Hamilton Political Tidbits – August 14, 2015

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Political Tidbits
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The Hamilton Consulting Group
August 14, 2015

After a long budget season and the governor now on the national campaign trail, the Wisconsin capitol in August is very quiet. However, in this edition of Tidbits , there is an update on the final Bucks Arena deal, as well as details on Speaker Vos' announcement of three new Task Forces. Finally, the governor's Chief Legal Counsel has a new job and the dates for a special election for the 99th Assembly District have been set.

In national news, the GOP held its first presidential debate and Hamilton Consulting has their own take on the outcome. Also in Tidbits , there is a summary of President Obama's recently released details on the EPA's Clean Power Plan.

Get the full, printable version of the Hamilton Consulting Group State Budget Summary here.
Stay up to date on the state budget process! Check our State Budget Issue Update page and follow us on Twitter.

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EPA Releases Final Draft of Clean Power Plan Rule

Last week the White House and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the final version of the Clean Power Plan rule, which regulates carbon dioxide emissions, and various pollutants, by power plants in the United States. As widely expected, the final draft of the rule is stricter than the proposed regulation released last year. The compliance timeline has been extended for states in order for them to meet the stricter standards.

Specifically the final version of the rule's national standard requires states to cut 32 percent of their carbon emissions based on levels recorded in 2005. The proposed rule required a 30 percent reduction. The rule's renewable energy standard also increased with the EPA excepting renewable energy to rise to 28 percent of the electrical grid's capacity by 2030. The proposed rule had expected renewable energy to comprise 22 percent of the grid's capacity. The use of coal is also expected to drop to 27 percent of the grid's energy creation instead of 31 percent (currently coal makes up 39 percent of energy production and creates 77 percent of CO2 emissions nationally). However, states have a longer window to begin complying with the standards. The first compliance date has been extended from 2020 to 2022. The EPA claims these standards will save approximately $45 billion a year through shrinking energy use, reducing health care costs related to asthma, lung cancer and other respiratory illnesses caused by air pollution.

Still Debating Trumps Viability

Viewers across the country tuned in last Thursday to what turned out to be a record setting audience for the televised Republican primary debate in Cleveland.

Post-debate pundits thought Donald Trump's brash behavior toward host Megyn Kelly signaled the beginning of the end of a campaign many Republicans are hoping implodes sooner rather than later. But a round of polls across the country this week still show a plurality of support for Trump. Two polls in Iowa showed him leading his closest rival by at least 7%, and a national poll showed the same.

Read more about how other candidates fared in the debate.

Walker Legal Counsel Appointed to Court of Appeals

At the end of July, Governor Scott Walker announced the appointment of Brian Hagedorn as Court of Appeals Judge for District II.

Prior to the appointment Hagedorn served as Chief Legal Counsel in the governor's office. In this position, Hagedorn managed litigation and provided legal counsel on legislation.

The move from legal counsel to judicial appointment is a surprising one, as a vertical move of that sort is uncommon.

Before joining the governor's team, Hagedorn served as an assistant attorney general at the Wisconsin Department of Justice, worked at Foley & Lardner in Milwaukee and was a law clerk in the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Hagedorn will replace Judge Richard Brown, who retired on August 1 after 37 years on the bench.

Speaker Vos Creates Three New Task Forces

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has announced the creation of three bipartisan task forces on Youth Workforce Readiness, Alzheimer's and Dementia, and Urban Education.

The Task Force on Youth Workforce Readiness will examine ways to encourage youth and students to pursue careers in trade, manufacturing and other technical fields. Vos claims that many manufacturing positions remain unfilled, despite Wisconsin being a top state for the industry. The committee will also examine ways to improve collaboration between high schools, technical colleges and businesses. Furthermore, the task force will advocate for the promotion of apprenticeships and internships in these fields and investigate industry needs for the future.

