Hamilton Political Tidbits – January 30, 2015

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Hamilton Consulting Group Political Tidbits
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The Hamilton Consulting Group
 January 30, 2015


"Scott Walker" is the phrase of the week and will be for a while. His buzzworthy performance in Iowa last weekend has created more speculation about his likely run for president and has drawn attention as to his increasing potential as a contender for the Republican nomination. Moreover, as Gov. Walker rolls out parts of his budget, the governor's name has been on the front page all week.


In the lead up to Walker's budget address next Tuesday, the governor's office has released a few budget proposals, which we have highlighted in this week's Tidbits. In addition, the latest revenue projections are in for the current fiscal year and a new constitutional amendment has been introduced to remove the state treasurer from the state constitution. This week, we are introducing a "Bills of Note" section to keep you informed of new legislation.


Finally, a hearing was held this week on the EPA's proposed rule for power plants and Hamilton Consulting has prepared a 5-page brief with all the details on the proposed rule.


There is a lot to cover in this week's Tidbits and there will be more to report as bills are introduced and the budget process gets underway. If you like Tidbits, feel free to forward it to others. It takes 30 seconds to subscribe


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.

President Obama's 2015 State of the Union Address

Obama State of the Union 2015 Address: President's [FULL] SOTU Speech Today on 1/20/15
Obama State of the Union 2015 Address: President's [FULL] SOTU Speech Today on 1/20/15

President Obama gave his penultimate State of the Union address to Congress earlier this month. Highlighting his plan for "middle-class economics," Obama focused his narrative around the Erler family and outlined policies that would positively affect the average middle-class family.


Walker's State Budget Rolls Out

On February 3rd, Governor Walker will provide the details of his budget plan in his Budget Address to the legislature. The anticipation surrounding this biennial address is heightened as Legislative Fiscal Bureau's revenue numbers released last week indicate revenues for the current fiscal year are less than earlier estimates. With the steep needs of the Medicaid program, road projects, K-12 education, and the governor's desire to cut more taxes, budget watchers are wondering how Governor Walker is going to proceed with his priorities. And as rumors about his presidential ambitions continue to escalate, Wisconsin political insider's interest in next Tuesday's budget address is rivaling Hollywood on Oscar night.

Proposals made:
  • Investments for rural Wisconsin
  • Workforce readiness plan
  • Plans for the UW System
LFB Releases Updated Revenue and Expenditure Projections

Last week, Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) released updated revenue and expenditure projections for the current fiscal year (FY 2015) and tax collection projections for each year of the biennium (fiscal year 2016 and fiscal year 2017). In November, the Department of Administration  estimated a $132.1 million shortfall in the current fiscal year. Recent analysis from the LFB estimates this year's shortfall will increase from DOA's estimate by $151.3 million - for a total projected shortfall in FY 2014-2015 of $283.4 million.

There are several reasons noted by LFB explaining the differences between the two estimates. First, LFB estimates tax collections for FY 2015 to be $173.5 million below DOA's projections. Second, LFB estimates that revenue numbers will be $2.7 million less than assumed by DOA. Third, LFB projects net appropriations will be $24.9 million less than DOA's estimates, which LFB notes is mainly due to a reduction of $18.5 million in debt service payments.


EPA's Clean Power Brief & Hearing

On Wednesday, the Assembly and Senate energy committees held a joint informational hearing on EPA's proposed Clean Power Plan rule designed to lower carbon emissions from existing power plants. The committees heard testimony from the Department of Natural Resources, the Public Service Commission, Wisconsin utilities, Clean Wisconsin, and business groups. Read more about the hearing.

Watch the hearing on WisocnsinEye

Executive Summary

On June 2, 2014, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy proposed regulations to address carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired power plants under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act (CAA). This proposal, titled the "Clean Power Plan," tasks states with lowering nationwide CO2 emissions from the power sector by 30 percent below 2005 levels. The proposed Clean Power Plan, along with proposed rules for new power plants and modified and reconstructed power plants under section 111(b), are expected to significantly alter the country's power sector. The economic consequences of the suite of proposed power plant rules will be significant for the Wisconsin's economy, and will certainly bring forth legal challenges.

This brief provides background on the proposed rule, a summary of its sections, a survey of economic impact analyses to date, and potential legal challenges.

Read the brief...

