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State Capitol Report

Friends and Neighbors,

I hope this summer has brought memorable experiences with family and friends and ample time to enjoy our beautiful community. With the start of the school year, football season, and so much more just around the corner, this newsletter provides updates on what has been going on at our state capitol. I’ll cover the new insulin cap bill, updates on the Water Quality Task Force, the Reaching Higher for Higher Education legislative package, and more.

Please feel free to contact me with any thoughts, questions, ideas, or concerns. I am happy to meet with you, visit your workplace, take a tour of your business, or attend a meeting of your organization – just ask. To stay informed, feel free to check out my Facebook page and website for updates, including news stories and photos of my meetings and visits around the district.  


Thank you for following along, and please let me know how I can best serve you. Your voice is very important to me!


Katrina sig.png

Katrina Shankland, 

State Representative

71st Assembly District

After the Storms

As we all know, powerful storms swept across our state in late July, prompting both Governor Evers and Portage County leadership to issue declarations of emergency. On the request of Governor Evers, Wisconsin has also received a federal disaster declaration from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for numerous counties, including Portage County. As a result, local governments for those counties and tribes will be able to apply for FEMA aid.

The storms left over a quarter of a million people without electricity for several days, and caused millions of dollars of damage. Local fire and police departments, Red Cross, Salvation Army, and National Guard members, utility crews, public works crews, state agency personnel, and volunteers all worked tirelessly to assist in the recovery effort, and I am proud to co-sponsor Assembly Joint Resolution 78 thanking all of these individuals for their hard work. I am also especially proud and grateful to all of the folks who came out to help their fellow neighbors in the days following the storms.


In response to these events, the Department of Natural Resources also launched a number of webpages to provide information and resources to municipalities, businesses and property owners. These pages cover: storm debris clean-up, storm damage to forests, storm debris clean-up on waterways, flooded wells, demolition, construction & renovation, and urban forestry catastrophic storm grants.


First Wisconsin Legislator to Attend the Clean Energy Legislative Academy

I was excited to be the first legislator from Wisconsin to attend the Center for New Energy Economy's Clean Energy Legislative Academy last month! Every legislative session, I've introduced renewable energy bills because investing in clean energy creates family-supporting jobs, strengthens the public health, buoys the local economy, and protects our natural resources. You can read more about my experience digging deeper into clean energy at the bipartisan academy here



 Photo (above): Rep. Shankland with former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter


Clean Energy by 2050

On August 16, Governor Evers issued Executive Order 38, creating the new Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy. Along with other state agencies and state utilities, this office will be tasked with ensuring that all energy consumed in Wisconsin by 2050 is 100% carbon-free. Additionally, they will ensure Wisconsin is following the guidelines regarding carbon restriction laid out by the 2015 Paris Climate Accord. They will also be charged with working with various state agencies, businesses, native nations, local governments and utilities, and other stakeholders to develop and implement this plan.

Clean Energy EO

Photo (above): Lieutenant Governor Barnes and Governor Evers announce Executive Order 38

When I was at the Clean Energy Legislative Academy, I heard from numerous speakers and legislators who had heard about the governor's executive order and were excited that Wisconsin is on a path to carbon-free energy!


Reaching Higher for Higher Education 

Wisconsin was once a leader in higher education, and now we must seize the opportunity to lead again. The promise of the American Dream is falling out of reach for too many, and our students deserve to have the same opportunities that their parents and grandparents had.

That’s why I recently introduced my Reaching Higher for Higher Education legislative package, which includes legislation to fully fund the current tuition freeze; ensure that all future tuition freezes are funded, ensuring students don't have to wait for courses to graduate; fully funding our technical colleges; ending the wait list for state financial aid for our technical college and university students so they can afford college; reducing the teacher shortage by remitting the tuition of student teachers while they're teaching; and creating a Blue Ribbon Commission to facilitate a discussion of the future of public higher education in Wisconsin. 

There is a 23 to 1 return on investment for every dollar we spend on the UW-System. We have a chance to make a smart and sustainable investment in our technical colleges and universities while supporting students. I'm proud to introduce this legislative package and am pleased it has bipartisan support. I'll keep working to ensure college education is affordable for everyone.



Advocating for Local Control

We all know a local leader who's doing a great job keeping a pulse on their community's needs and supporting them. I've always believed that we should respect local control, and the state should stop preempting our local governments and just let them do their jobs. I recently offered a radio address focused on local control, and you can read a column in the Tomah Journal about it here


Gov. Evers Declares Aug 26-30 as International Student Welcome Week

Every year, thousands of international students choose to live, study, and work in Wisconsin, forming a vital part of campus life, local communities, and our state’s economy. I asked Governor Evers to use his authority to do something to honor and welcome these students, and he has issued a proclamation declaring August 26-30, 2019 as International Student Welcome Week throughout Wisconsin.


