be encouraged to take economic impact into consideration when determining funding.  The proposal creates regional parity in local road funding.

“Some roads are crucial to moving people and products, and some may have been busy years ago but now have very little traffic,” said Rep. Allen.  “Compared to other states, Wisconsin has a lot of road miles. With our population trends the current aid formula is simply unsustainable.”

As of 2017, Wisconsin was fifth in the nation in road miles per capita.  Without significant population growth, revenue from any source will be limited and will not keep pace with inflating road maintenance costs.

The proposal now goes to the Joint Finance Committee to determine whether the idea will go into the state budget.  You can read the full proposal and white paper at Rep.Allen.com

Rep. Ballweg: Statement following updated state revenue projections

0

Contact: Rep. Joan Ballweg                                                                                      (888) 534-0041

Madison…State Representative Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan) released the following statement in reaction to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau’s re-estimate of state revenue projections:

“The recent state revenue projections show that federal tax code changes and Wisconsin Republicans’ reforms over the past eight years have led to a roaring state economy.

“The additional nearly $150 million available for the next biennium on top of the $1.8 billion previously estimated will continue to grow the rainy day fund to historic amounts. This proves that we can fund priorities such as providing tax relief and paying down debts without raising taxes.

“As we continue to build our 2019-21 state budget, Wisconsinites can be confident that we will continue to be good stewards of their money and keep Wisconsin moving forward.”

Follow the 41st Assembly District by liking the Wisconsin State Representative Joan Ballweg Facebook page (www.facebook.com/WIRepBallweg).

Rep. Felzkowski: Conservative fiscal policies lead to increased revenue projections

0

CONTACT: Rep. Felzkowski                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  608-266-7694

Madison- This afternoon, the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) released updated projections on tax revenues for fiscal years 2018-19 and the biennial budget bill. Due to the strength in individual income tax collections and corporate income/franchise tax collections, Wisconsin is estimated to bring in $753 million more than what was projected in January.

Rep. Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma) and her Republican colleagues have made sound, fiscally responsible reforms over the past eight years leading to an improved Wisconsin where people want to live, work, and raise a family.

Felzkowski commented, “Wisconsin’s economy is strong. We have more people working in the state now than any time before. Unemployment is at a historic low. Companies are moving their operations here because of our pro-business climate and resilient workforce. Wisconsinites all across our state will reap those benefits. Republicans have made many tough, fiscally responsible decisions over the past eight years, and we continue to see these positive results.”

Rep. Felzkowski: Supports bills that protect Northern Wisconsin

0

Life, Victims’ Rights, and Paper/Forestry Industry

CONTACT: Rep. Felzkowski                                                                                              608-266-7694

Madison- Today, the Wisconsin State Assembly convened at the State Capitol to debate bills that protect Northern Wisconsin and the fine men and women who call it home. Rep. Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma) voted in favor of all the bills taken up – among them three pieces highlighted below that really hit close to home:

Life: This package of bills protects the rights of born-alive babies following an attempted abortion and unborn children who are aborted based on sex or mental disability. It requires informed consent on certain abortion-inducing drug regimens, and ensures that taxpayer funds do not subsidize abortion providers in any way.

Felzkowski stated, “Life is precious and life is priceless. There is nothing more important we could be doing as a legislature than protecting lives.”

Victims’ Rights: This bill, also known as “Marsy’s Law” will create a state-wide referendum question to amend the Wisconsin Constitution and give victims the same rights as their defendants.

Felzkowski added, “I am happy to support victims’ rights and ensure that they have an unalienable ability to protect themselves and be rightfully involved in a court case that stemmed from actions taken against them by their accused.”

Paper/Forestry: This resolution declares May 2019 as Paper and Forestry Products Month in Wisconsin. The logging, papermaking, and printing industries in Wisconsin employ more than 106,000 family-supporting jobs whose annual combined income exceeds $6.4 billion.

Felzkowski expressed, “This is crucial for Northern Wisconsin families who work incredibly hard to supply sustainable paper needs all around the world. This industry has done great things for our neck of the woods and I look forward to watching it succeed for generations to come.”

Rep. Gundrum: Supports protections for the unborn

0

CONTACT: Rep. Rick Gundrum
(608) 264-8486

Madison – Today, Representative Rick Gundrum (R-Slinger) released this statement following the passage of four common sense bills in the Wisconsin State Assembly.

“Earlier today, I enthusiastically voted in favor of four bills that ensure that a disturbing national trend toward expanded abortion practices does nottake hold in Wisconsin. The package passed today makes it abundantly clear that we will not allow the protections for the unborn to be negligently unraveled in our state.

“When I ran for office, I made a commitment to the citizens of the 58th Assembly District that I would be an advocate for the lives of the unborn who cannot speak for themselves. Discrimination of any kind at any stage of life is flat out wrong – especially when that discrimination results in the cessation of a living being.

The Born Alive Abortion Survivors Act (AB 179) protects abortion survivors by requiring healthcare providers that are present during a failed abortion to treat that baby just as they would any other newborn. This ensures that protection is available for all babies and that each baby is treated equally.

Similarly, the Sex Selective, Genetic Disorder Abortion Ban (AB 182) prohibits the termination of a pregnancy based on a genetic disorder diagnosis. Ending discrimination against the most vulnerable population in our state is the right choice.

Ensuring every woman has as much information as possible in the doctors’ office is a basic responsibility of every healthcare provider. The Woman’s Right to Know Act (AB 180) does just that. This bill requires physicians to disclose all possible options to mothers giving them the ability to make informed and thoughtful decisions.

The fourth bill, AB 183, prohibits taxpayer funds from being allocated to subsidize abortion providers. This bill directs DHS to decertify or deny Medicaid certification to any group or affiliate of an entity that provides abortion services.

Rep. Hintz: Democrats clean up Republican debt mess

0

CONTACT: Aaron Collins, 608-266-2254

Evers Administration makes fiscally responsible decision to pay down state debt Republicans accumulated

MADISON – On Wednesday, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) released updated revenue projections, showing general fund tax collections will be higher than projected by $753 million over the next three years. The Department of Revenue (DOR) noted yesterday that the increased projections can be principally attributed to one-time federal corporate tax policy changes. Due to these projections, Governor Evers announced his administration will be making an additional payment on state debt that would pay off $56 million with an estimated savings on future debt service payment of close to $70 million.

In addition to this, the Governor announced he will be calling on the Joint Committee on Finance to use additional funds for worker training and investment in the Wisconsin Technical Colleges System. The remainder will go towards the budget stabilization fund. Assembly Democratic Leader Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) released the following comments on these actions by the Governor:

“After eight years of fiscal recklessness by Wisconsin Republicans, it’s refreshing to see a Governor act in the long-term best interest of our state,” Rep. Hintz stated. “During the 2nd longest period of economic growth in our nation’s history, Republicans chose to rack up debt on the state’s credit card and favor corporate tax breaks over investing in the people of Wisconsin. Governor Evers is continuing his commitment to put Wisconsinites first by making this significant debt payment.”

Republicans propensity for accumulating state debt and deferring payments is well-documented. According to a January 11, 2019 Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) memo, between 2011 and 2016, former Governor Scott Walker and Legislative Republicans deferred payment of principal due by $767.3 million to avoid making debt payments. This delay will have cost taxpayers an estimated $88.7 million when it is paid off in the future.

“Since 2011, Republicans have been willing to undermine our future prosperity in order to give away billions of dollars in no-strings-attached cash payments to wealthy corporations at the expense of our public schools, tech schools, and UW System. Governor Evers’ plan is to put money toward our current and future workforce in addition to paying down Republican debts. Democrats are committed to fixing the fiscal mistakes of the past eight years and returning our state to sound financial footing.”

Rep. Jagler and Sen. Fitzgerald: Watertown’s state representatives respond to false statement from Madison liberal

0

Contact: Alec Zimmerman
(608) 266-5660

[Madison, WI] — On Tuesday, a Madison liberal on the Joint Finance Committee, Rep. Chris Taylor, smeared the city of Watertown during a debate on clean drinking water in Wisconsin. Taylor said that Watertown should be referred to as “Lead Poison Town,” implying that the water in Watertown has lead contamination issues. City officials there have stated that Watertown water does not pose a threat from lead.

Representative John Jagler (R-Watertown) released the following statement:

“Rep. Taylor’s criticism of Watertown’s water is all wet. It’s also irresponsible. The cases involving increased lead levels are due to lead paint and other sources and have nothing to do with the water.”

Watertown Mayor Emily McFarland said:

“Rep. Taylor’s comment is dangerously incorrect and insensitive given the founded angst across the country pertaining to lead in drinking water. The city wants residents of Watertown, and the thousands that visit our community every year, to know that our water is safe and high quality. I would encourage Rep. Taylor to contact our community if she is truly that concerned about the quality of the water in Watertown.”

Senator Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) added:

“Liberals in Madison are hurling insults at Watertown while they try to score cheap political points. These attacks are totally baseless and give off a negative impression of Watertown and the people who live there. Rep. Taylor should apologize for her blatantly false remarks.”

Officials on the Joint Finance Committee have approved millions of dollars in bonding on efforts that will promote clean drinking water in Wisconsin as part of the next biennial budget.

Rep. Katsma: Votes to protect life

0

Contact: Rep. Terry Katsma

(608) 266-0656

Madison – Rep. Terry Katsma (R-Oostburg) and the Wisconsin State Assembly passed a package of four bills in response to proposals from around the nation that would make late-term abortions legal up to the moment of birth.

Among the provisions in this package are the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Act, which requires a provider present at the time of a failed abortion to provide the same level of professional care to the surviving child as they would to any other child; and the Sex Selective, Genetic Disorder Abortion Ban which bans abortions from being performed solely due to the race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, or potential diagnosis of a congenital disability of the unborn child.

“I have been alarmed at the increased effort around the nation to make it easier to obtain an abortion later in pregnancy,” said Rep. Katsma. “This package fulfills a promise I made to constituents this fall and reaffirmed with my Republican colleagues in February to protect all life in Wisconsin.”

In 2017, the number of induced abortions went up in Wisconsin for the first time since 2009. Before this increase, Wisconsin had seen seven consecutive years of falling numbers of abortions.

“I remain fully committed to decreasing the number of abortions performed in Wisconsin,” said Rep. Katsma. “I am proud to have voted for this common sense and comprehensive approach to saving lives in Wisconsin.”

In addition to the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Act, and the Sex Selective, Genetic Disorder Abortion Ban, the package also contained the Woman’s Right to Know Act to ensure that any woman who is prescribed an abortion pill regimen understands that she may still be able to save her baby, and a guarantee that taxpayer funds will not subsidize abortion providers in any way.

Rep. Kitchens: Applauds passage of pollution prevention bill

0

Contact: Rep. Joel Kitchens
(608) 266-5350

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin State Senate unanimously passed a bill today authored by Rep. Joel Kitchens, R-Sturgeon Bay, and Sen. Robert Cowles, R-Green Bay, that aims to reduce the amount of contaminants in state waterways by creating a system for buying and selling pollution credits through a third-party central clearinghouse.

“Pollutant trading is a sound strategy recognized by the federal Clean Water Act, but our current program is being underutilized because most point and nonpoint pollution sources do not have the resources or relationships to seek out trading partners,” Kitchens said. “I applaud the Senate for bringing us closer to being the first state in the nation to establish a statewide clearinghouse that serves as a broker and manager of their pollutant trading system. I can’t wait to lead the way and show the rest of the country what solutions our Legislature has to offer regarding the very serious issue of water contamination.”

