Capitol Update

State Capitol, Madison, Wisconsin

November 10, 2017

MADISON, Wis. – Fall might have abruptly given way to a winter chill in Wisconsin, but things heated up again this week as the Legislature held its last floor sessions and Gov. Scott Walker finally sealed the deal with Foxconn.

State officials rolled out the much-awaited details of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.’s contract with electronics manufacturing giant Foxconn Technology Group on Wednesday. The contract includes a variety of taxpayer protections, including clawback provisions that are personally guaranteed by Foxconn founder and CEO Terry Gou.

The jobs agency’s board voted to approve the contract Wednesday afternoon, with the only two no votes coming from Sen. Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) and Rep. Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire), who is running for governor. The vote set up a Friday contract signing event between Walker and Gou.

Back at the State Capitol, legislative leaders shepherded through a handful of important bills as the Legislature concluded its 2017 calendar. Conservatives around the state celebrated Tuesday as the Senate passed a bill by Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) and Rep. Rob Hutton (R-Brookfield) lifting the state’s 20-year moratorium on nonferrous metallic mining.

The Senate also approved a bill by Sen. Dave Craig (R-Town of Vernon) requiring state agencies to build budgets starting at zero.

Also in its last floor days of 2017, the Assembly passed some important bills. But first, Speaker Robin Vos on Tuesday took the time to talk about his goals for comprehensive tax reform in 2018.

On Tuesday, Rep. Adam Jarchow (R-Balsam Lake) talked with reporters about bills he authored to strengthen property owners’ rights. He described one bill that overrides the infamous Murr vs. St. Croix County case, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Murr family couldn’t split their property and sell half of it. The Assembly approved the legislation, sending it to Walker’s desk.

Later in the week, the Assembly on Thursday approved a bill by Hutton that sets a minimum ratio of apprentices to journeymen on a job, opening the pipeline for more workers in the skilled trades. The bill passed the Assembly on Thursday night.

In Washington, tax reform remained a hot topic – along with Donna Brazile’s revelations about corruption in the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC. MacIver asked its Twitter followers what they think of the GOP tax reform proposal – the results indicate there might be more work to do.