Hamilton Political Tidbits – October 16, 2015

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Political Tidbits
Compiled by
The Hamilton Consulting Group
October 16, 2015

The capitol was very busy this week with multiple public hearings on controversial issues. Legislators held GAB Director Kevin Kennedy's feet to the fire at a hearing for legislation that would change up the agency charged with overseeing of elections, campaign finance, and lobbying, and in the same hearing legislators heard a new campaign finance reform bill, which you can read about in  Tidbits. On the same day, a bill attempting to begin solving Wisconsin's high capacity well permitting issues was examined in a six hour hearing. Also, read below about Wisconsin's transportation woes below; DOT has announced delays for five major projects, which the Governor, countless businesses, and citizens have been pressing the legislature to fund.
On top of all that, Governor Walker has appointed Judge Rebecca Bradley to fill the vacancy on the State Supreme Court, TIF Bills continue to move through the legislative process, and a federal court has stayed the Waters of the U.S. Rule nationwide. Read about all of this, in the articles below.

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.

Wisconsin DOT Announces Projects Delayed

Governor Urges Legislature to Release Additional Dollars

The recently-enacted biennial state budget bill reduced the level of bonding from Governor Walker's recommended $1.3 billion in new bonding to $500 million, and allows for an additional $350 million in general obligation bonds to be issued upon approval by the legislature's Joint Committee on Finance. This $350 million in contingent bonding may be used for either major highway development or state highway rehabilitation projects.

Capitol Busy with Campaign Finance Reform

Last week, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester)  rolled out legislation  that will change current campaign finance laws in Wisconsin. While public reaction to the bill is mixed, the bills have been fast-tracked and will likely receive floor votes next week.

The bill, which comes in at over 100 pages and includes an amendment with over 100 revisions, is a complete rewrite of Chapter 11 in Wisconsin statutes.

Read more about the bill.
Federal Court Stays Waters of U.S. Rule Nationwide - Decision May Soon Be Overturned

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in a 2-1 decision, stayed the implementation of the "Clean Water Rule" (Waters of U.S. Rule) nationwide finding the petitioners have a substantial likelihood of success to win the case. However, the court may also overturn itself in just a few weeks as it has yet to decide whether it has jurisdiction to hear the case. Without jurisdiction the court cannot stay the implementation of the rule pending completion of its review of the rule on the merits.

The Sixth Circuit is hearing four actions against the law (including Wisconsin's) from around the country which have been transferred to and consolidated by the Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation for handling multi-circuit cases (consolidation is generally done for efficiency purposes and to not have conflicting rulings on an issue with nationwide implications). The petitioners (the 18 states challenging the rule) contend the court does not have subject matter jurisdiction (that the court does not have authority to hear the issues presented) to hear the case. However the petitioners also moved for a stay pending the ruling on subject matter jurisdiction. The court has to balance several interrelated considerations when granting a stay, the most important generally being whether or not the party requesting the stay is likely to win on the merits of the case.

Read more about the court's decision.
Presidential Debates Come to Wisconsin

As the 2016 presidential election draws near, debates will continue to shape the nominating process in both parties. Both a Republican and a Democratic presidential candidate debate will be held in Wisconsin.

Fox Business Network and the Wall Street Journal will host the Republican presidential debate, which will take place in Milwaukee on November 10, 2015. The debate will be held at Milwaukee Theater. The debate will play a major role in the early stages of the nominating process, as the debate will be one of the final three remaining before the Iowa Caucuses.

Read more about the DNC debate that will be held February.
Vacancy on the Court - Gov. Appoints Judge Rebecca Bradley

Governor Walker announced on October 9 he will appoint District I Court of Appeals Judge Rebecca Bradley.

Gov. Walker announced he would take applications to fill the vacancy on the court, and that applications would be due October 2. District I Court of Appeals Judge Rebecca Bradley jumped into the race to fill Justice Crooks' spot when he retired in 2016. Milwaukee County Judge Joe Donald, and District IV Court of Appeals Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg have also joined the race for the Supreme Court Seat.

The Supreme Court primary election will be held on February 16, 2016, and the general election will be April 6.

Read more about new Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley.

Bills of Note: A Constitutional Amendment and More TIF

Constitutional Amendment to Eliminate State Treasurer Moves Forward

In an executive session on Thursday, the Assembly Committee on State Affairs and Government Operations passed Assembly Joint Resolution 5, which would eliminate the State Treasurer position from the Wisconsin Constitution. The resolution passed on party-line, 3-2 vote.

At a public hearing in September, State Treasurer Matt Adamczyk fully backed the resolution that would completely eliminate his office from state government. Adamczyk testified that he believes the position is a waste of taxpayer dollars, and that former duties of the treasurer are now handled more efficiently by other state agencies.

Read more about the movement eliminate the State Treasurer position from the state constitution.

