WED News Summary: Supreme Court reinstates most lame-duck laws; JFC approves $1.9B capital budget

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Hours before a trial start, WI Supreme Court reinstates most lame-duck laws
… With a pair of 4-3 [philosophy-line] orders, the high court canceled a trial that was to commence Wednesday and put back in place almost all the lame-duck laws while it considers an appeal [of initial decisions in SEIU case.] 2 provisions remain suspended: early voting limits, required public commenting period for older government docs. Significant provisions restored include AG needing lawmaker approval to settle lawsuits, administration must take public comments for weeks before publishing certain docs. A federal judge is overseeing another challenge to the lame-duck laws that is in its early stages. Leader Fitzgerald hailed “a win for the people of Wisconsin. … We are confident that the constitutionality of these laws will be upheld when the court hears the full case in the coming months.” Evers’ atty. Pines denounced slow response, “it’s important for the public to know if they send an email about how to comply with the law that it is entirely possible that the response to the email will be substantially delayed.” Rehash suits, limits to AG powers. By Marley, MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL

JFC OKs $1.9B in building projects, including $1B for UW campuses
… [on 12-4 party line] pared back … Evers’ $2.5B request, cutting $30M for redevelopment of the Alliant Energy Center [JFC Dem Taylor: “I knew this was a longshot.”] … and two projects at UW-La Crosse, among others. … overall [capital budget] size … drew some praise from Democrats who said the $1.9B number showed Republicans were following Evers’ lead. JFC co-chair Nygren said Building Commission process is broken, cited project lobbying, “I think it’s bad for the taxpayer. But at the same time, I know that (the state) needs an influx of investment.” Sen. Nass previewed GOP hesitation, noted it broke Doyle’s $1.7B bonding record, “Excessive spending and bonding is now the rage in the State Capitol as Republicans try to buy Governor Evers’ support for our version of the budget. Tonight was another win for big spending and a loss for the taxpayers.” UW System Pres. Cross statement “deeply appreciates” safety/modernization update, “This long-term investment will help attract and retain more students and faculty.” Rehash BC blowup, UW chancellors’ PR press for UWEC “Frankenstein building”, UWM chem hall, UW vet med school [all of which won funding]. UW chancellor Blank: “they heard our needs and responded with their support. We are grateful … look forward to these projects moving forward quickly.” Other UW projects listed. JFC dramatically cut Evers’ plan for smaller facilities to replace Lincoln Hills, prompting JFC Dem Goyke to predict further delay in 2021 closing date. JFC approved $44M upgrade to Mendota Juvenile, $70M bond for Historical Society, DOA/MPD study on Capitol safety [a nat’l trend. JFC GOP Olsen: “It’s good common sense. Why wouldn’t you want to do this?”] By Meyerhofer, WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL

Evers seeks juvenile justice overhaul but says closing Lincoln Hills in 2021 may be impossible
… “That’s really aggressive,” Evers said of the timeline for building replacement facilities. “We could end up in a place where that’s physically impossible to do.” … argued for overhauling the state’s juvenile justice system, which could include treating 17-year-olds as juveniles instead of adults and redefining who qualifies as a serious young offender. … Sen. Van Wanggaard … didn’t want to give the Evers administration more than a six-month delay [AB 188 grants 6-month delay] … “If you’ve ever worked with state government, you’ve got to keep their feet to the fire. … He should be on the phone making that call,” Wanggaard said. “Nobody’s called us.” … [Vos] supports delaying the closure of Lincoln Hills until July 2021 but … “Gov. Evers has had six months (since he took office) and I’ve been waiting for him to even really talk about this topic,” Vos said. “So I have heard nothing at this point, but I’m open to listening to what he has to say.” Goyke recalled bipartisan vote to close Lincoln Hills, sees compromise on juvenile justice, “We can do it again. I’m ready and I think the Republicans are ready. Let’s let history repeat itself.” … “I would love to see it happen, but I’m not real optimistic,” [Rep.] Schraa said. JFC added only $44M for replacement facilities – Evers proposed $194M. DOC Sec. Carr seeks changes on how county-run facilities must be built. By Marley, MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL

JFC OKs parts of Evers’ proposals for land stewardship, parks, CAFOs
On 12-4 party line approved 2-year Stewardship extension. Co-chair Darling: “People love the stewardship program, but you have to realize it comes at a high cost. We’re trying to be fiscally responsible.” JFC approved a $1.2M more for park staffing and operations [Evers $1.9M], as parks struggle through Walker shift to fees support. Rehash Walker-era Stewardship limits, accruing debt. JFC, after long resistance, approved CAFO fees for DNR administration [without Evers’ hikes] and left regs with DNR, after LFB showed feds authorize only DNR to regulate clean water. Joint Audit co-chair Cowles statement said decision should have been easier, added DNR staff will bolster a vital permitting system. JFC also hiked [less than Evers’] funding for forest fire protection grants and forestry research. By Verburg, WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL

