THU News Summary: Evers weighing options on budget; lawmakers seek to delay youth prison closure

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Evers weighing options on budget
… Evers was at the Burlington Public Library on Wednesday reading to children. But while there, he also commented on the budget process and the Foxconn development in Mount Pleasant. … “I have the option to veto the entire budget or just parts of it or none of it — unlikely, but we’ll see,” Evers said. “It’s still too early, but we are prepared for any possibility. We’re not waiting until the end to figure this out. … I’m pleased that the Republicans came up with a larger [roads] number than I anticipated,” Evers said. “[but] The proposals that they put together, and are looking at in the future, are dependent on Wisconsinites paying the whole bill. … Certainly we want [Foxconn] to bring as many jobs as possible; if that happens that’s great,” Evers said. “But transparency is important … at the end of the day they’re going to be making business decisions, and hopefully those business decisions happen in a way that (create) more jobs in the state.” Vos: “The priorities of what Gov. Evers said he wanted, we have checked every box. We’ve done it in a way that’s conservative and not liberal. Because we agree we want good schools and a good healthcare system and good roads — we just don’t think we should have had to have the massive tax increases that Gov. Evers proposed, and our budget proves that that’s true. … We’ve been talking about [road funding] now for six years, so when the Senate and the Assembly sit down and talk, it’s amazing how much we can actually get done. And we’ve done all of that in spite of having virtually no involvement from Gov. Evers.” … said Republicans plan today to unveil a middle-income tax cut, which “will send more money back to hardworking families all across the state.” By Torres, RACINE JOURNAL TIMES

Lawmakers Propose Delaying Youth Prison Closure By 6 Months
Evers Opposes Plan, Says State Needs More Time … Under the bipartisan proposal, the youth prison’s closing date would be pushed back six months, from Jan. 1, 2021, to July 1, 2021. … [sponsor Wanggaard] joked some government projects can move “at the speed of a snail. … We need a sense of urgency that everybody feels so that we get this timeline rolling.” Counties’ Kasdorf testified support, said counties need application time so we don’t “end up with very few counties submitting applications, leaving us, I think, in a crisis.” Evers spokeswoman said Guv is “giving (the bill) careful consideration as it moves through the legislative process and is committed to working with the legislature on reforming our youth justice system.” By White, WPR

Evers re-forms Wisconsin pardons board Walker dropped
… “I believe in forgiveness and the power of redemption,” Evers said in a statement announcing his signing of an executive order creating the board. “People who have taken responsibility for their mistakes and who have worked to improve their lives and communities deserve a second chance.” … Evers’ attorney, Ryan Nilsestuen, will chair the board. Other appointees are Nate Holton, director of diversity and inclusion for the Milwaukee County Transit System; Cindy O’Donnell, a former deputy director of the state Department of Corrections under both Republican and Democratic governors; Nadya Perez-Reyes, legislative adviser for the Department of Children and Families; and Myrna Warrington, director of vocational rehabilitation on the Menominee Indian reservation. … Bembenek’s attorney, Mary Woehrer, said she would resubmit the pardon request as soon as possible. By AP, WTOP

GOP lawmakers hope to provide funding for Lincoln Hills replacements in September
… [after JFC] shifted funds to give $40 million more to counties to build regional youth prisons. … by taking way the $25 million originally allocated for new state-run, or “type 1” youth prisons and $15 million for an expansion of the Mendota Juvenile … “The type 1’s will be funded, it’s just going to be done at a later time,” said Rep. Michael Schraa … didn’t specify how much funding they’d provide. [Co-sponsor Wanggaard suggested JFC didn’t fund Type 1’s over cost and location concerns. Goyke, Dems say withholding funds could delay closing Lincoln Hills.] … $40 million increase to counties was meant to address their concerns that the original $40 million set aside for them wasn’t enough. Schraa sponsoring bipartisan bill delaying closing for 6 months to let counties finish their facilities. By Vetterkind, WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL [see Law And Order]

Lawmakers didn’t consult Madison police before introducing Capitol security study
… [JFC] adopted the measure Tuesday night along party lines … But Democrats knocked Republicans for not first cluing in the Madison Police Department and not specifically calling on the state Department of Administration to examine whether the Capitol’s policy allowing some firearms is appropriate. MPD’s DeSpain, JFC Dem Taylor said they knew nothing in advance. DeSpain said MPD still analyzing, Central District command likely would consult with DOA. Taylor: “I don’t have any specific objection to studying security and safety at the Capitol; however, you have to consider when you do a safety study the presence of guns in the Capitol,” acknowledged no major gun problems in years. Fitzgerald unaware of a Capitol security analysis conducted “to reflect the world we live in today. … How can you oppose looking at ways to improve safety in one of the most visited public buildings in the state?” Evers spokeswoman declined comment. JFC GOP Olsen said mass shootings and bombs are primary concern, but concealed carry could be included, “If they think that’s their biggest problem … then we really don’t have a problem,” doubts banning firearms in the Capitol would alleviate mass shooting risk because most aren’t committed by concealed carryists [though Violence Policy Center found 34 mass shootings since 2007 involving concealed carryists, none in WI]. JFC Dem Erpenbach slammed GOP for not funding MPD effort. Though co-chair Nygren said security is their job, Erpenbach noted GOP considers Capitol outside MPD jurisdiction. Olsen said study does not require MPD participation, just DOA consult with them, though MPD would likely be involved in any major event. By Vetterkind, WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL [see Editorials]

