THU News Summary: State anticipates $753M more revenue than projected; Assembly passes abortion-related bills

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June 13: luncheon: The future of transportation funding in Wisconsin

Transportation funding has become one of the key debating points in the two-year state budget making its way through the Legislature. Gov. Tony Evers proposed an 8-cent-a gallon increase in the gas tax plus while getting rid of the minimum markup on gasoline — something the administration said would more than wipe out the increase. Republicans have removed the minimum markup provision and left in the gas tax increase for now. Where will the debate lead and will it result in a long-term solution?

Hear details from some of the key players in the debate at a issues luncheon set for Thursday, June 13 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at UW-Milwaukee’s Waukesha campus just off I-94.

Panelists for the discussion: Wisconsin DOT Secretary Craig Thompson, Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow, state Rep. Debra Kolste, D-Janesville and a member of the Assembly Transportation Committee, and state Rep. Joe Sanfelippo, R-New Berlin and a member of the Assembly Transportation Committee. subscribers and members receive discounted pricing for WisPolitics luncheons of $20 per person, including lunch. Price for the general public is $25 per person, including lunch.

This event is sponsored by: Kapur & Associates, UW-Milwaukee, Wisconsin Academy of Global Education and Training, ELEVEN25 at Pabst, Milwaukee Police Association, The Firm Consulting, Medical College of Wisconsin and Spectrum.

The Waukesha County Business Alliance is an event partner.

For more information and registration, visit:



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State to collect $753M more in revenue than projected
… most of it during the current fiscal year … Evers said in a statement he will pay down $53 million in state debt … request an additional $15 million for worker training, $18 million for the Wisconsin Technical Colleges System and transfer the rest to the state’s budget stabilization, or “rainy day” fund [about $291M, as required by law, bringing balance to $616.5M.] DOR Sec. Barca memo to Evers credited federal tax law, “This shifting of revenue, as opposed to an increase in economic activity, is the driving force behind the large corporate tax collections; other states have had similar increases.” Vos said his caucus considering tax cut, rainy day deposit, debt payment, “Now is not the time to go on a spending spree with one-time revenues.” JFC co-chair Nygren called for it all into rainy day fund, “It’s not fun, but it’s the reasonable and responsible thing to do.” Leader Fitzgerald likes tax cuts, “smart investments in infrastructure,” could support bill bypassing rainy day deposit. Minority Leader Hintz: “Republicans chose to rack up debt on the state’s credit card and favor corporate tax breaks over investing in the people of Wisconsin. It’s refreshing to see a governor act in the long-term best interest of our state.” By Vetterkind, WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL

Assembly Passes ‘Born Alive’ Bill
… that has passed in other states and President Donald Trump has touted. … with a vote of 62-35 Wednesday, with all Democrats and [GOP] Rep. Chuck Wichgers of Muskego, voting against it. Two abstained. … would require abortion providers to care for babies who survive abortion attempts or face prison. … [Senate] expect to vote on the bill next month. … Evers has already promised to veto the proposal. Opponents said bill presumes a fantasy scenario that law and ethics already covers. Rep. Kolste called them “false facts and false premises.” Majority Leader Steineke denied it is an abortion bill, “This is simply saying if a baby survives and takes its first breath, we have to make the baby safe and comfortable.” Minority Leader Hintz said GOP are “following the same playbook” as conservatives in other states, noted ob-gyns oppose, “If we are serious about reducing infant mortality, we should support Medicaid expansion. There is no health benefit to things we are seeing today.” Rep. Jagler admitted his ban on abortions based on race, gender or disability is “hard to enforce; you can’t get into people’s thoughts,” but it passed with same 62-35, as did bill related to chemical abortion. Bill banning Medicaid funds for abortion-provider Planned Parenthood passed 64-32, with three abstaining. By Mills and AP, WPR

Evers: I don’t accept the fact that GOP decided to do their own budget
… “Medicaid expansion has been available to the state of Wisconsin for several years, but we’ve decided not to take it because people want to play politics with healthcare,” Evers said [in May 14 interview]. “It’s time for us to take that money, it’s money that Wisconsin folks have essentially paid to the federal government that’s going to other states. That’s unacceptable. … We ran on this issue, and we won. … Just because it’s taken out of the budget doesn’t mean it can’t be put back in… The people of Wisconsin expect it. … Republicans outside of the leadership vote against this at their own peril. … I understand they follow their leadership in lockstep form, and I appreciate the political power of that, but it makes no sense politically to me.” … [also comments on school funding, clean water] … “I’m not going to say I’d never do that, veto an entire budget, but I don’t expect to,” Evers said. “I’ll use the veto pen as much as I can to make sure that our peoples budget, that frankly was developed by the people of Wisconsin, is enacted.” By Jardine, JUNEAU STAR TIMES

WI Supreme Court’s Conservatives Skeptical During Lame-Duck Case Arguments
… [LOWV, et al.] contends the entire session was unlawful because the state constitution doesn’t explicitly allow legislators to meet in what’s known as an “extraordinary session.” As [LOWV] attorney Jeffrey Mandell stood, conservative Justice Rebecca Bradley interjected, “Don’t you find it extraordinary that nobody has raised this issue before this court in over four decades?” Justice Kelly later noted Constitution gave lawmakers, guv authority to say when and how often the Legislature should meet, “a great big potential door” to hold session like the one in December, “How do I get around that?” CJ Roggensack less aggressively noted court’s 2011 decision upholding Act 10 gave the Legislature broad leeway to decide its own process. Conservative Justice Ziegler, liberal Justice Abrahamson did not speak during arguments. Liberal Justices Walsh Bradley and Dallet noted no explicit constitution authorization for extraordinary sessions. Dallet suggested Legislature could have passed a law allowing for “extraordinary sessions.” Constitution only allows for the Legislature to meet “at such time as provided by law” or in guv-called “special” session. “Special sessions” have been called almost from the outset, but the first “extraordinary session” was called in 1980. GOP atty. Tseytlin argued “respect and comity” should prevent Court from over-ruling the Legislature on grounds it used the wrong name for its December session. After arguments, Mandell rejected the idea that conservatives had pre-decided, “the law and the world are more complicated than that. … “It’s still at the end of the day a constitutional question … of how the government exercises the limited power that the constitution gives it from the people.” Rehash Niess ruling, Evers rescinding appointments, Supremes staying Niess ruling, SEIU suit, 2 federal suits. By Johnson, WPR


– John Nichols: Congress Must Deny Trump a Blank Check for War With Iran, The House and Senate should do everything in their power to prevent this president from steering this country into another quagmire.

– WI to take in $753M more than estimated; lawmakers split on what to do with it

– Wisconsin lawmakers honor Jayme Closs as a hero a week before her captor will be sent to prison for life

– Wisconsin Assembly Honors Jayme Closs As ‘Hometown Hero’ … The Barron teenager stood next to family members in the Assembly chamber on Wednesday while state Rep. Romaine Quinn, R-Barron, spoke of the tragedy that hit his community Oct. 15, the day Jake Patterson shot the 13-year-old’s parents and took Jayme to his home in Gordon in northwestern Wisconsin. Jayme was held captive for 88 days until she escaped Patterson’s home and found help from neighbors Jan. 10.

– Assembly passes ‘born alive’ bill; Robin Vos backs rationale behind six-week abortion bans … Iowa lawmakers recently adopted a ban on abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. “Do I believe that once there’s a detectable heartbeat, it’s a baby? I do,” Vos said. … comments come as lawmakers in Alabama sparked a national firestorm Tuesday by passing a near-total abortion ban … signed Wednesday. … meant to spark a review by the U.S. Supreme Court of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. Minority Leader Hintz said package was “introduced to distract from an agenda that’s overwhelmingly supported by the people of Wisconsin.” Sponsor Steineke: “Children who miraculously survive abortion shouldn’t be treated any differently than anyone else in this state,” would not say if he agreed with Trump statement that docs are “executing” babies, cite PA case of Dr. Gosnell, who was convicted of murdering three infants who were born alive during attempted abortions. There are multiple laws that appear to prevent the bill from having any effect. Steineke said his bill is a backstop if those laws are repealed. Rep. Taylor said ‘born alive’ protections “already are the law of the land. What isn’t already the law of the land is Medicaid expansion, and you’ve made darn sure that no lives will be saved under that.” Details of other abortion bills, Marsy’s Law.

