State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.
The WPRI correctly comes to the conclusion that oil companies will do less business in Wisconsin and do more business in states that don’t have the tax Wisconsin would have. The result could be a damaging reduction in oil supplies to Wisconsin leading to fuel shortages, not to mention higher prices.
Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) has begun a television ad campaign to stop the gross receipts tax on the sale of petroleum products in Wisconsin. The ads urge viewers to call their Senators to oppose the tax hike, and commend Assembly Republicans for opposing the gas tax hike. The new gas tax passed the Senate (I voted against the gas tax increase) but was rejected in the Assembly earlier this year. Assembly GOP and Senate Democrat leaders continue to negotiate on the budget, and Democrats are insisting the gas tax increase be included in the budget.
Here is a link to the WMC news release that has a link to their TV ad.
The people of Wisconsin have spoken. They do not support Governor Doyle’s proposed tax on oil companies. An overwhelming majority of Wisconsin residents polled believe the tax will only be passed onto consumers in the form of higher gas prices.
The Madison-based Wood Communications Group conducted a statewide survey and found an astonishing 82 percent said the Governor’s tax on oil companies would result in an increase in prices at the pump.
The percentage is even higher for men ages 35-54 where 92 percent say consumers will suffer. Eighty-two percent of women ages 35-54 agree that consumers will end up paying higher gas prices.
It is clear that Wisconsinites do not like this idea and it should be eliminated from the state budget.
My prediction of a budget turkey is getting closer and closer to becoming reality.
Senate Republican Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Mike Huebsch are both saying the budget will not be completed before October 15, 2007, the next deadline in the process of state certification of school aid numbers to local school districts. The major obstacle in the budget negotiations is the level of taxation and spending.
If we have learned anything from the budget impasse, there is a distinct and glaring difference between the two parties fiscal responsibility. Democrats wish to impose the highest taxes in the nation on Wisconsinites. Republicans want to pass a budget without tax increases because Wisconsin already pays some of the highest taxes in the country.
I concur with Senator Fitzgerald in once again calling on Senate Majority Leader Judy Robson to call the state Senate into session to move on the separate bills passed by the Assembly to fund local school districts and local units of government and set property tax levy limits. Senate adoption of the Assembly legislation is the prudent and responsible action to take. I am ready and anxious to go to the Senate floor and support Assembly Republicans’ successful approval of legislation to address the most critical portions of the state budget.
Assembly Republicans demonstrated great leadership in approving bills that would allow local schools, counties, cities, towns, and villages to proceed with their budgeting. Senate Democrats apparently refuse to come to the Senate floor, and are standing in the way of budget progress. A budget turkey is not out of the question.
One of the key reasons why state and local spending is out of whack in Wisconsin is the high cost of benefits. The non-partisan Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX) has analyzed the numbers, and they are astounding.
WISTAX reports, “State-local government employees in Wisconsin received an average of $12,171 in fringe benefits in 2005, exceeding benefits for private sector workers by more than 50%. Public benefits cost Wisconsin taxpayers $4.62 billion in 2005, or an average of more than $800 per person.
In every state, public benefits are greater than those in the private sector. However, Wisconsin’s gap (50.1%) was much larger than the nation’s (34.9%). It was also larger than the gaps for all states bordering Wisconsin: Illinois (34.5%), Iowa (45.8%), Michigan (18.4%), and Minnesota (30.1%).
If Wisconsin’s state-local employees received the same level of fringe benefits as the state’s private workers, Wisconsin governments would have spent $1.54 billion less in 2005.”
Here is the WISTAX news release.
I spoke with a reporter from the Waukesha Freeman to discuss the Great Lakes Compact. The Freeman article appeared on Saturday.
You can read the Great Lakes update here.
The Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) has issued a report comparing estimated school aid numbers under the Governor’s budget and current law.
The Republican-controlled Assembly approved Assembly Bill 506 (AB 506) to fund local school districts while state budget negotiations continue. AB 506 funds school districts at the same level as the Governor’s budget. The Democrat-controlled Senate refuses to schedule Senate floor action on AB 506 to appropriate state school aid.
State Superintendent Elizabeth Burmaster is using current law to prepare aid estimates for schools. The DOA’s report calculates the amount of aid that school districts may lose as a result of the Senate Democrats’ refusal to take action on AB 506.
The difference between the Governor’s budget and AB 506 funding of schools and current law is staggering:
Total statewide general aid under the Governor’s budget (AB 506 funding is identical) for 2007-08: $4, 713, 118, 878.
Total statewide 2007-08 general aid under current law, without an approved 2007-09 state budget: $4,626, 381,114.
There is a difference of $86, 737, 764 that school districts statewide will lose because Senate Democrats will not schedule a floor session to approve AB 506 to fund schools.
Remember this the next time Democrats claim Republicans do not care about public education.
I am the co-author in the state Senate of legislation to prevent coercive abortions and to prevent post-abortion trauma. Assembly Bill 427, the Coercive Abortion Bill, was discussed at a recent hearing by the state Assembly Committee on Judiciary and Ethics that I testified before.
Assembly Bill 427 is a prevention bill. The goal of this legislation is to prevent women from suffering post-abortion trauma.
Abortion trauma is real and is as common as other forms of post-traumatic stress disorder. As women that have had abortions age and realize the impact of the action, many suffer. Assembly Bill 427 prevents trauma, a real phenomenon documented by studies and surveys.
Under the bill, the physician must determine whether the woman’s consent to an abortion is voluntary. If the physician has reason to believe that the woman is in danger of being physically harmed or that someone is coercing the woman to consent to an abortion against her will, the physician must inform the woman about services for victims or individuals at risk of domestic abuse. If a women states that she wishes to call for assistance, the physician must provide her with private access to a telephone.
A physician counseling a woman considering an abortion shall, in person, inform the woman that it is against the law for any person to use threats, intimidation, force or coercion to compel her to have an abortion against her will.
The woman is also to be informed that she has a right to refuse to consent to an abortion and that a person may not threaten, intimidate, force or coerce her to consent to the procedure against her will.
The Elliot Institute, a non-profit corporation performs original research and education on the impact of abortion on women, reports that the post-abortion effect on women is devastating: They are more likely to commit suicide, suffer long-term clinical depression, become hospitalized, abuse drugs and alcohol and develop nervous and sleep disorders.
The Elliot Institute refers to abortion as the un-choice:
• 64% involve coercion.
• Pressure can become violent.
• 67% not counseled.
• 65% suffer trauma.
The Institute says, “Intense pressure to abort can come from husbands, parents, doctors, partners, counselors, or close friends and family. They may threaten or blackmail a woman into abortion. These are not idle threats. Coercion can escalate to violence. Women who resist abortion have been beaten, tortured and killed. One husband jumped on his wife’s stomach to force an abortion. A mother forced her daughter at gunpoint to go to the abortion clinic.”
Reasons women give for having abortion include: being forced by a mother, the father was opposed to the birth, no other option was given, the family stopped giving support, and I would have been kicked out of the house.
A woman, upon learning she is pregnant, can suffer overwhelming emotions brought on by doubts and fears. Facing unkind reactions, she feels she has let everyone down, that she made a huge mistake she's entirely responsible for and that in order to eliminate the problem she needs to give in to coercion.
Women enduring coercion are mentally and physically worn down. They arrive at clinics feeling powerless. Believing they do not have options, they sign all the obligatory paperwork.
There have been accounts of women being dragged into clinics by the neck and hair. Others have been seen mouthing the words "help me" through car windows as they were driven to clinic parking lots.
The Elliot Institute has produced a radio spot being broadcast around the country about abortions that are unwanted, coerced or even violently forced.
The Institute says:
“Your compassionate neighbors don't know that most abortions involve coercion of one sort or another. This injustice is often followed by grief that can escalate to suicide because it is dismissed or harshly judged by friends and family ... ignored by church leaders and experts ... or simply politically incorrect.
Chances are, few people in your city are aware of just how many abortions are unwanted or deceptively and inaccurately presented by credentialed professionals, leaders ... even pastors ... But they will know ... if you -- or your church or civic group -- will simply download the ad below and forward it to a local radio station.
Ask them to run it during "drive-time" ... or during your favorite talk radio show ... or during a popular women's program. (Radio is one of the best mediums to reach women.)
Many stations will run it free of charge in off-peak hours as a Public Service Announcement.
Imagine hearing this as you are driving down the road in your own community.”
I want to prevent the emotional and physical trauma women experience. Assembly Bill 427 prevents coercive abortions and post-abortion trauma.
U.S. News & World Report has published an article identifying the Best Places to Retire in America.
The list includes:
Concord, New Hampshire
Peachtree City, Georgia
San Francisco, California
You will notice that the list does not include any Wisconsin community.
