E-Update: January 24, 2020

  

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Two Lyme Disease Bills Signed Into Law

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This week has been pretty busy in Madison. I was pleased to start off the week by joining my colleagues and Lyme advocates for the bill signing for two of my Lyme Disease bills. On Tuesday morning, bills that would make bug spray available for sale in state parks and place signs informing visitors about the risks of Lyme disease in state parks and recreational areas were signed into law by Governor Evers. It was a particularly nice experience since one of the families that had testified on the bills was able to make it to the signing. 

While there's still more we can do to address the issue of Lyme Disease in Wisconsin, these new laws are a good way to start improving awareness and prevention efforts. If you'd like to learn more about Lyme Disease, there are many great resources available online, including a Lyme Disease Guide, the CDC's Lyme Disease Webpage and Wisconsin Lyme Network.

2020 State of the State Address

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Governor Evers' gave his State of the State Address this week on Wednesday evening, in which he discussed issues such as non-partisan redistricting, education and student debt, the cost of drugs such as insulin, PFAS contamination, and vaping. The complete text of the 2020 State of the State address can be read online, and the address can be viewed on WisconsinEye.

In addition to his address, Governor Evers also signed an executive order this week calling for a Special Session to address the dairy crisis our farmers are facing. Wisconsin loses an average of two dairy farms a day, which has quite the impact on our rural communities and our economy. That's why I'm personally interested in reviewing the bills he put forward and hearing input from constituents on them as they go through the legislative process. 

The bills Governor Evers is proposing would do the following: 

  • Create a WI Initiative for Dairy Exports with the goal of increasing dairy exports to 20% of the country's milk supply by 2024
  • Hire 20 experts at the UW-Madison extension division to provide free research and technical assistance to farmers
  • Add 5 positions and increase funding within the state agriculture department to provide increased mental health support for farmers
  • Give preference to small dairy processing plants when awarding grants
  • Support efforts to help farmers diversify and create a program to award grants of up to $50,000 to assist farmers
  • Create a program to connect local farmers with other entities besides school districts that have cafeterias and could purchase locally grown food
Assembly Session in Review

Not only did Governor Evers give his State of the State Address to members of the Senate and Assembly this week, the Assembly also had a floor session on Tuesday. In addition to the summer camp bills I mentioned in an e-update earlier this session getting a vote, many bills addressing the opioid crisis in Wisconsin were passed by the Assembly. A full agenda can be found online, but a few bills worth noting from this week are:

  • Assembly Bill 258 - Marquette University School of Dentistry rural scholarship program
  • Assembly Bill 428 - temporary practice by physicians at camps
  • Assembly Bill 435 - regulation of recreational and educational camps
  • Assembly Bill 437 - electronic health records at recreational and educational camps
  • Assembly Bill 458 - temporary practice by registered nurses at camps
  • Assembly Bill 644 - creating a school-based mental health consultation pilot program
  • Assembly Bill 645 - training on administering narcan (can help reverse narcotic/opioid overdoses) in jails and study the availability of medication-assisted treatment availability in prisons and jails
  • Assembly Bill 654 - expanding telehealth mental health treatment to offenders under community supervision
  • Assembly Bill 692 - funding for county snowmobile trails and areas
  • Senate Bill 163 - causing intentional bodily harm to a nurse
  • Senate Bill 125 - amounts obligated under the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program for water infrastructure projects in state parks
Question of the Week:
Electronic Option for 2020 Census

The 2020 Census is almost upon us, and this census brings a new change to the process. This year will be the first year that the US Census Bureau is asking the majority of people to answer the census online if they can. In addition, technology is playing a larger part in completing the census than ever before. 

The goal is that the electronic option will not only make the count more inclusive but will eventually help cut costs. The census determines how congressional districts get divvied up, how many seats each state holds in the Electoral College, how the federal budget is allocated, and ultimately whether people are accurately represented by their government. However, it's a costly process. 

The 2010 census was the most expensive in US history, costing over $12 billion. By reducing the amount of manpower and distribution costs involved and giving citizens the ability to participate online, it should help save taxpayers money in the long run. 

I'm interested in learning your thoughts on the US Census Bureau offering an online option for participation in the 2020 Census. Please take a few minutes to fill out my question of the week to share your thoughts and insights. 

Click here for my Question of the Week

Last Week's Results:
Tougher on Crime Package

These results represent responses to last week's question from constituents of the 36th Assembly District that I received as of this afternoon.

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What to Know About ABLE Accounts

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Click the image above to view an informational video on ABLE Accounts

ABLE Accounts were created by the 2014 Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act and allow certain individuals with disabilities to open a tax-advantaged savings account. This account makes it possible for these individuals to save and invest money without losing federal benefits.

The National Association of State Treasurers has filmed a very informative video explaining the purpose of ABLE accounts and how they can help people with disabilities. To find out more information on eligibility, application processes and tax benefits that ABLE Accounts provide, check out these great resources:

Upcoming Events in the District

The following are just a few 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.

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.

Contacting My Office

My office is here to help you with both general inquiries and questions or concerns regarding legislative or state matters. Feel free to contact me or my staff if you ever need anything. I'm always ready to assist you in your needs. 

You can also visit my website for more information, press releases, past e-updates, and more!