WED News Summary: Evers to veto abortion package; JFC approves raises for prison guards, state workers

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June 13: 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 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. 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:



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Evers vows to veto slate of contentious abortion-related legislation
… “We shouldn’t be limiting the right for women to make their own health care decisions,” Evers wrote on Twitter. “That’s why I’ll veto the bills passed by the Assembly last week if they arrive on my desk. It’s time to listen to women.” … Evers’ announcement, which comes as no surprise, means the package of bills has no chance of becoming law because Republicans lack a two-thirds majority to override a veto. … [Sponsor Steineke] said Evers’ position makes clear “he’s for abortion at any time for any reason.” Dems argue abortion survival is extremely rare, WRToL notes such hasn’t been reported since 1982, DHS doesn’t track such data, GOP argue protection needed if 20-week ban is overturned. Pastor Reiff in opening prayer at RPW convention: “Heavenly father, you know that when Wisconsin Republicans had the majority under Gov. Walker, they did nothing to safeguard the rights of the preborn. Now, however, when we have a Democrat governor, these same Republicans piously claim that they’re against abortion, all the while knowing that any abortion bill they bring to the governor’s desk will be vetoed. Dear heavenly father, forgive our Republican legislators for their hypocrisy.” Vos later professed “profound” pride in GOP abortion record, noting Walker signed 20-week ban. By Vetterkind, WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL

Budget committee approves raises for prison guards, state workers
… [JFC GOP plan] would increase state funding by $36.8 million in the next budget, which is about $13 million more than Gov. Tony Evers proposed. … starting salary for corrections officers would go from $16.65 per hour to $19.03 per hour. … aimed at filling the large number of vacancies in Wisconsin prisons, which have driven up overtime costs and compounded staffing challenges at [overcrowded] institutions … vacancy rate for all Wisconsin correctional institutions hit nearly 15 percent in April of 2019 … much higher in some prisons [32% in Waupun] … Evers administration had already approved $5-per-hour raises at a handful of institutions like Waupun where the vacancy rates were highest. The GOP motion would withhold extra funding from those facilities in the first year of the upcoming budget. Rep. Goyke blamed Walker/GOP for “growing and festering problem that has gone unsolved by the majority party.” JFC also funded a pair of 2% raises for all state workers, pending JCOER approval. GOP rejected Evers’ $8M on market wage and parity adjustments. By Johnson, WPR

GOP leader: state Senate eyeing $200-per-pupil increase in each of next two years
… would mirror the centerpiece of [Walker’s most recent] school-funding increase … which translated to about a half-billion increase in state aid to districts. Evers’ $611M plan boost basic per-pupil rate but rejiggered formula to add more for poorer districts. Vos plans to announce GOP plan today, as GOP leaders set to meet with Evers. Zimmerman for Fitzgerald said Senate GOP need to discuss details before announcing. Fitzgerald’s office did not respond to inquiries about other K-12 hikes, like special ed. Fitzgerald said Evers communications is worse than Doyle’s, who at least had SOS Sec. Marotta deeply involved, “That dialogue was happening (under Doyle) and it just doesn’t feel like it’s happening at all right now.” Vos has said he expects to talk budget directly with Evers. JFC Sen. Tiffany expects K-12 hike similar to Walker’s $639M, LeMahieu doubts state can afford it. By SOmmerhauser, WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL

Mark Pocan calls for impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump
… But in a statement issued Tuesday, Pocan said Trump’s unwillingness to comply with congressional subpoenas and other attempts at oversight have changed his view. … “Stonewalling Congress on witnesses and the unredacted Mueller report only enhances the President’s appearance of guilt, and as a result, he has pushed Congress to a point where we must start an impeachment inquiry,” Pocan said. … puts him at odds with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who reportedly is rejecting calls. Pocan joins Milwaukee colleague Moore, who was an early caller for impeachment. By SOmmerhauser and Vetterkind, WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL


– Sanders targets Trump in new WI-focused ad … “Donald Trump betrayed working people in Wisconsin and across America. He is a liar and we will defeat him and put working people first,” Sanders tweeted on Friday with the video ad. The ad shows footage of Green Bay and the Fox Cities … Sanders’ supporters in the video blamed the president for the closure of Shopko and shrinking Kimberly-Clark Corporation as well as income inequality and the loss of public education funding.

– Pocan calls for Trump impeachment inquiry … Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not thrown her support behind that step. Over the weekend, a Republican U.S. House member [and HFC co-founder], Justin Amash of Michigan, declared on Twitter that Trump has engaged in “impeachable conduct,” drawing fire from Trump and fellow Republicans in Congress.

