Good morning all. You are stuck with me this week filling in for Frederica as she enjoys a much-deserved rest with her family.
We will begin by discussing the political story that dominated Washington over the recent past, the fiscal cliff. However, we will bring that story home to Wisconsin, focusing particularly on the so-called milk cliff. The Milk Income Loss Contract Program (MILC) seeks to help small dairy producers when prices drop and production costs rise.
However, it expired when the farm bill was not renewed in September and there was concern that if a stipulation was not included in the fiscal cliff legislation, milk prices would have been governed by what The Wall Street Journal called “a long-dormant 1949 law… that requires the government to buy milk, butter and cheese using a complicated formula that would essentially pay producers about twice as much as they are currently getting on the private market. That would translate into much higher prices for dairy products at the supermarket because private buyers will then have to meet that higher price to buy milk.”
That price spike was avoided, albeit temporarily, and we’ll have the Director of the UW-Madison Dairy Policy Department, Mark Stephenson, on the program to talk with him more about what happens next.
My colleague, Zac Schultz, sat down with Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to discuss the Justice Department’s 2013 strategy, specifically as it relates to a number of lawsuits filed against new laws passed by the majority Republicans in the Legislature.
We’ll continue our series featuring the candidates for the non-partisan race of State Supreme Court. Last month, we spoke with Vince Megna, a consumer lawyer making the race. Tonight, we’ll interview Marquette University Law School Professor Ed Fallone, who also is a candidate in the February 19th primary. The third candidate, incumbent Justice Pat Roggensack, will hopefully be on the program in the next couple weeks. The top two candidates from the February primary go on to the April general election.
Finally, in a week when it’s estimated that 40 percent of all Americans will make new year resolutions about things they want to do in 2013, we’ll offer some help to Wisconsin residents who want to quit smoking. A new $10 million grant from the federal government to the UW Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention will allow for up to 800 new participants statewide who want to stop smoking. We’ll talk with Dr. Michael Fiore, the director of the center, about the new grant and its methods for helping people kick tobacco.
Here and Now airs statewide tonight at 7:30pm and again on Sunday at 9:30am. Frederica will be back next week.