January 17, 2020


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Assembly Republicans are hard at work addressing the issues that you sent us to Madison to address.  I want to make sure you hear about several important recent successes that the media may have failed to relate to you; unfortunately, I also have to report on a frustrating failure.


First: the Joint Finance Committee voted unanimously yesterday to deliver $100,000 in urgently needed suicide prevention funding.  Republicans prioritized these funds in the state budget (I was actually the author of that amendment), but if we hadn't acted yesterday, Governor Evers' interference would have delayed this funding by more than a year.  To their credit, committee Democrats ultimately decided to join Republican in yesterday's action, effectively overriding the Governor's earlier veto.


Similarly, committee Democrats supported another Republican motion to expand access to dentistry in underserved areas of the state.  This action too effectively overrode Governor Evers' prior veto.


Second: after months of public hearings (more than a dozen across the state), the Speaker's Task Force on Water Quality has recently unveiled a package of proposals for action.  Even in this divided government, the Legislature is finding ways to move forward with real ideas for ensuring access to clean water for future generations.  I'm a coauthor of four pieces of the package, and I'll tell you more in an upcoming newsletter; in the meantime, the Task Force's full report is accessible here.


Unfortunately, however, legislative Democrats refused to help Republicans address the critical shortage of skilled healthcare professionals.  In a nutshell: neighboring states including Minnesota, Iowa and Michigan all follow federal standards for the training required for Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), requiring 75 hours of instructional training and 16 hours of clinical training for CNA certification.  But Wisconsin's requirements are considerably steeper.  It is estimated that 1 in 5 caregiver positions are unfilled in our state; the Legislature passed a bill earlier this year, with Democrat support, to bring our training requirements in line with neighboring states and federal standards and help bring students into the field that much faster.  Despite bipartisan support and the endorsement of advocates including the Wisconsin Assisted Living Association and the Mayo Clinic Health System, Governor Evers blocked this solution; this week, the Legislature tried again, but this time, the Democrats who previously voted for this proposal changed their minds and voted to block it again.


Republicans are fighting hard on the issues that you have told us are important to you.  We're having more success, and forging more bipartisan solutions, than you may have heard about.


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... and GO PACK GO!!!


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More Stuff Worth Knowin'


  • This weekend (Saturday, January 18th and Sunday, January 19th) is one of two Free Fishing Weekends in Wisconsin in 2020.  If you're brave enough to venture out in the winter weather, residents and nonresidents alike may fish without a license statewide during these two days.  All other regular rules apply.  Many sportsmen's clubs use these biannual opportunities to host instructional events that encourage new fishermen to give it a try; more information about these clinics, and the entire weekend, is available here.  Or, if you can't make it this weekend, Wisconsin offers resident fishing licenses to first-time buyers for just $5.


  • Winter weather increases the chances that you may suffer damage to your home or automobile, so it might be a good time to refresh your awareness of your various insurance policies.  The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance offers quite a series of consumer publications on many types of insurance products.  At this time of year, you may be particularly interested in the Consumer's Guide to Auto Insurance and the Consumer's Guide to Homeowner's Insurance, but others caught my eye, too, including what to do after a storm damages your property; a buyer's guide for life insurance; tips for saving on your auto insurance; and much more.  All these publications are accessible online here or by mail free of charge.


  • Applications are now being accepted for Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin grants.  The program encourages farmers and businesses to sell Wisconsin food products right here in Wisconsin markets.  More details, including a link to the grant application and a report on previous grant awards/eligible projects, are available online here.


  • This may not be the best weekend of the year for landscaping and gardening, but believe it or not, the Wisconsin DNR says that this time of year is actually ideal for pruning trees.  During winter, trees are dormant; it's easier to work when there are no leaves on the trees; and, importantly, disease-carrying pests are inactive in the cold, reducing the chance that pruning could allow your tree to be infected or infested.  Read more in this week's DNR Weekly News.



Office of Representative Terry Katsma
State Capitol, Room 306 East
P.O. Box 8952
Madison, WI 53708

(608) 266-0656 |