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(608)266-5780 | State Capitol, Room 307 West, P.O. Box 8953, Madison, WI
La Crosse Interstate Fair
Wednesday, July 15 through Sunday, July 19
N4985 Co. Road M
West Salem, WI 54669
Cameron Park Farmer's
Friday, July 17 from 4 - 8 p.m.
Saturday, July 18 from 8:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m.
Cameron Park, on King Street between 4th St. and 5th Ave.
Saturday, July 18
UW-La Crosse Veterans'
Memorial Field Sports Complex
Room 307 West
P.O. Box 8953
Madison, WI 53708
As you may know, last week in the legislature was pretty hectic! The
week started off with the Joint Finance Committeeís final decisions on
the budget and the passage of the budget through both legislative
houses, and ended with a highly-controversial decision on the
Republicans' 20-week ban proposal.
On Sunday, the Governor signed the budget into law. While I was greatly
disappointed both with the budget itself and the Assembly dialogue
regarding the budget, I am hopeful that with its passage we can move on
to constructive legislation for Wisconsinites, and avoid partisan-fueled
Continue reading this week's newsletter for a recap of budget and other
legislative debate, and to learn about exciting events going on around
95th Assembly District
On Wednesday of last week, the State Assembly took up the 2015-2017
state budget. The budget had been discussed publicly for months as there
were many controversial changes to K-12 public education, University
education, Long Term Care, and more that concerned constituents across
On Tuesday, the Senate introduced and passed the budget. Thankfully, due
to the efforts from concerned Wisconsinites, Republicans' JFC proposals
to change Wisconsin Retirement Systems and dissolve open records law
were removed from the budget.
The Assembly debated the budget for approximately 12 hours, and ended up
passing the budget without Republicans' due consideration of important
amendments that would have equalized K-12 funding, required background
checks for employees in taxpayer-funded voucher schools, scaled back the
devastating cut to the UW System, restored our environmental
conservation programs, and more. The budget passed the Assembly without
any amendments, highlighting some legislators' desire to push the budget
through without careful consideration.
On Sunday, Governor Walker signed the budget. As part of his budget
considerations, Gov. Walker vetoed 104 provisions in the budget. The
most notable changes include:
- veto of provision to allow payday lenders new authority
- partial veto to give the Governor's administration more leeway
in deciding which food stamp recipients to drug test, and fewer
responsibilities should they test positive
- eliminated a total of more than $1 million in grants for groups
such as the Ice Age Trail Alliance, Gathering Waters Conservancy,
Natural Resources Foundation, Great Lakes Timber Professionals
Association and the River Alliance of Wisconsin.
On Thursday, immediately following debate on the
budget, legislative Republicans rushed the 20-week abortion ban bill
through the Assembly. This bill has been the subject of controversy for
months, as it goes far beyond traditional abortion restrictions. The
20-week ban proposed in Wisconsin would stand in a motherís way of
terminating her pregnancy even in extreme circumstances -- including
rape or incest, danger to the life of the mother, or an unviable
Proponents of the bill argued that abortions after 20-weeks involve
causing pain to the fetus, and therefore make the procedure inhumane.
However, proponents failed to recognize the even-more-severe
consequences -- both for the health of the child and the health of the
mother -- for unhealthy pregnancies that are not terminated. At the
20-week ultrasound -- which is usually the second ultrasound a woman
receives -- doctors have found fatal anomalies that were not present in
By implementing a 20-week ban, a woman would be forced to carry her
pregnancy to term even if it is well-known that her child will suffer,
she may not survive the delivery, or the fetus will not survive to
delivery. In La Crosse, doctors have seen examples of children born with
organs outside their bodies, with cracks in their skulls exposing their
brains, and so many other heartbreaking stories. I too do not want to
expose children to undue pain -- and forcing a child to live in these
extreme and painful conditions surely is inhumane.
Ultimately, I believe that this decision is deeply personal, and should
be left between a woman, her family, her doctor and her faith.
Wisconsinís legislators are not qualified to make medical decisions, and
certainly are not qualified to insert themselves in this decision.
This week, the Senate took up the proposal to use public funding for
the Milwaukee Bucks Arena deal. Iíve heard from many constituents on
this issue, and it continues to be a hotly debated topic for people
around the state.
The initial Bucks deal, drafted by Governor Walker, involved the state
contributing $250 million in public financing towards a new Milwaukee
Bucks Stadium. The team's ownership would make up the remaining $300
million needed to finance the project.
Many critics questioned why taxpayers outside of Milwaukee would have to
pay for this project. In the past, public financing for sports complexes
was drawn from areas that would be directly impacted by the complex's
business. For example, Miller Park was funded by an increase in the
sales tax of a five-county area in southeast Wisconsin and Lambeau Field
renovations were funded through a Brown County referendum to increase
After public financing became a sour point of budget debates owners of
the Milwaukee Bucks announced that, should the public financing deal not
pass, they would relocate the team to Seattle or Las Vegas.
Proponents of the proposal have noted that the Bucks' relocation would
have a negative impact on Milwaukee's economy, as well as the overall
tradition of the team. The arena deal is expected to generate $339
million in revenue.
The Senate passed a few amendments to the Bucks deal, including adding a
ticket surcharge of $2 and removing a provision for the state to collect
Milwaukee County's debt. The profits from the ticket surcharge are
expected to be split between the state -- which will receive 25 percent,
and the Wisconsin Center district -- which will receive 75 percent.
The Senate's arena bill will likely come before the Assembly in the next
few weeks. Much like it has in the Senate, in the Assembly the bill has
received mixed support and opposition from both sides of the political
COUNTY FAIR IN WEST
Did you know that the La Crosse County Fair is going on right now?
The Interstate Fair, sponsored by the La Crosse County Agricultural
Society, is taking place from July 15 through July 19 in West Salem.
The fair features several fun and family-friendly activities, including
performances from local musicians, a magic show, go-kart racing, a
silent auction and more.
I'll be attending the fair, so make sure to stop by and say hello!
For more about the Interstate Fair, visit