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A Note from Rep. Edming

Welcome to another edition of my e-update. I hope everyone has been enjoying the wonderful spring-like weather this week. Daylight Saving Time begins this weekend so don't forget to "spring forward".

In this edition, I will preview next week's State Assembly floor sessions and share with you a bit about what has been going on down at the Capitol and around the 87th Assembly District.


What's on Deck in the State Assembly?

Next week the Wisconsin State Assembly is scheduled to be in session on both Tuesday and Wednesday to take up a number of legislative proposals. On Tuesday, many of the bills that will be taken up relate to the health and well-being of Wisconsinites. Here is some information on a few of them that I either helped work on or that I’m excited to vote in favor of:

  • Assembly Bill 7/Senate Bill 3, requires Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) to be licensed with the state through the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI). It provides greater transparency to consumers and puts safeguards in place to protect local pharmacies. These much-needed, bipartisan reforms will help put drug price protections in place for consumers and hopefully, generate better health outcomes.

  • Assembly Bill 34, guarantees individuals with preexisting conditions are covered by their insurance. The language in the bill is codified in federal law but should changes occur at the federal level, this legislation provides an added layer of assurance and protection.

  • Assembly Bill 124/Senate Bill 13, is a common-sense change that allows dentists to administer certain vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine. Having more vaccinators will help get shots in the arms of those who want to receive one.

  • Assembly Bill 125, which I co-authored with a number of my legislative colleagues, updates the regulation of Physician Assistants (PAs) in Wisconsin. This proposal creates a Physician Assistant Affiliated Credentialing Board and makes other changes that will allow PAs to practice to the full extent of their education, experience, and training. These changes will help expand access to health care, particularly in rural and underserved areas.

  • Assembly Bill 148, allows for medical assistance payments for hospitals for nursing facility care and allows payment for certain outpatient services provided by hospitals as well as many other critical fixes to our healthcare system that came to light this past year while dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Wednesday, the bills on the calendar deal with issues like hunting and regulation. Some of the highlights include:

  • Assembly Bill 30/Senate Bill 45, updates existing laws to allow hunters to place a wood bottom under bear bait so that other animals cannot access it from below.

  • Assembly Bill 32, the "Cocktails-To-Go" legislation that allows for Class B license holders to sell alcoholic drinks in sealed containers with their to-go orders. This change will help provide a needed boost to a number of small businesses around our state that have struggled over the past year due to government shutdowns and restrictions.

  • Assembly Bill 53/Senate Bill 54, eliminates the DNR's unnecessary rule prohibiting a hunter from using, possessing, or having under their control shotgun shells containing shot larger than T size.

Continuing the Budget Review Process

I spent part of my week in Madison continuing to review Governor Evers' 2021-2023 State Budget proposal. This 1,846-page proposal is nearly 700 pages longer than the governor's first budget proposal two years ago. As I mentioned in an earlier e-update the governor's proposal would increase state spending by over $8 billion. His budget also proposes over $1 billion in tax increases which would hit Wisconsin families and businesses at the worst possible time as they work to recover from the economic hardships of this past year.

In addition to bad fiscal policy, the governor's proposal contains a number of non-fiscal policy provisions that are not in line with the priorities of many of the folks across the 87th District. Some of the policy items in the governor's proposal include implementing automatic voter registration, weakening our state's voter ID laws, and creation of a "Red Flag" law, which allow for the seizure of firearms if there are safety concerns, prior to a crime being committed, which the governor is calling "extreme risk protection injunctions".

In the coming weeks, I will continue reviewing the budget proposal and working with my colleagues in the legislature to craft a budget that works for the hardworking taxpayers of Wisconsin, just as we did two years ago. As the work on the budget continues over the next few months I encourage residents of the 87th District to reach out and share what your priorities are for our state's two-year spending plan.  Knowing your thoughts will help me to advocate on your behalf the best I possibly can as the legislature deliberates this important proposal.

Under the Dome

Committee Hearings

Another part of my time in Madison this week was taking part in a couple of committee meetings. On Tuesday, I participated in a public hearing in the Family Law Committee where we heard testimony on a number of bills. On Thursday, took part in an informational hearing in the Small Business Development Committee where we heard testimony from a number of folks regarding how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted small businesses. Among the speakers who testified before the committee was Tim Walters from Walters Brothers Lumber Manufacturing in Radisson. Thank you Tim for taking the time to share your perspective with the committee.

Bill Removing Barrier to Higher Education for Veterans Advances

In last week's e-update I discussed legislation I authored with Senator André Jacque that waives the admissions application fees for veterans and members of the armed forces at our state's public universities and technical colleges. I am pleased to report that this bill, Assembly Bill 38 was unanimously recommended for passage by the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities on Thursday. I hope to see this bill receive a vote by the full State Assembly soon. To learn more about this bill you can read the story from last week's e-update by clicking here or my press release with Senator Jacque here.

Around the 87th

Talking Education

This past Friday, I stopped by Athens Elementary School and had the opportunity to have a conversation with Principal Joy Redman. We covered a number of topics and it is clear from that conversation that Joy is a very passionate educator! I appreciate the opportunity to meet with her and hear from her about some of the issues impacting K-12 education in our area.

Taylor County Farm Bureau

On Monday, I met with some of the folks from the Taylor County Farm Bureau. Agriculture is an important part of the economy in the 87th District and I appreciate the opportunity to discuss the issues impacting this important industry with some of our hardworking farmers.

Upcoming Events Around the 87th

Do you know of any upcoming events around the 87th District? If you do, please 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.

If you subscribed to this service over the past couple of years you will need to resubscribe to proposals, committees, and authors for the new legislative session.