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A Note from Rep. Edming

Welcome to this week's edition of my e-update. June is Dairy Month and I am looking forward to celebrating by getting out to some of the awesome dairy breakfasts around the district over the next few weeks.

This week has been full serving the people of the 87th Assembly District both in the district and down in Madison. You can read a bit more about what went on this past week below. As always, feel free to reach out to me and share your thoughts about issues before the legislature. Understanding my constituents' views on state issues helps me to make better decisions on your behalf.

Helping Our Loggers

Just about a year ago, we learned that Verso would be idling its paper mill in Wisconsin Rapids and the effects were felt far outside of the Wisconsin Rapids area. This paper mill consumed approximately 25% of all the pulpwood harvested in Wisconsin, so its closure rocked the timber industry across northern Wisconsin. I've heard from loggers in the 87th District who lost 50% or more of their business when the Wisconsin Rapids mill stopped buying their product. With the loss of such a major customer, many timber professionals across northern Wisconsin are struggling to find new buyers for their product, and with lower prices for the timber, they are able to sell.

Beyond the impact on the timber industry, the closure of the Wisconsin Rapids mill has also negatively impacted the budgets of many northern counties. A number of counties across the Northwoods receive a significant amount of revenue from timber sales out of their county forests. The loss of the timber sales to Verso has resulted in a significant reduction in revenue for counties in the 87th District and across northern Wisconsin.

It is critical for both the timber industry and county budgets that a new operator resumes production at the Wisconsin Rapids mill. That is why I joined with several of my colleagues to bring forward Assembly Bill (AB) 367. This bill authorizes the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to award a loan of up to $50 million to a new operator to purchase and reopen the mill. On Wednesday afternoon
I testified with Rep. Scott Krug and Sen. Patrick Testin before the State Affairs Committee in support of AB 367. Getting the Wisconsin Rapids mill back up and running will return a very important customer for Wisconsin's timber industry and our county forests. If you would like to learn more about this bill, click here to read my testimony.

Spring Survey Reminder

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to complete my spring survey over the past few weeks. Your feedback has helped me to better advocate for the priorities of the 87th District as the budget process unfolds. If you haven't completed the survey yet there is still time and the easiest way to do so is online on my website by clicking here. If you received a paper copy in the mail and would prefer to complete the survey that way please complete the survey and mail it in as soon as you can. Thank you in advance for your sharing your feedback!

Under the Dome

Workforce Development Committee Meeting

I started out a busy Wednesday in Madison this week with an executive session in the Workforce Development Committee where we voted to recommend passage of Assembly Bills (AB) 336 and 220.

AB 336, which I discussed in my e-update last week, would encourage more people to return to the workforce by ending Wisconsin's participation in the temporary federal unemployment insurance (UI) benefit programs that are currently scheduled to run until September. Prior to the government-mandated economic shutdown last year there were just over 40,000 people with continuing UI claims. Now, between state and federal programs there are well over
100,000 receiving UI benefits. With so many employers across the state seeking workers, it does not make sense to continue providing these enhanced federal UI benefits that encourage people to remain on the sidelines.

With the committee's vote, AB 336 advances to the full Assembly where it is scheduled to be considered this upcoming Wednesday.

The other bill approved by the committee, AB 220 will help increase awareness of youth apprenticeship by adding the youth apprenticeship program to the list of educational options that must be provided to parents of high school students. I am a proud co-author of this bill that will help get the word out to more folks about our state's youth apprenticeship program.


Meeting with Marathon County Conservation

Earlier this week, I had the chance to meet virtually with Paul Daigle from the Marathon County Conservation, Planning, and Zoning Department. We discussed their idea for a water quality pilot project in northwestern Marathon County. Thank you Paul for taking the time to share information about this exciting project with me.

Around the 87th

It is great to see community events returning around the 87th District and there was a lot going on this past weekend. I enjoyed an awesome walleye fish fry in Rib Lake on Friday evening prepared by the Ice Age Days Committee. On Sunday I headed down to Lublin for American Legion Post # 547's annual chicken dinner that was fantastic as well. Wonderful to see so many folks out at these awesome events that benefit a good cause!

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 across the 87th District. Check out some of the upcoming events around the district below. Also, if you know of any other events, please contact my office and let me know, so I can include them in a future e-update and try to attend myself.

Check out some of the events coming up 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.