By Hoven Consulting – WiHPCA’s lobbying firm
WiHPCA Legislative and Regulatory Priorities Survey
Earlier in March, the WiHPCA Government Affairs Team sent out a legislative and regulatory priorities survey to all WiHPCA members via email. The intent of this survey is to find out what hospice and palliative care government policy topics are a priority to you and your organization. WiHPCA leadership will use this data to craft our legislative and regulatory agenda for 2023-2024. Once this agenda is prepared, WiHPCA will provide it to all members and will be used as our framework as the association advocates on hospice and palliative care policy before the legislature and state government agencies. If you have completed this survey, thank you for doing so.
Bill Protecting Health Care Providers and Staff Advances
On February 23, the full Assembly unanimously passed Assembly Bill 960, which makes it a felony to threaten or physically attack a health care provider, a staff member of a health care facility or a family member of either, if the threat or attack is related to an official act of the provider or is related to an occurrence at the health care facility. Both the Assembly and Senate have passed this bill. It will now go to the Governor for his consideration.
WiHPCA supports this bill. As such, it joined various health care organizations and sent a joint memo to the State Assembly requesting that they support this bill.
Recent Marquette University Poll
On March 2, Marquette Law School released a new poll that surveyed Wisconsin voters on their opinions of various national and statewide elected officials, as well as candidates for statewide office.
U.S. Senate Election
With respect to those voters who intend to vote in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senator Ron Johnson’s seat, Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes was the leading candidate with 23 percent, and Alex Lasry followed with 13 percent. The other candidates only received support in the single digits, while 48 percent of Democratic primary voters have not decided whom they will support.
In this poll, Republican gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Kleefisch led her primary rivals with 30 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning voters selecting her, eight percent selecting former U.S. Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson and five percent selecting State Representative Tim Ramthun. However, 54 percent of these voters responded that they did not know whom they will support in the Republican primary.
At this time, Governor Tony Evers leads in popularity among elected statewide officials with 50 percent approving and 41 disapproving. President Biden has a 43 percent approval rating and a 52 percent disapproval rating. With respect to Wisconsin’s two U.S. Senators, Senator Tammy Baldwin has a 42 percent approval rating and a 36 percent disapproval rating, while Senator Ron Johnson has a 33 percent approval rating and a 45 percent disapproval rating.
State Supreme Court Ruling on Redistricting
At the beginning of each decade, each state redraws state legislative and congressional district lines based on data from the most recent federal census. After the Governor vetoed the legislature’s proposed legislative and congressional district maps last year, this dispute ended up in the courts. On March 3, 2022, the Wisconsin Supreme Court decided that Governor Evers’ updated state legislative and congressional maps will be used as they make fewer changes to district boundaries than the Legislature’s proposed maps.
On Monday, March 7, the Legislature appealed this ruling directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. And just this week, the nation’s highest court threw out the state legislative maps drawn Governor Evers and adopted by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The U.S. Supreme Court said the state court’s approval of Evers’ maps was flawed, as it did not adequately consider whether certain newly crafted Assembly Districts in Milwaukee complied with the federal Voting Rights Act. The maps were sent back to the Wisconsin Supreme Court for further consideration.
Politicians on the Move - Update
- On February 24, State Rep. Mike Kuglitsch (R-New Berlin) announced that he will not run for re-election in 2022. He was first elected to the Assembly in 2010. He serves as the Chair of the Assembly Energy and Utilities Committee and also serves on the following Assembly committees: Environment; Government Accountability and Oversight; and State Affairs.
- On March 3, State Rep. Gordon Hintz announced that he will not run for re-election this year. He used to serve as Assembly Minority Leader and was first elected to the Assembly in 2006.
- State Sen. Roger Roth (R-Appleton) has announced that he is running for lieutenant governor. He has served in the Senate since 2015 and also served in the Assembly in 2007-2008. He chairs the Senate Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges and is vice chair of the Committee on Utilities, Technology and Telecommunications.
- State Rep. Rachael Cabral-Guevara (R-Appleton) announced on March 17 that she is running for Senator Roth’s seat. She is a nurse and was elected to the Assembly in 2020. She is the vice chair of the Assembly Mental Health Committee and is a member of the following Assembly committees: Health, Colleges and Universities, Public Benefit Reform, and Regulatory Licensing Reform.
- State Sen. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) announced on March 8 that he will not run for State Senate this year since this year’s redistricting process relocated his home from his current district to a different Senate district that is not up for election until 2024. [Note: The redistricting is based on a March Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling. However, it is worth noting that this ruling is being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has not yet decided whether to take this case.] He was first elected to the Senate in 2018 and served in the Assembly from 2011 through 2018. He is currently the chair of the Senate Committee on Financial Institutions and Revenue.
- State Sen. Janis Ringhand (D-Evansville) announced on March 9 that she will not run for re-election this year. She was first elected to the Senate in 2014 and served in the Assembly in 2011 through 2012. She serves as the Assistant Minority Leader and serves on the following Senate committees: Economic and Workforce Development; Financial Institutions and Revenue; and Insurance, Licensing and Forestry.
- State Rep. Mark Spreitzer (D-Beloit) subsequently announced that he will run for Sen. Ringhand’s seat. He has served in the Assembly since 2015. He currently serves as the Assembly Minority Caucus Chair and is a member of the following Assembly committees: Agriculture, Campaigns and Elections, Local Government, and Sporting Heritage.
- State Rep. Timothy Ramthun (R-Campbellsport) has announced that he will run for Governor this year. He has served in the Assembly since 2019. He is the Vice Chair of the Children and Families Committee and is a member of the following Assembly committees: Constitution and Ethics, Education, Judiciary, Transportation, and Ways and Means.
- State Sen. Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) has announced that he will not run for re-election in 2022. He was first elected to the Senate in 2012 and served in the Assembly from 1999 to 2012. He serves as the chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation and Local Government, is vice chair of the Committee on Sporting Heritage, Small Business and Rural Issues and is a member of the Committee on Agriculture and Tourism.
- State Sen. Brad Pfaff (D-Onalaska) has announced that he is running for Congressman Ron Kind’s (D) seat in 2022. He was first elected to the Senate in 2020 and currently serves on the following Senate committees: Utilities, Technology and Telecommunications; Universities and Technical Colleges; Transportation and Local Government; Economic and Workforce Development; and Agriculture and Tourism. [Note: If he does not win his congressional race, he will still remain a member of the State Senate as his current term does not run out until 2024.]
- State Sen. Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point) has announced that he is running for Lieutenant Governor. He currently serves in Senate leadership as the President Pro Tempore. He was first elected to the Senate in 2016 and was re-elected in 2020. He currently is chair of the Senate Health Committee, is vice chair of the Economic and Workforce Development Committee and is also a member of the Senate Agriculture and Tourism Committee. [Note: If he does not win his race for lieutenant governor, he will still remain a member of the State Senate as his current Senate term does not run out until 2024.]