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— The Elections Commission this morning will certify the results of last month’s special election, clearing the way for Dem Tim McGuire to be sworn in as the rep for the 64th AD.
McGuire has an in-district ceremony planned for Monday at the Somers Town Hall, according to the invite. He also will be sworn in on the floor Wednesday, the next time the Assembly will be in session.
See the Elections Commission notice:
— Gov. Tony Evers ordered flags to be flown at half-staff today to commemorate and honor peace officers who have given their lives in the line of duty.
In his 24th executive order, the guv also ordered flags to be flown at half-staff Wednesday in tribute to Peace Officers Memorial Day and authorized flags to be flown at half-staff between this Sunday and May 18 in honor of Police Week.
See the release:
— Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke in this week’s GOP radio address touts a package of abortion-related bills that he authored.
The Kaukauna Republican highlighted federal statistics he says bring to light “an alarming number of children born alive following botched abortions.”
“My bill simply ensures the children who survive failed abortions receive the care they deserve and the same protection under law as any other newborn child,” he said.
Steineke also took a shot a Gov. Tony Evers, who has indicated that he will veto the package.
“At a time when expanded abortion laws are taking hold around the country, Assembly Republicans won’t stand idly by,” he said. “Regardless of what the governor says, we will continue fighting to protect Wisconsin’s most vulnerable.”
— In a fiery Dem radio address, Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz slammed his Republicans colleagues as “obstructionist, do-nothing politicians” after they rejected Gov. Tony Evers plan to accept federal Medicaid expansion dollars.
“Despite 70% of Wisconsinites supporting Medicaid expansion, Republicans use their first vote on the finance committee to take it out of the governor’s budget,” said the Oshkosh Dem.
Hintz highlighted a number of programs that would stand to benefit from the additional federal dollars, including initiatives that would boost maternal and infant health, expand dental care, and improve caregiver wages.
“It’s not too late for Republicans to change their mind and do the right thing,” he said. “So call your legislators today and tell them you want your government to accept the Medicaid expansion.”
Wisconsin Women in Government
GOP Lawmakers Begin Process Of Rejecting Gov. Tony Evers’ Budget
… [JFC on 11-4 party-line removed ACA Medicaid expansion, medical marijuana allowance and manufacturers’ tax credit limits] … “We believe the state has been headed in the right direction,” said committee co-chair Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette before the vote. “We don’t believe it’s time to change course, to go back to the days of deficit spending, large tax increases.” … [said] his phone “has not been ringing off the hook” with pushback from constituents. … many of those who have contacted his office misunderstand the issue. … Evers released a statement calling it “morally reprehensible. Every Republican must be held accountable for their decisions on health care, not just here in the Capitol, but back in their communities,” he said. Rehash Evers’ Medicaid plan, “fight like hell” to preserve it. JFC Dem Taylor: “The motion that my Republican colleagues have before us turns the people’s budget into the politicians’ budget. The people’s voices are being recklessly disregarded.” JFC GOP Tiffany: “I do not have a moral problem. We have been responsible to the taxpayers of the state of Wisconsin and we have done the right thing.” Nygren said primary objective is K-12 hike, long-term road funding fix. GOP did not remove Evers’ 8-cents/gal gas tax hike with automatic indexing. By White, WPR
GOP vote on ACA creates $1.4B gap between theirs and Evers’ budgets
… Evers called the vote “fiscally irresponsible and morally reprehensible. All we hear from Republicans is ‘no,’ ” he said in a statement. “They refuse to listen to the will of the people or work together and Wisconsinites will pay the price.” JFC co-chair Nygren said Evers plan is “Medicaid lite … I know that there’s a lot of people around this building, you know, drooling for the potential for so-called free money, yet we all need to know that it’s taxpayer money regardless of where it’s coming from and that simply growing the size of government shouldn’t be the objective.” GOP now has $1.4B less to spend than Evers, will have to reject major parts of Evers’ spending plans in the coming weeks. JFC also axed Evers’ 2% shared revenue boost, accept his $17.4M boost to DHS facility OT, axed $3.7M/yr bonuses for correctional officers and sergeants [for later use for raises to all officers], approved $11.4M for 51 new Winnebago Mental Health staff, approved Evers’ $3.4M for 37 staff at 20-bed unit at Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center, agreed to Evers’ 58 new beds at the Wisconsin Resource Center, OK’d 47 new positions requested by Historical Society to replace 110 temps, approved Evers’ $1M boost to MCW for family medicine residency program.