Let’s examine the property tax rankings for the states that have the best cities to retire. These rankings were released on September 12, 2007 by the National Tax Foundation in Washington D.C.
Bozeman, Montana: 30
Concord, New Hampshire : 2
Fayetteville, Arkansas: 47
Hillsboro, Oregon: 17
Lawrence, Kansas: 21
Peachtree City, Georgia: 36
Prescott, Arizona: 33
San Francisco, California: 10
Smyrna, Tennessee: 41
Venice, Florida: 22
Only one of the communities, Concord, is in a state with a property tax ranking higher than Wisconsin’s ranking of 9.
There is a correlation between high taxes and where people retire. I wrote about it in my business blog in the Small Business Times:
“The best way to improve Wisconsin's dreary business climate is to make our tax system less punitive on everyone. Easing Wisconsin's tax burden would also keep more people from leaving.
During November 2005, the Wisconsin Taxpayer Alliance issued a very troubling report entitled, "Moving In, Moving on: Migration in Wisconsin." During the five years prior to the 2000 census, almost 669,000 people either moved to or out of Wisconsin. However, the net in-migration into Wisconsin was a meager 7,282.
Individuals with college or advanced degrees were more likely to leave, while those with less education tended to come. Individuals with household incomes above $75,000 left Wisconsin. Those with incomes of $200,000 or more had the highest rates of leaving.
The huge exodus of wealthy Wisconsinites leaving the state caused a loss of an estimated $4.72 billion in net worth and a loss of $455 million in income over the five years of this study. That means far fewer in-state bank deposits, less stock in Wisconsin firms, less investment capital for in-state ventures, and less money given to local charities.
We are losing our best and brightest at a very young age, and we're experiencing retiree flight.
Young adults leave for college, especially to Minnesota because tuition reciprocity with Minnesota means students cross the border at little or no added tuition cost. Western states like California, Arizona and Colorado also draw Wisconsin youth.
True, senior citizens head to Florida and Arizona for warm weather. They leave for another reason: economics. High-income seniors go to Florida at higher rates than to Arizona, the reason being Florida does not have income tax.”
You can read the entire business blog here.
Wisconsin will not make the list of the Best Places to Retire as long as we continue to impose some of the highest property taxes in the country.
Last month, I wrote that there are many problems associated with state-run lotteries.
An exhaustive study by the non-partisan Tax Foundation in Washington D.C. had this to say about Wisconsin’s lottery that is supposed to provide property tax relief:
The Wisconsin Lottery states that since 1988, $2 billion, or 32 percent of revenue, has been “returned to eligible Wisconsin taxpayers in the form of property tax credits.” In addition, when retail commissions, prizes and property tax relief are added together, at least 95 percent of total lottery revenue has “gone back to the people of Wisconsin.”
The agency boasts further, “That money stays in Wisconsin’s economy for the good of everyone.” However, private businesses could keep that revenue in the state’s economy just as easily; a state-run gambling monopoly is not necessary to keep money in the state, and if legislators want to lower property taxes, rates can simply be lowered.
Conversely, if more money for education is needed, property tax rates can be raised. It only complicates the tax code to raise money through one tax in order to lower another tax. The only thing the Wisconsin lottery really accomplishes is a redistribution of tax revenue from lottery players to property owners. Some taxpayers may think middle-and high-income homeowners are more deserving of a tax break than mostly low-income gamblers are, but the tax code should not be used to impose such moral judgments.
You can read my entire blog on state –run lotteries here.
Would the state of Wisconsin be better off appropriating its state lottery proceeds toward public education? Probably not.
The New York Times reports the following:
The newspaper has completed an “examination of lottery documents, as well as interviews with lottery administrators and analysts, finds that lotteries accounted for less than 1 percent to 5 percent of the total revenue for K-12 education last year in the states that use this money for schools.
In reality, most of the money raised by lotteries is used simply to sustain the games themselves, including marketing, prizes and vendor commissions. And as lotteries compete for a small number of core players and try to persuade occasional customers to play more, nearly every state has increased, or is considering increasing, the size of its prizes — further shrinking the percentage of each dollar going to education and other programs.”
You can read the entire New York Times article here.
In the past, I’ve written that the state of Wisconsin is very generous when it come s to its support of public education. A report by the non-partisan Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX) confirms the state’s generosity.
WISTAX reports, “Wisconsin spends more on public schools than on any other area. In 2006-07, the state’s school districts budgeted $9.6 billion, or an average of $11,085 per pupil. Of that, $6,442, or 58%, was for instruction. Per pupil expenditures rose 4.2%, with building and grounds costs up the most (5.0%)."
Read the entire WISTAX report.
I recently had the privilege of attending the Grand Opening of the Indian Community School of Milwaukee on St. Martin’s Road in Franklin.
The school building is extraordinary, an architectural marvel brilliantly designed by one of the premier architects in the world, Antoine Predock.
Inside this beautiful school, talented teachers and staff continue to fill students with the values and cultures that will successfully prepare them to be productive, contributing members of society.
Completion of the Indian Community School is truly the fulfillment of a dream. I know the Indian Community School will fill all of us with great pride and I wish all the teachers, parents and students success and the highest of achievements in their new school.
Congratulations, and welcome to Franklin and Senate District 28!
To see the stunning beauty of the Indian Community School, please look at this photo gallery from the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel.
On May 24, 2007, I blogged about an extensive interview FOX 6 News did with me for their investigative report on ramp meters, the traffic lights on freeway on-ramps.
My concern is the ramp meters unnecessarily force motorists to wait long periods of time.
The Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) has released its national study on traffic congestion, the 2007 Urban Mobility Report. In its press release, the TTI reports:
“Traffic congestion continues to worsen in American cities of all sizes, creating a $78 billion annual drain on the U.S. economy in the form of 4.2 billion lost hours and 2.9 billion gallons of wasted fuel—that's 105 million weeks of vacation and 58 fully-loaded supertankers. The current report is based on 2005 figures, the most recent year for which complete data was available.
The 2007 mobility report notes that congestion causes the average peak period traveler to spend an extra 38 hours of travel time and consume an additional 26 gallons of fuel, amounting to a cost of $710 per traveler.”
The TTI report says drivers waste almost an entire work week each year sitting in traffic on the way to and from their jobs.
Here is an ABC News report on the study.
The state Senate will take up Governor Doyle’s second budget proposal at 1:00 this afternoon.
You can watch the state Senate floor session on Wisconsin Eye.
You may listen to the discussion on the Senate floor about the ramifications of the budget on state taxpayers.
Today, I voted against Governor Doyle’s second budget proposal because of the high level of taxing and spending. My constituents overwhelmingly have told me it would be better to have no budget than a budget that has such huge increases.
In all my years in the Legislature, I have never seen the drastic differences in the amount of the budgets proposed by the Governor and Senate Democrats and the Assembly Republicans. The tax increases supported by Democrats are not only the largest increases in the history of Wisconsin, they are the largest increases in the history of America. Those increases are the defining difference between the budget philosophies of the two parties.
My constituents have many reasons that they oppose the Democrats’ budgets. Topping their list is the large increase in taxes.
The elderly approaching retirement age tell me they have had enough and are at the breaking point. Though they love Wisconsin, the tax burden has them reluctantly considering moving to another state.
Younger families with children in school do not have the out the elderly can utilize. It is more difficult for families to uproot themselves, so they stay and struggle to find a way to pay the bills that never seem to stop growing.
Our goal is to grow our economy and have successful schools, but the task becomes more difficult with a budget that proposes the largest tax increase in the history of the United States.
Other states have passed budgets months ago because they had better than expected revenues, in large part, because they held the line on spending. As a result, they are considering tax cuts or spending for programs like education and transportation. Don’t we wish this were the debate we were having today?
Senate Republicans offered an amendment today to take up the Assembly bill that funded K-12 education at the level the Governor proposed in his budget. The bill also funded local municipalities. I supported the amendment so that schools and local governments could address their budgets and not force huge property tax increases.
I urged Senate Democrats to behave with common decency and approve the education and local government budget.
Today’s action by the Senate Democrats is a clear indication they continue pursuit of massive tax increases and will not listen to overtaxed taxpayers. Wisconsin families cannot afford that kind of budget.
Wisconsin Eye has video of the entire state Senate floor session from Monday, October 15, 2007 on its website.
You can watch the session here.
Go to 10.15.07 | State Senate Special Session Part 2.
Click on WATCH.
The segment that includes my floor speech begins at 2:17: 35 and ends at 2:30: 52
Now that Governor Doyle has failed twice to get a budget through the state Legislature, he is resorting to scare tactics by threatening a partial shutdown of state government.
