Hamilton Political Tidbits – July 24, 2015

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Hamilton Consulting
Political Tidbits
Compiled by
The Hamilton Consulting Group
 July 24, 2015


Wisconsin political news has slowed down now that the state budget has been signed into law and Governor Walker is officially on the presidential campaign trail. However, this week's Tidbits is still packed with updates! This edition includes details on the governor's 104 vetoes, a summary on the State Supreme Court's decision on the John Doe case and information on a recently filed lawsuit regarding redistricting.


You can also find news about the recent opening in the 99th Assembly District seat, the Bucks arena legislation, and how Walker's road to the White House is shaping up at this point. Read about all this and more in today's edition. 


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.


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.

2015-2017 State Budget Summary

Governor Scott Walker signed the  $73 billion-plus state budget on Sunday, July 12 , just days after the legislature passed the budget bill and hours before his presidential election announcement. Before signing the budget, the governor issued 104 vetoes - double the number of vetoes he issued in previous budgets.

Throughout the budget process, which began in early 2015, legislators wrestled with numerous controversial and headline-grabbing issues ranging from prevailing wage reform, teacher licensing, the University of Wisconsin system cut and a proposed new Bucks arena. Furthermore, the budget process stalled at the end, while members faced tough fiscal decisions pertaining to funding for transportation, prevailing wage reform and financing for the Bucks arena, which was ultimately removed from the budget and is being taken up as separate legislation.

The budget floor sessions in both the Senate and the Assembly did not go as late as previous years, due to predetermined periods for the debate. The budget vote in the Assembly was closer than expected, with 11 Republicans voting with the Democrats against the budget. Many of those Republicans who voted against the budget come from purple districts heading into 2016 elections, signaling desire to appeal to independent voters. The Senate passed the spending plan almost on party lines, 18 - 15, with Republican Senator Robert Cowles voting against it.

One of the most covered items vetoed by the governor was a provision that would have allowed payday lenders to offer additional financial services, including selling insurance, annuities and providing financial advice. The governor also changed the new measure that would have required food stamp applicants to take and pass drug tests by removing the requirement that would limit the tests to those who fall under reasonable suspicion. Additionally, the governor used the veto pen to make changes to Family Care and IRIS provisions

The  Hamilton Consulting budget summary has been updated to reflect any items that were modified in the governor's veto message.

Bucks Arena Legislation Passes Senate with Amendments

The state senate has passed an amended version of the legislation that would allow a new arena to be built for the Milwaukee Bucks with state money.

The Senate passed the amended legislation, Senate Bill 209, in a 21-10 vote with very mixed party lines.

The Assembly plans to take up SB 279 on July 28. However, Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke has said he would need 15 to 20 Democrats to vote for the bill if the legislation is going to pass and there may need to be further changes to the bill.

Read more about the changes to the legislation, and the senate vote tallies.

Walker Formally Joins the Presidential Race

Wisconsin's Governor Scott Walker officially threw his name in the hat for the 2016 presidential election. On Monday July 13, just a day after the governor signed the state budget into law, the governor held a rally at Waukesha's Expo Center. The governor impressed journalists and political insiders alike, giving a 30-minute speech without a teleprompter or podium.

No matter how exceptional his memorization skills are, coming off as extraordinary in a field of 16 serious Republican candidates and scores of other less serious options will be difficult. Walker's first chance to make himself known nationally will be on August 6 when the first Republican national debate will be on Fox News at 9 p.m./8c. With a crowded field, the rules are set so that only those candidates polling in the top 10 will be on the primetime debate stage. On August 4, debate organizers will take the average of national polls and those in the top 10 will be on the primetime debate stage. The remaining six candidates will participate in a "roundtable" debate, which will air an hour before the primetime debate. The second Republican debate will be on September 16 and CNN will host.

Read more about Governor Walker's chances of getting to the top 10, and to see who else is running for president.

WI Supreme Court Rules on John Doe Decision

Earlier this week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued an over 300-page decision relating to the John Doe investigation into alleged unlawful coordination activities surrounding the 2011 and 2012 recall elections. The court, in a 4-2 decision, ended the investigation.

Judge Gableman, writing for the majority, made it clear on several occasions that the investigation was to be shut down. "[B]ecause special prosecutor's legal theory is unsupported in either reason or law," it cannot continue in its current form. If the special prosecutor wants to start a new investigation, he would need to demonstrate coordination involving express advocacy communications and, according to today's decision, he has not alleged such actions.

Dems Sue State Over 2011 Redistricting

Twelve Wisconsin Democrats have filed suit in U.S. District Court in Madison against state election officials over the 2011 Wisconsin Assembly redistricting map. Republican leadership did the redistricting after the 2010 census. The plaintiffs claim that this redistricting is in violation of the First and Fourteenth amendments and has created "one of the worst partisan gerrymanders in modern American history."

