TUE News Summary: General fund would see $1.4B less under JFC motion

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Today: WisPolitics.com Luncheon: WI’s role in the Presidential Race

Join WisPolitics.com for lunch at The Madison Club, 5 East Wilson St., Madison, on Tuesday, May 7 with top pundits talking about Wisconsin’s role in the presidential race and how upcoming state party conventions could be the first sign of candidate strength.

The pundits include Republican operative Keith Gilkes, Democratic strategist Tanya Bjork and Marquette University Law School poll Director Charles Franklin.

Check-in and lunch begins at 11:30 a.m., with the program going from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM.

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Proposed GOP changes create $1.4 billion hole in Tony Evers’ budget plan
… [LFB analysis] roughly matches the amount by which Evers wants to increase state spending on K-12 schools, in another sign that GOP lawmakers will not embrace that proposal. Republicans already said last week that they won’t build from Evers’ overall spending blueprint. … [JFC last week vowed build off Walker’s last budget,] scrap more than 130 provisions of Evers’ budget, including an expansion of Medicaid and tax increases on large manufacturers and some high earners. … what’s chiefly responsible for creating the $1.4 billion negative fiscal impact … would reduce federal funds going into the state budget by nearly $1.1 billion in the next two years [mostly from scrapping Medicaid expansion, which Evers vowed to “fight like hell” to preserve]. Executive action begins Thu. JFC co-chairs Nygren, Darling could not be reached. Darling statement said she’ll miss Thu’s session due to doctor advice. GOP changes scrapped pot provisions, min wage hike, voucher enrollment cap, local levy cap relief, immigrant DL’s and in-state tuition, min markup and RTW repeal. By Sommerhauser, WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL

‘It was rape:’ Wisconsin Army National Guard officer Megan Plunkett says she was retaliated against, disciplined for reporting sexual assaults
… Plunkett said she was sexually assaulted by three different men while serving as an officer in the Wisconsin Army National Guard from 2012 through 2018. … Guard investigators … concluded that Plunkett was always a willing participant. … exemplifies a system that is under growing scrutiny as numerous complaints about a culture of sexual assault and harassment … Gov. Tony Evers and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin have asked the federal government to review the Guard’s policies and an investigation is set to start this month. … [but VA] affirmed Plunkett’s experiences, concluding that she has severe post-traumatic stress disorder from “military sexual trauma.” An independent military panel later concurred … VA now provides Plunkett with free health care, which is unusual for National Guard veterans who have not been on active duty. She was also awarded $3,000 a month for living expenses and costs associated with her PTSD after undergoing multiple medical evaluations from doctors and psychiatrists. … Plunkett cannot keep a full-time job and some days cannot get out of bed. She struggles with depression and anxiety, and has attempted suicide. Details, Plunkett comments. By Ferral, CAPITAL TIMES

Replacing Lincoln Hills prison expected to cost far more than original estimates
… Counties are seeking more than $100 million from the state for new facilities. Lawmakers have made up to $40 million available for them. Milwaukee County officials contend they need more than that — $41 million — just for their own facility. Racine County officials want nearly as much — $38 million. … La Crosse County is seeking up to $20 million and Dane County is seeking up to $4.5 million. Brown and Fond du Lac counties also are considering building the facilities but haven’t determined how much they would cost. … Evers wants to push back the deadline indefinitely, saying his administration would close Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake as soon as new facilities are available. Lawmakers have said they want a firm deadline but are willing to extend it to the summer or fall of 2021. Also at issue is funding. Milwaukee DHS dir. Meyers: “We recognize the urgency to close Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake, but Act 185 doesn’t go far enough to improve conditions of confinement and reduce the number of young people in our justice system. Now is the time for Wisconsin to reform policy to create transformative change that will impact our youth for generations to come and make our communities safer.” By Marley, MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL

