HOPE Agenda Legislation Signed Into Law
In the Legislature’s continued efforts to curb
Wisconsin’s heroin and prescription drug abuse epidemic, another
bill, which is part of the HOPE agenda (Heroin, Opiate Prevention
and Education), was signed into state law by Governor Walker. This
legislation is now known as 2015 Wisconsin Act 115. I am proud to
say I supported this bill and all the other bills that have been
signed into law as part of the HOPE agenda.
Assembly Bill 427 makes a number of changes and clarifications to
the state’s current law. These changes include allowing a
practitioner to prescribe an opioid antagonist (Narcan) to one or
more licensed pharmacies and that a licensed pharmacist may deliver
an opioid antagonist to an individual as specified in the order.
Also, the bill clarifies current law to provide that a practitioner
who prescribes an opioid antagonist must ensure that the person to
whom the medication is prescribed has the capacity to provide the
knowledge and training as described under current law.
Narcan is used to treat the side effects of opioid use, overdose, or
septic shock. An opioid antagonist blocks the effects of opiates in
the body. The use of this medication has and will continue to save
countless lives of those affected by addiction to opioids.
The bill’s author, Representative John Nygren stated, “Many times,
heroin addiction begins with an addiction to prescription
medications. The transition from legal drugs to heroin is very
dangerous and it’s our goal to stop addiction before it begins. As
we move forward to limit instances of overprescribing of scheduled
medications, we will be actively lessening the number of
Wisconsinites who become addicted to heroin.”
Congratulations to Representative John Nygren and his continued
efforts to help keep others from becoming addicted to heroin. I
applaud his efforts to combat this very serious issue.
Representative Nygren said it best, “Making Narcan more readily
available will not be the silver bullet that fixes our state’s
heroin and opiate problem, but it’s an important step in the right
direction. If this change saves just one life, it’s worth it.”
State Grant Helps Public Schools Equip Fabrication
Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation program aims to boost
job readiness and interest with hands-on technology experience
From the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation:
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has created a
new program to help local school districts prepare students for
The Fabrication Laboratories (Fab Labs) Program will provide grants
to districts to help them incorporate technologies such as 3D
printing and computer-assisted design into their curricula, giving
students hands-on experience and allowing them to put into practice
concepts they have learned in science, technology, engineering, art
and mathematics (STEAM) courses.
“This program will equip students with skills that will set them
apart in the job market and will help ensure that our state’s labor
force includes knowledge required by today’s employers,” said WEDC
CEO Mark Hogan.
Fab labs help schools expand their teaching methods to cater to
students with diverse learning styles, creating opportunities for
students to collaborate and apply practical skills. Participating
schools throughout the country and around the world also share ideas
with each other, thus giving students real-life experience in the
global economy prior to graduating from high school.
Grants to help public school districts create or expand these labs
will be available in amounts up to $25,000 per district. The funds
may be used to purchase equipment used for instructional and
educational purposes by elementary, middle, junior or high school
Fab Labs Grants will be awarded through a competitive process, with
applications evaluated based on curriculum, partnerships, financial
need and evidence of long-range planning. Competitively selected
applications will subsequently be ranked based upon additional
financial need criteria to determine final award recipients.
Applications for the first grant year are due Jan. 22, 2016.
An application cycle will be opened on an annual basis until the
lifetime program cap of $500,000 is fully disbursed. School
districts are required to contribute matching funds such that the
grant covers no more than 75 percent of the project cost in the
first grant year. Awardees may apply for additional grant funding
(subject to the same $25,000 per district maximum) in subsequent
years, but at a reduced reimbursement rate (50 percent of the
project cost in year two and 25 percent in year three).
To learn more about WEDC’s Fab Lab program and for grant application
information, visit www.inwisconsin.com/fablabs.
UW-Eau Claire Pitches Plan to Increase Four-year Graduations
As reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
In an effort to graduate more students in four years, reduce their
debt and ensure they have what they need to be successful early in
their careers, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire wants to offer
a tuition discount incentive that would be a first in the UW System.
The campus is seeking approval from the UW System Board of Regents
during meetings Thursday and Friday to offer a 25% tuition discount
on undergraduate courses taken by alumni either on campus or online
for up to five years after they graduate — assuming they finish
their undergrad degree in four years.
Students who grew up during the Great Recession tend to take up to
five years or more to finish an undergraduate degree because they
hedge their bets and "overcredential" themselves with multiple
majors or minors they may not need, UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James
Schmidt told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Most students also change majors, which can delay graduation.
The four-year plan would still allow students to change a major up
until the end of their freshman year, according to Schmidt.
Adjustments could be made after that by adding an extra course in
the winter term or summer, he said.
Some students also work too many hours, which makes it hard to carry
a full class load, Schmidt said.
The average UW-Eau Claire student graduates with about $20,000 in
debt, he said.