Financing Plan for Bucks Arena Signed into Law

Legislation for a new Bucks Arena was signed into law by Governor Walker this week, after being passed by the legislature at the end of July.

On July 28, the Assembly passed Senate Bill 209 in a mixed-party vote of 52-34, with eight votes paired.

Read more about the vote tallies and the details of the legislation.

Special Election for 99th Assembly District

Governor Scott Walker has issued an executive order to set September 1 as a special primary election for the 99th Assembly District. Chris Kapenga represented the district since 2010 and had his last day in the Assembly on August 5. Kapenga defeated Democrat Sherryll Shaddock in a special election for the 33rd Senate District, which covers parts of Waukesha County. Senator Paul Farrow, who was elected as the Waukesha County Executive in April, vacated the seat in July.

Four GOP candidates have filed to run in the heavily Republican district: Cindi Duchow, a small business owner and Town of Delafield Supervisor; Dave Westlake, a small business owner and West Point graduate who ran for the U.S. Senate in 2010; Spencer Zimmerman, a U.S. Air Force Veteran and driver for a limousine service; and Scott Owens of Dousman.

Following the primary election, a general election will be held September 29. As of this writing, no democratic candidates have declared their candidacy.

Abrahamson Loses Lawsuit to Retain Role as Chief Justice

Federal District Court Judge James Peterson, of the Western District of Wisconsin, granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment and dismissed Justice Abrahamson's lawsuit against the State on Friday, July 31.

Justice Abrahamson sued in an attempt to retain her position as Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court after voters ratified an amendment to the state constitution, which allows the justices to select who the chief justice is. Chief Justice Roggensack replaced Justice Abrahamson as chief justice on April 29 when Chief Justice Roggensack and three of her colleagues voted her in for a two-year term. Justice Abrahamson challenged Roggensack's elevation, requesting an injunction, but in a hearing deciding the issue, Judge Peterson rejected Abrahamson's request stating he did not see the irreparable harm of Chief Justice Roggensack administering the court system while the case was decided.

Read more about the case.

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News Clips 
Scott Walker: Position papers on key issues coming soon: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 13, 2015.
Gov. Walker signs $250M Milwaukee Bucks arena financing plan : Milwaukee Business Journal, August 12, 2015.
Has the Donald Peaked? , Rasmussen Reports, August 11, 2015.
Rubio, Paul, and Walker assembling campaigns in Minnesota , Northland News Center, August 10, 2015.
Lawmakers prepare for aggressive fall session : The Journal Times, August 9, 2015.
Scott Walker tells RedState he is the 'name from the future' for GOPAtlanta Journal Constitution, August 8, 2015.

Economic Development
State leaders drive home point - PGA is big business: Sheboygan Press, August 12, 2015.
Mining inevitable at vast Wisconsin iron ore site, owner says, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 10, 2015.
Compo Steel seeks loan to expand in Milwaukee, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 10, 2015.
Gener8tor selects five startups for latest Milwaukee program, Milwaukee Business Journal, August 10, 2015.
Ex-WEDC employees say politics, haste tripped up job-creation agency: Wisconsin State Journal, August 9, 2015. 
DNR strives to protect groundwater in dairy-heavy regions: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 13, 2015.
DNR confirms 3rd cougar sighting in northern Wisconsin: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 13, 2015.
DNR board to consider reorganization of agency: Wisconsin Public Radio, August 11, 2015.
Residents demand health answers as mine spill fouls rivers: Beloit Daily News, August 10, 2015.
Mining inevitable at vast Wisconsin iron ore site, owner says: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 10, 2015.

ACLU says Madison's panhandling law is unconstitutional: Wisconsin State Journal, August 12, 2015.
City won't enforce residency requirement until high court rules: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 12, 2015. 
As John Doe probe is halted, legal maneuvering continues: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 11, 2015.
Slender Man case stays in adult court: Green Bay Press Gazette, August 11, 2015.
Girls in Slender Man stabbing case to remain in adult court: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 10, 2015.

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