Speaker's Task Force on Rural Schools
Education continues to be a top priority in the Wisconsin State Assembly and that means making sure every student, regardless of where they live, is getting the very best education. With 44 percent of the state's public school students going to school in a rural community, I thought it was imperative that state lawmakers examine the challenges facing our rural schools today. This week, I announced a Speaker's Task Force on Rural Schools. It will be a bipartisan task force chaired by Rep. Rob Swearingen (R-Rhinelander); Rep. Fred Clark (D- Baraboo) will be the vice-chair.
We know that our rural schools are facing declining enrollments and have real transportation needs. That's why in this state budget, Assembly Republicans added $10 million for high-cost transportation. However, more needs to be done to develop additional efficiencies and partnerships. We want students to succeed across the state. I am confident the task force will find ways to help our rural schools, which, in turn, will benefit all of Wisconsin. I look forward to hearing a report from the task force early next year.
Meantime, the first Speaker's task force is working to finalize its recommendations. The Speaker's Task Force on Mental Health has been meeting since February. I want to thank the task force chair, Rep. Erik Severson (R-Osceola) and vice chair, Rep. Sandy Pasch (D-Shorewood) for their leadership on this important issue. There are many others who I would like to commend for their work with the task force, several of whom are pictured below.
Speaker Vos meets with members of the Wisconsin Psychiatric Association on their advocacy day at the Capitol.
I anticipate a final report from the Speaker's Task Force on Mental Health in the coming weeks and action on their recommendations as early as this fall.
If you have suggestions or comments about improving rural schools or any state matter important to you, please contact my office at (608) 266-9171 or Rep.Vos@legis.wisconsin.gov.
Congratulations Justice Roggensack!
Speaker Vos is pictured with Justice Patience Roggensack prior to her formal investiture ceremony in the Wisconsin State Assembly.
Important Unemployment Insurance Changes
Federal law requires those receiving unemployment insurance (UI) to search for work unless they're waived. Wisconsin will begin enforcing the work registration requirements for all claimants with an initial claim on October 13, 2013. This means the claimant who's looking for work must register on http://jobcenterofwisconsin.com in order to receive benefits. Without registration and proof of required number of work searches, the claimant risks losing a check after two weeks. Once completed, that amount would be added to the 26th week of benefits.
It's important to remember that UI was created to be used as a safety net and not as a replacement of a job. We want to make sure that those who lose their job through no fault of their own are getting the help they need as they move to find another position in the workforce. For additional information, visit the Department of Workforce Development website.
Thanks for Visiting
Speaker Vos poses for a picture with UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank during her visit to the Speaker's office this past week.
Speaker Vos is joined in the Assembly chambers by Wisconsin Education Association Council President Betsy Kippers, a constituent and former physical education teacher in Racine.
Act 10 Upheld Again
Another lawsuit challenging Act 10 has been thrown out. A federal judge ruled that the law does not infringe on workers' rights of free speech or equal protection. This is another victory for taxpayers. The 12-page ruling came down on Wednesday and proves once again that the budget reforms are constitutional. There's still one court challenge remaining before the state Supreme Court.
The Joint Legislative Audit Committee has ordered an audit of the Government Accountability Board. The audit, which is expected to take six months, will look at process of reviewing voter irregularity complaints as well as how the agency manages, monitors and trains officials for elections. In addition, there will be a review of the Statewide Voter Registration System.
Wisconsin Remembers 9/11
People across Wisconsin took time out of their day on Wednesday to remember those who lost their lives and the families who were impacted by the September 11th attacks. Governor Walker ordered all flags to be flown at half-staff in tribute. A ceremony was held at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum to honor the brave servicemen and women who fought the battles following the terrorist attacks. It also provided an opportunity to honor the first responders who do so much for our communities.
Trailblazer Awards Nominations
The Wisconsin Women's Council is looking for nominations for the 2014 Governor's Trailblazer Awards for Women in Business. The awards are given to women business owners who have made a substantial contribution to the economy. There are several categories to nominate a business woman who you know. The guidelines and nomination forms are available at www.womenscouncil.wi.gov. The deadline for nominations is November 9, 2013.
Small Business Summit
There's still time to register for the Governor Walker's Small Business Summit. The third annual meeting will be held Wednesday, September 25th in Stevens Point. The summit brings state officials, business owners, community leaders and innovators together to talk about important economic issues. Here's a link to the registration page.
Racine County Fairgrounds, Friday, September 13, 9 a.m.-Sunday, September 15, 5 p.m.
Modine-Benstead Observatory, Union Grove, Friday, September 13, 8 p.m. - 11 p.m.
Roma Lodge, Mount Pleasant, Saturday, September 14, 7 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Racine Zoo, Racine, Saturday, September 14, 3 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Browns Lake Golf Course, Burlington, Tuesday, September 17, 11:30 a.m.
Island Park, Mount Pleasant, September 21, 9 a.m.