TUE AM Update: JFC to take up Medicaid budget today

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From WisPolitics.com …

— The Joint Finance Committee is scheduled to take up the Medicaid program today as it begins the sprint toward its goal of finishing the budget by the end of next week.

Today’s agenda includes:

Health Services –Medical Assistance
Health Services –Medicaid Services Administration
Health Services –Public Health
Health Services –FoodShare
Health Services –Behavioral Health
Health Services –Departmentwide and Quality AssuranceChild Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board
Children and Families –Economic Support and TANF-Funded Programs
Children and Families –Child Welfare Services
Children and Families –Child Support
Children and Families –Departmentwide

The committee is scheduled to convene at 1 p.m.

JFC also has noticed a Thursday hearing that will include transportation and taxes.

Follow today’s action in the Budget Blog:

— Gov. Tony Evers will be in New Richmond today to tour the St. Croix County Health Services Center as he continues to push for Republicans to embrace his call to expand Medicaid.

He’ll then head to Hurley for a news conference on coastal community grants.

— The Legislature would be banned from naming a state highway or bridge in honor of someone unless that person had been dead for at least five years, under legislation up for a hearing and vote today in an Assembly committee.

The bill comes on the heels of the Legislature approving a bill dubbing the interchange of I-41 and highways 10 and 441 in honor of former lawmaker Mike Ellis, who passed away in July.

Still, a spokeswoman for Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, the lead co-author, said it wasn’t a reaction to that legislation. Kit Beyer said Vos, R-Rochester, decided the state should put some standards in place after a bill was introduced by Rep. Dave Considine, D-Baraboo, to rename a section of highway 33.

Under AB 84, a portion of the highway in Columbia County would be named after Army Staff Sgt. Daniel Busch, who was killed in 1993 in Somalia.

Considine is a co-author on Vos’ bill.

Along with the proposed waiting period, the person honored would have to have “provided extraordinary public service, a substantial and proven contribution to the public good, or outstanding service to the nation as exemplified by a particular event or episode.” That would have to be “substantiated by reliable sources and be recognized by at least one significant state or federal award or recognition or honor of similar prestige.”

The Legislature would only be allowed to name a highway or bridge in honor of people if they’d been:

*a legal resident of the state at the time of their death;
*the designation reflects “a community consensus” and is “without opposition” in the community where the highway or bridge is located;
*there is no cost to the state for the designation;
*it doesn’t supersede an existing designation unless information from at least four sources that wasn’t considered at the time of the original designation comes to light that shows the honor wouldn’t have been bestowed “had the information been known or that the existing honoree’s actions reflect negatively on the community”;
*the author of legislation making the designation would have to represent the district where the highway or bridge is located.

See more on the bill:


FRIDAY: WisPolitics.com and WisBusiness.com 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 WisPolitics.com and WisBusiness.com, non-partisan news organizations that regularly convene discussions of important public issues. Sponsored by Health Tradition.

To register, visit: https://eventbrite.com/e/closing-the-urban-rural-health-care-gap-tickets-62264248042


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Evers Seeks Existing Ways To Increase Insurance Coverage
… Flanked by members of the groups Covering Wisconsin and Kids Forward at a state Capitol news conference, Evers talked about using [OCI-DHS] resources … to help people connect with BadgerCare, private insurance sold on the Affordable Care Act marketplace and coverage offered at work. “We’re taking this opportunity to expand outreach on our own,” Evers said. “Clearly I can’t imagine the Legislature or the leaders in the Legislature are going to oppose us working together to make sure everyone can find their place in the health care world.” DHS Sec. Palm the groups will help connect 290K uninsured with resources “to improve enrollment in both the marketplace and BadgerCare.” OCI COmmish Afable set educational outreach to focus on those between 100-200% of poverty. JFC to take up DHS budget today, sans Evers Medicaid expansion.

Evers continues to push Medicaid expansion despite Republican opposition
… “Cooperation that is going on between these two important agencies [OCI, DHS] representing different sectors of the health care community is really important regardless of Medicaid expansion,” Evers told reporters Monday. … Evers’ campaign staff also distributed small posters Saturday at [DPW] convention in Milwaukee asking Democrats to list reasons why they support expanding Medicaid using federal funds. Beyer for Vos: “Speaker Vos and his Republican colleagues don’t support the expansion of any welfare program in this state. The speaker is interested in investing in outreach … without putting more people on government benefits at a time when there’s record unemployment and unfilled jobs.” JFC co-chair Nygren agreed with Evers’ ends but not means, “Instead of forcing individuals into government-run healthcare, we should prioritize connecting those who … already are eligible.” Baldauff for Evers: “Instead of asking why the governor is fighting for the will of the people, the better question is for Republican leaders — why won’t they listen to the people?” Vos, Fitzgerald reps did not respond. On road funding, Evers said, “The people of Wisconsin told us during the campaign to fix the damn roads. Now if Republican leadership has an idea how we can magically do that without increasing the gas tax, we’ll certainly be looking for that.”

Evers Won’t Rule Out Paying For Roads Without [Evers’ 8 cents/gal] Gas Tax Hike
… Republicans say they are looking at raising a variety of other fees by an unspecified amount. Evers on Monday wouldn’t say whether he would support or oppose the roads plan without a gas tax hike. Evers said if Republicans can “magically” improve roads without raising the gas tax, he will look at it. … wants to review the entire budget before making any decisions and “it’s not soup yet.” JFC debating roads on Thursday.

