Gun Violence Proclamation

On February 1, I joined Moms Demand Action volunteers Jenevia Blanks and constituent Jennifer Hoffman-Jonas at City Hall.  Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson proclaimed the first week of February as National Gun Violence Survivors Week in Milwaukee.  This proclamation recognizes survivors and the negative impact that gun violence has on our communities.  I also took action by co-sponsoring a bill that would reinstate the 48 hour waiting period on gun purchases in Wisconsin.

Legislative Update: Lots of Committee Work!

The 2021-2022 legislative session has only a few weeks left for votes by the Senate and Assembly. As a result, there have been a lot of committee hearings to move bills out of committee to the full legislature for consideration. Below are some of the most notable. We are happy to answer your questions about any legislation, so please contact our office to learn more.

The Forestry, Parks and Outdoor Recreation Committee heard two Knowles-Nelson related bills. AB 693 would use Knowles-Nelson funding to fund water infrastructure projects in state parks. As a strong advocate for the Stewardship Fund, I want the program used as it is intended – to protect open spaces and ecologically-important land for future generations. After the hearing, I followed up with a representative from the DNR who agreed with me, but explained that the agency lacks other funding sources for many urgently-needed infrastructure projects. I voted in favor because I do not want to see our state parks fall into disrepair, but will be fighting to get more long-term, sustainable funding for all our parks in the future.

We also heard testimony – but took no action on --  AB 852. This bill would strike at the heart of our Knowles-Nelson Stewardship program by making it easier for local governments to sell property purchased with Knowles-Nelson grants. I strongly oppose this bill and any attempt to weaken this popular program and will vote no if it comes up for a vote in committee.

For details on some of the other bills we discussed, see the links below. 

  • Assembly Bill 760, which would combine appropriations for all-terrain vehicle and utility terrain vehicle projects and making an appropriation.
  • Assembly Bill 909, relating to the managed forest land program.
  • Assembly Bill 766, relating to boating enforcement aids and making an appropriation.

At the Small Business Development Committee hearing on February 8th Missy Hughes, Secretary of the Wisconsin Economic Development Council (WEDC) presented good news about the state’s economic recovery from the pandemic under Governor Evers’ leadership.

  • At the height of the pandemic in April 2020, Wisconsin’s unemployment rate reached a record high of 14.8%. It is now at an all-time low of 2.8%, and Wisconsin is one of only 11 states with an unemployment rate below 3.0%
  • In April 2020, the number of unemployed Wisconsin residents hit an all-time high of 453,000.  By December 2021, only 86,000 Wisconsin residents were unemployed – a record low.
  • Wisconsin’s total wages and salaries dropped $7.5 billion from 4th quarter 2019 to 2nd quarter 2020. Since then, the state’s wages and salaries have increased by $20.5 billion.
  • Businesses have revived. There are now 10,000 more businesses than there were at the end of 2019. 

Click the link above to read Secretary Hughes's full testimony.

Other bills were also heard, but disappointingly most were designed more to score political points than to address the needs of the state. For example, I voted against AB 912, a bill that would prohibit the Governor from using emergency powers to regulate businesses during a disaster or pandemic. I offered a counterproposal to the bill author – let’s learn from the haphazard closings during the pandemic and join 23 other states that have crafted evidence-based emergency closure plans. The author declined to consider my proposal. Because of the sweeping nature of the bill and in the interest of public safety, I voted no but the proposal passed out of committee along party lines.

In the Workforce Development Committee, we heard a series of bills that would dramatically scale back Wisconsin’s unemployment benefits: AB 937, 938 and 939. One of the bills was based on a plan used in states such as Florida, which tie the number of weeks of benefits to the state’s unemployment rate. While this approach seems logical at first, almost every state using this approach currently has a higher unemployment rate than Wisconsin. With our unemployment insurance fund in good shape and record state surplus funds, I objected to such a big change based on a less-successful model than our own. Recent studies consistently find that reducing benefits does not bring more workers into the workforce, and none of the bills addressed widely-known barriers to employment such as transportation and child care.

