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A Note from Rep. Edming

Welcome to another edition of my e-update.  Late yesterday, the State Assembly wrapped up a very busy February floor period.  During the floor sessions this week, we got a lot of good things done for the hardworking people of Wisconsin.  I look forward to sharing with you a bit more about it below.
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 from you.

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Water Quality, Agriculture, and Tax Cuts

It was another action-packed week in the State Assembly.  During this week's floor sessions we took up a lot of important measures for the people of the 87th Assembly District and the State of Wisconsin.  Some of the big points of focus this week were Water Quality, Agriculture, and Tax Cuts.

Water Quality Task Force Bills

On Tuesday, the Assembly took up a number of proposals that were the result of recommendations from the Speaker's Task Force on Water Quality.  This package of bills includes investments in county conservation staff, research and data collection, and the creation of a Nitrogen Reduction Pilot Program which will award grants to farmers who implement nitrogen reduction strategies.  I am a proud co-sponsor of this 13-bill package and I am pleased to see these bills move on to the State Senate, most with wide bipartisan support.

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Supporting Wisconsin Farmers

One of the big focuses of Thursday's floor session was Agriculture.  Among the ag-related bills that were approved by the Assembly were two I authored.  The first bill, Assembly Bill (AB) 695 would reform the wildlife damage claims and wildlife damage abatement programs to work better for our farmers.  I worked with Senator Petrowski to draft this bill after I heard from farmers in our neck of the woods that these programs were fully meeting their needs.  I am pleased that this bill was approved by the Assembly unanimously and I hope to see the Senate do the same when they are back in session in March.

I am also proud to share that Senate Bill (SB) 387 that I authored with Sen. Marklein and Rep. Vruwink also cleared the Assembly and is now heading to Governor Evers' desk.  This bill is a fix to the state's manufacturing and agriculture tax credit.  Currently, crop insurance payments are not considered production gross receipts, which are used to calculate the credit, even though these payments are considered taxable income.  SB 387 corrects this issue by modifying the definition of production gross receipts to include crop insurance payments.  With its passage by the Assembly, SB 387 now heads to the Governor for his consideration.


Returning Your Money to You

Earlier this session, my Republican colleagues and I introduced a proposal to cut taxes for people throughout Wisconsin. Another important part of Thursday's floor session was the passage of Senate Bill (SB) 821, which gives your money back to you through the second tax-cut proposal of the session. New estimates from the nonpartisan, Legislative Fiscal Bureau project that the State will have a $620.2 million budget surplus at the end of the biennium.  This proposal takes a portion of this budget surplus and returns it to the taxpayers of Wisconsin through a $247.7 million income tax cut that largely focuses on the middle class.  The average tax filer in Wisconsin will see a reduction of $106 on their taxes starting in the 2020 tax year. SB 821 also helps out businesses in our state by exempting machinery and tools from the personal property tax and pays off $100 million of state debt. This is a piece of legislation that benefits everyone. I was happy to see some Democrats join my Republican colleagues and I in a bipartisan vote to pass SB 821. I am hopeful Governor Evers will support this legislation, as well, and return some of this budget surplus back to the hardworking taxpayers of Wisconsin because, after all, it's your money.


More Edming-Authored Bills Advance

A New Tool for Local Governments

I've recently discussed a bill I've authored with Sen. Tiffany, which will provide a new tool to deal with nuisance beavers and muskrats that are causing damage to a roadway. AB 592 would give the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) or an agent of a local government authorized by DNR the authority to discharge a firearm within the 50-foot buffer zone of the center of a roadway in order to shoot a beaver or muskrat that is causing damage to a roadway. During Tuesday's floor session, I was glad to see the Assembly pass AB 592 with a voice vote. It now heads to the Senate for their consideration.

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Judgeship Bill on Its Way to the Governor

Throughout this session, I've discussed the need for additional circuit court judges in our state and my support for Assembly Bill (AB) 470, which I authored with a number of my colleagues, including Senator Petrowski.  This legislation will create a total of 12 new circuit court branches around the state to be allocated by the Director of State Courts, four in each year of 2021, 2022, and 2023.

I began looking into this issue a couple of years ago when I heard from Sawyer County Judge John Yackel about the challenges the court system was facing in Sawyer County with increasing caseloads.  I soon learned that Judge Yackel was not alone and that other counties including Marathon were in the same boat as Sawyer County and need an additional judge to meet their county's caseload demands.  AB 470 works to meet that need and I am pleased that on Wednesday it was approved by the Senate with unanimous, bipartisan support. AB  470 now heads to Governor Evers' desk.

Under the Dome

State of the Tribes Address

We began the day Tuesday in joint session with the State Senate for the annual State of the Tribes Address. Each year, members of Wisconsin's 11 tribal nations come to the Capitol to provide an update on the state of the tribes in our state and share their priorities with the State Legislature. It was great to see some of my constituents from the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians in Madison for this event.  If you would like to watch the address, you can click here to watch on Wisconsin Eye.

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Around the 87th

Fun on the Frozen Fairgrounds

I really enjoyed going out to the Fun on the Frozen Fairgrounds event this past weekend, hosted by the Ladysmith Lion's Club. It's one of the events I definitely look forward to every year.

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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.