March 4, 2016

Spring Legislative Session Update Part 2

Last week I outlined some of the bills that the State Assembly passed this year already. Below are a few more bills that have recently passed that will continue to reform state government.

Thank you to Governor Scott Walker for signing SB 486, which I authored with Senator Nass. The bill gives townships more tools to increase the efficiency of their sanitary district commissions as deemed necessary by the town board. Senator Nass and I introduced the bill on behalf of the Town of Delavan.

Shielding State Taxpayers

The Assembly passed AB 562, which will guarantee that no state taxpayer money will be spent either for the construction and/or the ongoing expenses of the proposed rail-guided streetcar in the city of Milwaukee. There is no evidence of a need for taxpayers from our area to subsidize the wish list of Milwaukee’s local government. The building of the streetcar alone is proposed to cost over $128 million, with additional funds needed for day-to-day operation.  This is on top of state taxpayers already spending over $64 million per year for a bus system in the Milwaukee area, an expenditure that I have advocated in past budgets to be reduced. On top of this, the legislature has already passed a ridesharing bill earlier this session that has led to the rise of private sector transit options like Uber and Lyft in Milwaukee. Quite simply, if the people of Milwaukee want a streetcar, they should pay for it entirely and not take much-needed transportation funds away from our area.

Meeting 21st Century Energy Needs

AB 384, a bill repealing Wisconsin’s nuclear moratorium, has passed both the Assembly and the Senate. Wisconsin's nuclear moratorium was established more than 30 years ago, when nuclear energy had been seen as questionable. Over the past few decades, advances in technology have resulted in nuclear energy emerging as a clean, safe, and affordable energy source. I believe that nuclear energy is something worth exploring to meet Wisconsin's future energy needs.

Repealing the nuclear moratorium will also allow Wisconsin to more easily cope with federal EPA mandates under President Obama’s “clean power plan,” which is aimed at combating global warming. In fact, the EPA has already forced multiple coal powered plants to shut down in Wisconsin.

However, thanks to a recent US Supreme Court decision and executive action by Governor Walker, Wisconsin’s state agencies no longer have to actively plan to further cut carbon emissions by 34% by 2030 – a contingency that could have cost the state $13.4 billion. I commend the Supreme Court and Governor Walker for standing up against such a federal overreach, which would ultimately result in higher energy costs to both small businesses and you, the consumer, with no real reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions due to the unbound actions of nations like China and India.

Cutting Red Tape & Unnecessary Regulations

Together, AB 619 and AB 871 cut red tape in various medical fields in order to streamline processes regarding government compliance. AB 619 allows the Medical College of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health to submit biannual reports to the legislature, rather than unnecessary annual reports. Meanwhile, AB 871 allows chiropractors to delegate services to properly trained and licensed employees in order to allow their office to function more efficiently. Removing this unneeded government red tape is a step in the right direction toward the common sense deregulation of Wisconsin.

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