THU News Summary: Evers calls for renegotiating Foxconn contract

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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. By White, WPR

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.” By Vetterkind, WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL

‘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.” By Glauber, MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL


– John Nichols: Congress Must Stop the Killing and Override Trump’s Yemen Veto, This must be a turning point in the long struggle to restore checks and balances on matters of war and peace.

– Governor taps Superior for priorities: Evers, Barnes, Cabinet listened MONday

– The ear of the governor: More than 100 people flock to CVTC [on Tues] for a Tony Evers’ listening session

– Supporters of adult workers with disabilities advocate for existing wage system … Portage A-Team chapter visited Madison on Tuesday to meet with state lawmakers on National Day for Choice. The event aims to raise awareness about adult workers who have a disability.

– Post office on Milwaukee’s Martin Luther King Dr. named to honor civil rights pioneer Vel Phillips: Moore bill signed last year

– China bombers simulated attack on Taiwan: Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, China sent 24 planes and 5 ships close to Taiwan during celebrations of the Taiwan Relations Act

– Beijing responds to Paul Ryan’s visit to Taiwan … Choosing this most recent delegation was no easy task, but one hopes that in future, Washington can forgo creating headlines and drawing Beijing’s ire by sending fewer high-profile names to Taiwan and instead focus on arranging more lower-profile visits by the heads and their deputies of those executive departments where more cooperation is needed.

– Saratoga still poised to fight Golden Sands Dairy despite lack of progress on mega-dairy

– U.S. Bancorp could close up to 450 branches in the coming years: as internet banking grows

– Census: Dane County leads state in population growth [5,584]; more than double any other county in Wisconsin … [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.

– Columbine 20 years later: Wisconsin has had five school shootings since massacre

– District will not renew charter contract for NCES

– Youth Apprenticeship Interview Day plants the seeds for a possible partnership

– Stephenson unsure how to make up lost school days

– Latest turmoil for tiny Northwoods district [Mercer]: Felony charges filed against 5 current and former school board members … after two of its girls volleyball coaches — one is among those charged — allowed some players to watch the sexploitation flick “50 Shades of Grey” en route to a tournament. … Mercer challenged DPI’s findings, and [MSD Admin.] Torkelson said Tuesday that the two sides are in mediation.

– Failed Politician Paul Ryan Accepts Job Teaching College Students About Politics

– 2020 Dem contender Booker schedules Tuesday appearance in Milwaukee … at Coffee Makes You Black, 2803 N. Teutonia Ave. Doors open at noon and those interested in attending can register at the campaign website.

– 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.”

– WI Republicans mock Dems for holding 2020 convention here, saying ‘they want to get rid of our cows’: US Reps. Duffy and Steil on Duffy’s “Plaidcast” podcast. [see Pierce column]

– 5th District Democrats will hold convention: May 11 in Oconomowoc

ENERGY ^top^
– Conservation Congress Survey Participants Support Pilot Program To Prevent Spread Of CWD

– Outdoor enthusiasts support CWD bounties program

– 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 says 13,000 Foxconn jobs is ‘unrealistic’ … Like Wanggaard, Kerkman said the agreement already protects taxpayers. “The simple truth is that the Foxconn contract is structured as a ‘pay-as-you-grow’ plan,” Kerkman said. “No state incentive money goes out the door until the jobs are created or shovels are in the ground.” … “He has a direct line to Foxconn and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation,” [Sen.] Wirch said. “With that, he will negotiate a deal that is best for the environment and the taxpayers of Wisconsin.”

– 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.”

– Mt. Pleasant residents give mixed reviews on Evers’ call to renegotiate Foxconn deal: Dina Kaye of Milwaukee: “I knew from the beginning that what they were saying they were originally going to do wasn’t ever going to happen. It sounded too good to be true.” Mt. Pleasant resident Rick Goebel: [E]ven though they’ve switched to a Gen. 6 plant, they’re still saying 13,000.” Rep. Neylon: “My first reaction was here we go again,” said contract was written to accommodate change, “We didn’t pay them that money up front and say, ‘Hey I hope you can create these jobs’; we put a deal in place that says for every job you create you get a certain amount of incentives so if they scale back the project, we scale back the tax credit.” Foxconn itself has yet to comment on Evers’ call for renegotiations.

– [SEWRPC study:] Foxconn stormwater plan deemed sufficient: Co. Execs. Kreuser, Delagrave comment.

– Residents continue to voice concerns over Highway KR expansion project

– 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. [see Thompson column]

– Wisconsin 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.

– Vos unmoved by poll showing support for Medicaid expansion: ‘Sometimes you have to lead by what you believe in’ … In a Wednesday interview … likened the situation to the 2011 debate over the Act 10 legislation [which polled poorly at the time]

– Nurses roll out Congressional blitz to win Medicare For All: Moore and Kind among focus of NNU lobby for HR 1384

– High-Deductible Health Policies Linked To Delayed Diagnosis And Treatment

– Anti-Smoking Advocates Hope IL Law Will Lead To Changes In WI, IL’ ‘Tobacco 21’ Law Takes Effect July 1

IOWA ^top^
– Race for young supporters is on ahead of 2020 presidential caucuses, Student-related issues are becoming a focus for the 2020 Democratic presidential-nomination candidates.

