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Volume 6, Issue 46, Apr 1, 2024
 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 2024 Business Issues Agenda
"Talking Po!nt" Podcast
Contact: Scott Rogers, VP Governmental Affairs
Chamber Business Hours: Mon-Thu 7:30a-5p, Friday 8a-2p


In this issue:
 • OakLeaf  announces new clinics, additional physicians as existing and
    new providers add services to fill healthcare gaps
 • Evers signs bill to establish crisis mental health centers
 • Spring Election Tuesday: Local races, constitutional amendments
 • EC City Council: Approves development agreement for "The Sevens"
 • Evers acts on end-of-session legislation, including 41 vetoes
 • Former Rep. Kreibich running for Assembly
 • Universities of Wisconsin propose 3.75% in-state tuition increase
 • US Chamber urges passage of bipartisan tax relief measure
 • Food for thought
 • 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 "+"


Spring Election tomorrow, Tuesday, April 2
Polls open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
   Wisconsin voters go to the polls on Tuesday, April 2, with non-partisan County Board, Municipal, and School Board elections on their ballots. There will also be a party Presidential Preference Primary, and two state constitutional amendments.
   To find your polling place and see what's on your ballot, go to myvote.wi.gov
Chamber local election resources
   The Chamber does not endorse candidates, but provides voter information to help its investors and members of the public make informed decisions. The Chamber's Good Government Council developed Candidate Questionnaires for the Eau Claire County Board, Eau Claire City Council, and the Altoona and Eau Claire School Boards.
Click the link below for election information and access to the Chamber Good Government Council Questionnaires:
Spring 2024 Election Guide (Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce)
Eau Claire County Board Questionnaire
Eau Claire City Council Questionnaire
Altoona School Board Questionnaire
Eau Claire School Board Questionnaire 

Eggs & Issues: The State of the City - Altoona
   Plan The Work, Work The Plan. In this year's State of the City Address, Altoona Mayor Brendan Pratt and City Administrator Mike Golat will spotlight the city's latest planning initiatives and the dynamic execution of those plans. Join us on April 12 at Altoona's beautiful River Prairie Center to hear about the accomplishments of the City of Altoona during the past year... and its priorities, challenges, and opportunities for the rest of 2024.
 • Friday, Apr 12, 7:00-8:30 a.m., River Prairie Center
Click here for details and to register

2024 Human Resource Conference
 • Thursday, Apr 18, 8:30a-5:30p, The Florian Gardens, Click here for details

Chamber/UW-Eau Claire Business Community Breakfast
Tuesday, Apr 30, 7:00-9:00 a.m., UWEC Davies Center,  Click here for details


OakLeaf announces new clinics, added physicians
Existing and new providers continue to implement additional services
   OakLeaf Clinics announced last Thursday that it will open new clinics in Cornell, Ladysmith, Menomonie, and Rice Lake.
   "OakLeaf Clinics has hired Prevea physicians, nurse practitioners, and medical staff in these cities to serve patients throughout the extended four county area so existing patients of these providers can keep their healthcare with the physicians, nurses, and staff they already trust," according to its news release.
   “Local access to high-quality healthcare is critical for communities to thrive,” said Chris Longbella, M.D. President of OakLeaf Clinics. “We moved quickly to fill the healthcare needs in these communities with talented providers with deep connections to their communities and help ensure a seamless continuity of care for patients no longer able to access the HSHS/Prevea system.”
    The new OakLeaf Clinics will open between May 1 and May 13. It has also hired additional physicians at its existing Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire locations. See the news release linked below for more specific details on providers hired and clinic locations.
   OakLeaf is among a number of existing and new healthcare providers who have announced new or expanded services since the January news that HSHS Hospitals and Prevea Clinics would be closing. Others include birth and delivery expansions at Marshfield Clinic Health System and Mayo Clinic Health System, oncology and dialysis expansions at Mayo, Pivotal Health, Gateway Counseling, NorthLakes Clinics, The Remedy, Aurora Community Services, Solarte Health, ReforMedicine, Nomi Health/Success Care, Midwest Detox/Wellbrook Recovery, and Spears Pain & Rehab Clinic.
   The local HSHS Prevea Task Force continues its work to provide a coordinated community response to the crisis.
More information:
OakLeaf Expands across western Wisconsin (OakLeaf Clinics, news release)

