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January 31st, 2020



Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Legislative Day

image2.jpgOn Wednesday, I met with Ron and Beth Fruit from WRCO, and Jim Murphy from WRJC, as a part of the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Legislative Day. Thank you for stopping by!


Committees This Week

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This week, many of the committees that I am on met. On Tuesday, the Mental Health committee met to vote on AB 639, which creates a pilot program for reimbursing costs for hospitalization during emergency detention. On Wednesday, I testified on AB 726 in the health committee, which gives much needed funding to community health centers. I also had a hearing for the Committee on Agriculture, where we heard about bills ranging from wildlife damage abatement to milk weighing. On Thursday, the Environment Committee met to hear many bills, including AB 792, which expands the clean sweep program for firefighting foams containing PFAS. It was quite the week!



Freshwater Collaborative


On Wednesday, I testified with Senator Alberta Darling and on Thursday with Representative Katrina Shankland in favor of AB 801/SB 712, a bipartisan bill from the Water Quality Task Force that creates a program called the University of Wisconsin Freshwater Collaborative. The Freshwater Collaborative will work to leverage existing programs and resources at six UW-System campuses to develop undergraduate degree tracks to prepare our workforce for the growing water economy. In addition, the Collaborative will expand freshwater research opportunities, build capacity, and make UW a destination for talent wishing to pursue a career in the freshwater economy.

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 Testimony on AB 726: increasing funding for community health centers


I testified on AB 726 on Tuesday. AB 726 increases funding for Community Health Centers by $2 million annually. Currently, Wisconsin has 17 community health centers around the state. These facilities provide general primary care as well as urgent care, medical screenings, dental care, voluntary family planning, well child services (immunizations), gynecological and obstetrical care, prenatal and perinatal services, in house laboratory and radiology services, and medication assisted care. These facilities fill a niche where access to primary care is limited; frequently these facilities serve those who are uninsured.

In our district, one of these health centers, Access Community Health Centers had 46,000 medical visits last year. This bill increases the amount of the state grant for community health centers by $2 million. An increase in funding could allow for greater access to care services. This could mean 32,000 dental visits for low income residents, and behavioral health and substance abuse disorder care for another 3,000 patients. This increase would give Access Community Health Centers an increase of $170,000 to a total of $635,000. The additional funding will be instrumental in helping Access develop even greater capacity to provide comprehensive primary care services that helps everyone to be healthier. The $2 million increase in health center funding will help Access alone to provide 7,500 additional visits on an annual basis. This translates to care for 2,500 more people.

I hope that moving forward, we can get this bill to the floor for a vote. It would be instrumental in helping to provide care for those in need. 


Water Alliance Panel


On Wednesday, Rep. Shankland, myself, and Jeff Mayers of WisPolitics led a panel discussion for the Wisconsin Water Alliance to discuss the work Rep. Shankland and I did on the Water Quality Task Force. We discussed the bills introduced by the task force, as well as the future of water in Wisconsin. Thanks for having us!

Have a Great Weekend!