Evers Chats About Wisconsin’s ‘Year Of Clean Drinking Water’
… “We’re putting significant resources in to make sure that not only we have ways of fixing lead service lines, but also make sure that we focus our efforts on targeting runoff management that impacts our suburban people and rural people in the state of Wisconsin,” Evers explains. … “We’ll continue to fight. It does concern me and it should concern your listeners, too. People say, ‘Geeze, we don’t think it’s fair that we’re putting all this money into these urban areas … because it doesn’t impact us,’ ” Evers says. “Well, who can be for having kids drinking water that has lead in it?” … “It can’t be just, ‘Well, we’re going to fix wells,’ he explains. “We’re going to make sure that the runoff is contained. We’re making sure that we have good instruments in place to monitor runoff and pollution. But that is something that’s going to be ongoing.” … thinks we can all learn from the tribal nations in Wisconsin. “They have a cultural and spiritual respect for making sure that the water stays clean and we value it,” he explains. 11:47 audio. By Dennis & Sigfusson, WUWM

Wolf debate howls in Hudson
… [on May 3,] Supporters and opponents of the latest effort to remove wolves from [endangered] list spoke to U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson … who was joined by a panel of state lawmakers [Rep. Stafsholt, Douglas Board Chair Liebert, Baldwin staffer] and officials from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). … Johnson [and Baldwin staffer] spoke in support of a USFWS rule-change proposal to delist gray wolves in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan and Wyoming … “This is a heck of a conservation success story,” said [USFWS’] Wooley … “It’s only being held up by federal politics,” [Stafsholt] said. Wolf advocate Ricci feared trophy hunters will “only to take them back to the brink of extinction,” but Wooley declared “full faith and trust” in DNR management. Some residents with dead pets spoke little confidence. Liebaert, a WFU board member: “I literally beg you” to delist the gray wolf, took umbrage with a Sierra Club advocate’s comment that only a fraction of a percent of livestock deaths are attributable to wolf attacks, “Great, if they’re not yours.” USFWS accepting written comments until May 14, will make a final recommendation after May 15, 2020. BY Longanecker, HUDSON STAR OBSERVER


– John Nichols: Impeachment is the Constitution’s ‘final instrument of self-defense’

– Moore analysis: GOP vows to remove non-fiscal policy items from budget, Medicaid expansion, right to work repeal among items in governor’s budget

– Sen. Tammy Baldwin talks about the issues: 8:11 video interview

– Snopes: Were Democrats Absent from a [Johnson’s] Senate Hearing on Border Security? A photograph shows a bunch of empty Senate chairs during the hearing. … False. … While many members of this committee were absent during the moment captured in the viral still image, they were present at other parts of the hearing. … Johnson said: “I really appreciate the attendance here by members, so I’ll defer my questioning to the end. We do have a vote we have to deal with 11 o’clock. It’s my intention to keep the hearing going. Hopefully we get some cooperation from committee members.”

– Bice: Milwaukee Ald. Terry Witkowski accuses colleagues of making decisions based on race, not best interests of city … made his explosive charge in his quarterly, taxpayer-funded newsletter to the residents in his south side district this week. “In my first eight-month term, the council seemed to vote by race,” wrote Witkowski, who was first elected in July 2003. “My next three terms under (former Ald. Willie) Hines and (Ald. Michael) Murphy as president, the councils voted on issues and the best interest of the city. “This term is more an anti-mayor/color-of-our-skin council,” Witkowski wrote. “Fairness and issues don’t seem to matter much.” … [Alders Coggs, Borkowski shocked.] … The most measured response came from Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton, the clear target of Witkowski’s criticism. … “Despite this truth, few if any votes have fallen completely along racial lines,” Hamilton said via text. “And the suggestion belittles the time, energy and thoughtfulness that all council members go through to make tough decisions for our city.” Af-Ams hold 7 of 15 seats. More excerpts, more comment. “I’m sorry Terry feels that way,” Borkowski said.

– Wisconsin Union debuts dairy-themed [piebald, mini] Terrace chairs to fundraise for UW Vet Medicine project

COURTS ^top^
– Priest abuse: Thomas Ericksen seeks plea deal to avoid jury trial in Sawyer County

– John Nichols: Andrew Gillum Wants the Supreme Court to Be a Central Issue in 2020, “We can’t give that ground anymore,” he says.

