TUE AM Update: JFC to take up Corrections, Tourism

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From WisPolitics.com …

— The Joint Finance Committee will convene today to consider Gov. Tony Evers’ proposals to boost funding for the Department of Corrections.

That plan includes:

*an increase of nearly $130 million for the department’s overtime and overtime supplement funds.

*a $500,000 boost to the Windows to Work job services program.

*an increase of roughly $25 million for prison contract beds to place state inmates in county jails and federal facilities.

*$15 million in general fund-supported borrowing to build a 144-bed barracks unit at Taycheedah Correctional Institution and two 144-bed barracks units at Jackson Correctional Institution.

The committee will also consider the budgets of the Department of Tourism, Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, circuit courts and more.

See the agenda:

Subscribers can follow today’s action in the Budget Blog:

— Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says he likes the idea of splitting the budget into two bills but was still studying any possible downsides.

WisPolitics.com reported yesterday that GOP legislative leaders are considering a bill that would outline spending and a separate measure containing policy in an attempt to get around the guv’s partial veto authority.

“If we can’t negotiate, this is at least something we should consider,” the Rochester Republican said.

But Dem Sen. Jon Erpenbach, a member of the Finance Committee, said Republicans seemed to be “begging” Evers to veto the budget.

“It’s like they’re doing everything they can to not sit down with him, not work with him, not take any of his suggestions with any seriousness at all,” he said.

See more in the Budget Blog:

— AG Josh Kaul today backed a bipartisan bill designed to prevent a future backlog of sexual assault kits.

The measure, which was originally rolled out in a Capitol press conference over a month ago and introduced May 8, now boasts bipartisan support from 49 lawmakers. It would create a process for collecting and processing sexual assault kits. No such process currently exists in statute, which the DOJ claimed in a release was at fault for “thousands of kits not being submitted to the state crime lab for testing.”

Those untested kits led to a backlog that at its peak numbered nearly 7,000 and became a key campaign issue for Kaul in his race against former AG Brad Schimel last fall.

The bill would give sexual assault survivors the option to report to law enforcement. Should the victim choose to report the incident, the legislation lays out a clear timeline for medical professionals to notify law enforcement and for law enforcement to collect the sexual assault kit and send it to the state crime lab for analysis.

Should the survivor choose not to report the incident, the bill creates a process in which the health care professional collects the evidence and sends the kit to the state crime lab for storage for 10 years, or until the survivor decides to report to law enforcement.

An Evers spokeswoman previously promised the guv will sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

See the bill:


June 13: WisPolitics.com 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 WisPolitics.com 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.

WisPolitics.com 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: https://wispolitics.com/2019/june-13-wispolitics-com-luncheon-the-future-of-transportation-funding-in-wisconsin/


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GOP lawmakers are seeking to intervene in union lawsuit challenging Act 10

… [Leader] Fitzgerald did not immediately say what law firm they would use or what it would cost taxpayers. In many of the other cases, lawyers are billing taxpayers $500 an hour. … marks an escalation of GOP attempts to join lawsuits … [1 case from 1990-2018, 5 cases since 2018] … [IUOE] filed the latest lawsuit in 2018, dropped it months later and revived it this month. … Kaul hasn’t yet responded to the lawsuit or said whether he plans to defend the state. Baldauff for Evers: “Senate Republicans should focus on passing the People’s Budget and stop trying to play attorney general.” IUOE’s Putnam no comment on whether they’d fight GOP intervention. Fitzgerald: “We aren’t picking this fight … We cannot sit idly by and allow our attorney general or governor an opportunity to undermine Act 10.” Reviews GOP-hired attorneys and prices for redistricting, abortion, lame-duck law and environmental cases.

