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Office: 888-534-0087
Rep.Edming@ legis.wi.gov

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A Note from Rep. Edming

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Thank you for taking a few minutes to read my e-update.  As we begin the new year, business is really beginning to pick up again in Madison.  There is still a lot of work to be done before the end of the session and I look forward to continuing to work hard on your behalf.  As always, please feel free to reach out to share your thoughts on issues before the legislature.


Medford Goes to Madison

A couple of years ago, I participated in a community discussion in Medford about employing people with disabilities. There, I learned about the Employment First movement which is the promotion of competitive integrated employment (CIE) for people with disabilities. CIE is the employment of individuals with disabilities in the community, working alongside people without a disability. I was pleased to learn that the Medford area was a leader in promoting Employment First policies, but I also learned that for some people, barriers still exist to community-based employment. I told the folks in Medford that day that I wanted to take this on and see what I could do to remove barriers to CIE.

Since that day nearly two years ago I have been working with various stakeholders and state agencies to craft a proposal that will both promote CIE while also preserving choice of allowable services for people with disabilities. The result of this work is the Employment First bill, Assembly Bill (AB) 625/Senate Bill (SB) 514, which I introduced with Sen. Tom Tiffany and Rep. Jimmy Anderson.

Several state agencies are responsible for funding services that help disabled youth and adults find jobs, but at times these services can be fragmented or duplicated. The Employment First bill seeks to change that by requiring state agencies with responsibilities in this area to collaborate and develop a joint plan to assist people with disabilities in finding employment in the community.

This week, the Employment First bill received a public hearing in both houses of the legislature and disability rights advocates from around the state, including a large group from the Medford area made the long trip to Madison to support the bill. The students from Medford did such a great job that they received a standing ovation! In the many committee hearings, I have been at during my time in the legislature I have never seen anyone given the kind of reception these students received.

I have seen personally the amazing impacts that community integrated employment can have in the district and statewide, and I am excited about the progress this bill has made. I look forward to seeing this awesome legislation on Governor Walker's desk in the near future.

Also, after the hearing, I was able to catch up with a few of folks from Medford who came down to Madison. Click here to view our conversation about why they support the Employment First bill.


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Rep. Edming, speaks with Sen. Tiffany and Rep. Anderson in support of AB 625/SB 514

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Disability Rights Advocates, Legislators and staff promoting Employment First in Madison

Bill to Promote Student Entrepreneurs Advances

In a previous e-update, I discussed Assembly Bill (AB) 498/Senate Bill (SB) 404, that I am authoring with Sen. Patrick Testin (Stevens Point).  This bill exempts students enrolled in a post-secondary institution in Wisconsin from paying the initial $130 filing fee for forming a limited liability company (LLC).

I am pleased to report that the Assembly Committee on Small Business Development voted unanimously to recommend passage of AB 498 yesterday.  In addition, SB 404 was also approved by the Senate Committee on Revenue, Financial Institutions, and Rural Issues earlier this week.  AB 498/SB 404 are now available for scheduling before the full legislature.  I am looking forward to passing this legislation during the spring floor period.

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Connecting Rural Wisconsin

With the struggle to find reliable and secure broadband access common throughout much of rural Wisconsin, including large parts of the 87th District, many rural residents and small business owners are at a disadvantage compared with other residents in more urbanized areas of the state.  While options to improve access have been made available, such as Rural Broadband Grants, rural Wisconsin still continues to be largely underserved or unserved.  One of the main reasons I hear for the lack of progress on increased access to broadband is the cost to install the required equipment and infrastructure.

Recently, I heard about TV White Space technology which allows the internet to be carried over TV white space (unused space between TV stations).  When I began looking into it, it became clear that this technology can be an answer to the broadband access problems for many people in the 87th District.

This new technology has been shown to deliver high-speed internet that operates four times faster and reaches sixteen times farther than Wi-Fi. It also is not blocked by obstacles that would block Wi-Fi, such as hills and trees.  It is estimated that TV White Space can reach up to 80% of the rural population that currently has no broadband access.

In order for this new technology to become a reality, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would need to adopt regulations to allow TV White Space technology to be used.  Last month, I wrote a letter to the FCC urging them to allow the use of this technology.  Recently, I also joined a group of legislators to introduce a resolution supporting the use of this technology in Wisconsin. It is my hope that this technology can be put to use in rural Wisconsin soon.

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Rusk County Deputy to Be Honored as Hometown Hero

Last year, Senator Petrowski and I had the opportunity to present Deputy Matthew Wojcik from the Rusk County Sheriff's Office with a citation commending him for his actions, which saved the life of a decorated, Vietnam War Veteran.  As of Tuesday, Deputy Wojcik will have a new title, Hometown Hero.

The Assembly's Hometown Hero award program seeks to identify and honor individuals from around the state who have made a difference in their communities and the lives of those around them. In this way, the Assembly works to recognize those special individuals and thank them for their service to their communities.  When the call for nominations for this award came out, I realized that Deputy Wojcik was the perfect candidate. As it turns out, I was not the only one to think that.

Deputy Wojcik will be recognized as a Hometown Hero this upcoming Tuesday, January 16th at the start of the Assembly floor session.  You can watch the floor session live at 1:00 PM on WisconsinEye.

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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.