THU News Summary: Evers signs bill naming I-41 interchange after Ellis; JFC to kill guv’s Medicaid expansion plan, pot proposal

Exclusively for WisPolitics Subscribers

Access the mobile version of the News Summary:


White house

State government

Local government


Banking and investment

Civil liberties







Health care


Law and order




Public health and safety







Governor signs bill naming I-41 interchange for the late state Sen. Mike Ellis
… Evers signed legislation Wednesday [at Neenah City Hall] … Evers said Ellis was “the lion of the Legislature. He was tenacious and vociferous, not just in advocating for his constituents, but also for doing what’s best for the people of Wisconsin,” Evers said. “I think that’s among the many reasons why Mike was so respected by Republicans and Democrats alike.” … Senate and Assembly passed the bill on a voice vote April 9. [sponsor Sen.] Roth said Ellis was a close friend and trusted mentor. … [sponsor Sen.] Cowles said designating the interchange for Ellis was “a common-sense way to commemorate a truly great legislator, community member and friend who committed decades of his life towards making the Fox Valley and the entire state a better place to live, work and visit.” By Behnke, APPLETON POST CRESCENT

GOP Lawmakers Plan To Kill Medicaid Expansion, Pot Legalization
… [JFC] co-chairs said in a memo on Wednesday they will remove more than 70 policy items from the budget in their first vote on May 9 [including Medicaid expansion, medical pot, voucher cap, min markup repeal, in-state tuition and DLs for illegal immigrants – most all opposed by GOP] … Evers can re-introduce the proposals as separate bills outside the budget. By AP, WPR

Immigrants, backers rally for driver’s licenses in WI
… Many at the rally carried signs that read “Driver’s Licenses for All” and called on Republican legislative leaders to reach a compromise with Evers and pass his proposal … If approved, Wisconsin would join 12 other states that currently provide driver’s licenses to immigrants living in the country illegally. … [sponsor Voces] said tens of thousands of people were on strike Wednesday, and more than 175 Wisconsin businesses closed … Neumann-Ortiz and others who spoke in support, including the mayor and police chief of Madison, said it was an economic and social justice issue, and about keeping roads safe. … “We now have to organize statewide, wider and deeper than ever before,” she said. … [Evers] thinks it will be one of the first items removed by Republicans. … Evers ran in support of making the driver’s licenses available as well as allowing immigrants living in the U.S. illegally to pay in-state tuition. … a version of which [GOP] stripped from state law in 2011. By Bauer of AP, WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL

Foxconn’s Terry Gou assures Trump that Wisconsin plant is on track
At rare White House meeting, tech tycoon says facility will open in May 2020 … also saying that he will not be a “trouble maker” if elected as Taiwan’s president. … “It is not right to say our investment in Wisconsin has changed,” Gou said in a video broadcast by Taiwan media. “We suspended the work around October, November last year because the weather there was snowy and icy cold. We will continue our work in May when the weather gets warmer,” Gou said to a group of Taiwanese journalists in Washington after his Oval Office meeting with Trump. … “I’ve invited the president to come to Wisconsin when our production line opens in May next year, and he said yes,” Gou said, adding that he will travel to Wisconsin on Thursday. Neither the White House nor Trump have confirmed the Gou meeting yet. … The U.S. president “told me that it is a tough job,” Gou said. “I said if I am elected, I will be a peace maker, not a trouble maker. I will strengthen economic ties with the U.S.,” Gou said, adding that he presented Trump with a baseball cap displaying the flags of both the U.S. and the Republic of China — Taiwan’s formal name — and in return Trump autographed a coaster and gave it to Gou together with his pen. By Li and Teng-Fang, NIKKEI ASIAN REVIEW


– POlitiFact: Trump says Wisconsin poverty rate is lowest in 22 years. It’s not. … Census survey that goes back as far as Trump’s claim shows 2017 was just the fifth-lowest rate for individuals in the last 22 years. And a Wisconsin-specific measure looking more comprehensively at poverty by factoring in government aid shows the most recent year of data — 2016 in that case — is right around the average from the last decade. … False.