One of the most anticipated bills in front of the Energy and Utilities Committee is AB 588, the electric vehicle (EV) charging station bill. As the owner of an EV and a home charging station it is clear to me that Wisconsin is far behind other states in embracing EVs. Unfortunately, the bill has two major flaws. First, it prohibits municipalities from operating charging stations. This prohibits a town from operating EV charging on its main street or town square for visitors and residents. Second, the bill requires all electricity to be purchased from the local utility, excluding environmentally-friendly solar and battery charging stations from operating in Wisconsin.

I offered an amendment to allow solar and battery chargers, which would help reduce utility costs for businesses and help bring EV charging to some remote parts of the state. Unfortunately, the committee chairman declined to bring my amendment up for consideration or a vote – which was within his purview as chair. I believe this goes against our ideal of a government based on compromise and the consideration of many points of view.

Other bills included:

  • AB 489, which would change the phase-out of utility aid payments for decommissioned power plants.
  • AB 573, related to broadband mapping and the use of certain federal funds for wireless broadband and cellular service expansion grants.

Shortly after discussing EV charging stations in the committee, I had the opportunity to test drive a pre-production Lucid Air electric car around the Capitol.  I'm excited about growing competition in the electric vehicle market, and it reinforces my commitment to a robust infrastructure for electric vehicle charging across the state.

Thank you to the Wisconsin Towns Association for inviting me to speak at their Ozaukee County Unit Meeting.  I gave a legislative update and discussed bills I am co-sponsoring that address Ozaukee County's critical need for EMS and emergency dispatch funding -- because our first responders need not just our support, but the resources to keep our communities safe and healthy.

Support for Small Businesses

I was happy to join my colleagues from the Small Business Development committee, Representatives Robyn Vining, Francesca Hong, Kalan Haywood, Samba Baldeh, and Senators Melissa Agard and Brad Pfaff in introducing the "Go Big for Small Business" bill.  The goal of this legislation is to create a single web portal to support Wisconsin's vital small businesses.


On the new portal, business owners will be able to access information on bidding opportunities, economic development programs, educational and networking opportunities, licensing or permit requirements, and taxes and fees associated with their businesses. 


This portal will save time and ensure that small business owners are able to easily navigate the Wisconsin State Government. We need to go big for small business in Wisconsin! 

DOT--Highland Road to Close Long Term

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) provided the following update on the I-43 Construction project.

Beginning the week of February 21, 2022:

• Highland Road, between County W (Port Washington Road) and Lake Shore Drive, is scheduled to close for bridge and interchange construction. Highland Road is scheduled to reopen during fall 2022

Beginning early spring 2022:
• Highland Road, east of Lake Shore Drive, will be reconstructed and is scheduled to be complete during fall 2022. Bi-directional traffic will be maintained
• All lanes will be shifted to the west at the intersection of Port Washington Road and Highland Road
Access to businesses and residences will be maintained.

Detour Route:
• Motorists are encouraged to use County W (Port Washington Road), County C (Pioneer Road), and Lake Shore Drive to get around the closure

Click here to learn more about the Highland Road project.

It's tax time again! The Department of Revenue invited us to share these tax preparation resources with you:

• All forms and instructions can be found on Department of Revenue website and can be downloaded and printed as needed.
• Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program resources are available for those who require assistance or prefer to file using paper forms. Information and site locations can be found on our website.
• Library patrons can call Customer Service at 608-266-2772 or email DORFormsRequests@wisconsin.gov to inquire about paper form options and availability.
Wisconsin e-file, it's free, secure, and accurate.
Each year, more Wisconsin taxpayers file their income tax returns and receive their refunds more quickly using our e-file application called Wisconsin e-file. Wisconsin e-file is available on our website.

Meeting with constituents is the best and most important part of my job!  These sessions are opportunities for you to meet your state representative, and for us to learn what matters most to you, your businesses and your families. Office hours are held at small businesses throughout the 23rd District.  Click here to reserve your appointment on Friday mornings between 9:00 am--12:00 pm. If you prefer, we can also schedule a phone call or Zoom at a time that works for you.

We look forward to hearing from you!

  • February 25th at the Fiddleheads Coffee in Mequon
  • March 4th at the Friendship Café in Fox Point

Contact Our Office

There are several convenient ways to share your thoughts and concerns with us:

Call our office at (608) 266-0486

Email us at Rep.Andraca@legis.wisconsin.gov

Visit our website to learn more about constituent services, legislative priorities and to share your comments or concerns.