Wisconsin

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Right to work, family leave, sick leave, government retirement program, wood stove rules

 

Check out these key votes made by elected officials in Wisconsin during the most recent legislative session, and go to www.votespotter.com to signup and see how your elected officials voted on these and other issues that impact your daily life.

 

Senate Bill 44, Adopt a "right to work" law: Passed 17 to 15 in the Senate on February 25, 2015, and 62 to 35 in the Assembly on March 5, 2015

To prohibit employers from requiring employees to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment.

 

Assembly Bill 70, Establish a state-run retirement fund for Wisconsinites: Failed 36 to 60 in the Assembly on January 19, 2016

To create the Wisconsin Private Retirement Security Board, which will administer a state-run retirement plan for residents of the state. This vote was to suspend the rules and withdraw this bill from committee in order for the Assembly to consider it.

 

Assembly Bill 516, Mandate more employers grant family leave: Failed 36 to 60 in the Assembly on January 19, 2016

To mandate that employers of more than 25 employees offer those employees family leave. This is an increase from the current family leave law that applies to employers of more than 50 employees. The bill also expands the circumstances for which employers must provide family leave, and establishes a family and medical leave insurance program to be paid for by an additional payroll tax. This vote was to suspend the rules and withdraw this bill from committee in order for the Assembly to consider it.

 

Assembly Bill 474, Mandate paid sick leave: Failed 36 to 60 in the Assembly on January 19, 2016

To mandate that anyone in the state who employs at least one full- or part-time employee offer that employee paid sick leave. This vote was to suspend the rules and withdraw this bill from committee in order for the Assembly to consider it.

 

Assembly Bill 25, Prohibit stricter regulations of wood stoves: Passed 63 to 35 in the Assembly on June 9, 2015, and 19 to 13 in the Senate on March 15, 2016

To prohibit the state from issuing a state rule or enforcing a federal rule that applies a stricter emissions standard to residential wood stoves.

 

Sanctuary cities, lobbying ban, Obamacare, school choice, and employer red tape

 

Check out these key votes made by elected officials in Wisconsin during the most recent legislative session, and go to www.votespotter.com to signup and see how your elected officials voted on these and other issues that impact your daily life.

 

Assembly Bill 450 Prohibit “sanctuary cities”: Passed 62 to 35 in the Assembly on February 16, 2016

To ban local governments from enacting ordinances that prohibit police from inquiring about the immigration status of someone who is lawfully arrested or from cooperating with federal immigration enforcement efforts.

 

Amendment to Senate Bill 707, Ban former legislators from lobbying: Passed 19 to 13 in the Senate on February 16, 2016

To prohibit legislators from working as lobbyists within a year after leaving the legislature.

 

Assembly Bill 342, Require travel reimbursement by elected officials seeking national office: Failed 35 to 61 in the Assembly on January 12, 2016

To require that any state elected official who is pursuing the nomination of or election to a national office must reimburse the state for the amount of state funds used to pay for travel expenses related to this pursuit of office. This vote was to suspend the rules and withdraw this bill from committee in order for the Assembly to consider it.

 

Assembly Bill 160, Impose new rules on employers firing workers: Failed 35 to 61 in the Assembly on January 12, 2016

To mandate a variety of restrictions on employers seeking to fire employees. This bill would change Wisconsin from an “at will” employment state to one where employers are limited in the circumstances under which they can terminate employees. This vote was to suspend the rules and withdraw this bill from committee in order for the Assembly to consider it.

 

Assembly Bill 462, End school choice and expand Medicaid to comply with Obamacare: Failed 35 to 61 in the Assembly on January 12, 2016

To end the state’s parental choice program which provides funding for students to attend private school. The bill would also expand Medicaid to cover childless adults in order to comply with the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. This vote was to suspend the rules and withdraw this bill from committee in order for the Assembly to consider it.

 

Abortion ban, Christmas trees in the capitol, drug testing for unemployment & job training programs, right to work

 

Check out these key votes made by elected officials in Wisconsin during the most recent legislative session, and go to www.votespotter.com to signup and see how your elected officials voted on these and other issues that impact your daily life.

 

Senate Bill 179, Ban abortion after 20 weeks: Passed 19 to 14 in the Senate on June 9, 2015, and 61 to 34 in the Assembly on July 8, 2015

To prohibit abortion in cases where a doctor determines that 20 or more weeks have passed since fertilization, with exceptions for medical emergencies.

 

Senate Bill 44, Adopt a Wisconsin a "right to work" law: Passed 17 to 15 in the Senate on February 25, 2015, and 62 to 35 in the Assembly on March 5, 2016

To prohibit employers from requiring employees to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment.

 

Assembly Bill 192, Require unemployment insurance claimants to take drug tests: Passed 63 to 32 in the Assembly on May 13, 2015

To require drug testing of unemployment insurance claimants as a potential condition of receiving benefits.

