2019 September

Monthly Archives: September 2019

‘UpFront’: Barrett says proposed sales tax would fund property tax relief, police, lead abatement

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett expressed hope that Republican lawmakers might allow the city and county to hold a sales tax referendum if they “understand exactly what we’re trying to do.”

Milwaukee County and its municipalities want to hold an April referendum on a 1 percent sales tax hike, with part of the revenue going to property tax relief.

“We’re not asking the state for any money,” Barrett said in an interview aired Sunday on “UpFront,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

“What we’re asking is that you allow us to go to our taxpayers and see how we want to tax ourselves and visitors here,” he said.

If the tax were approved, it would raise an estimated $160 million, Barrett said, and 25 percent, or $40 million, would go to property tax relief in the form of a credit.

Barrett said the city of Milwaukee would use part of the money for lead abatement, both on aging homes with lead paint and replacing lead laterals in the city’s water system.

He said without the additional revenue, the Milwaukee Police Department is likely to have fewer officers in the next city budget.

“I do not want to do that,” Barrett said. “A way for us to avoid that is to have this sales tax.”

He said he thought voters would OK the tax if it was explained and they understood how much of the revenue would come from visitors to the city and county.

“UpFront” host Adrienne Pedersen also asked Barrett whether he would run for re-election in 2020. Barrett said he is planning on it but was not making an official announcement.

“I love this job,” he said. “I love this city, and I love being the mayor of this city.”

Barrett said an announcement would come before Dec. 1.

In another segment, Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth suggested state lawmakers look at ways to curb vaping.

The nation has seen a spike in vaping-related deaths and injuries. In Wisconsin, at least 34 cases of vaping-related illness have been reported.

Beth spoke after Kenosha County authorities busted a black-market vaping ring and arrested two brothers in connection with it. They seized about 100,000 vaping cartridges, some 30,000 of which were laced with THC oil. THC is the active ingredient in marijuana. THC vaping cartridges are illegal in Wisconsin.

Beth said the investigation into that ring is growing, and federal agencies, including the DEA, CDC and FDA are getting involved.

“I think this is going to grow substantially,” Beth said. “I think this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

“We’re looking to see who is hurt, who is involved and who we can bring to justice on this,” Beth said, adding authorities are looking at additional persons of interest.

Beth said he would welcome lawmakers to learn “how this case and vaping is affecting people.”

“I would love for them to get involved and curb this somehow,” he said. “To what level I don’t know yet, but they need to get involved and take a lead.”

The vaping cartridge packaging in the Kenosha County case looked like candy, he said, and would not have aroused the suspicions of many parents.

See more from the program:
http://www.wisn.com/upfront

‘UpFront’: Fitzgerald eyeing tax cut before Legislature adjourns in spring

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said he would like to push one more tax cut through the Legislature.

Fitzgerald said he thinks revenue estimates will be high enough to allow for a tax cut before the Legislature adjourns in March or April. He didn’t offer specifics on how the cut would be structured.

“I think we’re going to be able to do it,” Fitzgerald said. “I think it will put families in a much better position in Wisconsin.”

Fitzgerald discussed state issues and his bid for Congress on the Sunday “UpFront” program, produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

He said he doesn’t see “any momentum” for a gun bill Evers and legislative Democrats proposed. That legislation would allow a judge to seize people’s firearms for up to a year if they pose a threat to themselves or others.

Fitzgerald said Evers wants gun confiscation.

In response to a reporter’s question at a Thursday news conference, Evers said he would consider a mandatory gun buyback program, but that he was primarily focused on red flag laws and universal background checks.

“I think there’s some Democrat members of the Legislature (who) are very nervous right now about how far Gov. Evers is and how extreme he has become on this overall issue,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald also said a plan by Milwaukee city and county to hold a spring referendum on a 1-percent sales tax increase is “dead on arrival.” The city and county need permission from state lawmakers to hold the vote.

“The Legislature’s just not going to go along with this right now,” he said.

Fitzgerald last week said he will seek the 5th Congressional District seat opening next year with the retirement of Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner.

“UpFront” host Adrienne Pedersen asked Fitzgerald, who was an early supporter of Donald Trump in Wisconsin, if there was anything on which he disagreed with the president.

“Nothing that comes to mind right now,” he said.

Fitzgerald credited Trump with a “roaring” economy in Wisconsin, “which is why I think he’s going to be reelected in Wisconsin.”

Pedersen also asked Fitzgerald if he was concerned about the impact Trump’s tariffs have had on Wisconsin farmers and manufacturers.

“When I talk to farmers, what they say is ‘We’re with the president,'” Fitzgerald said.

“(Trump’s) on the offense, he continues to push, China is now responding to that, and I think the farmers are going to hang in there with him because of that,” Fitzgerald said.

Also on the program, state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski said a new task force on retirement security will look for “pragmatic solutions” to help Wisconsin residents better prepare for retirement.

“When the typical working household has less than $3,000 saved in retirement, the governor and I believe that we need to do something to make sure Wisconsinites feel secure when they retire,” Godlewski said.

She said the task force will work to better understand the barriers that individuals or businesses face when it comes to retirement savings, and look at best practices in other states.

“Wisconsin has been falling behind,” she said.

See more from the program:
http://www.wisn.com/upfront

‘UpFront’: Moore calls Trump ‘threat to national security,’ backs impeachment

U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, said President Trump is “a threat to national security” and she “absolutely” will vote to impeach him.

“It’s not because I have rushed to judgment,” Moore said in an interview aired Sunday on “UpFront,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

“The elements of the Ukraine case have been alleged previously. And now, we really have proof from the mouth of the president,” she said. “It’s just astounding and shocking.”

Moore said she thinks the formal impeachment inquiry that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced last week “may very well conclude with an impeachment vote, perhaps by Thanksgiving.

“It’s not just that we don’t like this man. This man is a national security threat. This man is dangerous to our democracy and to our foreign policy and our allegiances around the world,” she said. “And it’s our responsibility under Article 1 of the Constitution to follow that.”

Moore also said it’s possible some Republicans could vote for impeachment. She noted that the most recent public opinion surveys have shown a “double-digit increase in the percentage of Americans who now agree with impeachment.”

“I think that we are bringing the public along, which is part of the process. But I do think that we’ve also seen some cracks in the Republican resolve to defend this president,” Moore said.

Also on the program, ABC News Political Director Rick Klein discussed the risks of impeachment for Democrats like U.S. Rep. Ron Kind of La Crosse, who represents a district that Trump won in 2016.

“UpFront” also talked to WPTZ-TV reporter Stewart Ledbetter in Vermont about the city of Burlington’s experience with the new F-35 fighter jets, which have created controversy in Madison.

See more from the program:
http://www.wisn.com/upfront

‘UpFront’: Walker says Biden likely to win Dem nomination

Former Republican Gov. Scott Walker said he thinks Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders “most likely” will win Wisconsin’s Democratic presidential primary, but former Vice President Joe Biden probably will be the Democratic nominee.

“I actually think that is a good thing for the president,” Walker said in an interview aired Sunday on “UpFront,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

Walker said that’s because Biden is comparable to 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in “the sense that they will say and do anything to get elected.”

“This president, whether you agree with him or not on every issue, he is who he says he’s going to be. And I think that’s really important here in the Midwest,” Walker said.

In early 2021, Walker will assume leadership of the Young America’s Foundation, based in northern Virginia, which works to promote conservative ideas to the nation’s youth.

“UpFront” host Adrienne Pedersen asked Walker about President Trump’s poll numbers among young people in Wisconsin. In the most recent Marquette Law School Poll, Trump had a 63 percent job disapproval rating among people aged 18-29.

“I get it, and it’s not just young people. I tell people all the time that the president may occasionally tweet things and say things that I and people around me here in this state would not do,” Walker said.

“But Washington is filled, filled, with people who talk right but don’t do squat,” he said. “This president has done tremendous things on substance.”

Walker cited the strong economy and low unemployment and said “we just have to remind people to connect the dots.”

Walker also said his son Matt is thinking about running for the 5th Congressional District seat that will be open in 2020 with the retirement of Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner.

“He’s had a number of people reach out to him,” Scott Walker said.

“I think in particular, what intrigues him, is he feels frustrated that AOC (U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY) somehow nationally is reflective of his generation. He’s 25, and he feels like there needs to be a counter-voice to that,” Scott Walker said.

Also on the program, Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, D-LaCrosse, called on the GOP-run Legislature to address gun violence and pass a Democratic bill that would expand background checks to the purchase of guns at auctions, shows and online.

“We are already conducting background checks,” she said. “By expanding what we already have, I think it could lead to greater public safety.”

Expanded background checks have public support, and “is something that responsible gun owners can agree with and are calling for,” she said.

She said gun-related legislation should be a priority of lawmakers in the fall floor period. But with only one day scheduled for October and another day in November, she said Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has the option of calling a special session on gun violence.

“I think that is a grave mistake and certainly irresponsible on the Legislature’s behalf that we don’t address this issue,” she said.

“If Republicans were truly listening to voters and listening to the public, they would hear this call loud and clearly, and unfortunately they remain beholden to special interest groups such as the NRA,” she said.

“I think it’s time that we come out of our corners, that we have the courage to talk about a really tough issue here in our country, a public safety issue, a gun safety issue, so that we can address these senseless acts of violence across our country,” Shilling said.

See more from the program:
http://www.wisn.com/upfront

50th Birthday Bash Fundraiser for Amy Loudenbeck for Assembly 🗓

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The Butterfly Club
5246 E County Road X
Beloit, WI 53511

5:30 to 7:30 pm | Appetizer Buffet | Cash Bar

Host Opportunities Available
$1000, $500, $250
Suggested Contribution – $50 per person, all donations gratefully accepted.

Please make checks payable to:

Amy Loudenbeck for Assembly
P.O. Box 556
Clinton, WI 53525

To attend or host contact [email protected] or (262) 206-4312

7th CD WisGOP: Statement on the announcement of Tom Tiffany as Republican candidate for special congressional election

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Contact: [email protected]

The 7th District Republican Party of Wisconsin is excited with the announcement of State Senator Tom Tiffany to be a candidate for the upcoming special election to fill the seat vacated by Congressman Duffy.

Senator Tiffany is a proven leader.  His record as a conservative reformer has cleared the path for our current blue-collar recovery and record economic growth.  Like President Trump and Congressman Duffy, Senator Tiffany is a champion of middle-class tax cuts and vigorous advocate for the reduction of overbearing regulations.

While the field is still developing, we look forward to drawing contrast between our Republican candidate’s pro-growth and freedom agenda versus big-government authoritarian mandates of the socialist left.

7th District Republican Party of Wisconsin: Statement on the announcement of Jason Church as Republican candidate for special congressional election

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The 7th District Republican Party of Wisconsin is excited with the announcement of United States Army Captain (retired) Jason Church as a candidate for the special election to fill the seat vacated by Sean Duffy.

Jason Church understands the sacrifice that men and women before us have given so we can prosper in a free nation.  His experience and vision will serve the voters of Northern Wisconsin well should he be our nominee.

We look forward to drawing contrast between our strong Republican candidates’ pro-growth and opportunity agenda versus the big-government authoritarian mandates of the eventual Democrat-Socialist challenger

ACLU: Condemns Waukesha County Sheriff’s decision to renew Wisconsin’s only direct partnership with ICE

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Waukesha County Sheriff Eric Severson has confirmed to the ACLU that despite community opposition, on July 1 he renewed his department’s agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to use deputies in the Waukesha County Jail as immigration agents.  Under an agreement called a “287(g) agreement” because it’s authorized by section 287(g) of the Immigration and Naturalization Act, federal immigration authorities deputize local law enforcement personnel to enforce federal immigration law.

”As he did when he first applied for  287(g), the Sheriff renewed the agreement to be part of Pres. Trump’s deportation machine very quietly and without public input,” stated Tim Muth, staff attorney for the ACLU of Wisconsin.

In April the ACLU of Wisconsin requested records from the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department in an attempt to learn how this partnership is operating, yet the Department refused to produce a single document until after the Sheriff had already extended his partnership with ICE.  Thus the 287(g) agreement was renewed without any public oversight.

However, the ACLU has learned that the Sheriff’s Department will hold a “steering committee” meeting on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019, at 2:30 pm at the Department offices, 515 W. Moreland Boulevard, Waukesha, WI 53188  The ACLU will attend this meeting and urges concerned community members to also attend to question the Sheriff’s agreement with ICE.

The Sheriff’s Department last held a “public” meeting to discuss the 287(g) program in September 2018. Because the Department buried the notice of that meeting deep in the Waukesha County website and did not invite any concerned citizens or organizations, no members of the public attended.

In October 2017, the ACLU of Wisconsin discovered and publicized the previously undisclosed application by the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department to participate in the 287(g) program of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”).   Particularly troubling was this statement by the Sheriff in the cover letter to his application:

“The Waukesha County Sheriff’s Office is willing, prepared and committed to assist in [ICE’s] effort to investigate, apprehend and detain aliens pursuant to the statutes….My office and staff will make this program a priority in our jail and welcome additional ICE partnerships.”

Although large swaths of the local community objected, Sheriff Eric Severson proceeded forward and signed the 287(g) agreement with ICE on February 16, 2018, and then renewed it on July 1 of this year.

Waukesha County is the only county in Wisconsin to have entered a 287(g) agreement with ICE.   Renewing that agreement continues the Waukesha Sheriff’s Department’s misguided path of lending its deputies to the federal government as immigration enforcers when the Department should be focused on improving relations with the immigrant community in Waukesha and other local needs.

Because the agreement can be terminated at any time, the ACLU of Wisconsin continues to call on Sheriff Severson to end his Department’s relationship with ICE.  ”We will continue to shine a light on the actions of the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department in this partnership with the ICE deportation machine,” stated attorney Muth.

AG Kaul: Recognizes National Suicide Prevention Month

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MADISON, Wis. – As National Suicide Prevention Month comes to an end, Attorney General Josh Kaul is urging those who are struggling with mental health challenges to seek support from people and resources around them.

“Law enforcement officers encounter difficult—and sometimes tragic—circumstances. We must continue working to de-stigmatize mental health issues and to increase the availability of peer support and other programs that promote officer wellness,” said Attorney General Kaul.

To date in 2019, there have been at least 163 officer suicides in the United States, according to Blue H.E.L.P., a non-profit organization that tracks law enforcement suicides[1]. This number represents suicides that have been reported. There are likely many more officer suicides that go unreported. It is estimated that twice as many law enforcement officers every year die by suicide than are killed in either traffic accidents or assaults.

At trainings provided by the Wisconsin Department of Justice, wellness training has been incorporated for all new chiefs, sheriffs, and jail administrators in a one week in-person orientation training program. Wellness is included in all DOJ-sponsored leadership training seminars and conferences for the law enforcement community.

DOJ is also increasing peer support training for law enforcement. In June 2019, DOJ sponsored its first three-day regional peer support team training event in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Beginning in 2016, academy students now complete training on wellness and suicide prevention. They are trained on the Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) program. QPR training focuses on identifying the signs and symptoms of someone in crisis; knowing how to ask someone if they are thinking about committing suicide; persuading a suicidal person to get help; and referring a suicidal person to resources that can help.

In addition to the wellness training incorporated at the academy level, in April 2019, the Wisconsin Department of Justice funded a QPR train-the-trainer course to develop additional QPR instructors who can provide QPR training at the academy level and beyond.

AG Kaul: Statement on extraordinary session legislation

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”The extraordinary session legislation has proven to be an unmitigated disaster.

“Beginning in February, the Department of Justice began trying to work with Rep. Nygren and Sen. Darling to set up a process for the review of proposed case resolutions. But, in stark contrast with the haste with which Republicans in the legislature passed the extraordinary session legislation, there has been delay after delay from the Joint Finance Committee when it comes to setting up a workable review process and reviewing proposed resolutions. Although it’s now September, JFC still hasn’t figured out a way to ensure that confidential information will remain confidential.

“Republicans in the legislature gave themselves power over certain case resolutions last December, and JFC needs to take on the responsibility that comes with that authority—the responsibility of maintaining confidentiality so the interests of Wisconsin taxpayers aren’t undermined. If the members of JFC aren’t willing to do that, the legislature should repeal the parts of the extraordinary session law that relate to case resolutions. It’s time for the Republicans in the legislature to clean up the mess they made with the extraordinary session legislation.”

AmeriCorps: Service Project Completed by Governor’s Office and AmeriCorps members

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Anderson campaign: To hold campaign kickoff Sept. 26

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Joni Anderson, Democratic candidate for the 14th WI State Senate district will be holding her campaign kick-off event on Thursday Sept. 26th from 7 to 9 PM. The event will be held at the Lucky 13 Saloon located at 3299 State Highway 13 Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin 53965 (corner of WI State Hwys 13 and 82)

Joni, 63 and a resident of Adams WI is a longtime community activist, a member of the United Electric, Radio, and Machine Workers of America, better known as UE. She serves as V/P of UE Local 1107 and holds a regional board position for UE’s Western Regional Council, as well as a state board position for OWR (Our Wisconsin Revolution) serving Congressional district 3.

She is a first time candidate who wants to use her experience in helping workers and her community to bring change to the State Capitol in Madison. One of her priorities is to ensure that there are fair redistricting maps that will result in fair legislative districts and an end to gerrymandering.

Please stop by and talk with Joni about your concerns and/or ideas for the 14th state senate district. Light refreshments will be provided.

Andrew Gussert: Investing in Wisconsin’s future

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

Right now, 11.3 million kids are home alone afterschool, without adult supervision, including 205,000 youth unsupervised across Wisconsin. One out of six students fails to graduate from high school on time. Nearly half of youth don’t believe the American Dream is possible.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

At the Boys & Girls Clubs of Wisconsin, we see, every day, the inequities and roadblocks our country’s young people face. With that in mind, we are committed to providing every child the opportunity for a better future, no matter their background. Success is within reach for every young person who comes through our doors, and we work with every child to achieve that full potential.

But we can’t do it alone.

Our kids’ success isn’t just in clubs, or controlled by funding from Congress or state legislatures. It’s on all of us to create change, and provide real opportunity based on kids’ potential — not on the circumstances that surround them. With the launch of our Agenda for America’s Youth, Clubs across Wisconsin — and the country — are joining together to speak with a unified voice to move the needle for our young people.

In Wisconsin, 159 clubs serve over 143,000 youth across 57 cities, more than any organization outside the public school system. When we think about the national reach and scale — more than 4,600 Clubs in communities across the nation and our presence in nearly every Congressional district — we have an incredible opportunity to create more awareness, understanding and support around the issues youth face today.

Out-of-school time is at the forefront of our agenda because we believe it is the critical vehicle for accomplishing these solutions. We use this time to equip youth with the skills they need in the workforce, while fostering partnerships that create access to real-life experiences to explore career options. Our clubs help them make positive decisions and embrace Healthy Lifestyles & Wellness, such as preventing cigarette and opioid use.

Prioritizing and investing in afterschool time not only leads to better outcomes for our kids, it leads to a healthier, safer and more prosperous nation. Join me in asking our elected leaders to prioritize our kids by funding after school initiatives, implementing trauma informed care, and promoting workforce development programs.

Our kids are the future. The return on investment is worth it.

– Gussert is State Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Wisconsin

Assembly Committee on Agriculture Republicans: USMCA Letter of Support

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Assembly Democrats: The speaker’s task force on suicide prevention receives grade “I” for incomplete

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Baldwin, Johnson looking for new applicants after Giampietro nomination to federal bench runs into opposition

U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson are seeking new applicants to fill a vacancy on the federal court in Milwaukee after the president’s first pick ran into opposition over past comments, including criticism over legalizing gay marriage.

Baldwin, D-Madison, originally agreed to a list of candidates to replace former conservative Judge Rudolph Randa that included Gordon Giampietro. But after Trump nominated the former federal prosecutor in December 2017 to the seat, Baldwin expressed opposition to his nomination after the comments came to light and encouraged Giampietro to withdraw. His backers argued Giampietro was being penalized due to his Catholic faith.

Baldwin said she wasn’t aware of his views when she originally signed off on submitting his name to the White House. She then declined to return her blue slip on his nomination, holding it up.

Giampietro didn’t receive a hearing before the last Congress adjourned, and the president then didn’t re-submit the nomination to the U.S. Senate earlier this year after the new Congress was seated.

Baldwin and Johnson, R-Oshkosh, didn’t mention Giampietro, who now works at Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co., in announcing the reformation of the Federal Nominating Commission. The body, comprised equally of nominees from both Baldwin and Johnson, will screen applicants to replace Randa, who died in 2016.

Johnson said the commission “has delivered highly qualified nominees in the past, and I am hopeful it can deliver similar results going forward.” Meanwhile, Baldwin said she was pleased to join “Johnson in moving forward in a bipartisan manner to advance the process of filling this judicial vacancy.”

The seat has been vacant since Randa took senior status in February 2016, and he died later that year.

Depending on how quickly the nominating commission finishes its work, the president could be looking at nominating someone to fill the seat during an election year, which could create hurdles to confirmation.

Baldwin appointed retired Judge Charles Clevert and Milwaukee attorneys Jeremy Levinson, and Barbara Quindel to the commission. Johnson picked Mauston attorney William Curran, Oshkosh attorney Paul Swanson and Richard Esenberg, counsel for the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty.

The commission is charged with finding between four and six applicants to fill a vacancy. Under its charter, a candidate must receive support of five commission members to be forwarded to the senators, who then forward recommendations to the White House.

Applications for Randa’s seat are due Oct. 16.

The other finalists along with Giampietro under the initial attempt to fill the seat were: former Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Richard Sankovitz, Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Kevin Martens and Waukesha County Circuit Judge Michael Aprahamian.

Ball State University: Creating training program to boost regional economic development in six Midwestern states

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MUNCIE, Indiana – Ball State University is creating a training program to boost the skills of regional economic development leaders in six Midwestern states.

The Indiana Communities Institute (ICI), which operates in the Miller College of Business at Ball State, has received $885,000 from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) for a three-year program to develop and deliver an educational series in the six states served by the EDA’s Chicago office. These states are Indiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio.

The program is tailored for regional planning organizations and federally designated economic development districts. Individuals earn a regional leadership certificate, demonstrating that they have completed courses and have the knowledge to accelerate and deepen their impacts in community economic development.

“Economic development is a major issue for every region in the Midwest,” said David Terrell, ICI’s executive director. “The need for this specific type of training and certification has been established through numerous discussions with our colleagues through state and national professional associations.”

He said the project will benefit the public by further educating and developing personnel working in regional organizations, particularly those designated by EDA as economic development districts.

Terrell noted these personnel work for public serving agencies offering professional services to local and regional governments to finance and develop public infrastructure and other public service programs. Training and certification will be customized in concert with these organizations to address gaps in information, training, and experience among the staff.

Starting in late 2019, participants will spend a total of 11 days learning from Ball State staff and expert practitioners in the fields of study. Courses include Local Government Finance, Organizational Leadership, Community Development, Project Management, Fiscal Management, and Administration.

To develop the project, ICI will partner with Ball State’s Sponsored Projects Administration, Center for Business and Economic Research, and Bowen Center for Public Affairs, as well as universities and professional organizations in other states.

For more information about how ICI helps communities, go to https://www.bsu.edu/academics/centersandinstitutes/indiana-communities-institute.

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About Ball State

Founded in 1918 and located in Muncie, Ball State University is one of Indiana’s premier universities and an economic driver for the state. Ball State’s 22,500 students come from all over Indiana, the nation, and the world. The 790-acre campus is large enough to accommodate first-rate facilities and 19 NCAA Division I sports, but our welcoming and inclusive campus is small enough to ensure the friendliness, personal attention, and access that are the hallmarks of the University. Destination 2040: Our Flight Path establishes Ball State’s ambitious goals for our second century. We Fly!

Barrett, Perez tout Dems’ revamped ground game

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and DNC Chair Tom Perez touted a revamped ground game after acknowledging Dems’ strategy in Wisconsin in the 2016 presidential election left “votes on the table.”

Speaking at a WisPolitics.com breakfast in Washington, D.C., Barrett said the party made a “mistake” by buying into a media-led narrative proclaiming the state was solidly blue in the runup to the election.

“They had won it consecutively for several decades, but oftentimes it was maybe by 1 percent or 2 percent,” he said. “So how anybody could just assume because you won by 1 percent four years ago or eight years ago or 12 years ago that you were going to win at this time was a mistake.”

Coupled with a voter outreach program that Perez said barely kicked into gear four years ago, Dems saw voters who had twice turned out to support former President Barack Obama either stay at home or cast ballots for Jill Stein — a fatal blow in a swing state decided by fewer than 23,000 votes.

“If Jill Stein voters had been for Secretary Clinton, that would’ve been enough to cover the 21,000 plus delta,” Perez said. “Same thing with the stay at home.”

In Milwaukee, Barrett said a poor ground game manifested itself when enthusiasm for Clinton “dissipated horribly” at the polls. But he added that there is a desire among communities of color in the city “to have engagement from the Democratic party.”

“I think that part of our challenge now is to make sure everyone’s engaged,” Barrett said, adding the DNC convention would not be a “parachute effort.”

The focus on rebuilding a ground game in the state, Perez said, was among the national Dem party’s top priorities in choosing Milwaukee as the host city.

“It’s not simply a party for four nights,” Perez said of the convention. “It’s an organizing opportunity.”

But Perez noted that work would not begin at the convention. He said Dems have been active on the ground starting in 2017, when the party made “a commitment to organizing in every zip code.”

“As a result of that, we saw a lot of these remarkable statewide victories in 2018,” he said.

Those results spurred on further investments in the ground game and Perez touted a diverse and “homegrown” organizing base that coordinated with volunteers to knock on 200,000 doors this summer.

“The folks we hired in Wisconsin, almost all of them are from Wisconsin,” he said. “So basically they’re going back to their communities to engage.”

Bill Kaplan: Can a Democrat succeed Duffy?

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

Wisconsin GOP Representative Jim Sensenbrenner has joined “more than a dozen House Republicans who have already announced their retirements. … it’s yet another sign that Republicans are pessimistic about their chances to win back the House majority …” (Politico). Earlier, Wisconsin GOP Representative Sean Duffy said he was resigning in September because his expected ninth child has a heart problem. Hopefully, medical intervention will remedy this difficult situation.

“The race to fill (Duffy’s) vacated 7th Congressional District (CD) seat, both in the special election (April?) and in November 2020, is sure to be nationally watched, given the rural Wisconsin district’s importance to … Trump’s reelection hopes” (Wisconsin Public Radio). Duffy’s predecessor, Wisconsin Democratic Representative Dave Obey, won the seat in an April 1969 special election (GOP Representative Melvin Laird had resigned to become Nixon’s Secretary of Defense). Obey held the seat until he decided not to run for reelection in 2010.

Can a Democrat succeed Duffy? Yes, if the Democratic campaign is run on bread-and-butter issues. That means listening and talking with farmers, middle and working-class folks about the catastrophic impact of Trump’s trade wars, health care and retirement security. Avoid identity group politics, we are all Wisconsinites. And, embrace a big-tent Democratic Party vision that speaks to rural Wisconsin.

Trump has again escalated his trade war with China. The Chinese retaliated with more tariffs on U.S. goods and will continue not buying U.S. (Wisconsin) farm products. 7th CD cranberry, dairy and ginseng farmers are struggling. Wisconsin Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin said: “Wisconsin has been hit particularly hard by the trade wars. Our state has lost over 1,600 dairy farms since (Trump) took office. The idea that other countries have identified products like cheese or cranberries or ginseng … for retaliatory tariffs has hit us hard. … But we also have … oversupply issues; we have had horrible experiences with the weather recently; and the price of milk has been low … .” A heartfelt political roadmap for the 7th CD.

Regular folks in Duffy’s district are also concerned about health care. Three of the Wisconsin counties “in the poorest health” – Forest County, Sawyer County and Vilas County – are in the 7th CD (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and UW-Madison Population Health Institute). And, the 7th CD has the highest number of Affordable Care Act (ACA) private insurance enrollees in Wisconsin (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). Moreover, ACA Medicaid expansion would help the 7th CD: reducing the uninsured rate and uncompensated care, preserving rural hospitals; increasing access to treat opioid misuse and substituting federal for state expenditures, producing savings for roads, transit and schools.

Finally, I would strongly urge any Democrat running in the 7th CD to embrace Duffy’s vote for the Butch Lewis Act: “The measure would help pension plans (covering over a million, including 25,000 Wisconsinites) sponsored by several employers and managed by a collective bargaining agreement by giving (low-cost loans) to insolvent plans so they can continue to distribute the promised retirement benefits” (Washington Post).

Yes, a Democrat can succeed Duffy.