OakLeaf Clinics to open four clinics in western Wisconsin (Leader-Telegram $)
OakLeaf Clinics to open 4 new clinics (WEAU 13 News)
OakLeaf to open new clinics, taking over some Prevea sites (WQOW News 18)
Local Leaders Scramble to Address Impending Hospital Shutdowns (Volume One)
Western Wisconsin leaders respond to healthcare facility closures (Wisconsin Health News)
Frustration and anger as two hospitals close (Wisconsin State Journal +)
Hospital closures affect EMS in Eau Claire (WEAU 13 News)
Eau Claire/Chippewa Falls Area Hospital Utilization and Capacity Summary (Eau Claire City/County Health Dept)
Click here: Task Force website to stay informed and sign up for updates

Evers signs bill to establish crisis mental health centers
   Governor Tony Evers on Friday signed into law SB 462, a bill which "requires the Department of Health Services to establish a certification process for crisis urgent care and observation facilities and a grant program to award grants to develop and support these facilities. Under the bill, a crisis urgent care and observation facility is a treatment facility that admits an individual to prevent, de-escalate, or treat the individual's mental health or substance use disorder and includes the necessary structure and staff to support the individual's needs relating to the mental health or substance use disorder."
   The program will establish the centers across the five DHS regions. Currently, in mental health situations that require emergency detentions, law enforcement must often take patients to the Winnebago Mental Health Institute in Oshkosh, requiring significant time and expenses, as well as a negative experience for patients.
   The bipartisan legislation was authored by Rep. Clint Moses (R-Menomonie) and Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green). Area co-sponsors included Senators Jesse James (R-Altoona) and Romaine Quinn (R-Cameron), and Reps. Jodi Emerson (D-Eau Claire), Warren Petryk (R-Town of Washington), and Rob Summerfield (R-Bloomer).
   According to the Governor's news release on bill action this past Friday, Senate Bill 462, now 2023 Wisconsin Act 249 provides the following:

  • Expands the states crisis urgent care and observation facility infrastructure by requiring the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) to establish a certification process for crisis urgent care and observation facilities, which are identified as treatment facilities that admit an individual to prevent, de-escalate, or treat the individual’s mental health or substance use disorder and that include the structure and staff necessary to support an individual’s needs;
  • Requires DHS to create a grant program to support and develop these facilities utilizing the $10 million set aside in the 2023-25 biennial budget for this purpose;
  • Requires these facilities to accept all referrals for adults, optionally accept youths, and have the authority to take custody of emergency detention cases without prior medical clearance at an emergency room;
  • Requires facilities to coordinate, to the fullest extent possible, with any facility supported by funding received from the National Prescription Opiate Litigation;
  • Specifies that the provisions of the bill cannot be construed to prohibit, limit, or otherwise interfere with services provided by a county, hospital, or other facility that are provided consistent with the facility’s current licensure or certification;
  • Requires DHS to obtain approval from JFC under a 14-day passive review process before certifying a location as a crisis urgent care and observation facility; and
  • Allows any facility that currently is providing crisis intervention services to continue to provide these services without obtaining certification from DHS.

More information:
SB 462, now Act 249

Rep. Moses’ Crisis Urgent Care Facility Bill Signed into Law (WEAU 13 News)
Department of Health Services Deputy Secretary Deb Standridge’s Statement about Wisconsin Act 249, that expands emergency detention and urgent crisis care facilities  (DHS)

More healthcare stories...