I’m thrilled that Governor Evers recognizes the cultural and economic importance of international students, and has chosen to go the extra mile to welcome them to our state by declaring it International Student Welcome Week in the state of Wisconsin. Everyone benefits from cultural exchange, and as students arrive on campus and our schools, colleges, and universities begin a new school year, I hope that this proclamation will help to set a welcoming tone.


Capping the Price of Insulin

No one should have to choose between a life-saving drug like insulin and basic amenities like groceries, utilities, and rent. The cost of insulin has more than doubled since 2012, and today, one in four people with diabetes has said they've had to ration insulin because they can't afford the skyrocketing costs, putting their life at risk. No profit margin should ever come before a human life, and that is why I introduced SB 340 to cap the cost of insulin at $100 a month. I'm proud to join my colleagues Senator Dave Hansen and Representatives Jill Billings and Jimmy Anderson in authoring this legislation.

In a moral society, everyone has access to the prescriptions and medicine they need to live. That's why I'm proud to work with my colleagues in addressing this issue and capping the price of insulin. It's the right thing to do, and I hope this spurs a much-needed conversation in the legislature on how we can work together to rein in the rising costs of prescription drugs.


DATCP Secretary Visits Portage County

Photos: DATCP Secretary-designee Pfaff and Rep. Shankland visit Dairy State Cheese (top) and speak with Portage County farmers about producer-led water quality efforts (bottom) 


I recently invited DATCP Secretary-designee Brad Pfaff to Portage County for an action-packed day in the district. We visited with local farmers to discuss nutrient management, producer-led watershed grants, and water quality. We had a fantastic time listening and discussing how we can work together to support farmers and enhance our water quality. Naturally, we stopped at Dairy State Cheese to pick up some cheese curds at the end of our day!


Task Force on Water Quality: Latest Updates

Since my last update, the Speaker’s Task Force on Water Quality has held six more hearings across the state: in Sturtevant, Tomahawk, Stevens Point, Milwaukee, Green Bay, and Marinette. As Vice-chair of the task force, I was excited to invite and welcome my colleagues to Stevens Point, where we toured the state-of-the-art UWSP Water & Environmental Analysis Lab and heard from a wide range of invited speakers and members of the public.

Photo (below): Task Force members tour the UWSP Water & Environmental Analysis Lab (photo courtesy of UW Stevens Point Communications and Marketing)

Task Force Water Lab Tour

As we have held public hearings throughout the state, it remains clear that we have a range of serious water quality concerns in our state, from nitrate to PFAS to lead and bacteria in drinking water. I am committed to finding science-based solutions to these pressing problems and believe that now is the time for action.

Photo (below): Rep. Shankland speaks at the Stevens Point Task Force Hearing (photo courtesy of UW Stevens Point Communications and Marketing)

The task force is holding two more hearings this week in Menominee, and Superior. Once all the hearings conclude, we will be publishing recommendations and introducing legislation to address the many water quality issues across the state. 

You can read more about my work on the task force and how I've approached this exciting opportunity to ensure everyone in Wisconsin has clean drinking water here and here


Protecting Communities from Nitrate Contamination

On July 31, I was pleased to join Governor Tony Evers, as well as Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Secretary-designee Preston Cole and Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) Secretary-designee Brad Pfaff in Watertown for the announcement of new state efforts to address nitrate contamination. These efforts will include rulemaking by DNR through NR 151 to reduce nitrate contamination in the areas of Wisconsin that are most at risk. You can read more about this here


Photo (above): Rep. Shankland with DATCP Secretary-designee Pfaff, DNR Secretary-designee Cole and Governor Evers for the announcement of new changes to NR 151

These new efforts by the governor, DNR, and DATCP tackle the root of our pollution runoff problems and will help to prevent future nitrate contamination. Launching a statewide conversation on NR 151 and bringing farmers, scientists, county conservationists, and local and state leaders together to reduce nitrate contamination will make a meaningful difference in communities across the state.

When Governor Evers declared 2019 the Year of Clean Drinking Water, he meant what he said and has proven time and time again that he is willing to take action on this issue. Whether in his budget, by proclaiming August as National Water Quality Month, or through this more recent executive action, he has proven that he truly cares about ensuring every Wisconsinite has access to clean drinking water.


Looking Forward

As we move further into the fall legislative session, I encourage you to reach out regarding any bills that I’m introducing and other bills that come before the legislature.

Feel free to call, email, or write! And please consider filling out my district e-survey by clicking the image below:


District survey

Thank you for following along. I look forward to staying in touch!

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