FRI News Summary: JFC approves registration, title fee increase

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JFC GOP approves $484M transportation plan
… [11-5 Dems + Stroebel approved] $484M in new funding [$623M Evers], relying in part on increases to title [$95] and registration [$10] fees and a [$90M] transfer from the state’s general fund. … [$11M by expanding “hybrid” car fee] … would allow the state to borrow an additional $326M through state-issued bonds [$338M Evers] … $226M for large freeway projects in southeastern WI [$332M Evers] … “This motion fixes more damn roads than his does,” said Rep. Mark Born, R-Beaver Dam, making a comparison to the governor’s plan. … borrowing would be the lowest since the 2001-03 budget cycle. … [Baldauff for Evers blasted plan lacking gas tax hike with indexing and heavy truck fee boost:] “Raiding our state coffers and making Wisconsinites foot the bill for the rest instead of making out-of-state drivers pay their fair share isn’t the long-term solution Wisconsinites are asking for.” Stroebel: “I don’t have a lot of faith in our transportation secretary who used to be a road builder lobbyist.” Fellow conservative Nass: “Tonight is a big win for the road building special interests and a big loss for the taxpayers.” Supporters claim it matches Evers’10% increase in general transportation aid, $19M hike to highway rehab. JFC Dem Erpenbach denounced absence of gas tax hike, “If you’re going to let out of state drivers off the hook … that’s absolutely irresponsible.” JFC also approved limit on protective services for Lt. GOv. Barnes, responding to WIsPOlitics report on Barnes’ extraordinary use, and new pilot program to award up to $250 million for so-called “design-build” contracts. JFC also approved budget items for DOJ, WEDC, reinsurance, broadband expansion, other programs. By Vetterkind, WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL

GOP roads plan would more than double title fees and limit security for Lt Guv
… Other surprise provisions would curb local governments from regulating quarries and provide funding for a bridge in Kaukauna, the hometown of Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke. … “This is the most significant investment of new revenues into our transportation system in more than a generation,” said [co-chair] Nygren … Stroebel said he liked where the overall budget was headed, but not the transportation provisions in it. … also drew opposition from Republican Sen. Steve Nass … Erpenbach of West Point said raising the gas tax would be better than increasing fees to make sure all drivers — not just those from Wisconsin — were paying more to maintain the state’s roads. … Echoing that sentiment, Evers spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff said the measure “isn’t the long-term solution Wisconsinites are asking for.” … Democrats criticized the limits on security for Wisconsin’s first black lieutenant governor. Former Barnes aide Brandon Weathersby said it was not unusual to get hateful messages to Barnes’ [Assembly] office … “This is petty,” Weathersby wrote on Twitter. “This is dangerous. This is wrong.” Other budget action: Limiting local oversight of quarries [vetoed by Walker in 2017], $2.5M study of tolls, $22M from VW settlement for fuel-efficient govt vehicles, hybrid vehicle fees, $29M to help Marinette Marine, $35M for Hiawatha and rail, $44M to expand broadband [$75M Evers], $500K for WEDC Fab Labs, $100K for PSC intervenors [$300K Evers], 10 FTEs for DOJ crime lab [19 Kaul], axed 5 FTEs for ACA/marketplace insurance outreach. By Marley, MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL

Evers administration seeks to head off stripping large dairy regulation from DNR
… [JFC would move CAFO regs to DATCP, a Walker campaign idea] … [DNR Sec. Cole, DACTP Sec. Pfaff] said the panel should adopt the administration’s budget proposals affecting CAFOs, and they justified the DNR as best suited to oversee large farms. In most states, pollution control agencies like the DNR regulate large dairy farms. … Cole and Pfaff also said keeping regulatory functions at the DNR would provide more certainty “at a time when the public is demanding more oversight of these facilities.” Evers is emphasizing water quality issues in his budget and is proposing to add five positions through higher fees on CAFOs: $660 a year and $3,270 for every five years a CAFO’s permit comes up for renewal. … Walker and his supporters have … pointed to a critical 2016 [LAB] report that found numerous problems in the DNR’s wastewater program, which includes CAFOs, citing backlogs, staff turnover and drop in environmental enforcement. CAFOs grew 81% from 2005-14. By Bergquist, MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL

