August 18, 2017




Yesterday, I cast my vote in favor of bringing Foxconn's $10 billion capital investment in North America right here to Wisconsin.  The legislation passed by the Assembly makes several improvements to the original proposal in response to public feedback over the past several weeks.  Not a penny of taxpayer money will be awarded to the company until shovels are in the ground and good family-supporting jobs (performed by people, not robots) have been created.  Any disruption to wetlands must result in twice as many wetlands being reconstructed nearby; federal and state air and water quality standards will continue to apply; and the Department of Natural Resources will have jurisdiction.  I appreciate the concerns raised in good faith about making sure that taxpayer money is not wasted and that our environment is appropriately protected.  I believe that this legislation addresses these concerns.  I also believe that we are at a turning point in Wisconsin's history that will fundamentally shape our economy (for the better) for decades; it would be foolish to let such an opportunity get away, and I hope that the State Senate will also move soon to make this project a reality.


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!


More New Ideas


Even as the Foxconn deal firms up, other ideas have been introduced (or soon will be) for consideration.  Many more steps have to happen yet before these ideas might become state law, but here are a few of the proposals to be debated later this year and early next.  What do you think?


  • LRB-3795, authored by Rep. Joel Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc) and Sen. Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg), aims to further deter sex crimes and the trafficking of children.  Under current law, patronizing a prostitute is a Class A misdemeanor; the bill would make it a felony offense to patronize a child, even if the suspect didn't know that the person was under the age of 18.


  • LRB-4063, authored by Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) and Sen. Mark Miller (D-Monona), would enable Wisconsin wineries to provide free taste samples of fermented cider produced by other wineries.  Under current law, cider producers can only provide free samples of their own products.  Michigan has a growing new apple and pear cider industry; Wisconsin law presently doesn't allow that industry to take root here.


  • LRB-4020, authored by Rep. Ken Skowronski (R-Franklin) and Sen. Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point), would reduce the resident deer hunting license fee from $21.25 to $14.25 for veterans who are 70 years and older.  The bill would also exempt these veterans from paying the existing $2.25 additional fee that permits the use of a crossbow with a valid archery license.


  • LRB-3352, authored by Rep. Bob Gannon (R-West Bend) and Sen. Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville), allows nonprofit organizations who hold a temporary Class B alcohol retail license (for example, for a one-time fundraiser event) to purchase the beer or wine from a retailer.  Under current law, these organizations must purchase the alcohol through a distributor, which may not make sense for a modestly-sized, one-time event.


  • LRB-2337, authored by Rep. Joe Sanfelippo (R-New Berlin) and Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), provides stiffer disincentives for providing criminals with guns.  The bill would create a mandatory minimum 4-year prison sentence for committing a crime with a gun if the individual has been convicted of one felony or three misdemeanors within the past five years; it would become a felony offense to purchase a firearm with the intent of transferring it to a person who is prohibited from possessing a gun; and it would become a felony offense to furnish or possess a gun for a person who is prohibited from possessing a gun.  The bill would not the class of individuals who are prohibited from legally possessing a gun.


Standing Up for Wisconsin's Youth


The Assembly Speaker's Task Force on Foster Care begins our tour across the state next week Wednesday, August 23rd.  Our meeting in Wausau will begin with comments from invited speakers; the general public is encouraged to attend and speak also.  The task force will be traveling the state in the weeks ahead, learning about the challenges faced by youth and families and seeking ideas for improvement to government services.


Next week's event will highlight the Community Response Program (CRP), an idea that began in 2006 to help prevent vulnerable families from "falling through the cracks."  The voluntary CRP program makes support available to families who have been reported to county child protective services but are not actually receiving services.  For example, if a case of child neglect is suspected but not proven, CRP assistance in the form of home visits, case management, goal-setting, etc. can help get a family through a difficult situation.  We're looking forward to collecting new ideas from our communities!




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