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Associated Builders and Contractors Legislator Award

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I recently received the 2019 Building Wisconsin Award from the Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin. It is an honor to continue to promote legislation that advances economic growth, especially for the trades sector in the state.

2019 Legislation Review

Every legislative session, I attempt to introduce bills that I believe will improve the 52nd District and Wisconsin, as a whole. Every piece of legislation I have introduced in 2019 thus far has had bipartisan support. I have worked very hard to reach across the aisle to create many successful pieces of legislation that have passed both legislative chambers and been signed into law by the Governor:

AB 8 (2019 Act 2) - Relating to the notification of changed property tax assessment for agricultural land. This bill creates an exception to the requirement that an assessor notify a taxpayer when the taxpayer's property is assessed for property tax purposes at a value that differs from the prior year's assessment. Under this bill, an assessor is not required to provide notification for an assessment of agricultural land if the difference between the two assessments is $300 or less.

AB 22 (2019 Act 27) - Relating to driver education instruction on human trafficking. Under this bill, commercial motor vehicle driver education courses offered by technical colleges or licensed private driver schools must provide instruction in the recognition and prevention of human trafficking.

AB 162 (2019 Act 57) - Relating to participation in the Volunteer Health Care Provider program by agencies serving homeless individuals. This bill allows nonprofit agencies and their volunteer health care providers that provide services to persons who are recipients of Medical Assistance to participate in the Volunteer Health Care Provider program if the Medical Assistance recipients served are primarily homeless individuals. Except for health care providers credentialed in another state who have separate requirements and liability exemptions under current law, volunteer health care providers providing services under the program are currently agents of the state for certain purposes. Currently, certain individuals may serve as volunteer health care providers by providing services through a nonprofit agency or for a school board or school governing body while receiving no income for the services. To participate in the Volunteer Health Care Provider program, a health care professional must submit a joint application with a nonprofit agency, school board, or school governing body to the Department of Health Services for approval. A volunteer health care provider providing services through a nonprofit agency must provide services without charge except that certain dental services may be provided to Medical Assistance recipients under the program.

AB 178 (2019 Act 58) - Relating to eligibility for physician, dentist, and health care provider educational loan assistance programs. This bill makes physicians and dentists who agree to practice in free or charitable clinics eligible to participate in an educational loan assistance program administered by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System under current law. The bill makes similar changes to an educational loan assistance program for other health care professionals administered by the Board of Regents.

 

The next set of bills (or resolution) are currently still in their respective committees or awaiting a floor vote, but I am hopeful they will progress through the legislature and reach the Governor's desk before this session ends:

* AJR 100 (Resolutions do not get signed into law/need the Governor's signature) - expressing concern over persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned, forced organ harvesting from nonconsenting prisoners of conscience, including Falun Gong practitioners imprisoned for their spiritual beliefs and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups in the People's Republic of China.

* AB 44 - Relating to installation of a barricade device on an interior door in a school building. This bill provides that the Department of Safety and Professional Services may not prohibit, and a city, village, or town may not enact or enforce an ordinance that prohibits, a public or private elementary or secondary school from installing a barricade device on an interior door in the school building. The bill also provides that, before installing a barricade device in a school building, a school must obtain approval in writing from the local fire department and local law enforcement agency with jurisdiction over the school building. Under current law, all school boards and governing bodies of private schools must have a school safety plan in effect that includes certain information and must provide school safety plan training to certain persons. The bill requires that a school safety plan also must include guidelines for the use of any barricade device installed in a school building or facility and that school safety plan training must include training on the use of any barricade device installed in a school building or facility.

* AB 67 - Relating to information on the school district and school accountability report. This bill requires the Department of Public Instruction to include in the annual school district and school accountability report, commonly referred to as school and school district report cards, the percentage of pupils participating in music, dance, drama, and visual arts. Under the bill, DPI must include this information for each high school and school district and must also include the statewide percentage of pupils participating in each subject. The bill specifies that this information may not be used to evaluate a school's performance or school district's improvement.

* AB 164 - Relating to creditable military service under the Wisconsin Retirement System. This bill modifies the conditions under which a Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) participant may receive creditable service under the WRS for military service.

* AB 171 - Relating to sexual contact by a law enforcement officer with a person in his or her custody and providing a penalty. Under this bill, it is a Class C Felony for a law enforcement officer to have sexual contact or sexual intercourse with a person in his or her custody. For the purposes of the crime created in this bill, consent is not an issue. The bill adds the prohibited conduct to the list of activities in current law that constitute second degree sexual assault. Current law does not contain a criminal prohibition on sexual contact between a law enforcement officer and a person in his or her custody. Under current law, a person may be required to register as a sex offender for certain crimes that are sexually motivated if the judge determines that it would be in the interest of public protection to have the person register. Under this bill, the new offense of sexual contact between a law enforcement officer and a person in his or her custody would be subject to this provision.

* AB 204 - Relating to municipal ordinance enforcement and court procedures. This bill makes various changes to municipal ordinance enforcement and municipal court procedures, including the following: the bill outlines the procedure for the formation or dissolution of joint municipal courts; the bill specifies that municipal court budgets must be separate from, or appear on a separate line item from municipal prosecuting attorneys and municipal law enforcement agencies; the bill allows for non-OWI municipal citations from an OWI offense to be tried with the OWI offense in circuit court; the bill outlines when proceedings in municipal court may be held by audiovisual means; the bill clarifies the procedure and fees required for an appeal from a municipal court judgment; the bill requires each municipal court to have an armed guard unless the judge orders otherwise; and the bill specifies that no municipal court clerk may appear in attire that suggests he or she is a law enforcement officer or employee of a law enforcement agency.