[JFC co-chair] Darling misses budget meeting for health reasons
… continues to recover in Washington area … after she fell last week, according to people familiar … [Darling’s statement last week] did not provide details on her condition. … unclear when she’ll return. [may miss Tuesday’s hearing] … “The good news is she’s well on her way to being back with us,” Nygren said [at JFC hearing outset]. … Darling and other Republicans held a political fundraiser May 1 in Washington. Darling was unable to return with the others because of the health incident. Her spokesman, Bob Delaporte, said Darling was unavailable for an interview and declined to provide details about her condition. … “I spoke with Alberta today,” said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester. “Sounds like she’s recovering well. She’ll be back sometime in the very near future. She was upbeat, positive — said she’s getting great care.”
Assembly Health Signs Off On Anti-Abortion Bills, Each Bill By 8-5 Margin
… Rep. Chuck Wichgers voted with Democrats against each … said the bills don’t go far enough and he knows Democratic Gov. Tony Evers will veto them. Package includes “Born alive” bill, ban on abortions based on race/gender/disability, chemical abortion info mandate, preventing Medicaid funds for Planned Parenthood. Floor vote next week.
> 11K Milwaukee children are not vaccinated, creating risk for measles outbreak
… With nearly 15% of students attending public schools without all necessary vaccinations against such viruses [16 vaccinations during childhood against 9 diseases] there could be too few vaccinated students within the district’s boundaries to create what’s known as herd immunity, which prevents newborn babies, unvaccinated children or adults in poor health from contracting diseases that could disable or kill them. UW Dr. Conway suggests 95% is better minimum, “Knowing that 85% represents 60% in some neighborhoods and 90% in others is kind of terrifying to me. … “All you need is one person to pick it up and you’ve got an outbreak. … it’s more amazing it hasn’t happened yet in Wisconsin.” Speaker Vos opposes mandatory vaccines, “I support the current law. … Now, would I support an education campaign because I think vaccination is right? I would.” Evers has vowed to sign Hintz bill, Leader Fitzgerald no known position. Hintz: “We’re going to increase vaccination rates one of two ways: We’re going to pass this bill … or we’re going to have a measles outbreak. It’s not cool anymore once it becomes real.” Sen. Risser, Rep. Taylor districts have most parental opt-outs, Risser signed on Hintz bill while Taylor still thinking. Ed chair Thiesfeldt agrees with VOs. MPS’ Nelson, City Health’s Hanson, DHS’ Miller comment.
Report: Wisconsin Income Growth Lagged National Average
WI Ranks 33rd Among States For Personal Income Growth Rate … [Pew report on 2007-18 USBLS data] looks at total personal income, adjusted for inflation. … workers’ wages and benefits … income … from owning a business or property, plus … Social Security or other government payments. … Wisconsin’s 1.4% growth trailed Minnesota (1.9), Indiana (1.8) and Iowa (1.5), but it led Illinois (1.1 percent and was virtually tied with Michigan and Ohio (1.4). Pew co-author Biernacka-Lievestro called WI economy “somewhere in the middle,” MU Law pollster Franklin located WI “consistently at sort of the bottom third. … varies from time to time.” Forward Analytics’ Knapp blamed slow population growth, “so the output of industry in the state can’t grow like it could if we were growing,” hence WI’s per-capita income ranking is higher.
Neighbors challenge Wisconsin’s first large-scale solar farm
PSC says conflict of interest charge is unfounded: 3 Iowa County families formed non-profit Jewell-Jinkins Intervenors, filed petitions Wednesday asking PSC to halt construction of Invenergy’s Badger Hollow solar farm and review approval of its construction and sale to MG&E, WPS. They claim PSC chair Valcq should have recused from 2-0 vote because her former law firm, Quarles & Brady, represented WPS. [2-0 vote came as Evers blocked Walker-appointed commissioner Nowak during lame-duck lawsuits.] Valcq declined comment, but PSC legal counsel Smith said conflict review found “Valcq was a contract partner and received a fixed salary not tied to any specific representation or financial performance in any case.” Before Q&B, Valcq spent 15 years as We Energies attorney, hence has agreed to recuse herself from 28 open cases as well as any new ones filed this year that she had worked on. J-J atty. Overland argued, “Whatever the specifics, there was a time when Chair Valcq did receive remuneration from Quarles related to the firm’s representation of WPSC in the Badger Hollow docket — there is an overlap,” planning state and Bar complaints against Valcq and Q&B, argued PSC has no siting rules for large solar arrays [largest east of the Rockies] and denied Jewell-Jinkins’ petition to draft such rules. PSC has 30 days to grant a re-hearing, deny the petitions or take no action.
