Hamilton Political Tidbits – March 22, 2019

Political Tidbits - March 22, 2019
Hamilton Consulting Group
 March 22, 2019
Wisconsin political news for clients and colleagues.

This week, a Dane County judge ordered that the legislature's 2018 Extraordinary Session laws cannot be enforced, putting on hold 82 appointments, new agency rulemaking processes, and new parameters on the governor's and attorney general's authority. Meanwhile in the legislature, the budget process has begun, and bills and appointments are moving through committees. In this edition of Tidbits:
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Dane County Judge Orders Temporary Injunction of Extraordinary Session Laws

On March 21, Dane County Circuit Court Judge Richard Niess issued an order granting a temporary injunction prohibiting the enforcement of laws passed in the 2018 Extraordinary Session. Provisions blocked by the order include limits on the attorney general's authority to withdraw from or settle certain cases, the legislature's ability to intervene in certain lawsuits, agency guidance documents transparency requirements, increased legislative oversight of agency rulemaking, and 82 agency appointments.
What's Next in the 2019-21 State Budget Process

Click to enlarge graphic.
Gov. Tony Evers released his proposed 2019-21 state budget on Feb. 28, officially beginning the biennial budget process. The legislature's Joint Finance Committee (JFC) has introduced the governor's budget bill as SB 59/AB 56 and is now waiting for the Legislative Fiscal Bureau to prepare its budget papers, which will guide JFC's review and voting.
Gov. Evers Budget Would Make Significant Changes to UI, FMLA

Gov. Tony Evers's proposed 2019-20 state budget would make significant changes to Wisconsin's Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) laws.
Health Care Issues Moving in the Legislature

Although the legislature is not planning to meet in March and may not meet in April, too, for floor action, several notable health care related bills are making their way through committees. Below is an overview of major health care issues this session and their current status in the legislative process, including pre-existing conditions, prescription drug costs, dental issues, and more.
Bills of Note: Protective Status for County Jailers 

This week, the Assembly Committee on Corrections and the Senate Committee on Judiciary & Public Safety held public hearings on AB 5/SB 5, which would provide protective status to county jailers statewide. The bill, which has received bipartisan support, authored by Rep. Mark Born (R-Beaver Dam) and Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green), would provide jailers benefits including the ability to retire at an earlier age (50 years old) and to receive duty disability benefits if they are injured in the line of duty.
Continue reading about the bill.
Speaker's Task Force on Water Quality Meets to Hear Agency Testimony

The Speaker's Task Force on Water Quality met for the first time in the state capitol this week to hear testimony from state agencies on water quality issues throughout the state. The committee hopes to put forth bipartisan legislative recommendations on clean drinking water by this fall.
Continue reading about the task force meeting.
DNR Proposes Changes to Air Permit Processes

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is currently promulgating rules that would update DNR code related to air permitting processes (Wis. Admin. Code NR 406 and 407). The rulemaking includes provisions to create some additional permit exemptions, implement electronic reporting, clarify certain types of activity to which permits apply, and restrict administrative corrections to permits, among other provisions.
Agencies Continue to Announce Leadership Teams, Confirmation Hearings Begin

Gov. Tony Evers is continuing to fill appointed positions in the administration. Recently announced appointments include staff at the Public Service Commission, Department of Safety & Professional Services, Department of Children & Families, and Department of Workforce Development. 

Senate committees have also begun holding confirmation hearings on cabinet secretaries appointed by Evers. Our updated appointments list notes the status of each secretary's Senate confirmation. 

Get to Know a Freshman: Recap

Eighteen new members were officially inaugurated into the Wisconsin Legislature on Jan. 7, 2019. Over the past several weeks, HCG has highlighted each new member of the legislature. Below is a recap of each Get to Know a Freshman article this session. 


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News Clips
Utilities and Energy

Wisconsin AG moves to withdraw from lawsuit: Wisconsin State Journal, March 21, 2019.
Enbridge v. Dane County: Isthmus, March 21, 2019.
Abrahamson withdraws from 3 more cases: Wisconsin Law Journal, March 20, 2019.

Economic Development

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