Updates from the State Senate - June 4, 2019

The photo above was taken a couple of months ago of Mosquio Hill Nature Center. As good as this park looks with snow, it looks even better now as we head into summer.


Robert Cowles


Serving Wisconsin's 2nd Senate District







Quick Fact


Legendary basketball coach Dick Bennett who spend time coaching UW-Stevens Point, UW-Green Bay, and UW-Madison and is credited with success at all three programs, was raised in Clintonville. His son, Tony Bennett, was born in Clintonville, had a very successful college career playing for his father at UWGB, and now is a successful coach and the reining National Champion at the University of Virginia.


The Assembly recently passed a Joint Resolution Iíve authored with Representative John Macco (R-88) to honor the Tony Bennett on his National Championship and recognize his roots.


Community Events



One of my favorite things about being your State Senator is getting to meet constituents out in the community at some of our great local events.


The 2nd Senate District is also home to many great events and attractions. Whether you're a visitor or a life-long resident, you will not run out of things to do and see in Northeast Wisconsin.


To find an event or attraction in your area, visit the Greater Green Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Fox Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Shawano County Chamber of Commerce, or the Clintonville Area Chamber of Commerce. To find more public events, visit the community calendars on WLUK News and the Appleton Post-Crescent.


Helpful Links










Dear Friends and Neighbors,


I hope you all are enjoying some of the nice weather thatís finally been coming around. In the State Capitol, the Joint Finance Committee, the Legislatureís budget writing committee, has been meeting weekly or twice weekly recently as the 2019-2021 State Budget gets assembled. That hasnít stopped other Legislative actions, however, as there have been several recent committee hearings and will be an upcoming Legislative Session.


In this e-newsletter, I've included information on:

  1. Local highway safety

  2. Allouez may be reimbursed for services related to GBCI

  3. Congratulations high school grads!

  4. Senate supports Pollution Prevention Partnerships

  5. Itís time to Bite Back against Lyme Disease

  6. Interview with WPRís Central Time

  7. Recent events I've attended around the district

  8. And more


As always, feel free to contact my office with any questions or concerns you may have, and be sure to visit my website and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more regular updates from around the 2nd Senate District and in the State Capitol.


Thanks for reading!


Senator Robert Cowles

Proudly Serving Wisconsin's 2nd Senate District


Local Highway Safety 


I recently met with Ken Wickham, the North Central Region Director of the Department of Transportation (DOT), to discuss the dangerous 29/U intersection in Shawano County. Many accidents have happened at this intersection, and Iím glad to hear that a Highway Safety Improvement Project is planned to improve safety at the intersection in 2021. While I pushed the Department to move up the timeline, Iíve been assured that this is the soonest the project can be completed.



My office also recently joined other area Legislators in meeting with leaders from DOT and the Governorís office to discuss safety on Highway 15 in Outagamie County. The Department at our request has provided a list of safety improvements they will make or consider before construction. This will include increased law enforcement presence, speed trailers in both directions, and increased or refurbished signage, markings, and signals in higher-risk areas. I appreciate the partnership with other local legislators in support of safety and easing the flow of traffic on the Highway 15 corridor, and I want to thank DOT for their attention and responsiveness to our concerns. Learn more about these improvements on WHBYís website.


Allouez may be Reimbursed for Services Related to GBCI


Most correctional institutions in Wisconsin have expenses for law enforcement services rendered by the communityís law enforcement to the correctional institution reimbursed. But since Allouez is a village, itís not required to have its own police force so it contracts with Brown County Sheriffís Office for law enforcement services. Costs related to law enforcement services by Allouez to Green Bay Correctional Institution (GBCI) account for nearly 40% of all investigative calls in the Village, but the expenses are not reimbursed by the state under current law.


