December 3, 2021

KnodlBanner2018.jpg

2021: By the Numbers

As we work our way through the final month of 2021, I would like to take some time each week to reflect on the past year and some of the work we have accomplished. First, let's take a look back at 2021 by the numbers.

The Assembly has introduced 735 bills, 101 joint resolutions, and 22 Assembly resolutions. These bills have addressed issues as varied as directing federal COVID relief dollars, strengthening election integrity, addressing the critical workforce housing shortage, and getting the unemployed back on their feet.

Legislative committees have held 636 public meetings in the State Capitol, with at least 13 more currently scheduled for the coming weeks.

Governor Evers has signed 114 bills into law and vetoed 43 bills (not including several line item vetoes in the state budget). Since the start of his term, including last session, Evers has vetoed roughly 1 bill for every 5 he has signed, giving him the the highest veto-to-enactment ratio of any governor in state history by far.

Education Transparency Veto

Speaking of vetoes, today the governor vetoed a common-sense bill which would require school districts to post classroom material online.

Assembly Bill 488 sought to allow parents access to the instructional material taught to their children. The governor's veto message asserted that parents already have access to these materials under federal law. However, parents have found that the process for accessing this material can be both burdensome and expensive, as they must currently go through the open records request process. Some requests for classroom materials have come back with processing fee estimates in the thousands of dollars. Sure, they are "accessible" but not to the average parent.

There have been growing concerns among parents about the quality and content of the curricular materials our kids are exposed to in some classrooms. The governor should have acknowledged that and signed the bill in the interest of open government, accountability, and public engagement. Instead, he chose to deny parents the ability to act as advocates for their children.

As a co-author to this bill, rest assured that I will continue to fight for transparency in our schools.

This was just one of several vetoes the governor attempted to sneak through quietly on Friday afternoon. Other bills included:

  • Tuition tax breaks for apprenticeships, which would have helped address our shortage of skilled workers
  • Protecting the right of children born alive after botched abortions
  • Providing women with life-saving information before receiving a chemical abortion
Looking Ahead

Next week, I will be in Madison for three committee meetings. These meetings will hear testimony on bills to be considered for adoption in upcoming floor sessions in January and February.

These bills include:

Labor and Integrated Employment Committee

  • Assembly Bill 324, which extends the allowable hours for the employment of minors.
  • Assembly Bill 361, which gives CESA employees the same ability as other educators to opt in to a consistent, 12-month wage payment structure.
  • Assembly Bill 691, which addresses an issue in labor classification law which currently prevents motor vehicle operator contractors from deploying certain safety improvements.

Ways and Means Committee

  • Assembly Bill 717, to allow for an income and franchise tax exemption for recipients of COVID-relief "Restaurant Revitalization Grants" in order to conform with federal tax treatment.

State Affairs Committee

  • Assembly Bill 597, which considers the right to possess a firearm at a place of worship located on the same grounds as a private school.
  • Assembly Bill 599, which addresses the regulation of products containing kratom.
  • Assembly Bill 653, which would allow pawnbrokers to send notices electronically.
  • Assembly Bill 708, to provide grants for geographic information systems to help implement Next Generation 911.
Capitol Christmas Tree

The Wisconsin Capitol Christmas Tree has returned! This is a tradition that goes back to 1916. Workers have spent the past week hanging hundreds of ornaments decorated by schoolchildren with the theme of Hometown for the Holidays.

The official lighting ceremony was today. If you find yourself in Madison this month, I encourage you to visit the rotunda and see it for yourself.


Community Events

Menomonee Falls

Event: Coffee With a Cop
Date and Time: December 9th from 8:00 AM to 9:30 AM
Location: Ally's Bistro - N72 W13350 Lund Ln
Description: A chance to ask questions, voice concerns, and get to know officers in your neighborhood.

Mequon

Event: Mequon Police Department Holiday Gift Wrapping Fundraiser
Date and Time: December 11th from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Location: Mequon Police Department - 11300 N. Buntrock Ave, Lower Level, East Entrance
Description: Bring your holiday gifts to the Mequon Police Department to have them wrapped by police department staff for a donation. Many wrapping options will be available. All proceeds will be donated to Advocates of Ozaukee.

Glendale

Event: Sprecher Brewery Paint Party
Date and Time: December 9th from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Location: Sprecher Brewery - 701 W Glendale Ave
Description: Fun evening painting your choice of an 18” Decorative Wood Sled. Tickets are $45 and includes everything needed to create your beautiful project. Register here.

 

Save