Sunday, June 30, 2019

Vos 'conservatives priorities' spend, give away a lot of public money

Four recent Robin Vos budget tweets elevate repetition but divert the debate:
"It funds our priorities in a conservative way."
So deleting well-testing funds and dangling a perk in front of a key Wisconsin legislator at budget writing time are among conservative priorities. 

Who knew?

Robin Vos speaks at Racine Tea Party event (8378614585).jpg\

Oh, and what about these 'conservative' moves?
The Wisconsin Legislature's Republican-controlled budget committee voted Tuesday to stand by its decision to reject Gov. Tony Evers' plan to expand Medicaid, turning down more than $1 billion in federal funding and $324 million in state money savings.
A conservative estimate of those wasted dollars comes to about $1.3 billion.

And, for good measure, throw in the $4+billion ticketed for Foxconn, where there's some dirt being around - - and lttle else - - and the I-94 death trap Vos lobbied hard to 'improve' sprawl across his district.

You know. Conservative priorities:
WI GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos managed in a state without two spare potholes-filling nickels to rub together to steer to and through his district a quarter of a billion federal and state road-and-interchange widening dollars that will trigger sprawl beyond bulldozed Mount Pleasant farms even if Foxconn never diverts a gallon of Lake Michigan water to produce a single big screen LCD TV.
Though, in fairness, that's less than what we know Vos has recently spent from the public treasury on priorities like more staff, high-priced attorneys and taxpayer-paid travel, enumerated here.

Delayed Foxconn project gets another non-delay delay

For the record, the opening of Foxconn's center-piece factory in its Mt. Pleasant village within a village 

to build and assemble who knows what has been pushed into 2021:
In March, the tech manufacturing company announced construction on the Mount Pleasant Gen 6 fabrication facility would begin in summer and would be operational by the end of 2020.
But Thursday morning, an email sent out by WEDC with the subject line: “Special Bulletin: Wisconn Valley News” updating bid opportunities said the factory was now set for completion in early 2021...
A spokeswoman for Foxconn said Thursday afternoon that there is no delay but offered few additional details. 
When will WEDC drop that fatally self-mocking "WisConn" bad label? Or do they want us to assign it and that castle an official song?
Down in the valley
Valley so low
Hang your head over
Hear the wind blow...
Build me a castle
Forty feet high
So I can see her
As she goes by
* For some fact-checking you can check out this full Foxconn archive, here.

* PolitiFact has called out Wisconsin Republicans who set their own pants on fire when falsely blaming Gov. Evers for earlier Foxconn delays and diminution: 
Republican leaders Vos and Fitzgerald said in a joint statement that potential changes in Foxconn’s Wisconsin plans are a result of "economic uncertainty" created by Evers — who has been governor for less than a month.
A spokeswoman for Vos offered no evidence of that claim, saying merely that the leaders "believe" that is the case.
Meanwhile, the evidence against the claim is steep:
All of which makes Vos and Fitzgerald’s claim not only wrong, but ridiculous. That’s our definition of Pants on Fire.
* And Walker's twitter feed is also a fine archive/amusement:
Foxconn continues to move forward in Wisconsin!

Things are really moving at the Foxconn construction site. Spoke with a number of the guys from Hoffman Construction out of Black River Falls. They love the work!
5:23 PM - 26 Jul 2018

Foxconn is bringing 13,000 high-tech jobs to Wisconsin -- the biggest jobs announcement in our state’s history!

Less-than-good air quality over WI population centers today

This is the kind of humid summer day when it's worth checking DNR air quality online pages, maps and email notification services, here.

As of a few minutes ago, none of our 72 counties have air quality in the "unhealthy" range.

But several, including Dane, Milwaukee, Manitowoc, Kenosha, Racine, Forest, Columbia, Grant  - - and the readings do fluctuate - -  had at some point this morning so-called "moderate" readings for pollutants like ozone or small, air-borne particulates.

As I wrote a couple of weeks ago:
Attention SE Wisconsin: The lakeshore smog shall continue
So people with respiratory conditions might want to keep an eye on those pages, should conditions deteriorate.

Smoke stacks from a factory.

