Here's What I've Been Working On For You!
(Proposals Authored or
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on the picture above for a video message from
Rep. Steffen. You can also view the video on
Finance, and John Doe Reform
This month, the State
Assembly took up a set of bills aimed at
reforming our state's campaign finance and John
Doe laws, as well as restructuring the
Government Accountability Board.
AB 68 John Doe:
This bill reforms the current John Doe statute.
Wisconsin is the only state that currently uses
John Doe investigations to pursue political
crimes, which has resulted in a lack of
protection for the free speech rights of
witnesses and targets of these proceedings. AB
68 brings Wisconsin in line with other states,
by still allowing for the prosecution of crimes
and corruption using John Doe proceedings, but
placing limits on the overstep of power we've
seen in these cases. AB 68 adds important
protections, judicial oversight, and public
accountability to John Doe proceedings.
AB 387 Campaign
Finance Reform: This bill codifies recent court
decisions relating to our state's campaign
finance law. Our vague and outdated campaign
finance statutes created confusion for citizens
interested in participating in our political
process. Residents have the right to clearly
know what they can and cannot do under the law.
AB 387 increases the reporting frequency of
campaigns, adjusts contribution limits (still
keeping them well below the rate of inflation,
which would be 5 times the current law limits),
allows for equal treatment of unions and
corporations while prohibiting corporate money
from going to candidates, and reflects Supreme
Court rulings relating to the protection of
AB 388 GAB
Restructuring: In response to significant lapses
in oversight relating to the current structure
of the Government Accountability Board, AB 388
restructures the GAB with the intent of
restoring confidence and accountability in our
state's elections and ethics agency. An audit
revealed the GAB failed to review voter rolls to
remove felons for a span of 16 elections, failed
to audit electronic voting equipment for 3
general elections, failed to establish formal
procedures to process complaints, and failed to
consistently handle late filing of candidate
reports. AB 388 would create two bipartisan
commissions, the Ethics Commission and the
Election Commission. Each party will have
equal representation on these boards, which
will be composed of six citizen members, serving
five year terms. Another important provision
would require that the Election Commission
include either a current or former clerk, to
ensure that elections run smoothly and
Winter Is On
Lower temperatures mean
higher heating costs, but it isn't all bad news.
We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service have
issued their 2015-16 winter heating cost
forecasts. Predictions of a milder winter
combined with lower natural gas prices mean
heating costs could be down as much as 18% from
last year for the average household! Still, the
costs of heating a home through a long Wisconsin
winter can present real financial pressures.
It's important to know that energy assistance is
available. Due to changes in income eligibility,
more families may now qualify for aid to help
pay their energy bill. An individual who earns
$25,600/year or less and families of four that
earn up to $49,200/year may qualify. In
addition, Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance
Program (WHEAP) offers one-time grants to help
pay energy bills. For additional information on
energy assistance programs, contact WHEAP at
homeenergyplus.wi.gov or at 866-432-8947. For We
Energies customers, call 800-842-4565, and WPS
customers should call 800-450-7260.
Thank you, MacArthur
Elementary School for making your way down to
Madison to tour our beautiful capitol building!
Touring the capitol is a great way to learn a
bit more about our state's history, while also
getting an opportunity to see our government in
action. If you are bringing a group down to
Madison and need any assistance in setting up a
tour, please contact my office. We're happy to
Law and Order
Protecting witnesses from intimidation.
AB 8: Creates a
felony charge for taking pictures or videos of
another's private areas without consent, "upskirting."
AB 10: Empower
victims of domestic abuse to file restraining
orders against perpetrators who live in another
AB 127 :
Providing a penalty for the possession of
vicious dogs by certain felony offenders.
AB 147: Creates
a felony charge for a intentionally causing
bodily harm to a judge, prosecutor or law
Establishing a mandatory minimum period of
confinement in prison for a person who possesses
a firearm or who uses a firearm to commit
certain crimes after being convicted of
committing certain violent felonies.
Providing a penalty for the sale and use of
fetal body parts.
Providing an exemption from civil liability for
forcibly entering a vehicle under certain
Protecting the Environment
AB 15: Protect
our Great Lakes through the phasing out of
harmful microbeads used in manufacturing
personal care and cosmetic items.
Supporting Our Businesses and Consumers
Eliminates an outdated mandate for recycled
content of newsprint in newspapers.
AB 18: Allowing
liquor taste testing at certain retailers,
levels the playing field with beer/wine tasting.
Regulating transportation network companies,
allowing expansion of ride-share options.
Regulation of persons that own or operate dental
AB 212: Makes
repeat unemployment insurance benefit fraudsters
ineligible for UI benefits for seven years if
they commit two acts of UI fraud.
AB 200: A
waiver to limit the number of FoodShare
Removing FoodShare benefits from an inactive
account and expunging unused benefits after one
Providing a penalty for falsely claiming
military service or honors.
Elimination of sick leave for state senators and
Distributing excess sales tax revenue collected
by local professional football stadium district
to Brown County and its municipalities.