WED AM Update: Fitzgerald, Vos deny Foxconn exec mentioned contract renegotiation in meeting

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— Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos are denying a Foxconn exec indicated in a meeting last month that the Taiwanese manufacturer wanted to renegotiate terms of the up-to-$3 billion state incentive package.

Gov. Tony Evers released a letter yesterday to Louis Woo indicating it was the special assistant to Foxconn’s chair and CEO who first brought up changing terms of the deal last month. He also wrote in the letter that he understood that Woo also expressed that desire to Fitzgerald and Vos.

Foxconn, meanwhile, said it isn’t wavering from its commitment to the contract with the state. But it didn’t address the contents of Evers’ letter, which came after GOP leaders criticized the guv.

Evers said last week it was unrealistic to believe the company was going to hit its original goal of creating 13,000 jobs. And he said he was looking at renegotiating terms of the contract, prompting criticism from Fitzgerald and Vos that he was trying to undermine the deal.

In the letter, Evers wrote Woo suggested last month Foxconn would seek changes to “better align the terms with the evolving project and global marketplace.”

But Fitzgerald had a different story.

“I met with Louis Woo for thirty minutes, and there was no discussion about opening up the contract for renegotiation, just general discussion about Foxconn’s expansion and growth,” Fitzgerald said. “This contract is solid — if the job growth and investment doesn’t come, the state doesn’t pay.”

Foxconn said in a statement it still intends to create 13,000 jobs and make Wisconsin a global technology hub. The statement added the company has conducted both “routine engagement and good faith discussions” with the Evers administration on “areas of flexibility within the existing agreement” to make sure it’s positioned for long-term success.

“As previously stated, we remain committed to continuing to work with Governor Evers and his team in a forthcoming and transparent manner, and remain open to further consultation, collaboration, and new ideas,” the company said.

— Vos told Woo “never talked about any of the things Evers suggested.”

In a text message, Vos wrote the company exec was positive and upbeat in his update on how things are going.

“As I said before, if it’s about making the deal more workable to achieve the contract, of course we should be open to discussing it, but why would we back away from the job creation requirements or taxpayer protections?” Vos wrote.

In a tweet late last night, Vos asked, “Why are the mainstream media allowing @GovEvers to try and create the impression that #Foxconn wanted to change their job goals or tax incentives? #nottrue”

But Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, ripped Vos, saying he has been trying to mislead the public. Last week, Vos charged Evers was “naive” for his comments about renegotiating the deal.

“Governor Evers is continuing his good faith effort to work with Foxconn to get the best possible deal for the people of Wisconsin,” Hintz said. “Representative Vos’ efforts to mislead and misinform are both embarrassing and counterproductive. His failure to disclose dealings with Foxconn on possible contractual changes proves that he is not serious in wanting to work with this Administration.”

See the letter:

— The Joint Finance Committee today will travel to Green Bay for a public hearing on Evers’ budget.

The hearing will take place on the UW-Green Bay campus from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Today will be the final time this budget cycle that JFC members will hit the road for a public hearing. Lawmakers previously traveled to Janesville, Oak Creek and River Falls to take testimony from members of the public.

See the notice:

— The Speaker’s Task Force on Suicide Prevention in its first public hearing today will hear testimony from mental health advocates.

Representatives from the Department of Health Services’ Divisions of Care and Treatment Services and Public Health are scheduled to appear before the panel alongside a host of other stakeholders.

Groups scheduled to testify include: the National Conference of State Legislatures; the Center for Suicide Awareness; Mental Health America; the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention; and the State of Nevada Office of Suicide Prevention.

See the notice:


Tomorrow: luncheon with JFC co-chairs

Join for lunch at The Madison Club, 5 East Wilson St., Madison, on Thursday, April 25, with the veteran Republican co-chairs of the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee.

Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, and Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, will discuss Gov. Tony Evers’ budget plan and GOP budget priorities.

See more on the co-chairs:

Check-in and lunch begins at 11:30 a.m., with the program going from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. subscribers and members as well as Madison Club members and their guests receive discounted pricing for WisPolitics luncheons of $19 per person. Price for general public is $25 per person.

This luncheon is sponsored by: Husch Blackwell, American Family Insurance, Xcel Energy, Walmart, AARP Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Hospital Association.

