Dunn County Passes Moratorium to Protect Local Economy & Environment from Corporate Farms

Citizen Action of Western Wisconsin members urged Dunn County board to pass a moratorium after a 7,150 cow corporate farm proposed in Rock Falls

Statewide: Last night the Dunn County Board passed a 6 month moratorium on any new large scale corporate farms of 1,000 animals or more. This vote came at the urging of small farmers and Citizen Action Organizing Cooperative of Western Wisconsin members. The legislative action is in response to the proposal by Cranberry Creek to introduce a 7,150 cow industrial farm 25 minutes away from downtown Eau Claire.

Corporate farms, known as “Contained Animal Feeding Operations” (CAFOs), represent a major threat to a local economy composed of family farms, and to water and air quality. The preservation of the small farm economy is also essential for making the transition to a more sustainable economy that does not lead to damaging climate change. CAFOs produce more of the kind of pollution that contributes to global warming.

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Pre-Debate Primer: Sen. Ron Johnson is Misleading Public on Health Care

Statewide: In the first Wisconsin U.S. Senate debate and in two television ads Sen. Ron Johnson is making a series of highly misleading claims about health care cost inflation. Johnson said in the first debate that he was seeking to “turn back the clock” by repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). But his deceptive claims hide from public view the consequences of going back to the days when health insurance policies had dangerous gaps in coverage and discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions was legal.

Leading into the second and final debate Wisconsin U.S. Senate debate tonight, Citizen Action is providing a brief analysis of the major health care claims Senator Johnson has made so far.

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Citizen Action Applauds Federal Judge’s Action on Photo ID

Madison: Today Judge James D. Peterson ordered the Walker Administration to take immediate action to remedy clear voting rights violations in the implementation of the Photo ID requirement. This includes helping people seeking voting credentials navigate the complicated process and undertaking a major public education campaign.

Judge Peterson said this morning he did not have the authority to enjoin the Photo ID law. A written order detailing the steps the Walker Administration must take is expected later today.

Judge Peterson’s action was in response to a motion by plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed by Citizen Action’s charitable arm, Citizen Action of Wisconsin Education Fund and Citizen Action community organizer Anita Johnson. Other plaintiffs in the lawsuit include One Wisconsin Institute, Renee M. Gagner, Cody R. Nelson, Jennifer S. Tasse, Scott T. Trindl, Michael R. Wilder, Johnny M. Randle, David Walker, David Aponte, and Cassandra M. Silas. 

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Sabotage by Health Care Industry & Conservative Politicians True Cause of Rising Health Premiums

Blaming ObamaCare is a political gambit, not health policy

A robust public option and controlling prescription drug costs essential

Statewide: The 2017 health insurance premium rates released by the Walker Administration present an incomplete picture.

While the release of rates by the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance is a step forward from last year, when Wisconsin was the only state not to release premium prices in advance, the agency’s press release is silent on the causes of health insurance inflation. This silence has muddled this critical public policy question and left the door open to misleading explanations that won’t help us make health care more affordable.

Rising health insurance premiums are not being driven by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but by the reemergence of health insurance industry discrimination and price gouging by pharmaceutical corporations and medical service providers. 

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New $0 Deductible Health Plans Introduced

New health insurance plans offer relief from runaway pharmaceutical prices and other unaffordable medical costs

Wisconsin health consumers will save over $209 million per year

Statewide: At news conferences in four cities yesterday Citizen Action of Wisconsin announced that for 2017 some major insurance carriers in Wisconsin will be offering new health plans designed by the federal government to provide immediate relief from skyrocketing prescription drug prices and other medical costs. The announcement took place in Appleton, Wausau, Milwaukee, and Madison.

 Deductibles jumped 40% this year in Wisconsin, yet the Walker Administration has refused to take any meaningful steps to address high medical prices. To fill the gap, advocates and state legislators took matters into their own hands by directly lobbying Wisconsin health insurance companies to adopt new Federal plans designed to combat high deductibles.

The savings generated because of the introduction of these new plans are dramatic. The average health consumer purchasing insurance on the Affordable Care Act marketplace stands to save $1,462 Rx deductibles and $3,482 on other high value medical services. Overall Citizen Action of Wisconsin estimates the new plans will save Wisconsin health consumers over $209 million per year in lower deductibles.


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Walker Administration Deliberately Rigging Health Insurance System to Raise Rates

Almost as many people enrolled in substandard “lemon” health plans in Wisconsin as buy individual coverage through Healthcare.gov

Statewide: When Walker Administration’s Deputy Insurance Commissioner J.P. Wieske testified before Senator Ron Johnson’s Homeland Security Committee last week, he revealed that a much larger number of Wisconsinites than previously believed are enrolled in substandard health plans which do not meet the standards of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

This seemingly innocuous admission actually has major implications for the availability of affordable health care in Wisconsin. In fact, it is evidence that the Walker Administration is working to sabotage the health care law.