Sexual assault evidence kit bills aims to prevent another WI backlog, Kaul says …
According to the proposed bills [AB 214, SB 200] no statutory framework for the collection and processing of sexual assault evidence kits currently exists under Wisconsin law. With no uniform procedure to follow, 6,000 kits sat unanalyzed for years. “This legislation is designed to ensure survivors get justice in their cases and that those cases are given the priority they deserve,” Kaul said as he gave a status update on the legislation in Green Bay. … “Governor Evers said that he will sign this legislation if it passes the Legislature, so the one critical step that remains is for hearings to be held and legislature to move forward,” Kaul said. … [Sen. Jacque] said his own proposal has a higher likelihood to end the backlog … “I certainly hope that he takes my proposal as a friendly amendment,” Jacque said. “I think my proposal could move very well in concert with his.” By Edquist, GREEN BAY PRESS GAZETTE


– Scott Walker: Dems’ ‘Ridiculous’ Investigations Bringing Swing Voters to Trump … Speaking on this reporter’s weekend talk radio program, Walker, formerly a presidential candidate, said that the Democrats’ probes and impeachment talk will likely backfire.

– Pew drops plans for WI study after Vos breaks with other GOP over it … In a twist, top Republicans in the Senate sided with Democratic Gov. Tony Evers over the GOP speaker in trying to get the Pew Charitable Trusts to review the program that oversees more than 65,000 people on probation, parole and extended supervision. … could save millions of dollars and make the state safer by overhauling that system. … Vos, of Rochester, refused to sign onto the request for help from Pew because he believed the [oversight] task force [to be half Dem, half GOP] … tipped in Democrats’ favor … Evers agreed to work with Vos on the makeup of the task force, but Vos wouldn’t sign onto a letter to Pew requesting the study … [Evers, Fitzgerald, Roth] sent the letter in May. … [Evers’ COS] Gau asked [Vos COS] Toftness to sign off on the arrangement, but Toftness didn’t respond … Pew informed the state Tuesday that it would not conduct the study … “We made multiple attempts to work with (Republicans) on this and compromised on several aspects in an effort to get their support,” Baldauff said by email. Emails confirm Gau outreach, reveal latest in tensions. On Tuesday, Vos criticized Evers for his plans to read to children in Vos’ district on Wednesday instead of meeting with Vos and Fitzgerald at the Capitol. But emails from Evers’ office show Evers aides tried to set up a meeting with the governor, Vos and Fitzgerald on Wednesday and the GOP leaders said they were unavailable.

– Supporters tout bill delaying closure of Wisconsin youth prisons, say it would avert potential ‘crisis’

– Bice: Supervisor Deanna Alexander to earn $6,000 per month as interim chief for tiny village … Alexander, leading conservative on the Milwaukee County Board … was forced out of her $86,000-a-year job as a section chief with the Department of Children and Families in June 2018. … has been named the interim administrator and clerk at a salary of $6,000 per month for the tiny and troubled Village of Newburg in Ozaukee and Washington counties. Expected to serve Newton for a minimum of three months, will remain on Board at $24K/yr.

– City considers charging people to fight property citations

– Rhinelander walking quorum complaint heads back to district attorney, Verified complaint seeks another look; makes court action possible

– Sen. Ron Johnson introduces bill to allow schools to serve whole milk to students … [Johnson-Toomey] Milk in Lunches for Kids Act … would allow schools to serve all forms of milk, including flavored and unflavored whole milk and 2 percent milk.

– Toomey wants to “Make School Lunches Great Again” with new bill

– Sloppy spring could hurt harvest, force farmers to take insurance payments

– Hemp processing facility to open in Sheboygan Falls

– Rep. Kurtz has high hopes for hemp at Wonewoc farm

COURTS ^top^
– $5 million lawsuit filed against Dodge County, US agencies … Selepri Amachree [Liberian born, in US since age 3] said he was illegally held in jail following his arrest by Immigration agents on Feb. 27, 2017. He was released on Sept. 8, 2017. … alleges Dodge Sheriff Schmidt worked with Immigration agents to detain Amachree

– Dodge, Columbia counties pool drug court resources, improve accessibility

– “Hardly Working” (with Senator Tammy Baldwin) … Baldwin joins Erin Ryan to talk about LGBTQ visibility and rights and how a good night’s sleep and a homemade teleprompter helps get things done. Then, Grace Parra and Michaela Watkins join me in-studio to talk productivity. Spoiler: sometimes making a to-do list is a great way to stress yourself out. And, as always, our hills. 75:37 audio

– Thousands expected for Rainbow Gathering in Wisconsin, An estimated 3,000-5,000 people expected to attend this year’s gathering in Wisconsin’s Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.

