Capitol Notes

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A standoff persists between Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul and Republican members of the Joint Finance committee. Kaul said last week he would not join a multi-state settlement with OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma for its role in the nation's deadly opioid epidemic. He says he'll continue to pursue Wisconsin's case against the company, which is now filing for bankruptcy.

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Longtime Wisconsin Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner says he won't seek reelection in 2020.  He's been serving in the U.S. House of Representatives for about 40 years and says it's time to pass the torch to somebody else.  

Maayan Silver

Republican Congressman Sean Duffy announced last week that he is stepping down from the job. Duffy represents northern Wisconsin and says his last day will be Sept. 23. He says he wants to spend more time with his family, especially since discovering his baby will be born next month with a heart condition.

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Democratic Gov. Tony Evers doubled down on talk of gun control last week. He called Republican concerns over bills that he is pushing "BS," and said he may call the Legislature into special session to take up the measures.

One measure Evers is thinking about proposing would require universal background checks on gun purchases in Wisconsin, and the other would establish a so-called red flag law.  

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Mass shootings in Texas and Ohio drew a response again last week at the Wisconsin State Capitol. Gov. Tony Evers and Democratic lawmakers introduced a bill requiring universal background checks for most gun purchases. 

Republicans who control the Legislature have repeatedly opposed such calls. Could this case be any different? WUWM's Marti Mikkelson asked JR Ross in this week's Capitol Notes conversation.

maayan silver

Talk of gun control surfaced in the State Capitol last week after mass shootings occurred in Texas and Ohio. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers called on the Republican-controlled Legislature to pass a bill that would require universal background checks for gun purchases. He also called for a "red flag" law to make it easier to remove guns from people believed to be a danger to themselves or others.  

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Some Republican state lawmakers are suing Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul, saying he's not complying with laws passed during a lame-duck session late last year. The laws were designed to limit Kaul's powers, along with those of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers. The GOP has asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to take the case directly, bypassing the lower courts.  

In this week's Capitol Notes conversation, JR Ross of wispolitics.com tells WUWM's Marti Mikkelson that both sides are commenting on the case.

ALTHOUSE

A couple of Wisconsin politicians weighed in on President Donald Trump’s administration last week, taking starkly different stances on the Republican president’s performance.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers blasted Trump over immigration policy, while GOP Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner defended Trump on the Mueller investigation.

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Former Republican Gov. Scott Walker has accepted a full time job, running a national conservative youth organization. He begins the job in 2021, and says he won't run for office in 2022. He had been considering a run for governor or U.S. Senate.  

So, which prominent Republicans might be interested in challenging Democrat Tony Evers?  WUWM's Marti Mikkelson asked JR Ross of wispolitics.com in this week's Capitol Notes conversation.

Maayan Silver

Wisconsin saw a whirlwind of political activity last week, and it was all focused on Milwaukee. President Trump visited Derco Aerospace on the city's northwest side, and urged support of his U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. He also attended a fundraiser.

At the same time, the Latino civil rights group LULAC sponsored a town hall in downtown Milwaukee that featured several Democratic presidential candidates. Members of LULAC marched through the streets of downtown Milwaukee during the president's visit.  

ALTHOUSE

After a months-long, bruising fight over the state budget, Gov. Tony Evers signed the document last week.

Republicans who control the Legislature are declaring victory because of the mark they put on the Democratic governor’s spending plan. They stripped his major policy proposals and made other big changes.

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The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week that it's not the place of the federal courts to decide whether states use gerrymandering practices to redraw political district boundaries every 10 years. Because of the ruling, involving two other states, it looks like Wisconsin's redistricting trial this month will be canceled. A handful of Democratic voters sued in 2015, alleging the boundaries that Republicans drew in 2011 unfairly diluted their vote.  

In this week's Capitol Notes, WUWM's Marti MIkkelson asked JR Ross, of wispolitics.com, what happens next.

The Wisconsin Joint Finance Committee's version of the state budget is scheduled to go to the Republican-controlled Legislature this week. The plan would cut taxes by more than $300 million over two years, while raising title and vehicle registration fees to help pay for roads.  

The state Assembly is expected to approve the budget on Tuesday. But it could run into trouble in the Senate, which Republicans control by five seats. Two GOP senators say they'll vote against it and if a third flips, the budget could die in the Senate.  

The Joint Finance committee wrapped up its work on Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' proposed budget last week. The panel finished by approving $500 million in tax cuts. It's expected to go to the floor of the Legislature next week. 

In this week's Capitol Notes conversation, WUWM's Marti Mikkelson asked JR Ross of wispolitics.com whether the document will sail through both Republican-controlled houses.

The Republican-controlled Joint Finance committee last week approved a funding plan to fix the roads in Wisconsin. Lawmakers removed Gov. Evers' proposal for a hike in the gas tax, and instead voted for increases in title and registration fees.

In this week's Capitol Notes conversation, WUWM's Marti Mikkelson asked JR Ross of wispolitics.com why the GOP decided to go that route.

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