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May 24, 2019

 What's Inside:

- Budget Survey

- 400 State Trail

- Budget Updates

- New Episode of the Right Angle Podcast

- Memorial Day Thoughts

Honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice

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Budget Survey

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My 2019 Spring Survey is out! Please take a moment to fill it out and let me know what you believe should be the top priorities for our district!

400 State Trail

Good news, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources opened up another four mile section of the 400 State Trail this week. This means the 400 State Trail is open from Reedsburg to La Valle, Elroy to Union Center, and now Union Center to Wonewoc! 

The section from La Valle to Elroy remains closed. However, progress is being made daily.

The DNR web page has been updated.  https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/400/

Furthermore, myself, along with Rep. Loren Oldenburg and Rep. Nancy VanderMeer, authored and submitted a budget motion to request an additional $100K of funding to completely repair the trail. 

 

Budget Updates

This past week, the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) met twice for executive session to vote on various provisions in the budget.

Tuesday, JFC increased the state’s investments in the tourism industry by 40%. Last year tourism had a $21.6 billion impact statewide.

Our state employees play a critical role in helping Wisconsin thrive. Similar to last budget, JFC approved a 4% pay increase over the biennium.

Corrections is a dangerous and demanding line of work. JFC made increases to correctional officer pay by over 14% to acknowledge the hard work these men and women do and to help address recruitment and retention issues, and reduce overtime. Additional investments were also made to help fewer offenders recidivate upon release.

 

Thursday, JFC also met in executive session to vote on provisions relating to K12 education.

The number one goal is to ensure that regardless of a child’s zip code, they receive the world-class education that Wisconsin is known for.

  • This budget, provide increased funding of $200 per student in the first year and $204 per student in the second year. This is the same increase as Governor Evers proposed.
  • The budget also:
    • Builds on the last budget by investing $500 million into public schools.
    • Makes historic investments in critical student mental health services.
    • Increases state support for special funding by 22%.
  • Set the low revenue adjustment at $9,700 per student in the first year and $10,000 in the second year.
  • Increase special education aid funding by $96 million over the biennium to achieve state support of 30% of total costs by the second year. This is the largest increase in special education aid funding in the state’s history and a 22% increase over current funding.
    • Prior to running for Governor, Tony Evers requested increased funding to get to a state share of 30%.
  • Double current funding of mental health programs for students.
    • This will provide an additional $6 million for aids for school mental health services and $6.5 million for school-based mental health services collaboration grants.
  • Increases funding by $2 million over the biennium for the rural school teacher talent pilot program. Funding is used to connect future teachers with rural schools to address teacher shortages in rural school districts.
  • Sets aside funding for the Center for Suicide Awareness Hopeline. The intention is that the Speaker’s Task Force on Suicide Prevention will determine how best to utilize these funds.
  • Increases funding for public library system aid by $2 million over the biennium.

 RightAngle Podcast

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A new episode of the Right Angle podcast is up! Rep. Romaine Quinn discusses Rural Economic Development. Rep. Quinn is one of the founding members of the Rural Wisconsin Initiative. 

Memorial Day Thoughts

On this day as Americans around the nation take this time to enjoy Memorial Day with friends and family, we gather to remember how much was given so we can enjoy our freedom.  This day means so much more than a summer kick-off picnic, I hope that privately or in a public way people across Wisconsin and this nation will pause to remember these men and women who helped secure our liberty with their own ultimate sacrifice.  Let us remember those who lie unadorned, unmarked. Let us particularly pay homage to our missing in action and to those whose graves are the watery depths of the oceans, or the fields, jungles and forests of foreign lands but especially to those marked simply “unknown” in cemeteries.   Throughout this land; they are not forgotten.

 Charles M. Province, Founder and President of The George S. Patton, Jr. Historical Society, wrote:

“It is the Soldier, not the reporter, who has given us Freedom of the Press.  It is the Soldier, not the poet, who has given us Freedom of Speech.  It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the Freedom to demonstrate.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial;

And it is the Soldier – who salutes the flag, who serves the flag, and

Whose coffin is draped by the flag— who allows the protester to burn the flag.”

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