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A Note from Rep. Edming


Thank you for taking some time out of your busy schedule to read my e-update. It's been another busy week representing the 87th Assembly District in Madison. I'm looking forward to sharing this news with you. 

This week, I listened to public testimony in the Agriculture Committee and even gave my own testimony in the Joint Finance Committee. Read about this and more below. 

As always, if you would like to share your thoughts or concerns on any state issues, please contact my office and let me know. I look forward to hearing from you.


Continuing the Work to Meet Judicial Need

Earlier this year, I talked about the need for a second judge in Sawyer County and my efforts to get the funding for this judge included in the state budget.  While these efforts were unsuccessful, I have continued to look for ways to meet this judicial need in Sawyer County and other counties like it around the state.  These efforts resulted in the drafting of Assembly Bill (AB) 470 and its Senate companion bill, Senate Bill (SB) 458, which I recently brought forward with a number of my colleagues. 

For some time, many counties around the state have seen a sharp increase in the number of cases that are coming through their judicial system.  A big driver of this increased caseload is the drug epidemic that has hit our state hard. In some counties like Sawyer, the caseload has hit the point where an additional judge is necessary.  AB 470/SB 458 helps meet that need by creating a total of 12 circuit court branches around the state over the next three years. While these new branches are not guaranteed to any specific counties, this bill does provide counties, like Sawyer County, the opportunity to come up with a plan for the necessary facilities for an additional circuit court branch and to present these plans to the director of state courts for consideration.

On Wednesday, I was pleased to testify in front of the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) in support of this bill along with some of my colleagues who are bringing this proposal forward with me, including our senator, Jerry Petrowski. If you would like to learn more about this proposal you can read my testimony by clicking here. You can also click here to watch the hearing on WisconsinEye. The testimony on AB 470/SB 458 begins around the 1:47:00 in the video.

I am grateful to the JFC for hearing this important bill and hope to see it continue to advance through the legislative process soon.

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Justice Support Initiative

AB 470/SB 458 that I just discussed is part of a larger package of legislation that has been introduced, known as the Justice Support Initiative. This package continues the criminal justice reform efforts that began in the state budget and I am proud to support these bills as well.  Below is some information about the rest of the bills in this package.

Pay Progression for State Public Defenders

LRB-4166 would correct an imbalance that was created when funding for a full step of pay progression for State Public Defenders did not continue in the 2019-'21 state budget process. This pay progression is used to retain staff with the knowledge and expertise needed for cases and mentoring new attorneys.

Public Defender Tuition Reimbursement Pilot Program

SB 461 would reduce the cost of a legal education and provide loan repayment assistance programs for those attorneys with a deep commitment to ensuring access to justice for all citizens, but who find that the rising cost of a legal education is forcing them to give up the idea of serving the public, which would have resulted in lower loan repayment opportunities.     

Prosecutor's Council

SB 460 creates an 11-member prosecutor board comprised of district attorneys and prosecutors from around Wisconsin and the Attorney General or his designee. It also creates the State Prosecutors Office consisting of an executive director and a legislative liaison.

Regulation of State Public Defenders

SB 462 expands the Public Defender Board's rulemaking authority related to private bar attorney certification, decertification, or recertification, and adds several reasons as grounds for exclusion of private bar attorneys to take public defender cases.

I believe that this package is another strong step forward in strengthening our state's criminal justice system.  I look forward to seeing these proposals gain support as they move forward through the legislative process. If you would like to read more about these bills, click here to see a great summary from the State Bar of Wisconsin.



Under the Dome

Agriculture Committee Public Hearing

It was a busy week for me in Madison this week with a number of committee meetings. Among these meetings was a public hearing in the Agriculture Committee where we listened to testimony on AB 206, which relates to hemp. Last session, the legislature passed 2017 Wisconsin Act 100, which created a hemp pilot program in Wisconsin. With the passage of the 2018 Federal Farm Bill, which fully legalized hemp, Wisconsin can expand this pilot program and grow the industrial hemp industry in our state. AB 206 aligns our state regulations with the 2018 Federal Farm Bill, so Wisconsin is able to regulate its own hemp industry. I learned a lot at this hearing and am looking forward to continuing the conversation on this legislation moving forward. To watch the committee's meeting on Tuesday, click here.

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Around the 87th

Recognizing Miltrim Farms

Last Friday, I was pleased to recognize Miltrim Farms in Athens, alongside my colleagues, Rep. Felzkowski and Sen. Tiffany, for their dedication to water stewardship. Miltrim Farms is the first farm in North America to be designated in the Clear Water Farms program, an environmental certification by the Alliance for Water Stewardship. They are using farming methods that enhance the water quality in their area. Keep up the awesome work! Click here to view WSAW's coverage of the recognition.

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Honor the Fallen Ride

I was honored to play Taps last weekend at the 13th Annual Honor the Fallen motorcycle ride and fundraiser. I was glad to see so many folks from the district come out to support our veterans and those who had lost their lives. A total of 85 motorcycles with 115 riders participated in the event.

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First Responder of the Year Award Recipient

In the last few weeks, I've asked for nominations for the First Responder of the Year Award in the 87th Assembly District. It was clear from all the nominations my office received that there are a lot of fine first responders in our district. It was incredibly difficult to pick only one winner. However, I am proud to announce the recipient of this award: Martin "Marty" Huhn. Marty has been a member of the Rusk County EMS and Sheldon Fire Department for decades and always shows his selflessness and dedication to helping others on and off the job. Congratulations, Marty!

I look forward to recognizing Marty and other first responders from around the state during the Assembly's floor session on Thursday, October 10th. If you would like to see Marty be recognized during the roll call of all the award recipients, WisconsinEye will be live streaming the floor session on their website. It will be archived on their website for viewing later if you are unable to watch at that time.      

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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.