Evers says voters should ‘connect the dots’ on why GOP won’t meet with his female aides

… “Only Robin Vos and Scott Fitzgerald can say why they won’t work with the women who are leading my office,” Evers said in his statement. “I have asked Republicans to work with my staff the way they worked with the former governor’s staff. They know how to work with my staff and are choosing not to. So, this is clearly a departure from past practice. You connect the dots.” … Vos has noted his top aides are women and has said he believed Evers should be meeting directly with GOP leaders. And Fitzgerald called claims of sexism “asinine” in part because the top Senate Republican working on the budget is a woman. Evers at automatic voter registration presser would not say whether he agreed with Gau’s assessment of GOP behavior, deflected abortion bill question, “I’m focusing on voting right now. … I believe they should be able to talk to Maggie Gau about voting rights, absolutely. … We’re going to continue to fight for this even though Republicans decided voting, easy voting, was not on their agenda.” Vos called the bill unnecessary. Fitzgerald statement: “If not even the governor’s spokesperson can be trusted to speak for the governor, how can he expect us to work with anyone from his staff?”

Racine Alderman John Tate tapped to lead state Parole Commission

… Evers is scheduled today to announce Tate’s appointment … subject to [Senate] confirmation … plans to stay on as 3rd District alderman … but will step down from his job as a social worker. … Evers said. “I know that John Tate II will be a strong advocate for the change we need to ensure our criminal justice system treats everyone fairly and focuses on rehabilitation. We can improve public safety and empower returning citizens at the same time.” Tate touts social worker insight, “trying to find ways to get people back to their communities. And find the mechanisms that exist within DOC and also find the inefficiencies within DOC that leave these folks on the sidelines.” Tate also comments on TIS, second chances. Rehash first Council win in 2017, Assembly primary loss to Neubauer, sponsoring pot referendum and pot decrim ordinance.

Sen. Taylor is weighing a 2020 run challenging Milwaukee Mayor Barrett

… “Let me start by saying the people are doing this, and I’m honored that people see my work and see my need to serve as mayor,” she said. “If I was to run, I can see why people want that. … I am Milwaukee.” … was critical of Barrett, saying he is “disconnected” from the voters on racial issues, job creation, police concerns, income inequality and [health dept.] problems … said the entire city “needs help.” … [dismissed Council Pres. Hamilton’s expected candidacy,] “He’s been there with the mayor at City Hall.” … wouldn’t give a specific timeline for making a final decision. … [unbowed by] Barrett’s campaign war chest [$719K] … “The money won’t be able to vote.” … Her run was hinted at over the weekend in a Facebook post from community activist Vaun Mayes … phone number listed in the post belongs to a hemp business owned by convicted former Ald. Michael McGee Jr. … Asked about his role in pushing her candidacy, Taylor suggested calling McGee. “That’s my brother. I appreciate him,” she added. Taylor ran for Co. Exec. in 2008, won the city by 5K votes, but lost to incumbent Scott Walker. Rehash Barnes 2016 primary, 2010 AWOL Dems on Act 10, disorderly conduct/$195 fine for berating a bank teller, removal from JFC, run-in with police [whom she has called racist]. Candidate Zielinski welcomed Taylor to the race.

Barrett’s campaign had no comment.

WI Dems Push For Automatic Voter Registration, Democrats Propose Legislation After Republicans Took Proposal Out Of Evers’ Budget

… On Monday, Evers unveiled the bill at the state Capitol with authors Rep. David Crowley … Sen. Dave Hansen … residents would be automatically registered to vote when they receive or renew their driver’s license or state ID cards. People could choose to opt out of having [WisDOT] transfer information to [WEC] if they want. … “Some view making voting easier as a democratic ideal. I can’t think of anything that is more bipartisan than getting people to vote,” said Evers. Guv wants 80-90% turnout, alleges voter ID, early voting limits [facing court challenge] suppress turnout. Crowley: “This is the first time not only that we have a democratic governor in the past decade, but we are actually looking at putting up bills that encourage more people to vote.” Speaker Vos: “This bill is a solution looking for a problem. It’s easy to register to vote in Wisconsin. Our state recently implemented online voting registration, and we have same day registration.” Hansen also sponsored 2015 bill to begin automatic voter registration. Brennan Center for Justice found more people vote if they are automatically registered. Crowley pointed to larger turnout in states like GA, one of 15 with automatic voter registration.

