Joins EPA and Local Leaders for Announcement on Federal Lead and Copper Rule “The revised LCR is a substantial milestone in our continued collective efforts across the country to remove lead from our communities. Thank you to Administrator Wheeler and the EPA for your important work on the revised LCR.”
Statement on JCRAR Actions on Firefighting Foam Rules "While, as the author, I believe this emergency rule appropriately reflected Legislative intent, I understand the desire from stakeholders to address these ambiguities, but believe these issues should have been addressed in the ongoing permanent rulemaking process."
Applauds New Clean Water Partnership "I applaud the efforts of Clean Wisconsin, DBA, TNC in Wisconsin, and Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association to establish a framework for today that can help lead to a better tomorrow."
Audit Analyzes DWD’s Processing of Unemployment Claims "Adjudication staff were only working an average of three hours of overtime a week while the people they are serving are having difficulties purchasing their next meal and paying their bills, including rent or mortgage, as they await a determination on their UI, some up to 31.5 weeks."
Excited to be Reappointed to Committee Assignments for the 2021-22 Legislative Session "I look forward to continuing to lead meaningful discussions with members on both sides of the aisle on natural resources and energy policy and accountability and transparency in state government for the next two years.”
The Leading on Lead Act is Working, but Milwaukee Isn’t “While the scope of the lead lateral problem in our state is substantial, and the costs, both human and economic, that are felt from lead laden water are large, options do exist to help begin the process of removing lead laterals throughout our state."
Audit Recommends Improvements for SWIB “There have been a handful of findings in recent audits at SWIB relating to the accuracy and timeliness of their data and its reporting. Ensuring sufficient data is collected, maintained, secured, and reported is paramount for this institution to make the decisions it needs regarding investments."
Cowles Continues to Encourage Wisconsinites to Step-Up and Fight COVID-19 Spread "But with action from Wisconsinites, all Wisconsinites, we can help to limit the further toll that COVID-19 is taking on our state. Individual responsibility is the best way to get this outbreak under control."
Audit Recommends Recycling Program Improvements and Best Practices “On a state level, the State Recycling Program is intended to provide guidance, oversight, and funding for responsible resource management. However, this audit highlights that the State Recycling Program is out of date and needs modernizing and updating."
Cowles Echoes Call for Unity in COVID-19 Fight "Right now, there’s no signs of the virus activity slowing in and around the 2nd Senate District, with 3,592 new cases in these four counties over the past week. It’s time to do even more to assist our communities. Therefore, I echo the call for unity, whether it’s in the State House or your house."
Ratepayers Protected and Air Quality Improved Under State’s First Environmental Trust Financing Plan "PSC’s action represents a victory for residential, business and industrial ratepayers, utilities, and the environment. Utilizing Environmental Trust Financing establishes a framework to retire the aging, money-losing asset while still ensuring ratepayers are not only protected, but see a benefit. "
Cowles Applauds WEC’s Efficiency, Sustainability and Growth Plan "By retiring less efficient fossil fuel plants and investing in low cost renewables and low emission natural gas, WEC Energy Group has set an ambitious yet achievable goal to substantially reduce emissions in the next ten-years."
Roth / Cowles Applaud Support for COVID-19 Prevention Steps "Wisconsin, particularly Northeast Wisconsin, is at a crisis point with COVID-19. Please follow the public health guidelines, including wearing a mask, social distancing, practicing good hygiene, avoiding large gatherings, and staying home and seeking a test while you’re under the weather.”
Congratulates James Golembeski on Retirement "I want to thank Jim for his nearly three decades of service with the Bay Area Workforce Development Board. I have no doubt in my mind that our region’s economy would look markedly different if it weren’t for Jim’s steady hand on the pulse of Northeast Wisconsin’s workforce."
Cowles Applauds Green Bay’s Final Lead Lateral Removal "I was elated to learn that Green Bay’s nearly five-year-long mission to rid their City’s water infrastructure of lead was coming to a close. Today’s milestone should be a source of pride for all Green Bay residents, as cleaner drinking water today will lead to a healthier community tomorrow."
