Last week, Senator Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield)
and I, in a
press conference surrounded by more than sixty
Wisconsin-based Tesla owners, introduced the "Electric Vehicle
Freedom Act. In addition to the aforementioned press conference,
lawmakers had the opportunity to test-drive various Tesla
This one-line bill, quite simply, allows
manufacturers of solely electric-powered automobiles to sell
directly to consumers in Wisconsin. Whether consumers choose a traditional
gasoline-powered automobile or a vehicle that operates on
electricity, they should have the opportunity to do so, free
from government interference. By amending Wisconsin's deal
franchise statute--which was written more than four decades ago and
has never been rewritten--the legislature can make clear that
electric vehicle manufacturers like Tesla may sell their
products directly to Wisconsin consumers.
Having the ability to purchase products of your
choosing, devoid of government intrusion, is the essence of
capitalism. In addition to consumer choice, this bill is about
creating high-paying jobs and promoting American-made products.
I very much believe in the 'America's First' principle. This
legislation puts American and Wisconsin consumers first.
I am excited to be putting forward legislation
that will provide consumers with more choice and foster greater
competition in the automobile market. There is a strong demand
for these vehicles and this bill will give consumers the ability
to purchase their automobile of choice in Wisconsin without
driving across state lines.
Wisconsin could benefit from Tesla's plans to
expand its locations and charging stations throughout the United
States. Tesla is already planning to double the number of
charging stations worldwide and plans to increase its retail,
delivery, and service locations by thirty percent in 2017.
Additionally, the influx of hybrid technology in the automobile
sector will result in the creation of more high-paying jobs for
Tesla is the first successful American
automotive start-up in the United States in more than fifty
years. Furthermore, Tesla manufacturers and assembles all of its
vehicles in the United States. Yes, Tesla did receive a loan of
$451.8 million and paid it back, in full, nine years early with
an additional $25 million in interest. It is true that Tesla
owners receive a $7,500 federal tax credit at the time of
purchase, but this program will be ending as Tesla reaches the
two-hundred-thousand threshold in cars sold.
This legislation is a win-win for
all Wisconsinites, as it emboldens consumer choice, grows our
economy, and reduces the nation's carbon footprint by making
emissions-free vehicles more readily available.
Tesla owners from across Wisconsin participating in a press
conference unveiling the "Electric Vehicle Freedom Act."
My colleagues and I unveiling the "Electric Vehicle Freedom
Senator Chris Kapenga and I in front of the Wisconsin State
Assembly Bill 450:
Last week, the Wisconsin State Assembly passed a number of
legislative initiatives, on a multitude of issues, including
Assembly Bill 450 that I coauthored with Senator Duey Stroebel.
AB 450, authorizes an individual who holds a Class "B" fermented
malt beverages or Class "B" intoxicating liquor (wine and
distilled spirits) license or permit to also sell beer or liquor
respectively, at specific locations within the Ozaukee County
fairgrounds, if both of the following criteria apply: the
licensee's or permitee's premises are located in Ozaukee County;
and the Ozaukee County Board of Supervisors adopts a resolution
approve the licensee or permitee. This proposal is merely a
statutory fix to codify the current procedure at the Ozaukee
County fairgrounds. Assembly Bill 450 was approved unanimously
by both houses of the legislature, via voice vote.
Assembly Bill 128:
Assembly Bill 128, authored by Representative Andre Jacque (R-De
Pere), relating to: prohibiting the Group Insurance Board from
contracting or providing for abortion services, was approved by
the Assembly. Under current law, Group Insurance Board offers
health insurance coverage to eligible employees under the
Wisconsin Retirement System, which includes all state employees
and state attuitants and may include local government employees
if they participate in a GIB health insurance plan. This plan
currently pays for elective abortion services for public
employees for any reason, at any stage of pregnancy.
Assembly Bill 128 withdraws public funding for abortions and
aligns Wisconsin law with the federal government, which does not
cover abortions for federal employees. By prohibiting GIB
from covering abortion services, we align the state not only
with federal law, but also other state government programs.
Mining for America Act
Last week, the legislature also approved Assembly Bill 499, the
"Mining for America Act." This bill does not create any
environmental exemptions and maintains all current local
approval processes. What is more, AB 499 does not eliminate
wetland protections, as detractors of this proposal contended.
Rather, it removes outdated administrative code, penned decades
ago. Subsequently, it is imperative to denote that no wetland
protections are being removed or refashioned. This legislation
contains more stringent regulations than the outmoded
administrative codes eradicated by this proposal.
