Session Wrap Up Part 1: Marklein Bills
The Wisconsin State Senate met for the last time for the current session
on Tuesday, March 15, 2016. We took up more than 100 bills, resolutions and
appointments. The next session day will be in January 2017 after the November
Over the next several weeks, this column will summarize the legislation that
moved through the last session day, as well as an overview of our
achievements throughout the session. This week, I am focused on the bills I
authored or co-authored that were passed on Tuesday.
As your State Senator, I am proud of our accomplishments. We achieved good
things for the 17th Senate District and the State of Wisconsin as a whole. I
am honored to be a part of the legislative process and look forward to
continuing to work hard for the people of southwest Wisconsin.
I was the author or co-author of 11 bills that passed the Senate on Tuesday.
These proposals now move to Governor Scott Walker for signature within the
next several weeks. Following is a summary of each bill:
Bill (AB) 341 / Senate Bill (SB) 256 – Terrorist Threats – This bill
makes any threat to cause death, bodily injury, or property damage by any
means to prevent the occupation of a building, vehicle, or other public place
of assembly, into a Class I felony. This law would also apply if the individual
intends to cause interruption or public panic. The penalty for a Class I
felony in Wisconsin is a fine up to $10,000 and/or a prison sentence of up to
three years and six months. This bill aligns penalties for terrorist threats,
such as threatening to shoot children at a school, with existing penalties
for making a bomb threat. Co-Authored with Rep. Ed Brooks (R-Reedsburg).
AB 441 / SB
339 - Wisconsin Veterans Employment Initiative – This bill creates a
Council on Veterans Employment. This council will advise and assist the
Governor and state agencies with recruitment and employment of veterans in an
effort to help all veterans, but especially those with a service-connected
disability. The bill also requires state agencies to create a plan to recruit
and retain more veterans in state government based on goals in each specific
AB 512 / SB
384 – Frank Lloyd Wright Trail - This bill designates a highway route
in the counties of Kenosha, Racine, Milwaukee, Waukesha, Jefferson, Dane,
Iowa, Sauk, and Richland as the “Frank Lloyd Wright Trail,” highlighting
buildings that have particular significance to Frank Lloyd Wright and his
career. Co-authored with Rep. Todd Novak (R-Dodgeville). Governor Scott
Walker is anticipated to sign this bill on Monday, March 21, 2016 at Taliesin
in Spring Green.
AB 721 / SB
603 – Savings Bonds - This bill provides that an abandoned U.S.
savings bond held by the State of Wisconsin that remains unredeemed for five
years after final maturity is presumed abandoned and subject to the custody
of this state under this state’s version of the Uniform Unclaimed Property
AB 731 / SB
604 – Repeal WI ABLE Account Authority – This bill repeals the
authority to create ABLE accounts in WI and creates tax benefits for
contributions to ABLE accounts in other states. This bill is meant to enable
all individuals with disabilities to access and create ABLE accounts from
other states that are near to launching programs. Allowing access to other
states will be more efficient and immediate than creating a separate program
AB 771 -
Drug Law Enforcement Grant for Lafayette County – This bill allocates
funds to assist Lafayette County in funding a full or part-time officer who
will be dedicated to a drug task force. The drug task forces are instrumental
in fighting the growing influx of heroin and other drugs that are becoming an
increasing problem to the rural areas and Lafayette County needed state
support to participate and stem the flow of drugs into and through their
county. Co-authored with Rep. Todd Novak (R-Dodgeville). Governor Scott
Walker is anticipated to sign this bill on Monday, March 21, 2016 in
AB 760 / SB
584 – DATCP Reimbursement - This bill expands the type of enforcement
actions in which a court may order a defendant to reimburse DATCP for costs
incurred in preparing and prosecuting the case, including actions relating to
future service plans, rental vehicles, self-service storage facilities, time
shares, and foreclosure consultants. The defendant would only reimburse the
state for investigative costs if he or she settles the case with a negotiated
civil forfeiture or is found guilty by the courts. This bill would allow the
courts to require proven violators of the law to cover these costs, as
opposed to passing the costs onto taxpayers.
AB 820 / SB
699 – Broadband Forward! – This bill creates Broadband Forward!
certification for municipalities that plan to seek broadband installation and
grant funding in the future. It is a package of model ordinances that a
community may adopt to prepare for working with telecommunications companies
to expand broadband. This bill also directs the Public Service Commission to
focus broadband expansion on priority needs and projects with economic
development and community advancement elements.
College Affordability Package Legislation
AB 741 / SB
592 – Micro-grant Program – This bill creates a micro-grant program
for small emergency grants to cover an unplanned expense for a college
student to prevent them from dropping out of school. Unfortunately, these
financial emergencies can cause a student to drop out of school, especially
non-traditional students who work while they attend school. Small grants of
less than $500 would be awarded to Technical College and two-year college
students with unplanned financial emergencies, using an application-based
AB 742 / SB
594 - Department of Workforce Development Internship Coordinators - This
bill creates two internship coordinator positions at the Department of
Workforce Development (DWD) to connect employers with universities and
colleges to create internship opportunities.
AB 744 / SB
595 – Student Debt Financial Literacy - This bill requires that all
higher education institutions send their students a letter with information
about their loans, projected monthly payments, and loan interest rates to
better inform students about their debt. This effort is to help each student
to make financial decisions with more information.
