WED News Summary: JFC pares back Evers’ UW funding increase, extends tuition freeze

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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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Republicans OK two more years of UW tuition freeze, reduce funding increase
The Republican-controlled state budget-writing committee extended a tuition freeze for undergraduate residents attending University of Wisconsin campuses over the next two academic years. But the Joint Finance Committee again declined to “fund the freeze” and provide the UW System with state money to offset what campuses would have received from inflation-level tuition hikes. The committee, in a 12-4 party-line vote Tuesday, approved a roughly $58 million increase to the System’s total budget over the next two fiscal years, about a fourth of which will go toward standard budget adjustments or debt service. The $45 million that campuses may gain is less than half of what Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and System officials requested. “I feel like I’ve been kicked in the shins,” UW System President Ray Cross told reporters after the vote. “We didn’t even get inflation in this request.” Cross said an inflationary budget increase would have been about $60 million. By Meyerhofer, WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL

Conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Kelly Running For Full Term
Kelly Appointed In 2016 By Then-Gov. Scott Walker … at a press conference from the Wisconsin Supreme Court chamber, Kelly [with fellow GOP-backed conservatives Bradley, Hagedorn, Prosser] said he viewed the people of Wisconsin as his bosses … “We’ve been told by the people of Wisconsin they don’t want us to make the law, they just want us to apply it. And that’s what we do,” Kelly said. Hagedorn credited GOP activists for his 5,981-vote win. Kelly said he shares judicial philosophy with Hagedorn, said grassroots have called him to service, “They sought me out. They told me they wanted me to run. They said they would do whatever they can to help me in the campaign. And they’ve been with me every step of the way.” Rehash Hagedorn’s controversial writings. Kelly wrote a chapter in a 2014 book that compared affirmative action to slavery, saying that while they differed significantly, both forced people into unwanted economic relationships – a stance he compared to Justice Clarence Thomas, “one of the finest jurists this country has had the pleasure of seeing on that court. … Justice Thomas ought to know something about that. Not incidentally he’s a black man, and the grandson of sharecroppers. I figure, I can’t disagree with Justice Thomas.” Karofsky and Fallone are challenging Kelly. Justice Dallet email backed Karofsky. Madison attorney Tim Burns, an outspoken progressive who lost to Dallet in the 2018 Supreme Court primary, backs Fallone. February 2020 primary cuts to 2 with April 7 general – same day as Prez primary. By Johnson, WPR

Big dairy operations urge GOP to block fees for Tony Evers’ clean drinking water plan
… Under a 2009 law, each of the state’s 305 CAFOs pays a $345 annual permit fee. The DNR keeps $95 while the rest goes into the state’s general fund. … [but 2016 audit found DNR weak on enforcement, so] Evers plan would increase fees to $5,910, with higher amounts due for permit renewals to recognize the additional work for DNR staff. [adds 5 positions, bringing CAFO:DNR-staff ratio to 20:1]. … In four neighboring states the average is nearly $5,400 [over 5 years], ranging from $1,785 in Iowa to $12,660 for Minnesota, Wisconsin Dairy Alliance’s Leitner: “Dairies of all sizes have been (devastated) by low milk prices and tariffs in recent years. Now is not the time to nearly double the current $345 annual CAFO permit fee or implement a massive new five-year renewal fee on CAFOs.” MEA’s Kamp called it “a reasonable request … better reflects fees charged in neighboring states … better reflects the impact that these operations have on public health, drinking water and our state’s other water resources.” GOP Sen. Cowles bill would let DNR keep all $345. Green Fire says cows pollute more than people. UW Prof. Mitchell said mostly small farms have closed in dairy price recession, but some CAFOs have closed, WDA would not say how many. DATCP counted 1.3M dairy cattle, said farming contributes $88.3B/yr to economy. More analysis. By Verburg, WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL


– PolitiFact: Budget battle puts some Evers promises in doubt … Protect coverage for pre-existing conditions … Accept federal Medicaid expansion money … Expand funding for Planned Parenthood

– Michael Schraa Injured … while doing some landscaping work on his property over the holiday weekend

– Is Sen. Alberta Darling Disappointing Her Constituents? Has her district changed? Has she changed?