* AB 211 - Relating to records of certain offenses related to operating a motor vehicle with a prohibited blood alcohol concentration. Under this bill, a court may, upon petition by a person who has been convicted of a first offense related to operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI offense), expunge the record of the person's conviction. A person may file a petition under this procedure only if the OWI offense did not involve an injury and the alcohol concentration of the person at the time of offense was less than 0.15. In addition, expungement under this procedure may be granted only if the person does one of the following for not less than six months: 1) equips his or her motor vehicle with an ignition interlock device, operates only motor vehicles that are equipped with an ignition interlock device, and provides access to the data generated by the ignition interlock device; or 2) wears a device that continuously monitors the person's alcohol consumption and provides access to the data generated by the device.

* AB 244 - Relating to an elector using a W-2 form to establish residence. Under current law, an elector may use any of a number of identifying documents as proof of residence in order to register to vote, including a bank statement, paycheck, utility bill, property tax bill, check or other document issued by a unit of government, or current and valid operator's license or identification card issued by the Department of Transportation. Current law provides that such identifying documents must specify the elector's name and residential address. This bill adds a W-2 form to the list of identifying documents that an elector may use as proof of residence in order to register to vote.

* AB 358 - Relating to tracking of sexual assault kits in sexual assault cases and making an appropriation. This bill requires the Department of Justice to establish a data bank, to be known as the Wisconsin Sexual Assault Kit Tracking System, for the purpose of providing victims of sexual assault access to information about the status of any sexual assault kit the victim has provided.

* AB 459 - Relating to incorporating cursive writing into the state model English language arts standards and requiring cursive writing in elementary grades. This bill requires the state superintendent of public instruction to incorporate cursive writing into the model academic standards for English language arts. This bill also requires a school board, independent charter school, and private school participating in a parental choice program to include cursive writing in its respective curriculum for the elementary grades. Specifically, each elementary school curriculum must include the objective that pupils be able to write legibly in cursive by the end of fifth grade.

 

The last set of bills have recently been introduced and hopefully will progress through the legislature over the next few months:

* AB 475 (pairs with AB 476) - Relating to testing for lead in drinking water in facilities used for recreational and educational camps and child care. 

* AB 476 (pairs with AB 475) - Relating to lead testing of potable water sources in certain schools; providing loans for lead remediation in certain schools; and providing an exception to referendum restrictions for lead remediation.

* AB 660 - Relating to reimbursement under the Medical Assistance program for complex rehabilitation technology.

* AB 662 - Relating to an online early learning pilot program and making an appropriation.

* AB 668 - Relating to warning lamps on community service officer vehicles.

* AB 672 - Relating to legal custody and physical placement factors for a child of a service member.

* AB 673 - Relating to the disability rating at which veterans qualify for certain hunting and fishing authorizations and exemptions from state park and trail admission fees.

* AB 674 - Relating to license fee waivers for veterans' spouses.

Lakeside Park Light Display

For the last 10 years at Lakeside Park, Christmastime has encompassed the addition of a computer-guided light show set to music and motion. Colorful lights flash and move quickly, while the music, which can be heard on spectators' car radios, keeps up with the rhythm of the lights. The big finale always incorporates the breath-taking Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Wizards in Winter. The show every year could not be spectacular without the hard work, dedication, and creativity of two Fond du Lac residents, Dan Robotka, a software engineer, and Joe Skelton, owner of Nemesis Metals, and their families and employees. However, after a decade, they are handing over the duties to the Fond du Lac Noon Rotary Club. With a few changes, the show runs daily from 5-11 p.m. now through New Year's Day. To hear the audio, turn your car radio to 87.9 FM. The trees will dance to 7 songs, followed by a short intermission, then the show repeats. I look forward to the continuation of this amazing local tradition!

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Christmas Time is Here (Video Message)!

2019 is coming to a close, meaning the Christmas holiday season is here. As I enjoy doing every holiday season, I created a video message for you all to watch. Have a happy and safe Christmas with your friends and family. Prayers for a wonderful new year in 2020!

Upcoming Holidays

  • Friday, December 20 – Dot Your I's Day
  • Saturday, December 21 – Forefathers' Day
  • Sunday, December 22 – National Cookie Exchange Day
  • Monday, December 23 – National Roots Day
  • Tuesday, December 24 – Christmas Eve
  • Wednesday, December 25 – Christmas Day
  • Thursday, December 26 – National Candy Cane Day

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

Today in History - December 20
  • 1699 – Russian Tsar Peter the Great ordered the Russian New Year to be changed from Sept 1 to Jan 1.
  • 1790 – The 1st successful US cotton mill, built by Samuel Slater, began spinning yarn in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
  • 1860 – South Carolina seceded from the Union (US Civil War).
  • 1946 – The Christmas classic "It's a Wonderful Life" premiered in New York, directed by Frank Capra and starred James Stewart, Donna Reed and Lionel Barrymore.
  • 1976 – Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin resigned.
  • 2018- US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced his resignation after having disagreements with President Donald Trump on the role of the current troops in the Middle East.