Hamilton Political Tidbits – January 5, 2018

Political Tidbits - January 5, 2018
Hamilton Consulting Group
 January 5, 2018
Wisconsin political news for clients and colleagues.

Happy New Year! This Tidbits previews the exciting things ahead in 2018, including Hamilton's new leadership team and what's to come in the last few months of session. Also in this edition:
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2018 Session Preview

If the flurry of activity and committee meetings is any indication, the legislature plans to get a lot done in the next two or three months.  While there may not be a lot of high profile issues left in play, there is still plenty of legislation moving or dying in what will be the busiest time for legislators outside of those on the Joint Finance Committee who work on the budget. 
 

Hamilton Consulting Group Announces New Leadership Team

Former Deputy Attorney General Andy Cook has rejoined the Hamilton Consulting Group as a lobbyist and owner of the firm. Also effective Jan. 1, Rebecca Hogan became owner, joining Cook and existing owners, Andy Engel and R.J. Pirlot. 
  
Continue reading about the new leadership team. 

Assembly Committee Holds Hearing on Litigation Reform Bill
Wisconsin Civil Justice Council and the Institute for Legal Reform testify on civil litigation reform legislation.

The Assembly Committee on Judiciary held a hearing Thursday on a bill that would reform Wisconsin's civil liability statutes to lower litigation costs for Wisconsin businesses and government. AB 773, authored by Reps. Mark Born (R-Beaver Dam) and John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Sens. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) and David Craig (R-Big Bend), would further improve Wisconsin's litigation climate by making changes to discovery and class action statutes, among other reforms.
 
 
Candidates Are Set for Three Special Elections

On Dec. 19, three special elections were held across the state for open seats in the Wisconsin legislature. The primaries for the 58th and 66th Assembly Districts essentially decided the outcomes of the general races, but the 10th Senate District general is arguably in play.
 
 
Worker's Compensation Bill Introduced in Senate

The Senate Committee on Labor and Regulatory Reform voted in December to introduce SB 665, legislation proposed by the Wisconsin Worker's Compensation Advisory Council (WCAC). The bill is the biennial agreement between management and labor for reform in the worker's compensation system.
 
Historically, once a WCAC approved bill was introduced, it went through a simple process of committee review and quick passage in the legislature.  However, with more controversial items included - specifically a health service fee schedule - the bill's fate is unknown.
 

Lasee, Ripp Join the Walker Administration

On Dec. 29, 2017, Gov. Scott Walker appointed two legislators to positions within his administration. Sen. Frank Lasee (R-DePere) was named division administrator for worker's compensation in the Department of Workforce Development and Rep. Keith Ripp (R-Lodi) was appointed to the number three position at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection as the assistant deputy secretary.
 
Both legislators resigned immediately and there will not be a special election before the regular general elections in November.
 
Continue reading about the appointments.
 
Stepp Promoted to Head of Midwest EPA

Former Wisconsin state senator and Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp was promoted last month by the Trump administration to head the Midwest regional office of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Chicago.
 
 
DHS Improves Medicaid Projection in Second Quarter Report

In a recent report, the Department of Health Services (DHS) provided a much more positive projection of the state's Medicaid program for the current biennium (2017-19). DHS projects the Medicaid program will end the biennium with a balance of $9.6 million general purpose revenue (GPR) and $23.4 million all funds.

 


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News Clips
Politics
Lasee steps down, Jacque eyes seat: Door County Pulse, January 5, 2018.
Wisconsin ethics panel warns Rep. Kulp about 'improper tweets': Stevens Point Journal, January 4, 2018.
Mark Pocan heading back to DC after recovery from heart surgery: Wisconsin State Journal, January 4, 2018.
Wisconsin GOP asks US Senate candidates to sign 'unity pledge': Wisconsin State Journal, January 3, 2018.

Health
Utilities and Energy
Environment
Legal
Economic Development
Economy adds 148K jobs in December: The Hill, January 5, 2018.
Airbnb may start collecting Racine room taxes: Racine Journal Times, January 4, 2018.

Transportation
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