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August 20th, 2021


This Week in the Legislature


Contents

  • Safe Haven Legislation Introduced
  • Committee Meetings
  • Visit to Dodgeville Dental 
  • Green County Judicial Retirement

 Safe Haven Law Legislation Introduced

This month I circulated a legislative proposal to fellow lawmakers calling for students to be taught about the state’s existing Safe Haven laws. I am co-authoring this legislation with Rep. Gae Magnifici (Dresser), Senator Joan Ballweg (Markesan) and Senator Howard Marklein (Spring Green).

Wisconsin’s Safe Haven laws allow newborn children to be relinquished to police officers, emergency responders, and hospital workers without legal consequence if the child is less than 72 hours old. Once the child has been relinquished an adoption can be facilitated.

This proposal stems from an incident in southwest Wisconsin that occurred earlier this year when a newborn child named Harper was reported missing. After a search and investigation by authorities, Harper was found deceased in a remote wooded area with a gunshot wound to her forehead.

We have laws on the books that facilitate relinquishment of newborn children. These laws make a difference and help save the lives of newborn infants. We need to make sure individuals know they have options if they have a child and cannot provide care for the newborn. The legislative proposal would make changes to sexual education curriculum to include information about the state’s Safe Haven law.

I worked in consultation with community members, local constituents and Green County District Attorney Craig Nolen to bring this idea forward. Over twenty other lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have already joined me in support of this bipartisan proposal.

The bill is expected to receive a committee assignment in both the Assembly and Senate by the end of the month.


 Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee Hearing

This week I attended a meeting of the Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety. The Committee received public testimony on four different proposals.

One of those bills, Assembly Bill 225 (AB-225) would strengthen state law related to recklessly handling or spoiling vaccines or other drugs. This bill stems from an incident in Wisconsin where a pharmacist was tampering with COVID-19 vaccines. In that instance the federal government stepped in and prosecuted the individual.


Dodgeville Dental Tour

Last Friday, Senator Howard Marklein (Spring Green) and I toured the Access Community Health facility, Dodgeville Dental. During the tour Senator Marklein and I were awarded Community Health Center State Grant Champions for our work supporting funding for community health centers in both the state budget and stand-alone legislation.

We were able to tour the facility with Richelle Andrae (left) from the Wisconsin Primary Healthcare Association and Shelly Dailey (right) from Dodgeville Dental to learn more about their plans for future expansions. We followed up the tour with a lunch outside the clinic.

I am proud to support community health centers through legislation that expands our state's investment into these health centers. Thank you Dodgeville Dental for hosting us!


 Honoring Judge James Beer

This week, Senator Marklein and I presented Green County Circuit Court Judge James Beer with a legislative citation honoring him for his years of public service.

Judge Beer recently retired from the Green County Circuit Court after over 25 years of service, making him the longest serving judge in Green County.

Congratulations Judge Beer on your well deserved retirement!


Vaccine Information

For all full list of vaccine sites statewide please click the vaccine finder link here.


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.