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WALHDAB Legislative Update March 2018

Thursday, March 22, 2018  
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WALHDAB Government Affairs March 2018 Update

Governor Walker Calls Special Session on School Safety

On Thursday, March 15th, Governor Walker called on state lawmakers to hold a special session the week of March 19th at the Capitol to work on proposed school safety measures. The Governor is calling for a $100 million legislative package to fund the plan. It includes:

·         Establishing the Office of School Safety under the Wisconsin Department of Justice

·         Creating a $100 million School Safety Grant Program under the Office of School Safety

·         Requiring Mandatory Reporting for any threats of school violence

·         Amending bullying statute to include prompt parental notification

·      Incorporate Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) into training programs

·         Strengthening school safety plan requirements

·         Encouraging cooperation with local law enforcement

These bills moved quickly and are listed below:

March 2018 Special Session Assembly Bill 1 relating to: school safety grants to schools for school safety and safety-related upgrades to school buildings, equipment, and facilities; providing an exemption from rule-making procedures; and making an appropriation.

March 2018 Special Session Assembly Bill 2 relating to: creating an office of school safety in the Department of Justice and making appropriations.

March 2018 Special Session Assembly Bill 3 relating to: mandatory reporting of suspected intent to carry out violence involving a dangerous weapon or explosive in or targeting a school and providing a criminal penalty.

March 2018 Special Session Assembly Bill 4 relating to: the Department of Public Instruction's model school policy on bullying by pupils.

March 2018 Special Session Assembly Bill 5 relating to: school safety plans.

March 2018 Special Session Assembly Bill 6 relating to: allowing a school board to share safety camera footage with law enforcement.

The call for special session took place while the 2017-2018 legislative session was winding down in the Senate, and for all intents and purposes, had already ended in the Assembly. The Senate has indicated it will have one more day of regular session and it is rumored the Assembly will do the same. It has also been said there will be an Extraordinary Session in order to get certain bills passed before legislators finish with legislative activity this session.

Sessions can occur simultaneously, and this will most likely be the case as session winds down. The government affairs team will monitor activity in each session for legislation that pertains to WALHDAB.

ATCP 70 and ATCP 75

WPHA and WALHDAB members have been engaged with updating ATCP 70 and ATCP 75 this legislative session. We were recently informed by the Section Chief for the Division of Food and Recreational Safety at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection that neither rule will be going forward this year.

Since it is an election year, it is a short legislative session during calendar year 2018. As a result, the department did not have enough time to address concerns in a timely manner for the rules to move through the legislative process. It was ultimately decided that both rules would be withdrawn until the next legislative session next January. This decision will give the department an opportunity to address industry concerns so the rules can be reintroduced next year.

The government affairs team will continue to monitor these rules and will provide updates to WALHDAB as they become available.

Zipperer Appointed to PSC

Governor Scott Walker’s Chief of Staff, Rich Zipperer, is leaving the Governor’s Office to take up a position as Commissioner at the Public Service Commission. Zipperer will fill the vacant position at the PSC left by former PSC Chairwoman Ellen Nowak, who was recently appointed to Secretary at the Department of Administration.

Zipperer served as Walker’s chief of staff since 2015. Prior to that, he served in the State Assembly from 2007 to 2011 and served in the State Senate from 2011-2012. In 2011, he resigned from his Senate seat when he was hired as deputy chief of staff in the Governor’s Office.

Eric Schutt will replace Zipperer. Schutt was previously Walker’s chief of staff from 2011 to 2015.

Marquette Law School Releases New Poll

On Monday, March 5, the Marquette Law School released its newest poll numbers on a range of state and national topics. As the first significant poll of the 2018 election season, it offers interesting insight into what issues voters are prioritizing before heading to the polls in November.

Among the highlights are Governor Walker’s approval ratings, public opinion on the Foxconn deal, and voters’ perceptions of the Democratic gubernatorial candidates.

According the poll, Governor Walker’s holds a 47 percent job approval rating. His disapproval rating is also at 47 percent, which is down slightly from previous polls. The decrease in the governor’s disapproval rating with a lack of an increase in approval numbers may mean there are undecided voters the Walker campaign will look to target this year.

Perhaps more encouraging for Walker and legislative Republicans, 53 percent of those polled indicated the state is headed in the right direction versus the 44 percent who feel Wisconsin is on the wrong track.

The poll also found 63 percent of those polled stated they would rather see an increase in education spending than a tax reduction. The number is timely considering legislators are currently weighing the benefits of a plan to cut taxes.

The most buzz-worthy poll number among political spectators seems to be the public’s perception of the Foxconn deal. The poll states 49 percent believe the economic benefits of the Foxconn plant will not be worth the $3 billion economic incentive package the state provided the Taiwanese company. Just 38 percent of those polled believe the package was worth the money.

The numbers seem to indicate a certain amount of skepticism among the public that Foxconn can in fact create up to 13,000 jobs and be a major economic driver for the state. Only time will tell if public perception will change.

Finally, the poll shed some light on the Democratic gubernatorial primary. State Superintendent Tony Evers had the highest favorability rating at 20 percent among 9 candidates. Madison Mayor Paul Soglin came in second at 15 percent with former Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair Matt Flynn at 13 percent and State Senator Kathleen Vinehout at 12 percent. They were the only four to have double digit favorability ratings.

However, all four seem to lack name identity. 48 percent said they had not heard enough about Tony Ever. 51 percent said the same of Soglin with 57 percent for Flynn and 55 percent for Vinehout. The primary task over the coming months for every Democratic primary candidate will be to educate voters on who they are and why they’re running.

The poll was conducted among 800 registered voters between February 25th - March 1st. The next Marquette Law School poll will likely be released in June.

Legislators Announce Retirements

On Monday, March 19th, Representative Lee Nerison (R - Westby) announced he is retiring from the State Assembly. He was first elected in 2004 and has been re-elected since 2006. Nerison is the twelfth legislator not to seek re-election to their current seats. The known retirees are as follows:

·         Andre Jacque (R- De Pere), 2nd Assembly District – Running for State Senate.

·         Dale Kooyenga (R - Brookfield), 14th Assembly District – Running for State Senate.

·         Adam Jarchow (R – Balsam Lake), 28th Assembly District – Not seeking re-election.

·         Jesse Kremer (R - Kewaskum), 59th Assembly District – Not seeking re-election.

·         Terese Berceau (D - Madison), 77th Assembly District – Not seeking re-election.

·         Eric Genrich (D – Green Bay), 90th Assembly District – Running for Mayor of Green Bay.

·         Dana Wachs (D – Eau Claire), 91st Assembly District – Running for Governor.

·         Leah Vukmir (R - Brookfield), 5th Senate District – Running for U.S. Senate.

·         Kathleen Vinehout (D - Alma), 31st Senate District – Running for Governor.

·         Terry Moulton (R – Chippewa Falls), 23rd Senate District – Not seeking re-election.

·         Kath Bernier (R – Chippewa Falls), 68th Assembly District – Running for State Senate.

·         Lee Nerison (R – Westby), 96th Assembly District – Not seeking re-election.

Legislative Grid

The WPHA/WALHDAB Legislative Grid is a resource for members to track legislation in which the Joint Public Affairs Committee vote to officially take a position, typically to support or oppose. These bills have been brought forward by the government affairs team or individual Committee or WALHDAB and WPHA members. After Committee review and discussion, a motion and second are made, and a vote is taken. Our lobbyist then registers WALHDAB and WPHA’s position online with the Wisconsin Ethics Commission, which is publicly available online. You can view the legislative grid here.


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