Hamilton Political Tidbits – October 13, 2017

Political Tidbits - October 13, 2017
Hamilton Consulting Group
 October 13, 2017
Wisconsin political news for clients and colleagues.
 
The busyness of fall session continues, and Tidbits is packed with action in the legislature from the past two weeks. This edition of Bills of Note highlights apprenticeships and several employment-related bills. This Tidbits also has updates on Medicaid and worker's compensation and recaps redistricting and high-capacity wells cases. Keep reading for the latest Wisconsin political news!
 
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.

Bills of Note: Apprenticeships, Hire Heroes, Unemployment Insurance, Family Medical Leave

Apprenticeships
In mid-September, Rep. Rob Hutton (R-Brookfield) and Sen. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield) introduced a bill (AB 508/SB 411) that would prohibit the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) from requiring apprenticeship programs to have more than one journeyworker per apprentice.  The Senate Committee on Labor and Regulatory Reform held a public hearing on the bill on Oct. 4.


Hire Heroes
Timothy LaSage testifies on the Hire Heroes bill.
WPS employee and veteran Timothy LaSage testified in favor of the Hire Heroes bills moving through the legislature.  LaSage, a retired 1st Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps and two-time Purple Heart recipient, spoke in favor of the bill that requires the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) to establish a program to provide transitional jobs to veterans. 


Unemployment Insurance
In September, Sen. Stephen Nass (R-Whitewater) and Rep. Bob Kulp (R-Stratford) introduced a bill (SB 399/AB 516) that would make various changes to unemployment insurance law in Wisconsin, which is administered by the Department of Workforce Development (DWD). The bill is the agreed bill between labor and management members of the Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council under DWD.
 
Continue reading about the unemployment insurance bill.

Family Medical Leave (to be introduced)
Sen. Alberta Darling (R - River Hills) and Reps. Joan Ballweg (R - Markesan) and Mike Rohrkaste (R - Neenah) sent out a cosponsorship memo last week asking for support of their federalization of Wisconsin's Family Medical Leave Law (FMLA). In their cosponsorship memo, the authors explain the reforms are intended to "remove the red tape in FMLA by adopting federal FMLA for most employers now required to follow both state and federal regulations whenever an employee utilizes leave."

Continue reading about the FMLA bill.

Dane County Judge Vacates DNR-Approved Agricultural Well Permits

On October 11, Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn, Dane County Circuit Court, vacated seven high-capacity well permits issued by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and remanded another. Clean Wisconsin convinced the court DNR had a public trust duty to deny the permits despite no statutory language that requires such action.
 
It is likely this decision will be appealed. Go to the Great Lakes Legal Foundation web page for more information.
 
  
Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Wisconsin Redistricting Case
Click to enlarge timeline.

On Tuesday, Oct. 3, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Gill v. Whitford, the legal challenge to Wisconsin Republicans' redistricting map brought by Democratic voters against officials of the Wisconsin Elections Commission.
 
The Court agreed to hear Gill v. Whitford in June and voted to grant Attorney General Brad Schimel's request to stay the lower court's order requiring a timely redrawing of the Assembly district map. Schimel filed the state's opening brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in late July.
 

Medicaid Deficit Projected for End of the Biennium

On Oct. 2, the Department of Health Services (DHS) submitted a report on the Medicaid benefit budget to the Joint Committee on Finance. DHS projects that costs will exceed the budget by $7.9 million GPR by the end of the 2017-19 biennium, which began on July 1, 2017. The $7.9 million shortfall is due to higher than expected personal care expenditures and lower third-party revenue. Despite these negative impacts, DHS does cite there have been offsetting positive changes including a higher federal medical assistance percentage rate and more favorable enrollment levels and prescription drug expenditures in the first three months of the biennium.
 
 
Worker's Comp Advisory Council Meets on Proposed Bill

On Oct. 4, the Worker's Compensation Advisory Council met to discuss a draft bill of their agreed upon proposals to the legislature. The draft bill includes a variety of rate increases and other small items, but the most significant component is the inclusion of a medical fee schedule.
 

Nurses Day at the Capitol
CNMs and lobbyist Rebecca Hogan meet with Rep. Jim Ott (R-Mequon).

Hamilton Consulting Group was happy to guide certified nurse midwives through the Capitol this week as they advocated for the APRN Modernization Act sponsored by Sen. Devin LeMahieu (R-Ootsburg) and Rep. Mike Rohrkaste (R-Neenah). 
 
State Rep. Bob Gannon Passes Away at 58

Rep. Bob Gannon (R-West Bend), the representative of the 58th Assembly district, passed away on Oct. 3 of natural causes. Elected officials expressed sorrow at the news, and Gov. Scott Walker released a statement writing, "Bob's energy and passion will be deeply missed." A memorial service for the representative will be held on Sunday, Oct. 15 in West Bend.
 



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News Clips
Politics
Paul Ryan has $10.4 million cash on hand: Channel 3000, October 12, 2017.
Rep. Nygren's daughter arrested in overdose death: Wisconsin Public Radio, October 11, 2017.
Warrant: Former Democratic Party leader could face homicide charge: Wisconsin State Journal, October 11, 2017.
Senator meets with local business leaders: Eagle Herald Extra, October 11, 2017.
When the two parties share a state's U.S. Senate seats: New York Magazine, October 10, 2017.

Health
Walker blames 'Obamacare' for big premium jumps: Channel 3000, October 12, 2017.

Utilities and Energy
Clean Wisconsin critical of Clean Power Plan repeal: Wisconsin Radio Network, October 12, 2017.
Judge throws out high-capacity well permits: Wisconsin State Journal, October 11, 2017.
Heating bills could be headed up: Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, October 11, 2017.
Administrative law judge hears pros/cons of Line 3 replacement plan: KBJR 6, October 10, 2017.

Environment
Legal
Economic Development
Journeyman-to-apprentice ratio bill advances: Daily Reporter, October 12, 2017.
Residents raise questions about moving because of Foxconn: Racine Journal Times, October 12, 2017.
Mount pleasant meeting postponed for lack of quorum: Racine Journal Times, October 12, 2017.
Foxconn official: No word on second site until 2018: Daily Reporter, October 11, 2017.
Local MOU with Foxconn sets Oct. 31 deadline: Milwaukee Business Times, October 10, 2017.

Transportation
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