Capitol Notes

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said last week he gives Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' plan to legalize marijuana, and decriminalize small amounts, a 10 percent chance of passing the Republican-controlled Legislature. Vos called the proposal a "very difficult sell" because it would decriminalize recreational marijuana. 


The Republican-controlled Legislature passed a middle class tax cut last week. It includes using a surplus to pay for the cut. Now, the ball is in Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' court. He also is pushing for a tax cut — but to pay for it, he wants to virtually eliminate a manufacturing tax credit. There's been talk that Evers will veto the GOP tax plan, and unveil his own, in his budget address later this month.  

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The Republican-controlled legislature is moving ahead with its plan for a middle class income tax cut.  A bill passed out of committee last week and is scheduled for floor debate Tuesday and Wednesday.  Lawmakers want to use a surplus to pay for the tax cut, while Gov. Tony Evers is pushing a plan to eliminate a tax credit for manufacturers.

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There was a lot of drama last week involving Foxconn.  The Taiwanese electronics giant said it would shift the focus of the huge plant it's building in Racine County from manufacturing LCD screens -- to research and development.  But, after a conversation between President Trump and Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou, the company announced that LCD screen manufacturing at the plant is back on.

Gov. Tony Evers raised eyebrows last week when he announced in his first State of the State address that he was directing Attorney General Josh Kaul to withdraw Wisconsin from a federal lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act. 


New Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, is locking horns with Republicans in the state Legislature. In the last week, Evers rejected GOP plans for a middle class tax cut, and to guarantee health coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Republicans said they'd stand in Evers' way if he tries to expand Medicaid coverage.

New Gov. Tony Evers got some help last week when a coalition of liberal-leaning groups filed a lawsuit which, if successful, would benefit him. 

The suit seeks to overturn the laws Republican lawmakers approved last month that limit the Democratic governor's powers. 

The suit argues that GOP lawmakers illegally convened the lame duck session according to a joint rule, which doesn't have the force of law. 


Today is Inauguration Day in Wisconsin, and Tony Evers will be sworn-in as governor.  The Democrat defeated Republican Incumbent Scott Walker last November. 

Evers' term could be marked by gridlock as he battles a Republican-led legislature, which has already taken steps to limit his power.

For this week's "Capitol Notes," WUWM's Marti Mikkelson asked JR Ross of, about the other challenges Evers will face in the first few months of his tenure.

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In this New Year's edition of "Capitol Notes," we look ahead to the stories that'll likely top the headlines in 2019. It begins with the Jan. 7 inauguration of Democrat Tony Evers as Wisconsin governor. Evers narrowly defeated Republican Scott Walker in the November midterm election.  

Evers campaigned on promises to expand Medicaid, cut the prison population in half and pour an additional $1.4 billion in the public schools. But, Evers will likely run into roadblocks, trying to get the initiatives through the Republican-controlled legislature.

For our "Capitol Notes" conversation today, we're going to examine the year in politics. Probably the biggest story of 2018 — Republican Gov. Scott Walker narrowly lost his bid for a third term to Democratic challenger Tony Evers.  

For eight years, Walker and the Republican legislature had free reign to enact major policy changes, such as Act 10, Voter ID and concealed carry. Walker survived a recall attempt over Act 10 and then easily won a second term in 2014. But this time, voters wanted a change.

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Often, political news slows as the holidays approach. But that hasn't been the case this year. Democratic Governor-Elect Tony Evers has been busy announcing his first cabinet picks. Republican legislative leaders have been busy responding to the announcements. In this week's Capitol Notes, JR Ross of talks about the latest developments.

Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed the lame-duck bills into law late last week. The measures weaken the powers of Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers. In addition, the legislation limits early voting to no more than two weeks before an election. Attorneys for a coalition of liberal groups asked a federal judge Monday to block the early voting restrictions.  

Walker signed the measures without issuing any vetoes. In this week's "Capitol Notes," WUWM's Marti Mikkelson asked JR Ross of why Walker left the legislation intact.

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The legislative lame duck session dominated the news last week. The Republican-controlled legislature passed a sweeping package of bills designed to weaken the powers of Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers and incoming Attorney General Josh Kaul. 

Now, many eyes are on Republican Gov. Walker to see if he'll sign the measures. Walker is being pressured by people on both sides of the aisle, not to sign the legislation and to think about his legacy.


Republicans who control the Wisconsin Legislature released plans late Friday for bills they’ll take up the first week of December. Lawmakers are going into session to consider limiting the power of Democratic Governor-elect Tony Evers and Democratic Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul.

JR Ross of weighs in on the measures for this week’s Capitol Notes. He says if the proposals are approved, the changes would be a very big deal.


Last week saw more fallout from the Nov. 6 election.  Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel decided not to seek a recount in the race that he narrowly lost, to Democratic challenger Josh Kaul.  The next day, outgoing Gov. Scott Walker appointed Schimel to the post of Waukesha County Circuit Judge.  Some legislative Democrats decried the move, calling it "backscratching."

In this week's "Capitol Notes" conversation, WUWM's Marti Mikkelson asked JR Ross of, what he thought of the optics surrounding the appointment.