Reps in the News: Foxconn Hires, Social Media Algorithms; More

Governor Tony Evers

Gov. Tony Evers predicts Foxconn will continue to fall short of its hiring goals at its Mount Pleasant manufacturing facility. In an interview with CNBC that aired Tuesday, Evers said his administration now has clarity on the project. Foxconn will likely hire 1,500 people next year, compared to 1,800 under the plan the company laid out. Under that plan, Foxconn would eventually hire up to 13,000 workers in the state, Evers said. 

“You know for Wisconsin, 1,500 employees is important,” Evers told CNBC. “We’re looking forward to working with them. It is more concrete. In fact, I saw them pouring concrete.”

Evers spoke to CNBC in Madison on June 27, one week after visiting the Foxconn construction site in Racine County. Foxconn is currently pouring the foundation for an approximately 1-million-square-foot Gen. 6 fabrication facility in Mount Pleasant. A company official said it will be operational by the end of 2020.

The Taiwanese company fell short of its employment goal in 2018, hiring 178 full-time workers instead of the targeted 260. As a result, it failed to earn a tax credit of up to $9.5 million.

Source: Wisconsin Public Radio

Senator Tammy Baldwin

Sen. Baldwin and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) reintroduced the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA), a bipartisan reform to grow, improve and sustain the palliative care and hospice workforce to keep pace with patient needs and to improve the well-being of Americans with life-threatening illnesses and their families.

“I was raised by my maternal grandparents and later served as my grandmother’s primary caregiver as she grew older, so this issue is personal to me, and I want to make a difference for families experiencing serious health concerns,” Baldwin said. “I’m proud to work across party lines and reintroduce the bipartisan Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act with my colleague Senator Capito. We must do more to grow our health-care workforce to safeguard and improve the quality of care for the growing number of patients with serious or life-threatening illnesses.”

The act would strengthen training for new and existing physicians, those who teach palliative care and other palliative-care providers to give patients and their families a voice in care and treatment goals. It also boosts palliative-care research and provides academic and career awards to promote and reward the practice and study of palliative and hospice care.

Source: Baldwin press release

Senator Ron Johnson

Sen. Ron Johnson, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, sent a letter last week to the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri; and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg requesting information about how algorithms and artificial intelligence suggest content for users to engage with on their platforms.

“After conducting a number of algorithm-related studies, the Pew Research Center concluded, ‘Americans express broad concerns over the fairness and effectiveness of computer programs making important decisions in people’s lives.’ As we become aware of the society-wide significance of this influence, the lack of transparency regarding human bias and the use of algorithms and artificial intelligence is troubling,” Johnson wrote. “As a result, policymakers and the American public deserve to understand the facts behind the content and suggestions they are served on these internet platforms.”

The senator’s letter comes the week after he raised questions about Instagram’s follow-suggestion algorithm at a Commerce Committee hearing on social-media algorithms.

Source: Johnson press release

President Donald Trump

As the battle over President Trump’s federal taxes intensifies in Washington, Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York signed a bill on Monday to allow congressional committees to access the president’s state tax returns.

The bill requires state tax officials to release the president’s state returns for any “specified and legitimate legislative purpose” at the request of the chair of one of three congressional committees: the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee and/or the Joint Committee on Taxation.

The bill is effective immediately, though it is unclear whether it will be challenged by the Trump administration or used by the congressional committees. The Ways and Means Committee, for instance, has said that it remains focused on pursuing Trump’s federal tax information.

Still, the state tax documents from New York – the president’s home state and business headquarters – would likely contain much of the same information as the contested federal returns, tax experts say.

Source: The New York Times