• Fight Against Opioids Continues
  • Record Low Unemployment 
  • Budget Projections Show Improvement

Fight Against Opioids Continues 

The latest two bills in the H.O.P.E. (Heroin Opioid Prevention and Education) Agenda were unveiled today and are currently circulating for co-sponsors.

The first, known as the Law Enforcement/Public Safety Package will:

  1. Provide $1 million in funding for local law enforcement agencies to expand training, patrols and increase investigative capacity resources to target high level drug traffickers.
  2. Provide two additional full-time drug prosecutors to assist northern Wisconsin District Attorneys; they will assist the division of criminal investigation in the field offices of Wausau and Appleton. This is based on the success of Eau Claire where a new assistant attorney general was place to assist in drug criminal prosecution.
  3. Provide additional funding for evidence based programs (as identified by the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis) which help prevent substance abuse before it happens. The goal is to reduce the number of youth entering the correctional system.
  4. Provide an additional $250,000 GPR for the expansion of family drug treatment courts.
  5. Allow judges to utilize victim impact panels (commonly used in drunk driving cases as a way to help offenders realize the impact of their crimes). The bill does not mandate that a judge use a victim impact panel, but would allow them to do so as a sentence option.
  6. Provide $1.5 million for grants to be used by counties to provide Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT) to inmates who will be released into the community within five days. MAT is a non-narcotic, non-addictive, injectable medication that blocks the effects of alcohol and opioids and can relieve psychological cravings in inmates who have been identified as having a high risk of overdose in their immediate post-release period.


The second bill, the Healthcare/Workforce Package will:

  1. Provide funding for the Department of Children and Families to develop and maintain online training materials for county social services or veteran services workers on responding to substance abuse cases.
  2. Changes to regulatory code that will expand access to substance abuse counseling to the most vulnerable citizens in the state.
  3. Provide funding to the UW-School of Nursing to expand training capacity since many with substance abuse disorders suffer from mental health issues as well.
  4. Implementing a continuing education requirement related to prescribing controlled substances (as decided by their respective boards).
  5. Increase access to Buprenorphine, one of the three medications approved by the FDA to treat people with opioid use disorder.
  6. Specifies that school boards must include information about prescription drugs when covering the effects of alcohol and controlled substances on the human system.


I believe these bills strike a balance between treatment and recovery with law enforcement and justice. It is important that we get treatment to those who need it; but also punish those who are providing access to these fatal drugs. I will be supporting both of these pieces of legislation as they move through the process.


Record Low Unemployment


Click here to read the Department of Workforce Development release on how Wisconsin’s unemployment rate dropped to 3% in December. Initial unemployment claims ended 2017 at the lowest level in 30 years.



Budget Projections Show $138 Million Improvement


This week the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau released a report stating their projected state budget will come in $138 million better than previous predictions. The predictions are that Wisconsin will reach June 2019 with $385 million in its main account, much better than the $248 million that was originally expected.

This is evidence that the economy has responded to massive tax cuts like we hoped it would. We have put more money back in people’s pockets and they are spending it as consumer confidence grows. In addition, this is about responsible budgeting which is why our rainy day fund is at its largest level, just in case there is a turn.

To read the full report click here.