Hamilton Political Tidbits – January 29, 2021

Political Tidbits - January 29, 2021
January 29, 2021
Wisconsin political news for clients and colleagues.
A lot has happened since the last edition of Hamilton Political Tidbits, with the Legislature jockeying over a COVID-19 response bill and debating whether to terminate Governor Evers' latest public health emergency. Meanwhile, the state continues its rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines and solicits bids from law firms to prosecute PFAS dischargers. Read on to learn about the most important political news stories happening in Wisconsin.

In this edition of Hamilton Political Tidbits:

If you have any additional questions, please contact a member of the Hamilton Consulting team.
Assembly Adds Contested Provisions Back to AB 1; Senate Makes a Minor Addition and Passes the Assembly’s Updated Version
Earlier this week, the Assembly and Senate again considered Assembly Bill 1 (AB 1), a comprehensive COVID-19 response package that was introduced at the start of the session by Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and quickly passed by the Assembly along partisan lines. AB 1 was then amended by the Senate via Senate Substitute Amendment 1 (SSA 1), which passed the Senate 29-2.

Senate Votes to Terminate Governor Evers’ Latest Public Health Emergency and Related Mask Mandate; Assembly Defers for Now
On Tuesday, January 19, Gov. Evers issued Executive Order #104, declaring a new statewide public health emergency related to COVID-19. Pursuant to this order, the governor also issued Emergency Order #1, requiring individuals to wear face coverings while indoors or in an enclosed space (other than a private residence), if other individuals not from the same household are present.

DHS Announces Next Priority Groups for COVID-19 Vaccination
On Tuesday, January 26, the Department of Health Services (DHS) announced which groups of Wisconsinites will be eligible for the next phase of COVID-19 vaccinations. As we reported a few weeks ago, the vaccine subcommittee of the State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee (SDMAC) was soliciting public comments and formulating recommendations to the administration on who should be included in the second phase, Phase 1B.

PFAS Update: State Seeks Outside Lawyers to Litigate Against PFAS Dischargers
On Friday, January 22, Governor Tony Evers announced that his administration is soliciting bids from law firms to find a legal team to litigate against companies responsible for discharging PFAS compounds in Wisconsin. This is one of many recommendations from the state’s PFAS Action Plan, published late last year by the governor’s PFAS Action Council. Among other things, the report recommended that the state “take appropriate legal actions against companies responsible for PFAS discharges.”

State Projected to End the Fiscal Year with $630 Million More Than Previously Expected
On Tuesday, January 26, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) sent a memo to the Joint Committee on Finance regarding the state’s fiscal condition. LFB expects that the state will finish the current fiscal year, which ends on June 30, with a net balance of almost $1.77 billion. This projected balance is $629.5 million greater than the net balance of what was estimated by the Departments of Administration and Revenue (DOA and DOR) in a report published last November.

Senators Release “Public Safety PACT” Bills on Law Enforcement, Use of Force
On Wednesday, January 20, Senator Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) released draft versions of a package of bills, collectively called the “Public Safety PACT,” regulating law enforcement and use of force incidents in Wisconsin. The bills were circulated for co-sponsorship with a February 5 deadline.

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