Hamilton Political Tidbits – November 20, 2015

Hamilton Header
Hamilton Consulting
Political Tidbits
Compiled by
The Hamilton Consulting Group
November 20, 2015

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.

What's Left?

This week the legislature adjourned their fall floor period and Extraordinary Sessions for 2015. With the passage of John Doe, Campaign Finance, and Government Accountability Board reforms many wonder, what's left?

Yesterday's Marquette Law School poll identified waning support for both political parties in the legislature, which means passing policies that message well at home will become a priority as the legislature moves into campaign season.

Potential big-ticket items that are already queued up for committees to take on include Wisconsin's minimum markup law, worker's compensation reforms, regulatory and civil justice reform, restructuring of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and tax incremental financing legislation. However, the legislature doesn't have much time. The first floor period of 2016 starts on January 12, and few floor periods are also scheduled for February, March, and April. But legislative leadership has already sent signals they would like to adjourn prior to April.

Read about where these pieces of legislation are in the legislative process.
Legislature Passes GAB Reform

On Monday, the Assembly met in an Extraordinary Session to pass the final changes to the bill that eliminates Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board (GAB).

GAB was under fire from Wisconsin Republicans for not living up to its intended mission as an independent board controlled by non-partisan judges. Republican legislators believed the Board was led by partisan staff and that the structure of using non-partisan judges was ineffective and unable to combat the agenda of the board's staff. Whereas Democrats in the legislature argued the Board worked exactly as intended.

Read more about the reforms.
Legislature Seeks More Control Over State Employee Health Insurance Programs

Private Consultant Concludes State Could Save Up to $50 Million, Annually, if State Self-Insures

Monday, November 16, the Assembly concurred in legislation passed by the Senate to give the legislature more control and authority over state employee health insurance programs. Joint Committee on Finance Co-Chairpersons Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) introduced Senate Bill 312/Assembly Bill 394 which would have allowed the Joint Committee on Finance to review and approve any changes proposed by the Group Insurance Board to the health plan for state employees. Instead, the Senate narrowed the legislation such that committee approval is only required if the state moves the program to a self-insured model. Governor Walker is expected to sign the narrowed legislation into law.

Governor Delivers Remarks at Associated Builders and Contractors

This fall, Governor Scott Walker joined Wisconsin construction representatives in touring the Wisconsin Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin (ABC) headquarters and apprentice training center in Madison. ABC is a national trade association for the construction industry that promotes the merit shop form of construction. 

Watch the video of the Governor's visit.

U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform: Frivolous Lawsuits Have Serious Consequences

According to the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform the United States legal system is the most costly in the world, making it a major factor in a business' decision-making process, such as where to expand or relocate. In this podcast, Harold Kim, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, discusses how the United States' legal climate plays an increasingly influential role in a company's planning and operations. Also hear Roberto Guerrero, owner of Cumaica coffee in San Francisco share the story of his own legal battle, and his advice for other business owners.

Hamilton Consulting: Your Government Relations Easy Button


The Hamilton team is working to make sure our clients have the tools necessary to accomplish their government relations goals. We encourage our clients to remember to make use of all the many services we provide:

  • Political Tidbits - Political Tidbits is our FREE email newsletter on political and policy developments in Wisconsin, including links to relevant news articles, policy papers, and other informative documents. We are constantly updating our mailing list and we could use your help! Please let us know if your email address is changing so you will continue to receive our newsletter. Also, feel free to forward this newsletter to others who may be interested in subscribing.
  • News Clips - President Harry Truman once wrote that you can't get all the facts from just one newspaper, and without the facts, "you cannot make proper judgments about what is going on." The right column of Political Tidbits contains a selection of the most important news stories, but did you know you can always get the news sorted by subject on the Hamilton Consulting website? 
  • Political Fundraising Calendar - Hamilton's political fundraising calendar allows you to see all of the upcoming fundraising events and import them to your own calendar.
The Hamilton Consulting Group Political Tidbits is a free newsletter on Wisconsin political and policy developments. Please it to others who may wish to receive this service.

If you require additional information about a topic addressed in Tidbits for your organization's board meeting or trade publication, please do not hesitate to contact a Hamilton Consulting Group lobbyist.


To ensure that Political Tidbits never gets caught in your spam filter, please add publications@hamilton-consulting.com to your address book/contacts list. If you are receiving these emails via a workplace email account, please advise your IT service desk to do this for you.  