– Republicans pass abortion restrictions as some get behind making birth control easier to get

– Dickert tapped to serve with the state Department of Revenue … as Division of State and Local Finance administrator … Barca said his decision to appoint Dickert was based on his time as a three-term mayor of Racine, “along with his experience in residential and commercial real estate provides him with a unique perspective for this position. … will remain in his position with the Great Lakes Initiative until its annual conference, which takes place June 3-7.

– AOC impersonator strikes again, showing off ‘electric car’ while poking fun at Green New Deal … eight-year-old … Ava Martinez poked fun at the freshman congresswoman’s Green New Deal, also showing off her brand new pink “electric car” in the short clip. … “I came up with my plan after we were watching, like, the most important documentary on climate change. It’s called ‘Ice Age 2: The Meltdown,'” the mini AOC told her fans. “That’s not me saying it, that’s science! My Green New Deal will cost, like, 93 trillion dollars. Do you know how much that is? Me neither. Because it’s totally worth it. If sea levels keep rising, we won’t be able to drive to Hawaii anymore!” … Martinez’s stepdad, Salvatore Schachter, told the New York Post that the 8-year-old’s resemblance to Ocasio-Cortez was noted amongst family members and thought that doing a video would be fun.

– Wisconsin Dairy Groups Warn Continued Trade Tension With China Will Have Lasting Impact … Chinese government announced this week it would place tariffs on $60 billion of United States products. … a response to President Donald Trump’s decision to place additional tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods last week. American dairy producers have faced increased tariffs from China since July. … dairy exports to China has fallen by 43 percent since increased tariffs first went into effect. Professional Dairy Producers’ Mayer said hikes hit processors hardest but hurt producers, suppliers, said Trump’s promised aid won’t cover lost profitability, “You’re going to work every day, but you’re paying your employer to be there. And someone says ‘I’ll tell you what. I’m going to give you some money to get on the bus.’ That bus ticket is probably equivalent to the aid. … Europeans and others will fill those orders. That could have a long-term, lasting ripple that could have a negative impact on rural America.”

– ‘Struggling to tread water’: Dairy farmers are caught in an economic system with no winning formula, Family farms are at the mercy of trade wars, economies of scale and a complex pricing system. … Wisconsin lost nearly 700 last year — almost two a day — as even dairy farmers used to enduring hard times called it quits in a downturn now headed into its fifth year. … More than 300 Wisconsin dairy farms called it quits between Jan. 1 and May 1 … “We milk 350 cows and we’re going broke,” she said. “And I am tired of being told, as a farmer, that I just have to tighten my belt and be a better business person. I cannot make a living if I have to interact with a market that’s stacked against me.” … There is little consensus on how to reform the system. … “It’s simple economics. We’ve been producing too much. … The production per cow is amazing. Cows that were exceptional 50 years ago — today they’d be called ‘hamburger,'” [NFO’s] Bylsma said. [in part blames production incentives like Walker’s] … average age of the American farmer is now 57. … The Mess family said the [Trump] payment they received didn’t even cover 10% of what they had to borrow to remain in business. “We want trade, not aid.” … “It’s make-or-break time for a lot of people. Many farmers are backed in a corner now and are being told ‘Which way do you want to lose your pants? One leg at a time or all in one shot?’ ” … “I think the part I will miss the most is being self-employed. I am happy here,” she said. Minneapolis Fed’s Wirch, UW Center for Dairy Profitability’s Stephenson, UW ag profs. Bernhardt and Mitchell, dairy farmers Harris, Breitenmoser Jr., Mess, Lloyd and Drinkman, cheesemaker Crave, NFO’s Bylsma, Vita Plus’ Sipiorski, WFU’s O’Connor and Von Ruden, WFBF’s Gefvert, NFU’s Johnson, ex-USDA sec. Vilsack, livestock broker Flood, dairy supplier Stroinski, UW-Extension’s Halopka comment.