UW System President Cross Continues Push For Increased State Funding
… Evers called for an increase of $130 million for UW System schools. … [JFC] approved an increase of about $58 million … $45 million [of that] would be subject to later approval after UW administrators provide a report on how the funds would be spent. Cross told regents Thursday that the UW System is “invaluable” to the state and that “we must not be passive when it is so clear that no one else, no other entity can do what we can do to help our state and our economy. In every region of the state I visit, I hear from employers and community leaders who are screaming for talent,” said Cross. “The UW System is the answer.” … Since UW-Milwaukee achieved a national designation as a Research I institution in 2016, [Chancellor] Mone said the campus has ranked among the bottom in terms of the number of faculty and pay. … “I want to become a Hispanic-serving institution, but it’s very difficult to do that if you don’t have more faculty of color and staff of color,” said Mone. “When you’re retrenching, it’s hard to grow. So, that’s the crossroads that we’re at.” By Kremer, WPR


– Paul Fanlund: What Joe Biden’s fast start tells us

– Rep. Gwen Moore’s ‘Mamas First Act’ Looks To Stop Infant, Mother Deaths In Low-Income Communities, Bill Would [reimburse] Doulas, Midwives Through Medicaid … In an interview with Rob Ferrett of WPR’s “Central Time,” Moore explained that expanding access to midwives and doulas can help expectant mothers make more informed decisions about how they experience pregnancy.

– Dane County Board approves $148M in jail renovations after opponents shut down meeting … With shouts of “shame” from the audience, supervisors voted 26-4 [Wegleitner, Chawla, Kilmer, Knoll] early Friday, with three board members absent [Stubbs, Jones, Nguyen-Hilfiger], to approve the plan, which costs $72 million more than they had initially approved and includes building an eight-story tower on the parking lot behind the Downtown Public Safety Building jail and closing two jail facilities that are outdated. … Before being interrupted by protesters, Ozanne said he does not support increasing the number of people in jail, but the updates to the county’s jail facilities are necessary to “create a humane facility.” … “Y’all are actually hypocrites if you decide to build a new jail,” said Mahnker Dahnweih, a member of Freedom Inc. “You’re spending this money on locking black folks up.” … There was also vocal opposition for plans to renovate and expand the juvenile detention center on the second floor of the City-County Building. More than 20 people either spoke or registered in opposition of the measure.

– Nelson vetoes 0.5% sales tax … “It is a regressive tax and it will cost every citizen about $100 each year. That is especially harmful to our seniors, single parents and working families. It will most affect people on fixed incomes, those living paycheck to paycheck, small business owners and young adults drowning in debt.” Passed 28-4, need 24 votes for over-ride

– With Farmers Taking On More Debt, Wisconsin Officials Warn Against Unregulated Lenders … [DATCP Farm Center’s Friar] said the center receives calls every year from farmers who have taken out loans from companies that are not regulated by state or federal financial agencies…. “In some cases, they’re specifically targeting farmers if they’re in a farm publication. In other cases, they may be trying to connect with an everyday consumer that’s looking for credit. … calls increased by 10 percent over the last year and more farmers are seeking advice on farm financials. … “When you see your neighbors planting corn and beans, when you see your neighbors cutting first crop hay and if you don’t have money to do that, any of us may grab for fast cash,” Friar said. “I’m not worried about how I’m going to pay it back. I just want the money so I can be planting my crops. Because if I don’t plant a crop, I’m definitely out of farming.” UW Extension’s Wantoch said some farmers are running up high-interest, high-fee credit cards when they should talk re-fi with their lenders or a UW agent, “sometimes the best option may be to exit the business.”

