— The demise of legislation to overhaul siting rules for large livestock operations came down to a matter of using an “or” rather than an “and.”
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, pulled the bill from Wednesday’s calendar, later telling reporters there were concerns on how much control local governments would retain over siting decisions.
A more complete picture of what happened has developed since then.
In a Friday communication to members, the Dairy Business Association pointed the finger at the Wisconsin Dairy Alliance for the deal falling apart, saying the group “changed its position after the agreement was made.” The DBA, a nonprofit organization of farmers, milk processors and business partners, charged the alliance also began actively trying to undermine the deal by trying to “amend the bill without telling any of the other stakeholders.”
The alliance, meanwhile, acknowledged supporting the bill when it came out of committee. But the group, which only represents large animal operations known as CAFOs, said it continued to wrestle with the use of “or” rather than “and” in one section and decided it couldn’t support final passage.
“This one-word change was exposed for what it was — a very clear way to stop farms from expanding via local zoning without requiring any finding that state standards are inadequate,” the group said.
Regulations for siting or expanding large animal operations have become a contentious topic, and efforts by the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to revise them played a role in the Senate’s fall vote to reject Gov. Tony Evers’ appointment of Brad Pfaff as DATCP secretary. Earlier this month, Sen. Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green, and Rep. Travis Tranel, R-Cuba City, introduced SB 808/AB 894 to revamp the rules process for permitting livestock operations.
— A new report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum draws a connection between increasing employment in the Milwaukee area and rising motor vehicle deaths.
The report shows that African Americans in the state have experienced much higher fatality rates from motor vehicle crashes than other groups. From 2001 to 2018, the car crash death rate increased 74 percent for African Americans in Wisconsin while decreasing 36 percent for white Wisconsinites and 17 percent for Hispanics in the state.
“While a great deal of attention has focused on the perceived increase in reckless driving in the city, other factors are also worth considering,” report authors wrote.
They acknowledge this trend as “a complicated phenomenon” they can’t fully explain. But they attribute part of the increase to African Americans in the state gaining employment at a higher rate than white Wisconsinites.
Between 2013 and 2018, motor vehicle fatalities nearly doubled in Milwaukee while they increased only slightly for the rest of the state.
Over that same period, the number of deaths from vehicle crashes more than doubled on an age-adjusted basis for African Americans in the state. Meanwhile, deaths from these accidents decreased slightly for white residents.
On a slightly longer timeline — 2011 to 2018 — African Americans in the state had a 15 percent shift from unemployment to employment. That was more than triple the rate for white Wisconsinites, and much higher than the national rate for African Americans of 9 percent.
Report authors found a much larger increase in African Americans driving alone to work than for other groups during that period, suggesting “there may have been a larger percentage increase in the number of miles driven by African-Americans in Wisconsin.”
Their results align with previous research showing motor vehicle deaths generally decline during economic downturns and increase during expansions.
“Reasons for this are debated, but possible causes include factors such as more workers being employed and driving more while commuting to work, and an increased volume of large truck traffic,” report authors said.
Another potential factor identified in the report was declining public transit ridership, which fell nearly 40 percent in Milwaukee County between 2008 and 2018 compared to 6 percent nationally. Public transit has been shown to be much safer than other forms of transportation.
— The Milwaukee 2020 Host Committee has launched a vendor search portal for the upcoming Democratic National Convention.
More than 1,100 companies are already in the directory, offering event management, food services, music and other entertainment, transportation and more.
Vendors can apply to be included in the directory through a form on the host committee’s website.
Meanwhile, the Democratic National Convention Committee has unveiled the official branding and logo for DNC 2020.
See more on the vendor platform: http://www.milwaukee2020.com/vendor-sign-up
See branding details: http://d20.demconvention.com/
See more in Top Stories below.
— Democratic lawmakers have authored a package of bills that would require certain health insurance policies to cover the cost of specific maternity and newborn medical care.
This Pregnancy Protection Package was recently circulated for co-sponsorship by Reps. Robyn Vining, Sheila Stubbs, Debra Kolste, Daniel Riemer, Lisa Subeck, Jimmy Anderson, Chris Taylor and JoCasta Zamarripa. The co-sponsorship list was submitted yesterday and the legislation is in the process of being introduced.
Under their bills, maternity and newborn care would be classified as an essential health benefit, and would be included in disability insurance policies as well as governmental self-insured health plans. The bills also specify a list of requirements for the commissioner of insurance to follow when determining benefit specifics, including limits on cost-sharing.
Maternity and newborn care coverage can help women and their children avoid complications including infections, gestational diabetes and much more, the lawmakers argue.
In their memo, the Dems note that maternal mortality rates are five times higher for African American women in Wisconsin than other groups, compared to up to three times higher nationally.
“It is considered more dangerous today for a woman in her 30’s to have a baby than it was for her mother,” they wrote in the memo. “We are trending in the wrong direction, and we need to turn it around.”
See the memo: http://bit.ly/3c64aAM
— GOP lawmakers have introduced legislation to regulate dentists’ use of telehealth technology.
A provision to extend proposed telehealth dentistry regulations to out-of-state dentists was removed from the draft legislation.
According to a co-sponsorship memo from Rep. Amy Loudenbeck, R-Clinton, and Sen. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield, state law has no provisions related to “teledentistry.” Under their proposed legislation, dentists would be held to a set of standards for the technology established by the state’s Dentistry Examining Board.
Under the bill, telehealth would include any remote method of delivering dental care, through audio, video or data communications. That can include interactive telehealth — such as a video chat — as well as asynchronous telehealth, in which the video messages are sent one after another. It would also include remote patient monitoring for dentistry purposes.
See the co-sponsorship memo: http://bit.ly/2VjkXug
# Official logo, branding unveiled for 2020 DNC
# Packers ‘aggressively committed’ to bringing NFL draft to Green Bay
# Why Haribo delayed construction on its North American gummi bear plant
# Former coal-fired plant turned into Powerhouse student center at Beloit College
– Rock County tops state in corn production, Rock Co. in soybeans
– Wisconsin total farm numbers rose in 2019
– Mandel to develop apartments at Sisters of Notre Dame Elm Grove campus
– DNC host committee launches vendor search portal
– DNC Host Committee launches vendor-search portal
– MSOE plans expansion of nursing school building, programs
– DNR: 2 trillion gallons of water pumped in Wisconsin during ’18
# HEALTH CARE
– Addiction treatment center operator buys former Greenfield hospital building
– Froedtert & Medical College change location for Oak Creek micro hospital
– MSOE, Rodgers Behavioral Health partner to address mental health care shortage
– Democratic National Convention unveils official logo, color scheme with nods to Wisconsin
– What’s dead, what’s likely to become law in Wisconsin
– Dead or alive? Which bills are in limbo as the Wisconsin legislative session draws to a close?
# REAL ESTATE
– Cobalt Partners adding event venue to Allis Yards development
– Mandel to buy, redevelop School Sisters of Notre Dame’s Elm Grove campus
– Indoor sports complex proposed in Oak Creek
– Indoor sports center proposed near I-94 in Oak Creek
– Trucking company closing Pewaukee terminal
– Report: Within 5 years, African American auto deaths double in Wisconsin
# PRESS RELEASES
<i>See these and other press releases: