Tuesday, March 15,
my office, along with other Legislative offices, received an open records
request for media contacts as well as name and email data of people
(constituents) who receive emails from my office. This request originated
from Mr. Shae Sortwell.
Please keep in mind that all communications
to public officials, including my office, are considered public records. If
you have ever communicated with an Assembly or Senate office, please be
aware that your communication and information are subject to public open
If you have questions about this request, please feel free to call my office
at (608) 266-9175.
I was pleased to attend the Department of
Public Instruction's recognition ceremony this week for schools that have
earned the 2015-16 Wisconsin Title I School of Recognition Award.
In the 59th Assembly District,
received this award, which
recognizes schools that meet the following
Congratulations to Principal Melinda Myers and
Eden Elementary faculty and staff for your outstanding performance last
year. Keep up your great work educating our young people!
Artists Featured at the Capitol
Last week, the
Wisconsin Art Education Association
sponsored a student art display in the Capitol rotunda. While perusing the
displays, I found some local artists featured! What a great job by talented
local artists Ashley Krause from Kewaskum Middle School; Stephanie Goeser,
Carolyne Roepke and Maxime Angot from New Holstein High School.
at the Capitol
On Tuesday, the Wisconsin Association of
Christian Schools held their Day at the Capitol event. I was honored to
speak to the group of approximately 100 students and parents about the
legislative process and the role of a Christian legislator.
"Christmas Tree Bill" Passes Senate
This past week marked the official end of the
2015-16 legislative session as the Senate officially adjourned on Tuesday,
March 15. One of the many bills passed by the Senate this past Tuesday was
my bill to ensure that churches are free to display safe, well-watered and
properly lit Christmas Trees in their sanctuaries in the future.
To read more about this bill, click
here. The bill now awaits the Governor's signature before becoming law.
Please take a moment to read my most recent
editorial on the state voucher program, and the caution that must be
exercised by private and parochial institutions when considering
participation in the program.
“Wisconsin legislators pass a bill requiring private and parochial schools
accepting voucher payments to abide by open records and open meetings laws.”
Does this statement shock you? While this has not become law, there is a
very real possibility that this could be law a decade from now. Let me
explain. Early last year, many private and parochial schools were pushing
for a statewide voucher program. After all, this would be the greatest thing
since sliced bread, right? Free money! Fortunately, not every parochial and
private school board and principal sees it this way. Yes, I did vote for the
voucher program via the 2015-17 state budget; it was the right thing to do.
Low-income parents – parents who, previously, had zero ability to pay for a
parochial or private school education – now have the opportunity to choose a
school where their children can thrive. A word of caution though, the
political winds will eventually shift in Wisconsin and program rules will
change. Need proof? How about this real life anecdote - during one of our
last Assembly floor sessions in February, Democrats attempted to bring a
bill to the floor for a vote that would have required any school in the
choice program to abide by open meetings and open records laws, thereby
opening every Christian, choice school and their policies to public
During recent CESA 6 meetings
with area public school superintendents and school board members there was
dissent over the requirement that public school districts transport voucher
kids and provide special education resources. Truth be told, I can envision
a day when legislation will rear its ugly head
requiring voucher schools
state transportation aid get
their own kids to school and fund their own special education programs (even
though special education dollars are allocated from the federal government
to run the program). And what about the trending requirement that public
schools provide changing rooms for kids who identify as the opposite sex?
What about the sex education curriculum? When will creationism be challenged
by the requirement to also teach evolution? How about Bible study,
discussions of sin and societal ills in a Christian school? Prayer in
school? And what kids will be required to attend religion class? I can
guarantee that no voucher school will be safe from these mandates, intense
scrutiny and oversight. Activist courts have already bastardized the First
Amendment; thus, I don't believe the Supreme Court would stand in the way of
a law prohibiting prayer in publicly funded parochial schools if voucher
students are present. Consider the following excerpt from the Wisconsin
Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) convention resolution in 1967: "…1) avoid
any aid that would hinder our Christian schools from carrying out their
objectives, 2) avoid any aid that would lead to dependency upon the
government and would undermine our Christian stewardship, 3) avoid any aid
that would bring with it improper government control…”
choice program is an excellent outreach tool and a truly useful welfare
program, it will be evolving for years to come and must be utilized with
extreme caution. I urge any school considering participation in the voucher
program to set defined limits and remember that there is no such thing as a
free lunch - there must be an exit strategy.
On April 9, I will be in various locations
throughout the District. While the itinerary is still being finalized,
please watch for next week's e-update in which I will list the times and
locations of each listening session.
If you have any questions to submit
beforehand, please email me at
Rep.Kremer@legis.wi.gov, or call the office at (608) 266-9175 so
that I can come prepared to address your specific concern.
In the 2015-17 budget (2015
WI Act 55), the legislature directed the Department of Health Services
(DHS) to develop a plan for redesigned IRIS (Include, Respect, I
Self-Direct) and FamilyCare programs. Redesigning these programs will ensure
that IRIS and FamilyCare remain sustainable, while at the same time
maintaining key components such as self-direction and independence.
DHS recently released a draft concept paper for
FamilyCare/IRIS 2.0. To read the paper, click
Among the changes directed by the legislature were an expansion of
FamilyCare statewide and a transition to a model that coordinates all of an
individual's care needs. DHS hosted two public hearings on this new plan on
March 7 in Eau Claire and Madison. To sign up for email notifications about
changes to the program, click
here. DHS will draft a final report that will then be submitted to the
Joint Finance Committee (JFC) by April 1 for review.
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.