This puts a strain on the Village of Allouezís budget which is required to pay for the expenses relating to these calls. After working with JFC members to show them how this unfair burden is uniquely impacting Allouezís budget, the Finance members agreed to a common-sense motion I authored with the input of local officials to reimburse Allouez $60,000 per year to offset costs by the Village for police services rendered to GBCI. Iím glad to see that weíll be able to reimburse law enforcement expenses related to GBCI calls and that Allouez will have more flexibility moving forward. Check out this WBAY article to learn more.


During the same Joint Finance hearing, the Committee approved raises to correctional officers and increased starting pay to $19 an hour. More experienced correctional officers will also receive raises and bonuses based on their service. In the last e-newsletter, I talked about an audit that showed the low retention rates of staff and troubles recruiting new staff leading to excessive costs for overtime expenses. Low staffing or overworked staff also causes safety concerns for the staff. By providing pay more comparable to the private sector, the Department of Corrections should be able to reward the commitment and dedication of our current correctional officers while helping to recruit new staff. Check out more of my comments in this WHBY story.


Congratulations High School Grads!


This past weekend, hundreds of residents in the 2nd Senate District graduated high school. While each student had a different experience in high school, each is more prepared to enter the workforce, continuing education, or our armed forces because of their commitment to learning and because of the tireless and too often thankless work of their parents or guardians and our fantastic teachers.


I had the pleasure of attending a number of graduation ceremonies as I do every spring, this year congratulating some of the regionís newest diploma holders at Bay Port High School in Howard-Suamico, Shawano Community High School, and Southwest High School in Green Bay. Congratulations to all the recent high school graduates, and good luck in the next chapter of your life!


Senate Supports Pollution Prevention Partnerships


On May 15th, the Senate was in Session to consider a number of Legislative proposals. On the calendar was Senate Bill 91, also known as P3: Wisconsinís Trading Marketplace to Create a Pollution Prevention Partnership, which I authored with Representative Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) and Senator Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon). This bill was passed unanimously by the Senate, and now heads to the Assembly for consideration in the committee process.



This vote helped to set Wisconsin on a course to create the first statewide water quality pollutant trading clearinghouse. While the goal is to create a reduction in nutrients entering waterways to help clean up our waters, SB 91 would have numerous ecological, financial, and recreational benefits not just for those involved in trades, but for all Wisconsinites and tourists to our great state. By bringing more farmers and other nonpoint sources to the table and incentivizing them to implement proven land conservation strategies, coupled with the opportunity for industry to comply with permit requirements in a more cost effective manner, this bill has the potential to make a positive impact on our stateís economy.


To see my full statement on the billís passage, visit my website. To learn more about Wisconsinís current inflexible water quality trading system and how this bill could help improve water quality and provide financial incentives to farmers and other nonpoint sources, check out this recent segment from WPRís The Morning Show.


It's Time to Bite Back Against Lyme Disease


The problem of Lyme Disease in Wisconsin is growing and shows no signs of slowing. This morning, I released five bipartisan proposals with Senator Mark Miller (D-Monona), Representative Jeff Mursau (R-Crivitz), and Representative Nick Milroy (D-South Range) that would improve our approach to Lyme Disease and foster continued discussions to bite back against the disease in Wisconsin. Learn more about these bills by reading our joint press release on my website or this WPR article. Also, as we kick off summer, be sure to check yourself for ticks after spending time outdoors.



Interview with WPR's Central Time


On May 21st, Senator Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point) and I joined Wisconsin Public Radioís (WPR) Central Time to discuss water quality legislation weíre working on early in the 2019-2020 Legislative Session. If you missed the segment but want to go back and check it out, visit WPRís website.


Recent Events Attended


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. I also get to welcome dozens of residents from Northeast Wisconsin into the Capitol each week as they come to my office to talk about the issues important to them in their professional and personal life. Here is just a sampling of some of the events Iíve recently attended around the district and meetings Iíve had in the Capitol:

  • It was an honor to be able to attend the United Patriotic Society of Green Bayís Memorial Day Service at Admiral Flatley Park on Monday. Every year, they put on a nice event that serves a somber remembrance of those heroes who never came home.


  • Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an awful ailment that affects too many people, and Iíve seen firsthand the toll that MS can take. Thatís why I attended Walk MS: De Pere to support finding a cure and hear from community members about how many local lives have been impacted by MS.

  • I recently attended an event at Titletown Brewery in Green Bay titled ĎA Conversation about Bridging the Divide on Water Qualityí. This event was a nice way to show the community how most water quality initiatives are bipartisan.

  • Ashwaubenon is home to a new stadium for baseball and soccer following a ribbon cutting I attended last week. Capital Credit Union Park will host Booyah baseball, Voyageurs soccer, and special events throughout the year. To take a look inside the stadium, watch this WBAY story. I also was at Opening Night for the Voyageurs FC on Friday, but the game was rained out.

  • I celebrated a milestone for a local business by presenting a citation with Representative Jim Steineke and Mayor Tony Penterman to Roloff Manufacturing Corporation. Roloff Manufacturing, which is a third generation family-run business in Kauauna, has their 75th Anniversary this year. I want to congratulate them on their past successes, and wish them all the best for decades to come!


  • I joined AT&T in celebrating the Big Brother, Big Sisters Ė Green Bay Bigs in Blue program to help more youth in local communities for one-to-one mentoring program that connects youth with volunteers from local branches of law enforcement with a goal to build strong, trusting, and lasting relationships. These relationships can help children develop into confident adults and build stronger bonds between law enforcement and the families they serve. Read more about AT&Tís contribution to the program and learn more about the program here.

  • Recently, I celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Ashwaubenon Business Assoc with local leaders at Lambeau Field. They have helped to promote and preserve a strong business climate and economic prosperity for decades, and I look forward to their efforts in years to come.


In Other News...


 Here are some other stories I wanted to share with you:

  • We recently lost a local legend. Without Bart Starr, Green Bay would never have become Titletown. As a fan favorite, Bart Starr was a standup guy on and off field. His commitment to the franchise and the community extended well beyond his playing career. My condolences are with the Starr family.

  • Green Bay Sergeant Mike Knetzger was recently honored with the J. Edgar Hoover Memorial Award from the American Police Hall of Fame and Museum in Titusville, Florida. This award is given to law enforcement officers who seek and complete additional training and education to gain new skills in criminal justice and are dedicated to helping others. Congratulations, and thank you to Sergeant Knetzger! Learn more on WBAYís website.

  • Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke. A stroke can happen to anyone at any time. This May, which is National Stroke Awareness Month, please take a moment to learn how to improve your health to prevent a stroke and how to spot the warning signs of a stroke by visiting the American Stroke Associationís website.

  • In local business news, Barb LaMue will become the new Executive Director of New North on June 10th. New North, an economic development corporation serving Northeast Wisconsin, is lucky to have Barb, and I look forward to seeing how they will progress under her leadership. I also want to congratulate Craig Dickman on earning the Rotary Club of Green Bayís Free Enterprise Award. Craig Dickman was the CEO at Breakthrough Fuel until recently and helped to lead that business into becoming an industry leader in the Midwest and beyond.

  • Another amazing gift from the Mulva family was recently announced as they plan to help build a new Catholic School in De Pere. Jim and Miriam Mulva are perfect examples of people who never forget where theyíre from despite their success. Learn more in the Green Bay Press Gazette.

  • May is recognized as World Trade Month throughout the United States, including in Wisconsin from a resolution Iíve offered with Representative Rob Hutton (R-Brookfield). Wisconsinís role in a global marketplace is well established thanks to $22.7 billion in exports in 2018. This 2017 WPR article shows Wisconsin leading the nation in five export categories, most of which are agricultural, but Wisconsin has a wide array of exported goods beyond this list coming from all corners of the state.

  • Sunday marked the beginning of another Wisconsin Bike Week. The 2nd Senate District is home to portions of three state trails, dozens of bike routes, and countless neighborhood roads and parks that are perfect for cyclists of any skill level. Visit Travel Wisconsinís website to find some of the best outdoor cycling spots in the state.




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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