"You might be better off working fewer hours and adding a couple
thousand in extra loan debt to get through in four years," the
In addition to saving money on tuition and fees beyond four years,
Schmidt said students should factor in lost "opportunity costs."
The median annual salary for the Class of 2014 was $43,854.
For the student who decides to stay in college an extra year to
finish an undergraduate degree, the "real cost" of the fifth year is
about $50,000, including lost potential income and another year of
tuition and fees totaling about $8,000, said Schmidt.
"I'm trying to talk about real costs," Schmidt said. "You really
have to have the conversation about what will an extra major or
minor do for you?”
If, as students start their careers, they or their employer decides
it would be useful to pick up additional undergraduate classes,
UW-Eau Claire will apply a 25% discount toward those courses taken
within five years of graduation.
"Maybe it's the statistics class you avoided, but you get into a job
and realize it would help you," Schmidt said.
Course access would be on a space-available basis. Undergrads would
still have priority for undergrad seats in classes, the chancellor
UW-Eau Claire's current four-year graduation rate is 34%. The goal
is 50%, Schmidt said.
Starting next fall, freshmen will be required to enter into a
contract with the university enabling them to complete their degree
within four years.
The university, as part of a restructuring effort to cut costs while
improving student success, will then assign each freshman something
akin to a "progression specialist" — a university employee whose
sole responsibility is to get to know individual students and help
them troubleshoot obstacles to graduating in four years. Financial
incentives will be attached.
The students will still have academic advisers, Schmidt said, but
the progression specialist will help them create a four-year plan at
the start, factoring in whether they want to study abroad, do
internships and do undergraduate research.
Currently, 86% of students do at least one of those three things;
the goal is to reach 100%.
"The four-year graduation contract is all about beginning with the
end in mind," Schmidt said. "What are your goals? What are your
Schmidt said about 25% of students enter UW-Eau Claire undecided
about their majors. That's not a problem, the chancellor said.
The new approach would put undecided students in clusters of related
majors that interest them.
Rather than telling students to cast a wide net of coursework and
see what sticks, full-time advisers experienced in advising
undecided students will intentionally help them assess and explore
interests, Schmidt said.
Executive Residence 2015 Holiday Tour Schedule
From the office of Governor Walker:
Governor Scott Walker’s office announced the 2015 holiday tour
schedule for the Executive Residence. Holiday tours allow guests to
view the Executive Residence’s beautiful decorations and festive
scenery. The unique decorations found throughout the main rooms on
the first floor are crafted by Wisconsinites from all over the
“The decorations are incredible this year,” said Governor Walker.
“The Executive Residence belongs to the people of Wisconsin and we
are excited to welcome them inside for holiday tours once again to
share in the festive decorations.”
“Every year, the displays just get better and better,” added First
Lady Tonette Walker. “We’d like to thank all of the designers who
donate their time, talents and décor to fill each room of the
residence with breathtaking displays of holiday cheer, as well as
the designers and landscapers who create a Christmas wonderland
outside for all to enjoy.”
2015 Holiday Designers include:
- Hawks Nursery of Wauwatosa
- Impressions by Esther Fleming of Milwaukee
- Milaeger’s of Racine
- The Bruce Company of Middleton
- Edgewater Greenhouse of Portage
- Designs of the Interior of Green Bay
- The Wisconsin National Guard
Governor Scott Walker and First Lady Tonette Walker have partnered
with Second Harvest Foodbank and the Wisconsin Department of
Tourism’s Big Bundle Up Campaign again this year to promote the
generous spirit of the holiday season. Non-perishable food items and
warm weather items, including new or gently-used mittens, hats,
scarves, coats, sweaters, jackets, and snow pants are happily
accepted at the residence before and after the tours and will be
donated to those in need.
2015 Holiday Open House Schedule:
- Thursday, December 3: Noon – 2:00 p.m.
- Friday, December 4: Noon – 2:00 p.m.
- Saturday, December 5: 9:00 a.m. – Noon
- Wednesday, December 9: Noon – 2:00 p.m.
- Thursday, December 10: Noon – 2:00 p.m.
- Saturday, December 12: 9:00 a.m. – Noon
The Executive Residence is located at 99 Cambridge Road on Madison’s
northeast side in the Village of Maple Bluff. Tours are free of
charge, and cameras are allowed. Parties of 20 or more are asked to
make a reservation by calling (608) 246-5501. Parking is available
directly outside the residence gates. The Executive Residence is
handicapped accessible, and handicapped parking is available upon
request at the time of arrival.
The 2015 Wisconsin State Capitol Christmas tree was
lit today, Friday, December 4, 2015. This 40-foot balsam fir
will be in the rotunda of the State Capitol during this holiday
season. The tree was donated by the Kowieski family of
Rhinelander. Brad Kowieski planted the balsam fir on his
parent's property in 1985 on Arbor day when he was just a 4th
grader. This year's tree is decorated with ornaments made my
school students and the ornaments celebrate Wisconsin sports.