Improving the Family Law System


On Tuesday, March 2 I had the opportunity to testify on my bill, 2021 Senate Bill 116 (SB 116), before the Senate Committee on Human Services, Children and Families.


SB 116 seeks to allow for modifications to a custody or physical placement order contingent on an event that is reasonably likely to occur after a divorce is finalized. In custody or physical placement orders there are often foreseeable events that will occur such as a child beginning school or improvement in a child or parent’s health condition that would require changes in a placement schedule. Unfortunately, current law prohibits changes to a custody or placement order within two years of the final judgement, even when the court understands a change will be necessary.


Say for example, parents live approximately two hours away from one another and share placement. If the child is to start school within two years of their judgement and they know the arrangement will no longer work, due to current law they have no other recourse but to return to court to work out an agreement after school commences.


This legislation would remedy that situation by allowing the court to incorporate anticipated future changes into an order without requiring the parents to return to court after the changes occur. The modifications to placement or custody can only be approved if both parents agree to the changes.


This proposal will benefit parents, children and the family court system. Accounting for future changes in placement will have multiple benefits including reduced costs associated with post-judgement litigation. The proposal also gives parents greater flexibility to negotiate orders based on the family’s individual needs. Most importantly, making these changes will reduce the likelihood of parental conflict that can be harmful to a young child.


The bill passed out of the Senate Committee unanimously on Thursday. I am grateful to have bipartisan support for this bill again this session. I look forward to seeing it continue to make its way through the legislative process.


I will be testifying on the Assembly companion bill, 2021 Assembly Bill 113 (AB 113) in the Assembly Committee on Family Law on Tuesday afternoon.

Special Session Senate Bill 1 Signed Into Law

Last week, the Assembly unanimously passed January 2021 Special Session Senate Bill 1 (SSSB 1), which directs Governor Evers to upgrade the unemployment insurance (UI) system at the Department of Workforce Development (DWD). The bill was also amended to include protections for businesses, schools, and local governments from frivolous lawsuits related to COVID-19.


This bill requires DWD to begin the ‘request for proposal’ (RFP) process and issue the request within 30 days after the effective date of the bill. After that, DWD may come before the Joint Committee on Finance (JFC) to request the funding to upgrade the system.


Thankfully, Governor Evers signed SSSB 1 into law on Thursday, February 25 as 2021 Wisconsin Act 4. This is a great step in the right direction and hopefully will lead to ending the backlog at DWD.


New Rental Assistance Program


When Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA), federal assistance was provided to states and a new rental assistance program called Wisconsin Emergency Rental Assistance (WERA) was created. In Milwaukee County this program is being carried out by Community Advocates. Please visit for more information.

Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin Grants


Farmers are encouraged to apply for the ‘Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin’ grant. Proposals must be received before 12:00 p.m. on Friday, March 26, 2021. The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) will award up to $30,000 in grant funding; requests can be between $5,000 and $50,000. These grants will help Wisconsin farmers and businesses grow within local markets.


To qualify, applicants must be individuals, groups or business involved in Wisconsin agriculture, food processing, food distribution, food warehousing, retail food establishments or agricultural tourism operations. Since the grant began in 2008, there have been more than 450 applications submitted. Of those applicants, 76 projects have been funded all over Wisconsin. Previous grant recipients have generated nearly $10 million in new local food sales, created and retained more than 200 jobs and assisted thousands of producers and markets.


While our area is not known for its agriculture, I hope some of our neighbors can qualify for and benefit from this grant. I am happy to support grants that help struggling farmers. We all benefit when they thrive.


Applications can be found here: