Capitol Notes

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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.  

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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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Thousands of Democrats descended on Milwaukee over the weekend for the party's annual state convention. Many top Democrats spoke, including Gov. Tony Evers and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin. The recurring theme for the weekend was the party's desire to defeat Republican President Donald Trump in 2020.

So, how confident are delegates that this will be achieved? WUWM's Marti Mikkelson asked JR Ross that question for this week's Capitol Notes conversation.

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The Republican-controlled Joint Finance committee last week continued its work on Gov. Tony Evers' budget proposal. It voted to increase funding for public schools by $500 million, rejecting Evers' request for $1.5 billion.  

Republicans say $500 million is the most the state can afford, while Evers hopes to work with the GOP to get more money. In this week's Capitol Notes conversation, WUWM's Marti Mikkelson asks JR Ross, of wispolitics.com, if he thinks Evers will get a better deal.

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State Republicans held their annual convention this past weekend in Oshkosh, WI. Party members and leaders used the event to look at what went wrong for the GOP in the fall of 2018 — and to better position the party for the 2020 elections.

While Republicans maintained the majority in the state Legislature in the fall elections, the party's candidates lost in all statewide races.

JR Ross of Wispolitics.com says presenters at the convention talked about how GOP candidates suffered last fall by drifting from the grassroots.

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Republicans on the Joint Finance committee last week stripped many of Gov. Tony Evers' policy items out of his proposed budget. Evers campaigned on many of these issues, including expanding Medicaid, as well as legalizing medical marijuana and decriminalizing small amounts. Republicans also rejected Evers' plan to borrow up to $40 million to replace lead pipes, mostly in Milwaukee.

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Gov. Tony Evers last week sought to clarify some comments he made about Foxconn. He said he wanted to renegotiate the state's contract with the Taiwanese company because it's "unrealistic" to think it will create 13,000 jobs at the LCD screen plant it's building in Racine County — especially given the reduced size of the project. Republican Legislative leaders blasted Evers, accusing him of trying to undermine the deal. 

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Gov. Tony Evers announced last week that he wants to renegotiate the state's contract with Foxconn.  He says it's "unrealistic" to think the Taiwanese company will employ 13,000 people at the LCD screen manufacturing plant in Racine County, especially given that the size of the facility has been reduced.  

In this week's "Capitol Notes" conversation, WUWM's Marti Mikkelson asked JR Ross of wispolitics.com, if Evers' announcement took him by surprise, and what a revision of the contract with Foxconn would look like.

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The results of the state Supreme Court race were finalized last week when Appeals Judge Lisa Neubauer, who was backed by Democrats, conceded to conservative Appeals Judge Brian Hagedorn. The court currently leans 4-3 conservative. When Hagedorn takes office in August, the gap will increase to 5-2 conservative.  

In this week's Capitol Notes conversation, JR Ross of wispolitics.com, tells WUWM's Marti Mikkelson that the wider gap could bode well for Republicans who control the Legislature.

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The Wisconsin Supreme Court election made headlines last week, with a race too close to call. According to unofficial totals, about 6,000 votes separate Appeals Court Judge Brian Hagedorn, who's backed by conservatives, and Appeals Court Judge Lisa Neubauer, who's backed by liberals. The margin between the candidates is half a percentage point.  

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