The State of our State is Improving The state of our state is improving. Despite a difficult ten months brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, Wisconsinites have come together and persevered.
Beginning the 105th Wisconsin State Legislature On Monday, I was inaugurated for my fifth term in the Wisconsin State Assembly. I’m humbled that my constituents have sent me back to Madison to represent the 21st Assembly District in the 105th Wisconsin State Legislature.
Wishing you a happy, healthy New Year! Happy New Year Wisconsin!
Season’s Greetings I want to take this opportunity to wish all of you in the 21st Assembly District a very Merry Christmas!
Audit of Unemployment Insurance My colleagues in the Legislature requested that the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau perform an audit on the Unemployment Insurance Division of DWD. This week, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee held a hearing to review the full report and hear from DWD leadership.
Remembering Pearl Harbor Today we remember and honor the 2,403 Americans who lost their lives on December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor, and reflect on the courage and sacrifice of all those who served our Nation in World War II.
Happy Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and though it may look and feel a little different for all of us, I hope you are finding a way to celebrate. I wish all of you a harvest of blessings this season. Happy Thanksgiving!!
Assembly GOP proposes new initiatives in the fight against COVID-19 On Tuesday afternoon, Republican leadership held a press conference to discuss legislative priorities relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. Priorities include testing, contact-tracing, unemployment insurance reforms, and more assistance for businesses impacted by the pandemic.
Last E-Update for a While! State law prohibits legislators who are up for re-election from sending mass communications after April 15 of an election year. Given the state of emergency, this rule has been exempted for communications related to COVID-19. This exemption expires today, so this will be my last E-Update.
South Shore COVID-19 Testing Free COVID-19 testing will be available to south shore residents from June 4-6. I encourage anyone who wants to take advantage of this opportunity to do so. Thank you to the local health departments for organizing this, and for working tirelessly throughout the pandemic!
“We’re All In” Grants Earlier this week the Department of Administration (DOA) announced two more initiatives that will be paid for using funds provided to Wisconsin by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Federal COVID-19 Funding The federal CARES Act provided just over $2 billion in federal assistance to Wisconsin. Several new initiatives that will be supported using this funding have been announced recently by the Evers administration.
“Safer at Home” Overturned, what it means for you Earlier this week the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm’s Executive Order 28 (the extension of “Safer at Home”) was “unlawful, invalid, and unenforceable.”
34 State Parks Re-Opened TODAY! Effective today the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will re-open 34 of the state parks and trails that were previously closed to the public. A few special conditions will be put in place to promote a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.
Application Now Available: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Earlier this week the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) opened up the application process for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). This option is available because of funds set aside by the federal government in the federal CARES Act.
My Response to Gov. Evers’ Extension of Safer at Home Order My colleagues and I will continue to listen to our constituents, explore legal and legislative options, and work with the healthcare community and local business owners to come up with a plan to slowly and intelligently reopen parts of the economy while also keeping the curve flat.
Assembly Approves COVID-19 Response Package The State Assembly convened today to approve the COVID-19 Response Bill to help the state address the many challenges posed by the coronavirus outbreak.
Passover and Easter Greetings! I want to wish all the members of our community celebrating, a Happy Passover and a Happy Easter!
Shape your future Wisconsin We’re counting on you to shape our future in the U.S. Census. This spring everyone will get a U.S. Census form delivered to your mailbox. You can either return it in the mail or for the first time you can complete the form online. For more information on the census please go to 2020Census.gov.
Safer at Home Order Earlier this week the Evers administration released what they are calling a “Safer at Home” emergency order, which will now be in effect until 8am on Friday, April 24th. The order requires Wisconsinites to stay in their homes as much as possible.
COVID-19 Updates For the most up-to-date information from all Wisconsin state agencies that are developing guidance and resources during this time, visit the new COVID-19 state website here: https://govstatus.egov.com/wi-covid-19.
UPDATE: End-of-Session Town Halls are CANCELLED! In an effort to mitigate the effects of COVID-19, I have decided to cancel my town hall meetings that were originally scheduled for Monday, March 16. This decision was made in accordance with CDC recommendations to not congregate in groups. The health and safety of our community is my top priority.
