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Yesterday, during the Joint Committee on Finance executive session, Republicans voted against Democrats’ motion to stop the removal of the Medicaid expansion proposal from budget deliberations which would have attracted $1.6 billion in federal dollars to the state. Their choice to block the expansion does not only hinder Wisconsin’s ability to give health care coverage to 82,000 additional individuals, but it hurts every single person, provider, and community in the state.

By accepting the expansion, Wisconsin would be able to generate $324.5 million in savings to be invested back in the state, would attract more primary care doctors and providers to address shortages in rural areas, and would foster economic growth and financial stability for local economies. However, Republicans have once again decided to put politics before their communities.

Despite Republicans' choice to remove those provisions from the budget yesterday, Democrats will continue to fight for the expansion, and for the priorities of our state. 

Jon Erpenbach
Wisconsin State Senate, District 27




Senator Erpenbach's statement on Republicans rejecting a $1.6 billion investment in our state: 

“Rejecting the Medicaid expansion is financially irresponsible,” said Senator Erpenbach (D-West Point). “By taking the federal dollars, every single person in the state would see their insurance costs drop, and our state would generate millions to invest in critical programs that would benefit all Wisconsinites. All Republicans have to offer is the same, old, tired story. It’s time that we put politics aside and listen to the will of the people by accepting the expansion.”




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Phone: 608.266.6670


Address: P.O. Box 7882, Madison, WI 53707

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Highlights from the May 9th JFC executive session on the 2019-21 budget:

Governor’s Budget and Medicaid Expansion

Republicans began the meeting by introducing a motion to remove 131 (71 non-fiscal, 60 fiscal) items of the Governor’s budget from further budget consideration.  Several of these are non-fiscal items, but many have a fiscal impact, including the proposed expansion of Medicaid in Wisconsin.

Democrats introduced a motion to reintroduce Medicaid expansion for budgetary consideration. Medicaid expansion would give 82,000 additional Wisconsinites health care while saving the state $324 million and bringing $1.6 billion in new federal spending to Wisconsin. Additionally, expanding Medicaid would lower premiums for those on the public markets, lowering costs for everybody, not just those between 100% and 138% of FPL who would directly benefit from the expansion. Both the Republican motion and our motion are attached.

Finally, expanding Medicaid in Wisconsin would free up state dollars that would allow the state to fully fund K-12 education and add funding for special education, among many other things.

The Democratic motion failed.

Health Services - Care and Treatment Services

The Committee approved a request to add 51 PR positions at Winnebago Mental Health Institute to create a separate admissions unit and to increase evening and nighttime supervisory staff. WMHI is an institution that has been continuously understaffed and whose employees have been the subject of chronic forced overtime for years under the Walker administration. Democrats on the committee moved to fully fund the new positions for the biennium, but Republicans passed a motion that funds the positions for nine months in the first year.

Program Supplements - Discretionary Merit Compensation

JFC Republicans moved to strip from the Department of Corrections the ability to use the Discretionary Merit Compensation program in response to the recent use of the program at DOC. The Republican motion removes $3.7 million from the Discretionary Merit Compensation program annually, and disallows DOC only from requesting  supplementary appropriation for the merit pay. The motion did not impact any other agency and passed on party lines, with all Democrats voting against.

Shared Revenue and Tax Relief - Direct Aid Payments

JFC Democrats moved to increase county and municipal aid (shared revenue payments) by 2% annually, as laid out in Governor Evers’ budget. Shared revenue funding is lower than in 2011 levels and has remained stagnant for the past eight years. Given the lack of shared revenue and levy limit increases, municipalities have not been able to provide the necessary services to their residents. Democrats’ common-sense proposal would give municipalities statewide the resources they need for improving quality of life and providing essential services. Without an increase in this funding, municipalities will continue to borrow at high rates in order to fund necessary capital improvements and services. The motion failed along party lines and no action was taken to increase county and municipal aid.


Community Programs and Announcements 

Update from the DATCP: ACCP Fee Holiday to Continue Into 2020 

"A fee holiday for pesticide and fertilizer licensees and farmers purchasing fertilizer will continue into 2020, the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection announced. 


The fee holiday means that for the second year in a row, fertilizer dealers will omit the ACCP surcharge from their customers’ bills. It is the third year that pesticide and fertilizer businesses, commercial pesticide applicators, and pesticide manufacturers will not have to pay it as part of their license fees. The ACCP surcharge goes into the Agricultural Chemical Cleanup Program fund to help pay for the costs of cleaning up spills. The amount of the fee varies with the license type. The fee holiday will extend through June 2020 for fertilizer sales, and through the 2019-20 license year for other licensees."

Read more here.

Update from DATCP: Gypsy Moth Aerial Spraying to Begin in May

Gypsy moth trappers will be setting traps mid-May through early July to gather data that the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection will use to plan future gypsy moth treatments. 

The department asks that property owners allow the trappers access to place the traps, and that the public not disturb the traps. 

The traps are small orange or green boxes tied to tree branches. They are designed to catch male gypsy moths, not the immature gypsy moth caterpillars. The traps are used to estimate population levels, not to control the moths. The department does treatments in spring to control the caterpillars. 

Trappers from the department will set about 11,000 traps total in 44 counties, mainly in western Wisconsin. The traps will stay in place until the male moths stop flying in August, when trappers will begin taking them down. 

Trappers wear fluorescent vests and carry identification cards. Each trap is labeled with a phone number that property owners can call if they have questions. 

 Learn more here.

Update: Event Announcement



Join us for this FREE public event

New Glarus High School Auditorium

May 22

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Free cookies and drinks


No small matter is built from stories of real children, families, and teachers, illustrating the impact of high quality early childhood experiences. We meet parents who are struggling to do their best for their kids, incredible teachers who model what early childhood classrooms should and could be like, and children learning and developing in real time. Change is necessary, critical, and attainable if we put our minds to it. To watch a trailer go to This is not just for parents and caregivers, it is for EVERYONE as what we invest in our children we invest in our society. 

There will be free child care available in the high school gymnasium. 

The video is 75 minutes long and will be followed by a discussion of the documentary and what we can do to invest in early childhood education.

If on Facebook, RSVP on No Small Matter and find the May 22nd screening in New Glarus. RSVP is not necessary. 

Sponsored by: Corrine's Little Explores, The New Glarus PTO, and The Growing Tree. 

Update from the DNR:

  • State wildlife officials are reminding everyone to Keep Wildlife Wild – especially during this time of year when many wild animals are born, including white-tailed deer fawns. 


  • The public can find the latest results for a wide variety of wildlife surveys conducted in 2018 on the Department of Natural Resources’ website.  Data includes population surveys and estimates, harvest results and wildlife observation reports.



Update from the American Heart Association:

"May is American Stroke Month and did you know that about as many people suffer a stroke in the United States each year as a heart attack? In fact, the American Stroke Association says stroke is the #5 killer in the U.S. and a leading cause of long-term disability. But the good news is that 80% of first-time strokes may be prevented.

How? The American Stroke Association, which is a division of the American Heart Association, says living a healthy lifestyle can reduce your risk factors for having a stroke. By eating healthy, getting exercise and stopping smoking, you can lower your risk for stroke. Adding in moderate to vigorous physical activity may reduce stroke risk by 25%!

Strokes won’t wait, but with a quick call for help, you can give your loved ones the greatest chance to survive and recover. If you’d like more information on strokes, you can visit the American Stroke Association’s website."



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 In the News

Budget committee votes to strip Medicaid expansion, medical marijuana from Evers' budget

Wisconsin Republicans vote to kill Medicaid expansion

GOP lawmakers reject Gov. Evers budget proposal