Updates from the State Senate - December 4, 2017



Robert Cowles


Serving Wisconsin's 2nd Senate District







Quick Fact


Shawano County is home to over 400 miles of groomed and marked snowmobile trails.


Helpful Links









Three Bills Signed into Law


On Monday, November 27th, Governor Walker signed three bills I’ve authored into law. Read more about these bills below.


SB 173 was signed into law as 2017 Act 70. This legislation rethinks the way we deal with brownfields. Brownfields are abandoned or underused commercial or industrial properties where redevelopment is hindered by contamination. There are an estimated 10,000 brownfields sites throughout Wisconsin. By creating a regulatory structure that removes some of the hurdles faced by local governments and developers, we’re able to spur brownfield redevelopment that benefits the entire community. Read the full statement I released with Representative Jacque (R-De Pere) at this link.


SB 421 was signed into law as 2017 Act 71. This legislation, named the Parks Revitalization Act, provides up to $4.5 million in unspent Stewardship funds from the previous fiscal year to complete critical health and safety water infrastructure projects in some of the most frequented state parks. Act 71 is designed to tackle the ongoing issue of degrading water infrastructure in some of our most visited state parks. By addressing the critical water infrastructure projects identified by the DNR, we can continue to ensure that our state park visitors have an enjoyable outdoors experience and continue to use our parks. Read the full statement I released with Representative Tusler (R-Harrison) on my website at this link.


AB 226 was signed into law as 2017 Act 69. This legislation, named the Clean Water Access Bill, increases the grant amount that may be awarded under an existing state program for rehabilitating or replacing contaminated wells. Act 69 also gives local governments the authority to provide loans to the owners of contaminated wells or failing septic systems. Access to clean drinking water is vital to human health, and while the Clean Water Access Bill is not a cure-all silver bullet, assistance provided by this legislation is an important step forward for the residents of Northeast Wisconsin. Drafting and passing this bill would not have been possible without the hard work and continuing dedication of my co-author, Representative Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay). Read the full statement I released with Representative Kitchens at this link.


Save Our Pets Bill Earns a Positive Response


A bill I’ve authored with Representatives Dave Considine (D-Baraboo) and Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) has earned some positive attention recently. This bill, which is named the Save Our Pets Bill, will allow first responders to provide care to dogs, cats, and other household pets in emergency situations once all humans have been cared for. The bill was featured last week on Green Bay’s WBAY. Check out this story by clicking on this link or by clicking on the image to the right. Save Our Pets was also recently featured on Milwaukee’s CBS 58. Check out this story by clicking on this link.


Save Our Pets was heard last week by the Assembly Committee on Health. Numerous people testified and two police dogs appeared during the hearing, all in support of the bill. One of the key points raised in favor of the bill is the ability for first responders to care for police dogs if something were to happen to them. Overall, this bill provides the legal authority for first responders to continue helping families in Wisconsin, regardless of whether the family member walks on two legs or four. To read the bill, click on this link.


Recent Events in the District


I have the opportunity to attend a number of community events each week. These events are central in my role as an elected official, as they allow me to stay up-to-date on the latest news from businesses, non-profits, and local governments. These events also give me the opportunity to meet great people and recognize the contributions that so many people make to our communities. Here is just a sampling of some of the events I’ve recently attended in the district:

  • I attended a fundraiser for the Wisconsin Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association. This event will help them fulfil their mission of championing the needs of abused and neglected children. During the event, I spoke with some of these advocates about my legislative efforts to combat child neglect.

  • Every year, the American Foundation of Counseling Services hosts a luncheon to honor Ethics in Business Awards recipients. Congratulations to this year’s recipients, which include business recipient ERC: Counselors and Consultants, individual recipient Nancy Thompson, and non-profit recipient Encompass Early Education and Care. Keep up the great work!

  • The Northeast Wisconsin Building and Construction Trades Council invited me to attend a meeting of theirs in Green Bay last week. The building and construction industry is the foundation of economic development in Wisconsin, and Wisconsin is fortunate to have dedicated individuals.

  • A few constituents stopped by my office recently during the Physicians Assistants Day in Madison. It was good to learn more about this important medical profession. To the right is a picture taken after the meeting.

  • I joined a packed house of community members at the KI Convention Center in downtown Green Bay for the Equate concert to showcase the fine arts work of greater Green Bay area students.

  • I spoke with community leaders that deal with homelessness daily when I attended the Restoring Hope Gala to benefit Green Bay's St. John's the Evangelist homeless shelter. Learn more about the event at this link.

  • You may have heard that a new Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Center will be built on the UW-Green Bay campus. Last month, I attended a STEM Innovation Summit at the Weidner Center at UWGB with Chancellor Gary Miller and Lieutenant Governor Kleefisch to discuss the future of STEM fields in business and education.


Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting


In the last e-newsletter, I encouraged youth in Northeast Wisconsin to send in homemade ornaments to Madison for hanging on the Capitol Christmas Tree. Last week, these ornaments and others from students throughout Wisconsin were hung on the tree, and on Friday, the Capitol Christmas Tree was lit. Check out a video of the tree lighting by clicking on the image below:



Thanks for Reading!


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

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Senator Robert Cowles




Mailing Address: P.O. Box 7882, Madison, WI 53707-7882 | Office: 118 South, State Capitol

Office: (
608) 266-0484 | District: (920) 448-5092 | Sen.Cowles@legis.wisconsin.gov




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