To hear the Governor speak, state employees would face layoffs, university campuses would close, and contracts with county jails would be cancelled.
The press keeps reporting that Wisconsin is the only state without a budget.
The fact is, Wisconsin has a budget. Wisconsin continues to operate under the 2005-2007 state budget. State employees are working. State programs and services are being administered.
The current state budget impasse is an embarrassment for Governor Doyle. Keep in mind, he proposed a budget at the beginning of the year. It is Governor Doyle’s budget and his job to work with and engineer it through the Legislature. Governor Doyle has proposed two irresponsible budgets that contain unacceptable levels of taxing and spending. Forty-nine other governors have managed to secure budgets. Governor Doyle has failed because he insists on incredible increases in taxes and fees that Wisconsin taxpayers cannot afford.
The Governor is now pressing the panic button, telling taxpayers that a government shutdown is possible because the state is running out of money. My question to Governor Doyle is: how did we get to this crisis?
Wisconsin is operating under a budget. It is now October, and Wisconsin is four months into a 24-month biennial budget. If we are to believe Governor Doyle that only four months into the biennial budget that Wisconsin is in danger of running out of money, where is all the money going, Governor? How and where are you spending it all?
Governor Doyle is desperately and frantically attempting to scare Wisconsin taxpayers to pressure the Legislature into supporting his bloated tax and spend budget. Don’t buy into this deplorable tactic.
WisconsinEye, the statewide public affairs network providing coverage of Wisconsin state government, has reached an agreement with the state Department of Administration to broadcast on the BadgerNet video network.
BadgerNet is seen on education and government sites in all 72 Wisconsin counties.
WisconsinEye is expected to be available to BadgerNet Converged Network (BCN) video sites by January 15, 2008, bringing news about state government to over 255 schools and 54 college campuses in Wisconsin.
WisconsinEye began in May 2007 and can be seen on digital cable at Time Warner Channel 163.
Here is more information.
The Wisconsin State Patrol has issued the following warning:
“Potential for deer crashes will be high in coming weeks”
In a news release, the State Patrol says, “During the fall mating season or "rut," deer are more active, especially at dusk and dawn when they move to and from their bedding and feeding areas. As a result, more deer will be darting onto roadways in coming weeks.”
I blogged about deer crashes in June. Why in June? As I wrote, “The Wisconsin Department of Transportation reports June is actually the most, or one of the most dangerous and risky months for vehicle-deer crashes. Four of the past five years in Wisconsin, June ranked as the worst or second worst month for injuries caused by collisions with deer.”
October is also a bad month for deer collisions and so is November. What I wrote in June certainly applies today, including tips from the Department of Transportation on how to avoid deer crashes.
Wisconsin continues to be ridiculed nationally about the Senate Democrats’ $15.2 billion government health care plan.
Well-known and highly regarded ABC News Correspondent John Stossel recently produced a special report on ABC’s 20/20 about health care.
On the ABC News web site, Stossel writes:
“There are many problems with health insurance, but that doesn't mean we should put the government in control. If it's decided that health care should be paid for with tax dollars, then it's up to the government to decide how that money should be spent. There's only so much money to go around, so the inevitable result is rationing.
It's just the law of supply and demand. Lowering prices increases demand. Lowering the price to nothing pushes demand through the roof. Author P.J. O'Rourke said it best: "If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free."
When health care is free, governments deal with all that increased demand by limiting what's available.
The reality of "free" health care is that people wait. In the United Kingdom, one in eight patients waits more than a year for hospital treatment and the British government recently set its goal to keep wait times to less than 18 weeks — that's more than four months! In Canada, almost a million citizens are waiting for necessary surgery and more than a million Canadians can't find a regular doctor. In the small town of Norwood, Ontario, a weekly drawing is held in which a townsperson wins the right to access the town's one family doctor.”
In another column, Stossel criticizes Senate Democrats and their $15.2 billion government health care plan that would be funded by taxes on employers.
Stossel writes,” Taxes on business are often paid by workers, stockholders and consumers. Businesses that can't pass the taxes on to someone else will close or move out of state.
But progressives are oblivious to this fact. They see Wisconsin becoming a fairyland of health happiness supervised by the 16-person "authority" that will oversee the plan. Socialism will work this time because the "right" people will be in charge.
You can read Stossel’s entire column here.
In order to lower taxes in Wisconsin, one of the highest-taxed states in the nation, there must be reduced spending.
The budget compromise announced Friday night has, according to one of Governor Doyle’s aides who was quoted in the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel, an increase in spending of eight percent. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau reports the amount of spending in the compromise increases by 6.6 percent. The current rate of inflation is 2.76 percent. Wisconsin will never get a grip on its huge tax problem if it continues to approve budgets with runaway spending.
Wisconsin residents cannot afford this budget compromise. Wisconsin employers project average pay raises of 3.31% in 2008, down from actual increases of 3.39% this year and 3.4% in 2006, according to a survey of 300 companies by MRA-The Management Association Inc. based in Pewaukee.
Governor Doyle’s office has informed the Wisconsin State Journal the compromise leaves the state with an astounding structural deficit of $889-million. When residents in Wisconsin have some of the lowest per-capita income in America and can least afford more spending, it is irresponsible to approve a budget that once again relies on the VISA card.
This budget deal expands an already bloated state government by including items like the cigarette tax increase, Governor Doyle’s Wisconsin Covenant, and an expansion of BadgerCare. It also includes a raid of the Patient’s Compensation Fund.
We are told we are to be happy that after several months of delay, there has been a breakthrough in the budget stalemate. I am sorry but I find little reason, if any, to celebrate.
The idea should never have been to produce a budget just to have a budget. The appropriate end game should have been to secure a budget that is sound and strong and that puts the taxpayer first. Unfortunately, the taxpayer loses in this budget.
The Governor, Democrats, and editorial boards have perpetrated a great hoax on the citizens of Wisconsin. For months, they riled up Wisconsinites by proclaiming Wisconsin didn’t have a budget. This simply was untrue. Wisconsin was working off the 2005-2007 budget. The state continued to operate with an increase in revenue due to the growing economy. The increased revenues are funding state programs and services. There was not a budget crisis and there was not a rush to produce a budget, especially one that increases spending by eight percent.
Finally, this budget episode is a dramatic illustration that elections matter. In November of 2006, voters re-elected Governor Doyle and turned control of the state Senate over to Democrats. Many times in the past Governor Doyle has stated he would not raise taxes. His budget proposals speak otherwise.
Governor Doyle proposed a budget earlier this year that included $1.75- billion in tax and fee increases. Senate Democrats went even higher, proposing a budget that in one proposal alone, government health care, raised taxes by over $15-billion to start, the largest tax increase in the history of the United States.
The 2007-09 state budget needed to address the needs of taxpayers, first and foremost. The budget compromise fails miserably. For that reason, I cannot and will not be supporting the budget compromise.
Tonight the state Senate approved the state budget, 18-15. All Senate Republicans voted against and all Senate Democrats voted for the budget. The Senate approved the budget at about 7:40 pm. Here is the state Senate roll call.
The state Assembly approved the budget shortly before 7:00 tonight. The vote was 60-39. Here is the state Assembly roll call.
The budget process isn’t over. Governor Doyle now gets to review the budget and apply his powerful veto pen. Remember, the Governor vetoed into the last state budget a huge amount of spending that was never approved by the Legislature.
Stay tuned to my blog for further state budget updates.
The latest results of an annual study that examines patient outcomes at 5,000 hospitals across the nation show the best care was found in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.
The 10th annual Health Grades Hospital Quality in America Study released last week ranked the best and worst regions and states in the country for hospital care.
Here is the story with more details and the complete study.
The study is yet another perfect example of why Wisconsin doesn’t need government health care.
If you have received an e-mail telling you that your cell phone is about to be bombarded by telemarketing calls because of a new cell phone number database, be aware the warning is untrue.
Federal law prohibits telemarketers from using automated dialers to call cell phones.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) advises that you may put your personal cell phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry, but there is generally not a reason to do so.
Registering your cell phone is unnecessary and a very bad idea. Cell phone numbers are unpublished. If you provide your cell phone number to the national do not call list, suddenly, it becomes a published number. The lists of numbers must be purchased by telemarketers so they can comply with the do not call registry. It would be extremely easy for unscrupulous entities and foreign, international entities to get their hands on the numbers. Your best bet is to avoid registering your cell phone.
Here is more information from an FTC news release, Despite Re-Circulating E-mail, It is Still Not Necessary to Register Cell Phone Numbers.
There have been numerous stories on the Internet and in newspapers all across the country for several weeks stating that the federal Do Not Call list is set to expire.