A Wauwatosa teacher wanted Walker to stop talking about her nearly a decade ago. He’s still at it

… Sampson said then [2011], and again in 2015, that she didn’t want Walker to cite her [lay off from first teaching job] to champion the law known as Act 10. But eight years later, Walker is still ignoring the teacher’s wishes … [Thu’s] Washington Times [column] and in a radio appearance last week, Walker again cited Sampson’s layoff from a Milwaukee school … after winning Wisconsin Council of Teachers of English’s initial teacher of the year award in 2010 … under a last-hired, first-fired policy that existed in many teachers’ contracts until Act 10 banned them. … cited her story four times in his 2013 book titled “Unintimidated” and on the campaign trail during his unsuccessful presidential bid in 2015. Walker rep did not say whether he had sought permission, Sampson did not respond.

WI hotel room tax revenue has > doubled — providing cash to attract more travelers

… [WPF] report, “Checking In: A Look at Wisconsin Room Tax Trends,” cites [DOR] data showing the tax on hotel room charges and other short-term lodging generated $111.9 million in 2017. … a 3.7% increase over the previous year … number of communities that have a room tax has increased from 169 in 1999 to 291 in 2017. … many communities have raised their room tax rates [median 5.5% in 2017, max 8%.] … 2015 state law [opposed by locals] generally requires that at least 70% of room tax collections must fund efforts to increase tourism. WPF report sponsored by Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Association, the Wisconsin Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus and the Tourism Federation of Wisconsin.

Xcel’s New Plan: Coal-Free By 2030, Nuclear Until 2040

… Under Xcel’s proposal, Sherco 3, the region’s final coal plant, would close in 2030, following the closure of the Allen S. King coal plant in Oak Park Heights, Minnesota in 2028. … intends to keep its nuclear power plant in Monticello, Minnesota, running until at least 2040 — 10 years beyond the expiration of its current license [needs FERC approval] — as it expands wind and solar … to buy the Mankato Energy Center natural gas plant as well as … build a natural gas facility in Becker … will submit its plan to [MPUC] in July. If approved … would slash carbon emissions in the region by more than 80 percent by 2030, compared to 2050. … Becker and Xcel have been working to bring in new companies like the Google data center] to fill that space and replace some of the [coal] jobs that will be lost … Becker and Oak Park Heights on Monday called on the Minnesota Legislature [for] support [as their tax bases shrink]. Fresh Energy’s GLeckner dubbed it “a really big deal.” Xcel CEO Fowke vowed bills would not be significantly higher.


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– 9:30 a.m.: Joint Committee on Finance executive session. Members are to take up the budgets for Tourism, the courts, Correction and more.

– 10 a.m.: Senate Committee on Transportation, Veterans and Military Affairs public hearing on SB 129, relating to electric bicycles; SB 152, relating to the operation of electric scooters on highways; and other bills.

– 10 a.m.: Assembly Committee on Family Law public hearing on AB 47, relating to guardianships of children; and AB 166, relating to presumption and conclusive determination of paternity on the basis of genetic test results and orders that may be granted on the basis of genetic test results.

– 11 a.m.: Senate Committee on Transportation executive session on AB 132, relating to electric bicycles; and AB 151, relating to penalties for certain traffic violations where highway maintenance workers are present.

– 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.: Tech Council Innovation Network luncheon. Panelists are Mike Partsch, chief venture officer of Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, and Dan Malven, managing director of 4490 Ventures.

– 11:45 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.: Wisconsin Policy Forum Viewpoint Luncheon: “The State Budget’s Focus on Education: Meeting the Need or Over the Top?” Panelists include: Jeff Buhrandt, senior director of state relations, UW System; Scott Manley, senior vice president of government relations, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce; Dan Rossmiller, director of government relations, Wisconsin Association of School Boards; and Sharon Schmeling, executive director, Wisconsin Council of Religious & Independent Schools.

– 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.: Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance open meeting.

– 2 p.m.: PSC hearing.

– 5:30 p.m.: Natural Resources Board. Members are to have an informal dinner meeting with the Wisconsin Conservation Congress District Leadership Council

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