Unemployment Insurance (UI)
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.
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
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
I had the honor of offering the
prayer when the joint legislature assembled for the Governor's Budget
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!"
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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