Thursday, January 14 2016

Happy New Year!

Dear Friends,

Welcome to my first e-update of 2016! I trust you and your family had a blessed holiday season celebrating with family and friends. While 2015 was a great year, I am excited for a fresh, new opportunity to make a difference for you in Madison.

As always, please continue to contact me with any questions or concerns. I received many constituent contacts last year- nearly 1,500 emails, phone calls and letters! Thank you for all your input, thoughts and encouragement. It is an honor to serve you.


i4Learning Tour in Kewaskum

Last Wednesday, Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, Senator Stroebel and I visited i4Learning Charter School in Kewaskum.

i4Learning began in 2015, and is one of many charter schools in the state that are changing the face of traditional, "cookie cutter" K-12 education with project-based learning and grouping students according to their subject progress, rather than by age.

I believe that as a state, we will develop a strong workforce and skilled leaders when we promote traditional K-12 teaching methods in conjunction with newer, more contemporary, project and skills-based models.

Further, it is imperative that our local technical colleges partner with schools, including late elementary and middle schools, to allow some hands-on learning in the careers that are promoted through local businesses and manufacturers.

It was great touring the i4Learning facility. Thanks to all the students, faculty and staff for making this opportunity possible!


Gun Free School Zone Bill Circulated

Yesterday, Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin), Rep. Rob Brooks (R-Saukville) and I circulated a proposal for co-sponsorship that would give schools the ability to allow concealed carry permit holders to carry concealed weapons on school grounds.

LRB-1820 falls in line with the spirit of the federal Gun Free School Zones Act, signed in 1990 by then President Bush. Most states allow teachers with concealed carry permits to carry their firearms if they are granted permission from the school board or authority.

According to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, 39 states prohibit concealed carry permit holders from bringing firearms to K-12 schools; however, there is a movement in several states - North Dakota, Wyoming and Colorado - to enact similar legislation.

North Dakota Representative Dwight Kidfert stated, "The reason it's necessary [to allow concealed carry in schools] is we have rural schools that are 30 miles away from law enforcement, so we are tyring to address the response time [to a potential shooting]. Because by the time law enforcement gets there, it won't be a rescue anymore."

The Washington D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier stated recently that, "your options are run, hide or fight. I always say if you can get out, getting out is your first option, your best option. If you're in a position to try and take the gunman down, to take the gunman out, it's the best option for saving lives before police can get there."

Chief Lanier's plain words speak to the fact that in an active gunman situation, you may not be able to run, hide or fight. Allowing our school personnel to legally carry concealed weapons will hopefully prevent the next horrific school shooting from becoming a reality.

Click here to read my press release.

HOPE Agenda

On Tuesday, the Assembly passed a package of bills authored by Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) referred to as the HOPE (Heroin Opiate Prevention & Education) agenda. The package passed by the Assembly includes the following bills:

AB 364: changes the requirement for those who dispense certain prescription drugs to submit information to the PDMP from 7 days to 24 hours. It will also require a practitioner to review a patient’s record when initially prescribing a monitored prescription drug (for example, a Schedule II drug).

AB 365: This bill states that when law enforcement encounters an inappropriate use or an infraction of the law concerning scheduled drugs, they upload that information into the PDMP and have the PDMP notify the physician. There are exceptions for on-going investigations.

AB 366: gives the Department of Health Services (DHS) oversight over the operation of pain management clinics across the state. The department’s oversight would not be regulatory, but would be a way of providing safeguards so “pill mills” don’t pop up in our state.

AB 367: requires methadone clinics to gather data such as staffing ratios, the number of patients receiving behavioral health services with the medication, and average mileage an individual is traveling to come to a clinic. This information will then be reported to DHS on an annual basis to give public health and treatment professionals a chance to analyze outcome data.

I am proud to have supported these bills in committee and on the Assembly floor. They now await action in the Senate.


Alicia's Law

Yesterday, the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee passed AB 666 (also known as "Alicia's Law"). This bill will attempt to provide more resources for law enforcement when investigating Internet crimes against children. Passage was nearly unanimous, with only 2 Democrats voting against.




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