Hold the phone.
The FTC has announced that it will not allow registrations on the list to expire next year, at the time of the list’s five-year anniversary. The law that created the Do Not Call list originally called for registrations to last only five years. After that, consumers would have to re-register to continue the prohibition on unwanted sales calls.
Legislation has been introduced at the federal level that would make registration on the federal Do Not cal List permanent. It is uncertain if a new law will be approved and signed into law before millions of registrations would expire in June 2008.
Thankfully, the FTC has thought of a better solution. For now, registrations will not expire as long as new federal legislation is being considered.
Lydia Parnes, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, testified before the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection.
“The commission now commits that it will not drop any telephone numbers from the registry based on the five-year expiration period pending final congressional or agency action on whether to make registration permanent,” Parnes said.
To say that the federal DO Not Call list is popular is an understatement. Since its inception in 2003, 149 million phone numbers have been registered on the list. Humorist Dave Barry said the list is "the most popular federal concept since the Elvis stamp."
According to MSN.com:
• 10 million phone numbers were registered within four days of the list's opening on June 27, 2003.
• 30 million numbers were signed up within 40 days.
• 63 million were registered in the list's first year.
Despite the huge list of registrants who wish not to be bothered by annoying phone calls, some telemarketers have attempted to ignore the law. The FTC has brought more than two dozen enforcement actions against various companies and the Federal Communications Commission has issued dozens of citations regarding violations.
There are exceptions to the list:
• Survey takers.
• Companies that have a prior business relationship with you.
Even with the slight imperfections, the federal Do Not Call list has resulted in a big reduction in interruptions at dinnertime.
People may register their home phone numbers at the National Do Not Call Registry or by calling 1-888-382-1222. After a person registers, the phone number will show up on the registry by the next day. Telemarketers then have up to 31 days to get that phone number and remove it from their call lists.
Again, you do not have to register your cell phone number(s) and are advised not to.
Bob Lang and Sandy Swain of the Legislative Fiscal Bureau prepared an informational paper on the state budget process in January 2007. They write:
“Regardless of the approach used to resolve any differences, once the differences between the houses are resolved, a final budget bill, as passed by the Legislature, is prepared for the Governor's consideration. The bill at this stage--termed an "enrolled bill"--is not sent to the Governor until it is called for by the Governor. Typically, several weeks may ensue before the bill is requested. This allows the Governor and the Governor's staff time to review the items in the final legislative budget bill and to consider--in consultation with the State Budget Office, agency heads, legislators, and others--possible partial vetoes of the bill.
Article V, Section 10, of the Wisconsin Constitution provides the Governor with the power of partial veto for any appropriation bill,including the biennial budget bill. In contrast to a nonappropriation bill," this means that rather than having to approve accept or reject a bill in its entirety, the Governor may selectively "delete" portions of the budget bill. Thus, both language and dollar amounts in a budget bill may be vetoed by the Governor.
Typically, a Governor will partially veto a number of provisions in the legislatively-enacted budget bill, although the vast majority of the bill will become law in the form as passed by the Legislature. The budget bill (less any items deleted by the Governor's partial veto) then becomes the state fiscal policy document for the next two years.”
Governor Doyle has one of the most sweeping veto pens of any governor in the country. In November 2006, the Legislative Council in a memo on the state budget process wrote:
“Under the Wisconsin Constitution, the Governor has an extensive partial veto power, with the authority to partially veto any item in an appropriation bill, including the biennial budget bill. Thus, instead of having to accept or reject a bill in its entirety (as is the case with nonappropriation bills), the Governor may, in accordance with the following summary, selectively delete provisions of the budget bill, vetoing either language or dollar amounts, or both, in any given provision.
• The Governor may exercise the partial veto only on bills that include an appro-priation (but may veto nonappropriation parts of appropriation bills).
• The part of the bill remaining after a partial veto must constitute a complete, entire, and workable law.
• The provision resulting from a partial veto must relate to the same subject matter as the vetoed provision.
• Entire words and individual digits may be stricken; however, individual letters in words may not be stricken.
• Appropriation amounts may be stricken and a new, lower amount may be written in to replace the stricken amount.”
The Legislative Fiscal Bureau notes that, “Just as with a Governor's veto of a bill in its entirety, the Legislature has a chance to review a Governor's partial vetoes and may, with a two-thirds vote by each house, enact any vetoed portion into law, notwithstanding the objections of the Governor.”
In the 2005-07 state budget, Governor Doyle exercised his authority to make 139 partial vetoes to the bill, as passed by the Legislature. None were overturned by the Legislature.
One of the most egregious vetoes occurred when the Governor slashed hundreds of words out of several sections of the budget to create one sentence that transferred over $400 million out of the transportation fund to go to schools.
I am one of 49 lawmakers that signed on to a letter this summer asking Governor Doyle “to play a helpful role by publicly agreeing to enact the state budget” without using the Frankenstein veto.
We asked Governor Doyle to follow the parameters set forth in Assembly Joint Resolution 1 (AJR 1) that has bipartisan support. The resolution would prohibit any Governor, regardless of party affiliation, of using partial veto authority to create new sentences by combining parts of two or more sentences.
AJR 1 is awaiting state Senate action and approval from voters in a statewide referendum.
Our letter told the Governor that a public statement on his part to refrain from using the Frankenstein veto would respect both legislative and public sentiment.
My fear is that because the state Senate, led by Democrats, has stalled in taking action on the Frankenstein veto, that Governor Doyle will once again abuse his expansive veto power to make a bad budget even worse.
The Governor used his veto authority to eliminate the levy limit placed on technical colleges. The budget approved by the Legislature this week had imposed a cap on growth for technical colleges at four percent.
The Governor also used his veto pen to relax the limit placed on local governments by allowing municipalities to increase their levies by 3.86 percent or the rate of new construction for 2007.
The Governor’s actions almost certainly signal increases in local property taxes, especially for technical colleges that have seen the largest increases of any portion of local property tax bills in recent years.
Consider the total tax levies for the state's16 technical colleges. According to the non-partisan Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, the technical college tax levies have increased from $251 million in 1992-'93 to $622 million in 2005-'06. That’s an increase of almost 150 percent compared to a 75 percent increase in overall levies during the same time period.
Governor Doyle exempted technical colleges from levy limits in the 2005-07 state budget. Unelected technical college boards were then free to raise tax levies, and taxpayers were powerless. Without levy limits, technical college boards will once again be able to approve high tax increases without recourse thanks to the Governor and his veto pen.
Here is the Governor’s veto message.
BUDGET VETOES LISTED
EDUCATION AND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
Higher Educational Aids Board and Dept of Administration
The Wisconsin Covenant Scholars Program
- Partial veto to remove references to eligibility criteria related to financial need.
- Partial veto to allow DOA to pay costs of operating the Office of the Wisconsin Covenant.
- Partial veto removes non-fiscal policy items related to modifying board membership, eliminating limit on bonding and other changes.
- Veto removes independent purchase of telecommunications services.
- Veto removes requirement for information on instructors at registration.
- Veto removes levy limits on technical college districts.
- Veto removes limits on workforce advancement training grants to small businesses and statutory grant ceiling.
- Partial vetoes affecting loans for pulp and paper mill.
- Veto eliminates phaseout of PECFA program.
- Partial veto affecting CWD and Wildlife Damage Funding and language inhibiting the department’s pursuit of alternative solutions to the deficit facing the wildlife damage fund.
- Partial veto relating to JFC stewardship review because the review of land acquisitions should become effective with the reauthorized program on July 1, 2010.
- Veto affects the musky fishing season and catch and release bass fishing.
- Veto removes quarterly reports requirement.
Administration and UW System
- Veto affects several sections related to information technology requirements.
- Technical veto related to Kenosha County Circuit Court Branch 8.
- Vetoes affect juvenile correctional services deficit and limits on department flexibility to effectively manage juvenile corrections programs over time.
Health and Family Services
- Veto removes requirement DHFS request a federal waiver in order to offer health opportunity accounts to BadgerCare recipients and to provide the JFC an implementation plan.
- Veto affects requirement DHFS develop and implement disease management programs for conditions identified by health risk assessments for recipients and requires the programs be similar to programs developed and use by the Marshfield Clinic under the Physician Group Practice Demonstration.
- Veto affects requirement DHFS provide supplemental reimbursement to pharmacies participating in the Medicaid, BadgerCare and SeniorCare programs to compensate for any reduction in drug product costs reimbursements under the federal deficit reduction ac.
- Veto deletes report on FoodShare employment and training program participation.
- Veto deletes sunset of program for reducing fetal and infant mortality and morbidity.