Assembly Bill 499 also requires stronger financial guarantees
from mining companies to ensure the land is reclaimed and
repurposed, while still meeting all current environmental
Homeowners' Bill of Rights
I was pleased to cosponsor the Homeowners' Bill of Rights,
authored by Representative Adam Jarchow (R-Balsam Lake), that
was approved by the legislature, this week. As someone who has
devoted my career in the legislature to protecting the rights of
Wisconsin property owners. This legislation would guarantee the
right of property owners to develop and sell all substandard
lots that were legal upon creation or purchase. Furthermore, AB
479 establishes a statutory framework for conditional use
permits, which I submit, will add additional certainty to
property owners. I would like to thank the League of Wisconsin
Municipalities, Wisconsin Towns Association, and the Wisconsin
Counties Association for working the bill's principal authors to
reach a compromise on the language regarding conditional use
permits. It is imperative that the voices of Wisconsin residents
are heard and decisions are based on factual evidence.
The impetus behind Assembly Bill 479, quite simply, was the
United States Supreme Court's short-sighted ruling in
Murr v. Wisconsin (2017). According to Moore (2017), "In
that case, when considering whether a regulation is a government
taking, the justices ruled five-to-three that adjacent
substandard parcels of land can be legally considered a single
piece of property by a municipality, foreclosing separate sales
without any compensation to the owner" (p. 1).
Assembly Bill 479 will give back the rights property owners have
been wrongly denied under lot-merger ordinances in more than
forty Wisconsin counties. Local governments would be prohibited,
under this proposal, from requiring adjacent, substandard lots
in common ownership to be merged. Wisconsin families, as a
result, would be able to help do what is best for their family.
Additionally, this bill establishes a statutory framework for
conditional use permits; allows property owners to receive
compensation when a government-imposed restriction reduces the
fair-market value of a parcel of private property by more than
fifty percent, rather than when it denies all or substantially
all of the use of private property; allows property owners to
specify the parcel of their land that is subject to action
against the condemner, rather than consider the owner's parcel
as a whole--as was decided by the United States Supreme
Court in Murr v. Wisconsin (2017)--and guarantees property owners the right to display the
2017-2018 Wisconsin State
Blue Book now available
Everyone's favorite almanac of state government,
the Wisconsin State Blue Book, is now available.
Published biennially since 1853, the Wisconsin State Blue
Book is the oldest publication in Wisconsin. Initially, the
Wisconsin State Blue Book served as a manual for the
State Assembly, a pocket-size volume of less than 100
pages, and designed for legislators to have information about
state government at their fingertips.
According to the Wisconsin Legislative Reference
Bureau, the principal authors of the venerable publication,
"Over the decades, the Blue Book evolved in size, scope,
and purpose. The Blue Book's many iterations were caused
by the increased availability of information about state
government and the public. By 2015, the Blue Book
exceeded 1,000 pages and was laden with dense statistical
information that history buffs and political junkies would find
engrossing; everyday citizens, conversely, would find this
information uninteresting. The newly-revised State of
Wisconsin Blue Book is designed to provide everyday citizens
with enthralling content about Wisconsin history and government.
Recognizing that the Blue Book was
becoming too lengthy and dense, the Wisconsin Legislative
Reference Bureau undertook a Herculean effort: revamping this
esteemed repository of information about our state and its
history. The 2017-2018 Wisconsin State Blue Book is
intended to serve as an introduction to state and local
government, not the primary source for information regarding
these entities. More substantive and timely information about
state government can be accessed through the Internet than could
ever be accessed by a team of researchers tasked with penning a
book. Recognizing this, the 2017-2018 Blue Book
contains biographies of all legislators, descriptions of
executive and judicial agencies, and statistics on Wisconsin
government and elections. It does not, however, reproduce
information that is archaic, or can be more easily obtained and
If you are interested in obtaining a copy of the
2017-2018 Wisconsin State Blue Book, please contact my
office with your name and address. My staff and I will make it a
priority to ensure that your copy arrives in a timely manner.
Revised Deer Hunting Tag Rules
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, in preparation
for the forthcoming gun-deer hunting season, has revised its tag
requirements. Gun-deer hunting this year runs from November
18-26 and is immediately followed by muzzleloader season, which
runs from November 27-December 6. The newly revised tag
No longer required to validate.
No longer required to attach the tag.
No longer required to keep the tag with the
meat, upon processing.
For more additional details on these new
Department of Natural Resources rules, please visit the
Deer Tags 2017 FAQ.