TUE News Summary: Evers, GOP leaders continue to spar over working with women

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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/



White house

State government

Local government






Health care

Law and order


Public health and safety

Real estate


Small business






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?” BY Marley, MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL

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. BY Marley, MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL

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. By Torres, RACINE JOURNAL TIMES

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. By SPicuzza, Bice, Dirr, MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL


– $15 minimum wage becomes part of 2020 presidential landscape

– [2014] UW-EC graduate in spotlight as nation’s potential first gentleman: Chasten Glezman married to candidate Pete Buttigieg

– John Nichols: Amash Breaks Party Ranks to Call Trump’s Conduct Impeachable, Trump is furious that a Republican read the Mueller report and responded with an embrace of the Constitution rather than party loyalty.

– Moore analysis: Tax law changes net state revenue windfall, But most of increased revenue will be one-time

– Will Lena Taylor Run for Mayor? Group attempting to draft Democratic Senator to run in crowded field.

– Town of Beloit reports costly illegal dumping problem: 500 hours in 2018 collecting roadside dumps

– Douglas County seeks savings on old borrowing … refinancing two bond issues, one for $4.7 million issued in 2010 and one for refunding $7.6 million for a State Trust Fund loan.

– Going out of business: Ascena Retail Group closing all of its nearly 650 Dressbarn stores … There are currently 11 Dressbarn stores in Wisconsin, according to Dressbarn’s website, including Sheboygan Falls, Oshkosh, Rothschild and Ashwaubenon. … more than 7,000 closings announced for 2019. … 5,864 closings in 2018, which included all Toys R Us stores and hundreds of Kmart and Sears locations. The record year for closings was 2017 with 8,139 shuttered stores.

– Valley View Mall to lose another retailer as Dressbarn closing all 650 stores

– A Wauwatosa teacher wanted Scott 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. [see Columns]

– Madison School Board lays out timeline for hiring interim superintendent

– Racine teachers’ union protests proposed cuts … teachers … holding signs with messages including “Racine students deserve to be the budget priority” and chanting “hey hey, ho ho, where did the money go?” … repeatedly chanted “chop from the top” … At points during the meeting some attendees were asked to stay outside, or to step out to ensure the room was not over capacity. … “Our ask is simple: Keep what’s best for kids at the center of all local budget decisions,” said teacher Angelina Cruz, president of REU. “Our bosses don’t need bosses. Chop from the top.” … [REU’s Knudson] said all proposed changes to the employee benefits plan either reduce benefits or shift costs to employees.

– UW-Oshkosh renames welcome center for Culver’s co-founder

– Jefferson teacher [Utrie] helping develop DPI personal finance standards

– UW-Whitewater graduates more than 1,600 students … Presiding over both ceremonies was UW-Whitewater Interim Chancellor Cheryl Green.

– WITC hosts graduation at Superior campus: for 160 grads

– 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.

ENERGY ^top^
– UW-STOUT Students study possible use of lake algae for biofuel

– DNA of Asian carp detected in Illinois near Lake Michigan … [April 8] in Lake Calumet … about five miles from Lake Michigan. … but subsequent testing has not turned up any actual carp. … [USFWS’] McGovern said that DNA is part of a “body of evidence to understand the potential for carp to be there … there are lots of ways genetic material can move through the system.” Alliance for the Great Lakes’ Flanagan dubbed it “troubling … we need to move quickly with the construction of additional Asian carp protections at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam.”

– UW-Superior buys facility for ballast water treatment research, Superior home to the only land-based testing facility in the Great Lakes … Northeast-Midwest Institute had a cooperative agreement with the Maritime Administration (MARAD) to conduct its ballast water testing program, but when that agreement ended, MARAD approached UW-Superior to operate the testing.

– [DouglasCo] Study group considers zoning change to combat chronic wasting disease … Protecting [hunting] industry is the goal behind a one-year moratorium that prohibits transporting live deer into Douglas County and the creation of the Communicable Diseases in Cervids study group.

– Not Just For Soldiers: Civilians with PTSD struggle to find effective therapy … Outside of military and veterans’ health facilities, [difficulty] finding … mental health counselors, therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists … trained in … cognitive processing therapy and prolonged exposure therapy.

– ‘One try to become addicted’ – How illicit and legal drugs impact the Vilas County community

– Rapid Opioid Cutoff Is Risky Too, Feds Warn … [CDC, FDA] last month warned prescribers that abruptly cutting off high-dose patients or tapering their doses too rapidly could cause withdrawal and even suicide.

– WisContext: OWIs in Wisconsin are dropping, but there are still tens of thousands each year, from arrests to convictions to corrections, how does the state enforce its drunk driving laws?

– Retired La Crosse priest accused of sexual assault at library … [94 y/o] Msgr. Bernard McGarty of La Crosse was arrested on charges of fourth-degree sexual assault and released on a signature bond, according to the police report.

– Walz, legislative leaders, reach budget agreement

– Salem Lakes wants to crack down on underage vaping

– River levels rise after heavy rains: Chippewa River near flood stage

– Tenants eye future possibilities at Oscar Mayer site

– Most U.S. states look to legalize sports gaming year after Supreme Court decision

– Japanese company purchases Genesis … NPK Construction Equipment, a subsidiary of the Nippon Pneumatic Manufacturing Co. LTD (NPK Japan), announced the purchase Friday, May 17.

– WI hotel room tax collection 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.

– Who Will Lead VISIT Milwaukee? Longtime president leaving at end of 2019 as convention center expansion, DNC loom.

– BIG TEN ROWING: Michigan first, Wisconsin third at Big Ten Championships … Sunday at Devil’s Lake State Park in Baraboo.

– 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.

– Midwest Xcel Energy will be coal-free by 2030

– BDN editorial: Who is to blame? Look in a mirror, Consumers will pay a tariff tax that reflects their shopping choices. … it made news when Fox News host Chris Wallace pinned down the top White House economic adviser on the topic, cornering Larry Kudlow into acknowledging that China is not paying the United States for higher tariffs – those extra costs fall to American import businesses and, eventually, U.S. consumers. … At least, though, the current tariff battle should be conducted on honest terms. The escalating war is a tax on American companies and consumers, who are paying the cost until China falls to its knees and capitulates to President Trump’s demands. Don’t hold your breath waiting for that.

– Scott Walker: Big-government union bosses revel in collective bargaining

– Jessie Opoien: Access to health care versus access to fresh food is a false choice

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