The Walker administration had done plenty to discount clean air quality, undo monitoring and enable more corporate pollution.

Details, here.

So this is an ongoing issue that needs the same kind of fresh attention from the Evers' DNR which it is giving water quality problems.

And while the states argue about which is more responsible for poor air quality along the Lake Michigan shoreline - - and local officials point fingers - - wind and weather moves airborne pollutants around, and people breathe it to their detriment.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

More pressure against ruinous mining plan along MI-WI river

Wisconsin activists again take to Michigan media over toxic mining planned for the Menominee River along the WI-WI border. Note the comment process link, too:
Alert citizens are warning us that an ill-advised proposal for a massive metallic sulfide gold mine located on the banks of the Menominee River, an important tributary of Lake Michigan, would bring intolerable and long lasting risks...
Citizens can send their comments to Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) by July 5, 2019. Freshwater Future provides a nimble way to comment at - - 
The Walker 'chamber of commerce mentality' DNR had disengaged from any regulatory interest even though the project would threaten state water supplies and native culture. 

It's time for Evers and his freshly science-minded DNR to get involved: 
Inter-agency coordination should be the template for further Wisconsin clean air and water initiatives to address serious [Walker-era] environmental policy failures, including:water-sucking and polluting large farms, wetland losses, rampant sprawl, the Back 40 sulfide ore mine, contamination from sand mines, the Kohler golf course planned next to and within Kohler Andrae State Park, and Foxconn - - all of which need honest, comprehensive, science-based and people-first attention.
Additional links, history, and an earlier op-ed about the Back 40 mine, here:  

Menominee River | Tom Young

Getting on right side of pain and campaign management,

Why, you ask, would GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos
Robin Vos speaks at Racine Tea Party event (8378614585).jpg

 suddenly show support for legalized medical marijuana backed by Gov. Evers?

The short answer is that in Vos' world, political maneuvering for personal, partisan gain is everything. 

Longer answer:

Vos can read poll numbers, needed first to discredit and kill Evers and other Democratic comprehensive initiatives, knows the issue is at least as popular as supporting the resale of used Tesla car parts, and wants to say in any future TV commercial with suffering Wisconsinites, 'I was with you on this from the beginning.'

Friday, June 28, 2019

Walker tweet-twists, fund-raises off GOP gerrymander win

Are you surprised he'd twist the news, then dog whistle and fund-raise off it?
 5 hours ago
While was tweeting fast and furious yesterday we were drafting complaints and moving to the next phase of our plan to defend our republic from liberal activist judges and unconstitutional redistricting schemes.

Now the fight moves back to the states. We can NOT allow Holder and Obama to win. If we have fair maps, Republicans win because our common-sense conservative ideas work.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

US Supreme Court just handed the GOP right an even longer leash

Hard rain falling is in the political forecast.

Today's 5-4 Supreme Court ruling written by Chief Justice John Roberts removes federal courts from reviewing partisan redistricting and hands that power to the states.

And that means that the Wisconsin Supreme Court - - already set to tilt 5-2 reliably pro-Republican will have even greater freedom through their unapologetic and signature, secretive gerrymandering methods to keep an authoritarian GOP in control of the Legislature, its law-making and spending.

Here is a reminder from veteran Capitol reporter of what the GOP's 201-2012 redistricting looked like - - and why today's US Supreme Court's validation of state judicial supremacy is so devastating to basic democracy:

...just after the new maps were unveiled, the Legislature held a single hearing on redistricting. Forty-nine people registered and 21 spoke against the bills; one person registered and six spoke in favor, including aides to Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald. That’s an overall margin of 10 to one. 
In other words, the Legislature’s GOP leadership passed redistricting maps that were drafted in secret and received almost no public support, financial or otherwise, from any quarter. In this case, it seems, the legislators were motivated by a deeper core principle: self-interest.
Combine this burst of authority handed to ultra-partisans at the state level with the disproportionate power already enjoyed by smaller, red states through the Electoral College and the Citizens United ruling which gave wealthy corporations and Republicans the power to buy elections, and we're in for a long run of states' rights-driven, big-business pleasing reactionary governance.

