Hamilton Political Tidbits – September 9, 2020

Political Tidbits - September 9, 2020
September 9, 2020
Wisconsin political news for clients and colleagues.
September MU Poll: Presidential Race Remains Tight; Voters React to Kenosha Incidents and Schools Reopening
The latest Marquette University (MU) Law School poll released September 9, shows little movement among Wisconsin voters in their pick for the President. The poll, which was conducted Aug. 30 to Sept. 3, 2020, comes days after Wisconsin was thrust into the national spotlight over the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha. In addition to the election, the poll covered protests, police, school reopening and the economy. 

LFB Releases Better-Than-Expected Revenue Numbers
On August 30, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) released the preliminary 2019-20 general fund tax collections. While many budget-watchers anticipated very bad news for state revenues, the LFB report actually showed tax collections up slightly (1.1 percent) over the previous year. 

Gov. Evers Calls Special Session on Policing Accountability and Transparency; Legislature Responds 
In response of the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, on August 24, Gov. Evers called a special session of the legislature to address policing accountability and transparency to begin on August 31, 2020. The Senate and the Assembly gaveled in for the special session but met in “skeletal session,” meaning they did not actually meet to conduct business and pass legislation. 

Sen. Wanggard (R-Racine) released a package of eight bills to improve upon police accountability and transparency of law enforcement practices. Assembly Speaker Vos (R-Rochester) created a task force focusing on racial disparities, educational opportunities, public safety, and police policies and standards.

COVID-19 Premises Liability Legislation Circulating in Wisconsin Legislature
Sen. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield), Rep. Mark Born (R-Beaver Dam), and Rep. Dan Knodl (R-Germantown) are circulating legislation to shield Wisconsin businesses, schools, universities, and other entities from the threat of lawsuits alleging liability for COVID-19 exposures. Such protections would only apply to those who take adequate precautions to keep their premises safe.

PFAS Update: DNR Stakeholder Group for PFAS Rules Meets, Firefighting Foam Emergency Rulemaking
On Thursday, August 27th, the DNR Stakeholder Group for PFAS rules met virtually to focus on the rulemaking for PFAS Surface Water criteria in NR 105. The agenda included a recap of previous meetings and a discussion on how DNR intends to identify the economic impact of the developing standard. DNR reiterated their overall approach “used to calculate water quality standards using the formula in NR 105, including the calculated range of potential values for PFOS and PFOA.”

PSCW Releases Draft Order on EVs Pilot Program Plan
In August, the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) voted to require Wisconsin’s major electric utilities to submit an electric vehicle pilot program plan for PSCW review and approval by May 15, 2021. Last week, PSCW opened a public comment period on the draft Commission order

Recent COVID-19 Lawsuits Challenge Claims of Constitutional and Statutory Authority
Back in May, Wisconsin Legislature v. Palm held that the Wisconsin Department of Health Services had no explicit authority to extend a state of emergency. But as policies surrounding COVID-19 prevention continue full force, it looks like the Wisconsin Supreme Court will get two more cases challenging the authority of government officials: one touching on the governor’s powers, the other the authority of a county health department.

PSCW (Again) Extends Shut-Off Moratorium
On August 20, the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) voted 2-1 to again extend the utility shut-off moratorium until October 1, 2020. In July, the three-person Commission extended the moratorium for only residential customers (which previously was set to expire on July 25) until September 1.

News Clips
Utilities and Energy
Lawyer of accused Kenosha shooter resigns from defense fund: Wisconsin Law Journal, September 7, 2020
Economic Development
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