Respiratory Care Reforms Become Law Earlier this week the Governor signed 60 bills, one of which was my bill, AB 558/SB 500. The legislation, now 2019 Wisconsin Act 156, makes simple but necessary changes to bring our laws surrounding the licensure of Respiratory Care Practitioners (RCPs) up-to-date with current industry standards.
End-of-Session Town Halls coming up in March! I will be holding end-of-session town hall meetings in both South Milwaukee and Oak Creek on Monday, March 16. A lunch hour town hall will take place at the South Milwaukee Public Library from 11am-12pm, and an after-work meeting will be held at the Oak Creek Public Library from 5:30pm-6:30pm.
Returning Money to the Taxpayers Earlier this year the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau released their most recent estimate indicating a projected budget surplus of about $818 million. This is great news because it indicates our economy is strong!
Operation We Love Our Troops Do you know a deployed member of our U.S. military from the 21st Assembly District? Let my office know! Over the next month I will be putting together care packages for our Wisconsin deployed service members, and I would love to be able to show my appreciation to service members from our community.
Nominate a friend for the Caring for Kids Award! Know someone in the child welfare profession who goes above and beyond? Nominate them online for the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Caring for Kids Award before Sunday, February 16.
Welcome to Wisconsin, Vice President Pence and Secretary DeVos! During the annual National School Choice Week celebration our state welcomed Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to the Capitol on Tuesday. The celebration marks 30 years of the School Choice program that started right here in Wisconsin under former Gov. Tommy Thompson.
The State of our State is Strong Earlier this week, Gov. Tony Evers delivered the annual State of the State address before a joint session of the legislature. The state of our state is strong, a credit to years of responsible budgeting and investments in the areas important to the people of Wisconsin.
Adoption Bills Passed by the Assembly The Assembly was on the floor this Wednesday to pass all eight bills that were introduced by the Speaker’s Task Force on Adoption.
Family Law Moves Marriage-Related Bills Forward This week the Assembly Committee on Family Law voted to move two bills out of the committee.
Adoption Task Force Bills Move Forward This week the Assembly Committee on Family Law voted to approve several bills aimed at improving the adoption process and reducing the amount of time children spend in the child welfare system in Wisconsin.
Lights on Edgewood South Milwaukee resident Bob Gray has caught the eye of quite a few including the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for his alluring holiday light show aptly named “Lights on Edgewood.”
Deck the Halls The Capitol Christmas tree arrived in Madison this week and is now adorned with lights, garland and thousands of ornaments made by elementary school students from around the state.
Gun Deer Season Begins This Weekend This weekend, marks the start of the annual 9-day gun deer hunt in Wisconsin. Before you head into the woods searching for your trophy buck, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is passing along some need-to-know information.
State Assembly Considers Bill to Improve Minor Guardianship The Assembly was on the floor for the second consecutive week this month with a variety of bills including one in particular that aims to improve issues related to minor guardianship in Wisconsin.
Fiscal Bureau Estimates Significant Tax-Break for 2019 This week the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau announced there will be an estimated $144.9 million tax reduction as result of Wisconsin Act 9, legislation I authored with my colleague Sen. Dale Kooyenga.
Manufacturing Month in the 21st Assembly District Last week, to continue celebrating Manufacturing Month and highlight our district’s rich history in manufacturing, I toured three local manufacturers in Oak Creek.
Improving Access to Respiratory Care This week, I had the opportunity to testify on Senate Bill 500 (Assembly Bill 558) in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee with my colleague and Senate co-author Sen. Pat Testin (Stevens Point); appropriate timing given Oct. 20-26 is respiratory care week.
Celebrating Manufacturing and Local Small Business October is manufacturing month in Wisconsin. For many years manufacturing has been an important part of the fabric that makes up southeastern Wisconsin.
Honoring Chief Knitter of South Milwaukee The Assembly convened on Thursday in the first ever ceremony to honor first responders from across the state. The new award, First Responder of the Year, gives each Representative in the Assembly an opportunity to honor a first responder from their district.