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

 

Bill Kaplan: Climate crisis, listen to young people

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

The headlines blared: “Protesting Climate Change, Young People Take to Streets in a Global Strike” (New York Times); “Demanding action against climate change, millions of young people take part in a global strike” (Washington Post); and “Wisconsin Youth Strike Against Climate Change” (Wisconsin Public Radio). “The generational outcry comes as planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions continue to soar, even as their effects — including rising seas, intensifying storms, debilitating heat waves (wildfires) and droughts – can be felt more and more” (New York Times).

Thousands marched across Wisconsin, including in Appleton, Eau Claire, Green Bay, Madison and Milwaukee. One does not have to agree with all of their rhetoric or solutions to admire their heartfelt courage and passion. They are the future, and deserve one. Wisconsin Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin gets it, tweeting: “The Climate Crisis is a real and immediate threat to public health, national security, our economy and the environment”. Likewise, Wisconsin Democratic Governor Tony Evers is leading: joining a group of governors who support the Paris climate agreement, which limits dangerous greenhouse gases, and Evers is calling for eventual elimination of carbon-based energy.

However, Wisconsin GOP Senator Ron Johnson continues to minimize or ridicule climate change. And, Trump is worse: calling climate change a “hoax”, saying “I (Trump) don’t see it” and gutting the Nixon-created Environmental Protection Agency and cutting back environmental regulations, while giving a green light to the fossil fuel industry. Now, Trump’s cronies have undermined and politicized the National Weather Service (Wisconsin farmers depend on the accuracy and reliability of weather forecasts). And, Trump pretends to have sympathy for the struggling coal industry and hard-working coal miners. But coal can no longer compete with cheaper and cleaner natural gas, solar or wind energy. Moreover, it’s long past time for Trump to support the American Miners Act which would fund troubled pension and health plans for miners.

There is a better path. The September 16, 2019 Kaiser Family Foundation – Washington Post poll on climate change found “high levels of concern and support for policy solutions to address climate change.” Former Wisconsin GOP Governor Tommy Thompson gets it. He helps lead the Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum (WICEF), which advocates: “reducing energy waste and developing ‘Wisconsin-grown’ clean energy resources. Leveraging Wisconsin’s transition to clean and renewable energy will stimulate our economy, lower electricity costs, protect our national and grid security, reduce pollution and improve the public health for all Wisconsinites”.

WICEF supports clean renewable wind energy (Wisconsin gets only 9 percent of its electricity from all renewable energy). Some GOP-led states strongly support wind energy, including Iowa, Kansas (in 2018 a Democratic governor won), Oklahoma, North Dakota and South Dakota. “Studies suggest that Kansas alone could, in theory, supply a majority of the nation’s electricity using wind turbines …” (New York Times). Time for Wisconsin to end its reliance on coal, 49 percent of the state’s electricity generation.

We are Wisconsin, Democrats, independents and Republicans. Together we must listen to young people and save the planet from mad-made disasters.

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

 

Bill Kaplan: Health care is on the line

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

Fifty-three percent of Americans view the Affordable Care Act (ACA) “favorably”, an “all-time high” (Kaiser Family Foundation poll, September 13, 2019). Why? The ACA extended comprehensive quality health coverage to over 22 million through ACA affordable private insurance (covers 193,303 Wisconsinites), Medicaid expansion and allowing young adults (under 26) to be covered through their parents’ insurance. And, the ACA guarantees coverage to 52 million, including 852,000 Wisconsinites, with preexisting conditions (Kaiser). Moreover, the ACA lowered out-of-pocket drug costs for Medicare enrollees. Finally, the ACA reduced uncompensated care, helping both rural and urban hospitals.

However, Trump continues to sabotage the ACA by making it harder to enroll in ACA private insurance: cutting the open enrollment period by half, nearly eliminating advertising, slashing funding for enrollment assistance, ending federal cost-sharing payments and allowing the sale of worthless “junk insurance”. Moreover, Trump is trying to have the ACA declared unconstitutional through a federal lawsuit orchestrated by former Governor Scott Walker. A decision may come soon. And, if all else fails, Trump is counting on being reelected in 2020 with a GOP-led Congress to repeal the ACA.

No surprise then that fewer Americans are insured: “About 27.5 million people, or 8.5 percent of the population lacked health insurance for all of 2018, up from 7.9 percent the year before, the Census Bureau reported … (Wisconsin’s ACA coverage declined from 235,444 in 2017 to 193,303 currently). It was the first (national) increase since the (ACA) took full effect in 2014, and experts said it was at least partly the result of the Trump administration’s efforts to undermine the law” (New York Times).

However, not all Republicans have their heads in the sand. 38 states, including 16 GOP-led, have (3 in process) Medicaid expansion. Many in the GOP recognize that ACA Medicaid expansion helps mightily: reduces the uninsured and uncompensated care, keeps rural hospitals open, increases access to treat opioid misuse and substitutes federal for state expenditures, providing jobs and producing savings for roads, transit and schools. In Mississippi, former state Chief Supreme Court Justice Bill Waller ran for the GOP gubernatorial nomination supporting Medicaid expansion. He lost in a run-off, but state voters can now vote for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jim Hood who supports expanding Medicaid, as does Republican Delbert Hosemann, running for lieutenant governor.

Some Wisconsin Republicans get it. GOP state Senator Luther Olsen said: “I honestly think we have to take it (Medicaid expansion federal funding). Whether we do or not, I don’t know. We need to look with an open mind what it does for the state of Wisconsin” (2019). And, GOP state Senator Jerry Petrowski said: “I believe that we could have taken the (Medicaid expansion) money, however I could not find enough votes to get it done” (2014). Wisconsin voters should encourage GOP legislators to do right: ring the Madison Capitol Square with posters of GOP governors and legislators from around the nation on why they supported Medicaid expansion for their states.

And, vote! Health care is on the line.

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

 

Bill Kaplan: Impeaching Trump

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

All U.S. presidents swear to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Unites States”. However, Nixon infamously said: “Well, when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal”. But Trump has ‘trumped’ Nixon: (The Constitution) “allows me to do whatever I want”. And, Trump has disregarded President George Washington’s prescient warning: “(T)he jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.”

In June, Trump told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he would accept “oppo research” from a foreign power on his Democratic presidential challenger. He backtracked a bit after a public outcry and said: “I’d report it to the attorney general, the FBI.” Trump was normalizing deception. However, the press uncovered bombshells. Trump solicited Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to interfere in the U.S. 2020 presidential election. The conservative Wall Street Journal headline blared: “Trump Repeatedly Pressed Ukraine President to Investigate Biden’s Son (and Biden)”. Moreover, the press revealed that Trump’s private lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani, was a central participant in the scheme to dig up dirt on Joe Biden.

At the same time that the press was exposing Trump’s call to Zelensky there was another revelation. A government whistleblower had gotten wind of the call and filed a formal complaint in August which was quickly buried (like the transcript of the telephone call). A near-unanimous Congress forced Trump to release both. The telephone transcript has Trump pressuring the Ukrainian leader on smearing Joe Biden and his son, who had been on the board of a Ukrainian energy company. There is absolutely no evidence of anything improper by either Biden or his son. The whistleblower complaint raised the same issue: “The President of the United Stated is using the power of his office to solicit to solicit interference from a foreign country (Ukraine) in the 2020 U.S. election.”

The fallout was explosive. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi authorized an impeachment inquiry to get all the facts and hold Trump “accountable”. Wisconsin Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin and Democratic Representative Ron Kind also spoke up, while continuing to exercise restraint and thoughtfulness. Baldwin said: “Now we know President Trump solicited interference in our 2020 election. This is a threat to our national security and democracy.” Kind said: “As a former special prosecutor, I know no one is above the law – not even the president.”

But Wisconsin GOP members of Congress have not been forthright. Representative Jim Sensenbrenner gave Trump a pass, saying there was no “quid pro quo” by Trump to the president of Ukraine. However, Trump dangled the promise of a White House visit by Zelensky and prior to the call Trump stopped the flow of nearly $400 million military-security aid to Ukraine. And, Senator Ron Johnson is in Trump’s hip pocket. But, does Representative Mike Gallagher think Trump is fit to be Commander-in-Chief?

Trump put his personal and political interests above the nation’s. And, he tried to cover it up. Hence, an impeachment inquiry.

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

 

Bill Lueders: WILL issues report on Gov. Evers’ s record on open records

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While It has not been my experience that the Evers administration is markedly less responsive to records requests than the Walker administration, it’s good that WILL is keeping the governor on his toes. Given the contempt for openness displayed by some members of the Legislature, it is vitally important that the executive branch be a paragon of transparency. Gov. Evers should continue to maintain this web portal and affirm his commitment to the executive orders issued by his predecessor. And he should always strive to improve state agency performance in this vital area.

Brown County: Hosting economic development tour

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(Brown County, Wis.) –  Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach, along with Brown County Planning and Land Services and the Realtors Association of Northeast Wisconsin are giving real estate developers and agents a tour highlighting initiatives and attractions.

“This creative approach to recruiting investment is necessary to keep investment in Brown County high,” says Streckenbach. “We will demonstrate economic activity, opportunities and interesting facts about important projects in our community. Brown County will establish that the way is paved for commercial and residential development.”

The bus tour will take place Thursday, September 26, and will feature 17 points of interest covering many communities in Brown County.

Church campaign: Republican announces campaign for Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District

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Hudson, WI — Retired Army Captain Jason Church proudly announces his candidacy for the upcoming special election to fill the vacant seat for Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District: “In 2012, I answered the call to serve my country and I am proudly doing so again today,” he said in a statement Tuesday. “Wisconsin’s 7th District is made up of hardworking Americans who understand sacrifice and caring for their neighbors in need. They rallied around me when I came home from Afghanistan and it would be my honor to return the favor and fight for them in the United States Congress.”

About Jason:

A Menomonie, WI native and UW – La Crosse Football standout, Church deployed to Afghanistan in 2012 following his graduation from Army Ranger School.  In August 2012, Jason and nine other members of his platoon were involved in an IED explosion in Afghanistan. The IED blast resulted in the amputation of both of his legs below the knee. On July 31, 2014, First Lieutenant Church was promoted to Captain and medically retired from the U.S. Army.

Following his retirement from the army, Jason earned his Masters of Arts in Security Studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service as well as a Juris Doctor from the University of Wisconsin Law School. Jason also serves on the board of directors for Sentinels of Freedom; a foundation to assist severely wounded post 9/11 veterans.

Jason plans to continue his legacy of service, pick the tough fights, and stand with President Trump to secure our borders, protect the most vulnerable among us, stand up for our veterans, and make sure Wisconsin’s economic recovery is protected from socialist interference. He wants to serve the people of Northern, WI not the political interest of Washington, D.C.

##
For more information on Jason’s Campaign:
Website: www.ChurchForWisconsin.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/churchforwi
Twitter: @JasonChurchWI

Clean Wisconsin: Statement on EPA’s repeal of waters of the U.S. rule

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MADISON, WI — Clean Wisconsin strongly criticizes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s action today to repeal the Obama-era Waters of the U.S. rule that protects critically important small waterbodies, such as wetlands and streams, from pollution.

 

“Too many rural and urban Wisconsinites are living with unsafe drinking water, and now is not the time to cut back on clean water enforcement,” said Ezra Meyer, Water Resources Specialist for Clean Wisconsin. “The Trump Administration’s action represents a failure by the administration to protect the water resources we all rely on.”

 

The Waters of the U.S. rule originally aimed to boost federal protections for many waterbodies around the state and country, including for wetlands, small rivers, and streams that contribute to the surface and groundwater systems we all rely on for safe, healthy drinking water. The repeal of this rule will threaten drinking water for approximately 117 million Americans.

 

“We’ve seen what happens when the government fails to protect the public from water crises, not only in places like Flint, Michigan, but right here in Wisconsin, such as in Milwaukee and Kewaunee County,” said Meyer. “Clean water is a basic need, and the Trump Administration’s action today not only fails to protect some of our most vulnerable water resources, but threatens the health and safety of Wisconsinites and Americans.”

Climate Fast Forward Conference 🗓

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Note: If this post has anything to do with Evers, the Evers administration or lame-duck legislation and related lawsuits, please tag it as Evers Administration. Please delete this note before publishing.

Dairy Business Association: Applauds proposals to stop mislabeling of imitation dairy products

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MADISON, Wis. — The state’s largest dairy lobbying group today applauded three state lawmakers for a new legislative effort to stop the use of misleading labels on imitation milk and other “dairy” products.

Legislation proposed today by Sen. Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green, and Reps. Travis Tranel, R-Cuba City, and Loren Oldenburg, R-Viroqua, would ban the labeling of products as milk or as a dairy product or ingredient if the food is not made from the milk of a cow, sheep, goat or other mammals.

The following comments are from Tom Crave, president of the Dairy Business Association and a farmer and cheesemaker in south-central Wisconsin.

Image

“The plant-based food industry increasingly masquerades its products as real dairy foods. This mislabeling confuses customers who often make judgments about a food’s nutritional value based on its name. Words do matter. Milk is milk, and cheese is cheese. Customers deserve transparency.

“Our dairy farmers across the state applaud the efforts of Senators Marklein and Representatives Tranel and Oldenburg to create a clear distinction between real dairy foods and plant-based imitations.”

The results of a recent national survey about imitation cheese confirm the customer confusion:

  • About one-quarter of customers mistakenly think plant-based products that mimic cheese contain milk.
  • About one-third of customers think that plant-based imitation cheese contains protein, and 21 percent think that it is of a higher quality than dairy even though the imitations have little to no protein. Real dairy cheese has 7 grams of protein.
  • About one-quarter of customers purchase plant-based foods that mimic cheese because they believe them to be low in calories and fat and without additives. In reality, these plant-based foods contain an equal or comparable amount of fat and calories and substantially more additives than dairy cheeses

Dairy Business Association: State groups call for halt to livestock farm siting rule changes

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Contact: Jamie Mara
(920) 209-3990 | [email protected]


MADISON, Wis.
— A host of groups representing nearly every aspect of Wisconsin’s livestock agriculture industry are together calling for the state’s ag oversight agency to reject proposed changes to rules that regulate local approval of new or expanding livestock farms.

The groups, which represent thousands of farms and other businesses connected to the state’s meat and milk industries, said at a press conference today at the Capitol that the changes to ATCP 51 would not only damage farmers, including forcing some out of business, but also harm numerous other supporting businesses, from agricultural consultants and supply cooperatives to manufacturers of animal feed and health products.

“The negative impacts of the proposed rule revisions — which will without a doubt stymie further growth of livestock agriculture in Wisconsin — will be felt not just by livestock producers,” the 11 groups said in jointly written comments. “Left unchanged, this proposed rule could negatively affect hundreds of thousands of jobs in this state.”

ATCP 51 is the administrative rule implementing the state’s livestock siting law governing the approval process local governments must follow if they choose to regulate construction of livestock facilities. While conducting a required periodic review of the rule, staff at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection proposed the revisions, which were the subject of recent public hearings. The DATCP Board is scheduled to get an update on the hearings at a meeting Sept. 19. (See more background on the rule at the end of this press release.)

A wave of people spoke against the rule changes at the public hearings across the state.

The groups’ numerous concerns range from the process DATCP used to develop the proposal, including disregarding or all together excluding farmers’ input, to drastic changes to setbacks that would be unworkable in rural Wisconsin.

The livestock siting law — intended to create fair and uniform standards ­— dictates that the rules must be, among other things, practical, science-based, objective and designed to promote the growth of the industry balanced with environmental protections. The proposed revisions clearly fail to meet these directives, the groups said.

The organizations are: Cooperative Network, Dairy Business Association, FS GROWMARK, Wisconsin Association of Professional Agricultural Consultants, Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association, Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, Wisconsin Dairy Alliance, Wisconsin Dairy Products Association, Wisconsin Farm Bureau, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce and Wisconsin Pork Association.

COMMENTS FROM SOME OF THE ORGANIZATIONS

“Cooperative Network specifically objects to the proposed setbacks from property lines, as it would be a massive shift in the way farms are sited. Variances are not the answer. They would be a step backward, putting farmers in the same spot they were prior to the livestock siting law: dealing with a patchwork of different regulations and attitudes toward farming across the state.”
— Jennifer Wickman, government affairs director, Cooperative Network

“The livestock facility siting law helped our dairy community stabilize and grow after years of decline. It also gave local governments a useful tool to regulate these facilities. The current law is working. The changes would undermine the rule’s effectiveness, hurt Wisconsin farmers and send the message that we don’t want modern dairy farms in our state.”
— Tom Crave, president, Dairy Business Association

“Wisconsin’s dairy industry has faced a host of challenges — trade instability, a labor shortage and difficult weather — in recent years, wiping out profitability for many farms. Changes to livestock siting must take into account these financial stressors, and offer dairy producers a chance to succeed and grow, or we will jeopardize one of the state’s backbone economies.”
 John Umhoefer, executive director, Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association

“The DATCP Board should reject the staff recommended revisions to ATCP 51. The 2004 livestock siting law was the result of months of negotiation among livestock agriculture, the Wisconsin Counties Association and the Wisconsin Towns Association. The end result was a compromise with bipartisan support. DATCP staff ignored suggestions from livestock agriculture and instead is proposing to put existing CAFO operations at significant financial risk at a time they can least afford.”
 Cindy Leitner, president, Wisconsin Dairy Alliance

“Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation must object to portions of this rule revision, specifically the provisions requiring unworkable setbacks, inconsistent nutrient management standards and undefined delegation of monitoring authority to local governments. These revisions are not compatible with modern farming, and they will stifle the growth of our agriculture economy in Wisconsin.”
 Jim Holte, president, Wisconsin Farm Bureau

“Wisconsin’s livestock facility siting law was designed to create a uniform and understandable framework for siting new and expanding livestock farms across Wisconsin. The changes proposed by DATCP in this rule revision will erode that much-needed consistency and could leave Wisconsin with a patchwork of inconsistent local regulations. Most local governments lack the resources to develop, implement and enforce their own siting standards. Consistency and technical expertise are essential to the success of livestock farming in Wisconsin.”
— Keri Retallick, executive vice president, Wisconsin Pork Association
 

BACKGROUND ON LIVESTOCK SITING

Wisconsin’s livestock siting law, signed in 2004, provides consistent, statewide standards and procedures for local governments to regulate the construction of new or expanding livestock facilities over a certain size if they choose to do so.

Rules to implement the law were written by the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Those rules became known as ATCP 51 and took effect in 2006. They set standards for siting new facilities in areas of the state zoned for agricultural uses, and on livestock operations expected to house more than 500 animal units. (An animal unit is defined as 1,000 pounds of animal weight. So, while a single grown cow would be considered more than one animal unit, it would take a small flock of chickens to equate one animal unit.)

The rules do not require that all livestock facilities be sited. Instead, for local government units that choose to regulate construction of livestock facilities, it creates consistent standards that must be used in approving or denying applications.

Dane Co. Exec. Parisi: Dane County’s landfill biogas facility recognized by world’s largest scientific society for ability to address climate change

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Contact:
Ariana Vruwink
608-267-8823

The Facility—the First of Its Kind in the Nation—Benefits Local Economies, Advances County’s Clean Lakes and Air Efforts

Today, County Executive Joe Parisi announced that Dane County’s landfill biogas facility has been recognized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for its ability to turn garbage and cow manure into renewable fuel and inject it into the interstate transmission pipeline so it can be bought and sold to power fleets of renewable natural gas (RNG) vehicles locally and across the United States. The recognition is part of AAAS’s national “How We Respond” initiative to share the diverse ways communities across the United States are using science to respond to climate change. By calling attention to a range of responses, AAAS hopes to spread the word about initiatives others may see as opportunities for their communities.

“We are proud that an internationally-respected organization like AAAS has selected our landfill-garbage-to-renewable-vehicle-fuel facility to be in their initiative,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “Dane County is leading the way in combating climate change in Wisconsin. We look forward to working with communities to implement similar climate emission reduction projects, and having people across the country think about the art of the possible in their own community.”

AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and a leading publisher of cutting-edge research through its “Science” family of journals. The organization’s new “How We Respond” initiative includes an interactive website with stories demonstrating how communities across the United States are responding to climate change. A video of Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and John Welch, the Dane County Department Director of Waste and Renewables, highlighting the importance of the landfill biogas facility and how it came to be can be found here. AAAS also wrote a profile story on the facility. The organization’s full report about the national initiative can be found here.

“Responses to climate change by Dane County – including harvesting methane from landfills and cow manure and using that to power their vehicle fleet and generate electricity – demonstrate how communities can respond to climate change while also addressing local issues,” said Emily Therese Cloyd, Director of the Center for Public Engagement with Science and Technology at AAAS. “We hope that this story and others in ‘How We Respond’ give other communities ideas for how they can respond to climate change and ways that scientists and community members can work together to build stronger, more resilient communities.”

Dane County’s landfill biogas facility will displace 3,000,000 gallons of fossil fuels in its first year of operation, with this number growing to 4,000,000 gallons per year in future years. Due to RNG having a lower carbon footprint, this is equivalent to taking 4,800 cars off the road. It is a CO2 emission reduction equal to over 24,000,000 pounds of coal burned. In addition to the facility’s environmental benefits, it is estimated that Dane County will generate enough revenue from the facility to payback its $28 million cost of the project in just a few years.

Dane County’s landfill biogas facility has an offloading station to allow other biogas producers, like manure digesters, to inject their gas into the pipeline. This facility is the first in the nation to be able to receive biogas from multiple off-site locations and connect that renewable gas with RNG gas stations locally and across the nation. Before being hauled to the landfill for injection into the interstate pipeline, the gas will need to be purified and compressed by the owner’s equipment.

Digesters reduce greenhouse gas emissions by collecting methane that would otherwise be emitted into the atmosphere. They also help farms manage manure more responsibly, which reduces harmful runoff to lakes and streams. Due to the increased revenue opportunities for local digesters, this offloading station is expected to create an economic incentive for owners of “Cow Power” facilities in the area to convert their operations to vehicle fuel production, which will spur the development of more digesters in our area, and significantly increase Dane County’s lakes clean-up efforts.

DC Wrap: Candidates emerging in 5th and 7th CDs

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

Quotes of the week

“We see states go around and sue ‘big bad corporations’ because where you can’t legislate and get the cost under control of the underlying product in the first place, you litigate. If you can’t legislate, you litigate. And what we need to do is actually have a real, honest conversation about what the underlying cost of the product is, that is driving students into debt in the first place.”
– U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil addressing higher education costs at a House Financial Services Committee hearing this week.

I think that makes common sense, and I don’t think any gun owner should have any concerns about that if they’re law-abiding. This is not any violation or curtailment of the 2nd Amendment.”
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin talking background checks during an appearance on WKOW-TV’s “Capital City Sunday.”

This week’s news

— U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner received a standing ovation from the House Judiciary Committee after more than four decades of service. 

This came after Sensenbrenner last week announced he wouldn’t seek re-election at the end of his term next fall. Having previously served as the committee’s chair from 2001 to 2007, Sensenbrenner maintained a strong presence on the now Dem-controlled committee. 

Even in the increasingly polarized political climate, Sensenbrenner’s colleagues shared glowing sentiments about the retiring Congressman.

“He has served this committee and this House with distinction, and he will be sorely missed,” Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said. 

See the video: https://twitter.com/JimPressOffice/status/1171525629088428032

–With a number of possible GOP candidates considering a bid following his surprise announcement, Sensenbrenner says he will be “strictly neutral” in the 2020 Republican primary to find his possible successor.

The Menomonee Falls Republican told WisPolitics.com last Thursday he’s already had several possible candidates reach out to him. He declined to say who’s contacted him other than describing them as friends and supporters. Sensenbrenner said that’s part of the reason why he’ll stay out of the primary.

“I’ll be making one of my friends and supporters deliriously happy and probably five or six of them very angry at me,” Sensenbrenner said, describing the outcome if he did endorse in the primary. “Those aren’t very good odds.”

Sensenbrenner surprised many with his announcement that he won’t seek reelection after more than four decades in the House, where he is the second-most tenured member. Sensenbrenner said he feels good and there are no health problems that would force him to leave, noting at 76 he’s younger than Dem presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden.

Sensenbrenner, though, noted he’s still recovering from hip replacement surgery, which has made it harder to get around.

His hallmark has been the public appearances he’s regularly made in his district during his tenure, including some 100 town hall meetings a year.

“I’ve said all along I’d know when the time to leave has come,” he said.

He also preferred to leave now so a successor could win the seat ahead of the 2021 redrawing of Wisconsin’s political lines. Sensenbrenner said it would be better for the district to have a freshman incumbent in place during that process rather than a retiring veteran to minimize the temptations to carve up the seat, which covers an area immediately northwest of Milwaukee.

Sensenbrenner also said being in the minority didn’t influence his decision, pointing out he’ll have served 22 years in the minority and 20 in the majority after this term is up. He said he has “a lot of friends” on the Dem side of the aisle and isn’t afraid to work with them on legislation.

“I haven’t changed their political philosophy. I haven’t changed mine,” Sensenbrenner said of his relationship with Dems. “One of the things you’ve got to learn in this business — and not just with your colleagues — is that the most important word in the dictionary is respect.”

— GOP state Sen. Chris Kapenga, of Delafield, intends to run for Sensenbrenner’s seat, a source with knowledge of his plans told WisPolitics.com.

The source stressed no official announcement had been made and there was no timeline for one yet.

No Republican candidate has officially entered the race to replace Sensenbrenner, but Republicans considering a bid include: Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau; state Rep. Adam Neylon, of Waukesha; Matt Neumann, son of former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann; and Matt Walker, the son of former Gov. Scott Walker.

 

— Former GOP state Sen. Leah Vukmir announced this morning she won’t run for the 5th CD.

After her loss in last year’s U.S. Senate race, Vukmir took a job with the National Taxpayers Union as vice president of state affairs. She said in a statement that the job has been rewarding and afforded her the opportunity to “enjoy some personal freedom.” She spent the previous 16 years in the state Legislature.

“My love for my family motivated me to become involved in politics, and now they have helped me come to my decision to prioritize family and friends in a different way,” Vukmir said.

Vukmir is the third Republican this week to pass on a bid to succeed GOP U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, who isn’t seeking reelection next year after four decades in the House. State Sen. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield, and Waukesha County Exec Paul Farrow earlier decided against a run.

Farrow had been considering a run, but announced today he won’t get into the race because “ultimately, I cannot serve in Washington, DC when the issues I am most passionate about hit much closer to home.”

“I truly value the opportunity to lead as Waukesha County Executive, and remain passionate about service to my home county and our great state,” Farrow said.

Read Vukmir’s full statement:
https://www.wispolitics.com/2019/vukmir-campaign-statement-on-5th-cd/

See Farrow’s release:
https://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/190910-Farrow.pdf 

 

— Meanwhile, state Sen. Tom Tiffany, R-Minocqua, has formally launched his campaign to replace Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Weston, who will be leaving Congress later this month.

Tiffany vowed to be “the ally President Trump needs to keep moving our country forward.”

Tiffany said in a statement the president needs a “proven conservative with a track record of getting things done,” touting the “tough choices” he’s made in the Legislature, where he’s served since 2011.

“I don’t plan to go to Washington looking for a fight, but I can guarantee I will never back down from one,” Tiffany said.

Tiffany has won endorsements from former Gov. Scott Walker and State Rep. Romaine Quinn, R-Barron.

“We need another authentic, northern Wisconsinite to punch back against the progressive elites in Washington that continue to look down their noses at our people and our rural way of life,” Quinn said.

Stephan Thompson, whose past campaigns include conservative Brian Hagedorn’s win in this spring’s state Supreme Court contest, will serve as Tiffany’s general consultant in the race.

Though Tiffany is the first candidate to formally get into the race, others are mulling bids.

Surgeon Fernando “Fritz” Riveron posted on social media that he is weighing a run, while a GOP source said Jason Church, an Army vet who serves as Johnson’s northwest region director, has been making calls to stakeholders in the district.

Riveron wrote in his post that he’s troubled by a “national dialogue on healthcare by people who don’t understand it at the ground level” and the “mainstream acceptance of socialism by many of our youth and its support by Democrats.” Riveron was born in Cuba, but left the country when he was 5.

“My life has been blessed by the opportunity and bounty of this great country,” he wrote. “The American dream has been a reality for me, and I deeply care that it be preserved for the next generation. I am prayerfully considering this daunting challenge and the opportunity to serve this community that has done so much for me and my family.”

A GOP source said Church, of Hudson, is seriously considering a run and has been making calls to stakeholders in the 7th CD. Church, who expects to make a decision soon, hasn’t returned calls from WisPolitics.com over the past two weeks.

While deployed in Afghanistan, he was injured by an improvised explosive device and had both legs amputated below the knees. Church played college football at UW-La Crosse and received the NCAA’s 2014 Inspiration Award. He graduated from the UW-Madison Law School in 2018.

Meanwhile, conservative activist Luke Hilgemann has decided against a bid, saying it was not the right time for a run and he will support Tiffany.