Assembly Speaker Vos and Senate Majority Leader Fitzgerald - - for life? Entirely possible with a friendly State Supreme Court stuffed with fat cat donor friends who are now free to let Republican legislators continue to pick their voters.

You can trace much of this lurch to the right to several other Supreme Court-related landmarks: the Supreme Court's Bush v. Gore ruling which handed George W. Bush the presidency, and then his elevation of Roberts to the Chief Justiceship - - 

And finally to the power move by GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who shelved without a hearing or floor vote the entirely legal and appropriate Supreme Court nomination of Merrick Garland by President Obama - - and that guaranteed that Trump could make the first what has been two quick picks which put relatively young Justices on the Supreme Court: 

Justice Neil Gorsuch, then Justice Brett Kavanaugh who helped Roberts put together  today's 5-4, rightist reifying ruling.

And who will serve on the bench, like their Wisconsin counterparts in the Legislature and on the State Supreme Court, for decades.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

GOP budget-writers pull well-testing fund

Remember all the WI GOP's solemn bogus concern about the groundwater pollution the Walker administration ignored and even abetted for eight years?

Well, the GOP-led assembly just further contaminated its already-disgraceful budget-writing with more 11th-hour mischief: 

Deletes provisions in the finance committee's version of the budget that would have created a $3 million grant program for testing and remediating polluted private wells.
Yeah, they're fine with this.

As I wrote a while ago, and have repeatedly:

As predicted, the Wisconsin Republican Grand Old Pollution party's Legislative budget-writing committee deeply slashes Evers' clean water funding. Downplays groundwater pollution. Continues the DNR's crippling. Refuses to recreate its Science Bureau which ex-DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp and Walker demolished. 
And hopes to further empower the big dairy CAFOs by assigning their 'regulation' to the more friendly state ag department, which was on Walker's to-do list.
WI special interests expect certainty and the pollution party is there to help.
Regardless of the GOP's studious disregard for mounting dairy closures and oversupply which has been the party's carefully-constructed policy:
Of course, Walker's priority is serving the big dairy operators' agendas, including environmental deregulation, that would help them increase their market share:
State records show that one day before Walker’s October speech in Trego, in northwestern Wisconsin, the governor’s office received detailed plans from the Dairy Business Association on legal requirements and strategic options to move the program. 
I'd noted those depressing, going-out-of-business trends in Wisconsin, here and also here: 
Walker no friend to Wisconsin family farmers. Or their water.
And regardless of how long people in the manure zones have waited for clean water:
Nancy Utesch, a long-time Kewaunee County resident and clean water activist, sent along some comments and an update some months ago, and her husband Lynn added:
“...once pollution gets into the water, it’s difficult and expensive to fix. At the end of the day, there is no way to compromise over clean water."  

The Republican's full-eight-year-brown-water-degraded-environment-special-interest obeisant story is here.

Vos' latest power maneuver goes too far

WI GOP pols have found yet another way to undo their 2018 statewide defeat and pretend Walker is still Governor.

Bad enough that the GOP-gerrymandered Wisconsin Legislature adopted and Walker signed 11th-hour laws which restricted the powers of incoming Democratic officials who won statewide offices fair-and-square.

Bad enough that the GOP-friendly State Supreme Court gave that whole stinking process their official OK.

Bad enough that the Legislature is right now voting on a state budget that short-changes public education, does not fund needed road and bridge repairs, and turns away available Federal Medicaid funding which could cover more Wisconsinites and save state taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

Bad enough that the GOP-led Senate would consider enticing a possible recalcitrant Republican unsure if he will vote for the budget to the "yes" column with a so-called 'sweetener' to boost what he calls a no-profit hobby business.

Update: the legislator says the sweetening amendment does not secure his vote. Stay tuned.

Further update: But his vote is secured. Whew!!

And while Walker and his legislative lieutenants publicly claimed that they were not tampering with existing gubernatorial veto powers, they've now found a way through language tinkering not applied to Walker's budgets to do just that.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told reporters ahead of his chamber’s scheduled floor vote Tuesday the changes also seek to safeguard the Republican-backed budget from Gov. Tony Evers' powerful line-item veto authority. 
"The vast majority of what’s inside the amendment is our effort to line-item-veto-proof it as much as possible," the Rochester Republican said. 
Robin Vos speaks at Racine Tea Party event (8378614585).jpg
It's clear that the GOP legislature, egged on by Walker, intends to do what US Senate GOP Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did to President Obama: obstruct every initiative, put special-interest service and partisan advantage over public policy, play fast-and-loose with procedures regardless of precedents and try and make the Democrat a one-term chief executive.

