January 19, 2018


Providing Testimony for the Foster Care Tuition Bill


  Here I am testifying in support of our Foster Care Tuition Bill, AB 777,

 along with co-authors Rep. Novak (R-Dodgeville) and Sen. Olsen (R-Ripon).


While the Foster Care Tuition Bill was produced through the Speakerís Task Force on Foster Care, the original idea came from a constituent I met while I was knocking on doors.  She was a long time foster parent who had ended up adopting several foster children.  She was concerned that she and her husband would not be able to afford to send them to college when they finished high school.


For those kids who age out of foster care, the statistics are truly shocking. One in five will be homeless within two years and fifty percent will spend time in prison.  For the girls, 79 percent will be pregnant within those two years. Less than half will be employed by the age of 24.  Aside from the human tragedy these figures represent, there is a terrible financial cost and these kids are far more likely to perpetuate the cycle into the next generation.


The greatest weapon against these difficulties is education. Going to college or technical school would provide these children with the opportunity to build the foundations for a stable career and set them on the right track in life.


Under this bill, her children and other older kids in foster care can go to a UW school or technical school tuition free. This bill, which is strongly supported by the UW system, goes a long way in helping my constituent, and all other selfless, devoted foster parents to know they can guide their foster children toward a brighter future.



Kewaunee County Law Enforcement Roundtable With AG Schimel


The Kewaunee County Law Enforcement Roundtable provided a great opportunity to sit down with Attorney General Brad Schimel, along with police, human services personnel, and local politicians to really delve into the needs and challenges that municipalities in the county face.


Covering a wide variety of issues, ranging from phone scams targeting the senior population to data on the opioid epidemic within Kewaunee County, I feel that the discussion painted a comprehensive picture of the current state of law enforcement capabilities within the area. 


As with the Speaker's Taskforce on Foster Care, the trauma a child faces when removed from an unsafe home, and the need for more resources to mitigate that trauma, became a subject of interest as well.


Armed with the insights provided by local officials and the public at today's roundtable, I will redouble my efforts to advocate for our district's unique interests in Madison.



Wisconsin's unemployment rate is now at 3% - this matches the lowest unemployment rate in Wisconsin history!




Increased State Revenue

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) announced that revenues continue to exceed expectations even though we lowered taxes. Wisconsin will end this year with a balance $137.5 million higher than previous estimates.


NR 151 Public Hearing


I look forward to attending the NR151 public hearing on January 24 and testifying in support of the new changes. If you would like more information on the changes, you can follow this link!  A vote will be held the adoption of the changes shortly after the hearing.


While it has been a long process, I am confident that the rules strike a solid balance between the interests of the agriculture community and the need to protect our groundwater.


Upcoming District Events!

What: Free Ice Fishing Weekend
Where: Throughout Wisconsin
When: January 20 -21
Details: "All day residents and nonresidents of all ages can fish without a license in all the waters of Wisconsin (except for spring trout ponds). All other fishing regulations still apply."

What: 2nd Annual Pushin' the Cushion
Where: Haney Park, Kewaunee, WI
When: January 20, 11:00am
"Prizes for best dressed. Second annual race hosted by Kewaunee Rescue. Pre-registration and day of registration available"

What: Winter market at The Oasis
Where: 1756 Michigan St, Sturgeon Bay, WI
When: January 20, 9:00am - 12:00p
Details: "Featuring indoor vendors with garden produce, meats, canned goods, crafts and more."

In Closing...

Thank you for taking the time to read my E-Update. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact my office. Joe and Stamena look forward to working with you. Also, if you would like a State of Wisconsin 2017-2018 Blue Book or 2017 State Highway map free of charge, just send us an email!

                                Have a great weekend,                   

             Representative Joel Kitchens




As always, if you have any comments or thoughts regarding the subject of this
E-Update, please feel free to contact me.

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State Capitol Room 10 West - PO Box 8952, Madison, WI 53708
(608) 266-5350
Email: Rep.Kitchens@legis.wi.gov