Hamilton Political Tidbits – December 5, 2014

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Hamilton Consulting Group Political Tidbits
Compiled by
The Hamilton Consulting Group
 December 5, 2014  


Happy Belated Thanksgiving from Hamilton Consulting! With Thanksgiving and the Wisconsin deer hunt is now behind us, take time to check out this issue of Tidbits, where we congratulate our own, Andy Cook, for his appointment as the next Deputy Attorney General.


In addition, we have a full preview of what the state budget discussions will look like in January now that all agency budget requests are in, the EPA's carbon rule comment period has ended, legislative committee assignments are rolling out, and Hamilton's "Get to Know a Freshman" series continues.



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.

2015 - 2017 State Budget Preview

The first six months of every two-year legislative cycle is largely devoted to debate and passage of the biennial budget bill. This coming session is expected to be no exception, and the Governor and Republican-controlled Legislature will have some challenging budget issues to work out between now and June of 2015. That work is already underway and the Governor's proposal will be officially introduced around late January of 2015.



Wisconsin Comments on EPA's Carbon Rule

Governor Walker, legislators, state officials, and industry groups submitted comments on EPA's proposed carbon regulation for existing power plants at the beginning of December.

The Department of Natural Resources and Public Service Commission 
jointly filed a robust 119 pages of comments to EPA. The comments outline general concerns, building block comments, technical data corrections for Wisconsin, emission reduction efforts in Wisconsin, legal issues, and Wisconsin-specific modelling results and cost estimates concluding that the rule could cost Wisconsin up to $13 billion.


Joint Finance and 2015-2016 Standing Committees Announced


With inauguration day quickly approaching, the leadership has begun to announce the committee assignments for the upcoming session. Most members of the Joint Finance Committee have been announced, with the exception of the two Democratic Assembly members. This week, Senate Majority Leader Fitzgerald announced all the Republican Senate committee assignments, and Speaker Vos announced the Assembly committee structure - creating two new committees.


Read more for:
  • Joint Finance Committee Members
  • 2015-2015 Senate Committee Assignments
  • 2015-2016 Assembly Standing Committees
Hamilton's Andy Cook Appointed Deputy Attorney General

Hamilton Consulting's Andy Cook has been appointed by Attorney General-elect Brad Schimel to be Deputy Attorney General. Andy will lead the transition team from current Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to the newly elected attorney general. We at The Hamilton Consulting Group are very proud of Andy's successes here and with General-elect Schimel's confidence in him.

Get to Know a Freshman: Week 2


In our previous issue, Hamilton Consulting brought you the"Get to Know a Freshman" series, where we highlighted four incoming legislators. With one of the largest freshman classes ever in the Wisconsin Legislature, it may be harder to get to know the newly elected senators and representatives.


This week, Political Tidbits highlights four new legislators - State Senators-elect Janet Bewley and Steve Nass and State Representatives-elect Jonathan Brostoff and David Steffen. For the 2015-2016 Wisconsin Legislature, the State Senate has seven new senators (five Republicans, two Democrats), and the State Assembly has 25 new representatives (eighteen Republicans, seven Democrats).




Minnesota's New GOP Leadership Renews Hope for Tax Reciprocity

Wisconsin's tax reciprocity deal with Minnesota ended in 2009 after a 40-year agreement left Minnesota losing money on the deal. Currently, businesses that operate in both states must file tax returns in both states.


20th Annual Governor's Conference on Economic Development

February 11-13, 2015
Monona Terrace Community Convention Center in Madison, WI

Hamilton Consulting Brings on Two New Team Members

Caty McDermott has been working in governmental affairs and policy development for more than nine years, across two states, and in a variety of roles. Prior to joining Hamilton Consulting in 2014, Caty was a grants analyst in the Executive Office at the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority. Before joining WHEDA, Caty worked at the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management performing budgeting, legislative analysis, and policy development for several state agencies. Caty received her Master of Public Administration from the University of Connecticut and a Bachelor's degree from UW-Madison in political science and English.

Rebecca Ballweg has been involved in government and politics since the age of 10 and has been working in communications and marketing for the past five years. After nearly a year working as an intern for Hamilton Consulting, Rebecca moved into a full-time communications and marketing position with the firm in September 2014. In this capacity, she has continued to manage the firm's electronic and social media, including website updates, writing and producing Political Tidbits, as well as attending hearings and tracking legislation. Rebecca received her Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, after two years at the University of Wisconsin - River Falls.

Hamilton Consulting: Your Government Relations Easy Button


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 news sorted by subject on the Hamilton Consulting website? 
  • 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.
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.


