Capitol Week-in-Review – November 10, 2016

The Voters Spoke…the Transition Begins

On Tuesday, more than 2.9 million Wisconsin voters cast ballots. Overall voter turnout was 66% with 28% of the votes cast via absentee ballot. As expected, the voters had a lot to say.

For the first time since 1984, Wisconsin voters elected the Republican nominee. Donald Trump bested Hillary Clinton by a narrow margin – 1,409,467 to 1,382,210.

In the state’s Congressional races, Wisconsin voters favored the incumbents. Republican Senator Ron Johnson was given another six-year term. Paul Ryan (R-Janesville), Mark Pocan (D-Madison), Ron Kind (D-La Crosse), Gwen Moore (D-Milwaukee). Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Menomonee Falls), Glenn Grothman (R-Glenbeulah) and Sean Duffy (R-Wausau) were re-elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Voters in Northeast Wisconsin chose Mike Gallagher (R-Green Bay) to replace retiring Congressman Reid Ribble.

At the state level, Republicans expanded their majorities in the State Legislature. For the 2017-2018 legislative session, Republicans will hold a 64-35 partisan advantage in the State Assembly and a 20-13 edge in the State Senate. The Republican majority in the State Senate may expand even further. In the 32nd Senate District, incumbent Senator Jennifer Schilling (D-La Crosse) leads challenger Dan Kapanke (R-La Crosse) by only 58 votes – 43,565 to 43,507. A recount may be needed to discern the winner.

It’s now transition time in Washington, D.C. and Madison, Wisconsin.

President-elect Donald Trump is busy assembling his leadership team and meeting with leaders of the Republican-led Congress to discuss their policy priorities for 2017. Legislative Republicans and Democrats are meeting to select their leaders for the 2017-2018 legislative session.

Member Input Needed on Unemployment Insurance and Worker’s Compensation Programs

In Wisconsin, the Worker’s Compensation and Unemployment Insurance programs are guided by advisory councils that make recommendations to the Wisconsin Legislature on changes to their respective programs every two years. This recommendation process begins with a public comment period that is now open.

We strongly encourage WIB members to share their concerns, ideas and suggestions with the Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council (UIAC) and the Worker’s Compensation Advisory Council (WCAC).

Written comments may be submitted to:

Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council
Janell Knutson, Chair
P.O Box 8942
Madison, WI 53708

Worker’s Compensation Advisory Council
B.J. Dernbach, Chair
PO Box 7901
Madison, WI 53707

The deadline for submitting comments to the UIAC is Friday, November 18. The public comment period for input on the Worker’s Compensation program ends on Friday, December 2.

WIB Calls upon Obama Administration to Halt Implementation of Federal Overtime Pay Regulations

In less than a month, the salary threshold for overtime pay for white-collar workers will double. Yesterday, we sent out a press release calling upon the Obama Administration to halt implementation of this expensive, excessive federal government mandate.

By way of background, earlier this year, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) finalized new regulations that will entitle most salaried white collar workers earning less than $913/week ($47,476/year) to overtime pay. These regulations are scheduled to go into effect on December 1. According to DOL, the first year compliance costs for employers exceed $650 million.

We believe this costly new regulation deserves further scrutiny by the newly-elected President and Congress. In its current form, this federal directive fails to take into account the negative impact this change in overtime pay will have on small, independent businesses.