 

Assembly Bill 191, Require drug testing for job training applicants: Passed 62 to 33 in the Assembly on May 13, 2015

To require applicants to government job training programs take a drug test and enter a treatment program if the results are positive. The treatment programs are provided by the state Department of Children and Families.

 

Assembly Bill 648, Allow Christmas trees in state capitol and churches: Passed 25 to 7 in the Senate on March 15, 2016

To prohibit a state agency or local government from enacting a fire safety ordinance that would ban placing a Christmas tree in the rotunda of the state capitol or in churches.

Restrictions on private property, concealed firearms, and taxpayer dollars for Milwaukee trolley

 

Check out these key votes made by elected officials in Wisconsin during the most recent legislative session, and go to www.votespotter.com to signup and see how your elected officials voted on these and other issues that impact your daily life.

 

Assembly Bill 568, Limit local government power to regulate homes: Passed 60 to 31 in the Assembly on February 11, 2016, and 19 to 13 in the Senate on February 16, 2016

This bill prohibits local governments from designating a house as a historic landmark without the owner’s consent, as well as limiting local government authority to impose restrictions on rental property. The bill also makes changes to the state’s rental law.

 

Assembly Bill 582, Limit local government authority to curtail property rights: Passed 56 to 39 in the Assembly on February 9, 2016, and 19 to 13 in the Senate on February 16, 2016

To put limits on local governments’ power to enact ordinances that would curtail property rights. Under this bill, local government units could not impose certain restrictions on the sale, purchase, development, or occupancy of property. Shoreland zoning restriction would also be limited.

 

Assembly Bill 75, Allow concealed carry permits for non-resident armed forces members: Passed 91 to 8 in the Assembly on June 9, 2015

To allow concealed carry permits for non-Wisconsin residents if they are stationed on military active duty in the state for at least one year, assuming they meet all other requirements.

 

Senate Bill 666, Reinstate government employee collective bargaining: Failed 13 to 19 in the Senate on February 16, 2016

To allow state and local government employees to collectively bargain for wages, hours, and conditions. This bill would overturn efforts led by Governor Walker that eliminated the ability to collectively bargain for many government employees. This vote was to suspend the rules and withdraw this bill from committee in order for the Senate to consider it.

 

Assembly Bill 562, Ban state funding for Milwaukee trolley: Passed 59 to 36 in the Assembly on February 18, 2016

To ban the state from incurring any expenses for building a trolley in the city of Milwaukee unless Milwaukee will fully reimburse the state for those expenses.

 

Restricting frac sand mining, complying with Obamacare, and providing taxpayer money for the Bucks

Check out these key votes made by elected officials in Wisconsin during the most recent legislative session, and go to www.votespotter.com to signup and see how your elected officials voted on these and other issues that impact your daily life.

 

AB 310, Deny family planning funding to abortion providers: Passed 60 to 35 in the Assembly on September 24, 2015, and of 19 to 14 in the Senate on January 20, 2016.

To redirect family planning funding to state, county, and local health departments and health clinics. This legislation bans funds from going to organizations that provide abortion services, make referrals for abortion services, or have affiliates that provide abortion services or make abortion referrals.

AB 150, Impose new restrictions on frac sand mining: Failed 36 to 60 in the Assembly on January 19, 2016.

To mandate that local zoning ordinances must restrict the operations of frac sand mining.

AB 12, Increase the minimum wage: Failed 35 to 61 in the Assembly on January 19, 2016.

To increase the minimum wage that employers must pay employees to $10.10 within two years after enactment for most employees. Certain groups of employees, such as tipped employees, would see their mandated minimum wage increase, too, although not to $10.10. This bill would also allow local governments to impose so-called “living wage” ordinances.

Assembly Bill 155 Create Obamacare insurance exchange: Failed 35 to 61 in the Assembly on January 12, 2016.

To establish the Badger Health Benefit Authority, a state-run health insurance exchange to comply with the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. To pay for its operation, the state would be authorized to charge a tax on insurance or on individuals using the exchange.

Senate Bill 209 Spend $400 million on new Milwaukee Bucks arena: Passed 21 to 10 in the Senate on July 15, 2015, and 52 to 34 in the Assembly on July 28, 2015.

To authorize spending $400 million on an arena for the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team

A Republican Poverty Plan

There has been a lot of talk about poverty during this election season. In a USA Today op-ed, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson explain what they would like to see happen with federal policy aimed at moving people out of poverty.

 

In their op-ed, Ryan and Johnson discuss a Wisconsin program that connects low-income workers with good jobs. They point to it as a model of how initiatives focused on individualized results can do more to move people out of poverty than government programs.

