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March 5th, 2021


E-Update: This Week in the Legislature


Contents

  • Community Health Center Meeting
  • Press Conference
  • Stakeholder Meetings
  • District News
  • Budget Listening Sessions


 Community Health Centers Meeting

 

This week Rep. David Bowen (D-Milwaukee) and I participated in a virtual meeting with members of the Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association (WPHCA). WPHCA is the association for the 17 Federally Qualified Health Centers (Community Health Centers) in Wisconsin. Community Health Centers throughout the state provide quality mental health, medical, and dental services to over 300,000 Wisconsinites each year.

I spoke with WPCHA on a bill I am authoring this session, Assembly Bill 66 (AB66) which would increase the state grant to Community Health Centers by $2 million.

This bill will have strong ties to our district because it would increase funding to Access Community Health Centers. Currently, Access operates a dental clinic in Dodgeville. The Dodgeville Dental Clinic opened in September of 2009. When they started out the staff consisted of a dentist, hygienist, a couple of dental assistants, and a half time clinic aide. Since then they’ve expanded the staff to include 3 dentists, 2 hygienists, 6 dental assistants, and 4 others helping as support staff. Over the years they’ve seen over 10,000 unique patients and are coming close to exceeding over 70,000 visits.

I am excited to continue my work with Community Health Centers this session and expand their reach in our district and throughout Wisconsin.


School Funding Request

This week I joined my Assembly colleagues in sending a letter to Governor Evers asking that he direct more funding to schools that have been providing in-person learning. Currently, federal funds are being disproportionately allocated to schools on a tier based formula relating to the size of the school district. Allowing for larger school districts, many of which are still conducting learning virtually to receive greater funding.

There are 13 school districts here in the 51st Assembly District. Many of our schools have been in person or in hybrid format since the beginning of the year. It is unfair for these schools that are incurring higher costs per pupil to receive less funds than larger schools conducting learning in a virtual format.

CDC and other public health studies have shown that in-person learning can be conducted safely. We also know that the best place for our kids to learn is in the classroom with their teacher and their peers.

I sincerely hope that Governor Evers considers this request to prioritize assistance for school districts that are already providing in-person learning for our students.


Meetings This Week

I had the opportunity to meet with former Representative Jason Fields and his team at Madison Regional Economic Partnership (MADREP) this week to discuss opportunities for economic development in our district. MADREP is looking to expand their footprint outside of Dane County to target economic development opportunities in surrounding rural areas.

As the Legislature works to craft the budget this session, I look forward to working with groups like MADREP to form public-private partnerships to help grow our local economy in the 51st.

This week I also met with representatives to from the Wisconsin Farm Bureau to discuss the state of the ag industry and its priorities in the upcoming budget cycle. Their priorities include increasing funding for producer led watershed efforts, increasing rural broadband access, and supporting funding for for the expansion of local meat processing plants. These are all efforts that I have supported in previous sessions, and I look forward to continuing my work on these issues this session.

I am proud to support initiatives to support our farmers and the overall ag economy. It is my priority to ensure that our Ag industry receives proper and targeted funding during the recovery of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 51st Assembly District is one of the most ag dependent districts in our state and I am very proud to support our farmers.

I also was able to meet with leaders and constituents from the Wisconsin Early Childhood Education Association (WECA) this week. Leaders and constituents from WECA discussed some of the challenges they have faced in the midst of the pandemic and spoke candidly on ways that we as a Legislature can provide necessary assistance to childcare providers and our working families. 


 District News

 This week the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) announced that the village of Argyle as a finalist to receive a $250,000 state grant to help renovate the former Ford Building located in downtown Argyle.

Too often rural communities like Argyle are left out of redevelopment opportunities. I am happy to see that Argyle is being considered for this grant as I believe this funding will provide a necessary boost allowing the village of Argyle to continue its growth.


Budget Listening Sessions

This March I will be participating in several budget listening sessions with my fellow southwest Wisconsin Legislators. There will be several opportunities throughout our district to come and voice your opinion on the biennial state budget.

Monday, March 8 – Virtual Listening Session Via Zoom with Sen. Marklein, Rep. Tranel, Rep. Kurtz and Rep. Novak
2-3 p.m.
Send an email to Sen.Marklein@legis.wi.gov to register. Please include your residential address for verification purposes. Residents of the 17th Senate District will be invited to participate. Registered attendees will receive a link to join the listening session with guidelines for testimony based on the number of registrations.

Friday, March 19 – Sen. Howard Marklein (17th), Rep. Todd Novak (51st) & Rep. Travis Tranel (49th)
1-2 p.m. - Belmont Community Center - 222 S. Mound Ave., Belmont

 Monday, March 29 - Sen. Howard Marklein (17th) and Rep. Todd Novak (51st)
10-11 a.m. - Community Room, Browntown Fire Department - 107 S Mill St., Browntown

The format for the Listening Sessions are designed for legislators to receive input and ideas about the State Budget. I always enjoy conducting these sessions to learn about your priorities as we craft a new budget this session. I would encourage anyone who is available to attend either a virtual or in-person session.


Have a Great a Great Weekend

As always, please do not hesitate to follow up with any additional questions or concerns you may have. I can be reached at Rep.Novak@legis.wisconsin.gov or (608) 237-9151.