The Pollution Prevention Partnership Act authorizes the state Department of Natural Resources to give a point source permit holder an alternative to marginal EPA-mandated discharge reductions of a pollutant by purchasing credits from a clearinghouse or other third-party brokers certified by the DNR. Those credits come from nonpoint sources that have taken steps to reduce their pollutants. All trades must result in an improvement in water quality in the affected watershed.

“I am confident this legislation will provide a tremendous benefit to our state by giving farmers, industries and municipalities the tools and financial incentives they need to work cooperatively toward our common goal of protecting our state’s essential ground and surface water,” Kitchens said.

The Assembly version of the bill still needs to receive a public hearing and be voted on by the Assembly Committee on Local Government. If the legislation is passed by that committee, it will go to the full Assembly for a vote. If the bill is then passed without any amendments, it can then be sent to the governor to be signed into law.

The legislation is supported by numerous groups representing a wide array of stakeholders, including the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, Dairy Business Association, Clean Wisconsin, Wisconsin Cheesemakers Association, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association and the Nature Conservancy.

Rep. Kitchens: Joint Finance Committee approves Kitchens’ Washington Island motion

0

Contact: Rep. Joel Kitchens
(608) 266-5350

MADISON, Wis. – The Joint Committee on Finance approved a budget motion today submitted by Rep. Joel Kitchens, R-Sturgeon Bay, that will defray a portion of the costs Washington Island incurred during a natural disaster event in 2018.

Kitchens’ budget motion specifically requests that the state provide the island with $2 million from the Wisconsin Disaster Fund to help cover part of the $4.1 million in expenses that resulted from ice shoves critically damaging the only submarine cable that supplies electricity to the island community.

The budget motion also requires a cost share of 30 percent from the town on all reasonable and necessary costs documented by the island’s co-op utility between June 27, 2018 and April 30, 2019.

“I am grateful for the Joint Finance Committee’s decision today to earmark this much-needed funding in the state budget,” Kitchens said. “At this moment, the disaster has caused the average monthly electricity bill for a Washington Island resident to increase by nearly $20. By providing the town with the $2 million in relief funds, we will cut that increase in half. That will go a long way toward helping these people recover from the unfortunate incident that placed so many hardships on them.”

According to Washington Island Electric Cooperative Manager Robert Cornell, repairing and replacing the cable has been a major undertaking for the town, not only physically, but financially as well.

“An unexpected $4.1 million expense is a pretty difficult burden for a community of 700 to have to bear,” Cornell said. “We’ve had a lot of support in our efforts to get financial help for this disaster and Representative Kitchens has played a significant role in our success. All of us greatly appreciate Representative Kitchens’ efforts on our behalf and his support right from the first days of the submarine cable failure.”

Rep. Loudenbeck: Rep. Loudenbeck’s bill passes Assembly

0

CONTACT:

Rep. Amy Loudenbeck

[email protected]
(608) 266-9967          

Madison- Today, the Wisconsin State Assembly passed a bill authored by Rep. Amy Loudenbeck (R-Clinton).

Assembly Bill 52, would allow a minor who is 17 years of age and is confirmed by a school district’s Local Educational Agency Liaison to be both unaccompanied (not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian) and homeless (living situation is not “fixed, regular, and adequate”) to contract for admission to a shelter facility or transitional living program. Rep. Loudenbeck authored the bill with Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills). The bill is currently waiting for a vote in the State Senate.

According to Rep. Loudenbeck, “Unaccompanied and homeless youth are vulnerable to human trafficking, exploitation, and abuse. Providing these young people with an opportunity for safe shelter and other supports will reduce their risk for negative outcomes. Local advocates for unaccompanied and homeless youth in my district asked me to help them find options for older teens without stable housing who want to complete their high school education. This bill provides a narrow option that respects parents’ rights and maintains the integrity of the juvenile court and justice systems.”

Rep. Macco: Dividends from 8 years of prudent leadership

0

Madison…

Wednesday, the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau released new revenue estimates for the state of Wisconsin. Chairman John Macco (R-Ledgeview), of the Wisconsin Assembly Committee on Ways and Means, released the following statement:

“Yesterday’s exhilarating news shows the value of 8 years of prudent state management and vision.” said Rep. Macco. “In Wisconsin, wages are up, unemployment is down, education and transportation spending are up and taxes are down. Wisconsin is in great shape!” continued Rep. Macco

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau projects the gross balance of the Wisconsin general fund will reach over $1,003,000,000 by June 30th of this year.

“With over three quarters of a billion dollars in excess revenue now is not the time to spend ourselves into debt or raise taxes, we must look toward the future.” said Rep. Macco “Leadership and vision have created dividends and should be returned to the working Wisconsinites who paid them. Unfortunately, the GOP middle income tax cut was swiftly followed by Governor Evers’ devastating veto earlier this year.” continued Rep. Macco

“Wisconsin’s strong position is not because of our tax code but in spite of it. Now is the time to use the fiscal health of Wisconsin to reform our states tax code to continue to lower taxes on hardworking Wisconsinites.” concluded Rep. Macco

Rep. Magnafici: Votes in favor of addressing CNA shortage

0

CONTACT: Rep. Gae Magnafici                                                                         

(608) 267-2365

MADISON – Rep. Gae Magnafici (R-Dresser) voted in favor of Assembly Bill 76 which would reduce the number of hours required for Certified Nursing Assistant certification from 120 hours to 75 hours. The bill would bring Wisconsin’s certification requirements in line with federal guidelines along with other midwest states including Minnesota, Michigan, and Iowa.

“I am thrilled to vote in favor of Assembly Bill 76 today,” Magnafici said. “The long-term care facilities I’ve visited in northwest Wisconsin all say the same thing: they are struggling to find enough people to work at their facilities.”

Currently, CNAs that are qualified and working across the border in Minnesota cannot work in Wisconsin unless they satisfy the additional 45 hours of training. This bill will allow CNAs that come to Wisconsin the ability to join the workforce sooner which will help address the shortage of CNAs in Wisconsin.

“As a former nurse, one of my main legislative priorities is finding solutions to our healthcare and long-term care issues in our state,” said Magnafici. “I’m passionate about this bill because I believe it is a step toward helping long-term care facilities provide the high quality care to their patients that Wisconsin residents deserve.”

Assembly Bill 76 will now go to the State Senate where it must be passed and subsequently signed by Governor Evers in order to become law.

Constituents can contact Representative Magnafici’s office by phone at 608-267-2365 or by email at [email protected]

Rep. Murphy: Statement on state revenue surplus

0

CONTACT: Representative Dave Murphy
May 15, 2019 [email protected], (608) 266-7500

MADISON, WI — Today, the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau announced an increase of $753 million in state tax revenue above projections used in calculating the current state budget three years ago. Assembly Republicans have announced a proposal to invest half of the funds in the state’s rainy day fund and dedicate half to tax relief.

State Representative Dave Murphy (R–Greenville) issued the following statement:
“The ongoing state budget, adopted by the Republican legislature and signed by former
Governor Walker, paired with the robust Trump economy, is continuing to earn dividends for the people of Wisconsin.

“Investment in the rainy day fund protects critical state programs in the case of a recession and ensures that tax increases during the hardest of times won’t be necessary. Utilizing these funds in this manner is far superior to expanding the scope of government beyond what we can afford now or in the future.

“Wisconsinites deserve responsible budgeting with their money and that’s what my Republican colleagues and I are committed to. “This is an investment in our future. The right thing to do is to save half of this money in the rainy day fund and dedicate half to go into tax relief, allowing hard working folks across Wisconsin to keep more of the money they earned fair and square.”

Rep. Myers: Introduces legislation aimed at banning pet stores from selling dogs and cats

0

For more information, contact:                                                                                   Kenya Parker (608) 266-5813

MADISON — Representative LaKeshia Myers introduced legislation today aimed at ending the sale of cats and dogs by pet stores.  In pet stores, the dogs and cats that are in the display window, often come from puppy and kitten mills that are commercial breeding facilities.  In these facilities, animals can be mistreated and forced to live in deplorable conditions.  In lieu of pet stores being able to sell dogs and cats, this legislation provides that pet stores must work with local humane societies to host adoption events in their stores.

With this legislation, Wisconsin would join California, Maryland, and New York, states that have also banned pet store sales.

Representative Myers said, “This legislation will end the puppy mill-to- pet store pipeline.  This bill would curtail the mass breeding of animals in commercial facilities.  The bill also strengthens the collaborative relationship between pet stores and consumers by allowing them to host adoption events in store and only with shelter and rescue pets.  This is most definitely a proactive piece of legislation and one that moves us in the right direction.”

This bill has garnered support from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the Wisconsin Humane Society.

Rep. Neubauer: To support healthy families, support the Medicaid expansion

Contact: Greta Neubauer, 608-237-9166
[email protected]

Prioritize programs providing support for healthy women, pregnancies, and children

MADISON – Governor Tony Evers’ People’s Budget provides an ambitious but achievable roadmap toward healthier women, pregnancies, and babies in Wisconsin, starting with access to affordable healthcare and evidence-based preventative care programs.

“Studies show that the most effective way to improve the health and wellbeing of women and children is to increase access to affordable care, increase access to birth control, and support evidence-based preventative care programs.” Neubauer said. “When we empower women to make their own healthcare decisions, we find stronger, healthier, and more stable families.”

Neubauer continued, “We have a plan that checks all those boxes. Governor Evers’ proposed Medicaid expansion makes healthcare more affordable and accessible for everyone. It invests in programs like Healthy Women, Healthy Babies, which supports women through pregnancy and their baby’s first year. And it saves hundreds of millions in taxpayer money.

“It’s time to prioritize programs that support healthy women, healthy pregnancies, and healthy families. It’s time to pass the People’s Budget.”

Rep. Oldenburg: Highlights economic impact of Mississippi River on Assembly floor

0

CONTACT: Rep. Loren Oldenburg (608) 266-3534

MADISON – Representative Loren Oldenburg (R-Viroqua) had his first authored Resolution up for a vote today in the Wisconsin State Assembly. Oldenburg’s resolution highlighted the impact that the Mississippi River has on the region by speaking in favor of his first legislative resolution Assembly Joint Resolution 38.

The Resolution begins by illustrating the importance barges play in our agriculture focused communities. Showing that not only are barges efficient, they are also environmentally effective ways of transporting many of Wisconsin’s prized commodities. 

As a farmer, and small business owner; Representative Oldenburg knows the importance of barges, and the lock system – firsthand. “With yet another round of flooding affecting our area, this is a great time to recognize the importance of barges, and the amazing lock system that is in our backyard. Recognizing the importance of modernizing this piece of our infrastructure is putting us one step closer to fully modernizing this system as allowed by the Water Resources Development Act of 2007.” According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Waterways and Ports support nearly 27,000 Wisconsin Jobs.

Rep. Petryk: Bill to address CNA shortage approved by Assembly

0

Contact State Representative Warren Petryk                               

(608) 266-0660

Madison – State Representative Warren Petryk (R-Eleva) today announced that Assembly Bill 76, authored by Rep. Petryk and legislators on both sides of the aisle, has cleared the Assembly by a bipartisan majority. As Chair of the Assembly Workforce Development Committee, this legislation is one way that the Legislature is continuing to ensure that quality long-term care is available for our aging population.

“Today, the Wisconsin Assembly took decisive action to strengthen the pipeline of trained workers providing quality long-term care for our senior citizens, people with disabilities and veterans,” said Rep. Petryk. “I believe it’s critically important to find common-sense solutions to the issues facing our state and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Legislature to move Wisconsin forward.”

