(Madison, Wisconsin) Legislation authored by Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls) on issues ranging from a new St. Croix River Crossing to regional representation on the UW Board of Regents were advanced in the State Legislature this week. The bills authored by Harsdorf seek to address issues important to residents and communities in western Wisconsin, several of which are the result of initiatives or suggestions by citizens and community leaders.
“I am pleased to help advance these proposals, including those brought forward by citizens, which are responding to concerns of western Wisconsin residents,” Senator Harsdorf stated. “It is encouraging that these bills are receiving positive action and are moving through the legislative process.”
Bills authored by Harsdorf that were acted upon this week include:
Senate Bill 26 (SB 26) €“ The last two-year state budget bill included a provision that limited the ability of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WISDOT) to construct major interstate bridge projects, such as replacing the Stillwater Bridge with a new St. Croix River Crossing. Senator Harsdorf authored SB 26 to remove this barrier, allowing WISDOT to move forward on construction upon action by the U.S. Congress authorizing a new crossing. SB 26 was approved by the Senate Committee on Transportation and Elections on a 5-0 vote on May 3.
Senate Bill 28 (SB 28) €“ This legislation authored by Harsdorf would require regional representation on the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents. In recent years the Board of Regents has been dominated by membership from Madison and Milwaukee. This legislation would ensure that each Congressional district in Wisconsin would have at least one member on the Board of Regents. SB 28 was approved by the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, and Higher Education on a 6-1 vote on May 4.
Senate Bill 54 (SB 54) €“ In response to concerns raised by law enforcement in western Wisconsin, Harsdorf authored legislation to ban the sale of synthetic marijuana and synthetic stimulants. Chemicals that mimic the effect of marijuana and cocaine are currently being sold across the counter to consumers of any age. These chemicals are often much more potent than the drugs they mimic and are produced without regard to safety. Hospitalizations of teens and young adults as a result of smoking synthetic marijuana have been reported. SB 54 would classify these chemicals as controlled substances and ban their sale. A public hearing was held on SB 54 on May 3.
Senate Bill 19 and Assembly Bill 23 - These companion bills authored by Harsdorf would remove a Department of Natural Resources mandate on communities to continuously disinfect their water supplies. This mandate could cost taxpayers millions of dollars for upgrades to their communities' water supply systems, even as the communities are currently providing safe and clean water to their citizens. Both of these bills have been approved by Senate and Assembly committees and are available to be taken up by both bodies.