Hamilton Political Tidbits – February 19, 2016

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Political Tidbits
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The Hamilton Consulting Group
February 19, 2016

As of 1 a.m. on Friday, February 19, 2016, the Wisconsin State Assembly stands adjourned until January 2017... or so they say. While Assembly leadership is anxious to get the representatives back to their districts to start campaigning, last night the Assembly did not adjourn sine die. This leaves open the possibly that the Assembly could easily reconvene.

While it is common for legislative leadership to announce early adjournment, legislators usually come back. The Senate is scheduled to be on the floor one last time on March 15, and will have the opportunity to vote on and amend all of the bills the Assembly passed last night. Should the Senate change legislation the Assembly considers a priority, the Assembly will be forced to come back for a concurrence vote.

Below, you will find a report on bills that passed the Assembly or Senate this week, some of which have been moving through the legislature since January 2015. This includes legislation to end the nuclear power moratorium, the TIF bill package, civil liability legislation and the PSC reform bill, to name a few.

Also in this week's Tidbits : Wisconsin Supreme Court Primary results, Sen. Lasee announces his candidacy for the 8th Congressional District, and the governor's executive order on the EPA's Clean Power Plan.

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.

Bradley and Kloppenburg Advance to General Election

Rebecca Bradley and JoAnn Kloppenburg advanced to the Wisconsin Supreme Court general election on April 5. Bradley edged Kloppenburg, 45% to 43%, to take first place in the primary. Joe Donald came in a distant third place with only 12% of the vote.

Bradley was appointed to the state's highest court in October of last year to replace Justice N. Patrick Crooks who died unexpectedly. Before her appointment to the state's highest court, Bradley was appointed to a Milwaukee County Circuit Court judgeship in 2012 and won a re-election to the position in May 2013. Walker again promoted Bradley with an appointment to the First District Court of Appeals in May of 2015. Before serving as a judge, Bradley served as in-house counsel at the software company, RedPrarie Corp. and worked at the law firms Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek and Hinshaw & Culbertson.

Sen. Lasee to Run for 8th Congressional District

Sen. Frank Lasee (R-De Pere) has announced his plans to run for the 8th Congressional District in Northeast Wisconsin left open by U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble's retirement.

Lasee served in the Wisconsin Assembly from 1994 to 2006 and was elected to the State Senate in 2010. In his campaign announcement, Lasee stated his focus is on national security, economic security and balancing the budget while paying down debt.

Read more about others who might throw their hat into the race.

Gov. Walker Reinforces SCOTUS Stay of Clean Power Plan Through Executive Order

On February 9, 2016 the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay for the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Power Plan (CPP) until the litigation surrounding it is resolved. Justices Kennedy, Alito, Thomas, Scalia and Chief Justice Roberts voted in favor of the stay. Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan voted to deny the application. This stay halts the implementation of the CPP. Under the original schedule promulgated by EPA, states would have had to submit initial plans for implementation by June 30, 2016 and could receive a one-year extension on submitting a final plan. It is unclear if those deadlines will change due to the stay.

Read about the governor's executive order.

Room Tax Technical Clarification Bill Advances

Assembly Bill 714/Senate Bill 578 authored by Rep. Mike Rohrkaste (R-Neenah) and Sen. Roger Roth (R-Appleton) clarifies the definition of tourism entities that collect room tax.

The legislation adjusts the creation date of an existing tourism entity to help those created after 1992 but before January 1, 2016. It changes a provision that requires all tourism entities to have 51 percent of their overall revenues spent on tourism promotion and tourism development. It also removes the requirement that a tourism entity must exist in the municipality for which they provide destination marketing and services. In addition, the bill modifies a provision that requires one lodging owner or operator per municipality to sit on the entity's governing body to a minimum of four owners or operators.

Read more about the legislation.
Legislation to Eliminate Twelve-Hour Hold for Strip Searches Passes Legislature

On February 18, the Assembly concurred on legislation to remove the twelve-hour hold provision for strip searches. The legislation,  Senate Bill 248 , would remove the requirement that jail administrators hold detainees for 12 hours before being strip searched, if there is no probable cause to search them.

Read more about the legislation.

