Graham Kilmer
MKE County

Board Approves Insulin Price-Fixing Lawsuit

Plus: County will do business with historic bank, a new bus replacement policy and new housing-related projects are approved.

By - Mar 22nd, 2024 04:23 pm
Milwaukee County Courthouse. Photo by Graham Kilmer.

Milwaukee County Courthouse. Photo by Graham Kilmer.

Milwaukee County will join a national lawsuit against insulin manufacturers and distributors for an alleged price-fixing scheme.

The Milwaukee County Board voted unanimously during its meeting Thursday to have the county contract with outside legal counsel to join the lawsuit.

Lawyers representing the county and other local governments across the country will argue that companies have artificially inflated the price of insulin and that they did it despite knowing that it would limit access to the live saving drug, which is used to treat diabetes and kidney failure, as Urban Milwaukee previously reported.

The lawsuit is another multi-district litigation, which is the same type of suit the county used to successfully sue opioid companies for their role in the opioid epidemic. The county secured the largest settlement for any municipality of local government in state history from that suit.

Read Urban Milwaukee’s previous coverage.

Board Encourages Investment With Historic Black-Owned Bank

The Milwaukee County Board unanimously approved a resolution supporting the county depositing $250,000 with a historic Black-owned local bank to support a homeownership initiative.

Columbia Savings & Loan Association, 2020 W. Fond du Lac Ave., is attempting to raise $10 million in capital to loan to 100 future homebuyers. This year is the 100th anniversary for the bank and the capital campaign is called “100 by 100th.”

The county board does not have authority over the county’s investment strategy, but the policy was developed by Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson and the county officer that manages the county’s investments: Treasurer David Cullen. Nicholson authored the resolution, which formally throws the county board’s support behind the deposit.

Read Urban Milwaukee’s previous coverage.

Board Approves New Bus Replacement Policy

Without debate or discussion, the board approved a resolution altering the county’s bus replacement policy.

The new policy will put more distance between the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) and the use of battery electric buses.

The first MCTS battery electric buses were launched along the Connect 1 bus rapid transit service in June. In August, all the buses were pulled from the road and were out of service for months

The county is developing a new bus rapid transit service, Connect 2, that will be significantly larger and need as many as 40 buses. Transportation officials are unsure whether the county can even procure 40 BEBs in time to meet the planned start date for the service in 2028. Officials are also hesitant to double-down on a new technology that has not proven itself very reliable.

The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 998 supported the policy. The union represents MCTS operators and mechanics expressed concerns about the safety of mechanics of who have to work on the BEBs and also their reliability.

Read Urban Milwaukee’s previous coverage.

New Section 8 Housing Incentives Approved

The board voted to create a new program intended to help county residents using rental assistance find housing.

Specifically, the program is designed to help the county’s Housing Division place its clients using federal Section 8 vouchers in rental housing. Section 8 vouchers guarantee recipients will not have to spend more than 30-40% of their income on rent. The county’s Housing Division primarily focuses on the county’s homeless population and one program it runs help get people into housing with the use of section 8 vouchers.

The county’s rental market is already highly competitive, and it can be difficult to find rental housing for someone with no rental history, bad credit or a criminal record.

The new program will create a pool of funds that landlords can access to pay for damages at rental units leased to people using a Section 8 voucher. The funds would only be available after a landlord has begun leasing to a tenant using the assistance, and would only cover any damage caused during that time. The Housing Division inspects units before moving clients in anywhere, and it will verify any damage claims and their cost.

Housing officials do not believe Section 8 tenants cause any more damage than any other tenants, but survey data suggests landlords list it as a primary reason not to rent to a tenant using rent assistance. Housing officials hope the program will help their clients be more competitive when applying for apartments.

Sup. Shawn Rolland authored the resolution to create the program, which will set aside $356,000 for the fund.

The board voted 13-4, with supervisors Ryan Clancy, Felesia Martin, Juan Miguel Martinez and Steve Taylor voting against the resolution.

Read Urban Milwaukee’s previous coverage.

Half of City-County Housing Committee Approved

Milwaukee County did its work to create a new city-county committee focused on housing issues. The new committee will still need to be reviewed and approved by the Milwaukee Common Council.

An advocacy group called the Redress Movement pushed for the creation of a housing committee with non-elected county residents included among the members. The board unanimously approved the committee Thursday.

Read Urban Milwaukee’s previous coverage.

If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real, independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits.

Categories: MKE County, Politics

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us