2015-16 Blue Books
2015-16 Blue Books are a useful
summary of information about our state. These books are
printed every session and are complimentary for every resident
If you would
like one delivered or shipped to you (no charge to you), please
reply to this email and include your street and mailing address.
The full content of the book is
also available online.
please send an email to:
with ‘unsubscribe’ in the subject.
Legislating Common Sense
Every now and then I work on bills that seem to simply reinforce
common sense. Our legislature spends a lot of time and energy
moving laws through the process that seem to be basic and
generally acceptable to most people; the key word being “most”.
We often have to write laws, re-write laws and clarify law to
ensure that every citizen understands their rights and
limitations clearly and from all angles, as well as to ensure
that governmental agencies are carrying out their duties as we
intend. The fact is that we often need to legislate common sense
into our state statutes to make our laws crystal clear and fair
to everyone regardless of their individual, unique perspective.
This past week, I was proud to welcome Jay and Lynda McDonald
from Skyline Homes in Lancaster and Doug and Stacey Martyniuk
from Skinner Transfer Inc. in Reedsburg to join Governor Scott
Walker as he signed
Act 139 into law.
Assembly Bill (AB) 451, which became Act 139 gives large
vehicles the legal right to deviate from their lane in a
roundabout and establishes that smaller vehicles must yield the
right of way to larger vehicles for safety. This change aligns
the law with the reality of driving and gives certainty to our
many semi and agricultural vehicle drivers trying to navigate
Roundabouts can be difficult for large semi-trucks, agricultural
vehicles, motor coaches, and other large vehicles to navigate.
Large vehicles, at times, need two lanes to safely navigate a
roundabout but prior law did not allow any driver to deviate
between lanes for any reason. Drivers of large vehicles were
held liable for accidents with cars attempting to pass them
while in the roundabout.
Skinner Transfer of Reedsburg approached Rep. Ed Brooks
(R-Reedsburg) and I after one of their drivers had been cited
for lane deviation in a roundabout after an accident, when the
driver of a passenger car attempted to pass a semi in a
Act 139 makes roundabouts safer for all drivers.
I also authored
SB 249 (AB 337) with Rep. Travel Tranel (R-Cuba City) to
require drivers to turn on their headlights during inclement
weather. Headlights are a safety tool that enable drivers to see
cars from all directions. When the weather is bad and visibility
is poor, headlights become extremely important.
For some of us, turning on headlights in the fog or during a
snowstorm is common sense. But for other people, this action
isn’t automatic and can cause accidents and frustration for
other drivers. This bill will allow law enforcement to issue
tickets for driving without headlights during inclement weather
the same way that they do when an individual drives without
headlights and taillights in the dark.
Earlier this session, I also worked on two bills that allow us
to work with, rely on and cooperate with professionals across
state lines during emergency situations. To me, emergency
situations require that we devote all available resources to
solving problems. But former laws did not allow us to respond
with common sense.
Act 26 created a limited exemption from state licensing for
ambulance service providers licensed in another state that make
10 or fewer patient transports per year in WI. Several
communities in southern Lafayette County utilize the services of
the Warren, IL EMS because they are significantly closer to many
communities than the nearest WI-based EMS.
The time saved by utilizing Warren’s services can make a life or
death difference for those in an emergency. For example,
Backyard Campground, a family-run campground is a three-minute
drive from Warren, but is nearly 30 minutes from Darlington, the
nearest WI-based EMS. Common sense tells us that we should use
the closer provider, but state law did not allow it. We changed
Act 84 created an exemption from income, sales, and use
taxes for workers helping to restore basic services in our state
after a natural disaster. It also created an exemption to state
or local fees, licenses, certificates, registration, and
permitting requirements that could be applied to emergency work.
This exemption comes into effect at the declaration of a state
of emergency and applies to work related to that emergency that
took place 10 days before or 60 days after the declaration. This
is a limited exemption and does not apply to any personal or
commercial work that is not related strictly to utility and
Twenty-one other states across the country adopted similar
common sense legislation. In my corner of Southwest Wisconsin,
bordering both Iowa and Illinois, having help from those states
in the event of an emergency could prove particularly important
when time is of the essence and people need services restored.
Seems like common sense to me.
Again, it may seem like a waste of our time to work on
legislation that enforces common sense, but clarifying the laws
is part of my role as your State Senator. Many common sense
bills come directly from the residents of the 17th Senate
District who share their challenges and ideas to correct them.
If you have any challenges or ideas, please do not hesitate to
For more information and to connect with me, visit my website
http://legis.wisconsin.gov/senate/17/marklein and subscribe
to my weekly E-Update by sending an email to
Do not hesitate to call 800-978-8008 if you have input, ideas or
need assistance with any state-related matters.
Wisconsin Local Employment and Unemployment Estimates
The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) released the U.S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) estimates of unemployment and
employment statistics for metro areas, major cities and counties
in Wisconsin. The estimates include revisions for November 2015
and preliminary estimates for December 2015.
Wisconsin's preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of
4.3% remained below the national rate of 5.0% in December and
significantly below the state's rate of 5.2% in December 2014.
The following table shows the local unemployment rates from
December 2015 and December 2014 for the counties in our
Click Here to view a PDF of all of the data available to us.
Local Unemployment Rates
*Source: Department of Workforce Development
Senator Howard Marklein is pleased to
provide this legislative E-Update for the constituents of the 17th State
Senate District. Please feel free to share this update with
other interested citizens and taxpayers. You are receiving this
update because you have either subscribed or contacted Senator Marklein directly.
Please Note: If you have contacted the Senator with specific
input or questions, a personal response is forthcoming, if need
UNSUBSCRIBE: If you would like to remove your e-mail
address from the E-update mailing list, please reply to this message with
the word “unsubscribe” in the subject line.
State Capitol - Room 8 South - Post Office Box 7882 -
Madison, Wisconsin 53707 - Phone: (608) 266-0703