Skip to main content

 

 

 

 

Common Core Statewide Hearings

 

Both the state Senate and Assembly have established select legislative committees to review Common Core Standards (CCS) in Wisconsin. Common Core sets federal standards for student performance at each grade level. There are several goals for the committees:
     1. Compare and contrast existing Wisconsin education standards with CCS
     2. Identify best practices currently used in college and career readiness standards
     3. Provide recommendations on the future of implementation of CCS in Wisconsin schools
 
In order to engage the public and hear from parents, educators, and all concerned citizens the Senate and Assembly committees will hold joint hearings across the state. The first hearing occurred yesterday, Oct 3rd at the State Capitol in Madison. The upcoming meetings will be held later this month:
     1. Wednesday, October 16, 2:00-8:00pm Fond du Lac City/County Building
     2. Wednesday, October 23, 2:00-8:00pm Eau Claire Chippewa Valley Tech
     3. Wednesday, October 30, 2:00-8:00pm Wausau Northcentral Tech College
 
The hearings will include both invited speakers and public testimony. If you are unable to attend in person, all hearings will be broadcast on Wisconsin Eye.
 
Rural School Taskforce
 
I am honored to have been appointed as a member of the recently announced Speakers’ Task Force on Rural Schools. 44% of Wisconsin public school students attend a rural school, where districts are faced with unique challenges such as declining enrollments and high transportation costs.

We will be studying possible partnerships among school districts, future transportation needs, and long-term financial outlooks in areas with declining enrollments. Our first meeting will be held mid-October in Eagle River. Additional meetings locations and dates will follow, and a task force report will be issued early next year.

This effort is bipartisan, and includes members from all corners of the state. Fellow representatives also serving on the task force include: Rep. Warren Petryk (R-Eleva), Rep. Ed Brooks (R-Reedsburg), Rep. Mary Williams (R-Medford), Rep. Jeff Mursau (R-Crivitz), Rep. Michael Schraa (R-Oshkosh), Rep. Stephen Nass (R-Whitewater), Rep. Chris Danou (D-Trempealeau), Rep. Sondy Pope (D-Cross Plains) and Rep. Mandy Wright (D-Wausau). Rep. Rob Swearingen (R-Rhinelander) will serve as Chair, and Rep. Fred Clark (D-Baraboo) as the vice-Chair.

 

Alert: Scammers Take Advantage of Health Reform Confusion

 

Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law in March 2010, unscrupulous scammers have been creating ways to take advantage of consumers' uncertainty surrounding the law. Posing as insurance agents or representatives of the federal government, these scam artists try to sell fraudulent policies or obtain sensitive information like Social Security and bank account numbers. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and the State of Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) are warning consumers about common red flags and providing tips on how to avoid being the victim of a scam.
 
New "Obamacare" Insurance or Medicare Cards
A common ploy involves unsolicited calls from scammers who claim to have your new "Obamacare" insurance card—they just need to get some information before they can send it to you. The caller then asks for credit card numbers, bank account information or your Social Security number.
 
Senior Scams
A variation of this trick specifically targets seniors on Medicare; the caller claims that in order for them to get their new Medicare card and continue receiving their benefits, they must verify their bank account and routing numbers. In other cases callers ask for their Medicare numbers, which are identical to Social Security numbers. You are not required to obtain a new insurance or Medicare card under the ACA. Also, anyone who is a legitimate representative of the federal government will already have your personal and financial information and should not ask you to provide it.
 
Don't Be Misled
Here are some other important "red flags" to watch out for:
The salesperson says the premium offer is only good for a limited time.
Enrollment in the exchanges will be open from October 1 to March 31, and rates for plans in the exchanges will have been approved for the entire enrollment period. Be skeptical of someone who is trying to pressure you into buying a policy because the rate is only good for a short time. Remember: if the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
The salesperson says you could go to jail for not having health insurance.
Starting in 2014, all Americans will be required to have health insurance. You will not face jail time if you do not purchase health insurance. However, those who remain uninsured and do not qualify for any exemptions will face a penalty of $95 (for each adult) or 1% of family income, whichever is greater. (www.irs.gov/uac/Questions-and-Answers-on-the-Individual-Shared-Responsibility-Provision)
You receive an unsolicited phone call or e-mail from someone trying to sell insurance that you do not know. You may receive a phone call from an insurance agent or a navigator; however, always verify the identity of the person contacting you. Check with OCI and the exchange for the person's license number and ask for identification.
 
Protect Yourself
The best way to protect yourself from insurance fraud is to research the agent and company you're considering. Always
STOP before writing a check, signing a contract or giving out personal information. CALL the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance and CONFIRM that the agent and company are licensed to write insurance in Wisconsin.

 

The federal government is running the exchange in Wisconsin and the link can be found on www.healthcare.gov. You can find additional information on the HHS Web site.