“Knowing that a proven conservative who won’t bend to Washington’s will like Tom Tiffany is running for the seat made my decision even easier,” Hilgemann said.

Dems who have said they were considering a run include: state Sen. Janet Bewley, of Mason; Wausau attorney Christine Bremer Muggli; former state Sen. Pat Kreitlow, of Chippewa Falls; and state Rep. Nick Milroy, of South Range.

Duffy has announced plans to resign Sept. 23. Gov. Tony Evers hasn’t said yet when he plans to call a special election.

See Tiffany’s release:

https://www.wispolitics.com/2019/tiffany-campaign-announces-run-for-seventh-congressional-district/ 

See Quinn’s endorsement: 

https://www.wispolitics.com/2019/quinn-campaign-statement-on-7th-cd-race/

See Walker’s endorsement:

https://twitter.com/ScottWalker/status/1171787341842788352 

See the text of Riveron’s post:

https://www.wispolitics.com/2019/riveron-social-media-post/ 

See more on Church:

https://www.sentinelsoffreedom.org/sentinel-story/jason-church/ 

— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin announced legislation to ensure all Wisconsinites are able to watch Packers games every week. 

The bill, which she calls the ‘Go Pack Go Act,’ would require TV providers to include broadcast stations from Wisconsin news outlets to their subscribers that live in the state. 

Baldwin hopes the bill will grant increased broadcast coverage to 12 border counties that currently receive local channels from neighboring states instead of those from Wisconsin. 

Every Packers fan across our state should be able to watch every Packers game,” Baldwin said in a release. “My “Go Pack Go Act” would give Packers fans in every Wisconsin county the opportunity to receive in-state broadcasts, so they can cheer on our beloved green and gold.”

See the release: https://www.baldwin.senate.gov/press-releases/go-pack-go

— U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher congratulated the Outagamie County Land Conservation for receiving a grant for Great Lakes restorative efforts in his district. 

“This is yet another example of how the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative supports critical projects in our community, and I congratulate Outagamie County Land Conservation on this significant recognition of their work to protect the health of our waterways and communities,” Gallagher said in a release. 

The grant, which was awarded by the Great Lakes Commission, is part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and will allow the county a total of $199,946 to install cover crops, minimize the harmful effects of manure runoff and incentivize farmers to continually engage in safe farming practices. 

In the past, Gallagher has supported local efforts to reduce erosion and agricultural impact on the Fox River. The Green Bay Republican has also supported his home city’s ‘Save the Bay’ initiative.

“I look forward to continue working in bipartisan fashion to support the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in Congress,” Gallagher said in the release.

See the Gallagher release: https://gallagher.house.gov/media/press-releases/gallagher-applauds-grant-outagamie-county-land-conservation

 

Posts of the week

ICYMI

Pocan Sees State’s Political Winds Shifting
Tom Tiffany aligns himself with Trump as he runs to replace outgoing Congressman Sean Duffy
Scott Walker says son Matt considering Fifth Congressional District run
Lamenting impact on farmers, Rep. Ron Kind calls for Trump to end trade war
Capital City Sunday: Sen. Tammy Baldwin & Vaping Concerns
On The Border With Glenn Grothman
50 Years of Jim Sensenbrenner

 

DC Wrap: Gallagher calls for foreign policy shift to address ‘near-peer adversary’ China

0

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

Quotes of the week

“I just would ask everybody, regardless of whether you don’t want President Trump to respond, or you do want President Trump to respond, let us all agree on the basic fact that Iran is the culprit here and not blame anyone in the U.S. for what is a brazen escalation on the part of the brutal Iranian regime.”
– U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher addressing the drone attack on oil fields in Saudi Arabia during an appearance on the “Hugh Hewitt Show.’

“We’ve got to let people know what is at stake, and we’ve got to hit the streets and bring people to the polls in ways that we have never done it.”
– U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore talking the 2020 presidential election during an appearance on PoliticsNation.

“You hear a lot of this national narrative that people are getting out for all sorts of reasons–it’s just a bunch of hogwash.”
– U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil on the “Dan O’Donnell Show” discussing whether the recent spike in Republicans announcing their retirement is in anticipation of a GOP loss in 2020.

This week’s news

— Rep. Mike Gallagher called for the United States to “completely change how we do business” in the foreign policy sector in the face of growing competition from China.

Speaking Tuesday night at a closed-door reception in Washington hosted by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, the Green Bay Republican called China “a near-peer adversary of the order of the threat we faced from the Soviet Union.” WisPolitics.com was invited to the reception.

But unlike the Cold War-era rivalry with the Soviets, Gallagher warned that “incredibly intertwined” economies meant competition with China would manifest itself on the home front.

“It’s not as easy as us saying we can just turn this off and we can decouple our economies,” he said. “Wisconsin farmers sell a ton of soybeans to China, we have those kinds of companies like Hatco in Sturgeon Bay that make big toaster oven things that have factories in China and sell a lot of stuff to China.”

Gallagher said the United States was “rightfully trying to get tough on China economically,” but knocked the Trump administration’s use of so-called 232 tariffs against America’s allies.

“My view on tariffs is that they’re taxes on the American people,” he said. “They pick winners and losers, they create enormous uncertainty.”

Instead, he said the only way to win the competition “while not destroying our domestic economy” was to unite a coalition of countries that would collectively be able to oppose China’s “predatory practices.”

Despite these complexities, Gallagher said the United States starts in a position of “enormous advantage,” citing the American democratic system and the nation’s allies — which he said comprise 60 percent of the world’s GDP.

But he warned that edge could be squandered by three factors: an increasing partisan divide, the country’s declining fiscal health and efforts to “fundamentally change the character of America” in an attempt to “out-China China.”

“That is the only way we can lose over the long term, which is ultimately why I’m optimistic,” he said. “I think the reservoirs of strength in this country but certainly in Wisconsin are incredibly deep.”

 

— Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and DNC Chair Tom Perez touted a revamped ground game after acknowledging Dems’ strategy in Wisconsin in the 2016 presidential election left “votes on the table.”

Speaking at a WisPolitics.com breakfast in Washington, D.C., Barrett said the party made a “mistake” by buying into a media-led narrative proclaiming the state was solidly blue in the runup to the election.

“They had won it consecutively for several decades, but oftentimes it was maybe by 1 percent or 2 percent,” he said. “So how anybody could just assume because you won by 1 percent four years ago or eight years ago or 12 years ago that you were going to win at this time was a mistake.”

Coupled with a voter outreach program that Perez said barely kicked into gear four years ago, Dems saw voters who had twice turned out to support former President Barack Obama either stay at home or cast ballots for Jill Stein — a fatal blow in a swing state decided by fewer than 23,000 votes.  

“If Jill Stein voters had been for Secretary Clinton, that would’ve been enough to cover the 21,000 plus delta,” Perez said. “Same thing with the stay at home.”

In Milwaukee, Barrett said a poor ground game manifested itself when enthusiasm for Clinton “dissipated horribly” at the polls. But he added that there is a desire among communities of color in the city “to have engagement from the Democratic party.”

“I think that part of our challenge now is to make sure everyone’s engaged,” Barrett said, adding the DNC convention would not be a “parachute effort.”

The focus on rebuilding a ground game in the state, Perez said, was among the national Dem party’s top priorities in choosing Milwaukee as the host city.

“It’s not simply a party for four nights,” Perez said of the convention. “It’s an organizing opportunity.”

But Perez noted that work would not begin at the convention. He said Dems have been active on the ground starting in 2017, when the party made “a commitment to organizing in every zip code.”

“As a result of that, we saw a lot of these remarkable statewide victories in 2018,” he said. 

Those results spurred on further investments in the ground game and Perez touted a diverse and “homegrown” organizing base that coordinated with volunteers to knock on 200,000 doors this summer.  

“The folks we hired in Wisconsin, almost all of them are from Wisconsin,” he said. “So basically they’re going back to their communities to engage.”

See video of the event:
https://youtu.be/OpsB0vHrqjo  

 

— Sen. Scott Fitzgerald announced he’ll be joining the race to fill U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner’s seat in the 5th Congressional District.

Fitzgerald, who has served as Senate majority leader for multiple delegations throughout his 25 years in politics, called Washington a “mess” and said he hopes to bring a conservative voice to the Senate.

“Congressman Sensenbrenner spent decades advocating for conservative ideals in Washington, D.C. The residents of the 5th Congressional District deserve another strong conservative voice continuing to represent their interests in our nation’s capital,” Fitzgerald said in a release.

The Juneau Republican touted his accomplishments as Senate majority leader, saying he will continue to focus on labor rights, tax reform and pro-life legislation. 

He indicated he had no intention of stepping down from the role while he campaigned, saying he doesn’t believe the run for Congress will negatively affect his work in the Legislature. His term in the state Senate doesn’t expire until 2022, meaning he can return to his old post if he loses.

Fitzgerald is joined by one contender, Dem Tom Palzewics, who is the only other candidate to enter the race so far. 

See Fitzgerald’s release:  https://www.wispolitics.com/2019/fitzgerald-campaign-announces-candidacy-for-fifth-congressional-district/

 

— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin tweeted out her opposition to the nomination of Catholic University Law Professor Robert Destro for a top position in the U.S. State Department.

This came after President Trump announced he was tapping Destro to serve as assistant secretary for Human Rights, Labor and Democracy. 

In the tweet, the Madison Dem made it clear she plans to vote against Trump’s nominee, calling Destro “the wrong choice.”

“America should provide strong leadership on human rights and this nominee’s long record of hostility towards the LGBTQ community makes it clear he won’t provide it,” Baldwin tweeted.

Destro has taught at the Catholic University Law School since 1982. He served as the university’s interim dean from 1999 to 2001. 

Multiple organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign, have publicly denounced Trump’s pick, because of Destro’s attitudes toward the LGBTQ community. The HRC released a letter opposing the nomination, noting that Destro has actively opposed the Equality Act.

“Mr. Destro’s record of disrespect toward the LGBTQ community disqualifies him from being appointed to lead our efforts to protect the human rights of LGBTQ people and others around the world,” HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy wrote in the letter.

See Baldwin’s tweet:
https://twitter.com/SenatorBaldwin/status/1174017673686061056

See the HRC letter:
https://assets2.hrc.org/files/assets/resources/HRC-Letter-to-Senate-Destro-April-2019.pdf

 

— U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan called for military officials to improve noise pollution testing at Truax Air National Guard Base in Madison.

“As I hear from more members of the community, it has been brought to my attention that the noise impact is difficult to assess due to the Air Force’s use of the Day, Night, Average Sound Level metric,” Pocan wrote in a letter.

The Town of Vermont Dem was joined by Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and other local officials in speaking out for increased analysis of the base’s noise impact. Pocan has previously advocated for similar noise reduction measures and sent a letter to Acting  Air Force Secretary Matthew Donovan in August, but has yet to receive a response.

“The Air Force should conduct a take-off and landing of the F-16 and the F-35 planes so community members will have a more accurate understanding of the noise impact from the F-35 mission,” he said. 

See Pocan’s release:
https://www.wispolitics.com/2019/u-s-rep-pocan-calls-for-further-testing-of-noise-impact-at-truax-air-national-guard-base/

Posts of the week

ICYMI

Eau Claire software engineer announces run to challenge Ron Kind
Steil, Phillips Place Congressional Wager on Sunday’s Packers-Vikings Game
Sen. Ron Johnson skeptical of Trump’s plan to ban vaping products

 

DC Wrap: U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner announces retirement

0

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

Quotes of the week

“When I began my public service in 1968, I said I would know when it was time to step back. After careful consideration, I have determined at the completion of this term, my 21st term in Congress, it will be that time.” 
– U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner announcing he won’t seek re-election.

“We took a good step, but it’s a baby step, in signing a letter support for Operation Safe Return where we rapidly and more accurately determine those families that clearly don’t have even a credible fear claim and safely – and I underline safely – return those individuals back to the safe zones of Central America.”
– U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson said when asked about a bipartisan solution to the humanitarian crisis at the southern border on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Watch the full interview here.

This week’s news

— Potential candidates for the 5th CD are weighing their options following U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner’s surprising announcement that he won’t seek re-election next fall after four decades in Congress.

Waukesha Co. Exec Paul Farrow called Sensenbrenner’s retirement a “blow to the party” coming so soon after fellow GOP U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, of Weston, said he will resign Sept. 23. Farrow, a former Republican state senator, also said he will consider a bid in 2020 for the 5th CD.

“Am I going to think about it? Yeah, I‘ll sit down and talk to my family and friends and see if that’s the pathway for me. Who knows?” Farrow said.

Dem Tom Palzewicz, who lost to Sensenbrenner with 38 percent of the vote in 2018, quickly announced plans to run for the office again.

Meanwhile, state Sen. Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield, told WisPolitics.com in a text he’ll consider a bid, and Kevin Nicholson, who ran unsuccessfully for the GOP’s U.S. Senate nomination last year, tweeted “There will be time to make a decision about this race later” as he praised Sensenbrenner.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, long considered a possible candidate for the seat when Sensenbrenner left Congress, said in a statement that voters in the 5th CD had benefited from a “strong conservative voice for years, and now more than ever they deserve another strong conservative voice fighting on their behalf in Washington.” But Fitzgerald gave no indication if he will consider a bid.

A GOP source said Ben Voekel, an aide to U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, would consider a bid.

And a source close to former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch said she and her supporters are focused on a potential run for guv in 2022.

 

— Sensenbrenner, who is in line next year to become the longest-serving House member in Wisconsin history, noted in his announcement his lengthy career.

Sensenbrenner, who was elected to the House in 1978, said that includes doing more than 100 town hall meetings each year while in Congress, taking 23,882 votes on the House floor and seeing 217 bills he sponsored signed into law by six different presidents.

“I think I am leaving this district, our Republican Party, and most important, our country, in a better place than when I began my service,” Sensenbrenner said.

Former House Speaker Paul Ryan, who decided against seeking re-election last year, praised Sensenbrenner as a mentor.

A former House Judiciary chair, Sensenbrenner helped lead passage of the Patriot Act following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and was a longtime supporter of the Voting Rights Act. He also was one of the House managers in the impeachment of former President Clinton.

“He has provided an amazing example for generations of Wisconsin Republican legislators to follow and showed us how to be effective advocates and representatives,” Ryan said.

See the Sensenbrenner release:

https://www.wispolitics.com/2019/sensenbrenner-campaign-will-retire-at-the-end-of-the-116th-congress/

 

— Both of Wisconsin’s U.S. senators have net favorable ratings in the Marquette University Law School Poll, even though a decent chunk of the electorate don’t have an opinion of them.

Forty-four percent of registered voters had a favorable opinion of U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, while 40 percent had a negative one. Despite winning re-election by more than 10 percentage points less than a year ago, 16 percent said they had no opinion of her.

For U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, the split was 40-29. But despite being in statewide office for more than eight years, 31 percent didn’t have an opinion of him.

Poll director Charles Franklin said it was the natural effect of a six-year Senate term, where voters lose track of senators in between elections.

Meanwhile, 55 percent of registered voters surveyed said the state is headed in the right direction, while 37 percent believe it’s on the wrong track. That split in April, the last time the poll was in the field, was 52-40.

See the full results:

 https://law.marquette.edu/poll/

See more on the head-to-head match ups in the presidential race:

 https://www.wispolitics.com/2019/marquette-law-poll-finds-trump-job-approval-upside-down-biden-leading-president-dem-field/

 

— U.S. Rep. Ron Kind said he’s hopeful the House of Representatives will vote on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement this fall.

But he said Wednesday that Dems are negotiating with President Trump’s trade ambassador on “things that we’d like to see improved on in USMCA before it can be brought up for wide bipartisan support.”

The La Crosse Dem said in a conference call with reporters that conversations with U.S. Trade Representative Bob Lighthizer have largely been constructive, but Kind highlighted the trade deal’s enforceability chapter as its most “glaring” shortcoming.

“You could have the best trade agreement in the world on paper, but if it lacks enforceability, if it lacks followup, it’s meaningless and the other countries will know it’s meaningless and then you have nothing,” he said.

Kind said the USMCA currently relies “almost singularly” upon the president’s discretion to find Mexico or Canada in violation of the agreement “and then unilaterally impose tariffs against them.”

“That will only put us back in the box that we are currently in with the unilateral action and invite Mexico and Canada to retaliate against us again,” he said.

 

— U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan also highlighted problems with enforcement provisions surrounding labor and environmental regulations and added a provision that equated to “a big, wet, sloppy kiss to pharma” made the trade deal hard to support.

“You get rid of that, and you actually move the enforceability of labor and environmental, I predict you’d have 370-plus votes for a trade agreement,” he said.

The Town of Vermont Dem added Lighthizer and a congressional working group had developed “better language around labor and environmental” but noted those policies were outside of the framework of the trade agreement, “which makes it often not enforceable.”

“If that language you actually believe in is real, just move it into a place that’s enforceable and then we all agree,” Pocan said.

 

— Kind slammed Trump’s use of tariffs against both China and “all of our closest friends and allies throughout the globe.” 

“I’ve never seen a president work harder to plunge our nation into a recession,” he said.

That comment drew a sharp rebuke from NRCC Regional Press Secretary Carly Atchison, who said the La Crosse Dem “would rather berate President Trump than help Wisconsin dairy farmers and pass the USMCA trade deal, which would bring immediate relief but is currently being stalled by Kind and the rest of the socialist Democrats in Congress.”

Still, Kind said that taking punitive action “outside of the international legal framework” had invited retaliation that has been “devastating” to farmers and families across the state.

“What’s disturbing about it is the lack of any type of vision or long-term strategy or plan or an exit ramp to all of this,” he said. “China’s got a very long-term vision on this: 20, 30, 40 years, sometimes a 200-year plan, whereas I’m afraid President Trump has a 2020 vision. Just whatever’s gonna set him up for the next election cycle.”

Kind agreed that action needs to be taken against China, but he said Dems are calling for the country to build a “broad-based international coalition of like-minded countries that are also experiencing the same type of cheating” and to pursue grievances through the World Trade Organization. Collective action, he said, would “make it hard then for China to retaliate against us alone and hard for them to ignore WTO decisions.”

“I think that’s a missed opportunity,” Kind said. “There are reforms that the WTO needs, and the president should be pressing for them. But by working outside it gives China and these other countries a chance just to ignore what we’re requesting of them and to retaliate in a tit-for-tat situation with no end in sight.”

Pocan, meanwhile, said he didn’t think “there’s any single prescription” to address illegal Chinese business practices.

“I think there’s a lot of different ways you can deal with China, but not through this tariff war and I think that (Trump) has to start reeling back some of what he’s doing,” he said.

 

— President Trump will reappropriate roughly $8 million dollars from a military construction project in Wisconsin to pay for a wall along the southern border.

Wisconsin National Guard Spokesman Capt. Joe Trovato told WisPolitics.com that funding for a small-arms range at the Wisconsin Air National Guard base at Truax Field in Madison would be diverted. Construction was scheduled to begin next year, but Trovato noted the base is operating without a small-arms range now and the decision to strip funding would not affect readiness.

Pocan said before a list of projects that would lose funding was released that he believed that a housing unit at Fort McCoy “could be having money stolen” to fund “the folly of a wall.”

Kind said he is doing his own follow-up with Fort McCoy and Volk Field Air National Guard Base.

“It is very disturbing, and I think it’s clearly unconstitutional money grab,” Kind said. “Congress appropriates the money. The president doesn’t get to then take it and spend it on anything that he wants.

“I’m sure this is going to get revisited again in the courts.”

 

— U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher concluded his inaugural van tour across Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District.

The four-day tour included stops at businesses and organizations. Gallagher also visited The Community Blood Center in Appleton to generate awareness of the blood shortage in Northeast Wisconsin.

“The goal is to go back into session in September energized with a renewed sense of purpose. And to really have everyone’s focus be on Northeast Wisconsin,” Gallagher said in an appearance on WTAQ.

See Rep. Gallagher’s van vlog: https://twitter.com/RepGallagher/status/1166009767812374529?s=20

 

— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin announced nearly $5.2 million in federal funding to help fight the opioid epidemic in Wisconsin. 

Baldwin, who has championed opioid prevention efforts through her work on the Senate Appropriations Committee, said the $5.2 million in federal dollars should provide necessary prevention and treatment resources to Wisconsinites.

The funding is being awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Overdose to Action, a three-year cooperative agreement that focuses on reducing the number of opioid overdoses.

“Washington needs to do more to address the opioid epidemic and a strong partnership with state and local officials is essential to an effective response. I’m confident that Governor Evers will act immediately to put these federal investments to work in Wisconsin to support our continued fight against this deadly crisis,” Baldwin said.

See the release: https://www.baldwin.senate.gov/press-releases/baldwin-announces-nearly-52-million-to-reduce-opioid-overdoses

 

— U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy praised lawmakers in the Senate for introducing a bill to address foreign tariffs on U.S. goods. 

This came after Duffy sponsored similar legislation in the House of Representatives earlier this year. The bill, which was introduced by Sens. Lindsey Graham,R-S.C., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., would give the President the power to take action against “unfair” tariffs.

“The need for reform has never been greater. That’s why I introduced the U.S. Reciprocal Trade Act to give the President better tools to address the unfair tariffs and international trade rules that hurt Wisconsin workers,” Duffy said in a release.

See the release:
https://duffy.house.gov/press-release/congressman-sean-duffy-applauds-senator-lindsey-graham-and-senator-joe-manchin-for

 

Posts of the week

ICYMI

U.S. Senator Baldwin talks contaminated water in Marinette Tuesday
US Rep Mike Gallagher Addresses Health Care, Gun Laws
Congressman Mark Pocan says ‘anything possible’ in northern congressional district special election
Amanda Stuck Wants Rep. Mike Gallagher’s Job
Sen. Ron Johnson says Russia denied him a visa to visit with other lawmakers
Evers, Moore Target Prescription Drugs
‘UPFRONT’ recap: Rep. Bryan Steil says U.S. needs new trade agreements with allies

DC Wrap: WI congressional delegation split along party lines on impeachment

0

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

Quotes of the week

“I welcome Speaker Pelosi’s decision to begin an impeachment inquiry… His recent calls urging Ukraine’s president to investigate his political opponent is the latest example of Trump’s lawlessness. The administration’s mishandling of the whistleblower complaint also illustrates the persuasiveness of their corruption.”
– U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore on impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.

“I was disappointed to see Speaker Pelosi move forward with impeachment proceedings yesterday. We know that probably every Democrat in the House voted for Secretary Clinton in 2016 and the endless string of investigations in the House are reaction to that election.”
U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman laying out his views on impeachment. 

This week’s news

 

— The Wisconsin congressional delegation split along party lines after Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s called for the House to move forward with a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump after he pressured Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his family. 

The trio of Wisconsin House Dems largely backed the move, with U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan charging Trump “has violated his oath of office.” 

“The president not only broke the law by asking a foreign government to attack a political opponent, threatening foreign aid in the process–but this time he admitted to his actions,” the Town of Vermont Dem said in a statement Tuesday evening. “The time is long overdue for Congress to act on impeachment now.” 

U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, has also expressed support for an impeachment inquiry, which she said is “proper, timely and necessary.”

“I hope more of my Republican colleagues will join in this effort to protect our democracy,” she added. 

But fellow Dem U.S. Rep. Ron Kind in a statement sidestepped a question from WisPolitics.com on where he stands on an impeachment inquiry, instead of focusing on the “extremely concerning” whistleblower complaint that tipped off the media to the story. The complaint has not yet been released by the Trump administration. 

“The administration must hand over the whistleblower report, as required by law, so Congress can investigate these claims as part of its constitutional duties,” he said. “As a former special prosecutor, I know no one is above the law — not even the president.” 

Dem U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin in a tweet also called for the release of the whistleblower complaint.

“By law, the Trump admin needs to provide the whistleblower complaint & Inspector General report to Congress,” she wrote. “That needs to happen now.”

Wisconsin Republicans largely backed the president and criticized Pelosi for moving towards impeachment proceedings. 

“Rather than focusing on issues important to Americans, many of my Democrat colleagues are pushing impeachment with another attack against @realdonaldtrump,” U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Janesville wrote on his campaign Twitter account. “We need Congress to address real issues, not endless investigations!”

U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, said in a statement that believed the communication between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky was “certainly appropriate, considering the amount of foreign aid Ukraine receives.

“This action by the Democrats is particularly bothersome when we should be focusing on the important business that is before the House,” he said in a statement.

According to the Washington Post, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, is leading a “wing” of Senate Republicans “more focused on probing Biden.”

See Baldwin’s tweet:
https://twitter.com/SenatorBaldwin/status/1176900440648232962 

See Steil’s tweet:
https://twitter.com/bryansteil/status/1176841686187675648?s=12

See the Washington Post story:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/senate-republicans-split-over-trump-urging-ukrainian-leader-to-investigate-biden/2019/09/25/48ec0e64-dfa6-11e9-be96-6adb81821e90_story.html

 

— U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy said in farewell remarks he’s coming away from his time in Congress with “a grateful and happy heart.” 

After over eight years in Washington, Duffy announced last month he’d be resigning effective Sept. 23, only eight months into his current term. The Weston Republican said his early departure was brought on by a need to spend more time with his family as the due date of his ninth child approaches. The infant, who is due in October, was diagnosed with heart complications.

“As their dad comes to Congress four days a week, I am not there as much, and they have supported me through this entire effort, this entire adventure, and a dad can’t do that unless he has kids that support him,” Duffy said. 

The retiring Congressman took the opportunity to thank his colleagues on both sides of the aisle, emphasizing that Dems and Republicans often collaborate better than they’re given credit for.

“The Chamber I think, though it’s going through some difficult times, we are actually working, and I’m proud of that,” Duffy said. 

Much of Duffy’s speech addressed rising discontent with capitalism, which he contrasted by touting GOP efforts to lower taxes and unemployment. He called on fellow lawmakers to continue with the current economic model.

“When I won on my first night, on election night, I said that the battle for America’s future is a fight against socialism. It is a battle to return our nation to the principles that made America different, that made America better, that made America great,” Duffy said. 

See Duffy’s remarks: https://www.c-span.org/video/?464293-5/representative-sean-duffy-farewell-speech&start=795

 

— Republican Jason Church, a retired Army captain and aide to GOP U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, formally launched a bid for the 7th CD, saying he “answered the call to serve my country and I am proudly doing so again today.” 

“Wisconsin’s 7th District is made up of hardworking Americans who understand sacrifice and caring for their neighbors in need,” said Church, who had both legs amputated below the knee after he was injured in Afghanistan. “They rallied around me when I came home from Afghanistan and it would be my honor to return the favor and fight for them in the United States Congress.” 

Church joins state Sen. Tom Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst, as the only announced candidates in the field so far to replace former GOP U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, whose resignation took effect Monday. Mosinee Mayor Brent Jacobson and Wausau thoracic surgeon Fernando “Fritz” Riveron both announced this week they will not pursue a bid for the 7th CD.

Dems who are considering joining the race include: state Sen. Janet Bewley, of Mason; Wausau attorney Christine Bremer; Margaret Engebretson, who challenged Duffy in 2018; former state Sen. Pat Kreitlow, of Chippewa Falls; and state Rep. Nick Milroy, of South Range. 

As part of his rollout, Church released a 2-minute, 33-second video that recounts his 2012 injury in Afghanistan and his family’s history of service in the military. Church noted his father was called to active duty in Afghanistan after he was injured and wore a pair of his combat boots while there “to finish my tour and get a proper exit.” 

Church said his goal would be to serve four terms and then “be done,” saying he supports term limits. 

“I’ll do some things that tick off the right people and be done,” Church says, concluding the video by encouraging viewers to “lace your boots up with me.” 

Operative Juston Johnson is working as Church’s general consultant. 

On Monday, Gov. Tony Evers ordered a Jan. 27 special election with a primary Dec. 30. 

See Church’s announcement:
https://www.wispolitics.com/2019/church-campaign-republican-announces-campaign-for-wisconsins-7th-congressional-district/   

See his roll out video:
https://youtu.be/dmgBrZegNUQ  

 

— U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman introduced bipartisan legislation to formally recognize Hmong New Year in the United States.

With the third-highest Hmong population in America, Grothman noted the cultural and historical significance of the holiday in Wisconsin.

“Each year I attend the New Year celebrations in my district. These celebrations of thanksgiving are an honor to attend—the food, music and dance make these festivals truly special events,” Grothman said in a release. 

The Glenbeulah Republican was joined by U.S. Reps. Mark Pocan, Ron Kind, Gwen Moore, Mike Gallagher and nine other members of Congress in support of the legislation. 

“I am once again proud to support this resolution honoring the Hmong community in Wisconsin and nationwide. The annual Hmong New Year celebrations are a treasured part of Wisconsin’s community and culture and we welcome the opportunity to recognize this wonderful tradition,” Pocan said in the release. 