Audit Bureau Reviews Unemployment Insurance Call Centers "The findings in this audit have proven the slow and inadequate handling of this crisis. This might be one of the most disheartening audits I’ve read and yet it is only part of a further dive into the Unemployment Insurance system."
Audits Assess IT Needs Assessment, Procurement, and Security "The findings at both DOA and UW related to IT security are very concerning. Our state government must scramble to play catch up to revise and develop policies, procedures, and plans that should have already been in place and providing the proper privacy and security procedures and safeguards."
Applauds Howard’s Partnership with HSSD to Lessen the Financial Burden of COVID-19 on Local Schools "Tonight, those discussions I had with the local officials came to life as the Trustees of Howard voted to approve funds they don’t anticipate utilizing from their Routes to Recovery reimbursements to help HSSD schools get through these challenging times.”
Audit Bureau Reviews DPI Guidance to Schools and School Districts “It’s my hope that DPI includes LAB’s recommendations into their guidance document and that School Districts utilize and implement these best practices to provide a healthy and safe school year."
Cowles Applauds a Milestone for Northeast Wisconsin "The impact of the completion of this cleanup may not be fully recognized now, but will certainly be felt by everyone in the region for years to come. The completion of the PCB cleanup means cleaner waters and a healthier fishery, which will lead to a stronger community and an emerging economy."
Audit Examines UW System Financial Management “While the UW’s net position and program revenue balances remained mostly consistent over the prior two fiscal years, we’re in uncharted territory and I’m concerned about the impact Coronavirus will have on the UW-System’s financial position."
Report Fraud, Waste, and Mismanagement in State Government to Legislative Audit Bureau Hotline (1-877-FRAUD-17) “The Fraud, Waste, and Mismanagement Hotline continues to serve as a useful tool to maintain accountability in government. I want to encourage any citizen that believes they have identified waste, fraud, or abuse in government to call the hotline and report their concerns."
Audit Bureau Reviews Overpayment of Unemployment Insurance Benefits "I appreciate DWD’s willingness to implement findings from this audit to improve its payment process and revise policies to avoid future overpayment instances. This audit can serve as a first step, to begin addressing the ongoing challenges that have plagued DWD’s UI program over the past months."
Cowles/Nygren Applaud Action by the NRB on PFAS Firefighting Foam "I’m pleased to see a unanimous support by the NRB to begin the rulemaking process. This effort was a long-time in the making, and despite the initial reluctance by Governor Evers’ DNR appointees, we found common ground in this positive step and moved the process forward."
Lawless Actions in Madison Despicable “If the Madison PD is handcuffed from doing their job by local politics, the Governor must take control and call in the National Guard to protect the right to of those wishing to peaceably assemble while controlling the lawlessness that has posed threats to public safety and property."
Thompson an Ideal Choice for the UW-System “Filling Ray Cross’s shoes was always going to be a tall order. As the Regents continue their search for a long-term President, the interim pick of Thompson is a praiseworthy choice that will continue building on the value that our cherished higher education institutions bring to Wisconsin.”
Cowles’ Encourages Applicants for Farm and Small Business Assistance Programs “The economic toll from COVID-19 is tough, but Wisconsin is tougher. Neither of these programs are perfect, and there’s no guarantee that everyone who applies will receive assistance, nor can the payments fully cover the lost opportunities and continued expenses. But every little bit helps."
Shawano Lake, Following Today’s FERC Decision, Will Be Ready for Safer Recreation this Summer “I continue to be proud of the partnership that’s been formed in Shawano which has led to the latest temporary approval by FERC to raise the water levels. Shawano Lake is a pristine recreation hub to visit and a fun and relaxing place to call home."
Kaukauna Joins Green Bay with an Approved Plan to Reduce Lead-Laden Water “I’m very proud to see another community in the 2nd Senate District successfully pursue a plan that doesn’t just help residents with lead laterals, but benefits the entire community as public health improves, creating long-term economic savings, and long-term costs to the utility also may decrease."