– Glendale would provide $37 million to help redevelop struggling Bayshore — with $57 million debt paid off

– [LAB] Audit: UW tuition revenue grew $366M over 9 years as nonresident enrollment surged … UW System President Ray Cross didn’t address the enrollment shift in a letter to auditors responding to the report. He did cite declining enrollment in 2017 to justify his plan to merge the System’s two-year schools with its four-year campuses.

– Baldwin to deliver commencement address at Vermont Law School May 11

– UW-Whitewater chancellor finalist withdraws … [LSU chancellor] Huang’s scheduled visits to the Whitewater and Rock County campuses, scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, are canceled. The release did not give a reason for Huang’s withdrawal. … remaining finalists are Cheryl Green, Dwight Watson and Philip Way.

– State DPI names Ashland teacher 2020 Special Services Teacher of the Year: DPI Super Taylor presented award Monday to Bawaajigekwe Andrea DeBungie

– After loosening of campaign finance laws, cash poured into race for Bewley Senate seat … “This was my fourth race on the state level, and the hardest, without a doubt,” Bewley said. … lamented the ongoing realities of political campaigns: each election requires significantly more fundraising than the last. … Bolen actually outraised Bewley overall, bringing in about $340,000. And the Virginia-based Republican State Leadership Committee flooded the TV airwaves in the district opposing Bewley with [about $350K] “issue ads”

– Great Lakes Water Levels Surge, Some Record Highs Predicted … Melting snow and recent heavy rains have caused the lakes to rise rapidly over the last several weeks … after several years of wet weather … Lake Erie and Lake Superior are projected to surpass record-high water levels set decades ago. “It looks like Lake Superior will tie its May record and break its June and July records before (sic) tying again in August … The lake levels themselves don’t necessarily cause the flooding and the erosion, but when you get wind-induced rises and heavy waves, those can really cause some damage to shoreline and cause the water to run up on shorelines,” said [Army Corp’s] Kompoltowicz. … About a decade ago, the lakes were seeing levels far below the long-term average. Lakes Michigan, Huron and Ontario are not projected to see record high levels at this time, but levels on the lakes are expected to remain high.

– A United Nations report says 1M species are at risk for extinction. Here are some of the threats in Wisconsin … include the American marten (mammal), peregrine falcon and piping plover (birds) and Blanchard’s cricket frog (amphibian) and ornate box turtle (reptile.) All have been harmed by habitat loss. [DNR says] list of plants, animals and fish that are considered endangered or threatened total more than 150 species. Analysis of zebra mussels, EAB, Bat-killing fungus from Europe

– Anthony Scaramucci: Evers’ talk imperils the Foxconn deal … Luckily for Wisconsinites, there’s little that state-level politicians like Evers can do to stop this march toward growth, the unfolding Foxconn failure notwithstanding. It would be a shame for Wisconsin to miss out on those 13,000 jobs — even if it’s no big deal to Gov. Evers — but Donald Trump’s policies have created more than five million jobs nationwide in just over two short years. … jobs that the USMCA brings back could still come in addition to the 13,000 promised in the Foxconn deal. That’s the kind of growth Wisconsin deserves, unimpeded by a politician who lacks the vision and dedication of Donald Trump when it comes to great trade deals that bring manufacturing jobs back to the hard working men and women throughout Wisconsin.

– Baldwin hosts roundtable discussion on health care … Friday Baldwin came to Green Bay to hear the concerns of her constituents – over efforts by the Trump administration to repeal the Affordable Care Act. … In a court filing this week, the White House argued the ACA should be overturned … “The idea that he would ask the attorney general to go into court and argue a case that would result in 20 million people to lose access to health care, it defies my imagination,” Baldwin said. … “We’ve got to keep on fighting. I think that is the alarm bell I’m trying to ring as I host these roundtables across the state.”

