Hamilton Political Tidbits- August 1, 2014

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Hamilton Consulting Group Political Tidbits
Compiled by
The Hamilton Consulting Group
 August 1, 2014  

The primary election is less than two weeks away (August 12th), and Hamilton Consulting has all of the election and political news coverage you need to know in this edition of Political Tidbits. In this edition, we've updated last week's analysis of the Marquette University Law Poll, and highlighted which primaries to watch for. The next edition of Political Tidbits will come to you the morning after the primary, with all of the election results.


Also covered in Tidbits this week are the important court decisions including the recent State Supreme Court ruling on Act 10 (the law that had hundreds of thousands on the State Capitol lawn in 2013, and Wisconsin in the national media spotlight),the federal district court decisions that has everyone discussing Obamacare again, and other court decisions released this past week.


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.

State Supreme Court Issues High-Profiled Decisions: Act 10, Voter ID, Same-Sex Partnership

On Thursday, July 31, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued four highly anticipated opinions determining whether: 1) Gov. Walker's signature law, Act 10, was unconstitutional, 2) the voter photo identification law was unconstitutional, and 3) the law creating a same-sex partnership was unconstitutional.

In each of the cases, the Court upheld the laws ruling that they did not violate the Constitution. Below is a summary of each decision. 


UPDATE: Marquette University Law Poll


Reactions to last week's Marquette poll are still coming in as politicos digest the latest results. While there wasn't a huge shift in the numbers, the results underline the likelihood of the Governor's race being close to the end.

Walker still has his machine, a significant financial advantage, and the important luxury of running in a mid-term election where the presidential party in power historically struggles.


Courts Split on ACA Tax Subsidies

On July 22, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck a blow to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) when it held that the ACA did not authorize the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to provide tax credits for health insurance purchased on federal health exchanges.

That same day, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, ruling on a similar challenge to the ACA, reached the opposite conclusion. Both cases are expected to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Whether the Supreme Court will accept the case remains to be seen. The outcome could have potentially significant consequences for the ACA depending on how the court cases are finally decided.

Two Weeks Until Primary Election Day

In less than two weeks, on August 12th, voters will head to the polls to pick their party candidates for hundreds of state and local government positions, and this year's non-presidential election may actually be quite influential, with nearly 30 open state legislative seats, an open congressional seat, and other executive branch seats being hotly contested. 

6th Congessional District Primary Debate

This week, the first debate involving all four Republican candidates for the 6th Congressional District, was featured on the Jerry Bader Show.

The candidates (Tom Denow, Sen. Glenn Grothman, Sen. Joe Leibham, and Rep. Duey Stroebel) are vying for the Republican candidacy for the 6th Congressional District seat. The seat has been held by U.S. Rep. Tom Petri (R) for nearly 40 years. 

Governor Walker Visits Xcel Energy


Governor Walker visited Xcel Energy's Bay Front Generating Station earlier this month while in Ashland, Wisconsin.



Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - "Veterans Favor New State Asbestos Law"


The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Sunday, July 20, published an op-ed by Wisconsin veterans Larry Kutschma and Steven Stefonik voicing their support for the new asbestos transparency law (2013 Wisconsin Act 154). The op-ed responded to a call by gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke to repeal the new law 

Court Can Compel Employee to Accept Settlement Offer Under Worker's Comp Law


In a 5-2 decision authored by Justice Roggensack, joined by Justices Crooks, Prosser, Ziegler, and Gableman, the Wisconsin Supreme Court held that a circuit court may compel an employee to accept a settlement offer under Wisconsin's worker's compensation law (Wis. Stat. ยง 102.29(1)).

Justice Bradley authored a dissenting opinion and was joined by Chief Justice Abrahamson. The case is Adams v. Northland Equipment Co., Inc., 2014 WI 79.

Read more... 

Legislative Council Study Committee on Review of TIF
On July 17, the first Study Committee on Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Review was hosted by the Wisconsin Legislative Council. In addition to conducting a comprehensive review of TIF and its impacts, the committee is also charged with recommending appropriate TIF changes when/where appropriate. The committee, which is chaired by Senator Gudex and vice-chaired by Representative Loudenbeck, includes participation from Senator Jauch and representatives Kuglitsch, Ohnstad, and Zepnick along with 12 public members. The next meeting is scheduled for August 14.

Court Rules Federal Law Preempts State Negligence Claims Against Railroad Company


In a 5-2 decision authored by Justice Prosser, joined by Justices Crooks, Roggensack, Ziegler, and Gableman, the Wisconsin Supreme Court held that a parade and resultant parade traffic leading to a train collision with a vehicle did not qualify as an exception to preemption under the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA). Chief Justice Abrahamson authored a dissenting opinion and was joined by Justice Bradley. The case is Partenfelder v. Rhode, 2014 WI 80. 




U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan on Meet the Press

Following U.S. Representative Paul Ryan's announcement of a new poverty plan, the Wisconsin congressman was interviewed on Meet the Press last Sunday. 


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News Clips 


Supreme Court upholds Scott Walker Act 10 union law: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 31, 2014.

Divided court upholds Wisconsin's voter ID law: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 31, 2014.

Supreme Court is right on Gov. Scott Walker's Act 10 (opinion): Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 31, 2014.

Three Republicans vie for chance to take on Ron Kind in 3rd Congressional District: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 30, 2014.

Walker backs blocking incentives to firms outsourcing jobs: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 29, 2014.

Act 10, voter ID, same sex partner issues converge Thursday: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 29, 2014.

Act 10, voter ID, domestic registry decisions near: Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, July 29, 2014.


Economic Development and Finance

Utilities and Energy

Xcel creates two transmission-only units: Minneapolis Star Tribune, July 31, 2014.

Wisconsin Hired Advisers for Power Plant Sale, Utility Says: Bloomberg.com, July 30, 2014.

Exelon buys Integrys's retail electricity unit: Chicago Business Journal, Jul. 30, 2014.

Dairyland Power: Rail backlog could force plant closure: La Crosse Tribune, July 29, 2014.

We Energies ruling could shift costs to Michigan: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 29, 2014.

Xcel CEO charts steady course to less-intensive carbon future: E&E Publishing, July 28, 2014.

South Dakota PUC rules against wind power producer: Casper Star Tribune, July 27, 2014.



Voices of Support for Proposed Penokee Mine: WUWM.com, July 31, 2014.

Mining area Democratic candidates butt heads over EPA: Business North, July 28, 2014.

Badger Mining Corp. honored for environmental innovation: Oshkosh Northwestern, July 25, 2014.


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