See the release: https://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/190923-Grothman.pdf

 

— U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher testified before the House Judiciary Committee in support of legislation he proposed last spring to prevent foreign lobbying.

The bill would ban members of Congress, senior executive branch officials, and high-ranking military officers from lobbying on behalf of foreign interests at any point in their careers, including after retirement.

“This is not about restricting freedom of speech, but rather preventing those with the most extensive insider connections from profiting off those connections to the detriment of our national interests,” Gallagher said during his testimony.

Citing recent relations with Chinese tech companies Huawei and ZTE, the Green Bay Republican said foreign interests have contributed to a steady decrease of trust in government and have compromised national security.

“Passing this bill would show the American people we are serious about doing away with some of the most egregious of influence-peddling in the swamp, and certainly the kind that most directly undermines our national security,” Gallagher said.

See the release: https://www.wispolitics.com/2019/u-s-rep-gallagher-testifies-before-house-judiciary-committee-urges-colleagues-to-pass-foreign-lobbying-ban/

 

Posts of the week

ICYMI

 

Grothman visits Markesan on Heritage Day
Gwen Moore: Border Wall ‘Stuck On Stupid, Waiting On Dumb To Come’
Rep. Gallagher: Appleton International Airport receiving $4.7 million for improvements
WI Sen. Tammy Baldwin joins bipartisan effort to extend whistleblower protections
Sen. Johnson: Democratic nominee will dictate president’s success in Wisconsin in 2020
Tom Barrett, Jim Sensenbrenner reflect on impeachment of President Clinton: ‘Literally took months’
Wisconsin’s Democratic Rep. Kind supports Trump probe

Democratic Party of Wisconsin: Donald Trump’s broken promises lead to massive factory layoffs in Wisconsin

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(MADISON, WI) – Today, Bloomberg reported that Wisconsin has lost 5,000 factory jobs over the past year, the second most of any state. Trump promised time and again that factory jobs were coming back to the state, but that is clearly not the case. In light of the report, Democratic Party Spokesperson Philip Shulman released the following statement:

“President Trump has broken his promise to Wisconsinites to bring factory jobs back to our state, and his erratic policies are part of the reason 5,000 Wisconsinites have lost their factory jobs over the past year. His tax scam bill has not delivered the growth he promised, and his chaotic trade war is forcing factories to layoff workers. Instead of using his time as President to lash out at people on Twitter and call into Fox and Friends to rant and rave, he should start listening to the people suffering in our state and offer policy solutions that will improve, not hurt, their lives.”

Democratic Party of Wisconsin: Two years after introduction, tax scam bill is a clear failure for working Wisconsinites

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(MADISON, WI) – Today marks the two-year anniversary of Donald Trump introducing his tax scam bill. The bill, which Trump promised would improve wages, bring back jobs from overseas, and improve hard working people’s well being, has turned out to be nothing more than a handout to the richest Americans and largest corporations.

“When the GOP first introduced this legislation, we sounded the alarm bell because we knew it was nothing more than a handout for the ultra-rich that would do nothing for hard-working Wisconsinites,” Congressman Mark Pocan said. “We were right. Trump broke his promise that the tax bill would create exponential growth, bring jobs back from overseas, and that wages would grow. Now his Republican colleagues want to use Wisconsinites’ earned Social Security and Medicare benefits to pay for this boondoggle. What’s more is that health care costs are rising, manufacturing has contracted for the first time since Trump took office, and our rural communities are being crushed by Trump’s chaotic trade war. Trump has taken step after step to hurt working Wisconsinites, and we will continue to fight for policies that remedy that pain.”

Whether it’s in rural, suburban, or the urban areas of Wisconsin, hard working Wisconsinites do not feel like they are benefitting from the tax scam bill. And there’s no reason they would. Wisconsin has lost over 5,000 factory jobs during the past year, the second most of any state. Overall manufacturing is also contracting for the first time in three years. In addition, health care costs are on the rise, with families now paying on average over $20,000 a year for their plans, an all time record high.

Trump’s erratic trade war with China has added insult to injury for the Wisconsin economy. Farmers and those in the agriculture industry are being crushed, including manufacturers and small businesses. Things have gotten so bad Wisconsin is seeing two dairy farms close down a day, and family farms that grow wheat, soybeans, and ginseng face a daily debate of trying to weather the storm or close their doors forever. Analysts have found the trade war could cost the average family up to $1,000 a year.

The tax scam has also been a blow to American workers. On a press call yesterday, Dan Bukiewicz, President of the Milwaukee Building and Construction Trades Council, said as much. You can read part of his remarks below and you can click here to listen to the full audio of the press call.

“The GOP promised that these taxes [tax breaks] would help the average working American. It is not true, particularly in the building trade. These tax cuts went to the top 1%, they are the only ones…who saw any benefit from it. But hardworking people that are building our roads our schools our hospitals our homes, are basically being penalized for going into work everyday and their safety is being compromised by with the roll backs…Their tools, equipment, and supplies, the things that are basic necessities for them to make a living with are no longer deductible. Using a personal cell phone [on the job] no longer deductible…car expenses while working none of that deductible for these individuals. As I said they maintain critical infrastructure for the entire country and they are being cheated on these deductions. These deductions in some cases depending on the trade add up to hundreds, if not thousands of dollars for the average worker…These create hardships for the families…Meanwhile the businesses are reaping all the benefits of the tax cuts. It’s completely unfair…the GOP once again broke their promise to working Americans.” — Dan Bukiewicz, President of the Milwaukee Building and Construction Trades Council

Democratic Party of Wisconsin: Union leader and DPW chair call out Trump’s broken promises to American workers

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(MADISON, WI) – Today, Milwaukee Building and Construction Trades Council President Dan Bukiewicz and Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Ben Wiker held a press call highlighting the negative impact of Donald Trump’s tax scam. Tomorrow marks the two-year anniversary of the introduction of this legislation that has been a disaster for hard working Wisconsinites. You can read an excerpt of Bukiewicz remarks below and listen to the full audio of the press call here.

“The GOP promised that these taxes [tax breaks] would help the average working American. It is not true, particularly in the building trade. These tax cuts went to the top 1%…But hardworking people that are building our roads, our schools, our hospitals, our homes, are basically being penalized for going into work everyday and their safety is being compromised by with the roll backs…Their tools, equipment, and supplies, the things that are basic necessities for them to make a living with are no longer deductible. Using a personal cell phone [on the job] no longer deductible…car expenses while working none of that deductible for these individuals. As I said they maintain critical infrastructure for the entire country and they are being cheated on these deductions. These deductions in some cases depending on the trade add up to hundreds, if not thousands of dollars for the average worker…These create hardships for the families…Meanwhile the businesses are reaping all the benefits of the tax cuts. It’s completely unfair…the GOP once again broke their promise to working Americans.”  — Dan Bukiewicz, President of the Milwaukee Building and Construction Trades Council

Democratic Weekly Address: Extreme Risk Protection Orders save lives

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Note: If this post has anything to do with Evers, the Evers administration or lame-duck legislation and related lawsuits, please tag it as Evers Administration. Please delete this note before publishing.

Dems introduce bills aiming to provide financial stability for farmers

Dem lawmakers have introduced a package of measures aimed at providing financial stability to farmers in the state facing “an agricultural crisis.”

Reps. Dave Considine of Baraboo, Mark Spreitzer of Beloit, Don Vruwink of Milton and Sen. Janis Ringhand of Evansville were joined by local farmers in a Capitol news conference yesterday to unveil three bipartisan pieces of legislation that would alleviate financial pressures on new farmers and improve farm succession planning.

The first proposal would create a grant program that would provide grants of up to $50,000 to diversify small-scale farming operations, while a second measure would create a student loan assistance program for newly graduated farmers. The program would reimburse higher education debt up to $30,000 with the provision that the recipient commits to farming in Wisconsin for at least five years.

“This bill will truly help Wisconsin lead the way in supporting our next generation of farmers,” Spreitzer said.

The last proposal would create two positions within the UW-Madison Division of the Extension program that would educate and assist farmers in planning for transitioning ownership. The measure would allocate $224,000 annually to help facilitate financial proceedings and help farmers plan for the transition process earlier in their careers.

“The succession planning process for farmers is extremely important. It’s an absolute necessity for the continuance of the traditional Wisconsin multigenerational family farm,” local farmer Gene Larsen said.

All three proposals boast bipartisan backing and Considine said he and his colleagues are hopeful Republican leadership will bring the bills to a vote.

“I wouldn’t say that we have any assurances, but I’m optimistic,” Considine said.

A spokeswoman for Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said the Speaker’s office is reviewing the package while Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, was not immediately available for comment.

See the release:
https://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/190903-Spreitzer.pdf

Department of Children and Families: CFA amounts announced

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MADISON – The Department of Children and Families (DCF) announced today the funding amounts for the 2019-20 Children and Families Allocation (CFA) paid to counties. The figures reflect the increase to the CFA made through the 2019-21 state budget.

The opioid epidemic has drastically impacted the need for additional county welfare services. Since 2009, referral for child protective services (CPS) increased by more than 40 percent. Over that same period, the CFA only saw an increase of 9.5 percent, forcing counties to pick up a growing share of costs associated with child welfare services. The 2019-21 budget provided a $30.5 million increase over the biennium to assist counties with increased workloads, caseloads, and out-of-home placements associated with the increase in CPS referrals.

“The department is committed to working with our partners to keep kids safe and supported in their homes, and to provide families with the services they need to be successful,” said DCF Secretary-designee Emilie Amundson. “This funding increase would not have happened had it not been for the spotlight placed on this issue by the Wisconsin Counties Association, the commitment of Governor Evers to live his values, and the legislature’s willingness to commit serious resources.”

“Wisconsin counties are on the front lines of the heroin, opioid, and meth epidemic, which has had a staggering impact on our children and families across the state,” said Wisconsin Counties Association Executive Director Mark D. O’Connell. “We commend the Governor and the Legislature for this increase in county child welfare allocations, as it will allow counties to serve even more children and families in crisis. We appreciate their commitment to the state and county partnership and are grateful for these additional resources to help many struggling Wisconsinites.”

“The allocations bring significant and much needed help to counties,” said Jason Witt, Director of La Crosse County Human Services. “These additional funds will help counties hire additional child protective services workers and assist in covering the surging costs of out-of-home placements.”

The increased dollars are distributed proportionally to counties based on past CFA methodology, with the exception being that all counties will see a minimum increase of $100,000. This amount reflects the cost of hiring at least one social worker. A full list of CFA amounts can be found by visiting the child welfare funding page on the DCF website.

Department of Health and Human Services: National Institutes of Health forms new collaborative influenza vaccine research network

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The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, has initiated the Collaborative Influenza Vaccine Innovation Centers (CIVICs) program, a new network of research centers that will work together in a coordinated, multidisciplinary effort to develop more durable, broadly protective and longer-lasting influenza vaccines. NIAID will provide up to approximately $51 million in total first-year funding for the program, which is designed to support the CIVICs program centers over seven years.

“To more effectively fight influenza on a global scale, we need better influenza vaccines that are more broadly protective,” said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. “With the CIVICs program we hope to encourage an exchange of ideas, technology and scientific results across multiple institutions to facilitate a more efficient and coordinated approach to novel influenza vaccine development.”

Seasonal influenza causes hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and tens of thousands of deaths in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While current seasonal influenza vaccines are widely available and provide important public health benefit, they could be improved. Notably, they do not always protect against all strains of circulating influenza viruses. Each year, months ahead of the flu season, scientists must make their best prediction as to which circulating viruses will be dominant. New seasonal influenza vaccines must be manufactured, distributed and administered to keep up with constantly evolving influenza viruses. This process can be slow, and if a drifted seasonal influenza virus emerges, that can impact the effectiveness of the vaccine against that virus. The relatively long timeline for vaccine production and the rapidly changing nature of influenza viruses poses a unique and difficult public health challenge for these reasons.

The CIVICs network will develop so-called universal influenza vaccines, which could provide longer-lasting protection than current vaccines and against a wider variety of influenza viruses. The CIVICs centers will conduct multidisciplinary research that supports the development of vaccine candidates through testing in preclinical studies, clinical trials and human challenge studies. The CIVICs network also will explore approaches to improve seasonal influenza vaccines, such as by testing alternative vaccine platforms or incorporating new adjuvants (substances added to vaccines to boost immunity). These advances could substantially reduce influenza hospitalizations and deaths in the future.

The CIVICs program will include three Vaccine Centers, one Vaccine Manufacturing and Toxicology Core, two Clinical Cores, and one Statistical, Data Management, and Coordination Center (SDMCC).

The Vaccine Centers will focus on designing novel vaccine candidates and delivery platforms with an emphasis on cross-protective vaccine strategies that could be used in healthy adults as well as populations at high risk for the most serious outcomes of influenza, such as children, older adults, and pregnant women. The Vaccine Centers also will focus on new ways to study influenza viruses and the human immune response to them through computer modeling, animal models and human challenge trials.

The most promising candidate vaccines will advance to clinical trials conducted by the Clinical Cores. Vaccine candidates will first be evaluated for safety and immunogenicity in small Phase 1 clinical trials conducted among healthy adult participants. Successful vaccine candidates may eventually be advanced to larger Phase 2 clinical trials in healthy adults, or in specific age groups or at-risk populations. The Vaccine Manufacturing and Toxicology Core will work with the Vaccine Centers to develop and manufacture the vaccine candidates for clinical testing.

The CIVICs centers will regularly consult the SDMCC for assistance in designing statistically sound preclinical experiments and clinical trials. The SDMCC also will perform data analyses, make results available across the CIVICs program and ensure that data is available in publicly accessible databases. In doing so, the SDMCC will ensure that the network functions as a collaborative unit, with standardized study protocols and reporting procedures at every step.

The recipients of the CIVICs awards are as follows:

–Vaccine Centers:
-Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City
Principal Investigators: Florian Krammer, Ph.D. (at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai), and Rafi Ahmed, Ph.D. (at Emory University)

-Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
Principal Investigator: Michael Moody, M.D.

-University of Georgia, Athens
Principal Investigators: Ted Ross, Ph.D. (at the University of Georgia), and Stacey Schultz-Cherry, Ph.D. (at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital)

–Vaccine Manufacturing and Toxicology Core:
-Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
Principal Investigator: Matthew Johnson, Ph.D.

–Clinical Core:
-University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore
Principal Investigator: Kathleen Neuzil, M.D., M.P.H.

-Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
Principal Investigator: Emmanuel Walter, M.D., M.P.H.

–CIVICs Statistical, Data Management, and Coordination Center
-Digital Infuzion, Inc., Gaithersburg, Maryland
Principal Investigator: Stephan Bour, Ph.D.

NIAID conducts and supports research — at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide — to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID website < http://www.niaid.nih.gov/>.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit <www.nih.gov>.

Department of Health and Human Services: National Institutes of Health funds $945 million in research to tackle the national opioid crisis through NIH heal initiative

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To reverse the opioid crisis that continues to grip the nation, the National Institutes of Health has awarded $945 million in total fiscal year 2019 funding for grants, contracts and cooperative agreements <https://heal.nih.gov/funding/awarded> across 41 states through the Helping to End Addiction Long-term Initiative or NIH HEAL Initiative <https://heal.nih.gov/>. The trans-NIH research effort aims to improve treatments for chronic pain, curb the rates of opioid use disorder (OUD) and overdose and achieve long-term recovery from opioid addiction.

In 2016, an estimated 50 million U.S. adults suffered from chronic pain <https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/wr/mm6736a2.htm> and in 2018, an estimated 10.3 million people 12 years and older in the United States misused opioids, including heroin <https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/cbhsq-reports/NSDUHNationalFindingsReport2018/NSDUHNationalFindingsReport2018.pdf>.

“President Trump’s approach to the opioid crisis and HHS’s strategy have both been based in the best science we have,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “We have effective tools, such as medication-assisted treatment, but we still need better ways to treat opioid addiction and manage pain in an effective, personalized way. This historic investment by NIH was made possible by funding secured from Congress by President Trump, and will support our work in the current crisis and lay the work for a healthier future.”

The NIH HEAL Initiative is leveraging expertise from almost every NIH institute and center to approach the crisis from all angles and disciplines, and across the full spectrum of research from basic to implementation science in the areas of:

–Translation of research to practice for the treatment of opioid addiction
–New strategies to prevent and treat opioid addiction
–Enhanced outcomes for infants and children exposed to opioids
–Novel medication options for opioid use disorder and overdose
–Clinical research in pain management
–Preclinical and translational research in pain management

“It’s clear that a multi-pronged scientific approach is needed to reduce the risks of opioids, accelerate development of effective non-opioid therapies for pain and provide more flexible and effective options for treating addiction to opioids,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., who launched <https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-launches-heal-initiative-doubles-funding-accelerate-scientific-solutions-stem-national-opioid-epidemic> the initiative in early 2018. “This unprecedented investment in the NIH HEAL Initiative demonstrates the commitment to reversing this devastating crisis.”

The initiative will address multiple problems that are slowing or preventing progress on addressing the crisis, including:

Problem: Many people with OUD do not receive appropriate treatment for their disorder.
Scientific solution: The HEALing Communities Study <https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-funds-study-four-states-reduce-opioid-related-deaths-40-percent-over-three-years> and Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network (JCOIN) <https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-establishes-network-improve-opioid-addiction-treatment-criminal-justice-settings>will integrate evidence-based interventions into community, justice and emergency room settings where people with OUD seek help. NIH will study which interventions or combination of interventions work best in which communities and implement them.

Problem: Many patients who receive medications for OUD do not stay on treatment long enough to achieve long-term recovery.
Scientific solution: NIH HEAL Initiative awards target novel, longer-lasting and innovative treatments for OUD <https://heal.nih.gov/research/medication-options/focusing-development>. This includes using immunotherapies to prevent relapse and overdose, extended-release formulations and reducing drug cravings to give patients more options to sustain their recovery.

Problem: There are different types of pain and people experience pain differently, but it is not known which treatments will work best for which patients.
Scientific solution: NIH HEAL Initiative research will advance our understanding of pain by identifying biomarkers, endpoints and signatures of pain conditions <https://heal.nih.gov/research/preclinical-translational/biomarkers>, as well as providing evidence-based non-addictive treatments for discrete pain conditions such as back pain <https://heal.nih.gov/research/clinical-research/back-pain>, post-surgical pain <https://heal.nih.gov/research/clinical-research/back-pain> and pain in hemodialysis patients <https://heal.nih.gov/research/clinical-research/hemodialysis>.

Problem: Clinicians need to ensure that their patients’ pain is under control while also balancing the risks of long-term opioid therapy.
Scientific solution: The initiative will develop non-addictive medications for pain and test new models of care in real world settings <https://heal.nih.gov/research/clinical-research/eppic-net>. This includes a controlled trial of acupuncture for chronic low back pain, with NIH working with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to inform coverage determinations.

Problem: There is no national standard for care of infants born exposed to opioids.
Scientific solution: Research through the NIH HEAL Initiative will inform treatment guidelines for clinical care of infants who are exposed to opioids in the womb <https://heal.nih.gov/research/infants-and-children/act-now>. Long-term studies of these infants will improve our understanding of pre- and post-natal opioid exposure on brain growth and development <https://heal.nih.gov/research/infants-and-children/healthy-brain>.

“We need to ensure that people with chronic pain have effective treatment options that don’t expose them to the risk of opioids,” said Rebecca G. Baker, Ph.D., director, NIH HEAL Initiative. “Preventing opioid misuse and addiction through enhanced pain management and improving treatments for OUD and addiction are both critical parts of our trans-NIH response to the opioid crisis.”
Learn more about the NIH HEAL Initiative programs and awards <https://heal.nih.gov/>, and the opioid crisis <https://www.nih.gov/news-events/opioids-digital-press-kit..

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit <www.nih.gov>.

Department of Health and Human Services: New National Institutes of Health program provides comprehensive treatment for inherited blood and immune diseases

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People with inherited diseases of the blood and immune system can now receive treatment at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center through a new, streamlined program that integrates expertise from many medical specialties and related basic science disciplines.

Immunologists, transplant specialists, geneticists and hematologists from across NIH are collaborating in the Blood and Immune Deficiency-Cellular Therapy Program (BID-CTP). These physicians will deliver state-of-the-art and experimental care to people with rare blood and immune system diseases through a unified approach to assessing, treating and monitoring patients and the centralized tracking of treatment outcomes.

The initiative spans four NIH institutes: the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the National Human Genome Research Institute and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Theresa Jerussi, PA-C, of the NIH Clinical Center is chief operating officer of the program.

“The BID-CTP has the potential to accelerate progress in the treatment of people with genetic diseases of the blood and immune system, which can be debilitating and even life-threatening,” said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci. “The close clinical and scientific collaboration within this program aims to foster advances that improve the lives of patients with these diseases.”

Inherited diseases of the immune system are known as primary immune deficiency diseases, or PIDDs <https://www.niaid.nih.gov/diseases-conditions/primary-immune-deficiency-diseases-pidds>. NIH physicians have a strong track record of successfully treating PIDDs. They have developed several therapies and have discovered previously unrecognized PIDDs.

Now, people with any one of hundreds of different PIDDs can enroll in the BID-CTP, and a single, multi-specialty team including both immunologists and transplant experts will oversee their treatment and care. In addition, basic scientists and clinicians are collaborating on detailed molecular and cellular assessments of the extent to which treatment restores each patient’s immune function. Multidisciplinary teams are studying issues that transcend individual PIDDs, such as the detection and management of infections, to improve patient safety and treatment outcomes. New diseases are continually being added to the program, which includes sickle cell disease, a group of inherited blood disorders for which NIH has a successful gene therapy program.

It is anticipated that the BID-CTP will become a strong component of the Primary Immune Deficiency Treatment Consortium <https://www.rarediseasesnetwork.org/cms/pidtc>, an NIH-supported network of 42 centers in North America with the goal of improving health outcomes of patients with rare, life-threatening, inherited disorders of the immune system.

Within the BID-CTP, the key experts in inherited immunodeficiencies are Luigi Notarangelo, M.D., chief of the NIAID Laboratory of Clinical Immunology and Microbiology; Harry Malech, M.D., chief of the Genetic Immunotherapy Section in the NIAID Laboratory of Clinical Immunology and Microbiology; and Dennis Hickstein, M.D., senior investigator in the Experimental Transplantation and Immunology Branch of the NCI Center for Cancer Research. The principal transplant experts are John Tisdale, M.D., director of the NHLBI Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics Laboratory, and Richard Childs, M.D., chief of the NHLBI Laboratory of Transplantation Immunotherapy.

NIAID conducts and supports research — at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide — to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID website.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit <www.nih.gov>.

Department of Health and Human Services: Selection of Dr. Susan Gregurick as the associate director for data science, NIH

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I am pleased to announce the selection of Susan K. Gregurick, Ph.D., as the Associate Director for Data Science (ADDS) and the Director of the NIH Office of Data Science Strategy (ODSS) < https://datascience.nih.gov/>.  She replaces Phillip E. Bourne, Ph.D., who departed in 2017 < https://www.nih.gov/about-nih/who-we-are/nih-director/statements/statement-departure-dr-philip-e-bourne>to the University of Virginia. During this interim period, NIH Principal Deputy Director Lawrence A. Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D., has served as the acting ADDS. Dr. Gregurick has served as the senior advisor to ODSS since November 2018, and will begin her new role on Monday, September 16.

Dr. Gregurick will help lead NIH efforts in coordinating and collaborating with appropriate government agencies, international funders, private organizations, and stakeholders engaged in scientific data generation, management, and analysis. As the ADDS, director of ODSS, and a co-chair of the trans-NIH Scientific Data Council, she is well positioned to lead the NIH Strategic Plan for Data Science < https://datascience.nih.gov/sites/default/files/NIH_Strategic_Plan_for_Data_Science_Final_508.pdf>.

She brings substantial experience in computational biology, high performance computing, and bioinformatics to this position. Additionally, she has worked across sectors, in the government at the NIH and the Department of Energy (DOE), on trans-government committees, and in academia, which is critical in the convening role that the ADDS plays.

Since 2013, Dr. Gregurick has been Director of the Division of Biophysics, Biomedical Technology, and Computational Biosciences in the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). In this role, she has overseen programs that advance research in computational biology, biophysics and data sciences, mathematical and biostatistical methods, and biomedical technologies in support of the NIGMS mission to increase understanding of life processes. Prior to joining NIGMS, Dr. Gregurick was a program manager for the DOE from 2007-2013 where she oversaw the development and implementation of the DOE Systems Biology Knowledgebase, a framework to integrate data, models, and simulations for a better understanding of energy and environmental processes.  Before then, Dr. Gregurick was Professor of Computational Biology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, from 2000-2007.  Her research interests include dynamics of large biological macromolecules. She earned a B.S. in chemistry and mathematics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a Ph.D. in computational chemistry from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Gregurick to the NIH leadership team.

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, National Institutes of Health

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit <www.nih.gov>.

Department of Health and Human Services: Study assesses asthma treatment options in African American children and adults

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A new study of African Americans with poorly controlled asthma, found differences in patients’ responses to commonly used treatments. Contrary to what researchers had expected, almost half of young children in the study responded differently than older children and adults, and than white children in prior studies.

“We shouldn’t assume that current treatment strategies for asthma are ideal for all African Americans since for many years that population was not adequately represented in research,” said Elliot Israel, M.D., senior study author and director of clinical research in the Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “We found that almost half of the African American children studied responded better to increasing the dose of inhaled corticosteroids than adding a long-acting bronchodilator. Thus, adding a long-acting bronchodilator may not be the right answer for nearly half of African American children.”

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health, funded this research to assess the best approach to asthma management in African Americans, who suffer much higher rates of serious asthma attacks, hospitalizations, and asthma-related deaths than whites. The findings appear today in the New England Journal of Medicine <https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa1905560>.

The researchers examined how to escalate or “step-up” asthma treatments for African Americans whose asthma had not been treated adequately with low doses of inhaled corticosteroids, the standard starting treatment. The treatment choices in the trial included increasing the dose of inhaled steroid, adding a long-lasting bronchodilator (used to help open airways), or both.

Based on prior studies, investigators expected that increasing the inhaled corticosteroid dose would lead to improvement in most African American children needing treatment for asthma.

The researchers found that in children under 12 years of age, either approach was effective: nearly half (46%) responded better to increasing the inhaled corticosteroid dose alone and just as many (46%) responded better to increasing the inhaled corticosteroid dose and adding a long-lasting bronchodilator.

“This study suggests that we cannot look at results from one population and extrapolate the findings to African Americans or any other group,” said Michael Wechsler, M.D., principal investigator for the NHLBI-funded Best African American Response to Asthma Drugs (BARD) study and professor of medicine at National Jewish Health in Denver. “If children do not respond to one treatment, parents and providers could consider another option because there is almost a 50% chance of having a better response.”

The multicenter study included 574 participants — about half of whom were ages 5-11 and half 12 years and older. All participants in this study had at least one self-identified African American grandparent, with an average of approximately 80% African ancestry, based on genetic testing.

Of the adolescents over 11 years old and adults, most (49%) responded better to adding a long-lasting bronchodilator than to increasing the inhaled corticosteroid dose, though 20-25% in this group showed no difference in their responses to these approaches.

Investigators also examined whether patient characteristics, including genetic ancestry, could be used to predict the response to the “step-up” treatments in the study participants. But they were unable to use genes indicative of African ancestry, or any of the other patient characteristics they measured in this group of patients, to predict treatment response.

“Although we cannot attribute the study’s findings to genetic markers of African ancestry, there could be as-yet unknown genetic variants specific to people of African descent that affect how severe a patient’s asthma is,” said Wechsler.

Before the trial began, the researchers did not expect the participants to have a better response to treatment regimens that included long-lasting bronchodilators, despite the inclusion of these agents in treatment recommendations. They said they were surprised that many (46% of the young children and 49% of the older children and adults) improved with long-lasting bronchodilators.

“These results provide new data about the management of asthma patients who self-identify as African American regardless of genetic ancestry,” said James Kiley, Ph.D., director of the Division of Lung Diseases at NHLBI. “Every person and their provider should explore all of their management choices to achieve maximum asthma control, based on their response to specific medications.”

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit <www.nih.gov>.

NIH…Turning Discovery into Health — Registered, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

MORE INFORMATION:
NIH statement on World Asthma Day 2019: <https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/news/2019/nih-statement-world-asthma-day-2019>
NHLBI Health Topic on Asthma: <https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/asthma>

STUDY:
Wechsler, M.E. et al. Step-Up Therapy in Blacks with Inadequately Controlled Asthma. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1905560.

Department of Health Services: Receives $1.8 million grant to expand maternal mortality review team efforts

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The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announced today it will receive a 5-year, $1.8 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to decrease pregnancy complications, reduce maternal deaths, and reduce disparities in Wisconsin through an increased investment in the Wisconsin Maternal Mortality Review Team (MMRT).