The bill aligns Certified Nursing Assistant instructional standards with the federal government requirements and those of our neighboring states Minnesota, Michigan, and Iowa. With this change, the State of Wisconsin is prohibited from requiring CNA instructional programs to exceed federal minimum requirements while giving training programs the flexibility to develop curricula responsive to employer needs. This bill does not affect the final testing requirements as provided by law for an individual to become certified.

“With Wisconsin’s economy continuing to grow and our unemployment rate at or below 3.0% for more than a year, we need skilled workers to keep our state strong and to fill critical vacancies in areas like healthcare, education, manufacturing, and agriculture. I will continue to work closely with private-sector employers and others to increase funding to train workers for family-sustaining private sector jobs in Wisconsin,” concluded Petryk.

Rep. Plumer announces evening listening session 🗓

0

Contact: Rep. Jon Plumer 608-266-3404

Madison… Today, Rep. Jon Plumer (R-Lodi) announced a budget listening session in Cambria on Thursday, May 23rd. This listening session is intended for citizens to share their thoughts and concerns regarding the 2019-2021 Biennial Budget. Time and location below:

6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Cambria Village Office

111 W. Edgewater St.

Cambria, WI 53923

Rep. Ramthun: Applauds Assembly for passing pro-life bills

0

Contact: Rep. Timothy Ramthun (608) 266-9175

MADISON- State Representative Timothy Ramthun (R-Campbellsport) issued the following statement in response to the Assembly passing four pieces of pro-life legislation:

“I am very proud the Assembly reaffirmed our shared commitment of protecting the pre-born today by passing crucial pro-life bills. These bills, four in total, had my full support and I was honored to vote in favor of them today,” Rep. Ramthun stated. “With Roe v. Wade still in place, any incremental progress we can make towards protecting the pre-born is necessary. These bills do just that.”

He continued, “These bills will now head to the Senate, and then to Governor Evers’ desk for signature, making their offered protections, law. I urge the Governor to honor the majority will of the people and sign these important pro-life bills into law. It is my hope that common sense and doing right will not be overshadowed by politics.”

Among the bills passed, the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Act requires that any medical provider present at the time of a failed abortion to exercise the same level of professional medical care to the surviving child as they would to any other child delivered.

Additionally, the Woman’s Right to Know Act ensures that any woman who is prescribed an abortion pill regimen understands that she may still be able to save her baby, even after taking the first pill.

The Sex Selective, Genetic Disorder Abortion Ban bans abortions from being performed solely due to the race, color, sex, disability, or potential disability of the unborn child.

The final bill ensures taxpayer funds will not subsidize abortion providers in any way.

Rep. Rodriguez: Comments on new state revenue estimate

0

Contact: Rep. Jessie Rodriguez                                                                                 (608) 266-0610

MADISON – The non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau announced new revenue projections today that anticipate $753 million more than expected in general fund tax collections over the next three years. The state will have $2.9 billion in new revenue during the current budget cycle. State Representative Jessie Rodriguez (R-Oak Creek) released the following statement:

“This is great news for our state. It shows that our reforms that included tax cuts and led to one of the strongest economies our state has experienced in decades, are working.”

“Now is the perfect opportunity to pay down debt, provide tax relief to hardworking families across Wisconsin and grow our state’s rainy day fund in case of a recession.”

“I’m pleased to see that our pro-growth reforms are working, we have more revenue and taxpayers can trust that we will use those dollars wisely.”

Rep. Sargent: Removing barriers to safe and effective contraceptives

0

Contact: Representative Melissa Sargent

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (608)-266-0960

MADISON –Representative Melissa Sargent (D-Madison) issued the following statement to announce the release of LRB-3281/2, which permits pharmacists the ability to prescribe hormonal contraceptives and increases equitable access to birth control for Wisconsin women:

“I am committed to ensuring that contraceptives are as accessible as possible for Wisconsin women, and that we remove any and all barriers that work to impede a woman’s ability to receive safe and effective birth control methods. This week Republican lawmakers released LRB-0325, a bill appearing similar to AB-968 that I have championed in past sessions, which would allow pharmacists to prescribe certain hormonal contraceptives without a physician. Unfortunately, in some ways, the changes that my Republican colleagues have made to this legislation continue to constrain the reproductive rights of Wisconsin women.

As such, I am introducing LRB-3281/2. I, along with many of my Democratic colleagues, have been working hard to find the best and most pragmatic solutions to increase access to contraceptives, reduce unplanned pregnancy, remove barriers to equitable reproductive health, and uphold the rights of women in making personal healthcare decisions. Unlike LRB-0325, LRB-3128/2 does the following:

  • Does not place an age restriction on the prescribing and dispensing of hormonal contraceptives by a pharmacist.
  • Allows pharmacists to prescribe more forms of hormonal contraceptives, including injectable progestin and self-administered vaginal rings.
  • Prohibits a pharmacist from requiring a scheduled appointment for the prescribing and dispensing of a contraceptive.
  • Requires the training of pharmacists in prescribing and dispensing hormonal contraceptives.
  • Directs pharmacists to refer the patient to a primary care practitioner or women’s health practitioner and provides them with written record and advisement to consult with their healthcare practitioner, but does not require pharmacists to report to the patient’s primary care practitioner.

Allowing pharmacists to prescribe contraceptives is a necessary and important step for our state, and we must take this issue more seriously than as a rhetorical Republican talking point. Access to birth control is a right, and we must work to ensure that all women in our communities who wish to use contraceptives have access. My bill aims to do just that, by expanding access without creating any further hoops that women are expected to jump through and removing the artificial barriers that women seeking these public health services face.

By allowing pharmacists to prescribe hormonal contraceptives, we can improve women’s health, prevent unplanned pregnancies, and decrease medical costs. Women have the right to unfettered access to contraceptives, and this bill works to and create further accessibility for all Wisconsin women.”

Rep. Schraa: Lupus Awareness resolution passes

0

Contact:  Rep. Michael Schraa

(608) 267-7990                                                                                              

(Madison, WI) Representative Michael Schraa (R-Oshkosh) was pleased with passage of his resolution proclaiming May as Lupus Awareness Month in Wisconsin.

“Last year, my family was unexpectedly introduced to Lupus. My youngest daughter developed symptoms of chronic inflammation and pain that resembled those of Lupus. After several tests, she became one of the nearly 5 million people around the world and 28,000 other Wisconsinites who carry this disease.

“Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body, though most often occurs in the skin, joints and organs of the patient. When lupus is active, symptoms like joint stiffness, pain, fatigue, confusion, or depression can make simple tasks seem impossible. Those who are diagnosed usually fall between the ages of 15 to 44, with 90% being female and 15% children. The disease is 2-3 times more prevalent in women of color.

“While there is no cure today, there are countless experts working to develop treatments for those with the disease. Experts like the Executive Director of the Lupus Foundation of America-Wisconsin Chapter who work tirelessly on behalf of patients and their families to find a cure for this mysterious disease.

“It was a special honor to have three special people in the Assembly Chamber today for the vote: my wife Christine, my daughter Annalise, and Lupus Foundation of America-Wisconsin board chair, Sarah Oberhofer.”

Rep. Snyder: Honor mothers, votes to strengthen protections for children

0

CONTACT: Rep. Patrick Snyder

(608) 266-0654

Rep. Snyder votes to protect homeless youth and the unborn; proclaims May as Motherhood Month

Madison— The Wisconsin State Assembly convened on Wednesday to vote on several provisions including, among others, allowing minors to enter homeless facilities; four bills protecting infants and the unborn; and a Resolution to proclaim May as Motherhood Month in Wisconsin.

Assembly Joint Resolution (AJR) 41, which Rep. Snyder was one of three primary, bipartisan authors of, recognizes the contributions of mothers to our state. Following passage of the bill, Rep. Snyder said:

“Mothers play a critical role in molding our society and binding our communities together; they have a multi-faceted role as caretakers, business leaders, community advocates, and role models. Every life in our state is impacted by mothers, therefore, we are due to recognize their contributions to society.”

In addition to the AJR, several bills were passed to protect the unborn and infants including legislation that would ban abortions based on race, sex, disability, national origin, ancestry or color; require babies born alive after an abortion attempt to receive prompt care and attention, as any other baby would; require that a woman seeking an abortion be given certain information about abortion-inducing drug regimens; and prohibits the Department of Health Services from certifying abortion providers as Medical Assistance providers.

Rep. Snyder was also a co-author of a bill that would allow minors to enter homeless shelter facilities. Following passage of the bill, he made the following statement:

“Protecting children doesn’t end at birth; this common-sense legislation provides critical support for our youth. Unaccompanied youth that are, by no fault of their own, homeless should have every opportunity to succeed, just as any other child does. Allowing them to enter homeless facilities and receive homeless services, is a practical, prudent way we can offer assistance and protection for these youth. I was proud to promptly move this legislation through the Committee on Children and Families; and I applaud my colleagues for supporting this sensible legislation.”

The bills must pass the Senate before going to the Governor for approval.

Rep. Steineke: Born Alive Abortion Survivors Act approved by Assembly

0

CONTACT: Rep. Jim Steineke                                                                             

(608) 266-2418

MADISON – The Born Alive Abortion Survivors Act, Assembly Bill 179, received support in the Assembly today as it passed on a 62-35 vote. Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna) and Senate President Roger Roth (R-Appleton) authored the bill, which ensures infants born alive after surviving an abortion receive comprehensive care.

“This legislation is so crucial because it provides life-saving clarifications to health professionals on how to act towards abortion survivors,” said Rep. Steineke. “Whether you’re for or against abortion, everyone should be invested in making sure every single baby born gets a fighting chance at life.”

Assembly Bill 179 directs health care providers to exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve a born alive abortion survivor’s life, requires health care providers to report to a law enforcement agency if they have knowledge of non-compliance towards born alive children, allows women to bring claims for damages in these instances, and ensures the Department of Justice can enforce the provisions. Currently, there are no state laws to address these issues.

The legislation received overwhelming support during its public hearings, with more than twice as many people showing up in favor of the bill than opposed to it. Despite the strong public support for the bill, Governor Evers has said that he will not sign it because he doesn’t see it as a “productive use of time.” No Democrats in the Assembly voted for the bill.

“I’m disturbed and disappointed that my Democratic colleagues in the Assembly have followed Governor Evers’ lead in denying born alive abortion survivors the compassion and decency of ensuring they have proper care,” continued Rep. Steineke. “I will continue to stand up for the rights of babies and look forward to delivering the bill to Governor Evers’ desk.”

The bill now heads to the Senate for approval before being delivered to Governor Evers.

Rep. Steineke: Jayme Closs named Assembly ‘Hometown Hero’

0

CONTACT: Rep. Jim Steineke                                                                             

(608) 266-2401

MADISON – The Wisconsin State Assembly recognized Jayme Closs from Barron, Wisconsin as an Assembly “Hometown Hero” at today’s floor session.

Closs made national headlines last fall after she was taken from her home in Barron without a trace. After 88 days in captivity, she escaped and sought help. Closs was nominated for the Assembly Hometown Hero award by her State Representative, Romaine Quinn (R-Barron), for her extraordinary resilience and bravery in the face of tragedy and adversity at just 13 years old.

“Jayme’s bravery, resilience, and strength is truly amazing. She has taught us all that no matter how dark your circumstances may be, there is always hope,” said Rep. Quinn. “I can’t think of anyone more deserving of our Hometown Hero award than Ms. Closs, and the entire State of Wisconsin wishes her the best on her future endeavors.”

Closs joined her aunt and family members at today’s floor session to receive the award after having been largely out of the public eye since her escape.

“The things this young girl has gone through, to still be standing here strong today, is nothing short of inspiring,” said Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna), who selects Hometown Hero recipients. “We in the Assembly and the entire state of Wisconsin are behind Jayme, her family, and her community as she pursues what I’m sure will be a bright future.”