– Organic Farming Has A Plastic Problem. One Solution Is Controversial … Although conventional farmers also use plastic mulch, organic produce farms like One Straw rely on the material even more because they must avoid chemical weed killers, which are banned in organic farming. … Bigger organic operations like Lady Moon Farms, with farms in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Florida, spread it over thousands of acres. And when the season is over, it ends up in landfills. … One conceivable solution, biodegradable plastic, isn’t allowed under organic rules in its current form, though some think those rules should be changed. Others worry about the long-term effects of biodegradable plastic on soil health and the environment.

– Five years ago: Wisconsin gay marriage ruling turns Madison’s City-County Building into ‘wedding central’

COURTS ^top^
– Milwaukee judges say helping people earn back their driver licenses could cut down on reckless driving … The 3-year-old “Warrant Withdrawal Wednesdays” program … the brainchild of Milwaukee Municipal Judge Valarie Hill. … gives people who have avoided dealing with municipal violations a chance to come before a judge and address their legal issues without the fear of being arrested. It’s an approach used successfully in Cleveland. … Judge Hill discussed the community court concept with Judges Mosley and Phillip Chavez, and they were all in agreement to do it because the numbers showed a need. … In the 2015 study, “Driver’s License Issues and Recommendations,” John Pawasarat and Lois Quinn wrote that more universal driver’s education and license recovery efforts were needed to help close the driver’s license gap between blacks and whites. Details on Cleveland program

– Program Expands Computer Science Instruction In Wisconsin, [MSFT’s] TEALS Program Pairs Educators, Technology Professionals To Teach Computer Science … [DPI] says 17 teachers completed a state preparation program in computer science over the past five years. Fifty received regular licenses and 46 received emergency licenses or permits to teach computer science.

– UW-Madison reviewed admissions policies in wake of national [“Varsity blues”] scandal and made 2 changes … will require coaches attest to individuals’ athletic ability and increase communication between the department and admissions staff. … provide additional layers of checks and balances

– Teacher [Anderson] who built Dane County’s jail high school to retire

– Beloit College hits enrollment target

– Voters skeptical, pollsters confident they will get 2020 presidential election results right … Data from the Pew Research Center shows there was a wide educational gap in those who voted for Clinton and those who voted for Trump. … [FiveThirtyEight] defines the “shy Trump” theory as one that relies on a social desirability bias. Or in other words, Trump voters felt it was an unpopular opinion to support him in the race and kept mum about it until they cast their vote on Election Day. UW prof. Burden, MU Law pollster Franklin, some voters comment.

ENERGY ^top^
– Michigan’s Governor Seeks Line 5 Deal Within A Week … while Enbridge reaffirmed plans for a $500M tunnel to house a new … Line 5 [to carry] around 540K barrels/day of natural gas liquids and crude oil from Superior to Sarnia, Ontario, through [Mackinac] Straits. [to be completed by early 2024.] Gov. Whitmer letter to Enbridge CEO Monaco doubted the timeline, seeks earlier completion to replacement for 60+-year-old pipeline. MI AG Nessel also threatened last week to pursue legal action within a month if the governor and Enbridge are unable to reach a deal. On Wednesday, Enbridge said it’s moving forward on engineering details and other aspects, looks forward to working with the state on additional safety measures and ways to shorten the timeline. Whitmer did not respond.

– Enbridge Seeks Court Review Of Line 5 Tunnel Project … In a statement Thursday, Enbridge said it’s asking … whether agreements reached with GOP ex-guv Snyder] hold up. … [argued Gov. Whitmer’s 2-yr timeline to shut down line 5] wouldn’t be enough time for Enbridge to finish its proposed $500 million tunnel to house a new pipeline. Enbridge VP Jarvis claimed “this action [is] to protect Michigan consumers. … to remove obstacles to building the tunnel as quickly as possible and ensure energy security and environmental protection for Michigan.” [AG] Nessel ruled earlier this year that [tunnel-enabling] legislation … was unconstitutional. Whitmer statement: “This Tuesday, Enbridge walked away from the negotiating table … chosen to pursue litigation rather than negotiate in good faith to find a reasonable solution that includes a date certain for decommissioning Line 5. It is now abundantly clear that Enbridge — which is responsible for the largest inland oil spill in American history in Marshall, Michigan — is only interested in protecting its bottom line.”

