THU News Summary: Elections Commission certifies Hagedorn’s Supreme Court victory

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Elections Commission Certifies Hagedorn’s Supreme Court Victory
Tally Shows Brian Hagedorn Beat Lisa Neubauer By 5,981 Votes [compared to unofficial margin of 5,962] … Neubauer had mulled a recount but ultimately decided against it and conceded defeat April 10. … [both] were vying to replace retiring liberal Justice Shirley Abrahamson, who is battling cancer. Hagedorn will serve a 10-year term. [4-3] conservative majority will grow … to 5-2 when he takes the seat in August. By AP, WPR

Health care, education among hot topics at Tony Evers’ budget listening session in Oshkosh
… “This is democracy in action,” Evers said in his opening remarks. … [with Lt. Gov. Barnes, Minority Leader Hintz, Citizen Action’s Lizotte, OAS Supt. Cartwright, Winnebago Supv. Wojciechowski] at the Oshkosh Seniors Center … part of a statewide budget listening tour. … Attendees divided into groups based on what they wanted to talk about. Topics included health care, criminal justice reform, jobs and tax fairness, transportation and infrastructure, the environment and education. Evers and Barnes went from group to group listening to what voters wanted and taking notes. … Many others in spoke up about how expanding Medicaid would allow for more mental health and substance abuse services. … garnered support for increased investment in education, both K-12 and higher. … improving road conditions … use in-state contractors to fix roads, rather than looking for options out of state. … [Evers’] closing remarks … articulated his support for passing medical marijuana, which drew cheers from the crowd. … Sen. Dan Feyen, R-Fond du Lac, who recently held his own listening sessions in Oshkosh, Fond du Lac and Waupun, criticized Evers’ $83 billion spending plan. … spokeswoman for Rep. Michael Schraa, R-Oshkosh, who also has held his own budget listening sessions, said he did not attend Tuesday’s event … Evers and Barnes will continue their budget listening tour Thursday morning in Milwaukee. By Slattery, OSHKOSH NORTHWESTERN

Evers’ special ed proposal would pump $212M into schools in southeastern WI
… “It’s not possible. … We don’t have that kind of money,” said Sen. Luther Olsen, R-Ripon, longtime chairman of the Senate Education Committee who also sits on Joint Finance…. supports the per-pupil revenue cap increases and hopes to raise the special ed reimbursement rate to 30%. But he said the governor’s $1.4 billion increase for schools is a non-starter. … “unless you want to have a structural deficit or raise taxes, and we’re not going to do that.” … Democrats are pushing back … “They are turning their backs on their local school districts,” said [JFC] Sen. Jon Erpenbach … “We have enough money to pay for this,” he said. “They’re saying no because it’s Tony Evers and not Scott Walker.” … [LFB analysis, at Erpenbach’s request, found large, poor MPS] where about 20% of students are considered to have special needs — would be the biggest beneficiary, bringing in about $75.7M over the two years [Racine $19.4M, Kenosha $17.2M, Glendale-River Hills > $1M, Waukesha $10M]. … “This could be used to hire new teachers, reduce class sizes, to restore programs that have been cut. And they wouldn’t have to defer maintenance,” said [WASB’s] Rossmiller … [MPS Supt. Posley] would use the additional dollars to “attract and retain highly qualified teachers,” reduce class sizes to manageable levels and … “level the playing field for all of our scholars and staff.” [LFB also analyzed sparsity aid, revenue cap relief] … districts complain that they are constrained by revenue limits that cap how much they can raise through the local tax levy, forcing them to go to a referendum for capital improvements and, increasingly, operating costs. By Johnson, MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL

WI National Guard Sexual Assault, Harassment Policies To Undergo Federal Review
… in response to allegations of misconduct, Gov. Tony Evers and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin announced Wednesday. … Last month, Baldwin and Evers both called for the National Guard review. State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, also called for an assessment earlier this year, after being contacted by a female guard member who said she was assaulted in 2014. … commander of the Wisconsin National Guard has defended its existing policies. Baldwin statement: “The men and women of the Wisconsin National Guard deserve an environment free of sexual harassment and assault, and I believe this impartial outside review of past actions, current protocols, and future improvements is the best way to meet that objective.” Evers-Baldwin statement said assessment will be conducted by the National Guard Bureau’s Office of Complex Investigations over the next several months, with special email address to send information, ending in public report with recommendations. WNG did not respond. By White, WPR


– Joe Biden announces his run for president, says democracy ‘is at stake’

– 64th assembly district candidates spar on issues … Mark Stalker, R-Kenosha, and Tip McGuire, D-Kenosha, are opposing each other in a special election on April 30 … During the [90-min WGTD] forum, which close to 70 people attended, McGuire and Stalker addressed prepared questions from the public including one that asked them who was right in bringing up reconsideration of the Foxconn contract, one that both Evers and Foxconn reportedly have said they were wanting to review.

