October 26, 2017


Greetings


Friends,

The fall session continues to be as busy as ever here at 17W. Since the last e-update, significant progress has been made on a number of reform minded bills that we introduced. In this e-update, I will bring you up to date with these pieces of legislation, their purpose, and what the future holds for them. I continue to enjoy working in the district as I meet small business owners and discuss issues such as government regulations, rural jobs, and the Highway 23 project.

Sincerely,


Farm Freedom Act


 

On October 10th, Senator Testin, numerous experts and I held a press conference pertaining to our Farm Freedom Act, Senate Bill 119 and Assembly Bill 183. We began researching and developing this bill over a year ago at the request of a Fond du Lac County constituent.  Our hope is to re-introduce the commodity of industrial hemp to Wisconsin. The experts' testimonies provided valuable insight into the many products manufactured from industrialized hemp, and the significant boost that removing unfounded regulation of this crop would give to Wisconsin's agricultural industry.

 

Industrialized hemp is a crop that possesses no psycho-active effects. While it is a close cousin of the marijuana plant, which can sometimes lead to unfortunate misconceptions and false associations between the two, hemp is a distinctively different plant than marijuana.  In fact, industrial hemp has .3% or less THC, and its return to Wisconsin as a cash crop would open up a myriad of opportunities for our state, both in the agricultural industry and the manufacturing industry. We already import half a billion in industrial hemp manufacturing components and consumer products annually, and it's time these goods were grown in and made in Wisconsin.

Our bipartisan bill passed the Senate Committee on Agriculture last Wednesday with unanimous support. We look forward to seeing the Farm Freedom Act come before the full Senate for a vote and an Assembly hearing in near the future. We hope Wisconsin will soon join the thirty one other states that have removed barriers to industrial hemp growth and production so that we can reap the benefits in the near future.


EMS Reforms Package


 

 

On Wednesday, Oct. 18th, Assembly Bill 311 passed the health committee. This bill is part of our Rural Fire & EMS Reforms Package, along with Assembly Bill 310 and 356, both of which passed the health committee on September 28th. This bipartisan package would expand Emergency Medical Services for communities across the state, with no additional cost to taxpayers.

 

Here are brief summaries of each bill in the package:

 

1. AB310: Provides access to current state funding for entry level EMS responders (EMR's) to help remove training and equipment cost burdens that often prevent volunteers from entering this critical field.

 

2. AB311: Allows an EMT or paramedic to fully practice at their licensed training level instead of being arbitrarily capped at their ambulance agency's license level, giving the opportunity for a higher level of service in rural areas to those in need.

 

3. AB356: Establishes a more flexible timeline to complete continuing education to renew one's EMS license. Currently, Wisconsin functions under a 2 year model. Under this bill our state would be extended to a 3 year system, striking a common sense balance between ensuring adequate refresher coursework and creating less burden on our current EMS volunteers and new recruits.

 

As a volunteer EMT, I am proud to champion for rural issues such as these, and to provide a voice for the volunteer firefighter and EMT community.

 

Body Camera Bill


The hearing for Assembly Bill 351, which pertains to police body camera footage, went very well. It was held before the Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety, and was attended by numerous law enforcement officials who came to testify in support. AB 351 ensures that where there is an expectation of privacy, victims and witnesses must give permission before police body camera footage could be released to the public. Folks who find themselves in their worst moments, such as cases of domestic abuse or sexual assault, should not have that experience replayed for all to see, especially with the prevalence of videos going viral on social media.

Governor Walker recently voiced his support of this bill, saying that there should be a clear set of statewide rules in place to protect the privacy rights of Wisconsin citizens.  We are looking forward to seeing the bill taken to an executive session in the coming weeks.

For more information about the bill, watch this video: Rep. Kremer talks about bill to regulate police body cameras

                               

       Rep. Kremer, joined by members of law enforcement, testifies in favor of AB351.               Rep. Kremer was joined by Kewaskum Police Chief Tom Bishop for the hearing.

