January 6, 2017

Serving Wisconsin's 2nd Senate District




Fun Fact Friday

Wisconsin has 15,210 miles of signed and groomed snowmobile trails!


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Welcome to 2017!


Happy New Years! I hope you enjoyed your holiday season.

Now that the 2017 Legislative Session is underway, itís time to kick off Updates from the State Senate from myself, Senator Rob Cowles. These e-newsletters are revamped from our old email list to deliver more information to 2nd Senate District residents and other Wisconsinites, directly to your inbox every other Friday.

In these Updates from the State Senate Senate, you can expect to find the most recent happenings from around the district and down at the State Capitol. These e-updates are truly one of the easiest way to stay informed about state government.


2017 Legislative Session Updates

On Tuesday I was sworn in as State Senator for Wisconsinís 2nd District. Iíve greatly enjoyed serving the great people of Northeast Wisconsin, and I look forward to tackling continued challenges.

Recently, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald announced the committee assignments for the next two years. I am pleased to maintain the same committee assignments as I had during the last legislative session, and I look forward to continuing to work collaboratively to find solutions to some of this stateís most complex problems. For the 2017 and 2018 legislative sessions, I will be:

- Co-Chair of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee
- Chair of the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy
- Member of the Committee on Transportation and Veterans Affairs
- Member of the Joint Committee on Information Policy and Technology

Connecting with Rob

Staying in touch with me is easier than ever. By being part of the Updates from the State Senate email list, youíve already taken the first step. But now, there are more ways than ever to connect with me, and the Updates from the State Senate are just the start.

Have you liked me on Facebook or followed me on Twitter? If not, take a moment to click on the logos below to get immediate updates directly from me and my office.

Speaking of social media, Iíve decided it was time that I create an Instagram account to share the beautiful and unique views that the 2nd Senate District offers and some interesting things I find while serving you in Madison. If youíre on Instagram, give me a follow by clicking the logo below.

In addition to my presence on social media, youíll want to check out my newly redesigned website. This page can be a great tool to learn more about me, track legislation, watch live Senate proceedings, read the latest press releases, contact me with issues or opinions you have, and much more! The website will be constantly updated, so be sure to check back often.

Visit the website here


Recent Audits


As Co-Chair of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, I have the important responsibility of working to root out waste, fraud and abuse in our state government. Last month, several audits were released with the goals of keeping our government accountable.

The State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB) is responsible for investing assets for the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS), the State Investment Fund, and five other state insurance and trust funds. As of December 2015, assets managed by SWIB totaled $99.1 billion, and the WRS funds accounted for 92.8% of those funds. Audit Report 16-15, which was released on December 21st, found that the Core Fund of the WRS had a five-year investment return that ranked 9th among 10 large public pension plans.

SWIB has been granted more budget and position authority than other state agencies. As a result, I expect SWIB to use this authority to achieve strong investment performance and effectively manage its resources, both of which are important to WRS participants and employers. We will continue to use LABís audits to help us maintain effective oversight of SWIB.

I was interviewed by the Wisconsin State Journal about the audit of SWIB. To read the article, please visit the following link:


Issued earlier in December, the LAB released two audits (Reports 16-10 and 16-11) of the financial statements of the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) for the calendar year 2015, along with a few other aspects of the retirement system required for account balancing. Ensuring that our reports are accurate and match the cash in the bank is no different than a family balancing a checkbook. While the audit found that the financial reporting was initially delayed, systems were set-up to self-correct the discrepancy.

We need to have precise financial reporting. Everything depends on having accurate numbers from our financial reports. Ensuring that our reports are accurate and match the cash in the bank is no different than a family balancing a checkbook. While there may be some complexities with the implementation of STAR, it is my expectation that DOA will continue to perform bank reconciliations and ensure that the checkbook balances.

Furthermore, the LAB released Audit Report 16-12 on the State Life Insurance Fund. The audit identified the number of insurance policies have been in decline since 1996, as well as the amount of life insurance in force has also declined.

To read the briefing sheets or full reports on these or other audits, please visit the following link:



Attention!! Green Bay Shipping Channels to Remain Open Throughout Winter!!

The United States Coast Guard is conducting ice breaking operations in the bay of Green Bay through January 20th. If you enjoy ice fishing, snowmobiling or recreating on the Bay, stay informed on when the ice breaking operations will occur and always be sure to exercise extra caution when on the ice.


Thanks For Reading!


Feel free to contact my office with any questions or concerns you may have,

and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!


Thank you,

Senator Rob Cowles




State Capitol - Room 118 South | Post Office Box 7882 | Madison, Wisconsin 53707
Madison: (800) 334-1465 | District: (920) 448-5092 | Sen.Cowles@Legis.Wisconsin.Gov