Again, I am very proud of the work we have done this session and I look
forward to providing additional details on other legislation over the next
Surf and Scams: Pre-Trip Tips to Reduce Your Rip-Off Risk
the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection
After a long winter, spring break’s siren song draws college students and
families to sunny beaches and exciting foreign locales. But as travelers let
off steam they may also be letting down their guard, opening up opportunities
to get ripped off by scammers and identity thieves. The Wisconsin Department
of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection offers some simple pre-trip
tips to mitigate your risk and help you travel more securely.
“Students and families alike need to be cautious of a number of
travel-specific risks as they book their adventures and head out into the
world,” said Frank Frassetto, Division Administrator for Trade and Consumer
Protection. “Grandparent scams, lost identification or financial information,
and identity theft due to overexposure on social media are all potential
risks that can be addressed before the trip even begins.”
Before you start your trip:
- Alert your credit card
company and financial institution. Call the number on the back of your
credit and debit cards and let them know where you will be traveling and
when. This advance notice will let the bank know to expect transactions
from the area you visit, keeping your account from being locked.
- Verify your
reservations. If you booked your trip through a third-party website or
travel service, confirm your reservations directly with the airline,
hotel or car rental business so you don’t get stranded in case of a
miscommunication with your booking.
- Put your mail on hold.
Identity thieves could steal mail from unattended mailboxes, giving them
the information they need to misuse your identity and open credit lines
in your name. The post office can hold your mail until you return,
keeping letters and packages from sitting idle in your mailbox.
- Limit what’s in your
wallet. Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet or purse,
keep your passport locked away, and minimize the number of bank cards
you take on your trip.
- Use credit cards
instead of debit cards. This reduces your risk of having your checking
account emptied while you are on vacation, and credit cards may offer
additional protections for your purchases.
- Pack a second credit
card. If you lose your main card or it is damaged, you will need a
backup. Keep them packed in separate locations.
- Photocopy your
documents and cards. Make two copies (front and back) of your passport,
driver’s license, credit cards, tickets and hotel reservation
confirmations. Give one copy to a friend or family member at home and
carry the other copy with you, stored securely and separately from the
originals. These can come in handy if your original documents are lost
or stolen during the trip.
- Share your plans with
friends and family to avoid “grandparent scams.” Phone scammers could
call your relatives while you are away, claim to be you, and ask for
money to get out of a phony legal or medical emergency. Make sure your
family has a plan in place and a way to reach you directly in case a
relative or friend receives one of these frightening calls. As part of
the plan, consider using a family code name to verify family members.
- Tighten the security
around your online accounts. Your social media accounts can reveal
everything a thief needs to know to steal your identity or to rob your
home in your absence. Adjust the security settings on your social media
accounts to only allow friends and family to view your posts, and
consider turning off the location services on your phone so the photos
you post online are not tagged with GPS data. Make sure that the mobile
devices you intend to take on your journey are password protected.
For additional information or to file a complaint, visit the Consumer
Protection Bureau at http://datcp.wisconsin.gov,
send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
or call the Consumer Protection Hotline toll-free at 1-800-422-7128.
Connect with us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wiconsumer.
In The 17th Senate District
The Annual Governor's Conference on Tourism
Each year, tourism professionals
in Wisconsin gather to share ideas, learn about new programs and generally
kick-off the summer tourism season in our state at the Governor's Conference
on Tourism. This year, the conference was held at the Ho-Chunk Casino in
Wisconsin Dells. I was honored to share lunch with many of the people
who promote the communities of the 17th Senate District. We have some
exciting things happening this summer!
Pictured front row: Emmily Dreessens (Platteville), Kathy Kopp (Platteville),
Linda Parish (Fennimore). Back row: Lynn Price (Dodgeville), Patrick
Reinsma (WI Department of Tourism), Amy Bell Kwallek (Lancaster), Sen. Howard
Marklein, Darlene Mickelson (Grant County EDC), Joy Gieseke (Mineral Point).
I am also very honored to share
that Allen Schroeder, Historic Site Director at Pendarvis, Stonefield
Historic Site and First Capitol Historic Site was awarded one of six Legacy
Awards for his commitment to excellence, achievements, dedication and
leadership. Congratulations to Allen for this deserved recognition!
In addition to networking and
awards, the Governor's Conference on Tourism is also the moment when the
Department of Tourism officially releases the much anticipated commercials
for the season. Click on each image below to view the commercials on
Wisconsin Youtube channel where you'll also find a lot of other great
video to enjoy!
Dogs Are Always Welcome In
This is a Wisconsin Supper Club
In The Capitol
Masoom, a senior at Platteville High School, visited with Sen. Howard
Marklein during her experience as a Senate Scholar this week. Saafia is
one of three students from the 17th Senate District who was selected for the
prestigious Senate Scholar program.
Congratulations to all of our Senate Scholars!
The Senate Scholar Program, coordinated by the Senate Chief Clerk, is an
intensive week-long educational program offered by the Wisconsin State
Senate. Admission to the program is highly competitive and is limited to 33
academically exceptional high school juniors and seniors from around
Wisconsin. Each Senate Scholar receives a hands-on, up-close view of the
Legislature’s role in our democracy.
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
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Post Office Box 7882 - Madison, Wisconsin 53707 - Phone: (608) 266-0703