– Great Lakes Mayors Call On Congress To Fund [$830M] Defense Measures For Asian Carp, Mayors Seek [noisemakers and an electric barrier] At Brandon Road Lock And Dam [near Joliet, IL] … a potential pathway between the Mississippi River and Great Lakes Basins … By 2022 … “The Asian carp are knocking on our Great Lakes door,” said Sheboygan Mayor Mike Vandersteen at the signing. “The Great Lakes region has already worked through the Rust Belt years. Now, as we move into a brighter future on the shores of the fresh coast, we cannot afford another major setback like this.” Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative CEO Dicker: “No more studies. Get the temporary project done at Brandon Road. At least that will provide some additional support … But, in the long run, the mayors want to see total separation eventually.” Army Corps would pay for 65%. IL Gov. Pritzker approved coordination but questioned the 35% states/others would pay.

– Great Lakes mayors growing impatient with pace in controlling the movement of Asian carp

– Eroding dam a concern for reorganized Sauk County resources committee

– ‘The Silicon Valley of freshwater’: UW System aims high, but is the money there? … Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin would pool resources from all 13 of the state’s public colleges, allowing for research and innovation in freshwater science, technology, entrepreneurship and economic growth, leaders said at the Board of Regents meeting Thursday. … regents approved a nonbinding resolution Thursday, asking the Legislature to support the cost of the collaborative.

– State trout plan to be finalized in early fall … last of four [DNR] public comment meetings was held … in Spooner Wednesday

– City gives composting another shot, New pilot program will stress food waste only (no deer heads or bed sheets, please)

– Famous farm investigated for animal abuse caught on video, Jewel-Osco pulls products … after an animal rights group released graphic video showing workers kicking and throwing young calves at an Indiana … Fair Oaks Farms, which Food & Wine magazine has called the “Disneyland of agricultural tourism.”

LABOR ^top^
– Right to work laws violated, Burlington company employee alleges in lawsuit … The federal lawsuit filed on May 30 by Martin Carter, an assistant operator at the Packaging Corporation of America (PCA) … believed that he was required to sign off to allow paycheck deductions for United Steelworkers Local 231 dues as a condition of employment.

– Madison police officer who strikes teen in video is put on ‘restricted duty’

– [MPD chief] Koval: Both Madison Police and outside agency to review use of force incident involving West High student

– Husky grant secures drone for SPD, SFD

– Former priest expected to plead no contest to assaults

– La Crescent-Hokah High School prank leaves school in disarray, authorities say … Police Chief Doug Stavenau said the [well-organized student] group unlawfully entered the school on May 29, filling the hallways with desks and chairs, drawing phallic symbols on the whiteboards, and pulling up offensive material on the school computers.

– Bruce Murphy: The New Conservative Heavyweight, Wisconsin Institute of Law & Liberty is on the rise, pushing a right-wing agenda. … But the Milwaukee-based [501c3, apolitical, non-lobbyist] has grown tremendously, particularly in recent years, and now has a budget of $1.9 million and a total staff “closer to 20 now,” says Rick Esenberg, the group’s founder and president. “Obviously there’s been some growth,” is his modest view of the group’s nearly seven-fold increase in budget and staff since 2011. [in past year, added Pugh and Vebber from WMC, fundraiser Stitt.] … Bradley Foundation’s funding of WILL has continued since 2011 but has declined as a percent of the total as the group has added funding from Kern Family Foundation (based in Waukesha) and the Walton Foundation. It also gets considerable support from individual donors, something likely to increase with Pugh on board. … [WILL, Bradley moving out of shared HQ to separate new spaces] … Meanwhile, some political observers see the switch of key WMC staff to WILL as a sign that the latter group is on the rise and likely to have increasing clout in conservative and Republican circles.

