Hamilton Political Tidbits – July 17, 2020

Hamilton Political Tidbits - July 17, 2020
Hamilton Consulting Group
 July 17, 2020
Wisconsin political news for clients and colleagues.

WSBU v. Brennan & Bartlett v. Evers (Gubernatorial Vetoes)

Released on the same day, WSBU v. Brennan (2020 WI 69) and Bartlett v. Evers (2020 WI 68) both involve challenges to gubernatorial vetoes. The court dismissed 
WSBU v. Brennan but declared 3 of the 4 challenged vetoes in Bartlett v. Evers unconstitutional.
Under the Wisconsin Constitution (Article V, Section 10), governors can partially veto provisions in appropriation bills, including biennial budget bills. Some limitations exist: a governor cannot partially veto individual letters to create a new word or create a new sentence by combining parts of two or more sentences. But otherwise, the Wisconsin Constitution gives the governor very broad veto authority.

SEIU Local 1 v. Vos (Separation of Powers)

In SEIU Local 1 v. Vos (2020 WI 67) the Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld provisions from 2017 Wis. Act 369 and 2017 Wis. Act 370 (including legislative involvement in litigation, legislative review of proposed changes to security in the capitol, temporary suspension of administrative rules, and the codification of the non-deference doctrine from Tetra Tech v. DOR, 2018 WI 75) as facially constitutional, with the exception of sections that attempted to give legislative control of guidance documents, which was found to be unconstitutional.

LFB Releases Updated General Fund Tax Collections, UI Information

On July 9, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) released updated numbers on Wisconsin's general fund and the state's unemployment insurance system.

Continue reading the LFB update.

WEDC Report on COVID-19 Impact 

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) on June 30 submitted to the Legislature a report on the economic impact of COVID-19 and recovery priorities. The Legislature mandated WEDC submit the report in 2019 Act 185, the state's COVID-19 legislation enacted in April.
Continue reading about the WEDC report.

Department of Revenue Economic Forecast

The Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) has released an updated economic forecast. The latest forecast notes that several economic indicators fared better than expected since the forecast released in May.

COVID-19 Liability Update

Wisconsin Civil Justice Council and its partners continue to push for liability protections for Wisconsin businesses as they reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (See this column from WCJC President and National Federation for Independent Business Wisconsin State Director Bill G. Smith, which was featured on the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform blog and MacIver Institute.)

PFAS Update: Drinking Water Rules Advisory Group, Agency Council Meet

Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is in early stages of promulgating rules that would regulate PFOA and PFOS in drinking water, surface water, and ground water. The state Department of Health Services (DHS) has recommended a combined groundwater standard of 20 ppt and a preventive action limit of 2 ppt for those two chemicals, but those recommendations are not enforceable until DNR finalizes rules.

Latest AG Actions: AG Kaul Opposes Trump Administration Education Proposals, Infrastructure Permitting Deregulation

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul recently joined multistate coalitions opposing moves by President Trump's administration amid COVID-19.

MU Poll Surveys Wis. Voters on 2020 Election, Coronavirus, Police Reforms & Protests

The latest Marquette University (MU) Law School poll surveyed Wisconsin voters on the 2020 presidential race, coronavirus, police reform and surrounding protests, and political leaders' responses on these current events. The poll, conducted June 14-18, found Vice President Joe Biden expanding his lead over President Donald Trump as voters expressed their support for some police reform measures and measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

DPI Releases Guidance on K-12 Reopening

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has released guidance for Wisconsin schools on reopening safely and successfully in the 2020-21 school year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Big Government is Delaying Building Projects, Economic Growth
Column from Washington County Executive Josh Schoemann.
As contractors know, in Wisconsin most commercial building plans must be reviewed by the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Standards (DSPS), or to a delegated local unit of government.   In the best of times, these reviews cost a little bit of money, and take a little bit of time, but really, the review is nothing more than a formality. If heaven forbid, anything goes wrong with a commercial building, blame goes to builders and more likely the engineer or the architect who approved the building plans, not a state bureaucrat...
Yes, commercial plan review delays have preceded Governor Evers' administration, but the problem is getting worse. For example, in 2017, 8,845 plans were reviewed.  In 2019, 7,408 were reviewed.  At the same time, reviews have been taking longer, going from 22 days on average in the first quarter of 2017 to 46 days during the third quarter of 2019...
Fortunately, there is a solution. One of Washington County's state senators, Duey Stroebel, introduced legislation that would significantly streamline the commercial plan review process.  


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