– Steil introduces bill aimed at sex trafficking … [at Racine County substation in Sturtevant] In front of area law enforcement and elected officials [Sheriff Schmaling, RPD Chief Schulz, Exec. Delegrave, SPD Chief Marschke, Salem Lakes Admin. Murdock], Steil introduced HR 2149 “Exposing the Financing of Human Trafficking Act” … co-sponsored by Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., requires existing Trafficking In-Persons (TIP) reports to “evaluate foreign countries’ efforts to investigate, prevent and prosecute financial criminal activities associated with the facilitation of human trafficking.” … “When we give foreign aid from the federal government to countries globally, we need to know they’re our partner in stopping illicit financing and human trafficking,” said Steil,

– Steil introduces anti human-trafficking bill; confident it will pass

– Steil’s first bill focuses on human trafficking

– Baldwin receives La Crosse’s community development award … Tuesday … for her support of community development block grants, Baldwin returned that gratitude with interest during an award ceremony on the city’s North Side.

– ‘It ain’t fun anymore’: Auctioneers are busy selling off dying Wisconsin dairy farms, Auctioneers have an up-close view of the pain behind the dairy crisis. They see no sign of better times to come. … auctioneers are moving a dairy cow every 60 seconds. … Wisconsin lost 503 dairy farms in 2017 and 691 dairy farms in 2018. This year, as of May 1, the state had lost an additional 302 … worldwide glut of milk continues to drive down the price farmers receive, to the point that many barely break even or lose money. In 2018, for the third straight year, Wisconsin led the nation in farm bankruptcies — most of them family dairy operations … [2nd generation B&M Auctions] go where they’re needed — nearby, across the state or into Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Illinois. Whatever the item, they’ll find a market: cows, milking machines, skid loaders, tractors, trucks, cars, lawn mowers, homes, antiques and collectibles. They once auctioned a plane. … “My grandpa told me 20 years ago to go find something else to do, this is a dying profession,” [auctioneer Cory Bidlingmaier] said. “I looked around the neighborhood and said, ‘Yeah, there’s more dairy than you think.’ … “It’s a struggle,” Cory acknowledged. “It’s a depression. We talk to people who start crying in front of you. I talked to a guy a few weeks ago. He’s fourth generation (dairy farmer) outside of Monroe. He said, ‘I’m going to have to sell, I can’t make it.’ … Unfortunately, when the agriculture world is in a crisis, we get busier,” Cory said. … [But] An auctioneer is paid on commission, and the market for dairy cows is weak. “Our margins aren’t any better,” Cory said. Auctioneer Board chair Jerry Thiel, farmer Dale Ryan, auctioneer Tom Bidlingmaier, auction buyer Lonnie Krebs comment.

– Farm Crisis Town Hall to be held in Durand: today

COURTS ^top^
– [JFC on 12-4 party line] votes to boost district attorney, public defender pay … adding a net of roughly 20 prosecutor positions and passed a $25.6 million plan to increase pay … to $70 per hour. “Lawyers aren’t taking these cases and we are in crisis,” said Rep. Evan Goyke, D-Milwaukee. … Lawyers say the [present $40/hr] rate often isn’t enough to mount a serious defense. Private lawyers handle about 40% of the office’s cases. CJ Roggensack statement hailed vote to “strengthen and support Wisconsin’s justice system.”

– Budget committee approves pay hikes for Wisconsin district attorneys

– Dan Kelly launches campaign for Wisconsin Supreme Court

– Kelly seeks 10-year term on court

– Former Gov. Scott Walker supports coding school where a student can pay nothing until landing a job … Walker visited DevCodeCamp [in Milwaukee co-working space Ward4] to learn about its new income share agreement and talk with students. DevCodeCamp, which started in 2015, runs a 12-week program where students learn development skills. … students pay no money to DevCodeCamp until after graduating and starting a job that pays more than $40,000 a year. Students will then pay 15% of their income for three years. … Walker said right now his involvement is “just promoting — it’s an interesting topic. … If people like Mitch Daniels and others at Purdue are doing it, there’s no reason why it can’t be replicated at a traditional undergraduate program out there. … I think it could be done anywhere: public, private, college, university. The idea being that it puts the focal point on getting it done quickly. A lot of the times students don’t have the money up front.”