– Standing up for deaf rights: Lawmaker [Brostoff] vows not to cut hair until bill for deaf community passes, State has shortage of sign language interpreters … [deaf advocate] Maffucci and co-chair Katie Voss met with Brostoff, other lawmakers and stakeholders on a new version of the bill Wednesday.

– Former state Rep. Ed Brooks dies … Brooks, of Reedsburg, served in the Assembly for 10 years. He got his start in politics when he joined the Reedsburg Town Board, where he served as chairman for 30 years.

– Sen. Ron Johnson talks Mueller report, immigration … “This country has had to undergo, for more than two years, all the innuendo, all the accusations, all the investigation. And it distracts the public. It distracts public, elected officials and the President and his administration from addressing the serious challenges facing this nation,” Johnson said. … CW 14 Focus airs Sundays at 10 a.m.

– Ex-WVa security guard admits firearms theft … from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ disposal facility in Martinsburg. … prompted Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin last month to call for an investigation into the facility and how it disposes of firearms.

– Pizza and politics: Rep. Steil meets with Parkside College Republicans

– Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway sets capital budget priorities … Funding requests also should be tied to the city’s new comprehensive plan, called “Imagine Madison” … strongly echoed former Mayor Paul Soglin’s long-running concern over increased borrowing and rising debt payments, which account for 17.5% of the city’s operating budget for 2019, far above the unofficial target of 12.5% of spending.

– Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway appoints Leslie Orrantia as deputy mayor

– Former Kenoshan soundly defeated in race for Tampa mayor … Straz, 76, was soundly defeated [70-30] by former Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor, 59.

– We’ll drink to that: It’s Point Special Day, Mayor Mike Wiza proclaimed April 25 as Point Special Day to commemorate the Stevens Point Brewery’s top beer.

– [Menominee] County vows to take stance on [cashing out] unused vacations

– 7 Trends That Explain The Contours Of Wisconsin’s Deepening Dairy Crisis … [7 charts with analysis] Milk Prices Paid to Wisconsin Dairy Farmers, 1913-2018 … 2014’s high prices obscured a consequential long-term trend: since the early 1980s, inflation has far outpaced milk prices. … U.S. Dairy Exports vs. All Milk Prices, 1967-2018 … about 2005. …[US milk] prices … began aligning with … world’s top dairy exporters … Since then, American milk prices have risen and fallen with international demand … which also hit record highs in 2014 before dropping off 30 percent the following year. … U.S. Cheese in Cold Storage, 2014-2018 … cheese surplus has grown year by year to record high levels since demand for exports started falling in 2015. … [without demand boost] milk prices would likely continue to decline until the surplus is cleared. … Return on Assets by Herd Size, 2014-2017 Average … unrelentingly low milk prices are hitting … somewhat unevenly. [UW prof.] Bernhardt … found that profitability improved with increasing herd size … noted the top-performing farms of all sizes have maintained healthy profits. … Number of Cows vs. Total Milk Production in Wisconsin, 1933-2018 [genetics and technology have increased production as working cows decrease, complicated by rise in CAFOs] … Age Distribution of Wisconsin Farmers, 1978-2012 [avg. farmer age rising from 48.6 years in 1978 to 56.5 years in 2012] … Loss of Dairy Herds in Wisconsin, 2017-2019 … Over two-thirds of Wisconsin’s counties have lost at least 8% of their total dairy herds between 2017 and early 2019. The county with the greatest losses is Eau Claire at over 25%. UW’s Stephenson, UW-Extension’s Hagedorn comment.

– Cease-and-desist letter issued to Rastafarian church saying practices with marijuana are illegal

– 1 In 5 Wisconsin Teens Report Having Experienced Some Form Of Dating Violence, New National Report Calls Attention To Teen Dating Violence … Dating violence and abuse is a more prevalent issue than many realize, said Cody Warner, LGBTQ and youth program director at End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin.

– WI Receives Grant To Improve Infant And Toddler Care … Wisconsin is one of 11 states awarded $100,000 by the Pritzker Children’s Initiative to “develop an ambitious prenatal-to-age-three policy agenda and action plan,” according to a press release. “I’ve said all along, what’s best for our kids is what’s best for the state,” Gov. Tony Evers said in a statement. “Investments in early childhood education return their value to the kids we serve, the adults working on their behalf and the economy as a whole.”