Vos: Fee increases will not exceed tax cut in state budget
… Speaking at a Wisconsin Health News forum in Madison Tuesday, Vos anticipated the Republican-controlled Legislature could pass the full state budget and have it on Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ desk by the end of June. … [said full veto] could jeopardize health care increases that both parties support … “some of the (health care) increases we have given would be harder to get through a second time” … said any possible override votes would not come until fall. … [credited Evers with “a win” on pulling out of ACA lawsuit] and because of that we know probably Obamacare isn’t going away. It wasn’t able to be repealed by the federal government. Whether I like it or not that Obamacare is there, we might as well utilize it for the best interests of our citizens.” Vos favored folks buying ACA Marketplace policies to Medicaid expansion. By Mills, WPR


– John Nichols: Rashida Tlaib: There’s a ‘Real Human Impact of Doing Nothing,’ This week on Next Left, the outspoken representative who is holding Trump accountable.

– JFC signs off on new dairy hub, nixes fee increases for large-scale farms … would add four new positions to regulate concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs — one less than the number Evers wanted. And it would direct more money to the Department of Natural Resources for CAFO oversight purposes. … designate $8.8M in the next two years for a “Dairy Innovation Hub” across three UW System schools to develop new dairy products and bolster the broader industry [recommended by Walker dairy task force]. … Democrats, including Rep. Evan Goyke, of Milwaukee, slammed a provision in the language that would require UW System officials to submit a separate request to the committee in order to release the funding. DNR will get entire $345 CAFO fee to administer program. Rep. Taylor, Sen. Tiffany comment.

– JFC approves $1.9B for building projects

– JFC approves $1B in UW building projects, reject funding to replace youth prison

– Vos says GOP tax cut would counter fee increases in transportation plan, tax on e-cigs possible … pledged that taxes won’t increase overall in the next biennial budget … as Republican legislative leaders are weighing a $400 million middle-class tax cut plan. … not opposed to taxing e-cigarettes, though … Evers’ level [71% of MSRP] is “too high.” … he’ll work with his Senate GOP colleagues “to see what number is reasonable.”

– Republicans might not return until October if Tony Evers vetoes full budget … [but full budget veto means previous budget carries on] “The longer we operate under the old budget, the more I think an awful lot of the people in the state of Wisconsin say, ‘Wait a minute, why are you increasing spending in the way that you did?'” Vos said. … Overriding an Evers veto would be a heavy lift, requiring some Democratic support in both chambers of the Legislature. Vos said budget goal “would be to have reductions in taxes that would equal any revenues or beyond any revenues that were created.”

– JFC To Take Up UW System, State Building Projects, Lawmakers Also Slated To Debate Factory Farm Regulation, State Land Conservation Program: Building Commission punted the whole 82-item Capital Budget to JFC. Evers budget includes dairy export and hemp grower/processor programs, continues Stewardship land buys opposed by some GOP-ers like Tiffany. JFC weighing moving CAFO regs to DATCP. Evers budget further days closing of Lincoln Hills/Copper Lake juvenile correctionals, which GOP seeks sooner, and expands Mendota Juvenile facility.

– Milwaukee leaders push back following heated exchange over child welfare services … during last week’s [JFC] meeting … Milwaukee Democrats and Republicans from more rural areas traded accusations in an exchange over Milwaukee County’s child welfare services. Board chair Lipscomb, Mayor Barrett call for reconsidering cuts. Last year, Abele, Lipscomb and others launched a “Fair Deal for Milwaukee County” work group, and Monday’s meeting marked the eighth town hall to get the word out to residents. MMAC pres. Sheehy noted “Milwaukee is one of the few net exporters of income, so it’s one of the few counties in the state where … there are more people working here and taking their income back to an outlying county than the reverse.” Reps. Goyke, Bowen and Born comment.

– Big decisions looming on Green Bay’s new $105M capital spending plan

COURTS ^top^
– Mount Pleasant considers joining suit against opioid companies … unanimously approved retaining [TX] law firm of Phipps Deacon Purnell

– Madison immigration law center seeing positive results, expanding … on Wednesday, CILC will announce it is hiring two additional immigration lawyers. … toward CILC’s goal to establish a public defender system for immigrants facing deportation proceedings.