Closure of rural facilities is 'wake-up call' for nation, says HSHS head
(Catholic Health World, interview with HSHS President and CEO Damond Boatwright)

Why Sacred Heart and St. Joseph's closed, according to the CEO (WQOW News 18)
HSHS CEO gives interview about HSHS, Prevea closures (WEAU 13 News)
Our View: Accidental truth points to statewide need (Leader-Telegram editorial $)

Nearly 10% of hospital jobs in Wisconsin vacant, report says
(Wisconsin State Journal +)

Combination of ills keeps health care in Wisconsin on the watch list
(Wisconsin State Journal +)

New national data highlights health strengths and opportunities for Eau Claire County
(EC City-County Health Department)
Annual Report - Eau Claire Health Alliance (Eau Claire Health Alliance)


Wisconsin Voters go to the polls on Tuesday
   Polls open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. To find your polling place and see what's on your ballot, go to myvote.wi.gov
More information:
Spring 2024 Election Guide (Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce; includes links to Good Government Council Questionnaires for local races)
Meet the 2024 E.C. City Council Candidates (Volume One)
Wisconsin constitutional amendment ballot proposals, explained (The Cap Times)
Voters will face two referendum questions regarding outside funding of election administration. How to understand these questions (Journal-Sentinel +)
Vote "yes" on constitutional amendments to keep elections secure (Scott Frostman, WISC News)
Why you should vote “no” on two statewide questions to amend the constitution (Dan Shafer, The Recombobulation Area)
After school culture wars, Wisconsin voters will weigh in on results (WPR)
Wisconsin school board races increasingly influenced by political parties and groups (Wisconsin State Journal +)
Wisconsin schools to ask voters to fund over $1 billion (Wisconsin Examiner)
Out of 56 races for circuit judge, only 10 will be contested (Wisconsin Examiner)
In swing state Wisconsin, presidential primary lacks drama and choices (WPR)
‘Uninstructed’ primary movement in Wisconsin boasts new endorsements (The Cap Times)

EC City Council: Approves development agreement
for $120 million "The Sevens" project
Hoeft Builders' mixed use project includes business park,
residential development, I-94 bike and pedestrian overpass
   The Eau Claire City Council this week last Tuesday approved a development agreement between the City and Hoeft Builders, Inc., for a $120 million business park and residential community to be known as "The Sevens." Located southwest of the I-94/US 53 intersection, the first phase will include "a business park that will be the future headquarters of Hoeft Builders as well as a highly-desirable location for office, medical, and other business purposes along this high visibility location with convenient access and proximity to the strong commercial retail center of Oakwood Hills and this growing portion of Eau Claire," according to the narrative with Tuesday's City Council Agenda Packet. The initial development agreement covers the business park phase.
   "The second phase is residential and will include market rate multi-housing units expected in a diverse unit mix at a range of lease prices that will include those more attainable for renters at or under county median income. It is anticipated this development agreement will come before City Council in the next month assuming the initial phase is approved. In addition, a bike and pedestrian bridge over I-94 will be constructed allowing for connectivity to Oakwood Hills for the benefit of current and future residents and employees."
   The proposal includes creation of a new Tax Increment District (TID) to support the public project infrastructure including the overpass, street, trail and other allowed project costs. (See pages 102-150 of the Tuesday Agenda Packet linked below.)
Downtown East Grand project pushed back a year
   The Council also decided to push back for a year a proposed reconstruction of two blocks of downtown's Grand Avenue, between Graham and Farwell streets (see pages 5-9 of the Monday Agenda Packet linked below). In discussion about the project, Council members were concerned about further disruption to traffic this year, given other downtown construction projects. They also wanted more time to consider the nature of the project and potential impact and benefits related to traffic, parking, safety, pedestrians, and bicycle usage.
   Last week's agenda also included a Comprehensive Plan amendment to allow medium- to high-density residential and commercial uses at the northwest corner of County II and Mischler Road, as part of the Orchard Hills development annexed to the City in 2023 (Monday Packet pages 10-18), and a rezoning for property on the west side of Dorret Road, south of W Vine St, to allow twin homes (pages 19-38). 
More information:
Eau Claire City Council
 • Monday, Mar 11, Public Hearing Agenda Packet (8 pages)
 • Tuesday, Mar 12, Legislative Session Agenda Packet (65 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)
"The Sevens" Property Flyer (Commonweal Development)
$120M Development South of I-94 Gets City Council Green Light (Volume One)
The Sevens project to bring commercial park, potential housing and I-94 footbridge (WQOW News 18)
"Grand" plan denied (Leader-Telegram $)
City of Eau Claire looking for input on Plank Street Hills Park master plan (WEAU 13 News)

