“The blessings of a free government can only be maintained by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality and virtue, and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.”  --  The 1848 Wisconsin State Constitution, Article 1, Section 22

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Representative Petryk E-News Update

College Affordability Package Moves onto the Senate

As I reported in the last few months, the Governor and the Legislature unveiled a package of legislation aimed at making higher education not only more affordable but also more transparent. In today’s technologically advanced and highly skilled job climate, most young people are deciding to attend some form of higher education, either a four-year university or a two-year tech college. To help keep our future skilled workforce developing and available to our state’s employers, we must do all that we can to encourage students to gain a higher education. With this package of legislation, I think we can do just that!

Seeing the savings and success of a tuition freeze over the past four years, the Governor and the Legislature determined that we must find other ways to continue to help our students save money while earning their degrees. The following is a synopsis of the legislation included in the “College Affordability” package and how the full Assembly voted on each bill:

  • Assembly Bill 739 - Deducting All Student Loan Interest: This legislation eliminates any cap on the tax deduction for student loan interest, which would save student loan debt payers $5.2 million annually when it is fully phased in. Assembly Bill 739 passed 61 to 37 in the Assembly.
  • Assembly Bill 740 - Increasing Wisconsin Grants for Technical Colleges: This legislation would increase needs-based Wisconsin Grants by $1 million for technical college students in the biennium or $500,000 annually. This would benefit over 1,000 students throughout the state. Assembly Bill 740 passed the Assembly 61 to 36.
  • Assembly Bill 741 - Creating Grants for Students in Emergency Financial Need: This legislation provides $130,000 to UW System colleges and $320,000 to technical colleges to provide emergency grants to students. This bill passed the Assembly 61 to 36.
  • Assembly Bill 742 – The Department of Workforce Development Internship Coordination: Funds two positions within the Office of Skills Development at the Department of Workforce Development. These new positions would work with employers and institutions throughout the state to build and grow relationships between higher education institutions and employers, so students can gain the necessary job skills to secure employment in Wisconsin. Passed the Assembly 60 to 37.
  • Assembly Bill 743 - Increasing Internships Opportunities: I am proud to be a primary author of the bill that would partner with the UW’s efforts to increase internship opportunities by providing funding to the UW to hire internship coordinators to connect local businesses with UW institutions. Assembly Bill 743 passed 57 to 40 in the Assembly.
  • Assembly Bill 744 - Helping Students and Families to Make Informed Decisions –This legislation requires all state institutions of higher education to provide financial literacy to their students within the first semester of their instruction. It would also require all institutions of higher education offering an associate’s degree or higher to annually mail cost, loan, and other financial information to students. Assembly Bill 744 passed 61 to 36.

 

“WI Cares” Legislation: Improving Access to Mental Health Care and Dementia Resources  

During the final days of the Assembly session, my colleagues and I supported and passed a package of bills to provide better access to mental health care and another that expands Alzheimer’s and dementia services in communities across Wisconsin. As we all know, both mental illness and Alzheimer’s and dementia have a significant impact not only on the person with the condition but on the family caring for those who suffer from these terrible illnesses. This comprehensive legislation will help not only those who have been diagnosed with these illness but also their caregivers.

The Alzheimer’s bills in the Wisconsin Cares package work to better educate caretakers and community members about the disease and provide funding for community resources. The legislation allocates money to a program that allows for virtual dementia tours as well as establishes grants for mobile crisis teams, additional research funding, and respite care services. The mental health bills work to make sure citizens, no matter where they live in Wisconsin, have access to a psychiatrist or other medical professional.

These bills are a result of input from community members, stakeholders and families and have bipartisan support from the Legislature. The Speaker’s Task Force on Alzheimer’s and Dementia recommended the legislation. The mental health reforms build upon the work of last session’s Speaker’s Task Force on Mental Health. Special thanks to all the people who worked on this legislative package. I am very proud of the work that the Legislature has accomplished in these areas of high importance.

 

 

2016 Boy Scouts of America – Report to the State

On Wednesday, representatives from the Boy Scouts of America provided their “Report to the State” in front of various legislators from both the Assembly and Senate. I was honored to provide opening remarks at the event. Those remarks included a piece that I like to share at many Boy Scout events that I attend entitled, “One Hundred Scouts”:

As an Eagle Scout myself, I know the importance of this yearly event for the young men who stood before us and also for the Legislators to learn about the tremendous good that Scouting does not only for these young men but also for their communities.