In a 30-page lawsuit, the group claims that there was intent to "systematically disadvantage" voters based on particular partisan viewpoints. In addition, they argue that their Democratic political beliefs have been burdened and underrepresented under the First Amendment right of free association.

The law firm Michael, Best & Friedrich, LLP was hired by Republican Leadership to represent the Wisconsin Senate and Wisconsin Assembly in connection with redistricting after the 2010 census. The plaintiffs claim the firm was hired to assist in "planning, drafting, negotiating, and gaining the favorable vote of commitments of a majority of Republican legislators."

Kapenga Wins 33rd Senate District Race

On Tuesday night, state Representative Chris Kapenga defeated Sherryll Shaddock in a special election for the 33rd Senate District.

Receiving 7,143 votes, Kapenga took 72% of the vote in the heavily Republican district. Kapenga will replace outgoing Senator Paul Farrow, who had his last day in the Senate on Friday after being elected Waukesha County Executive in April.

Kapenga has represented the 99th Assembly District for the past 4 years and was an advocate for prevailing wage reform.

A special election will now be held to replace Kapenga's seat in the 99th district. So far, only Republican Dave Westlake has declared he is running. Westlake is a Heartland resident and a small business owner. No election date has been set.

Supreme Court Rules on Oneida Seventh Generation Corp. v. City of Green Bay

The state supreme court struck a large blow in favor of permit holders when it ruled in a 6-1 decision that the City of Green Bay did not have discretion to revoke a conditional use permit because there was no substantial evidence in the record to support the Green Bay Common Council's claim of misrepresentation.

The Green Bay Common City Council granted Oneida Seventh Generation Corporation a conditional use permit to allow it to operate a solid waste-to-energy facility. The facility also received the proper permits from the Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Department of Energy. However, after public opposition to the project grew the common council requested that the city plan commission determine whether they were misled about the potential for harmful emissions from the facility during Oneida's application for the permit. The plan commission unanimously stated they were not misled and recommended that the permit not be revoked. The city did not follow the commission's recommendation and revoked the permit on the grounds that the corporation made untruthful statements to the city about the potential for harmful pollutants to be emitted from the plant.

Read more about the case and the court's decision.

Michigan v. EPA - SCOTUS Rules EPA Must Consider Costs in Initial Decision to Regulate

Scalia, writing for the Court, stated that "[EPA] gave cost no thought at all, because it considered cost irrelevant to its initial decision to regulate," he continued, writing, "It is unreasonable to read an instruction to an administrative agency to determine whether 'regulation is appropriate and necessary' as an invitation to ignore cost." With that the Court found the Obama Administration's most monumental environmental regulation to date unreasonable and remained to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The regulation in question was the EPA's Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS). MATS required coal-burning power plants to reduce emissions of mercury, arsenic and lead by installing control technologies or retiring plants. The rule was finalized in December 2012. While reducing the amount of hazardous emissions may seem admirable, the direct benefits of the regulation were valued at $4 million to $6 million, while the annual cost to industry would be approximately $9.6 billion. EPA contested the direct benefit of the program saying that, fully implemented, the MATS would yield between $37 billion and $90 billion in health benefits. EPA did not contest the cost of the program.

WMC's 2 Minute Drill: The $73 Billion State Budget

This short video put together by Wisconsin Manufactures & Commerce (WMC) gives a quick breakdown of the $73 billion 2015 - 2017 state budget. The video examines where state revenue is generated and how funds are allocated in the next biennial budget. Lastly, the video highlights the biggest wins for the business sector in the state budget. 

Wisconsin Receives Mixed Grades on Manufacturing Climate

Recently, Ball State University's Center for Business and Economic Research and Conexus Indiana, a private sector led initiative to capitalize on opportunities in advanced manufacturing, released their 2015 Manufacturing & Logistics Report Card. This report ranks states on several different sectors of the economy that contribute to the success of manufacturing. The rankings are assessed an A-F grading scale. Nine different categories were graded: manufacturing industry health, logistics industry health, human capital, worker benefit costs, tax climate, expected fiscal liability gap, global reach, sector diversification, and productivity and innovation.

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News Clips 


Scott Walker says public has no right to records on three key issues: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 23, 2015.

Scott Walker in California at ALEC meeting: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 23, 2015.

Records show Robin Vos asked for public records changes: Wisconsin State Journal, July 23, 2015.

Scott Walker to allow National Guard to carry weapons on duty: Madison.com, July 21, 2015.

Nearly $400 million floods presidential contest: USA Today, July 21, 2015.

Chris Kapenga defeats Sherryll Shaddock in Senate race: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 21, 2015.

GAB head suggests greater transparency for agency: Wisconsin Public Radio, July 21, 2015.

Scott Walker issues executive order to arm National Guard members: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 21, 2015.

Scott Walker proposes shutting Wisconsin ethics board: The New York Times, July 20, 2015.

Wisconsin Assembly to vote next week on Bucks arena bill: Fox 6, July 20, 2015.

