The historical significance of November 11th comes from the end of World War I, when the treaty to end “The Great War” went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. November 11th was officially named Veterans Day in 1954 and is a time for Americans to reflect upon the service of military personnel who have fought in all American conflicts.
I encourage you to take time to attend a Veterans Day event in your community.
Legislation to help close loopholes in our state’s ban on synthetic drugs passed the State Senate this week with unanimous support. Synthetic drugs with street names like ‘bath salts’ or K2 are dangerous drugs with side effects that are often more severe than the drugs they seek to mimic. This legislation is intended to ensure that as new synthetic drugs are formulated, law enforcement and district attorneys will be equipped to prosecute cases involving the sale of synthetic drugs in their efforts to keep these dangerous drugs off our streets.
For more information on this legislation, please click here.
The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) has launched a new Skill Explorer Website. This is a free job search tool allowing Wisconsin workers to search for employment opportunities that match their existing skills and training.
The Skill Explorer website allows workers to search for new career opportunities by typing in their past or current job title. The website will provide a list of current openings relating to the work experience of that job through openings on the Jobs Center of Wisconsin. Also provided on the new website are the job details, pay scales, and licensure or training necessary for each occupation. A mapping function will show areas in the state where particular job openings are located, as well as the ability to search jobs by county.
To visit the new Skill Explorer website, click here .
The fall legislative agenda includes a bipartisan jobs package seeking to further increase the manufacturing economy in Wisconsin. I am introducing two of the bills included in the package, which would provide additional funding for youth apprenticeship programs and tuition reimbursement for apprentices and employers. The 2013-15 state budget already includes an investment of $100 million for worker training. These initiatives will help close the skills gap in the manufacturing industry and foster additional job growth in manufacturing. For more information regarding events around the state, visit DWD’s website at www.dwd.wisconsin.gov.
As the way we conduct business and organize our personal lives becomes more virtual, it is important to remember to use discretion when doing business, shopping, or sharing information online. In Wisconsin, October has been declared as Cyber Security Awareness Month. The Wisconsin Homeland Security Council reports that last year in 2012, Wisconsinites lost $6.2 million due to cyber rip-offs and scams, with the average loss of $1,700 per victim.
Some frequent cyber scams involve fraudulent online auto sales, online dating sites or social media networks where individuals give the false pretense of a relationship to gain trust and then ask for money, and online real estate fraud such as rental, timeshare, or loan modification scams. Other scams involve intimidation or extortion in which someone may send an email falsely claiming the recipient has committed a crime or has a parking violation and owes money. Additionally, beware of phishing and spoofing, which involves someone sending an email and falsely claiming to be a real business to try to get personal information, such as passwords, bank account numbers, or credit card numbers from the recipient.
- Keep a Clean Machine: Keep your security software current by turning on automatic updates.
- Protect Your Personal Information: Do not use the same password for your email, social media, and bank accounts.
- When in Doubt, Throw it Out: Links in emails, tweets, posts, and online advertising are often used by cybercriminals to compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, it is better to delete or not open the link.
- Think Before You Act : Be wary of communications that implore you to act immediately, offer something that sounds too good to be true, or ask for personal information.
- Get Savvy about Wi‐Fi Hotspots: Limit the type of business you conduct and adjust the security settings on your device to limit access. Criminals may be able to access personal information when you use free Wi-Fi at a coffee shop or hotel.
The Department of Health Services (DHS) recently announced a new provider for individuals enrolled in Medicaid and BadgerCare Plus for non-emergency medical transportation to and from their covered appointments.
DHS recently released videos that explain exactly who and how one can schedule a ride through MTM, Inc. MTM is a medical and transportation management company whose mission is to partner with clients in developing innovative solutions for accessible healthcare and replaces the prior transportation provider, Logisticare. MTM will schedule and provide rides to and from appointments. Non-emergency medical transportation includes public transportation, rides in specialized medical vehicles, or rides in other types of vehicles depending on transportation needs. Please note that if you have a medical emergency you should dial 9-1-1.
Keeping one’s personal finances in order is prudent for many reasons. Here are some helpful tips to financial security and protecting your credit.
· You are entitled to a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the 3 nationwide consumer credit reporting companies – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. It is recommended you check your credit report at least once a year, as this information is used by banks, employers, landlords, and others to determine your credit worthiness.
· Protect personal information by shredding cancelled checks, bills, statements, or other financial papers, and put strong passwords in place for credit card, bank, and phone accounts. Keeping your information private avoids your exposure to identity theft and fraud.
· Creating financial security can be done in a number of ways. Set financial goals that allow you to save for important items, build an emergency fund for life’s unexpected moments, and work on eliminating credit card debt.
By following these tips, you can set yourself up for financial stability and put yourself in an overall healthier financial situation.
Last week, Governor Walker announced new membership for his Council on Workforce Investment, comprised of state business leaders, elected officials and education representatives. Members of the Council serve as an advisory panel that helps guide the plan to prepare Wisconsin workers to find family-supporting careers in the modern workforce. The Council will provide valuable input as the Governor and Legislature continue to work to address the skills gap and fill employers’ current and future labor market needs.
Assembly Bill 15 (AB 15) gives an employer, pending approval by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, the ability to reduce workers' hours instead of utilizing layoffs. This bill allows an employee whose hours have been reduced under a work-share program to be eligible for unemployment insurance for the reduced hours that they will not be working, while helping businesses retain skilled workers.
AB 15 previously passed the State Assembly on a bipartisan vote and now goes to the Governor for his signature. Wisconsin would join 24 other states that have work-share programs if the bill is signed by the Governor.
Scammers often ask you to send back funds by wire, often overseas. Wire transfers are like handing over cash—once the transfer is sent, it is nearly impossible to get the money back.
There is no legitimate reason for someone who is giving you money to ask you to wire it back.
Oftentimes, fake checks can look real, which can lead to the delay time between when a victim cashes a check and when the bank realizes that it is fraudulent.
You are responsible for the checks you deposit. If you cash a bad check, you will be required to pay the bank back the total amount plus any penalties. Do not take the risk of depositing a bad check from someone you do not know.
Scammers often claim to be in another country or to have difficulties with the English language, which gives them a reason to ask you to keep all communication in email or text messages. Scammers may also have an “agent” that will assist in the transaction, either by sending a bad check or by receiving the excess funds.
Be alert to promotions such as “quick cash loans” that can be used to gain the personal financial information needed to file an individual’s tax return.
Check the tax preparer’s qualifications and history.
Find out about service fees.
Make sure the tax preparer is accessible.
Never sign a blank tax form.
Never sign an authorization permitting a company to file your taxes if you do not want the company to do so.
Never sign a document without first reading it and understanding what it says.
Always insist upon receiving copies of all documents you are required to sign, or those that identify the terms of a transaction and the charges you will be required to pay.
The Department of Natural Resources is hosting a public meeting to kick off the implementation of the Deer Trustee Report this Saturday, March 9 in Stevens Point. However, for those who are unable to attend the meeting in-person, a live webcast of the meeting will be available online.
Wisconsin hunting, fishing, trapping and other licenses for the 2013-14 seasons go on sale Wednesday, March 6. Annual licenses are valid from April 1, 2013, through March 31, 2014. Hunting and fishing licenses for the 2012-13 license year expire March 31, 2013.