– John Nichols: William Barr Is Acting As Trump’s Defense Lawyer, Not Attorney General, The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing confirmed one thing: The United States does not currently, in any practical or realistic sense, have an attorney general.

– GOP signals Medicaid expansion, medical marijuana, minimum wage increase will be thrown out of Evers’ state budget

– GOP to strip pillars of Evers’ budget: Medicaid expansion, tax hikes, pot reforms

– Immigrants, Supporters Rally For Driver’s Licenses, In-State Tuition At Wisconsin Capitol, Thousands Attend Nationwide Day Of Action Rally … Buses brought people from 17 cities across Wisconsin [to lobby for Evers budget provisions] … Madison police say the rally attracted 4,000 people. … filled the sidewalks around one entrance to the building, carrying signs saying “Driver’s Licenses for All” and chanting “S’ se puede.” … “Today we are joined by dairy farmers and dairy workers who work long hours and do work that many people don’t want to do, and they are here to demand dignity and drivers licenses for immigrants,” Neumann Ortiz said. … says tens of thousands of people are on strike Wednesday, forcing more than 175 businesses across the state to close. “Nuestro sacrificios pasados no han sido en vanos, no serán hoy. Our sacrifices in the past have not been in vain, and they will not be in vain today.” … Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway spoke to the crowd in Spanish, saying it was “common sense” to make driver’s licenses available to all. … Madison Police Chief Mike Koval also spoke in favor of driver’s licenses for immigrants in the country without documentation.

– Thousands rally at Wisconsin Capitol calling for drivers licenses for undocumented residents

– “Driver’s licenses for all,” Immigrant workers and families protest at the state Capitol for Mayday action

– Evers and Republicans work together this week

– Roadside assistance, How did Rhodes-Conway strike a deal so quickly on Buckeye Road?

– Waupun Mayor breaks tie to pursue city chicken plan

– It’s a new era for hemp in Wisconsin, and Oneida Nation is seizing the opportunity

– [PCCU pres.] Mindak appointed to the Federal Reserve Advisory Council

– Retail therapy, Rastafarian church dispenses marijuana in defiance of city warnings

COURTS ^top^
– Local case tests question of free speech vs. disorderly conduct … On Tuesday, Aaron M. Oleston asked [Judge Wood] to dismiss disorderly conduct and obstructing charges, saying he had the right to utter profanities and say other ugly things to Janesville police officers. … Oleston’s lawyers, Jim Fitzgerald and Walt Isaacson of the public defender’s office, argued in a brief that Oleston had the right to use that language. … Oleston had been using profane language and hollering at officers and complaining that the squad car didn’t have a front license plate, according to the complaint.

– WI Supreme Court Hands Victory To GOP In Restoring Walker Appointees

– Wisconsin’s Hmong overcame poverty, unemployment and racism to thrive in the state

– Robert Spitzer, former MSOE president, businessman, UN delegate, dies at 96

– Four Finalists Named In Search For New UW-Whitewater Chancellor … follows the resignation of former Chancellor Beverly Kopper in the wake of allegations that her husband sexually harassed multiple students and employees. Finalists include interim UWW chancellor Green, LSU chancellor Huang, SMSU provost Watson, SRU provost Way. Regent Klein led the search, narrowed from 40 applicants, “In a couple of them, I heard something that I just really liked. Which is this idea of harnessing the power of shared governance to really transform the institution rather than just making it a checkpoint.” Rehash Kopper controversy, resignation.

– Edgewood College offered buyouts, cutting about 30 full-time positions

– Pardeeville teacher resigns as state investigates remarks made to students about police violence … [DPI] is investigating what happened Nov. 2 in David’s English classroom, when she reportedly read aloud to her students from the book “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas, a young adult novel about a teenager who’s drawn to activism after witnessing a police shooting. Within the context of the book, the teacher used an analogy concerning police violence against African-Americans … said if she were a police officer, she would shoot misbehaving students. She later didn’t deny making the comment when she met with administrators. … David apologized to her classroom Nov. 7, [Supt.] Knitt said last year. Further discipline for the teacher was never disclosed nor discussed by the Pardeeville School Board in open session.

