November 24, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving from Rep. Rohrkaste!

Current Legislation

In previous e-updates I have spoken about legislation that I am working on in Madison.  Currently, I have two bills in committee and am working on several more that will be released at the start of the New Year.  My colleagues and I on the Speaker's Task Force on Alzheimer's and Dementia will also be producing several pieces of legislation which we hope will help both caregivers and those living with these diseases.

Assembly Bill 417,  allows for the limited face-to-face sale of non-hazardous homemade baked and canned foods without a licensing requirement by a person who receives less than $7,500 per year in sales.  The bill requires that you still register with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and comply with requirements concerning training, labeling, signage, and documenting sales.

Wisconsin is one of very few states which doesn't have some form of "cottage food" law, allowing cooks to sell food products made in their homes without a special license.  In fact, Wisconsin has some of the most restrictive cottage food laws in the entire country.  Current law restricts sales of canned goods made in the home to $5,000 annually, which is much lower than most states.  Home-baked goods, such as cookies and breads, are not allowed for sale in Wisconsin unless made in a commercial kitchen holding a food processing plant license from DATCP.  All of our neighboring states allow for the sale of non-hazardous, home-made baked goods.  Minnesota allows up to $18,000 in sales, while Michigan allows up to $20,000 in sales.  In Illinois, bakers can sell up to $25,000 of home-made baked goods at farmers markets, by contrast Iowa has no limit on sales of cottage foods at farmers markets.

AB 417 gives Wisconsin entrepreneurs the ability to start and grow a business from right at home in their kitchen.  This legislation removes unnecessary regulation and allows home-bakers to supplement their incomes by starting a new business, and in the process, providing consumers safe and delicious products.  Right now, AB 417 has had a successful public hearing in the Assembly Small Business Development Committee and will hopefully soon receive an executive session and be approved by that committee.

Assembly Bill 530, which relates to the establishment of a dietetic internship program in the state of Wisconsin has recently been assigned to the Assembly Workforce Development Committee and will receive a public hearing on December 15th. 

AB 530, focuses on the very real need for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) in Wisconsin.  Wisconsin is facing a serious shortfall when it comes to the number of RDNs we have.  This internship program will create a number of slots for recent college graduates who are looking to become qualified RDNs.  This bill will not only help people attain quality, well paying jobs, but will also help stop the diminishment of nutrition care services in Wisconsin.

I am happy to say that both of these bills have received bi-partisan support in the Assembly and the Senate and hopefully will both be passed by the end of the spring legislative session.

Speaker's Task Force on Alzheimer's and Dementia

Coffee with Representative Rohrkaste

I will be periodically hosting coffee hours throughout the 55th Assembly District to give constituents the opportunity to voice their comments or concerns.  Join me at:

When: Wednesday, December 2nd from 8 - 9 AM

Where: Timshel Cafe, 124 West Wisconsin Avenue, Neenah


Congratulations to the Neenah High School Girls' Tennis Team for winning the
2015 WIAA State Championship!! Go Rockets!!



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State Capitol Room 208 North - PO Box 8953, Madison, WI 53708
(608) 266-5719