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A Note from Rep. Edming

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Thank you for reading my weekly e-update. It's been another busy week and I can't wait to catch you up on what I've been up to, serving the people of the 87th Assembly District, both in Madison and around the district.
First of all, Happy Birthday to Scouts BSA! Tomorrow, February 8th, marks 109 years since the founding of the Boy Scouts of America by W.D. Boyce after his trip to London when he saw the Scouting movement begun by Robert Baden-Powell in England. Boyce encountered a Boy Scout when he was lost on a foggy street in London. The Unknown Scout helped him find his way, then refused a tip from Boyce, explaining that he was just doing a daily good turn. Good luck to all the Scouts out there who are working towards their Eagle Scout rank! 
As always, if you have any thoughts or concerns you'd like to share with me, please don't hesitate to contact me. I appreciate hearing your thoughts.

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What's on Deck in the State Assembly

These last few weeks have been some of the busiest of the session, and we're not done yet. Coming up on Tuesday, we will be holding another floor session in the Assembly. I'd like to take a moment to tell you about several of the bills we will be considering on Tuesday.

End Elder Abuse Package

In Wisconsin, there has been a 160% increase in reported elder abuse since 2001. These numbers are likely to grow with Wisconsin's senior population set to increase by 72% in the next decade. With that in mind, earlier this session, I signed on to a package of four bills that helps to fight elder abuse in Wisconsin.

Back in January, we passed the first bill in this package, Assembly Bill (AB) 479. This bill would expedite criminal proceedings when a victim or witness is 60 years or older. This would strengthen the process and minimize the amount of stress for elder victims and witnesses who are involved in court proceedings by allowing for expedited hearings and the ability to preserve testimony through a video-taped court hearing. On Tuesday, the Assembly will take up the other three bills in this package, AB 480AB 481, and AB 482.

AB 480 would increase the penalties for crimes committed against individuals 60 years and older, enhance the protections for elder adults seeking restraining orders, streamline court processes to freeze the assets of a defendant, and strengthen the penalties for physical abuse of an elder adult. This bill also makes the sexual assault of an elderly person a Class B Felony.

Oftentimes, elderly people are targeted for financial exploitation, through robocalls, identify theft and/or forgery, or some other means. AB 481 would allow financial service providers to delay financial transactions when the exploitation of an elderly adult is suspected. A process would be created for financial service providers to create a list of individuals that a vulnerable adult authorizes to be contacted if financial exploitation is suspected. AB 482 would allow securities industry professionals to provide notice of suspected financial exploitation of individuals ages 60 years and older to the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, adult protective service agencies, and other individuals. A broker-dealer or investment adviser could delay a transaction on, or disbursement from, an account of a vulnerable adult or an account on which a vulnerable adult is a beneficiary if certain terms apply.

I look forward to supporting these important pieces of legislation on Tuesday and sending them to the State Senate for their consideration.

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Tougher on Crime Package

The Assembly will also be taking up a package of bills, which I've co-authored, that will help keep our communities safer.

One of the bills the Assembly will consider is AB 804, which addresses the difficult problem of victim intimidation that often takes place in domestic violence cases. This bill would create a per se rule that victim intimidation in domestic violence cases is a felony, offering both a deterrent value and a potentially easier charge for prosecutors to prove than the underlying offense.

Another bill I'd like to highlight is AB 808. This bill would impose accountability on prosecutors by requiring them to seek court approval before simply dismissing felony-in-possession charges for suspects with prior convictions for violent felonies or diverting the suspect to a deferred prosecution program.

In addition to these two bills, Assembly will also consider AB's, 802, 803, 805, 806, 807, and 809 from the Tougher on Crime Package.

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In addition to these two packages, the Assembly will also be taking up a number of other bills. You can watch the floor session live on WisEye.org starting at 1pm on Tuesday.

An Idea from the 87th Continues to Advance

A couple of years ago I heard from folks like Town of Atlanta Chairman, Steve Tiegs about the damage that nuisance beavers were causing to local roadways.  I learned that while the Department of Natural Resources does deploy measures to deal with nuisance animals like beavers and muskrats, such as trapping, this is not always effective.

Another tool that can be effective in removing nuisance beavers and muskrats is shooting them with a firearm.  However, this is currently not an option for animals damaging a roadway as state law currently prohibits the discharge of a firearm within 50-feet of the center of a roadway.  After hearing more stories like Steve's from other areas of the state I drafted legislation to help solve this problem, AB 592/SB 535.

I am proud to share that legislation that this idea from the 87th District made some big progress this week in the legislature.  On Tuesday, the bill was approved by the Assembly Transportation Committee and received a public hearing in the Senate committee as well. I would like to thank Atlanta Town Chairman Steve Tiegs and Supervisor Roger Roehl for coming to the Capitol to share their support for this legislation. I look forward to seeing this bill on the floor soon.

If you would like to learn more about this proposal you can check out a story from a past e-update or you can click here to read my committee testimony.

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l to r: Roger Roehl, Steve Tiegs, and Rep. Edming

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Under the Dome

Ag Day

Earlier this week I met with a number of hardworking farmers who were in Madison for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau's Ag Day at the Capitol. I appreciated the opportunity to discuss a number of issues that are important to them, including the bill I authored with Senator Petrowski to reform our state's wildlife damage and abatement programs.

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United Mutual

On Wednesday, I enjoyed a visit with Mike Kassie from United Mutual Insurance Company in Medford. We discussed some legislation and issues that are important to him and his industry. Thank you for stopping by Mike!

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Realtors Day at the Capitol

I was happy to see my friends, the Kaisers, in Madison on Wednesday for the Realtors Association Day at the Capitol. I took some time to sit down with them and a large group of realtors from around northwestern Wisconsin to learn more about issues important to their industry.

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Heart of the North

Yesterday, representatives from Heart of the North counties (Barron, Rusk, Sawyer, and Washburn) visited my office to discuss issues affecting our area in the Northwoods. I was happy to see they had brought students with them to present their issues and get them engaged in the legislative process.

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WI Broadcasters

Last week, I met with members of the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association on their annual lobby day to discuss broadcasting issues in our state. I enjoyed listening to their concerns and discussing different solutions with them. 

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Around the 87th

Upcoming Events Around the 87th

Check out the following events happening around the district:

Do you know of any events in the district that I missed? Contact my office and let me know, so I can include it in a future e-update and try to attend myself.

Stay Up to Date

One of the best ways to stay up to date with what is going on in Madison is to sign up for the legislature's notification tracking service. This service allows you to follow legislative activity in Madison. Once you create a free account you can sign up to receive notifications about specific bills or committees as well as legislative activity pertaining to a subject area (i.e. agriculture, veterans). You can sign up for this service at notify.legis.wisconsin.gov.