Evers can veto the entire state budget over this wholesale hijacking of fairness, precedent, voters' intent and sound state budgeting.

Wisconsin can go for a long time without a new budget; existing funding levels and programs remain in place, though you can expect a massive propaganda blitz against Evers which is no doubt already in the can were he to call the Republicans' bluff.

The Walkerites had their extensive lame-duck package ready to go when the boss was defeated in November, and I suspect the media ads and online campaigns have been cut, pasted, beta-tested, and are parked in 'send' mode for launch were Evers to tell the GOP to take their 'budget' and shove it.

I don't know what will happen, and it's unclear if the GOP is trying to goad Evers into a full-budget veto, and I can't tell if enough line-item options remain to remake the GOP budget into a palatable plan.

But I do know a Governor cannot function so boxed in, and that caving to the dictates of an arrogant  petty, game-playing, power-hungry and gerrymandered Legislature will only lead to its heightened appetite for control and longer-term permanence

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Drama & farce: WI budget hangs on car parts amendment to suit 1 legislator

[6/26 update: The legislator says the budget provision does not secure his vote. Stay tuned. Further update: His vote is secured. Whew!!]
Want to know how far down the once-Great State of Wisconsin has been dragged by the Once-Grand Old Party?

After outlandish legislative maneuvering, unjust justices and eight-years of special-interested Walkerite contamination - - and over-the-top partisanship that has all but buried fair play - - whether Republicans can pass a two-year, do-little state budget in a Legislature they control through ostentatious gerrymandering apparently comes down to whether one GOP Senator will trade his purported fiscal conservatism for an 11th-hour amendment that could boost a car parts business he says he only engages in as a hobby.

When they go lower, there's always a new bottom:

Provision on electric vehicles is aimed at getting GOP senator who sells Tesla parts to vote for budget
A last-minute budget provision to make it easier to sell cars made by Tesla is aimed at winning the crucial vote of Sen. Chris Kapenga, who has pushed for the measure in the past and owns a business that sells Tesla parts and salvaged electric vehicles...  
Getting Kapenga's vote is essential for Republicans. Republicans control the Senate 19-14. Two Republicans — Steve Nass of Whitewater and David Craig of Big Bend — have said they will vote against the budget, and Republicans can't afford to lose any more because all Democrats oppose it. 
If you want Tesla to be able to more easily sell cars in Wisconsin, just legislate that on its merits - - and, by the way - - stop punishing electric car owners with newly-added vehicle registration fees.

This isn't public policy budgeting. It's public policy farce - - but what do you expect from a legislature where dozens of members were just revealed to be passing bills to help the apartment businesses they own and not a single consequence has come their way.

Image of Chris Kapenga
GOP State Sen. Chris Kapenga

WI rightwing handed another easy win by State Supreme Court

While the Bradley Foundation-funded right hoped to hand control of state education programming to a Governor named Walker, not Evers, it will celebrate a 4-2 decision along barely-concealed partisan lines by the Wisconsin Supreme Court Tuesday to further remove expertise from policy-making and overlay education statewide with conservative goals.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled the state schools superintendent must get the governor's approval before passing administrative rules, a reversal of the court's previous decision that upheld the office's authority to set its own policy.
The decision - - full text, concurrences and dissents, here - - includes language from the far-right Justice Rebecca Bradley that labels the DPI an "administrative leviathan," heaps on condemnation of scary bureaucratic "overlords" and rants at the "administrative state," a polysyllabic synonym for "deep state," the right's more familiar, reactionary shorthand.

The decision overturned a ruling just three years old which affirmed the independence of the DPI, so just think of it as another lame-duck, last-minute, Walkerite embedding ideological switcheroo.