– 2020 candidate Tulsi Gabbard decries corruption, talks foreign policy in Iowa City, Focusing on corruption in politics, as well as U.S. foreign policy, 2020 candidate Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard spoke at Yotopia on April 16.

– Attorney General Kaul: No New Lincoln Hills Investigation … Wednesday during an appearance at the Milwaukee Press Club. Kaul said federal authorities conducted a “full and thorough investigation into the facts.” … [DOJ] will not investigate the Lincoln Hills prison further. … Evers said he would defer to Kaul on whether to launch another investigation. … latest report from a court-ordered monitor at the prison found that juveniles were still being strip searched and guards continued to use pepper spray. Extant court order[ed] great reduction in use of such tactics.

– Inmates still being strip searched, pepper sprayed and at risk of suicide at Lincoln Hills youth prison

– Meeting set to discuss placement of sex offenders near Footville

– Dodge County board discusses drug task force … whether to abolish a detective position and fill the vacancy with a sergeant … [SUpv.] Sheahan-Malloy … urged county board members to postpone their vote until the firm concludes its report [on staffing and operational analysis], which is most likely near July’s end.

– Cops Draw Blood to Catch [pot-]Impaired Drivers … Drugged driving is a growing concern as more states legalize marijuana and the opioid epidemic rages on. To fight it, more communities are training police officers to draw drivers’ blood at police stations or in vans, as in Arizona. And on-call judges are approving warrants electronically, often in a matter of minutes at any time of day or night.

MEDIA ^top^
– Sauk County Board adjourns before considering lawsuit settlement … [BNR sued over] the case of a town of Bear Creek man found dead on property the county deemed a public health hazard and controversies over the hiring and firing of administrative officials. Board required to pay atty. fees and turn over documents.

– [Twin Metals] Mining proposal continues to divide Ely

– Mining for young employees, Keynote SME conference speaker: Industry needs to show mining as an appealing career

– Ashland’s sewage system gets failing grade … has discharged untreated wastewater at least 19 times into Chequamegon Bay in recent years, a total of more than 75 million gallons in violation of state law. Yet … just three [DNR] notices of non-compliance … topic of a Monday forum at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center, at which the DNR, representatives of the city and other stakeholders gathered to explain the scope of the problem — and how expensive it will be to correct.

– Husky Holds Town Hall With Community Members [mixed feelings] On Plans To Rebuild Superior Refinery

– State delivers $23.4 million in tax credits for Madison affordable housing projects … [WHEDA] has awarded $23.4 million in federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits to separate projects by Gorman and Co. and Stone House Development that will cost a total $35.4 million and deliver a combined 155 apartments with 131 of the units for those making no more than 60% of Dane County median income, or $49,560 for a family of three.

– [Denver’s] ‘Innovative’ Housing Program Serves Just 3 Households: 2017’s Lower Income Voucher Equity program — “LIVE Denver”

TAXES ^top^
– Plover fends off Lowe’s dark store lawsuit as other property tax challenges linger … Judge Thomas Flugaur rejected home improvement retailer Lowe’s argument … dismissed their claims April 4. … an argument Lowe’s and other retailers across the state are making in court to lower the taxes they pay on their physical locations, sometimes called the dark store theory or loophole. … Oshkosh settled similar claims by Lowe’s concerning its property tax assessment from 2016 to 2018, issuing a $129,000 payout

– Greater Madison Chamber unveils $500,000 virtual reality campaign to attract employees … Oculus Go virtual-reality headsets, loaded with a display of iconic Madison scenes, will be available to send to promising job candidates. [GMCoC prez] Brandon showed off the gizmos at the chamber’s Icebreaker luncheon Wednesday

– WisDOT provides I-39/90 construction update

– In transportation-funding debate, Robin Vos says path forward hinges on GOP Senate … Evers told the State Journal last week that a plan to “fix the damn roads” is among his bottom-line requirements for a budget compromise with GOP lawmakers. … Vos said there’s “no option we shouldn’t consider … But having been through this just a year-and-a-half ago, I also know that it takes three to tango, not two. … going to have to have conversations first with my Senate colleagues to see how open they are to having a long-term fix for this problem, because I’m not going to be able to do it just with Gov. Evers, even if I wanted to.” Fitzgerald did not respond. JFC co-chair Darling seeks “solutions that don’t increase the burdens on our taxpayers.”

– Major expansion of ATV highway access approved in Sauk County

– Xcel among the 60 giant companies that paid no federal taxes this year

– CT Editorial: Paul Soglin made the Madison we know and love

– Rep. Gordon Hintz: 10 reasons to expand Medicaid in Wisconsin

– Dave Zweifel: Evers misses the mark with proposed repeal of minimum markup on gas

– US Rep. Gwen Moore: On unwrapping Trump’s tax gift to the wealthy

– Charles Pierce: WI GOP Are Yucking It Up About AOC’s Green New Deal While Trade Wars Crush Dairy Farmers

– ex-HHS Sec. Tommy Thompson: Streamlining drug approvals can lower treatment costs

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