News Clips 
Scott Walker elected vice chairman of Republican Governors Association: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 19, 2015.
Chris Abele is spending early and often in re-election bid: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 17, 2015.
Republicans call for halt to Syrian refugee program: New York Times, November 17, 2015.
More new bills signed into law: Chippewa Herald, November 16, 2015.
With Paul Ryan as speaker, what's in it for Wisconsin: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 16, 2015.
Wisconsin lawmakers propose Iran business prohibition: Racine Journal Times, November 16, 2015.
Assembly GOP approves rewritten campaign finance laws, GAB overhaul: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 16, 2015.

Economic Development
Milwaukee Electric Tool could add 500 jobs with Brookfield expansion: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 19, 2015.
Wisconsin added 15,100 private-sector jobs in October: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 19, 2015.
Discovery of Census flub tempers Wisconsin's tax hell status: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 18, 2015.
Oshkosh rebuilding more armored trucks for the U.S. Army: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 17, 2015.
Kohler workers reject offer, OK first union strike at company since 1983: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 16, 2015.

Great Lakes levels expected to stay mostly above average: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 19, 2015.
MMSD diverts wastewater to avoid sewer overflows: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 17, 2015.
Plans on hold for ag campus in Marshall: Wisconsin State Journal, November 16, 2015.
New deer hunt practice may further weaken state tracking of deadly CWD: Wisconsin State Journal, November 16, 2015.
Cedar Creek cleanup in Cedarburg would mean return of fish safe to eat : Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 16, 2015.

Dems unveil bill to restore reproductive care access, abortion rights: Wisconsin Public Radio, November 19, 2015.
More young people dying from overdoses in Wisconsin, report finds: Wisconsin Public Radio, November 19, 2015.
Study: To avoid higher health law premiums, switch plans: Wisconsin State Journal, November 18, 2015.
GE Healthcare, NBA seek proposals for tendinopathy research: Milwaukee Business News, November 17, 2015.
State should adopt self-insurance, consulting firm says: Wisconsin Public Radio, November 17, 2015.
Smoking rate among U.S. adults declines: WISN, November 17, 2015.
Residents get help with health insurance: Appleton Post Crescent, November 16, 2015.

Bradley: No politics in Supreme Court race: Appleton Post Crescent, November 18, 2015.
Feds settle two Wisconsin Medicaid fraud cases for more than $4 million: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 18, 2015.
WEAC, Little Chute teachers appeal ruling: Appleton Post Crescent, November 17, 2015.
Democrat challenging John Chisholm has uphill battle: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 16, 2015.

U.S. DOT signs on to add more charging stations for electric vehicles: Minneapolis Star Tribune, November 19, 2015.
Lawmakers send 2nd letter to judge on State 23: Sheboygan Press, November 18, 2015.
'Five strikes' OWI bill gains momentum: Green Bay Press Gazette, November 18, 2015.
Airport terminal building taking shape: WiscNews, November 18, 2015.
Baldwin talks rail safety at Watertown whistlestop: Daily Union, November 17, 2015.

Utilities and Energy
Republicans consider ending moratorium on nuclear power plants: Wisconsin Public Radio, November 19, 2015.
Wisconsin regulators scale back WPS rate request: Winona Daily News, November 19, 2015.
We Energies to monitor air near power plant: Racine Journal Times, November 18, 2015.
MGE unveils Energy 2030 plan: Wisconsin State Journal, November 18, 2015.
Trempealeau water utility wants 27 percent rate hike: La Crosse Tribune, November 18, 2015.
Enbridge announces 500 layoffs, including some in Twin Port: Wisconsin Public Radio, November 17, 2015.
A year after fixed-fee increase, Green Bay utility seeks another: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 17, 2015.
EPA intends tougher downwind air-pollution rule in 23 states: Associated Press, November 17, 2015.
More than 275 to lose jobs at Johnson Controls: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 16, 2015.
Republicans propose lifting nuclear plant moratorium: Channel 3000, November 16, 2015.

Contact Us 

For further information on these or other initiatives, contact a  Hamilton Consulting Group lobbyist.



Visit our blog 

Wisconsin Civil Justice Council

Promoting Fairness and Equity in Wisconsin's Civil Justice System