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Lakeland Times, Minocqua, Wisconsin
Friday, July 12, 2019 7:30 AM
When Gov. Tony Evers signed the state budget last week, legislative Republicans largely claimed victory, saying they had managed to eliminate what they saw as Evers’s worst excesses. (Subscriber Access)
  • In the recent state budget debate, legislative Republicans made a strong push for additional funding for local roads, inserting a one-time $90 million appropriation into the budget specifically for that purpose, but a partial veto by Gov. Tony Evers not only slashed that appropriation, but removed language which restricted the use of the money. (Subscriber Access)
  • News analysis

    Rebecca Grassl Bradley, the Wisconsin Supreme Court justice appointed to her seat by Gov. Scott Walker in 2015 and elected to a 10-year term in 2016, has in her short tenure become not only a leader on the high court, but a conservative who is not afraid to take issue with mainstream orthodoxy, especially if it’s coming from other conservatives. (Subscriber Access)
  • When Gov. Tony Evers signed the state budget last week, legislative Republicans largely claimed victory, saying they had managed to eliminate what they saw as Evers’s worst excesses. (Subscriber Access)
  • Gov. Tony Evers used his powerful veto authority last week to take direct aim at the Northwoods in a number of significant budget areas, including his veto of $250,000 in grants to Lakeland STAR School/Academy, a public charter school, in the next biennium. (Subscriber Access)
  • In a major 4-2 decision last week, the state Supreme Court ruled that the state Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) does not have the constitutional authority to make administrative rules which have the force and effect of law. (Subscriber Access)
  • Large budget deficits over the next 30 years are projected to drive the nation’s federal debt to unprecedented levels — from 78% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019 to 144% by 2049, according to a new report released last week by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). (Subscriber Access)
  • On a 4-3 vote along ideological lines, the state Supreme Court has reversed a lower court decision invalidating so-called lame duck laws enacted last December in an Extraordinary Session of the Legislature, a session that had been challenged as unconstitutional. (Subscriber Access)
  • Calling him a “tireless advocate” for the papermaking industry, the Wisconsin Paper Council (WPC) has named state Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) as the organization’s 2019 “Legislator of the Year.” 
  • It’s that time of year when many travelers are pulling boats, campers and hauling a variety of items along highways. As part of the June Law of the Month, the Wisconsin State Patrol reminds motorists to ensure trailers are in good mechanical condition, safely attached to the vehicle, and anything loaded into a trailer or truck bed is properly secured.
  • In a major open-records decision last week, a state court of appeals has ruled public records which exist electronically must be provided in electronic format when a records’ requester asks for them in that format.  (Subscriber Access)
  • The Republican-dominated Joint Finance Committee approved a transportation budget late last week, which would inject $483 million into transportation coffers by raising vehicle registration fees and more than doubling vehicle title transfer fees, among other things. (Subscriber Access)
  • At stake in the state Supreme Court case over so-called lame-duck laws passed by the Legislature after last year’s gubernatorial election but before Gov. Tony Evers took office is not just the constitutionality of the Legislature’s Extraordinary Session last December, and what that means for previous and future sessions, but the practical impact the decision will have as a result of enacting or voiding the laws themselves. (Subscriber Access)
  • Conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court justice Dan Kelly put many of the prognosticators about next year’s state Supreme Court race out of business this week, at least for now, announcing his bid for a full 10-year term next spring. (Subscriber Access)
  • Republican leaders in the state Senate and Assembly have endorsed a $500 million increase in K-12 school funding over the next two years, lawmakers announced late last week. (subscriber access)
  • Rep. Scott Allen (R-Waukesha) has proposed a budget amendment that would limit the administrator-to-pupil ratio within a school district to 1:220. 

    School districts that fail to comply with the limitations would be subject to losing state aid, and possibly federal aid required to be matched by state funds.

    “Administrator costs in our school districts are presently unrestrained,” Allen said. “Every dollar spent on an administrator takes a dollar away from teachers and kids in the classroom and may hinder student outcomes.”
  • The state Legislative Fiscal Bureau has released revised fiscal estimates that project the state will bring in $753 million more than what was projected in January, primarily due to strong individual and corporate income tax collections. (subscriber access)
  • The state’s budget-writing committee voted this week to help fight Wisconsin’s opioid epidemic by incorporating Senate Bill 134, authored by Sen. André Jacque (R-De Pere) and Rep. Chuck Wichgers (R-Muskego), into the state’s biennial budget. (subscriber access)
  • It’s still relatively early in the state’s budget process — lawmakers have rounded the second turn and headed into the back stretch — but Medicaid expansion is the subject of heated debate between the parties. (subscriber access)
  • Wisconsin Farm Bureau president Jim Holte is strongly supporting a proposed federal rule to remove gray wolves in the lower 48 states from the endangered species list.
  • State Rep. Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) has re-introduced legislation to eliminate the personal conviction waiver from the state’s vaccination requirement, a step he calls a proactive measure, given that hundreds of measles cases have been reported in the U.S. in early 2019. (subscriber access)
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