TUE News Summary: Kelly announces bid for full term on Supreme Court

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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/



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Conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Kelly running
Conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly is running for a full term in 2020. Kelly announced his intentions on the Jay Weber radio show Tuesday on WISN-AM. … Kelly was appointed to the court in 2016 by then-Gov. Scott Walker. … Marquette University Law School professor Ed Fallone and Dane County Circuit Judge Jill Karofsky have also announced they are running. Both of them would offer liberal alternatives to Kelly. By CHANNEL 3000

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. By Beck and Johnson, MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL

WI’s Democratic governor, GOP not getting along
… Evers, who spent a lifetime in public education, first as a teacher and finally as the state superintendent of schools, has dismissed much of the back and forth as “huffing and puffing.” However, there is no escaping that there is a pall over the Capitol. Rehash back and forth during RPW convention, Vos jab at Evers’ visit to returning National Guard, lame-duck laws and suits, only 5 bills passed and signed [including Ellis road-naming, “mental retardation” replacement], removal of Evers budget nuggets. Ex-sen. Cullen said low bill count not unusual when everything gets stuffed into budget, “I always thought in government, and personal life, if you meet with somebody and talk to them in person, it’s much harder to lob grenades. … Governor Evers was never going to get everything he wanted out of the Republican Legislature. And the Republican Legislature has to learn they’re not going to get all they want from the governor.” Evers expected to address potential compromises at DPW convention this weekend. Vos said it was “too early to tell” but, “In politics, it is a mistake to have a grudge.” By AP, MPR

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. By Verburg, WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL

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. By Dirr, MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL

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 Hitt as new chair at their convention. By Sommerhauser, WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL


– Conservative dark money group American Action Network reveals spending blitz to support Trump’s tax cut law … American Action Network, a group closely aligned to former House Speaker Paul Ryan, more than tripled its media spending bill from July 2017 through June 2018 … filing also shows the group gave a $15.8 million grant to its sister super PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund. A big chunk of the $51 million in contributions and grants the group received came from a mysterious unnamed donor who gave $16 million. 501(c)(4)s are not legally required to disclose their donors.

– Tammy Baldwin Rips Trump For $62 Million In Farm Aid To ‘Corrupt’ Brazilian Company, JBS, the largest meatpacking company in the world, is owned by two billionaire brothers under investigation by the Justice Department.

– The bill to American taxpayers for Trump’s golf outings — $102 million … Trump has spent 174 days of his presidency at golf courses that he owns … During the 2016 campaign, Trump promised to swear off golf , telling one crowd in Virginia: “I’m going to be working for you. I’m not going to have time to play golf.” … Similarly, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in 2014: “Obama’s golf outings aren’t just bad optics. They’re foolish and voters realize this.”

– John Nichols: Socialism Is More Popular Than Donald Trump, The president is campaigning against socialism. New polling suggests he is failing.

– John Nichols: Sean Duffy is Trump’s No. 1 fanboy

– Moore analysis: GOP lawmakers agree on $500-million education boost, But plan would spend less than half of what Evers is proposing

– 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.

– Transcript: Sen. Ron Johnson on “Face the Nation,” May 26, 2019

– Trump wants to kill this federal agency [OPM]. Democrats blasted the idea. … Most of its functions would move into the General Services Administration … OPM’s massive, backlogged security clearance system already is in the process of shifting to the Defense Department … Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.) questioned whether such a major change could be carried out this year, as the administration had originally planned.

– Tuning in to his constituents … Steil … met with constituents at [GTC] during a listening session Friday. … hosted sessions in Milton and Waukesha as well.

– Rep. Steil hosts listening session in Milton

– Merrill Residents Seek Recalls Of City Council Members, Recall Petitions Certified For Half Of City Council … At issue is a property tax hike residents saw earlier this year, exacerbated by an error by the city’s finance director that initially made residents’ tax bills look even worse. But recall organizer Mark Bares said the effort has become about multiple issues … residents asked for fewer closed sessions in public meetings, an audit of city funds and other changes. … In the case of the fifth petition, [Clerk Heidemann] found invalid signatures. Recallers will have five days to submit corrections.

