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Contents

Dear Neighbor,

I am honored to represent you in the state capitol. Below, you will find updates from the capitol and around western Wisconsin. Please feel free to reach out to me with your legislative and state agency concerns. 

In addition to this newsletter, you may follow me on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates.

 

Sincerely, 
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- Sen. Patty Schachtner

Session Recap 

On March 20, 2018, the Wisconsin State Senate voted on over 120 bills and resolutions. One bill included Governor Walker’s proposed $6.8 million out-of-state marketing campaign to attract young adults to Wisconsin. As a lifelong western Wisconsin resident, I believe we can use that money in more productive ways for Wisconsinites. On the Senate floor, I voted against the bill, arguing that the money should go to job training and services for Wisconsin residents.

Another pair of bills on the agenda targeted local control. Under Assembly Bill 748, authored by Representative Rob Hutton (R – Brookfield), local governments would be prohibited from setting their own minimum wage, overtime, scheduling, and employee benefit ordinances. The bill passed with all Republicans voting for, and Democratic members voting against.   Assembly Bill 771, authored by Rep. Robert Brooks (R – Saukville), would only allow local governments to inspect rental properties in areas with numerous complaints. In addition, if an inspection reveals a violation, and that violation is addressed within a month, or if no violation is found, the property cannot be inspected again for five years. The bill passed on partisan lines, with all Democratic members opposed. I voted against both bills, as I believe these proposals prevent local governments from setting their own policies related to worker and renter protections.

 

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Meeting with Survival Coalition

In late March, I met with constituents representing the Survival Coalition of Wisconsin Disability Organizations. My office and I discussed ways to improve independence for individuals living with disabilities. We identified two barriers: (1) Wisconsin’s low Medicaid reimbursement rate and (2) workforce shortages in health care. A 2015 report by the American Health Care Association revealed Wisconsin had the lowest nursing home reimbursement rate in the country. According to the report, Wisconsin nursing homes lost $53 per day for each client using Medicaid, leading to home closures and cutbacks in care. This makes it harder for individuals with long-term care needs to access care, especially in rural areas. An aging population is also increasing demand for health services, while migration of individuals out of the state is decreasing workforce supply. These trends are expected to continue, leading to increased shortages in the coming decades.

 

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Meeting with Local Leaders in Burnett County

In March, I participated in a meeting with local leaders from Burnett and Polk counties. At the meeting, we discussed our communities' response to the methamphetamine epidemic. As a medical examiner for St. Croix County, I work closely with law enforcement and families to investigate deaths. I saw firsthand the consequences meth has on individual lives, families, and taxpayers. I learned at the meeting that there is an increased need to adopt practices that focus on prevention and treatment. Experts and local leaders believe that it is cheaper to deal with a problem before it starts than to address it on the back end via the criminal justice system. Currently, counties take on most of the costs from meth. I have asked Polk and Burnett counties to provide my office with the estimated cost of meth addiction in terms of resources used for jails, enforcement, housing, and treatment. I will share these costs with my legislative colleagues to demonstrate the need for increased state collaboration and support.

 

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50th Anniversary of St. Croix National Scenic Riverway 

Last Thursday, I spoke at the 50th Anniversary of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. The Riverway is one of the state’s two national parks. It was established under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968, signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson. I believe a protected environment is an investment in our tourism and agricultural industries.  It is an investment that has paid off here in the St. Croix Riverway. According to the National Park Service, over 708,000 visitors spent more than $30 million in Riverway communities in 2016. That $30 million supported 473 local jobs. Students from Amery also attended the 50th Anniversary. These students displayed artwork showing what the Riverway means to them. As a grandmother, I think we have a responsibility to protect our waterways and national treasures, just like previous generations did for us.

 

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District Events 

Burnett

Volunteer Crane Count

Saturday, April 14

5:30 am-7:30 am

Help to count cranes throughout wildlife areas in Burnett County. Tally sheets will be collected. Snacks will be provided after the count. Pre-registration required, contact: Deb Larsen, via email: dlarsen@hazelden.org or 715-483-9603.

 

WDNR Hunter Safety Education

Classroom: April 16-20 from 5:30—8:00 pm

Field Day: April 21 from 9:00 am—11:00 am

Class is required to purchase any hunting license in Wisconsin for anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1973. Fee: $10. Pre-registration required. Limited to 25 students. Contact: Lauren.finch@wisconsin.gov OR 715-463-2739

 

Dunn

Dunn County Listening Session

April 25, 2018

7:00 pm – 8:30 pm            

Please join me for a community listening session.

 

Frog Fest

April 18, 2018

7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Frog Fest 2018 is an annual event not only at Beaver Creek, but throughout Wisconsin each spring as the ponds begin to thaw. The Wisconsin Frog Fest circuit hosts 11 frog performers and 1 toad. Join as a BCR Naturalist helps you to identify by sight and sound our local performers.

 

Storybook Hiking Trail

April 20, 2018

10:00 am – 11:00 am

Join us for an engaging, guided tour of the Storybook Hiking Trail followed by a fun spring activity. This program is for kids ages 3-8 and their families. 

 

Pierce

Girls in SCIENCE

April 21, 2018

11:30 am – 3:15pm

The third annual Girls in SCIENCE: Seeing, Creating, Inventing, Exploring, Naming, Cooperating and Experimenting program will be held Saturday, April 21, at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Youth in grades 4-6 will have the opportunity to experience STEM activities 11:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Registration is limited and will close when full or on April 10, whichever occurs first.

 

Polk

Polk County Listening Session

April 19, 2018

5:00 pm – 7:00 pm            

Please join me for a community listening session.

 

An Evening of Classical Favorites

April 28, 2018

7:30 pm – 10:00 pm

Northern Lakes Center for the Arts Concert Series. "An Evening of Classical Favorites" is an evening of classical music performed by local small music ensembles.

 

St. Croix

St. Croix County Listening Session

April 26, 2018

4:00 pm – 6:00 pm            

Please join me for a community listening session.

 

Wisconsin VFW Loyalty Day Parade

April 28, 2018

12:30 pm – 2:00pm

VFW Posts and other organizations around the state will gather for a parade to celebrate Loyalty Day and our community of St. Croix County. After the parade, there will be a chili-feed for everyone at the New Richmond American Legion.