– Man on a mission, Masood Akhtar is fighting hate, one person at a time … “Mosques have become a soft target for hate crimes,” says Masood Akhtar, a Madison Muslim and devoted anti-hate activist. “We never had to deal with this situation in the past. Even our families are having to decide which one of them will go to prayer.”

– With New [$21M] Senior Center, Wausau YMCA Seeks To Expand Definition Of Health, As Wisconsin’s Baby Boomers Age, Some Put New Emphasis On Creating Social Connections

– Northern WI job center helped thousands. Now, Trump administration has it on the chopping block

– Locals leap for jobs on Geneva Lake’s US Mailboat

– JFC approves $10.57M for Parkside renovations

– Marquette University No Longer Requiring ACT, SAT Scores For Admission, University Joins Growing Number Of Schools To Become Test-Optional … About 1,300 universities across the country have become test-optional. Marquette is the 11th school ranked on U.S. News and World Reports 100 Best Colleges to do this and the ninth Jesuit University … In Wisconsin, Beloit College, Carthage College, College of Menominee Nation, Lawrence University, Marian University, Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, Northland College and Ripon College are test-optional schools.

– UW-Madison study recommends closer look at ‘long-term English learner’ label

– Record snow days extend Eau Claire schools’ academic year

– Republican Grifters, Many fake right wing groups rip off donors. Why are conservatives more vulnerable? … [National Review’s] Geraghty details example after example of political organizations raising millions of dollars by purporting to support conservative candidates only to give a smidgen to the candidates whose election they promised to support. Here are a few examples of so-called “ScamPACs”:

– Kaul sides with Scott Walker on southeastern Wisconsin smog designation … Both say that eastern Wisconsin’s ozone problems are mostly caused by emissions from Illinois and northern Indiana.

– JFC Approves Evers’ Plan To Extend DNR [Stewardship] Program

– Conservancy group, Uline give McGraw nature preserve a facelift … property was purchased from the Spitzer Family in 2007 by the [Seno Kenosha/Racine Land Trust] through a combination of private donations, the Wisconsin Knowles Nelson Stewardship funds and the North American Wetland Conservation Act.

– Working-class heroes … nine-person AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) crew assigned to a two-week project in Bill’s Woods, a 15-acre area located near Picnic Point in the Lakeshore Nature Preserve.

– Bruce Murphy: The Incredible Shrinking Foxconn Plant, New specs show its vastly smaller than the original plan. And not the LCD plant promised.

– Health Care Scorecard Ranks Wisconsin 12th In US, Study Ranks Wisconsin Highest On Access, But State Continues To See Disparities … Commonwealth Fund, ranks Wisconsin’s system … best in the Great Lakes … Wisconsin’s best rankings came in access and affordability, and prevention and treatment. … uninsured rate fell for both adults and children between 2013 and 2017. Its lowest rating came in health care disparities, where it ranked 27th. Commonwealth Fund’s Collins said WI has a lower uninsured rate than other states that opted out of ACA Medicaid expansion, but “you maybe see disparities like that becoming increasingly entrenched.” Study found the percentage of low-income residents who smoke fell between 2013 and 2017, while the obesity rate went up, as did adults who went without health care because of cost, Collins said, “These costs eventually trickle down to employees who bear the burden of higher premiums and also higher deductibles.”

IOWA ^top^
– Biden highlights progressive issues in Clinton campaign stop … spoke at Clinton Community College in an overlapping Iowa visit with President Trump.

– Plan for state prison for youth offenders draws fire from Hortonia residents … Town officials called their state representatives and Gov. Tony Evers’ office seeking an explanation as to why the state had decided their town was the best choice for the youth prison. All they were told was that state officials had held a hearing on the proposed location and the information was publicly available online. “When we inquired on how they came about it, we said we didn’t know about the hearing and they said we were supposed to look it up online,” [Town chair] Luedtke said. “I’m not in the business to look up online what the state is doing everyday. … We just don’t have the facilities here to have that place located here,” Luedtke said. “It’s very disturbing that they don’t see it that way … we only have roughly 1,300 residents here in our little town. People are concerned about their safety.” … “They don’t care about us whatsoever,” said Dennis Clegg, an Outagamie County Board member. … The Hortonia location was selected by the Juvenile Corrections Study Committee mainly because of its proximity to families with youth inmates. … [DOC’s] Vidal [said] members of the committee did not go on site visits as part of their recommendation process. … “I’m going to do what I can to support my constituents and block this site,” Cowles said. “I don’t know for sure if I’ll succeed, but there’s a number of legislators that feel the same way.” … said the decision “is in limbo” until the Joint Finance Committee approves funding for the facility at the site following other budget priorities that have to be resolved first. … New London Mayor Gary Henke said the New London city council supports the Hortonia prison because of potential economic development and the 70 jobs that are expected to be created when it opens. … Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson sympathizes with those who do not want the prison in Hortonia, but he also believes closing Lincoln Hills needs to be a priority. Some residents comment.