Updating Respiratory Care Practitioner Standards This week, Senator Pat Testin and I introduced legislation that aims to update accreditation and education standards for Respiratory Care Practitioners (RCPs) in Wisconsin.
Family Law Approves Bill to Streamline Paternity On Tuesday, the Assembly Committee on Family Law approved legislation that aims to streamline the process used to establish paternity.
Federal Legislation Overhauls Funding for Foster Care in Wisconsin Last Wednesday, legislators were given the opportunity to learn more about recently passed federal legislation called the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) that overhauls how states fund child welfare services.
Family Law Passes Nine Bills Out of Committee This week the Family Law Committee met to pass nine bills out of committee. The bills came from two study committees that met last summer to address issues related to minor guardianship and child placement and support.
In-District Office Hours This month I will be holding in-district office hours on Thursday, September 19th from 11:30am-12:30pm at the South Milwaukee Public Library and on Monday, September 30th from 5:30-6:30pm at the Oak Creek Public Library.
Rainy Day Fund Reaches Historic Total New revenue collections were released by the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau this week indicating the state’s Rainy Day Fund will grow to its largest total increasing to $649.1 million. The total does not include any additional interest that will likely accrue in the coming years.
Local Company Looks to Improve Workforce I had the opportunity to visit and tour Grunau Company, a local shop that not only employs people across the region in a variety of skilled trades but they also work with local schools to introduce students and young adults to careers for some of the most in-demand jobs on the market right now.
Health Committee Examines Bills on Dentistry and Contraceptives On Wednesday, the Assembly Health Committee examined two bills, one that aims to expand the number of dentists in rural parts of the state and another that would allow pharmacists to prescribe certain contraceptives to women over the age of 18.
Discussing the Issues During the summer months, my colleagues and I spend time in our respective districts meeting with constituents and local stakeholders to bring new ideas to Madison and address local concerns.
Water Quality and Suicide Prevention Task Forces Continue Working Through Summer In addition to the adoption task force that I highlighted last week, the Speaker convened two other task forces; the Speaker’s Task Force on Water Quality and the Speaker’s Task Force on Suicide Prevention.
Speaker's Task Force on Adoption Holds Third Public Hearing This week the Speaker’s Task Force on Adoption met in Balsam Lake where they took testimony from community stakeholders to learn about the problems many face when trying to adopt children in Wisconsin.
Travel Wisconsin This Summer The summer months are upon us which means now is the perfect time to get out and explore all the amazing places Wisconsin has to offer before the colder months return.
Partial Budget Veto Could Spell Trouble for Local Road Funding In signing the budget last week, the governor partially vetoed funding for the Local Road Improvement Program (LRIP) that repairs deteriorating county highways and local roads.
Legislature Sends the Budget to the Governor This week, the Assembly passed the biennial budget followed by the Senate a day later.
Assembly Takes on Homelessness, Tax Cuts and the Miller Park Tax It was a busy week with the Assembly on the floor Tuesday and Thursday taking up a series of legislation that addresses homelessness, provides an income tax reduction and ends the Miller Park tax.
Commemorating Ratification of the 19th Amendment On Monday, Wisconsin celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote.
Creating Fairness and Equity in Sales Tax This week, I had the opportunity to testify before the Assembly Committee on Ways and Means on a bill I authored with Sen. Dale Kooyenga that allows Wisconsin to bring in more revenue while also providing an income tax reduction for many middle class families across the state.
Joint Finance Turns Focus to UW, Criminal Justice and DNR The Joint Finance Committee continued working through the budget this week focusing on the UW System, the criminal justice system and the Department of Natural Resources.
Budget Writing Committee Approves Education Funding Increase This week the Joint Finance Committee agreed to boost K-12 education funding by more than $500 million over the next biennium.
Budget Writing Committee Begins Work Last week the Joint Committee on Finance began voting on pieces of the budget and continued its work this week.
Joint Finance to Begin Voting on the Budget Within the next couple weeks, the Joint Finance Committee will begin its work voting on the budget.
