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— Polls are open for the special election to replace former Kenosha state Rep. Peter Barca in the 64th AD.
The contest is between Dem Thaddeus “Tip” McGuire, a former Barca staffer and an assistant DA for Milwaukee County, and Republican Mark Stalker, who spent several decades in the paint business in various sales positions — including time at True Value Company and PPG Industries.
The two are also holding election night events in Kenosha. McGuire will be at the Fireside Restaurant & Lounge, while Stalker will hold his at Casa Capri.
Follow results tonight in the Election Blog:
And see past WisPolitics.com profiles on McGuire and Stalker:
— Gov. Tony Evers is planning to sign his first bill into law today at the state Capitol.
The legislation would remove references to the phrase “mental retardation” and related language from administrative rules. The bill also would change the definition of “intellectual disability” in rules promulgated by the Department of Health Services.
Both houses of the Legislature signed off on the effort April 9.
The bill signing comes after Evers last month announced an executive order with a similar goal on the eve of the bill’s public hearing. The bill’s authors — Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Rep. John Jagler — have said Evers didn’t reach out to them before signing the executive order.
A Jagler spokeswoman said the Watertown Republican was invited to attend the ceremony and will be joining the guv. A spokesman for Fitzgerald said the Juneau Republican was also invited but won’t be able to attend due to prior scheduling commitments.
— The Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee is meeting this morning to hear testimony on a bill that would tweak the distribution of fees from concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs.
The bill, from GOP Sens. Rob Cowles and Pat Testin and Rep. Scott Krug, would change where the annual permit fee for CAFOs goes. Now, $95 from the $345 fee is deposited into an appropriations account used by the DNR for permitting and compliance activities, while the remaining $250 goes to the general fund.
But under the bill, the full $345 fee for water pollutant discharge elimination system permit holders would be deposited into the DNR program revenue account.
See the bill draft:
— Ethics Commission Administrator Dan Carlton will appear before the Assembly Constitution and Ethics Committee during an informational hearing today.
See the agenda:
— The conservative Badger Institute estimates raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour would put 350,000 Wisconsin jobs at risk, with most of the projected job losses happening at lower income levels.
Gov. Tony Evers has proposed upping the minimum wage from its current $7.25 level to $10.50 by 2023, as part of a transition toward a $15 hourly wage. And other states such as California, Massachusetts and Illinois are all on track to have a $15 hourly wage in the near future.
Republican lawmakers in the state have said Evers’ plan would hurt businesses in the state by raising costs, while Dems argue an incremental approach to raising the minimum wage would benefit workers and the communities in which they live.
The new report from the nonprofit Badger Institute claims 350,000 workers would lose their jobs if the state’s minimum wage was raised to $15 an hour. Study authors say half of those jobs would be lost by the state’s poorest residents, with incomes in the bottom 10 percent of the income distribution.
The report was authored by economists Ike Brannon and Andrew Hanson, two Badger Institute visiting fellows. They wrote in their analysis that 50 percent of all affected workers in food preparation and service would lose their jobs.
The Madison Club
Evers appoints first slate of people to UW System Board of Regents
… Karen Walsh, of Madison, and Edmund Manydeeds III, of Eau Claire … will serve seven-year terms that begin May 2. … will replace John Robert Behling and Regina Millner. … Olivia Woodmansee, a UW-La Crosse student studying math and English, will serve a two-year appointment as student regent. Manydeeds was a one-term Regent under Doyle. WDC showed both are Evers donors. Evers was Regent for 10 years until elected guv, at his final board meeting last December, pledged to appoint independent people, “not employees of mine.” Walker lame-duck appointees Beightol and Tiedeman are under legal challenge.
Evers’ marijuana decriminalization plan would make WI unique. Here’s how
[WPF noted 13 states treat small amounts as misdemeanor, but Evers’ plan] would go a step further and remove even civil citation penalties for having less than 26 grams of the drug, making it unique among the states. … [WPF’s] Wisconsin Taxpayer notes that currently such civil penalties for first-time possession range widely among the state’s largest cities, from as little as $1 in Eau Claire to $500 in Green Bay. … promotes full legalization only for medical marijuana, like 33 states, and not for recreational use, like 10 states, including neighboring Michigan. … suggests lawmakers can’t avoid the question forever, because of various levels of legalization in surrounding states and a growing interest by Wisconsin’s electorate. … characterizes Evers’ two-step approach as reasonable. … “keep the state in line with regional trends and public opinion, and his decriminalization proposal would create a uniform policy statewide” … would give lawmakers some experience by which to consider broader legalization later on. … examines Evers’ proposal for medical marijuana. [shall be WI-grown by Wisconsinites and] pass inspections for potency and impurities. Report reminds pot it still federal Schedule 1 illegal substance, “creates an uncertain environment for states with medical or legal marijuana programs.” Baldauff for Evers: “As is the case with Medicaid expansion and increased funding for special education, the people overwhelmingly agree with the governor on legalizing marijuana for medical purposes.”
