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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.

I ask that you help share this newsletter with your friends and family. An informed community is a strong community, and I appreciate the opportunity to discuss our communities' concerns. 





- Sen. Patty Schachtner

Luck School Visit 

Great things are happening at Luck Public Schools. I visited Luck School District last Thursday and met with administrative staff, teachers, and students. I also toured Luck’s childcare center, elementary classrooms, and high school government classes.

During the meeting, school district officials and I discussed the need for mental health resources, school safety, school nutrition, teacher licensing, and impact of the expanding statewide voucher program. School district officials shared that they are concerned about the growing voucher school program, which impacts their funding. The voucher program was expanded again in the latest state budget. For students entering the programs in 2015 or later, the statewide and Racine voucher school programs are funded entirely by aid taken out of local school districts, which ends up on property tax bills. The figures show that the 2018-19 costs will rise to $68 million statewide – up from $42 million the year before.

Thank you to all the teachers, staff, and community members for making Luck a great place for students. And thank you, Hunter and Joe, for the thoughtful cutting board. I look forward to displaying it in my Capitol office.


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Listening Session Tonight!

I am hosting a community listening session tonight in Somerset.  The session will be at Somerset Public Library, 208 Hud St. Somerset, WI 54025 from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. As an elected official, I have strived to be accessible to the people I serve. This will be my tenth listening session and town hall event since taking office in mid-February. In addition to listening sessions, I have also responded to close to 4,000 constituent who have called or written to my office. It is my honor to serve. Please feel free to contact my office at 608-266-7745 or if you have questions or concerns about state government.


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Slain Officer Lee Murphy to be Honored

St. Croix County police officer Lee Murphy, who was killed from complications relating to a 1953 gunfight, will be honored on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial wall in Washington, D.C. Officer Murphy was shot during a traffic stop between Somerset and Houlton in June 1953. Despite being shot, Officer Murphy and his partner chased the shooter until he crashed near North Hudson, resulting in another shootout. One officer was killed immediately, while Officer Murphy died two years later due to complications relating to the shooting. I was pleased to work with St. Croix County Sheriff Scott Knudson to help remember and honor the sacrifice of Officer Lee Murphy, and to help bring closure to the Murphy family. Officer Murphy will be honored during National Police Week this May. 



Lame-Duck Session Recap

As students, we learned about our representative democracy during civics. A key virtue I learned from school was the value of debate. It is through debate that we communicate, stand up for our beliefs, and come together through compromise.

During the recent lame-duck legislative session, we were never afforded the opportunity of debate. Republicans introduced five bills containing 45 separate proposals late Friday afternoon, held a public hearing the next Monday, and we were voting that Tuesday.

Beyond the lack of debate was confusion about who to debate. Against common practice, none of the legislators put their names on the legislation – each bill was introduced by the Joint Committee on Finance. At the public hearing, the bill authors did not bother to testify. The final tally showed that during the public hearing, 337 people spoke against the proposals and nobody spoke in favor of them. On the Senate floor, not a single Republican senator stood up to defend the proposals during the 20 hours we were in session. At one point, we were asked to vote on an amendment that the Republicans never distributed to us. 

While the headlines focused on proposals that reduce the incoming governor’s power and limit early voting, other proposals included a bill claiming to protect pre-existing conditions. That proposal would cause health care premiums to skyrocket and it fails to adopt consumer protections such as a prohibition on lifetime and annual limits.

Legislators also managed to shortchange rural roads. One proposal eliminates required compliance with the Department of Transportation’s facilities development manual, which provides guidance on road erosion control, stormwater management, and pavement design - among other things. For certain state highway rehabilitation projects, federal funds would have to make up at least 70 percent of the project funding if federal funds are used at all. This creates an additional burden of meeting federal-state funding requirements, which could lead to projects not getting done.

These proposals are less exciting than the narrative of us versus them, but they matter to western Wisconsin. We were sent to Madison to serve the public, not fight over political power.

What happened in the past few weeks does not reflect what we were taught in school – to debate and stand up for our beliefs. We were denied the opportunity to debate because lawmakers did not stand up and explain their proposals, which were passed in the middle of the night and crafted with little opportunity for public and stakeholder input.