EC Council President & City Manager public input meetings
 • Monday, April 1, 6-8 p.m.
    Delong Middle School Cafeteria - 2000 Vine Street
 Thursday, April 18, 6-8 p.m.
    North High School Commons - 1801 Piedmont Rd.

City of Eau Claire News Updates (including weekly City Manager's Update)
(City of Eau Claire)

Meeting this week...

City of Eau Claire Plan Commission
2024 Work Plan
 • Monday, Apr 1, 7 p.m. Agenda Packet

Eau Claire Board of Education
 • Monday, Apr 1, 7 p.m. Meeting and agenda info.
Eau Claire Schools Foundation Executive Director Todd Johnson announces resignation (Leader-Telegram $)

Eau Claire County Board of Supervisors
 • Wednesday, Apr 3, 7 p.m. Agenda Packet

More local stories...

Van Orden announces $10 million grant for Highway T redevelopment (Leader-Telegram $)
$10M secured for County Road T reconstruction project (WEAU 13 News)

Rep. Derrick Van Orden visits Eau Claire to celebrate $10M grant for County Road T (WQOW News 18)

Local governments save on snow removal after record winter
(Leader-Telegram $)

E.C. County's Free Bulk Item and Yard Waste Disposal Program Canceled
(Volume One)
Free waste and item disposal program ended (Leader-Telegram $)

L.E. Phillips' Friends of the Library receive $19,000 grant from Pablo Foundation
(Leader-Telegram $)

Chippewa Valley Gets a Shoutout in ‘Midwest Living’ Magazine
(Volume One)

Bloomer-Based Businesses Bring Brews & Java to Downtown E.C.
(Volume One)

Reverb Music Festival Aug 16-17 Adds Se
cond Day to Include Hip-Hop Throwbacks
(Volume One)

Business Matters podcast with Airport Director Charity Zich
  In the newly-released episode of the Chamber's Business Matters Podcast,  Chippewa Valley Regional Airport Director Charity Zich talks with Scott Rogers, the Chamber's Vice President Governmental Affairs, about the challenges and successes of commercial air service for EAU. Learn how the Sun Country jet service to seasonal destinations is doing and what's next for the airport's future.
More information:
Listen: Business Matters Podcast Episode 5: What's up at the airport? (Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce, 30 mins)
Chippewa Valley Regional Airport (website)
Flight information (Chippewa Valley Regional Airport)

Evers continues to act on end-of-session legislation
Signs bills aimed at community safety, human trafficking, mental health
Vetoes 41 bills, including tax cut, refugee notification measure
   Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers last week continued to act on bills sent to him by the final sessions of the Wisconsin Legislature, signing dozens of bills and vetoing 41 bills.

   Among the bills signed were a measure providing for mental health emergency crisis centers, measures to fight human trafficking, aid to crime victims, and improved safety for law enforcement and judges.
   State Sen. Jesse James (R-Altoona) issued a news release noting that several bills he authored were signed, "including measures to allow child victims of human trafficking to testify in private for their safety and mental health, $10 million in funding for crime victim services, and the Kelsey Smith Act, which gives law enforcement greater access to the cell phone locations of individuals in immediate danger.
   “It is an honor to improve our state law to shield our victims,” said James, “We are grateful today to be able to increase resources and protections for those who have been through these extremely traumatizing scenarios.”
Vetoes include tax cut, child care loan program, refugee notification
   With a Republican-controlled Legislature during his five years as Governor, Evers has vetoed more bills than any governor in Wisconsin history.

