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State Capitol Report

Friends and Neighbors,

Spring has sprung, and the legislative session is in full swing!  I'm writing to provide you with a brief update on what I've been working on. 

Please feel free to contact me with any thoughts, questions, ideas, or concerns. I am happy to meet with you, visit your workplace, take a tour of your business, or attend a meeting of your organization – just ask. To stay informed, feel free to check out my Facebook page and website for updates, including news stories and photos of my meetings and visits around the district.  

 

Thank you for following along, and please let me know how I can best serve you. Your voice is very important to me!

Yours,


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Katrina Shankland, 

State Representative

71st Assembly District

Water Quality Task Force Hits the Road: First Stop, Lancaster!

Last week was National Drinking Water Week, and to celebrate, I wrote a column about all the work we’re doing around our drinking water. You can read it here.

Over the past month, the bipartisan Water Quality Task Force held two informational hearings at the Capitol to hear from state agencies and groups involved in clean water initiatives about their research and recommendations on improving surface and ground water in Wisconsin.

Now, we are heading out on the road. We began our statewide tour of public hearings in Lancaster on May 8, hearing from county board supervisors, scientists, health departments, and farmers about their work on improving water quality and how the state can help.

Citizens and organizations from across the state will have an opportunity to share their personal stories about water quality, express their specific concerns, and offer their insights and recommendations as the task force continues their tour throughout the summer.

As Vice Chair of the task force, I am committed to hearing from our community and am excited that we will be stopping in Stevens Point this summer. All are encouraged to attend!

When the hearing is scheduled, I'll include it in my e-newsletter. Until then, you can find more information on the task force website.

 

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Photo: (above) Water Quality Task Force hearing locations around  the state

 

The People's Budget: Update & Next Steps

It has been close to two months since the People's Budget was released. The 2019-21 biennial budget prominently features investments in public education, health initiatives, environmental conservation, and infrastructure, as well as a 10% middle class tax cut.

Since the budget was introduced on February 28, Governor Evers and his cabinet have spent a significant amount of time touring the state to hear from voters about the impact that the budget would have on them, their jobs, and their communities.

The most frequent topics discussed by voters at listening tour stops were: Medicaid expansion, special education funding, and K-12 funding. I was excited about the budget and its significant investments in our community

However, last Thursday, May 9, Republicans on the Joint Finance Committee voted to remove over 130 items from the budget, including:

  • Accepting the Medicaid/BadgerCare expansion, which would cover 82,000 more people, and save the state $324 million
  • Legalizing medical marijuana and reforming our state's marijuana laws
  • Funding the replacement of lead laterals which contribute to high blood lead levels, a danger to public health
  • Increasing the minimum wage
  • Enacting automatic voter registration
  • Investing in renewable energy
  • Closing the dark store loophole
  • Providing more funding to local governments
  • More than doubling investment in rural broadband expansion

You can read more about this hereWhile this news is very disappointing, I am committed to working with my legislative colleagues and investing in our roads, public education, healthcare, and natural resources. I will continue to advocate for a fair budget that works for everyone.

 

 

Looking Forward

As we move further into the biennial budget process, I encourage you to weigh in on the budget and any bills that come before the legislature. Feel free to call, email, or write!

I hold monthly office hours around the district, and encourage you to attend the next one, which will be announced on my Facebook and in the local papers.

"Earth Day State of Mind" & New Sustainability Initiatives

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Photo (above): Rep. Shankland tours local solar projects on Earth Day with WI Public Service Commission Chair Rebecca Cameron Valcq

I believe that Earth Day is a state of mind, not just a day on the calendar, and one of my greatest priorities in the legislature is to protect our natural resources, from protecting clean water to investing in  renewable energy.

This Earth Day, in addition to participating in several commemorative events and touring Central Waters Brewery with the Chair of the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, I recommitted to clean water and air, ample public lands, and clean energy by introducing a package of new legislation including:

  • Assembly Bill 177, legislation to repeal 2015 Act 302 and restore local control so municipalities can enact plastic bag ban ordinances and regulate the use of any material of single use containers 
  • LRB 0294, legislation to create a Wisconsin Renewable Energy Development Authority, a public revolving loan and grant program to invest in clean energy manufacturing
  • LRB 0032, legislation to prohibit food and beverages from being served in single-use Styrofoam at restaurants

I am also proud of my bipartisan clean water legislation, Assembly Bill 21, which creates a first of its kind state private well testing program and dramatically expands funding for homeowners to remediate their contaminated wells. This bill is included in the governor's budget, and I am grateful that both the Portage County and Wood County Board of Supervisors have supported it. It's my goal to pass this vital legislation this year to ensure everyone has access to clean drinking water.

I look forward to helping advance these bills, and continuing the fight for clean water and air, ample public lands, and clean energy in the Wisconsin State Assembly.

 

First Official Meeting of the Wisconsin Paper Caucus 

This session, I am pleased to serve as the Assembly Vice-Chair of the new Wisconsin Paper Caucus, a bipartisan and bicameral caucus working to highlight the history and economic importance of the paper, pulp, forestry, and printing sectors and develop effective policy that will help to sustain these family-supporting jobs.

The Wisconsin Paper Caucus held its first official meeting in Wisconsin Rapids on Friday, May 3. There, members held a roundtable discussion with various stakeholders on the future of the paper industry, economic impact of paper products, innovations & challenges, and policy.

The caucus is also proud to announce the introduction of AJR 39, a joint resolution proclaiming May 2019 as "Paper and Forestry Products Month" in the state of
Wisconsin, underscoring the importance of these important industries.

  

Rep. Shankland Honored by Wisconsin CDFIs and Wisconsin Wildlife Federation 

Photo (above): Rep. Shankland is honored for Distinguished Service by a Wisconsin Representative by Wisconsin CDFIs

In April, I was thrilled to be named Conservation Legislator of the Year by the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation (WWF), and to be awarded the Distinguished Service by a Wisconsin Representative award by the Wisconsin Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). I appreciate the hard work and far-reaching impact of both organizations immensely, and look forward to continuing to work with them.

Photo (below): Rep. Shankland is named Conservation Legislator of the Year at the WWF Annual Awards Banquet

 

Thank you for following along. I look forward to staying in touch!

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May 2019 State Capitol Report