June 16th, 2017

Unemployment Drops to 3.1%!

According to a recent report released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Wisconsin has added over 30,000 private sector jobs from May 2016 to May 2017. Also, the state's unemployment rate in May was 3.1%, down to its lowest point since October 1999. Wisconsin again bested the average national unemployment rate, which was 4.3% in the month of May. Department of Workforce Development officials indicate it's the second-lowest rate on record in Wisconsin (the lowest rate was 3% in May-July 1999). Wisconsin also continues to best the national average for labor force participation rate. Wisconsin's labor force participation rate was 68.8% in May, an increase of .2 percentage points from April. At the same time, the U.S. labor participation rate declined to 62.7% in May. Labor force participation remains at an all-time high in Wisconsin with near-historic lows in the unemployment rate.

This is great news for Wisconsin, but there is more work to be done. Thousands of jobs still remain open on the state's employment website, JobCenterofWiscsonsin.com. On top of that, employers from across Wisconsin continue to indicate trouble finding workers. This is why it is so important that we continue to invest in, train, retain, and attract a highly talented and skilled workforce here in Wisconsin. In this state budget, along with Governor Walker, my Republican colleagues and I on the Joint Finance Committee have continued the state's investment in workforce training.

If you would like to see the report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, please click here.

JFC Update

The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) continues to hold executive sessions regarding the 2017-19 biennial budget. During these sessions, members of the committee debate and vote on specific provisions from Governor Walker's budget proposal. The goal of these sessions is to improve upon what the Governor has proposed while taking into consideration public input.

The executive sessions will continue throughout June. Once we have concluded executive sessions, we will submit a complete budget to both the Senate and the Assembly for approval. If both houses approve the budget, it will go to Governor Walker's desk for final approval.

The following agency areas were taken up by the committee yesterday, Thursday, June 15th:

-Budget Management and Compensation Reserves
-Employee Trust Funds
-Local Government Property Insurance Fund
-Lieutenant Governor
-Corrections -- Departmentwide
-Corrections -- Adult Corrections
-Corrections -- Community Corrections
-Corrections -- Juvenile Corrections

Here is an update with some of the highlights from the session yesterday:

Reducing Recidivism
•Increased investment in the earned release program
•Added funding for vocational training through Windows to Work
•Expanded Opening Avenues to Reentry Success (OARS) to five additional counties
•Added new programming for alcohol treatment

Increasing Mental Health Supports
•Increased mental health staffing at certain adult correctional institutions
•Increased mental health staffing at Copper Lake School for juvenile girls
•Added mental health supports at both Copper Lake School and Lincoln Hills School

REINing in Government

Wisconsin Republicans continue to be a national leader in reforming government. This week, the Assembly approved Senate Bill 15 or the REINS Act (Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act). This bill would require legislative approval of any agency rule that has more than a $10 million impact over a two-year period. The bill has already passed the state Senate and is now on its way to Governor Walker's desk for final approval. Cutting red tape has been a priority of Assembly Republicans for the last several sessions and continues to be very important. Under this legislation, elected legislators now have the necessary oversight of agency rules that impact businesses and citizens across Wisconsin.

Have a Happy Father's Day Weekend!

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 Legislative page.  Also, if you are interested in viewing my office website, click here.


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E-Update, please feel free to contact me.

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State Capitol Room 321 East - PO Box 8953, Madison, WI 53708
(608) 266-5719
Email: Rep.Rohrkaste@legis.wisconsin.gov