While Advocates Push For Criminal Justice Reform, State Officials Urge Patience
WISDOM’s Liners likes parts of Evers’ budget: expanded inmate mental health, “Opening Avenues to Reentry Success program,” into all 72 counties, opening 4 more institution-based job centers, expanding the Windows to Work program to all minimum- and medium-security institutions. But Evers’ increases prison capacity, “Leads one to believe that there’s not a very aggressive plan to reduce the prison population,” and Liners said Guv is dragging his feet on appointing a chair to the parole commission, “something he could do and could actually make a point of moving very quickly.” DOC Sec. Carr: “Just wait and see. The governor’s only been in office for three-and-a-half months, and there’s much work to be done and there’s some time left to do it. … I believe that with a new commissioner comes a new perspective on parole eligibility and a more expansive view of who should be eligible for that parole,” suggested he could release almost 5,000 inmates who are only in for supervision violations, “who aren’t there because of having committed a crime,” hopes for reduced recidivism and improved staffing by first term’s end.”
Medicaid Work Requirements Hit Roadblocks
… Legislation on Medicaid work requirements died in West Virginia and Wyoming in February and in Iowa in March at virtually the same time a U.S. district judge in Washington, D.C., ruled that work requirements in Medicaid in Kentucky and Arkansas were illegal. … other states whose work requirement plans have been approved by HHS are moving ahead, including Arizona, Michigan, Ohio and Utah. Not including the two states affected by the court ruling, HHS has approved Medicaid work requirements in seven states and is considering applications from six others. … In Wisconsin, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has indicated that he opposes work requirements. But during the lame-duck session last fall, Republicans passed a measure requiring legislative approval to lift the work requirements.
Vos supports increasing gas tax, but says that’s not the entire answer
… “I will say, for our roads, I support raising the gas tax,” Vos said at a budget listening session in Union Grove on Thursday. “I think we need to raise revenue. I support tolling; I support any revenue option that says we’re going to pay cash instead of borrowing.” … “You are not going to save your way out of it; you are not going to be able to borrow your way out,” Vos said. “The only way that we can (pay for roads) is to figure out how do we continue to find efficiencies, and the (Department of Transportation) has done an excellent job of finding efficiencies.” … Vos said the state needs to consider fees for electric vehicles … some estimates claim as many as a third of cars on the road in 2030 will be electric. … Vos, accompanied by state Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, also held listening sessions Thursday in Mount Pleasant and Burlington. … Wanggaard did not comment directly on increasing the gas tax … wants to help towns and villages across the state repair their roads with state dollars, but … “I don’t want to see road dollars go to funding bike paths,” Wanggaard said. “We need bike paths, but we need the bike people to help pay for that.”
AG Kaul aims to ramp up efforts to combat human trafficking
… calling it “an outrage” the crime still exists. “There’s both sex trafficking and forced labor. This is a crime where people have been forced or coerced into engaging in an illegal activity.” … DOJ also works to educate the public and law enforcement about human trafficking, including sex trafficking and forced labor. … has requested six [dedicated DOJ] positions [4 in digital forensics, 2 in Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force] … unclear whether they will win the approval of the Republican-controlled Legislature … [noted DOJ] has had a human trafficking bureau … since August 2017 … “to reduce demand by prosecuting people who are paying for sex and soliciting prostitutes.” … holds training for law enforcement, both in how to conduct human trafficking investigations and teaching about the signs of trafficking. … “it’s been under-reported,” Kaul said. “We don’t think there’s as much awareness as there should be.” … Court cases here have revealed generations of traffickers, some of whom participated in “pimp roundtables” … a statewide problem. … nearly 100 recent incidents of sex trafficking involving children between June 1, 2017, and Aug. 31, 2018. … many incidents are not reported. “It’s a significant problem,” Kaul said. “It’s a problem that has been impacting communities around the state and around the country.”
Milwaukee gears up for 2020 census with court decision on citizenship question looming
… “The ramifications of the census are much more than just a simple count of the population,” Sharon Robinson, director of the city’s Department of Administration, said Monday at a meeting of the Common Council’s Judiciary and Legislation Committee. … Among the topics of conversation was the citizenship question at issue in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. … decision is expected by the end of June. … [RObinson] hoped the court would rule against … “But even if the citizenship question still stays, the national consensus is that we’re going to push if you’ve been filing your taxes with your (individual taxpayer identification number), they know where you live, they know where you work, so it’s fine, nothing is going to happen to you or your family,” she said. “On the contrary, it is going to be a benefit to be counted.” … A decade ago, the city saw results when it pulled together to communicate the importance of the census, Robinson told the committee.
What obstacles complicate health care for rural Wisconsinites?