An attorney representing DPI put it this way: 
Lester Pines, an attorney for the state Department of Public Instruction, said it was obvious the court was going to rule in WILL’s favor as soon as it took the case. The court’s conservative majority is clearly inclined to expand Republican legislators’ powers, he said.
“There are few constants in life but it’s nice to know now that we can predict the outcome of cases before the Wisconsin Supreme Court before they’re argued,” he said.
The Wisconsin Institute of Law and Liberty, WILL, was the successful litigant. The conservative law firm announced a major expansion after Walker's loss.

Current Justice Daniel Kelly, a Walker appointee seeking election to a full 10-year-term in the April 2020 statewide election, was a member of WILL's litigation advisory board prior to his elevation to the court.

The right takes a long view of its battles and priorities, so now three-and-a-half year delay in handing the keys to the school house to a Walkerite Governor won't be much of a disappointment. 

It took the right in Wisconsin 50 years to get rid of public employee rights and add other restrictions on teachers and other public servants, so bidding their time for 3.5 years is just a rightwing blink.

All of which makes the 2022 gubernatorial election an even more-critical referendum on the integrity of the State Department of Public Instruction, 

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
school choice, diversion of tax dollars from public schools and GOP hostility to public employee bargaining and representation issues.

And in the meanwhile, look to the right to litigate against other state agencies or rule-making in the name of so-called strict constitutionalism or liberty and on behalf of power even more heavily concentrated in the Governor's Office.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Plan vs. tick-borne illnesses addresses another Walker policy failure

Fresh reporting adds to earlier news of state action to address what Walker and his partisan bellhops intentionally ignored.

So good for WI legislators who want legislation and programming aimed at tick-borne threats
A bipartisan package of five bills would direct the state Department of Natural Resources to post signs about the tick-borne disease in public parks, sell bug spray with the powerful DEET repellent and conduct an awareness campaign each May.  
The legislation would also create an epidemiologist position in the Department of Health Services focused on the disease and establish a 16-member study committee tasked with recommending to the Legislature policy changes regarding awareness, prevention and treatment of Lyme disease.
For the record, this common sense approach could have been underway had not the Walker administration chosen to wage an eight-year war science, the environment, aclimate change and its consequences, noted often on this blog:
Wisconsin, climate change and insect borne illness. Tick-tock.
Climate and Infectious Disease
 Wisconsin is generally becoming warmer and wetter. Changes in the climate may lead to more flooding and precipitation, temperature extremes (very hot and very cold days), drought, and more carriers of disease (such as mosquitoes and ticks).  

These trends could allow for an increase in diseases spread by mosquitoes and ticks.  Learn more about simple ways to protect yourself from mosquitoes and ticks on the Enjoy the Outdoors - Bug-free! page...
Abstract image of mosquito

The number of ticks and where they live in Wisconsin may also be changing in response to changing weather and climate. 
The blacklegged tick (commonly known as deer tick) is the main vector (species that can transmit a disease agent) for the two most common tickborne diseases in Wisconsin: Lyme disease and anaplasmosis. Other tickborne diseases in Wisconsin include ehrlichiosisPowassan virus, and Babesiosis.
Note also what the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts, (WICCI), - - a resource among others disregarded by the Walker administration - - posted in 2014 about known relationships between climate change and insect-borne disease. 
A year after the 2011 release of WICCI's first comprehensive climate impacts report, southern Wisconsin saw a record-breaking summer. Spanning the week of July 4, 2012, temperatures soared into the 100s, barely cooling at night. 
Stifling heat, buckling pavement, lakeshores choked with blue-green algal blooms, tempers flaring and babies and senior citizens overcome by the heat provided a possible preview of events that are more likely in the future, according to WICCI projections. 
This was especially true for those living within the concrete-rich communities such as Milwaukee. Cityscapes serve as heat islands, absorbing the day's heat in sidewalks, buildings, walls and roads. At night, the heat radiates back into the air, negating the relief that might otherwise come from lower nighttime temperatures. And, under prolonged heat waves, it all starts again at sunrise. 
Other extreme events are also projected to become more frequent. Heavy rainstorms, for example, could mean more flooding, outbreaks of West Nile Virus from the subsequent burst of mosquitoes, and the spread of tick-borne diseases.
But, science-schmience: the WICCI was out of step with former DNR Secretary and Scott Walker policy cudgel Cathy Stepp who told a conservative Wisconsin newspaper some years ago that she had ended the agency's relationship with WICCI. 