Barnes says he was unaware of his unpaid 2018 fine for outstanding parking tickets
… Barnes has had state security officials to chauffeur him around the state. … because … Barnes took the parking tickets to Milwaukee Municipal Court last year instead of paying them. Judge Valarie Hill then found him guilty in June 2018 and fined him $108. Barnes was given two months to pay. … missed the deadline … could not renew his vehicle … until he paid the fine. … sold the car — a black 2007 Chevy Impala — to a friend of his mother’s in November. … has not been renewed. … “One hundred percent unaware — 100%,” Barnes said. “I would have gladly taken care of it. … Don’t own car (Impala). Don’t owe anything.” … Wispolitics.com reported recently that Barnes … had nine times more hours of security protection during his first two months in office than [lt. guv Kleefisch] had all of last year. RPW’s Nichols: “This isn’t a security issue. This is an issue of Barnes not being allowed to drive because he is either too incompetent or too irresponsible to follow basic traffic laws.”

Wittke pushed on Medicaid; Area legislators answer questions on budget
GOP Rep. Wittke joined Dems Neubauer, McGuire and Wirch at GTC listening session, believe they will have something to vote on by early July. “We’re off to a bad start,” Wirch said, but cited agreement on PD boost. Wittke “wouldn’t even call it a bad start, I would say that we’re not off to much of a start at all. Is there common ground? It depends on how you view common ground. More money doesn’t solve everything.” Neubauer pushed for reconsidering Medicaid expansion, “a real common sense policy that will really benefit Racine. We are simply accepting federal money … we paid this money, but right now we’re not able to make use of it.” Wittke warned against one-time funding for ongoing expense, disputed Dem claim of 82K more insured, “Wisconsin does not have an access issue. Of the 82,000, there are only 38,000 that would apply. … doubts … that accepting the Medicaid money will solve all of the health issues across Wisconsin,” said insurance offered through the ACA marketplace or BadgerCare are other options for people seeking care. WIrch: “Republicans have done everything they possibly could to undermine ACA, and now we’re hearing that’s a viable alternative.”

Vocal Foxconn Opponent Accuses Mount Pleasant Fire Chief Of Cyberstalking
… [Kelly] Gallaher is one of the creators of the Facebook page, A Better Mt. Pleasant — which is described as a group “working to bring honest and frank discussions about Mount Pleasant politics, elected officials and current events.” … alleges [MPFD chief] Stedman created a mock website, “Let’s Make A Better Mt. Pleasant,” on May 11, 2017, for the sole purpose to harass her and [Trustee Feest, ex-trustees Hansen and Otwaska.] The site has 58 comments, which Gallaher said are demeaning and verbally abusive. … Gallaher said she was unable to determine the author of the website until a glitch revealed “fchief1951” as the creator. Stedman was born in 1951. He also maintains Yahoo, Flickr and WordPress accounts using “fchief,” according to the [MPPFC] complaint. Stedman did not respond, Village Admin. Murphy said only MPPFC can comment on personnel matters.

Lutheran pastor from Racine congregation, husband deported to Colombia by ICE
Rev. Betty Rendón and Carlos Hincapie deported May 28. DACA-protected daughter Paula Hincapie has been released. On Facebook, SYNod Bishop Erickson urged supporters to pray for the couple and all refugees “as we work to fashion a system that respects the dignity of people and creates a more just and humane immigration policy.” Rendón on Facebook: “You are a blessing of God for my family and me. I love all of you.”


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– Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference. Featured speaker is angel investor Jeff Rusinow.

– 10 a.m.: Assembly Committee on Constitution and Ethics executive session on AB 38, relating to University of Wisconsin research contracts.

– 10 a.m.: Assembly Committee on Workforce Development executive session on AB 120, relating to homelessness case management services; AB 144, relating to skills enhancement grants; and AB 122, relating to employment and training activities for homeless populations, the Council on Workforce Investment and local workforce development boards.

– 10 a.m.: Assembly Committee on Family Law public hearing. Members are to take testimony on bills related to child placement and child support.

– 10 a.m.: PSC hearing.

– 10:05 a.m.: Assembly Committee on Workforce Development public hearing on AB 250, relating to examinations and licensure of sign language interpreters.

– 10:30 a.m.: Assembly Committee on Mental Health public hearing on AB 118, relating to increasing funding for the child psychiatry consultation program.

– 10:30 a.m.: Assembly Committee on Public Benefit Reform executive session on AB 119, relating to grants to homeless shelters; and AB 124, relating to grants to defray housing costs and for diversion programming.

– 11:30 a.m.: Assembly Committee on Jobs and the Economy executive session on AB 234, relating to limiting the authority of the state and political subdivisions to regulate certain wireless facilities and authorizing political subdivisions to impose setback requirements for certain mobile service support structures.

– 1 p.m.: Assembly Committee on Energy and Utilities executive session on AB 235, relating to exception from local levy limits for political subdivisions receiving certain utility aid payments.

– 1 p.m.: Joint Committee on Finance executive session. Members are to take up the budgets for the Department of Health Services, the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board and the Department of Children and Families.

– 1:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.: Assembly Committee on Transportation public hearing on AB 249, relating to bills making honorary designations of state highways or bridges.

– 1:35 p.m.: Assembly Committee on Transportation executive session on AB 249, relating to bills making honorary designations of state highways or bridges.

– 2 p.m.: PSC hearing.

– 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.: Sen. LaTonya Johnson’s birthday fundraiser.

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