New Banner.jpg
May 5, 2017


TransporationReform Graphic.jpg

This week, Assembly Republicans put forth a plan to address our transportation funding shortfall in the state. Click here for more info!

Listening Session 2 Resized.jpg Listening Session 1 Resized.jpg
Listening Sessions

Thank you to everyone who took the time to attend my listening sessions last week in Dodgeville and Monroe. I truly thought the new format encouraging dialogue  was extremely effective and led to some great ideas being discussed. Among others, some of the biggest concerns raised were rural transportation and education funding. I agree that these are very important issues that need to be addressed in the budget. If you were unable to attend or have additional comments please do not hesitate to reach out to my office. I look forward to continued work on the governor's budget and a completed product that benefits Southwest Wisconsin.

State Legislature In Session

This week, the State Assembly met and passed some very important legislation:

AB 95: Currently, city, village, town, and county board members are allowed to refuse their salary and have the funds allocated for another purpose. If they choose to do this, they will not be required to pay income taxes on this amount. Under current law, school board members are not included, therefore requiring them to pay income taxes on their salary, even if they choose to return it to the school district. I authored this bill to fix this issue and allow school board members to be exempt from paying income taxes on returned salaries. This bill passed the Assembly this week and is headed to the governor's desk.

AB 73: The bill I authored with Senator Marklein on behalf of Mineral Point 4th graders to make cheese the state dairy product passed the Senate this week and will be heading to the governor's desk very soon. As this bill gets closer to becoming law, news outlets around the nation are taking notice. Those 4th graders are certainly impressive!

AB 123: One of my legislative priorities this session has been allocating additional resources to rural areas to improve broadband access. This week, the assembly passed legislation to do just that. This bill allocates an additional $15.5 million and provides guidance to make sure that the money is put to use in our most under served areas. Additionally, it provides additional grant money for schools in rural areas through the Technology Educational Achievement Program (TEACH). This provision provides resources for rural schools to improve their technology infrastructure.   The bill passed this week in the Assembly and will now go to the Senate, where a similar bill has already received approval.

Dodgeville Grilled Cheese Resized.jpg

Cheese Trophy FINAL.PNG
Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Championship

Last weekend, I had the honor to judge the 6th annual Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Championship. Myself, along with my fellow judges tasted countless creations to crown the best sandwich in the state. This year, the classic competition winner's sandwich was made with Carr Valley Black Sheep Truffle Cheese, Murphy Farms Hand Rolled Wild Onion Compound Butter, and Claussen's Sourdough Bread. The photo on the right is a 40 pound block of Shullsburg Creamery Cheddar Cheese carved by Troy Landwehr. The carving made its way to the capitol where it was shared with assembly members and senators. Thank you for having me judge this great event!

Transportation Reform

This week, Assembly Republicans put forth a proposal as a starting point for our transportation funding reform. Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) authored a plan that would reduce the state minimum markup requirement on gasoline from 9.18% to 3.0%. The plan would then eliminate the sales tax exemption on gasoline resulting in an estimated $300 million in additional revenue for the transportation fund. 

Under Rep. Kooyenga's plan, all of this new revenue would be directed towards the reduction of bonding. Currently, the state is on track to be paying $413 million a year in debt service in 2018 if we continue on our current path. By paying down this debt, the plan saves an additional $150 million in debt service. The proposal estimates that these reforms will produce excess revenue allowing the state to then decrease the gas tax by 5 cents.

I am encouraged by the legislation that has been introduced and I believe it is a step in the right direction towards an adequate and sustainable transportation fund. By no means is this a finished product. Over the coming months, I will look further into the proposal to ensure that it is a good fit for our state.