Governor Walker back in the state and busy Monday, signing three bills, commenting on WEDC and GAB: Fox 6, July 20, 2015.


Economic Development

Tourism key industry in state, region: Marshfield News Herald, July 23, 2015.

Unemployment up in most Wisconsin cities, counties: Channel 3000, July 22, 2015.

First impacts of restructuring surface at WEDC: Business North, July 21, 2015.

Wisconsin moving up golf leader board: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 21, 2015.

Assembly sets Milwaukee arena vote for July 28, but what about the ticket surcharge?: Milwaukee Business Journal, July 21, 2015.

Wisconsin dairy farmers push for immigration reform: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 20, 2015.

WHEDA director talks economic development in visit to Rhinelander: River News Online, July 20, 2015.

Ariens to chair troubled WEDC: Appleton Post Crescent, July 20, 2015.

Scott Walker calls for legal steps to recover bad state loans: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 20, 2015.



Prep sports: WIAA to grant 'temporary relief' to schools asked to give home-schooled students athletic eligibility: Madison.com, July 23, 2015.

Waupun Schools begin facilities study: Fon du Lac Reporter, July 22, 2015.

Training sessions aim to raise local schools guards against shootings: Kenosha News, July 22, 2015.

Sandeen: UW college deans will not lose ties to local communities: Wisconsin Public Radio, July 22, 2015.

UW Colleges to lay off 83 employees, consolidate campus administration: Wisconsin State Journal, July 21, 2015.

Uncertainty, concern over future of tenure draw national attention to UW System: Chippewa Herald, July 20, 2015.

Johnson brings committee to Milwaukee Monday to hear School Choice issues: WSAU, July 20, 2015.



Lake Michigan water levels rise: Herald Times Reporter, July 23, 2015.

DNR wants to expand projects that don't require analysis: Madison.com, July 23, 2015.

Top Wisconsin DNR wildlife biologist leaves for new job: Chippewa Herald, July 22, 2015.

Court overturns decision against sand mine in Houston County: La Crosse Tribune, July 22, 2015.

New CWD report gives hunters food for thought: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 22, 2015.

Tia Nelson resigns from board that banned global warming discussions: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 21, 2015.

Study of Wisconsin ticks shows more than half in northwest carry disease: Duluth News Tribune, July 21, 2015.

Beetles begin their march on loosestrife: Superior Telegram, July 21, 2015.

Lawmakers want programs to curb Great lakes farm pollution: Madison.com, July 21, 2015.

Scientists chase elusive Poweshiek skipperling butterfly: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 20, 2015.

As deer herd grows, village eases hunting limit: Green Bay Press Gazette, July 20, 2015.



No escaping medical copayments, even in prison: Pew Trusts, July 22, 2015.

Report: Teen use of morning-after pill is climbing: La Crosse Tribune, July 22, 2015.

3 arrested in drug investigation at Tomah VA Medical Center: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 22, 2015.

HHS pushes states to negotiate lower Obamacare rates: Kaiser Health News, July 22, 2015.

Budget concerns grow as Medicaid enrollment outpace estimates in expansion states: Kaiser Health News, July 20, 2015.

ThedaCare again ranks among 'most wired': Appleton Post Crescent, July 21, 2015.

GOP presidential hopeful Walker signs abortion ban bill: ABC News, July 20, 2015.

Legislation would allow health care workers to skip flu shot: Wisconsin Public Radio, July 20, 2015.



R.J. Johnson, other John Doe targets go on the record to slam probe: Wisconsin State Journal, July 23, 2015.

Stevens Point approves hiring legal expert for Hull water fight: WSAU, July 21, 2015.

Appeals court reinstates Milwaukee residency requirement: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 21, 2015.

Legal experts on right and left seek review of Rindfleisch John Doe conviction: Wisconsin Watchdog, July 21, 2015.

Crackdown on gun offenders launched as Milwaukee killings mount: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 21, 2015.

Fox 11 investigates growing prison staffing shortage: Fox 11, July 20, 2015.

Joe Donald raises $100,000 in early stage of Supreme Court race: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 20, 2015.



House passes bill to fight coal ash: The Hill, July 22, 2015.

Xcel Energy gets jump on Water Street bridge replacement: Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, July 22, 2015.

Embezzlement makes water costly for northwest side residents: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 22, 2015.

City Council approves water rate increase: Fond du Lac Reporter, July 22, 2015.

Protesters make splash at Enbridge Energy Sandpiper pipeline session: Northland News Center, July 21, 2015.

Senate panel advances $95B tax break package: The Hill, July 21, 2015.

Wisconsin meets renewables mandate, but lags in some 'green' measures: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 20, 2015.

Marshfield Utilities seeks payment plan limits: Marshfield News Herald, July 20, 2015.

'Desperate need:' Closed nuke plant means tax shortfall: Green Bay Press Gazette, July 20, 2015.

Kenosha Unified eyes energy efficency: Kenosha News, July 20, 2015.


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