Comprehensive DOT Reform Package Proposed
Last week, I was joined by Senator Dave Craig and Representatives Joe Sanfelippo and Rob Hutton, in addition to a large coalition of Senate and Assembly Republicans, to bring much needed reform to the Department of Transportation (DOT).
Happy Independence Day
No politics this week. Enjoy all the Fourth of July celebrations this weekend, be safe, and remember all those who made and continue to make sacrifices so that we may continue to enjoy our freedom.
Pair of Bills Signed into Law
Yesterday, two bills that I authored were signed into law by Governor Walker.
Eight Kapenga Bills Come to Floor
Yesterday, both the Senate and the Assembly convened to take up legislation. I authored eight of the bills considered by legislators yesterday. Here's a quick overview of the action.
Welcome to the Senate. We have cookies.
Ever thought of selling your baked goods at a lemonade stand or a bake sale? In Wisconsin, doing so would be illegal. Wisconsin is one of only two states that does not allow the sale of home baked goods. Yesterday, a bill was unanimously approved by the Senate committee I chair with the goal of repealing this restrictive law.
Eye on the Budget: The Latest from Madison
We are still in the middle of the budget discussions in Madison, and I have been reviewing the budget papers as they come out. The big issues, such as transportation and education, are slowly taking shape.
Rethinking Occupational Licensing
Today, I circulated for co-sponsorship a bill to conduct a review of Wisconsin’s occupational licenses and to establish guidelines for review of proposed licenses. Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and Representative Rob Hutton (R-Brookfield) have joined as co-authors.
Monitoring the American Health Care Act
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (House Resolution 1628). The proposal now moves to the U.S. Senate, where it is subject to modification.
Holding Down Waukesha Water Rates
While the agreement struck last year enabling the City of Waukesha to tap into Lake Michigan water resolved concerns over water quality, it left many concerned that their water bills will spike. Annual water rates could more than double to pay for the massive water diversion project; however, an amendment I requested to the budget proposal will potentially limit the each customers rising rates by an estimated $140.
Budget Votes Begin Next Week
On Tuesday, the committee I chair on Public Benefits, Licensing and State-Federal Relations convened for both an executive session and a public hearing. Next week, the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) will begin Executive Sessions to make adjustments to the budget Governor Walker proposed two months ago.
Money Smart Week
In conjunction with “Money Smart Week” beginning this weekend, I introduced two bi-partisan bills aimed at improving financial literacy and allowing the promotion of better savings habits. Wisconsin is joining a national effort during the week of April 22nd to further the goal of educating children and consumers on how to effectively and intelligently manage their personal finances.
What's That Going to Cost Me?
In 2016, voters across the state approved $1.35 billion in new borrowing for construction projects by school districts according to the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance. This borrowing rate is ten times higher than it was only five years ago.
Busy Week in the Capitol
A key part of the legislative process is discussing proposed legislation and receiving input from the public on that legislation. This week, public hearings were the name of the game for both the Assembly and the Senate. I'll give you a rundown of what took place.
What's a Personal Delivery Device?
As an owner of a small technology business, I am always intrigued by ways technology can be put to use to grow business and make people's lives easier. That is why Representative Mike Kuglitsch (R-New Berlin) and I introduced a bill this week enabling Personal Delivery Devices (PDD's) to operate on Wisconsin sidewalks.
Trimming Regulation . . . in the Trimming Industry
I recently introduced two bills to reform licensing laws for cosmetology and barbering practitioners. These professions, which can provide a stable income for many who are passionate for their work, currently face arduous licensing regulations. These bills make five changes to provide cosmetologists and barbers more freedom to do their jobs without decreasing safety for consumers.
Federal Debt Control
On Tuesday, I circulated for co-sponsorship a resolution that requests that congress call a convention under the authority of Article V of the United States Constitution. The purpose of the convention would be to draft the language for a proposed constitutional amendment requiring the federal government to operate under a balanced budget. This resolution is a continuation of my work regarding Article V that began shortly after my election to the Assembly in 2010.
Audit Hearing Continues to Reveal Concerns at DOT
On Tuesday, the Legislative Audit Bureau heard testimony regarding the recently-released audit of the State Highway Program within the DOT. During the four hour hearing, we discovered significant issues after issue with how the program is administered.
Budget Proposal Announced
Last week, Governor Scott Walker addressed a Joint Session of the Legislature to outline his proposed 2017-19 budget. The state budget has the greatest impact of any piece of legislation that the Legislature debates during the two-year session.