– Wisconsin Is Losing Workers. Can Immigrants Help? … Over the last decade in Wisconsin, 97 percent of counties lost populations of working-age people between 25 and 54 years old. … And although two counties — Dane and Eau Claire — bucked the trend with up to 10 percent of growth over that same time period, most of the state’s counties share concerns with those in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia and others about how to brace for the consequences of losing prime workers. … [EIG-Moody’s Analytics study proposes] so-called heartland visas as a way to help struggling communities stave off economic downturns. … [EIG’s] Lettieri said that rather than tying an immigrant to a single employer, the [voluntary] Heartland Visa would give them access to a place, whether that’s a county or a few counties where they would be eligible to work and move around. … “Maybe not every community opts in, but the ones that want to, there’s a really strong rationale and there’s a really strong track record of this working in communities around the country,” he said.

– Report: Wisconsin had 4th biggest drop in per-student spending for higher education … Wisconsin’s per-student spending fell from $7,002 to $6,435 in [2013-18] period. The national average in 2018 was about $7,800 per student. … The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association reported earlier this month that just three states — Oklahoma, West Virginia and Mississippi — saw a larger drop … also names Wisconsin as one of just six states in which “total revenues” — meaning state money and tuition dollars — had returned to pre-recession 2008 levels. … “This is definitely a near-historic low,” [study author] Laderman said … didn’t include local money, such as property taxes. … Evers proposed about $150 million more for UW campuses in his 2019-21 budget proposal, about $43 million more than the UW System requested last August. … But Republicans who control the Legislature are writing their own budget instead of using Evers’ proposal as a template. Assembly Colleges chair Murphy expects funding in line with UW request, too soon to abandon the performance-based funding before measuring its efficacy. Senate Universities chair Kooyenga declined interview. UW-Madison’s McGlone, UW Systems’ Pitsch, WCAPE’s Radomski comment.

– Tammy Baldwin helps reduce student debt relief scams: co-sponsored Stop Student Debt Relief Scams Act with fellow Sens. Braun, Shaheen and Fischer. Baldwin said in the release. “I’m leading this bipartisan reform because it is just common sense to stop these student loan debt relief scams that harm American students and prevent them from getting ahead.” UW-O’s Kennedy comments on scams.

– St. Josaphat school employee fired after [April 5] gun incident … A 10-year-old student was grazed by a bullet during the incident, according to police. … Rev. Lawrence Zurek said he first learned of the April 5 incident on April 12, immediately fired the longtime employee and contacted Milwaukee police. … police spokeswoman said officers were called to the school when the employee was terminated but were not notified that a student was injured in the incident until April 17

– Durham files layoff notice for 211; most expected to be rehired … [Board non-renewed Durham as school bus provider] … However, Mark Duff, Unified’s chief financial officer, has said First Student intends to hire as many of the Durham employees who currently drive for the district as possible. First Student did not respond

– Protesters seek leadership change … ahead of a special board of education meeting. A group of around 10 residents associated with the Coalition of Concerned Black Citizens in Beloit met at 5 p.m., with a group of around 15 Beloit Memorial High School students protesting at 6 p.m. … object to a lack of transparency in the district; to the board’s handling of the demotion of former assistant superintendent Darrell Williams; to the abrupt resignation of former superintendent Don Childs; and to the response to an ongoing sexual assault investigation tied to a BMHS band trip to Orlando, Florida. Two girls claimed a freshman boy assaulted them while on the trip earlier this month. … was suspended for three days

– Local school [St. Bernard’s] recognized in challenge

– UWSP waives application essays, fees for high school seniors

ENERGY ^top^
– Ashley Furniture to invest $29M in solar energy; Arcadia [17.5 megawatt] project to be largest rooftop system in state … with electricity demands equivalent to more than 10,000 Wisconsin homes, expects to trim its electric bills by $5 million in the first year alone. … goal is to offset 35 percent of its electricity needs

– DNR secretary: Climate change an environmental justice issue … The four-day National Adaptation Forum, which began Tuesday at Monona Terrace, gathers members of the climate change adaptation community to share expertise and guidance on how to anticipate and prepare for the potential impacts of climate change. Sec. Cole spoke Tuesday: “We can begin to have that conversation once again about climate change being the real deal. … Climate change is also an environmental justice issue. Everyone is affected by climate change at some point in their lives, but communities of color, low-income communities are often the hardest hit.” Exec. Parisi touted solar farm, landfill CNG, crop incentives to reduce runoff, “It’s on us in local government to protect our communities, to mitigate where possible and to work at full speeds to reduce our community’s carbon emissions before it’s too late.” Mayor Rhodes-Conway: “Adaptation is critical to the city of Madison. … Tackling the issue of climate change is a top priority of my administration,” agreed with Cole that communities of color and low-income communities are “hit first and worst” by climate change.