– Unionization effort at Marquette leaves organizers, administration in a stalemate … started as an International Labor Day rally … Shortly after noon, about 70 [non-tenure-track staffers, grad students, supporters] marched and chanted their way to Zilber Hall … the second such rally by the group in 3 weeks … where acting provost Kimo Ah Yun met them in the lobby. … presented Ah Yun with a letter asking that the university recognize the results of a [SEIU unionizing] vote. … Ah Yun did not sign the paper. “Our commitment is that we will stay in the lanes of federal law,” Ah Yun told the crowd … asked that the group work with the [faculty] task force. … compensation and job security for non-tenure-track faculty and graduate students has mushroomed as an issue on campuses across the country. … He then got in an elevator and returned to the fourth-floor administrative offices. The crowd marched up the stairs, chanting and pounding on the locked fourth-floor door, asking to speak with university President Michael Lovell. Lovell was not in the building, but Ah Yun returned and reiterated his statement. … about 50 remained in the stairwell for about an hour, telling stories of how lacking benefits, pay and job security affected them.

– Foreclosure crisis eroded Milwaukee voter turnout, study says … [profs. Shah and Wichowsky] study not only found a decline in voting at the level of individual homeowners, but also evidence that it occurred in whole neighborhoods that were hard hit by foreclosures … foreclosures depressed voter turnout regardless of race or income level, and it was unrelated to affected homeowners’ likelihood of voting in previous elections. … neighborhood housing blight depressed turnout mostly in middle-class neighborhoods. The authors believe a more refined analysis is needed on how factors related to housing insecurity drive community impacts and contribute to political inequality. … More research is needed to determine the efficacy of grassroots mobilization. … “Rather than being a mobilizing force, the study’s results pointed to this idea that people facing insecurities didn’t have the efficacy to go to the polls,” said Wichowsky.

– Milwaukee plans to extend The Hop streetcar route before 2020 Democratic National Convention … Mayor Tom Barrett on Wednesday unveiled plans to extend The Hop to Wisconsin Avenue by next summer. He also announced engineering plans for two additional legs that would stretch the streetcar route north past Fiserv Forum into Bronzeville and south into Walker’s Point. Would add 2.4 miles to a 2.1 mile circuit. Needs Council approval.

– Mueller Findings Raise Election Hacking Fears in States … even disclosed a previously unknown breach: Russian intelligence agents in November 2016 tried to introduce corrupted files into election offices in several Florida counties. … succeeded in at least one of those counties … raises questions about election systems’ vulnerability to outside hackers — and why the FBI didn’t tell Florida officials about the attempted strike.

– Dave Zweifel: Cooperation with Russia might not be illegal, but it’s un-American

– Foxconn executive, wife pay quarter-million dollars to man in home purchase scam … Alan S. Yeung, Foxconn director of U.S. strategic initiatives, and his wife, Stella F. Chan, thought they had wired $260,146.93 to Landmark Title of Racine Inc., according to an affidavit for a search warrant … The couple had been communicating via email with someone they thought was a representative of the firm when they wired the payment on Feb. 7 … to the account of a “John Tata” that was set up at Chase Bank. … [MPD found] that Tata is actually Charles E. Kuti, who is in custody in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for a similar scam … does not indicate whether the stolen funds were returned to the couple. Foxconn, Yeung unavailable.

– Evers’ budget would increase health care funding in Rock County by $64M

– ‘It can be too much:’ Outagamie County social workers burning out from increase in child welfare cases … In the past year, Outagamie County saw a turnover rate of 16 percent. County employees say strict demands, stress and secondary trauma from being exposed to difficult situations are causing workers to abandon their field. … state requires more and more documentation from the county’s Department of Health and Human Services as employees continue to face higher demands with no increase in funding. … [county mgr.] Blom estimated that mandates added since 2009 have increased the time spent on each case by 50 to 80 hours. [several] workers have sent several letters to Gov. Tony Evers

– Evers backs pro-vaccination bill … The [Hintz] bill introduced Tuesday removes a personal conviction exemption that allows parents to opt their children out of getting the required vaccinations. It comes as the nation grapples with the highest number of measles cases in decades.