- Veto deletes decrease in expenditure authority related to the Council on Developmental Disabilities because the provisions duplicate changes accomplished elsewhere in the budget.
Employment Relations Commission
- Veto restores original intent of allowing both firefighters and law enforcement officers the opportunity to use collectively bargained alternative disciplinary appeal procedures instead of circuit court.
- Veto removes three-tier liquor distribution system because “I object to inclusion of policy of this nature in a budget bill.”
- Partial veto affects inventory tax for moist snuff to make inventory tax consistent for cigarettes and moist snuff.
- Partial veto of levy limit language affects “restrictiveness” of the limit for 2007, “which would negatively effect the provision of police and fire services.” The veto will allow local governments to increase their levies for 2007 by either the percentage increase due to net new construction or 3.86 percent.
- Vetoes affect reports and approvals.
- Vetoes and write-downs affect state bicycle and pedestrian facilities program appropriations.
- Veto removes value engineering for highway improvement projects.
- Veto removes requirements for DMV service center operations.
- Veto removes authority of municipalities to issue permits for activities along state trunk highways within municipal limits when DOT has denied the project.
- Veto removes vehicle immobilization and impoundment for repeated parking violations language.
- Partial veto of construction schedule for STH 23 major highway development project because the proposed schedule is “unattainable and may negatively affect other highway projects.”
- Veto removes requirements for JFC supplemental funding for the Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee Commuter Rail extension project “because it infringes on the department’s ability to continue preliminary work on the project to determine its scope and final feasibility.
In his column entitled, “License to Kill Jobs,” John Fund reports that 20 percent of jobs today require a license to work compared to 4.5 percent in the 1950’s. Fund writes, “Does a hair braider really need hundreds of hours of instruction in all aspects of cosmetology, hardly any of which he will ever use? Is it essential to the well-being of young children that directors of day-care centers possess master's degrees? What's the point of refusing to license a car service unless it has at least 10 cars?”
California restricts the most jobs. Wisconsin ranks number nine.
Making matters worse is that illegal immigrants may have access to licenses.
I am pleased Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has issued a legal opinion that the Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing should verify the immigration status of all license applicants. Van Hollen is recommending the department establish procedures for identifying a license applicant’s immigration status.
You can read the story here.
My interview is 10:40 into the podcast, following Vicki’s discussion about hip-hop music.
You can hear the entire interview here.
The audio will be available until next Monday at noon.
I am on record opposing Wisconsin’s booster seat law.
The Chicago Tribune has completed an exhaustive study of car seats and found that oversight and testing of car seats is limited, leaving many children at risk of serious injury.
The Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel ran a huge front page story in Sunday’s edition on more problems with booster seats. Here is the Journal/Sentinel piece.
First Order. Call of Roll.
Second Order. Chief clerk's entries.
Third Order. Introduction, first reading and reference of proposals; reference of appointments.
Fourth Order. Report of committees.
Fifth Order. Petitions and communications.
Sixth Order. Advice and consent of the Senate.
QUESTION: Shall the appointment be confirmed?
Anderson, June, of Oshkosh, as a member of the Educational Communications Board, to serve for the term ending May 1, 2011. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Education, Ayes 7, Noes 0)
Boehmer, Tim, of Neenah, as a member of the Pharmacy Examining Board, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2008. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Health and Human Services, Ayes 6, Noes 0)
Carlson, Karen, of Frederic, as a member of the Snowmobile Recreational Council, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2010. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Transportation, Tourism and Insurance, Ayes 7, Noes 0)
Cerny, Mike, of Sharon, as a member of the Snowmobile Recreational Council, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2010. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Transportation, Tourism and Insurance, Ayes 7, Noes 0)
Chwala, Thomas, of Lake Mills, as a member of the Snowmobile Recreational Council, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2009. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Transportation, Tourism and Insurance, Ayes 7, Noes 0)
Colburn, Bruce, of Milwaukee, as a member of the Wisconsin Health and Educational Facilities Authority, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2014. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Health and Human Services, Ayes 6, Noes 0)
Cole, Preston, of Milwaukee, as a member of the Natural Resources Board, to serve for the term ending May 1, 2013. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Environment and Natural Resources, Ayes 4, Noes 1)
Crabb, Thomas, of Middleton, as a member of the Wisconsin Aerospace Authority, to serve for the term ending June 30, 2010. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Family Prosperity and Housing, Ayes 6, Noes 0)
Crump, Ann, of Mukwonago, as a member of the Labor and Industry Review Commission, to serve for the term ending March 1, 2013. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Labor, Elections and Urban Affairs, Ayes 5, Noes 0)
Elford, Wesley, of Mayville, as a member of the Veterinary Examining Board, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2010. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Agriculture and Higher Education, Ayes 5, Noes 0)
Farmer, Douglas, of La Crosse, as a member of the Banking Review Board, to serve for the term ending May 1, 2012. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Veterans and Military Affairs, Biotechnology and Financial Institutions, Ayes 5, Noes 0)
Gassman, Roberta, of Madison, as Secretary of the Department of Workforce Development, to serve for the term ending at the pleasure of the Governor. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Small Business, Emergency Preparedness, Workforce Development, Technical Colleges and Consumer Protection, Ayes 5, Noes 0)
Harter, Jerold, of Stevens Point, as a member of the Medical Examining Board, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2010. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Health and Human Services, Ayes 6, Noes 0)
Helein, Peter, of Appleton, as a member of the Council on Domestic Abuse, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2010. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Family Prosperity and Housing, Ayes 6, Noes 0)
Horton, Nehl, of Milwaukee, as a member of the State Fair Park Board, to serve for the term ending May 1, 2010. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Transportation, Tourism and Insurance, Ayes 7, Noes 0)
Jeffreys, Celestine, of Green Bay, as a member of the Fox River Navigational System Authority, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2008. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Environment and Natural Resources, Ayes 5, Noes 0)
Jordan, Virginia, of Eau Claire, as a member of the Dietitians Affiliated Credentialing Board, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2011. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Health and Human Services, Ayes 6, Noes 0) Kachelski, Joseph, of Verona, as a member of the Health Insurance Risk-Sharing Plan Authority, to serve for the term ending May 1, 2010. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Transportation, Tourism and Insurance, Ayes 7, Noes 0)
Kohlenberg, Gary, of Oconomowoc, as a member of the Examining Board of Architects, Landscape Architects, Professional Engineers, Designers and Land Surveyors to serve for the term ending July 1, 2008. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Family Prosperity and Housing, Ayes 6, Noes 0)
MacArdy, Wayne, of New Lisbon, as a member of the Health Insurance Risk-Sharing Plan Authority, to serve for the term ending May 1, 2010. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Transportation, Tourism and Insurance, Ayes 7, Noes 0)
Mager, Raymond, of Bayside, as a member of the Medical Examining Board, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2010. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Health and Human Services, Ayes 6, Noes 0)
Nettles, Michelle, of Milwaukee, as a member of the State Fair Park Board, to serve for the term ending May 1, 2010. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Transportation, Tourism and Insurance, Ayes 7, Noes 0)
Nitzke, Susan, of Cottage Grove, as a member of the Dietitians Affiliated Credentialing Board, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2011. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Health and Human Services, Ayes 6, Noes 0)
Norman, Diane, of McFarland, as a member of the Tax Appeals Commission, to serve for the term ending March 1, 2013. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Ethics Reform and Government Operations, Ayes 5, Noes 0)
OKeefe, James, of Mauston, as a member of the Rural Health Development Council, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2011. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Campaign Finance Reform, Rural Issues and Information Technology, Ayes 4, Noes 0)