– Smith: Sturgeon spawning on the Milwaukee River could be just years away … [DNR] began a sturgeon stocking program in the Milwaukee River in 2003. And since 2006, Riveredge Nature Center has hosted a “sturgeon wagon” hatchery and, with approval from the DNR, raised and stocked about 1,000 to 1,500 young sturgeon into the river each year. … Fisheries crews with the DNR have found adult sturgeon in the river on several occasions in the last five years. Anglers have caught 40-plus-inch sturgeon in the Milwaukee harbor, too.

– Evers says he doesn’t know what Foxconn wants … Evers told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday that “there have been no decisions made on exactly what’s going to be changed.”

– Should State Expand Medicaid With Federal Funds? No, say two researchers. But their data is highly suspect. … Will Flanders of WILL and Noah Williams of Crowe. … argue that Medicaid expansion would cost Wisconsin taxpayers $600 million per year, despite the higher federal subsidy. … because [Medicaid] payments to providers are lower than private insurance, providers in expansion states raised their rates on private insurance to make up for the loss on Medicaid. Thus, expanding Medicaid in Wisconsin would lead to higher costs. … [MJS’] Boulton’s article [quoting Loyola prof. Classen dubbing it “garbage work”] elicited an angry response from Flanders, the analysis’ co-author. Who is right? [Kaiser graph shows roughly parallel rise in per capita private health spending in expansion and non-expansion states between 2001-14, with spending slightly higher in expansion states] … a more plausible cause for the cost difference. Even today, most of the non-expansion states are in the South, where costs including wages and housing tend to be lower than in the Northeast or Pacific coast states. The South also suffers higher rates of poverty than the rest of the nation, which may add pressure to hold down the prices of procedures. … next chart compares the percentage change in private health care coverage per capita for the two groups of state … show the opposite of the Flanders/Williams claim. … Though the two researchers did not respond to my request to share their data or supply links to them, I think I can explain … even if the decision to expand Medicaid had no effect on cost–or if it in fact reduced cost, which the data point to–it should not be surprising if the regression model solution, in minimizing the difference between actual and predicted costs assigns higher cost to expanding Medicaid. … their conclusions look like advocacy research meant to make Republican opponents of the ACA happy.

– Jefferson County expands mental health support line … new “Peer Support Line” is co-sponsored by NAMI Waukesha and Jefferson County.

– Nehls defends his record as sheriff … “We had a very formalized operation where we conducted investigations in both covert and overt manners where the strips clubs in Dodge County were concerned,” he said. “We had a very active system with male and female detectives involved during these investigations to make sure nothing illegal was going on. The strip clubs were well aware of us too.” … doesn’t understand why current Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt does not remember the surveillance or the investigations.

– Manitowoc’s Burger Boat Company helps overhaul popular Lake Express car ferry

– Diocese of Madison announces new bishop … Bishop Donald Hying will be celebrating noon mass on Thursday at Holy Name Heights today, according to a tweet by the diocese. Hying, born in West Allis, currently serves as the Bishop of Gary, Indiana.

– Fulfilling the Great Commission: Revival missionaries coming to–and from–Janesville … From May 3 to 8, the Great Commission will be in full force as members from seven Janesville churches go out and follow Jesus’ mandate to “Go and make disciples of all nations.” It’s called reviveWISCONSIN::Janesville, and is the fourth such event in the state.–and/article_a77bb3c5-9c29-5be2-b8b0-6c69659a481a.html

– National Guard Bureau confirms it will investigate WI Army National Guard units

– Wisconsin governor stands by Guard commander … Evers tells The Associated Press that he’s not questioning Adj. Gen. Donald Dunbar’s leadership. He says the review is about ensuring Guard members feel safe and not about individual personnel.

– Federal officials to review Wisconsin National Guard’s handling of sexual assault and harassment allegations

– Minnesota Senate GOP unveils tax bill with income tax cut … contrasts with proposals from Gov. Tim Walz and the House Democratic majority that would raise gasoline and other taxes and preserve an expiring tax on health care providers.

