November 12, 2021

  

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Assembly Approves New Legislative &
Congressional District Maps

Every ten years after the Census, state Legislatures are tasked with redrawing legislative and congressional district maps to reflect population changes. As someone living in a district that had major changes when redistricting happened in 2011, I can understand the challenges and worries that residents face when major updates to district lines are made.

Because of the important role our new district maps will play in future elections, drawing our maps in a fairly, non-biased and transparent manner is essential. I believe that this redistricting process was arguably one of the most public-facing one's that Wisconsin has seen. This year, the Legislature took on the task with some new tools, including a brand-new website that allowed Wisconsinites the opportunity to submit their own ideas for new district maps. In fact, I shared the link to that website in a number of my e-updates earlier this session.

These maps submitted on the website and from other interested groups were all reviewed and taken into consideration when drafting the maps the Assembly voted on this week. I believe based on the immense public input and work on this, we have come up with fair maps that reflect the population changes, and I anticipate that Governor Evers and his Democrat colleagues will feel the same. 

Timber Mill Bill Passes Assembly

This week, I was proud to get the chance to vote in favor of Assembly Bill 682 in the Assembly. The passage of this bill means we are one step closer to ensuring that the Verso and Park Falls paper mills remain open and the jobs at those facilities aren't lost.

The forestry industry contributes $24.5 billion in goods and services and provides $7.1 billion in value added each year to the state. It's a major employer in Wisconsin, representing almost 12% of all the state's manufacturing jobs. In 31 counties in Wisconsin, including Forest, Langlade, Marinette, Oconto, and Shawano Counties, forest products industry is one of the top ten employers, and every 10 jobs in the industry support an additional 13 jobs in other sectors in the state.

This bill would ensure that the Verso and Park Falls paper mills don't close, and that the people working at these facilities aren't left unemployed. I'm proud to see that my fellow Assembly colleagues shared my support for this bill, and hope that the State Senate votes in favor of its passage soon. 

Question of the Week: 
Solar Facilities on Farmland

Clean energy has become more and more popular in past decades, with solar panels being put on residential houses, businesses and large lots of land to generate electricity. However, with the increasing use of solar, there's also been concerns about the impact it has, particularly large-scale solar facilities. Often, solar companies will purchase large lots of farmland in order to set up these large solar facilities, with limited input or approval opportunities from the people living in the area. Under current law, if a project will generate more than 100 megawatts of electricity, it doesn't need approval from the local municipality. 

Supporters of these large-scale solar facilities say that they are doing their part to help preserve the environment by creating clean energy for the area. They say that these solar farms provide reliable, renewable energy without causing pollution, and say that the land can be still used for crop-land or grazing, or can easily be returned to regular agricultural purposes if desired.

Opponents of these large-scale solar facilities are concerned with the amount of farmland that they take out of rotation and causes nearby property values to plummet. In addition, the process of installing the facility and it's presence also disturbs local ecosystems. On top of that, there are concerns that the panels themselves will leak chemicals into the ground or that strong electromagnetic waves from the facility can harm those living nearby.

With the increasing use of solar energy, I would like to hear your thoughts on large solar facilities built on farmland. Please take a moment to answer my question of the week:

Click here for my Question of the Week

Last Week's Results:
Increase Veterans Outreach & Recovery Program Staff

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 Friday morning. 

New Round of Broadband Expansion
Grants Announced

The Public Service Commission (PSC) recently announced that the next round of Broadband Expansion Grants will be made available soon. This means that $100 million in funding to expand high-speed broadband internet to unserved and underserved areas will be available for communities to apply for. The application for this upcoming round will be available on the PSC's website on December 1st

This program is a great way to help get broadband expanded or improved in your area. These grants are normally applied for through a public-private partnership between the municipality and the internet provider. If you feel your area would benefit from one, I encourage you to reach out to your local elected officials and share your interest. 

To help answer questions, a Broadband Expansion Grant Information and Overview webinar will be happening on Wednesday, December 8th at 2pm. you can register to participate here, and it will be posted on the Wisconsin Broadband Office's webpage afterwards for those who couldn't make it. In addition, they will also host outreach workshops in communities throughout the state to help further answer questions. Information on future webinars and in-person workshops will be posted here once available. 

Upcoming District Events

The following are just a few of the events that will be occurring soon around or near the 36th Assembly District. Please let me know if you have an event you would like to have considered for inclusion on this list. As always, remember to take proper precautions when at events for COVID-19 and check their webpages for any updates or cancellations.

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.