Walker Wows in Iowa

Iowa Freedom Summit 2015 Scott Walker Speech

Only a few short weeks after Governor Walker's inauguration, his focus is clearly set on a new goal: The Presidency.

The Governor took another step toward an official entrance into the Republican Presidential primary fray by forming "Our American Revival," a committee that allows him to raise money to explore that new goal.

Bills of Note

In this new section of Tidbits, The Hamilton Consulting Group highlights the bills to watch over the coming months, that are of interest to general public or controversial legislation that is just getting started. This week we bring you:
  • Deleting the State Treasurer
  • Increasing the Speed Limit to 70 mph
  • Microbeads

Read more... 

Bucks Arena Plan Moves Forward

Among the budget proposals released by Governor Walker this week came the plan for a new Milwaukee Bucks Arena. Governor Walker's plan will give the Milwaukee Bucks $220 million in state bonds once $300 million has been raised from other sources.

Get to Know a Freshman: Week 6

As we continue our "Get to Know a Freshman" series, we again bring you information on five incoming legislators. With one of the largest freshman classes ever in the Wisconsin Legislature, it may be harder to get to know the newly elected senators and representatives.


This week, Political Tidbits highlights the following new legislators:


  • State Representative Robert Brooks
  • State Representative Nancy Vander Meer
  • State Representative Beth Meyers
  • State Representative Romaine Quinn
  • State Representative Lisa Subeck 


For the 2015-2016 Wisconsin Legislature, the State Senate has seven new senators (five Republican, two Democrat), and the State Assembly has 25 new representatives (18 Republican, seven Democrat).


UPDATE: Legislation Chief Justice Selection

The Wisconsin State Legislature has passed legislation that would potentially change how the Wisconsin Supreme Court chief justice is selected. The proposed amendment will now appear on the spring ballot as a referendum, and if a majority of voters approve it, the state constitution will be amended.

US Supreme Court Takes Up Judicial Campaign Finance Laws

State statutes affecting judicial candidates in Wisconsin could be impacted depending on a US Supreme Court decision.


According to the Wisconsin Election Watch, the nation's highest court has taken up Williams-Yulvee v. Florida Bar, a case concerning fundraising appeals for judicial candidates.




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News Clips 


The Romney Statement: Not Running. "I've decided it is best to give other leaders int he Party the opportunity to become our next nominee.": Hugh Hewitt, Jan, 30, 2015.

Good new for Walker, Carson in GOP Poll: PPP, Jan. 30, 2015. 

Scott Walker Isn't Sorry: The Atlantic, Jan. 29, 2015. 

What advantages does Scott Walker offer?: The Washington Post, Jan. 28, 2015.

Your 2016 Guide to Political Committees: WISN 12, Jan. 28, 2015.

Gov. Scott Walker finds gaps in 2016 GOP presidential field encouraging: Fox6Now, Jan. 28, 2015.

Walker forms first committee for 2016 run: Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, Jan. 27, 2015.

US trade rep tells lawmakers Obama needs enhanced authority to make important trade deals: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 27, 2015.

State Assembly is greenest in years: Chippewa Herald, Jan. 26, 2015.

GAB board oversaw John Doe probe actions, leader tells Assembly speaker: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 26, 2015.

New state treasurer lays off staff to fulfill campaign pledge: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 24, 2015.

Economic Development

Green Bay hires new economic development director: Green Bay Press Gazette, Jan. 29, 2015

GOP lawmakers unveil plan to fight city poverty: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 28, 2015.

Edens calls Walker arena plan 'a great deal': Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 27, 2015.

Changes coming to worker's compensation system?: Wisconsin State Journal, Jan. 27, 2015.

US stocks slide on weak company earnings, US economic data: Fond du Lac Reporter, Jan. 27, 2015.

Oshkosh Corporation reports 40% fall in quarterly net income: WTAQ, Jan. 27, 2015.

The Economic Effects of the New EPA Rules on the State of Wisconsin: MacIver Institute, Jan. 27, 2015.

Fed likely to remain patient on rate hike: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 26, 2015.

Region's dairy farmers brace for a financial bust: Stevens Point Journal, Jan. 26, 2015.



Walker: Public school aid in next budget to remain 'largely intact': Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 28, 2015.

GOP lawmakers to craft bill converting failing MPS schools to charters: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 28, 2015.

Walker: Budget plan to include funding for rural school transportation: FOX11, Jan. 28, 2015.

