Strategies Newsletters 03/31/2017
Updates to Strategies
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U.S. Supreme Court to Decide Important Regulatory Takings Case from Wisconsin
On the same day the Senate Judiciary Committee began holding confirmation hearings on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court of the United States, the high court heard oral argument in an important case from Wisconsin dealing with regulatory takings.
Murr v. Wisconsin involves waterfront property owned by the Murr family on the St. Croix River in the Town of Troy. During the 1960’s, the Murrs’ parents purchased two adjacent lots (known as Lot E and Lot F). The Murrs built a family cabin on Lot F but left Lot E undeveloped with the intention of either developing or selling the property at a future date. In 1994, the Murrs’ parents transferred the two separate parcels to their children, and both parcels are now owned by the four siblings.
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Update from the State Legislature
The State Senate and State Assembly are scheduled to meet for session on April 4. This is likely to be one of only a few session days for both chambers this spring, with the Legislature currently focused on the state budget debate.
The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) officially kicked off the Legislature’s role in the state budget debate earlier this week when it held three days of briefings by state agency heads. Over the course of the three days the committee heard testimony from over a dozen state agencies and commissions, the UW System, the Department of Justice, and the Supreme Court.
Wisconsin Political Update
U.S. Senate Race
With the November 2018 election more than a year and a half away, we’re already seeing activity heating up in the Wisconsin U.S. Senate race. A third-party group with ties to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell started running TV and radio ads earlier this month, attacking Senator Tammy Baldwin for her support of the Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile, the national Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (the campaign arms of Democrats in the U.S. Senate) began running ads earlier this month with the message, “What will the Republican health care bill cost you?” Senator Baldwin’s re-election campaign next fall is expected to be one of the most competitive races across the country, as Republicans look to increase their majority in the U.S. Senate, and Democrats hope to take advantage of the Trump mid-term and cut into the Republican majority.
Legislative Committee Hearing on WDNR Wastewater Permitting and Enforcement
The Joint Legislative Audit Committee directed the Legislative Audit Committee to conduct an audit on the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNRD) permitting authority under the Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) program. The audit was published in June of 2016 and revealed concerning results. The audit and the WDNR’s response were discussed at public hearing of the Legislative Audit Committee on March 14. Click here to view the full audit.
Written by Lily Barrie, Michael Best Strategies Intern.
Public School Advocates: Scott Walker’s K-12 Funding Proposal in Jeopardy
Governor Walker’s 2017-2019 state budget plan proposes a $649 million increase in public school funding, and he has been actively visiting communities across the state to promote the plan. However, public school advocates warned that his plan is in danger, as some lawmakers on the budget-writing committee will be using current state funding levels as a starting point, rather than Walker’s proposal.
Read more on the Wisconsin State Journal.
Wisconsin Lawmakers Take Aim at Opiate Epidemic in Advancing Host of Bills
With a unanimous vote, the Legislature’s budget committee has approved legislation to fight the Wisconsin opiate epidemic by expanding treatment, hire special agents to investigate drug crimes, and establish a new charter school to treat teens with addiction. A bill was also advanced that would allow 16 and 17-year-olds to get jobs without a permit or parent permission.
Read more on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
World Abandoning Coal in Dramatic Style Raises Hope of Avoiding Dangerous Global Warming, Says Report
While President Donald Trump plans to put the mining of the dirtiest of fossil fuels, coal, back in action in the U.S., the rest of the world is going green. Reports claim that the huge drop in, and the phasing out of, coal mining across the world would keep global warming from getting to dangerous levels. Nicole Ghio, of the Sierra Club, said renewable energy is also becoming much cheaper than coal, making the fossil fuel not only bad for the environments, but also bad for the bottom line. “Markets are demanding clean energy, and no amount of rhetoric from Donald Trump will be able to stop the fall of coal in the US and across the globe.”
Read more at the Independent.
25 Cities Now Committed to 100% Renewables
First it was Madison, WI and Abita Springs, LA to transition to 100% renewable energy, but 23 cities across the U.S. have jumped on board as well. Madison Common Council unanimously approved the allocation of $250,000 to develop a plan that would include target dates to reach their goals, interim milestones, budget estimates and financial impacts in their pursuit of 100% renewable energy and net-zero carbon emissions. The plan is set to be developed by January 18, 2018.
Read more on EcoWatch.