In the hearing Wieske testified (p. 6-7) that 203,000 Wisconsinites are covered by so-called “transitional plans,” the technical term for most plans not in compliance with the ACA. These are also often referred to as “grandmothered” plans. Currently 239,034 Wisconsin health consumers are enrolled in individual coverage on Healthcare.gov. This means the ACA marketplaces in Wisconsin would be much larger if these transitional plans were prohibited.

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Outsourced Wisconsin Tour Visits Fox Valley & Wausau

Tour traveling Wisconsin to focus attention on corporate outsourcers who are taking public job creation dollars

Neenah & Wausau, WI: Advocates for good jobs continued their statewide tour of corporations which are outsourcing while taking public job creation dollars today in Northeast and Northcentral Wisconsin. Over 11,000 Wisconsin jobs have been outsourced over the last 5 years.

The first stop on the “Outsourced Wisconsin” tour today was the Plexus Corporation in Neenah. Plexus has been paid or promised $17 million by the Walker Administration's troubled jobs agency, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). Plexus has created 74 jobs to date, but outsourced 116 jobs. This means Plexus has outsourced 42 more jobs than the public has paid it to create. Citizen Action members were joined at the Neenah event by State Rep. Amanda Stuck and Fox Valley Labor Council President Mark Westphal. (More information on the Plexus outsourcing record here)

The second stop on the “Outsourced Wisconsin” tour today was Kohl’s retail store location in Wausau. Kohl’s has been awarded $62.5 million in job creation tax credits by WEDC, but outsourced 67 accounts payable and sales audit jobs to India. Citizen Action was joined by local economic justice activists and Nancy Stencil, candidate for the 86th Assembly district. (More information on the Kohl’s outsourcing record here).

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Attorney General Moves to Block Pay Raise for Wisconsin Workers

New overtime rule would be an economic boon for Wisconsin

Statewide – Wisconsin has joined a group of states suing the U.S. Department of Labor over revised overtime rules that will raise wages for millions of workers. The rule is slated to take effect December 1. If the lawsuit is successful, workers across Wisconsin would be denied a much needed pay raise at the start of the holiday season.

The candidates in the Wisconsin U.S. Senate races also strongly disagree on the overtime rule, with Russ Feingold supporting it and Senator Ron Johnson opposing it.

If enacted, workers in every region of Wisconsin will be be rewarded for their hard work. When workers have more money in their pockets to spend in local communities, employment increases and prosperity expands. The economic impact of the overtime rule will be dramatic in every metro area of Wisconsin.

Table: Overtime bonus per average worker from new federal rule by metropolitan area

Metropolitan Area

Median Annual Wage, 2015 1

Average Weekly Overtime bonus, 47 hours 2

Average Annual Overtime Bonus, 47 hours/week 2




+$188 per week

+$9,776 per year





Green Bay








Eau Claire












Fond Du Lac








La Crosse

















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Ron Johnson Senate Hearing Today will Showcase Sabotage of Affordable Health Care

Witnesses include Walker Administration insurance bureaucrat who is part of efforts to undermine access to affordable health care in Wisconsin

Washington DC: This morning Senator Ron Johnson, Chair of the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee, will hold a hearing on the state of health insurance markets. Observers of health policy expect the hearing to try and build support for repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Senator Johnson, an arch opponent of guaranteed affordable health care, is expected to use the hearing to advance his desire to return to the days when insurance companies profited through discrimination based on preexisting conditions, age, and gender. Johnson will likely claim that big for profit insurance companies pulling out of ACA marketplaces is a reason to repeal health care reform, rather than for holding those highly profitable corporations accountable. At least one health insurance company is pulling out in retaliation for the Obama Administration enforcement of the nation’s antitrust laws.

One of the challenges in implementing the ACA continues to be conservative state officials who are willing to use their power to undermine access to affordable health care for their own constituents. These actions include rejecting coverage for low income residents and enabling for profit insurance companies to continue to profit by selling policies to healthy people and avoiding those with health conditions.

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Outsourced Wisconsin Tour Launched

Will travel Wisconsin to focus attention on corporate outsourcers who are taking public job creation dollars

Milwaukee: Following last week’s revelation that over 11,000 Wisconsin jobs have been outsourced in the past five years, advocates for good jobs launched a statewide tour on Thursday of corporations who are outsourcing while taking public job creation dollars.

The first stop on the tour is the Rexnord Corporation in Milwaukee. At a news event today community leaders detailed how Rexnord outsourced Wisconsin jobs at the same time it took millions in public job creation dollars from Governor Walker’s scandal plagued Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).

Community leaders and advocates for good jobs wore hard hats emblazoned with a decal which plays off WEDC’s “In Wisconsin” logo changed to “Outsourced Wisconsin.” Speakers included AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Stephanie Bloomingdale, WISDOM President Rev. Willie Brisco, former radio host Earl Ingram, and State. Rep. Daniel Riemer.

WEDC has for years refused to close loopholes that allow corporations to take public jobs money while outsourcing more jobs than they create.

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