Hamilton Political Tidbits – Jan. 10, 2014

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Hamilton Consulting Group Political Tidbits
Compiled by
The Hamilton Consulting Group
 Jan. 9, 2014  
While the polar vortex may have cooled things off outside the halls of the capitol, inside the capitol building things are heating up as the legislature returns from its holiday break, the Wisconsin Supreme Court continues to hear cases, and the executive branch makes moves to prepare for the coming election season.


If you require a
dditional information about a topic addressed in Tidbits, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Hamilton Consulting Team.
State Hosting Tax Reform Roundtables

At the request of Gov.Walker, hitting the road recently are Lt. Gov. Kleefisch and Dept. of Revenue Sec. Chandler. They are traveling across the state to listen to the opinions of Wisconsinites on the state's tax burden and their ideas for reform.


Read More...  


Economic Development Update

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) came before the legislature's Joint Finance Committee this week. The committee voted along party lines to allow the pseudo-agency to continue operating, but delayed decisions on what to do with surplus funds earmarked for economic development and WEDC's request to create a not-for-profit foundation funded by state businesses to support additional programs.

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DNR Continues Focus on Reform

Dept. of Natural Resources Sec. Cathy Stepp laid out her plans for 2014 in the latest edition of AgriView News. While the article focuses on DNR's involvement with and oversight of the state's agricultural community, the general push for transparency between the agency and the public and the emphasis on streamlining regulations is indicative of the secretary's overall vision for the agency.


ACA Enrollment in Wisconsin

Recent communications between the Wisconsin Dept. of Health Services and the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reveal 32,000 Wisconsinites have been identified as being eligible to receive BadgerCare after visiting the federal health exchange to obtain health care coverage.


This is a good chunk of the 83,000 childless adults DHS estimated would enroll in BadgerCare Plus between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2014. DHS also estimates that about 72,000 people with incomes above the federal poverty level, who had previously qualified for Wisconsin's BadgerCare program, will no longer qualify. These people will be able to buy coverage on the federal healthcare exchange with a federal subsidy.


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Legislature Back in Session   

After taking a break for the holiday season, the legislature is headed back to the floor. The Assembly will be back on the floor on January 14 and the Senate later this month.

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Wisconsin Supreme Court Sets Schedule for January  

The Wisconsin Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in 8 cases this month. The subject matter of the cases run the gambit from a used car case with a plaintiff represented by Wisconsin's self-proclaimed Lemon Law King Vince Megna, to insurance coverage cases, to questions of the legality of traffic stops.

The courts calendar and a synopsis of the cases is available by clicking here and coverage of the oral arguments will be provided by WisconsinEye

It's That Time of Year 

Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution says, "[The President] shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient..." This cause, and Pres. Wilson's decision to give his updates in person, is what we can thank for the yearly event that is the State of the Union address.  


Pres. Obama will deliver the 2014 State of the Union Address on Tuesday, January 28, 2014.


Wisconsin Governors have adopted the tradition of giving an annual address to a joint legislative session. Gov. Walker's 2014 State of the State Address will be held on Wednesday, January 22, 2014, at 7:00 P.M.


Follow @HCG500 on Twitter the night of both speeches for live analysis

Walker Outlines Priorities for Coming Year

WisconsinEye Senior Producer Steve Walters, sat down with Gov. Walker for a year-end interview at the Executive Residence on December 19. The 15 minute interview covers a wide variety of topics, beginning with the governor's interest tax reform.



Legislature Considering Sales Tax Holiday 

The future of the state's tax system is a hot topic this spring. While Lt. Gov. Kleefisch and Dept. of Revenue Sec. Chandler gather new ideas from the public with their series of tax roundtables, the legislature is considering proposals already on the table.


On January 7, 2014 the Assembly Committee on Small Business Development held a public hearing on Assembly Bill 108, which would create sales tax holidays in August and in November for a limited variety of goods.

Read More...  