– Mayor [Antaramian] recovering from Sunday heart attack

– Dodge County administrators defend delays in software launch … new Enterprise Resource Planning system was set for May 1 and then it was rescheduled for July 1. The “system ready” date is scheduled for Oct. 18 with the new “go-live” date now scheduled for January 2020.

– Wisconsin Honey Producers See Third Year Of Declining Production, Poor Weather Conditions, Continued Challenges Cause 23 Percent Decline In Honey Output … rain washes the nectar out of flowers and it can take several days for plants to build up enough for bees to collect it. … increased pesticide use and a shift to larger fields with fewer fence rows have affected habitat for pollinators.

COURTS ^top^
– Walworth County officials join push to raise nation’s lowest defense lawyer pay

– Take a Hawaiian vacation cruise with … Scott Walker? … Walker is offering a once in a lifetime opportunity to join him on a cruise around the Hawaiian islands next Jan. 29-Feb. 9. (And his family; Tonette isn’t about to get left at home.) Such trips are apparently a big thing now in the GOP’s endless search for more money, and Wisconsin’s former governor is looking to cash in. The cheapest booking is “only $5,499,” plus taxes and fees.

– WI’s Population Growing, While Milwaukee’s Continues To Decline, Madison And Its Suburbs Seeing Sharp Increases In Population Growth

– Hispanic Unemployment Has Hit Record Lows. But Does That Mean Progress?

– 4 fresh takes on Fiserv Forum’s design as the Bradley Center comes down and the Bucks’ exposure rises

– What does it mean to be a UW-Madison professor? New job titles will change its meaning: Faculty Senate last month approved new tenureless job titles: “teaching professor” and “research professor”. Each academic department will decide whether to appoint academic staff to the roles. Some faculty feel the titles sell-out to administration at a time when shared governance is weakening, other see titles helping with recruitment and retention. UW staff Orf has been tenured elsewhere, “I’m not trying to take away anyone’s tenure. We really are sort of holding ourselves back a little bit, I think, by keeping these out-of-date titles.” Prof. Everett told Faculty Senate, “no matter what statements are there in bold at the end (of these resolutions) about how we don’t want this to be used as arguments against hiring more faculty positions, I think it’s very clear that that’s already going on.” Prof. O’Guinn added, “we’re in a battle of hearts and minds with the public and with government to maintain some of (these) specialists and I don’t see any way this is not a diminution of the notion of the tenured professor.” Lacking title of “research professor” was cited among reasons UW dropped from top 5 research universities. 35-50 of present 700 profs may qualify for title. UW researcher Hubbard implied lacking the title lost him grants and could win more. Academic staff chair Niemi said titles correlate with pay ranges and could help pay equity. Horticulture chair Goldman, who served on one of the committees looking at the titling topic, said his department said “teaching professor” connotes more, “This is a low-cost or no-cost way to ensure we’re not only competitive but that we can get these best people. Why wouldn’t we do this?”

– Watson named UW-W chancellor

– Beaver Dam High School threat deemed not credible

– On The Campaign Trail, These Are Hot Spots Candidates Can’t Resist … Here’s a sample of some of the other hot spots in the first four states to vote in 2020 [IA, NH, SC, NV

ENERGY ^top^
– Douglas County panel lends support to carbon tax … Land Conservation Committee is recommending the Board adopt a resolution urging Congress to adopt H.R. 763, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019.

– [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.

– Nygren introduces PFAS bill, Marinette representative proposes conditional ban on firefighting foams

– Lake Michigan water levels at near high as prolonged periods of wetter weather inundate the lake

– 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.

– Trump EPA backs away from smog breaks for Foxconn, Indiana steel mills

– State To Cover Workers’ Weight-Loss Surgery, Wisconsin will pay for bariatric surgery for state employees starting in 2020

– Unions, States Confront Trump Home Care Worker Rule … Public-sector unions, struck last year by a U.S. Supreme Court [Janus] decision that ended their ability to charge non-members fees, suffered another blow this month when the Trump administration blocked hundreds of thousands of Medicaid-funded home health aides from deducting union dues from their paychecks. CA, CT, MA, OR, WA – and SEIU – sued, argued CMS rule will stop the workers from making payroll deductions for health insurance premiums and training costs, make it harder to work together to improve their jobs and better serve their elderly and disabled clients.