– Medical College Of Wisconsin Looking At Cancer Disparities Among African Americans, Black Residents 22 Percent Higher Than White Residents To Get Cancer In Wisconsin … Overall, Wisconsin residents are 3.6 percent more likely to get cancer than the national average, according to NCI … [also] found cancer diagnosis and mortality disparities among racial and ethnic groups … [MCW’s] Matthews and her colleagues received a grant from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation and began visiting central city churches, libraries and community centers. … recently launched a program, Men Moving Forward, to offer free prostate screenings for African American men. … Greater Milwaukee Foundation has invested $435,000 in recent years on cancer research projects at the Medical College and racial disparity. … Milwaukee has the largest disparity in lung cancer mortality between African-Americans and whites in the nation, [GMF’s] Hines said.

– States seek to cut off religious exemptions for vaccination: focus on ME, NY, CT

– Second Baraboo drug addiction clinic will close in a year as Tellurian announces it will end service

– This State Has a Bundle of Ideas to Lower Drug Prices … From President Donald Trump on down, there is increasing frustration that Americans pay more for prescription drugs than people do in other countries … A February poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 63% of U.S. adults — including 53% of Republicans and 72% of Democrats — think there isn’t as much regulation as there should be of drug industry prices. … Maine’s legislative package aims to attack high drug prices in several ways. PhRMA’s VanderVeer said state legislators are “simply trying to make political points with weak legislative tools” that won’t help patients afford their medicines.

IOWA ^top^
– Iowa podcast Political Party Live is changing the format of Iowa campaign events … with just under 400 followers on Twitter lands interviews with presidential candidates.

– Evers plans to restore pardons in Wisconsin, giving hope to offenders: 4:44 video includes interview with Evers about his most contacted topic. “First of all I believe in redemption. … I believe there’s a moral issue here. Not having hope when you should have hope is the wrong thing for Wisconsin to stand for.” Rehash Walker decline to pardon. UW Law Prof. Finley, pardon seekers comment.

– Dassey, Dahmer among those held at Wisconsin’s Columbia Correctional

– Reported Sexual Offenses Up In Wisconsin Over The Last 5 Years, Data From State DOJ Show Highest Per-Capita Rates Of Sexual Offenses Were In Sauk, Lincoln, Eau Claire Counties … 5,113 sex crimes [rape, non-consensual sodomy, sexual assaults with objects, fondling, incest, statutory rape] reported to law enforcement in 2018. … 4,777 offenses reported in 2014. The highest … came in 2017 with 5,327 reports. … reported rapes has increased steadily [from 1,180 in 2014 to 1,582 in 2018.] Hope House’s LaBroscian said Lake Delton tourism could be a contributing factor to Sauk County numbers, also credited “really great school resource officers that children feel really comfortable disclosing to and reporting to” and nat’l #MeToo movement. EC DA King also credited people becoming more comfortable going to police, touted child advocacy center with a forensic child interviewer, full-time sensitive crime detectives and four officers in a computer forensics lab. CDC 2020-12 survey found 35% of women reported sexual violence during their lives, 25% of women reported sexual violence last year. DOJ did not respond.

– Kids with fake guns can be at great risk, Madison police chief says … An East Side resident reported watching a teen fire several rounds from a handgun into a hill on O’Brien Court Saturday night, with no reports of injuries or property damage. The shooter wasn’t found, but Koval [blog] said such activity is inherently risky. … Police don’t know if a gun being handled or shot is real or not, so they treat every incident as if the gun is real. … Even if a youth believes he or she has been treated unfairly, the best thing to do in a situation is to follow police orders and make a complaint later on, he said.

– Kenosha family hopes new halfway house will offer a breakthrough to men leaving prison … Alfonso Terrazas, his son Alfonso III and his wife Maria are working to launch Breakthrough Ministries … will hold a grand opening for the ministry on May 18.

– Mount Pleasant selects 21-year Police Department veteran [Soens] as new chief … [also] worked for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections and for the City of Janesville. … “Police Chief Soens will help keep us safe as we grow with Foxconn at our front door,” Village President David DeGroot said.

