TUE AM Update: Kelly kicks off bid for full term on Supreme Court; JFC executive session today

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From WisPolitics.com …

— Conservative Justice Daniel Kelly officially kicked off his bid for a full 10-year term on the state Supreme Court, promising today he will remain faithful to the Wisconsin Constitution while serving on the court.

Kelly had hinted at a bid in recent weeks as he is expected to face a difficult environment next spring with the Dem primary for president on the ballot at the same time as his race.

Appearing on WISN-AM this morning ahead of a Capitol news conference, Kelly told conservative host Jay Weber that fellow conservative Brian Hagedorn’s win this spring for an open seat on the court had created an energy that hasn’t died down. Hagedorn was considered a significant underdog until a surge of conservative enthusiasm helped carry him to a win in April.

Kelly said Hagedorn’s win, which will push the conservative majority to 5-2, prompted people to reach out to him to offer to help him next spring. But he didn’t offer specifics.

“People see that this can be done, and they’re energized and ready to go right now,” Kelly said.

Former Gov. Scott Walker appointed Kelly to the bench in 2016 following the retirement of Justice David Prosser. Kelly was to be joined at his 9 a.m. Capitol announcement by fellow conservatives Justice Rebecca Bradley, Hagedorn and Prosser.

Dane County Judge Jill Karofsky has formally entered the race, while Marquette University Law School Professor Ed Fallone has indicated he plans to run as well.

Kelly, who was in private practice before his appointment, was president of the Milwaukee chapter of the Federalist Society, a conservative organization, and sat on the advisory panel for the Wisconsin Institutes for Law & Liberty. He also spent a year as vice president and general counsel for the conservative Kern Family Foundation.

He served as an adviser to Bradley during her 2016 bid and was an attorney for Prosser during his 2011 recount.

— The Joint Finance Committee will be in today to take up the UW System budget and Gov. Tony Evers’ proposal to create a Bureau of National Resources Science within the DNR.

The committee’s UW agenda includes extending the freeze on in-state, undergraduate tuition for another two years but providing $50.4 million to cover the cost.

Other items on the agenda include:

*funding a pay progression for assistant and deputy district attorneys, public defenders, and assistant attorneys general.

*adding 34 prosecutors in DA offices around the state.

*increasing to $70 an hour the rate for private attorneys who represent clients who qualify for state public defender representation.

Co-chair Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, who has missed meetings since a fall in Washington, D.C., earlier this month, is expected to return to the committee today.

See the hearing notice:

— UW President Ray Cross said on “UpFront” this weekend “we’ll do the best we can” with expected 2 percent pay hikes, but adds the university is behind some peer institutions when it comes to compensation.

Evers’ proposal also includes allowing the system to create supplemental pay plans, a provision that’s on today’s JFC agenda.

The system had sought raises of 3 percent each year.

See more from the show:


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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[JFC today] To Take On Funding For State’s Stewardship Program
… [DNR budget] will include whether to reauthorize the state’s land purchase program. … created in 1989 … DNR has purchased more than 669,000 acres through the program as of last June. Evers would reauthorize bonding thru FY21-22, but JFC GOP-er Tiffany opposed to adding debt service on past purchases, “If we reauthorize at the current bonding levels (for 10 years), we will add another $500 million of debt service — $500 million more of bonding and interest — to the state’s finances. … let’s shift that money to what I believe is a higher stewardship purpose and that is to have clean water in Wisconsin.” Nature Conservancy’s Dallman: “Taking a time out is essentially a loss of opportunity, and we have to acknowledge that the stewardship program is real money. But … we’re talking about 2 percent of the overall state debt.” Steigerwaldt’s Hittle argued stewardship conservation easements have helped keep forest lands in production and prevent fragmentation. Recent nat’l study found WI led the Midwest with around 16.5M acres of timber land [4.7M are public]. Tiffany noted public ownership removes taxable property, reduces development opportunity, especially in Northern counties. Baldauff said Evers “wants to make sure that it’s going to be sustainable and can thrive for generations to come.”

GOP to decide on Evers’ plan to resume research on climate, pollution
[JFC weighing DNR today] … Evers wants to restore five of the 18.4 senior research scientist positions that were cut in 2015 … as a way of eliminating [DNR] studies of climate change and pollution from mining. … Among the contaminants are health-threatening PFAS compounds linked to industries ranging from paper manufacturing to metal plating. … [WMC, Paper Council] urged caution in setting standards … noted [EPA] hasn’t set limits and said that testing for the hazardous PFAS compounds is “onerous and expensive.” … conservation groups … point out that more than a dozen states have set their own PFAS standards. Evers supports enforceable health-based PFAS standards … with a DNR [cleanup] effort. LFB said 2015 cuts axed DNR expertise and several areas. JFC also to weigh Evers’ $200K PFAS study. JFC members could not be reached.