The Wisconsin State Assembly sees giving back to the community as one of the most valuable characteristics one can have. The Assembly Hometown Heroes program seeks to identify and recognize individuals from around the state who give of themselves to make a difference in our communities and in the lives of those around them. Hometown Hero Award winners are invited and introduced as a special guest at an Assembly floor session and given the opportunity to speak.

Rep. Stuck: Statement on yesterday’s shooting in Appleton

0

Contact: Rep. Amanda Stuck

608-266-3070

MADISON – Representative Amanda Stuck (D-Appleton) issued the following statement in light of yesterday’s shooting at the Transit Center in Appleton.

“My thoughts and sympathies go out to the families and friends of the victims of yesterday’s violent incident in Appleton. I would like to thank all of the Appleton Police Department and Fire Department staff for their quick response and professional handling of yesterday’s tragic shooting and to the Green Bay Police Department for its ongoing investigation. While it is too early to know all of the details of this tragic event, it is clear that our emergency services personnel have once again been put in harm’s way and that we stand with our brave first responders working to protect our Fox Cities Community.”

Rep. Subeck: Assembly discussion highlights need for CNA Pay Act

0

CONTACT: Lisa Subeck, 608-266-7521 (office)

MADISON – Today, the State Assembly passed Assembly Bill (AB) 76, which would reduce the number of hours of training a CNA is required to complete. Representative Lisa Subeck (D-Madison) introduced an amendment supported by all Democrats to increase reimbursement rates and raise wages for personal care workers as proposed in Governor Evers’s 2019-21 state budget. The amendment failed with all Democrats voting in support.

“Wisconsin faces a significant and growing shortage in personal care workers, while the need for their services continues to grow as our state’s population ages. To recruit and retain more direct care workers, we must pay those who care for our most vulnerable family members and neighbors a living wage and treat them as respected professionals,” said Rep. Subeck.  

Rep. Subeck and colleagues have also introduced the CNA Pay Act, which would increase wages and expand access to training for nursing aides and personal caregivers working on the frontlines of long-term care and nursing facilities. The first bill, LRB-0981, would increase the Medicaid reimbursement rate for personal care services, tying the increased reimbursement directly to an increase in caregiver wages. LRB-2460 creates a tax credit for tuition expenses to help cover the cost of CNA training. LRB-0960 would provide grants to technical colleges to expand access to training in underserved areas.

“Like the amendment proposed today, the CNA Pay Act addresses the root causes of the issues facing our direct care workforce by accepting federal Medicaid expansion funds to increase reimbursement rates for long-term care to raise wages and make training more accessible and affordable. Wisconsin can no longer ignore this growing crisis. Our state should take immediate action to raise caregiver wages,” said Rep. Subeck.  

Rep. Subeck: Assembly Republicans jeopardize women’s health care access

0

CONTACT: Lisa Subeck, 608-266-7521(office) 

MADISON – Today, the State Assembly passed Assembly Bills 179, 180, 182, and 183 with no Democrats voting in support. State Representative Lisa Subeck (D-Madison) issued the following statement regarding today’s vote.

“Assembly Republicans are pushing a divisive, inflammatory, anti-women’s health agenda that does nothing to address infant mortality or disparities in health care access. Instead of advancing these misleading, hyper-partisan bills, we can and should work together to improve health outcomes for children and families.

Republicans should stop putting politics ahead of people and interfering with women’s health care decisions.  Their continued obstruction of Medicaid expansion leaves us unable to make needed health care investments such as the Healthy Women, Healthy Babies Initiative to improve access to preventative health services and reduce infant mortality.

Let us follow Governor Evers’s lead by expanding Medicaid and investing in the health care services Wisconsinites need and deserve.” 

Rep. Subeck: Resolution proclaiming May, 2019, as Jewish-American Heritage Month passes State Assembly

0

CONTACT: Lisa Subeck, 608-266-7521(office)

MADISON – Today, the State Assembly unanimously passed Assembly Joint Resolution 44, authored by Representative Lisa Subeck (D-Madison), which recognizes May, 2019, as Jewish American Heritage Month in Wisconsin.

“As a proud Jewish American legislator, I was honored to author this resolution recognizing the vibrant culture and impressive accomplishments of the Jewish community in Wisconsin. I am grateful to my fellow legislators for joining me in acknowledging Jewish American Heritage Month,” said Rep. Subeck.  

Established by presidential proclamation in 2006, Jewish American Heritage Month is a national commemoration of the contributions that American Jews have made to our nation’s culture, history, and society. Each year, a theme is chosen to celebrate Jewish achievements in a particular aspect of American life. The theme for May, 2019, is American Jewish Illustrators.

“This month, we celebrate the Jewish American illustrators who helped create lasting works of art, from treasured children’s books to iconic graphic novels and cartoons,” said Rep. Subeck.

Many influential Jewish Americans have called Wisconsin home, including author Edna Ferber, U.S. Senators Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold, actors Gene Wilder and Charlotte Rae, magician Harry Houdini, and Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir.

“Jewish Americans have helped shape our country’s character, promote our commitment to religious freedom, and strengthen our communities. I encourage Wisconsinites of all backgrounds to join me in celebrating Jewish American Heritage Month,” said Rep. Subeck.

Rep. Tusler: Statement on fatal Appleton shooting

0

Contact: Representative Ron Tusler (608) 266-5831

Madison, WI –Representative Ron Tusler (R-Harrison) released the following statement regarding yesterday’s shooting at the Valley Transit Center in Appleton:

“My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the firefighter killed in yesterday’s shooting, as well as the others who were injured, including an Appleton police officer.  It is always especially tragic when a first responder is injured or killed in the line of duty. On behalf of my family and the Third Assembly District, I extend our deepest sympathies.”

Rep. Vining: Condemns removal of lead service line replacement from budget

0

Contact: Representative Robyn Vining
608-266-9180

MADISON – Last week, Republicans in the Joint Finance Committee erased the budget proposal to authorize $40 million in borrowing to help municipalities replace lead laterals, which are the pipes that connect homes to the water mains under city streets. Without this bonding, homeowners likely will not be able to afford replacing lead pipes on their own, putting their families in danger of lead poisoning. Representative Robyn Vining (D-Wauwatosa) issued the following statement in response:

“I cannot believe we are turning our backs on children born into homes with lead in their water. It’s wrong and we should keep fighting to give these kids the futures they deserve. Exploiting kids as political poker chips while the water they drink damages their brains is disgusting.

‘Forward together’ means everyone together. ‘Forward together’ means we don’t pick winners and losers — it means we pick Wisconsinites, all of us.

Funding solutions to the lead crisis is a moral decision. It’s also the fiscally responsible decision. Investment now saves money later in health care, education, housing, and more. It even boosts the tax base because safer homes means higher home values. Lead abatement is the right thing to do.”

Rep. Vos: Statement on state revenue projections

0

For Further Information Contact:

Speaker Robin Vos (608) 266-3387
[email protected]

      Madison…Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) released the following statement that addresses the revenue re-estimates for the state from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

“As fiscal conservatives, we have consistently looked out for the best interests of the taxpayers of Wisconsin. These new revenue projections reflect the growing economy and the impact of the pro-growth reforms made by Republicans over the last eight years.

“Assembly Republicans are announcing our intentions to put these dollars toward providing tax relief, growing the rainy day fund and paying down debt. Now is not the time to go on a spending spree with one-time revenues. We refuse to spend in a way that we can’t afford.

“The citizens of Wisconsin should be confident that we’ll continue to be good stewards of their tax dollars.  Moving forward in the budget process, we’re committed to making the right priorities without raising income or sales taxes and expanding welfare.”

Rep. Zamarripa: Statement on executive Latino appointments

0

CONTACT: (608) 267-7669

MADISON – State Representative JoCasta Zamarripa (D-Milwaukee) released the following statement on the appointments of Latino Wisconsinites by Governor Tony Evers:

“I’m grateful to Governor Tony Evers—he has prioritized appointing knowledgeable, experienced and diverse candidates to run our state. In particular, I would like to highlight the Latino Wisconsinites Governor Evers has chosen for leadership positions in his cabinet and beyond. From cabinet to various gubernatorial appointments, underrepresented communities are getting more of a voice than ever.

Yesterday, Governor Evers appointed Joaquin Altoro as Executive Director of WHEDA. Altoro is the 2nd Latino Wisconsinite to join Governor Evers’ cabinet. The governor also reappointed Ivan Gamboa to the WHEDA Board. They join attorney Rebecca Cameron Valcq who leads the Public Service Commission. Cameron Valcq is the daughter of long-time leader in our Latino and Milwaukee communities, Maria Monreal Cameron. Governor Evers appointed Cameron Valcq to his cabinet in December of last year.

Additionally, Governor Evers appointed attorney Israel Ramon to Milwaukee County Register of Deeds after the position was vacated in April. Ramon has 25 years of legal experience and is a long-time leader in our Latino, as well as our LGBT communities. Ramon’s appointment is historic as he is the first openly-LGBT individual, as well as the first Latino to serve as Register of Deeds in Milwaukee County.

“Latinos are the fastest growing constituency in Wisconsin, and it makes all the difference in the world to young people of color to see folks like them in positions of power doing well in the world. I’m so proud to see my friends and leaders in the community appointed to these roles, and I know they’ll do an exemplary job. Congratulations to Rebecca, Israel, Ivan, and Joaquin—you’ll do great things for Wisconsin!”

Sean M. Marschke: Wisconsin must pass death benefit legislation for families of fallen officers

0

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

This week Wisconsin and the nation observe National Police Week and Peace Officers Memorial Day in remembrance of law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty.

In 2018 alone, 163 fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and loved ones lost their lives serving as a police officer across the country. Wisconsin lost two of its officers in 2018 – A somber reminder of the ultimate sacrifice these men and women give to protect our communities and our families.

It may be difficult to believe, but currently in Wisconsin, if you are a law enforcement officer and are killed in the line of duty, your spouse and children lose their health insurance benefits. A traumatic fact and a cold reality for a family that just experienced the worst day of their lives.

In 2009 Wisconsin passed a law requiring municipalities to continue to provide health insurance coverage for surviving spouses and children of fire fighters who died in the line of duty. Unfortunately, law enforcement was not included in the legislation.

This week bipartisan legislation was introduced by State Senators Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) and Janet Bewley (D-Mason) and State Representatives John Spiros (R-Marshfield) and Steve Doyle (D-Onalaska) that would provide the same benefits that fire fighters and those in the military receive if killed on duty.In many Wisconsin cases, these fallen officers are providers for a family, a family that depends on the income and benefits provided by the officer’s position. When these officers are lost, the family can struggle to not only make up for the loss of a loved one, but a loss of their basic needs as well.

The Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association, along with a broad coalition of public safety professionals, including; the Badger State Sheriffs’ Association, County Law Enforcement Professionals of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Professional Police Association, Wisconsin Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs Association, and the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin are encouraging legislators to sign onto the proposal.

The coalition members are asking elected officials a simple question, “If you ‘Back the Badge’ why not back their spouse and kids?” Similar legislation was introduced in previous legislative sessions and had wide bipartisan support but did not get signed into law. The public safety coalition hopes to have this commonsense legislation signed into law this session.

Though this legislation will only impact a few families each year, it allows law enforcement the assurance that if something did happen, their families would not have the added stress of worrying about insurance while they are saying their final good-byes.

In an age where new officer recruiting classes are getting smaller every year, it is time that the state officially show strong support for the officers, as well as the loved ones that share a commitment to our society’s wellbeing.

– Marschke is president of the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association of Wisconsin.

