Hamilton Political Tidbits – December 23, 2015

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Hamilton Consulting
Political Tidbits
Compiled by
The Hamilton Consulting Group
December 23, 2015

Happy Holidays from the Hamilton Consulting Group! In this edition of Tidbits we wrap up the year with a review of all of 2015's biggest political and policy headlines. Click through the timeline on our website to watch as the budget unfolds, the governor joins the presidential race, and big reforms come to Wisconsin through right to work, prevailing wage, GAB, and campaign finance legislation.

Also find an update on legislation signed into law last week, the redistricting lawsuit that is moving forward, and some new plans for economic development policy that will come in the new year.

The next edition of Hamilton's Political Tidbits will be released January 8, 2016.

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 Politics 2015: A Year in Review 

Check out Hamilton's 

Bills of Note: Big Legislation Signed Into Law & Potential Residency Requirements for Contractors

Governor Walker Signs GAB Overhaul and Campaign Finance Changes

Governor Walker has signed two bills making changes to campaign finance laws and splitting the Government Accountability Board (GAB) into an Elections Commission and an Ethics Commission.

Read more about the legislation.

Building Materials Tax Exemption Signed Into Law

Gov. Walker also signed SB 227, which provides a sales and use tax exemption for contractors buying materials which will be used in a project for a nonprofit organization or local government municipality.

Read more about the legislation.

Residency Requirements for Contracting Bill Gets Hearing

AB 493, authored by Rep. Joel Kitchens (R - Sturgeon Bay), requires out-of-state contractors to follow their residency requirements when bidding on Wisconsin state and local construction projects. Under the bill, the Department of Administration and local government units must give preference to a contractor that can ensure the project will employ the same number of Wisconsin residents at least at the percentage of resident employees required by the other state.

Economic Development Legislation Coming in 2016

Senators Gudex and Darling announce Economic Development plan

Sen. Rick Gudex (R - Fond du Lac) and Sen. Alberta Darling (R - River Hills) announced last week their plans to introduce a series of bills designed to increase economic development across the state. According to their press release, the bill package will reduce red tape, encourage innovation and invest in successful ideas.

Review cites areas of improvement for WEDC

The Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness released their  review last week recommending specific areas of improvement and changes to the Wisconsin Economic Development Council.

Read about the report's recommendations.

Redistricting Lawsuit Moves Forward

Last week, a panel of three federal judges ruled that a case filed by twelve Wisconsin Democrats against the state's legislative redistricting plan can move forward. The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ), representing Government Accountability Board (GAB), had argued that the plaintiffs lacked standing to file suit, as they did not have a challenger from each of the 99 Assembly districts. The panel disagreed and declined to dismiss the lawsuit, however the court left open the possibility that the DOJ could re-raise the issue in a later motion.

The panel set the trial date for May, 2016. If a decision in the case is appealed, it would go directly to the United States Supreme Court.

Read more about the lawsuit and ruling.

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News Clips 
Democrats move to better accommodate same-sex marriage in state-law: Wisconsin Public Radio, December 22, 2015.
Scott Walker repays state for travel costs, larger bill to come: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, December 21, 2015.
Donald Trump campaign seeks GOP ballot help - from Wisconsin Democrats: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, December 21, 2015.
Paul Ryan defends spending bill from conservative critics: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, December 21, 2015.
Walker's office heard multiple warnings about Lincoln Hills: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, December 17, 2015.

Economic Development
Proposal would mandate historic preservation: Green Bay Press Gazette, December 22, 2015.
Crane maker Manitowoc to lay off 80 in Port Washington: Milwaukee Business Journal, December 21, 2015.
Walker blames lack of trained workers for flagging job growth: Wisconsin Public Radio, December 21, 2015.
Wisconsin on pace for highest annual home sale tally since 2005: Milwaukee Business Journal, December 21, 2015.
State bankers don't see big impact from rate increase: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, December 18, 2015.

One-third of wells in Kewaunee County unsafe for drinking water: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, December 21, 2015.
Economic impact of CWD in county could be far-reaching : River News Online, December 21, 2015.
Wisconsin schools receive grants for nature education : Wisconsin Public Radio, December 21, 2015.
Jolted by fee, Holmen drops plan to pipe waste to La Crosse : La Crosse Tribune, December 17, 2015.
End of an era: State to end use of its 72 forest fire towers : Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, December 17, 2015.
DNR decisions could endanger water quality : Agri-View, December 17, 2015.

High on the highway: scientists try to build a marijuana breathalyzer: Wisconsin Public Radio, December 21, 2015.
Controversial 'wheel tax' won't be on spring ballot : La Crosse Tribune, December 18, 2015.
Assembly committee approves license revocation bill : Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, December 17, 2015.

Utilities and Energy
After state budget cut, energy research hub awarded $3.5 million grant: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, December 22, 2015.
Frac sand instability presents problems for towns: La Crosse Tribune, December 22, 2015.
Minnesota orders environmental review of 2 oil pipeline projects: Wisconsin Public Radio, December 21, 2015.
Knocking out power grid would have devastating effect: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, December 21, 2015.
Catching Up: Disputed Enbridge permit language: Wisconsin State Journal, December 21, 2015.
Will Winona County take up debate on frac sand ban?: La Crosse Tribune, December 21, 2015.
Foreign hackers sneaking into vulnerable U.S. power grid: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, December 21, 2015.

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