WED AM News: Neylon touting GOP proposal to use VW settlement funds for charging stations; Hogan to leave WEDC Sept. 3

— Rep. Adam Neylon is touting a Republican proposal to use Volkswagen settlement funds to place electric vehicle charging stations along major driving routes in the state. 

At a recent event held by the Customers First Coalition in Madison, the Pewaukee Republican emphasized the potential for finding middle ground with colleagues. He was joined by Rep. Amanda Stuck, D-Appleton, a fellow member of the Energy and Utilities Committee and the Legislature’s Future Caucus. 

“There is this middle ground that we can find, and we can say you know what, we don’t have to lose on this issue,” Neylon said yesterday. “This can be a bipartisan issue… because everyone can benefit.” 

He detailed the GOP effort to take $10 million of the VW settlement allotted to Wisconsin after the car manufacturer violated the Clean Air Act and invest it in electric vehicle charging stations across the state. 

The plan proposes putting those funds into a grant program that private companies could then bid on, creating a public-private partnership he says would appeal to both Republicans and Democrats. 

Neylon focused on the economic development opportunity as well as reducing the burden on taxpayers, saying the plan checks “some key boxes” for Republicans. He stressed the cost of repairs and replacements would fall on the private companies, rather than taxpayers, as they would own the charging stations. 

To appease the Dems, he said the plan would be good for the environment, as it would incentivize the use of cleaner electric vehicles. 

“It’s going to grow this economy in terms of renewable energy,” he said. 

Stuck didn’t comment specifically on the plan to use the VW funds for charging stations but said energy and technology are topics for which lawmakers can reach across the aisle and find areas where they agree. 

“There is so much interest,” she said. “No matter where you come from on this topic, it impacts you, it’s important to you somehow — whether you care about the environment, or about jobs.” 

See more: 

— WEDC Secretary and CEO Mark Hogan will formally step down from the job Sept. 3, telling Gov. Tony Evers in a letter serving in the role has been “one of the great privileges of my life.” 

Hogan’s departure will come shortly after Evers regains the power to appoint the agency head. Republicans during the December lame-duck session approved a provision giving that power temporarily to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. Board and adding more GOP appointees to the body in a move that was seen as an effort to protect Hogan from being replaced in the early days of the Evers administration. 

In his letter, Hogan wrote that some thought his relationship with Evers couldn’t work or “simply did not want it to work.” But he praised the support he’s received from Evers Chief of Staff Maggie Gau and DOA Secretary Joel Brennan. 

“I appreciate the trust you have shown me over the past eight months to lead WEDC in a way consistent with my basic belief of trying to do the right thing for the right reason,” Hogan wrote. 

Hogan also noted in his letter that he was first appointed to the position by then-Gov. Scott Walker on Sept. 3, 2015, making his tenure with the agency precisely four years. 

He first announced this summer that he planned to leave the job sometime this fall, but hadn’t previously specified a date. Walker tapped him to lead WEDC after the agency struggled in its early years after replacing the old Commerce Department amid stories about questionable loan practices and other troubles. 

Hogan testified last week before the Joint Legislative Audit Committee on the most recent review of the agency’s practices, touting what he said are successes in addressing recommendations state auditors have made in recent years. 

Meanwhile, multiple sources tell that the Evers administration has begun interviewing candidates to replace Hogan. The guv’s office declined comment. 

Read the letter:

— A bipartisan group of lawmakers is circulating legislation for co-sponsorship that would raise the Medicaid reimbursement rate for home health care visits. 

Providers of in-home health care in the state haven’t gotten a Medicaid reimbursement rate increase in more than a decade, the memo shows. The 2019-21 biennial budget boosts reimbursements for personal care and direct care workers, but those increases don’t affect rates for nursing staff involved in home health care. 

This kind of care is available for patients managing a chronic condition, as well as those recovering from an injury or sickness, or individuals with a terminal illness. It’s facilitated by nurses or other care providers at the direction of a physician. 

In their co-sponsorship memo, the lawmakers note that home health agencies saved $378 million in a nine-state pilot study by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services by reducing hospitalizations. 

In Wisconsin, these home care providers struggle to keep workers, often due to higher compensation in other sectors of the health care industry, according to the memo. It shows providers are reimbursed at $85.54 per visit by Medicaid. The new bill would increase that rate by 10 percent, making it $94.09 per visit. 

The bill would require the state Department of Health Services to increase the reimbursement rates for home health care services provided under the state’s Medical Assistance program in the first year of the 2019-2021 fiscal biennium, and maintain that funding level in the second year of that period. 