– Milwaukee Ranks 3rd Worst In US For Black Home Ownership … LendingTree [using Census data] recently ranked the 50 largest metro areas in the country by the percentage of the black population that owns a home. … Just over 7 percent of the Milwaukee area’s African American population owned a home in 2017 … median household income among African Americans in Milwaukee is $28,928. … metro area includes Waukesha and West Allis. … Memphis and New Orleans ranked first and second for the lowest percentage of black homeowners. … In January, the Brookings Institution found Milwaukee was the nation’s most racially segregated metro area. Report analyst Channel: “When World War I and World War II ended, and white people came back, [blacks] were forced out of jobs and never had an opportunity to establish the strong economic foothold like white Americans have had. … What we have to do, as a society, government, whatever, is realize we have a problem, and then look at solutions to make it easier for disadvantaged people to build wealth.” Ald. Rainey touted his 2016 creation of the city’s Office of African American Affairs, “Seems like every day there is another new statistic about the lack of quality of life for African Americans in Milwaukee and the state of Wisconsin. … When you think about the economic hardships and lack of family-supporting jobs for African Americans, I can see how we’re falling behind in homeownership.” Channel touted FHA loans, Take Root Milwaukee consortium, including community groups, HUD, Urban Development-certified housing counseling agencies the help people become home owners.

– Bice: Chris Abele winning turf battle over razing historic Lake Michigan mansion … The Shorewood Village Board passed up a chance this week to get involved by voting 4-3 against sending Abele a letter expressing support for historic preservation. … Abele’s application now goes to the village’s Design Review Board on June 20.

– Stoughton startup GrowthChart wins top prize in Governor’s Business Plan Contest

– Growing small businesses … The visit from [SBA, USDA] representatives … was part of the Wisconsin and Michigan “Rural Strong” tour, which stopped in Marinette and Ironwood, Mich., on Tuesday to visit with those seeking to learn how to start, grow and expand their businesses and local economies. According to SBA, the Rural Strong roundtable discussions and sessions aim to “educate attendees about federally-backed financing, ways to access funding and accessing small business advising opportunities available to them at no or low cost.”

– JFC approves road funding plan carrying $95 title fee hike [Reilly]

– Republicans announce transportation deal around raising fees, not gas tax: pre-JFC

– Wisconsin GOP unveils plan to raise car fees: pre-JFC [Richmond of AP]

– In Illinois, gas tax poised to double

TRIBES ^top^
– JG online poll: The Ho-Chunk casino proposal could reach Gov. Tony Evers’ desk by this summer. Should Evers approve building a casino in Beloit? 301 Yes. The casino would be an economic development boon 117 No. Wisconsin doesn’t need more gambling operations

– WSJ EDITORIAL: Court puts transparency above partisan politics, affirms right to see electronic records

– RJT editorial … We hope that with this Appeals Court ruling, the response of lawmakers and government officials to a public records request will now switch to: “Paper or plastic?”

– JG editorial: Legislature needs to get practical … we’d oppose a gas tax increase, too, in an ideal world. … Republicans … should advance proposals for eliminating the state’s reliance on the gas tax as a long-term goal. But in the meantime, we need the Legislature to take practical steps to resolve a straightforward problem: The state’s roads are falling apart, and the state needs more money to fix them.

– LT editorial: One person’s guidance is another person’s law … The December law now defines the term, and requires every guidance document to have a public hearing and receive certification by the head of the department, as well as Legislative Reference Bureau review, all to give the elected Legislature more oversight over unaccountable bureaucrats. … If the Supreme Court tosses the laws, there’s no way — with Democrat Tony Evers sitting in the governor’s office — the law limiting the use of guidance documents can be passed and enacted again. With radical bureaucrats such as Todd Ambs re-installed in the DNR, that’s a very scary thought indeed. In that case, we may need to pray for guidance from a higher authority.

– Dave Zweifel: CEO pay skyrockets while the rest of us are left behind

– LOWV’s Andrea Kaminski: Why Wisconsin needs Medicaid expansion — and why opponents are wrong

– Dave Cieslewicz: Political hacks, Robin Vos and Scott Fitzgerald have contempt for the democratic process

– M.D. Kittle: DOT Pushes Gas Tax Propaganda On Twitter, Conservatives Say

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