Capitol Updates from State Rep. Dave Considine
November 22, 2017
Friends and Neighbors,
Our state has unfortunately seen countless instances of abuses at correctional facilities. From Lincoln Hills to Green Bay Correctional and places in between, staff are overworked, under trained, and poorly compensated.
I therefore joined Sen. Jon Erpenbach in authoring a package of 9 bills focused on policies that would improve the safety and security at state Department of Corrections (DOC) institutions. This corrections reform package was developed following conversations with correctional officers, staff, and their families.
The proposals include: four weeks of on the job training for new recruits, training for officers that dispense medication, requiring at least five first responder staff to be on-duty for every shift, requiring at least one guard tower and one perimeter to be staffed at all times, allowing workers to collectively bargain for workplace safety, limiting the consecutive shifts of overtime to two, requiring incident reports to be public, adjusting sergeant pay to address vacancies, and requiring a correctional officer to be present for any interaction between an inmate and a non-officer staff member.
Rep. Dave Considine
Legislature Passes Repeal of Mining Moratorium
The Wisconsin legislature voted earlier this month to lift the state's nearly 20-year ban on gold and silver mining. The bill removes a provision in state law that required sulfide mining applicants to prove that a similar mine had operated in the U.S. for at least a decade without polluting.
The bill passed also would exempt large-scale sampling operations from going through the environmental impact statement process and prohibit administrative law judges from blocking any Department of Natural Resources mining application decision. This legislation will have a devastating effect on the environment of our state should a mining company return and decide to operate in our state.
It is well known that sulfide mining produces acidic runoff that has the potential to poison Wisconsin's waters for generations.
Among many other reasons, that is why I voted against this bill.
Farm Succession Bill
I recently introduced legislation, LRB 3540, to help families manage the process of farm succession. The bill would create two staff positions within the UW-Extension: one position would be a specialist within the Center for Dairy Profitability to assist with the financial aspects of farm succession management; the other position would be a specialist within the Farm Management Institute to assist in developing and delivering programs at the local level and focus on research, training, and joint programming with county-based agriculture extension educators throughout the state.
Farming looks different today than it used to, and passing down the family farm is no longer as simple as it once was. As a result, many families have trouble agreeing on what to do with their farms, or, find the topic too uncomfortable to discuss at all. I know this from personal experience: my own family recently had our “farm talk”. It wasn’t easy, but it was absolutely necessary. These positions within UW-Extension will help other farmers to manage the complexities involved with farm succession.
Upcoming Listening Sessions with Rep. Considine
Saturday, December 2nd
11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Ruth Culver Library
540 Water Street
Prairie du Sac, WI
Tuesday, December 12th
4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Sauk City Library
515 Water Street
Sauk City, WI
Assembly Agriculture Committee Dems Continue Farm Tours
Last week, Democratic members from the Assembly Committee on Agriculture visited Growing Power Farms in Milwaukee. This is the third tour in a series of farm tours by the Democratic members of the Assembly Committee on Agriculture. Prior tours were done of farms in Milton, Janesville, and Sauk County.
Industrial Hemp Legislation Passes
Earlier this month, the Senate and Assembly passed SB 119, which would allow farmers to grow hemp after being approved for a license by the state Department of Agriculture. I have been advocating for reinvigorating Wisconsin's industrial hemp industry since I joined the legislature nearly 3 years ago. I have authored similar bills and am pleased to see this great opportunity for our agricultural economy becoming a reality.
I hope Governor Walker will agree that this is a major opportunity for our state and sign this bill into law.
Fab Lab Grants Available
Applications are now open for the Fabrication Laboratories (Fab Labs) Grant Program through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. The purpose of the program is to help Wisconsin public school districts create or expand high-technology workshops (Fab Labs) equipped with computer-controlled additive and subtractive manufacturing components, such as 3D printers, laser engravers, computer numerical control routers and/or plasma cutters.
This program prepares students for the jobs of the 21st century by helping public school districts provide equipment for students to learn and practice science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) skills. Public school districts may apply for up to $25,000.
Sauk Prairie and Prairie du Sac Partner with UW Students
Students in the UW-Madison Department of Planning and Landscape Architecture have been working with leadership from these two communities to better highlight the Sauk Prairie area.
Specifically, their work will leverage the Great Sauk Trail and a recently awarded federal grant for August Derleth Park to enhance Sauk Prairie’s Water Street. The information the students gather will be incorporated into a visioning document which will be presented to the communities in December.
November 18th begins the nine-day gun deer season.
· Helpful tips to ensure another safe hunting season in Wisconsin.
· First-time hunters can purchase discounted licenses and receive a certificate to commemorate their first harvest:
Community and In-District
Black Friday in Downtown Baraboo
When: November 24th from 8-10 a.m.
Where: Participating Shops in Downtown Baraboo
What: Shop downtown Baraboo for once-a-year unheard of sales!
Local Business Featured in Travel Wisconsin Tourism Video
Congratulations to Wollersheim Winery in Prairie du Sac for being featured in the newest tourism video from Travel Wisconsin!
Energy Assistance Available
As the winter heating season approaches, energy assistance applications now are being accepted by the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP). WHEAP provides qualifying residents assistance with energy bills and emergency needs.
Anyone applying for energy assistance must contact their designated county agency. A list of energy assistance agencies can be found at the State of Wisconsin Home Energy Plus website.
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