Nuclear Moratorium Bill Heads to Governor

Assembly Bill 384 , introduced by Rep. Ken Petersen (R-Waupaca) and  Senate Bill 288 , introduced by Sen. Frank Lasee (R-De Pere) would end the moratorium on nuclear power plants in the state of Wisconsin. The moratorium,  1983 Wisconsin Act 401 , was put in place following the Three Mile Island plant accident in 1979.

The Assembly Committee on Energy and Utilities approved the bipartisan legislation 13-0 in December, and was passed by a voice vote in the Assembly on January 12. The Senate concurred the legislation 23-9 in a floor session this week. The bill now awaits a signature from Governor Walker.

Read more about the legislation.

PSC Reform Bill Passes Assembly

Legislation to reform many of the regulatory processes at the Public Service Commission (PSC) passed the Assembly, and is available for scheduling in the Senate. The legislation, Assembly Bill 804 and Senate Bill 654, was introduced by Rep. Mike Kuglitsch (R-New Berlin) and Sen. Roger Roth (R-Appleton), but was developed by the Public Service Commission (PSC), through many discussions with PSC staff and stakeholders.

Read more about the legislation.

Prohibition of Regulating Auxiliary Containers Passes Assembly

Legislation that would prohibit a city, village, town, or county from regulating auxiliary containers (a bag, cup, bottle, etc.) made of cloth, paper, plastic cardboard, corrugated material, aluminum, glass, postconsumer recycled material, or similar substances, has passed the Assembly.

Read more about the legislation.
Minor Driver's Sponsorship Liability Bills Pass Legislature

Sen. Kapenga (R-Delafield) and Rep. Kuglitsch (R-New Berlin) championed legislation (Assembly Bill 540/Senate Bill 408) to limit the liability that may be imputed to an innocent parent or other adult who sponsors a person under the age of 18 in obtaining a motor vehicle operator's license. Under current Wisconsin law, Wisconsin is one of only eight states in which a parent or other adult who sponsors a minor driver has unlimited liability for injuries caused by the minor's negligent acts while driving.

The Senate passed SB 408 on a voice vote in January, while the Assembly concurred in the legislation on a voice vote last week. The legislation now awaits Governor Walker's signature.

Read more about the legislation.

Tobacco License Bill Heads to Governor

Assembly Bill 628/Senate Bill 528, authored by Rep. Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee) and Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) as amended by the legislature, makes changes to the circumstances and procedures under which Milwaukee can suspend retail tobacco licenses.

The legislation passed the Senate and the Assembly via voice votes and now heads to Governor Walker for a signature.

The bill would bring tobacco licensing procedures in line with alcohol licensing procedures in that it gives local municipalities the legal power to investigate and punish disruptive establishments.

Read more about the bill.

Social and Financial Impact for Health Care Mandates Legislation Passes Assembly

Assembly Bill 543 and Senate Bill 413, authored by Rep. John Jagler (R-Watertown) and Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield), would prevent the legislature from holding a hearing on or taking a vote on legislation that creates new health care insurance mandates until after it has received a report from the Commissioner of Insurance.

Read more about the legislation.

Assembly Passes WIAA Bill

Introduced by Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Sen. Roger Roth (R-Appleton)  Assembly Bill 873 and  Senate Bill 704 would prohibit a school district from being a member of an interscholastic athletic association unless the association elects to be governed by Wisconsin's public records and open meetings laws. In other words, the bill attempts to subject the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) to public records and open meetings laws.

On the floor of the Assembly this week, the  bill was amended to allow WIAA to withhold access to records concerning individual referees and exempt records pertaining to individual minors from being released.

Vehicle Data Recorders Legislation Moves out of Committee

Rep. Kremer (R-Kewaskum), Rep. Quinn (R-Rice Lake) and Sen. Stroebel (R-Saukville) have introduced legislation ( Assembly Bill 838 / Senate Bill 697 ) that would prohibit accessing, collecting, or transferring certain types of information about a motor vehicle without written consent of the motor vehicle owner. The companion bills were fast-tracked, with introduction and hearing occurring within the first weeks of February. Last week, the Senate Committee on Government Operations and Consumer Protection unanimously passed the bill out of committee. This week, the Assembly Committee on Consumer Protection voted 6-2 on AB 838.

Read more about the legislation.

