Hamilton Political Tidbits – January 27, 2020

Political Tidbits - January 27, 2020
Hamilton Consulting Group
 January 27, 2020
Wisconsin political news for clients and colleagues.

It has been a busy month in the Wisconsin state capitol! Gov. Tony Evers gave his State of the State address on Jan. 22, and the Senate and Assembly both met for floor sessions in January. With only a few months left in the 2019-20 session, there are many other developments in and around the Wisconsin state capitol covered in this edition of Political Tidbits:
 
 If you wish to receive additional information about a topic in Political Tidbits, please contact a member of the Hamilton Consulting Team.
  
Gov. Evers Delivers Second State of the State Address

Gov. Tony Evers gave his second State of the State address on Jan. 22. In his speech, the Governor highlighted what he saw as successes in 2019 and announced two big-ticket items he hopes to accomplish in 2020.
 
 
2020 State of the State: Republican Response

Senate President Roger Roth (R-Appleton) gave the Republican response to Gov. Tony Evers's second State of the State address on Jan. 22. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) also gave responses to WisPolitics after the governor's speech.
 
 
Gov. Evers Letter Lays Out Legislative Priorities

On Jan. 9, Gov. Tony Evers laid out his priorities to the Legislature for the remainder of the 2019-20 session. In a letter to legislative leadership, Evers assigned them "homework" of several bills to pass before adjournment.
 
 
Floor Report: First Floor Sessions of 2020 

The Assembly and Senate both met this month, taking up legislation on a wide range of issues - from law enforcement to health care to environmental protection.
 
After January, Assembly leadership has indicated that the Assembly will meet two more times before adjourning at the end of February. The Senate will likely meet once in February and once in March before adjourning.
 
 
MU Poll: Biden Continues to Lead 2020 Dem Candidates
Click to enlarge graphic.

With the first primaries of the 2020 presidential election approaching quickly, the latest Marquette University (MU) Law School poll found Vice President Joe Biden still leading in Wisconsin. The first MU poll of 2020, conducted Jan. 8-12, evaluated voter opinions on the field of candidates still competing in the Democratic primary and asked questions about other current state and national politicians.
 
 
More Legislators Announce 2020 Plans

Over the past few weeks, more legislators have begun announcing their plans for the 2020 election cycle. Several legislators are retiring, while others are making the jump from the state legislature to Congress or from the state Assembly to state Senate.
 
 
Senate Committee Holds Hearing on CARES Act to Eliminate Workforce Barriers for PAs

On Jan. 15, the Senate Committee on Elections, Ethics & Rural Issues held a public hearing on the Collaboration and Rural Expansion of Services (CARES) Act (SB 515/AB 575), which would update Wisconsin statutes related to physician assistants (PAs). The bill seeks to reduce workforce barriers for PAs, thus maintaining and increasing access to high quality medical care, particularly in underserved rural areas of the state. Patient safety standards would remain unchanged.
 
 
HOPE Agenda Bills Advance in Legislature

Several bills from Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) and various co-authors to address substance use disorder are making their way through the Legislature, with six bills passing on the Assembly floor and several moving in the Senate health committee.
 
In addition to the legislation, Rep. Nygren joined several health plans for a press conference on Jan. 21 as they announced a partnership with insurers, members of the recovery community, healthcare providers and other members of the legislature to expand access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
 
Continue reading about the legislation.
 
Senate Committee Introduces Worker's Comp, UI Bills

The Senate Committee on Labor & Regulatory Reform has introduced this session's Worker's Compensation and Unemployment Insurance (UI) reform bills.
 
 
Water Quality Task Force Releases Recommendations

This month, the Speaker's Task Force on Water Quality released their bipartisan report and recommendations after holding public hearings throughout the state over the summer. The report proposes 13 new bills related to water quality and endorses several others already introduced in the Legislature.
 
 
PFAS Update: Regulations Moving in Legislature & DNR

Regulation of PFAS chemicals continues to develop in the Wisconsin Legislature and state agencies. Last week the Legislature passed a bill regulating PFAS-containing firefighting foams. Meanwhile, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) proposed rulemaking has been approved by the DNR Board.
 
PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are man-made chemicals found in many everyday products, including nonstick pans, cleaning products, paints, and firefighting foam. The most extensively studied PFAS compounds are PFOA and PFOS, which have been phased out of domestic manufacturing over the past decade. Competing studies debate whether or not these chemicals have negative health effects and, if they do, at what level they are harmful.
 
 
PSCW Commissioner Resigns

Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) Commissioner Mike Huebsch recently announced he will retire from PSCW effective Feb. 3. Huebsch was appointed to the PSCW by Gov. Scott Walker in 2015.
 
 
DHS Projects $39.8 Million Medicaid Shortfall

In a report sent to the Joint Finance Committee at the end of December, the Department of Health Services (DHS) projected a $39.8 million Medicaid shortfall over the next two years.
 
 
Additional DOR Auditors Generate 11.8 to 1 Return on Investment

According to a Department of Revenue (DOR) report from the end of December, new tax auditors hired in the 2015-17 budget cycle generated an 11.8 to 1 return on investment for the state in fiscal year 2019.
 
The 2015-17 state budget required DOR to annually report to the Joint Finance Committee on the estimated tax revenues generated by and expenditures associated with the 102 audit positions created in the 15-17 budget.
 
 
Supreme Court Issues Decision in Rulemaking Case

In the Wisconsin Supreme Court's first decision affecting the business community in the 2019-20 term, the court issued an important opinion on agency rulemaking in Lamar Central Outdoor, LLC v. Division of Hearings & Appeals (2019 WI 109). The Supreme Court held that the Department of Transportation (DOT) was required to promulgate a rule when it changed its interpretation of statutes regarding nonconforming billboards.
 

To stay up to date on all Wisconsin Supreme Court decisions relevant to the business community, subscribe to the Wisconsin Civil Justice Council newsletter. 
 
Business Day in Madison - Feb. 26

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce's Business Day in Madison is a must-attend event for business leaders from around Wisconsin. Make sure to register for this year's conference on February 26th and find out any info you need here: https://www.wmc.org/event/business-day-in-madison/
 


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News Clips
Politics
Republicans dismiss nonpartisan redistricting plan: Wisconsin Law Journal, January 23, 2020.

Health
Utilities and Energy
Environment
Legal
Economic Development
Portion of state revenue surplus thanks to Foxconn delays: Wisconsin Public Radio, January 23, 2020.
Assembly advances housing bill: Daily Reporter, January 22, 2020.
Little change in Wisconsin union membership in 2019: Milwaukee Business News, January 22, 2020.

Transportation
Education
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