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Forward

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Now that both the Foxconn bill and the 2017-2019 Budget have been signed into law, I wanted to provide a brief update on legislation I have been working on this session.  

I hope everyone is enjoying a beautiful autumn in Wisconsin. Check out Travel Wisconsin for the fall color report, travel tips, ideas and updates.

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Photo Credit: Travel Wisconsin

Limiting Eminent Domain Power for Railroads

This week, Senator Steve Nass, Representative Mark Spreitzer, and I circulated a bill draft that would change the process for railroad corporations that want to use eminent domain to acquire private property. Under the bi-partisan proposal, in order for a railroad corporation to acquire by condemnation any property that exceeds 100 feet in width, the legislature would need to enact a law that states the legislature’s findings that the railroad corporation's acquisition serves the public interest and therefore authorizes the acquisition of the property.

The provision was originally included in the state budget, but was later removed. We feel this proposal is important to move forward as separate legislation for our districts and constituents due to the Great Lakes Basin Transportation proposal to build a 261-mile rail line through portions of Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana.

Landowners are entitled to the enjoyment of their land, and should not fear that a private entity will take their home or land without meeting a very high standard to demonstrate why the taking is necessary and in the public’s best interest.

Wisconsin residents deserve to know that there will be additional scrutiny and review to determine the necessity of proposed rail projects. This legislation will ensure that the Legislature makes a determination that proposed land acquisitions using eminent domain are in the public interest.

Click here for the bill language.

Click here for the co-sponsorship memo.

Click here for the Legislative Council memo.

Tax Exemption for the Business of Beekeeping 

I am pleased to report, last week Governor Walker signed the 2017-2019 State Budget in Neenah. The budget included a provision that is identical to legislation that I authored earlier this session, Assembly Bill 278, which exempts commercial beekeepers, regardless of the number of hives, from the sales and use tax.

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Current law exempts certain property and services that are sold to farms and agriculture businesses from the state sales and use tax. The law, however, only provided the tax exemption for beekeepers with 50 or more hives.

I am not aware of any other type of agricultural exemption that is linked to a numeric threshold. One hive can contain from 10,000 to 60,000 bees, so someone in the beekeeping business would not have qualified for the exemption until they were managing 50 hives and a total of 500,000 to 3 million bees!

This provision will ensure beekeepers are treated the same as all other types of agriculture in Wisconsin. This provision takes effect on December 1, 2017. If you have questions, please contact your tax adviser.

  New 2017-2018 Bluebooks Available

This week my office received the new Wisconsin Bluebook. If you'd like a copy, please email my office at rep.loudenbeck@legis.wi.gov with your full name and mailing address. 

For more information about the Bluebook, click here.

 ICYMI: In Case You Missed It

City of Janesville Budget News: 
                     Click here for the Janesville Gazette Article
                     Click here for the Janesville Gazette Editorial

Budget News: Click here for my statement on budget passage

My capitol office is here to help you with general inquiries as well as questions and concerns regarding legislative matters. Feel free to contact me or my staff. We are always ready to assist you in your needs. Please visit my website for press releases and other Capitol updates.

 If you have any comments regarding the subject of this E-Update, please feel free to contact me.   


Rep. Amy Loudenbeck 
State Capitol, Room 304 East
PO Box 8952
Madison, WI 53708

Toll-Free (888) 529-0031 or (608) 266-9967
Rep.Loudenbeck@legis.wi.gov| |