– Regional economic leaders discuss potential solutions to housing shortage
Grow North brings in experts from around the state: Nicolet College panelists, David Armstrong, Joy Hannemann, Paul Evert, WHEDA’s Stuart Kuzik of USDA’s Dirk Williams, WEDA’s Brian Doudna

– Tom Still: Will Wisconsin become venture hot spot?

– GOP Lawmakers Reject Governor’s Spending Bump For UW System … JFC on 12-4 party line approved $58M boost for UW System — $72M less than Evers – and $45M of it would be subject to later committee approval after the system provides a report on how it would spend the money. Co-chair Nygren pitched it flexibility plus accountability, “There will always be a desire from some to spend more.” But UW Systems Pres. Cross groused, “The Legislature missed an opportunity to meet the future needs of this state. I feel like I’ve been kicked in the shins.” GOP accepted Evers’ tuition freeze, but removed $50M funding for it. JFC Dems GOyke and Taylor denounced funding pull. JFC approved boost for public defenders to $70/hr. Last year, lawyers and judges unsuccessfully petitioned state Supreme Court for the pay bump. DA’s and Asst. AG’s also got pay bump. Reps. GOyke, Loudenbeck comment. 12-4 approved only 2 of Evers’ 5 DNR scientists, scaled back his well cleaning from $2M to $400K. Rep. Taylor wailed, “This is ignoring manure coming out of people’s taps,” but Sen. Tiffany dubbed it “responsible to the subject area we’re dealing with and to the taxpayers here in Wisconsin.” By White, WPR

– UW System’s Cross: ‘I feel like I’ve been kicked in the shins’ on budget committee vote

– Lawmakers extend UW tuition freeze for two years, cut Tony Evers’ funding increase for campuses

– Capitol Notes: Will Gov. Tony Evers Get More Money For Education In The Budget? 6:22 audio with WisPolitics’ Ross

– Unified school board approves base wage increase for staff

– Mayville students create in new Fab Lab

– Baraboo students first in the state to become ‘Dementia Friends’

– JFC scraps Evers’ science bureau, adds two science positions to DNR

– DNR listens to public in advance of proposed Indianford Dam changes

– EPA scientists raised concerns over smog designation in southeastern Wisconsin. Now the agency is reviewing the decision … Foxconn, which is building a flat-screen manufacturing plant in Mount Pleasant, would represent a major new source of air pollution in the region, according to air emissions data filed by the company with the State of Wisconsin. … [but Pruitt’s EPA sided with then-GOv. Walker] Racine County was declared in compliance with the new standard. The EPA also exempted Waukesha and Washington counties. … [in documents released by the Sierra Club and Clean Wisconsin] “I do not see a sound technical basis for the areas we are being directed to finalize in Wisconsin,” said Jennifer Liljegren, an EPA physical scientist involved in the case. Her email to colleagues was dated April 11, 2018. Lars Perlmutt, an EPA health scientist, replied, “I have a background in air pollution health effects and more specifically on acute exposures, so for me personally, this is hard to digest and support.” … decision on May 1, 2018, to sharply limit geographical areas that would fall under more restrictive limits … EPA says in court documents that it wants more time to review its ozone decision.

– Mount Pleasant residents see large increase in property values … “For residential properties, it’s 100% based upon sales that have occurred between arm’s length seller and arm’s length buyer,” [assessor] McHugh said. “We’ve talked to hundreds of people who have bought and sold properties in the last year and very, very few of them have sales to people directly attributed to people for Foxconn.”

– Palliative Care Beyond Hospice Is Spreading to More States

– John Nichols: Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez: ‘I Was Scared, but I Did It Anyways,’ This week on Next Left we talk to Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez, one of the Democratic Socialists who now make up 10 percent of Chicago’s City Council.

– $6.75 million settlement paid over Terrill Thomas dehydration death in jail

– DA [Hanson] prosecuting more dealers with homicide after overdose deaths

– Legal age to buy tobacco in Duluth increases Wednesday … Duluth is one of 34 cities and counties in Minnesota raising the age. … Lawmakers introduced a “Tobacco 21” bill for the policy to be implicated state-wide, but it failed in the Senate. Meanwhile, convenience stores are getting ready to start following the new law.