More Solar Developments Shine a Light on Wisconsin’s Energy Future “This announcement further reinforces that markets are making more sustainable, secure, and reliable energy infrastructure not only feasible, but desirable. Alliant’s plan to add 675 MW to the progress already made is a welcome building block in creating a stronger, cheaper energy future.”
PSC Approves Green Bay Water’s Lead Removal Plan "This plan doesn’t just help residents with lead laterals, but the entire community will benefit as public health improves, creating long-term economic savings, and Utility costs decrease as anti-corrosive materials become less necessary and newer infrastructure reduces the risk of failures."
Gallagher/Cowles Call on Evers to Aid Brown County’s COVID-19 Response Efforts "While other governments with sizable outbreaks have received direct aid to assist in their ability to respond, Brown County has been left to pick-up the tab on their own, hindering their ability to create a more robust response and potentially leading to impacts for other governmental functions."
Reopening of State Parks a Promising Step “Sunshine and fresh air aren’t only important for our physical health, but also our mental wellbeing. This decision isn’t only in the best interest of residents, but it is also the latest sign that Wisconsin is beginning to turn the dial towards a reasonable, yet timely loosening of restrictions."
Plan to Improve Safety and Navigation On and Under the HHH Bridge Approved “Too often, in a battle between logic and bureaucracy, the bureaucracy wins. Thanks to advocacy by the County and local residents over the past year, that’s not the case for the HHH bridge. It was my pleasure to have the opportunity to support this local effort and shepherd the message to the DOT."
COVID-19 Response Bolstered by Bipartisan Effort “The bipartisan legislation passed by the Senate today is a measured approach that supplements recent federal action as we look to lessen the blow on households, businesses, schools, patients, and local governments."
Cowles Working to Include Accountability and Oversight Measures in COVID-19 Legislation “It’s my belief that this analysis will help Wisconsin better prepare for future emergency responses by improving distribution systems and expanding recordkeeping procedures while ensuring we account for any mismanagement or misappropriations of funding."
Applauds Action by Board of Nursing on COVID-19 “As Wisconsin health care providers and hospital administrators navigate this unprecedented event, I’m very pleased to see the Board of Nursing work to react in real time to the circumstances presented by this public health emergency."
State Aid Restored to Freedom Schools Under New Law "For this low-spending district, the statutory hiccup had adverse impacts in classrooms from kindergarten to 12th grade. I’m happy to see yet another example of a district-driven effort signed into law, and it pleases me to know that Freedom schools will soon be operating at full volume."
Innovative Nonpoint Source Pollution Solution Signed into Law "By bringing more farmers to the table and incentivizing them to implement proven land conservation strategies, coupled with the opportunity for industry to comply with permits in a more cost effective manner, this new law has the potential to make a positive impact on our environment and economy."
Bringing Condo Association Leadership to the Table “By establishing a statutory process that gives unit owners a seat at the table when condo associations are obstructing unit owners’ ability to maintain their condos or when unit owners question decisions that affect their property, we can ensure that Wisconsinites’ property rights are protected."
Third Bill from the ‘Bite Back’ Package Signed into Law "I’ve personally seen the impact that Lyme disease can have on someone’s life. I’m proud to see a third bill from this package signed into law, and I hope in the years ahead that we will see the impact of increased awareness and prevention among Wisconsin residents.”
Legislation Designed to Deter ‘Swatting’ Becomes Law "By increasing the penalties for those who decide to make swatting calls, we can help reduce the frequency of these dangerous pranks and that the legal penalties align with the seriousness of the crime."
Assembly Approves Five Cowles’ Bills “From protecting the property rights of condo owners to raising the awareness and prevention of Lyme disease to supporting the restoration of state aid to the Freedom School District, I’m happy to see three bills I’ve authored head to the Governor’s desk."
