Governor Directs DOT Secretary to Submit Budget Plan Early

Recently, Governor Walker instructed Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Mark Gottlieb to submit a complete budget plan by September 15 – two months ahead of schedule. To help guide the development of the state’s 2017-2019 transportation budget, Governor Walker gave Secretary Gottlieb the following directives:

1. Identify efficiency savings, including the implementation of less costly design practices, and examine federal mandates that increase costs and other mechanisms that can save taxpayer dollars.

2. Savings need to be given to local road aids and highway maintenance. Therefore, there must be an increase in local road aids and state highway maintenance.

3. Proposed spending on mega projects in Southeastern Wisconsin should be minimized. Any such projects should be prioritized based on needs, not wants. Large needs-based projects should have their designs reviewed to save taxpayer dollars while maximizing maintenance and safety.

4. Hold bonding to a reasonable level.

5. Raising the gas tax or vehicle registration fees without an equal or greater reduction in taxes elsewhere is not an option.

A longer review period will give us plenty of time to assess the benefits and drawbacks of the DOT plan. We hope the Department’s proposal will be an adequate, equitable and sustainable transportation funding plan, but we have our doubts.

WIB Opposed New Business Liability Proposal

Ongoing concerns over terrorists attacks on “soft targets” – shopping malls, restaurants, night clubs, etc. – has prompted State Representative Bob Gannon (R-Slinger) to draft legislation dubbed the “Disarmed Citizens Compensation Act.”

Under his proposal, public places, mainly businesses, would be held strictly liable for any harm to a guest, visitor or consumer on their premise that is injured by a weapon banned under a “No Weapons Allowed” policy posted at that same establishment and require that those damages be trebled (triple the amount of damages).

By way of background, Wisconsin’s Conceal and Carry law allows a private business owner to prohibit a person from entering or remaining in the establishment while carrying a firearm. The posting of signs is required to inform patrons of such a prohibition.

At this time, Representative Gannon plans to introduce his proposal for legislative review and consideration during the next two-year legislative session which begins in January, 2017. If, or when, this proposal is formally introduced for legislative review, WIB will be lobbying against it.

Wisconsin citizens with a Conceal and Carry permit from the State of Wisconsin know exactly where they can and cannot go while carrying their concealed weapon. Private business owners that choose to prohibit patrons from carrying a concealed weapon in their establishment should be free to do so. Terrorists who harm patrons within a business should be held solely responsible and liable for their heinous actions.

Governor Walker Names Finalists for Supreme Court Vacancy

Recently, Governor Walker announced the three finalists for the Wisconsin Supreme Court vacancy created by Justice David Prosser’s retirement. They are:

Judge Mark Gundrum, Wisconsin Court of Appeals District II
Judge Thomas Hruz, Wisconsin Court of Appeals District III
Attorney Daniel Kelly, Rogahn Kelly LLC

The Governor will interview the three finalists and make his selection prior to the retirement of Justice Prosser, which is effective on July 31, 2016.

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John Gard
Wisconsin Independent Businesses