WEDC Fraud Bill Passes Assembly, Status of the Bill Unclear in the Senate

Assembly Bill 669/Senate Bill authored by Rep. Samantha Kerkman (R-Salem) and Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) has passed the Assembly, however it is uncertain whether the Senate will take up the bill.

The legislation would establish criminal penalties for committing fraud against the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). The bill would make it a crime to provide false information on an application for a grant, loan, tax benefit or any other benefit or payment from WEDC. Under the legislation, crimes could be punished by up to 10 years in prison and $50,000 fine.

Read more about the bill.

Legislature Passes Some TIF Bills
This week, the Assembly passed the following legislation part of the tax increment financing (TIF) bill package. The bills are a product of the 2014 Legislative Council study committee on TIF. The Senate passed the legislation in May and September of last year. The bills now head to Governor Walker's desk for expected signatures. 

Read about the TIF bills that are headed to the governor for signature.

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News Clips 
Nygren decides to skip congressional run : Channel 3000, February 18, 2016.
Thousands of Latinos stage pro-immigration rally at Capitol : Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, February 18, 2016.
Senate passes "double dipping" prohibition, local ID restrictions : Wisconsin Radio Network, February 17, 2016.
Mark Elliott to seek 18th Senate District seat : Fond du Lac Reporter, February 16, 2016.
Legislature passes limits on local government IDs : Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, February 16, 2016.
Kasich hopes for another success story in Michigan : New York Times, February 16, 2016.
After Antonin Scalia's death, fierce battle lines emerge : New York Times, February 15, 2016.

Economic Development
Assembly passes bill requiring state agencies to find 5 percent in cuts : Wisconsin State Journal, February 19, 2016.
Northwestern Mutual posted record revenue in 2015 : Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, February 18, 2016.
Lockheed drops suit over Oshkosh JLTV award : Fond du Lac Reporter, February 18, 2016.
Plan back to use Milwaukee County debtors for arena subsidy : Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, February 16, 2016.

Manure spill stretches 2 miles to trout stream : Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, February 19, 2016.
Deep divide on Waukesha plan on display for Great Lakes reps : Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, February 18, 2016.
Water privatization bill probably can't be revived, GOP leader says : Wisconsin State Journal, February 17, 2016.
Senate votes to delay wolf hunt season : La Crosse Tribune, February 16, 2016.
Water Council legislation floundering in state legislature : Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, February 15, 2016.
Changes to lake laws face some reluctance from ranking GOP senator : Wisconsin Public Radio, February 15, 2016.
Waukesha's water request gets look from Great Lakes states, provinces : Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, February 15, 2016.

Urban Medicare beneficiaries may see more drug savings this year : Kaiser Health News, February 19, 2016.
Humane Society applauds bill shortening shelter stays : Racine Journal Times, February 18, 2016.
Walker signs bills defunding Planned Parenthood : Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, February 18, 2016.
State to seek bids on self-insurance for state workers : Wisconsin State Journal, February 17, 2016.
Telepsychiatry spreading mental health help : Appleton Post Crescent, February 15, 2016.
Cancer patients snagged in health law's tangled paperwork : Wisconsin State Journal, February 15, 2016.

Scott Walker appoints 2 Milwaukee County circuit judges : Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, February 18, 2016.
State Senate won't pass bill to improve wrongful conviction payouts : Wisconsin Public Radio, February 18, 2016.
Wisconsin a battleground over U.S. Supreme Court appointment : Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, February 18, 2016.
Cops push for expanded subpoena powers in child porn inquiries : Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, February 17, 2016.
Senate to consider letting debt buyers more easily sue consumers : Wisconsin Public Radio, February 16, 2016.
Supreme Court vacancy looms over five key Senate races : New York Times, February 15, 2016.
As Scalia is honored, debate on court nomination swells : Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, February 15, 2016.


Utilities and Energy
Minnesota power plant customers to receive $8M refund: Twin Cities Business, February 18, 2016.
Enbridge projects will be delayed by two years: Business North, February 17, 2016.
From the ashes of some coal plants, new energy rises: National Public Radio, February 17, 2016.
State order means delays for oil pipelines: Minnesota Public Radio, February 17, 2016.
Utilities seek two solar facilities in county: Chippewa Herald, February 17, 2016.
Gov. Scott Walker orders agencies not to prepare for Clean Power Plan: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, February 15, 2016.

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