Hamilton Political Tidbits – April 13, 2017

Political Tidbits - April 13, 2017
Hamilton Consulting Group
 April 13, 2017
Wisconsin political news for clients and colleagues.

The budget process continues as JFC travels around Wisconsin for public hearings. This week's Tidbits covers the latest on the budget, including highlights from the public hearings, JFC's newest memo on the budget process and the governor's recently released budget errata. Also in this edition, a floor report from last week's Senate and Assembly sessions, including an update on special session bills. Keep reading for Wisconsin's spring election results and Walmart and 3M's legislative days at the Capitol.

If you wish to receive additional information about a topic addressed in Tidbits, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Hamilton Consulting Team.

JFC Public Hearings Begin
The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) held their first public hearings this week on Gov. Scott Walker's proposed 2017-19 state budget. JFC heard from agency heads at the Capitol on March 28-30, and will spend April listening to testimony from citizens throughout Wisconsin before they begin votes on the budget in early May.
The hearings throughout the week highlighted concerns from citizens throughout the state who expressed support for education, transportation and Medicaid funding, as well as criminal justice reform and arguments against removing the forestry tax, cuts to DNR funding and the elimination of DNR's magazine and the elimination of LIRC, among other issues.

JFC Pulls Out Non-Fiscal Budget Items, Governor Issues Errata

On April 6, the co-chairs of the Joint Finance Committee (JFC), Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Sen. Alberta Darling (R- River Hills) issued a memo outlining JFC budget process and starting point.

The memo included 83 non-fiscal policy items that will be removed from the budget. The co-chairs also stated that the JFC will use the governor's budget as the beginning point for their votes, except for the Department of Transportation. Instead, JFC will work from base budget, or current law for DOT's budget.

A few days prior on March 31, Gov. Scott Walker's budget office released a technical errata report. The 76-page document included technical adjustments to the governor's budget that were intended to be in the original budget bill.

Assembly Passes Nine Special Session Bills

The Wisconsin State Assembly convened in special session this week to debate and vote on nine special session bills as part of the Heroin, Opiate, Prevention and Education (HOPE) Agenda. Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) introduced a total of 11 special session bills in late February, and committee hearings took place in March before the bills moved to the Assembly floor on April 4. Nine out of the 11 bills were debated Tuesday in the Assembly. All but one of the nine special session bills passed either unanimously or by voice vote; Special Session Assembly Bill 6 passed 95-2. The nine bills were messaged to the Senate for approval.

Continue reading about the Special Session floor action.
Floor Report: April 4 - April 6

Last week, the Wisconsin State Assembly and State Senate were in session to take up a variety of bills. The floor session was originally scheduled for just Tuesday, April 4, but due to delays, the Senate reconvened on Wednesday, April 5 and the Assembly on Thursday, April 6.
In the Senate, SB 76, the high capacity wells bill, was held up after Democrats rejected to a third reading of the bill on Tuesday. Despite the hold up on SB 76, the Senate moved through the rest of their agenda on Tuesday, April 4, including unanimously passing a bill (SB 49) to change the criteria for broadband expansion grants and allocate $18.5 million in additional resources.
The Assembly had a full schedule on Tuesday, April 4, including convening into Special Session to consider nine bills to address opioid abuse and addiction.
April 4 Elections Update: Evers Wins Easily, Ziegler Unopposed

Both the race for State Superintendent of Public Instruction and the race for Wisconsin's Supreme Court ended as expected on Tuesday, April 4. In the contest to lead the state's Department of Public Instruction (DPI), incumbent Tony Evers was re-elected to his third term with approximately 70% of the vote. Evers defeated challenger Lowell Holtz, who had earned a spot on the ballot after placing second in a Feb. 21 primary race. Evers will serve until 2021. In Wisconsin's Supreme Court race, Justice Annette Ziegler was re-elected to her second 10-year term after no candidate filed paperwork to challenge Ziegler by the January filing deadline. Finally, school districts across the state overwhelmingly approved school funding referenda present on the April 4 ballot, with two-thirds of the 65 related referenda on local ballots passing.
Walmart Capitol Day 2017
Walmart ended the day with a visit from the Jack Link's Sasquatch.

Walmart held its annual Wisconsin Capitol Day on April 5 with store managers, regional managers, market managers and assistants from around the state.
The all-day event began with a welcome from Speaker Pro Tempore Tyler August (R-Lake Geneva) and Sen. Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse). Following the legislators' welcome, attendees were given a briefing on pertinent legislation, an update on recent activity in the Capitol and information on what to expect when visiting with legislators later in the day.
Continue reading about Walmart Capitol Day.

3M Day on the Hill 2017
Sen. Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) addresses 3M Day on the Hill attendees.

3M Company held their Wisconsin Day on the Hill recently and met with many legislators and agency personnel to discuss issues including manufacturing, transportation and health care.
Attendees, who included plant managers from around Wisconsin, heard from Rich Zipperer, Chief of Staff to Gov. Scott Walker, Sen. Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and more.
Continue reading about 3M Day on the Hill.

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News Clips
Gallagher frustrated over first 100 days in Congress: Wisconsin Radio Network, April 12, 2017.
Congress members in Chippewa Valley: Two guys named Ron talk taxes: Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, April 12, 2017.

Trump faces risky ObamaCare choice: The Hill, April 13, 2017.
Grothman addresses health care concerns: Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter, April 11, 2017.
Speaker Ryan needs a win after health care loss: Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, April 10, 2017.
Week ahead: Congress heads home without ObamaCare deal: The Hill, April 10, 2017.

Utilities and Energy
Proposed STEM Center would move to UWGB campus: Green Bay Gazette, April 11, 2017. 
New study ranks Wisconsin 20th in nation for tech employment: Wisconsin Public Radio, April 11, 2017.
Bill takes aim at costs of hazardous drinking water: Wisconsin State Journal, April 11, 2017.
WPS proposes two-year rate freeze: Green Bay Press-Gazette, April 10, 2017.
Clean energy firing up in region: Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, April 10, 2017. 

DNR probing large St. Croix County dairy operation: Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, April 12, 2017.
Court: Baiting deer legal if not for hunting: Associated Press, April 11, 2017.
What's at stake in Trump's proposed E.P.A. cuts: New York Times, April 10, 2017.

Economic Development
Canada says don't blame it for Wisconsin dairy woes: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, April 11, 2017.

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