“Looking closely at maternal deaths and complications during and after pregnancy helps us better understand how to improve outcomes for women and children in the future,” said Jeanne Ayers, State Health Officer and Division of Public Health Administrator.

View the entire news release.

Department of Health Services: Wisconsin celebrates advances in using health information technology

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In honor of National Health IT Week, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is celebrating advances in health technologies that connect members and providers.Health information technology (Health IT) improves the quality of health care delivery, increases patient safety, and decreases medical errors. Wisconsin was recently ranked #2 nationwide in a critical measure of Health IT used by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“Health IT strengthens the relationship between patients and health care providers across Wisconsin’s health care systems,” said DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “Most importantly, health technology enables us to modernize health care delivery to improve care and promote the health and well-being of all Wisconsinites.”

Department of Natural Resources: Hunters reminded of the advisory to test deer for CWD before consuming venison

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MADISON, Wis. – With deer hunting season upon us, state officials are encouraging hunters who harvest deer in counties affected by chronic wasting disease to have the animal tested for CWD, and only consume venison from deer in which CWD is not detected. Testing options are also available in other areas of the state [PDF].

“Although this venison consumption advisory has been in place for years, we thought it was important to remind people of it as we approach this fall’s deer season,” said Rachel Klos, State Public Health Veterinarian of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS). “The safest approach is to only consume venison from healthy-appearing deer with test results indicating that CWD was not detected. This is consistent with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.”

Sample Caption and Alt Text -  - Photo credit: DNR
Three agencies joined together to encourage hunters who harvest deer in counties affected by CWD to have the animal tested for CWD – Photo credit: DNR

CWD is a fatal disease that affects the nervous system of deer, elk moose, and caribou. An abnormal protein called a prion causes the disease, which is not destroyed by cooking temperatures. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has been testing samples from hunter-harvested deer to monitor the disease in the wild deer herd since it was first detected in 2002. The testing methods conducted on the samples provide results about whether CWD was detected or not detected at the time of sampling.

“Although a not detected test result does not guarantee the tested animal is not infected with CWD, it does make it less likely,” said Tami Ryan, DNR Acting Director for the Bureau of Wildlife Management. “Testing also allows hunters to make informed decisions about the consumption advisory.”

To find a location nearby to submit samples free of charge, visit the Find CWD Sampling, Registration and Deer Disposal Sites page of the DNR website. Test results are usually available from the DNR within two weeks.

“Although CWD has never been shown to infect people, some unpublished laboratory research in macaque monkeys has raised concerns about the potential for CWD to cross the ‘species barrier,’ Klos said. “For this reason, we want to keep the public updated and encourage deer hunters to make informed decisions.”

Besides having their deer tested, hunters who have their deer commercially processed should consider asking whether the processor mixes meat from untested animals into the products it returns to the customer. While processors typically return cuts like steaks and chops from the customer’s deer, other products like sausage and jerky may contain trim meat from other deer which may or may not have been tested for CWD.

“Processors can process all deer with ‘CWD not detected’ lab results together using cleaned and sanitized equipment to avoid the possibility that trim meat from non-tested deer will end up being carried over in products returned to customers,” said Dr. Steve Ingham, Administrator for the Division of Food and Recreational Safety at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). “By doing this, processors can assure customers that the products made from co-mingled trim are derived only from deer which have ‘CWD not detected’ results.”

Archery and crossbow hunting season for deer begins September 14. For hunters who process their own deer, instructions on safe processing are available online at the DNR and DATCP websites.

Department of Natural Resources: To implement mandatory CWD sampling and in-person registration for six townships in west central Wisconsin during nine-day gun deer season

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MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is requiring some hunters in West Central Wisconsin to have their deer tested for chronic wasting disease (CWD) during the entire nine-day gun deer season Nov. 23 – Dec.1. The DNR will also implement mandatory in-person registration for deer harvested during the first Saturday and Sunday of the nine-day gun deer season. Details about requirements of hunters and sampling locations are forthcoming as the season draws near.

The DNR is requiring CWD testing of adult deer during the nine-day deer gun season in a six-township area covering parts of Dunn, Eau Claire and Pepin counties. This includes Rock Creek, Brunswick, Washington, Albany, Drammen, and Pleasant Valley townships.

Hunters who harvest deer in these townships outside the nine-day gun deer season as well as hunters who harvest deer outside these townships during any of the 2019 seasons should continue to use online and phone deer registration options. Successful deer hunters whose harvests do not fall under this special guidance will register their deer either online (fastest and easiest method) or by phone. They also have the option of registering electronically at a participating walk-in registration station. For a list of participating businesses offering walk-in registration, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords “registration stations.”

The mandatory testing is in response to the recommendations received in July from the Chippewa Valley CWD Advisory Team (CVCAT) for surveillance and management options in response to the detection of chronic wasting disease in western Eau Claire County. There will also be in-person registration of harvested deer during opening weekend of gun season in the same six township area. The testing is anticipated for this season only to complete disease surveillance goals carried over from the 2018 disease detection surveillance in this region of the state.

The Chippewa Valley CWD Advisory Team is an ad-hoc advisory team made up of representatives of County Deer Advisory Councils for Eau Claire, Buffalo, Chippewa, Dunn, Pepin and Trempealeau Counties. The team was formed in response to the CWD-positive wild deer that was discovered in Eau Claire County in March of 2018. The purpose of the team is to serve as an advisory body to the department regarding local CWD surveillance and management.

“The approach that we are taking is a prime example of the department working closely with citizens and the hunting community to address the challenges associated with the spread of CWD,” said DNR Assistant Deputy Secretary Todd Ambs. “We must all work together to stop the spread of this deadly disease are therefore following the citizens lead in this area.”

CWD is a contagious neurological disease of deer, elk and moose that is caused by an abnormal protein called a prion. These prions cause brain degeneration in infected animals and lead to extreme weight loss, abnormal behavior and loss of bodily functions. Testing for CWD can only be performed after the animal’s death.

As in previous years, CWD sampling will be offered at various locations throughout the state. Options for CWD sampling include both in-person service as well as self-service options. Hunters are reminded that CWD surveillance efforts focus on testing adult deer, since older deer are more likely to test positive for the disease. For their convenience, the DNR recommends hunters contact staffed sampling stations in advance to verify hours of operation.

For more information regarding where to take your deer for sampling, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords “CWD sampling” or contact local DNR wildlife management staff.

Dept. of Administration: Gov. Evers declares September Coastal Awareness Month

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Contact: Mike Friis, Division of Intergovernmental Relations
Phone: (608) 267-7982 E-mail: [email protected]


MADISON
 –
 Governor Tony Evers has proclaimed September as Coastal Awareness Month in Wisconsin in recognition of the important impact that the Great Lakes has on the state. Lake Michigan and Lake Superior are integral to Wisconsin’s economy, recreation, tourism, cultural history, and quality of life. The Governor’s proclamation is a reminder for the people of Wisconsin to protect, promote and enjoy the state’s Great Lakes.

In recognition of Coastal Awareness Month and the importance of the Great Lakes, the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program (WCMP) is proud to announce the release of the 2019 Wisconsin Great Lakes Chronicle. Now in its eighteenth year, the Chronicle promotes public awareness of Wisconsin Great Lakes issues, provides a vehicle for experts to educate public policy leaders, and creates a historical record of Great Lakes events and perspectives. The 2019 edition will feature several articles including those on Accessibility in the Apostle Islands, Regional Maritime Strategy, Water Resources and the use of LiDAR, and Managing Visitor Use of coastal resources. The 2019 Wisconsin Great Lakes Chronicle, including past issues, are available on the WCMP website.

The Department of Administration’s WCMP, now in its 41st year, works cooperatively with Great Lakes stakeholders to help protect and enhance the natural, cultural, and historical resources of the Great Lakes while encouraging responsible economic development. The policy direction for WCMP is set by the Wisconsin Coastal Management Council. Members of the Council are appointed by the Governor and represent state agencies, local and tribal governments, and the general public.

To further celebrate Coastal Awareness Month, the WCMP is again pleased to announce that it is accepting grant proposals to enhance and protect resources within Wisconsin’s coastal zone. The Department of Administration’s WCMP anticipates awarding approximately $1.5 million in grant funding. Application materials and the Request for Proposals are available on the WCMP website (http://coastal.wisconsin.gov). Applications are due November 1, 2019.
Interested applicants are encouraged to contact WCMP staff early to discuss proposal ideas and application requirements.

The program is supporting the following local events highlighting the importance of the Great Lakes in the community.

3nd Annual Harbor Fest, Milwaukee
Sunday, September 8, 2019

Smart Cities Series, Racine
Conference, September 11-12, 2019
Readiness Workshop, September 19, 2019

Wisconsin Point Restoration Commemoration Event, Superior
Friday, September 20, 2019

Valley Week, Milwaukee
September 21-28, 2019

14th Annual Sturgeon Fest, Milwaukee
Saturday, September 28, 2019

The WCMP was the first program in the Great Lakes and among the first ten nationally established through the federal Coastal Zone Management Act. Its mission since 1978 is a balance of resource protection and sustainable development within Wisconsin’s 15 Lake Michigan and Lake Superior counties. To learn more about WCMP please visit http://coastal.wisconsin.gov.

Dept. of Health Services: Teams with the Milwaukee Brewers to promote immunizations

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The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is excited to announce that it has partnered with the Milwaukee Brewers Community Foundation to promote immunizations through public service announcements (PSA’s) recorded in Spanish by Brewers’ catchers Yasmani Grandal and Manny Pina.

In the sixty-second PSA’s, Grandal and Pina talk about importance of protecting your family by having them vaccinated against diseases like measles, mumps, whooping cough, and others.

“Wisconsin has nearly 400,000 Spanish speaking residents, yet too often language barriers can prevent many people from getting the health care they need. We know these PSA’s will help reinforce the importance of immunizations to our state’s Spanish speaking residents. We are very grateful to the Brewers Community Foundation (link is external)and the players for helping us get the word out,” said DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm.

Grandal was born in Cuba and moved to the United States when he was ten years old. He signed with the Brewers as a free agent in January 2019 and was named to the 2019 All Star Team. He is married and has two children. Pina is a native of Venezuela and has been with the Brewers since 2015. He is married and has two children.

“Promoting good health is one of the top priorities of the Milwaukee Brewers, and both Yasmani and Manny were eager to lend their voices to this campaign as members of the community, Spanish speakers, and as fathers,” said Katina Shaw, Vice President of Community Relations for the Milwaukee Brewers.

Governor Tony Evers and DHS are committed to addressing health disparities, including language barriers, so everyone in Wisconsin can get the health care and health information they need to help them live their best lives.

The PSA’s are available on the DHS YouTube channel and can be downloaded for use on television, social media, and web pages.

Dept. of Natural Resources: Sept. 28 is National Public Lands Day & National Hunting & Fishing Day

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Volunteers are needed at Kohler-Andrae State Park on Public Lands Day. - - Photo credit: DNRVolunteers are needed at Kohler-Andrae State Park on Public Lands Day. – Photo credit: DNR

MADISON, Wis. – Ninety-five percent of Wisconsin residents participate in nature-based recreation, and nearly two-thirds find their fun, adventure, and relaxation on public lands.

Such sky-high participation is one reason why National Public Lands Day and National Hunting and Fishing Day, observed on Sept. 28 this year, are worth celebrating in Wisconsin, says Department of Natural Resources Secretary-designee Preston Cole.

“Every day is a great day to enjoy Wisconsin’s great outdoors, but September 28 is special,” Cole said. “It’s a day to get out and enjoy, explore and care for the lands that belong to you, including the 6 million acres in Wisconsin that are managed on your behalf by county, local, state and federal governments.”

Cole says National Hunting and Fishing Day highlights the conservation work funded by hunters and anglers through their license fees and excise taxes on hunting and fishing equipment. It also highlights their volunteer work to help improve habitat, pass along hunting and fishing traditions to new generations, and advocate to expand recreational opportunities.

To find public lands to enjoy outdoor fun or to relax and soak up the beauty of a fall day in Wisconsin, visit the DNR website for information on public access lands. It contains links to DNR managed properties as well as those managed by federal and some local governments.

People looking for opportunities to help improve public lands have several options on Sept. 28. The Friends of Kohler-Andrae State Park are teaming up with the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin for a Public Lands Day of service, food, and fun. Participants will start the day with a guided tour of the park, followed by volunteer projects, and then finish the day with a celebratory meal and s’mores. The event is limited to 100 volunteers, but at this time more are still needed.

The Flambeau River State Forest is holding a Public Lands Day event that will focus on cleaning up along forest roads. Volunteers are asked to meet at the Flambeau River State Forest headquarters at 9 a.m. Following the cleanup, Flambeau staff will grill brats for a noon lunch. Call 715-332-5271 EXT 112 to RSVP.

The Ice Age Trail Alliance is holding a Public Lands Day Mobile Skills Crew Trailbuilding event at the Bohn Lake Trail Segment in the Bohn Lake State Natural Area in Waushara County. Crews will be adding nearly three-quarters of a mile of new trail and improving access to the Mecan River Segment.

To volunteer for workdays at DNR-managed properties including State Natural Areas, State Wildlife Areas, and State Parks, visit DNR’s volunteer webpage.

Here are just a few things Wisconsin has to celebrate on National Public Lands Day and National Hunting and Fishing Day:

  • Six million acres of public lands belong to all Wisconsinites and are managed for them by county, local, federal and state officials.
  • Sixty percent of Wisconsin residents rely on public lands and waters mostly or entirely when participating in their favorite outdoor activity.
  • Wisconsinites love the outdoors and participate in nature-based recreation at twice the national rate or more for fishing, hunting, hiking and biking, and one-and-a-half times the rate for wildlife watching.
  • Wisconsin’s public lands and its outdoor recreation are an essential foundation for the state’s economy. Consumer spending on outdoor recreation in Wisconsin totals $17.9 billion.
  • Wisconsin’s public lands and nature-based recreation are essential for healthy families. A significant and growing body of research shows that spending time in nature is good for mental and physical well-being. Doctors around the world have started prescribing time in nature to improve patient’s health. Recent research in Scientific Reports found that people report significantly better health and well-being after spending just 120 minutes in nature a week.

Statistics from: Wisconsin Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP).

Dept. of Transportation: Overnight closure planned for westbound US 12/18 at I-39/90 in Madison

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MADISON, WI – The westbound lanes of US 12/18 entering the I-39/90 interchange will be closed from 7 p.m. tonight (Sept. 30) to 6 a.m. Tuesday (Oct. 1). Westbound US 12/18 traffic will be detoured north on the Interstate to WIS 30 (Exit 138B) and south on US 51/Stoughton Road. The northbound I-39/90 ramp to westbound US 12/18 and the westbound US 12/18 ramp to I-39/90 southbound will also be closed during the nightly closures. The signed detour will follow WIS 30 and US 51.

This construction work and closures are weather dependent and subject to change. If this work is postponed, the operations will occur on Sunday night (Sept. 29) during the same timeframes.

Weekly updates about the Beltline work between Seminole Highway and I-39/90 can be found at https://projects.511wi.gov/us12-madison/ under the “Traffic Impacts” tab.

For more information regarding traffic impacts, transportation news and improvement project updates in Wisconsin’s southwest region:

  • Travel information on Wisconsin highways, including Beltline traffic cameras, can be found at www.511wi.gov.
  • Follow us on Twitter: @WisDOTsouthwest for regional alerts from the Traffic Incident Alert System, construction project updates and more.
  • Visit the Southwest Region’s 511 website: projects.511wi.gov/region/southwest.

Alerts and updates provided via these sites are not intended for use while driving. When driving, your focus should always be on the road.

Dept. of Transportation: State, federal, tribal officials update partnership agreement

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Wisconsin’s 11 federally recognized tribal governments met with state and federal officials today to update a commitment to partnership on transportation-related issues. The partnership agreement, initially launched in 2005, sets the framework for government-to-government cooperation on project development and labor issues that transcend state, federal and tribal jurisdictions.

“This agreement is about providing guidance and structure for us to enjoy a deeper and more meaningful understanding of our unique operational needs,” said WisDOT Secretary-Designee Craig Thompson. “Our signatures today mark a new chapter in important relationships we want to continue cultivating for the benefit of our communities and future generations.”

The partnership agreement has prompted initiatives among WisDOT and Wisconsin’s tribal governments, such as the Inter-Tribal Task Force, annual consultation meetings and skills training programs in Native American communities.

“Good, strong partnerships take time, understanding and communication. For nearly 15 years, Wisconsin’s 11 tribes have worked with state and federal government to advocate for transportation projects that leverage community impact,” said Shannon Holsey, President of the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council Inc. and President of the Stockbridge-Munsee Community. “Expansion of the partnership agreement is another positive step forward for us all.”

The partnership agreement followed Gov. Jim Doyle’s Executive Order 39 in 2004. The agreement was last updated in fall 2010. Earlier this year, Gov. Tony Evers issued Executive Order 18 reaffirming the importance of the inter-governmental relationships. Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes attended the signing event in Bayfield.

“Partnership is an important component of progress, and it’s exciting to see Native Nations and state and federal governments coming together to re-energize a core connection and chart a path forward,” said Lt. Gov. Barnes. “This partnership agreement embodies the spirit of Governor Evers’ Executive Order 18. As a state, we have the responsibility to uphold and respect tribal sovereignty—just as we have a responsibility to help Native communities overcome the barriers they face because of historical injustices.”

Dept. of Veterans Affairs: Secretary-designee Kolar’s statement on naming of National Veterans Cemetery

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MADISON — Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) Secretary-designee Mary Kolar congratulated the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on its selection of the name “Northwoods National Cemetery” for a national veterans cemetery that is currently under construction in Wisconsin.

“In Wisconsin, we take pride in providing a proper send-off and dignified resting place for our nation’s veterans,” Secretary Kolar said. “The Northwoods Veterans Cemetery will provide veterans’ families in the northeastern part of the state a distinguished place that honors their loved one’s service to our country.”

According to the VA, it purchased the property at 4520 Lakewood Road, Harshaw, Wisconsin for $24,712 on Sept. 24, 2015. The cemetery will serve more than 38,000 veterans, their spouses and eligible children within a 75-mile radius of nearby Rhinelander. When completed, Phase I will offer more than 3,380 casket and cremation spaces to accommodate burials for the next 10 years. The cemetery will provide casket burials, in-ground cremation burials, columbarium niches for cremation burials, and a memorial wall.

The WDVA administers three state cemeteries: Central Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery located in King, Northern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Spooner, and Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Union Grove. The closest state administered cemetery is the Central Wisconsin Veterans Cemetery which is located 114 miles from Harshaw.

Learn more about Wisconsin’s Veterans Memorial Cemeteries at WisVets.com.

Dept. of Workforce Development: Labor force participation rate remains at 67.2 percent in August

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MADISON – The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) today released the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) preliminary employment estimates for the month of August. The data shows that Wisconsin’s Labor Force Participation Rate remained at 67.2 percent in August, 4.0 percent better than the national rate of 63.2 percent. Wisconsin’s unemployment rate in August was 3.1 percent, 0.6 percent lower than the national rate of 3.7 percent.

In brief:

  • Place of Resident Data: Wisconsin’s preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in August was 3.1 percent, up slightly from the August 2018 rate of 3.0 percent, but near the historic lows achieved earlier this year. Wisconsin’s labor force participation rate in August was 67.2 percent. The national labor force participation rate in August was 63.2 percent.
  • Place of Work Data: Wisconsin added 8,300 private-sector jobs from August 2018 to August 2019, and 1,900 total non-farm jobs over the same period. Over-the-month, Wisconsin’s private-sector jobs declined by 1,400, while total non-farm jobs declined by 3,500.

“Along with the country’s, Wisconsin’s workforce is aging rapidly, with thousands retiring across the country daily,” DWD Secretary-designee Caleb Frostman said. “To replace retiring workers, while also filling new positions, Wisconsin’s employers and workforce partners, very much including DWD, will need to continue their aggressive, creative, and inclusive workforce recruitment efforts. We look forward to building on our strong partnerships to attract and retain the best and brightest here in Wisconsin.”

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

Dimitrijevic campaign: Alderman José Pérez endorses Marina for Alderwoman

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Today, Milwaukee County Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic announced another important endorsement in her campaign for Alderwoman. With the support of Alderman Pérez, Marina has secured the endorsement of a large, diverse group of Milwaukee Common Council members.

“I’m proud to stand with Marina Dimitrijevic for Alderwoman.  Marina has been an incredibly effective County Board member. I look forward to working with her to advance the interests of the South Side and the entire City of Milwaukee,” said Alderman José Peérez.

”The support of Alderman José Pérez is invaluable to our grassroots campaign. As proud representatives for the Latino community we have stood shoulder to shoulder in each fight to improve our community. We worked closely to bring local IDs to all residents, supported Latinx businesses, and helped improve the neighborhood near Pulaski Park. Our children go to Milwaukee Public Montessori schools and I can’t wait to continue to work with Alderman Pérez for a better Milwaukee for all of us, said Milwaukee County Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic.

Marina wants strong public schools like the MPS schools she attended and that her son Rafael attends. She will work for more peaceful streets, an expanded health department, additional recycling, and great libraries for all. Our city can be better and we can move it forward together.

Marina lives in Bay View with her family and has been elected to serve our neighborhood since 2004. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Management. Readers of the Shepherd Express have named her the, “Best Milwaukee County Supervisor”, each year.

Check out Marina’s Facebook page here to see current campaign updates.

Marina’s plan is simple and powerful: listen, build, and be better for all of us. Go to her website to learn more about her experience, community commitment, and her vision for our city.

Dimitrijevic campaign: Rep. Jonathan Brostoff endorses Marina for Alderwoman

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MILWAUKEE – Today, Milwaukee County Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic released another strong endorsement in her campaign for Alderwoman. With the support of State Representative Jonathan Brostoff, Marina has secured an endorsement from every local and state elected official in District 14.

“I’m proud to stand with Marina Dimitrijevic for Alderwoman. Her policy priorities on racial justice and police reform are exactly what we need in the City of Milwaukee right now,” said Representative Brostoff.

”The support of State Representative Brostoff adds to the growing momentum in our campaign. Jonathan and I share the same progressive values and I am honored to have secured his endorsement. Representative Brostoff and I will continue to work together to implement policies that improve the lives of working families in Milwaukee,” said Milwaukee County Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic.

Marina wants strong public schools like the MPS schools she attended and that her son Rafael attends. She will work for more peaceful streets, an expanded health department, additional recycling, and great libraries for all. Our city can be better and we can move it forward together.

Marina lives in Bay View with her family and has been elected to serve our neighborhood since 2004. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Management. Readers of the Shepherd Express have named her the, “Best Milwaukee County Supervisor” each year.

Check out Marina’s Facebook page here to see current campaign updates.
Marina’s plan is simple and powerful: listen, build, and be better for all of us. Go to her website to learn more about her experience, community commitment, and her vision for our city.

DPW Chair Wikler: Statement on Gov. Evers’ common sense red flag legislation push, Trump’s broken promises on common sense gun safety reform

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(MADISON, WI) – Today, Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Ben Wikler released the following statement praising Governor Evers’ push to pass common sense red flag legislation, as well as called out President Trump’s broken promises to pass common sense gun safety legislation.
“We are grateful for Governor Evers’ leadership to fight for red flag laws — common-sense gun safety measures that have overwhelming bipartisan support. At a time when three-year-olds participate in active shooter drills, it’s clearly long past time for us to fight against the gun violence epidemic that plagues our country. Right here in Wisconsin we suffered a mass shooting that left six dead in Oak Creek.The vast majority of Wisconsinites, including the vast majority of homes that have a gun in them, are demanding change, and Governor Evers is right to push for the passage of these common-sense red flag laws.

“Wisconsin is fortunate to have a Governor who recognizes the cost of these mass shootings, but sadly we still have a President whose opinion is for sale. In typical fashion, President Trump made bold, yet empty, statements promising us he would deliver on common sense gun safety legislation. All it took was a call from his overlords at the NRA to break the promise he made to Wisconsinites and the American people. The problem is compounded by the fact that Senate Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Leader Robin Vos are too cowardly to take appropriate action.

“We cannot trust Trump to keep his word to do something about the gun violence epidemic, so we will continue to fight here in Wisconsin for these urgent, life saving measures.”

Empower Wisconsin: Wisconsin’s New conservative information hub

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Contact: Matt Kittle – (608) 441-5110
Email: [email protected]

Madison, WI —- A new conservative education and advocacy organization, Empower Wisconsin, launched today with a multimedia website. Conservative activists including Eric O’Keefe and former Wisconsin State Representative Adam Jarchow will lead the organization. The group has named investigative journalist and talk radio host Matt Kittle to serve as its Executive Director.

“Empower Wisconsin will amplify the voices of conservative organizations, educate and mobilize activists, and serve as a watchdog that holds our elected officials accountable through old fashioned investigative journalism,” said Adam Jarchow, President of Empower Wisconsin.

“Today we launch Empower Wisconsin, the Badger State’s premiere conservative information hub,” said Matt Kittle. “I am thrilled to be joining this organization of liberty-loving conservatives. These are critical times for our nation and state. We either stand up for limited government and liberty, or we surrender our freedoms,” Kittle said.

“Empower Wisconsin will educate, advocate and mobilize conservative voices with a strong and well-defined issue agenda. In addition, it will develop a network of like-minded organizations at the state and federal levels to maximize the power of our collective efforts,” added Kittle.

In addition to serving on the board of Empower Wisconsin, political strategist, activist, and author Eric O’Keefe will lead the Empower Wisconsin Foundation, a 501(c)(3). As a target of Wisconsin’s infamous John Doe investigation, O’Keefe knows first-hand what it means to have his liberty threatened by abusive government agents.

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Empower Wisconsin, Inc. is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization that advances a conservative agenda focused on basic civil rights and limited government. Empower Wisconsin operates as a tax exempt advocacy organization under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code.

End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin, WCASA: Advocates applaud bill to confront violence against native women

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CONTACT:
Jenna Gormal, Public Policy Coordinator, End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin, 608.237.3985
Ian Henderson, Director of Policy/Systems, WCASA, 608.257.1516
Lac Du Flambeau —Today, Rep. Beth Meyers, Rep. Amanda Stuck, Sen. Janet Bewley, and advocates gathered on the land of the Lac Du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa to release a bill that would create a statewide inter-governmental task force to address the problem of missing and murdered indigenous women.
Indigenous people define the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women (often abbreviate “MMIW”) as an epidemic level of violence against native women. Native women are subjected to higher levels of violence, including trafficking, sexual assault, domestic abuse and homicide, than virtually any other group in the United States. Perpetrators of the violence are usually non-native. Advocates say that this continuing disproportionate level of cruelty directed at native women is rooted in colonialism, sexism and racism and is a continuation of patterns of violence that have been present since European arrival.
“This is an extremely important issue, as murder is the third leading cause of death for American Indian and Alaskan Native Women”, said Pennie Meyers, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault, “We fully support increasing the visibility of this devastating epidemic and urge the legislature to quickly pass this bill.”
“We are grateful to the native advocates and legislators who have brought this bill forward,” said Patti Seger, Executive Director of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin. “The violence that native women have been subjected to since colonization is beyond inhumane. It’s high time we recognize it, understand it and end it.”
The legislation introduced today would bring together tribal and state government leaders, survivors, advocates and law enforcement to examine the problem of missing and murdered indigenous women and require that group to submit a report with recommendations to the state legislature and tribal governments.

Eppstein Uhen Architects: Celebrates years long relationship with Goodman Community Center

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MADISON, WI, September 30, 2019 — Eppstein Uhen Architects (EUA) has partnered with Goodman Community Center (GCC) for over 14 years; and EUA is celebrating another collaboration with GCC with a sponsorship of the Community Learning Suite. “Since 2005 EUA has been a proud partner, architect and supporter of Goodman Community Center. We are honored to have helped create spaces that encourage connection and elevate the Madison community.” – Rich Tennessen, President, EUA.

The first EUA designed building was the historic Iron Works building which was completed in 2008. The new Brass Works building was completed in 2018 and further supports the Madison community. Over the years, EUA along with the EUA Foundation, have made other donations to support the work GCC does. Learn more from GCC’s Executive Director, Becky Steinhoff, along with EUA Madison Team members in this video Click Here.

Eppstein Uhen Architects (EUA) is best known for designing environments that elevate people’s potential. More than 230 employees in Madison, Milwaukee and Denver demonstrate unparalleled commitment to the markets, communities and clients they serve. The respected 112-year old firm specializes in several markets including educationworkplacehealthcaresenior livingstudent housingmixed-useentertainment,  science + technology and community. For additional information, please visit the firm’s website at eua.com.

Evers calls for action on gun violence, Republicans accuse guv of wanting to seize firearms

Gov. Tony Evers again urged GOP lawmakers to address gun violence as he joined Dem lawmakers in unveiling “red-flag” legislation.