Evers, Dems push first comprehensive cleanup of ’emerging’ health hazard
… The Democratic plan [CLEAR Act, Chemical Level Enforcement and Remediation] would direct state regulators to search out places where PFAS has contaminated the environment, and quickly set legal limits for [6 most prevalent] toxic compounds in water, soil and air so that cleanups can begin. Co-sponsor Sen. Miller: “The goal is to be very clear that it’s a priority to deal with these substances in a prompt and science-based manner to protect public health. … It’s early in the relationship between the Democratic governor and the Republican Legislature and I’m crossing my fingers that we’ll be able to work in a responsible, bipartisan manner, even though I’m not seeing it in the early part of the governor’s term. I don’t think we can sacrifice the public welfare strictly for the sake of economic opportunity.” MN, MI, other states had earlier PFAS scares and already spent millions on cleanup. In case of polluted Marinette wells, JCI-subsidiary Tyco Fire Products has provided replacement drinking water and begun planning a cleanup. In Madison city well shutdown, the Air National Guard at Truax is almost certainly a major contaminator but doesn’t have money to fully investigate or clean up. DNR would write regs based on recommendations from state toxicologists after an extensive review of scientific research and other state regs, prioritizing water regs for immediate implementation. In April, the DNR asked DHS to recommend groundwater standards for 34 PFASes, but DHS lacks staff, so Miller bill adds 7.5 FTEs at DNR and 4 at DHS. MEJO’s Powell, Clean Wisconsin’s Michiels support. Nygren-Cowles bill would require firefighters to train only with PFAS-free suppressants. Tyco, a major employer in Nygren’s district said it has suspended outdoor testing. Cronin for Nygren didn’t know of any current examples of PFAS use, training or testing that would be affected by the bill. PFAS foam helped stanch Husky fire in Superior, but DNR said Husky filtered PFAS out of wastewater. PFAS has been isolated and incinerated but opponents believe some PFAS escapes into the air.

Evers pays Ramadan visit to Islamic Society of Milwaukee
… “As a state, we reject Islamophobia, we reject anti-immigrant biases and we reject bigotry,” Evers [with Sens. Carpenter and Larson, Rep. Zamarripa] told those gathered. “I know sometimes that is hard to believe, but those are part of Wisconsin values and frankly those are things that as governor I will continue to advocate for.” … Awais Khaleel [visit organizer] … said to the best of his knowledge this was the first time a sitting governor had visited a Wisconsin mosque in at least 10 years. … likened Evers’ visit to a “political hug.” … Director Othman Atta [recalled Walker for Prez in NH saying] there were a “handful of reasonable and moderate followers of Islam.” … spokeswoman for Walker at the time said the governor knew that most Muslims are peaceful but did not say whether he would apologize.

MPS advocates see missed chance to address poverty as GOP scraps Evers budget
… “This is not a budget that is particularly friendly to a school district — particularly Milwaukee — that struggles with poverty and struggles with issues that are frankly beyond kids’ control,” Evers said … [MPS Board chair] Miller said the state budget as it’s written will maintain an unacceptable status quo and exacerbate the [racial and socio-economic] inequities in the educational experiences … “It’s an injustice, and it’s unfair,” he said. “Madison is feeling it. Beloit, Racine, Kenosha are all feeling it. And this has to change. … Race is clearly a factor in this.” Senate Ed chair Olsen said blaming state is “not taking responsibility,” noted MPS spends above state avg. per student, has option to go to referendum, “If the state gives money … we expect results. And I’m not sure there’s been results and, honestly, I think sometimes some folks in Madison have sort of given up.” Rehash Evers budget. Evers: “the state has to do more than their share with those districts with [special ed] challenges and this (GOP-backed) budget does not. It goes back to almost exclusively giving everyone an equal amount of money, and not only is it equal, it’s awful small.” Reviews MPS budget, WPF analysis.

WI Dems to pick new leader heading into the 2020 cycle
At DPW convention this weekend, [DPW vice-chair] Rep. Bowen and ex-MoveON.org-er Wickler vie to replace Chair Laning, who isn’t running. Evers keynoting Saturday, with Barnes, Kaul, Baldwin, Moore also speaking. Bowen: “The challenge is consistency. This state is built on progressive principles, and we want to return to that.” Wikler: “The challenge for the party is finding ways to channel [activist energy] into collective action.” Both pushing staff diversity, broadening voter appeal, supported Sanders 2016, comment on Medicaid expansion, Supreme Court election. Downticket candidates for VC, 2nd VC. Evers not endorsing, POcan picked Wickler. RPW picked Hott as new chair at their convention.