 

According to Johnson and Ryan, “Each year, it spends nearly $800 billion on more than 90 different programs to fight poverty, with almost no coordination or any consideration of an individual’s needs. It should be no surprise that upward mobility is no better now than when we started the War on Poverty in 1964. But it should be a scandal that today, if you were raised poor, you’re just as likely to stay poor as you were 50 years ago.”

 

What do they propose instead? “What the federal government should do is direct resources to communities, let them try different ideas, then hold people accountable for results.”

 

This op-ed echoes many of the themes found in the anti-poverty plan released by Speaker Ryan in June. In it, he laid out reforms he would like to see the federal government undertake, such as:

  • Expecting adults who are able to work to seek employment
  • Removing incentives that keep people from finding work
  • Measure the results of anti-poverty initiatives
  • Focus resources on the most needy

 

Not everyone thinks this approach is a good idea, however. The Washington Post editorial board, for instance, criticized Rep. Ryan’s plan, saying, “The program offers no real sense of how states might work through a series of thorny issues in practice: How to design a welfare system that phases out as income grows but does not discourage people from seeking higher wages, for example.”

 

Others, such as Timothy Smeeding, an economics professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, dismiss the plan for being little more than rhetoric. “I don’t see anything here,” he asserts. “I see some broad generalities.”

 

What do you think of the anti-poverty agenda being put forth by Speaker Ryan and Senator Johnson?

 

The End of “Minimum Markup” in Wisconsin?

A Wisconsin law that mandates higher prices may be on its last legs.

At least, that’s what the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty hopes. They have filed suit to overturn the Unfair Sales Law, perhaps better known as the “minimum markup” law.

What does this law do? According to the MacIver Institute:

“The law requires that alcohol, tobacco, and motor fuel are marked up 3 percent at the wholesale level, 6 percent at the retail level for alcohol and tobacco, and 9.18 percent at the retail level for motor fuel. It also forbids retailers from selling most other products below cost.”

In essence, this law forbids businesses from selling certain products at prices lower than what the state thinks is proper.

Proponents of the law claim that it helps small businesses fight off competition from bigger companies. Larger businesses, in their view, can offer discounts that their smaller competitors cannot, so the law is needed to ward off “unfair competition.”

Opponents of the law say that it hurts consumers, who are unable to benefit from lower prices that businesses may otherwise be willing to offer. The law, in their view, artificially drives up prices and protects entrenched businesses from competition.

Two bills that would have repealed this law, SB 371 and AB 452, failed to pass the legislature this year.

What do you think? Do small businesses need the state to protect them from price competition? Or should businesses be free to offer products at prices below a state-mandated minimum?

Gov. Scott Walker at odds with Assembly Republicans over how to fix road funding shortfall

In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker is standing firm against raising the gas tax without cutting taxes elsewhere. Some legislators are pushing to increase the gas tax to fund already-scheduled projects. Do you support a higher gas tax if there are no offsetting cuts in other taxes?

http://fox6now.com/2016/06/28/gov-scott-walker-at-odds-with-top-republicans-over-how-to-fix-road-funding-shortfall/

Mark Pocan, Gwen Moore, Tammy Baldwin participate in Congress gun control sit-in

Sen. Tammy Baldwin and other members of the Wisconsin congressional delegation joined the gun control “sit in” on the House floor recently. Do you support more restrictions on gun ownership? Do you think this kind of event is a good way to bring attention to an issue?

http://host.madison.com/ct/news/local/govt-and-politics/election-matters/mark-pocan-gwen-moore-tammy-baldwin-participate-in-congress-gun/article_1b0c55a2-8cc7-57e6-8849-cf865977c1c4.html

Robert Doar: Paul Ryan's anti-poverty ideas an excellent start

House Speaker Paul Ryan has outlined ways that he would like to reform U.S. anti-poverty efforts. His focus is on re-orienting poverty programs to encourage and support work. Do you think these types of proposals are the way to reduce poverty? Or is there a better way to help low-income Americans?

http://host.madison.com/wsj/opinion/column/robert-doar-paul-ryan-s-anti-poverty-ideas-an-excellent/article_5a4c5925-ee64-5ca0-9761-571ba25aa5c0.html

 

No More 'Job for Life'

Some faculty at Wisconsin universities are upset that Ray Cross, president of the University of Wisconsin Systems, said that tenure was “not a guarantor of ‘a job for life.’” Do you think that tenure for college professors is necessary? Or should professors be treated more like employees in other professions?

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/05/11/wisconsin-governor-and-university-system-president-anger-professors-comments-tenure

Wisconsin To Drug Test People For Unemployment Benefits

A new Wisconsin law will allow the use of drug testing for unemployment benefits. Drug testing for government programs has been tried in other states with mixed results. Do you think it is a good idea to require drug tests for unemployment insurance or food stamps? Or is this type of program too costly with too few benefits?

http://www.opposingviews.com/i/society/wisconsin-drug-test-people-unemployment-benefits

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