Hamilton Political Tidbits – May 26, 2017

Political Tidbits - May 26, 2017
Hamilton Consulting Group
 May 26, 2017
Wisconsin political news for clients and colleagues.
Sunshine, cold drinks and lake views, Memorial Day weekend is here and summer in Wisconsin has officially begun. That also means one more month for the legislature to wrap up the 2017-19 budget before the next state fiscal year begins July 1. To make that deadline, JFC continues to take votes on the governor's budget and this week moved through two big items - the UW System and Medicaid. We have a full summary of the last two weeks of JFC's activity below. Also in this edition, Wisconsin Republicans hold their annual convention and Gov. Walker issues an executive order on autonomous vehicles. In this week's Bills of Note, learn about legislation that would criminalize identity-stealing credit card skimmers at gas pumps. And finally, timed perfectly for the upcoming summer season, read about Wisconsin's growing tourism industry. Happy Memorial Day! 

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JFC Continues Budget Votes 

The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) continued to work through the governor's proposed budget, nixing several of his proposals and adding in other items. In the last two productive weeks, they worked through big ticket proposals, including Medicaid, UW System and Shared Revenue and Property Taxes.
Under the UW System, the committee deleted the governor's five percent tuition cut and instead opted for a tuition freeze over the biennium. In Medicaid, JFC took the Legislative Fiscal Bureau's revised estimate for the cost to continue the program, reducing the number by $95 million GPR, and moving $50 million GPR into the committee's reserve account. Packed into the DHS omnibus motion were several new proposals not in the governor's budget, including an intensive care coordination pilot program, increased disproportionate share hospital payments and a statewide expansion of Family Care Partnership.
JFC has been moving through their executive sessions efficiently, but they still have a lot of budget issues to take up - including K-12 education, the governor's self-insurance proposal and transportation. How JFC will approach transportation continues to be the biggest question, with the prospect of pulling transportation out of the budget still out there. This week, Governor Walker rejected the notion of a separate transportation budget and stated that it could result in project delays across Wisconsin.
Due to the long holiday weekend, JFC is only meeting one day next week - Wednesday, May 31. On the agenda next week is the District Attorneys, Department of Workforce Development and Tourism.
Gov. Walker Issues Executive Order on Driverless Cars

Gov. Scott Walker issued an executive order last week that creates a committee on autonomous vehicles. The Steering Committee on Autonomous and Connected Vehicle Testing and Deployment will advise the governor on how best to advance the testing and operation of such vehicles in Wisconsin.
According to the order, the committee will identify and coordinate with agencies with pertinent jurisdiction over autonomous vehicles and review existing statutes that might impede their testing and deployment in Wisconsin, among other tasks.
Bills of Note: Credit Card Skimmers

Sen. Rob Cowles (R-Green Bay) and Rep. Rob Summerfield (R-Bloomer) recently introduced a bill (SB 133/AB 196) that would criminalize credit card skimmers in Wisconsin. Credit card skimmers are small electronic devices that can be attached to card readers or ATMs that collect credit card information and lead to identity theft.
The bill makes it a felony to use or possess a credit card skimmer. The bill also creates a civil liability exemption for fuel pump and ATM owners whose machines have been illegally installed with credit card skimmers. Thirty-one states have enacted similar penalties for the possession and use of credit card skimmers.

Wisconsin Republicans Hold State GOP Convention
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Janesville) speaks at the 2017 Wisconsin GOP Convention.

Republicans in Wisconsin gathered on May 12-13 in Wisconsin Dells for the annual state GOP convention. About 600 attendees met in Wisconsin Dells to hear from the state's Republican leaders.
The convention focused on celebrating the Wisconsin GOP's victories in the 2016 election, such as U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson's re-election and Wisconsin's vote for President Donald Trump. However, speakers also looked forward to challenges in 2018, including the attorney general race against Republican incumbent Brad Schimel, Gov. Scott Walker's re-election bid and the race against Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin.
Wisconsin Tourism Economy Continues to Grow

Wisconsin's tourism economy increased to $20 billion in 2016, up $700 million from 2015, according to an annual study commissioned by the Department of Tourism.  Direct visitor spending statewide increased 3.3 percent to over $12 billion as the number of visitors to the state rose from 2015. Altogether, the tourism industry supported 190,000 jobs, accounting for 8.1 percent of jobs in Wisconsin. Tourism also contributed $1.5 billion in tax revenue for the state, saving an average of $650 in taxes per household.

Tourism in Wisconsin - Keep It Growing
Tourism in Wisconsin - Keep It Growing

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