   Among the legislation vetoed by the Governor were a tax cut bill that would have reduced the state income tax rate from 5.3% to 4.4% for earners making between $27,630 and $304,170, and for married couples between $18,420 and $405,550, and excluded the first $150,000 of a couple’s retirement income from taxes for those over 67, at a cost of $3.2 billion over two years. 
   The Governor also vetoed a revolving loan program for child care facilities that would have set up a program through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to assist with renovations to regulated child care businesses, with 60% for home-based providers and 40% for other providers. 
   "I am vetoing this bill in its entirety because I object to the Wisconsin State Legislature’s failure to address the looming child care industry fiscal cliff that, if unaddressed, will have serious consequences for our state’s workforce and economy," said the Governor in his veto message. During the budget deliberations last year, the Governor proposed continuing the Child Care Counts grant program, while Republicans argued for structural changes to address the business model of the industry. Despite compromises on other major issues last year, the parties failed to come together on child care. The Governor did earlier sign legislation to increase the child care tax credit for families.
   Governor Evers also vetoed a measure that would have required the chief local elected in a local government identified for potential refugee resettlement to be notified and then notify every chief elected official and clerk in any local governmental unit within 100 miles, designate a representative to participate in consultations with the federal government or private nonprofit voluntary agencies, prescribe establishment of committees and public hearings, making 
recommendations as to whether the local unit of government should pass a resolution regarding its position on the proposed refugee placement.
   "I am vetoing this bill in its entirety because I object to creating a consultation process that duplicates and unnecessarily complicates the existing federally mandated consultation process that is already in place," said the Governor in his message.
More information:
Gov. Evers Signs Dozens of Bills Aimed at Improving Community Safety, Reducing Crime Across Wisconsin (Office of the Governor, news release)

Gov. Evers Signs Legislation to Support Holocaust Education, Expand Emergency Detention and Urgent Crisis Care Facilities Statewide (Office of the Governor, news release)
AB 388 (Child Care loan program), Veto message AB 388
SB 916 (Refugee notification bill), Veto message SB 916 
Gov. Evers vetoes $3 billion Republican tax cut, wolf hunting plan, DEI loyalty ban (AP)
Gov. Evers vetoes $3B Republican tax cut, DEI loyalty ban (WPR)
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers vetoes Republican child care bill (Journal-Sentinel +)
Gov. Evers vetoes bill to curb road salt use, citing broad immunity to salters from slip-and-fall suits (Journal-Sentinel +)
Communities with a closed UW branch campus can get up to $2 million for redevelopment (Journal-Sentinel +)
Evers rejects Republican education, wolf population and income tax cut bills, approves legislation for mental health crisis observation centers (Wisconsin Examiner)
Evers signs law to curb AI generated child porn, sex dolls (Leader-Telegram $)
Evers signs new laws designed to bolster safety of judges, combat human trafficking (AP)
Wisconsin adopts new laws on fleeing police, child sex dolls, human trafficking and threatening judges (Wisconsin State Journal +)
9 bills signed last week (Office of Sen. Jesse James, news release)
Child victims of trafficking will be able to testify in court differently with signing of bill (WEAU 13 News)
Sen. James: Celebrates signing of bills to protect children and victims (WisPolitics.com, news release)
Gov. Evers Signs Worker's Compensation Agreed-Upon Bill into Law (DWD)
Our View: New laws will protect Wisconsin children (Leader Telegram editorial +)

For more information on previously-signed bills, see last week's Business Advocate.

Local legislators react to end of session:
Eggs and Issues – Legislative Breakfast (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)

Local state legislators speak on political maps, state grant money for hospital closures (Leader-Telegram $)

Former Rep. Kreibich running for Assembly
Candidates begin to line up, drop out as new districts come into focus
   Former Assembly Rep. Rob Kreibich, who is now President of the New Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce, announced last week that he is running for the 28th District Assembly seat in this fall's election.

