THU News Summary: Senate sends ‘born alive’ bill to Evers’ desk

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TOMORROW: and discussion: Closing the urban-rural health care gap

The recent 2019 County Health Rankings report showed gaps in health care between suburban-urban areas and rural counties in Wisconsin. In southwestern Wisconsin, La Crosse County was ranked 6th among the state’s 72 counties in terms of health factors that drive healthy lifestyles such as lower tobacco and alcohol use; access to quality care, education, employment and social support; plus housing and water-air quality. But surrounding counties ranked between 19th and 59th.

Join us for a discussion on coping with these gaps in rural-urban health care. The cost to attend is free, thanks to the support of Health Tradition.

But you must register in advance.

WHAT: Closing the rural-urban health care gap

WHEN: Friday June 7, 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. with the program going from noon to 1:15 p.m.

WHERE: The Waterfront Restaurant & Tavern l 328 Front Street South Ste. 100, La Crosse WI 54601

FORMAT: Dr. Tim Bartholow, Chief Medical Officer of Health Tradition, will provide opening remarks, and then a panel of four experts will add commentary. The panelists include Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling of La Crosse, Wally Orzechowski of the Southwest Community Action Program, Dr. Paul S. Mueller, chair of Mayo Clinic’s general internal medicine, and Dr. Erik Gundersen, medical director of Kwik Trip Center for Health and incoming president of the Wisconsin Medical Society.

The event is organized by and, non-partisan news organizations that regularly convene discussions of important public issues. Sponsored by Health Tradition.

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State Senate Sends ‘Born Alive’ Abortion Bill To Evers’ Desk
Governor Has Vowed To Veto Bill, Along With 3 Other Abortion-Related Measures … Under the [Roth] bill, doctors who do not provide the required care to babies born breathing or with a beating heart after an attempted abortion may be charged with a felony, fined up to $10,000 and imprisoned for up to six years. Doc who cause the death of surviving infant faces life imprisonment. Roth argued it is not an “anti-abortion” measure, “Deciding not to let a vulnerable, defenseless newborn die is not anti-abortion, it’s anti-murder. No child should be left to die, no matter how they came into this world.” Minority Leader Shilling argued, “It is the same smoke screen the majority party uses to distract from their true agenda, which is to push abortion out of reach for women in Wisconsin.” Sen. Jacque amendment failed to add harsher penalties for the mother. Bill passed on 18-14, with Jacque joining Dems voting NO and Larson not voting. Evers has vowed veto. American College of Ob-Gyns, WMS oppose the bill. Catholic Conference, WRtoL, WFA support it. 3 related bills passed: continued pregnancy info after first abortion pill passed on 19-13 party line; Testin bill banning gender/race/ethnicity-based abortions passed 19-13; bill banning Medicaid abortion, aimed at defunding Planned Parenthood, passed 19-13. 2 other bills passed: Exceptions to “step therapy” [unanimous voice] and legalizing paddlewheel raffles – neither of which have Assembly vote. By White, WPR

Senate GOP Propose Road Funding Increase For Counties, Towns
… one-time influx of $134M [surplus GPR] … [would send $1M to] Each of Wisconsin’s 72 counties … remaining $62M would be sent to town governments. … “We want to use this one-time money to make a difference in the one thing that all of our constituents have told us that they want,” said Sen. Howard Marklein [at Capitol presser with 10 fellow senators, including JFC-ers]. “To fix our roads.” Marklein suggested entire caucus, Assembly GOP may not support it. Munies’ Deschane supports a “holistic” solution, “There’s obviously nothing in this for 70 percent of the taxpayers in this state. That’s roughly how many people live in cities and villages. So that’s a problem.” Majority Leader Fitzgerald statement said Marklein plan would be separate from JFC road budget action on Thursday, “This is a laudable idea that I currently consider as a proposal outside the state transportation budget.” Rehash Evers’ gas tax hike, Fitzgerald rejection. By Johnson, WPR

Senate GOP float $10 registration fee increase to fund transportation budget
… [after Marklein made $134M proposal] Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald [detailed] potential fee increase … to $85. … said tolling is still on the table … considering a mix of new revenue, cash and bonding … the total transportation revenue increase and which projects should be funded. Speaker spokeswoman said Vos’ caucus [like Fitzgerald] focused on long-term funding solution within road budget, interested in Marklein plan outside budget. … Marklein … declined to say whether Republicans would support fee increases. … Evers on Monday didn’t rule out a transportation plan that doesn’t include a gas tax increase. … didn’t respond to a request seeking comment. Munies’ Deschane said Marklein plan lacks sustainable funding, ignores cities and villages. By Vetterkind, WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL

Wisconsin will soon become an island surrounded by legal weed
… [IL, MI, MN] have now legalized marijuana use and two of them allow [recreational use] … “Some of the results of legalization in other states have been troubling,” said Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, a Republican from Juneau. “It would be wise for Wisconsin to take a more measured approach and wait to see how it plays out in other states in the Midwest before rushing any kind of legalization here.” … “At some point, Wisconsin residents may become one of the largest donors to the Illinois Tollway,” Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes recently joked. Illinois’ law could take effect as soon as Jan. 1. But, IL and MN were Dem-controlled when it passed and IL is in dire fiscal shape and. MI law was voter-approved. UW prof. Burden noted IL’s fiscal whithers and WI “does not permit direct democracy via ballot proposition.” Tourism’s Trost said MI lure too soon to tell, “greater data year-over-year will continue to shed light on the travel impact of repealing marijuana bans.” Following legalization in other states, marijuana-themed entertainment services popped up. Marinette in 2017 pass ordinance confirming pot is banned regardless of MI law. Kenosha Sheriff Sgt. Hannah noted future is unknown as IL law has yet to change, “The state laws have not changed and the department will continue to enforce those state laws.” By Beck, MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL


– A massive presidential field, but for many rank-and-file Democrats, just five top contenders … In interviews with 30 convention delegates from across the state, the candidate whose name popped up the most may come as a surprise to some: Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren … About half the Democratic activists interviewed here said she was among their favorite candidates in the field. … four others who were each mentioned by about a quarter of the party activists interviewed: Biden, Sanders, Harris, Buttigieg. … only other Democrat in the field who was mentioned more than twice was New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, but some of those mentions were negative. … vast majority of delegates interviewed said they were not committed to a single candidate. … want to see the contest unfold and the candidates prove themselves. … [Klobuchar, Gillibrand, O’Rourke] have simply failed to break through. … Warren, by a significant margin, got the most favorable reviews … most pointed to the detailed policy positions she has staked out. Delegates here pointed to the massive size of the Democratic field with varying degrees of glee, frustration and wonder. … Former state legislator Bob Turner of Racine said, “The more the merrier, as long as they come together” in the end. Several delegates comment.

– John Nichols: Bill Moyers Is Still the Best President We Never Had, Many years ago, Molly Ivins tried to get a fellow Texan to make an unlikely bid for the White House.

– Moore analysis: State lays down the law with 200,000 ‘guidance documents,’ Friendly help from the government, or a sledgehammer?

– Senate passes package of abortion bills despite guarantee of veto

– Senate sends Evers abortion legislation he has promised to veto

– Early Abortion Bans: Which States Have Passed Them? … The laws vary [in OH, MO, KY, UT, LA, MS, AR, AL, GA] with some forbidding abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, and some after eight weeks. Alabama’s law is the most extreme: outlaws all abortions with exception for woman’s health. None of the laws passed this year are in effect, due to future enactment date or judicial stay in lawsuit, or both. Law details. NY, VT passed laws this year affirming abortion rights even if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

– Sen. Tammy Baldwin: ‘We Have to Keep Marching Forward. It’s Time to Take Bold Legislative Action.’ As Stonewall 50 approaches, the history-making lesbian senator says, ‘Too many LGBTQ Americans are at the mercy of an inadequate patchwork of state and local laws.’ Q&A

– Thompson analysis: The Republican Attack On “Socialism,” Ron Johnson and Trump lead the way. But beyond that word, things get murky.

– Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway asks city agencies to plan for $9.5 million budget gap in 2020

– Seventh candidate files to [replace Ald. Witkowski]

– Union Grove development closer to final approvals as village seeks to create 6th TID

– Public works director [Kingman] placed on paid administrative leave … mayor Chris Frederickson .. said the action came at the suggestion of the outside law firm investigating employee complaints.

– Aaron Rodgers co-founds $50 million venture capital fund

– Rebecca Kleefisch leading efforts to commemorate 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage … as executive director of the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission … will coordinate campaigns to educate the public about the effort to provide women with the right to vote and celebrations of its 100th anniversary [beginning June 7 in DC]. “My duties are large, but not daunting,” Kleefisch said in an interview. “Because when you look at these incredible women who came before us and the amazing accomplishments and the fact they stared down so much opposition over the decades — the generations — that they fought these battles to eventually win the war.” … national events coincide with celebrations planned in Wisconsin, which are being coordinated by first lady Kathy Evers. A spokeswoman for Gov. Tony Evers did not make Kathy Evers available for an interview. … On June 10, a Women’s Suffrage Centennial Celebration will be held in the Wisconsin State Capitol. Kathy Evers, Kleefisch and Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley will speak at the event at noon. A reception with female lawmakers will be held following the noon event. [see Baldwin column]