The legislation would create a new process to ask a court to temporarily take away firearms from someone deemed a threat to others.

Evers has previously threatened to call a special election for the Legislature to take up universal background checks and a red-flag law if Republicans failed to act on their own.

He didn’t take that step Thursday, adding he would issue the order unless lawmakers took action “within weeks.”

He also accused lawmakers who have failed to act on gun legislation of choosing “cowardice over common sense.”

“The buck stops in two offices in this Capitol,” Evers said, referencing Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos.

Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, and Vos, R-Rochester, said in a joint statement that it’s “widely known” they believe the bill poses a threat “to due process and the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.”

They also sought to seize on Evers’ answer when asked if he would support a proposal similar to Dem presidential contender Beto O’Rourke’s call for buying back certain assault weapons. Critics have likened the O’Rourke plan to confiscation.

Evers deflected the question, saying he was focused on the two bills discussed during the news conference, but he’d consider the legislation.

Fitzgerald and Vos said Evers’ “partial answer” revealed Dems’ real agenda of taking away lawfully owned firearms.

“Wisconsin laws already say if you’re a felon, you lose your right to own a gun,” they said. “With Governor Evers considering confiscating firearms from law-abiding citizens, it shows just how radical Democrats have become.”

Under current law, anyone subject to a domestic abuse or child abuse injunction is prohibited from possessing a firearm and must surrender all guns. The firearms can’t be returned until a court determines the injunction has been lifted or expires.

Backers said the bill announced Thursday would expand on that by creating a new process for law enforcement, a relative or a household member to seek a temporary restraining order prohibiting someone from possessing a firearm if the court finds reasonable grounds that person is likely to injure the respondent or someone else. The temporary restraining order would remain in effect until an injunction hearing, where the court could extend the ban for up to one year. The protection order could be renewed.

The subject of the extreme risk protection injunction would be able to petition the court to vacate the order.

Also, anyone making a false claim in seeking a protective order would face a felony charge.

Sen. Lena Taylor, who’s co-sponsoring the bill with Rep. Melissa Sargent, D-Madison, said the bill won’t take away anyone’s 2nd or 4th amendment rights. She also said it won’t prevent all gun violence.

“But it does have the ability to save lives, and that is worth it,” the Milwaukee Dem said.

See the bill draft:
https://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/190919Gun.pdf

The GOP rhetoric largely focused on Evers’ response to the question about the O’Rourke proposal with Republicans accusing the guv of wanting to take away guns from law-abiding citizens.

When he was asked about the O’Rourke proposal, Evers said, “What I’m focused on is two bills that the people of Wisconsin have already spoken on, and that’s universal background checks and the extreme risk protection orders. We have to focus on what we know we can accomplish, and we can accomplish those two things.”

Asked in a follow-up question if that meant he didn’t support the measure, Evers said, “I’d consider it, but my focus is on these two bills and the two offices that would either prevent it from going to a hearing and to a vote and not. So it’s two bills, two offices.”

Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, said in a statement the “candid comments from Governor Evers only further illustrate that without a strong, Republican-lead legislature, the idea of involuntary seizure of firearms could easily become a reality in Wisconsin.”

AG Josh Kaul countered that red-flag laws in Connecticut and Indiana have been challenged in court and were found to be legal. He added the legislation introduced Thursday was modeled on a 2014 domestic violence restraining order law that required a defendant to surrender their guns if a judge finds the defendant may use them to cause “physical harm to another or to endanger public safety.”

That measure was signed into law by then-Gov. Scott Walker. Vos voted for it, and Fitzgerald did not block it in the Senate.

“I don’t think anybody thinks that procedure is unconstitutional, or at least not the Republican members of the Legislature, nor would a red-flag law be,” Kaul said.

Kaul said he doesn’t expect to see gun buy-back legislation brought forward this session and declined to comment until he could see the specifics of such a proposal.

Instead, he called for the focus to remain on the so-called red-flag bill introduced Thursday and a universal background check proposal introduced last month.

“I think it’s important that we focus on trying to make progress and I think focusing on these two issues is the best way to do that,” he said.

See video of Evers’ answer:
https://twitter.com/victorjacobo_/status/1174720154443366400

Evers calls Jan. 27 special election to fill Duffy seat

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Voters will go to the polls Jan. 27 to fill the seat of outgoing U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy — a rare Monday election — under an executive order Gov. Tony Evers issued today.

The expected primary will be Dec. 30.

Under state law, the earliest Evers could’ve called the special election is Jan. 21. But that would’ve meant a primary on Christmas Eve. State law also precludes a special election between Feb. 1 and April 7 unless it aligns with the regularly scheduled spring election.

The guv’s office said it didn’t want to wait until then, because that would mean residents in the 7th CD would be without a representative in the House for six months. Under Evers’ order, the vacancy will last a little more than four months.

Evers’ decision to call the special election for Jan. 27 rather than the Tuesday that week also avoids having a primary on Dec. 31. State law requires a primary, if needed, to be four weeks before the special election.

Evers casts doubt on Fitzgerald’s call for new tax cuts

Gov. Tony Evers cast doubt on a call from Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald for a new round of tax cuts, saying it was a politically motivated suggestion as the Juneau Republican launches his campaign for the 5th CD.

Fitzgerald said on “UpFront” he’d like to pass another tax cut if January revenue estimates come in higher than previously expected.

Speaking at a WisPolitics.com luncheon Tuesday, Evers said he’d consider such a proposal if it crossed his desk. But he said some things “give me pause” and he’d prefer to put aside any additional revenue in case the economy takes a downturn.

“A one-time increase in revenue cannot in perpetuity fund a tax cut. That’s not the way money works,” Evers said.

The guv added, “It’s questionable rhetoric. I guess it has something to do with election prospects for him.”

A Fitzgerald spokesman rejected the charge. He said the majority leader has been raising the prospects of a new tax cut since last month, before U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, announced he wouldn’t seek reelection.

“As leader, Scott Fitzgerald has always prioritized cutting taxes and has overseen billions of dollars in tax cuts,” said spokesman Alec Zimmerman. “It should be no surprise that he’s interested in the possibility of further tax cuts following revenue estimates early next year.”

During the luncheon, Evers laid out a fall agenda that includes new gun control measures, medical marijuana and expanding Medicaid.

But GOP leaders have already raised varying levels of opposition to the proposals.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, has said he was open to medical marijuana, and a bill with bipartisan support was introduced last week. But Fitzgerald has said he opposes the bill.

Republicans also pulled from the budget Evers’ call to expand Medicaid using federal money, and GOP leaders have shown no interest in a standalone bill that would take the step.

Asked by an audience member whether the bill would be any different than his approach in the budget, Evers vowed there would be “repercussions” for Republicans who continue to oppose it at the ballot box.

Evers acknowledged that Fitzgerald and Vos are unlikely to come around on the bill on their own, regardless of whether it is structured differently from what was in the budget. But he said he will continue making the case to the public.

“So we’re going to continue doing it until they start losing members and then they’ll change their minds,” Evers said.

Evers also said he would consider a bill that would raise to 21 the age to buy tobacco. But he said he’s worried “vaping will be given a pass” with the bill.

Rather than reducing smoking, he said research shows vapers become smokers “more often than not.”

And he signaled he was open to a bill that would allow Milwaukee city and county to impose a 1 percent local sales tax that would be used for property tax relief and regional projects. Republican leaders have raised doubts about the legislation’s chances of winning support in their caucuses.

But Evers said the Capitol needs to “find ways to trust local governments.”‘

“Local governments don’t raise taxes because they want to hurt people,” Evers said. “They want to solve problems.”

After the luncheon, Evers rejected the suggestion that politics played a role in his decision to schedule a special election to fill the 7th CD.

Republicans on Monday charged Evers took the step to avoid lining up the race for the heavily GOP seat with the April ballot, when the presidential primary and Supreme Court contest will be decided. They argued Evers was trying to avoid bringing out more Republicans who would then vote in the Supreme Court race.

Evers acknowledged the special election — with a Dec. 30 primary and Jan. 27 general on a Monday — will be a burden for northern Wisconsin clerks. Still, Evers said he wanted to fill the seat quickly.

Under state law, the earliest Evers could call the special election is Jan. 21, but that would’ve meant a Christmas Eve primary. State law bans a special election for the House seat after Feb. 1 unless it lines up with the regularly scheduled spring election.

“What factored in my decision is getting someone representing that congressional district as soon as possible,” Evers told reporters. “Think about the things that are needed to be dealt with by Congress, ranging from impeachment to making sure that we have a good trade deal for our farmers. It had nothing to do with (politics). It had to do with people being represented in a timely fashion.”

Evers passed when asked if he supported impeaching the president, saying he’s focused on Wisconsin.

“That’s for the people in Washington, D.C., and their constituents in Wisconsin,” Evers said.

Listen to Evers’ avail with reporters:
https://soundcloud.com/wispolitics/190924_1200a/s-wtXmD

See WisconsinEye video of the luncheon:

WisPolitics.com Luncheon: Governor Tony Evers

Evers knocks Republicans for pulling driver licensing, in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants from budget

Gov. Tony Evers knocked Republican lawmakers for striking the budget provisions he backed that would have granted driver’s licenses and in-state college tuition to undocumented immigrants.

“At the end of the day, it was all about politics,” Evers said of the decision Thursday. “Republicans put divisiveness and ideology before pragmatic policies that Wisconsinites absolutely support.”

Spokesmen for Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, were not immediately available for comment.

The guv’s comments came at a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration at the Capitol. Evers, members of his cabinet and state Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa, D-Milwaukee, used the event to call for the state to become more “equitable and inclusive.”

Evers recalled the life story of his wife’s father, who immigrated from Holland in 1913 and made a successful career working for the Kohler company and was able to have “a seat at the table” and “be a part of U.S. society.”

“But he had an advantage, right? The color of his skin,” Evers said. “We have to change that in Wisconsin.”

Despite seeing his proposals “chopped out of budget” by Republicans, Evers pledged his administration was “not going to have that go away.”

Zamarripa, meanwhile, knocked President Trump as a chief of state “who has scapegoated Latinos and uttered some of the most disrespectful, offensive rhetoric we’ve heard from an elected leader.”

The Milwaukee Dem said Trump’s barbs toward undocumented Latinos pained her, because “they are a part of our communities.”

“They want to work hard and raise their families here in Wisconsin, just like the German and Polish immigrants who came here before us,” she said.

But while Zamarripa acknowledges the need to “keep fighting and advocating,” she added that “benchmarks of change” such as the Hispanic Heritage Month celebration had to be celebrated.

“A moment for us to stop and catch our breath, to set aside the fight just for a moment to honor each other, to acknowledge how far we have come while never forgetting how much further we have to go,” she said.

Evers’ plan for new ADAs shifts more to Milwaukee, Rock counties than GOP proposed

Gov. Tony Evers’ plan for new assistant district attorneys shifts some positions to Milwaukee and Rock counties — at the expense of others — compared to what Republicans had proposed in the budget.

Milwaukee County will get three new general purpose revenue-funded positions, while Rock County will add one under Evers’ plan compared to what Republicans had proposed.

Meanwhile, the counties of Columbia, Fond du Lac, Manitowoc, Marathon and Monroe will all add positions under the plan compared to current staffing levels. But each will get one fewer additional position compared to what Republicans included in their budget before Evers vetoed their allocation plan.

In Tuesday’s announcement, Evers touted the first full-time GPR-funded assistant DA positions added in the state in more than 10 years, calling it a “historic” investment that will improve services.

“For far too long our county district attorney offices have been doing more with less,” Evers said.

But GOP state Rep. Mark Born, a member of the Joint Finance Committee who has worked on assistant DA staffing issues, charged Evers was benefiting Milwaukee County with his proposal even though a study shows it already has enough staffers to handle the workload. Meanwhile, that same study showed the counties who would’ve done better under the GOP plan will still be short of the needed positions to handle their workloads.

“Taking a position from a high-need rural county to give them to Milwaukee County, that is overstaffed according to that study, I think that’s a concern,” said Born, R-Beaver Dam.

In all, the plan announced yesterday means 56 counties will receive 64.95 additional full-time equivalent positions. But the allocation of 30.1 positions had already been spelled out in the budget Evers signed in July. Republicans included in their version of the budget an allocation for the other 34.85, but Evers vetoed the earmarks for those jobs while keeping the authority to add them.

Tuesday’s announcement fills out where those 34.85 positions will go.

In his recommendation to Evers, DOA Secretary Joel Brennan wrote the agency took a “holistic review” in divvying up the positions based on DA requests, staffing needs for treatment alternatives and diversion programs, and other issues.

Still, the latest analysis of the workload for Wisconsin’s DA offices found Milwaukee had 115 percent of the full-time equivalent positions it needed to handle caseloads as of Aug. 8, 2018, while Rock County was at 86 percent.

By comparison, the five counties that fared worse under Evers’ plan than the GOP proposal ranged from 41 percent of the staff needed to handle caseloads to 62 percent.

Monroe County, which was at 41 percent, needed 4.25 FTE positions to reach 100 percent of staffing needed. Under Evers’ plan, it will get one additional position.

Marathon County was at 62 percent with a need for 6.73 more positions, but will get 3.5 under the Evers approach.

The other changes in the Evers plan compared to the GOP proposal include: Bayfield County adding 0.1 FTE, Green County adding 0.1 FTE, Washington County adding 0.4 FTE and Sheboygan County adding 0.5 FTE. Meanwhile, Ozaukee County will get 0.1 fewer FTE under Evers’ approach compared to the GOP plan.

Portage County DA Louis Molepske, president of the Wisconsin District Attorneys Association, said the additional prosecutor positions are welcome, though more needs to be done after years of the state Capitol not addressing caseloads.

“This is a very impressive down payment on 30 years of lack of funding this program for FTEs,” said Molepske, a former Dem member of the Assembly.

He also cautioned against solely relying on the caseload study in determining which counties should’ve been awarded the additional assistant DAs.

During the budget process, Evers had proposed switching three positions funded in the Milwaukee County DA’s office to GPR rather than through program revenue such as grants. But Republicans rejected the move.

Molepske said providing GPR funding for those positions under Evers’ proposal will alleviate any fears that the grant funding could dry up. He also noted while the caseload study found Milwaukee County was fully staffed to meet needs, that metric didn’t take into account efforts such as finding more treatment and diversion options, which help alleviate overcrowding in jails and prisons.

Molepske also said every DA who had requested additional position authority got a boost under the final plan.

“At the end of the day, it should make all these DAs very happy,” Molepske said. “Most importantly, the allocations are done without partisanship in mind.”

See the plan:
https://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/190917DA.pdf

Executive Session: Senate Committee on transportation, veterans and military affairs

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The committee will hold an executive session on the following items at the time specified below:
Wednesday, October 2, 2019
9:31 AM
330 Southwest
Executive Session will be held immediately following the Public Hearing.

Senate Bill 86
Relating to: registration and operation of vehicles defined as autocycles.
By Senators Jacque, Kapenga, Marklein, Schachtner and Stroebel; cosponsored by Representatives Knodl, Brandtjen, Brooks, Edming, Felzkowski, Gundrum, Horlacher, Kerkman, Kuglitsch, Kulp, Kurtz, Mursau, Novak, Oldenburg, Petryk, Plumer, Pronschinske, Ramthun, Rodriguez, Rohrkaste, Shankland, Tittl, Tranel, Tusler, VanderMeer and Wichgers.
Senate Bill 411
Relating to: designating the Richard I. Bong Memorial Bridge.
By Senators Bewley and Petrowski; cosponsored by Representatives Milroy and Skowronski.

Senate Bill 433
Relating to: designating the Wisconsin 9/11 Memorial Highway and directional signage for the Wisconsin 9/11 Memorial and Education Center.
By Senators Stroebel, Darling, Kooyenga, Schachtner, Wanggaard and Wirch; cosponsored by Representatives Ramthun, Brooks, Gundrum, Brandtjen, Born, Anderson, Billings, Brostoff, Doyle, Duchow, Edming, Felzkowski, Fields, Horlacher, Jagler, James, Katsma, Kitchens, Knodl, Kuglitsch, Kulp, Kurtz, Macco, Milroy, Murphy, Mursau, Neylon, Ohnstad, Oldenburg, Ott, Pronschinske, Quinn, Rohrkaste, Sanfelippo, Schraa, Sinicki, Skowronski, Snyder, Spiros, Summerfield, Tauchen, Tittl, Tranel, Tusler, Vruwink, Wichgers and Zimmerman.

Senate Bill 447
Relating to: supplemental transportation aids.
By Senators Petrowski and Bewley; cosponsored by Representative Spiros.

Finance Co-Chairs: Statement on AG’s comments on Purdue Pharma case

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[Madison, WI] – On Wednesday, the Co-Chairs of the Joint Committee on Finance issued the following statement regarding Attorney General Kaul’s comments on not accepting the settlement in the Purdue Pharma case.

“Through media reports, the attorney general stated Wisconsin is not one of the states agreeing to settle the Purdue Pharma case at this time.

We hope those reporters have signed non-disclosure agreements, because they are getting ‘confidential’ information from the attorney general that he refused to share with members of the Joint Committee on Finance.

It’s clear the attorney general did not need signed secrecy agreements to share case information.  Now we know there wasn’t an ’emergency’ settlement to present to the committee two weeks ago.  The attorney general should stop playing games, follow the law, and work with the Joint Committee on Finance.”

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Fitzgerald campaign: Announces candidacy for Fifth Congressional District

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[Oconomowoc, WI] — Today, Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald announced his candidacy for Wisconsin’s Fifth Congressional District. Fitzgerald, a 25-year legislative veteran and longtime leader of the Senate Republican caucus, released the following statement:

“Washington is a mess. For too long, liberals and the elite have ignored the needs of working-class people. President Trump has made tremendous strides in fixing the D.C. dysfunction, but he needs more help. In Wisconsin, we know how to fix broken government and put taxpayers back in charge.

“Congressman Sensenbrenner spent decades advocating for conservative ideals in Washington, D.C. The residents of the Fifth Congressional District deserve another strong conservative voice continuing to represent their interests in our nation’s capital. Today, I’m excited to announce my candidacy for Congress to be that conservative voice for Wisconsin’s Fifth.

“As Senate Majority Leader, I fought for conservative principles like Act 10, Right to Work, and tax reform. As the author of Wisconsin’s partial-birth abortion ban, I’ve been on the front lines of legislative battles to protect the unborn. I haven’t just talked about conservative principles, I’ve lived them, and I’ve helped to make them a reality here in Wisconsin.”

Fitzgerald is a longtime resident of Juneau, Wisconsin, where he owns a small horse farm with his wife, Lisa. A former Lieutenant Colonel in the Wisconsin Army Reserve, Fitzgerald served his country for 27 years, on top of his 25 years of public service in the Wisconsin Legislature. He is a former newspaper publisher and small business owner, a member of the Republican Party of Dodge County, and an avid fan of the Packers, Badgers, Brewers, and Bucks.

Fitzgerald launches campaign for 5th CD

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Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, formally launched his bid for the 5th CD today, touting his work on conservative priorities such as 2011’s Act 10, right-to-work and anti-abortion legislation.

“I haven’t just talked about conservative principles. I’ve lived them, and I’ve helped to make them a reality here in Wisconsin,” said Fitzgerald, who’s spent two dozen years in the state Legislature.

Fitzgerald is the first Republican to formally announce plans to seek the party’s nomination to replace longtime GOP U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, though a source told WisPolitics.com last week that state Sen. Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield, plans to run.

Fitzgerald, 55, a former lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve, was a newspaper publisher before he was elected to the Senate in 1994. He’s led the Senate GOP caucus for the past dozen years.

He also was a vocal backer of Donald Trump ahead of the 2016 election, telling fellow Republicans “We’re on the Trump train now” as some hesitated to back the businessman after he lost Wisconsin’s presidential primary.

Fitzgerald praised the president in his announcement for making “tremendous strides in fixing the D.C. dysfunction, but he needs more help. In Wisconsin, we know how to fix broken government and put taxpayers back in charge.”

Other Republicans looking at a bid include: Matt Neumann, son of former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann; state Rep. Adam Neylon; former U.S. Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson; Ben Voelkel, an aide to U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson; and Matt Walker, son of former Gov. Scott Walker.

Dem Tom Palzewicz, who lost to Sensenbrenner with 38 percent of the vote in 2018, plans to run again.

Fox Cities Chamber: CEO of the City Public Policy Luncheon 🗓

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The Fox Cities Chamber will host a special Public Policy Luncheon, CEO of the City, featuring four area Mayors on Tuesday, October 8.  Mayors representing Appleton, Kaukauna, Neenah and Menasha will participate in the panel discussion to share their experiences and stories.

Back for the third edition, this luncheon will provide attendees with a better understanding of activities and projects happening in the Fox Cities. Mayor Tim Hanna from Appleton, Mayor Anthony Penterman from Kaukauna, Mayor Dean Kaufert from Neenah and Mayor Donald Merkes from Menasha will participate in the interactive panel discussion formatted to ask the Mayors about current projects happening in their communities. Audience participation will be strongly encouraged at this event.

The CEO of the City Public Policy Luncheon will be held on Tuesday, October 8 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at The Red Lion Hotel Paper Valley, located at 333 W. College Avenue in Appleton. Individual tickets are $20 each for Fox Cities Chamber members or $30 each for general admission. Please register at foxcitieschamber.com or call (920) 734-7101. Media are encouraged to attend.

For additional news and information, follow Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce on Facebook and Twitter @FoxCitiesChmbr. 

Foxconn: Selects construction manager for smart manufacturing center and high-performance computing data center

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Media Contact: [email protected]

Additional construction manager hired to build two new additional Foxconn facilities at Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park

Milwaukee, WI – Foxconn Technology Group (Foxconn) today announced that it has selected Mortenson to serve as Construction Manager (CM) for upcoming projects at the Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park (WVSTP). Mortenson’s Wisconsin team will work with Foxconn to build both a Smart Manufacturing Center (SMC) and a High-Performance Computing Data Center (HPCDC). 

“Foxconn is happy to announce this new partnership with Mortenson, who for the last 30 years, has been constructing landmark facilities throughout the state,” said Joe Lambke, Operations Director for Foxconn’s Wisconsin Data Center. “As Foxconn develops the WVSTP, anchored by the nearly 1,000,000-square-foot Gen 6 Fab, we are excited to begin the next phases of this project with facilities that will support smart manufacturing, AI initiatives, high-performance computing and more.”

Separate from the Gen 6 Fab, Foxconn plans to build a 260,000-square-foot SMC located in Area 1 of the WVSTP. The SMC will be a high-mix, low-to-medium volume production facility that primarily manufactures components for server racks. In addition, Foxconn continues to evaluate additional design options for a HPCDC that meets the needs of the company, as well as the needs of business, academic and community partners. 

“As Foxconn continues to grow in Wisconsin, we are committed to delivering their SMC and HPCDC,” said Jeff Gruhn, Director of Project Development for Mortenson’s Wisconsin office. “As we begin construction, we will be focused on positively impacting our community through the Wisconsin First approach. Our goal is to maximize participation from both local and diverse companies on each of these projects.”

Combined, the SMC and HPCDC will add to the list of Foxconn facilities either constructed, or currently constructed at the WVSTP including the Multipurpose Building, Power Substation and Gen 6 Fab. Businesses interested in applying for competitive bids packages with Mortenson for SMC and HPCDC projects are asked to monitor wisconnvalley.wi.gov for upcoming opportunities.

Foxconn: Wisconsin’s trade mission delegation visits Foxconn’s gen 6 fab in Japan

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Milwaukee, WI – Foxconn Technology Group (Foxconn) welcomed Governor Evers and a delegation of Wisconsin business leaders to their state-of-the-art Gen 6 Fab in Japan. With vertical construction of Foxconn’s nearly 1 million square-foot Gen 6 Fab in Mount Pleasant underway, the company remains committed to bringing to Wisconsin Gen 6 advanced manufacturing technologies that can competitively meet market needs across a diverse array of vertical industries.

Governor Evers had first-hand demonstrations of Gen 6 capabilities that will be developed in Wisconsin and used to position the state as a leader in advanced manufacturing. By remaining agile to market demands, long-term business success delivered by a Gen 6 Fab will cultivate an ecosystem of continuous investment and job creation in Wisconsin.

As part of normal business operations to regularly engage with stakeholders in government, newly appointed Chairman of Foxconn Technology Group Young Liu met with Governor Evers in late August. During this meeting, Chairman Liu invited Governor Evers to visit Foxconn’s Gen 6 Fab in Japan during the Governor’s trade mission trip to Japan.

Freshman Steil seeks to reach across the partisan divide

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A crumpled-up piece of paper U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil once fished out of the trash bin sits proudly in a frame on the Janesville Republican’s desk in his House office.

It might appear unseemly to an outsider that a federal lawmaker would choose to showcase garbage, but the crinkled green slip displaying the phrase “417-2” holds special significance to the first-term congressman. The hand-written markings represent the vote tally from the House floor on H.R. 3050, Steil’s bill that altered SEC regulations on mutual funds investing in small-cap stocks.

“The 417 to two vote, which I really like, that tells me I went right up the middle,” he said in an interview with WisPolitics.com in the Longworth House Office Building. “I lost one Democrat, one Republican. Perfect.”

While Steil keeps the vote tally as a memento of personal success — it’s not every day that a freshman congressman from the minority party sees his bill brought to the House floor — it also indicates his belief that bipartisanship must be rekindled in order to move the country forward.

As a first-time lawmaker and the only freshman in the delegation, Steil arrived in Washington for a new-member orientation less than a week after winning a hard-fought,12-point victory over Dem Randy Bryce to succeed friend and former Speaker Paul Ryan. While he came to the Capitol that Monday morning with “eyes wide open,” Steil said he was surprised by the way “partisanship has become institutionalized.”

He recalls staying in a hotel close to the Capitol with fellow incoming lawmakers, most of whom he did not know. This is an opportunity, Steil thought to himself, to build bridges and forge relationships outside of party affiliation that would allow this new generation of lawmakers to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing the country.

But after riding the elevator down to the lobby, Steil got his first taste of the deeply rooted partisan divide.

“You walk out the front door and there are two buses, a bus for Democrats and a bus for Republicans,” he said. “To me, that typifies how partisanship has become institutionalized. There’s no reason for that divide to be there in that environment.”

The challenges are frustrating. He acknowledges removing party designation from the buses when the next set of incoming lawmakers head to the Capitol for their House orientation isn’t an act that will directly lead to the “transformative change” he craves. But it would be a step in the right direction.

And while Steil doesn’t want to be “Pollyannish” about the prospects of partisanship disappearing from Washington, he hopes the little things — like his “pebble-a-mile-deep” bill on investing in stocks that won near-unanimous support and changing the bus designations — will get lawmakers on the right track.

“I think building up that repertoire of being able to get things done in a period of divided government puts you at the forefront of being able to tackle this bigger stuff down the road,” he said.

Steil says his meet-me-in-the-middle approach stems from a decade’s worth of experience in the manufacturing industry in southeast Wisconsin. As an executive with the Milton-based plastics manufacturer Charter NEX Film, he learned that “you need to get a deal done or you’re out of business.”

But that trait, which he says is “obvious” to employees across Wisconsin, is often lost on federal lawmakers.

“On the political side, you don’t need to strike a deal to stay in office,” the former attorney and UW System regent said. “I think some people on the political side of this need to be willing to sit down and find areas where folks can work together.”

But Steil’s willingness to get things done doesn’t mean he is saddled with the dreaded “Republican In Name Only” tag.

He opened the interview by describing his job like being a starting lineman for the Green Bay Packers: “Every time we snap the ball, I try to move the ball three yards forward” while Dem defensive linemen are crouched across the line of scrimmage, “happy to stand up and smack me back.”

And Steil’s voting record paints the picture of a fiscal conservative.

One of his most noteworthy breaks with GOP leadership and President Trump came in voting against a resolution to raise budget caps, which would set up spending bills to have the potential to move forward at an ever-increasing pace. Trump tweeted his support of the Dem-backed resolution, urging Republicans to “go for it” and letting them know “there is always plenty of time to CUT!”

But for Steil, “getting spending back in line” is a priority he says he’s placed “at the forefront.” To do it, he wants to borrow ideas from the state Legislature and “take the Wisconsin approach of budgeting to Washington.”

That starts with implementing a Wisconsin-style biennial budget. While there are differences between state and federal budgeting processes — namely that the state budget must be balanced while the federal budget doesn’t — Steil said he sees the benefits of a two-year appropriations cycle.

“It slows the process down, allows it to be more thoughtful, gives more power, I think, to legislators to do the right thing,” he said. “And because you’re slowing it down, it hinders some of these third-party groups that have had outsized influence.”

Steil also called for automatic continuing resolutions that would roll over spending at the previous year’s levels if Congress can’t come together to strike a deal, a provision that mirrors one from Wisconsin.