Bills Tackling Homelessness Receive Hearing in Assembly On Tuesday, two of my colleagues and I testified in the Assembly Committee on Workforce Development to urge support for legislation that aims to curb homelessness in Wisconsin. My bill, Assembly Bill 122, assists in workforce development for homeless job seekers.
Wisconsin Has Lowest Tax Burden in Nearly 50 Years The tax burden in Wisconsin has fallen to its lowest level in nearly 50 years and it all started in 2011.
Budget Committee Holds Hearing in Oak Creek On Wednesday, the state Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee held it’s second of four statewide public hearings at the Oak Creek Community Center.
Supporting Career and Technical Education On February 25th, I had the opportunity to visit Milwaukee Area Technical College in Oak Creek. Earlier this year, the Assembly proclaimed February “Career and Technical Education Month." This provided a perfect opportunity to visit MATC in Oak Creek.
Property Taxes to Increase Under Governor's Budget Proposal Gov. Evers is proposing an increase in property taxes in his two year spending plan, in addition to more than $1 billion in other taxes. The proposal calls for a possible increase of $151 dollars over the next two years on a median valued home, the largest increase in more than a decade.
Letting Parents Decide This week, I was given the opportunity to deliver the GOP weekly radio address on behalf of my Republican colleagues in the Legislature.
The Budget Process Begins Over the next several months, members of the Joint Finance Committee will begin the months-long process of crafting the state budget. The state budget is a two-year spending plan that accounts for state spending on every statewide program.
So-called "People's Budget" Leaves Many Behind Last week Thursday, Gov. Evers unveiled his budget request before a joint session of the Wisconsin State Legislature.
Promoting Career and Technical Education Month This week, I met with local manufacturers and officials from MATC in Oak Creek to help promote Career and Technical Education Month.
Lending a Hand to the Homeless This week, my colleagues and I held statewide press conferences to unveil a new package of legislative initiatives that aim to curb homelessness in Wisconsin.
Legislature Approves Tax Break This week, the Assembly and Senate GOP passed legislation that will provide a tax cut to middle class families throughout Wisconsin. The plan will use the GOP surplus to allow Gov. Evers to fulfill the promise he made to voters last fall.
Ways and Means Committee Approve Middle Class Tax Cut This week, the Assembly Committee on Ways and Means approved legislation that will provide a 10 percent tax cut for middle class families in Wisconsin. The proposal uses a portion of a massive surplus Republicans created last session through government reforms and responsible budgeting.
State Reports Additional $2.4 Billion in Revenue On Wednesday, the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau announced Wisconsin will end the fiscal year with an additional $2.4 billion in revenue, more than DOA’s November estimate of $2.1 billion. The increase is due to Republican reforms, responsible budgeting and less spending at state agencies.
The State of our State is Strong There’s no denying it, the State of our State is strong! Our unemployment rate remains at a historic low - three percent, wages continue to rise, we have yet another surplus of nearly $600 million and our rainy day fund is still the largest in state history.
GOP Proposes Middle Class Tax Cut On Thursday, Assembly Republicans unveiled a Middle Class Tax Cut proposal providing $340 million in tax relief for couples making $150,000 or less and individuals with yearly income of $100,000 or less.
The 104th Wisconsin State Legislature Begins On Monday, I officially began my fourth term as your state representative.
Investing in Priorities This will be my last Rodriguez Recap this session. But before I go, I wanted to share with you one last update highlighting a few of our accomplishments from this legislative session.
Raising Awareness to Reduce Distracted Driving Most people are always looking at their cell phones and with summer right around the corner orange cones will begin lining the streets and freeways as road crews prepare for construction season. Now is the time to focus on safe driving.
Investing in Higher Education Wisconsin has some of the best colleges in the country. From our four-year universities to two-year tech colleges, each one provides Wisconsin residents with unique opportunities to find a career that fits their interest.
Reducing the Tax Burden and Strengthening the Economy This legislative session my colleagues and I continued our efforts to lower the tax burden in Wisconsin by reforming state government.
