January 27, 2017

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The Week in Review

Our Work Begins

Since inauguration just a few short weeks ago, the Assembly has wasted no time getting to work. Committee hearings have begun and legislation is already underway. According to the Legislative Reference Bureau, more than 1,000 pieces of potential legislation have been drafted just since the start of the new session. The Joint Finance Committee will soon begin hearings on the largest bill of the biennium when the governor releases his budget on February 8.

While Joint Finance will be wading through the budget, Assembly standing committees will be debating new legislation. This session I have been assigned to serve on three Assembly Committees including Education, Energy and Utilities, and I have been named Chair of the Family Law Committee.

I will be providing more details on several of my policy proposals in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

Have a great week!

Transportation Audit Raises Questions

On Tuesday, the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau released the analysis of the State Highway Program. The legislature had been waiting for the audit to be released to determine how to address transportation needs going into the next biennium.

The audit revealed several deficiencies within the Department of Transportation. DOT grossly underestimated the actual costs of major highway projects by not taking into account the cost of inflation and unexpected expenditures. The audit estimates $3.1 billion in cost overruns for 16 ongoing major highway projects.

Furthermore, it was discovered road conditions in Wisconsin rated "good" fell from 53.5 to 41 percent, below the national average. Many projects were not bid competitively with 363 projects going to the only bidder. Lastly, debt service for cost of projects has risen 168 percent since 1999.

Speaker Vos, Majority Leader Jim Steineke and Rep. John Nygren have asked the Department of Transportation to provide a detailed report with updated estimates on all projects to determine the true cost for future highway construction.

Centennial Kick-off

The first event of the year-long celebration of the 100th year of the Wisconsin State Capitol will take place on Tuesday, January 31st with a Kick-off Celebration in the Capitol rotunda. The event includes speeches from Gov. Walker, former Gov. Tommy Thompson and former Speaker and Ambassador Tom Loftus.

The ceremony begins at 10 am and the public is welcome to join the celebration! Look for more events as we continue the year-long celebration.

For more information on events or history of the Capitol, visit Capitol100th.Wisconsin.gov.



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Email: Rep.Rodriguez@legis.wi.gov