Pickar, Vanessa, of West Salem, as a member of the Wisconsin Technical College System Board, to serve for the term ending May 1, 2009. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Small Business, Emergency Preparedness, Workforce Development, Technical Colleges and Consumer Protection, Ayes 5, Noes 0)
Rettler, Tina, of Madison, as a member of the Barbering and Cosmetology Examining Board, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2010. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Health and Human Services, Ayes 6, Noes 0)
Rodriguez, Rachel, of Waunakee, as a member of the Council on Domestic Abuse, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2010. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Family Prosperity and Housing, Ayes 6, Noes 0)
Rose, Teresa, of Hazelhurst, as a member of the Psychology Examining Board, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2008. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Health and Human Services, Ayes 7, Noes 0)
Schieble, Judith, of Sheboygan, as a member of the Wisconsin Aerospace Authority, to serve for the term ending June 30, 2010. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Family Prosperity and Housing, Ayes 6, Noes 0)
Sheldon, Daniel, of Waukesha, as a member of the Examining Board of Architects, Landscape Architects, Professional Engineers, Designers and Land Surveyors to serve for the term ending July 1, 2010. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Family Prosperity and Housing, Ayes 6, Noes 0)
Stebbins, Annette, of Madison, as a member of the Health Insurance Risk-Sharing Plan Authority, to serve for the term ending May 1, 2010. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Transportation, Tourism and Insurance, Ayes 7, Noes 0)
Steimel, Richard, of Dane, as a member of the Snowmobile Recreational Council, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2009. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Transportation, Tourism and Insurance, Ayes 7, Noes 0)
Stempski, William, of Green Bay, as a member of the Dentistry Examining Board, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2011. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Health and Human Services, Ayes 6, Noes 0)
Thomas, Colleene, of Poplar, as a member of the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System, to serve for the term ending May 1, 2009. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Agriculture and Higher Education, Ayes 5, Noes 0)
Thoni, Barbara, of Madison, as a member of the Board on Aging and Long Term Care, to serve for the term ending May 1, 2012. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Public Health, Senior Issues, Long Term Care and Privacy, Ayes 5, Noes 0)
Thornton, Patricia, of Grand View, as a member of the Funeral Directors Examining Board, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2008. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Health and Human Services, Ayes 6, Noes 0)
Tyler, Mark, of Woodville, as a member of the Wisconsin Technical College System Board to serve for the term ending May 1, 2013. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Agriculture and Higher Education, Ayes 5, Noes 0)
Wagner, Edward, of Marshfield, as a member of the Wisconsin Aerospace Authority, to serve for the term ending June 30, 2008. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Family Prosperity and Housing, Ayes 6, Noes 0)
Walker-Crawford, Jason, of Stoughton, as a member of the Pharmacy Examining Board, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2009. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Health and Human Services, Ayes 6, Noes 0)
Wegenke, Rolf, of Sun Prairie, as a member of the Educational Communications Board, to serve for the term ending May 1, 2011. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Education, Ayes 7, Noes 0)
Willman, Michael, of Merrill, as a member of the Snowmobile Recreational Council, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2010. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Transportation, Tourism and Insurance, Ayes 7, Noes 0)
Wright, Richard, of Sun Prairie, as a member of the Optometry Examining Board, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2011. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Health and Human Services, Ayes 7, Noes 0)
Wywialowski, Joan, of Phillips, as a member of the Veterinary Examining Board, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2010. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Agriculture and Higher Education, Ayes 5, Noes 0)
Zanoni, Larry, of Middleton, as a member of the Health Insurance Risk-Sharing Plan Authority, to serve for the term ending May 1, 2010. (Report confirmation recommended by committee on Transportation, Tourism and Insurance, Ayes 7, Noes 0)
Seventh Order. Referrals and receipt of committee reports concerning proposed administrative rules.
Eighth Order. Messages from the Assembly.
Ninth Order. Special Orders.
Tenth Order. Consideration of motions, resolutions, and joint resolutions not requiring a third reading.
QUESTION: Shall the joint resolution be adopted?
Senate Joint Resolution 4. Relating to: recognizing February 6 as Ronald Reagan Day in the state of Wisconsin. By Senators Kanavas, Grothman, Darling, A. Lasee, Lazich, and Roessler; cosponsored by Representatives J. Ott, Davis, Zipperer, Vos, Newcomer, Honadel, A. Ott, Ballweg, Bies, F. Lasee, Hines, Hahn, Nerison, Suder, Kerkman, Townsend, M. Williams, Kestell, Jeskewitz, Vukmir, Lothian, Nass, Gundrum, and J. Fitzgerald.
Senate Joint Resolution 53. Relating to: the 75th Anniversary of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. By Senators Kapanke, Lassa, Cowles, A. Lasee, Kedzie, Roessler, Lehman, Breske, Coggs, and Grothman; cosponsored by Representatives Musser, Sheridan, Fields, Boyle, Kerkman, Roth, Gronemus, LeMahieu, Pocan, Turner, Jorgensen, Albers, Seidel, Petersen, Owens, Hahn, Hintz, Nerison, A. Ott, Hebl, A. Williams, Bies, Grigsby, Sinicki, Ballweg, and F. Lasee.
Senate Joint Resolution 54. Relating to: honoring the centennial of United Parcel Service of America, Inc., and recognizing the contributions of the company to the citizens of Wisconsin. By Senators Breske, Hansen, Lazich, Lassa, Kedzie, Coggs, Darling, Plale, Erpenbach, and Risser; cosponsored by Representatives Petrowski, Suder, A. Ott, M. Williams, A. Williams, Seidel, and Albers.
Senate Joint Resolution 55. Relating to: recognizing Kikkoman and its contribution to the cultural and economic vitality of Wisconsin. By Senator Kedzie; cosponsored by Representative Lothian.
Senate Joint Resolution 56. Relating to: honoring members of the University of Michigan Health System Hospital survival flight team. By Senators Cowles, Erpenbach, Roessler, Kreitlow, Olsen, Miller, Lehman, A. Lasee, and Darling; cosponsored by Representatives Jeskewitz, Kerkman, Sheridan, Steinbrink, Gunderson, Sinicki, Gronemus, Berceau, Hahn, M. Williams, Fields, Ballweg, Pope-Roberts, Mursau, and Townsend.
Senate Joint Resolution 57. Relating to: providing for an advisory referendum on the question of continuing the program of prescription drug assistance for elderly persons (Senior Care) past December 30, 2009, as a permanent federal-state program. By Senators Carpenter, Hansen, Wirch, Lehman, Sullivan, Erpenbach, Plale, Kreitlow, Schultz, Leibham, and Coggs; cosponsored by Representatives Nelson, Black, Zepnick, Soletski, Fields, Pocan, Hebl, Turner, Boyle, Seidel, Pope-Roberts, Jorgensen, Berceau, Sheridan, Molepske, Young, Grigsby, Hixson, and Hintz. (Report adoption recommended by committee on Public Health, Senior Issues, Long Term Care and Privacy, Ayes 5, Noes 0)
Senate Joint Resolution 58. Relating to: Badger Mining Corporation of Berlin, Wisconsin. By Senator Olsen; cosponsored by Representative Ballweg.
Senate Joint Resolution 59. Relating to: Rogers Memorial Hospital's centennial year. By Senators Kedzie, Darling, Lazich, Lassa, Roessler, Sullivan, and Lehman; cosponsored by Representatives Nass, Lothian, Sheridan, Kerkman, Jeskewitz, Hahn, Berceau, Gunderson, Albers, Townsend, Kreuser, Bies, Kleefisch, Petrowski, and Wasserman.
Senate Joint Resolution 60. Relating to: recognizing October 2007 as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. By Senators Robson, Erpenbach, Darling, Risser, Lassa, Miller, Schultz, Olsen, Lehman, Harsdorf, Taylor, Hansen, Cowles, Coggs, Roessler, Sullivan, and Wirch; cosponsored by Representatives Berceau, Hilgenberg, Sheridan, Boyle, Zepnick, Nelson, Soletski, Jeskewitz, Hraychuck, Sinicki, Albers, Benedict, Pocan, A. Williams, Suder, A. Ott, Ballweg, Pope-Roberts, Hahn, Seidel, Shilling, Toles, Young, Parisi, Kreuser, Molepske, Hebl, Grigsby, Kaufert, Mason, Strachota, Fields, and Townsend.
Senate Joint Resolution 64. Relating to: the life and public service of Ronald G. Parys. By Senators Plale, Erpenbach, Ellis, Miller, Risser, Lassa, Cowles, Lehman, Schultz, Sullivan, Coggs, and A. Lasee; cosponsored by Representatives Jeskewitz, Gronemus, Boyle, Turner, Berceau, Hahn, Musser, A. Williams, Petrowski, Gunderson, Schneider, Sheridan, and Bies.
Senate Joint Resolution 65. Relating to: recognition of November as Diabetes Awareness Month. By Senators Risser, Lassa, Darling, Plale, Roessler, Hansen, Breske, Erpenbach, Sullivan, Wirch, Vinehout, Lehman, Cowles, Coggs, and Taylor; cosponsored by Representatives Newcomer, Jeskewitz, Sheridan, Albers, Friske, Davis, Hintz, Fields, Kaufert, Vruwink, Boyle, Musser, Ballweg, Seidel, Berceau, Rhoades, Kleefisch, Van Roy, Pope-Roberts, Shilling, Richards, Cullen, Gronemus, Hines, Nelson, Ziegelbauer, Kerkman, Schneider, Travis, Turner, Toles, Soletski, Hahn, Benedict, Colon, A. Ott, Hebl, Wasserman, Townsend, Petrowski, Hraychuck, Van Akkeren, Mason, M. Williams, and Molepske.
QUESTION: Shall the joint resolution be concurred in?
