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A Note from Rep. Edming

Thank you for reading my weekly e-update. While things are starting to wind down in the Assembly at the Capitol in Madison, I still have a lot to tell you about what's been going on, including the governor's recent veto of our tax relief proposal. I look forward to sharing this with you and more 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.

E-Update Signature

Another Disappointing Veto of Tax Relief

Last year, Governor Evers vetoed Assembly Bill (AB) 4 that would have provided $340 million in income tax relief to hardworking, middle-class Wisconsinites.  Unfortunately, that trend continued earlier this week when the governor vetoed the tax relief package that I discussed in my last e-updateThe bill that the governor vetoed was approved by the Assembly last week with bipartisan support and would have:

  • Provided a $247.7 million income tax targeted at the middle-class, saving the average tax filer in Wisconsin about $106 per year.
  • Helped out manufacturers in our state by reducing personal property taxes
  • Paid off $100 million of state debt
  • Deposited more money in our state's Budget Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund), bringing the total to nearly $1 billion by the end of the biennium.

Even with all the progress our state has made over the last several years reducing our state's tax burden, we still have a ways to go in improving our tax climate. This tax relief package would have returned a portion of the state's budget surplus to the people responsible for it, the hardworking taxpayers of Wisconsin. While $106 may not seem like a lot to some people, to a lot of folks in the 87th District that is extra money to buy clothes for the kids or to help heat their homes. Governor Evers would rather spend it on growing government. While funding education is an important priority for our state, it is not the only priority.

The legislature made historically significant investments in education funding in the most recent state budget. Last session, funding for K-12 education was increased by just over $630 million. The 2019-'21 State Budget, approved by the legislature, increased funding for K-12 education by an additional $500 million to a total of over $12 billion, the most in state history. In fact, over the last four years, Republicans have increased state aid to our schools by 15%.  Over the last two budgets, one out of every three new tax dollars has gone towards education.

In short, Governor Evers should have signed this tax relief package and returned a portion of our state's surplus to the taxpayers.  While the State Assembly has likely met in regular session for the final time this year, the legislature may return this spring for veto override attempts.

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 More From Last Week's Floor Sessions

There was so much that happened during last week's State Assembly floor sessions that I didn't have the space to tell you about it all. Here are a couple more things that passed last week that I think may be of interest to folks in the 87th Assembly District:

Article V Convention of States

During my time in the legislature, one of the topics I've been contacted about the most is folks urging me to support a call for an Article V Convention of States to propose amendments that place fiscal restraints on the Federal Government and impose term limits on federal elected officials.  Article V of the United States Constitution allows for two methods of amending the Constitution.  The first method is Congress passing an amendment through both houses with a 2/3 majority and then sending it on to the states for ratification, 3/4 of which must do so for it to take effect.  This is the method that has been used for all 27 amendments to date.  The second option is for 2/3 of the state legislatures to call for a convention of the States to meet, discuss, and propose constitutional amendments and other topics of interest to the country. Amendments from a constitutional convention must still be ratified by 3/4 of the states.

Like many Wisconsinites, I am concerned with the unsustainable debt of the Federal Government and I hear from folks all the time who like me, believe in the need for term limits for our elected officials. From Congress's lack of action on these issues, I believe that it is time for the states to act.  That is why I joined with several of my colleagues to introduce Assembly Joint Resolution (AJR) 77 which calls for a Convention of the States limited to proposing amendments to the Constitution of the United States that impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office for its officials and for members of Congress.  AJR 77 was approved by the Assembly and now heads to the Senate for its consideration.  If approved by the Senate, Wisconsin would become the 16th state to call for a Convention of the States on this topic.

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Riparian Rights

I have had quite a few contacts to my office recently about legislation I've co-authored, AB 551 and SB 501. With the thousands of lakes and about 260 flowages we have throughout Wisconsin, this is an important piece of legislation to many of us. As you may be aware, in 2018 the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled in the case Movrich v. Lobermeier, that the public trust doctrine does not allow landowners whose deed does not explicitly grant access to the water bed of flowages, the ability to erect and maintain a pier. This meant that, unless a landowner's deed explicitly granted the right to the water bed beneath a flowage, then a landowner could not erect a pier. 

The court's ruling affects thousands of waterfront property owners on flowages and "man-made" bodies of water. Under this ruling, all piers are prohibited, even if they are floating piers. It doesn't matter if the pier has been there for years, this ruling requires waterfront property owners to remove their pier or pay for an expensive dock license fee. In addition to residential property owners, waterfront businesses are also heavily impacted, especially the ones that rely on customers coming to their business by boat, such as waterfront bars and restaurants. 

AB 551, which passed the Assembly and now heads to the Senate, would protect the presumed riparian rights that many Wisconsinites already believed they were entitled to. It establishes that landowners, whose land abuts a flowage or artificial waterway, have the ability to exercise all riparian rights established under law unless the deed to the property explicitly states otherwise. I was happy to see AB 551 move on through the legislative process, and hope to see it approved by the Senate in March.

Under the Dome

Forum on the Impacts of Marijuana Legalization

On Wednesday afternoon, I attended a forum on the "Social Impacts of Marijuana Legalization," hosted by the Badger State Sheriffs' Association. It was great listening to folks from Colorado, a state that has had marijuana legalization for several years, Sheriff Smith and Captain Shellhammer from Larimer County. I was also pleased to run into Sawyer County Sheriff Doug Mrotek at the event.

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Rep. Edming with Sawyer County Sheriff Doug Mrotek

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Rep. Edming with Larimer County, CO Sheriff Smith and Captain Shellhammer  

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 Executive Director of the Badger State Sheriffs' Association with Rep. Edming


Meeting with Xcel Energy

I was pleased to meet with members of Xcel Energy, including my son John (left), who came to the Capitol yesterday to discuss issues important to their industry. Thanks for coming down!

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Central Wisconsin Days

Yesterday, I also met with folks from central Wisconsin, who were in Madison for Central Wisconsin Days to talk about issues important to the region. We discussed promoting agriculture in the state and the construction of a new agriculture Discovery Center in the region.

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Around the 87th

Taylor Credit Union's Annual Meeting

I enjoyed my time at the 69th Taylor Credit Union Annual Meeting in Medford this past Saturday morning. I hope to make it to their milestone, 70th meeting, next year. I'm happy to see this local business continue to receive such strong support from our community in the 87th District.  

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Bruce Community Conversation

I was pleased to attend a "community conversation" hosted by the Bruce School District on Monday. We discussed school-to-work transition programs for youth with disabilities and ways we could work to increase community-based employment opportunities in the future.

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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.