WED News Summary: GOP defends abortion-related bills during hearing

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GOP Defends Anti-Abortion Bills During Hearing
… Abortion bills are also being proposed or passed in several other states as lawmakers try to appeal to their base before the 2020 election and attempt to bring a bill before the U.S. Supreme Court that could challenge abortion rights provided under Roe v. Wade. Critics of the Wisconsin bills said several were unnecessary and redundant. Sen. Testin bill bans abortion based on race or gender or congenital disability, “I don’t consider this an abortion bill. I consider this a non-discrimination bill.” “Born Alive” sponsor Steineke made a point with political satire ‘Veep,’ “As a country we are getting desensitized to the issue.” Dem Rep. KOlste: “It’s an emotional issue for all of us. I personally believe women (should) have same rights as men to protect their health and well-being.” Mauston pastor Shirek: “I do respect women’s rights, the right to make choices. But someone’s rights should not trump someone else’s … this has happened before when people determined that some should live and others should not.” Testifying for College of Ob/Gyns, Dr. Hartke: “The idea that physicians deliver, then kill — neglect treating — a viable fetus is unfounded and dangerous misinformation.” WRtoL’s Weininger waved CDC stats showing 143 infants survived abortions between 2003-14. Dems repeatedly asked if GOP supported women/infant health care in Evers’ budget Medicaid expansion, but chair ruled those questions not germane. Third bill would require doctors to tell a patient that 2-part chemical abortion can be reversed before the second dose, although Weininger admitted it’s not always successful. 4th bill would prevent abortion providers from qualifying for Medicaid, aimed at Planned Parenthood, who cited all the preventive care, birth control, screening for cancer, STDs it also provides. GOP seek quick floor vote, but anti-abortion advocates want bills to be stricter. And Evers is likely to veto them. By Mills, WPR

What’s at stake in Gov. Evers proposed budget: $836.7 million in additional health spending at no cost to the state
GOP vowed to reject ACA Medicaid expansion, but Milwaukee County would be among biggest losers – losing $140.6M in additional payments over two years for county hospitals – due to higher poverty rate. Details. Evers’ budget also includes $tens of millions$ in additional funding for limited-access behavioral health and dental care. WI was only state to expand Medicaid w/o ACA, estimated to cost $1.1B thru FY19. Evers’ health budget details. Advocate Aurora, Ascension, Froedtert, Children’s Hospital no comment. DHS Medicaid chief Jones sees “amazing opportunity.” JFC co-chair Nygren did not respond, but told WisPolitics forum, “Why would we want to grow our welfare rolls? It makes no sense to me.” JFC co-chair Darling unavailable. Speaker Vos last week: “We do not want to hurt the private-sector health insurance market.” WHA’s Borgerding credited Evers for reimbursement boost to counter private insurers’ higher rates. LFB analysis highlights. By Boulton, MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL

Report: Medicaid Expansion Would Lower Insurance Costs In Wisconsin
Wakely Consulting Group report for OCI found 25-30K poor Wisconsinites would shift from marketplace private coverage to Medicaid if eligibility is increased from 100% of poverty line to 138%, found premiums in expansion states 7-11% lower. By WPR [see Health Care]

Wisconsin voters could safely take selfies under [Craig] bill
… [WI is one of 18 states barring the showing of a completed ballot, but rarely enforced. At Senate hearing,] Supporters of the measure called the current ban archaic … But county election clerks came out against … “There’s a really strong concern that this opens the door to undoing the secrecy of the ballot,” Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell testified. “It’s a real concern that as it becomes commonplace to show your ballot, it’s going to be easier to coerce others to show their ballots.” BrownCo Clerk Juno also testified against. RockCo Clerk Tollefson, in written testimony: “We have no problem with someone telling everyone how they voted. We just do not want to open the door to vote-selling and infringe on the right of other voters.” Chair Bernier dismissed concerns, cited laws against bribery. IN, NH laws were found unconstitutional, Craig noted U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up NH case. But MI, NY bans have been upheld. WEC’s Wolfe noted clerks would not lose authority to temper poll disruptions, suggested WI ban at risk. [link to 2016 story of ex-AG Lautenschlager Facebooking pic of her vote for Clinton.] By Bauer of AP, WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL

‘The four horsemen:’ Wisconsin National Guard’s own investigation describes a culture of sexual misconduct, cites four men who ‘preyed’ on female soldiers
… [follow-up to yesterday’s Plunkett complaints details] takes a close look at [Lt. Col. Emond’s] yearlong, internal Guard investigation into Plunkett’s first unit, which [interviewed 22 current and former members of the unit and] concluded that it had a longstanding culture of sexual misconduct perpetuated by staff members who were cited as offenders while simultaneously being in charge of programs intended to aid victims. … In its investigations of her personal assault allegations, the Guard called Plunkett “untruthful” and said she fabricated her complaints. But over the same period of time, Emond found numerous other women in her first unit who corroborated her broader statements about its culture and cited one of her alleged assailants as one of a group of men who called themselves “the four horsemen.” Emond probe details with excerpts from Plunkett complaint. … When asked whether leaders are responsible for being aware of what’s going on in their units, Guard spokesman Joe Trovato said, “Ultimately a commander is responsible for anything that happens in their units,” though he was not addressing the Emond report in his answer. … “There is a lot of autonomy that’s required in many units,” said [retired NG] Maj. Robert Elliott. “They have the opportunity to be jerks. They’re (state) government employees. Unless they quit, they would have to go to another military installation to work if they didn’t work in that armory.” Some details on self-described “four horsemen.” Emond concluded his recommendations, “It is far worse to do nothing than it is to allow allegations to fester within a unit and cause discontent and loss of morale.” WNG’s Halverson no comment, said Guard “constantly seeks to improve any system throughout the entire organization.” By Ferral, CAPITAL TIMES

UW-La Crosse students honor Gov. Tony Evers for supporting state’s colleges
… Evers received the UW-L Student Association’s Higher Education Advocate Award, presented each year to someone who has shown exemplary support for students and colleges in Wisconsin. … “To be honest, students get ignored much of the time by higher elected officials when there’s no political affiliation or press involved. In this case, Gov. Evers asked to eat lunch at a table with just students,” O’Connell said. “It was amazing to be able to share our perspectives and what we go through as students with somebody who is an actual governor.” … UW-L Chancellor Joe Gow said Evers’ interest in students “makes a strong impression and says something about his values.” … Evers dug in his heels on Tuesday and encouraged students and faculty to advocate for themselves. “We’re not going to negotiate against our students, and we’re not going to negotiate against ourselves,” he said. “It’s our job to make sure students get every dollar they deserve, and not a penny less.” By Farris, LA CROSSE TRIBUNE


– Assembly to vote on abortion bill next week that Gov. Tony Evers has pledged to veto

– GOP touts slate of contentious abortion legislation

– WI GOP defend born-alive abortion bill [Richmond of AP]

– Duffy announces child No. 9 coming this fall … “God isn’t done with our family yet! Baby number nine coming to the crew this fall,” the congressman posted on Facebook. Rachel Campos-Duffy said it best — we aren’t crazy, we are just full of hope for America’s future!” Duffy and his wife are both 47.

– Congressman Sean Duffy, Rachel Campos-Duffy announce they’re having 9th child … Duffy was unavailable for comment

– Rep. Sean Duffy of Wisconsin, wife expecting 9th child

– The Milwaukee Aldermanic Race is Heating Up … Some state and local names are vying for positions, including Milwaukee County Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic and State Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa. As it stands, seven aldermen are running unopposed as Council pres. Hamilton and Ald. Zielinski running for mayor.

– Kreuser: County will invest more in roads, police

– State of the County: Delagrave says county must adapt to the digital era

– Concealed carry holder fatally shoots himself during struggle over gun … after threatening to shoot people with whom he was arguing … Delames Jones, 46, died early Monday after the Sunday evening … gunshot wound to his abdomen and right lower extremity, but the cause of his death was still pending. Jones was armed with a holstered, semi-automatic weapon when he became involved in an argument, threatened to shoot and began pulling the weapon from the holster when several people attempted to overpower and disarm him. MPD ruled it self -inflicted.

– Appleton-area faith communities wary about prospect of armed security; in age of random mass shootings

– A WI grandfather picked up for driving without a license fears deportation to Mexico … Raymundo Martinez-Moreno … has been living in Green Bay since 2001 … works temporary jobs, such as cleaning a bakery or landscaping. … says he doesn’t have a criminal record, but [ICE] placed him in deportation proceedings … “I have two children and eight grandchildren, and I don´t want to be separated from them because they are my life,” Martinez-Moreno said in Spanish during a [Voces] news conference … “It’s very tragic, it’s wrong and that’s why we are fighting to bring back driver’s licenses,” said [Voces’] Neumann-Ortiz. … arrest warrant had been issued because he didn’t appear in a 2017 court hearing about a previous charge of driving without a license … He was under ICE custody for 24 days and released after he posted an immigration bond, said [ICE’s] Alberico … case is pending [with USDOJ] … On Thursday, Martinez-Moreno needs to appear at an immigration hearing in Chicago. He doesn’t have an attorney yet.

