Welcome to My E-Update

Thank you for taking the time to read my e-update. It was a busy week in Madison with the governor's State of the State Address, my first Sporting Heritage Committee Hearing, and more. I look forward to sharing an update about my week with you. With the new legislative session under way, my staff and I are already working hard to prepare some bills that will benefit the 35th Assembly District. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any thoughts on legislative ideas or if you ever need assistance with a state agency. Either myself or my staff will get back to you as soon as we can.

Click on the photo above to view a video about the representative and his legislative priorities on behalf of the 35th District this session.

Governor Evers' DNR Fails to Answer Questions

Wednesday morning, the Assembly Committee on Sporting Heritage held a Joint Informational Hearing with the Senate Committee on Sporting Heritage, Small Business and Rural Issues. The purpose was to discuss the process of reinstating the annual harvesting season of the gray wolf in Wisconsin, since it was delisted from the federal endangered species list. My colleagues and I listened to testimony from constituents and interest groups on behalf of their members regarding reinstating the wolf hunt. Click here to watch Wednesday's hearing on WisconsinEye. 

It was announced that the gray wolf would be delisted from the federal endangered species list on November 3, 2020. This change then took effect on January 4, 2021. Following, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) was required by 2011 Act 169 to establish an annual wolf harvesting season that runs from October 15th to the last day of February. As of yet, the department has not done so.

With that said, I was extremely disappointed that we did not hear from the DNR during Wednesday's hearing. The department did not show up to this important meeting to answer questions from the committees. While staff from the DNR did provide written testimony, it was unprofessionally provided to us five minutes before the meeting and included shameful excuses by the department. I believe, by not holding this wolf hunt, Governor Tony Evers' DNR is blatantly ignoring state statute. Click here to read my press release on this matter.

Rep. Callahan listens to testimony from Scott Pitta from the Wisconsin Conservation Congress
COVID-19 Relief Bill Protections Removed

In last week's e-update, I told you about Assembly Bill (AB) 1, and about the many ways it would benefit the 35th Assembly District and the rest of Wisconsin. This included providing protections from government overreach, solutions to fixing the Unemployment Insurance claims backlog at the governor's mismanaged Department of Workforce Development (DWD), and safe education options for parents that work for their families. I was proud to sign on as a co-author to this bill and vote in favor of it when it came before me in the Assembly. 

Unfortunately, when AB 1 went to the State Senate, many of these protections that were initially a part of the legislation were removed before its passage. I encourage you to click here and look through this memo authored by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, which details the comparison of the provisions of AB 1 as passed by the Assembly and then the Senate. Since the Senate removed many of the provisions included in the initial bill, I have heard concerns from many of my constituents who want these provisions added back in.

My legislative colleagues and I are continuing our discussions on AB 1 and COVID-19 relief for the state. Many of the reasons why I initially co-authored the bill were removed, so I too have concerns with this legislation now. Please continue to contact me or my office if you would like to share your thoughts on this legislation. I enjoy hearing from you.

State of the State Address

Tuesday evening, you may have watched Governor Tony Evers' annual State of the State Address, which he gave virtually. While much of the governor's speech seemed to focus on blaming Republicans, he seemed to forget his own administration's errors during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as his Department of Workforce Development's (DWD) massive backlog of Unemployment Insurance claims. I would just like to say how proud I am of the actions of folks in the 35th Assembly District during this pandemic. These tough times have really shown how our local communities have been able to come together and help one another out.

One topic the governor and I could agree on was broadband expansion. This is one of my top legislative priorities during my time in the legislature. High-speed broadband is essential in today's society, whether it be in business, education, healthcare; you name it. The COVID-19 pandemic has only accentuated the fact that residents who live in rural areas of the state, like the 35th District, are restricted in their ability to access high-speed broadband internet. I hope to continue these discussions as we look forward to the state budget process and will do what I can to expand broadband in the district.

Click here to read my press release regarding the governor's address.

Click on the photo above to view the governor's State of the State Address on WisconsinEye.

Article V Convention of States Resolution

Since the legislative session began, I've already heard from many of my constituents asking to call for an Article V Convention of the States. Last session, 2019 Assembly Joint Resolution (AJR) 77 was passed by the State Assembly, but, unfortunately due to COVID-19, was not brought before the State Senate for consideration before the end of the legislative session. This legislation, if passed by both houses in our state legislature, would have added to an ongoing petition of other state legislatures calling for the Convention of the States to consider amendments to the United States Constitution that impose fiscal restrains on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office for its officials and for members of Congress.

Wednesday morning before my Sporting Heritage Committee Hearing, I met with members of the Convention of States Project to discuss what an Article V Convention of States would mean for our state and our nation. In my discussions with constituents and after having my questions answered by the folks from the Project, I look forward to joining with my legislative colleagues in supporting this important resolution once it has been re-introduced later this session.

Stay Up to Date

One of the best ways to keep up with what is happening in Madison is to sign up for the legislature's notification tracking system. This service provides you the opportunity to track legislative activities in Madison, including committee meetings, floor sessions, and more. Upon creation of a free account, you can sign up to receive notifications about specific bills of committees, as well as legislative activity pertaining to a certain subject (i.e., sporting heritage, transportation, etc.).