It has been a busy month at the Capitol as your State Representative. Since
the last E-Update, we've introduced several bills,
including legislation to protect free speech on UW campuses, multiple bills
that help to remedy the state's Emergency Medical Services (EMS) shortage, and a bill that helps working
adults save for either their own, or their child's higher education. The
state budget is still being deliberated over, and I look forward to
reviewing the final proposal before it comes to the floor.
The Capitol has been abuzz with
budget talk as we get closer to a finial vote on the full legislation. In
the budget so far, Governor Walker has proposed using the legislatures
surplus created by our reforms to fund K12 education as well as investments
in post secondary trades, and vocational programs. Higher education affordability also remains a priority
for the Legislature with a continuing freeze on UW tuition costs for
in-state residents. Republicans have shown a dedication to education in this
budget, and that's something that I think all Wisconsinites can support.
College Affordability Act
With unemployment levels dropping in
Wisconsin, my College Affordability Act allows employers to have another
benefit to incentivize potential employees and retain current employees.
With concerns about college debt growing nationwide, my bill gives parents and students
another way to save money for their education.
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. The
Employee College Affordability Act expands that ability to businesses like
what is being done in Nevada. It allows 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 up to $3100 in contributions.
For more information, watch the
Employee College Affordability Act Video
Free Speech Act
Just a few weeks ago I introduced the Campus Free Speech Act that
reaffirms the state's support and protects everyone's first amendment rights,
on UW campuses. It allows for anyone lawfully present at a public university
to protest as long as it does not interfere with the rights of others to engage
in or listen to expressive activity. If students are found to be repeatedly
interfering with the free expression of others, they will be subject to
sanctions up to expulsion. Everyone will be able to have their
voice heard, and no one will be able to veto or shout down others free speech. Included in
this bill is a provision that ensures the institution strive to remain neutral
on public policy controversies of the day. No student or employee will be
forced to voice an opinion that they do not agree with. Every portion of
this bill that discusses what is and isn't free speech has been vetted by
prior Supreme Court rulings and first amendment experts. We must ensure that
colleges and universities remain the place for the free exchange of ideas
and civil debate.
On May 11th, the Committee on Colleges and Universities
a hearing on Campus Free Speech. Recently the
committee passed this bill, and I'm looking forward to having the bill on
the floor of the full Assembly next week.
For more information, watch the
Committee Hearing on the College Free Speech Act
Rural Wisconsin is experiencing a volunteer firefighter/EMS shortage. Our
Rural Wisconsin EMS and Fire Reforms package has begun with three separate bills
that seek to provide access to current state funding for entry level EMS responders, allow for
more flexibility to renew one's EMS license, and allows any EMT to practice at their training level
instead of their employers license level, providing a higher level of
service to taxpayers.
to Senator Johnson for briefing our caucus in Madison this month!