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The Scoop at UW's Babcock Hall

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On Wednesday, the UW ice cream truck made a stop at the downtown Fond du Lac farmer's market to hand out scoops of free ice cream from UW's Babcock Hall. Thanks for coming and the invitation to assist. It was a great time!

NCSL Nashville

Last week, I had the honor to attend the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) in Nashville, Tennessee. To give some background, NCSL has given state legislatures around the country the tools, information, and resources to craft the best solutions to difficult problems since 1975. These measures are done to help support, defend, and strengthen each state legislature. Its biggest goal is to to ensure state legislatures a strong, cohesive voice in the federal system. Attending the event has certainly provided me more knowledge to become a better legislator for the people of Wisconsin. Here is a summary of all the sessions and events I attended during the week:

Monday:

Living Legend Dolly Parton - Dolly launched her first Imagination Library in her home county in East Tennessee. Imagination Library is a gift-giving book program that mails free, high-quality books to children from birth to age 5, no matter their family’s income. It partners with local communities and state governments to provide a book each month to 1.4 million children in five countries.

A Proactive Approach to School Safety - With instances of school violence on the rise, policymakers continue to grapple with ways to address what has become an all-too-common reality. Preventive measures, including assessing threats, coordinating mental health services, and improving infrastructure and security, were discussed.

Tuesday:

Principal Pipeline Initiative - The Wallace Foundation’s research shows that building a principal pipeline in large school districts is feasible, affordable, and sustainable. Beginning in 2011, the Principal Pipeline Initiative proves that a successful school leader enhances not only teacher quality and retention but also student success.

Tour of the Hermitage - The Hermitage, the home of Andrew Jackson and the fourth most-visited presidential home in the nation, is a National Historic Landmark standing on 1,120 acres of rolling meadows and woodlands. Through the tour, I learned more about President Jackson's early life and accomplishments.

Wednesday:

KIDS COUNT - I learned about the status of America's children as measured by economic security, education and health, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation's vision to enhance child well-being and promote economic opportunity.

Student Success through Social and Emotional Learning - Here, other legislators and I explored the challenges and opportunities around ensuring that students not only have the academic skills they need, but also the social and emotional skills necessary to succeed in school, work and life.

Education Committee Business Meeting - Committee members considered and reviewed policies, voted on any new policy resolutions submitted for consideration, and discussed other committee business.

The Straight Dope on Marijuana Revenues - Eleven states and D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana, and more states are considering legalization. The prospect of a new revenue stream influences legalization, but how much money does recreational marijuana really provide for states? Many states gave their data about how marijuana tax collections are performing compared to estimates, and where the money is going.

Addressing America's Growing Water Quality Crisis - From lead in pipes to nutrient pollution, Americans face growing threats to accessing clean water. The federal government and state legislatures gave their thoughts and solutions on helping fund clean water infrastructure, assisting homeowners in replacing lead pipes, and testing private water wells to ensure that drinking water is safe. Wisconsin has shown to be a leader for clean water through various pieces of legislation, especially the legislation that is illustrated in the next section.

Juicing Up for Electric Vehicles - Electric vehicles have the potential to transform the way we fuel transportation, introducing many new energy and infrastructure challenges. Questions included who should own the infrastructure, who should regulate the sale of electricity at charging stations, and will utilities be able to handle these new demands?

Thursday

Breakfast for Republican Legislators - I listened to some great speeches by Economist Dr. Arthur Laffer and Governor Scott Walker!

NCSL Business Meeting: Setting the States' Agenda - Legislators and legislative staff considered policy directives and resolutions that will guide NCSL’s advocacy efforts before Congress and the administration, elect NCSL officers and executive committee, and approve the NCSL budget. All Summit attendees are welcome to observe.

Speaker Jon Meacham - He is a presidential biographer, Pulitzer Prize winner and one of America’s most prominent historians. He did an outstanding job putting today’s politically trying times into historical context.

The conference then ended on a high note when Speaker Robin Vos assumed the role as the new president of NCSL. Speaker Vos succeeded Deomcratic Illinois State Senator Toi Hutchinson. He is the first Wisconsin legislator to hold this leadership position in the national organization.

SCHOOL Acts

I am pleased to announce that Senator Cowles and I have released two bills for co-sponsorship. LRBs 19-3539 and 19-3566 are collectively known as the Supporting Children’s Health by Ousting Outdated Lead Acts (or the SCHOOL Acts). The first bill, LRB 19-3539, addresses lead in school drinking water by requiring testing and, if necessary, that contaminated water sources be taken offline and replaced with clean water sources while incentivizing long-term remediation by buying down the interest rate of BCPL loans. The second bill, LRB 19-3566, tackles lead in the drinking water of daycares, group homes, and summer camps by requiring testing as a component of licensure and, if necessary, ensuring that contaminated water sources be taken offline and replaced with clean water sources. A more detailed overview of both bills is attached

Brian Hagedorn Sworn In

On Wednesday, Wisconsin welcomed its newest member, Brian Hagedorn, to the state's Supreme Court. Justice Hagedorn delivered a fantastic speech that touched on the proper duties of the judiciary. He noted, "The power to turn policy ideas into law. That’s not my job, that’s the legislative branch." I could not agree more. I wish him the best in his 10-year term!

Fond du Lac Dock Spiders

The Dock Spiders ended the regular season strong, winning their final 9 games. Unfortunately, it was not enough to reach the postseason. Thank you to all the fans that came out this season to support the team. It would not be possible without the best fans in the NWL. Until next year, keep spinning the web!

Upcoming Holidays

  • Friday, August 16 – National Bratwurst Day
  • Saturday, August 17 – Baby Boomers Recognition Day
  • Sunday, August 18 – Helium Discovery Day
  • Monday, August 19 – Cupcake Day
  • Tuesday, August 20 – National Lemonade Day
  • Wednesday, August 21 – National Senior Citizens Day
  • Thursday, August 22 – National Tooth Fairy Day

For more fun and out-there holidays, visit checkiday.com, a website created by a former Fond du Lac resident!

Today in History - August 16
  • 1896 – Gold first discovered at Bonanza Creek in Klondike, Alaska by George Carmack.
  • 1930 – The first color sound cartoon "Fiddlesticks" by Ub Iwerks (ex Walt Disney studio) was released.
  • 1945 – Puyi, the last Chinese Emperor and ruler of Manchukuo was captured by Soviet troops.
  • 2008 – Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt set a new world record of 9.69 seconds to win the coveted 100m gold medal at the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics.
  • 2012 – Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, was granted political asylum by Ecuador.