In the aftermath of the session, I think of the Wisconsin that we could be. We need to work together to solve issues and serve our communities. But we need trust to do that.  Former Republican Governor Scott McCallum said “we seem to be going down a very slippery slope of personal power over public policy,” and unfortunately, I agree.  However, I believe that by looking at the past, there is a way forward.

Before leaving office, President George H.W. Bush wrote a letter for his successor, President Bill Clinton. In it, President Bush wrote “Your success now is our country’s success. I am rooting hard for you.” We need to look at President Bush’s example and return to the norms and expectations that define a good-faith transition of power. In divided government, both sides need to be able to communicate, debate, and be open to compromise. You cannot reach across the aisle if no one is there to reach back.

There is a balance of power and we now have a Democratic governor. We must work together to govern.



District Events


Christmas in Siren  

Monday, December 10 – Tuesday, December 25

Hosted by the Siren Chamber of Commerce. Events include Small Business Saturday to shop and save in Siren and the Christmas tree lighting at the Burnett County Veterans Park.


Countdown to Noon Year’s Eve

Monday, December 31; 10:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Can't stay up until midnight, but love a good celebration? Join us for a free Noon Year's Eve celebration. There will be magic, food, and fun! Reservations ARE REQUIRED. Please use the registration link below or call the library for more information!




Mental Health Peer Support Group

Monday, January 7; 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

A meeting to discuss mental health, community, and resources. Anyone welcome to join. We talk about PTSD, depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders along with symptom management.


Menomonie Polar Plunge

Saturday, February 9

Last year, more than 200 brave souls took the plunge in Menomonie. The best part? After their bodies returned to 98.6°F and the donations were tallied, they raised more than $40,000 for Special Olympics Wisconsin. Booyah.




Noon Year’s Eve Party

Monday, December 31; 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Noon Year's Eve is a party for kids where they can participate in all the fun of New Year without staying up until midnight. Help us ring in the new year at Noon instead. We will have crafts, games, treats, and even a balloon drop!


Fare For All Food Distribution

Tuesday, January 22

Fare For All buys fresh produce and frozen meat in bulk from wholesalers and manufacturers to find the best deals available, then prepacks the produce and meat in food packages that are sold to anyone who prepays and orders ahead of time at a great discount.

Orders must be placed by the Thursday before the distribution date. Upcoming distributions are scheduled for Nov. 13 and Dec. 11, 2018, and Jan. 22, Feb. 19 , March 19, April 16, May 14, June 18, July 16, Aug. 13, Sept. 17, Oct. 15, Nov. 12, Dec. 10 in 2019.

Distribution is at the River Falls United Methodist Church at 127 South Second St., River Falls, WI 54022.




Winter Fishing Contest

Tuesday, January 26; 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Fun family activities during Winter Fun Day and a fishing contest on Coon Lake, food served on the lake, raffle and prize drawings.


Community Coffee with Osceola Police Department

Friday, December 21; 8:30 a.m. – 10 a.m.

The Osceola Police Department is hosting Community Coffee every Friday at Caribou Coffee, inside Dicks Fresh Market. It's a time for community members, business owners and visitors to stop in and talk with their local police officers about anything they want. There are no agendas, just good conversation. Caribou supplies free coffee for anyone who attends this event. 



St. Croix

That’ll Be The Day – The Music of Roy Orbison, Linda Ronstandt, and Gene Pitney

Monday, December 31; 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Vocalists Wayne Luchau, Colleene Raye, and Debbie O’Keefe along with The Echoes Rock and Roll Band perform hit after hit, including “Pretty Woman,” “Your got It,” “Crying,” “Blue Bayou,” “That’ll be the Day,” “Desperado,” “Town Without Pity,” “24 Hours from Tulsa,” and “Liberty Valence.”


Hot Air Affair

Friday, February 1 – Sunday, February 3

Hudson Hot Air Affair will celebrate 30 years of hot air ballooning with a Pirates Fly'n the Croix~ribbean theme!  Come celebrate Hudson's spectacular winter ballooning event. Torchlight parade with kazoo marching bands - Friday, 7:15 p.m., downtown historic Hudson.