September 27, 2019
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Suicide Prevention Task Force Legislation

As I mentioned in previous e-updates, many of my colleagues have been working on the Speaker's Task Force on Suicide Prevention. This task force has been working tirelessly over the past several months, traveling all over the state while meeting with experts to come up with a comprehensive plan on addressing suicide in Wisconsin.

This week, the task force has released ten recommendations that all aim to help curb the growing issue of suicide in Wisconsin. 

  • Requires DHS to implement a suicide prevention program.  The program provides 2 FTE positions at DHS, and appropriates $250,000 per fiscal year.

  • Appropriates $500,000 biennially to DHS to organizations or coalitions of organizations for suicide prevention programming. Grants may be awarded up to $10,000 in a single fiscal year to an eligible organization or coalition which is required to do a match.

  • Appropriates $150,000 biennially to DHS to award grants to organization or coalitions to share guidelines and train staff at a firearm retailer or firearm range on how to avoid selling or renting a firearm to a person who may be considering suicide. DHS may award a one-year grant of up to $5,000 to an eligible organization or coalition with a matching grant.

  • Appropriates $250,000 per year to DPI for distribution in the form of competitive grants. Grants may be up to $1,000 per school and may be renewed up to three times.

  • Requires DPI annually award a grant to CESA to support the work of the WISH Center. The bill appropriates $70,000 in FY2019-20 and $200,000 in FY2020-21.

  • Provides that elementary, secondary, and post-secondary educational entities be required to include suicide prevention information on student identification cards. If enacted, the requirement would take effect July 1, 2020.

  • Recreates the former appropriation and biennially provides $10,000 for farmer tuition assistance grants to low-income farmers who enroll in a course on farm and business management techniques offered by a technical college.

  • The Psychology Examining Board must issue an interim psychologist license to an individual who satisfies all the requirements for a psychologist license, except for the experience requirement.

  • Requires that certain health professionals complete at least two hours of suicide prevention continuing education every two years in order to renew the applicable credential.

  • Letter recommending the Joint Committee on Finance approve a motion to award a grant to a nonprofit organization who operates a text-based or application-based suicide prevention program. 

These bills come during Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, which is meant to raise awareness of this serious issue by educating people on warning signs and available help. If you or someone you care about needs help, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800- 273-TALK (8255) or text the Wisconsin HOPELINE at 741741.

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!

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Tax Cuts

Analysis of a new memo released by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau reveals Republicans cut taxes by more than $13 billion since 2011. A typical Wisconsin family will save $2,000 over the ten year period in income tax alone.

As outlined in the memo, the current budget grows the annual tax cuts to more than $2.3 billion, which includes reductions by more than $1.2 billion in income and franchise taxes and economic development surcharges, $18 million in other general fund taxes and $1.1 billion in property taxes.

Area Schools have ACT Success

Two local schools fared very well in the recent ACT Test results that were released this week. Kohler High School had the third highest average score in the state, while Oostburg High School's 1.6 point increase was enough for the third highest increase in the state with 50 or more test takers.

Congratulations to all students and teachers on this success!

Office of Rep. Terry Katsma
State Capitol, Room 306 East
PO Box 8952
Madison, WI 53708

Toll-Free (888) 529-0026 or (608) 266-0656 |