To register, visit:


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Hogan touts Foxconn agreement as Gov. Tony Evers tries to renegotiate it
… [WEDC CEO Hogan] would not say whether the Taiwan-based electronics maker wants to make changes to the deal and signaled he’d kept Republican legislative leaders in the loop on talks that started two months ago. “The value of the contract is the contract is scalable,” Hogan told reporters. “We have a solid contract with the company. If they spent $6 billion and they employed 6,000 people, 7,000 people, the contract scales to that. … I keep people informed,” Hogan said. “That’s what I do, all right? Whether it’s the governor’s office, legislative leaders, our board of directors, I keep people informed of what’s going on.” Zimmerman for Fitzgerald said Leader talks to Hogan but knew nothing about contract changes until Evers said it. “What was surprising to me was when Governor Evers suggested that he wanted to open the contract, without offering any specifics,” Fitzgerald said in a statement. “This contract is solid — if the job growth and investment doesn’t come, the state doesn’t pay.” Evers aides did not react to Hogan’s latest comments, but Evers on Monday gave Hogan good marks, not looking for immediately replace him in Sept., “but I have the option, so I’ll keep those options open.” Rehash Trump at Foxconn groundbreaking, upcoming GB rally. 2020 Dem candidate Sanders tweeted, “Trump promised to protect American jobs. He lied, and workers across Green Bay and the Fox Valley have lost their jobs.”

UW System grads from out of state could ‘earn’ in-state tuition under bill
Colleges chair Murphy bill would grant out-of-state grads up to about $54K if they lived and worked in WI for a seven-year period after graduation. About 43,750 non-resident UW students in 2017-18 academic year, % growing at UW Madison, about 750 in tech colleges. Catch: students must continuously live and work in WI for at least a two-year grace period before becoming eligible and grads earning < $40K are ineligible. Murphy’s goal is to attract young adults at the beginning of long-term careers, not those with low-paying or part-time jobs in which a degree isn’t required, could “easily pay for itself” as the state’s tax base grows, encouraged by calls from Dems, “We have so many unfilled jobs. The problem is there’s no one simple answer. There’s lots of little things you can do.” DWD’s Winters estimates about 210K more jobs in 2026 than 2016 and almost a third will require 2- or 4-yr degree. DWD’s Tichenor argued Evers’ holistic budget is makes WI attractive to outsiders. Baldauff for Evers looks forward to GOP cooperation on budget, no comment on Evers signing Murphy bill.

WI GOP trump Evers’ charging station plan
… Evers proposed spending $10 million from the settlement on charging stations in his state budget, which he introduced in February. Neylon didn’t immediately return a follow-up message … seeking comment on why the bill duplicates Evers’ proposal. The actual bill hasn’t been released yet, but Neylon aide Joe Zapf said the language will be more specific than Evers’ plan … Baldauff [for Evers] didn’t immediately return an email … Another bill in the package would subsidize 50% of residential customers’ renewable energy costs. Neylon estimated the subsidies would cost $7 million to $8 million over the first year. … third bill would set out $500,000 in [DWD] grants to reimburse employers for training workers in solar and wind energy systems. … last bill calls for expanding electronic recycling programs. Vos aides Beyer and Lund handed out fact sheets at Neylon’s presser, but Zimmerman said Fitzgerald’s caucus has yet to discuss them.

Opponents of HHS abortion restrictions on family planning dollars notch a win
… [Obama-appointed] Judge Michael McShane … suggested he would halt the [HHS rule banning Title X funds to abortion providers and referrers] with a preliminary injunction issued by May 3 – the date the new rules are set to go into effect – although he didn’t say whether it would apply only to those [20 plaintiff states, including WI] who have objected to it or nationwide. … While Planned Parenthood affiliates were receiving $50 to $60 million per year from the program, that’s down to $16 million annually under the new rules. Also blurbs on CMS rule covering new blood cancer therapy, $9.91M PHaRMA 1Q19 lobbying, other Rx-maker lobbying, Rochester Drug Coop paying $20M govt settlement in opioid suit, facing the first-ever criminal charges against a company for conspiring to illegally distribute opioids, and more opposition to Medicare-For-All.

Judge Conway refuses to let GOP legislators join lawsuit challenging WI abortion laws
… Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin in January sought to overturn laws that prevent nurses from performing abortions and limit the ability of women to obtain medications that induce abortions. … [AG] Kaul is defending those laws, but Republican lawmakers have said they don’t trust him and asked U.S. District Judge William Conley to let them intervene … “Even viewed collectively, this litany fails to demonstrate (or even come close to demonstrating) either gross negligence or bad faith,” Conley said, referring to the standards that he found must be met for the Republican lawmakers to establish they had a right to intervene in the case. Leader Fitzgerald said leaders were reviewing whether to appeal. GOP rep’d by VA’s Consovoy McCarthy Park at $500/hr.