 

Sen. Bewley: Legislature passes Bewley bill to end tax breaks for business that move jobs out of Wisconsin

0

Contact: Senator Janet Bewley

(608) 266-3510

Providing tax breaks for businesses relocating to Wisconsin makes sense.

Giving tax breaks to companies that move jobs out of Wisconsin doesn’t. 

 Madison – State Senator Janet Bewley (D-Delta) released the following statement today after legislation to eliminate tax deductions for moving expenses for businesses that leave Wisconsin passed the Senate.

“Providing tax breaks for businesses relocating to Wisconsin makes sense.  Giving tax breaks to companies that move jobs out of Wisconsin doesn’t.

Most people are shocked when I tell them that under current law, a business may deduct from its Wisconsin income or franchise taxes all expenses that the business paid to move operations out of the state, including expenses paid to relocate outside of the United States.  I don’t think it makes sense for the state to give this kind of tax break to companies that are taking jobs to other states and other countries.

I introduced this bill in previous sessions, but it never moved forward.  In fact, when I first introduced it in 2011, not a single one of my Republican colleagues signed onto the bill.  I kept at it and after years of effort, I handed the bill over to Representative Neylon and Senator Feyen, who agreed to be lead authors on the bill.  2019 Assembly Bill 10 has 21 Republican co-authors, passed the Assembly earlier this month and received final approval in the Senate today.  I hope this new-found spirit of bipartisanship is a harbinger of even more good things to come.”

Sen. Cowles: Pollution prevention partnerships unanimously supported by Senate

0

Contact: Senator Robert Cowles ~ (608) 266-0484

MADISON– Senator Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) released the following statement after 2019 Senate Bill 91, also known as P3: Wisconsin’s Trading Marketplace to Create a Pollution Prevention Partnership which was authored by Senator Cowles, Representative Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) and Senator Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon), passed the Senate during today’s floor session by a vote of 32-0 as amended in Committee:

“Senate Bill 91 represents an exciting and innovative opportunity to provide farmers and other nonpoint sources with some financial incentive to implement more advanced land and water management practices. This bipartisan, groundbreaking effort will promote more water quality trades by introducing a third-party clearinghouse into the currently inflexible pollutant trading process to create a marketplace for trades.”

These mutually beneficial water quality trades allow nonpoint-source dischargers to create a reduction in total pollutants entering a waterbody, quantified as credits, to be purchased through a central clearinghouse. These credits will provide necessary pollution reduction to a point source, such as a municipal wastewater treatment plant or cheese factory, to comply with the requirements of their wastewater permit. Trades would take place within the largest hydrologic area possible while still resulting in a reduction of pollutants entering a waterway.

“Today’s vote helped to set Wisconsin on a course to create the first statewide water quality pollutant trading clearinghouse. While the goal is to create a reduction in nutrients entering waterways to help clean up our waters, Senate Bill 91 would have numerous ecological, financial, and recreational benefits not just for those involved in trades, but for all Wisconsinites and tourists to our great state. By bringing more farmers to the table and incentivizing them to implement proven land conservation strategies, coupled with the opportunity for industry to comply with permit requirements in a more cost effective manner, this bill has the potential to make a positive impact on our state’s economy.

“Nearly every point- and nonpoint-source has the potential to benefit from this legislation, and dozens of groups understand this benefit and have expressed strong support for these Pollution Prevention Partnerships. Working to help stabilize markets while reducing water pollution is a win for everyone. I’d like to thank my fellow authors, Representative Kitchens and Senator Petrowski, and the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee Members, Senators Olsen, Marklein, Miller and Hansen, for their support of this legislation.”

2019 Senate Bill 91 was drafted through years of work with stakeholders and vetting the third-party process. This work has helped to gain the support of 30 groups ranging from the Wisconsin Economic Development Association to Clean Wisconsin, League of Wisconsin Municipalities to Farm Bureau, and Cheese Makers to Trout Unlimited. The DNR under the previous and current administrations has also been deeply involved in the drafting process, and have expressed support for Senate Bill 91. This legislation awaits action by the Assembly Committee on Local Government.

Sen. Darling: Wisconsin expected to see $150 million in ongoing revenues

0
Contact:
Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills)
1-608-266-5830

Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette)

1-608-266-2343

Madison-The Co-Chairs of the budget-writing, Joint Committee on Finance, Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) released the following statement regarding recently released revenue projections:

“Contrary to the negativity coming from Democrats, Wisconsin is on solid economic ground. New data released by the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau shows we can expect nearly $150 million in ongoing revenue available for the next biennium on top of the $1.8 billion previously estimated. This is even more proof that there is no need to raise taxes on the people of Wisconsin.

“This re-estimate proves that our reforms are working; the state is spending less on burdensome regulation while holding the line on taxes for Wisconsinites across the state. The improved revenue numbers are encouraging.

We know there is more work to be done. As we continue our work on the 2019-21 state budget process, we will continue on the same path and employ responsible fiscal planning to ensure Wisconsin continues to prosper and succeed.”

Sen. Feyen: Saving taxpayer money

0

Contact: Emelia Rohl

(608) 266-5300

MADISON- Legislation authored by Senator Dan Feyen (R-Fond du Lac) to promote economic growth and save taxpayer money passed the Senate with bipartisan support today. Assembly Bill 10 will ensure that taxpayers are not subsidizing the moving costs for companies leaving the state or the country. Sen. Feyen is devoted to promoting economic growth in the state of Wisconsin and protecting Wisconsin taxpayers’ hard-earned money.

“We all want to see our economy grow and prosper. It’s common sense that one of the best ways to boost our economy is to encourage businesses to stay right here in the state of Wisconsin and invest in our future. Our tax dollars should not be wasted on subsidizing the moving costs for companies who are trying to leave the state.” Sen. Feyen said.  “I look forward to seeing this legislation signed into law and seeing the positive effects it will have on Wisconsin taxpayers.”

Sen. Fitzgerald: Wisconsin Senate sends crime victim rights amendment to voters

0

Contact: Alec Zimmerman
(608) 266-5660

Voters will weigh in on amendment during April 2020 election

[Madison, WI]  The Wisconsin State Senate passed Marsy’s Law today, proposing a constitutional amendment that would enhance and add to Wisconsin’s current protections for crime victims. With the passage of the bill, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald released the following statement:

“Being a victim of crime is a traumatizing experience. These victims deserve our support and respect. While Wisconsin has led the nation in protections for victims, this important amendment further ensures that victims are treated with dignity and helps protect those who are harmed from being revictimized.

“I’m proud of the work that the Senate did to pass this constitutional amendment and look forward to voters weighing in next spring. I want to thank Senator Van Wanggaard for his work on this important piece of legislation.”

The Assembly plans to take up the measure today as well. Once passed by the Assembly, voters will have the opportunity to weigh in on the proposed amendment to Wisconsin’s Constitution during the April 2020 election.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) represents the 13th Senate District, which covers portions of Dodge, Jefferson, Waukesha, Washington, Dane, and Columbia counties.

Sen. Hansen: Senate Republicans once again show their true colors by refusing to close dark stores loophole

0
For Immediate Release                                                           Contact: Sen. Hansen
May 15, 2019                                                                                    608-266-5670
(Madison)—State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) said Republicans continue to show the public whose side they’re on in a battle between Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and homeowners after a Senate Republicans again refused to vote to close the Dark Stores loophole.
“Anyone following this issue knows that the longer it takes to close the Dark Stores loophole the higher homeowner’s property taxes will go,” said Hansen.  “But the Republicans in the Legislature continue to play games telling the public they support closing the loophole when they’re back home but voting against any efforts to actually do something to protect homeowners when they’re in Madison.”
Senate Republicans used a procedural move to once again prevent legislation to close the loophole from being voted on.–the same procedural move they used to kill similar legislation last session.  Despite siding with WMC to keep the loophole in place, Republicans then campaigned promising to close the loophole if they were elected, only to break their promise yet again.
“This is the same trick they used last session to block a vote on similar legislation despite both bills having significant numbers of both parties signed on as sponsors of the bills.  It is another Republican bait-and-switch.  Promise the people one thing but continue to do the bidding of WMC and the corporate big box stores that are trying to shift their property taxes onto homeowners.”
“Every day they stall and delay, more and more homeowners are at risk of seeing their property tax bills increase.  Meanwhile, WMC, corporate retailers and their CEOs make out like bandits.”

Sen. Jacque: Correctional system safety proposal passes state Senate

0

Contact:  Sen. André Jacque

(608) 266-3512

MADISON – The Wisconsin State Senate voted unanimously yesterday afternoon to approve Senator André Jacque’s (R – De Pere) corrections contraband legislation, SB 70, to help crack down on unsafe prison conditions.

This common-sense legislation closes the current contraband loophole, identified by corrections officers, which endangers both corrections employees and inmates,” Jacque said.

Under current law, it is illegal to smuggle a prohibited item into a prison and distribute it to someone else, but only a simple rules violation for someone found in possession of the prohibited items.  These items are often very dangerous in a corrections setting, and actual confiscated items were displayed or discussed by the Outagamie County Sheriff’s Department Administrator, Capt. Dave Kiesner, when he testified at the Senate and Assembly hearings on the legislation. The items included a handcuff key, metal objects that were easily converted into weapons, flammable liquids, and cellphones that could be used by inmates to direct criminal activity from behind bars.

The legislation previously passed the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee on a unanimous, bi-partisan 5-0 vote and now heads to the Assembly, where its identical Assembly companion bill has already received a public hearing.

Sen. André Jacque represents Northeast Wisconsin’s First Senate District, consisting of Door and Kewaunee Counties and portions of Brown, Calumet, Manitowoc, and Outagamie counties.

Sen. Ringhand: Senate Republicans unanimously reject vote on Dark Store fix

0

Contact: State Senator Janis Ringhand; (608) 266-2253; [email protected]

Today, Wisconsin Senate Republicans unanimously rejected an effort to vote on legislation to address the Dark Store property tax scheme.

State Senator Janis Ringhand (D-Evansville) attempted to bring the issue up for a vote. The Republicans used a procedural move to block the legislation, just as they did when Senator Ringhand attempt to bring the issue to a vote last year.

“It seems that the Republicans are helping the big box stores shift their property tax burden onto the back of homeowners,” Ringhand said.  “This move demonstrates how the Republicans would rather defend corporate lobbyists than the homeowners in their districts.”

The legislation (SB 130) is one of the most bi-partisan bills introduced in the legislature. Ten members from each party have co-sponsored the bill in the State Senate.

Senator Ringhand said that she will continue to fight for homeowners who are seeking relief from the Dark Store tax scheme.

“People throughout Wisconsin expect the legislature to be more than a support system for the corporate lobby.”

Sen. Shilling: Senate GOP refuse to close the “Dark Store” loophole

0

Contact: Kate Constalie, [email protected], 608-266-5490

Homeowners to face higher property taxes under Republican control

MADISON, WI – Senate Republicans blocked action to close the “Dark Store” loophole that allows large corporate retailers to shift their property tax liability onto homeowners and small businesses. All across Wisconsin, large corporate retailers have challenged their property taxes by arguing that the value of their new property is the same as an abandoned, or “dark” property, in a different location. Democrats have advocated for closing this loophole and preventing corporations from using vacant, abandoned or dark properties as a comparison for determining the value of a fully operational and occupied building.

“It is baffling that Republicans are refusing to take action to restore tax fairness for homeowners and small businesses,” said Shilling. “To add insult to injury, they blocked their own bill that has overwhelming public and bipartisan support. This issue is impacting municipalities of all sizes across the state and it’s one of the reasons we saw a jump in property taxes last year. Rather than more tax breaks for the wealthy and large corporations, Gov. Evers and Legislative Democrats have made it clear we want to close corporate tax loopholes, restore tax fairness and promote economic opportunities for working families.”

