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A Note from Rep. Edming

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Welcome to my latest e-update.  I hope everyone stayed safe during the severe weather that has impacted our area recently.  Hopefully, we do not see that kind of weather again anytime soon.  Due to this extreme weather, the governor declared a state of emergency for the entire state.  With the large amount of clean up required across the state, the Department of Natural Resources has compiled some helpful information related to cleanup and recovery efforts. You can view this information by clicking here.

As you may have noticed, you did not receive an e-update this past Friday and this week's e-update is coming earlier than normal.  On Friday, there was a major power outage in downtown Madison that impacted a large portion of state government, including my capitol office.  Due to this outage, the State Capitol was closed for most of the day on Friday.   Before the closure of the building, my office was experiencing issues with both phone and email which prevented us from sending out the e-update.  So instead of sending two e-updates this week, we have combined them into one which means there will not be an e-update on Friday.  

Also, due to the issues with our phones and email on Friday, you may not have been able to reach my office.  If you tried to contact me and were not able to get through, please try reaching out again.  My staff and I would be glad to assist you.


Update on Local Road Funding

Throughout the state budget process, my colleagues in the legislature and I heard from folks around the state about the need to invest more into our local roads.  That is why we included an additional $90 million in funding in the state budget targeted at local road repairs.  These funds were put towards grants through the Local Roads Improvement Program.  Under the budget as passed by the legislature, the $90 million funding would be allocated as follows:

  • $32,033,200 for counties
  • $22,847,400 for municipalities (cities and villages)
  • $35,149,400 for towns

I was disappointed when Governor Evers signed the state budget into law on July 3rd that he used his veto authority to cut funding from this program by $15 million and to eliminate the requirements that the funds be used for local road improvement.  Within his veto message, the governor directs the Department of Transportation (DOT) to use the $75 million of remaining funds for "transit and transportation needs".  When the governor issued his vetoes, I was concerned that his actions could allow these funds to be used for purposes other than fixing our local roads.

Last week, my concerns were confirmed when DOT Secretary-designee Craig Thompson announced the department's plan for this funding.  In his comments, the secretary-designee opened up the possibility that some of the funds could go towards the streetcar in Milwaukee, among other things.  I believe the funding should go towards what the people of our state asked for, local road repair and not transit, bike paths, or other projects.

With the announcement from DOT, I am having conversations with my colleagues in the legislature about the potential of attempting to override the governor's veto of this provision.  The decision on this matter will be made in the coming weeks.

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 Reining in the Federal Government

One of the topics I have heard the most about from folks around the 87th Assembly District over the past few years is a request to support legislation to call an Article V Convention of the States to propose amendments to the United States Constitution to place restraints on the federal government.  From talking to folks around the district to the hundreds of contacts my office has received on this matter, it is clear to me that this is something that is important to a lot of folks around the 87th.

Article V of the United States Constitution provides two ways for constitutional amendments to be proposed and sent to the states for ratification.  The first way is the passage of an amendment by a two-thirds majority of both houses of Congress which is the way all 27 constitutional amendments have been adopted to date.  The second way provided by Article V is for two-thirds of the states to call for a convention of the states to propose amendments.  No matter how an amendment is proposed it must be ratified by at least three-fourths of state legislatures to take effect.

Last session, I was proud to co-author a resolution that called for an Article V Convention to consider amendments to impose a balanced budget requirement on the federal government.  Currently, Wisconsin and nearly all other states are required to operate under a balanced budget.  I believe that it is time to require the same of the federal government. 

Since this resolution passed last session, I continued to hear from constituents about the need for a broader convention of the states to impose restraints on the federal government and term limits on federal elected officials.  A number of my colleagues have heard the same from their constituents as well.  That is why I recently joined with a number of them to circulate a resolution in the legislature for support, which calls for a convention of the states to propose amendments to limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, impose fiscal restraints, and place term limits on federal officials. At this time, if Wisconsin were to pass this resolution, we would become the 16th state to call for an Article V Convention on these topics.  It takes 34 states to do so for a convention to be called.

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Around the 87th

Bruce Blue Hills Fest

One of the best things about the 87th District is the many festivals held in the communities around the district. Make sure you take the opportunity to attend one sometime in the coming weeks, while we still have this nice, summer weather. Earlier this month, I spent some time in Bruce for their annual Blue Hills Fest. I had a great time and enjoyed seeing everyone else having a great time, as well.

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Honor the Earth Pow Wow

This weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Lac Courte Oreilles' Honor the Earth Pow Wow.  This is one of my favorite events around the 87th District each year and it was great to see so many folks out at this great community event.

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Correction to My Last E-Update

I would like to provide a correction to some information that I shared in my last e-update.  In the state budget plan that was approved by the Joint Finance Committee, funding was provided for additional assistant district attorneys (ADAs) around the state including a full-time ADA in Sawyer County and a half-time ADA in Rusk County.  Then before the budget's passage by the Assembly, an amendment was adopted that would have provided funding for additional ADA positions, including two full-time positions in Marathon County and a half-time position in Taylor County.  In my last e-update, I mistakenly stated that the governor's partial veto impacted the positions allocated to Rusk and Sawyer Counties, but it actually impacts the positions allocated for Marathon and Taylor Counties.  In the governor's veto message he directs the Department of Administration to work with the State Prosecutor's office to allocate these positions instead.  While I am disappointed in the governor's veto, I hope that through this process both Marathon and Taylor Counties receive the additional prosecutors that they need.

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 related to a subject area (i.e. agriculture, veterans). You can sign up for this service at notify.legis.wisconsin.gov.