Audit Reveals Need for DOT Reform
Last week, there was a new development in the ongoing debate over the transportation budget in Wisconsin. The Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) released its long-awaited audit of the State Highway Program within the Department of Transportation (DOT).
State-Federal Relations: Letter to Congress
The new political landscape at the federal level offers the prospect of returning authority back to the states. In hopes of achieving a proper federalist balance, my colleague Senator David Craig (R - Big Bend) and I sent a letter to Congressman Jason Chaffetz (UT-03), Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to request relief from federal regulations and unfunded mandates.
Freedom to Work: Work Permits for Minors
To start the session, I introduced a bill rolling back work permit requirements for minors. Today, anyone under 18 must obtain an employer-specific work permit, have it signed by a parent or guardian, and pay a $10 fee. This bill joins 35 other states by eliminating the work permit requirement for those 16 and over.
Start of a New Session
Yesterday, the new session began with the inaugural floor periods for both the Senate and the Assembly. In addition, I was appointed Chair of a new committee and Wisconsin welfare reforms are leading to employment.
This week I just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. I hope you are able to spend some quality time with your family, catch the Christmas Eve service at church, and eat a significant amount of food!
With the archery and crossbow seasons just a few days away, the Department of Natural Resources has assembled this year's Deer Hunt Media Packet.
Rethinking the war on poverty
Focusing on a holistic approach to solving the problem of poverty is the only way that we can truly lift everyone out of poverty.
Keeping government agencies accountable
As part of our duty as legislators, Representative Rob Hutton (R-Brookfield) and I are following through on our promise to protect taxpayer dollars by contacting each agency head in order to remind them of their responsibilities under the new law.
What is the coolest thing made in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), which is the state’s combined Chamber of Commerce and Manufacturers’ Association, encourages people to nominate a Wisconsin-made product by visiting www.madeinwis.com.
How did you vote?
Several weeks ago, I released my summer survey asking for your input on the issues facing Wisconsin. Here are the results.
Happy Independence Day!
Happy Independence Day! It's an expression we associate with the joyous celebration of the freedoms we all enjoy. Summer grill outs, fireworks, family, and friends will be common themes in all of our weekend celebrations. Our nation has been richly blessed by God over the course of its history.
Protecting the Wisconsin franchise model
Please read on for my op-ed on the Franchise Protection Act, as featured in today's edition of the Waukesha Freeman.
Remembering those who served
"I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." -- Nathan Hale
Wisconsin's business climate continues to improve
Along with holding listening sessions to meet with citizens, I have been reaching out to businesses to set up tours and learn more about the unique challenges that they face on a daily basis.
Employment is at an all-time high
This past Monday, I had the opportunity to tour HUSCO International, a manufacturing business that is contributing to Waukesha's strong economy. It is great to witness the positive impact that job growth is having on the 33rd Senate District and on the state as a whole.
What's happening in Waukesha County
It's been an action-packed couple of weeks in Waukesha County. With the weather warming, it's been enjoyable to get out, meet new people, and see the inspiring work taking place in our community.
The survey results are in...
Several weeks ago, I released my spring survey asking for your input on the issues facing Wisconsin. I was happy to hear from the more than 400 individuals who took the survey.
Legislative session wraps up
This week, we wrapped up our final session day for the year. The Senate passed nearly 80 bills in one day, and also blocked some legislation from advancing.
Celebrating two anniversaries this week
As we get ready to turn our clocks ahead on Sunday, I'd like to turn the clock back this week and look at the anniversaries of two important conservative reforms.
Governor Walker signs four Kapenga bills into law
On Tuesday, Governor Walker signed 58 bills into law, four of which I authored. They address a number of issues ranging from property rights to budget reform, and it was great to work with fellow Waukesha County legislators to produce positive reforms.
Take my survey
Now that the legislative session is coming to a close, I would like to hear your thoughts on issues facing Wisconsin both today and going forward.
BASE Act heads to Governor Walker's desk
On Tuesday, the state Senate passed the Budgetary Accountability for State Expenditures (BASE) Act by a 19-13 vote.
Three Kapenga bills pass the Senate
On Tuesday, three bills that I authored passed the state Senate and now are waiting for passage in the state Assembly.
Introducing the BASE Act
This week, I am taking a break from discussing the various bills that I am currently working on in order to focus on one that is at the top of my priority list. The Budgetary Accountability for State Expenditures (BASE) Act reforms Wisconsin's budgeting process to check the growth of government.
