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Volume 6, Issue 47, Apr 8, 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-4:30p, Friday 8a-Noon


In this issue:
 • Healthcare updates
 • Incumbents do well in local Spring Election
 • New "Talking Po!nt" podcast: Legislative redistricting
 • 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 "+"


Last chance to register...
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


Evers signs bill to establish crisis mental health centers
   Governor Tony Evers on March 29 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 would 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)

The HSHS/Prevea Task Force continues to work on addressing the ramifications of recent facility closures.

Click here: Task Force website to stay informed and sign up for updates

More healthcare stories...

Gov. Tony Evers again vetoes bill to allow advance practice nurses to work independently in Wisconsin
(Wisconsin State Journal +)

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)

Medical Academy Program partners UWEC, Mayo Clinic to address medical school interest
(Leader-Telegram $)

Resilience on full display with recent health care announcements
(Leader-Telegram editorial)

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 $)


Spring Election results
Most incumbents win local races
   Wisconsin voters went to the polls last Tuesday with Spring non-partisan local elections, a presidential preference primary, and two state constitutional amendments on the ballot.
   In Eau Claire County, incumbents on the Eau Claire School Board, Eau Claire City Council, and all but one incumbent on the County Board were reelected. However, with retirements in a number of offices, there still will be many new faces with these entities have their organizational meetings later this month. 
More information:
2024 Spring Election results (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)

EC incumbents defend council seats (Leader-Telegram $)
E.C. City Council Incumbents Anderson, Werthmann Among Tuesday’s Winners (Volume One)
Clements, Zerr win re-election to Eau Claire school board (Leader-Telegram $)
CF school referendum passes (Leader-Telegram $)
Voters amend Wisconsin Constitution to ban private election funding (WPR)
Katie Rosenberg, seen as rising star in Democratic circles, loses Wausau mayoral race (Journal-Sentinel +)
Johnson elected to full term as Milwaukee mayor; Crowley wins reelection as Milwaukee County executive. (WisPolitics.com)
Goyke defeats Spencer in Milwaukee city attorney race (WisPolitics.com)
Milwaukee voters buck MMAC, approve MPS’ $252 million referendum (BizTimes)
Tuesday’s election results shift Green Bay City Council to the left (WPR)

Next: Fall General Election...

New episode...
"Talking Po!nt" podcast
Episode 5: What legislative redistricting means to you
In this episode, Creative Director Chelsea Seckora introduces the Chamber's President & CEO, Dave Minor, and Scott Rogers, VP Governmental Affairs. After a brief update on the status of the HSHS Prevea Task Force, we focus on what you should know about engaging with elected officials. And with the fall election coming up, we talk about how new Wisconsin legislative districts will impact what you'll see in your voting booth this fall.

Listen: Talking Po!nt Episode 5 (40 mins.)

Candidates begin to line up as new districts come into focus
New Maps, Big Changes
   Many candidate decisions are occurring across the state and 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 12 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)

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 +)
Democrats’ plan for recruiting candidates and making gains in Wisconsin Legislature (Wisconsin Examiner)

Candidate news...
Business consultant Jamie Wall announces run for Green Bay-area 30th Senate District (Green Bay Press-Gazette +)

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)

More election stories...

Supreme Court declines to say which maps should be used for recalls, special elections

Biden is returning to Wisconsin April 8

Trump rally in Green Bay: Former president focuses on immigration in campaign speech
(Green Bay Press-Gazette +)

From 'uninstructed' Dems to non-Trump Republicans: Takeaways from Wisconsin's primary
(Journal-Sentinel +)

Gilbert: For Donald Trump, Wisconsin in 2024 looks a lot like Wisconsin in 2016
(Journal-Sentinel +)

Trump's grip on Republican Party 'temporary': ex-U.S. Speaker Ryan
(Nikkei Asia)

With the election months away, Hovde has Republican US Senate field largely to himself

In swing-state Wisconsin, Democrat hustles to keep key Senate seat against Trump-backed millionaire

Wisconsin governor urges state Supreme Court to revoke restrictions on absentee ballot drop boxes

Meeting this week...

Eau Claire City Council
 • Monday, Apr 8, 7 p.m., Public Hearing Agenda Packet (4 pages)
 • Tuesday, Apr 9, 4 p.m. Legislative Session Agenda Packet (118 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)
    City of Eau Claire News Updates (including weekly City Manager's Update)

Altoona City Council
 • Thursday, Apr 11, 6 p.m. Links to agenda and info

More local stories...

ECASD looks at mak
ing students college, career, community ready with CTE programs
(Leader-Telegram $)

EC County Board supports day resource center, says goodbye to supervisors
(Leader-Telegram $)

DHS over budget in 2023, concerned for 2024 (Leader-Telegram $)

City says 3M PFAS settlement has local implications
(Leader-Telegram $)

Local governments save on snow removal after record winter
(Leader-Telegram $)
Some companies and employees hurt by snowless season (Leader-Telegram $)

Visit Eau Claire's Luke Alexopoulos Named Destination International's 2024 30 Under 30 Recipient
(Visit Eau Claire)

Rice Lake pastor's escape from Haiti required 4 a.m. helicopter rescue
(Rice Lake Chronotype)


Wisconsin Capitol action...

Governor's action on end-of-session legislation:
Gov. Evers Delivers Radio Address Celebrating Hmong Heritage Month and Bipartisan Legislation Adding Hmong and Asian American Histories to K-12 School Curriculum (Office of the Governor)

Gov. Evers Takes Action on Four Bills (Office of the Governor)
Gov. Evers Takes Action on 54 Bills (Office of the Governor, news release)
Gov. Evers Takes Action on 44 Bills (Office of the Governor, news release)
Gov. Evers Signs Dozens of Bills Aimed at Improving Community Safety, Reducing Crime Across Wisconsin (Office of the Governor, news release)

Gov. Evers Signs Historic Legislation to Support and Expand Wisconsin’s Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (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 

News coverage:
Gov. Tony Evers signs bill to promote flood resilience (WPR)

Evers vetoes bill limiting local control of animal welfare on farms (WPR)
Wisconsin governor vetoes transgender high school athletics ban (AP)
Republicans denounce Evers’ veto wave (The Center Square)
Evers signs four mental health bills into law, but vetoes out-of-state telehealth bill (Post-Crescent)
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)
Bills that passed the Assembly but not the Senate (WisPolitics.com)
Bills that passed the Senate but not the Assembly (WisPolitics.com)
Our View: New laws will protect Wisconsin children (Leader Telegram editorial +)

More state and regional stories...

State manufacturing employment expected to decline through 2027

Report: Wisconsin Economic Forecast Feb 2024 (Wisconsin Dept of Revenue)

Few changes expected in WI after real estate agent commission settlement

Superior City Council denies local approvals for $1B natural gas plant

Former Menards is new site for free and low-cost child care on Madison's Far East Side
(Wisconsin State Journal +)

Construction for $456 million Milwaukee Baird Center expansion reaches ‘substantial completion’

Milwaukee Brewing Co. gets new home, at former Tonic Tavern site in Bay View

National and economic stories...

How States Are Addressing the High Cost of Housing

How Gen Z is becoming the toolbelt generation
(Wall Street Journal)

More young workers are going into trades as disenchantment with the college track continues, and rising pay and new technologies shine up plumbing and electrical jobs

Food for thought...

We Need a Lot More Housing. It Won’t Come from Washington.
(Erin Norman, Governing) Biden’s budget would provide billions, along with heavy-handed regulation, but it won’t expand the supply. The way to build more housing and tame prices is for states to encourage local innovation.

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

Mark your calendar:

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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