A similar provision to close the “Dark Store” loophole was included in Governor Evers 2019-21 State Budget but was also blocked by Joint Finance Committee Republicans.

Sen. Smith and Rep. Emerson: Statement regarding UW-EC Science Building project

0

Contact: Meghan Sovey

[email protected]

608-266-8546

Democrats attempt bipartisan effort to support UW-EC science building project while area Republican Assemblyman play politics.

MADISON – Today Senator Jeff Smith (D-Brunswick) and Representative Jodi Emerson (D-Eau Claire) submitted a letter of support to Joint Finance Committee members advocating for the construction of the Science and Health Sciences building at UW-Eau Claire.

The attached support letter was circulated to Republican and Democratic legislators involved in the UW-Eau Claire planning meetings. No Republican legislators signed onto the letter, but instead, sent a motion to Joint Finance members without Democratic outreach.

Senator Smith and Representative Jodi Emerson offered the following joint statement:

“We appreciate Chancellor Schmidt and UW-Eau Claire’s effort to orchestrate bipartisan support for this project. It’s a shame Representatives Petryk, James, Pronschinske, Quinn and Summerfield are more interested in playing politics with UW-Eau Claire’s project than working together.

“We remain hopeful that Joint Finance Committee members can look past the politics and see the merits of this project. We will continue to attempt to work with our area Republican colleagues despite the pettiness of their actions today.”

Sen. Stroebel: Opposes Marsy’s Law

0

Contact: Luke Fuller (608) 266-7513

Madison, WI – Senator Duey Stroebel (R-Cedarburg) released the following statement after the vote on Marsy’s Law in the State Senate:

How we treat victims of crime is very important in our state. It was my desire to ensure we continued our tradition of being a leader in victim’s rights that motivated me to support Marsy’s law two years ago. I supported it last session, despite reservations.

As I have witnessed Marsy’s Law implemented in other states, I am increasingly concerned about the real world problems associated with my concerns about this proposal.  I believe we have a robust system in current law to protect victims. The limited ways this proposal could improve the status quo are outweighed by the possibilities for unforeseen problems. I am concerned about putting technical provisions that may need changes over time into the Constitution, where change is incredibly difficult. 

Sen. Wanggaard: Crime victims’ rights amendment heads to voters

0

CONTACT: Van Wanggaard
May 15, 2019 608-266-1832

Marsy’s Law Gains Overwhelming Bipartisan Support for April 2020 Ballot

MADISON – Voters will have the opportunity to support a new crime victims’ rights
constitutional amendment after the Wisconsin’s legislature passed Senate Joint Resolution 2 with overwhelming bipartisan support today. Marsy’s Law will be before voters during the April 2020 election.

“This is a great day for crime victims in Wisconsin,” said the amendment’s author, Senator Van Wanggaard (R-Racine). “Victims shouldn’t be treated as second class citizens in the criminal justice system. They deserve to be treated with respect and equal rights.”

Senate Joint Resolution 2, known as “Marsy’s Law,” expands and elevates the rights of crime victims under Wisconsin’s constitution. Among the rights that victims will gain under the proposed amendment are: the right to privacy, to be treated with dignity and respect, to be heard in court, and the right to say no to intrusive discovery and interview requests. The proposed amendment also states that these rights do not supersede a defendant’s rights in the courtroom.

“Everyone can name a defendant’s rights, and that’s how it should be for victims, too,” said
Wanggaard. “When voters show their support for victims next April, they’ll finally be treated with the respect they deserve.”

Senate Joint Resolution 2 passed the Senate on a 27-4 vote, and the Assembly 82-15. This
follows passage by similar votes last year. The proposed amendment will be before voters during the April 7, 2020 election.

Senate Fitzgerald: Statement on revenue projections

0

Contact: Alec Zimmerman
(608) 266-5660

[Madison, WI] 
 Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald released the following statement addressing today’s updated revenue estimates:

“Today’s updated revenue estimates reiterate that Wisconsin’s economy is strong and that pro-growth Republican reforms are working. Wisconsin is seeing a return on our responsible fiscal management over the last eight years. As a result, we find ourselves in a great position to cut taxes, make smart investments in infrastructure, and maintain a strong closing balance.”

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) represents the 13th Senate District, which covers portions of Dodge, Jefferson, Waukesha, Washington, Dane, and Columbia counties.

Sens. Bewley and Hansen: It’s about time – Purdue and the Sackler family will be held accountable for the death and destruction they’ve caused Wisconsin families thanks to AG Kaul and Governor Evers

0
Contact: Sen. Hansen 608-266-5670
Sen. Bewley 608- 266-3510
(Madison)—Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) and Senator Janet Bewley (D-Mason) praised Attorney General Kaul and Governor Evers for their decision to file lawsuits against Purdue Pharma L.P., Purdue Pharma Inc., and Richard S. Sackler to hold them accountable for the damage that their products and practices have done to Wisconsin families and communities.
 
“For several years Senator Bewley and I tried to get then-Attorney General Brad Schimel and former Governor Walker to file a lawsuit to force Purdue and the Sackler family to pay for the death and destruction they caused so many people in our state.  Time after time they refused.” said Hansen.  “Thankfully Attorney General Kaul and Governor Evers are willing to stand up to these corporate thugs and seek justice for the people of our state.”
 
The lawsuit filed by Attorney General Kaul “seeks a permanent injunction, abatement of the public nuisance, and civil penalties. It alleges that Purdue Pharma L.P., Purdue Pharma Inc., and Richard S. Sackler, repeatedly made false and deceptive claims regarding opioids, including OxyContin.”
 
“People are literally dying in our streets as a result of their actions.  Families are being torn apart, our criminal justice system is being overwhelmed,” Bewley pointed out.  “Governor Walker and Attorney General Schimel were all too happy to sit on the sidelines in order to not offend the pharmaceutical industry.  This lawsuit is long overdue.”
 
According to the complaint:
“In 2017, more people died in Wisconsin from an opioid overdose than from motor vehicle accidents, suicide, or firearms.”
  • In 2017 alone, “Wisconsin lost 916 of its citizens to the opioid epidemic.”
  • “The rate of babies born addicted to opioids and other addictive drugs in Wisconsin has quadrupled between 2006 and 2015…”
  • “Between 1999 and 2015, the volume of prescription opioids per capita in Wisconsin rose 425 percent…”
  • “…between 1999 and 2015, Wisconsin has lost 45,200 workers due to opioids,” and “cost the State approximately $37 billion in real economic output.”

 

“Make no mistake, people like Richard Sackler and the owners of Purdue Pharma are nothing more than drug dealers in nice suits,” said Hansen.  “They knew the damage and heartbreak they were causing yet, despicably, they chose wealth and profit over the lives of the people who used their product.  They need to be held accountable.”

THU AM Update: JFC executive session, Pence visit; DC Wrap

This content is for subscribers only. Subscribe now to get access to this and other members-only content.
Subscribe Now or Login

Or purchase access to just this article:
Single-Article Access

THU News Summary: State anticipates $753M more revenue than projected; Assembly passes abortion-related bills

This content is for subscribers only. Subscribe now to get access to this and other members-only content.
Subscribe Now or Login

Or purchase access to just this article:
Single-Article Access

THU PM Update: State sues Purdue Pharma over opioid epidemic; JFC boosts tech college funding by $25M

This content is for subscribers only. Subscribe now to get access to this and other members-only content.
Subscribe Now or Login

Or purchase access to just this article:
Single-Article Access

U.S. Rep. Grothman: Statement on violence in Gaza

0

Contact: Timothy Svoboda, (202) 225-2476

(Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Glenn Grothman (R-Glenbeulah) today released the following statement on Hamas’ missile attacks on Israel and the current state of Gaza.

“Earlier this month, Palestinian militant groups, like Hamas, fired almost 700 missiles into Israel.” Said Grothman. “Israel was forced to respond to this attack by striking Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad facilities in Gaza.

The root of this problem is Hamas’ unwillingness to govern Gaza responsibly. Though Hamas has control of the government in Gaza, it is still Egypt and Israel who maintain control of the borders. Gaza boasts a 42 percent unemployment rate and rations electricity to its residents. Despite Israel’s attempts to help the people living in Gaza, conditions are not improving. If Hamas would allow the people of Gaza to find jobs, live comfortably and work toward bettering their own community, I believe that much of the animosity between Hamas and Israel would subside.

We should be encouraging fair government and free markets in Gaza, as opposed to the current system that has an internationally recognized terrorist organization ruling with an iron fist.

My heart goes out to the people of Israel who were affected by the recent attacks and to all of those who live in constant fear that a missile will drop on them at any moment. I hope and pray for a resolution to this conflict and assert that if Hamas were able to occupy its time promoting jobs and a growing economy, then they would have less energy to devote to terrorist activities.”

U.S. Sen. Johnson: Introduces bill to make log trucking safer

0

Contact:
Ben Voelkel

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) introduced the Safe Routes Act of 2019 Thursday, legislation that would allow logging trucks that meet state requirements to drive up to 150 air miles on federal highways. Logging trucks are currently limited to travelling on state highways and local roads which, unlike interstate highways, cross through multiple potential points of conflict, including intersections, crosswalks and driveways.

“Forestry is a top industry for a number of Wisconsin counties. Yet certain logging trucks are unable to use federal highways to travel even short distances from forest sites to processing or storage facilities. This bill would help make our roads safer by opening Wisconsin’s federal highways to logging trucks,” Sen. Johnson said.

Text of the legislation can be found here.

Sen. Johnson’s bill is the companion legislation to Rep. Mike Gallagher’s House bill of the same name, introduced earlier this month.

Weekly Democratic radio address: Democrats support Governor Evers clean drinking water initiatives

0

Contact: Sen. LaTonya Johnson (D-Milwaukee) 608-266-2500

MADISON, WI – Senator LaTonya Johnson (D-Milwaukee) offered the Democratic weekly radio address on Joint Finance Republicans’ refusal to take meaningful action on ensuring residents in communities across the state have access to clean drinking water.

The audio file of this week’s address can be found here:

A written transcript of the address is below:
“Hello, this is State Senator LaTonya Johnson.
“This week, Republicans on the budget writing Joint Finance Committee continued to dismantle the People’s Budget by blocking investments to ensure every Wisconsinite has access to clean drinking water. “Every Wisconsinite should be able to drink clean water from their tap, yet, communities across Wisconsin are suffering from lead contaminated water.

“Families deserve access to safe drinking water and the reassurance that our state policies reflect a longterm commitment to safeguarding the quality health of our waterways.
“Earlier this year, Governor Evers announced 2019 as the ‘Year of Clean Drinking Water’ after years of Republican neglect and failure to address water contamination issues.
“My Democratic colleagues and I were pleased to see a state budget promote critical investments to address water quality in communities throughout the state.

“Sadly, Republicans refused to take meaningful action on a crisis that is poisoning Wisconsin children. On the Joint Finance Committee, Republicans have blocked every attempt to make meaningful investments to reduce the amount of children and families exposed to lead contaminated drinking water.

“In the ‘Year of Clean Drinking Water’ Wisconsin Democrats remain committed to strengthening clean water safeguards, supporting policies that guarantee the long-term sustainability of Wisconsin’s waterways, and protect the quality of clean drinking water in every corner of the state for future generations.”

