Welcome to My E-Update

Thank you for taking the time out of your busy week to read my e-update. I hope these weekly newsletters will provide you all with a glimpse of the work I will be doing at the State Capitol in Madison. If you ever need assistance with a state agency or have a concern regarding state issues, please do not hesitate to contact my office. 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.

Inauguration

On Monday, I was pleased to join my legislative colleagues down in Madison at the State Capitol, as we took our oaths of office and were inaugurated as the 105th Wisconsin State Legislature. I look forward to representing the hardworking folks of the 35th Assembly District by being a conservative, principled voice for the Northwoods. Click here to read my official press release.

Rep. Callahan signs the roll book after taking the oath of office.
Pictured l to r: Rep. Mursau, Rep. Callahan, Sen. Felzkowski, & Rep. Swearingen
Committee Appointments

This session, I am pleased to have been appointed the Vice-Chair of the Assembly Committee on Corrections. I look forward to working with the Chair of the committee, Rep. Schraa, as well as the other members of the committee.  

In addition to that, I will also be serving as a member on the following committees:

COVID-19 Relief Legislation Passes the Assembly

COVID-19 has taken an incredible toll on our state, and the 35th District is certainly no exception. I want to begin by expressing my sincere thanks to all those workers in the district who have worked continuously throughout this difficult time, including our healthcare workers, first responders, grocers, teachers, and others. You are truly appreciated. 

Back in April, the State Assembly passed legislation, drafted with input involving Republican and Democrat legislators, and also healthcare providers, small business owners, and many constituents throughout the state. After passing on a widely bipartisan 97-2 vote in the Assembly and a unanimous 32-0 vote in the State Senate, this legislation was signed into law by Governor Evers as 2019 Wisconsin Act 185. Click here to read a memo on Act 185 authored by the nonpartisan Wisconsin Legislative Council.

Unfortunately, I was not a part of the legislature at that time to be able to vote on those important matters. With that said, as one of my first actions in the State Assembly, I was proud to sign on as a co-author to Assembly Bill (AB) 1. This legislation contains over 40 provisions, aimed at assisting Wisconsinites who have been negatively affected by this horrible virus.

I would like to highlight some provisions in AB 1 that I think will be especially important to the 35th:

  • Ensuring the availability of vaccinations by allowing pharmacy students and dentists to administer COVID-19 vaccines
    • Prohibiting employers, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), and local health officers from mandating the vaccine
    • Prohibiting local public health officers and DHS from closing places of worship
  • Assisting parents with safe options that will allow them to provide their kids with the best education possible
    • Easing the open enrollment process
    • Requiring school boards to vote every 14 days on their decision to go virtual
  • Requiring the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development to eliminate the unemployment insurance (UI) backlog
    • Governor must provide a plan to address claims backlog by January 31st
    • Extending call center hours to 12 hours/day seven days/week until numbers return to January and February 2020 levels

Yesterday, the Assembly convened for a floor session and considered AB 1. I was proud to support it once again and see that it passed the Assembly. AB 1 is now on its way for consideration in the Senate. Click here to view yesterday's Assembly floor session on WisconsinEye. Click here to read my press release on the passage of this important legislation.

Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Association

Wednesday morning, I met with Bill Elliot and Kathi Kilgore of the Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Association (WH&LA) to discuss issues important to the association's members. As you are likely aware, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on traveling and tourism throughout the state. Through my ongoing discussions with my constituents, legislative colleagues, and organizations, such as the WH&LA, I look forward to finding solutions that will help this important industry in the Northwoods rebound. 

Rep. Callahan asks a question to Kathi Kilgore via Zoom.

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.).