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Volume 5, Issue 47, April 10, 2023
 Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce, Eau Claire, Wis.

Published the first business day of each week

Business Advocate Past Issues

Public Meetings Calendar

Chamber Events Calendar

The Chamber's Advocacy Principles

The Chamber's Business Issues Agenda

Contact: Scott Rogers, VP Governmental Affairs



State budget hearing Tuesday in Eau Claire

Joint Finance Committee meets at UWEC

 • Tuesday, Apr 11, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., UWEC Davies Center

    See information in the news story below about testifying in person


Annual Chamber/UW-Eau Claire Business Community Breakfast

Learn about creative ways in which the University, businesses and area organizations are collaborating to make a difference for our future. Chancellor Jim Schmidt and Dean Brewer Doran will be your guides as we make connections at the Annual Business Community Breakfast. 

 • Wednesday, Apr 19, 7:00-8:30 a.m., UWEC Davies Center

    Click here for details and to register


Eggs & Issues: "State of the City - Altoona" 

Altoona Mayor Brendan Pratt and City Administrator Mike Golat lead a presentation highlighting the accomplishments of the City during the past year, and its priorities for the rest of this 2023.

 • Friday, Apr 21, 7:00-8:30 a.m., River Prairie Center

    Click here for details and to register


Eggs & Issues: Washington Update with the US Chamber

 • Friday, May 19, 7:00-8:30 a.m., CVTC Business Education Center

    Click here for details and to register

In this issue: 

 • Joint Finance Committee hearing Tuesday in Eau Claire

 • EC City Council: July 4 fireworks location, District 1 Council vacancy

 • New app for downtown EC parking goes live Apr 15

 • Downtown meeting on homelessness Apr 19

 • Protasiewicz wins Supreme Court seat, statewide ballot measures pass

 • Local election results

 • National and economic stories

 • Mark your calendar
Note on article links: A subscription is required for those marked with "$"
Publications known to have article limits for non-subscribers are marked with "+"


Joint Finance Committee budget hearing Tuesday at UWEC

Local advocates encouraged to speak for UWEC Science Building

   The Legislature's Joint Committee on Finance (JFC) will hold one of its four public hearings for the forthcoming biennial state budget on Tuesday, April 11, at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.  The public hearing will begin at 10 a.m. and conclude at 5 p.m.

  Local business and community leaders are encouraged to attend the hearing to show support for continued inclusion of completion funding for the UWEC Science and Health Sciences Building. The JFC is the next step in completion of the 2023-25 State Budget, working towards making a recommendation to both houses of the Legislature. The building includes partnerships with Mayo Clinic Health System and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and was included in the UW Board of Regents budget request and the proposed capital budget from Governor Tony Evers.

   The Science Building is the Chamber's #1 public policy issue this spring because it has such a far-reaching impact on the future of the university and the economy of our city and region. Chamber investors are strongly encouraged to take the time to attend the hearing and give comments. 

   What to expect: Individuals may testify for two minutes; groups may testify for a combined five minutes. Speaker order is first come, first served based on when you register to speak. The sign in and hearing will be on the 3rd floor. See the Fact Sheet and other links below with information about the Science Building.

   Parking: Use the Human Sciences and Services or Haas Fine Arts lots at 201 Water St., then walk or take the shuttle to Davies Center. Click here for full parking and shuttle information, including a map


More information:

Wisconsin residents invited to share state budget priorities with legislators April 11 (UWEC)

Fact Sheet and bullet points UWEC Science Building (UWEC)

Project site - Science & Health Sciences Building (UWEC)

News release - Chamber, legislators applaud Science Building in capital budget (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)

Students lobby at state capitol for Science and Health Sciences Building funding (The Spectator)


EC City Council: District 1 Council vacancy, potential new location for July 4th Fireworks

Cannery Park construction contract, bus vouchers

   The Eau Claire City Council meets this week, with key items on its agenda including a decision about a district Council vacancy, rezoning for a multi-family project on London Road, a construction contract for Cannery Park, providing matching funds for bus vouchers, plus study and work sessions about a possible new location for July 4th fireworks, and preparation for the 2024 capital and operating budgets. 

