Hamilton Political Tidbits – February 13, 2015

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Hamilton Consulting Group Political Tidbits
Compiled by
The Hamilton Consulting Group
 February 13, 2015


Reactions to the Governor's proposed $68 billion budget keep pouring in, as the Legislative Fiscal Bureau prepares its detailed summary of what all the changes mean. While legislators wait for that analysis, there has been no shortage of suggested changes to some of the more controversial items like the cuts to UW, bonding in the transportation budget, and substantial changes to the courts, DNR and the school choice program. Hamilton Consulting is doing its own deep dive into the budget, including a review of the Department of Natural Resources recommended budget in this week's Tidbits. 


In addition, this week the legislature has introduced and voted on bills, which you can read about in "Bills of Note" section and after this edition, we will have introduced all 27 freshman legislators.


And don't forget to vote next week if you're in the 20th Senate District! The special primary election to fill U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman's old Senate seat is February 17, and with no Democratic candidates, the new senator will almost assuredly be the winner of next week's election. 


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: DNR Budget Summary

Governor Walker submitted his 2015-17 biennial budget to the legislature on Tuesday, February 3. The governor's recommended budget for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is $554 million in FY 2016 and $550 million in FY 2017 for all funds (General Purpose Revenue - GPR, Federal Revenue - FED, Program Revenue - PR, Segregated Revenue - SEG). This is a 3.6% percent decrease from the adjusted 2015 base over the recommended FY 2016 budget and .7 percent decrease in the budget from 2016 to 2017. Over the biennium, the governor recommends a $24.5 million reduction to DNR's budget. This includes eliminating 67 positions for savings of $5 million in each fiscal year of the biennium.

Read the summary.

Governor Walker Releases 2015-2017 State Budget

Governor Walker introduced his 2015-2017 executive budget to the legislature on February 3rd. In his budget proposal, the governor recommends a $35.9 billion operating budget in fiscal year 2015-2016 and $32.3 billion budget in fiscal year 2016-2017. This includes all major funding sources (general purpose revenue - GPR, segregated revenue - SEG, federal revenue - FED, and program revenue - PR). The governor's GPR budget is $15.8 billion and $16.9 billion in fiscal year 2015-16 and 2016-17, respectively. This is a .3 percent decrease in state spending for fiscal year 2015-2016 over the 2014-15 base, and a 6.7 percent increase in spending in fiscal year 2016-2017.



Governor Walker's State Budget Address

ONLINE EXTRA: Gov. Walker's State Budget Address
Gov. Walker's State Budget Address

Watch the governor's address, or read the transcript.


WEDA Legislative Day 2015

The Wisconsin Economic Development Association (WEDA) held its annual legislative day this week, with nearly 70 WEDA members participating.


WEDA members met with approximately 90 legislators and staff from the Senate and Assembly. This face time with legislators gave WEDA members the opportunity to discuss the WEDA legislative agenda and connect the impact these legislative changes can have on economic development projects in the legislator's district. 




Bills of Note


In the second installment of the Hamilton Consulting Group Bills of Note, we highlight three legislative initiatives that may be of particular interest to our readers. This week we discuss the GPS tracking device bill, proposed changes to oxygen provider licensure requirements, and Made in the USA legislation. 

  • Unlawful Use of GPS
  • Oxygen Providers
  • Made in America 

Special Primary Election on February 17

With only three Republican candidates and no Democrats, the special primary election for the 20th Senate District on February 17th will be the results to watch for next week.


The 20th Senate District senate seat is vacant as U.S. Representative Glenn Grothman (R) resigned from the seat shortly before being elected to Congress this January. The governor called a special election for the seat to align with the spring election, however with no Democrats on the ballot, next week special primary will most likely decide the winner.




Get to Know a Freshman: Week 7


In our last edition of the "Get to Know a Freshman" series, we bring you information on five 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 the following new legislators:


  • State Representative Dave Considine
  • State Representative Dave Heaton
  • State Representative James Edming
  • State Representative John Macco
  • State Representative Scott Allen


For the 2015-2016 Wisconsin Legislature, the State Senate has seven new senators (five Republican, two Democrat), and the State Assembly has 25 new representatives (18 Republican, seven Democrat).


TIF Bill Package to be Introduced

The Joint Legislative Council recommended that the eight Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) bills submitted by the Legislative Council Study Committee on TIF be introduced to the full legislature with a 19-0 vote, with three members not present. The approval allows the eight TIF bills to advance into the normal legislative process. The recommendations are outlined in the study committee's report to the Joint Legislative Council and include the following eight bills.


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News Clips 


Economic Development

Assembly Dems Propose Minimum Wage Boost To $10.10: Wisconsin Public Radio, Feb. 12, 2015.

Assembly approves bill allowing grocery store liquor samples: Channel3000, Feb. 12, 2015.

Assembly Democrats announce "15 Bills for 2015": WTAQ, Feb. 12, 2015.

New GOP bill would block board land purchases, end payments: Channel3000, Feb. 11, 2015.

Walker administration rejects arena and casino offer: Racine Journal Times, Feb. 10, 2015.

Proposal could allow for hard liquor samples: Channel3000, Feb. 10, 2015.

State to repay $8.1 million to feds over improper job grants under Doyle: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb. 9, 2015.

US Stocks rise for 2nd day on higher oil, Greek debt hopes: Wisconsin State Journal, Feb. 3, 2015.

Bucks could tap into NBA credit to help with arena financing: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb. 2, 2015.



Some of $300 million in cuts could be covered by cash balances, UW acknowledges: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb. 12, 2015.

Walker aide: UW System cuts are flexible, complaints unwarranted: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb. 12, 2015.

Budget numbers hit education leaders: Waunakee Tribune, Feb. 12, 2015.

Walker Says He's Open To Permanent Tuition Cap At UW: Wisconsin Public Radio, Feb. 11, 2015.

Measure would allow Wisconsin tech colleges to run charter high schools: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb. 10, 2015.

Anticipating budget cuts, nervous UW System tried to strike deal: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb. 2, 2015.

Rural school officials: Walker's proposed aid falls short: Herald Times Reporter, Feb. 1, 2015.



Wisconsin environmental group sues EPA: Agri-View, Feb. 12, 2015.

Study: World dumps 8.8 million tons of plastics into oceans: WQOW, Feb. 12, 2015.

EPA awarding grants to protect wetlands: Agri-View, Feb. 11, 2015.

State purchases conservation easement of Iron County forestland: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb. 10, 2015.

Walker proposal to limit citizen oversight of DNR criticized: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb. 8, 2015.

Environmentalists "stunned" by Gov. Walker's budget: WUWM, Feb. 5, 2015.

EPA pollution rules target wood heaters: The Hill, Feb. 4, 2015.

Herbicide-Resistant Weeds Increasing In Wisconsin, Researchers Warn: Wisconsin Public Radio, Feb. 2, 2015.



State high court won't weigh in on Couture boundary dispute: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb. 11, 2015.

Wisconsin concealed-carry permit applications slowing but still strong: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb. 3, 2015.

Program seeks to reduce Wisconsin prison population: Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, Feb. 2, 2015.

After 37 years, Chief Judge Brown to retire from Court of Appeals: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb. 2, 2015.

Federal judge strikes down key parts of Wisconsin campaign finance laws: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb. 2, 2015.



Transportation secretary downplays DOT's borrowing: Marshfield News Herald, Feb. 12, 2015.

Online travel agency Expedia to buy rival Orbitz for $1.33 billion: WTAQ, Feb. 12, 2015.

Toll roads for Wisconsin?: (Opinion) Appleton Post-Crescent, Feb. 11, 2015.

AAA predicts more pain at the pump as drivers are already feeling the pinch: Fox11, Feb. 9, 2015.

Strong apartment demand fuels construction boom in Milwaukee area: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb. 3, 2015.

Democrats may try to block Walker's plan to borrow $1.3B for DOT: Wisconsin Public Radio, Feb. 2, 2015.


Utilities & Energy 

Canada, Mexico fuel increase in state exports: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb. 12, 2015.

Orion Energy stock sale could fetch $15 million: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb. 11, 2015.

Wisconsin Energy earnings hit new high in 2014, despite 4Q dip: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb. 11, 2015.

Xcel Energy says proposed giant solar gardens don't look like 'community' projects: Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Feb. 10, 2015.


State high court rules against county unions on Part B benefits: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb. 12, 2015.

Access to dental care still a problem for low-income people in Wisconsin: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb. 9, 2015.

Officials urge vaccination as measles cases grow: Appleton Post-Crescent, Feb. 9, 2015.

Hospitals applaud Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker for continuing $30M in Medicaid-related payments:

Milwaukee Business Journal, Feb. 2, 2015.

Once almost eradicated, whooping cough surges back: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 31, 2015.

Health workers warn flu season far from over: FOX11, Jan. 30, 2015.


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