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A Note from Rep. Edming

Thank you for taking a few moments to read this edition of my e-update. It was another eventful week down at the State Capitol and I look forward to sharing with you a bit about it in the update below. A number of legislative proposals were approved by both chambers in the state legislature, including one that I helped bring forward that would provide a big boost in funding for broadband expansion. I am also happy to announce that I will be holding district office hours across the 87th Assembly District in the coming weeks. You can read about this and more below.

Fighting for Rural Wisconsin

On Tuesday, I participated in a lengthy, but productive State Assembly floor session. Among the proposals approved by the Assembly, was a legislative package I co-authored that allocates one-time federal stimulus funding our state will be receiving through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to meet some critical needs of Northern Wisconsin.

During the floor debate, I was pleased to speak in support of a couple of these bills that will be impactful for rural Wisconsin. The first bill is one I have been talking about for the past few weeks, Assembly Bill (AB) 239, which invests $500 million of this federal funding to help expand broadband access through our state's broadband expansion grant program. The need for improved access to broadband internet is one of the most common issues I hear about from folks around the 87th District. As I said last week, this one-time influx of federal dollars is an opportunity to go bold to address a critical need in many rural parts of our state. If you would like to watch my speech on AB 239 you can click here.

Another bill I was proud to be an advocate for on the floor on Tuesday was AB 235. This legislation will provide a much-needed boost to rural economic development and help out our state’s hardworking farmers. AB 235 provides $50 million for rural economic development grants and $50 million to provide support to those in the agriculture industry who have experienced financial adversity due to the pandemic. The economic hardships of the last year have hit rural Wisconsin hard and this funding will help create new opportunities in our rural communities.

In addition, to these two bills this package also included the following legislation:

  • Aid to Households: $1 billion to provide a 10 percent payment to all property taxpayers (AB 232)
  • Small Business Assistance: $200 million for small business grants (AB 233)
  • Tourism Assistance: $50 million for tourism grants and $25 million for advertising grants for amusement parks (AB 234)
  • Long-term Care Assistance: $150 million for grants for nursing homes and assisted living facilities and worker bonuses (AB 236)
  • Strengthen Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund: Requires the use of recovery funds to keep UI taxes at the lowest tax schedule (AB 237)
  • Local Road Funding: $308 million to give $2 million per county and $2,000 per road mile to cities, villages, and towns for road improvements (AB 238)
  • EMS and Mental Health: $68.2 million for EMS communications upgrades and a psychiatric hospital in Eau Claire (AB 240)
  • Debt Repayment: $250 million to pay down state debt and $250 million to pay off transportation debt (AB 241)
  • Clean Water Investments: $61 million for water infrastructure projects (AB 243)

These bills were all passed by the State Senate on Wednesday, April 14th, and are now headed to Governor Evers' desk where I hope he will sign them into law.

Upcoming District Office Hours

I am pleased to announce that I will be holding in-district office hours on Thursday, April 29th, and Friday, April 30th in locations around the 87th District. These meetings will allow constituents to meet with me and my staff individually or in family groups to provide feedback on the 2021-2023 state budget.

Thursday, April 29th

  • 9:00 – 10:15 AMBackroads Coffee, 10528 Dakota Ave. Hayward, WI 54843
  • 11:30 AM – 12:45 PMBottom’s Up Sports Bar, 5165 N North Main St. Winter, WI 54896
  • 2:30 – 3:45 PM – Jae Dee’s Family Restaurant, W4118 US Highway 8, Glen Flora, WI 54526
  • 5:30 – 6:45 PM – Heart of the North Brewing Co., N4038 State Highway 27, Ladysmith, WI 54848

Friday, April 30th

  • 9:30 – 10:45 AM – Gilman Municipal Building, 380 E. Main St. Gilman, WI 54433
  • 12:00 – 1:15 PM – Sports Page Bowl & Grill, 114 W. Broadway Ave. Medford WI 54451

If you would like to meet with me during one of these office hours please call my office at (888) 534-0087 to schedule a 10-minute appointment.

Additional office hours may be announced in the coming days depending on venue availability. Any updates will be shared on my Facebook page and if possible through my e-update next week.

State Budget Public Hearing Reminder

In my e-update a couple of weeks ago I shared that the legislature's budget-writing committee, the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) would be holding four public hearings on the 2021-23 state budget during the month of April. The first was held in Whitewater last Friday, April 9th and two more are coming up this next week that are closer to the 87th District.

On Wednesday, April 21st the committee will be at the Hodag Dome in Rhinelander, and on Thursday, April 22nd they will be at UW-Stout in Menomonie. Both hearings run from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM. For more information on the Rhinelander hearing, you can click here, and for the Menomonie hearing, you can click here.

In addition to these in-person hearings, a fourth hearing will be held virtually on Wednesday, April 28th, also from 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM. Registration for the virtual public hearing will open on Monday, April 19th, at 10:00 AM and will close on Monday, April 26th, at 5:00 PM. The link to register for this virtual hearing will be available at the hearing's webpage which can be found by clicking here.

For more information about these hearings or to provide your written comments on the budget, you can visit the committee's public comment website legis.wisconsin.gov/topics/budgetcomments. You can also submit your comments via email at budget.comments@legis.wisconsin.gov.

New Community-Based Vaccination Clinic

Folks interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine will soon have a new option in our area. On Tuesday, April 20th the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) will be opening a new Community-Based Vaccination Clinic at UW-Eau Claire-Barron County in Rice Lake. According to DHS, anyone ages 16 and older can schedule an appointment at the Barron clinic by using the Wisconsin COVID-19 Vaccine Registry. For vaccine-related questions and appointment registration support, individuals can call toll-free at 1-844-684-1064. For more information on available COVID-19 vaccination options, visit you can click here.

Around the 87th

Last week, I had the chance to stop by the Western Taylor County Public Library in Gilman to help celebrate National Library Week. Thank you to the hardworking folks at this library and all the others around the 87th District for the important work you do for our communities!