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February 7, 2020



Career and Technical Student Organizations

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Jessica Vinger of Dodgeville stopped by my office as part of Wisconsin’s Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) Legislative Day. CTSOs develop citizenship, technical leadership, and teamwork skills essential for students who are preparing for the workforce and further education. Thanks for visiting!


County Conservation Funding Legislation Heard in Assembly and Senate

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The Speaker’s Task Force on Water Quality proposals continue to advance. A bill I am authoring with Senator Pat Testin as part of the legislative package would provide almost $3 million in additional funding for our county conservation staff. We had the opportunity to testify in support of this bill in both the Senate and Assembly hearings this week.

A group of constituents from Southwest Wisconsin traveled to Madison to testify in support of this legislation. It was encouraging to have Lynda Schweikert of Grant County Conservation, Sanitation, and Zoning, Katie Abbott of Iowa County Land Conservation, and Terry Loeffelholz of Grant County Sanitation and Zoning speaking in support of the bill. Lynda, Katie, and Terry have been instrumental in the success of the SWIGG study and Southwest Wisconsin’s leadership in the area of water quality.

Scott Mericka of Uplands Cheese Company also traveled to Madison to speak to the value of County Conservation Staff and the value they provide.

County conservation staff are the boots on the ground when it comes to supporting conservation activities at the local level. These staff work to provide technical assistance to farmers and other landowners as they work to achieve their land management objectives. Depending on the needs of each individual county, conservation staff work on a variety of issues including farmland preservation, groundwater quality, invasive species, soil health, and municipal phosphorous reduction strategies. 

To provide support, conservation staff work to develop relationships with farmers and landowners with the goal of becoming a trusted resource when a farmer or landowner is in need of assistance.

As I have said before, I am proud of the legislation we have introduced as part of this task force and I look forward to voting in support of this legislation later this month.

Local Bill Signed Into Law 

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This week, Governor Evers signed Assembly Bill 445 which creates an exception to commercial building code requirements for the installation and operation of a stairway chair lift in churches constructed before 1919. Senator Marklein and I introduced this bill at the request of LaVerne Gordee and David Johnson of Jordan Lutheran Church in Browntown. This historic church has been in use since 1860 and holds many events in its basement. Allowing for a stairway chair lift will allow all members to take full advantage of the facility.

 Farm Bureau Ag Day at the Capitol

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The Wisconsin Farm Bureau held their “Day at the Capitol” this week. Members from across the state gathered before heading to the Capitol to meet with legislators to discuss the importance of pro-agriculture policy in Wisconsin. I was joined by Representatives Tony Kurtz, Travis Tranel, and Katrina Shankland as well as Senators Howard Marklein and Pat Testin for a panel discussion on water quality and agriculture. We discussed the work we have done as part of the Speaker’s Task Force on Water Quality and our plan to build upon this work next session.

Following our panel, I had a chance to connect with Iowa County Farm Bureau members Krista Dolan and Kyle Levetzow. Southwest Wisconsin was well represented!


Cooperative Network Day at the Capitol

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Representatives from cooperative businesses across Wisconsin gathered in Madison for Co-Op Day at the Capitol. Cooperatives are a crucial part of Wisconsin’s economy and play a vital role in job creation, rural development, and economic stability. Cooperative Network’s members include Organic Valley, Farm First Cooperative, Group Health Cooperative, and a variety of credit unions.

Prior to heading to the capitol to speak with legislators, Rep. Shankland and I provided an overview of the Speaker’s Task Force on Water Quality and highlighted some of our proposals that affect Cooperative Network organizations.

That afternoon, Robin Marohn, Jennifer Schiller, and Steve Burns visited my office representing Heartland Credit Union, Landmark Cooperative Services, and Premier Cooperative. Thank you for visiting!


Constituent Visits

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Larry Bohnert of Green County Mutual Insurance Company visited my office on behalf of the Wisconsin Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (WAMIC). Mutual Insurance companies were organized in the late 19th century, a time when many large insurance companies would not offer insurance in rural areas. Citizens of smaller communities organized their own insurance companies for their protection. Today, these mutual insurance companies still serve their communities. Thank you for visiting!

Have a Great Weekend!