Hamilton Political Tidbits- April 28, 2014

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Hamilton Consulting Group Political Tidbits
Compiled by
The Hamilton Consulting Group
 April 28, 2014  

Governor Walker's signature closes out the legislative session while nomination paper signatures from voters across the state officially opens the electoral season.


The Governor signed over 100 bills in the last couple weeks on a wide range of issues that you can find in our links. The Governor still has some bills left to consider so the ink on the 2013-2014 hasn't run completely dry, but it's getting close.


Many of the legislators who authored those bills have signaled they are retiring from their seats, prompting one of the biggest legislative turnovers the state has ever seen. Many are running for other offices, some have taken new jobs, and others are simply retiring. You can see the updated list below along with other stories in Hamilton Consulting's signature Tidbits.

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.
Governor Walker Signs More Than 100 Bills

Governor Walker signed over 100 bills in the last two weeks. Many of the bills passed the both houses of the State Legislature in the final days of session, in mid-March. You can find a full list of the bills Governor Walker  signed on the Governor's website.  


Read more...  


Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds Act 10

In September, we reported that the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin upheld Wisconsin Act 10, also known as the Budget Repair Bill. The plaintiffs failed to prove that Act 10 improperly restricts collective bargaining rights, and that Act 10 violates the Equal Protection Clause by treating individuals represented by a collective bargaining unit different than unrepresented individuals.


Read more..   


2014 Election Update

  • Sixth Congressional District Seat Open.
  • Representative Hulsey enters Governor's race
  • Walker launches new campaign ads

Walker Campaign Ad
  • Sheridan announces candidacy for Senate District 15
  • State Legislature retirements

Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules Excessive Punitive Damages Unconstitutional

On April 22, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued a decision (4-2) in Kimble v. Land Concepts, Inc., 2014 WI 21, holding that $1 million in punitive damages against a title insurance company violated due process and therefore was unconstitutional.


Justice Annette Ziegler authored the decision, and was joined by Justices Patrick Crooks, Patience Roggensack, and Michael Gableman. Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson authored a dissenting opinion and was joined by Justice Ann Walsh Bradley.


Wisconsin Insurance Alliance, Wisconsin Civil Justice Council, and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce filed an amicus brief in the case arguing that the $1 million award of punitive damages was unconstitutional.


The issue in the case was whether the $1 million in punitive damages awarded against First American Title Insurance Company violated the Wisconsin Constitution or the common law of the state of Wisconsin.


Read more... 


LRB Provides Online Privacy and Security Info

In the wake of the Internet scare caused by the "Heartbleed Bug", the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau has released two reports detailing online privacy and state services regarding cyber security.


Regarding online privacy, a hot topic in the nation after the revelations in the media relating to the National Security Agency's surveillance, many states are moving forward with legislation to help citizens feel more safe online. In some state legislatures, legislation prohibits employers and schools from providing social networking usernames when applying for employment or acceptance.


Read more... 

Building Commission Approves New Projects

The Wisconsin Building Commission, chaired by Governor and made up of Republican and Democratic state legislators, and one citizen member, passed four new state building projects:

  • Construction of new motor vehicle storage facilities at the Onalaska Readiness Center in La Crosse County and the Portage Readiness Center in Columbia County;
  • Expansion of the UW Hospital patient and Visitor Parking Ramp in Madison;
  • Maintenance and repairs to existing UW-System buildings in Eau Claire, Green Bay, La Crosse, Milwaukee, Madison, and Oshkosh.

DOJ Launches New Medical Forensics Website  


The Wisconsin Department of Justice has launched a new website which provides information and assistance for nurses and other medical professionals practicing medical forensics and responding to sexual assault cases.


The website provides information, training, and technical assistance for medical professionals to learn how to collect evidence. Said Attorney General Van Hollen, "It's incredibly important we tend to the victims of sexual assault with compassion and utmost sensitivity while gathering evidence critical to a successful prosecution."


Read more...  


