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April 9th, 2021


This Week in the Legislature


Contents

  • Transportation Bill Testimony
  • Marsy's Law Press Conference
  • WHEDA Board Appointment
  • Vaccine Update

AB-238 Testimony

This week I testified in the Assembly Transportation Committee on 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.

Investing in local infrastructure, especially our roads and bridges has been a priority of mine over the years. During the 2019-21 state budget the Legislature made significant investments specifically directed toward repairing local roads and bridges by bolstering the Local Road Improvement Program. 

I also want to thank Richland County Highway Commissioner Roger Petrick and Iowa County Administrator Larry Bierke for making the  trip to Madison to testify on AB-238.

In speaking with local government officials, it is clear that the need for local road aid is still great. This was recently reinforced by feedback I received during budget listening sessions this year for the state’s upcoming budget. The quality of our local roads remains front of mind as one of the most important issues for our district.

We've been looking for solutions to fix the roads we drive on every day, and AB-238 will make a meaningful difference.


Marsy's Law Press Conference

This week was the one year anniversary of  Wisconsin voters overwhelmingly approving Marsy’s Law, which enshrined a robust list of victims’ rights into the Wisconsin Constitution.

I authored Marsy's law in previous sessions in response to several stories I heard from crime victims across the state. Marsy’s Law provides victims the right to be involved with and participate in proceedings during their various stages. This includes timely updates, involvement in proceedings, and relevant notifications post-conviction.

We would not be here today if it weren’t for the bipartisan efforts, robust stakeholder feedback, and persistence of many who made sure this measure kept advancing. I am proud of our work in spearheading Marsy's law through the Legislature and working to get this Constitutional amendment on the ballot and voted into the Constitution in our state.

Wisconsin has a rich history of protecting victims’ rights which is reflected in numerous areas of our statutes and in the constitution. Marcy’s Law further bolstered existing protections by conferring a list of specific rights to victims in the state constitution.

Victims deserve to be treated with dignity, respect, courtesy, sensitivity, and fairness.

I am extremely proud of this bipartisan effort to help get this important law to the finish line. These changes were not easily or quickly accomplished. However, I am confident they will have a lasting positive impact.

Click here to see the news story to learn more about our work on Marsy's law.


 WHEDA Board Appointment

This week I was was appointed to the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Association (WHEDA) board by Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester).

The WHEDA board members include the Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Administration (or designee), the CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, and six public members nominated by the Governor and approved by the state senate. Additionally, there are two state senators, and two state representatives. Members serve staggered four year terms.

WHEDA develops programs and lending opportunities to help stimulate the Wisconsin economy and improve the quality of life for Wisconsin residents by providing affordable housing and business financing options.

Working closely with lenders, developers, local government, nonprofits, community groups and others WHEDA implements low-cost financing programs. Since 1972, WHEDA has financed more than 75,000 affordable rental units, helped more than 133,000 families purchase a home and made more than 29,000 small business and agriculture loan guarantees.

I am honored to be appointed to the WHEDA board and am excited to begin working with the other board members and to help craft innovative solutions to address multifaceted housing issues. It continues to be my top priority to support struggling Wisconsinites as we continue our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.


Vaccine Eligibility Expansion

This week the state of Wisconsin joined contingent of other states in offering the COVID-19 vaccine to everyone over the age of 16. Click here to learn more information from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.


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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