THU AM Update: Supreme Court rejects some options GOP lawmakers suggested to restore appointments

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— After agreeing earlier this week to take up a lawsuit over the Legislature’s lame-duck session, the state Supreme Court has now rejected several options GOP lawmakers suggested to restore appointments that Gov. Tony Eves had rescinded.

Still, the court also has yet to rule on another avenue lawmakers proposed to immediately restore appointments. Evers rescinded appointments during a window between a Dane County judge’s ruling overturning the extraordinary session actions and the appeals court staying that decision.

Monday’s court order to bypass the 3rd District Court of Appeals means the justices will address a Dane County judge’s temporary injunction barring enforcement of the extraordinary session actions. But GOP lawmakers had also filed a motion with the court outlining multiple options to restore the appointments.

Liberal Justice Shirley Abrahamson was the sole dissenter on yesterday’s order, which rejected all but one option presented by the Legislature: the request for immediate temporary relief. It has yet to rule on that option to restore the remaining appointments to their posts.

GOP lawmakers first appealed the case to the 3rd District Court of Appeals, which issued a stay of the circuit court ruling, then asked the Supreme Court to take it directly. In addition to granting the petition to bypass, the court set oral arguments for May 15 and laid out a briefing schedule.

Read yesterday’s order:

— The Assembly Education Committee will today hold an executive session on three proposals and a public hearing on a pair of bills.

The panel will first exec on three bills.

The first proposes to add the name of a student’s parents to the publicly available directory data maintained by schools; a second bill would allow the person in charge of running school safety drills to give prior notice of the drills to students; and the last would require the Department of Public Instruction to disclose the percentage of students participating in music, dance, drama, and visual arts in its annual school district and school accountability report.

After the exec, the committee will take testimony on two other pieces of legislation. The first would require DPI to develop a guidebook for assisting students with dyslexia and related conditions. The second bill would allow private schools participating in the parental choice program to count hours of instruction that are offered virtually towards their statutorily mandated total.

See the agendas:

— Gov. Tony Evers will today announce that the Center for Dairy Research will receive a state grant to create the Beverage Innovation Center.

— U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar will appear in a town hall hosted by Fox News in Milwaukee on May 8.

Klobuchar will be the second Dem presidential candidate to partner with the conservative-leaning network for an event, after U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders appeared on the network for a town hall earlier this week.

The event will mark Minnesota Dem’s second visit to Wisconsin since announcing a presidential bid. She previously held an event in Eau Claire.

See the announcement:


April 25: luncheon with JFC co-chairs

Join for lunch at The Madison Club, 5 East Wilson St., Madison, on Thursday, April 25, with the veteran Republican co-chairs of the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee.

Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, and Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, will discuss Gov. Tony Evers’ budget plan and GOP budget priorities.

See more on the co-chairs:

Check-in and lunch begins at 11:30 a.m., with the program going from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. subscribers and members as well as Madison Club members and their guests receive discounted pricing for WisPolitics luncheons of $19 per person. Price for general public is $25 per person.

This luncheon is sponsored by: Husch Blackwell, American Family Insurance, Xcel Energy, Walmart, AARP Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Hospital Association.

To register, visit:


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Evers: Foxconn Contract Should Be Renegotiated, 13K Jobs ‘Unrealistic’
… “I think at this point in time that would be an unrealistic expectation, when they’re downsizing the footprint of what they’re doing. … Clearly, the deal that was struck is no longer in play. The present contract deals with a situation that no longer exists, so it’s our goal to make sure the taxpayers are protected and environmental standards are protected. And we believe that we need to take a look at that contract and see if it needs to be downsized as a result.” Senate Leader Fitzgerald: “This completes the original narrative that the governor has wanted to undermine the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation from day one. If the state is willing to renege on its commitment to Foxconn and open up a contract without agreement by both parties, then what guarantee can Wisconsin make to any other company that wants to expand here?” Speaker Vos called the existing contract “ironclad” and remained optimistic on job numbers, saying, “As Foxconn works to create 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin, I’m open to hearing if any flexibility is needed to achieve that goal, which I hope is the intent of Governor Evers.” Evers comments follow but aren’t affected by Foxconn chief Gou’s reported intent to run for president of Taiwan.

Evers: Foxconn deal with state may need to be ‘downsized’
Evers called 13K jobs “unrealistic,” but CO. Exec. Delagrave said, “they never really shied away from the 13,000 jobs (at peak). In fact, they’ve kind of recommitted to that. … We remain optimistic about the progress we’ve seen and continue to see each day … The State of Wisconsin’s contract is separate. If and when the state chooses to renegotiate its contract is a state matter.” Mt. Pleasant chair DeGroot: “I reject the notion that the 13,000 jobs won’t be there, because we’ve been told at the highest levels that they will be. How does the number of jobs affect environmental concerns?” Sen. Wanggaard: “Gov. Evers appears hell bent to kill thousands of direct and indirect Foxconn jobs throughout Wisconsin. … The contract is simple. … If Foxconn underperforms, it leaves incentives on the table.” OWN’s Eicher: “Gov. Evers’ call to reopen the Foxconn deal in light of Foxconn’s backsliding on their Wisconsin jobs and investment promises shows he’s looking out first and foremost for Wisconsin.” Vos, Fitzgerald statements. Rehash Foxconn saga.

Evers wants to renegotiate Foxconn deal, says company won’t employ 13,000
… The pay-for-performance provisions provide protection for state taxpayers if Foxconn fails to create jobs and investment, but the payments the company stands to earn if it follows through on its pledges are generous. … In its contract with Mount Pleasant and Racine County, Foxconn guaranteed that its project area would generate new property tax revenue that officials say would be enough to cover the local spending. Unlike the state’s pay-as-you-go arrangement, however, the local governments would have to seek to enforce the contract provision after the fact if the development falls short of expectations. … DeGroot said Foxconn remains committed to the project, while Delagrave said officials are “optimistic about the progress we’ve seen and continue to see each day.” Moody downgraded Mt. Pleasant on borrowing concerns. Rehash Foxconn saga, Evers, Fitzgerald, Vos, Wanggaard comments. WEDC’s Hogan: “These ongoing discussions include consideration of the effect the company’s evolving plans may have on WEDC’s contract and our steadfast commitment to protect the taxpayers of Wisconsin.” Minority Leader Hintz: “Absolutely nothing they have said since the beginning of their project has been true or has come true.”

Lincoln Hills youth prison continues use of pepper spray, strip searches
… [AG] Kaul, during a Milwaukee Press Club event Wednesday before the release of the court monitor’s report … “I believe that the federal investigators in the Western District, the prosecutors in the Western District of Wisconsin who oversaw this investigation, conducted a full and thorough investigation into the facts.” … DOJ spokeswoman declined to provide additional comment. Later on Wednesday, monitor Abreu wrote school administration continue improving court compliance, but are still failing aspects — based on interviews with about 34 youth inmates and 25 staffers: lingering staffing shortages, staff do not feel safe, “are tired and often work double shifts several days in a row,” still using pepper spray where lesser interventions could have sufficed, reduced use of mechanical restraints and strip/”hygiene” searches, insufficient effort to make inmate cells “suicide resistant,” inadequate room checks. DOC Sec. Carr: “Although there has been some progress since I joined the DOC in January, it is clear from the report that significant work remains.”

Is Milwaukee ready to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention?
… [Wednesday’s] meeting was organized by the city of Milwaukee. Speakers included Jason Rae, Secretary of the DNC, along with Martha Love, the DNC Representative for Wisconsin. [with input from Mayor Barrett, US Rep. Moore, Council Pres. Hamilton, Alder Coggs, Milwaukee’s biz chief Little, and SBD dir. Purvis.] … To make sure that people and businesses from all of Milwaukee’s neighborhoods, even the most challenged, benefit from such a huge event. Barrett: “That includes contracts, work, jobs, volunteering, logistics.” Moore: “There will be more than 2,000 events help outside of Fiserv Forum during the DNC. Think of all the supporting businesses we need – restaurants, caterers, florists, supplies, planners, security, car services, just to name a few.”

