January 26, 2018

The State of our State is Historically Strong!


On Wednesday, Governor Scott Walker addressed a Joint Session of the Wisconsin State Legislature to deliver his 2018 State of the State address. The message was simple - the state of our state has never been stronger.

Wisconsin Republicans are continuing to move our great state forward. Our unemployment rate is at 3%, an historic low and well below the national average. At the same time, our labor force participation rate is approaching 69%, which is an all-time high for Wisconsin. In fact, the Fox Cities have an even lower unemployment rate than the state average, as ours hovers around 2.6%.

More people are working in the Fox Cities and the rest of Wisconsin than ever before, which has increased the fiscal stability of the state. Because of our reforms Wisconsin is projected to have a budget surplus, which will enable us to spend more money on the priorities of hard-working Wisconsin families. We have already begun to do this by providing a historic increase to K-12 education, eliminating the state portion of the property tax, and holding the line on income taxes.

Governor Walker is right, Wisconsin has had an historic year, but there is always more work to be done. I am glad to hear that the Governor is committed to focusing on workforce development and workforce readiness. The Fox Cities and other parts of the state are suffering from a huge workforce shortage, which means we must continue to make sure that any able-bodied adult that needs a job can find a job, and that includes making sure they can pass a drug test. If they are unable to pass a drug test, we need to make sure they get the treatment they need to get back into the workforce. The proposed welfare reforms, as well as workforce attraction and retention efforts, are exactly what we need to make sure Wisconsin continues to have a 21st century workforce.

I also often hear that health care is one of the top priorities for the people of the Fox Cities. Because of this, the state Assembly has passed protections for people with preexisting conditions. Moving forward, the Governor has said he will focus much of his time and energy on making sure health care is affordable for all Wisconsinites – especially our needy and elderly.

The Governor’s continued focus on the workforce, K-12 and higher education, and reducing healthcare costs will directly benefit the people of the Fox Cities. I look forward to working with the Governor and my fellow legislators to ensure these priorities become a reality.

Click the following link to view my reaction to Governor Walker's address.

Legislative Update

The Assembly was in session this past Tuesday and passed a number of important bills. Here are a few highlights:

Assembly Bill 221: a bill I co-authored with Representative Jesse Kremer, creates a two-year pilot program within the CESA 6 region that will allow public schools to opt out of the required number of hours of direct instruction. Current law requires school boards to schedule a certain number of hours of direct pupil instruction. This bill will allow school boards within the region to adopt an annual resolution of their intent to participate in the opt-out pilot and identify the schools. Only school districts and schools that have received a rating of “significantly exceeds expectations” or “exceeds expectations” on the most recent school district accountability report are eligible for the pilot. Neenah Joint School District is part of the CESA 6 region and I am hoping schools in our area will be able to participate in this pilot.

Assembly Bill 688: re-establishes the Wisconsin Conservation Corps (WCC). The WCC encourages young adults between the ages of 16-25 to learn the value of work in a natural setting by providing job experience and career pathways. Under this bill, the Department of Administration would be required to contract with a non-profit corporation that has demonstrated experience in natural resources conservation and youth training, education and employment to manage the program. This re-establishes a program that helps teach young people valuable job and employment skills and gets them excited about conservation and our state’s resources.

Assembly Bill 559: relates to transfer policies for college credit earned by high school pupils. This bill will allow students who have mastered subject material in a college-level course taken during high school to test out of taking what would essentially amount to the same class their first year in college. This will allow students to graduate with less debt because they will be able to opt out of these lower level general education classes. This bill is a another tool to allow students who have a firm grasp on material to avoid paying college prices to retake the subject/class.

REMINDER: Upcoming Listening Session

When: Monday, January 29th, from 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM

Where: City Council Chambers, Neenah City Hall, 211 Walnut Street, Neenah

Note: If you are unable to attend this listening session, I will be scheduling more as we move into the spring. Also, you are more than welcome to contact my office via phone or e-mail, and I would be happy to get back to you.

Thanks for Visiting!

On Wednesday, members of the Wisconsin Credit Union League from the Fox Cities area stopped by my office to discuss their role in the Wisconsin economy and what they are doing to help make our area a great place to live. We had a great discussion and I look forward to working with them in the future.

I would especially like to thank Lynn Hopfensperger of Fox Communities Credit Union for taking the time to stop by. She does a fantastic job representing both the Fox Communities Credit Union and the Wisconsin Credit Union League.

In the 55th

Congratulations to Deb Garbe of Neenah Joint School District for being named 2018 ProStart Wisconsin Program Teacher of the Year! On Monday, Senator Roger Roth and I congratulated Deb for her achievement with an official certificate from the Wisconsin State Legislature.

Deb has been a Family and Consumer Education teacher at Neenah High School for many years and has fostered Neenah High School’s ProStart program into one of the strongest in Wisconsin. ProStart is a program administered by the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation that combines classroom teaching and internship opportunities to prepare interested students for careers in the restaurant and foodservice industries.

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.


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

If you would like to be removed from future mailings, email me and ask to unsubscribe.

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