– [Dodge] Sheriff sheds light on drug task force

– Dells man accused of killing wife found dead in Columbia County Jail cell

– Burger Boat Co. upgrades iconic Niagara Falls boats

– Mercury Marine breaks ground on 30,000-square-foot propeller plant expansion

– Richard ‘Dick’ Rupp, owner of popular Sheboygan supper club Rupp’s, died last week at 76

– Lawmakers Seek To Double Traffic Penalties Around Roadside Volunteers
[Rep. Emerson] Bill Follows Hit-And-Run Death Of 3 Girl Scouts, Parent [in CF] In November … According to Emerson, the Girl Scout troop did have [WisDOT-recommended] signs marking their presence. … acknowledged that doubled fines “may not have impacted what happened” to those killed in this instance — the driver was intoxicated from huffing chemical fumes — but said she hopes her bill will raise awareness … “It’s just one of those things that we take for granted,” she said. “Simple community service projects can result in such a terrible situation.” Emerson touted bipartisan support and committee hearing, “Hopefully this is one of the few bills that we can get through this session, because they’re few and far between right now.”

– UW professor wins prestigious scientific prize, could be precursor to Nobel prize … Robert Fettiplace … won the 2019 Passano Fellow award for research into the mechanics of hearing. … for showing how cochlear hair cells sense the tiny mechanical vibrations that sound produces in the inner ear. Passano awards recognize “endeavors with clinical applications.”

– Wisconsin’s tourism economy continues to hum … [Tourism Dept. reported] ninth straight year of positive gains in tourism, one of the pillars of the state’s economy. … [Tourism Sec. Meaney] tours the state to tout … the 4.9% increase in spending per visitor to $118. The number of visitors in 2018 grew by 2 million people over 2017 to 112.1 million. “We’re getting more dollars out of each visitor,” said Meaney, who spent the weekend in northern Wisconsin to help open the fishing season. “It’s a fantastic indication that people are finding more ways to spend time and dollars in Wisconsin.” Data compiled by Tourism Economics and Longwoods International, released Monday at the start of National Travel & Tourism Week. More details. Mayor RHodes-Conway, Destination Madison’s Archer, WisDells CVB’s Snyder comment.

– WI tourism is flourishing; its economic impact reached $21.6B in 2018

– Arts focus locally as tourism spending rises in Wisconsin

– WisEye Morning Minute: Gov. Tony Evers on RTAs: from May 1 Madison Rotary speech, “We have language in [the budget proposal] that allows regional entities to collaborate around issues [like RTAs]…I know that scares some legislators to think that we are creating other bodies that have taxing authority…We just can’t let the issue of ‘we’re against it because it’s going to cost more money’ because I think it’s going to cost less money and that regional authorization is necessary.”

– WisDOT Sec. Craig Thompson: Now is the Time to Invest in Our Roads, Debt service is cutting into the transportation budget, state needs to increase the gas tax and heavy truck fees.

– Baldwin Wants To Put More Money [up to $35M] Into Federal Shipyard Program

– Three Wisconsin men killed in Waukegan silicone plant explosion; fourth victim missing … 9:30 p.m. Friday explosion at the AB Specialty Silicones factory. … Online records indicate that victim is from Illinois. Authorities have not identified the fourth worker. … [Fire Marshall] Lenzi told the (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald on Monday that managers at the AB Specialty Silicones plant sensed something was wrong and were working to evacuate employees before the blast Friday evening.

– KN editorial: Legislators should confirm Barca as revenue secretary

– BDN editorial: Next up: Illinois style budgeting, Voters gave Wisconsin divided government. This is what it looks like in the Age of Polarization. … THE TWO SIDES will bark at each other and point fingers of blame. News flash: Both sides are to blame. … It will take a miracle for Wisconsin to adopt a budget this year. And keep in mind: That’s not the disease; it’s a symptom of the disease. … It’s yet one more reason citizens are disgusted with government, where principles are elastic and depend upon whether there’s an “R” or a “D” by the name of a governor or president.

– Scott Walker: Republicans need to wake up to Democrats’ nationwide judicial power grab

– Scott Walker: America will never be a socialist country

– Jessie Opoien: Lawmakers should reauthorize Wisconsin’s signature land stewardship program for another decade

– UWSP prof. Nerissa Nelson: UW-Stevens Point’s plan to keep majors is a pyrrhic victory

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