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March 1, 2019  

What's Inside:

- Budget

- Water

- Capitol Visits

- Agency Updates

- Out & About 

Capitol Update

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Budget

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On Thursday, February 28, 2019, Governor Tony Evers gave his Budget Address and introduced his first budget. 

I was disappointed that the Governor did not mention agriculture in any of his budget priorities during the address. Agriculture is our state's largest industry.

The Governor also mentioned that time and time again that this was "the people's budget." With all that mention of "the people," he never mentioned what he planned on doing for the hardworking people in the middle class. And speaking of middle class, I have a question for all the readers: what do you consider the definition of 'middle class' to be? 

With the budget introduced, lawmakers will now review the proposal in its entirety, get input from our constituents and make adjustments. The budget process can take many months to complete. In the meantime, feel free to check the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau's website for recent publications regarding all thing budget related. I'll do my best to forward any new information along to you, as I am aware of it becoming available. 

 

Water

Last fall, I committed to doing what I could to help well-owners deal with nitrate contamination.

In keeping with that commitment, I have authored the Clean Water Health and Wellness Act along with Sen. Patrick Testin. 

This bill would create a $10 million pilot program at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to assist well owners with testing and well remediation. 

A substantial number of Wisconsinites are at risk of consuming nitrate-tainted drinking water because their well has become contaminated. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services notes that nitrate is one of the most common groundwater contaminants in Wisconsin, and that drinking water with high levels of nitrate may cause health problems. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned that high nitrate levels in water can be especially dangerous for pregnant women and infants.

We have placed the program under the direction of DHS to acknowledge that this is not just a clean water problem but a public health problem as well. 

If passed, the program recipients would be eligible for up to $2,500 to pay for testing of private wells, to install a filtration system, or help pay to repair or replace an existing well. Preference would be given to households with a member who is pregnant, breast-feeding, under the age of 1, or over the age of 65. 

 

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 Figure 2 taken from the July, 2017 edition of Surveillance Brief, a publication of the Wisconsin Environmental Public Health Tracking Program made available on the DHS website.

 

Capitol Visits

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It was great to meet the Fourth Graders from Pineview Elementary in Reedsburg!

 

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I also had a great time meeting with Constituents from ABATE to discuss legislation that is currently circulating.  

Agency Updates

Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

  • Bonus turkey harvest authorizations (previously known as “leftover permits”) will go on sale the week of March 18th.  In total, 109,771 bonus turkey harvest authorizations are available across all seven turkey zones for the 2019 spring season.
  • County Deer Advisory Councils throughout Wisconsin will hold meetings March 11th – March 22nd to begin the process of setting antlerless harvest quotas for the 2019 deer seasons.  All council meetings are open to the public and include an opportunity to provide feedback on the development of quota and season structure recommendations.
  • Wisconsin invasive species officials are asking the public to help identify and locate populations of the invasive Amur Cork Tree.  
  • The Department of Natural Resources is currently seeking entries for the Wisconsin wild turkey, pheasant and waterfowl stamp design contests.  The contests are open to Wisconsin residents, who are 18 years of age or older.  Entries are due July 15, 2019.
  • As cold and snowy weather continues throughout Wisconsin, state wildlife officials offer a reminder that feeding deer during the winter months is not advisable.  Creating and improving habitat for deer during the summer months helps to fulfill the needs of deer herds during the winter.

 

Department of Agriculture and Consumer Protection (DATCP)

Any dairy producer interested in serving the state’s dairy industry to submit a nomination form to represent their district as a Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin (DFW) director. DATCP oversees the nomination and election process. Eight of 25 districts are up for election. The ones in our Assembly District are as follows

District             Counties

District 15        Adam, Juneau and Monroe counties

District 21        Crawford and Vernon counties

To qualify, a nominee must be an active dairy producer who sells milk into commercial channels and lives in the represented district up for election. Each potential candidate must acquire at least five signatures from active dairy producers within the district, submit a completed nomination form, and have the "Affidavit of Eligibility" certification requirement notarized. Nominations must be postmarked by March 30, 2019.

Interested individuals can contact Market Orders Program Manager Debbie Gegare for a nomination form at 608-224-5116, or Debbie.Gegare@wisconsin.gov. Electronic copies can be accessed at http://www.wisconsindairy.org/board-of-directors/elections

 

 

To learn more about the market order boards, visit Marketing Boards.

Out and About

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I stopped by WRJC earlier this week to provide listeners in Juneau County with a legislative update. 

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It was great to attend the Reedsburg Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner and hear about all the wonderful things happening in that community!