Such a move would eliminate the threat of a government shutdown, a major animus for the Janesville lawmaker who came to Washington during the nation’s longest shutdown. Within the month, he broke with GOP leadership to join 20 Republicans who crossed the aisle to support a Dem resolution condemning shutdowns as “detrimental to the nation.”

But with government funding set to expire at the end of the month, Steil forecasted a “challenging political environment” for appropriations bills “to be successfully brought across the line.”

“I’m pretty committed to making sure we don’t have another shutdown,” he said. “That said, I think it’s going to be challenging for Congress to come together to get all of these spending bills, not only through the House, but through the Senate and ultimately signed by the president.”

FRI AM Update: Klobuchar stresses voting rights, criminal justice reform in Milwaukee

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FRI AM Update: Matt Walker considering 5th CD bid; weekly radio addresses

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FRI AM Update: State Supreme Court sets oral arguments for Oct. 21 in unions’ lame-duck lawsuit

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FRI AM Update: Trump campaign’s Guilfoyle tells UW-Madison College Republicans to speak out, mobilize

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FRI News Summary: Evers names Hughes to lead WEDC; 5th CD GOP primary could see crowded field

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FRI News Summary: Evers renews call for ‘red flag’ gun law

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FRI News Summary: PSC approves controversial $500M transmission line

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FRI News Summary: Vos questions how school funding spent amid test score drop

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FRI PM Update: Political Stock Report; former Gov. Walker on his son’s potential 5th CD bid

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FRI REPORT: Drug crimes most common offenses among those seeking pardons

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FRI REPORT: State party chairs say ground game, voter outreach key parts of 2020 strategy

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FRI REPORT: Wisconsin congressional members to play role in Trump impeachment inquiry

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Fundraiser for Rep. Krug 🗓

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A fundraiser for Representative Scott Krug with Special Guest Rebecca Kleefisch

September 19, 2019 from 4:00-6:30 p.m.

The Moose Inn
W6846 WI-21
Wautoma, WI 54982

Host levels available:
Gold: $1000
Silver: $500
Bronze: $250

Suggested contribution $100

Checks can be made payable to:
Krug for Assembly
1551 Kingswood Trail
Nekoosa, WI 54457

Please RSVP to Scott at 715-323-3293 or [email protected]

 

Fundraiser for Rep. Zimmerman 🗓

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With Special guests Congressman Sean Duffy and Fox Nation Host Rachel Campos Duffy

October 7th from 6:30pm to 8:00pm

Belle Vinez Winery
W10829 875th Ave
River Falls, WI

Host Level Private Reception is $1000.

Suggested contribution is $100.

Checks can be made out to:
Zimmerman for Wisconsin
429 Jefferson Street
River Falls, Wi 54022

Please RSVP to Shannon at [email protected]

Fundraiser for Sen. LaTonya Johnson 🗓

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Industrious, 25 W Main St, Madison.
Sponsor Levels: $2000, $1000, $500, $250
Suggested Contribution: $100
RSVP to [email protected]

Gov. Evers: Announces appointment of Missy Hughes to serve as CEO of Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

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Contact: [email protected] or 608-219-7443

HAYWARD, WI — Gov. Tony Evers today announced his appointment of Missy Hughes to serve as secretary and CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

Ms. Hughes has served as Chief Mission Officer and General Counsel for Organic Valley/CROPP cooperative since 2003. She has also served as a member of the Organic Trade Association since 2013, including terms as both president and vice president by election of fellow Board members. She has previously served on the USDA’s Advisory Committee on Biotechnology & 21st Century Agriculture.

Ms. Hughes will begin on October 1, 2019, becoming the final member of Gov. Evers’ cabinet team. Republicans in the legislature changed state law during the lame-duck session following Gov. Evers’ election to prevent him from immediately appointing this position.

“I’ve said all along that a 72-county approach to economic development is critical to creating middle-class jobs and growing the economy. With her background helping small businesses and family farms, coupled with her experience navigating complex governmental, regulatory, trade, and business matters, Missy Hughes will be an incredible asset to our team as we work to grow an economy that works for everyone,” said Gov. Evers. “I look forward to working with Ms. Hughes as we connect the dots on economic development in a way that encourages entrepreneurship and innovation while supporting our farm economy, our manufacturers, and the Main Street businesses, start-ups, and large-scale companies that help our communities grow.”

“Having worked in a high growth business for many years, with the goal of helping farmers stay on their farms now and for the coming generations, I am excited to bring my experience to the Evers Administration, and I look forward to helping all of Wisconsin thrive,” said Missy Hughes.

Gov. Evers: Announces homelessness project grant awardees

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MADISON— Gov. Tony Evers, Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority Executive Director Joaquin Altoro, and Wisconsin Interagency Council on Homelessness Director Michael Basford announced today the awarding of a total of $500,000 in grants to 13 different agencies across Wisconsin for projects to help people experiencing homelessness.

“Addressing homelessness and housing insecurity has been and continues to be among my administration’s top priorities,” said Gov. Evers. “We have to get to work on investing in programs and projects that can help us support folks who are homeless or experiencing housing insecurity across our state, and these grants are a critical first step.”

The grant awards are the result of a process that was started in June when the WHEDA Board of Directors approved making available to the Interagency Council $500,000 in statewide funding for programs that help people experiencing homelessness. 

Forty-four agencies in 25 counties responded to the request for applications – totaling over $3,000,000 in requests. A committee of Council members scored the applications and the grants were awarded to the 13 applications that scored highest.

“As a member of the Governor’s Interagency Council on Homelessness, WHEDA is proud to have provided funding to help fight homelessness in Wisconsin,” said WHEDA Executive Director Joaquin Altoro. “The grant recipients are valuable partners that supply safe housing to persons in desperate need of a place to live.”

Funds will be distributed to the grantees as soon as contracts can be processed. Completion of the projects are expected within the next nine months.

“ADVOCAP’s focus has been to identify and fill gaps in housing needs in the communities we serve.  Currently, we have over 100 single persons on our coordinated entry list, who need a single bedroom or SRO.  We have been unable to provide them with housing because there are no affordable single bedroom units available,” said Lu Scheer, Affordable Housing Director for ADVOCAP. “This funding will allow ADVOCAP to purchase a property that had been used as temporary overflow housing for a specific population, and to almost immediately provide eight 1-bedroom units.”

“That we received so many excellent and worthy of funding applications shows the serious need for investment in agencies that are helping Wisconsin’s most vulnerable citizens,” said ICH Director Michael Basford. “We’re grateful for WHEDA’s financial commitment to funding these programs and look forward to the results of this good work.”

The projects being awarded these grant funds are:

  • ADVOCAP will be awarded $100,000 to help purchase a building in Oshkosh for a permanent supportive housing project that will provide 13 units of housing.
  • Community Outreach Temporary Services will be awarded $70,000 for renovations and HVAC upgrades at their transitional housing facility in Appleton.
  • Newcap will be awarded $70,000 to help purchase a duplex in Brown County to provide two permanent supportive housing units.
  • Racine Revitalization Partnership will be awarded $50,000 to help purchase 2 dwellings in Racine which will provide three permanent supportive housing units.
  • YWCA of Madison will receive $50,000 for rehabilitation at their Downtown Madison location, which has 111 units.
  • Housing Initiatives will receive $28,500 for security upgrades for 15 permanent supportive housing units in Madison.
  • Friends, Inc. will receive $28,000 for rehabilitation at their emergency shelter in West Bend.
  • Shawano Area Matthew 25 will receive $25,000 for rehabilitation and accessibility upgrades for their emergency shelter in Shawano.
  • Harbor House Crisis Shelters will receive $25,000 to help purchase five units of permanent supportive housing in Superior.
  • Tellurian will receive $20,000 for rehabilitation at their SRO project in Madison.
  • House of Hope Green Bay will receive $16,500 for security upgrades at their emergency shelter in Green Bay.
  • Madison Area Urban Ministry will receive $13,000 for repairs at their medical shelter in Madison.
  • Our Neighbors’ Place will receive $4,000 for repairs at their transitional housing facility in River Falls.

Gov. Evers: Announces more than 60 new assistant attorney positions throughout state

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Contact: [email protected] or 608-219-7443

HUDSON— Gov. Tony Evers today announced over 60 new assistant district attorney positions throughout Wisconsin, the largest state investment in the district attorney program in the state’s history and the first new full-time GPR-funded positions created for the program by the state in more than 10 years. These positions were allocated throughout the state based on requests made by the county district attorneys, with 56 Wisconsin counties receiving a total of 64.95 new positions.

“For far too long our county district attorney offices have been doing more with less,” Gov. Evers said. “This historic investment will enable our county officials to improve victims services, enhance diversion and treatment options for those struggling with substance use disorders, and address backlogs that are standing in the way of justice. District Attorneys are on the front-line of the criminal justice system and we can’t make the critical changes needed to reform our criminal justice system in Wisconsin if our county district attorney offices are overworked and understaffed.”

See Department of Administration Secretary-Designee Joel Brennan’s recommended allocation of these new positions by county here.

Gov. Evers: Announces opening of the 2020 broadband expansion grant round

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SPOONER — On Wednesday, Governor Tony Evers, joined by Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection Secretary Brad Pfaff, and Public Service Commission of Wisconsin Chairperson Rebecca Cameron Valcq announced the first round of broadband grants appropriated in the 2019-2021 state biennial budget.

This initial $24 million grant round is the largest in state history and is greater than all seven previous grant rounds put together.

“Wisconsin lags behind the national average when it comes to getting our people access to broadband internet,” said Gov. Evers. “This investment demonstrates our strong commitment to connecting the underserved areas of our state.”

“This round of grants represents a huge step forward toward the goal of making sure we’re all connected,” said Lt. Gov. Barnes.

“High-speed internet is becoming increasingly crucial for our family farms to stay competitive in a global market. These grants work to make sure that some of the most difficult places to connect—our rural communities and farms—will have what they need to contribute in our economy,” said Secretary Pfaff.

“Access to broadband is no longer a luxury, but a necessity,” said Chairperson Valcq. “With students’ school work increasingly being done online, exciting advances in telemedicine, and telecommuting becoming more commonplace, these grants serve to connect people and provide opportunity to all parts of our state.”

The 2019-2021 biennial budget, which was signed by Gov. Evers earlier this year, provided $48 million over the biennium for broadband expansion grants. This amounts to more than twice of what has been awarded in all previous years combined. Additional grant rounds for the remaining funds will be announced next year.

The broadband expansion grants aim to help private companies find a path to return on investment in areas of the state that are challenging to serve. Since 2014, 138 grants have been awarded, and have connected or are in the process of connecting over 4,000 businesses and 75,000 homes to high-speed broadband internet service.

Grant application materials are available now at https://psc.wi.gov/Pages/Programs/BroadbandGrants.aspxand are due no later than 4:00 PM on December 19, 2019.

Gov. Evers: Appoints Aaron Marcoux as Washburn County District Attorney

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MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers announced today his appointment of Aaron Marcoux to serve as Washburn County District Attorney. 

Mr. Marcoux is currently the assistant district attorney in Washburn County, handling the criminal caseload for the entire county. He has just under a decade of experience practicing law in Northern Wisconsin, including as an assistant district attorney and a public defender.

“Aaron Marcoux cares deeply about serving his community. His roots in Washburn County and his commitment to service will serve the people and the county well. What’s most exciting about Mr. Marcoux is his passion for innovative ways to improve the criminal justice system to better serve all the people in Washburn County,” said Gov. Evers.

Gov. Evers’ appointment of Mr. Marcoux fills a vacancy created by the resignation of former district attorney Angeline Winton, who Governor Evers appointed to be Washburn County circuit court judge. Mr. Marcoux will fill the remainder of the unexpired term that ends January 2021.

Gov. Evers: Appoints Beau Liegeois to Brown County Circuit Court

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Contact: [email protected] or 608-219-7443

MADISON – Gov. Tony Evers announced today his appointment of Beau Liegeois to the Brown County Circuit Court. The appointment fills a vacancy created by the retirement of Judge William Atkinson.

“Beau Liegeois is committed to public service and has a strong legal background, having served as a prosecutor in Brown County and as a JAG officer in the Wisconsin Army National Guard,” Gov. Evers said. “I am confident that this experience and his temperament will make him an excellent judge.”

Liegeois is a lifelong resident of Brown County. He has been an assistant district attorney with Brown County for 11 years, where he has prosecuted cases ranging from complex property crimes to homicide and sexual assault. He has also been a leader in growing Brown County’s treatment court programs. For eight years, Liegeois was a citizen-soldier in the Wisconsin Army National Guard, where he served as a legal officer in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps.

Liegeois is a graduate of Green Bay Southwest High School, UW-Madison, and Valparaiso University Law School.

Gov. Evers: Appoints Menomin Hawpetoss as Menominee County Register of Deeds

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Contact: [email protected]gov or 608-219-7443


MADISON
– Gov. Tony Evers announced today his appointment of Menomin Hawpetoss as Menominee County Register of Deeds, replacing Louise Madosh who resigned effective July 30th.

“Menomin Hawpetoss’ skill set and previous experience serving the community of Menominee County make her a highly qualified choice for the position of Register of Deeds,” said Gov. Evers. “Her years of experience in both database creation and administrative work ensure she will fulfill her responsibilities exceptionally in the Register of Deeds’ Office.”

Menomin Hawpetoss currently serves as the Non-Traditional Recruiter at the College of Menominee Nation in Keshena where she has worked since 2009, previously as the Information and Training Specialist, Technology Coordinator and Administrative Assistant. Menomin has resided in Keshena most of her life and is an alumni of the College of Menominee Nation.

Gov. Evers: Appoints three judges to Milwaukee-area courts

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Contact: [email protected] or 608-219-7443

MADISON – Gov. Tony Evers today announced appointments of Judge Joe Donald to the Court of Appeals (District I), Attorney Jeffrey O. Davis to the Court of Appeals (District II), and Assistant District Attorney Brittany Grayson to the Milwaukee County Circuit Court.

“Wisconsinites across our state deserve judges who apply the law consistently and treat everyone in their courtroom fairly and with dignity and respect. I’m confident these highly-qualified and experienced individuals will do just that,” said Gov. Evers.

Judge Joe Donald is currently the deputy chief judge for Milwaukee County. He has been a Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge since 1996, presiding over thousands of civil, criminal, and juvenile cases. He serves on numerous boards, such as the Milwaukee County Historical Society, and helped create Milwaukee’s Drug Treatment Court. With this appointment, Judge Donald will be the only person of color serving on the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. He is a graduate of Marquette University and Marquette University Law School.

Mr. Jeffrey O. Davis is currently a partner with Quarles & Brady, LLP, where he primarily represents Wisconsin small and large businesses in disputes with insurance providers. In this role, Mr. Davis has represented some of the largest employers in Wisconsin, including A.O. Smith Corporation, Harley-Davidson, Johnson Controls, Kohler Company, Menasha Corporation, Miller Brewing Co., and Rockwell Automation. Mr. Davis provides leadership to numerous community organizations, including serving as a board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Milwaukee. Mr. Davis earned his law degree from Ohio State University.

Ms. Brittany Grayson is currently an assistant district attorney for Milwaukee County, where she focuses on treatment, diversion, and deferred prosecutions for eligible defendants. She previously handled Children in Need of Protection or Services and domestic violence cases for the district attorney. Ms. Grayson serves on the Board of Governors for the State Bar of Wisconsin. Ms. Grayson graduated from Marquette University and Marquette University Law School.

Gov. Evers: Appoints Tony Stella to Iron County Circuit Court

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MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers announced today his appointment of Tony Stella to the Iron County Circuit Court. The appointment fills a vacancy created by the unexpected passing of Judge Patrick Madden.

“Tony Stella has been a lifelong advocate for the people of Iron County,” said Gov. Evers. “He has the temperament, knowledge, and experience to be an excellent judge.”  

Stella is a lifelong resident of Iron County. He has served as Iron County District Attorney from 1986 to 1989 and from 1995 to 1997. He also served as the Iron County Corporation Counsel and attorney for the City of Hurley, Town of Knight, and Town of Carey. In private practice, Stella has handled a wide variety of cases, including consumer protection claims, open government matters, and criminal defense.

Stella is a graduate of Hurley High School, UW-Madison, and the University Texas School of Law.

Gov. Evers: Attends Midwest U.S.—Japan Association conference, meets with corporate leaders

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TOKYO — Gov. Tony Evers participated in the first full day of the Midwest U.S.–Japan Association (MWJA) Conference in Tokyo on Monday and met with corporate leaders from Kikkoman, Komatsu, and Toyota to discuss their companies’ investments in Wisconsin.

The governor is in Japan on his first international trade mission to meet with corporate and government leaders, highlight Japanese investments in Wisconsin businesses and promote the state’s exports. He is leading a 28-member delegation that includes 12 officials from nine Wisconsin businesses.

In his first address to the MWJA, Gov. Evers emphasized the longstanding ties and deep relationships between Japan and Wisconsin.

“Although we are separated by considerable geographic distance, Wisconsin and Japan are close in our business, academic and cultural relations,” he said. “As Wisconsin’s governor, I appreciate this opportunity to build on those relationships.”

The governor noted that in 2018, Wisconsin exported more than $734 million in goods to Japan, including scientific and medical equipment, industrial machinery, and prepared foods and dairy products.

“We are a state of makers and growers, and we consider it a compliment to the quality of our state’s products that we are able to access the Japanese market to this degree,” he said, adding that agricultural exports to Japan alone grew 21% in 2018.

The governor highlighted the growth of organic agriculture in Wisconsin. The number of organic farms in the state has doubled in the past decade, and Wisconsin ranks first nationally in the number of organic farms growing field crops and second in the total number of organic farms.

“As concerns about the environment continue to grow, Wisconsin is leading the way to make agriculture both more sustainable and more responsible,” he said.

The state is also a global leader in developing water technology. With more than 200 businesses in the state involved in water technology, Wisconsin is recognized as “the Silicon Valley of water,” Gov. Evers said.

Wisconsin is the only state to have established a private organization, The Water Council, to support innovations in freshwater technology, he noted. The University of Wisconsin System, with support from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), has also launched the Freshwater Collaborative, which will enable students to specialize in freshwater-related studies across all 13 campuses and promote cross-disciplinary research in the field.  

In introducing himself to association members, the governor discussed his own background in education – as a teacher, school administrator, and state superintendent of education. Wisconsin’s economic growth depends on a highly educated workforce, he said.

“Last year, Wisconsin colleges and universities awarded more than 4,500 degrees in engineering and engineering technology fields, including certificates as well as associate, bachelor’s and advanced degrees. These graduates become the high-knowledge workers that are so prized by employers,” he said.

Gov. Evers added that “to meet the demands of the global economy, Wisconsin’s next generation must be able to engage across linguistic, cultural and national boundaries” and said he is establishing the Wisconsin Language Roadmap Initiative, which aims to ensure that all students become proficient in at least one language other than English.

The governor acknowledged the contributions of the nearly 30 Japanese-owned businesses—including Kikkoman and Komatsu—that employ more than 8,000 Wisconsin residents.

Kikkoman established the first Japanese-owned production facility in the U.S. in Walworth in 1972; it now employs more than 200 workers and produces more brewed soy sauce than any other facility in the world—including at the company’s home plant in Chiba City.

Komatsu, which manufactures heavy construction equipment, is investing more than $285 million in Milwaukee to relocate and expand its headquarters. The project is considered a major driver of development in the city’s Harbor District.

Also on Monday, Gov. Evers met privately with Yuzaburo Mogi, the honorary chairman and CEO of Kikkoman; Hiroyuki Ogawa, the president and CEO of Komatsu; and Shinichi Yasui, the executive vice president of Toyota North America.

The MWJA is comprised of 10 Midwest states—Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio and Wisconsin—and includes business and government leaders. Governors from five states, including Wisconsin, are attending this year’s annual conference. Former Governor Tommy Thompson is serving as the association’s chair this year.

WEDC is coordinating the trade mission for the governor and Wisconsin business leaders. The mission continues through Sept. 14.

Gov. Evers: Declares state of emergency after viewing tornado damage

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MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today signed Executive Order #47 declaring a State of Emergency for Chippewa, Clark, and Dunn counties, after strong storms hit the area Tuesday night, producing a tornado that injured two people and damaged over a dozen homes and other structures. The storm also downed trees and power lines, leaving several thousand utility customers without power.

“Last night’s tornado had a devastating impact on this area, leaving many homes badly damaged and a long road ahead to recovery for these communities,” Gov. Evers said. “My executive order allows state agencies and the Wisconsin National Guard to provide assistance to the communities affected by these storms as they work to rebuild.”

Evers’ declaration follows a visit to Chippewa County on Wednesday, where he surveyed storm damage in the Town of Wheaton. A preliminary assessment by the National Weather Service office in the Twin Cities has confirmed the tornado was as an EF-3, with estimated winds of over 150 miles per hour. It began on the eastern edge of Dunn County and traveled into the southwest corner of Chippewa County. An assessment of the full path of the tornado is ongoing.

“I am grateful for the efforts of everyone involved in responding to this disaster,” Evers said. “It is in times of crisis that I am always glad to be reminded of how willing the people of Wisconsin are to step up to the plate and help their neighbors.”

Governor Evers’ executive order directs state agencies to help those affected by the storms. It also allows the Wisconsin National Guard to be called to active duty to provide assistance, as the adjutant general deems it necessary, to support local authorities with their recovery efforts.

View the executive order here.

Gov. Evers: Delivers Democratic Weekly Radio Address welcoming kids, educators back to school

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Audio file of radio address.

The following is Gov. Evers’ radio address welcoming kids and educators back to school this week:

Well, welcome back to school, Wisconsin!

It seems like just yesterday that we were celebrating the end of another successful school year, and now here we are!

Whether you spent the past few months traveling, enjoying the outdoors, catching up with family and friends, relaxing, or playing pickleball like Kathy and I did, I hope you had a great summer, and that you’re ready for another great school year of collaborating, creating, and learning.

I believe, as I’ve often said, that what’s best for our kids is what’s best for our state.

That’s why, when I gave my first inaugural address a few months ago, I talked about times like these of great division and resentment.

I said we must return to our Wisconsin values of empathy, compassion, integrity, and civility.

And I said that this work begins in our classrooms, our hallways, and our playgrounds, where our kids learn acceptance and how to treat others with kindness and respect.

This is—among many reasons—why supporting public education is so important.

So, as we kick off another great school year, we celebrate our kids, parents and family members, educators, and school employees across Wisconsin, and we renew our commitment to supporting our schools united in our promise to do what’s best for our kids across our state.

Thank you, and have a great school year.

Gov. Evers: Delivers Democratic weekly radio address welcoming kids, educators back to school

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Contact: [email protected] or 608-219-7443

Audio file of radio address.

The following is Gov. Evers’ radio address welcoming kids and educators back to school this week:

Well, welcome back to school, Wisconsin!

It seems like just yesterday that we were celebrating the end of another successful school year, and now here we are!

Whether you spent the past few months traveling, enjoying the outdoors, catching up with family and friends, relaxing, or playing pickleball like Kathy and I did, I hope you had a great summer, and that you’re ready for another great school year of collaborating, creating, and learning.

I believe, as I’ve often said, that what’s best for our kids is what’s best for our state.

That’s why, when I gave my first inaugural address a few months ago, I talked about times like these of great division and resentment.

I said we must return to our Wisconsin values of empathy, compassion, integrity, and civility.

And I said that this work begins in our classrooms, our hallways, and our playgrounds, where our kids learn acceptance and how to treat others with kindness and respect.

This is—among many reasons—why supporting public education is so important.

So, as we kick off another great school year, we celebrate our kids, parents and family members, educators, and school employees across Wisconsin, and we renew our commitment to supporting our schools united in our promise to do what’s best for our kids across our state.

Thank you, and have a great school year.

Gov. Evers: Democrats announce Extreme Risk Protection Order Legislation to prevent suicide and gun violence

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MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul today joined Rep. Melissa Sargent (D-Madison) and Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) to announce LRB-4383, a bill creating an extreme risk protection order (ERPO) process, which offers families and law enforcement officers the opportunity to act swiftly by seeking temporary removal of firearms by a judge when they believe someone is at risk of harming themselves or others. They released the following statements:

Gov. Evers: It’s time to listen to the will of the people who overwhelmingly want elected officials to start taking gun violence seriously for our kids, our communities, and our state. In a state where nearly three of four gun deaths are suicide, having an ERPO process could be an important tool in helping us address firearm-related suicides in Wisconsin, and to intervene to get folks in crisis the help and treatment they need.

Attorney General Kaul: “Law enforcement officers protect and serve communities across Wisconsin. We need to ensure that, when necessary, they have tools available to intervene and prevent tragedies. This legislation empowers law enforcement officers, as well as family and household members, with a tool they can use to take action—and potentially save lives—when people exhibit warning signs showing that they present a threat to the safety of themselves or others.”

Rep. Sargent: “Everyone in our state deserves to live without the fear of gun violence, and without losing a loved one to suicide. Yet, for far too many people here in Wisconsin, our lives continue to be affected by the tragedies of firearm-related deaths. Continued inaction is complacency, and we cannot continue to stand idly by as our communities struggle to adapt to a world in which gun violence is accepted as the new norm. We know that Extreme Risk Protection Orders have saved the lives of many innocent men, women, and children in other states—the time for Wisconsin to act is now, and I am proud to introduce this life saving piece of legislation in our state.”

Background on LRB-4383:

Under current law, a person against whom a domestic abuse or child abuse injunction has been granted is subject to automatic firearm surrender and are prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm. The proposed legislation mirrors this existing temporary restraining order (TRO) and injunction processes.

Under the proposed ERPO process, if a person is likely to injure themselves or another person, a family member, a household member, or a law enforcement officer may petition to temporarily prevent the person from possessing a firearm. A court would issue the TRO and subsequent injunction based on the court finding reasonable grounds that the person is substantially likely to injure the respondent or another person if they possess a firearm. Under the legislation, the ERPO injunction would be effective for up to one year and could be extended by petition if the court believes the person continues to be at risk for injuring themselves or another person.

17 other states and the District of Columbia have implemented ERPO laws similar to today’s proposal and have been successful in preventing deaths.

Find a copy of LRB-4383 here.

Gov. Evers: Evers, state business leaders depart today for trade mission to Japan

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MADISON – Governor Tony Evers will leave Wisconsin today for a nine-day trade mission to Japan where he will meet with Japanese leaders, visit the headquarters of Japanese-owned firms doing business in Wisconsin, and help promote state exports.

“Japan and Wisconsin have a longstanding relationship and deep ties,” Governor Evers said. “I look forward to renewing those relationships, learning more about our Japanese partners, and increasing opportunities for Wisconsin businesses.”

The governor will lead a 28-member delegation that includes First Lady Kathy Evers; Tricia Braun, chief operating officer of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC); Dennis Shields, Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and Rose Smyrski, Vice Chancellor for University Relations/Chief of Staff at UW-Platteville; David Brukardt, vice president of corporate relations and economic engagement for the University of Wisconsin System, and 13 executives from nine Wisconsin companies.

The delegation will head to Tokyo first, followed by meetings in Yokohama and Chiba City. In Tokyo, the governor will take part on Monday and Tuesday in the annual Midwest-Japan Association Conference, which runs from Sunday evening through Tuesday night. He will also meet with the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) and members of the Wisconsin Alumni Association and host the Opportunities in Wisconsin Breakfast during that portion of the trip.

Later in the week, the governor will meet with executives from several major Japanese corporations with business operations in Wisconsin, including Komatsu, which is building a major new facility along Milwaukee’s riverfront; Kikkoman, which launched its first overseas manufacturing facility in Walworth more than 45 years ago; and Fujifilm, which owns Madison-based Cellular Dynamics. The governor is tentatively scheduled to meet with top officials of the Japanese government, including representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

The governor will also travel to Chiba City, located in Chiba Prefecture which is Wisconsin’s sister state in Japan. He will meet with his counterpart, Governor Kensaku Morita, and the Chiba Board of Education to learn more about Japan’s educational system.

WEDC staff will coordinate the trip and will assist participating businesses in forging relationships with their peers in Japan. WEDC prepares a customized Japan market assessment specific to each business, arranges business-to-business meetings, and provides transportation and translators for the session.

“Japan represents a market that cannot be ignored for Wisconsin,” said Katy Sinnott, vice president of international business development for WEDC. “This is a mature market where opportunities come from developing and sustaining personal relationships, so face-to-face contacts are essential. Governor Evers’ presence as head of the delegation adds to the prestige of the delegation.”

Japan is the fourth-largest market for Wisconsin exports. Top exports include industrial machinery, which grew 44% in the first quarter of this year; medical and scientific instruments; electrical machinery; and prepared meat and seafood products. The state exported $735 million worth of goods to Japan in 2018; although exports declined from 2017 to 2018, they rose 11% in the first quarter of 2019 over the same period last year. Agricultural exports grew 21% last year.

