September 25, 2015

Working for you!


Repeal the "Minimum Markup Law"

     Did you know that you pay an extra 9.18% for every gallon of gas you buy? Did you know that your grocery bill is more expensive simply because you live in Wisconsin and not another state in the midwest? Or that you might not be able to take advantage of some of the best Black Friday1 deals this year? The Unfair Sales Act2, better known as the "Minimum Markup Law", is the reason you pay more for things you purchase every day.

     Senator Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa), Representative Jim Ott (R-Mequon), and I recently introduced a proposal to repeal this antiquated and unfair law. The Minimum Markup law is a Depression Era law passed in 1939, with the intention of protecting smaller companies from larger companies who can sell their products at a lower price. This law regulates the prices that businesses can charge for their products (including gas, general merchandise, alcohol, and tobacco but excluding services and types of discounts) by making it illegal to sell below cost and requiring businesses to mark up the sales price by a certain percentage. Fast forward to today, and this law keeps prices artificially high for consumers and businesses alike, and restricts competition in the marketplace. I believe in the power of the free market, but this law says that the government knows better than businesses and consumers how to price products.

    Opponents of this bill will contend that these price controls are needed to protect small businesses from large companies undercutting their prices, and that a repeal of this law will result in the closure of small businesses around the state. Here are some reasons why I disagree. First, there are already federal anti-trust laws3protecting businesses from the type of predatory pricing that they are concerned about. In other words, a company cannot adopt a strategy of reducing prices low enough to knock out competition and then raise prices once the competition is eliminated from the market. The Minimum Markup law goes further than preventing predatory pricing; it actually forces businesses to increase the price of the product. Second, the opponents of this bill make the assumption that the only thing businesses compete on is price. This simply is not true. Just because Walmart can sell products at a lower price than a local store, does not mean that I won't patronize the local store. Businesses compete on the quality of the goods they produce, customer service, location and convenience for the customer, and many other factors.

     In the Midwest, only North Dakota and Minnesota have a comparable markup law that is as broad as Wisconsin's. Many of our neighbors have recognized that this law only hurts consumers. Recently, we saw the negative effects of this law with the Meijer supermarket chain opening in Wisconsin. Meijer is accused of offering deals that are "too good" to its customers4, and may face fines from the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection, which is ironic coming from our consumer protection agency. Look to our neighbors in Minnesota. Their State Commerce Department fined Midwest Oil of Minnesota $140,0005 for selling gas below the legal minimum price. I don't think that businesses in Wisconsin should face the heavy hand of government for being able to efficiently compete in the market and offer goods deals to their customers.        

    This important issue directly affects your everyday life and your pocketbook. I have heard from supporters and opponents of the bill. I really want to get your feedback and hear your stories. Please let me know your thoughts on the Minimum Markup law. Should it be repealed or not? Email me at


1WISN News TV Report:

2DATCP Website: 

3Federal Trade Commission Website:

4WISN News TV Report:

5Star Tribune:

Governor Walker Back in Wisconsin

Governor Walker addressed the Assembly Republican Caucus yesterday. He unveiled new recruitment and retention reforms to the civil service system that the Legislature will take up this session. Because of the impending wave of retirements from baby boomers, the goal of the reforms is to make sure the State of Wisconsin, as an employer, can continue to recruit and retain the best and brightest employees. 

UW-Oshkosh Inauguration of Chancellor Leavitt

I attended the inauguration of UW-Oshkosh's new Chancellor, Andrew Leavitt, who will be UW-Oshkosh's 11th Chancellor. Thank you to Chancellor Richard Wells for his 14 years of outstanding service. I look forward to working with Chancellor Leavitt and wish him the best of luck in his new role!

Left to right: Representative Dave Murphy, UW System President Ray Cross, Former UW-Oshkosh Chancellor Richard Wells

2015-2016 Blue Books are Available

The 2015-2016 Wisconsin Blue Books are in! These book are a great resource to learn about the legislative, executive, and judicial branches and the public officials who serve in each branch, as well as the Wisconsin federal congressional delegation, state constitution, elections, state history, statistical information, and facts about Wisconsin. This year the feature article is about Wisconsin in the Civil War.

If you are interested in ordering a Blue Book, at no charge to you, please send an email to with the following information: your name, mailing address, phone number, and the number of Blue Books you want.

You can read the Blue Book online here.


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