Hamilton Political Tidbits – November 10, 2017

Political Tidbits - November 10, 2017
Hamilton Consulting Group
 November 10, 2017
Wisconsin political news for clients and colleagues.

The Senate and Assembly met in the last floor sessions of 2017 this week. Read about floor votes, the upcoming 2018 elections, and more news from the Wisconsin legislature in this week's Tidbits:
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.

Floor Report: Senate, Assembly Vote on Lead Pipes, Mining, Constitutional Convention

The Senate and Assembly convened several times over the past two weeks in the last floor sessions of 2017. While little controversial legislation is likely to be taken up the rest of session as legislators look ahead to the 2018 elections, several big pieces of legislation were sent to the governor, including administrative rule review changes, a resolution for a U.S. Constitutional Convention, a resolution to add victims' rights to the Wisconsin Constitution, and a bill that repeals the prohibition on nonferrous mining in Wisconsin.
Continue reading about the floor sessions. 
Walker Calls for Special Elections to Fill 58th, 66th Assembly Districts

Gov. Scott Walker has called for special elections on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, to fill Assembly Districts 58 and 66. District 58 became vacant in October when Rep. Bob Gannon (R-West Bend) passed away. District 66, currently filled by Rep. Cory Mason (D-Racine), will become vacant in January. Mason was sworn in as mayor of Racine this week and announced his resignation of his Assembly seat, effective Jan. 15.

Walker Announces Re-Election Campaign

Gov. Scott Walker announced his candidacy for another term as governor of Wisconsin on Sunday, Nov. 5 at a rally in Waukesha. Walker faces a crowded field of Democratic challengers in his re-election effort. For updates on the 2018 governor's race, visit our 2018 Election Issue Update
2018 Election Issue Update Launched

With the 2018 election just under a year away, we've launched our 2018 Election Issue Update on our website. This resource includes up-to-date information on candidates, results, and the latest news and analysis from our blog. Bookmark the link below for all things election throughout the next year!
Walker Names Sen. Harsdorf as New Ag Secretary
Sen. Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls)

Gov. Scott Walker announced this morning his appointment of state Sen. Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls) as Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP). Harsdorf will be the first female DATCP secretary.
Harsdorf's appointment, which begins on Monday, opens up the 10th Senate District seat. Harsdorf has held the seat since 2000.
Continue reading about Harsdorf's appointment.
Walker to Sign Foxconn Contract

Gov. Scott Walker and Foxconn CEO Terry Gou are scheduled today to sign the contract to bring the Taiwanese tech manufacturer to Wisconsin. Joined by U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Janesville), the two will sign the document at SC Johnson in Racine. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) board approved the agency's work on the contract on Wednesday.

Attorney General Opinion States Municipalities Can Offer Self-Insurance If State Does 

On Nov. 6, Attorney General Brad Schimel issued a formal opinion stating that if the Group Insurance Board offers health insurance on a self-insured basis, municipalities are also authorized to do so. The opinion came at the request of Gov. Scott Walker, who proposed moving state employees to self-insurance in his 2017-19 state budget. The move was estimated to save roughly $60 million over the biennium. The Joint Finance Committee rejected his proposal, achieving the savings through other cost-saving methods.

Rep. Macco Announces Ways and Means Committee Restructure

Assembly Ways and Means Committee Chair John Macco (R-Ledgeview) announced last week a restructuring of the committee in anticipation of potential federal tax reform and long-term changes at the state level. Macco added four new members to the committee and announced four new subcommittees that will review Wisconsin's tax code.
Speaker Vos Creates New Committee on International Affairs & Commerce

On Nov. 3, Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) announced he is creating a standing committee for cultivating and strengthening international relationships in order to attract foreign investments in Wisconsin. In addition to encouraging foreign investments, the new Assembly Committee on International Affairs and Commerce will develop incentives promoting international trade, communication, and tourism.

Governor's Task Force on Opioid Abuse Meets in Madison

Gov. Scott Walker's Task Force on Opioid Abuse met at University of Wisconsin-Madison on Friday, Nov. 3 to discuss reduction of opioid prescriptions and workforce issues. The committee heard from several experts regarding the problems in Wisconsin and provided recommendations for the committee's consideration.
WAPA Holds PA Day at the Capitol 
On Wednesday, Nov. 1, physician assistants (PAs) from across the state gathered for the Wisconsin Academy of Physician Assistants (WAPA) "PA Day at the Capitol."

PAs met with their local legislators to share information about their profession and WAPA. In addition, the legislative day participants explained to legislators some of the current challenges facing PAs in Wisconsin.

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News Clips
Former Mason aide enters race for his Assembly seat: Racine Journal Times, November 9, 2017.
Scott Walker: May run for 4th term: Wisconsin State Journal, November 9, 2017.
Mark Pocan has triple bypass surgery, looks for 'speedy recovery': Wisconsin State Journal, November 9, 2017.
GOP anxiety rises over '18 midterms: The Hill, November 9, 2017.
Walker talks job growth and re-election in Janesville: Janesville Gazette, November 8, 2017.

Utilities and Energy
MGE's proposed Saratoga wind farm wins PSC nod: Wisconsin State Journal, November 9, 2017.
Opening a Wisconsin spigot? Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 9, 2017.
Wisconsin lifts copper mine limits, but no project imminent: Duluth News Tribune, November 9, 2017.

Wisconsin Assembly approves limits on police body cam access: Wisconsin State Journal, November 10, 2017.
Wisconsin Assembly passes bill to allow hemp farming: Wisconsin State Journal, November 10, 2017.
Bill would lower drinking age in Wisconsin to 19: Wisconsin State Journal, November 9, 2017.
State Senate passes bills toughening crime penalties: Wisconsin State Journal, November 8, 2017.

Economic Development
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