New Legislators Receive Committee Assignments

The three legislators who were elected to the Assembly in special elections this fall have now received their committee assignments for the coming year.


Speaker Vos has assigned committees for the new legislators.  They are as follows:


Rep. Kulp



Workforce Development


Ways and Means


Rep. Rodriguez

Jobs, Economy, and Mining



Criminal Justice

Legislative Council


Rep. Skowronski


Natural Resources

Urban and Local Affairs


Ways and Means


In a press release announcing the assignments Speaker Vos, who makes the final assignment decision said, "Each new member has unique strengths and constituencies. I know they will each draw from those strengths and broad bases of knowledge to positively contribute to each one of these committees."   


Weak Recovery & Health Care Costs Top List of Business Leaders' Concerns for 2014

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce has released the most recent iteration of its annual survey of business leaders in Wisconsin. The data shows business leaders in the state are optimistic about the growth potential of their individual businesses, but still face significant challenges, namely the slow recovery from the Great Recession and cost increases related to employee health care coverage.


Click here to read the executive summary of the results from WMC and here to see the full results.

Wisconsin Commissioner of Insurance Warns Consumers About Federal Exchange Glitches

Wisconsinites who have purchased health insurance on the federal exchange need to look out for two issues plaguing consumers. First, for some plans, the exchange is not displaying the correct information about deductibles. Other consumers are finding they are not actually enrolled because their information was never sent from the exchange to the insurance company the consumer purportedly bought insurance from..

Read More...  


2013: A Good Year for Wisconsin Agriculture

Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection Sec. Ben Brancel sat down with WisconsinEye's Steve Walters to discuss the Wisconsin's Ag industry, and was happy to report 2013 was good year for the $59 billion industry.

Read More...  


Wisconsin Represented in the United States Cabinet

Nine Wisconsin citizens have served in the United States Cabinet over the nation's history, including three former governors. The most recent Wisconsinite to serve in the Cabinet was former Governor Tommy Thompson, as Secretary of Health and Human Services from 2001 to 2005, who most famously in this position included dealing with public health issues following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.


Five Wisconsin citizens served as Postmaster General, which until 1971 was considered a position of the President's Cabinet.


Wisconsinites have also served as Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of Defense, and Secretary of the Interior.


You can read full biographies of these esteemed Wisconsin citizens in a new report from the  Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau.


This post was authored by Rebecca Ballweg, an intern at the Hamilton Consulting Group.


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News Clips 


Burke raises almost $1.8 million in three months: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 9, 2014.

Walker to deliver State of State on Jan. 22: Manitowoc Herald Times, Jan. 8, 2014.

Lawmakers decide to use federal money to help close W-2 shortfall: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 8, 2014.

Wisconsin Judicial Candidates set for 2014 Spring Election: Wisconsin Election Watch, Jan. 8, 2014.

Dana Duncan to Run for Wisconsin Assembly: Wisconsin Election Watch, Jan. 8, 2014.

Closures could affect election deadlines: Madison.com, Jan. 6, 2014.

Democrats hold redistricting hearings: Wisconsin Radio Network, Jan. 6, 2014.

Absolutely. Let's talk tax reform (opinion): Beloit Daily News, Jan. 4, 2014.

Gov. Scott Walker opens door for tax overhaul in 2015 budget: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 3, 2014.


Economic Development and Finance

Budget Committee Votes To Fund WEDC For Another Year: Wisconsin Public Radio, Jan. 9, 2014.

State CEOs worry about weak economy, lack of skilled labor but predict moderate growth in coming year: La Crosse Tribune, Jan. 8, 2014.

Who wants a Wisconsin sales tax holiday? Milwaukee BizJournal, Jan. 8, 2014.

Hearing held on sales tax holiday: Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, Jan. 7, 2014.

Legislature: How should we use $35M economic development surplus? Green Bay Press-Gazette, Jan. 6, 2014.

State program to boost worker training: $15 million in grants available to businesses: BizTimes, Jan. 6, 2014.

