Serving Wisconsin's 2nd Senate District
The Wisconsin Badgers Menís Basketball team has made it
to the NCAAís March Madness Tournamentís Sweet 16 for
four straight seasons, and is the only team in this
yearís tournament to have that claim. On Wisconsin!
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Focusing on Veteran's Care
Last week, the Senate Committee on Transportation and
Veterans Affairs, of which I am a member, held a hearing. During the hearing, we approved the newly
appointed Secretary of the Department of Veterans
Affairs, Daniel Zimmerman, with a 5-0 vote. After the
Committeeís unanimous vote for Mr. Zimmerman, his
nomination will move to the full Senate floor for a
vote, and, if approved, he will be confirmed.
Along with voting on Zimmermanís appointment, the
Committee discussed several issues that impact veterans,
including improving care at the King Veterans Home, the
role that County Veteran Service Organizations (CVSOs)
play in veteranís care, and how we can work to better
address mental health through the DVAís Zero Veteran
Suicide effort. The discussion I had with Mr. Zimmerman
proved to me that he is not only knowledgeable on
veteran care issues, but that he is ready to face the
honor and the challenge of caring for Wisconsinís
Leading On Lead Act Shines in Committee Hearing
On Wednesday, March 8th, the Senate Committee
on Natural Resources and Energy met to hear testimony on
the Leading On Lead Act, and the response was positive.
The Leading On Lead Act is a bill I introduced last
month to assist municipalities in replacing lead
laterals in water infrastructure through greater
flexibility and local control. The proposal has 49
Co-Sponsors in the Legislature. During the two hours of testimony heard by the
committee, we did not hear any testimony opposed to the bill.
Following my testimony (which can be read at the link
below), we heard from several individuals and
organizations concerned about lead in our drinking
water; including Dr. Elizabeth Neary from the UW School
of Medicine and Public Health, Wisconsin Realtors
Wisconsin Rural Water Association, several
municipalities and water utilities, and some of my
legislative colleagues to name a few, all in
support of the bill.
To watch the committee hearing on the Leading On Lead
To read the written testimony submitted to the Committee
including my testimony, visit
Taking a Stand Against Identity Theft
Credit card skimmers have been seen all over the news
lately. Consumers throughout the state have fallen
victim to fraud and identity theft just by using their
credit cards to pay-at-the-pump or by using an ATM. On
Thursday, March 9th, I introduced a bill to
help Wisconsin law enforcement prevent this crime and to
protect Wisconsin consumers.
bill, currently known as LRB-1322/1, would place
penalties on the possession and trafficking of credit card skimmers and
stiffer penalties on the use of these devices.
Wisconsin consumers should always remain vigilant, but
should not have to fear identity theft at a gas pump or
ATM. These penalties will provide a greater
deterrence for criminals and a better tool for law
enforcement to protect us.
To learn more, click on the image above to watch a
segment from Local Fiveís Terry Kovarik.
Audit Committee Gets Updated on WPDES Permitting
Last week, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, which
I Co-Chair, held an audit hearing on the Wastewater
Permitting and Enforcement Audit. The report evaluated
the DNRís permitting and oversight of approximately
1,250 municipal wastewater treatment plants, industrial
wastewater treatment facilities, and large livestock
farms. This oversight is done through Wastewater
Pollution Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) permits. Protecting our water quality is a key issue
for our state, and WPDES permits are one of the primary
methods to provide that protection.
A primary finding of the audit identified that
the DNR had only sent Notices of Violation (NOV) in 33
of 558 instances in which a violation could have been
issued from 2005 to 2014. Other findings included a
significant backlog of industrial and municipal permits
and substantial staff turnover.
The testimony provided during the hearing highlighted the DNRís response to this audit,
and plan to improve the program's permitting and enforcement
efforts. Ensuring those improvements are implemented
further oversight and follow-up from the Committee. DNR Secretary Stepp noted
there is still a backlog of permits. Until the backlog is
reduced to within their recommended performance goals, I plan to
continue being a thorn in the side of the DNR.
For more information, click on the image above to read a
story from the Wisconsin Radio Network.
Each week I meet with different groups of constituents
from throughout the district on a wide variety of
issues. Some of these groups have questions on the
legislative process while other want to make specific
comments on different policy or budgetary proposals.
Below are pictures from a few of the meetings Iíve had
in the past two weeks.
Monday, March 6th, I met with the Green Bay
Superintendent Parent Advisory Committee to discuss the
issues most important to them as parents, and how they
feel the budget and other policies being proposed could
affect education for Wisconsin students.
On Thursday, March 9th, I welcomed Leadership
Shawano County to the State Capitol and answered
questions and concerns on Legislative topics they
expressed to Representative Tauchen and me.
On Wednesday, March 15th, I discussed my
legislative priorities with the Wisconsin Apartments
Also on Wednesday, March 15th, I met with
members of the Realtors Association from Northeast
Wisconsin in the Assembly Parlor of the State Capitol.
Feel free to contact my office with any questions or concerns you may
and be sure to connect with
Senator Robert Cowles