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Contents

  • Marinette Marine Funding
  • Revenue Projections
  • Medicaid Expansion
  • Purdue Pharma Lawsuit
  • Wetland Bill

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Legislative Website

Learn more about what I am working on here in Madison to improve the lives of my constituents!

HOPE Agenda

Stay up-to-date and informed on our progress to combat the opioid epidemic in our state.

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Marinette Marine Receives Funding

This week, the Joint Committee on Finance approved $2 million in workforce training grants for Marinette Marine. I am proud to have helped shepherd this important investment through the budget-writing committee.

In January, I  invited Governor Evers to visit Marinette Marine. Less than ten days later, Governor Evers accepted the invite and announced his commitment to support my plan to invest in Marinette Marine. This investment will help Marinette Marine continue to compete on the world stage for years to come.

With over 160 suppliers around the state, an employment impact of over 5,400 jobs, and a $4.4 billion economic impact in northeastern Wisconsin alone, it’s clear how much Marinette Marine means to Wisconsin, and speaks to how much Wisconsin will lose if Marinette Marine falls behind.

This action, in collaboration with the additional action we took today, sends a clear message that workforce development is a priority for Republicans in the legislature. In addition to the assistance for Marinette Marine, Republicans voted to invested over $12 million in worker training programs to help prepare the workforce for the jobs of tomorrow. Additionally, Republicans increased funding for the Wisconsin Technical College System by $25 million. This will help Technical Colleges across the state develop and expand innovative programs to meet regional workforce needs.

  • The increased investments in worker training programs include an additional:
    • $6M for Career and Technical Education Grants to help high school students receive industry credentials.
    • $5.46 for the Youth Apprenticeship Program to connect high school students with employers to gain on-the-job training.
    • $1M for Technical Education Equipment Grants to help schools upgrade technical education equipment.
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Recently Released Revenue Projections

Contrary to the negativity coming from Democrats, Wisconsin is on solid economic ground. New data released by the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau shows we can expect nearly $150 million in ongoing revenue available for the next biennium on top of the $1.8 billion previously estimated. This is even more proof that there is no need to raise taxes on the people of Wisconsin.

This re-estimate proves that our reforms are working; the state is spending less on burdensome regulation while holding the line on taxes for Wisconsinites across the state. The improved revenue numbers are encouraging.

 

We know there is more work to be done. As we continue our work on the 2019-21 state budget, we will continue on the same path and employ responsible fiscal planning to ensure Wisconsin continues to prosper and succeed.

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Why Medicaid Expansion is Wrong for Wisconsin

There has been a lot of talk in Madison and Milwaukee about the expansion of Medicaid in Wisconsin. I wanted to speak directly to you, the constituents of the 89th Assembly District why I think it’s the wrong path for Wisconsin and could negatively impact your healthcare affordability.

There has been a distortion of facts regarding healthcare in Wisconsin. The truth is, healthcare in our state is not only high-quality, but also affordable. In fact, not only does Wisconsin have one of the lowest uninsured rates in the nation, its healthcare has been ranked as the 4th best in overall quality and in the top 15 in affordability. The healthcare debate has largely circled around the 80,000 individuals between 101%-138% of the federal poverty level (FPL).

Currently, the estimated 40,000 individuals between 100-138% of the FPL who are uninsured already qualify for heavily federally subsidized coverage on the exchange, but have elected not to purchase insurance. Instead of placing these individuals into Medicaid, we should increase opportunities to enroll them in the exchange where they qualify for heavily subsidized coverage at no cost to the state.

I believe we should target our efforts to connect those who are currently uninsured to the highly-subsidized coverage they qualify for while reducing costs for those who are on private commercial insurance. In Brown and Milwaukee Counties, for example, individuals between 101-138% of the federal poverty level can purchase healthcare on the exchange with as little as 18 cents per month with a $50 deductible. This is because the federal government provides financial assistance to help with the purchase of health insurance.

To be clear, these individuals have access to heavily subsidized health insurance coverage at no cost to the state. Expanding Medicaid will require the state to cover part of the cost of these individuals health insurance, whereas the state is currently not responsible for any of this cost.

Additionally, Medicaid under-pays for the actual cost of services provided by hospitals. As a result, hospitals are forced to increase costs for individuals with private insurance. Recently, this cost shift was estimated to cost private payers as much as $1 billion annually. Moving more individuals to Medicaid will likely worsen this cost shift, raising your healthcare costs dramatically.

As the budget process continues, I plan on working to make sure that we invest in the healthcare priorities important to you. Reducing costs, increasing access, and raising the wages for those who care for our most vulnerable.

As always, please contact my office if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.

 

 Purdue Pharma Lawsuit

This week, Attorney General Josh Kaul announced that Wisconsin will be entering into a lawsuit to sue Purdue Pharma in connection to their role in our nationwide opioid epidemic. The Attorney General is alleging that the company falsely advertised and misled the public about the danger of painkillers.

Since day one in my efforts on the HOPE Agenda I have maintained that if malicious, deliberate attempts to betray and harm the public is proven, those who are responsible should be held accountable.

There is no arguing that dramatic increases in both availability and prevalence of prescription painkillers have played the instrumental role in our nation's opioid epidemic. That’s why in Wisconsin we have worked hard, with success, to reduce the number of opioid prescriptions in Wisconsin.

As this lawsuit moves forward, I remain committed in support of holding those responsible, accountable for their actions. These actions have caused pain and sorrow in every corner of our state and deserve to be addressed to the fullest extent of the law.

As developments surrounding the lawsuit come out, I will be sure to keep you updated.

 Wetland Bill

On Wednesday, a bill I co-authored regarding flood damage reduction was circulated for co-sponsorship. As a result of heavy rainfall across the state last summer, floodwaters caused millions of dollars of damage to public infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and culverts. It is likely that some of this damage could have been avoided had better wetland and stream management practices been in place in certain areas of the state.

Under the bill, funding would be provided to the Department of Natural Resources for the design, implementation, and evaluation of multiple demonstration projects in Northern Wisconsin. These projects will hopefully show how to better utilize the water storage capacity of natural wetlands, divert water along more optimal routes, and reduce flooding. Once they are complete, the results of these projects will be reported to the Legislature and the Department of Military Affairs to be used as templates for other potential projects across the state.

This bipartisan legislation is being spearheaded by Reps. Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna), Beth Myers (D-Bayfield), and Sens. Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) and Janet Bewley (D-Mason). It was developed in collaboration with the Wisconsin Wetlands Association.

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