– The milk strikes of 1933 were the worst year for Wisconsin dairy farms, and culminated in a farmer’s death

– UW Health shifts focus on local food, surprising farmers and producers

– Lutheran pastor from Racine and her husband are in detention after their DACA recipient daughter was arrested … [ICE] Officers took [Paula Hincapie, married to deployed soldier, sponsored for citizenship] and her daughter back to her home in Chicago, where they arrested her mother, a part-time pastor at Emaus Lutheran Church in Racine; her father; and a cousin who was in the home. On Wednesday, ICE told Hincapie that they wouldn’t try to deport her at this time, but her parents, who were denied their petition for asylum and issued a notice of removal years ago, remain under ICE’s custody in Kenosha County.

COURTS ^top^
– At Supreme Court hearing on lame-duck laws, conservative justices skeptical of claims GOP acted improperly

– Ex-Muni Judge Kachinsky accused of violating restraining order

– [Murray-Pocan] Tyler Clementi Act reintroduced to prohibit anti-LGBT bullying

– While Beloit struggles over demographics, small-town Delavan thrives because of it

– New plan hikes pay for district teachers … Schools officials said a similar model is used in Janesville and Milton.

– Legislators support motion to include UW-EC science hall in budget … [Petryk’s] motion also has the support of local Republican Reps. Jesse James of Altoona, Treig Pronschinske of Mondovi, Romaine Quinn of Barron and Rob Summerfield of Bloomer

– Regions schools weigh cost of universal free breakfast program

– Madison College Reedsburg [nursing] teacher [Zobel] named 2019 Distinguished Teacher of the Year

– Two local school districts awarded Fab Lab grants, Fab Lab Day was May 13

– Flatt named new NWTC Dean

– A rotten year, Madison teachers report from the classroom

– Senate [Unanimously] Confirms Meagan Wolfe As Elections Leader … the first administrator approved since the agency’s creation. … Senate refused to confirm Mike Haas … Wolfe’s term runs through 2023, meaning she will be in charge during the 2020 presidential election.

– Could Wisconsin’s voter turnout be higher than ever in 2020? All the ingredients are there … presidency of Donald Trump is shaping up as a spectacular mobilizing force for both the right and the left. One national expert, political scientist Michael McDonald of the University of Florida, says 2020 has the potential to be a “100-year storm” for turnout, largely because Trump “inflames passions.” … “We should expect exceptional voter turnout in Wisconsin in 2020,” says University of Wisconsin-Madison political scientist Barry Burden, another turnout expert. … [2019 MU Law poll found] about two-thirds of voters say they follow what’s going on in politics “most of the time.” That number has never been higher in a non-election year. … Democratic pollster Paul Maslin said he expects turnout to be “as high as humanly possible.” … Democratic strategist Tanya Bjork said her party will pour resources into Wisconsin in 2020, something it failed to do in 2016. … [GOP strategist Graul, Franklin, Burden comment on] What conditions were in place to produce Wisconsin’s peak turnout in 2004?

– Students campaign for safe water, conservation: Harborside Academy sixth-graders unveiled special billboard on Wednesday

– Chippewa County groundwater study confirms industry can have negative effects

– Senate Passes Bill Streamlining Pollution Credits System … would create a clearinghouse that supporters say would make it easier for large-scale polluters to trade credits with farmers. … save taxpayers the cost of upgrading public facilities to meet new phosphorus standards and give farmers a financial boost. … law allows those who discharge pollutants directly into the environment to exceed allowable limits if they buy credits from those who pollute indirectly, like farmers. … created in 1997 but hasn’t caught on. … bill’s authors said the measure could jump-start the credit marketplace, leading to better water quality.

– To Control Forest Fires, Western States Light More of Their Own

– Recycling Costs Rise By $457,000 Per Year, Changes by China will mean higher cost for taxpayers for recycling.

– Drug company involving SSM Health, UnityPoint Health to make generic antibiotics

– Experts’ departure leaves region with psychiatric-care shortage: 2 psychiatric NPs leaving, one to Madison, one retiring

– The Surprising Strength of Obamacare, Health exchanges working better than ever, particularly for Trump supporters

– Appleton firefighter killed in Wednesday shooting; police officer, 2 others also shot … while at the scene of a medical emergency … at Valley Transit Center … Green Bay police will investigate the shooting, Appleton police said late Wednesday night. Representatives of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association have responded to the scene, executive director Jim Palmer said.