– Pardon me, Tony, Requests keep flowing in, but there is still no advisory board

– Unstable Security: Modified Lockdown and the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility

– ATF agents searching for thousands of guns stolen from their facility before they could be destroyed … A longtime guard at the ATF facility [Christopher Yates] has admitted to carting off thousands of firearms, gun parts and ammunition and selling them over several years. … faces up to 10 years in prison on each count, but is unlikely to get the maximum … ATF has recovered more than 4,000 guns and parts that had been reported missing while Yates worked there

– Madison Catholic Diocese hires detectives to probe clergy sexual abuse

– Verona pantry redirects wasted food to worthy sources, from soup to nuts

– PolitiFact: State lawmaker goes too far out to pasture with large-scale farm manure claim … There is truth on both parts of the claim — but with caveats. … Anderson’s “literal” claim pushes the picture too far. … Half True.

– After Flint, Milwaukee Moves to Test for Lead Poisoning, Kids at center of new door-to-door initiative

– City board wants to get tough on electronic smoking devices

– [SaukCo] Small businesses carry on

– More research labs are retiring monkeys when studies finish

– WI joins eight other states to try to stop merger of Sprint and T-Mobile: AG Kaul in DOJ release: “Maintaining strong competition helps keep prices low. If this proposed merger happens, many Wisconsinites will see increased prices for their cell-phone plans.” … “Any theoretical efficiencies that could be realized from the merger would be outweighed by the transaction’s immediate harm to competition and consumers,” the release said. … [CA, CO, CT, MD, MI, MS, NY, VA, WI] concerned that further consolidation of these companies would lead to a loss of retail jobs as well as lower pay for workers in the near future.

– Whiting, Park Ridge residents could get TDS fiber optic service

– Bice: Ex-Gov. Scott Walker secures enough fellow travelers to launch Hawaiian cruise this winter … Unlike his failed [religious] Alaskan cruise two years ago, more than 60 people have already signed up to go on the [non-religious] January excursion with Walker and his family — meeting the target for the [Pride of America] to launch. … “We have already hit our minimum and can take a maximum of 200,” said Charles Crull, president of Cruise & Tour [which also runs Belling’s cruise] … 12-day excursion … from $5,499 to $9,299 per passenger … will feature a three-night stay in Honolulu, a trip to Pearl Harbor, a luau and opportunities to watch whales and witness volcanoes. … And, of course, there will also be karaoke. The Walkers met for the first time during a karaoke night … “We love karaoke,” Tonette Walker says in a video promo for the trip set for Jan. 29 to Feb. 9. OWN’s Eicher cited failed Alaskan cruise while he was guv, “I guess we’ll find out what the market is for a failed, ex-governor in Hawaii.” … easier and cheaper way to rub shoulders with Walker … On Saturday, Indian Motorcycle of Metro Milwaukee in Muskego is teaming up with Iron Town Harley-Davidson in New Berlin to host what has been dubbed “Gov. Walker’s Ride.” … an escorted ride from Muskego to New Berlin to the State Fair from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for $20 per bike.

– Moore analysis: JFC transportation package would more than double title fees, Democrats and some conservatives balk at plan

– Dairyland Power took its coal plant offline because of flooding, but it could be saving money buying power from the grid

– CT Editorial: GOP who gripe about rainbow flag embarrass themselves

– RJT editorial: Taxation without representation — Plan would let Joint Finance unilaterally set fees—-plan/article_fb840481-a619-5b9d-a081-fc2fbaa33d85.html

– Dave Zweifel: Being ‘pro-life’ is meaningless if it doesn’t extend past birth

– Mike Stankiewicz: Ryan wishes he’d done even more damage to the country before resigning

– Carl Forsling: Priebus’ Navy service is going to be awkward for everyone involved

– WBP’s Jon Peacock: Lame Duck Mistake Reopens Tax Debate, Republicans’ mistake gives Evers some say over how to apportion tax cuts from online sales tax revenue.

– Bruce Murphy: The incredible rise of CEO pay, Workers keep falling further behind, as the U.S. wealth gap widens

– Dave Cieslewicz: Pervert the process, fix the roads

– James Wigderson: No mileage taxation without full representation

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