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A Note from Rep. Edming

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Welcome to another edition of my e-update. It has been another great week representing the people of the 87th Assembly District. May 29th was the anniversary of Wisconsin becoming a state in 1848, so happy birthday, Wisconsin! I am looking forward to sharing with you some updates on the state budget, as well as a little of what I have been up to this last week. 

I always appreciate hearing from the people I represent. If you have any thoughts or questions you would like to share with me, please feel free to let me know.


Continuing the Tuition Freeze & Criminal Justice Update

The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) continued their review of the state budget proposal this week and took action on a few more areas of the budget. I would like to take a moment to share with you some of the recent actions that may be of interest to the people of the 87th Assembly District.

Continuing the Tuition Freeze

Over the past six years, Governor Walker and legislative Republicans have worked to keep higher education costs down for Wisconsin students and parents by freezing undergraduate tuition at UW institutions.  I am happy to report that earlier this week the JFC voted to accept the recommendation from Governor Evers to extend this tuition freeze for another two years.  According to estimates from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the tuition freeze has saved the average student more than $6,000 when compared to the ten-year trend.  In addition to that, over the course of the next two years, state funding for the UW System will increase by $93 million. This builds upon the increased investment of over $100 million into the UW System from the 2017-19 budget, which at the time was the largest investment in a decade.

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Criminal Justice Update

In a previous e-update, I discussed my support for a plan for criminal justice reform that included funding new Assistant District Attorney (ADA) positions and increasing pay for ADAs and State Public Defenders (SPD) and increasing the private bar rate for county court appointments and SPD appointments.  I am pleased to share that the JFC voted this week to approve $38.4 million to increase the pay rate of prosecutors and public defenders and to add 26.5 positions in district attorney offices across Wisconsin. Under this plan, Sawyer County will receive funding for an additional full-time ADA and Rusk County will receive funding for an additional half-time ADA.

While this was welcome news, I was disappointed that the JFC did not take up my motion to create a second circuit court branch in Sawyer County.  As I shared earlier this month, Sawyer County Judge John Yackel has the highest caseload of any judicial officer in the state and the caseload has reached the point where it is impossible for one judge to handle it all.  While it does not appear that this need will be addressed in the state budget, I am hopeful that it can be addressed in standalone legislation as the session progresses.

Free Fun Weekend

Are you looking for something to do this weekend?  If you are it is a great time to get outside and explore Wisconsin.  This weekend, June 1-2, is the Department of Natural Resources' (DNR) Free Fun Weekend.  For this Saturday and Sunday only, there is free entry to state parks and fishing is free on all inland waters and Wisconsin's side of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River.  In addition, no trail passes are required to use DNR managed trails and ATV/UTV riding is free on public lands open to such uses.  Note that if you decide to go camping, you will still have to pay camping fees.

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Celebrating America's Dairyland

It is hard to believe that tomorrow is the 1st of June. With the arrival of June, that means Dairy Month is upon us in Wisconsin.  If you are in the Athens area tomorrow kickoff Dairy Month with the Athens FFA Dairy Breakfast.  The breakfast runs from 7-11 AM at Memorial Park.  Hope to see you there!  If you can't make it to Athens this weekend there are more dairy breakfasts around the district throughout the month of June.

Upcoming Dairy Breakfasts Around the 87th District

Athens FFA Dairy Breakfast - June 1st
Taylor County's Town & Country Dairy Breakfast (Medford) - June 9th
Gilman 4-H Dairy Breakfast - June 15th
Sawyer County Dairy Breakfast (Hayward) - June 22nd

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I am looking forward to enjoying the Athens FFA Dairy Breakfast again this year.

Around the 87th

Visit to Medford Area Senior High School

I spent the day last Friday at Medford Area Senior High School talking with the students in Mr. Corey Nazer's social studies classes about my job as your state representative. They asked a lot of great questions. As a part of my visit, I got to check out the school's new football field. At the end of the day, I was surprised when I walked outside to find some students had included me in a senior tradition. I got a good laugh out of it and I was honored they included me. Thanks for a great day!

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Winter Car Show

I enjoyed attending the Winter Car Show last Saturday and it was a perfect day for the event. As a car enthusiast myself, I love seeing others in the 87th District out and about in their cool cars.

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Memorial Day Ceremony

On Monday, I was honored to be the bugler in the VFW's Memorial Day Ceremony at Riverside Cemetery in Ladysmith. Thank you to all of those who made the ultimate sacrifice, so that we could enjoy our freedom today.

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Photo Courtesy of the Ladysmith News

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.