– Jennifer Cheatham resigning as Madison school superintendent … at a news conference Wednesday. Isthmus confirmed the news … not known when Cheatham, who has led the district since 2013, will step down. Rachel Strauch-Nelson, district spokesperson, did not immediately respond … In March, the superintendent admitted it had been a “trying” school year. There have been several high-profile incidents involving student safety and teacher resignations. For two years, school board meetings have been dominated by a push from Freedom Inc. to remove Madison police officers from four of the district’s high schools.

– MMSD Supt. Cheatham expected to announce plan to resign

– Fox News is the unlikely new power player in the 2020 Democratic primary … Blocked from participating in the lineup of official Democratic debates scheduled for the 2020 presidential cycle, the network that appeals to conservative-leaning voters has muscled its way into the process by offering candidates a valuable commodity: Air time during televised town halls. … “And I’ve always believed in my runs for office and in my governing style that you go not just where it’s comfortable but you go where it’s uncomfortable and that includes on Fox News,” [Klobuchar] told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. … Sanders camp left the town hall upbeat. [2.6M viewers] … Jeff Weaver, a senior adviser to the Sanders campaign, said, “the point of going on Fox had nothing to do with Fox but reaching out to the people in America who see Fox. Anybody who wants to be president of this country needs to reach out to all Americans,” he said. … In a statement, [host] Baier said: “I didn’t try to embarrass Senator Sanders, but rather wanted to get a sense of the room about Medicare for all. The fact that the Senator’s people don’t appreciate that is unfortunate. The town hall was fair and balanced as we promised all along.” … [Buttigieg, Gillibrand] have scheduled town halls with the network. [host] MacCallum said the network has reached out to all the other campaigns. … said she knows that DNC chair Perez “has his opinions about why he thinks we would be unfair. But I think we are proving time and time again we are fair. A lot of people are watching. Millions are watching. We have the highest rated town halls.”

– How Voter Access Laws and Passion Brought People to the Polls … Around the country, state efforts to widen ballot access and Trump-era political passion spurred more voters to the polls in November than the last midterm elections in 2014. Nationally, 53% of the citizen voting-age population voted in 2018, a 12-point bump from the previous midterms, according to new U.S. Census Bureau estimates. … Republican-leaning states such as Montana, Wyoming, New Hampshire and North Carolina already have joined Utah and liberal-leaning Colorado, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Vermont in enacting same-day registration. Focus on UT, TX, GA. Graphic: Wisconsin: Midterm turnout 2018 as a percentage of citizens (point change since 2014): 64.6% (9.2)

– Grand River Marsh fishing opportunities down through 2020: due to high water and storm debris

– WBP’s Peacock analysis: How to Improve the Foxconn Contract, Changes could benefit both the state and company.

– Dave Cieslewicz: From Foxconn, no R-E-S-P-E-C-T

– Medicaid expansion could lower individual market premiums, study suggests

– No layoffs planned in possible Marshfield Clinic, Gundersen merger, CEO [Turney] says

– Wisconsin-based health systems discuss possible merger

– Gundersen, Marshfield Clinic in talks to merge; 19,000 people employed by two organizations

– County Opposes Plan to Replace Lincoln Hills, Abele administration says state plan lacks adequate funding, won’t rehabilitate youth.

– Marinette County panel backs bills to help corrections officers

– Amid national measles outbreak, UW-Madison weighs requiring vaccinations … Eleven other Big 10 institutions clearly require the vaccine, though some have religious or medical exemptions. No cases reported in WI. UW Health’s Kinsey sees no sign of early-century, now-debunked anti-vaccine movement among new students, but “We are always on alert and monitoring, not only for measles, but any communicable disease outbreak on campus. We track those numbers day by day and week by week,” noted some universities have penalties for unproven-vaccination. State law requires vaccinations for K-12 students, but allows exemptions. DHS shows 85% of kids under 24 months have had at least one measles shot, while 85-95% rate needed to protect community. MATC and UW-Madison clinics offer vaccines for a fee.

– WI GOP Are Deliberately Ignoring Milwaukee’s Lead Pipe Crisis

– Rock County officials say Lyme disease season ‘in full swing’

– Chippewa Falls company [Cray, partnering with AMD] to develop world’s most powerful supercomputer

– ‘A great way to show off’: Neenah will host Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour in June

– CUB’s Content: Why Are We Paying We Energies $430 Million in Profits on a Coal Plant That Shut Down Last Year?

– UW Systems Pres. Ray Cross: UW System is delivering more graduates, deserves strong state support

– George Mitchell: Evers’ DOT endangered project list a foreshadowing of 2020 legislative races

– Dave Zweifel: Plain Talk: Make America great again? No, let’s make it pay again

– Julie Grace: Protecting history or promoting agendas? The use of historic designation nowadays often has nothing to do with preservation.

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