 


 

My thanks to all the Scouts who attended the event as well as their parents and volunteers who traveled with them to the state capitol. I know that each one of these Scouts will go on to become tremendous assets to their communities and to the professions that they choose. Meeting such bright, talented, and disciplined young men such as these new Eagle Scouts gives me great optimism that the future of Wisconsin will be in very good hands.

Representative Petryk addressing the group at the 2016 Boy Scouts of America Report to the State.

 

From left to right:  Speaker Vos, Representative Sargent, Brett Otto (Potawatomi Area Council, BSA), Representative Goyke, Dylan Antczak (Three Harbors Council, BSA), Representative Vorpagel, Abe Morrick (Glacier’s Edge Council, BSA), Representative Petryk, Daniel Ivankovic (Chippewa Valley Council, BSA), Senator Vinehout, Michael Laes (Bay Lakes Council, BSA), Representative Shankland, Tyler Fugina (Samoset Council, BSA), Representative Weatherston, and Justin Holten (Gateway Area Council, BSA).

 

National FFA Week

Happy National FFA Week! The week-long tradition began in 1947 when the National FFA Organization Board of Directors designated the week of George Washington's birthday as National FFA Week in recognition of his legacy as an agriculturist and farmer. It is an opportunity for FFA members, alumni and supporters of agriculture to advocate for agricultural education and FFA.

Thank you to all of our young leaders for their dedication to the future of this great industry. In the words of E.M. Tiffany and the FFA Creed, "I believe in the future of agriculture."

Constituent Corner

Representative Petryk with Daniel Ivankovic, Eagle Scout from Eau Claire, and Senator Vinehout at the 2016 Boy Scouts of America Report to the State.

 

Joyce and Emily Anderson stopped by the office while visiting the State Capitol.

 

 

Bekah Weitz with the Humane Society of the United States, met with Representative Petryk during their Legislative Day at the capitol.

Events Around the 93rd Assembly District

Thank you all for letting us know about upcoming events in the 93rd Assembly District.  It is my pleasure to share them with others through this newsletter.  If you have an event, please share them with me a month in advance and my staff and I will do our best to share in our e-update.  

Prescott Fire Department Pancake Breakfast
February 28, 2016, 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Prescott Fire Hall, Prescott
http://www.prescottwi.org/Calendar

Eau Claire Polar Plunge
February 28, 2016, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Half Moon Beach, Eau Claire
*See website for details
http://www.specialolympicswisconsin.org/event

Wisconsin ArtsWest 37
February 28, 2016 – April 8, 2016
L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library, Eau Claire
http://www.downtowneauclaire.org

Oscar Mayer Wienermobile!
February 28, 2016, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Nilssen’s, Ellsworth
http://www.ellsworthchamber.com/events

Empty Bowls
March, 3, 2016, 11:00 a.m.
The Florian Gardens, Eau Claire
*Cost: $8 – Soup Meal Only, $18 – Hand-Crafted Bowl and Soup Meal
http://www.fmpfoodbank.org/

Ruby’s Food Pantry Distribution
March 3, 2016, 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Lutheran Church of the Good Shepheard, Eau Claire
https://www.rubyspantry.org


 


93rd Assembly District Local Resources

Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce:
http://www.eauclairechamber.org/

City of Eau Claire:
http://www.eauclairewi.gov

Ellsworth Chamber of Commerce:
http://www.ellsworthchamber.com/

Village of Ellsworth:
http://www.villageofellsworth.org/

Prescott Chamber of Commerce:
http://www.prescottwi.com/

City of Prescott:
http://www.prescottwi.org/

Menomonie Chamber of Commerce:
http://www.menomoniechamber.org/

City of Menomonie:
http://www.menomonie-wi.gov/

Village of Spring Valley:
http://springvalleywi.com/

http://www.springvalleywisconsin.org/index.html

The Village of Pepin:
http://pepinwisconsin.com/

Representative Petryk Online
http://petryk.assembly.wisconsin.gov

www.facebook.com/Rep.Petryk

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Mailing Address:  Representative Warren Petryk, 103 West, State Capitol, P.O. Box 8953, Madison, WI  53708
Phone Numbers:  Toll Free (888) 534-0093 or (608) 266-0660