Hamilton Political Tidbits – April 28, 2017

Political Tidbits - April 28, 2017
Hamilton Consulting Group
 April 28, 2017
Wisconsin political news for clients and colleagues.

In Wisconsin, April showers bring May flowers...and Joint Finance Committee budget votes. This Tidbits covers the last of JFC's public hearings and previews potential sticking points in the budget as the committee begins voting on May 1. Also in this issue, the Senate and Assembly hold hearings on the last of the special session bills and Gov. Walker signs two notable bills. This week's edition of Bills of Note features the prevailing wage repeal bill and delivery drones. All this and more 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.

JFC to Begin Taking Budget Votes Monday, May 1

The legislature's Joint Finance Committee (JFC) will begin taking votes on the 2017-19 budget on May 1. JFC plans to meet once the first week of May and then twice a week until they are finished. Typically, JFC begins their executive session with the less controversial budget proposals and saves the "big-ticket" items - transportation, Medicaid and education, for last.
As with most years, there are always several of the governor's budget proposals that JFC decides to drastically change or nix entirely. This budget cycle, the contentious issue list includes transportation funding, education (per-pupil aid and UW System) and the proposed change to state employee self-insured health care.

JFC Finishes Public Hearings

Last week, the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) held their second - and last - week of public hearings on Gov. Scott Walker's proposed 2017-19 state budget. The first public hearings took place on April 3, 5 and 7. JFC heard from agency heads at the Capitol on March 28-30.  They begin votes in executive session Monday.
The last three hearings highlighted many of the same concerns from the first week of hearings. Citizens from across the state continued to express to JFC members concerns about broadband expansion, transportation funding and education, among other issues.

Bills of Note: Prevailing Wage Repeal & Delivery Drones

Prevailing Wage Repeal
Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield) and Rep. Rob Hutton (R-Brookfield) introduced a bill, SB 216, on April 20 that would repeal Wisconsin's prevailing wage laws. Gov. Scott Walker had originally included the repeal in his 2017-19 state budget, but the Joint Finance Committee removed the provision as a non-fiscal policy item.

Prevailing wage laws currently on the books in Wisconsin set minimum salaries for workers on state construction projects. Last session, the legislature repealed prevailing wages on local government projects. This session's SB 216 would expand the repeal to eliminate prevailing wage on state construction projects.

Delivery Drones
Sen. Kapenga & Rep. Kuglitsch with a Personal Delivery Device (PPD).
On March 29, Sen. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield) and Rep. Kuglitsch (R-New Berlin) introduced a bill (SB 148/AB 191) that would legalize delivery drones in Wisconsin. The bill would authorize personal delivery devices (PDDs) on sidewalks and crosswalks, provided that they meet certain requirements and follow rules of the road for pedestrians.

PLAs and CBD Oil Bills Signed
Gov. Scott Walker signs 2017 Wisconsin Act 4 - CBD oil.

On Monday, April 17, Gov. Scott Walker signed into law 2017 Wisconsin Act 3, requiring government to be neutral regarding the use of Project Labor Agreements (PLAs). On that same day, he also signed 2017 Wisconsin Act 4, which allows for possession of CBD oil with written documentation from a Wisconsin-licensed doctor.
DHS Releases Proposed Medicaid Waiver

The Department of Health Services (DHS) recently released a waiver for public comment that would make changes to the state Medicaid program. DHS intends to submit the Section 1115 Demonstration Waiver or "BadgerCare Reform Demonstration Waiver" to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for review on May 26.
The proposed changes will mostly affect the BadgerCare Plus childless adult (CLA) population. Currently, BadgerCare Plus provides coverage for CLA households up to 100 percent of the federal poverty level.

Committees Vote on Remaining Special Session Bills

The last of Rep. John Nygren's (R-Marinette) 11 special session bills to combat the state's opioid addiction crisis continue to move through Assembly and Senate committees. The Assembly passed nine of these special session bills as part of the Heroin, Opiate, Prevention and Education (HOPE) Agenda in its Tuesday, April 4 floor session, and the full Senate and Assembly could take up the remaining bills when they are on the floor on May 2.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Rejects Recusal Petition

Last week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court rejected a petition to change its recusal rules. The proposal, submitted in January by 54 retired judges and justices, would have required judges and justices to recuse themselves if they received donations past a certain contribution threshold from litigants or attorneys in a case. Under the petition, the threshold would be $1,000 or more donated to circuit court judges, $2,500 to appeals judges and $10,000 to Supreme Court judges.
Continue reading about the recusal petition.
Josh Kaul to Challenge AG Brad Schimel in November 2018

Josh Kaul, attorney in Madison and son of former state Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager, announced on Monday, April 10 that he will challenge Brad Schimel for his position as Wisconsin Attorney General. The election will be held on November 6, 2018. Lautenschlager resigned from her position with the Wisconsin Ethics Commission on Friday, April 7 before Kaul's campaign announcement. Kaul is the first Democrat to announce plans to run against current Republican incumbent Schimel.

The Hamilton Consulting Group Political Tidbits is a free newsletter on Wisconsin political and policy developments. Please forward it to others who may wish to receive this service.

If you require additional information about a topic addressed in Tidbits for your organization's board meeting or trade publication, please do not hesitate to contact a Hamilton Consulting Group lobbyist.

To ensure that Political Tidbits never gets caught in your spam filter, please add publications@hamilton-consulting.com to your address book/contacts list. If you are receiving these emails via a workplace email account, please advise your IT service desk to do this for you.
News Clips
Utilities and Energy
Marijuana legalization faces uphill battle: Appleton Post-Crescent, April 27, 2017.
Bill would let victims, witnesses block body camera releases: Wisconsin State Journal, April 26, 2017.
Milwaukee county sees partial win in sanctuary city ruling: Wisconsin Public Radio, April 26, 2017.
Supervisors staying out of state fight: Kenosha News, April 26, 2017.
7th Circuit rules against Medical College of Wisconsin hospitals: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, April 26, 2017.

Economic Development
Most displaced dairy farms will likely have buyers by May 1: Wisconsin Ag Connection, April 28, 2017.
Three western WI ag co-cops announce merger agreement: Wisconsin Ag Connection, April 27, 2017.
Trade dispute may have mixed results for Wisconsin: Wisconsin Public Radio, April 26, 2017.

The Hamilton Consulting Group, 10 E. Doty Street, Suite 500, Madison, WI 53703
Sent by publications@hamilton-consulting.com in collaboration with
Constant Contact