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Dear Friends,

The new Legislative Session has begun, and a new state budget has been introduced for the 2019-2021 biennium. The Governor’s proposal marks a stark contrast in priorities from the budgets of the last eight years. The legislature must now come together to support the will of the people, and work with the Governor to pass a budget that has the best interests of Wisconsinites in mind.  

I am glad to see the budget proposal from Governor Evers restoring funding to Wisconsin’s education system. It also includes a fair funding formula for public schools with additional aid targeted towards rural and poorer school districts. It maintains the tuition freeze at the UW-System but adds money to expand programming and also provides tech colleges with additional funding.

The budget also includes provisions to expand Medicaid, which would save the state $325 million. The savings would enable Wisconsin to reinvest that money into increasing access to dental care, improving infant mortality rates, expanding mental health services, and better compensating personal care workers at nursing homes.

In addition to funding for fixing our crumbling roads and infrastructure, the Governor has called for nonpartisan redistricting so that political parties cannot draw legislative districts that guarantee a majority for their party. I hope measures such as these can help restore fairness to our elections.

Speaking of elections, don’t forget to vote in the upcoming spring election April 2! The election includes a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Wisconsin Court of Appeals-District 4, Janesville School Board, and Janesville City Council.

As always, please feel free to contact me regarding any matter before the state legislature.


Debra Kolste
44th Assembly District

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March art by Sketch Urban from Parker High School


Pharmacy Benefit Managers

I recently co-authored a bipartisan bill, SB 100, allowing the state to regulate the operations of pharmacy benefit managers, also known as PBMs. PBMs are an important but relatively unknown player in the prescription drug marketplace, and can influence pricing and drug selection. The bill is patient-centered, and will lower out-of-pocket drug costs for patients and remove penalties on consumers for going to the pharmacy of their choice.

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Expanding Access to Immunizations

I will be co-sponsoring SB 110, which works to expand access to immunizations by eliminating the age restriction for the administration of a vaccine by a pharmacist. The bill allows pharmacists and pharmacy students to administer any vaccine listed in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention immunization schedule, and to receive additional training for administering vaccines to patients under the age of six. The bill also requires pharmacists administering vaccines to update the Wisconsin Immunization Record. 

Credit for Caring Act

I co-authored bipartisan legislation to create an individual income tax credit for people who act as caregivers for family member(s). About 78% of caregivers incur out-of-pocket costs as a result of caregiving, not including lost wages or other opportunity costs. The bill has received strong support from the Wisconsin chapter of AARP, the Alzheimer’s Association, and the Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources.



Vote April 2!

What's On My Ballot

Voter ID Requirements
My Polling Place


The City of Janesville is hiring!
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Listening Sessions

I will be holding two upcoming listening sessions with Senator Ringhand to hear your thoughts on the state budget proposal and other state issues.

April 3:  Hedberg Public Library                             5:30-6:30 PM

April 4: Rock County Job Center                          12:00-1:00 PM


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