Early Thursday morning, the State Assembly
2015-17 Wisconsin state budget 52-46.
To view the votes, click
here. The budget now awaits Governor Walker's signature.
I was proud to vote in favor of this budget for
many reasons. If you follow me on
Facebook or Twitter,
you would have already seen some of the reasons why I think this budget is a
positive step forward for the state. In case you missed it, here are some of
No property, income or sales tax increases
No gas tax or registration fee increases
Lowest borrowing levels in three decades according to the
non-partisan, Legislative Fiscal Bureau
Drug testing requirement for Unemployment Insurance, W-2 and
certain other recipients
Reduced marriage penalty on married couples filing joint
income tax returns
Teachers may now deduct up to $250 in taxes every year for
Elimination of the prevailing wage law for local government
projects, federalized state prevailing wage rates
Continuation of Medicaid funding, totaling over $1 billion
$500,000 for local government fraud investigation and
Charging FoodShare recipients for replacement EBT cards if
lost or stolen
$6 million into the Broadband Expansion Grants ($1.5 million
annually for the next four years)
Expansion of Family Care and self directed care
IRIS program restoration
Maintain SeniorCare funding (rejected Gov. proposal to
reduce funding by $94 million over biennium)
Eliminated Governor's proposal to require SeniorCare
participants to purchase a Medicare Part D plan
Continuation of Knowles-Nelson Stewardship program, but with
$18 million bonding reduction per year
Elimination of vacant positions at the DNR
Increased per-pupil funding by $100 over Governor's
recommendations for a total of $250 per pupil
Expansion of statewide school choice program
Creation of special needs voucher beginning in 2016-17 for
students that have previously been denied open enrollment
Mandatory civics assessment for high school graduation
beginning in '16-17.
Reduction in UW System cut by $50 million and two year UW
$1 million to fund grants at Wisconsin Technical Colleges to
develop and expand specialized instructional support
services for veterans
Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection
Yesterday afternoon, the Assembly passed
Wisconsin's Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act on a party line
61-34. While I'm disappointed in my Democrat colleagues for voting
against a life-saving bill such as
this, I am incredibly
that Wisconsin law will now reflect the abundant scientific evidence
confirming that an unborn child at 20 weeks (5 months) can feel pain. This
bill will prohibit abortion procedures in the 5th month of pregnancy (20
weeks postefertilization) when the child is capable of feeling pain. This
bill also requires that in a
medical emergency, if the doctor must terminate the pregnancy, he must
do so in the manner that best allows for both the mother and the
unborn child to survive. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health
Services, 89 innocent unborn children were painfully killed
past the 20 week mark in 2013.
To view my press release on the passage of
this bill, please click
Click the picture above to view my floor
speech in support of this bill.
If you are still undecided on this issue, I
encourage you to take a serious look at some of the resources I have
provided below. I have also included a very thought provoking video of Dr.
Anthony Levatino's testimony before the Congressional House Subcommittee on
the Constitution on May 17, 2012. Dr. Levatino's testimony is particularly
important due to his extensive experience performing abortions as an
obstetrician and gynecologist. His description of the procedure commonly
used to abort a baby at this stage of pregnancy is chilling, and should
cause even the most staunch pro-choice advocate to stop and think of the
extreme pain and suffering caused by this procedure.
Please feel free to contact me at my office
either by phone or email to discuss this bill. I'd be happy to share why
this legislation is so important for Wisconsin. To view my video statement,
click the picture below.
I have received many constituent contacts over
the past week on formerly proposed changes to our state's open records law.
The changes were included in the "999"
motion which the Joint Finance Committee passed in their final late-night
session last week. I would like to make very clear that the proposed changes
were ultimately removed from consideration by the Senate, and have not, in
any way, been included in the final version of the state budget passed
yesterday by the Assembly. My statement to a media inquiry is below:
“I understand that we want to protect constituent privacy and there are
concerns regarding protecting constituent information, but stuffing open
records policy changes into the budget is not the way to properly vet any
changes to open records policies.”
Prior to passage of the Pain Capable Unborn
Child Protection Act, the Democrat caucus brought forth
Resolution 12. AR 12 affirms the Assembly's commitment to open records.
Please know that I voted in favor of this resolution, and am staunchly in
favor of keeping your government open and transparent.
Feedback is Important!
As always, I hope this information is helpful to you.
Please know that I welcome your
feedback, questions and concerns. To contact me, you can call my office
toll-free at (888) 534-0059, or email me at
I look forward to hearing from you!