– Bice: Ex-Gov. Scott Walker’s aides and allies form new group that just appointed him to honorary post … recently named the national honorary chairman of the Institute for Reforming Government, a policy shop said to be interested in trying to “simplify government at every level.” … founded and is operated by a collection of old Walker and GOP hands. … Kate Lind, Walker’s former campaign treasurer, is the registered agent who filed the paperwork creating the institute … a client of Platform Communications … founded and headed by Keith Gilkes … Brian Reisinger … vice president at Platform. … lists Platform’s Madison address as its headquarters. The board has more Walker allies [Gralton, Villa, Bill Johnson, McCallum]. … Rob McDonald, chairman of the institute, said his nonprofit is hiding nothing. … The institute has yet to file federal tax forms listing its donors and documenting its spending. Those should be filed soon. Rehash Walker’s other gigs, being disinvited from 5th CD shindig, weighing run for Johnson’s Senate seat. DPW’s Beyer: “”That Walker had to resort to a ‘leadership’ role in a hollow group fabricated by his friends shows just how desperate he is to retain relevance after Wisconsin voters made their thoughts on him clear last November.”

– Walker among those bringing ‘Solutions’ to Spokane May 14 … Washington Policy Center’s annual Solutions Summit Policy Conference … will feature more than a dozen policy sessions and a keynote lunch address from former Wisconsin governor and presidential candidate Scott Walker. [see Columns]

– Chemical Safety Board Calls On EPA To Update Hydrofluoric Acid Study In Wake Of Husky Fires, Board Says EPA Should Examine Regulations, Safer Alternatives

– Kenosha IT firm [OFFSITE] plans expansion in Prairie Highlands Corporate Park

– WI Lawmaker: State’s share of lottery money should go to roads … Senator Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) said the Wisconsin man claiming the $768.4 million Powerball prize Tuesday means the state collects $36.5 million in income taxes. … using this money for local road improvements would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “It’s one of the top issues I hear from constituents the most the shabby condition of many of our local roads,” Carpenter said. Bill draft soon.

– Roundabout construction to start June 10, $2.5 million project will run into October

– High hopes, Opponents of ATC’s huge power towers are optimistic that this time will be different. … Despite their differences, last month Marklein and Erpenbach put their signatures on the same letter, joining forces with three Assembly representatives — Democrat Sondy Pope, author of the letter, and Republicans Travis Tranel and Todd Novak — to weigh in on the Cardinal-Hickory Creek power line. … Since its formation in 2001, ATC has built several of these huge 345-kilovolt lines in Wisconsin. In their letter, the legislators urged the Public Service Commission to provide what opponents of the lines have been seeking for years: some indication of “whether or not Wisconsin ratepayers are getting the returns estimated during the planning stages” of these projects. ATC always promises vague “economic benefits” but has never shown the dollars-and-cents effect on a typical customer’s electric bill.

– Paul Fanlund: A smaller, safer Dane County Jail is within reach

РAndré Jacque: Damage from Reinstating Prevailing Wage Law Would be No Joke

– Samira Sadeque: Walker wore jeans for sexual assault awareness, and Twitter is reminding him of his misogynist past … Walker shared a photo of himself celebrating the day on Wednesday morning: “In support of sexual assault victims, I’m wearing jeans on #DenimDay #DenimDay2019” … But then Twitter did what it does best–put him in place. … Some also pointed out his hypocrisy for his support of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh … Then in the wake of allegations of sexual assault by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, he said the Senate needed to “treat it seriously,” but didn’t come out against Kavanaugh. … cynicism about his bare-minimum gesture isn’t unfounded. As various reports show, Walker’s policies shut down reproductive health clinics in his state … It’s shocking to see Walker celebrating a day dedicated to women and victims of sexual violence, given his years of relentlessly working to make it difficult for women to access basic rights.

– Madeleine Aggeler: Walker’s One Concession to Women: Jeans

– ex-chief deputy SG Ryan J. Walsh: Attorney General Josh Kaul plays politics with ‘right-to-work’ law … eleventh-hour desertion of Wisconsin’s “right-to-work” law contradicts Kaul’s campaign pledge. … to stand up for state laws as a neutral agent. … He owes the people — his client — an explanation.

– Dave Cieslewicz: Robin Vos: man of principle … Seven out of 10 silly Wisconsinites may think they understand that getting $324 million over two years to insure more people is a good thing. Thankfully, they have Robin Vos, courageous man of principle, to look out for them.

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