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Randy Hopper (legislator)

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Randy Hopper is a Republican state senator representing Wisconsin's 18th Senate District.

Ties to American Legislative Exchange Council

Sen. Hopper is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). He is an alternate on the ALEC Telecommunications and IT Task Force.

About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org site.


Hopper Sponsors Insertion of ALEC "Model Language" into Budget to Benefit Altria /Phillip Morris

In June 2010, late in the debate over the Wisconsin state budget, Hopper and five other Republican legislators in the Joint Finance Committee "sponsored a proposal to lower the overall price of moist snuff [tobacco] like Copenhagen and Skoal. Specifically, the provision would have altered the tax on smokeless tobacco products from one based on the price of the tobacco to one based on weight," according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. [1] The change in taxation was nearly identical to a proposal put forth in an ALEC "model bill."

According to the Journal-Sentinel, "The measure was pushed by Altria, the parent company of Philip Morris USA, which would have benefited from it because it manufactures smokeless tobacco products that are far lighter than those of other manufacturers." [1]

Tobacco opponents argued that the tax change would make many smokeless tobacco products less expensive, making it more appealing to children. Smokeless tobacco use remained steady or increased in recent years, even as smoking rates had declined. "Perhaps this increase is due to the fact that many smokeless tobacco products are fruit flavored and are sometimes packaged to look similar to candy - a marketing tactic obviously aimed at kids," wrote Gail Sumi of the American Cancer Society and Maureen Busalacchi of Smokefree Wisconsin in a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel op-ed. [2]

Governor Scott Walker vetoed the proposed change to the tobacco tax, citing the threat it posed to the health of Wisconsin children. [3]

According to the Journal-Sentinel, "On the moist tobacco proposal, an ALEC staffer even wrote to the governor to ask him not to veto the item after it was inserted in the budget bill.

"The amendment will create a fairer tax system that reduces market distortions and encourages fiscal stability," wrote Courtney O'Brien, director of the Commerce, Insurance, and Economic Development & Public Safety and Elections Task Forces at ALEC. [1]

Hopper and Tax Policy

Sen. Hopper introduced or co-sponsored the following bills in 2011: [4]

  • Enterprise zone: number Comm.Dept may designate increased............AB-53
  • Jobs creation tax benefit created; Comm.Dept duties and emergency rule provision............SB-3
  • Jobs tax credit: refund date modified............AB-1 / SB-5
  • Pension income from a qualified retirement plan under the Internal Revenue Code or an IRA in certain cases: amount of exempt income revised; federal adjusted gross income provision; JSCTE appendix report............SB-29


Hopper and Energy

Sen. Hopper introduced or co-sponsored the following bills in 2011: [4]

  • Electric public utility to offer temporary discounted rates to qualifying industrial customers: PSC to approve if it will promote economic development............[field%20folio-destination-name:'ab145'$xhitlist_md=target-id=0-0-0-131079 AB-145] / SB-102

Hopper and Economic Development

Sen. Hopper introduced or co-sponsored the following bills in 2011: [4]

  • Wisconsin Venture Capital Authority, badger jobs fund, and certified jobs now fund program created; Comm.Dept, WEDC, DOR, OCI, and JCF duties; reports required............AB-129

Support for Wisconsin Act 10's Collective Bargaining Limits

Sen. Hopper supported Governor Scott Walker's Budget Repair Bill (Act 10) that curtailed collective bargaining for public employees.


2011/2012 Committee Assignments

Senate Standing Committees:

  • Committee on Economic Development and Veterans and Military Affairs (Chair)
  • Committee on Energy, Biotechnology, and Consumer Protection
  • Committee on Finance

Joint Committees:

  • Joint Committee on Finance
  • Joint Survey Committee on Tax Exemptions (Co-Chair)
  • Economic Policy Board
  • Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

Legislative Council Study Committees:

  • Special Committee on Strategic Job Creation

[5]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Dan Bice, Liberal organization links Wisconsin bills to Koch-funded group, Milwaukee Journal - Sentinel, July 13, 2011.
  2. Gail Sumi and Maureen Busalacchi, Veto Tax Break for Big Tobacco (op-ed), Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, June 21, 2011, accessed Aug 1, 2011.
  3. Scott Bauer, Walker to Veto Tax Change on Tobacco, Drawing Praise from Health Groups, Associated Press / Capitol Times, June 24, 2011.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Randy Hopper (18th Dist) bills 2011, Wisconsin legislature website, accessed Aug 1, 2011.
  5. Hopper Committee Assignments, Legislative homepage, accessed Aug 1, 2011.