– [Pagenaud sponsor] John Menard gets first Indy 500 win

– 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.

– Oshkosh police find, arrest inmate after escape from Mercy Hospital, attempted car theft

– Three people found dead in Kiel home, DOJ investigating

MEDIA ^top^
– Meghan McCain Has a Framed Photo of Shirtless Paul Ryan in Her ‘The View’ Dressing Room

– Sacrifice and ceremony at Union Grove Veterans Memorial Cemetery … The line-up of representatives included Vos, Steil, Gov. Tony Evers and Mary Kolar, Evers’ secretary-designee for the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, all of whom spoke of the lives lost in far-flung conflicts over the decades and the families left behind.

– Madisonians, mayor, lawmaker [Sargent] celebrate Memorial Day at rally calling for peace

– A U.S. Army Tweet Asking ‘How Has Serving Impacted You?’ Got An Agonizing Response … Among [> 11K] responses: harrowing tales of trauma, depression and sexual assault.

– MN Supreme Court: Malpractice ruling has doctors concerned … recently ruled a doctor can be sued for malpractice even if he or she is not directly treating a patient. The decision involves an Iron Range case in which a hospital doctor allegedly refused to admit a patient who was being treated by a nurse practitioner. The physician based his decision on a 10-minute telephone call. The patient died several days later.

– New Bill Would Boost Wisconsin’s Volunteer Firefighters, EMTs, In Rural Areas, Shortage Of Responders Can Be Dangerous … [Testin’s BRAVE Act] would offer tax credits to volunteer firefighters and emergency services personnel. … noted that the average age of the state’s volunteer firefighters is increasing — from 50 years old in 2006 to 60 today. And the jobs demand serious time and effort. “These are men and women who give up time with their families to be on-call 24/7,” Testin said. “We’ve heard stories where they’ve had to leave Thanksgiving dinner or gift exchanges on Christmas to go out and answer calls.” WI EMS’ Cohen: “You’d be hard-pressed to find a volunteer law enforcement, or a volunteer trash collector. … This state is run by volunteers, who give of their time freely and without compensation to save a life.”

– Sun Prairie to install statue honoring fallen firefighter Cory Barr: widow endorsed effort

– Jeremy Resler: In 2009, [UWM] school of public health this writer pushed for opened in Milwaukee. Here’s how he says it’s working.

– Downtown buildings pose unique threat to fire safety

– The Couture Gets Financing Extension, Construction starts on Adams Garden Park, wellness center for King Drive.

– Lawmaker’s [Sargent’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.”

– First responders, businesses increasingly turn to drones

– Some Wisconsin park areas, trails remain closed to visitors due to storm, flood damage

– DOT revokes Bellevue motorcycle shop’s vehicle dealer license … McCoy’s Cycles of Green Bay … failed to perform vehicle inspections prior to selling vehicles or display a buyer’s guide on the vehicles … failed to use purchase contracts and failed to disclose service fees to customers

– State Missed Chance to Electrify Transportation, Report gives Wisconsin an “F” grade for how it spent VW settlement money.

TRIBES ^top^
– LdF Tribe wants control of six roads

– Lodi to bill water customers for $1.8 million project built without [PSC] permission … [PSC] voted last week to allow cost recovery for the booster station … Noting a growing number of similar cases … Commissioner Ellen Nowak objected to the cost recovery, saying the utility “deliberately chose not to follow policies … If we don’t have a consequence, we might as well not have a rule.” … The other two commissioners agreed that the violation was deliberate but lamented that the citizens of Lodi would end up paying the bill one way or another.

– CT Editorial: John Tate is outstanding pick to head Parole Commission

– LeadingAge’s Sauer: Wisconsin must address nursing facilities funding shortfall

– Dave Zweifel: The more we learn about the Foxconn deal, the less there is to like

– James Wigderson: School teacher defends right not to join union in Act 10 lawsuit

– Jessie Opoien: Wisconsin should follow the lead of Madison students on comprehensive, consent-based sex ed

– Steven Walters: Vos, Fitzgerald trade highway funding ideas

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