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News Clips 


State Senate to quickly take up right-to-work legislation: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Dec. 4, 2014.

Governor Scott Walker Joins Lawsuit to Block Unilateral Executive Action: Office of Gov. Scott Walker, Dec. 3, 2014.

Walker signs Potawatomi casino amendment: Racine Journal Times, Dec. 2, 2014.

New Assembly committee to target public benefits reform: Wisconsin State Journal, Dec. 3, 2014.

Middleton's Erpenbach appointed to Joint Finance Committee: WKOW, Dec. 2, 2014.

Legislator to introduce right-to-work legislation: Racine Journal Times, Dec. 2, 2014.

Wisconsin Republicans' forward agenda: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Dec. 2, 2014.

Sen. Joe Leibham resigns a month ahead of term's end: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Dec. 1, 2014.

Grothman: I will stay in State Senate through December: WHBL, Dec. 1, 2014.

Wisconsin election turnout almost 55%: Green Bay Press Gazette, Dec. 1, 2014.

Vos makes appointments to Joint Finance Committee: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Nov. 26, 2014.

Schimel names business lobbyist as top aide: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Nov. 25, 2014.

State Department of Justice preps for big jump in DNA testing: Madison.com, Nov. 24, 2014.

State jobs agency chief Reed Hall expected to leave post: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Nov. 21, 2014.


Economic Development

Food manufacturing is more than milk and cheese: Green Bay Press Gazette, Dec. 4, 2014.

Survey: US companies added 208,000 jobs last month: Madison.com, Dec. 3, 2014.

Dispute between Harley, distributor could have broader implications: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Dec. 2, 2014.

Profits dip slightly for state banks: Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, Dec. 2, 2014.

Dairy industry pumps $500 million into campaign to bulk up milk sales: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Nov. 29, 2014.

Black Friday sales fall as US sales start earlier: The Oshkosh Northwestern, Nov. 29, 2014.

Applications for US jobless aid jump to 313,000: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Nov. 26, 2014.

Economic growth: How Wisconsin compares: Wisconsin State Journal, Nov. 25, 2014.

Wisconsin unemployment rate drops to 5.4 percent: Fox 11, Nov. 20, 2014.


Utilities & Energy

PSC plans hearings on high-voltage power line: Monroe County meetings slated for Dec. 10 & 11: The County Line, Dec. 3, 2014.

On utilities and solar, Wisconsin goes its own way: Midwest Energy News, Dec. 3, 2014.

Wisconsin co-op may periodically shut power plant this winter to conserve coal: Platts.com, Dec. 3, 2014.

Solar group appeals PSC vote approving new rates for We Energies: Wisconsin State Journal, Dec. 2, 2014.

Wisconsin Public Service wants to expand gas power plant near Kaukauna: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Dec. 2, 2014.

DNR, utilities say emissions mandates would hurt Wisconsin: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Dec. 1, 2014.

Power line crews race freezing waters, nesting eagles to complete river crossing: La Crosse Tribune, Nov. 23, 2014.

Xcel Energy among nations top military friendly employers: Amarillo Globe News, Nov. 25, 2014.

Emanuel on Wisconsin Energy's Integrys buyout: Not so fast: Chicago Business, Nov. 25, 2014.

Dairyland names new CEO; Nick to be utility's first new president since 1990: La Crosse Tribune, Nov. 20, 2014.

A tale of two peninsulas: Can Michigans grid be unified? Midwest Energy News, Nov. 20, 2014.



DNR backs off plan to relax pollution standard for dairy farm: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Dec. 2, 2014.

Wisconsin deer kill lowest in 30 years: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Dec. 2, 2014.

DNR cites digester for air pollution: The Waunakee Tribune, Dec. 2, 2014.

EPA delay of Renewable Fuel Standard decision actually good news?: Agri-View, Nov. 26, 2014.

AP sources: EPA to propose stricter smog standard: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Nov. 25, 2014.

Invasive algae found for the first time in a Wisconsin lake: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Nov. 26, 2014.

Study predicts longer Lake Michigan basin growing season: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Nov. 24, 2014.


I-94 east-west expansion opponents offer alternatives: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Dec. 3, 2014.

Transportation panel backs 3 major road projects totaling $670 million: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Dec. 1, 2014.

U.S. November auto sales pace best since 2003: WHBL, Dec. 2, 2014.

Transportation grants to increase services: Marshfield News Herald, Nov. 29, 2014.

Bricks-and-mortar sales edge lower at start of holiday season; online surges: data: WTAQ, Nov. 29, 2014.

'I don't think we can' support transportation funding proposal, state Sen. Alberta Darling says: The Capital Times, Nov. 23, 2014.

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