Welcome to the E-Update


"Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?"

-Abraham Lincoln






Big Brother of the Year

This week I had the honor to recognize Detective Jim Martin as not only the North Central Wisconsin Big Brother of the Year, but also the Wisconsin Big Brother of the Year. It was great meeting him and his little brother and hearing how beneficial this organization is to both the adults and little siblings. 

If you or someone you know would make a great Big Brother or Big Sister, I encourage you to reach out to the organization at bbbsncw.org to find out more information.

Budget Update

This week Tuesday and Thursday the Joint Committee on Finance met to take action on the following sections of the 2021-23 budget:

  • Department of Transportation
    • Increased funding by 2% each year for County Transportation Aids and Municipal Transportation Aids
    • Approved $100 million for the local roads improvement program
    • Increased general transportation aids by $19 million
    • Approved $250,000 for transportation employment and mobility under the Wisconsin Employment Transportation Assistance program, provided a 2.5% increase in paratransit aids, and a 2.5% increase to a specialized assistance program for seniors and individuals with disabilities
    • Approved state highway rehabilitation funding and eliminated bonding for it
    • Reduced mass transit operating assistance by $41 million
    • Approved the purchase of body-worn cameras for the State Patrol
  • Department of Military Affairs
    • Invested $6.5 million to start the build out of a new statewide interoperable radio network
    • Continued to invest in Next Generation 911
  • Capital Budget
    • Approved funding for Stevens Point Albertson Hall, Oshkosh Clow Hall, Madison Engineering Drive, River Falls Science, Green Bay Cofrin Technology and Education Center, and many other building improvements
    • Approved funding for Mental Health Beds at HSHS Sacred Heart in Eau Claire and North Central Health Care in Wausau
    • You can find the full capital budget approval list here
  • Department of Corrections
    • Invested $1 million to upgrade Career and Technical Education equipment
    • Expanded the Windows to Work program
    • Expanded the medication-assisted treatment program
    • Provided funding to staff the Oakhill Assisted Needs Facility
  • Department of Children and Families
    • Increased you aids by $4.7 million annually to assist counties with juvenile delinquency services
  • District Attorneys
    • Provided a 1/2 step in pay progression for Assistant District Attorneys (ADA) and Public Defenders
    • Added 7.4 ADA positions to be in Columbia, Fond du Lac, Manitowoc, Marathon, Monroe, Ozaukee, Sauk, Lafayette, and Sheboygan counties
    • Provided funding for video server storage and interpreter funding for the State Public Defender's office
  • Department of Justice
    • Provided $2.5 million to expand the Treatment Alternatives and Diversion grant program
    • Provided additional funding for the Sexual Assault Victim Services grant program
    • Approved $2 million to provide grants to local law enforcement agencies for body cameras
    • Provided $2 million per year to reimburse local law enforcement for training
  • Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection
    • Increased the cap to $1 million for producer-led watershed protection grants
    • Approved $7 million in supported bonding for cost-sharing grants in the soil and water resource management program
  • Department of Natural Resources
    • Reauthorized the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program for 4 years at $32 million
    • Invested in the County Forest Acreage Share Payments
    • Invested the disposal of PFAS-containing firefighting foam
    • Invested in well compensation and abandonment grants, flood control grant programs, and dam safety grants
Committee Updates

Floor Session

This week the Assembly was on the Floor to vote on two bill and consider two resolutions.

  • AB 293: This bill relates to enforcing federal laws regulating firearms and the use of public resources to confiscate firearms.
  • AB 336: This bill terminates the state's participation in the federal programs that provide or supplement unemployment benefits to workers in this state and prohibits DWD from waiving the work search requirements for reasons related to COVID-19.
  • AJR 57: This resolution modifies the session schedule to create a floorperiod in October.
  • AJR 60: This resolution honors the career and accomplishments of Barry Alvarez.

State Affairs

This week the Assembly State Affairs Committee held a hearing on AB 276, AB 325, AB 374, AB 389, and AB 390. The committee also passed AB 276, AB 325, AB 367 and AB 369. 

  • AB 276: This bill prohibits DATCP from creating rules that prohibit dogs from being at retail food establishments that receive not more than 5 percent of total revenue from the sale of food.
  • AB 325: This bill adopts the Revised Uniform Unclaimed Property Act.
  • AB 367: This bill authorizes the WI Economic Development Corporation to award a loan for the purchase of the Verso Paper Mill in Wisconsin Rapids.
  • AB 369: This bill addresses the timeline for local redistricting following the 2020 federal decennial census.
  • AB 374: This bill deals with the settlement of the multidistrict opiate litigation.
  • AB 389: This bill requires the Governor to allocate funds from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 for grants to Brown County and Green Bay to relocate coal piles near the mouth of the Fox River.
  • AB 390: This bill directs the governor to award grants from funds from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to Memorial Hospital in Lafayette County, emergency medical services, and the city of Reedsburg community center.

Criminal Justice and Public Safety

This week the Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety held a hearing on AB 176. The committee also passed AB 297.

  • AB 176: This bill allows the sheriff of a county or the appointing authority of a local law enforcement agency to appoint Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals individuals who have a valid employment authorization as deputy sheriffs or police officers.
  • AB 297: This bill increases penalties for traffic violations within an emergency or roadside response area.
Local Government Recovery Funds

The Wisconsin Department of Revenue wants to remind non-entitlement units (NEUs) to apply for the Local Government Recovery Funds (LFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). NEUs are Wisconsin towns, villages, and cities with populations under 50,000.

Applications for the funds must be submitted electronically and the deadline is June 18, 2021.

DOR will be making the payment in two allocations with 50% being distributed by the end of June and the remaining being sent in 2022. 

Local governments can use the funds to support public health expenditures, address negative economic impacts caused by the health emergency, replace lost public sector revenue, provide premium pay for essential workers, and invest in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure.

You can find out more information and apply through the DOR's website.

Blue Books Available

With the 2019-2020 session in our rearview mirror, remember to get your Wisconsin Blue Book. If you are interested in receiving a Blue Book, please send me an email or fill out a contact form on my website ("Request Blue Book" in the Message section).

Helpful COVID-19 Links

Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Wisconsin Hospital Association Dashboard

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Unemployment Insurance

Child Care Information

Resources for Small Businesses

Resilient WI: Tips on Managing Stress and Anxiety

Marathon County COVID-19 Resource Page

Wood County COVID-19 Resource Page

Phone and Internet Helpline