UW System predicts layoffs, no campus closings under budget cuts: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 28, 2015.

Scott Walker says UW faculty should be 'teaching more classes and doing more work': Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 28, 2015.

Senate education bill faces less opposition than Assembly version: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 27, 2015.

Walker proposes $300 million cut to UW System: Channel3000, Jan. 27, 2015.



Wisconsin Democrats question point of carbon limits hearing: Madison.com, Jan. 28, 2015.

Dane County committee postpones decision on Enbridge permit: Wisconsin State Journal, Jan. 28, 2015.

Soil Health Touted at EPA Meeting: Wisconsin Ag Connection, Jan. 27, 2015.

White House to Propose Allowing Oil Drilling Off Atlantic Coast: New York Times, Jan. 26, 2015.

Dane County committee to take up Enbridge pipeline request Tuesday: The Waterloo Courier, Jan. 26, 2015.

Wisconsin DNR may do analysis of frac sand industry: Wisconsin Radio Network, Jan. 26, 2015.

Nutrition a new arena for climate change politics: The La Crosse Tribune, Jan. 25, 2015.



Appeals Court upholds dismissal of ticket against Capitol protest singer: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 29, 2015.

Attorney General nominee wins GOP endorsements: Chippewa Herald, Jan. 29, 2015.

Court rejects Neenah Foundry's 'new employee' claim: Appleton Post Crescent, Jan. 29, 2015.

View from around the state: Politics, money hurt state's high court: Wisconsin Law Journal, Jan. 29, 2015

Watertown insurance agent Loren Holzhueter ran $10 million Ponzi scheme, feds allege: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 27, 2015.

Judicial panel dismisses complaint against judge in voter ID case: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 21, 2015.

Club for Growth asks U.S. Supreme Court to halt Doe: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 21, 2015.

Gun rights advocate takes Milwaukee police to court over treatment: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 20, 2015.



Senate commerce committee addressed freight-rail issues at Wednesday hearing: Progressive Rail Roading, Jan. 29, 2015.

Five-strikes OWI proposal deserves lawmakers' attention: Green Bay Press Gazette, Jan. 28, 2015.

East Coast snowstorm cancels flights at Mitchell International Airport: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 25, 2015.

Second icebreaker sought for Great Lakes shipping: Appleton Post Cresent, Jan. 24, 2015.

Wisconsin lawmaker vows to bring back drunken driving bills: Baraboo News Republic, Jan. 22, 2015.

Police concerned over possible increase in state's speed limit: Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, Jan. 20, 2015.


Utilities & Energy 

State utility reps ware of EPA's coming carbon rules: WisBusiness.com, Jan. 29, 2015.

How these energy geeks are re-imagining an old school utility: WHBL Sheboygan, Jan. 27, 2015.

Five reasons why oil prices won't rebound anytime soon: E&E Publishing, Jan. 26, 2015.

Fire breaks out at WE Energies Oak Creek power plant: WISN12, Jan. 25, 2015.

Wisconsin Public Service applies for power plant permit: Green Bay Press Gazette, Jan. 22, 2015.

Johnson Controls' CEO Molinaroli discusses energy at World Economic Forum: Milwaukee Business Journal, Jan. 21, 2015.

House approves bill to fast track natural gas pipelines: Madison.com, Jan. 21, 2015.

Low gas prices, incentives change math for electric cars: The Northwestern, Jan. 21, 2015.

Environmentalists balk at Walker carbon limits lawsuit: La Crosse Tribune, Jan. 17, 2015.



Panel Recommending Changes to Military Health Care, Benefits: WSAW, Jan. 29, 2015.

Walker unmoved by Indiana decision to take Medicaid money: Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, Jan. 28, 2015.

Supreme Court knocks down promised health benefits for union retirees: LA Times, Jan. 26, 2015.

Affordable Care Act brings new tax forms: Marshfield News Herald, Jan. 26, 2015.

VA Secretary says he will investigate Tomah medical center: Fond du Lac Reporter, Jan. 26, 2015.

Democrat Ron Kind supports Obamacare but pushes to repeal medical device tax: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jan. 26, 2015.

U.S. government unveils goal to move Medicare away from fee-for-service: WHBL Sheboygan, Jan. 26, 2015.

Lawmakers propose allowing terminally ill choice of suicide: La Crosse Tribune, Jan. 25, 2015.


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