Papermaker NewPage Holdings to be acquired by rival: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 6, 2014.

A generation of entrepreneurs will forever be on guard: BizTimes.com, Jan. 6, 2014.

WEDC TV spots push state business: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 4, 2014.

Wisconsin job creation agency launches new TV campaign: Fox11.com, Jan. 4, 2014.

Wisconsin start-ups attracting investors: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 5, 2014.

Economic development more regional: Stevens Point Journal, Jan. 4, 2014.

Car sales make a strong comeback in 2013: Channel3000.com, Jan. 3, 2014.

DeForest, Janesville developments among 2013's top WEDC-supported projects: Wisconsin State Journal, Jan. 3, 2014.

Lawmakers set 2014 goals: Beloit Daily News, Jan. 2, 2014.



Mental health bills clear legislative hurdle: Madison.com, Jan. 8, 2014.

Free clinics' role uncertain with expanded health insurance coverage: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 8, 2014.

Some law enforcement slow to use prescription drug monitoring program: WPR.org, Jan. 8, 2014

Sen. Ron Johnson files lawsuit over Obamacare: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 6, 2014.

Sen. Glenn Grothman's bill would exempt e-cigarettes from smoking ban: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 3, 2014.

Evaluating the Rollout in the states: Kaiser Health News, Jan. 2, 2014

Confusion, relief mark start of new health reforms: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 2, 2014.

Kwik Trip opens health care clinic for employees: Cannel3000.com, Jan. 2, 2014.

New year, new challenges for health care law: The Oshkosh Northwestern, Jan. 1, 2014.



Favorable attitudes toward clean energy rebound: Wisconsin Ag Connection, Jan. 6, 2014

EPA's reproposed carbon limits include separate standards for coal, gas units: Bloomberg BNA, Jan. 8, 2014

Yahara Pride looks to enlist local farmers in the fight against phosphorous runoff: The Cap Times, Jan. 8, 2014

Analysis: Lobbying fight over U.S. oil exports may be one-sided battle: WTAQ, Jan. 8, 2014

Federal review of Gogebic mine plan sidesteps state urgency: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 7, 2014

Solar projects cool in Wisconsin: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 7, 2014.

2 more companies settle sand mine pollution case: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 6, 2014.


Utilities and Energy

Natural gas use breaks record during deep freeze: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 9, 2014.

CME Group shares outlook for ethanol: Agri-View, Jan. 8, 2014.

EPA's reproposed carbon limits include separate standards for coal, gas units: Bloomberg BNA, Jan. 8, 2014.

Wisconsin Energy slips to buy: Zacks Equity Research, Jan. 8, 2014.

Despite benefits, biogas systems face challenges at Wisconsin dairies: Xconomy, Jan. 8, 2014.

Solar projects cool in Wisconsin: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 7, 2014.

Gas prices rise in Wisconsin: WSAU.com, Jan. 3, 2014.

Freeze prep: Minn. utility asks businesses to reduce natural gas use Sunday: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 3, 2014.

Higher utilitiy costs expected: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 3, 2014.

Wind supplier says 2013 tower orders valued at $389 million: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 2, 2014.


Transportation and Construction

A surprising study on cellphone use for drivers: Janesville Gazette, Dec. 20, 2013.

People in Wisconsin adapt to working in winter weather: 620wtmj.com, Dec. 16, 2013.

Marinette Marine impact has wide swath: Wisconsin State Journal, Dec. 15, 2013.

3 years after flooding, push is on to raze homes in Milwaukee: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Dec. 14, 2013.



WI underage drinking bill becomes law: WNMUFM.org, Dec. 13, 2013.

Grumbling over the idea of growlers in Wisconsin grocery stores: Wisconsin Cap Times, Dec. 13, 2013.

New law allows taverns to sue fake ID users: Appleton Post-Crescent, Dec. 13, 2013.

Walker signs 'Brown Jug bill' into Wis. Law: NECN.com, Dec. 12, 2013.


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