TIF Bills Considered in Assembly
The  Assembly Ways and Means committee  held a hearing for numerous bills that are part of the tax increment financing (TIF) bill package. The package comes from recommendations from 2014 Legislative Council Study Committee on the Review of TIF. Some of the highlighted bill recommendations considered at the hearing are listed below.

Hamilton's Political Fundraising Calendar

The Hamilton Consulting Group's political fundraising calendar provides an excellent resource to find all upcoming fundraising events. The calendar lists all fundraising events for state and national elected officials who represent Wisconsin. Fundraisers provide a great opportunity to get to know current and prospective legislators, and other elected officials.

The information on the calendar comes from candidates and committees, so please be sure to RSVP to the person indicated in the event information, not the Hamilton Consulting Group.

The Hamilton political fundraising calendar can be found on our website , or through Google Calendar.

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News Clips 
Political donors would not have to ID employer, under bill : Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 15, 2015.
Lawmakers ask for open meetings investigation of GAB : Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 14, 2015.
7 takeaways from the first Democratic debate : Politico, October 14, 2015.
Mandy Wright plans another political run : Wausau Daily Herald, October 12, 2015.
Chris Larson to announce challenge of Chris Abele on Monday : Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 12, 2015.
Hometown lets Paul Ryan ponder speaker job on own terms : New York Times, October 12, 2015.
Paul Ryan has support of rebels and mainstream GOP : Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 12, 2015.

Economic Development
State's unemployment rate hits 14-year low : Milwaukee Business News, October 15, 2015.
New Keller plant could be coming to Appleton : Appleton Post Crescent, October 14, 2015.
SCA to buy Wausau Paper : Wausau Daily Herald, October 14, 2015.
Economists still expect rate hike before end of 2015 : Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 12, 2015.
InBev raises offer to acquire SABMiller to $108.2 billion : Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 12, 2015.

UW-Madison launches $3.2 billion fundraising campaign : Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 15, 2015.
Forums honing UW System strategy : Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, October 15, 2015.
Most Wisconsin public schools see no increase in state money : Wisconsin Public Radio, October 15, 2015.
Wisconsin colleges have plans to deal with shooters : La Crosse Tribune, October 12, 2015.

Report has mixed marks for Upper Mississippi : La Crosse Tribune, October 15, 2015.
2015 could be record year for Wisconsin corn growers : Wisconsin Public Radio, October 14, 2015.
Cranberry harvest in full swing in Wisconsin : Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 13, 2015.
Well bill gets lukewarm reception at hearing : Associated Press, October 13, 2015.
Legislator said agreement not close on high-capacity wells : Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 13, 2015.
Ash tree invaders flexing their muscles : Gazette Extra, October 12, 2015.
Democrats look to repeal shoreline zoning changes : Wisconsin Public Radio, October 12, 2015.

Obama administration sets modest target for health insurance enrollment : Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 15, 2015.
Wisconsin Senate health committee OKs anti-heroin bills : Gazette Extra, October 13, 2015.
Abuse legislation draws guarded support from child advocates : Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 13, 2015.
Senate panel to vote on stripping Planned Parenthood funding : Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, October 13, 2015.
Surrounded by poverty, urban hospitals reach out : Pew Trusts, October 12, 2015.

Green Bay businessman denies fraud involved in state loan : Wisconsin State Journal, October 16, 2015.
Despite verdict Badger Guns lawsuit still faces long road : Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 14, 2015.
Appeals court orders release of Brad Schimel's training videos : Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 14, 2015.
Gerald Boyle takes on another high-profile case - his own : Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 12, 2015.

Lawmakers give go-ahead to new $180 million DOT headquarters: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 15, 2015.
Transportation cuts to delay county road projects: La Crosse Tribune, October 14, 2015.
State would allow development on property replacing DOT building: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 14, 2015.
Area road construction projects delayed because of budget cutbacks: Eau Claire Leader Telegram, October 14, 2015.
Budget cuts lead DOT to delay projects: La Crosse Tribune, October 13, 2015.
Beloit businesses urge Walker to find funds for 39/90 work: Beloit Daily News, October 12, 2015.

Utilities and Energy
Eau Claire City Council to remain silent on Xcel rates : Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, October 14, 2015.
Drop in oil prices making its way to state's sand patch : Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 13, 2015.
Power line completed ahead of schedule : La Crosse Tribune, October 13, 2015.
Cheap solar comes to Wisconsin : Green Tech Media, October 13, 2015.
Falling oil prices mean layoffs for Wisconsin sand mining companies : Minneapolis Star Tribune, October 13, 2015.
Energy storage is growth opportunity for Johnson Controls : Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 12, 2015.
State reimburses communities for scrapped GTAC mine : Wisconsin Public Radio, October 12, 2015.
Johnson Controls unveils products to store energy for buildings : Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 12, 2015.

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