I recently had the great privilege to visit the third-generation Zimbal Minkery for a behind-the-scenes look at their agricultural enterprise. The farm is in its 61st year of business and provides 120 full-time, year-round jobs (not counting the numerous other local businesses they work with). Click here for more photos from my tour. Thank you very much for providing me a glimpse into your operation!
The entire Assembly has met to vote on bills three times over the past ten days, and we are scheduled to meet again next week. Among the highlights of these recent sessions were bills to reform civil service employment procedures, the Government Accountability Board, Wisconsin's unique "John Doe" investigative process and campaign finance laws. I have described these bills in some detail in previous newsletters this fall; please feel welcome to read my statements on their passage.
I am also pleased to report that Assembly Bill 115, the measure I authored to help Wisconsin's cemeteries remain financially sustainable, passed with unanimous bipartisan support out of committee this week. I expect it to be passed by the entire Assembly next week, and since the Senate has already passed it, the bill will head directly to Governor Scott Walker for signature into law. You may have seen advertisements in local newspapers recently seeking private donations to help keep some Sheboygan County cemeteries afloat; this new law is going to help prevent cemeteries from relying on public assistance (whether by private donation or taxpayer-funded public works crews).
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 don't forget to set back your clocks by one hour tomorrow night!
Your Government Working for You
DMV customers encouraged to sign up for e-communications. Except for renewing a driver's license, nearly all other Wisconsin DMV business can be conducted online. For example, last year, the DMV processed more than 25 percent of its 4.7 million vehicle registration renewals online. Typically, renewal notice postcards are mailed to customers at least 30 days before license plates expire. But if you prefer to go "paperless," you may sign up for eNotify via the DMV website to receive notifications via e-mail and optional text message reminders.
Recycling in the City of Sheboygan. Nationwide, approximately 34 percent of municipal solid waste is recycled, but Sheboygan recycled only 23 percent of its waste in 2014. The transfer of city garbage to landfills is expensive, but the transfer of recyclables to repurposing centers is FREE for the city! Over the past few months, you may have received recycling brochures with your water bills or seen other advertisements aimed at educating the public. Your efforts are helping: September's total was up to nearly 33 percent of waste recycled. But there is still more progress to be made; click here for recycling guidelines and instructions for disposal of other items.
Tax incentives for businesses. The Department of Revenue offers two important online resources for business leaders. The Interactive Incentives Finder helps businesses identify tax incentives that may be available to them in Wisconsin. And this online resource center offers a convenient collection of links to available tax credits, deductions and grant programs aimed at growing the state's economy (plus many other background articles and helpful connections to other state agencies). Give these sites a try!
Cyber Security Awareness Month
Every day throughout October, the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection's (DATCP's) Consumer Protection Bureau has been posting a new tip on Facebook to help you and your family stay safe, avoid scams and protect your identities. I encourage you to check out the entire list, but here are a few good ones:
New month, new passwords. Consider changing your online passwords on the first day of each month. Your e-mail password should be the toughest to decode of all (because so many of your other accounts send password-related notifications or billing statements to you by e-mail). The best practice is to use a long combination of letters, numbers and special characters; a length of 20 to 32 characters is appropriate these days. Have trouble remembering long combinations? Try using the first line of your favorite song instead of a more personalized name or date that hackers could guess. Avoid using the same password for multiple accounts. And NEVER use "password" as your password.
Backup, backup, backup. Take steps to make sure you don't lose your important files, photos, music and videos. Regularly sync your mobile devices with your PC, and backup your computer to an external hard drive or cloud storage service.
Congratulations, Mr. Speaker!