– New Naloxone Laws Seek to Prevent Opioid Overdoses … In the last five years, at least 46 states and the District of Columbia enacted so-called good Samaritan laws, allowing private citizens to administer the overdose-reversal medication without legal liability. And all but four states — Connecticut, Idaho, Nebraska and Oregon — have called on pharmacies to provide the easy-to-administer medication to anyone who wants it without a prescription … New naloxone co-prescribing laws in Arizona, California, Florida, Ohio, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington state also call on doctors to discuss the dangers of overdose with these high-risk patients. Tennessee lawmakers this year passed a similar bill … awaiting the governor’s signature.

IOWA ^top^
– Joe Biden condemns Trump tax policy, touts working class in Iowa City stop

– Nearly half of police, firefighters now live outside the city, Milwaukee alderman says: Six years after a state law invalidated Milwaukee’s residency requirement for city employees … Ald. Michael Murphy said as he understood the numbers from the Department of Employee Relations, 42% of Milwaukee police officers don’t live in the city and the number for firefighters is about the same. … you can extrapolate the trend to probably towards 50% by the end of this year in terms of our police force and firefighters,” he said. For other employees, he said, it’s about 15%.

– Racine man charged after smashing windows in dispute over food stamps

– Onalaska commission confirms suspension of fire chief in wake of drunken-driving arrest

– Probable cause found in pastor’s sexual assault case … Tony Scott Lashbrook, 52, of Ashland, is charged with at least three instances of first-degree sexual assault and two charges of child enticement.

– Want a GM brick? Here’s the plan

MEDIA ^top^
– A good American son, The Red Scare destroyed innocent lives. Author David Maraniss uncovers his own family’s story.

– Sauk County settles lawsuit with newspaper over records … and pay $35,000 to reimburse a portion of its legal fees. The county’s insurance provider … will pay another $10,000. … withheld records mainly involve the case of a town of Bear Creek man found dead on property the county deemed a public health hazard, as well as controversies over the hiring and firing of administrative officials.

MINING ^top^
– DNR Won’t Overrule [ALJ DeFort’s] Decision To Invalidate Frac Sand Wetland Permit … “This matter is best resolved by mutual agreement of the parties or, if a mutual agreement is not reached, through judicial review,” [DNR Sec.] Cole said in the statement. Meteor Timber, Midwest Environmental Advocates and Clean Wisconsin have already gone to circuit court in Monroe County over the matter. … DNR officials approved Meteor Timber’s permit application in May 2016, but it was immediately challenged by [MEA, Clean Wisconsin, on behalf of Ho-Chunk members] … open records request showed DNR wetland staff in Madison felt pressured to issue the permits despite internal objections. MEA’s Kamp said “incredibly concerning” wetland filling is stopped for now. Meteor Timber attorney John Behling said in a statement the company was reviewing the DNR’s decision.

– Local residents, businesses react to Mississippi River flooding

RETAIL ^top^
– Shopko, Sun Capital propose $15 million payment to settle claim of improper dividend payments

– State road funding called into question: Born, Fitzgerald held listening session Monday at Clyman Village Hall

– Xcel Energy pollinator initiative: growing flowers on unused land adjacent to power lines

– RJT editorial: Evers should accept Trump’s offer to help on Foxconn

– CT Editorial: The beclowning of Robin Vos and Scott Fitzgerald

– Allison Bell Bern: Powerful elites want cops in schools … begin their media campaign in defense of using sparse school funds to pay for armed police officers in its high schools … no one is made more safe by having an officer in school. Every positive thing that a cop in a school or elsewhere has ever done would have been done at least as well by a person whose job description and training is not to arrest and kill but to help, teach and support.

– Dave Cieslewicz: Keep cops in high schools, The case hasn’t been made to remove them

– ex-Ob/Gyn College pres. Doug Laube: Lawmakers should repeal Wisconsin’s criminal abortion ban

All rights reserved. Reproduction or retransmission of this publication, in whole or in part, without the express permission of is prohibited. Unauthorized reproduction violates United States copyright law (17 USC 101 et seq.), as does retransmission by facsimile or any other electronic means, including electronic mail.