State of our State is Historically Strong!
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
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.
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.
January 29th, from 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
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.
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
Congratulations to Deb Garbe of Neenah Joint School District for being named
2018 ProStart Wisconsin Program Teacher of the Year!
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.
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