– Mayor Larson: “It was a big year for the city of Duluth at the state legislature”

– GOP lawmakers cut tens of millions from Evers’ clean water budget … With the state’s contaminated drinking water becoming a bigger issue with voters, GOP leaders sought to minimize their differences with Evers. “There are so many things we have in common,” said [JFC co-chair] Darling. Rep. Taylor denounced the cuts, “They cannot drink the water. What would you do if you could not drink the water in your homes?” Co-chair Nygren said water quality is better than it was in the 1970s, “when you couldn’t see the bottom of the lake. … Some of the biggest manure production comes in this building,” wanted to explore moving CAFO regulation from DNR to DATCP, which industry supports and Walker previously proposed. More analysis, WDA’s Leitner comments.

– [Marinette] County board opposes legalizing marijuana, Supervisors vote 20-8 against recreational use

– GOP bill would fund electric vehicle charging stations with VW settlement money … [using $10M] to provide matching grants for new public charging stations. … similar to … [Evers’] 2019 budget proposal … already drawn support from renewable energy advocates, as well as utilities and consumer groups, and criticism from some traditionally conservative groups. … “This is where it’s going: electric cars, ladies and gentlemen,” bill co-sponsor Sen. Robert Cowles, R-Green Bay, said Tuesday during a hearing before the Assembly Committee on Energy and Utilities. “This is a chance for us to really get ahead of the curve.” Renew WI’s McCurry, Customers First!’s Gilkes, Rep. Neylon comment.

– Milwaukee’s parking enforcement fleet welcomes its first fully electric vehicles

– Barrett pleased with The Hop’s ridership as city leaders consider streetcar expansion

– More truck traffic expected in downtown Portage as county workers seek to repair bridge on semi route

– Solar developer sues PSC, We Energies over denial of Milwaukee rooftop project … Eagle Point Solar … is asking the courts to intervene where [PSC] has not in preventing We Energies from interfering in its contract with the city. … seeking a declaration that its contract to lease solar panels to the city would not make it a utility subject to PSC regulation. We Energies opposed plan, PSC 2-1 ruled against EPS. … “If anyone sells electricity to our customers, they should be viewed as a public utility and should be registered as such,” [We Energies’] Conway said. “In Eagle Point’s case, because we already provide retail electric service to the city, Wisconsin law prohibits Eagle Point from doing so.” PSC did not respond. EPS chief Shear cited similar case won in IA. Dissenting Commissioner Valcq felt lease was just a financing method.

– Critics See We Energies Trying to Muscle Competition Out of Renewable-Energy Market

– Agreement to benefit Xcel customers … utility and several customer groups filed a multiyear agreement — a first for Xcel — with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin that will keep rates below January 2018 levels through 2021. A typical residential electric bill will be about 5 percent less in 2020 and 1 percent less the following year. Natural gas bills will be about 5 percent less in both 2020 and 2021 compared with January of last year.

– RJT editorial: A points-based immigration system makes sense … [Trump plan to move to] merit or skills-based immigration – one that would favor highly skilled, financially self-sufficient immigrants who learn English and pass a civics exam. … landed with a thud on Capitol Hill, where Democrats immediately opposed it and Republicans who were briefed on it said they were “underwhelmed.” That’s a mistake.

– BDN editorial: Don’t think money will be the solution … Valiant efforts to remediate damage caused outside classrooms swallows an enormous amount of the money allocated for public schools. … While the argument in Madison is over how much more money to throw at public schools, it largely misses the point. Without progress on the cultural front, the same problems will keep producing the same results. Question: When will governors and legislators have that discussion?

– Dave Zweifel: Scott Walker’s disdain for Madison disappoints but doesn’t surprise

– George Mitchell: A transportation package sure to come up short

– John Nichols: Wisconsinites want empowered state treasurer

– Sierra Club’s Dave Blouin: Mining industry offers false promises of safety, prosperity

– GTC pres. Bryan Albrecht: A comprehensive profile

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