State Assembly Representative Garey Bies
Bies authored a bill that would send nonviolent 17-year-olds who committed their first offense back to the juvenile court system. While the bill has bipartisan support, Sarah Diedrich-Kasdorf from the Wisconsin Counties Association said the bill could cost counties more than they can afford, since juvenile courts are funded by the county.
“We think it makes sense to bring the juveniles back, but that comes at a cost,” Diedrich-Kasdorf said. “We need the resources in order to provide the services and treatment that is necessary.”
Bies said he hopes to convince other legislators to fund the counties’ expenses before voting on the bill in January.
Source: Wisconsin Public Radio
State Senator Frank Lasee
Lasee introduced a bill that would provide handicap parking spaces for motorcyclists, who currently aren’t allowed to get handicap parking.
“We became aware that motorcyclists can’t get a handicapped sticker or hanger,” Lasee said. “There’s a variety of handicaps where you could ride a bike but still need to be close to a building for walking purposes.”
Source: Wisconsin Radio Network, Lasee press release
Governor Scott Walker
Walker didn’t accept the federal funding to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and didn’t set up a state-run health insurance exchange. But unlike other states who refused Medicaid help, he expanded partial BadgerCare to those making less than $11,000 a year. Those who make more than $11,000 are able to sign up in the exchanges and receive BadgerCare subsidies.
“Walker’s office estimates that under these changes the state will extend health coverage to 224,580 previously uninsured Wisconsin residents,” said Grace Wyler, writing for Time. “That’s fewer than the 252,678 people who would have gained coverage under the federal Medicaid expansion, but not by much.”
Some people will lose their BadgerCare coverage, but they’ll be eligible for subsidies. Walker hired a team to spread the word on health care changes and help Wisconsin residents sign up for plans.
Turning down the federal money and expanding BadgerCare will cost the state nearly $340 million during the next two two years, according to Wisconsin Public Radio.
Source: Wisconsin Public Radio, Time
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin
Baldwin said she doesn’t think Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human Services Secretary, should step down to her position because of the problems with healthcare.gov.
“I think Secretary Sebelius needs to fix the problem, and that we need to focus our attention on the real goals of the Affordable Care Act, which is getting people health insurance coverage through the marketplace,” Baldwin said. “Filling a cabinet vacancy right now would be enormously distracting.”
Source: Wisconsin Public Radio
U.S. Senator Ron Johnson
On Oct. 30, Johnson announced a bill called the “If You Like Your Health Care Plan You Can Keep It Act” that would allow Americans to keep their health insurance plans.
There have been reports of people getting cancellation notices, possibly because the plans don’t meet requirements laid out by the Affordable Care Act.
“My bill adds flexibility to the standards for policies under Obamacare and gives Americans the freedom to keep their plans if they so choose,” Johnson said.
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
President Barack Obama
Obama issued an executive order directing federal agencies to make it easier for states and small communities to deal with climate change and the storms, droughts and heat waves that will come with it. A task force of eight governors, 16 local officials and two tribal representatives will advise the government.
Source: McClatchy DC