   Monday's Public Hearing will include a rezoning for a multi-family apartment project at 4600 London Road. It includes 3.81 acres on vacant property for four apartment buildings, to be called Peter Park, proposed by Rocket Construction. The builder proposes two 12-unit buildings and two 26 unit buildings, with a total of 94 bedrooms across 76 total units. (See pages 5-25 of the Monday Agenda Packet linked below.) There will also be a public discussion of a proposal to devote $12,000 of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to match private donations to provide bus vouchers to connect unhoused residents to services (pages 33-34), and a public discussion about the options for the Council vacancy in Aldermanic District 1 due to the resignation of Emily Berge, who has been elected to the City Council President effective April 18 (pages 36-39). The Council could hold a special election, appoint a member, or leave the office vacant. There is one year left on the 3-year term.

Study session: High Bridge potential site for July 4th fireworks

   Also on Monday, the Council will have a study session regarding a suggestion from the Community Services Department to consider moving the launch site for July 4th fireworks to the high bridge (see page 41) for safety, logistical, and cost reasons. The Council will also have a work session after the Monday meeting with the City Manager and Finance Director to look at the 2024 capital and operating budget processes, provide an update on ARPA spending, and discuss a proposal for use of the City's remaining ARPA funds (see page 43). 

Tuesday Legislative Session

   Tuesday's Legislative Session will include Council action on the public hearing/public discussion items from Monday, as well as a $2.69 million construction contract for Cannery Park along the Chippewa River east and north of Oxford, Maple, and 1st Streets (see pages 24-28 of the Tuesday Agenda Packet linked below). The park will feature shelters, restrooms, play areas, a sledding hill, pollinator gardens, an ice skate trail, a canoe/kayak ramp, half court basketball, a hammock grove, picnic tables and grills, and more. 

More information:

Eau Claire City Council

 • Monday, Apr 10, Public Hearing Agenda Packet (43 pages)

 • Tuesday, Apr 11, Legislative Session Agenda Packet (142 pages)

Link to videos of city meetings (City of Eau Claire)

City Council Online Comment Form (City of Eau Claire)

Contact information: City Council members (City of Eau Claire)

Eau Claire ponders location change for July 4 fireworks (Leader-Telegram $)


City app-based Passport Parking System goes live Apr 15

Ramps, Water St. rates to stay at 50 cents/hr, Barstow & Grand "four corners lot" goes to $1/hr

   The City of Eau Claire is implementing the new Passport Parking System in the Gibson and North Barstow parking ramps, as well as the Water Street and Four Corners (corner of S. Barstow and E. Grand) surface lots on April 15.

   Users will be able to download an app to their Apple or Android smartphones to pay for their parking. Parkers must use the app to pay at the surface lots, the ramps have pay kiosks installed where users can pay via card or coin if they choose. The new system will hopefully make parking quicker and easier, eliminating the parking ramp paper tickets and exit payment system that often led to long lines on busy days or during system malfunctions. 

   Users of the app will receive a notification when their park time is close to expiring and can add more time from their phone if necessary. Rates in ramps and the Water Street Lot will remain the same at $0.50/hr. The Four Corners Lot will change from 2-hour parking to a rate of $1.00/hr. 

More information:

Downtown Parking Explainer

DECI Parking Page

Passport Parking App

App Guide


Downtown meeting on homelessness April 19

"Ending homelessness in Eau Claire: An opportunity for

businesses to be heard"

   Downtown Eau Claire, Inc., (DECI) is inviting downtown businesses to share their feedback on their experiences, concerns, ideas for solutions, etc. in regard to unhoused community members in Downtown Eau Claire. The email announcing the event describes the meeting as "an opportunity to reinvigorate passion and commitment to collaboration and partnership, transparency, and respect."

