April 1, 2016

A Note from Rep. Rohrkaste

Click the image above to view the message from Rep. Rohrkaste.

Mike Rohrkaste here with my last video e-update of the 2015-16 legislative session. It has been a busy first term here in the state legislature, and I am honored to work on your behalf in Madison. In passing the state budget, I fought to eliminate proposed cuts to K-12 education and instead found ways to invest more in our schools. Additionally, I was able to help secure funding to finish the Trestle Trail Loop in Neenah and Menasha, restore proposed cuts to public radio and television programming, help our hospitals, and fully-fund Senior Care. We were also able to hold the line on taxes, and actually lower taxes for married couples and those subject to the alternative minimum tax.

As chair of the Speaker’s Task Force on Alzheimer’s and Dementia, we were able to pass three bills that will invest over a million dollars in helping those with dementia and their caregivers. These will be signed by the governor very soon. Finally, I was able to have five other pieces of legislation pass both houses, from bills that support improved health care at lower costs, to a statewide Dietetic Internship Program to strengthen Wisconsin’s healthcare workforce and wellness efforts, to ensuring we are able to continue to promote tourism in the Fox Valley.

As always, I appreciate and value all constituent contacts, whether by phone, email, or at my many listening sessions, coffees, and individual meetings. Many successful legislative ideas have come directly from constituents so I encourage everyone with questions, concerns, or input to feel free to contact me. Thank you again and all the best this coming spring and summer!

Wisconsin Cares Legislation Signed by Governor Walker!

Last week, I along with the rest of the Speaker’s Task Force on Alzheimer’s and Dementia had three significant bills from the Wisconsin Cares Legislative Package signed into law by Governor Walker. Each bill will directly help those living with dementia and their caregivers.

I want to thank all of my colleagues on the task force as well as my colleagues in the Senate and Governor Walker for approving these bills.  This is a tremendous step forward in the fight against Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia in Wisconsin.

Assembly Bill 787 will add $1 million to the Alzheimer’s Family and Caregiver Support Program (AFCSP) for respite care. This important program will also now be available to the Native American tribes in Wisconsin. Assembly Bill 790 will increase training grants to local mobile crisis teams by $250,000. These grants will help crisis teams train to become dementia-capable and therefore better able to respond to those living with dementia in crisis situations. Assembly Bill 786 requires the Department of Health Services to propose a pilot program for a more specialized dementia crisis unit and present that proposal to the appropriate committees in the legislature. This unit would serve those living with dementia who are in a crisis situation.

We want those living with dementia and their caregivers to know that although there is currently no cure for dementia, there is still hope.  The task force and I are proud of what we accomplished this session and I look forward to further advancing this agenda in the future.

Wisconsin Cares Bill Signing at Options for Independent Living in Green Bay.

Dietetic Internship Legislation Now Law!

Last week, legislation I introduced was signed into law by Governor Walker. This legislation creates a statewide Dietetic Internship Program in Wisconsin’s Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program. The program will train Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) to enhance the quality of nutrition services delivered to Wisconsin WIC clients. In February, the legislation passed the Assembly and Senate unanimously.

The lack of internship opportunities was brought to my attention by a student and instructor from UW-Green Bay and the Wisconsin Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (WAND). I would like to thank them and everyone else who helped and supported this legislation.

Currently, Wisconsin faces a significant shortage of dietetic internship opportunities for college graduates. Because of this shortage of internship opportunities, our state also faces a shortage in training opportunities for possible RDNs. These shortages will lead to diminished nutrition care services throughout our state and need to be addressed.

Wisconsin’s economy continues to improve and it is becoming harder for employers to find qualified applicants. This will not only improve nutrition services, but it will also help to create good, family-supporting jobs right here in the Fox Cities.

Legislative Website

If you are interested in learning more about bills that I have authored, co-sponsored, or voted on please click here.  This link will take you directly to my Wisconsin State Legislature page.  Also, if you are interested in viewing my office website click here.


As always, if you have any comments or thoughts regarding the subject of this
E-Update, please feel free to contact me.

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State Capitol Room 208 North - PO Box 8953, Madison, WI 53708
(608) 266-5719
Email: Rep.Rohrkaste@legis.wisconsin.gov