Baldwin introduces bill to hasten toxic chemical cleanup
… the PFAS Accountability Act, would encourage federal facilities such as military and National Guard bases to quickly enter into agreements with states to address the cleanup of toxic chemicals such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. [associated with multiple debilitating conditions] … new study shows as many as 19 million people in 43 states have been exposed to PFAS-contaminated water near contaminated locations… DNR in May of last year said it would work with Air National Guard staff to develop a timeline for cleanup of the chemicals. Baldwin statement said bill would spur federal action and accountability, reimburse state and local govts for abatement costs.
Former Ald. Willie Wade disputes federal bribery charges tied to strip club votes
… “We strongly disagree with the government’s decision to bring this indictment,” attorney Patrick Knight said in a statement. “Mr. Wade and I intend to defend against these charges and look forward to the opportunity to present our response to these allegations.” … have been “in communication with the government about this investigation” for the past year. … Prosecutors say the alderman [Rainey], identified as “Alderman B” in the five-page indictment, did not know of Wade’s claims.
Final punishment: As Wisconsin National Guard officer Megan Plunkett took steps to leave the Guard after she said she was sexually assaulted three times, officials tried to revoke her benefits
… [as Plunkett] was going through a medical discharge for post-traumatic stress disorder connected to alleged sexual assaults by two different men in two different units … was having a consensual relationship with an enlisted soldier in her unit. After the relationship ended, Plunkett said that man also sexually assaulted her. As it did in the first two cases, the Guard said her allegations were unsubstantiated, but they went one step further than that, finding Plunkett guilty of “fraternization.” … The Guard reprimanded her and later tried to revoke her status as a military officer and her post-retirement medical benefits because of the relationship. It also later alleged that Plunkett posted nude photos of herself online to solicit sex. … Separately, the Veterans Administration awarded her full retirement and medical benefits for PTSD, which they determined was caused by military sexual trauma she experienced in the Wisconsin Army National Guard. … now receives free mental health treatment at any VA facility and is also paid $3,084 each month. … “I’m not saying that I didn’t make bad choices, and that I didn’t do things that I shouldn’t have done or that I didn’t have an intimate relationship with (the enlisted soldier) because I did,” Plunkett said. “I will own that and I accept punishment for that, which I already received. I got my GOMR[eprimand], which was above and beyond the punishment necessary for fraternization.” … After she got her medical discharge from the Department of the Army on July 26, 2018, according to records, the Wisconsin Army National Guard initiated an administrative procedure called a “withdrawal of federal recognition” (WOFR) that would strip away her status as an officer and remove her from the military. … Over the last year, Plunkett has continued to press elected officials at the state and federal levels [Walker, Fitzgerald, Baldwin, Johnson, Gallagher] to investigate the Wisconsin Army National Guard. … “The stories I have heard from service members and their families have shown this is an issue that must urgently be reviewed … I still have concerns about their standard operating procedures and the enforcement of their policies dealing with sexual assault and sexual harassment,” Fitzgerald said in a statement … As Plunkett waits for her final discharge paperwork, her focus is her son, who is 8. … “When women don’t talk because they’re revictimized and we’re retaliated against and our careers are ended … at some point we have to accept the sacrifice,” she said. “If we’re willing to sign on the dotted line and die for our country, why are we not willing to sacrifice our military careers and save (other) women from going through the same trauma and horrific nightmares that we endured?”
The Madison Club
– 8 a.m. – 11 a.m.: MMAC Expert Series: Assessing Your Talent with Accenture Management Consulting Senior Managers Kathy Henrich and Natalie Wrobleski.
– 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.: Milwaukee Press Club’s Gridiron Dinner. Journalist Chuck Todd is to receive the group’s Sacred Cat Award, and former Gov. Martin Schreiber and former United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County CEO Mary Lou Young will be honored as 2019 Headliners.
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