Hamilton Political Tidbits – August 8, 2019

Political Tidbits - August 8, 2019
Hamilton Consulting Group
 August 8, 2019
Wisconsin political news for clients and colleagues.

With the budget signed, the Wisconsin Legislature likely won't meet again until September. This summer, some committee work continues and legislators are still introducing bills in preparation for the fall session. In this edition of Hamilton Political Tidbits:
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2020 Candidacy Announcements Begin in Wisconsin

The 2020 elections may feel like the distant future, but candidates in Wisconsin are already beginning to make decisions regarding races next November. President Donald Trump and several candidates in the Democratic presidential primary seeking to challenge him have already visited the state, which could be key to winning the 2020 presidential election. Additionally, several Wisconsin candidates recently announced their 2020 plans.
Status of Gov. Evers Appointments

After Gov. Tony Evers's inauguration in January, the governor began appointing cabinet secretaries and staff for his new administration. The appointments are still making their way through the Senate for confirmation. While none have been confirmed by the full Senate, all but one of fifteen cabinet secretaries have had public hearings, and six have been voted out of committees.
PFAS Update: DNR & AG Kaul Actions, Industry Response to DHS Standards

The Wisconsin Water Quality Coalition recently submitted a letter and comments to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) in response to recommended strict groundwater standards for two PFAS chemicals, PFOA and PFOS. If promulgated as an enforceable rule, the standards would be costly to Wisconsin industry and would open up the state for frivolous lawsuits.
In addition to the DHS recommended standards, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is beginning PFAS investigations at municipal wastewater treatment plants. Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul also took action on PFAS recently, joining 21 other state attorneys general in urging Congress to regulate PFAS contamination.

Water Quality Task Force Continues to Meet Around the State

The Speaker's Task Force on Water Quality is continuing to meet around the state to hear testimony from stakeholders and hold public hearings. Recent task force meetings have been held in Sturtevant, Tomahawk and Stevens Point, where members discussed PFAS, nitrate, and wastewater treatment, among other issues.
Medicaid Expansion Bill Circulating

This week, Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) and Rep. Daniel Riemer (D-Milwaukee) circulated legislation (LRB 2962) to expand the eligibility level for the state Medicaid program to up to 133 percent of the federal poverty line. Gov. Tony Evers announced his support for the legislation on Monday.
The governor had proposed Medicaid expansion and repeal of the childless adults waiver in his 2019-21 state budget, but the GOP-controlled Joint Committee on Finance removed those provisions, and they were not included in the final budget.
Employment Bills Introduced in Wisconsin Legislature

This session, Wisconsin lawmakers have introduced several bills that would create new legal causes of action against employers and could be costly to Wisconsin businesses if enacted.
Latest Bills Signed & Vetoed By Gov. Evers

Since signing the 2019-21 state budget, Gov. Tony Evers has signed several other notable bills into law, including drug step therapy, electric scooters, and design-build legislation. The governor has also vetoed two transportation-related bills.
Legislature Files Lawsuit Against AG to Enforce Extraordinary Session Laws

Republican legislative leadership have filed a petition for original action in the Wisconsin Supreme Court, seeking to enforce sections of the 2018 extraordinary legislation that require legislative oversight of attorney general settlements.
Wisconsin Redistricting Case Dismissed Following U.S. Supreme Court Decision

The U.S. Supreme Court recently held in Rucho v. Common Cause that partisan gerrymandering claims are nonjusticiable political questions. As a result, plaintiffs and defendants agreed to dismiss the redistricting case Gill v. Whitford, which challenged Wisconsin's state legislative district maps.

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Wisconsin has a goal of broadband for all by 2025: Wisconsin Public Radio, August 6, 2019.

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