April 2, 2021
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Mursau Bills to Receive Public Hearings

Next week, three of the bills I've been working on this session will be having Public Hearings, where members of the public can share their thoughts and testimony on the proposals. These Public Hearings are an important part of the process, as they allow the committee members reviewing the proposal to hear directly from members of the public about their thoughts on the bills. Public testimony from these hearings helps committee members as they review the bills and decide whether they should continue to advance through the legislative process.

On Wednesday, Senate Bill (SB) 187 will have a Public Hearing in the Senate Committee on Transportation and Local Government. Testimony on this bill can be presented to the committee either in person or in written form by sending it to the Committee Chair, Senator Petrowski.

Under current law, members of the town, village, county board, or city council are generally unable to hold any office or position that the board or council has the authority to fill. However, a specific statutory provision allows a town board member to receive an hourly wage, not exceeding $15,000 each year, as a town employee. Senate Bill 187 extends the same provision to members of a village board. This change would give smaller communities some flexibility in filling necessary positions that have been vacated by village staff who have quit, retired, or need to take a leave of absence for an extended period of time.

Two of my other bills, Senate Bill (SB) 248 and Senate Bill (SB) 269, will also be receiving Public Hearings in the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy on Thursday. Testimony on these two bills can be presented to the committee either in person, virtually or in written form by sending it to the Committee Chair, Senator Cowles

Senate Bill 248 is a proposal that would help Wisconsin's E-Cycle program function better by providing more clarity to stakeholders and helping the DNR collect information that can help improve the program's future. Some of the changes the bill would make include allowing E-Cycle collections from all charter, private and tribal schools to count towards the manufacturers recycling targets. It also makes changes to the manufacturers annual registration fee, exempts smaller manufacturers from the annual registration fee, and creates a grant program funded by these collected fees that would go towards increasing access to collection sites and events in rural areas. 

Senate Bill 269 is a bill that would make changes to our UTV weight limits. In the past year, many of us have taken advantage of the great outdoor recreation opportunities Wisconsin has to offer, and off-roading in particular has grown in popularity, especially among our retired populations. Unfortunately, some who have purchased new UTVs, the fastest growing type of off-road vehicles, were disappointed to find out that they couldn't register their new vehicles in Wisconsin because they were heavier than the state's limit of 2,000 lbs. Not only does it put consumers in a tough spot, but it also presents challenges for our small UTV dealers across the state whose potential customers are currently forced to find trail-riding opportunities out-of-state. This bill would address the problem by raising the maximum weight limit for UTVs to 3,000 lbs. 

Vaccine Availability Expanding

With the fantastic job our health care providers and vaccinators have been doing in getting doses administered as efficiently as possible, we've been seeing more and more groups become eligible for the vaccine. The current list of eligible groups can be found on the DHS' webpage. With the steady progress we've been seeing, DHS has announced that starting on April 5, all individuals ages 16 and older will become eligible for the vaccine. Every community is different though, and some have been able to start vaccinating certain eligible groups earlier than others, so it still may take some time for vaccinators to work through previously eligible groups to get to newly eligible groups.

With over 2,000 registered COVID-19 vaccinators across the state, there are a number of options on where to get a vaccine, including health care providers, pharmacies, local health departments, and community-based vaccination sites. A great way to check what the local options are is through your local health department, or the DHS' Map of Vaccine Providers. Since vaccines are just one tool of many that we have to stop the spread of COVID-19, even once fully vaccinated, it's advised to continue to take precautions in public spaces or when visiting unvaccinated people. DHS has shared some helpful best-practice information for people who've been fully vaccinated. 

Budget Listening Sessions 

Senator Felzkowski and I appreciated hearing from folks around the district at the recent local budget listening sessions. If you weren't able to make the local sessions but still wanted to share your thoughts on what our priorities should be, please feel free to reach out to my office.

If you'd also like to share your budget thoughts with the Joint Finance Committee (budget committee), they have four upcoming listening sessions, all of which will also be streamed on Wisconsin Eye:

In order to give everyone the opportunity to speak, speakers will be given two minutes to share their thoughts on the budget. The primary purpose of the public hearings will be to hear from Wisconsin citizens, so while committee members may ask questions of speakers, it's not meant to be a debate. If you are unable to attend any of these hearings, input can still be shared with the committee through their email. They've also created a website that provides an opportunity for Wisconsinites to share their budget thoughts and priorities with the committee at large.

DWD Unemployment Update

With the high number of unemployment claims being filed in Wisconsin and nationwide in recent months, delays in determinations and payments have been a too common occurrence. As a legislator, I'm able to reach out to DWD and make an inquiry on your behalf if you are experiencing issues or delays with your unemployment claim.

Click here to request an Unemployment Claim Inquiry

COVID-19 Quick Links

Below are some quick links to essential COVID-19 resources and information:

Follow the Legislative Action

In order to stay up to date on any legislation, proposals, or your legislator, a free notification service is available through the Wisconsin State Legislature's website. You can sign up for nightly personalized email notifications based on our state's legislative activity. This is a wonderful way to stay informed about state politics and proposals that you are interested in.