It’s being circulated by Reps. Rob Brooks, R-Saukville; Rob Summerfield, R-Bloomer; and Debra Kolste, D-Janesville; as well as Sens. Luther Olsen, R-Ripon; and Tim Carpenter, D-Milwaukee. The sponsorship deadline is Thursday, Aug. 29. 

See the co-sponsorship memo: 

— Gov. Tony Evers has directed DNR to begin amending three administrative codes to create enforceable chemical contamination water standards. 

Yesterday’s directive marks the second time in less than a week that the guv has called on his administration to address toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, more commonly known as PFAS. 

Evers on Friday signed an executive order requiring DNR to work with DHS and DATCP to expand PFAS screening and monitoring programs, develop regulatory standards, establish a public information website and create a PFAS Coordinating Council, among other things. 

See the release: 

— A Mount Horeb business called American Provenance has won the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce’s Pressure Chamber competition, which challenges startup leaders to pitch in front of a live audience and a panel of judges. 

American Provenance produces handcrafted personal care and wellness products, including hair pomade, deodorant and beard balms. The company was founded by Kyle Lafond, a former middle school science teacher and launched on his fourth-generation family farm in the Blue Mounds Township. 

Lafond expanded his company in August 2018, shifting production and other operations to a nearby second facility. It’s powered completely by solar energy, according to the company’s website. 

The chamber also announced the finalists for the Most Innovative Company award, which were selected by attendees of yesterday’s neXXpo exposition event. The seven selected companies will pitch Nov. 13 for the chamber’s nex7 Stage event at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, where attendees will select a final winner. 

Finalists for the MIC Award are: BCycle, Carepool, Curate, Lev Apparel, Pasure & Plenty, PAWS by O-no, and Promega Corporation. 

See more on American Provenance: 

See more on the MIC Awards: 

Listen to a recent podcast with Curate co-founder Taralinda Willis: 

Listen to an earlier podcast with Karen Orr, founder of PAWS by O-no: 

— Disruption — one ingredient for successful startups — also is needed for the venture capital world to be more inclusive of women and people of color, according to a panel discussion at the Forward Technology Conference held this week in Madison. 

“The current rules (of fundraising) are based on a legacy,” Valor Ventures Founding Partner Lisa Calhoun said. “We need to question the bars that exist: What would the right standards look like?”

The panelists all described venture firms as predominantly run by white males, which can make it difficult for entrepreneurs who are not white or male to raise money.

“Fundraising as a person of color or as a woman is horrible,” BlocPower Founder and CEO Donnel Baird said. 

Sahay Consulting President Archna Sahay agreed, adding: “The infrastructure of success in any major industry (including venture capital) is set up for a particular demographic.”

Minority and female entrepreneurs must figure out the archetype that VCs are seeking and “figure out how to disrupt that,” Baird said.

For VCs, they “must be present in the community” and “fill in the (funding) gaps” with women and people of color, Calhoun said.

See more at Madison Startups: 


# Outgoing WEDC CEO Hogan proud of tenure, optimistic about agency’s future: Q&A

# Judy Faulkner reflects on what a long, strange trip it’s been for Epic Systems Corp.

# Wisconsin’s rural broadband access gets $160M boost from FCC

# We Energies agrees to lower rate hike, forgo some profit on shuttered coal plant



– Nearly perfect week for Wisconsin field progress

– Gill promoted as manager for Equity’s Monroe Market


– Wells Fargo awards $500,000 grant to WWBIC


– Howard Snyder to step down from Northwest Side CDC


– Evers: Feds OK disaster declaration for Wisconsin storms


– Lutheran Social Services unveils plans for addiction treatment center in Waukesha

– H. Fisk Johnson: Stop confusing SC Johnson with Johnson & Johnson

– Waukesha Memorial sets price increase, $12M remodeling project

– Hospital guest home Kathy’s House hoping to expand as demand increases


– Douglas Dynamics to expand onto recently acquired site on city’s northwest side


– Kathy’s House launches $12 million capital campaign for new guest house


– Another developer tries to launch project at long-vacant Harbor District riverfront site

– 11-story, $41 million riverside apartment building floated in Walker’s Point


– Elk tests positive for CWD in Burnett County

– Wisconsin bill would set age at 21 to buy tobacco, nicotine


– Milwaukee furniture store Elements East to close after 20 years

– Chicago-based company replaces Forrer as area Steelcase dealer


– Naming rights for Franklin ballpark at center of Routine Baseball lawsuit


– Photos: ‘Summer of ’79’ is theme of Epic Systems’ user group meeting


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