Pictured with Rep. Tyler Vorpagel (right) and me (left) is Mr. Jerry Baumann (center), Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Aviation Heritage Center of Wisconsin, which is located within Sheboygan County Memorial Airport in Sheboygan Falls. Jerry was in Madison yesterday when the Assembly officially designated the Center as the State of Wisconsin's Aviation Heritage Center, honoring all those who have worked to preserve the unique civil, commercial and military aviation history of our state. The Center receives no government support and charges no admission fees, but it houses some amazing exhibits! I plan to visit sometime soon and check it out for myself; the Center attracts thousands of visitors each year from around the world.
I also want to highlight a big hiring event coming up next week. The Random Lake Job Fair will be going on all day on Wednesday, March 15th. Twenty or more Sheboygan County employers will be present at Five Pillars Banquet Hall, W2290 Hwy K, Random Lake, hosting on-the-spot job interviews for hundreds of available positions from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM. Don't miss it!
As always, I encourage you to follow my updates on social media or contact my office directly with your questions. Best wishes on your weekend!
The Right to Try
This week, the Assembly passed a "Right to Try" bill with broad bipartisan support. If passed into law, Assembly Bill (AB) 69 would give terminally ill patients access to investigational treatment options that are in the process of obtaining federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval but are not yet available on pharmacy shelves.
The FDA already allows a patient access to potentially lifesaving investigational drugs as long as the patient is a participant in the advanced stages of that drug's clinical testing. Problem is, not everybody is eligible to participate in the official studies, and in many such instances, time is of the essence. If AB 69 becomes law, then Wisconsin would join 33 other states that have taken action since 2014 to cut red tape and give those patients another option when every other option has failed. Actually, Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson recently introduced a similar bill that would have nationwide impact; President Donald Trump himself expressed frustration during his recent address to Congress at the slow, burdensome drug approval process that exists at the FDA.
Everything about Wisconsin's version of the idea is optional and maintains all stakeholders' rights. In other words, the drug manufacturer is not required to make the experimental drug available; the insurance company is not required to pay for it; and the doctor is not required to recommend it. But patients who are otherwise out of options would have new hope; a Texas doctor recently testified before the U.S. Senate that he has successfully prolonged the lives of at least 78 patients under that state's new Right to Try law.
AB 69 passed in the Wisconsin State Assembly this week by an 85-13 vote, with all Republicans and many Democrats voting in support. The bill is awaiting committee action in the State Senate.
Public Listening Sessions Announced
State Senator Devin LeMahieu, Representative Tyler Vorpagel and I will be hosting a series of public listening sessions in Sheboygan County next week. These are great opportunities for the general public to meet us and let us know your thoughts about whatever is on your mind! As the legislature begins to deliberate on the 2017-19 state budget bill, this is an ideal time for you to make us aware of your priorities. I hope to see you there!
Sheboygan Falls Memorial Library (with Sen. LeMahieu, Rep. Vorpagel and me)
330 Buffalo Street, Sheboygan Falls
Friday, March 17th from 2:00 PM until 2:30 PM
Cedar Grove Public Library (with Sen. LeMahieu and me)
131 Van Altena Avenue, Cedar Grove
Friday, March 17th from 3:00 PM until 3:30 PM
UW-Sheboygan main building "Wombat Room" (with Sen. LeMahieu, Rep. Vorpagel and me)
1 University Drive, Sheboygan
Saturday, March 18th from 9:00 AM until 10:00 AM