Political Tidbits – October 2, 2020

Political Tidbits - October 2, 2020
October 2, 2020
Wisconsin political news for clients and colleagues.
Agency Budget Requests
The 2021-23 state budget development process is now underway. On September 15, Wisconsin state agencies submitted their 2021-23 state budget requests to the governor and Department of Administration (DOA). In his June budget instructions to the state agencies, Gov. Evers directed agencies to assume zero budget growth (with a few exceptions like exceptions for K-12 school aids and cost-to-continue programs including Department of Health Services institutions and the state Medical Assistance program).

Biden’s Lead in Wisconsin Polling Echoes Clinton’s in 2016
*Disclaimer: This article was written before the President tested positive for COVID-19.

In 2016, state polling in Wisconsin resulted in one of the biggest misses leading into what many considered an Election Day surprise when Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton both in Wisconsin and nationally to win the election. Not a single poll tracked on Real Clear Politics (RCP), a site that provides polling aggregate information, showed Trump winning Wisconsin. 

Lawsuit Filed to Stop Release of Businesses Connected to COVID-19 Cases; Temporary Restraining Order Issued
On Oct. 1, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) filed suit in Waukesha County seeking an injunction to prevent the Evers’ administration from releasing names of businesses who have had at least two employees test positive for Covid-19 - regardless of where the employees contracted the virus. Later that day, a Waukesha County circuit judge issued a temporary order halting the release of business names, which reportedly had been planned for Friday.

Governor Evers Declares New Public Health Emergency Extends Statewide Requirement to Wear Masks until November 21
On September 22, Gov. Evers declared a new public health emergency in response to the increase in COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin. Executive Order #90 proclaims a new public health emergency, effective immediately and remaining in effect for 60 days, or until revoked by the governor or by joint resolution of the Legislature. Litigation is ongoing regarding the public health emergency declared on July 30th and litigation is anticipated regarding declaration of this new public health emergency.

Governor Evers Issues Emergency Order to Provide Flexibilities for Health Care Workforce
On Oct. 1, Governor Evers issued Emergency Order #2 to make it easier for out-of-state health workers to work in Wisconsin. The order provides temporary interstate licensure reciprocity, extends licenses that may expire during the federal emergency declaration for 30 days after it ends, and allows health care providers with a recently lapsed license to apply for a reinstatement with the Department of Safety and Professional Services. 

Current Fiscal Year Savings Targets Announced
On July 22, Gov. Evers announced a directive for state agencies to identify $250 million in additional savings for the current fiscal year (FY 20-21). This is the second round of cuts by the administration to manage state expenditures, as state revenues are down due to pandemic. In April, the governor ordered a five percent cut to state agency spending – totaling $70 million.

Wisconsin UI Program Continues to Confront Delays; DWD Secretary Resigns
Wisconsin’s Unemployment Insurance Program (UI) continues to be front and center as COVID-19 impacts layoffs in Wisconsin. Initial reports of call center failures were confirmed last week by an audit done by the Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB). 

PSC Shut-off Update
On September 17, the Public Service Commission (PSC) voted 2-1 to again extend the utility shut-off moratorium until November 1, 2020. Starting on November 1, 2020, the annual winter moratorium for gas and electric customers will go into effect. The annual winter moratorium runs until April 15, 2021. 

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Wisconsin earns C grade on infrastructure report: Wisconsin Public Radio, September 28, 2020
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