Weekly GOP radio address: State budget build on success

0

Rep. Shannon Zimmerman
(608) 266-1526

Madison… Rep. Shannon Zimmerman (R-River Falls) focuses on the budget in the Weekly
Radio Address for Wisconsin State Republicans.
Hi. This is Wisconsin State Representative Shannon Zimmerman. Wisconsin’s economy is in a great position thanks to a laser like focus on the economy over the last eight years. The dividend from this focus has produced an almost billion dollar surplus and has allowed the Legislature to invest in our priorities.

The last budget invested over a half billion dollars in public education, held the line on property taxes, and increased grants for farmer assistance. The Legislature continues this focus even as Gov. Evers tries to raise taxes on farmers and increase welfare benefits.
Wisconsin will not move backwards, we will continue to hold the line on taxes and right-size
your government. As we move forward in the budget process, Republican members of the Joint Finance Committee stand together with taxpayers ready to defend our accomplishments and continue to move Wisconsin forward.

Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health Executive Director Sara Finger: WI GOP plays political games with women’s health

0

Cecely Castillo

(608) 251-0139                                                                                       

Republicans Pass Extreme Policies While Denying Health Care Coverage

MADISON – Statement from Sara Finger, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health (WAWH):

“Women across our state are fed up with and appalled at how women’s health is being used as a political game piece. It is a grave act of misogyny that a body of mainly white male legislators believe they are entitled to dictate a woman’s personal healthcare decisions to score political points.

Today during National Women’s Health Week, Assembly Republicans showcased their true priorities by passing a batch of anti-abortion bills along party lines. Rather than focus on real policy solutions like full Medicaid expansion that would advance women’s health in Wisconsin, GOP leaders fast tracked a series of politically motivated bills that threaten women’s wellbeing, patient-physician relationships, and health care delivery in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Republicans are far too eager to pull pages from conservative playbooks to advance an all –out assault on abortion access. As seen in Georgia and Alabama, Wisconsin’s GOP majority is shoring up support from their extreme base for next year’s critical election year with these inflammatory and irresponsible policies.

The timing of the Republican push for these bills is transparent. With recent polling demonstrating extremely high support for the Governor’s proposal to expand Medicaid Wisconsin, GOP leaders rush a floor vote on these bills to distract from last Thursday’s Joint Finance Committee party-line vote to remove Medicaid expansion and other good policy items from the budget.

Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health strongly supports a woman’s right to make their own health decisions. We will continue to work to ensure all women have access to healthcare and access to medically accurate information. We will continue to track votes, and advocate on women’s health to ensure legislators are held accountable by their constituents.”

Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association: Applauds unanimous Senate passage of legislation to improve water and support economic development

0

For more information, please contact:

Rebekah Sweeney, 608-286-1001 or [email protected]

MADISON, WI – The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) thanks members of the Wisconsin State Senate for their unanimous approval of Senate Bill 91, legislation which would create a nutrient pollution trading clearinghouse.

“This legislation is the result of industry and environmental advocates’ collaboration to achieve their shared goal of improved water quality across the State of Wisconsin,” said John Umhoefer, WCMA Executive Director.

Introduced by Senator Rob Cowles (R-Green Bay) with strong bipartisan sponsorship in both the Senate and Assembly, SB 91 establishes a statewide clearinghouse through which farmers could receive financial incentives from municipal water treatment plants or dairy processing facilities to reduce the amount of pollutants entering waterways.  Trading “credits” for pollution reduction would encourage farm-level solutions and provide options for permit compliance.

“Senate Bill 91 not only addresses the need to protect our natural resources but also supports opportunities for rural economic development,” said Umhoefer.  “We thank Sen. Cowles and his colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their pragmatic approach to address the complex issue of water quality improvement.”

Senate Bill 91 now awaits consideration by the Assembly Committee on Local Government.

Wisconsin DATCP: Election period opens for Wisconsin Ginseng Board

0

Media Contacts: Rick Hummell, Communications Specialist

608-224-5041, [email protected]

MADISON – Wisconsin ginseng growers have until June 10, 2019 to vote to elect two new members to the seven-member Ginseng Board of Wisconsin. Eligible growers may vote for two of the three growers nominated during the period that ended April 1, 2019 or they may write in alternative affected producers.

The nominees whose names will appear on the ballot are:

Keary Drath, Ogdensburg; Ronald Krautkramer, Athens; and Danny Krueger, Wausau.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) will mail ballots to producers the week of May 15. Ballots must be emailed or postmarked by June 10, 2019. Elected producers will serve a three-year term beginning July 1 and ending June 30, 2022.

Eligible voters who do not receive a ballot by May 22 can contact DATCP’s Market Orders Program Director, Debbie Gegare, at 608-224-5116 or [email protected]

The Ginseng Board of Wisconsin is responsible for administering Wisconsin’s Ginseng Marketing Order. The board secures and distributes funding for research, education and promotion of Wisconsin-grown ginseng. DATCP administers elections for all Wisconsin market orders. To learn more about the market order boards, visit https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/About_Us/MarketingBoards.aspx

Wisconsin DATCP: Wisconsin Potato Board election now under way

0

Media Contacts: Rick Hummell, Communications Specialist

608-224-5041, [email protected]

MADISON – Wisconsin potato growers have until June 10, 2019 to vote to elect three members to the nine-member Wisconsin Potato Industry Board. One seat is open in the board’s Districts 1 and 2, along with an at-large position that encompasses all three districts. Eligible growers may vote for the candidate in their respective districts, or they may write in alternative eligible producers. Candidates were nominated during the period that ended April 1, 2019.

Nominees on the ballot are:

District 1: Nominee: Keith Wolter, Antigo.

District 2: Nominee: Clifford Gagas, Custer.

At-Large Nominee: Andrew Diercks, Coloma.

The three districts involved in the election represent the following counties:

District 1 – Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Brown, Burnett, Chippewa, Clark, Door, Douglas, Dunn, Eau Claire, Florence, Forest, Iron, Kewaunee, Langlade, Lincoln, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto, Oneida, Pepin, Pierce, Polk, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, St. Croix, Taylor, Vilas, and Washburn.

District 2 – Marathon, Outagamie, Portage, Shawano, Waupaca and Waushara.

District 3 – Adams, Buffalo, Calumet, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Fond du Lac, Grant, Green, Green Lake, Iowa, Jackson, Jefferson, Juneau, Kenosha, La Crosse, Lafayette, Manitowoc, Marquette, Milwaukee, Monroe, Ozaukee, Racine, Richland, Rock, Sauk, Sheboygan, Trempealeau, Vernon, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha, Winnebago and Wood.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is mailing ballots to producers the week of May 15. Ballots must be emailed or postmarked by June 10, 2019. Elected producers will serve three-year terms beginning July 1 and ending June 30, 2022.

Growers with questions or who have not received a ballot by May 22 can contact DATCP’s Market Orders Program Director, Debbie Gegare, at 608-224-5116 or [email protected]

The Wisconsin Potato Industry Board is responsible for administering Wisconsin’s Potato Marketing Order. The board secures and distributes funding for research, education and promotion of Wisconsin-grown potatoes. DATCP administers elections for all Wisconsin market orders. To learn more about the market order boards, visit https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/About_Us/MarketingBoards.aspx

Find more DATCP news in our Newsroom, on Facebook, on Twitter or on Instagram.

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development: Wisconsin’s April unemployment rate falls to record low 2.8 percent

0

CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722

On the Web: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/news.htm

On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WIWorkforce

On Twitter: @WIWorkforce

MADISON – The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) today released the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) preliminary employment estimates for the month of April. The data showed that Wisconsin’s unemployment rate declined to a new record low of 2.8 percent. Wisconsin’s labor force participation rate remained at 67.5 percent in April.

In brief:

  • Place of Residence Data: Wisconsin’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in April was 2.8 percent. The national unemployment rate in April was 3.6 percent. The seasonally adjusted data also showed that the number of Wisconsinites were counted as unemployed in April stood at 88,100, a record low for the data series that dates to January 1976.
  • Place of Work Data: Wisconsin added 17,000 private-sector jobs from April 2018 to April 2019, while adding 15,100 total non-farm jobs over the same time-period. Wisconsin private-sector employment and total non-farm employment decreased 3,900 and 3,100 from March 2019 to April 2019 respectively.

“We must remain committed to equipping all individuals with the skills they need to acquire family-sustaining employment regardless of age, race, gender and perceived barriers to employment,” DWD Secretary Caleb Frostman said. “I am happy to see a record low level of unemployed individuals in Wisconsin, but we must remain steadfast. Those 88,100 individuals, and those who are not in the labor force but want to be, need our help. The skills employers seek are diverse – it is up to us to ensure that our workforce is comprised of individuals who carry in-demand skills which lead to a living wage.”

Today’s full report can be viewed on DWD’s premier source for labor market information, WisConomy.com 

Wisconsin Historical Society: Step into the stories that make Madeline Island Enchanting at the Madeline Island Museum

Contact: Kara O’Keeffe
608-261-9596
[email protected]

La Pointe, Wis. – Get ready for a season of fun at the Madeline Island Museum, May 25 through October 29, 2019. Madeline Island Museum will kick off opening day with a community open house on May 24, from 5:00 –7:00 pm.

“We want the Madeline Island community to join us for a special open house before the site is officially open,” said Keldi Merton, site director at Madeline Island Museum for the Wisconsin Historical Society. “This is a great opportunity to have a look around and see what’s new in 2019.”

This community open house is free and open to the public.

Visitor Appreciation weekend will be held June 1-2, during this weekend guests will receive half-priced admission at the museum.

On July 4, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, guests can attend, “A Day on the Green: Traditional Madeline Island 4th of July.” This annual Fourth of July celebration is a tradition on Madeline Island. Island residents and visitors gather on the Madeline Island Museum Green and take part in the day’s festivities including a parade, speeches, music, and fireworks. In the morning, visitors can watch the parade with a program on the green immediately following. The museum will be open all day following the program and don’t miss the fireworks at dusk!

See history come alive, July 12-14, at the “Exploring the Lake Superior Fur Trade Festival and Re-Enactment”. As guests cross over to the island, they will be immersed in a living fur trade encampment on the Madeline Island Museum lawn. This year, the fur trade historians and re-enactors will be focusing on three major themes: the role of the Ojibwe in the fur trade, the life of a voyageur, and the role of birch bark canoe. The weekend will be packed with interactive programming for the whole family.

Learn about the history of the Treaty of 1854, September 28-29, which established the first Ojibwe reservations in Wisconsin and stipulated the rights of the Ojibwe to hunt, gather, and fish in the ceded territories. This special event commemorates the Treaty of 1854, which was signed at La Pointe, on Madeline Island. Special activities will be featured during the weekend event.

November 30, shop for all of your holiday gifts during the Island Boutique. The event features local and regional arts and crafts and a soup lunch to benefit the island school parent/teacher association.

Madeline Island Museum is a great place to explore the history of the island as soon as you arrive. For more information, hours of operation and to start planning your trip visit madelineislandmuseum.org.

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce: Immigration reform key to solving Wisconsin, U.S. workforce shortages

0
MADISON – President Donald Trump unveiled a plan to reform U.S. immigration policy on Thursday, which would include making changes to how immigrant visas are granted. Under the President’s proposal, more priority would be given to immigrants who have the skills needed to fill open positions in key industries. Following the announcement, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) President & CEO Kurt Bauer released the following statement:
“We applaud President Trump for taking a critical first step in reforming our immigration system, while also proposing a solution to the prolonged workforce shortage we are facing in Wisconsin and around the country. As birthrates hit a 32-year low in 2018, policymakers need to find additional ways to bring more people to the U.S. who have the skills to fill open positions. Simply put, sound immigration policy is also sound economic policy.
“It is no coincidence that about three-quarters of Wisconsin businesses are having trouble finding workers and a nearly identical percentage also support immigration reform to grow our workforce. That is why WMC has consistently called for the President and Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform that would tackle both our population and skills gaps. We look forward to working with the White House and the Wisconsin congressional delegation on this important issue.”

