Hamilton Political Tidbits – May 31, 2019

Political Tidbits - May 31, 2019
Hamilton Consulting Group
 May 31, 2019
Wisconsin political news for clients and colleagues.

As June approaches, the Wisconsin Legislature's Joint Finance Committee is continuing to take votes on the 2019-21 state budget. Meanwhile in the Legislature, legislators are introducing bills on high profile issues such as electric vehicles, transportation, and PFAS. This edition of Hamilton Political Tidbits covers:
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JFC Budget Votes Continue

The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) has continued to meet in executive sessions to vote on the 2019-21 state budget. Over the past two weeks, JFC has moved into some of the bigger budget items, including Tourism, Education, and Natural Resources.
JFC plans to meet next Tuesday, June 4 but has not yet announced which agencies they will be taking up. Several big-ticket items are remaining, such as Transportation, Taxes, and Health Services. Legislative leadership has indicated the committee will finish its work in early June, and the full Legislature plans to pass a budget before the June 30 fiscal year deadline.
Below are summaries of JFC votes on the budget so far.

Assembly Committee Holds Hearing on Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

This week the Assembly Committee on Energy & Utilities held a public hearing on legislation (SB 236/AB 233) that would incentivize the installation of electric vehicle charging stations across Wisconsin. Authored by Rep. Adam Neylon (R-Pewaukee) and Sen. Rob Cowles (R-Green Bay) as part of the Assembly Republicans' environment and energy proposals, the bill would authorize the Public Service Commission (PSC) to use funds from the Volkswagen emissions settlement to provide matching grants to businesses to help pay for the purchase and installation of electric vehicle charging stations.

Legislators Circulating Transportation Reform Bills

Last week, legislators circulated a package of proposed reforms for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT). The bills aim to improve efficiency and accountability at DOT. Co-sponsorship for the bills is due this Friday, May 31. The bills include reforms related to design-build, taxes, cost saving incentives, and contract bids.
Legislators Circulating Bills Addressing PFAS

Last week, legislators on both sides of the aisle circulated differing proposals to address PFAS in Wisconsin. PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are manufactured chemicals that are found in many everyday products, including nonstick pans, cleaning products, paints, and firefighting foam. Competing studies debate whether or not PFAS have negative health effects, and, if they do, at what level they are harmful.
Water Quality Task Force Meets in Janesville

The Speaker's Task Force on Water Quality met in Janesville on May 29 for another public hearing. The task force heard from conservationists, farmers, septic utilities, and energy experts before taking public testimony.
Previous meetings:
DOJ Restructuring to Focus on Environmental Enforcement

On May 23, Attorney General Josh Kaul announced a restructuring at the Department of Justice (DOJ) that will allow for more environmental enforcement. The restructuring merges DOJ's Environmental Protection Unit and Consumer Protection Unit under a single Public Protection Unit.
2020 Wisconsin Supreme Court Candidates Taking Shape

Three candidates have announced they will run for the Wisconsin Supreme Court in the April 2020 election. Conservative Justice Daniel Kelly announced on May 28 that he will run to keep his seat. Challenging him so far are liberal candidates Dane County Judge Jill Karofsky and Marquette University Law School Professor Ed Fallone. A primary to narrow the race down to two candidates will be held in February 2020.

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