 • Wednesday, April 19, 6:00-8:00 p.m., Grace Lutheran Church, 202 W. Grand

    For more information: robin.adams@wdeoc.org or carrie.poser@wibos.org 


More local stories:


UW-Eau Claire welcoming thousands of undergraduate researchers April 13-15 (UWEC)


Nationwide student research event coming to UWEC this week (Leader-Telegram $)


Preparations continue for Country Jam at new location, Eau Claire Event District launched (WEAU 13 News)


E.C. City Council Again OK’s Annexation for Subdivision (Volume One)


Community members sought for new Eau Claire Co. ethics panel (Leader-Telegram $)


Businesses learn about the importance of research during conference at UWEC (WEAU 13 News)


Video: Interview with Chamber Youth Leadership Eau Claire students (WEAU 13 News)


Call For Community Input on Chippewa Falls Pool (Volume One)


Chippewa County acknowledges security breach (Leader-Telegram $)


Menomonie City Administrator Lowell Prange looks back as retirement approaches (Leader-Telegram $)


UW-Stout real estate management program receives $1M donation (Leader-Telegram $)


Leinenkugel’s ‘Juicy Peach’ Launches Nationwide (Volume One)


Menard Center for Constitutional Studies to host

"The Future of Free Speech on Campus" event May 1

• “The Future of Free Speech on Campus” will begin at 5:30 p.m. May 1 in Room 100 of Hibbard Hall. Some of the country’s leading experts on the state of free speech on college campuses will discuss what the future may hold for academia. Panelists include Donald Downs, Alexander Meiklejohn professor of political science emeritus at UW-Madison; Greg Lukianoff, president and CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE); and Amna Khalid, associate professor of history at Carleton College.

More information:

About the Menard Center or Constitutional Studies (UWEC)

The Future of Free Speech on Campus: May 1 event information (UWEC Menard Center for Constitutional Studies)


Protasiewicz wins Supreme Court contest

State ballot measures pass; Bica & Dement win EC School Board seats; Roth, Otto win Altoona School Board seats

   Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Janet Protasiewicz was elected to a 10-year term on the Wisconsin Supreme Court last Tuesday over former Justice Daniel Kelly. All three statewide ballot measures passed with wide margins, including two constitutional amendments related to cash bail, and an advisory referendum to require able bodied welfare recipients to seek employment. 

   In the only contested local races, incumbent Lori Bica and newcomer Jarrett Dement won two seats on the Eau Claire School Board over Sally Huffey and Frankie Bowe. For the Altoona School Board, incumbent Hillarie Roth was reelected, with newcomer Lauren Otto winning the other seat, while incumbent Nicole Breed lost, coming in third. 

   A proposed Altoona School District $26 million referendum, primarily for expansion of classroom capacity, narrowly lost, 1,531-1,614. 

   For the Eau Claire City Council, current District 1 Council Member Emily Berge was unopposed for the 3-year City Council President position, with incumbent Terry Weld not seeking reelection. In Altoona, City Council Members Matthew Biren, Kaitlyn Leopold and Susan Rowe, were unopposed for reelection in their districts. 

More information:   

Full election results (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)

Bica, Dement win Eau Claire school board seats (Leader-Telegram $)

Eau Claire County town, village election results (Leader-Telegram $)

Altoona voters deny school referendum (Leader-Telegram $)

Lake Hallie voters overwhelmingly approve both referendums (Leader-Telegram $)

Protasiewicz wins Supreme Court seat (AP)

GOP Assembly member wins State Senate seat, creating supermajority (AP)

In statewide referendums, voters OK expansion of judges' power to set cash bail (WPR)

EC Co. voters want state's abortion ban overturned (Leader-Telegram $)

Democratic voter energy powers mayors in Green Bay, Madison, Racine to reelection (WPR)

State Debate: Election's aftermath on commentators' minds (The Cap Times)