Wisconsin Manufacturers Council: Thanks Republican legislators for stopping attempt to raise property taxes

0
MADISON – Democratic state senators tried to use a procedural move on Wednesday to pull so-called “dark store” legislation to the floor in an attempt to raise property taxes on local businesses. However, the plan was stopped by their Republican colleagues. Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce Director of Tax, Transportation and Legal Affairs Cory Fish released the following statement commending Republican legislators for opposing higher taxes:
“I applaud all the senators who refused to take up the so-called ‘dark stores’ legislation outside of the typical process. Senate Bill 130 does nothing short of turning the property tax into a local income tax – allowing local governments to tax businesses based on their business value instead of their property value. Proponents of increasing property taxes on all Wisconsin taxpayers continue to trot out the same tired rhetoric that the property tax burden is shifting to residential homeowners. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Businesses pay almost three percent more of the state’s property tax burden than they did 10 years ago.
“Instead of siding with taxpayer-funded lobbyists who want to hike property taxes under the guise of closing a non-existent ‘loophole,’ the legislature should focus on lowering Wisconsin’s property tax burden for everyone and making our taxation system more objective, efficient and fair.”

Wisconsin Policy Forum: Budget proposals would mean major impacts for key development tool

0

Contact: Jason Stein
(608) 982-0323
[email protected]

WPF Looks at Potential Effects on TIF

MADISON – Changes proposed by Gov. Tony Evers to tax increment financing (TIF) would have major impacts on the main economic development tool for local governments in the state, lowering the revenues of existing TIF districts and putting limits on TIF going forward, according to a new report from the nonpartisan, independent Wisconsin Policy Forum (WPF).

State budget provisions put forward by the governor would limit the use of tax increment district (TID) funds to make cash grants to developers rather than more traditional investments in public infrastructure such as streets and sewers. The use of cash grants appears to have grown in recent years, drawing criticism from those who see them as an unnecessary subsidy to developers but a defense from others who say they can spur growth and reduce the amount of debt assumed by municipalities.

The Wisconsin Taxpayer report, “Renovating TIF,” notes the Joint Committee on Finance has
removed these provisions from the budget but not eliminated the need to debate the larger issues they raise.

“There is still value in considering whether changes to TIF in Wisconsin are merited given its strong growth over the past decade and, if so, which ones,” the report reads. “Previous WPF research found $472 million in TID levies in 2017 alone, which was up 25% from 2007 after adjusting for inflation.”

One change proposed by the governor and rejected so far by lawmakers would be to limit cash grants to developers to 20% of a TID’s total project costs. Another would be to require “stress tests” prior to TID creation that would examine how difficult economic conditions could affect growth in property values in the district and its ability to repay debt.
Looking at the provisions, the report found:

 Municipalities have traditionally borrowed money to finance infrastructure and other TIF
spending to spur development, paying off the debt through increased property values
and taxes within a TID. Over time, it has become relatively common for developers to assume the borrowing risk (an approach known as developer-financed TIF), with the
municipality passing on increased tax revenues to the developer to help pay off the debt.
The Evers proposal would limit such arrangements, which in some cases might reduce
subsidies to businesses but in others might shift risk back to municipalities or cause
development not to occur. State Department of Revenue data for 2017 show 172 TIDs in
the state, or 65% of the districts that used cash grants, reported cash grants of 20% or
more of spending – the threshold put forward in the budget proposal.

 In 2017, developer grants were 11% of total TIF spending statewide. That appeared to be an increase over a 2009 report by the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, a WPF predecessor,
which looked at 81 recently closed TIDs and found that 2.7% of expenditures were grants
to developers.

 Many municipalities already do alternative economic projections, or stress tests, whether
on their own or through a consultant. For that reason, the proposal may not represent a
large added burden for municipalities.

 Unrelated school finance and property tax provisions in the budget bill would decrease
TID levies by 5.5% starting with the tax bills sent in December 2020 and paid in 2021.
These provisions have also been rejected so far by lawmakers.

TIF is the primary tool that local governments in Wisconsin use to encourage development,
particularly in the case of sites and communities with blight, environmental concerns, or other factors that may make projects more costly or unattractive. When a new tax increment district (TID) is created, the value of taxable property within it (its base
value) is determined. Each taxing authority with jurisdiction in the district (the municipality, county, school district, sewerage district, and technical college) continues to collect taxes from that frozen base value throughout the life of the TID. However, as the property value of the TID increases due to public and private investments, the increased tax revenue derived from the private development, or tax increment, is used to repay project costs and borrowing.

The complete report is available here. This is the second in a series of reports planned by WPF on TIF usage in Wisconsin. The first in the series, “Tax Incremental Financing on the Rise,” can be found here.

Wisconsin Right to Life: State Assembly passes package of pro-life bills

“Yesterday, the State Assembly passed four lifesaving bills. One will ensure babies born alive after failed abortion attempts are given the same standard of care as children born alive naturally. Another will protect unborn children from abortions that are based on their sex, race, or disability diagnosis. The third will require women who are seeking chemical abortions to be given information on chemical abortion medications. It will also update abortion reporting requirements. The final bill will prohibit private abortion providers and their affiliates from receiving Medical Assistance certification,” shared Heather Weininger, executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life.

“We know that Governor Evers wants to support healthy moms and babies, and so do we. These bills are a start to doing just this.

“If we want to ensure all Wisconsinites have access to health care, education, and productive lives, as Governor Evers has stated, we need to do all we can to protect their most basic right: life.

“Wisconsin Right to Life thanks the Assembly for passing these four bills and proving what we know to be true: the majority of Wisconsin residents care about life.”

Wisconsin State Senate Democratic Committee: Senate Republicans side with big-box stores over constituents

0
Contact: Katie Iliff, [email protected], 608-260-2417

During Wednesday’s Senate floor session, Democrats brought forth Senate Bill 130, which would close the dark store loophole in Wisconsin. Senate Bill 130 is co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of 20 Senators. When Democrats brought the bill forward on the Senate floor, Republicans shut down debate and refused to allow the Senate to discuss or vote on the bill.

The dark store tax loophole allows big-box retailers to base their tax assessments on shuttered stores, giving them millions of dollars in tax breaks. This is shifting the taxes to already-strained homeowners and local mainstreet businesses.

“Once again, Senate Republicans had the opportunity to work for the people of Wisconsin and close the dark store tax loophole,” said Katie Iliff, SSDC Executive Director. “And once again, they sided with big-box stores over their constituents. Rather than ensure tax fairness for Wisconsinites, Republicans are beholden to the special interests that spend millions to get them re-elected every four years. The taxpayers of Wisconsin are being put under further financial burden because of Senate Republicans refusal to act.”

In November 2018, many counties and local municipalities had a referendum on the ballot asking voters what they think about closing the dark store loophole. Counties represented by Senators Dan Feyen, Pat Testin, and Luther Olsen were amongst the 17 counties that passed referendums to close the loophole.

Wisconsin Technical College System: President’s statement on Joint Finance action

0
CONTACT:
Conor Smyth, Wisconsin Technical College System
[email protected] or 608.266.2991
“The historic investment in the Wisconsin Technical College System of $25 million over the biennium approved by the Joint Committee on Finance today represents a powerful statement of support for Wisconsin’s technical college students and the employers anxious to hire them,” said System President Dr. Morna K. Foy.
“I have appreciated working with Senator Darling and Representative Nygren, as well as with the other members of Joint Finance, on a topic of great importance to communities across the state.”
“This investment will pay immediate dividends not only for our students, but also for the employers in every sector of our economy – from health care to manufacturing, agriculture to transportation, construction to public safety – who routinely say that technical colleges are important to the success of their operations,” Foy said.

WisDOJ: AG Kaul announces Wisconsin, four other states, file lawsuits against Purdue Pharma

Complaint Alleges Deceptive Conduct that Contributed to the Opioid Epidemic

MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul announced today the filing of a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma L.P., Purdue Pharma Inc., and Richard S. Sackler, Purdue’s former co-chairman and president, for alleged misconduct in marketing and sales of opioids that contributed to the opioid epidemic. Five states — Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, West Virginia and Wisconsin — filed separate lawsuits Thursday.

“The opioid epidemic has shattered lives and strained communities across the state and the country,” said Attorney General Kaul. “Today, we filed suit against Purdue Pharma L.P., Purdue Pharma Inc., and Richard Sackler, alleging that they misled the public and medical professionals about both the benefits of and the dangers posed by OxyContin and other opioids, and that the opioid epidemic is partly attributable to their conduct.”

Wisconsin’s lawsuit, filed in Dane County Circuit Court, seeks a permanent injunction, abatement of the public nuisance, and civil penalties. It alleges that Purdue Pharma L.P., Purdue Pharma Inc., and Richard S. Sackler, repeatedly made false and deceptive claims regarding opioids, including OxyContin.

Alleged in the complaint:

Purdue Pharma’s deceptive and false marketing created a shift in the understanding of the effectiveness and danger of opioids. The complaint alleges, “[i]n order to combat the concerns about opioids being abused, Purdue deployed an aggressive marketing campaign that sought to increase sales of OxyContin, while changing the accepted norms about opioid prescribing.”

The complaint alleges, “[i]n 2007, Purdue Frederick (and individual executives) pled guilty to a federal felony based on its marketing practices.” It also alleges, “Purdue Frederick specifically admitted that its supervisors and employees, ‘with the intent to defraud or mislead, marketed and promoted OxyContin as less addictive, less subject to abuse and diversion, and less likely to cause tolerance and withdrawal than other medications.’”

The complaint alleges that, after the 2007 settlement, Purdue continued to engage in false, deceptive, and misleading marketing practices, depending on Key Opinion Leaders, Front Groups, sales representatives and “patient advocacy” websites, in order to downplay the risks associated with OxyContin and other opioids. Those risks, as outlined in the complaint, include the risk of addiction, the ease of preventing addiction, the benefits of Purdue’s opioids relative to other opioids or pain relievers, the efficacy of opioids, the ability to control the effects of withdrawal, and the risk to senior citizens.

The complaint alleges that Purdue and Richard S. Sackler were fully aware of the potential profits of OxyContin. At the OxyContin launch party, Richard S. Sackler is alleged to have said, “the launch of OxyContin Tablets will be followed by a blizzard of prescriptions that will bury the competition. The prescription blizzard will be so deep, dense, and white…”

The consequences of the opioid epidemic for Wisconsin have been disastrous. As outlined in the complaint:

  • “In 2017, more people died in Wisconsin from an opioid overdose than from motor vehicle accidents, suicide, or firearms.”
  • In 2017 alone, “Wisconsin lost 916 of its citizens to the opioid epidemic.”
  • “The rate of babies born addicted to opioids and other addictive drugs in Wisconsin has quadrupled between 2006 and 2015…”
  • “Between 1999 and 2015, the volume of prescription opioids per capita in Wisconsin rose 425 percent…”
  • “…between 1999 and 2015, Wisconsin has lost 45,200 workers due to opioids,” and “cost the State approximately $37 billion in real economic output.”

https://www.doj.state.wi.us/news-releases/ag-kaul-announces-wisconsin-four-other-states-file-lawsuits-against-purdue-pharma

WisPolitics Midday: May 16, 2019

0

In today’s WisPolitics Midday update:

  • Wisconsin joins new opioid lawsuit.
  • Gov Evers announces his plans for budget surplus.

May 17, 2019 | May 15, 2019
- Advertisement -