February 25, 2013

Working for you!

Unemployment Insurance (UI) Reform

One of my highest priorities is working on unemployment insurance reform, and I'm part of a legislative workgroup that's analyzing this program. Since January, I've been attending the UI Advisory Council meetings, as well as hearings and informational sessions addressing UI processes, fraud and waste controls, and general practices. I want to make sure those who should get UI can get it, that the fund is solvent, and that we eliminate our debt to the federal government so that this money stays in Wisconsin, not with the federal government. If you have suggestions or concerns about UI and how it is administered, please let me know. I am digging into this issue over the next two months.

Budget Process

In a nutshell, here is the process for a budget bill to become law in Wisconsin. In January of each odd-numbered year, the Governor proposes a two-year budget plan. Then, the budget is reviewed by the 16-member Joint Finance Committee, which first holds informational briefings with state agencies to discuss their budget requests, then holds several public hearings around the state. After the public hearings, the Committee spends several weeks voting on each individual piece of the budget. The Committee takes its final vote and the budget goes to the full Assembly and Senate. Once it passes both houses of the legislature, it goes back to the Governor for his signature. The Governor has partial veto authority that allows him to veto individual pieces of the budget before signing it into law.

Wisconsin is required by statute to pass a budget. If a budget isn't passed on time, state operations continue under the terms of the previous budget until the new budget is passed.

This year's budget bill is Assembly Bill 40. You can also learn about the Joint Finance Committee and find your way to budget papers and information on the Joint Finance Page. If you are interested in all aspects of the state's finances, you may want to check out the Fiscal Bureau page, which features informational papers, budget papers, and much more pertaining to how Wisconsin funds its operations.

I had the honor of offering the prayer when the joint legislature assembled for the Governor's Budget Address.


On Valentine's Day, I had the opportunity to join many of my legislative colleagues in teaming up with AT&T and the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs to tape a special video message of support and thanks for our veterans and active military personnel. We were also encouraged to drop off old cell phones in support of Cell Phones for Soldiers, which uses recycling proceeds to send free phone cards to military members severing overseas. You can help, too! Drop off your old cell phone at any AT&T store in Wisconsin, visit the Cell Phones for Soldiers website and find a drop location near you, or print off a free shipping label from the program and mail in your phone. Together, we can make it easier for our brave men and women to stay in touch with their loved ones. Here's my video spot for our military personnel.

My Madison Office

Right the Rules efforts continue! I encourage everyone to keep working on this. You play a critical role in determining what regulations should be reviewed so we can do better. Please go to the project website and help us "Right the Rules!"  http://legis.wisconsin.gov/committee/jcrar/Pages/default.aspx.

I live in Greenville, but have an office in the State Capitol in Madison. If you are in downtown Madison, please feel free to stop in and say hello! Just go to the information desk in the rotunda, and they can direct you on how to find my office, 304 North. At the bottom of each e-news, you'll see my office contact information.

If your school is touring the Capitol building this spring, please let me know. I'd love to visit with you for a few minutes and take a group photo with you.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.

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Rep.Murphy@legis.wisconsin.gov State Capitol Room 304 North - PO Box 8953, Madison, WI 53708 Toll Free: (888) 534-0056 or (608) 266-7500