Check out the latest updates from the floor of the WI State Senate!

 
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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.

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. 

Sincerely, 
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- Sen. Patty Schachtner

The Senate in Session

Last week, the Senate was in session for one of our last days this year. We considered dozens of pieces of legislation, and I want to highlight just a few of the bills that I was proud to co-sponsor:

Senate Bill 685 cuts red tape for milk producers by removing the requirement to obtain an affidavit signature on rBST-free status every single year. Our dairy cooperatives and family farmers need more support and while this is a small step, I think it’s an important way to reduce unnecessary regulation. This effort was supported by the Wisconsin Farm Bureau, the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, and the Dairy Business Association.

Assembly Bill 470 adds 12 additional circuit court branches to support a more efficient and effective criminal justice system. This is an effort that has been under way for many years, and I am proud to support this effort and see it move forward.

Assembly Bill 633 clarifies the policies surrounding the emergency detention process to support our law enforcement as they respond to mental health calls and transport people in crisis. I have authored other legislation to support mental health crisis response as well and look forward to seeing more comprehensive approaches move forward in the future as well.

Assembly Bill 647 will extend our state’s very successful Electronic Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (ePDMP) for 5 more years to continue to combat our prescription drug abuse. This is an issue that hits close to home for Northwestern Wisconsin, so I am committed to continuing to support efforts like this one to fight back against this epidemic.

These are just a few of the bills that passed the Senate last week! We have one more session day remaining in March and I look forward to seeing more of the legislation that I’ve worked on come up for consideration. From mental health resources to reducing the sexual assault kit backlog, we still have a long to-do list.


 
 

Fighting for Rural Schools

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Senator Schachtner touring Luck Public Schools

Last week, I introduced a proposal with Senator Jennifer Shilling (D- La Crosse) to provide a $130 million property tax cut and reinvest in Wisconsin’s rural schools.

The students in our rural schools have not always been a priority for leadership in Madison and it’s time they get the resources they need. Our proposal would have increased sparsity aid, restore more special education funding, and support mental healthcare access. The schools in Northwestern Wisconsin would have gotten at least an additional $8.4 million.

Meanwhile, our proposal would have also saved even more money for our state’s rainy day fund!

Unfortunately, our proposal was rejected but we are not going to let up on this fight. More of our tax dollars need to stay in Northwestern Wisconsin communities to support local property taxpayers, rural school districts, and our students.

 

Investing in American Workers

My family has relied on the strength of our manufacturing industry in Northwestern Wisconsin for years. My husband, Joe, worked at Andersen Windows for decades. After our family’s dairy farm was shut down, my brothers all went into packaging and fabrication. These jobs are fulfilling, family-supporting jobs that our communities need to thrive.

Here in rural Wisconsin, we need every dollar of investment we can get to support that effort. Plus, we all know that our Wisconsin-based manufacturers produce high quality, reliable products that are worthy of an increased investment.

So earlier this month, I introduced legislation with Senator Jennifer Shilling that will require the state of Wisconsin to prioritize using American-made materials in our state-funded projects. This bill was part of the broader “Buy American” package of legislation authored by Representative Tip McGuire. Similar Buy American legislation has been introduced in 31 states, with 7 states signing Buy American bills into law including Pennsylvania, Texas, and West Virginia.

I am doing everything I can to support manufacturing workers and American-made products. Read more of my column on this here.

Supporting Western Wisconsin School Counselors

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As a former school-based healthcare provider, I have a unique respect for the work of our state’s school counselors. They are so critical to the mental health and academic success of our students and I am always proud to stand with them and promote policies that support their efforts.

Last week, two of our very own were honored for their service to students and the profession of school counseling. Susan Richardson, of Somerset Middle School, was recognized with the Secretarial-Support Staff award and Sarah Flier, from Willow River Elementary in Hudson, was awarded School Counselor of the Year!

I was also honored to be awarded with the Jerome Henning Legislator Award by the Wisconsin School Counselor Association. I am so glad to be standing alongside people like Sarah and Susan to fight for their profession and support their students. 

  

District Events

Make your voice heard- Teen Roundtable

Thursday, February 27th 6:30-8:30pm

Hudson YMCA Teen Programs

2211 Vine St.

Hudson

Calling all middle & high school students! We want to hear from YOU about the issues that are important to you and how we can better serve young people throughout the community. Resources? Service projects? Sports leagues? Support groups? We want to hear it all!

The Hudson YMCA Teen Center will be hosting an informal round table conversation about how our community can better serve young people on February 27th at 6:30pm. We want ALL of your voices at the table!

Our hope is to take your ideas and connect with other organizations throughout the community to provide as many opportunities as possible.

You don’t have to be a member of the Y, and we’ll have dinner/refreshments for you!

 

Sunset Snowshoe Hike

Friday, February 28th 3:30-5pm

Crex Meadows Wildlife Area

102 Crex Ave.

Grantsburg

Join us for a peaceful sunset snowshoe hike at Crex Meadows! Hike will take place on the 1.25 mile trail behind the visitor center. Snowshoes provided. All ages welcome.

RSVP here: https://www.crexmeadows.org/events/sunset-snowshoe-hike-2

 

Benefit for Dunn Co. Dairy Judging Team

Saturday, February 29th 4-8pm

Dean & Sue’s Bar

2002 Midway Rd.

Menomonie

Our county's Dairy Judging Project is amongst the best in the world. In fact this is the 2nd time in just 4 years that our youth will be representing the USA in Europe. That is an expensive trip - please come help support the team. Social hour begins at 4, dinner at 5 PM and lots of GREAT Auction items you could win. Bring the whole family!

 

Mental Health First Aid Training- River Falls

Friday, March 6th 8am-5pm

River Falls Area Hospital

1629 E Division St.

River Falls

Mental Health First Aid is an internationally recognized evidence-based program that was created and is managed by the National Council for Behavioral Health. It is an eight-hour class that helps you identify, understand, and respond to signs of addiction and mental illnesses. You learn by engaging in the materials and relating what you learn to real-life situations. Role-playing, group discussions, and exercises keep you engaged and allow you to practice helping skills.

WHY TAKE MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID?
1. To be prepared: Just as you learn CPR, learn how to help in a mental health crisis
2. Mental illnesses are common: 1 in 5 adults in any given year
3. You care: be there for a friend, family member, or colleague
4. You can help: people with mental illnesses often suffer alone

SKILLS LEARNED
In the Mental Health First Aid training, you will learn:
Risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction concerns
Strategies for how to help someone in both crisis and non-crisis situations
Where to turn for help
Non-judgmental communication and listening skills
A 5-step action plan to help someone developing signs and symptoms of a mental illness or in an emotional crisis

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?
The course is for anyone who wants to learn how to provide initial help to someone who may be experiencing symptoms of mental illness or in crisis. The course gives people tools to help friends, family members, colleagues, or others in their community.

 

Back to the 50s Sock Hop to benefit Frederic Library

Friday, March 6th 5-11pm

The 300 Club

413 S Wisconsin Ave.

Frederic

Proceeds will support our Frederic Library. Don’t miss the fun! Free will donation event. Bring the whole family.