   There is no incumbent in the new boundaries of District 28, which includes such communities as New Richmond, Star Prairie, Somerset, Roberts, Hammond, Baldwin, Woodville and Glenwood City. It is currently represented by Rep. Clint Moses  (R-Menomonie), who has been redistricted into the new 92nd Assembly District which includes Menomonie, Chippewa Falls, Lake Hallie, and the portion of Eau Claire in Chippewa County.
   Kreibich has been the New Richmond Chamber's CEO for nine years. He served in the Assembly representing District 93 from Eau Claire from 1993-2007, and previously was a news anchor at WEAU 13 News.
New Maps, Big Changes
   Kreibich's announcement is among many candidate decisions occurring across the state as new legislative maps are about to come into play after the Legislature enacted and the Governor signed legislation creating new Assembly and State Senate districts. Voters will first see ballots with new districts for the August 13 Primary, then vote for all 99 Assembly seats and even-numbered Senate districts at the November 4 election. To get on the ballot, candidates can begin circulating nominating petitions on April 15 and must file by June 1. It takes 200-400 voter signatures for Assembly candidates and 400-800 signatures for Senate Candidates. 

   "Democratic and Republican candidates are now strategizing on how to appeal to a broader spectrum of voters to secure seats in the state legislature," notes John Jacobson, Director of Public Affairs at Ruder Ware LLSC. "The shift towards more competitive districts has injected a sense of urgency and necessity for candidates who, up until the enaction of these new maps, might have only had to appeal to one far side of the electorate or the other. It is expected that more than 20% of Wisconsin voters will be shifted to new legislative districts."
   See the links below for to see the new legislative maps, and current information tracked by WisPolitics.com on candidacies for 2024 Assembly and State Senate races.
   "To understand how evenly split legislative control might be, consider the outcome of the 2022 general election. Democrat Governor Tony Evers, and Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson both won their statewide reelection bids, despite being members of opposing political parties. Gov. Evers won with 1.358 million votes, while Sen. Johnson won with 1.337 million votes," notes Jacobson, "Applying Evers’ 2022 reelection numbers to the new maps would result in a Dem-controlled state legislature: 18-15 in the Senate, and 52-47 in the Assembly. Applying Johnson’s 2022 reelection numbers to the new maps would result in a GOP-controlled state legislature: 17-16 in the Senate, and 51-48 in the Assembly."
How much difference will new maps make?
   "While it is difficult to predict how the “top of the ticket” will impact “down ticket” candidates, the numbers will most certainly be closer than they are today," says Jacobson. "Some believe a more evenly split legislature will force bipartisanship and collaboration, while others believe it will merely cause opposing leaders to dig their heels in deeper. One thing is certain – how things shake out is now in the hands of Wisconsin voters."

   Political analyst John Frank, who was Chief of Staff for former Congressman Steve Gunderson (R-3rd), says the maps could cause confusion, and anticipates Republicans will maintain control of both houses.
   “In Wisconsin, republicans are firmly in control of both the State Senate and the State Assembly. The change in maps are not going to cause that much of a difference overall,” Frank told WEAU 13 News. “The problem with the maps is that they are going to cause unnecessary confusion for voters. People are going to have to be better schooled when they go the polls so they know who the candidates are going to be because in many cases, they’ll go and not recognize either name if they just wait to vote until the day of the election.”
More information:
Link to 2024 legislative maps (Wisconsin Legislature)

Interactive map: Check the boxes at the upper left to select Assembly, Senate, and/or Congressional Districts. Zoom in to find you location and who your representatives are.
Who’s in, who’s out, who’s on the move: Redistricting forces tough decisions for incumbents (WisPolitics.com)
Status of 2024 Wisconsin Assembly races (WisPolitics.com, with maps)
Status of 2024 Wisconsin Senate races (WisPolitics.com, with maps)
New Richmond Chamber President Rob Kreibich launches bid for newly created, vacant Assembly District 28 (WisPolitics.com)
Rep. Jodi Emerson Announces Bid For Re-Election (WEAU 13 News)
Representative Hurd Declares Candidacy for 69th Assembly District (WEAU 13 News)
Dana Wachs says he will not seek return to State Assembly in coming election cycle (WQOW News 18)
Rep. Magnafici will not run again for State Assembly (Polk County Sun)
Wimberger moving to 2nd SD, setting up possible GOP primary with Cowles (WisPolitics.com)
Political analyst John Frank says Wisconsin critical state in 2024 Election (WEAU 13 News)
These areas of Wisconsin are likely to flip parties under new electoral maps. Do you live in one of them? (Journal-Sentinel +)

