March 10, 2017


Greetings


Friends,


It has been a busy month at the Capitol as your State Representative. I have introduced several legislative bills to address many of our state’s pressing needs and have heard testimony on the drug epidemic tearing across Wisconsin. The state biennial budget process is also in full swing and the Joint Finance Committee will soon begin public meeting throughout the state to take public comment of our state’s budget priorities. Please stay tuned for more information once a full schedule is finalized.


Sincerely,

 


Article V Convention: A Balanced Budget Amendment


This month saw Wisconsin become the latest state to begin the process to call for a convention of states on a balanced budget amendment. I am a proud co-sponsor of my colleague Senator Kapenga’s resolution and I am an ardent supporter of restoring our founding father’s vision of federalism in this nation. It is our responsibility as state legislatures, through Article V of the U.S. Constitution, to take up matters of great importance facing our nation, and there is no greater threat to our future then the out of control spending habits in Washington and the federal debt left in its wake. I look forward to passing Senator Kapenga’s balanced budget amendment resolution and its companion legislation on convention rules and delegate appointments.


Legislative Update:


Currently, individuals in Wisconsin who contribute to a 529 college savings account can deduct the contributions, up to $3100 per beneficiary, from their adjusted gross income amount. This bill expands that ability to businesses. It would allow businesses to contribute to a college savings account that is in their employee’s name. The account can be for either the employee themselves or the employee’s children. In return businesses would receive a 25%, non-refundable tax credit for currently up to $3100 in contributions. With unemployment levels dropping in Wisconsin, this bill allows employers to have another benefit to incentivize potential employees and retain current employees. With concerns about college debt growing nationwide, this bill gives parents and students another way to save money for their education.

For more information, watch the Employee College Affordability Act Video


Seat Time Requirement Reform


Today’s public school districts are confined to a century-old system of operation with little flexibility which only stifles the ability to innovate and better educate Wisconsin’s children. School district administrators have been asking for flexibility that would provide some of the same opportunities that private and charter schools enjoy.  This bill creates a two year pilot program through which school districts located within the Cooperative Educational Services Agency (CESA) 6 region, that have received a previous year’s report card grade of “Exceeding” or “Significantly Exceeding Expectations.” With the school board’s approval, these schools could have even more opportunity to be innovative and expand the educational opportunities for Wisconsin children.


Roundabouts


This bill simply allows local municipalities to have a say in the process before being forced to have a roundabout placed in their community. To ensure this, the legislation would require an affirmative vote of a city council, town or village board in order for a roundabout to be constructed in their municipality. With the recent revelations in the audit of the State Highway Program and the repeated need to re-engineer and rebuild flawed roundabouts around the state, it is imperative, now more than ever, to have another check and balance on how Department of Transportation (DOT) dictates projects to our local governments.


Milwaukee Trolley Bill


The purpose of this bill is to protect state taxpayers and our state transportation fund from any operational costs of a Milwaukee streetcar system. If this issue is not addressed, the potential exists that some of the operational costs would be funded by state transportation dollars tax dollars. This would have a detrimental effect on all statewide mass transit systems, especially for taxpayers who do not reside in Milwaukee. This is particularly significant now as the Milwaukee County Board, which had previously voted against involvement with the city streetcar, has just voted to pursue a contract. It is only a matter of time before state taxpayers will be asked to cover these costs.


Industrial Hemp


 

Industrial hemp is an agricultural crop with a rich history in Wisconsin. This commodity was primarily used in the production of rope, textiles and paper during the early 20th century. In addition to growing and processing hemp for the war department, Wisconsin manufacturers designed and produced industrial hemp farm machinery. Grown in the United States through the 1950’s, industrial hemp, a dry crop that uses minimal quantities of water, is part of the family of plant known as cannabis. Although it is a close cousin of marijuana, industrial hemp, or cannabis sativa, is a distinctly different cannabis from marijuana.

Currently, United States manufacturers import nearly $0.5 billion of industrial hemp annually. Allowing this crop to grow in Wisconsin has the potential to expand our agricultural sector, create new manufacturing and tech opportunities, and ultimately produce new jobs and tax revenue. Industrial hemp fibers are stronger than carbon fiber and have already been used in protective fire gear, plastic panels in vehicles, brake pads, building insulation, super capacitors to replace graphene in high end batteries and to replace Kevlar in bulletproof vests.  From the human consumption aspect, the non-psychoactive CBD seed oils contain more Omega 3 than fish oils and can alleviate many more maladies than simple THC.

For a further in-depth explanation of Industrial Hemp and it's industry uses, please watch this Informational Video

Washington and Ozaukee County Farm Bureaus meet with Rep. Kremer on Industrial Hemp on Ag Day at the Capitol


Passed Project Labor Agreement Reform


This week the Assembly passed a bill reforming Wisconsin’s Project Labor Agreement (PLA) law.  This common sense legislation prevents government from interfering with competition and picking winners and losers in what should be an open market place. This reform will lead to competition and taxpayer savings to government construction projects. This also paves the way for more quality contractors to pursue bids for projects. The bill awaits Governor Scott Walker’s signature, and once singed Wisconsin will join 21 other states that have banned or enacted substantial reforms to mandated PLA laws.


Drug Prevention in Wisconsin


My colleagues and I took testimony from the State Attorney General, FBI, and DEA officials before a joint meeting of the Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice & Public Safety and Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety on the growing challenges WI faces with methamphetamine abuse.


 
     


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To Contact Me:

State Capitol, Room 17 West
P.O. Box 8952, Madison, WI 53708
Email: Rep.Kremer@legis.wi.gov
Phone: (608) 266-9175
Fax: (608) 282-3659

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