Capitol Updates from State Rep. Dave Considine
September 21, 2017
Friends and Neighbors,
Late last week the legislature passed the 2017-2019 state budget. This bill determines funding levels for state government over the next two years. The importance of this bill is self-evident. By determining spending for K-12 education, transportation, healthcare, and many other programs, the budget identifies the priorities of the governing administration.
Unfortunately, this is a budget of missed opportunities. The Governor failed to implement serious changes to our Department of Corrections, strengthen mental health services, increase opportunities in agriculture and tourism, and return control to our local communities. While the budget increases funding for K-12 education, it goes primarily to private voucher schools and increasing spending for special needs vouchers. Additionally, the Governor has again decided to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars for road projects rather than raising the revenue needed to fix the potholes present in every community in the state. I echoed many of these sentiments in my floor speech.
Republicans have had seven years to get it right, but their choices have caused us to miss major opportunities to best serve the citizens of Wisconsin and move our state forward.
I will be drafting a letter to Governor Walker in the coming days requesting a number of vetoes to the budget. I welcome your feedback on what I can include in this letter.
Rep. Dave Considine
Legislature Passes Foxconn Bill
Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn will receive $3 billion from the state of Wisconsin beginning in 2019. The incentive package will be the largest in the state's history and one of the largest in U.S. history. Wisconsin will not break even until 2042.
I believe this deal has gone wrong in so many ways. Along with the generous corporate welfare package, Foxconn will bypass virtually all environmental regulations. We are handing out money to a company from Taiwan with no ties to Wisconsin and no assurances that they’ll give back to our communities or treat their employees – our citizens – with respect.
We all want good, family-supporting jobs for Wisconsin citizens, but Governor Walker and my Republican colleagues are taking this too far. It makes no sense to rush through legislation that gives Foxconn a free pass on our state’s resources. Among many other reasons, that is why I voted against this bill.
Democratic Members Tour Beloit Farms
In August, Democratic members of the State Assembly Committee on Agriculture toured three farms in rural Green and Rock Counties. The tour was part of an effort to meet farmers in Wisconsin to better understand their needs and learn how the Legislature could further support their businesses. Agriculture is central to Wisconsin’s heritage and to our economy, largely due to the efforts of our farmers, agriculture producers, and processors. The creative ideas exchanged on these tours enable us to better craft legislation that will positively impact the agricultural sector of our state's economy.
The tours took place at Luety Aquafarms, Decatur Dairy, Green Fire Farm,
and Larson Acres. This is the second in a series of farm tours by the
Democratic members of the Assembly Committee on Agriculture. A prior
tour was done of farms in Milton and Janesville and additional tours
will be done in Sauk and Milwaukee counties.
Other High Profile Bills
AB 499: Mining Bill - This bill would repeal the "Prove It First" mining law, a law passed nearly 20 years ago that requires companies wanting to mine sulfide in Wisconsin to show an example of a sulfide mine that hasn’t polluted nearby waters.
Rep. Considine Introduces 2 Bills
LRB 4174 - would require Assembly committees to hear testimony from members of the public before lobbyists and state government officials. Too often we have seen "public hearings" where citizens of our state wait hours to testify while paid lobbyists receive the first opportunity to weigh in on legislation.
LRB 1567 - would allow first responders to provide limited medical services to an injured household pet at the scene of an emergency prior to transferring the animal to a veterinary care facility.
Mental Health First Aid
Earlier this month, I asked staff from Journey Mental Health Center to come to the Capitol and provide legislators with an overview of mental health first aid - a course that gives people the skills to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis until professional help arrives.
Just as CPR training helps a person with no clinical training assist an individual who is choking or unresponsive and not breathing, Mental Health First Aid training helps a person assist someone experiencing a mental health crisis such as contemplating suicide. I am a firm believer that education and awareness of mental illness will help to reduce stigma and save lives.
Archery and Crossbow Seasons Beginning
Licenses can still be purchased through the Go Wild website, or at any of the more than 1,000 Go Wild license sales locations. Hunters are encouraged to check out the Department’s frequently asked questions page for information regarding changes for the 2017 deer hunting season.
Community and In-District Events
What: Arts, crafts, music, and food
When: 10/7/17 from 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Where: Downtown Baraboo
What: Premier microbrew event
When: 10/13/17 & 10/14/17
Where: Festival Grounds, Downtown Wisconsin Dells
Sauk City Library Closed for Improvements
The Sauk City Public Library will close for improvements the week of September 18-23. The renovations will increase space for the library's media collection, add a separate area for teens, and provide more room for the children's area.
If there is an event or program taking place in the 81st that you'd like me to highlight, please let me know.
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