Federal Lawsuit Challenges Wisconsin Student Voter ID Law
CC/WI complaint names WEC and members, argues undue burden on students because it makes voting relatively more difficult, requiring the student ID to have a two-year expiration date and student’s signature, noted other ID’s have longer expiration dates and signature is not used for ID purpose. CC/WI’s Heck: “That would make it at least simpler and more straightforward for students. As it is now, it’s very confusing,” not challenging the law, just these aspects. AG Kaul, who challenged voter ID before he ran for office and who would defend CC/WI case, did not respond. Vos, Fitzgerald offices did not respond. 2011 law has withstood multiple challenges.

Supreme Court Struggles With Wisconsin Drunken Driving Law
… Wisconsin law says that when a motorist suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is unconscious, their blood can be drawn without a warrant. … More Than 2 Dozen States Have Similar Laws … Lawyers for a motorist whose blood was drawn while unconscious argue WI law violates 4th Amendments prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures, that police should have gotten a warrant. Lawyers for WI disagree. US Supreme Court heard arguments today. Case may split justices along ideological lines.

Proposed $20M CAFO Stirs Up Debate In Northern Wisconsin
… [IA’s] Suidae Health and Production … is working with Thorp farmer Jeffrey Sauer to manage the proposed farm owned and operated by Cumberland, LLC. … would be located in the town of Trade Lake in Burnett County near a state wildlife area and tributary of the St. Croix River. … would become the largest hog farm permitted to date in northern Wisconsin. … would employ around 20 people from the surrounding area at around $32,000 to $45,000 a year. DNR permit application filed in March. Sauer lamented dairy downturn, “We feel that we need to introduce and bring something into the community in different areas because it’s a benefit to the community in general. It might not be a benefit to everybody in the community, but it’s beneficial when there’s more activity,” chose Burnett after surveying area feed price/supply. Sauer also worked with Reicks View Farms to sign leases with farmers as part of its proposed Badgerwood farm in Eileen, but DNR has received no correspondence I 2 years. Corn/soy/beef farmer Melin selling 35 acres to Cumberland, “Once we’re able to start buying manure from it, it will make our farm more sustainable and more profitable because farming isn’t very profitable right now. We’re excited for it.” conservationist Ferris supports plan to inject manure. Trade Lake’s Painter, a retired attorney, attended a meeting with 150 neighbors, said people are “scared to death” for their wells, worried about DNR authority, odor, flies, traffic, land devaluation, loss of tax base, supports a CAFO moratorium, ala Bayfield Co., “this is a lakes region. This is a tourist region.” Retired doctor Huset concerned about antibiotic use and “superbugs.” DNR has permitted 14 hog CAFOs, said the Cumberland farm still needs a final application with a five-year nutrient management plan, engineering designs and an environmental analysis questionnaire.

WI AG Promotes Drug Take Back Day
Kaul Making Appearances In Madison, Green Bay, Milwaukee To Urge People To Properly Dispose Unused Medication … On Tuesday … Kaul reminded citizens about Drug Take Back Day at a press event with [MPD Chief] Koval at the police department. People can dispose of unwanted and unused medications Saturday at various locations around the state. … “A lot of water filtration systems are not equipped, they’re not prepared, they do not have the science to fully break down those compounds adequately,” said Koval, who noted 26,000 pounds of medication have been collected since 2011 in police department drop boxes. … On Wednesday the [FDA] will announce the launch of a new public education campaign to encourage safe disposal of unused opioid pain medicines.


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The Madison Club


– 8 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.: MMAC World Trade Association: “The challenges of global product compliance.” Speaker is Angus Low, global product standards and regulations manager, Rockwell Automation.

– 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.: Joint Committee on Finance public hearing. UW-Green Bay.

– 11 a.m.: Assembly Speaker’s Task Force on Suicide Prevention informational hearing. Members are to take testimony from invited speakers.

– 12:15 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.: Madison Rotary Club. Guest speaker is author Alfred McCoy, who is to discuss his book, “In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power.” Rotary meetings are open to members, invited guests and media.

– 1 p.m.: PSC hearing.

– 4:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.: Sen. Schachtner fundraiser.

– 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.: MMAC: Madison Night in Milwaukee.

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