Hamilton Consulting: Your Government Relations Easy Button


As the 2013-14 Legislative Session progresses, the Hamilton team is working to make sure our clients have the tools necessary to accomplish their government relations goals. We encourage our clients to remember to make use of all the many services we provide:

  • Political Tidbits - Political Tidbits is our FREE email newsletter on political and policy developments in Wisconsin, including links to relevant news articles, policy papers, and other informative documents. We are constantly updating our mailing list and we could use your help! Please let us know if your email address is changing so you will continue to receive our newsletter. Also, feel free to forward this newsletter to others who may be interested in subscribing.
  • News Clips - President Harry Truman once wrote that you can't get all the facts from just one newspaper, and without the facts, "you cannot make proper judgments about what is going on." The right column of Political Tidbits contains a selection of the most important news stories, but did you know you can always get the latest news sorted by subject on the Hamilton Consulting website? 
  • Tracking Reports - Tracking Reports provide timely, in-depth coverage of your legislative initiatives. If your organization did not have a tracking report last session and you are interested in having one during the coming session, please contact one of our team members.
  • Political Fundraising Calendar - Hamilton's political fundraising calendar allows you to see all of the upcoming fundraising events and import them to your own calendar.
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News Clips 


Clinton leads Ryan, Walker in Wisconsin: Public Policy Polling.com, Apr. 24, 2014.  

Turnover among legislators is highest in decades: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Apr. 26, 2014.

Scott Walker's son steps into political world: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Apr. 26, 2014.

GOP for Brett Hulsey? Let's not go there (column): Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Apr. 26, 2014.

Scott Walker named to Time magazine's 100 most influential list: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Apr. 24, 2014.

California firm Reserves Nearly $2 million of Air Time for end of Governor's Race: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Apr. 24, 2014.

Schimel gets backing from Milwaukee police union: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Apr. 23, 2014.

Brett Hulsey says he plans to run for governor: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Apr. 21, 2014.

Pheifer joins race for Kaufert's Assembly seat: Appleton Post-Crescent, Apr. 17, 2014.

Steven Gillespie Will Not Run for the 19th District Senate Seat: Wisconsin Election Watch, Apr. 17, 2014.

Six legislative incumbents seek re-election: Wisconsin Election Watch, April 16, 2014.

Gov. Scott Walker signs 55 bills into law at State Capitol: Fox6.com, Apr. 16, 2014.

Gov. Walker announces re-election campaign: News8000.com, Apr. 15, 2014.

Scott Fitzgerald won't run for Tom Petri's seat: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Apr. 15, 2014.


Economic Development and Finance 

Legislators, business leaders sound the alarm about higher education funding in Wisconsin: Marshfield News Herald, April 24, 2014

Column: GOP made job creation top priority: The Tomah Journal, April, 23, 2014

White House makes economics focus of Asia trip: The Chippewa Herald, April 18, 2014

Wisconsin's unemployment rate falls to five-year low of 5.9%: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, April17, 2014

Wisconsin unemployment drops to 5.9 percent: Madison.com, Apr. 17, 2014.

Walker signs ag business tax law; Shilling says it 'levels the playing field': La Crosse Tribune, Apr. 17, 2014.


Utilities and Energy

Expert pushes clean technology connections: WisBusiness.com, Apr. 25, 2014.

Kohl's leads retailers, ranks second overall in green power use: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Apr. 24, 2014.

PG&E joins NextEra Energy Resources to celebrate the commercial operation of the Genesis Solar Energy Center: The Wall Street Journal, Apr. 24, 2014.

Utilities, Walgreens partner to save energy: Reedsburg Times-Press, Apr. 23, 2014.

AWEA's Bold Push for More Wind Welfare: Canada Free Press, Apr. 23, 2014.

Seeking savings when filling up, fleets turn to propane, natural gas: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Apr. 22, 2014.



Non-criminal patients no longer at local mental health hospital: Wisconsin State Journal, April 21, 2014

Mental health law spurs worries; changes worked in Dane county: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, April 18, 2014.

WI hospitals have lower infection rate associated with healthcare: WEAU.com, Apr. 17, 2014.

What doctors charge: New data reveals vast disparities: Wisconsin Rapids Tribune, Apr. 16, 2014.

Wisconsin congressional members want physicians rated on quality of care: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Apr. 14, 2014.


Transportation and Construction

Department of Transportation could help preserve native landscapes(opinion): Wisconsin State Journal, April 25, 2014

Wisconsin facing $700M transportation shortfall: Green Bay Press Gazette, April 23, 2014

Survey: Millenials consider public transit a top criterion for deciding where to live: Progressive Rail Roading, April 24, 2014

Building commission backs UW hospital parking project: Wisconsin State Journal, Apr. 17, 2014.

Union Pacific to invest about $30M in Altoona rail yard improvements: Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, Apr. 17, 2014.


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