Expanding opportunity and improving efficiency
As we continue to wrap up the current legislative session, I would like to continue highlighting important bills that are high priorities to me.
Wisconsin is moving forward
On Tuesday, Governor Walker delivered his State of the State address to a joint session of the Legislature. In his address, the governor highlighted several important facts showing that the state of Wisconsin is strong.
Protecting life and advancing legal reform
Last week, I highlighted two bills that I am currently pursuing as we close out the 2015-16 legislative session. This week, I would like to share a few others.
Eliminating fraud and protecting small business franchising
As we close out the 2015-16 legislative session, I'd like to highlight a couple of the pieces of legislation that I will be pursuing over the next few months.
A look back at a productive year
As we close out 2015 and look ahead to 2016, I'd like to share with you what we've accomplished in the Legislature during the past year. It was an exciting year in Madison, and our conservative reforms continued to move Wisconsin in the right direction.
Celebrating the reason for the season
As we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, it is important to spread joy and love to our family, friends, and neighbors.
Multiple hearings at the Capitol this week
This week, I gave testimony on several of my bills in Assembly and Senate committee hearings.
Five bills introduced
Last week, I introduced five bills in the Senate.
Madison needs alternative budgeting
Senate Bill 407 requires each state agency to submit to the Legislature, in addition to their current biennial budget request, a proposal to show how they would hold spending at the same level as last period and how they would reduce agency spending by five percent if needed.
What are you thankful for?
It was a pleasure to serve the constituents of the 99th Assembly District over the past four years, and I am enjoying the opportunity to continue serving them, as well as our neighbors in the 97th and 98th Assembly Districts, as your senator.
Better safe than sorry
After contacting Governor Walker's office on Saturday, I applaud his quick action in joining with fellow governors in calling on President Obama to not resettle additional Syrian refugees in Wisconsin.
Saluting our veterans
On Veterans Day, and every day, it is important that we honor the sacrifices that so many have made for this great nation. We are forever grateful for the freedom that they have defended throughout our country's history.
Later today, the Senate will be in session to consider a number of pieces of legislation. Two of the bills on the agenda are Senate Bills 292 and 294.
Historic day for Wisconsin
Today is a historic day for Wisconsin and for our country. One of our own, Paul D. Ryan, was elected as the speaker of the House of Representatives.
Protecting your First Amendment rights
On Tuesday, the Senate was in session to pass legislation that reforms the process for conducting John Doe investigations.
Reforming the GAB
Maintaining the integrity of our elections and ensuring every citizen's right to vote is of utmost importance. What I appreciate about the current proposal is that it ensures a politically balanced approach to decision making.
Three bills introduced
Senate Bill 278 would allow municipalities to purchase their ancillary insurance plans for employees through the state’s Group Insurance Board. Senate Bill 283 (known as the “Growler Bill”) would allow Class A license holders, such as grocery stores, to sell growlers. Senate Bill 290 requires the verification from court orders for eligibility for public assistance programs.
Madison should be using honest accounting
On Tuesday, I joined several of my legislative colleagues in introducing a constitutional amendment that would require Wisconsin to move to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) for all state affairs.
Productive week at the Capitol
The Senate Committee on Health and Human Services held a public hearing on Senate Bills 237, 238, and 260 on Tuesday. During the hearing, Representative Andre Jacque and I testified on SBs 237 and 238.
First floor session in the Senate
Shortly after I was sworn in by Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Patience Roggensack, the Senate got to work by approving gubernatorial appointments, voting on resolutions, and passing pieces of legislation.
We shall never forget
Congress and the president have designated September 11 as Patriot Day. The flag should be flown at half-staff, and Americans are asked to observe a moment of silence to honor the innocent victims who perished during the worst acts of terrorism ever carried out against the United States.
Examining the evidence
On Tuesday, I joined James Sherk and Vincent Vernuccio at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. to discuss whether or not right-to-work laws really reduce wages.
Focusing on public benefit and regulatory reform
I look forward to serving as the chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Benefit and Regulatory Reform, and working with my colleagues to find solutions to reform our public assistance programs and improve our regulatory environment. This starts with developing innovative reforms that put individuals on the path to self-sufficiency and give them purpose from a paycheck.
Spread the Word
The Nevada Policy Research Institute and the Association of American Educators have collaborated to create National Employee Freedom Week. This national movement is centered around the effort to spread awareness about the freedoms that employees have when it comes to union membership.
Continuing My Work in the Senate
I am looking forward to continuing my work serving in my new role as your state senator!