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April 16th, 2021


This Week in the Legislature


Contents

  • Transportation Bill Passes Legislature
  • UW-Madison Panel
  • Stakeholder Meetings
  • Local Government Committee Meets
  • Tornado Awareness Week

AB-238 Passes Legislature

This week the Legislature passed Assembly Bill 238 (AB-238). I co-authored this bill with Representative Calvin Callahan (R-Tomahawk) and Senator Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green).

AB-238 directs one time federal funding through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to local governments in order to fix roads and bridges. The proposal provides $2 million per county and $2000 per mile of road for local governments to repair roads and bridges.

I am glad to see the Legislature act quickly on this important transportation bill to ensure that these one time federal funds are directed to important and much needed transportation projects in Wisconsin and in our district.

Since the bill has passed both chambers of the Legislature it is now formally enrolled for Governor Evers to sign into law.


UW-Madison Panel

This week I was joined by Rep. Tip McGuire (D-Kenosha) and UW-Madison officials in a panel to discuss their needs and priorities this legislative session.

UW-Madison the flagship institution of the UW-system is the second most attended higher education institution for students in our district.

During the panel Rep. McGuire and I spoke on our legislative priorities for the UW this session. We both agreed on the need to maintain affordable tuition for in-state residents.


 Stakeholder Meetings

This week I met with a group of dairy producers as well as Darlington farmer Cody Carpenter and representatives from the Dairy Business Association (DBA), to discuss the dairy economy as well as the legislative priorities for the dairy industry this session. Topics like conservation, supporting agriculture exports and truth-in-labeling are all policies that I support and look forward to continuing to work on these legislative matters throughout the session.

I want to thank Cody and the other DBA members for taking the time to meet with me and Senator Marklein's office.

As an Ag dependent district I truly value these meetings as it keeps me informed on the latest needs and concerns in our Ag economy. 

This week I also met with the Wisconsin Realtors Association. During this meeting my legislative colleagues and I learned more about the performance of the housing industry in southern Wisconsin and listened to concerns as well as legislative priorities the Realtors Association is asking for this session.

Broadband expansion and housing development funding support were two of the main highlights of the meeting. Both broadband and affordable housing opportunities remain strong legislative priorities for me and my legislative colleagues. With the recent influx of federal money, I believe we have ample opportunity to work on bipartisan legislation to meaningfully address both issues.


Local Government Committee Meeting

This week I chaired the second meeting of the Assembly Committee on Local Government. During the meeting the committee voted unanimously in favor of AB-47 relating to qualifications for newspapers to publish public notices. This bill is now eligible to be scheduled for a vote on the assembly floor.

The committee also held a public hearing on several bills including AB-189 relating to expanding applicability of room taxes, AB-164 relating to increasing the expenditure period for a tax incremental district in an electronics and IT manufacturing zone, and AB-168 relating to village officers serving as village employees.


Severe Weather Awareness Week

The week of April 12-16, 2021 is Tornado & Severe Weather Awareness Week in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Emergency Management team and the five National Weather Service Forecast Offices that service Wisconsin are asking that everyone take time to go over their safety plans so that they will be ready when severe weather strikes.

Wisconsin averages 23 tornadoes per year, with most tornadoes occurring in the 3 to 9 P.M. time-frame. The busiest spin-up hour is 6 to 7 P.M. The peak tornado season in Wisconsin is May through August, with June having the greatest number of tornadoes. A record-setting 62 tornadoes occurred in 2005, followed by 46 in 2010. In 2020, Wisconsin had 20 tornadoes, including 11 EF-0s and 9 EF-1s. The "average" Wisconsin tornado has a 7 to 8 minute duration, a path length of about 4 to 5 miles, and a damage width of about 120 yards.

Another hazard of the warm-season is powerful, straight-line thunderstorm winds that can peak at 75 to 150 mph. Every year Wisconsin will get a few storms that generate hurricane-force winds of at least 75 to 100 mph. Severe Thunderstorm Warnings are issued for these wind events, rather than Tornado Warnings. The bottom line is - if you don’t feel safe, head for a sturdy shelter, go the lowest level of the building, and get away from windows and exterior walls.

Other warm-season hazards include large hail stones that can result in damage in the millions of dollars, localized flash floods or widespread river and lowland flooding, lightning, and excessive heat. 


Have 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.


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