Universities of Wisconsin: 3.75% hike for in-state tuition
   Universities of Wisconsin President Jay Rothman last Thursday announced his proposal to increase tuition for resident undergraduates by 3.75 percent during the 2024–25 academic year, a rate similar to recent inflation.  
   Rothman also announced he has asked for an updated affordability review that will be available this fall. The 2022 review found that compared to peers, Wisconsin’s public universities were the most affordable in the Midwest.
   “To maintain the excellent education our universities provide, I will be asking regents to approve a tuition increase similar to recent levels of inflation,” Rothman said. “Our universities are facing challenging economic realities, and students and parents should know that we plan to be good financial stewards. Maintaining our affordability advantage, especially compared to our peers, is a priority because we want more students to get access to the unlimited opportunities our universities provide.”
   See the news release linked below for more specifics. Resident undergraduate tuition and segregated fees for the coming academic year for area schools would be: UW-La Crosse: $9,896, UW-Eau Claire: $9,643, UW-Stout: $9,386, UW-Stevens Point: $9,049, UW-River Falls: $8,824, UW-Superior: $8,813.
More information:
Universities of Wisconsin: Tuition for resident undergraduates would rise 3.75 percent in 2024–25 (WisPolitics.com, UW news release)

UW president proposes 3.75% hike in resident tuition next school year (The Cap Times)
UW campuses plan to raise in-state tuition in the fall (WPR)

More state and regional stories...

Wisconsin’s economic growth was in top 15 for Q4, but near the bottom for all of 2023

Second recall effort launched against Robin Vos

Trump backers try again to recall Wisconsin GOP Assembly speaker as first effort stalls (AP)

Vos: Gableman, leader of failed 2020 election probe, should be ‘disbarred’

UW-Madison to benefit from passage of federal spending bills

US Department of Education investigating discrimination allegation against UW-Madison scholarship program

UW-Milwaukee faculty at branch campuses to be laid off under little-used policy
(Journal-Sentinel +)

Wisconsin districts could get an early jump on back-to-school dates

Wisconsin Supreme Court lets ruling stand that declared Amazon drivers to be employees (AP)

Wisconsin official: Prescription drug-tracking program has helped nearly eliminate ‘doctor shopping’

Wisconsin utilities boosting renewable, clean energy portfolios

Milwaukee's Mitchell International parking near capacity with travel surge during spring break

Port Milwaukee outlines its safety measures in wake of Baltimore's bridge collapse

Lambeau Field lease negotiations on hold between Packers, city of Green Bay

With early start, Great Lakes ports and industry hope to see gains this shipping season

New children’s museum aims to be catalyst for revitalizing downtown Wausau

National and economic stories...

US Chamber urges Senators to support the “Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act”
   With Congress out of session for the next two weeks, we need your help reaching out to senators while they are at home, particularly Republican senators, to let them know that we urgently need them to pass H.R. 7024, the “Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act” this year.
   This bipartisan legislation will extend several pro-growth business tax provisions that have expired, including the research and development (R&D) deduction, 100% bonus depreciation deduction, and the EBITDA standard for deducting business interest expenses.  Last month, the House of Representatives did its part and voted 357-70 to pass this bill, but it’s currently held up in the Senate.  With this in mind, please consider reaching out to your senators and urging them to pass this important legislation this year. Without it, businesses will have significantly less money to reinvest in their employees and operations. 
Urge Senators to Support H.R. 7024 (US Chamber of Commerce)
Senate at an ‘impasse’ over restoring child tax credit (Route Fifty)

