August 6, 2021


State Budget Comparison Summary Released

This week, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) has published a helpful document that describes each of the sections of the state budget signed into law, including all financial modifications recommended by the Governor and Legislature. It's a great way to get a better idea of what work was done by those involved in the budget process, and to compare what was kept and removed in the final version signed into law.

It's also quite helpful because it's written not in legal language, but in everyday language that's easy to follow regardless of your financial experience. The document is organized into six sections, along with a helpful Table of Contents, History of the 2021-23 Budget, Brief Chronology of the 2021-23 Budget, Key to Abbreviations, and a User's Guide. It's a great way to get a more in-depth look at what's all included in this budget, and is provided in a user-friendly way as well. 

The final Comparative Summary for the budget is available in three different formats: by agency, as summary tables, or as the full 910 page document. Along with this publication, LFB has also recently published a memo that describes state tax and fee modifications that were included in the budget. I hope you find these resources as helpful as my staff and I have.

Question of the Week: 
Kayleigh's Law - Lifetime Restraining Orders

Legislation was recently passed and signed into law in Arizona called Kayleigh's Law. The law provides the ability for the victim to seek continued protection from contact, even if a perpetrator's probation is over. This year, Arizona became the first state in the US to offer these extended protections to victims through the creation of lifetime restraining orders. In Wisconsin, nearly one in five high school students reported that someone forced them to "do sexual things they didn't want to do." Nationally, one in three women and one in six men have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime. On top of that, 90% of victims know the person who assaulted them.

Right now, Wisconsin's restraining orders can be issued for an adult for up to four years and for a child up to two years. There is the ability to extend the restraining order by four years for adults and two years for children, with the option for 10 years for adults and 5 years for children if there is a substantial risk that there is a substantial risk to the survivor. Rep. Dittrich has introduced Kayleigh's Law in Wisconsin this session, which would allow for a lifetime permanent restraining order to specifically protect survivors of 1st degree, 2nd degree or 3rd degree sexual assault from their convicted assaulter. So essentially, if the person requesting the restraining order has been the victim of a sexual assault committed by the person against whom he or she requests a restraining order, the restraining order on the perpetrator must be permanent.

Supporters of the bill say that it provides a necessary protection for victims of sexual assault. Because 90% of victims know the person who assaulted them, there are concerns that after their probation, their assailant is able to legally just reinsert themselves back into the victims lives. Because survivors of sexual assault had their safety violated, restraining orders can rebuild that sense of safety, but supporters of the bill say that when the restraining order or probation terminates, any rebuilt sense of safety can end. With Kayleigh’s Law, survivors of sexual violence have another layer of protection for their lifetime.

Opponents of the bill are concerned that it makes the assailants pay for their actions beyond the terms of their sentence. They are concerned that it would offer no option for removal for good conduct, meaning that people's crimes in their youth could impact them for the rest of their life. 

With the importance of protecting victims of sexual assault in mind, I would like to hear your thoughts on this proposed bill. Please take a moment to answer my question of the week:

Click here for my Question of the Week

Last Week's Results:
Penalties for Exploiting Vulnerable Individuals

I've heard from many people around the 36th Assembly District in response to last week's question. The chart below represents the responses from constituents to the question as of Wednesday afternoon.

Enjoy Wisconsin State Fair or
Wabeno Arts & Music Festival

With the warm, sunny weather we're having, now's a great time to get out and enjoy some of the outdoor festivals Wisconsin has to offer. The Department of Tourism has links and information to fairs and festivals all over the state, including in our area, for those looking to enjoy the warm weather this summer. 

Close to home, the Wabeno Arts and Music Festival (WAM) is this weekend, with live music, fine art, silent auctions, raffles and more this Saturday, August 7. It's a great way to hear local musicians and see the great art made by folks in our area, and it's always made for a great day!

For those interested, the Wisconsin State Fair starts this weekend as well, and runs from August 5 to 15 in West Allis. They've packed a lot into those days, with great food, live music, vendors, livestock competitions, rides and more. Check out their daily schedule for the events each day to plan your trip!

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.