Scott Walker budget bill is rife with non-fiscal policy items

Jennifer Shilling

Some of Walker’s proposals appear to be policy changes with little or no fiscal impact. Wisconsin governors and lawmakers from both parties have often injected these into the budget. Walker, as a candidate for governor in 2010, made an unequivocal pledge to “strip policy and pork projects from the state budget.” By his first budget, this promise was labeled “broken.”
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Your Right to Know: Don’t let the UW hide research records

This blanket exemption would spare the UW from needing a good reason to deny access to these records, as current law requires. Instead, universities could categorically spurn inquiries from citizens, media and even lawmakers looking into controversial research, potential threats to public safety, conflicts of interest or how tax dollars are spent.
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State workers punished after curbing non-union elevator shop

Cheryl and Scott Peterson in an elevator service room in Jackson, Wis., on Jan. 29, 2015. Cheryl Peterson’s complaint to the state that her company was being unfairly targeted led to a probe that nullified a restriction on Scott Peterson’s ability to service elevators, and to disciplinary action against the state workers who imposed it.

The employees said they acted to protect public safety in restricting the contractor’s ability to service a particular elevator model. But the state Department of Safety and Professional Services, responding to complaints filed with an office created by Gov. Scott Walker to assist small businesses, accused the employees of violating workplace rules and nullified this restriction. Continue Reading

Gov. Scott Walker noncommittal on right-to-work, firm on no pardons

Gov. Scott Walker

And on a presidential run: “I don’t think people should just run particularly for office as high as that because it’s the next logical step or it’s part of adding a career, in this case in politics,” Walker said in an end-of-year interview. “I think it’s something you should feel like you’re actually called, that there’s a purpose, there’s a reason for doing it.”

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Family planning clinics say state audits could force many to close

State auditors say two family planning clinics overbilled Medicaid for $3.5 million, largely for birth control; the providers say the state is using the wrong reimbursement rate. Now Republican legislators are seeking an audit of all such clinics in Wisconsin.

Two family planning clinics serving low-income women say their operations will be at serious financial risk if state auditors stand firm on claims that they overbilled Medicaid by $3.5 million, largely for birth control drugs and devices.

“My hunch is that if any one of us were audited it would come out the same way. We’re all operating the same way,” said Beth Hartung, president of the Wisconsin Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association. “It would mean, quite frankly, that we would all close.” Continue Reading