COURTS ^top^
– WI appeals court upholds right to receive electronic copies of public records … requiring state Rep. Scott Krug … [who had] printed out copies of the emails [“substantially as readable”] for Lueders to read and refused a follow-up request for the electronic records … to turn over electronic copies of emails [containing metadata not on print copy] requested by The Progressive magazine editor Bill Lueders. … “It should end all doubt that requesters who ask for records in electronic form — often the simplest way to provide them — are entitled to receive records in electronic form,” Lueders said. … unanimous decision [including incoming justice Hagedorn] … says the “substantially as readable” provision applies only when the requester shows up in person, which Lueders did not. … [WILL, Badger Institute, AFP joined FOIC] in the case, saying they have “experienced the frustration of a custodian who prints out records for no other reason than to inconvenience the requester.”

– Legislator must provide emails in electronic form under Open Records law, Appeals Court rules

– Wisconsin appeals court: Officials have to provide requested electronic records

– Joining others, Whitewater proclaims Friday National Gun Violence Awareness Day

– WI Fell Short Of 250K Job Goal During Walker’s 8 Years In Office, New ‘Gold Standard’ [BLS’ QCEW] Numbers Show State Added 233,101 Private Sector Jobs During Walker’s Tenure … [WI] private sector jobs grew … 10.3 percent … 34th among all states and trailed the national growth rate of 17.1 percent. … “I want every cabinet secretary to have branded across their head, ‘250,000 jobs,'” Walker told the Dairy Business Association in December 2010 … WI added roughly 129K private sector jobs in Walker’s first term. During same time period: MI 17.5%, MN 13.9%, IL 10%, IA 8.7%. Notably, 2018 was the first year ever that MN’s private sector job total surpassed WI’s [by 160]. MN’s overall job count surpassed WI’s in 2017. WI’s strong UI rate was 3% when Walker left office, hit 2.8 in April. 2 BLS graphs.

– Wisconsin’s 2018 job growth was slowest of the Scott Walker era

– Cable [CoC] hires Bayfield native to lead chamber … former superintendent of the State Patrol … J. D. Lind

– WI needs more kids to take computer science. Can a MSFT program help?

– Students fight decision to close two Ashland charter schools

– UW-Madison researchers’ study highlights voices of immigrant parents, students in public schools

ENERGY ^top^
– Madison-backed rural solar energy projects to begin operations … The city, in partnership with BluEarth Renewables and OneEnergy Renewables, is investing $1.4 million to support the five new solar array projects, which will cost a total $18 million and increase in-state solar capacity by 15 percent … operations in Argyle [begin] by mid-June … additional four solar projects will be installed in Cumberland, Elroy, Fennimore and New Lisbon this summer.

– Coal Ash Pollutes Midwest States, Most sites pollute groundwater; 6 are in Wisconsin, including We Energy’s Oak Creek plant.

– Are trout unlimited? Just west of Madison lies a resilient haven for a sensitive fish. How long will it last?

– Eau Claire’s deer count declines … [ex-DNRster Dunn] tallied 13% fewer deer than the record high he saw in 2018’s count, but warned that weather conditions made it difficult to spot the animals.

– State medical malpractice fund has $1 billion surplus … Malpractice attorneys say the large size of the Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund and its low number of payouts shows how difficult it is to win cases against doctors in Wisconsin. … said Mike End, a malpractice attorney in Milwaukee. “It’s paradise if you’re a doctor.” … said Mark Grapentine, a lobbyist for the Wisconsin Medical Society. “Seems like all is well.” … The increase “was driven primarily by positive investment income and decreasing estimated loss liabilities,” according to Joe Chrisman, state auditor.

– WI Senate Approves Changes To Rx Drug Practices, Legislation Addresses What Is Called Step Therapy … now heads to the Assembly, which must also pass it before it would go to Gov. Tony Evers. Bill would establish a clear appeals process and standards for bypassing the protocol when medically necessary. Step therapy requires a patient to try less expensive treatment options before advancing to more expensive ones originally prescribed by a doctor. 18 other states have enacted a way around it.

– What Do States Mean When They Say ‘Public Option’? … the term is difficult to define — even the word “public” is slippery in the context of health care. … In general, when policymakers use the term “public option,” they mean a health plan with significant government control. That might mean programs created and operated by government, as Medicare and Medicaid originally were, or programs largely under government control but run by private entities. … Washington state won’t be operating its own health plan. Instead, it will contract with a private carrier — or several — to oversee its public option, which will be on the health insurance exchange alongside commercial plans.

– Ohio doctor charged with 25 counts of murder in painkiller overdose deaths

– Video appears to show Madison police restraining, punching teenager inside his home … conducting an internal review after a black teenager, who reportedly was “exhibiting threatening behavior” during a mental health crisis, was restrained and punched multiple times by officers inside his home Monday, with part of the incident captured on a home security camera.

– Police agencies across Columbia County on board with technology upgrade

– County considers sexting ordinance: targeting minors

– Chicago is getting a Kohler Waters Spa, The urban spa will be located in Lincoln Commons

– Bigfoot convention coming to Menominee

– Lake Mille Lacs walleye regulations have emotions running high … They and many anglers blame the state and some tribes for wrecking their hobby, and in some cases, their livelihoods.

– Walz signs historic elder abuse bill … requires all assisted living facilities to be licensed. … creates a resident’s bill of rights.

– Minnesota law will target left lane slowpokes … have to get out of the way, or face a $50 ticket plus $75 surcharges and court fees.

– [9] local non-profits receive grants from Alliant

– Advocacy groups, law enforcement call for regional mental health crisis centers, [Sheriff] Hartman: Wait times, location for mental-health beds strain resources … Among the [55] groups signing the letter [to JFC] asking legislators to fully fund the proposal to establish a network of regional crisis centers … were the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Disability Rights Wisconsin, Autism Society of Greater Wisconsin, Badger State Sheriffs’ Association, Kids Forward, Lakeland Care, Survival Coalition of Wisconsin Disability Organizations, The Arc Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs Association.

– Cougar reportedly seen near Portland Avenue bridge in Beloit

– How will Milwaukee complete its streetcar lakefront loop if the Couture high-rise transit center isn’t built?

– City Confident Couture Won’t Block Streetcar, Federal grant at risk if lakefront extension to The Couture isn’t running by end of 2020.

– [Flooded] FDL homeowners must decide to fix, raze homes

– Gateway conference: The future is now with artificial intelligence

– Marathon County Ice Age hike is a Backpacker magazine favorite

– WI GOP appear nowhere near a deal on road funding … became clear Wednesday when 10 Senate Republicans rolled out a plan to give counties and towns — but not cities or villages — a one-time infusion of cash to help pay for roads. Other Senate Republicans have not embraced the plan so far and GOP leaders from both houses said the idea should be considered outside of budget deliberations [Sen. Lemahieu touts $134M one-time infusion, MUnies’ Deschane notes shortcomings.] … [Fitzgerald’s hiking] registration fee from $75 to $85 a year would generate about an eighth as much as Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ proposal … “If we do the 8 cents on the gas tax it moves us to No. 10 in the nation,” Fitzgerald said. “We’re trying to figure out if there’s other places that we can do this instead of just at the pump all the time.” … [WisDOT tweet:] “We need to establish a forward-looking, sustainable funding source to fix our deteriorating highways. A gas tax is the fairest, most affordable solution. It applies to everyone using the highway system — including visitors.” … “Really?” Fitzgerald said when asked about the tweets. … [WisDOT] should provide information “instead of being such an advocate, but it would appear Secretary (Craig) Thompson can’t help himself.” … Thompson said with the tweets his agency was simply explaining why the Evers administration considers the gas tax a fairer way to pay for roads than registration fees [which raises too little, imperiling projects like Zoo Interchange.] Fitzgerald on why Evers’ min markup repeal is out: “You know in the city of Juneau there’s one Piggly Wiggly. And if it’s directly affected and it goes out of business, whether it’s minimum markup or not, guess who’s going to get blamed? Me. So, we need a grocery store in Juneau, you know?”

– Senate GOP announce $134M local road funding plan [Reilly]

– WI GOP searching for deal on road funding [Bauer of AP]

– Sheboygan potholes: Damaged cars and the city’s plan

– CT Editorial: Jim Steineke might be surprised if he let voters have a say: on legal pot

– US Sen. Tammy Baldwin: Commemorating 100 Years of Women’s Right to Vote

– Dave Cieslewicz: Forgiving college debt isn’t progressive … If we are going to put more taxpayer money into student aid, it would make a lot more sense to pump it into needs-based financial aid programs like Pell Grants. … it’s just a life lesson that actions have consequences. … Personal responsibility is a lesson kids should learn long before freshman year.

– Allison Bell Bern: Committed to the status quo, White Madison residents don’t want to be racist, but we don’t act for real change

– Skills Pipeline’s Matt Cordio: Income share agreements offer a pathway to tech careers

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