October 8, 2021

  

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ATV/UTV Speed Limit Bill Heard in
Assembly Committee on Local Government

Our outdoor trails and parks regularly draw locals and tourists to the Northwoods to enjoy the beauty and recreational opportunities. One of the few good things that came out of COVID-19 is that we've seen an increase in people getting outdoors to hike, hunt, bike or ride ATVs and UTVs, and I want to make sure people can continue to do so safely. Currently, local governments must place signs of posted speed limits for vehicles operated on highways under their jurisdiction, and state statutes also set the applicable speed limits with few exceptions. 

However, local governments do have the authority to designate a highway as an ATV route. When they do though, ATVs and UTVs traveling on these highways are then required to comply with the highway speed limit set under law, and often those speeds are too high for safe ATV and UTV travel. To help keep everyone safe, I introduced Assembly Bill (AB) 516/Senate Bill (SB) 506 that would let local governments post a separate speed limit for ATVs and UTVs on these highways lower than the speed limit for regular traffic.

This bill was unanimously approved by the Senate Transportation and Local Government Committee this session, and I was pleased to testify in favor of its passage this week in front of the Assembly Committee on Local Government. I believe this bill makes a common-sense change to help improve roadway and recreational safety, and hope to see it up for an Assembly floor vote soon.

Protect Your Online Information & Accounts

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which means it's a great time to review your online security habits. Cybersecurity attacks on people, businesses and providers have sadly become a common occurrence these days, and they can end up causing costly damage, delays or losses. To help make sure you're as protected as possible, here are a few tips for computer security:  

Passwords & Multifactor Authentication

Make sure that when you are setting up a password for an online account, you use complex passwords and change them every so often. It's also best to not reuse usernames or passwords across multiple accounts to prevent stolen login information from one account being used to access other accounts. In addition, whenever offered, use multifactor authentication to create an added security layer. Click here to learn more about how multifactor authentication works. 

Avoid Phishing Attempts

Phishing is a fraudulent practice of sending emails claiming to be from reputable companies in order to trick people into revealing personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers. When reading an email or text message, make sure you know and trust whoever sent it before clicking on any links or taking any requested actions. Be sure to confirm the sender's email address in addition to their name. In addition, hover over any links with your mouse to see the actual web address it will take you to before clicking. If you'd like to test your skills at detecting phishing attempts, try out this phishing quiz provided by Google.

Security Updates

Hackers don't just quit after the first try, so we shouldn't either. Make sure you have the latest security updates or patches installed on your personal computers and phones regularly. It's advised to run the Windows Update or MacOS Software Update once a month or whenever new updates are released to stay current. 

Question of the Week: 
Workforce Housing Incentive Program

Wisconsin is currently facing a workforce housing shortage. According to a recent report, ever since 2012 the state has created 75% fewer lots and 55% fewer new homes than pre-recession averages. On top of that, rents have been growing faster than incomes and the cost of construction materials are increasing. This means that there are fewer homes available than there are potential home buyers, which coupled with the other issues has driven the price of purchasing or building a home up. Unfortunately, this affordable workforce housing shortage can also lead to jobs not being filled in our communities. When there are not affordable homes nearby for the workers to live in, they are more likely to just look somewhere else with more affordable housing options nearby.

As a result of these housing challenge, Wisconsin's median age for first-time home buyers has risen to 33, and we have lower home ownership rates for households ages 25-44 than all neighboring states except Illinois. A new bill introduced by Rep. Brooks was introduced to help combat the issue of increasingly unaffordable housing in Wisconsin. The bill would require political subdivisions to use at least $1 million or 10% (whichever's less) of the total federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) stimulus money they receive for one or more of the following: 

  • New workforce housing infrastructure
  • Establishing low interest loan program for remodeling and rehabilitation of older workforce housing
  • Establishing low interest or no interest loan program for building new workforce housing units
  • Redeveloping idle sites currently used for a shopping center or other commercial property of at least 40,000 square feet to workforce housing

Supporters of the bill say that it will ensure municipalities use federal ARPA funds available to them in order to tackle this problem in a way that can directly help residents. They say that these days, with it becoming harder and harder to own a home for the younger generations, this bill will make sure that housing opportunities remain available. They also say that supporting affordable housing helps all homebuyers because it will help reduce the inflated market, meaning prices on homes across the board could go down with more becoming available for buyers to chose from. In addition, they feel that this will also help our economy, because by ensuring people have access to housing they can afford, it reduces a households budget strain and the potential need for social programs to make ends meet. 

Opponents of the bill say that this interferes with the free market process, where the supply and demand work to set the price of goods like housing. They also say that the ARPA funds could be better used, and that there remain many housing opportunities available for those willing to pay the market prices. They also feel that if a person or household cannot currently afford the price of a home, then we should not be using these programs to help them purchase something that is currently outside of their financial means. 

Workforce housing impacts many aspects of our economy, so I'm interested 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:
Make WI Superintendent, Treasurer & Secretary of State Appointed Instead of Elected

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 Thursday afternoon. 

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.