Assembly Joint Resolution 40. Relating to: recognizing Alexis Deignan for her selection as Miss Wisconsin ***. By Representative Moulton; cosponsored by Senator Kreitlow.
Assembly Joint Resolution 42. Relating to: declaring May as Manufacturing Month in Wisconsin. By Representative Honadel; cosponsored by Senator Plale.
Assembly Joint Resolution 49. Relating to: the life and public service of Virginia B. Hart. By Representatives Berceau, Schneider, Jeskewitz, Sherman, Boyle, Travis, A. Williams, Grigsby, Pocan, Seidel, Townsend, Sheridan, Hahn, Mursau, Albers, Gunderson, Black, and Pope-Roberts; cosponsored by Senators Risser, Miller, Taylor, Lassa, and Lehman.
Eleventh Order. Second reading and amendments of senate joint resolutions and senate bills.
QUESTION: Shall the bill be ordered to a third reading?
Senate Bill 15. Relating to: the appointment of the secretary of natural resources. By Senators Wirch, Miller, Carpenter, Lassa, Risser, Hansen, Lehman, Breske, and Sullivan; cosponsored by Representatives Black, Zepnick, Molepske, Sherman, Van Akkeren, Hubler, Hebl, Berceau, Pope-Roberts, Pocan, Boyle, and Smith. (Report adoption of Senate Amendment 1, Ayes 5, Noes 0, passage as amended recommended by committee on Environment and Natural Resources, Ayes 3, Noes 2)
Senate Bill 30. Relating to: permitting a mother to breast-feed in any public or private location where she is otherwise authorized to be. By Senators Risser, Lassa, Erpenbach, Lehman, Plale, Roessler, Miller, Schultz, Darling, and Sullivan; cosponsored by Representatives Wasserman, Pocan, Black, F. Lasee, Pope-Roberts, Boyle, Hines, Berceau, Albers, Hahn, Bies, Townsend, Molepske, Owens, Sheridan, A. Ott, Hilgenberg, Parisi, Musser, and Mason. (Report passage recommended by committee on Public Health, Senior Issues, Long Term Care and Privacy, Ayes 5, Noes 0)
Senate Bill 49. Relating to: free access to state parks and state trails by certain disabled veterans and former prisoners of war. (FE) By Senators Lehman, Miller, Coggs, Risser, Kedzie, Lassa, Erpenbach, Kreitlow, Breske, Plale, Roessler, and Schultz; cosponsored by Representatives Musser, Gronemus, Boyle, Hebl, Hubler, Berceau, Sheridan, Petrowski, Nerison, Kleefisch, Turner, Bies, Hines, Cullen, Sinicki, Steinbrink, Townsend, Seidel, Hraychuck, M. Williams, Owens, Hahn, LeMahieu, Lothian, Gunderson, and Albers. (Report passage recommended by committee on Veterans and Military Affairs, Biotechnology and Financial Institutions, Ayes 5, Noes 0)Senate Substitute Amendment 1 pending
Senate Bill 143. Relating to: changing the members of the Council on Veterans Programs. By Senators Sullivan, Cowles, Risser, Lehman, Roessler, Lassa, Breske, Darling, and Schultz; cosponsored by Representatives Musser, Hilgenberg, Hahn, Turner, Cullen, A. Ott, Hines, Townsend, Albers, Gunderson, Vruwink, Mursau, Newcomer, and Sheridan. (Report passage recommended by committee on Veterans and Military Affairs, Biotechnology and Financial Institutions, Ayes 5, Noes 0)
Senate Bill 148. Relating to: exempting an assessor and an assessor's staff from liability for trespassing and creating immunity from civil liability. By Senators Breske, Coggs, Lassa, Lehman, and Cowles; cosponsored by Representatives A. Ott, Ballweg, Musser, Hahn, Mursau, Hines, Townsend, Lothian, Tauchen, Van Roy, Sinicki, Jeskewitz, Nygren, Hubler, Strachota, Gunderson, Turner, Molepske, and Friske. (Report adoption of Senate Amendment 1, Ayes 4, Noes 0, adoption of Senate Amendment 2, Ayes 4, Noes 0, passage as amended recommended by committee on Campaign Finance Reform, Rural Issues and Information Technology, Ayes 4, Noes 0)
Senate Bill 177. Relating to: an assessment on growers that sell corn. (FE) By Senators Kreitlow, Kapanke, Hansen, Cowles, A. Lasee, Olsen, Schultz, and Harsdorf; cosponsored by Representatives A. Ott, Jorgensen, Hahn, Davis, Hilgenberg, Ballweg, Sheridan, Murtha, Owens, Albers, Vruwink, Strachota, Tauchen, Molepske, Seidel, Hixson, Nelson, Gronemus, and Smith. (Report passage recommended by committee on Campaign Finance Reform, Rural Issues and Information Technology, Ayes 4, Noes 0) Senate Amendment 1 pending
Senate Bill 186. Relating to: neighborhood electric vehicles. (FE) By Senators Breske, Schultz, A. Lasee, and Cowles; cosponsored by Representatives Albers, Sheridan, Hahn, Petrowski, Townsend, Hines, Hubler, and Bies. (Report passage recommended by committee on Transportation, Tourism and Insurance, Ayes 7, Noes 0 Senate Amendment 1 pending
Senate Bill 198. Relating to: hunting of deer during the open bow hunting season. By Senators Miller, Kedzie, Vinehout, Schultz, Decker, Hansen, Lassa, Grothman, Breske, and A. Lasee; cosponsored by Representatives Hraychuck, Pridemore, Boyle, A. Ott, Bies, and Vruwink. (Report passage recommended by committee on Environment and Natural Resources, Ayes 5, Noes 0)
Senate Bill 214. Relating to: the disclosure of certain library records to law enforcement officers. By Senators Ellis, Plale, Cowles, Roessler, and Olsen; cosponsored by Representatives Kaufert, Hahn, Gronemus, Montgomery, A. Ott, Albers, Petrowski, Jeskewitz, Townsend, Gunderson, Van Roy, and Nass. (Report adoption of Senate Amendment 1, Ayes 5, Noes 0, adoption of Senate Amendment 2, Ayes 5, Noes 0, passage as amended recommended by committee on Public Health, Senior Issues, Long Term Care and Privacy, Ayes 5, Noes 0)
Senate Bill 226. Relating to: changes to the Health Insurance Risk-Sharing Plan. By Senator Breske; cosponsored by Representative F. Lasee. (Report adoption of Senate Amendment 1, Ayes 7, Noes 0, adoption of Senate Amendment 3, Ayes 7, Noes 0, adoption of Senate Amendment 4, Ayes 7, Noes 0, passage as amended recommended by committee on Transportation, Tourism and Insurance, Ayes 7, Noes 0) Senate Substitute Amendment 1 pending
Senate Bill 234. Relating to: designating and marking STH 57 as the 57th Field Artillery Brigade Memorial Highway. (FE) By Senators Leibham and Roessler; cosponsored by Representatives Ziegelbauer, Kestell, LeMahieu, Jeskewitz, Townsend, Turner, and M. Williams. (Report passage recommended by committee on Transportation, Tourism and Insurance, Ayes 7, Noes 0)
Senate Bill 243. Relating to: preparation time as a mandatory subject of collective bargaining. (FE) By Senators Erpenbach, Lehman, Hansen, Miller, and Risser; cosponsored by Representatives Musser, Berceau, Zepnick, Travis, Boyle, Pocan, Sheridan, Soletski, Pope-Roberts, Jorgensen, Vruwink, Turner, Toles, and Nelson. (Report passage recommended by committee on Labor, Elections and Urban Affairs, Ayes 3, Noes 2)
Senate Bill 249. Relating to: payment of the costs of advanced placement examinations taken by certain pupils. By Senators Lehman, Breske, Darling, Erpenbach, Kreitlow, Hansen, Lassa, Miller, Plale, Risser, Schultz, Taylor, and Vinehout; cosponsored by Representatives Pope-Roberts, Ballweg, Berceau, Black, Cullen, Fields, Grigsby, Hilgenberg, Hixson, A. Ott, Pocan, Sheridan, Smith, Soletski, Toles, Townsend, Travis, Turner, Van Akkeren, Vruwink, and M. Williams. (Report passage recommended by committee on Education, Ayes 7, Noes 0)
Twelfth Order. Second reading and amendments of assembly joint resolutions and assembly bills.
QUESTION: Shall the bill be ordered to a third reading?