Assembly Advances Pollution Prevention Partnerships Bill "By bringing more farmers to the table to implement proven land conservation strategies, coupled with the opportunity for industry to comply with permits in a more cost effective manner, this bill has the potential to make a positive impact on our state’s environment and economy."
Children’s Health Wins the Support of Assembly "With the SCHOOL Act, the Assembly has advanced a bipartisan solution to give our youth a brighter future by reducing lead exposure and giving parents and guardians the peace-of-mind that their kids won’t drink lead-laden water while at school.”
JFC Rejects Locating a Youth Prison in Hortonia "I shared the concerns of these residents with members of the Joint Finance Committee, and I applaud them for listening and choosing to vote to reject this site. In doing so, JFC members stood with the over 700 citizens of Hortonia who signed a petition in opposition to this site."
Bill to Prevent PFAS Pollution Signed into Law "Real environmental progress often comes one step at a time. I’m pleased that the Governor weighed the merits of this bill over misleading and false political rhetoric when deciding to sign this into law.”
Water Quality Efforts Move Ahead in Senate Committee After two public hearings last week and an executive session followed by a public hearing today, the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy has moved twelve efforts from the Speaker’s Task Force on Water Quality ahead. Four of the bills are led by Cowles in the Senate.
New Law will Further Revitalize Our State Parks “The water facility and infrastructure upgrades that will be completed will help to protect the health of millions of State Park visitors, preserve water quality in these pristine landscapes, and improve the experiences of those enjoying our public lands for decades to come."
Focusing In on PFAS Pollution in Wisconsin "The public data provided in these bills will help the Legislature and the DNR to create more sound policies that protect waterbodies, promote public health, and coordinate with our business community and municipal utilities."
SCHOOL Act Recommended for Passage by Senate Committee “After working with numerous stakeholders in recent weeks to address the constructive feedback provided at the hearing, these policies have been improved with amendments that provide the flexibility necessary for local decisions while still ensuring that children’s health is the top priority."
Parks Revitalization Act 2.0 Passes the Assembly “The water facility and infrastructure upgrades that would be completed under the Parks Revitalization Act 2.0 will help to protect the health of millions of State Park visitors, preserve water quality in these pristine landscapes, and improve the experiences of those enjoying our public lands."
Bill to Prevent PFAS Pollution Passes the Legislature "While Senate Bill 310 isn’t the whole answer to PFAS contamination in Wisconsin, coming together and finding common solutions to address this issue must start with restrictions on the use of PFAS firefighting foams that will prevent more pollution.”
Bringing Condo Association Leadership to the Table “By establishing a statutory process that gives unit owners a seat at the table when condo associations are obstructing unit owner’s ability to maintain their condos or when unit owners question decisions that affect their property, we can ensure that Wisconsinites’ property rights are protected."
Senate Votes to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposure “Senate Bill 424 looks to give our youth a brighter future by reducing lead exposure and giving parents and guardians the peace-of-mind that their kids will drink clean, safe water when they leave the house in the morning."
Two Bills from the ‘Bite Back’ Package Signed into Law "The problem of Lyme disease is growing and shows no signs of slowing as the number of cases annually has doubled in the past decade. I’m proud to see these two bills signed into law, and I hope that more of this package will receive a vote in the Assembly before the Session is adjourned.”
Promoting a Smart Approach to Reduce Flooding Events “Better preparation for flooding events today can help to save millions of dollars in damages tomorrow. This legislation simply ensures that we’re promoting preparedness through conservation while still ensuring that each project is in our community’s and our environment’s best interest."
Cowles’ Statement on Assembly’s Veto Override Attempt “While the original bipartisan Assembly vote (66-31) to send this bill to the Senate, and ultimately to Governor Evers’s desk, would have been enough to override a veto, this effort was thwarted by politics and failed along party lines."
Bill to Prevent PFAS Pollution Passes Senate Committee "This bill creates the necessary balance between reducing the dangers to human health and negative environmental footprint these chemicals pose while also preserving the ability of first responders to use an extremely effective tool to fight flammable liquid fires."