SeniorCare Rx program to continue for 10 more years
… [Gov. Evers touted CMS] last week authorized the program through the end of 2028, a longer-term extension of the program than the state has gotten in the past. About 93,000 Wisconsinites age 65 or older are enrolled in SeniorCare. … created in 2002 [as] an alternative to Medicare Part D … “a bipartisan solution to a Wisconsin problem. … A 10-year approval from the federal government is rare and, I’ll tell you this, I am so thankful, because it speaks highly of the quality work of our staff who are dedicated to improving the health and well-being of Wisconsin residents.” All 8 WI congressional delegation last week sent letter to Trump supporting SeniorCare.

WI Lawmakers Consider Bill To Speed Up Health Insurance Appeals
… Assembly and Senate health committees held a joint hearing Wednesday … [Darling-Nygren bill] would provide medical exceptions to step therapy, outlines an appeal process and would give insurers 72 hours to grant or deny a request. … bill would only apply to private insurance, not Medicaid. … Patients, doctors and advocacy groups for multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, arthritis and other chronic conditions urged legislators to support what they called common-sense guardrails … said it can currently take weeks or even months to hear whether an insurer will cover a drug or not. UW Health NP Wilke said 50 staff are dedicated to pre-authorizing meds and challenging insurer denials, “It’s countless hours, day in and day out, trying to find a compromise between insurers and patients.” GHC CMO Kastman cited rising Rx prices, said step therapy can help patients by bypassing less expensive meds with risky side effects. WAHP not opposed as long as step therapy is reasonably applied.

Dane County leads state in population growth [5,584]; > double any other county
… [Census estimates released Thu. found] Waukesha County had the second-largest population gain, with just over 2,000 people. Milwaukee County, which remains the state’s most populous, lost about 2,387 residents. Overall, Wisconsin gained about 21,500 residents last year — a rate of about 0.4 percent — to remain the 20th most populous state. Graphs. Dane’s Violante: “We’re not going to stop growth. It’s all about how you accommodate it and where you accommodate it.” UW demographer Egan-Robertson, Verona’s Sayre comment.

‘This flow is out of control and we have to get it under control.’
Ron Johnson discusses trip to border … During his tour Monday and Tuesday, Johnson met with U.S. Custom and Border Patrol agents and sector leaders. … did a ride-along on a night patrol, toured a processing center that houses families caught crossing the border illegally, and met with a church-based group that shelters [processed] migrants … ‘We are in full catch-and-release right now,” Johnson said. “The border patrol is a speed bump along the path to their long-term residency in America.” … said the “real beneficiaries” of the border surge are “human trafficking cartels,” that are making “hundreds of millions of dollars” and … “using our law enforcement, turning them into processors for their business model.” … saw close to 200 people detained, including “about a dozen Cubans in that group. Cuban males, which I thought was interesting. The families, there’s no fear, they’re almost home free. … We had a Mexican police vehicle follow us every step of the way at the border. You’re only 100 yards away. They were keeping a very close eye on us. … I’m not hearing Democrats anymore saying this is a manufactured crisis. I think they’re admitting that we have one. … We need a more accurate and faster initial determination of their asylum claim. Right now, best numbers we have, around 15 percent of asylum claims are granted. So 85 percent of people are really not coming here with an asylum claim. They’re coming here, God bless them, I have all the sympathy in the world for them, they’re coming here for economic migration.” US Sen. Durbin toured El Paso border last week, called for “bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform — which includes smart, effective and humane border security.”


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– 10 a.m.: Assembly Committee on Education executive session on AB 53, relating to pupil records; AB 54, relating to fire, tornado and school safety drills for public and private schools; and AB 67, relating to information on the school district and school accountability report.

– 10 a.m.: Assembly Committee on Education public hearing on AB 129, relating to allowing private schools participating in a parental choice program to provide hours of direct pupil instruction virtually; and AB 110, relating to developing a guidebook related to dyslexia and related conditions.

– 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.: Marquette University Law School: “Does Democracy Protect Human Rights?” Speaker is Garry Wills, professor emeritus of history and a cultural historian at Northwestern University.

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