… “Medicine on Main Street,” a [WPT, UW-Madison] documentary … chronicles these barriers through the stories of doctors, nurses and other health workers who practice in the state’s rural communities. … marks the 10-year anniversary of UW-Madison’s Wisconsin Academy for Rural Medicine … Four broad obstacles [analysis] … Recruiting and keeping rural doctors and nurses … A shortage for and stigma surrounding mental health … A deficit of local pharmacists … The tyranny of long distances
IL Governor OKs First Steps On Blocking Asian Carp
Technologies In Chicago-Area Waterway Would Prevent Asian Carp From Reaching Lake Michigan … Democrat J.B. Pritzker told the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers he’s willing to move ahead with preconstruction, engineering and design work for the project at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam on the Des Plaines River … a crucial choke point where the invasive carp could be prevented from migrating upstream toward the lake. … Pritzker said in a letter to the Corps Friday that he wants discussions about reducing the project’s price tag, estimated at $778 million.
Report: Watchdogs not looking hard enough for public health hazards in lakes, fish
… two-year study by the Madison-based Midwest Environmental Justice Organization found that local governments aren’t fully using their powers to find sources of industrial contaminants, including PCBs and metals … “They don’t really want to go up to the source,” [MEJO’s] Powell said. “If you don’t find it you don’t have to clean it up.” … County and city administrators of local stormwater systems didn’t dispute MEJO’s finding that they don’t systematically trace those pollutants … [no comment on] Powell’s charge that they don’t want to find the sources. … [city, DNR reps] discussed their efforts to prevent nutrient pollution … Under a DNR permit that requires efforts to control pollutants … local governments have focused on limiting [residential effluent like leaves, soil, motor oil, food] … [city’s Voegeli said] department tests based on what the DNR tells it about pollution sources … many of the contaminants polluting local waters were released long ago and are now in soil, groundwater and sediment. … Madison-Kipp president and CEO Tony Koblinski said Monday that despite complaints from MEJO and others, it is clear to him that local, state and federal governments have held the company accountable with fines and required cleanups. MEJO VP Xiong grew up near Starkweather Creek, family regularly ate fish caught from lakes Monona and Mendota. MEJO report details locals’ failure to meet DNR stormwater permit. DaneCo’s Balousek, punted to Hicklin, who wasn’t available. Parisi spokeswoman didn’t respond. City’s Mohelnitzky said Admin. Fries not available, encouraged public to contact him, shared document that includes an account of “illicit discharge detection and elimination” program activities, acknowledged the city hasn’t promptly posted meeting minutes, noted DNR hasn’t cited the city for noncompliance with permit that expired 5 years ago [renewal in process]. DNR’s Rortvedt said DNR very busy with construction permits since 2008, said new permit doesn’t address MEJO concerns, said DNR has chosen to focus on the “broader” problem of nutrient pollution.
Buffalo County Deer Advisory Council Recommends No-Buck Deer Hunt
Hunting Guides Say Antlerless-Only Hunt Will Kill Local Businesses … Hunters in Buffalo County have shot more trophy deer than in any other county in the nation, according to the Boon and Crocket Club, which verifies trophy whitetails. … [Council chair] Noll said a lack of tools [like repealed DNR earn-a-buck] led them to make the unusual recommendation to only allow hunters to shoot antlerless deer in November. … said in order to get the deer population under control, at least 6,000 deer need to be killed. … “That’s going to kill all my hunters wanting to come here,” [outfitter/lodger] Fluekiger said. “It’s going to kill the restaurants coming in, taxidermists. The amount of money the county makes during that time of the year puts everybody through the winter and it’s going to kill a lot of businesses,” noted guide companies will lose money on $70-100K, multi-year leases with local farmers to allow hunting on their property.
– 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.: Wisconsin School of Business, SBDC: Digital marketing and social media conference.
– 10 a.m.: Assembly Committee on Constitution and Ethics informational hearing. Members are to hear from Wisconsin Ethics Commission Administrator Daniel Carlton Jr.
– 10 a.m.: Assembly Committee on Constitution and Ethics public hearing on AB 38, relating to University of Wisconsin research contracts.
– 10 a.m.: Assembly Committee on Agriculture public hearing on Clearinghouse Rule 17-073, relating to food processing plants, and affecting small business.
– 10 a.m.: Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy public hearing on SB 169, relating to wetland mitigation banks; and SB 31, relating to permit fees for concentrated animal feeding operations.
– 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.: WisPolitics.com/Milwaukee Press Club: Newsmaker Luncheon with Gov. Tony Evers.
– 11:45 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.: Milwaukee Rotary Club. Guest speaker is Wisconsin Policy Forum President Rob Henken. Rotary meetings are open to members, invited guests and media.
– 12 p.m.: Assembly Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care executive session on SB 76, relating to hours of instructional program for nurse aides.
– 3 p.m.: PSC hearing.
– 5 p.m.: UW-Madison Global Health Institute: “The changing face of emergency care: People, policy, politics.” Speaker is GHI Associate Director Janis Tupesis.
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