– Neenah’s Bemis Co. acquired by Amcor in deal valued at $6.8 billion

– Big box retail, hotel, eyed for Highway 11 at I-94 in Yorkville

– Joint Finance Committee OKs spending for UW-EC science hall

– Turner cashing in on growth

– Elections Commission [unanimously] delays deactivation of voters who appear to move … As part of the ERIC [postcard] program, the Elections Commission in 2018 first deactivated 308,000 voters from the rolls. … voters whom election officials believe no longer live at their registered address [through non-response to postcard] … Under the commission’s new plan, deactivation will take place between 12 and 24 months, giving voters more time to comply.

– Restaurants, hotels don’t have enough workers ready for the DNC rush in 2020 … Hiring in the restaurant industry is difficult right now. More than 4,000 positions in the area are advertised on one of the largest job sites, Indeed. Hospitality businesses in Milwaukee say they don’t have enough workers ready … “We can’t keep a dishwasher if our lives depended on it,” [restaurateur] Jacobs said. He’s raised pay for dishwashers to $11 an hour — what he said line cooks earned just a few years ago. … “If we don’t try something, we are going to risk failure at a service industry level in our city when we’re at our peak usage and a critical time when we’re trying to sell our city,” said Gary Witt, CEO of The Pabst Theater Group. … “It’s ships passing in the night — people looking for employees and the people looking for jobs,” said Mayor Tom Barrett. … [near Fiserv Forum] Four new places to eat or drink opened in the past few months: Punch Bowl Social, Drink Wisconsinbly, Mecca Sports Bar and Grill, and Good City Brewing. WRA’s Quam, Marcus Corp’s Martin, Council pres. Hamilton, DNC’s Gassaway, several proprietors comment.

ENERGY ^top^
– Report: Wisconsin energy efficiency program generates millions in savings … New Glarus Brewing Co. invested nearly $100,000 since 2016 in energy-efficient lighting, refrigeration, compressors and pumps that are expected to save more than 7.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity, according to Focus on Energy, which helped finance the projects. … New Glarus is one of more than 6,000 Wisconsin businesses and nearly 130,000 households that participated last year in Focus on Energy … the $100 million program delivered $3.66 in direct economic benefits for every dollar spent — including some $90 million in avoided annual electricity costs — and prevented more than 28.5 million tons of carbon dioxide from being pumped into the atmosphere. … found that for every kilowatt-hour of electricity saved, Focus on Energy spent just 1 cent on administrative costs — lowest among the 41 utility customer-funded programs. In terms of total costs, Focus on Energy spent 2.8 cents per kilowatt-hour, second only to Nevada.

– Conservation Congress recognizes Douglas County Fish and Game League

– Foxconn may broaden range of products made at Wisconsin factory … development came as Foxconn, which draws more than half its revenue from Apple Inc., signaled that it could move iPhone production outside China, its main manufacturing base. … speaking in Taiwan to analysts at a rare investor conference, key Foxconn [semiconductor] executive Young Liu [favored to replace Gou] pointed to the importance of the Wisconsin project. Rehash Foxconn in WI to-date.

– Foxconn water diversion fight may continue … [MEA on TUesday] announced their intent “to explore further legal options in this matter.”

IOWA ^top^
– [UI] Study: Iowa nation’s top human, livestock waste producer … produces as much manure as a human population of 168 million … “Just to ensure clarity, in Iowa, we are generating as much fecal waste in every square mile as 2,979 people,” [prof.] Jones wrote in a blog on the university’s website.

– Accused Sherman Park arson conspirator Mayes calls federal charges a frame job

– Madison firefighter is second man to die after swim portion of Ironman triathlon

– Beaver Dam man gets 10 years in prison for causing 2017 heroin overdose

– Dodge County Sheriff seeks assistance in locating Huber inmate

– Wood County deputy shot in village of Arpin

– Planned Parenthood picks new leader for advocacy work in Wisconsin … chose Mike Murray as its new executive director. … previously held positions as policy director for the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health and policy specialist for the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault. … Tanya Atkinson, president of the advocacy arm, said she is “thrilled” … pointed to Murray’s expertise in reproductive health policy, government relations and social justice,

– No additional cases of mumps reported at Kenosha County Detention Center

– So Far, Real Estate Dominates a Tax Break Meant for Businesses … almost two years after the [“opportunity zone”] tax break became law, and almost two months after the Trump administration clarified how private equity firms, venture capitalists and other investors can qualify for the tax break, only a handful of people have started funds that focus on operating businesses. … real estate-focused funds have already raised billions. And real estate companies are cashing in. For example, Kushner Companies, the family business of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has been buying up property in the zones. Capital gains on profits in these zones fall to zero over 10 years.

– Electric scooters could return to cities, legally, under state legislation

– Evers and conservatives are united against GOP plan giving [JFC] lawmakers power to impose new [vehicle use] fees: after $2.5M study

– Roosevelt Ave. roundabout rejected

– Superior mayor takes pothole tour

– You better duck if you drive crumbling Second Avenue

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