Assembly Bill 52. Relating to: an exception for law enforcement dogs to the requirement that a dog that bites a person be quarantined. (FE) By Representatives Kerkman, Steinbrink, Albers, Bies, Gunderson, Hahn, Mursau, Musser, A. Ott, Nass, Stone, and Townsend; cosponsored by Senators Lassa, Kedzie, and Grothman. (Report concurrence recommended by committee on Public Health, Senior Issues, Long Term Care and Privacy, Ayes 5, Noes 0)
Assembly Bill 63. Relating to: Hire a Veteran Week, Veteran Recognition Week, and veterans who volunteer in schools. By Representatives Wieckert, Musser, Turner, Hines, Petrowski, Berceau, Lothian, Mursau, Albers, Kestell, Jeskewitz, Townsend, Owens, M. Williams, Bies, Gundrum, A. Ott, and Nerison; cosponsored by Senators Plale, Sullivan, A. Lasee, Wirch, Kanavas, Breske, Darling, Lassa, Schultz, Roessler, and Lazich. (Report concurrence recommended by committee on Veterans and Military Affairs, Biotechnology and Financial Institutions, Ayes 5, Noes 0)
Assembly Bill 88. Relating to: special distinguishing registration plates associated with first responders. (FE) By Representatives M. Williams, Davis, Albers, Ballweg, Gronemus, Hahn, Kerkman, Kleefisch, Mursau, A. Ott, Sheridan, and Travis; cosponsored by Senators Lassa, Grothman, Olsen, Roessler, and Schultz. (Report concurrence recommended by committee on Transportation, Tourism and Insurance, Ayes 7, Noes 0)
Assembly Bill 106. Relating to: designating and marking a bridge on STH 156 in the town of Navarino as the Avery Wilber Memorial Bridge. By Representatives Tauchen, Owens, Van Roy, Townsend, M. Williams, and Albers; cosponsored by Senators Cowles, Breske, Lassa, and Grothman. (Report concurrence recommended by committee on Transportation, Tourism and Insurance, Ayes 7, Noes 0)
Assembly Bill 130. Relating to: issuing hunting approvals to members of the Wisconsin national guard. (FE) By Representatives Hubler, Ziegelbauer, Sherman, Schneider, Sinicki, Sheridan, Hraychuck, Turner, Lothian, Hahn, Ballweg, Boyle, Mursau, Albers, Townsend, Bies, Gunderson, Musser, M. Williams, and Seidel; cosponsored by Senators Hansen, Grothman, Schultz, Sullivan, Breske, and Plale. (Report concurrence recommended by committee on Environment and Natural Resources, Ayes 5, Noes 0)
Assembly Bill 131. Relating to: issuance of certain hunting approvals to certain members of the U.S. armed forces. (FE) By Representatives Nerison, Gunderson, J. Ott, Hraychuck, Bies, M. Williams, Mursau, Gundrum, Petrowski, Albers, Friske, Gronemus, Hahn, Jeskewitz, Kerkman, Meyer, Musser, A. Ott, Pridemore, Sheridan, Suder, Townsend, and Vos; cosponsored by Senators Decker, Miller, Wirch, Kedzie, Schultz, Plale, Leibham, Grothman, Roessler, Breske, Darling, Erpenbach, Lassa, and Sullivan. (Report concurrence recommended by committee on Environment and Natural Resources, Ayes 5, Noes 0)
Assembly Bill 153. Relating to: continuing education for dentists and granting rule-making authority. (FE) By Representatives Strachota, Molepske, Bies, Berceau, Kerkman, Cullen, Albers, Ziegelbauer, A. Ott, Zepnick, Hines, Soletski, Mursau, Staskunas, Mason, Seidel, Turner, Sinicki, and Shilling; cosponsored by Senators Erpenbach, Darling, Lehman, Cowles, Hansen, Schultz, Plale, Miller, Olsen, Risser, and Roessler. (Report concurrence recommended by committee on Health and Human Services, Ayes 7, Noes 0)
Assembly Bill 270. Relating to: changing the members of the Council on Veterans Programs. By Representatives Musser, Turner, Townsend, Hahn, Hilgenberg, A. Ott, Hines, Albers, Cullen, Gunderson, Vruwink, Mursau, Newcomer, and Sheridan; cosponsored by Senators Sullivan, Roessler, Cowles, Risser, Lehman, Lassa, Breske, Darling, and Schultz. (Report concurrence recommended by committee on Veterans and Military Affairs, Biotechnology and Financial Institutions, Ayes 5, Noes 0)
Assembly Bill 425. Relating to: motor vehicle manufacturers, importers, distributors, and dealers. By Representatives Petrowski, Gronemus, Ballweg, Nygren, Montgomery, Albers, Sheridan, A. Ott, Musser, Gottlieb, Soletski, Kreuser, Van Roy, Gunderson, Kleefisch, Suder, and Hahn; cosponsored by Senators Breske, Kapanke, Plale, Jauch, Leibham, Schultz, Lassa, Olsen, and Carpenter.
Assembly Bill 457. Relating to: the method by which the Department of Revenue makes certain calculations regarding tax incremental financing district number 4 in the village of Union Grove. (FE) By Representative Vos; cosponsored by Senator Lehman.
Thirteenth Order. Third reading of joint resolutions and bills.
Fourteenth Order. Motions may be offered.
Fifteenth Order. Announcements, adjournment honors, and remarks under special privilege.
Sixteenth Order. Adjournment.
The state Senate today approved Senate Bill 15 (SB 15) that would authorize the Natural Resources Board to appoint the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Under current law, the Governor nominates a DNR Secretary. The State Senate considers the appointment, and the Secretary serves at the pleasure of the Governor.
SB 15 was approved on a 21-12 vote. I voted against the bill for several reasons.
When voters elect a Governor, regardless of party, they make their decision with the belief and confidence their choice should be entrusted with appointing Cabinet members, including the DNR secretary.
Each Governor should be afforded the opportunity to choose the DNR Secretary believed to be the best qualified for the position.
The Governor has earned that right and authority by winning and earning the trust of voters in a statewide election.
An unelected, unaccountable board with regulatory powers should not be choosing the DNR Secretary.
The state is already hampered with having far too many nameless and faceless boards that do not have accountability to the public.
It would be highly inconsistent for a Governor to pick all of his cabinet members save one.
There is also the potential of an awkward scenario of a Governor being saddled with a Secretary chosen by DNR Board members appointed by the previous Governor.
A Governor forms his administration the way he/she deems appropriate. Voters choosing the Governor expect the Governor to be accountable for his administration.
SB 15 now moves to the state Assembly where its fate is uncertain.
In other state Senate action today, the Senate approved the following:
Assembly Bill 130: Under current law, certain hunting licenses and permits are issued by the Department of Natural Resources based on a random or preference selection system. These hunting approvals include Canada goose hunting permits, Class A bear hunting licenses, wild turkey hunting licenses, elk hunting licenses, and special deer hunting permits, other than bonus deer hunting permits.
Assembly Bill 130 requires the Department of Natural Resources to treat a nonresident as a Wisconsin resident for the purpose of issuing a hunting, fishing, and trapping approvals if the nonresident exhibits proof that he or she is a member of the Wisconsin National Guard or a member of a reserve unit of the U.S. Armed Forces if the reserve unit is located in this state.
Also, an amendment to the bill allows the DNR to begin issuing hunting, fishing, and trapping approvals immediately to nonresident members of the Wisconsin National Guard, instead of after a delayed effective date of three months, as provided in the bill.
Assembly Bill 131: Under current law, certain hunting licenses and permits are issued by the Department of Natural Resources based on a random or preference selection system. These hunting approvals include Canada goose hunting permits, Class A bear hunting licenses, wild turkey hunting licenses, elk hunting licenses, and special deer hunting permits, other than bonus deer hunting permits.
This bill allows DNR to issue wild turkey hunting licenses, Canada goose hunting permits, and hunter’s choice and other special deer hunting permits to residents of the state who are in active service in the U.S. armed forces outside the state but who are on furlough or leave within the state.
The bill prohibits DNR from imposing any deadlines or other restrictions on the timing for submitting applications for these hunting approvals or for issuing the approvals. If one of these hunting approvals is issued during the applicable hunting season, the approval must authorize hunting beginning on the date on which the approval is issued.
The Senate approved several Senate Joint Resolutions that recognize February 6 as Ronald Reagan Day in Wisconsin, commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, honor the centennial of the United Parcel Service of America, and honor Kikkoman of Walworth, Wisconsin for its contribution to the cultural and economic vitality of the state.
From the Wisconsin Public Radio website:
Local Officials Call for Great Lakes Protection
A committee working to protect the Great Lakes against large-scale water diversions disbanded recently in Madison. But with the state budget debate over, local officials are calling on the Legislature to pick up the pieces of the Great Lakes Compact.
Chuck Quirmbach reports. --…
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