– Pocan urges Congress to begin impeachment inquiry into Trump

– Pocan calls for Trump impeachment inquiry [Hague]

– Pocan calls for Trump impeachment [Bauer of AP]

– John Nichols: Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairs call for an impeachment inquiry, Representatives Mark Pocan and Pramila Jayapal recognize that “a president who thinks he’s king…is absolutely unacceptable.” … “Regrettably, the President’s most recent actions and continued disrespect for the Constitution are forcing us down the road to impeachment,” said Pocan, a Wisconsin Democrat. “Congress is a co-equal branch of government, charged with oversight of the Executive Branch and with the power to subpoena information and individuals. The President and his associates are engaging in a campaign of obstruction and lawlessness that undermines the rule of law and does not reflect the actions of someone who is ‘exonerated’ as innocent. … Stonewalling Congress on witnesses and the unredacted Mueller report only enhances the President’s appearance of guilt, and as a result, he has pushed Congress to a point where we must start an impeachment inquiry.” [see Columns]

– WI budget committee passes Corrections funding plan, puts off barracks proposal … But the plan, which passed on an 11-4 party-line vote … would make available $122 million in general purpose revenue and program revenue over the biennium for overtime funding costs, about $7.3 million less than what Evers wanted. … didn’t address some of Gov. Tony Evers’ proposals, including his request to use $15 million in borrowing for three different barracks units [Taycheedah, JCI] … includes an expansion of Chippewa County’s Stanley Correctional Institution Health Services Unit … [to] provide health, dental and psychological services. Co-chair Nygren said rejected items may return in capital budget, said JFC will meet Thu. on K-12, voting Tuesday, no word on next Thu., “We’ll go one day at a time.”

– Republican lawmakers eye $505M funding increase for schools

– Wisconsin prison guards to get 14% bump in starting pay under Republican plan

– Evers to veto Republican bills aimed at reducing abortions, limiting access

– Taxpayers likely will have to pick up legal bills in Twitter case pitting liberal group, GOP lawmakers … Conley issued an order Monday telling lawyers for One Wisconsin Now that they could file a motion by next month to have the state pick up the group’s legal fees. [for challenging Vos, Nygren cutting off OWN from their Twitter feeds] … Vos and Nygren did not immediately say whether they would fight the effort … are represented by [Dem AG] Kaul, who did not immediately respond to questions.

– John Nichols: Ilhan Omar: ‘There’s a reason that i got elected to be in congress and it has nothing to do with the fact that I’m a refugee,’ On the first episode of our new podcast, Next Left, we talk to the trailblazing politician about how she went from refugee to US Representative.

– Two Dane County committees approve $148 million plan for jail consolidation

– Proposed Outagamie County sales tax riles residents

– Lifelong Westby dairy farmer [Dunnum] sells his herd amid market crisis

– Neighbors suing over pig fumes spur ‘right-to-farm’ push … ll 50 states already had a “right to farm” on their books, but the new laws will make it even more difficult to bring such lawsuits … Some of the laws prohibit all but the nearest neighbors from filing a claim. Others limit the awards that plaintiffs can win, or hold them financially liable for a defendant’s legal fees if their lawsuit is dismissed. Nebraska, Oklahoma, Utah, West Virginia and Washington enacted laws this year. Lawmakers in Louisiana, Oregon and Vermont introduced legislation that is still under consideration.

COURTS ^top^
– OWI treatment court, a program that ‘changes lives,’ wisconsin’s first owi court opened to participants in 2006

– Federal lawsuit in fatal police shooting goes to appellate court … family of Aaron Siler filed suit against the city of Kenosha and Kenosha Police Officer Pablo Torres in 2017 claiming the police officer used excessive force. This spring, the federal district court issued a partial summary judgment on the case, granting Torres qualified immunity, which relieved him from liability for the 2015 shooting. The court’s decision would have allowed the claim against the city to go forward.

– State Supreme Court suspends Racine County judge for ‘concerning’ behavior … in two 2014 court cases was “concerning” and “obviously unethical.” Piontek will be suspended 5 days without pay. Piontek argued for “a public reprimand only”

– Mallards end promotion with Chick-fil-A for its anti-LGBTQ support

– UW president says budget process increasing competition between schools … During a visit to UW-La Crosse on Tuesday … to tour Cowley Hall, one of the buildings that has been proposed to be replaced in the next biennial budget. … Cross said he’s not sure how much of the funding the UW System will receive. “I think it’s going to be considerably less than what the governor put on the table. But it could be more than we thought it could be. So we don’t know yet. … Does that prompt more competition between campuses? To some extent it does, I’m not disputing that, but I’m not suggesting that’s not healthy either,” Cross said.

– UWM grapples with hate speech, swastika symbol, “gas the Jews” comment by student causes outrage, but free speech at issue.

– Gateway graduates largest class in its history: 1,332

– Top four admin jobs eliminated in school reorganization … unclear if and when they may be released from their contracts.

– Hurley School District’s new mascot narrowed down to 13 options

– CF school district breaks ground on final part of referendum construction

– Extreme changes forecast for Great Lakes, report shows Canada warming twice as fast as the world, driving Great Lakes water level, weather swings.

– Foxconn sues Flats on the Fox over downtown parking

– Madison-area stem cell clinics part of ‘gray market’ under increased scrutiny … promoting stem cell therapies for a variety of disorders — some of which federal regulators have tried to shut down, saying the treatments are unapproved and can be harmful. … In 2017, the FDA notified stem cell clinics that the therapies would come under the agency’s full authority by November 2020. In the meantime, regulators say they are trying to police a “gray market” by focusing on the most egregious offenders — such as clinics that mix stem cells with smallpox vaccine or that claim stem cell shots can treat autism, Alzheimer’s disease or ALS — while letting others continue, including those targeting joint pain.

– Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness to open health and wellness center on Madison’s west side

– With too few mental health care providers to go around, kids often wait to get help

– Sheboygan Co. child welfare impacted by addiction

LABOR ^top^
– 2-Tiered Wages Under Fire: Workers Challenge Unequal Pay For Equal Work … It was only after she’d been working there [Kohler] for a couple of years that Hering realized something startling: Many of her colleagues doing exactly the same work were paid nearly twice as much as she was. “It made me realize, ‘Oh man, this is a huge gap,’ ” Hering says. … In 2010, Kohler adopted a two-tiered wage scale, and workers like Hering, who were hired after that, were stuck for years on a much lower track for both pay and benefits. … “Then you get your cliques because, ‘Oh, they’re Tier A and we’re Tier B and we shouldn’t do the same work,’ ” she recalled co-workers saying. “They would just tell you flat out, ‘Why should I do the same amount of work as that Tier A that’s been there 20 years?’ ” … In 2015, Kohler workers mounted their own strike. It lasted more than a month. When it was over, the two sides had narrowed the gap …
Then last year, Kohler was back at the bargaining table, even though the labor contract with the union still had a year to run. … In December, Kohler agreed to a new five-year contract that effectively phases out the two-tiered wage scale by 2023. And it gives new workers better benefits. … Other companies are also phasing out two-tiered wages, including the big U.S. automakers … Kohler declined to comment for this story. Several workers comment.

– Racine alderman to head state Parole Commission

– Area police join annual effort to enforce seat belt laws

– ‘A single person’s efforts can impact a whole community,’ ARCW’s milestone efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDS

– Foster parents, advocates warn adults’ unhealthy drinking habits take a toll on children, around 80 percent of La Crosse county foster care cases involve substance abuse

– Mississippi River forecast to rise again this week in La Crosse as flooding risk returns

– WI housing market heads into peak buying season trailing last year’s sales, declining inventory, strong demand hamper sales, push home prices higher

– City, property owner hit pause button on cleanup of riverfront properties … after Blackhawk Community Credit Union pulled the plug on a landmark development there. … Mark Hazelbaker, an attorney for Creative Business Developers, wrote in a May 17 letter addressed to City Manager Mark Freitag that the owner “needs to reassess what to do with the properties along South Water Street.”

RETAIL ^top^
– Stung by poor quarter, Kohl’s will cut prices and increase promotions to preserve market share

– State regulator says Wisconsin data breach laws lagging other states, DATCP plans taskforce aimed at updating data breach legislation passed in 2006 … [LRB] says research shows that within the next 24 months, the probability of a significant breach at any given business or nonprofit organization is around 30 percent. In 2017 … notes there were 1,579 data breaches that exposed nearly 179 million personal records. … Digital Guardian … ranked Wisconsin’s laws as “less strict” than other states. Only Kentucky and Mississippi had a lower ranking. … “There’s no requirement that they even tell the attorney general or the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection that a breach occurred,” said [DATCP admin.] Sutherland. “So, it’s a law that has some prescriptions but very little teeth, which makes it hard to actually be effective.” … No timeline was provided [on task force action] but she said the agency plans to begin engaging with stakeholders soon.

– Milwaukee streetcar expansion not running quite on time after aldermen raise questions … Aldermen expressed frustration at the quickness of the process and criticized the planning. … “I think we can do a better proposal than what is before us,” Ald. Russell Stamper II said in proposing the hold. … wants equal and equitable investment for the central city. … Barrett wants to direct $46.8 million in tax incremental financing to the construction of an extension to Wisconsin Avenue ahead of next summer’s Democratic National Convention and to preliminary engineering of extensions linking Bronzeville to the north of downtown and Walker’s Point to the south. … City Development Commissioner Rocky Marcoux … said it was by “sheer luck of geography” that it was less of a challenge to go north than south [more TIFs in north to defray cost]. JCP Construction’s Phelps argued extension will help small businesses.

– Milwaukee committee tables streetcar extension decision, city officials say delay threatens tracks being finished for DNC convention

– RJT editorial: Judges shouldn’t speak at political conventions

– U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan: Trump’s tariffs are devastating farmers

– Dr. Lisa Arkin: Wisconsin patients and doctors need reforms to step therapy

– Spencer Black: My top priority is a candidate who can beat Trump in 2020

– George Mitchell: voucher, charter schools more cost effective, [DeAngelis] Report finds they deliver at least 50% more education per tax dollar than public schools. … “I find that private [voucher] schools are 75 percent more cost-effective in Racine and 50 percent more cost effective in Milwaukee,” says Corey DeAngelis, Ph.D. He adds: “Independent charter schools are 63 percent more cost-effective in Racine and 50 percent more cost effective in Milwaukee.”

– Citizen Action’s Kevin Kane: why the Republicans’ refusal to expand Medicare is causing our health insurance to cost more

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