Broadening our Workforce Through Education Earlier this month, the Lt. Gov. and I invited local business leaders to join us at MATC in Oak Creek for a roundtable discussion about economic development and job opportunities in our region.
Advancing Options for Affordable Healthcare In February, the Assembly approved several legislative proposals that improve access to health care in Wisconsin.
Providing Tools for Economic Development Last week, when the Assembly was on the floor we approved a proposal that increases the historic rehabilitation tax credit.
Improving Resources for Alzheimer's and Veteran's Care This week the Assembly was on the floor three days in a row voting on a variety of bills aimed at improving access to healthcare in our state.
Creating Equity in Education Funding This week, the Assembly was on the floor Tuesday and Thursday to vote on several bills relating to foster care and education.
Guiding Patients to Effective Care This week, I testified on a bill I authored to create a pilot program for intensive care coordination programs across the state.
Return of the Rodriguez Recap Welcome back to the Rodriguez Recap!
Continuing Forward This week, Gov. Walker delivered his annual State of the State Address.
Expanding Treatment Options This legislation creates the infrastructure for an alternative drug rehabilitation program that focuses on developing sober households.
Improving Foster Care One Step at a Time The Speaker’s Task Force on Foster Care completed its final hearing and unveiled a list of legislative recommendations.
The Spring Session Has Arrived Now that the holidays have passed, the Assembly is ready to get back to work.
Happy New Year! With the end of another year upon us, now is the perfect time to reflect on what a great year 2017 has been.
Merry Christmas As the holidays are quickly approaching, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a Merry Christmas.
Christmas at the Capitol Last week, Governor Walker was joined by students and residents from across the state for the annual lighting of the Capitol Christmas Tree.
Speaker's Task Force on Foster Care Unveils Foster Forward Over the last several months, the Speaker’s Task Force on Foster Care traveled to communities throughout the state to learn more about issues affecting the foster care system and identify ways to improve foster care in Wisconsin.
Happy Thanksgiving! This week, I wanted to share with you a few things I’m thankful for this holiday.
Streamlining Custody and Placement Laws This week, the Assembly Committee on Children and Families met to hold a hearing on several bills including two that I authored that will clarify and streamline laws for separated parents.
Honoring Our Veterans November 11 holds great significance for the women and men serving in our Armed Forces.
Assembly Approves Legislation Honoring Rick Grobschmidt On Thursday evening, my colleagues and I unanimously approved Senate Bill 99, legislation that will name the bridge on the Hank Aaron State Trail after former state representative and senator, Richard Grobschmidt.
Construction on Ryan Road Set to Begin This week, you may have noticed orange barrels going up along Ryan Road as the Wisconsin Department of Transportation began reconstruction of the Ryan Road interchange on I-94 in Oak Creek.
Foster Care Task Force Visits Milwaukee This week the Speaker’s Task Force on Foster Care picked up again, this time traveling to southeastern Wisconsin to discuss foster care with local organizations and advocates.
Creating a Path to Sobriety and Reunifying Families This week, I had the opportunity to testify on Assembly Bill 481, legislation that will allow counties to develop a Family Drug Treatment Court program.
Foster Care Task Force Travels to La Crosse This week, the Speaker’s Task Force on Foster Care traveled to La Crosse for its fourth hearing on issues impacting foster care in Wisconsin.
Assembly Approves Two-Year Spending Plan Crafting the 2017-2019 Wisconsin State Budget began back in early February when the governor unveiled his proposal before a joint session of the legislature.
Joint Finance Completes the Budget This week, the Joint finance Committee completed the final pieces of the biennial budget.
Honoring Senator Richard Grobschmidt This week, I had the pleasure of testifying on my bill, Senate Bill 99 before the Assembly Transportation Committee.
Speaker's Task Force Convenes in Wausau This week, the Speaker’s Task Force on Foster Care met for its second hearing in Wausau.
Foxconn Moves Forward This week the Assembly hit the floor to take up legislation that will allow Foxconn Technology Group to move forward with plans to invest more than $10 billion in a plant to be located in southeastern Wisconsin.