What the Wisconsin Supreme Court Race Tells Us About 2024 (The Dispatch)

Wisconsin Supreme Court victory adds wind to Democrats’ sails (The Hill)

After second major loss, Wisconsin GOP leaders say it's about more than abortion (Journal-Sentinel $)

Pollster Franklin says Protasiewicz’ strategy could become national template for high court races (WisPOlitics.com)

Liberal law firm to argue gerrymandering violates Wisconsin Constitution (The Cap Times)

Van Orden, Steil seats targeted by national Democratic group (Leader-Telegram $)


More state and regional stories:


Evers, LeMahieu each have plans to lower Wisconsin income taxes. They've got a big difference. (Journal-Sentinel +)


UW System president highlights strategies in ‘war for talent’ (WisBusiness.com)


Wisconsin license delays improve, but agency needs more help (AP)


Wisconsin to get $139 million for lead pipes, PFAS from federal government (Journal-Sentinel +)


Delta dropping La Crosse-MSP flights June 5 (The Points Guy)


Washington County task force proposes merging 2-year UW campus with Moraine Park Technical College (WPR)


Brewers’ head of business operations shares outlook on stadium funding, new fan offerings, group sales demand (BizTimes)


National and economic news:


Job growth totals 236,000 in March, near expectations as hiring pace slows (CNBC)


US jobs growth slowed in March as Fed put brakes on economy (Financial Times)


Job Market Softens Only a Bit, Keeping Fed on Track for May Hike (Bloomberg +)


Former President Donald Trump pleads 'not guilty' at historic arraignment (The Center Square)


U.S. Chamber Applauds Passage of H.R. 1, Calls for Senate Action on Permitting Reform (US Chamber of Commerce)


US Chamber Declares War Against Government ‘Overreach’ (Forbes)


Rep. Derrick Van Orden tours farm, touts energy plan (WXOW New 19)


The Current Job Market Is Complicated. Here's What Small-Business Leaders Need to Know (Inc.)


Florida’s Republican-Led, Nearly Unanimous Housing Reforms (Governing)


U.S. Companies Denied H-1B Visas Hire Talent Abroad (Forbes +)


Immigration reform stalled decade after Gang of 8′s big push (AP)


U.S. Speaker meets Taiwan leader and stresses need to speed up arms deliveries (Reuters)


Finland joins NATO in major blow to Russia over Ukraine war (NewsNation)


Economic Viewpoints - current key indicators (US Chamber of Commerce)


The Flip Side: Collection of Right and Left viewpoints on national issues


COVID-19 Updates 


COVID-19 Resources: 

COVID-19 Symptoms & Testing (EC City-County Health Department)
Local COVID-19 Testing Sites (EC City-County Health Department)
Interactive COVID Data Tracker (CDC)
COVID-19: Staying Safe in Your Community (EC City-County Health Dept.)
Eau Claire County COVID-19 Information Hub 
Eau Claire weekly COVID Situation Report 
Eau Claire County COVID-19 Vaccination Page 
Metrics Dashboard
Chippewa Valley COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force


Mark your calendar:


Joint Finance Committee Budget Hearing

 • Tuesday, April 11, UWEC


Annual Chamber/UW-Eau Claire Business Community Breakfast

• Wednesday, Apr 19, UWEC Davies Center


Eggs & Issues: State of the City - Altoona

 • Friday, April 21, River Prairie Center


Chamber Royale

 • Thursday, May 18, Eau Claire Golf & Country Club


Eggs & Issues: Washington Update with the US Chamber

 • Friday, May 19, CVTC Business Education Center


The Chamber's Annual Golf Outing

 • Monday, August 7, 2023


Public Meetings Calendar

Click the link above for the our regularly updated schedule of public meetings.


Thanks for reading this issue of Business Advocate. If you have comments or questions, contact Scott Rogers, Vice President Governmental Affairs, at 715-858-0616 or rogers@eauclairechamber.org 

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