                                                                                                                                                  


Air Quality & Economic Opportunity Reforms Package


 

We have recently introduced a package of bills that deal with "No Growth Zones," areas that have been stifled by outdated, unnecessary policies from the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Natural Resources. Joined by my colleague Rep. Horlacher, we are excited to take on the cause of competitive federalism, remove archaic burdensome regulations, and once again allow everyday folks to do business in Wisconsin.

 

Here are brief summaries of each bill in the package:

 

Elimination of “No-Growth Zones”: This bill prohibits the DNR from including the Kohler-Andrae monitoring site as one of the state’s monitors in the next State Implementation Plan (SIP) that is submitted to the EPA. This site collects unscientific data that has artificially downgraded Sheboygan County's air quality to non-attainment. Another monitor, positioned downwind of the county industrial sector, clearly and accurately shows the county in attainment but is ignored by the EPA. It is important to note that even if their was never any population or industry within the county, the area would still be in non-attainment according to the poorly placed Kohler-Andrae monitor.

 

Vehicle Emissions Testing Reform: Currently, a vehicle with any malfunctioning diagnostic component, even with no effect on emissions, will fail the state emissions inspection. This bill, penned by Rep. Horlacher, exempts motor vehicles older then 10 years from costly emissions testing. Creating this rolling 10 year period from date of manufacture would also standardize gasoline motor vehicles emissions testing with that of other vehicles such as diesel vehicles and heavy trucks. 

 

State Air Emissions Rules Review: The DNR is currently regulating exclusively 293 different materials as hazardous air pollutants, but according to a DNR "Air Management Report" from 2004, only 94 of these pollutants were ever even emitted in Wisconsin. Since only a fraction of these pollutants has been reported and no major scientific review of our emissions standards has been conducted since 2004, this bill would simply align DNR air pollutant regulations with current federal standards as a baseline by repealing all regulations on pollutants not regulated by federal law.

 

In the future, the DNR would still have the opportunity to promulgate rules concerning pollutants, but those rules would need to be re-promulgated every 10 years after taking effect. This ensures any ongoing regulations over and above federal requirements are scientifically researched as to their necessity and presented to the legislature for approval via our recently passed REINS Act process.

 

Freedom to Fuel: Currently, consumers in "No Growth Zones" are forced to buy more expensive reformulated fuels (RFGs) to accommodate 1990 area EPA regulations. This results in low, middle & fixed income families having to pay more for an inferior product now that now is nearly obsolete thanks to fuel and engine technology advances in the private sector.

 

Businesses forced to sell RFGs have been hit particular hard,  as consumers repeatedly cross over the county line to save ten cents per gallon or more, if they were just a few miles from the border. One small business owner in Washington County near a “No Growth Zone” county line recently told our office that he lost nearly 50% of his business since the mandate was implemented. This bill allows regular blends of fuel to be sold in the southeastern Wisconsin market place.

 

 


ABC Award


 

On Friday, I was honored to received the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of WI "Building Wisconsin" award in recognition of legislative reform efforts I've supported, including the elimination of prevailing wage, that have unlocked the incredible surge in building projects being seen around the state. I traveled to Wenger Roofing and Sheet Metal in Campbellsport to accept the award and to meet with the family and staff.  It was great touring their facility as small businesses like theirs are one of the primary job creators and drivers of our economy. I am honored to have been granted this award, and will continue to promote growth in the thriving Wisconsin construction industry.

 

 

Rep. Kremer meets with Jake Wenger (President, Right) and his mother Laurie Wenger (Founder, Left) before touring the facility.

 


School Visit


 

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting with students from Trinity Lutheran School in Kiel. It is always a pleasure to meet students from the 59th Assembly District visiting the State Capital to learn more about how our government works. Thanks for coming to visit!

 

 

Rep. Kremer was joined by his colleagues Rep. Vorpagel and Senator LeMahieu in answering questions from students and parents.

 


 
     


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To Contact Our Office:

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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