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  • PFAS  Foam Restriction Bill
  • Budget Update
  • Memorial Day
  • New Intern


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PFAS Foam Restriction Bill Introduced


Earlier this week I introduced a bill with Senator Rob Cowles (R-Green Bay) aimed at limiting the use of firefighting foam containing poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

PFAS contamination of groundwater is a serious issue in Northeastern Wisconsin and a growing problem in other areas of the state. This week, we circulated a bill restricting the use of “Class B” firefighting foam with added PFAS, a root cause of this type of contamination. It is important we work to reduce possible contamination sources in our state, and this bill is a strong step in the right direction

Under this bill, the use of Class B firefighting foams containing intentionally-added PFAS would be prohibited, with two exceptions. The prohibition does not apply to first responders using the foam in emergency firefighting or fire prevention operations. The foam could also be used for testing purposes, but only if appropriate containment, treatment, and disposal methods, as determined by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), are in place. The bill provides DNR with rule-making authority to set those parameters.

This is the second piece of PFAS contamination response legislation I have authored this session. Earlier this year I authored Assembly Bill 85/Senate Bill 109, which calls on the Department of Health Services to develop state-based groundwater standards for PFOA and PFOS. As co-chair of the Joint Committee on Finance, I plan on advocating for the inclusion of additional resources to study PFAS contaminants in the state budget.

Budget Update

This week the Joint Committee on Finance continued its work as we make our way through the budget process. This week we took up to important issue areas, corrections and K-12 education.

On Tuesday, we discussed the Department of Corrections (DOC) budget, where we made important investments. Here are some highlights from Tuesday:

  • Increasing the Hourly Rate for Correctional Officers and other Security Positions
    • At the end of the biennium, correctional officer starting pay will exceed $19/hour; it is currently $16.65. This wage is higher and will be implemented more quickly than what the Governor proposed.
  • Retaining Long-Term Serving Employees
    • Corrections staff will now be rewarded for their long-term commitment to this line of work with increasing lump sum payments starting at 10 years of service, and then every 5 subsequent years.
  • Connecting Inmates to Resources Post-Incarceration
    • Under our plan, there will now be a job center in every minimum and medium security correctional facility in our state.
    • We expanded the Opening Avenues to Reentry Success (OARS) program which provides comprehensive services to seriously mentally ill offenders in order to reduce the probability of recidivism.
    • We also expanded the Windows to Work program, which is a pre- and post-release jobs program the DOC administers in concert with the Department of Workforce Development.

On Thursday, for the second budget in a row, we have made historic investments in our K-12 education system. As the husband of a public school teacher and father to children who have attended public schools, I understand the importance of adequately funding our K-12 education system.

That’s why last budget Republicans passed a state budget that provided over $600 million of new funding for classrooms across the state. In fact, in every year since 2012, state support for public schools has increased.

Our number one goal is to ensure that regardless of a child’s zip code, they receive the world-class education that Wisconsin is known for.

That’s why this budget, we will build on our investments in public schools. There is no more important investment than in our kids, they are our future.

This funding will have real-world impacts on the lives of our students and educators. These reforms will provide more resources for the classroom, increased educational opportunities for students, and will help schools throughout Wisconsin continue to flourish. Coupled with our recent investments in worker training, Republicans in the legislature are helping prepare the workforce of tomorrow for the jobs of the future.

Our action this week on the budget, coupled with the historic funding last budget, will strengthen our public schools. Republicans in the legislature will continue to work to ensure that all students receive the exceptional education they deserve.

Here are some highlights from what we passed:

  • Provides an additional $200 per student in 2019-20 and $204 per student in 2020-21.
    • This is exactly the same as the budget proposed by Gov. Evers.
  • Doubles state funding for student mental health services.
  • Increases state support for special funding by 22%.
  • Our proposal will result in the most state spending in history for K-12 spending in the upcoming biennium.
  • Our action this week on the budget, coupled with the historic investment last budget, will strengthen our public schools. Republicans in the legislature will continue to work to ensure that all students receive the exceptional education they deserve.
Memorial Day

Monday, May 27th is Memorial Day. For many, this means grilling out, boating, and relaxing. While that may be the case, it’s important to keep in mind the importance of this day and the reason for it. Memorial Day is a time for us to reflect on all those who lost their lives while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

When our nation called, generations of servicemen and women answered that call and said: “what can I do to help?”. We need more of that in America. Without it, we would not be the great nation we are today. In 1776, the first Americans answered that call, sparking the creation of the greatest nation on earth. Since then, from Europe, Vietnam, Korea, the Middle East, and many other places on earth, millions of Americans have answered the call and served in the armed forces. The United States has always been blessed with dedicated and patriotic citizens, none more than Veterans and their families.

Please, have a safe and responsible Memorial Day, and keep those who lost their lives serving our country on your minds. For a list of local area Memorial Day events, please click here.


 New Intern

This week a new intern started in my office. Rhett just completed his first year at Ripon College, studying Politics & Government and Economics. Rhett will assist my office in handling constituent casework, doing policy research, and scheduling. As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, Rhett and my staff are only a phone call or email away.


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