Getting it Right Next week, the Assembly Committee on Jobs and the Economy will vote on special session legislation, which would allow Foxconn Technology Group to build a 1.58 square mile manufacturing facility in southeastern Wisconsin; a $10 billion investment, expected to employ thousands of workers.
Foxconn Chooses Wisconsin for Billion Dollar Investment On Thursday evening, before a packed crowd at the Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin received great news; Foxconn Technology Group has chosen southeastern Wisconsin to build a state-of-the-art technology campus, the first of its kind in North America.
Solving Homelessness One Step at a Time On Monday morning, several of my colleagues and I traveled to Milwaukee for an in-depth tour of homeless facilities and to meet with people that help homeless individuals on a daily basis.
Fighting for Small Businesses Small businesses are the backbone of our community.
Tackling Foster Care Issues This week the Speaker unveiled his sixth task force: the Speaker’s Task Force on Foster Care. The bipartisan group, chaired by my colleague, Rep. Snyder (R-Wausau), will investigate foster care issues in Wisconsin.
Protecting Consumers, Prosecuting Dealers The Assembly capped off a 12 hour floor session shortly after 1 am on Wednesday morning addressing important issues that aim to protect consumers and prosecute drug dealers.
Restricting Government Overreach Restricting Government Overreach
Building the Budget On Friday, my colleagues and I gave a brief presentation to area businesses on the budget and some of the great things we are doing to continue moving Wisconsin Forward.
Raising Awareness for Foster Youth This week, I was honored to join First Lady Tonette Walker, Secretary Eloise Anderson and others to speak at an event at the Capitol in honor of Foster Care Awareness month in May.
The First Rodriguez Recap This week, my e-update includes the first Rodriguez Recap; a series of videos that I will be sharing with you to discuss important issues taking place in Madison and back in our district.
Reforming Wisconsin Shares Assembly Bill 241, legislation I authored with Sen. Darling, passed the Assembly unanimously on Wednesday evening.
Ending Homelessness Through Work This week we passed Assembly Bill 237, a bill I authored that is part of a broader package of bills focused on tackling homelessness in Wisconsin.
Growing Our Economy Thursday morning I returned home from a two-day trip to Washington D.C. after meeting with congressional members from the Wisconsin delegation.
Mitigating the Child Care Cliff This week I had the opportunity to testify on a bill I authored, Assembly Bill 241.
Taking the Lead on Homelessness At a Capitol press conference this week, my GOP colleagues and I introduced a package of bills aimed at combating homelessness in Wisconsin.
Special Session Bills Combat an Epidemic This week the Assembly had a packed calendar, approving nine bills aimed at battling drug abuse and addiction, an epidemic that spans the country and has impacted nearly every corner of the state.
Budget-Writing Committee Holds Agency Briefings The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) held agency briefings this week as the committee began to delve deeper into Governor Walker’s budget recommendations.
Commitment to the Community This week, I continued an initiative I began at the start of session; to tour local companies that have a direct impact on our economy.
Innovation and Expansion Continues in Oak Creek Master Lock, a long-time staple of the Oak Creek community, is moving its headquarters this year to a remodeled facility formerly occupied by Caterpillar.
Celebrating International Friendship On Tuesday, the Assembly welcomed Mexican Consul Julian Adem to the Capitol to meet with lawmakers for the first time since the consulate office opened last summer.
Advocating for Safety Throughout the legislative session, hundreds of students, citizens, and people from Wisconsin and different parts of the country visit our state Capitol for a variety of reasons.
Looking to the Future Last week, I went on a tour of the Caterpillar (CAT) plant in South Milwaukee.
The Budget Begins This week, Gov. Walker unveiled his recommendations for the 2017-19 biennial budget.
We're Just Getting Started In less than a week, Gov. Walker will unveil his 2017-18 biennial budget and the Legislature will begin to review the two-year spending plan.
Our Work Begins Since inauguration just a few short weeks ago, the Assembly has wasted no time getting to work.
Ringing in the New Session On Tuesday, the 2017-18 legislative session commenced with the inauguration of 99 Assembly Representatives from every corner of the state, with 11 new members.