Ron Johnson says border facilities for migrants are “grossly overcrowded”
… “The processing centers are back open but they’re grossly overcrowded because of the unbelievable situation on the border — the out of control nature of it,” Johnson said on “Face the Nation” Sunday. … saying U.S. immigration laws are sustaining a “wicked business model” operated by human smugglers … “We have to change our laws to stop rewarding, incentivizing people across our border illegally.” … more concerned about congressional probes … “In the House, you’re just talking about impeachment investigations. It’s very unfortunate,” he added.

Lawmaker’s ‘lonely ship’ filling up as support for legalizing cannabis grows
Polls and referenda show Wisconsinites are warming to the idea of legalizing marijuana for medical or recreational use. But not everyone is on board. … Sargent, who says she has never used marijuana, has concluded that prohibition of the drug is ruining the lives of a large number of Wisconsin residents. … [at Sargent presser, RN Fabry relayed her cannabis/CBD use for Crohn’s disease] took care of patients desperate to get cannabis for loved ones with agonizing end-stage cancer pain. … Such stories have prompted Sargent to three times introduce bills to fully legalize marijuana. On May 17, she introduced Assembly Bill 220, a fourth, updated version [also without GOP co-sponsors, but Evers’ support. Sargent’s latest bill requires DATCP permits and labor peace agreement for employers of > 20.] Agni for Rep. Taylor said new medical pot bill has bipartisan support. AG Kaul at WisPol luncheon supported medical pot as first step – legal in 33 states, DC. Vos supports medical pot with doc Rx, did not respond. Knuckleheads Tobacco & Vape Club’s Meske excited to see popular support rising, argued a “chill Friday night” consuming cannabis with friends is a much safer alternative to drinking. Rehash MU Law poll, party split. Felhofer of Luxemburg opposed, recalls “world-class MJ stoner” friend who “died in his very early 50s of drug-related causes.”

Two counties pull out of state plan for regional youth prisons to close Lincoln Hills
… But La Crosse County Executive Steve O’Malley and Fond du Lac County Executive Allen Buechel said last week the counties would be shouldering too much risk by relying on existing state aids for children in long-term care. Without more state revenue to support the regional operations, they said, the plans would be asking too much of county taxpayers.

Trump Appointees Shunted Scientists on Pollution at Foxconn Site
… [Trump EPA] initially had recommended labeling Racine County as violating federal air quality standards for ozone in 2017 … could have required Taiwan-based Foxconn to install expensive, state-of-the-art pollution controls … But after [Walker] appeals … and at the apparent direction of then EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, the agency reversed course in 2018, ruling Racine was in compliance with the ground-level smog standard. … “I do not see a sound technical basis for the area we are being directed to finalize in Wisconsin,” [EPA’s] Liljegren … wrote in an April 11, 2018 email. … obtained by the Sierra Club and Clean Wisconsin under [FOIA]. … “To see apparent direction from political leadership that the technical staff is objecting to is disturbing,” [ex-EPA-er] McCabe said … Asked for comment, an EPA spokesman referred to the legal filing. Pruitt resigned last July. Walker was defeated for re-election in November. … After the EPA proclaimed Racine County was in compliance, a coalition of environmental groups, cities and counties challenged the designation in federal court.


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– 11:45 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.: Milwaukee Rotary Club. Guest speaker is Racine Mayor Cory Mason. Rotary meetings are open to members, invited guests and media.

– 1 p.m.: Assembly Committee on Forestry, Parks and Outdoor Recreation public hearing on AB 134, relating to amounts obligated under the Warren Knowles-Gaylord Nelson Stewardship 2000 Program for water infrastructure projects in state parks.

– 1 p.m.: Senate Committee on Government Operations, Technology and Consumer Protection executive session. Members are to vote by paper ballot on SB 178, relating to authorizing a biennial budget procedure for political subdivisions.

– 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m.: DPI hearing on revisions to educator licensure rules.

– 1:30 p.m.: Assembly Committee on Energy and Utilities public hearing on AB 233, relating to the charging facility grant program; and AB 235, relating to exception from local levy limits for political subdivisions receiving certain utility aid payments.

– 1:35 p.m.: Assembly Committee on Agriculture public hearing on AB 69, relating to permit fees for concentrated animal feeding operations, other bills.

– 2 p.m.: Joint Committee on Finance executive session. The committee will take action on the following budget areas: district attorneys, public defender, circuit courts, UW System and Department of Natural Resources.

– 6 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.: Listening session with Rep. Subeck and Sen. Risser.

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