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Gov. Evers: Extends deadline for Coroner of Jackson County

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Contact: [email protected] or 608-219-7443

 

MADISON – Gov. Tony Evers announced on May 30, 2019 that he is seeking applicants for appointment as coroner in Jackson County. Application materials must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Monday, September 30, 2019.

The appointment will fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Karla Wood, effective June 30, 2019. The new coroner will complete a term through January 2, 2023. For more information about the position, visit the Jackson County website.

Interested applicants must submit an online application with a cover letter detailing professional and academic qualifications, civic activities, and community involvement.

The application can be found on Gov. Evers’ website: www.evers.wi.gov by clicking “Apply” in the center of the page, scrolling to the bottom of the page and clicking “Click here to apply for the Register of Deeds, Coroner or Sheriff positions”. If the online application is not functioning, please send a cover letter and resume to [email protected]​.

Potential applicants with questions about the application process may contact Flora Csontos, Director of Gubernatorial Appointments, at (608) 267-3675.

Gov. Evers: Orders flags to half-staff in honor of 9/11 and state day of service and remembrance

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MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers signed Executive Order #44 which orders flags of the United States and the State of Wisconsin to be flown at half-staff on Wednesday in honor of State Day of Service and Remembrance and out of respect for the nearly three thousand lives lost on September 11, 2001.

“On September 11, we reflect on our nation’s grit and resilience while working to honor the legacy of those we lost and the countless heroes who responded during our time of need,” Gov. Evers said. “Wisconsinites have always believed in coming together and helping our neighbors in difficult times, so it is fitting that we remember September 11 in Wisconsin through acts of service to our neighborhoods and our communities.”

Members of the governor’s administration and staff will be participating in service events on September 11 as part of State Day of Service and Remembrance. 

View Executive Order #44 here.

Gov. Evers: Proclaims Labor Day in Wisconsin

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MADISON – Gov. Tony Evers proclaimed Sept. 2, 2019 Labor Day throughout the state of Wisconsin.

In an official proclamation, Gov. Evers noted the importance of workers and labor unions across our state and country, highlighting their significant contributions to ensuring 40-hour work weeks, overtime compensation, minimum wage, and the right to collectively bargain, among other improved living and work standards.

“On Labor Day we are called on to reflect on the contributions that our workers and their families have made to our state and our country,” said Gov. Evers. “And while we celebrate and honor that history, we also renew our commitment to fighting for equal pay, livable wages, and safe and inclusive workplaces knowing that we have much more work to do to ensure we have an economy that works for everyone.”

View the governor’s proclamation here.

Gov. Evers: Proclaims September Suicide Prevention Month

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MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers issued a proclamation declaring September as Suicide Prevention Month and September 10th as Suicide Prevention Day throughout the State of Wisconsin. In 2018, 886 Wisconsinites lost their lives to suicide, directly affecting many loved ones, family members, friends, coworkers, and communities.

“We have to get serious about destigmatizing mental health and suicide and start investing in much-needed mental health resources, especially for our kids at school and our farmers who are facing unprecedented economic challenges,” said Gov. Evers. “It is critically important that we all work together to reduce barriers to and shame around seeking help and raise awareness about suicide and suicide prevention across our state.”

If you or someone you know needs help, free, confidential help is available by calling 1-800-273-8255 or texting HOPELINE to 741741.

View the governor’s official proclamation here.

Gov. Evers: Seeks applicants for Clark County district attorney

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MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today announced that he is seeking applications for appointment as Clark County District Attorney. 

The new appointee will fill the vacancy created by the resignation of District Attorney Kerra Stumbris, effective October 27, 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 October 14, 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.

Gov. Evers: Seeks applicants for Milwaukee County circuit court judge

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MADISON – Gov. Tony Evers announced today that he is seeking applicants for Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge.

The appointment will fill a vacancy being created by Judge Joe Donald’s appointment to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, District I, effective September 29, 2019. The new judge will complete a term ending July 31, 2020.

To apply, please email a completed application form and supporting materials to [email protected]wisconsin.gov. Applications must be submitted by 5 pm on October 2, 2019.

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

Potential applicants with questions about the judicial selection process may contact the governor’s Office of Legal Counsel at (608) 266-1212.

Gov. Evers: Signs Executive Order #43 recreating the Governor’s Juvenile Justice Commission

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Contact: [email protected] or 608-219-7443

MADISON – Gov. Tony Evers yesterday signed Executive Order #43 recreating the Governor’s Juvenile Justice Commission (GJJC). The GJJC is Wisconsin’s State Advisory Group, required by the federal Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Act.

“I am excited to recreate the Juvenile Justice Commission as a space for discussing innovations and best practices that Wisconsin should adopt across the entire spectrum of the juvenile justice system,” said Gov. Evers. “In addition to focusing on system-based reform, we must invest in front-end reforms that prevent our kids from becoming part of the juvenile justice system in the first place.”

GJJC membership includes:

*Department of Children and Families Secretary-designee Emilie Amundson, or a representative
*Department of Corrections Secretary-designee Kevin Carr, or a representative
*Charles Tubbs – Director, Dane County Emergency Management
*Sean Wilson – Smart Justice Statewide Organizer, ACLU of Wisconsin
*Ben Gonring – Assistant State Public Defender, Madison
*Monika Audette – Program Operations Leader, Barron County Restorative Justice Programs
*Sam Benedict – Former Assistant State Public Defender, Waukesha
*David Steinberg – Superintendent, La Crosse County Juvenile Detention Facility
*Jennifer Ginsburg – Executive Director, Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center
*Tweed Shuman – Sawyer County Board Chairman and Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Council member
*Revelle Warren – Milwaukee Constituent Services Manager, Office of the Governor
*Héctor Colón – President and CEO, Lutheran Social Service
*Sharlen Moore – Director, Youth Justice Milwaukee
*Mindy Tempelis – Outagamie County District Attorney
*Judge Carl Ashley – Milwaukee County Circuit Court
*Thomas Mann – Justice Detention Alternative Director, Justice Point
*Jessica Jimenez – Office of Emergency Communications, Department of Military Affairs

Two other positions will also be held for members of the Department of Children and Families’ Youth Leadership Team, which involves youth in the decision-making process about the juvenile justice system.

Gov. Evers: Signs Executive Order #45 relating to creating a Task Force on Retirement Security

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Contact: [email protected]gov or 608-219-7443


MADISON
– Gov. Tony Evers today signed Executive Order #45 to address the growing crisis of retirement security in the State of Wisconsin. Wisconsin’s aging population is expected to increase by 60% by 2030, yet currently, one in seven registered voters in Wisconsin have no way to save for retirement at work.

“Hard-working Wisconsinites deserve to have peace of mind in retirement so they can enjoy those years with their friends and family, yet too many Wisconsinites are unprepared,” Gov. Evers said. “We need to make sure that the state is playing a proactive role in helping Wisconsinites get ahead in saving for their futures, so they can enjoy those years in financial security with their friends and family.”

The Governor’s Task Force on Retirement Security would be charged with the following:

  • Assess the overall preparedness of the state in supporting Wisconsinites’ ability to retire in a financially secure manner.
  • Evaluate the statewide financial impact of Wisconsin’s current retirement system, as well as employer-sponsored and individual retirement plans.
  • Identify challenges and obstacles facing Wisconsinites seeking to retire in a financially secure manner.
  • Identify barriers to accessing existing employer-sponsored and individual retirement plans, and to participation in public and private retirement options.
  • Research best practices from industry, academia, and other states on retirement security.
  • Provide guidance on the average amount a Wisconsinite should save to achieve a secure retirement.
  • Provide various recommendations on how best the state can address the retirement crisis, reduce regulatory and operational burden on small businesses who want to offer payroll deduction retirement savings options to employees, encourage younger Wisconsinites to save early in life, and innovate reforms to help Wisconsinites to retire in a financial secure manner.

View Executive Order #45 here.

Gov. Evers: Task force on caregiving holds first meeting in Milwaukee

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Note: If this post has anything to do with Evers, the Evers administration or lame-duck legislation and related lawsuits, please tag it as Evers Administration. Please delete this note before publishing.

Gov. Evers: To order special election in 7th Congressional District

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MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today announced that he will order a special election to fill the 7th Congressional District vacancy created by the resignation of U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis). The election will occur on January 27, 2020. A primary, if required, will occur on December 30, 2019.

The governor has received notification from Mr. Duffy stating Mr. Duffy will resign the office of U.S. Representative, effective Monday, September 23, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. EST.

State law dictates when the governor can order a special election. Once a congressional seat becomes vacant, the governor can order a special election. Gov. Evers will issue an order for the special election immediately following the effective time of Mr. Duffy’s resignation.

“Our rural communities have been directly affected by unproductive trade wars, political attacks on healthcare and public education, and economic uncertainty because of the volatility we’re seeing in Washington, D.C.,” said Gov. Evers. “The people of Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District deserve to have a voice in Congress, which is why I am calling for a special election to occur quickly to ensure the people of the 7th Congressional District have representation as soon as possible. I thank Rep. Duffy for his service and wish him and his family all the best.”

View the executive order here.

Gov. Evers: Visits Wisconsin’s sister state in Japan, meets with educators and local leaders

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CHIBA CITY, JAPAN – Gov. Tony Evers today visited Japan’s sister state of Chiba Prefecture, where he met with Gov. Kensaku Morita and the Chiba Prefectural Board of Education and toured the original Kikkoman soy sauce facility.

Gov. Evers congratulated Gov. Morita on Chiba hosting the 2020 Olympics in Chiba next July. “We share the honor you feel in achieving this global recognition, and we will be watching the Olympic Games just a little more closely because they will be taking place in our sister state,” he said.

The governor and First Lady Kathy Evers also met with the Chiba Prefectural Board of Education. As a lifelong educator, Gov. Evers said he was especially interested to learn more about the Wisconsin-Chiba Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) Program, which recruits Wisconsin residents or graduates from Wisconsin universities to serve as assistant language teachers for at least one year in Chiba.

Students attending public schools in Japan begin English instruction in third grade and continue studying it through junior and senior high school. Japan has hired thousands of native English speakers from the U.S., the UK, England, Australia and other countries to serve as assistant language teachers. Local officials told the governor they are looking for ways to improve these efforts.

Chiba educators indicated that as in Wisconsin, they are facing the challenge of preparing their students for a global economy and increasing diversity in their own country. Although Japan has traditionally been relatively homogeneous culturally and linguistically, local school officials said the number of students whose primary language is not Japanese is growing—a change that is prompting the schools to find new ways to meet the students’ needs and to keep their parents informed.

Gov. Evers highlighted the Wisconsin Language Roadmap Initiative, which aims to ensure students at all levels become proficient in at least one language other than English.

“Wisconsin’s next generation must be able to engage across linguistic, cultural and national boundaries in order to meet the demands of the global economy,” he said.

Gov. Evers also met with members of the Chiba-Wisconsin Association, which helps to maintain the sister city relationship in Japan. The two states will celebrate their 30th anniversary with events in Wisconsin, which also hosted the 20th and 25th anniversary celebrations.

The governor ended the day with a visit to the Kikkoman Corp. headquarters in Noda, where he toured the company’s original soy sauce brewery.

Kikkoman was the first Japanese firm to establish a manufacturing operation in Wisconsin when it opened its soy sauce brewery in Walworth. The Wisconsin facility, which employs more than 200, is now responsible for about half of the company’s global production of soy sauce. The company also operates Kikkoman R&D Laboratory Inc., which is located in the University Research Park in Madison.

“In 1973, Kikkoman decided to build its first overseas plant in Walworth, Wisconsin. Little did anyone know at the time that in doing so, Kikkoman was transforming the palate of American tastes. Today, having soy sauce with a meal is as common as ketchup, and Japanese food is as familiar to us as hamburgers and hot dogs,” Gov. Evers said.

Kikkoman Chairman Yuzaburo Mogi said the company chose Wisconsin almost 50 years ago “because of the people. They share many values of the people of Japan. Also, Wisconsin was an ideal location because of its clean water and clean air and its central location to our North American markets. The support and help we received from then Gov. Lucey and the Wisconsin Department of Commerce were additional factors in our decision.”

The governor is leading a 28-member delegation that includes 13 business leaders from nine Wisconsin companies. The trade mission concludes on Sept. 14.

Gov. Evers: Welcomes students, educators, and staff back to school

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Contact: [email protected] or 608-219-7443


MILWAUKEE
 — Gov. Tony Evers, along with Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes and State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor, this morning visited Milwaukee Parkside School for the Arts to welcome students, educators, and staff back to school and to wish them luck on the year ahead.

“Although it’s my first day of school as governor, I still believe as I always have that what’s best for our kids is what’s best for our state,” said Gov. Evers. “I am excited to help kick off another great school year in Wisconsin, and to remind our kids, our educators, and folks across our state how important education is to me and to our state’s continued success. I look forward to continuing to do what’s best for our kids and supporting our educators and school employees and their good work inspiring the next generation of leaders in Wisconsin.”

Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce: Common Council rejects resolution opposing F-35A Basing

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Contact: Erik Greenfield, Communications Manager, 608-443-1952 (office), 608-669-7884 (cell)

MADISON – Tonight the Madison Common Council rejected a resolution that opposed the basing of the next-generation F-35A jet at Madison’s Truax Field. In response to tonight’s vote, Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce President Zach Brandon released the following statement:

“We are pleased that the council sent a message of support to the 115th Fighter Wing by voting to oppose this resolution. The long-term health of the 115th is vital to our economy and our community, and basing the F-35A at Truax Field will protect the livelihoods of the 1,200 Airmen – our friends, neighbors and guardians – who currently work there.

“We appreciate the mayor and council’s focus on ensuring a high quality of life for our residents, and those concerns can be balanced with maintaining Greater Madison’s economic momentum. This community has resolved similar challenges many times before, whether it is the interstate, major thoroughfare reconstruction like Verona Road or our railroad crossings.

“We will continue to support this new mission to ensure the benefits of the base – including supporting 1,264 permanent jobs and 400 construction jobs, generating $100 million in annual economic impact, providing emergency services for the airport and giving tuition support to area students who serve in the Guard – remain in Greater Madison for decades to come.”

Happy Hour with Adam Neylon 🗓

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Happy Hour with Adam Neylon at Raised Grain Brewing Company

WHEN: Tuesday October 22, 2019 4:30 to 6:30 P.M.

WHERE: Raised Grain Brewing Company
1725 Dolphin Dr., Ste B, Waukesha, WI 53186

HOST – $1,000
SPONSOR – $500
ADVOCATE – $250
ATTEND – $100

** RSVP HERE **

PAYABLE TO: Adam Neylon for Assembly

MAIL TO: 1357 Lake Park Ct. Pewaukee, WI 53072

CONTACT: [email protected]

Howard Marklein: Almond “milk” is not milk, veggie “burgers” are not burgers and fake “Swiss” is not cheese!

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

As the State Senator for one of the most ag-dependent districts in Wisconsin, I am consistently looking for ways to support our farmers and the agriculture economy. The Wisconsin Cheesemakers, Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative and the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin recently conducted a study to determine whether consumers know the difference between real cheese and plant-based, imitation “cheese”. They found that 48% of people surveyed thought that the fake, plant-based “cheese” was actually real cheese!

In response, Rep. Travis Tranel (R-Cuba City), Rep. Loren Oldenburg (R-Viroqua) and I have introduced three bills to tell the Truth in Food Labeling. We want consumers to know what they are buying and eating. We want consumers to know the differences between the real, nutritious products grown and made by our farmers versus the fake, lab-grown, plant-based products that are passing for milk, meat, cheese, ice cream and other dairy products in our state. We want consumers to fully recognize the nutritional differences between real dairy and meat versus imitation food by the same name.

I know that these bills aren’t a silver-bullet that will solve the problems for our ag-economy, but they are something we can do to protect and promote real ag-products to consumers, as well as to encourage consumers to make good decisions about the food they are putting into their bodies. I, for one, prefer a cold glass of cow’s milk to a cup of almond beverage any day.

These bills will also put some pressure on the Federal government to take action on existing food labeling laws. Our bills are structured so that the requirements become actionable when a specific number of other states take similar action. We did this so that Wisconsin is not an outlier, but part of a coalition of states requiring companies to correctly label their products. There is strength in numbers and we are in good company.

For Truth in Milk Labeling, the only products that can be labeled as “milk” come from a cow or other hooved or camelid mammal, such as a goat. Plant-based products will be required to be labeled as “drink” or “beverage”. This bill is modeled after similar legislation in North Carolina and Maryland, both of which have passed milk labeling laws in the last two years.

To alleviate interstate commerce concerns and align with the North Carolina and Maryland laws, our law would only go into effect after at least 10 out of a group of 15 states pass similar legislation by June 30, 2031. This bill is supported by the Dairy Business Association, the Wisconsin Farm Bureau, and the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association.

For Truth in Meat Labeling, labeling plant-based meat alternatives and cell-cultured meat alternatives as “meat” or a similar term, such as “burger”, “sausage”, “chicken wing”, or “bacon”, would be illegal. This would apply to packaging on products sold in stores, menus in restaurants, and promotional materials.

Meat is defined as the edible part of the flesh of a mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, mollusk, or insect that does not include cultured animal tissue that is produced from animal cell cultures. Fish is not included because it is not defined as a meat product in statute and it has not been included in legislation passed by other states.

At least 11 other states, including North Dakota and South Dakota, have passed this legislation. In general, these measures have been passed with broad bipartisan support. Similar legislation has also been introduced in at least a dozen other states including Iowa, Indiana, and Illinois. This legislation is supported by the Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association, the Wisconsin Pork Association, the Wisconsin Farm Bureau, and the Dairy Business Association.

Finally, 90% of Wisconsin’s milk goes into cheese. It is concerning that many consumers don’t know the difference between which products contain milk and which do not. This confusion, oftentimes without the consumer knowing otherwise, hurts Wisconsin’s dairy industry.

As dairy farmers continue to struggle with low milk prices, imitation products cut into a farmers’ bottom-line. Similarly, on the market are “dairy-free” yogurts, ice creams, and butter.

The Dairy Product Truth in Food Labeling bill will ensure that if a package says “cheese” or “yogurt”, the product actually has dairy in it. In this case, Wisconsin will be first state to pass Truth In Labeling for Dairy Products! This legislation is supported by the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association and the Dairy Business Association.

I am optimistic that these positive, bi-partisan bills will move swiftly through the legislative process. I am also certain that these bills will create a conversation, make consumers more aware and support our farmers statewide.

– Marklein, R-Spring Green, represents the 17th Senate District.

 

Howard Marklein: Our rainy day fund is ready

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

The Wisconsin Legislature has been working hard to re-establish a Budget Stabilization Fund, also known as our Rainy Day Fund. It is a fund that is meant to stabilize our budget in times of economic recession.

Business people and families understand the importance of saving money when the economy is good, so that they can use these reserves when the economy “turns south.” Local units of government, including our public school districts, understand this concept. State government should also follow these principles.

When I took my first oath of office to the State Assembly in January 2011, the Legislature faced a $3.6 billion state budget shortfall. Our Rainy Day Fund was $0. We had nothing to fall back on.

Through a lot of difficult decisions, careful planning and economy building, we have grown this fund to $616.5 million with a projected upcoming transfer of approximately $291.1 million. I am very proud of our hard work to prepare for the future.

In August, the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) announced preliminary General Fund Tax collections “will be higher than the previous estimates by $592 million in 2018-19, $68 million in 2019-20 and $93 million in 2020-21. The three-year increase is $753 million.”

According to state law, whenever actual general fund tax collections exceed the estimated amount of collections as shown in the biennial budget, half of the excess is deposited into the Rainy Day Fund. As a result, the projected transfer to our Rainy Day Fund will be $291.1 million. This will bring our Rainy Day Fund balance to approximately $616.5 million plus interest in the fund. This is more than twice the amount that was in the fund at the beginning of 2018.

It is very prudent to have a strong Rainy Day Fund to help Wisconsin weather storms in the future. We need to plan ahead and be ready for the inevitable ebb and flow of our state and national economy. I am proud to have been a part of a responsible legislature that has grown it to such a historic level. For comparison purposes, Illinois has virtually no Rainy Day Fund.

Again, I am proud of our hard work to build Wisconsin’s Rainy Day Fund and will continue to monitor the health of this fund and future potential.

– Marklein, R-Spring Green, represents the 17th Senate District.

Howard Marklein: Working with rural schools

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

It’s back to school time! As teachers, students and families get back into the groove, I am continuing to seek ways to work with and support rural schools through the legislative process.

In the most recent State Budget, the legislature’s budget invested $500 million more for schools before the Governor added additional funding with his veto pen. As legislators, we allocated $12.3 billion this biennium and responded to the top three requests from school districts statewide; we increased per pupil aid, we increase special education funding by nearly $100 million, which will cover 30% of costs by 2021 and we ensured the funding we provided can be counted on for years to come.

For rural Wisconsin, we directed more funding through the Equalization Aids formula, which helps poor, rural schools. We raised the low-revenue limit adjustment for low-spending school districts and funded the increase in order relieve the property tax burden. We doubled the current funding for student mental health programs.

As the legislative session continues, I am leading several bills that will further support the needs of rural school districts. These ideas come from both my local school districts in the 17th District and through my work on the Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding Reform.

Senate Bill (SB) 183 – Special Ed FORT Test Waiver – Rep. Travis Tranel (R-Cuba City) and I authored this bill which will allow the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to waive the Foundations of Reading Test (FORT) requirement for special education teachers who have satisfied similar requirements without passing the test. We have some very talented and dedicated people in our schools who want to be Special Education Teachers. They have a lot of experience, but they do not have the specific training to pass this test. It is time intensive and expensive. This bill would give DPI the option of waiving the requirement to put great Special Ed teachers into the classroom.

SB 184 – Waiver for Out of State Certified Teachers – Similarly, Rep. Tranel and I authored SB 184 to allow a person who is educated and licensed out-of-state to begin teaching in Wisconsin with a one-year license with stipulations. This person would then be eligible for a license based on reciprocity if their teaching experience is successful for two semesters. Many of our school districts, especially those near Iowa, are trying to fill vacancies with teachers from neighboring states. This bill will give superintendents and school boards more flexibility to attract, hire and retain qualified, proven teachers without licensing red tape.

SB 206 – Property Tax Parity for Consolidating School Districts – This idea was derived from our work on the Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding Reform, but was actually originally offered by a local educational leader in the 17th District.

A major obstacle for school districts considering consolidation is the disparate property tax rates of the individual districts. Our proposal would create a new aid program for consolidated districts that are formed on or after July 1, 2020, to offset any property tax increase to one of the consolidated districts. The mill rate for the newly consolidated district would be set equal to the lowest mill rate among the consolidating districts in the year prior to consolidation.

SB 327 – Declining Enrollment – One of the biggest issues our rural schools are dealing with is declining enrollment. School budgets are almost entirely based on the number of students, but communities and families are smaller than they have been historically. SB 327 will modify the current declining enrollment adjustment in the school funding formula to account for long-term enrollment declines, and delete the current prior year base revenue hold harmless adjustment. This will help small, rural school districts manage this issue.

Again, I am working hard to move these bills through the legislative process. I appreciate all of the support and input I have received from the 34 school districts I represent. Their partnership and willingness to share ideas and real-world commentary is extremely helpful.

– Marklein, R-Spring Green, represents the 17th Senate District.

 

Impeachment, 2020 DNC prep make headlines in Wisconsin

The push for an impeachment inquiry against President Trump and preparations for the 2020 Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee made headlines recently in Wisconsin. Read stories on these topics and more below.

– WI Dems ramp up support for impeachment proceedings
https://www.wpr.org/wisconsins-democrats-ramp-support-impeachment-proceedings

– Johnson: Critics of Trump’s Ukraine call really ‘just troubled’ by his presidency
https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/2019/09/26/3779606002/

– Defenders and critics of Trump draw wildly different conclusions from written record of Ukraine phone call
https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/elections/2019/09/25/written-record-trump-ukraine-call-draws-wide-ranging-reactions/2442378001/

– Advocacy group seeks to organize Wisconsin women voters ahead of 2020 election
https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/2019/09/25/supermajority-education-fund-womens-vote-turnout-effort-wisconsin/2437424001/

– Trump impeachment inquiry: Where the Wisconsin federal delegation stands on the latest developments
https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/elections/2019/09/24/trump-impeachment-inquiry-deepens-divide-wisconsin-delegation/2432867001/

– State party leaders to get first look at venues, hotels for 2020 DNC in Milwaukee
https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/2019/09/23/2417473001/

– Business, Property Owners Meet To Discuss How To Benefit From DNC
https://www.wpr.org/business-property-owners-meet-discuss-how%C2%A0-benefit-dnc

– Hazmat teams from Racine, Milwaukee, Madison prep for DNC
https://journaltimes.com/news/local/hazmat-teams-from-racine-milwaukee-madison-prep-for-democratic-national/article_9da70691-4eb9-5643-9c2f-312ea60872b0.html

– Wisconsin Elections Commission signs off on $1.1M grant program to bolster security
https://madison.com/ct/05523e0b-bdf6-539d-8159-d2e0634d4a65.html

– Running up the score in House races could deliver White House to Democrat
https://www.washingtonpost.com/2639684a-dbc7-11e9-bfb1-849887369476_story.html

– ‘We’re Tightening Our Belt’: Trump’s Midwest Support Tested As Farmers Struggle
https://www.wpr.org/were-tightening-our-belt-trumps-midwest-support-tested-farmers-struggle

– 2020 turnout in WI promises to be ‘huge,’ but can Democrats win?
https://madison.com/ct/18797d91-928d-53b2-a9ef-1cbfa66811d7.html

Increased lending at Wisconsin’s state-chartered banks: Reflects a healthy economy

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MADISON, Wis. – Loans increased by 5.9% at Wisconsin’s state-chartered banks during the first six months of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018, according to data recently released by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

“Wisconsin’s state-chartered banks continued to perform well during the first two quarters of 2019,” said Kathy Blumenfeld, Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI), who oversees state-chartered banks. “Their continued solid performance is a reflection of a good, healthy economy during the first half of the year and strong fiscal management.”

Compared to the first two quarters of 2018, Wisconsin’s 152 state-chartered banks:

  • Increased net loans to $42.8 billion, up from $40.4 billion;
  • Posted net income of $348.4 million, an increase of 9.8% from $317.3 million;
  • Grew total assets by 3.9%, from $55.2 billion to $57.3 billion; and
  • Maintained a strong capital ratio of 11.94%, compared to 11.44%.

The increase in lending was the most significant factor in the strong growth in net income. Total interest income increased by 12.6% for the first six months of 2019 compared to 2018.

Through the first six months of 2019, 98% of all state-chartered banks were profitable and nearly 66% realized earnings gains compared to the prior year.

A full report of Wisconsin’s state-chartered banks’ second-quarter 2019 performance is available on the DFI website here: http://www.wdfi.org/fi/banks.

Injured patients and families compensation fund/Wisconsin health care liability insurance plan board of governors meeting

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DATE: Wednesday, September 18, 2019

TIME: 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

LOCATION: 125 S. Webster St., Room 227, Madison, WI  53703

Jacobson campaign: Statement on 7th CD

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Mosinee Mayor Brent Jacobson, a Republican, has released a statement indicating that he is considering entering a special election to fill the seat that will be vacated by Congressman Duffy in less than two weeks.

Mayor Jacobson stated that “over the past two weeks, I have received calls and words of encouragement from supporters.”

Jacobson is serving his third term as Mayor of Mosinee. Jacobson was elected to the position in 2015 after securing over 70 percent of the vote. At age 35, Jacobson is also a full-time practicing attorney. Mayor Jacobson was born and raised in Mosinee where he graduated high school and went on to earn business and law degrees from St. Cloud State and West Virginia University.

In deciding to consider entering the field, Jacobson said, that “Washington could benefit from a local government leader. Small town mayors operate on limited resources with high demands that often call upon them to do the same with less. They regularly have no choice but to make tough decisions that often means saying no. Washington’s history of saying yes has a lot to do with our crushing national debt.”

“The Administration has faced difficult challenges from revamping NAFTA, achieving meaningful tax reform, securing our borders, and negotiating a permanent withdrawal from Afghanistan. The President is going to continue to need strong support from Congress to move American forward and keep us safe. That starts with ensuring we put a strong candidate forward who will keep this seat in the Republican column.”

Jacobson went on to note that “while I am considering entering the race, it is by no means something I am taking lightly. I will be spending time continuing to discuss this with my friends, family and colleagues. I do not think entering a political race at any level is a decision to make hastily. Whatever transpires in the near future, I am confident that Republicans will hold this seat and carry on the great work of our party.”

JFC approves Administration, Tourism requests as Republicans add reporting requirements

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