– Appleton shooting at least the seventh involving a Wisconsin officer this year

– Legislature Approves Crime Victim Rights Measure Known As Marsy’s Law
[27-5 and 82-15]. … will now be put before voters for final approval in the April 2020 election. … Marsy’s Law largely duplicates existing victim protections, but goes further … [granting] Victims … the right to be heard at plea, parole and revocation proceedings, the right to refuse defense attorneys’ interview, deposition or discovery requests and the right to attend all proceedings in their cases. … [sponsor] Wanggaard was the only senator to speak in favor … Opponents like Sens. Risser and Miller cited Article I, Section 9, which enumerates several victim privileges and states: “This state shall treat crime victims, as defined by law, with fairness, dignity and respect for their privacy,” noted amendment isn’t specific to Wisconsin. Risser: “This doesn’t do anything for victims. It doesn’t give them more money. It doesn’t give any more rights than they currently have or we could give them by statute.”, which both Miller and Risser both discussed. ACLU said WI in 1980 became the first state to adopt a crime victim bill of rights.

– Green Bay Police release name of man who died after April 26 arrest/tasing

MEDIA ^top^
– [Vilas DA] Moustakis loses again in open records fight, Court rejects claim that public records law violated his constitutional rights

– Tavern league rallies for vets: at Silver Eagle tavern

– Swearingen to speak at Rhinelander Memorial Day Ceremony

– House [Energy and Commerce] Committee Holds Hearing On PFAS Risks, Testimony Urges Congress To Take Action To Address Contamination … [DNR] has been working with [DHS] to create statewide, health-based water quality standards for PFOA and PFOS … DHS spokeswoman said Wednesday that work is ongoing. … using the EPA’s health advisory to evaluate health impacts where PFAS has been found in drinking water. … In a statement, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin, who is among lawmakers sponsoring PFAS legislation, said the chemicals are a serious health threat. Some testimony.

RETAIL ^top^
– Study: When it comes to clean bathrooms, Kwik Trip claims the Wisconsin throne

TAXES ^top^
– [12 Caledonia] Property owners face charges up to $156K due to business park improvements … because of water mains and sanitary sewer connections they didn’t ask for.

– Wisconsin Legislators Look to Expand Rural Internet Access … “What it shows us is that having access to high speed internet these days is the difference between seeing small businesses flourish in rural Wisconsin, or not,” Wisconsin Senator, Tammy Baldwin says. … just the first step in many to get seven-hundred thousand Wisconsin households broadband internet access.

– Road construction in Wisconsin Dells cripples local business

– RJT editorial: Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and her garbage disposal … On May 6, Ocasio-Cortez posted a video she shot in her new Washington, D.C., apartment … “I am told this is a garbage disposal,” she said. “I’ve never seen a garbage disposal. I never had one in any place I’ve ever lived.” Wait, seriously? She’s from New York City, graduated cum laude from Boston University, and has never seen a garbage disposal? … Garbage disposals were illegal in NYC until 1997; Ocasio-Cortez said in a follow-up Instagram post that the appliances “never really became a thing after the ban was lifted.” … If the congresswoman were to make a trip to Wisconsin, we’re confident officials at InSinkErator would be happy to explain and demonstrate how the Racine company’s garbage disposals help keep food waste out of landfills

– UW MedSkul dean Dr. Robert N. Golden: Why is Wisconsin dropping in national health rankings?

– LOWV’s Erin Grunze: Constitutional boundaries need enforcement

– LC GOP chair Bill Feehan: [WisEye] Video exposes actions of La Crosse area legislators

– Dem Rep. Steve Doyle: Watch the video to see the whole truth

– Sarah Lazare: It’s Not Progressive To Fund Medicare for All by Agreeing to a Bloated Military, House Progressives tried to tie funding for bold social programs to the military budget, dollar for dollar. That’s timid and wrongheaded.

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