Hamilton Political Tidbits – February 16, 2018

Political Tidbits - February 16, 2018
Hamilton Consulting Group
 February 16, 2018
Wisconsin political news for clients and colleagues.

The clock is ticking as the Wisconsin legislature moves into the final weeks of session. In this Tidbits, read about the latest news from the Capitol:
If you wish to receive additional information about a topic addressed in Tidbits, please do not hesitate to

Floor Report: Legislature Moves Forward with Gov. Walker's Tax, Education, Welfare Plans

Following the Democratic Senate seat win in the January special elections, Gov. Scott Walker, in his State of the State address, unveiled an ambitious legislative agenda for the remainder of the 2017-18 session. The agenda includes a child tax credit, money for rural schools and economic development, a health care stability plan, and welfare reform. With only a few floor dates left in 2018, the legislature has been in a rush to push this legislation out of committees and onto the floor. The Assembly met twice this week to vote on several of these proposals. Both the Senate and Assembly will meet on Tuesday, and the Assembly will also meet on Wednesday and Thursday next week for more votes.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Primary Election Next Tuesday

Next Tuesday, voters will decide which two judicial candidates to the Supreme Court of Wisconsin will advance to the general primary held on April 3, 2018. The three candidates are Madison attorney Tim Burns, Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Rebecca Dallet, and Sauk County Circuit Court Judge Michael Screnock.
Senate Committee Holds Hearing on Worker's Compensation Bill

The Senate Committee on Labor and Regulatory Reform held a public hearing on Feb. 14 on SB 665, legislation proposed by the Wisconsin Worker's Compensation Advisory Council. The bill is the biennial agreement between management and labor for reform in the worker's compensation system.
Health Care Issue Update Launched

Hamilton Consulting Group has launched a Health Care Policy Issue Update on our website for the 2017-18 legislative session. As Gov. Scott Walker's Health Care Stability Plan and other health care-related bills move through the legislature, visit the page for relevant links, tracking, and analysis of Wisconsin policies.
Bills of Note: Health Care & Minimum Markup Repeal, Opioids, and Alcohol Enforcement

Health Care & Minimum Markup Repeal

In his State of the State address, Gov. Scott Walker proposed a Health Care Stability Plan to keep premiums down and create more choices for consumers in Wisconsin. Walker's plan includes a $200 million reinsurance program and a pre-existing conditions exclusion bill. Other health care initiatives for 2018 include employer group plans, breast density notification, and minimum markup repeal.
Continue reading about health care bills.


Rep. John Nygren's (R- Marinette) latest package of bills to combat the opioid epidemic is scheduled for a vote on the Assembly floor on Tuesday, Feb. 20. The two bills,
AB 906 and AB 907, were introduced in January. This legislative package was drafted with consideration of the recent Pew Charitable Trust's recommendations to the Governor's Task Force on Opioid Abuse.

Alcohol Enforcement

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) introduced a bill (SB 801) that would create an Office of Alcohol Beverages Enforcement attached to the Department of Revenue. The Office would oversee alcohol regulation, enforcement, and permitting. The bill also creates a resort manufacturer permit issued by the Office that authorizes production and sale of alcohol outside of the current three-tier distribution system for alcohol. The permit was designed specifically so that the Kohler resort in Sheboygan County could sell liquor that it has distilled under the resort's name.
Walmart Capitol Day 2018 Focuses on Minimum Markup Repeal

Almost 100 Walmart store managers from across Wisconsin met on Feb. 14 for their annual Capitol Day. This year's event focused on the Unfair Sales Act, a bill from Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield) and Rep. Jim Ott (R-Mequon) that provides exemptions for prescription drugs and general merchandise under Wisconsin's Unfair Sales Act.
DOA, PSC Staff Changes

Gov. Scott Walker announced this week that Department of 
Administration Secretary Scott Neitzel will leave his position on March 2 after serving almost two years at the department. Neitzel will be replaced by current Public Service Commission (PSC) Chairperson Ellen Nowak. Lon Roberts will replace Nowak as PSC Chairperson.
Senate Committee Holds Hearing on Regulatory Reform Bills

On Feb. 6, the Senate Committee on Labor and Regulatory Reform held a public hearing on two bills that would change agency rule-making process in Wisconsin. AB 384, authored by Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna) and Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), would put expiration dates on administrative rules. SB 745, authored by Sen. David Craig (R-Big Bend) and Rep. Andre Jacque (R-De Pere), prohibits an agency from seeking deference in any proceeding based on the agency's interpretation of the law, includes additional requirements for how agencies can adopt and use guidance documents, and provides that settlement agreements do not confer rule-making authority.
Assembly Committee Holds Tourism Information Hearing

On Feb. 7, the Assembly Committee on Tourism held an informational hearing on the Department of Tourism. The Department Secretary Stephanie Klett, joined by Deputy Secretary Sarah Klavas and Marketing Director Shane Brossard, presented to the committee the latest Travel Wisconsin commercials and the Department's 2017 annual report.
Congratulations, Bob Fassbender!

Hamilton Consulting Group and friends celebrated founding partner Bob Fassbender on Feb. 15. After nearly 20 years at the firm, Bob retired in December. Congratulations, Bob and Saralee Fassbender, and thank you for everything you've done for Hamilton!


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News Clips

Utilities and Energy

Economic Development
Eau Claire to be written out of tourism taxes bill: Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, February 16, 2018.
Boozy businesses join in opposition to Wisconsin's 'alcohol czar' bill: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, February 15, 2018.
Committee approves Walker's sales tax holiday, child tax credit: Wisconsin Public Radio, February 14, 2018.

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