Key Fed inflation gauge rose 2.8% annually in February, as expected

‘The last mile is harder’: Stubborn inflation stalls rate cuts (Politico)

US unemployment benefit claims drop again
(Greater Madison In Business)

Biden 'doesn't have a plan' on Social Security solvency, Treasury secretary says
(Fox Business)

Wis U.S. Senate candidates Baldwin, Hovde rush to define themselves, and each other, to voters
(Spectrum News)

Van Orden among Republicans working to knock off House GOP’s hard-right leader in Virginia primary feud

House Republicans' advantage even thinner with Gallagher resignation (The Center Square)
Mike Gallagher to take job at data analytics company Palantir, reports say (Journal-Sentinel +)

Trump attacks resigning GOP Reps Buck and Gallagher as ‘cowards and weaklings’ as majority thins
(The Hill)

Gov. Evers Announces DOR Secretary Barca Leaving Evers Administration
(Office of the Governor, news release)

Peter Barca 'strongly considering' 1st Congressional District run against Bryan Steil (Journal-Sentinel +)

Paul Ryan talks Trump, future of politics in student forum
(OU Daily)

'No Labels' party says it has enough signatures for ballot access in Wisconsin
(Journal-Sentinel +)

Joe Lieberman’s death leaves a hole at No Labels as it tries to recruit a 2024 third-party candidate (AP)

3 presidents, celebrity performances and protester interruptions at Biden campaign’s $26M fundraiser (CNBC)

Trump’s deals to sell Bibles, sneakers and perfume are unprecedented for a presidential candidate, experts say

Trump's Truth Social lost $58 million in 2023

Energy Secretary Granholm Touts ‘Investing In America’ Initiative On Milwaukee Visit
(Urban Milwaukee)

Court strikes down Biden rule requiring states and cities to set climate targets for transportation
(The Hill)

Wisconsin congressmen sponsor bill to ban the settlement of refugees in communities that don’t want them
(Spectrum News)

Colorado Republican committee to select Buck’s likely replacement, adding a challenge to Boebert’s campaign

Milwaukee RNC organizers preparing for wide range of security threats

RNC looking for local Wisconsin interns and volunteers
(Waukesha County Freeman +)

RNC may again adopt a party platform this year after not having one in 2020, Lara Trump says (Journal-Sentinel +)

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. picks tech entrepreneur Nicole Shanahan as his vice president

U.S. reporter Evan Gershkovich has now spent a whole year jailed in Russia

Remembering Joseph I. Lieberman, 1942-2024
(John Podhoretz, Commentary)

County in Virginia supports its aging residents by focusing on family caregivers
(Route Fifty)

States See Transportation Funding Threats from EVs and Hybrids

Busload of ‘Illegal Invaders’ Was Actually the Gonzaga Basketball Team
(The Dispatch)

Food for thought...

How Partisan Divide on Education Hurts State
(Bruce Thompson, Urban Milwaukee) Some schools with poor students have success. Why aren't we learning from that?

With a Soviet-style election, Vladimir Putin’s Russia has come full circle.
(Adrian Karatnycky, Foreign Policy)

COVID-19 Resources:
Eau Claire County COVID-19 Information Hub (Eau Claire City-County Health Department)

Mark your calendar:

Spring 2024 Election
 • Tuesday, April 2
Local candidates on the Spring election ballot

Eggs & Issues: State of the City - Altoona
 • Friday, Apr 12

2024 Human Resource Conference
 • Thursday, Apr 18

Chamber/UW-Eau Claire Business Community Breakfast
• Tuesday, Apr 30

Eggs & Issues
• Thursday, May 9

Chamber Royale
 • Thursday, May 16

Golf Day in Eau Claire
 • Monday, Aug 5

"Bravo to Business" Awards
 • Thursday, Oct 17

31st Annual Chippewa Valley Rally
• Wednesday, Mar 5, 2025

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 G
overnmental Affairs, at 715-858-0616 or rogers@eauclairechamber.org

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