May 14, 2021

  

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Assembly Votes on Election Reform &
Elder Abuse

This week, the Assembly was in session and passed a number of bills to improve election integrity and protect children and seniors in Wisconsin.

One of the election integrity bills addresses the issue of private organizations providing funding directly to local governments to help administer elections. In the past, some private corporations would give funding to just select municipalities, which not only created unequal funding between cities for election procedures but also raises concerns about election influence. To address this issue, I voted in favor of this bill that would require any future donations for election administration from private corporations would have to go through the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC). That way the funding could not target specific areas, and it would be distributed statewide on a per-capita basis so all areas could benefit.

Another bill we passed addressed access to what happens at WEC meetings. In the past, the WEC would wait until their next meeting to approve their previous meeting's minutes. While this is standard procedure with commissions and boards, I agree with the bill authors that we need to make sure our election commission is as transparent as possible. That's why I voted in favor of the bill that would require the WEC to post meeting minutes and motion language on its website within 48 hours of the meeting. This will ensure the public has as much access as possible to the proceedings of the WEC.

While the issue of election reform is a hot-button issue, I believe these two bills are ones that we can all agree on. They help ensure funding for administering elections is distributed equally around the state, and that folks have as much access as possible to the WEC proceedings. That's why I voted in favor of their passage, and I hope to see these reforms signed into law soon. 

In addition to working on election issues, the Assembly also passed several bills to address elder abuse in Wisconsin. These bills came out of the work done by Attorney General Schimel's Task Force on Elder Abuse, and aim to prevent physical and financial exploitation of Wisconsin's seniors. In 2020 alone, over $25 million was stolen from Wisconsin's seniors, so I'm proud to have voted on three bills to work on these issues. The bills would increase criminal penalties for crimes against the elderly, and expand tools of financial professionals to catch and prevent fraudulent transactions. These changes would further deter bad actors and provide more peace of mind for Wisconsin's seniors. 

State of the Tribes Address 

Before the Assembly voted on Tuesday, both houses of the legislature came together for the State of the Tribes address. This is an opportunity for a representative from one of Wisconsin's tribes to address the Legislature, Governor and other key officials in the state.

As the chair of the Special Committee on State-Tribal Relations, I always look forward to this address. This year, we heard from John Johnson Sr., President of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and I appreciated the insights he shared with us.

Question of the Week: 
Mandatory Poll Work for State Elected Officials

Last session, I began a question of the week survey for the 36th Assembly District, and I am continuing that this session. For the first question of the week this session, I want to hear your thoughts on a bill introduced in the legislature recently. 

This recent November election has shown us that it's important to ensure we all can trust in the results of our election. Confusion about rules and processes can sometimes lead to misunderstandings, which impacts voter confidence, particularly if those misunderstandings are coming from our elected officials. When voters feel confident that elections are being held lawfully and transparently, they are more likely to vote and participate in the democratic process. 

Though a number of state elected officials already serve as poll workers, a newly introduced bill would require that people holding non-judicial state elective office serve as an election official at the polls on Election Day. By completing the required poll-worker training and working a minimum of 8 hours at the polls, the bill author believes this would give our state elected leaders greater insight and first-hand knowledge of the process. By having that experience and training, elected officials would then be more prepared to work with local officials and constituents to address questions or concerns regarding the process. The knowledge would also help state elected officials understand the issues better when working on election-related legislation. 

Elections are important to the security of our democracy, so I'd 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

Budget Survey Available Online

As I mentioned in my last e-update, the paper version of my budget survey is heading to mailboxes soon. I've heard from a number of folks already, and if you would like to fill out the survey early you can find it online on my webpage:

36th Assembly District Online Budget Survey

Request Unemployment Inquiry

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.