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A Note from Rep. Edming

Thank you for taking some time to read this week's e-update. With legislation signed into law this morning by Governor Evers, May 14th is now officially designated as Hmong-Lao Veterans Day in Wisconsin. The flags at the State Capitol were lowered to half-staff today in honor of this occasion. I am proud to be a co-sponsor of this legislation, Assembly Bill 154, and pleased to see it become law.

In addition to this important bill signing there was a lot going on down in Madison this week. On Tuesday, the State Assembly was in session for the annual State of the Tribes Address as well as a regular floor session where many important bills were voted on like the Star-Spangled Banner Act, Ending Elder Abuse, and Election Fairness to name a few.

Also, I had the opportunity to testify in support of legislation I authored to provide local governments a new tool to protect roads from beaver and muskrat damage. You can read about this and more below.

Eliminating Red Tape for Summer Camps

A couple of times over the past few months I have discussed the Summer Camp Regulatory Reform Package that I've brought forward with several of my legislative colleagues. This package will eliminate government red tape for summer camps in Wisconsin and will help our camps remain competitive with those in other states.

The bill I authored in this package, Senate Bill (SB) 168, allows qualified out-of-state physicians to temporarily practice at summer camps in Wisconsin without going through the time-consuming temporary licensure process. Camps across our state are struggling to recruit physicians to serve as camp doctors. While the vast majority of injuries treated by a camp doctor are minor, having a doctor on hand provides an extra level of care that should be encouraged. SB 168 will make it easier for camps to recruit doctors from outside Wisconsin and ensure that they are able to have a camp doctor on staff.

In addition to SB 168, the Summer Camp Regulatory Reform Package includes Assembly Bill (AB) 166 and SB 171. AB 166 provides the same exemptions allowed for physicians in SB 168 to nurses and SB 171 allows the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection to waive the licensing inspections for two out of three years for camps that have been accredited by the American Camp Association.

On Tuesday this package came before the full State Assembly and I am pleased to report that all three bills were approved with a unanimous voice vote and now head to Governor Evers' desk for his consideration. I hope that he will sign these critical reforms into law soon.

Click on the photo above to watch Rep. Edming's floor speech on SB 168

Floor Session Wrap-up

Important Election Reform Clears the Assembly

Over the past several months one of the top concerns I've heard about from folks around the 87th District is about the integrity of our elections. On Tuesday the Assembly approved Assembly Bill (AB) 173, which I've co-authored, that would prevent outside organizations from using their funds to attempt to influence the election administration in certain municipalities around our state.

Back in 2020, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerburg funneled $300 million into a third-party organization that offered money to five Wisconsin cities who then had to agree to the rules put forward by this organization. Under AB 173, if private funds are received, they must be transferred to the Wisconsin Elections Commission who must distribute this funding across all of Wisconsin’s municipalities on a per-capita basis. Outside groups shouldn’t get to provide funding only to areas that align with their politics. This legislation ensures that if any donations for elections administration are received in the future that all Wisconsin communities get a share.

Elder Abuse Package

For the past 20 years, reported allegations of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation have almost tripled in Wisconsin. To address this pressing issue the Assembly took up and passed three bills Senate Bill 17, AB 45, and AB 46. The bills increase criminal penalties for crimes against the elderly, in order to deter bad actors from targeting our loved ones. These bills were a product of former Attorney General Schimel's Taskforce on Elder Abuse and will help deter and prevent the physical and financial exploitation of elderly Wisconsinites.

Star-Spangled Banner Act

Another important bill approved on Tuesday was 'The Star-Spangled Banner Act' (AB 226). This bill requires the national anthem to be played at sporting events that take place in venues that were constructed, at least in part, with public dollars. As a co-author of this legislation, I was pleased to see it approved by the Assembly on Tuesday with bipartisan support. I hope to see it taken up by my colleagues in the Senate soon. 

Under the Dome

Increased Funding for County Veterans Service Officers

Over the past couple of years, I am proud to have helped lead the effort in the legislature along with Senator Jacque to increase funding to counties to support our state's County Veteran Service Officers (CVSOs). CVSOs provide critical services to our state's veterans and unfortunately the state grants that help fund CVSO offices have not been increased in many years.

I am pleased to share that on Thursday the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) voted to add increased funding for our CVSOs to the Legislature’s budget plan, doubling the increase proposed by Governor Evers. While this is not the big increase that myself and others were hoping for, it is definitely a step in the right direction. I've seen first-hand in the 87th District the positive impact CVSOs make for those who served our country, and I remain committed to providing more support for our CVSOs and the critical work they do.

In addition to this important action, the JFC also approved increased funding for veteran suicide prevention awareness and $10 million to help our state's veterans homes in the case of a future pandemic or natural disaster.

Bill to Help Protect Local Roads Continues to Advance

In my last e-update, I discussed a bill I brought forward to provide a new tool to protect our local roadways from beaver and muskrat damage. This proposal continued to work its way through the legislative process this week with a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Sporting Heritage, Small Business, and Rural Issues on Wednesday.

The idea for this legislation came from Town of Atlanta Chairman Steve Tiegs and some other local officials in Rusk County. I am thankful that Steve made the long trip down to Madison once again to support this bill as it is always helpful for elected officials to hear directly from those facing the problems the legislature is trying to address. If you would like to learn more about this bill, click here to read my testimony.

Meeting with UW-Madison and UW System

On Wednesday I had the opportunity to meet with representatives of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the UW System to talk about their state budget priorities including their plans to replace or renovate some of their older facilities. They also shared some of the ideas our universities are exploring to help better meet the needs of students and our state's workforce.

Around the 87th

Northwestern CVSO Meeting

This morning, I had the opportunity to provide a legislative update at the Northwestern County Veterans Service Officers Association meeting in Ladysmith. Thank you to Rusk County CVSO Erik Stoker and to association president Phillip Landgraf for the invitation.

Upcoming Events Around the 87th District

One of my favorite parts about serving as your state representative is getting out and interacting with constituents at many of the wonderful community events around the 87th District. With more and more events being held once again, I am looking to start sharing information about upcoming community events in my e-updates. 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.

Check out the following events happening around the district:

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.