March 2, 2017



The AT&T It Can Wait virtual reality simulator made a stop in the Assembly Parlor in the Capitol this week.  Although the photo may look a little silly, what isn't silly is that as many as 7 in 10 people engage in smartphone activities while driving.  You can check out the same simulated distracted driving experience that I experienced (yes, I crashed) by clicking here.  Remember: the most important thing you're doing when driving is, well, driving!


This week I circulated a new bill that would make tax filing a lot easier for retired folks who transfer money directly from their IRA retirement accounts to charity.  Federal law already allows people to do this tax-free, but Wisconsin law hasn't kept pace; in some situations, Wisconsin taxes retirees who make use of the existing federal rollover tool.  I'll keep you posted with developments, but I think this is going to be a step forward for nonprofit organizations, and it's definitely going to make tax time simpler for some of Wisconsin's retirees. 


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; it looks like the warm weather is coming back!


Setting the Record(s) Straight



There has been some confusion in recent days about a proposal working its way through the legislature.  State law currently requires that local governments, school districts and technical colleges publish the minutes of all of their meetings (the records of business that has already been conducted) in print in the local newspaper.


Assembly Bill 70, if passed into law, would instead allow these entities to meet the publishing requirement by posting meeting minutes on a website and in print in one public place.  It is estimated that this idea would, for example, save the Green Bay School District $12,000 per year; the City of Eau Claire at least $11,000 per year; Fond du Lac County at least $7,200 per year; and so on.  Better yet, having meeting minutes published online would allow for better public access (especially for non-newspaper subscribers) and electronic "searchability" that doesn't exist right now.  The bill allows for these entities to continue publishing minutes in the newspaper as they do under current law if they wish; it would simply remove the state-level requirement that they do so.  The bill would have no effect on current requirements for giving public notice of upcoming meetings and agendas.


The bill has widespread bipartisan support, but I want to know what you think before any public hearings on the idea are held.  Do you think this idea is an improvement on our current system, or would you prefer to stick with the existing requirement?


Free Storm Spotter Training


Have you ever wanted to become an official storm spotter?  The National Weather Service and Sheboygan County Emergency Management are sponsoring a free storm spotter class and severe weather safety training led by National Weather Service meteorologists.  Come on out to the Aviation Heritage Center Hangar, N6191 Resource Drive, Sheboygan Falls on Monday evening March 20th from 6:30 until 8:30 PM.  The training is free; the class is free; the general public is welcome to attend.  (You don't even need to register ahead of time!)  Class features include training on when and how to report dangerous weather conditions and preparing for weather events such as tornadoes, wind, flash floods, lightning and hail.




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Room 208 North, State Capitol ● PO Box 8952 ● Madison, WI 53708
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