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Top ticket for Walker speech in TX: $10,000

You remember him: regular ol' Wisconsin guy who's always at Brewers' games or scooping up frozen custard. Here's the fee schedule for this Austin, TX event.

Jun 19
Looking forward to being with you!

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Evers begins to wash away Walker's 8-year environmental stain

Good to see the Evers administration coordinating major agencies to begin attacking chemical pollution.
DHS Has Sent New Groundwater Recommendations to DNR
Working together to make sure the water you drink is safe, the Department of Health Services (DHS), Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) have reviewed key compounds that can be in Wisconsin's groundwater and the effects they could have on health. State health officials today provided groundwater quality standards recommendations [exit DNR] for 27 substances to DNR as part of the state's process to protect public health 
Two per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) - human-made chemicals used in many products, including non-stick cookware, fast food wrappers, stain resistant sprays, and firefighting foam - were among the contaminants reviewed.
Sample Caption and Alt Text - Photo credit: DNR
Three agencies joined together to announce new groundwater quality standards for 27 substances to protect public health. Photo credit: DNR
Here is one media report on the matter:
Deputy DNR Secretary Elizabeth Kluesner said the agency will move as quickly as possible to set new groundwater standards based on the recommendations.
"I also want to point out that today begins a new chapter for returning Wisconsin to being a leader in the field of environmental protection," Kluesner said. "The DNR has not revised our groundwater standards for 10 years and with these science-based recommendations in hand we will immediately begin rule writing.
This is the very approach Walker intentionally avoided by putting special interests first, ignoring science, degrading public employment and disrespecting the environment and his public trust obligations to protect it. Some of that history is in this series.

Inter-agency coordination should be the template for further Wisconsin clean air and water initiatives to address serious environmental policy failures, including
water-sucking and polluting large farms, wetland losses, rampant sprawl, the Back 40 sulfide ore mine, contamination from sand mines, the Kohler golf course planned next to and within Kohler Andrae State Park, and Foxconn - - all of which need honest, comprehensive, science-based and people-first attention.

Not to mention the multiple issues enveloped in Wisconsin's multiple Great Lakes diversion schemes - - with the latest for Racine Foxconn being particularly appalling.

The Governor can mesh the work of the DNR, WisDOT, public health, DATCP and the AG's office to make science and the public interest core drivers to ensure both progress and preservation - -necessities that were ignored or sold off for nearly a decade.

And the public will have to carefully track the new, multi-agency groundwater initiative and be ready to confront any GOP attempt to foil what people in the state want, voted for and deserve.

Highway crashes in Racine County, construction zones are spiking

I'd suggested that federal transportation safety officials take a look at the I-94 construction zone near the Foxconn project where two people died and others were severely injured in a fiery, multi-vehicle crash on Wednesday.
Are construction-related design factors involved, for example? Is the signage adequate? Who will pose deeper-dive questions - - the National Transportation Safety Board could - - as it has done recently in other serious highway crashes - - - - given the results of [a] quick review of reported incidents...
Here is an archive of Foxconn-related posts which includes the history of the I-94 project's fast-tracking, funding, etc. 

Props to the Racine Journal Times for obtaining WisDOT data which show the spike in crashes since I-94 expansion in May of 2018 was fast-tracked:

  • Since 2010: 3,311 vehicles involved in crashes; 943 vehicles since May 2018, making up about 28% of all incidents
  • Since 2010: 762 injuries related to crashes; 167 injuries since May 2018, about 22% of all incidents.
WisDOT also keeps track of contributing factors to crashes. Some of the major factors include:
  • Crashes in a construction zone: 391 since 2010; 294 since May 2018 — fully three-quarters of the total;
  • Crashes involving commercial vehicles: 423 since 2010; 141, or one-third, since May 2018;
  • Crashes involving speeding: 503 since 2010; 76 since May 2018; and
  • Crashes involving distracted drivers: 269 since 2010; 36 since May 2018.