Friday, October 23 2015

Campus Carry Act Circulated for Support

Last week I circulated the Campus Carry Act for support in the Legislature. So far the proposal has 25 cosponsors (20 Assembly, 5 Senate) and has received much attention from around the state.


Wisconsin's current concealed carry law was signed into law in July 2011 and made Wisconsin the 49th state to adopt a concealed carry law. However, one of the law's few exceptions allows University of Wisconsin System schools and technical colleges the discretion to ban weapons inside campus buildings, despite being unable to ban weapons on campus grounds. Unfortunately, because of this exception, UW schools are effectively able to nullify the right of students, faculty and visitors to arm themselves for self-defense when walking to and from campus.


The subject of weapons and the right to carry them openly or concealed usually stirs deeply-held, passionate beliefs from both sides. The release of this legislation was no exception. I would like to point out a few things to hopefully help clear up some of the confusion that I have heard so far on this proposal.

1. This bill will not allow teens or children to carry weapons. Current law requires you to be 21 or older to obtain a permit. A very small percentage of any campus population (juniors, seniors grad students and faculty) will even be legally permitted to carry if they wish to do so.


2. Fear of people with guns. Many have made known that their intense fear of weapons is made worse by this legislation. This legislation simply extends the legality of concealed carry on campus grounds into campus buildings. The truth is, concealed carry permit holders may be anywhere around you at any given time, in any given place. Concealed carry has been the law of the land for 4 years now with a proven, safe track record.


3. Not enough training required for concealed carry permits. Current law requires that an individual complete a firearms or hunter's safety course taught by a certified instructor before carrying a firearm. Course requirements and other information can be found on the Wisconsin Department of Justice's website. Concealed weapon carriers  have a high burden of personal responsibility to ensure proficiency, responsibility and safety when carrying their weapon. This is enforced in any state certified weapons course and will be observed by a responsible, law abiding citizen concerned with his safety and that of others.


4. With this law, students will be more likely to kill themselves or others. Removing a "no weapons" sign will not make a person more or less inclined to commit a violent crime. Absent this legislation, a student could certainly still carry a weapon into a classroom and shoot another student or faculty member. With this bill, someone may be able to stop a shooting from occurring.


5. Alcohol consumption on campus will contribute to an increase in shootings. It is a class A misdemeanor for anyone to be armed when under the influence of alcohol. Knowing the law and observing it will prevent this from occurring. It is important to understand that concealed carry permit holders have gone through the legal channels necessary to legally carry a firearm and have a duty to do so lawfully.


6. This legislation is a knee-jerk reaction to the Oregon campus shooting. This bill has been "in the works" since May and is a common-sense measure to protect students who may fall victim to a violent crime when  walking unarmed to or from campus.

You can read more on the Campus Carry Act by visiting my website. Click here to view a recent interview with Frederica Freyberg on Wisconsin Public Television's Here and Now program.


Bill to Grant Trolling Permits for the Blind

Last Wednesday, I testified on AB 336, my bill to codify blindness in Wisconsin statute as a qualifier for a trolling permit. Currently, only amputees are listed in statute.

those who are unfamiliar with trolling, to troll means to trail a lure or bait from a boat powered by a motor. In July of this year, a trolling rule was implemented to allow all anglers, regardless of disability, to troll for fish on inland waters statewide. However, the Natural Resources Board added a 2018 sunset clause. Thus, it is necessary to add blindness to the disabilities currently in statute to ensure that blind anglers and their assistant are able to legally troll should the current rule sunset in 2018. 

DNR biologists have confirmed that no harmful biological effects to fisheries in lakes have occurred where trolling is legal. Per the DNR, trolling is broadly allowed in surrounding states and Canadian territories. Senator Duey Stroebel is the Senate author on the bill.

GAB, John Doe and Campaign Finance Reforms

On Wednesday night, the Wisconsin State Assembly voted to reorganize the Government Accountability Board (GAB) in favor of separate, bi-partisan ethics and election models (AB 388). The Assembly also passed long-overdue campaign finance reforms (AB 387). These reforms were necessary due to recent court rulings stifling free speech in Wisconsin. However, Democrats refused to vote on these finance reforms, making the final vote 61-0. Both of these bills have been sent to the Senate.

In addition, major John Doe reforms were passed by both the Senate and Assembly, and were signed into law by Governor Walker today. By now you have likely heard of the many unconstitutional abuses of power during the John Doe investigations over the past few years. Current law allows prosecutors the ability to investigate people in secret for any reason, and to continue investigations until they find some reason to charge them. SB 43 will limit the use of this secretive process to certain crimes while expanding protections for individuals who have not yet been charged with a crime. It is important to note that no current crimes are made legal, and no special prosecution class is created.

The legislature's job is to protect the rights of citizens against abuse, and that includes abusive prosecutors. SB 43 is about transparency and accountability and I'm proud to have voted in favor of this important bill.

 Joint Legislative Audit Committee Approves Audit of DOT State Highway Program

On October 15, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee approved an audit request for the DOT's State Highway Program. Recently, legislators and others have raised a number of questions about Wisconsin’s state highways, including whether DOT is appropriately managing the planning, design, construction and maintenance of state highways. An audit of the State Highway Program will:

  • Examine changes and trends in revenue, expenditures, staffing and state highway conditions over time;

  • Analyze and consider potential improvements to DOT’s planning, design, construction, and maintenance processes for the State Highway Program including the traffic forecasting, construction bidding and engineering selection processes;

  • Compare the estimated cost of state highway projects as determined by DOT before project work began, with the actual cost of completed projects;

  • Assess DOT’s performance measures, including those related to highway evaluate DOT’s use of such measures to inform its management on the State Highway Program; and

  • Determine the extent to which DOT has implemented relevant recommendations made in our past audit reports.

This comprehensive audit is a good next step to finding more efficient ways to fund our state's transportation needs. The elimination of most prevailing wage projects was a good start and will continue to have a ripple effect for taxpayers to see more road paved per dollar than they would have in the past. 

District Events

Here are some events coming up in the district. As you may know, this week is Fire Prevention Week. Be sure to check out the fun events planned around the district!

Saturday, October 24

Make a Difference Day
Catholic Financial Life Chapter 266 of New Holstein will be participating in this annual event. Chapter members and community volunteers will be raking for the elderly and disabled. To volunteer or request assistance, please contact Ralph Brill at 898-5936 or Joan Kabat at 898-4520. Questions about the event can be directed to either Ralph or Joan.

Migration Mysteries Exploring Nature Program
Ice Age Visitor Center,
N2875 State Hwy 67 Campbellsport
10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Why do animals migrate? Where do they go? How do they find their way? Come find the answers to these questions and unravel some other mysteries of migration. This program is best for families/groups with children between the ages of 6 and 12.

Thursday, October 29

Family Night
Jack Russell Memorial Library, 100 Park Avenue Hartford
6:30 p.m.
Join former Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey clowns, Miller and Mike, for a one-of-a-kind comedy performance. This family show is high-energy and fast-paced, full of circus skills, audience participation and good clean fun. Cooperatively sponsored by the Library and Friends of the Hartford Library.

Madison Internship

An internship position is still available in my office. If you or someone you know is interested in this opportunity, please submit your resume and letter of interest to

Intern responsibilities may include: filing, data entry, mailings and light policy research. Intern will be expected to be available in Madison at least one day per week, dates and times are flexible.

Please contact the office at (608) 266-9175 or send the office an email if you have any questions.

Your 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!





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 State Capitol, Room 17 West

P.O. Box 8952, Madison, WI 53708
(888) 534-0059