March 19, 2015

State Assembly Passes Legislation this Week

This week, the State Assembly passed multiple pieces of legislation. Notable bills included both increasing the speed limit to 70 mph on certain highways as well as a measure to improve our schools in Wisconsin.

Increasing the Speed Limit
Rural interstates and freeways may now be increased to 70 mph if safe to do so.

The Assembly passed Assembly Bill 27, which would allow the Department of Transportation to raise the speed limit to 70 mph on certain rural interstates and divided expressways.

The speed limit had been 70 mph in Wisconsin up until 1973 when the federal government forced states to lower the limit to conserve fuel due to a nationwide fuel shortage.

It is important to note that Wisconsin is currently the only state in the Midwest with a 65 mph maximum (see map below). Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, and Utah all found a decline in traffic fatalities after increasing their speed limits. In fact, traffic safety experts report that increased speed limits have reduced the number of accidents by decreasing driversí variance in speed.

I voted in favor of the bill because I feel it will not only help business and tourism, but it will also allow those who commute to get home to their families faster.

The bill passed the State Assembly on a bipartisan 76-22 vote and now moves onto the State Senate.

The map above illustrates that Wisconsin is the only Midwestern state with a 65 mph maximum speed limit.

Improving Wisconsin Schools
Bill aims to get more information to parents, educators, and legislators.

The Assembly also passed a bill aimed at promoting transparency and improving high school education. The legislation, AB 56, would require the UW System to identify high schools that had graduating students requiring remedial math and English courses at a UW System school.

Statistics show that one in five students is taking remedial courses in English and math in the UW System. Students who have to take the remedial classes have both a greater chance of not completing their freshman year and have a higher financial burden.

Specifically, the bill would require an annual report from the UW System on which high schools had students requiring remedial classes in college. The report would be given to appropriate legislative committees, but the names of the students are not included to protect the individualís privacy. The goal of the legislation is to provide information to legislators, educators, and parents.

I voted for this bill, which passed unanimously. Quite simply, our students should be more prepared and not taking high school level courses in college.

Go Badgers!

Finally, don't forget to cheer the Wisconsin men's basketball team onto victory Friday night. The game will be broadcast on TBS with a tip-off time of 8:20pm Central Time.

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