Capitol Update

by Senator Howard Marklein

April 15, 2022


Legislative Report Card

Thank you for your trust and encouragement as I have served as your State Senator during the 2021-2022 legislative session. I am honored to work on your behalf in the Wisconsin Legislature. We have made tremendous progress on the fiscal fitness of our state and promoting the interests of rural Wisconsin.

Following is what I consider to be my legislative report card for the session:

  • Led the State Budget process as Co-Chair of the legislature's budget-writing Joint Committee on Finance (JFC).
  • Secured the "best budget for towns in recent history," according to the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Towns Association.
  • Funded all of our priorities and returned $3.2 billion in tax cuts to Wisconsinites.
  • The State is in a great financial position!
  • Authored 52 bills.
  • Nine bills signed into law (as of 4/15/22). 
  • Invited the Governor to sign a bill in Necedah to officially designate a new Purple Heart Highway on State Hwy 21.
  • Hosted 15 listening sessions for residents of the 17th Senate District.
  • Received more than 14,000 unique constituent contacts during the 2021-22 session.
  • Assisted more than 500 people with Unemployment Compensation claims during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Provided information and assistance with state and federal grant funding for small businesses, communities and others related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Assisted several communities to receive flood assistance from the 2018 floods.
  • Led the fight with Rep. Tony Kurtz to finally repair the 400 Trail and Elroy-Sparta Trail that were damaged by floods in 2018.
  • Authored more than 40 letters of support for local projects and initiatives during the 2021-22 session including broadband projects, local transportation projects, economic development and more.
  • Coordinated meetings between local governments and state agencies to solve problems such as road right-of-way issues, ATV access, economic development and more.
  • Fought for our local, rural values and defended our way of life against bad policy and spending decisions!

Without a doubt, I will always remember 2021 as the first year that I served as the Co-Chair of the Legislature’s powerful, budget-writing Joint Committee on Finance (JFC). As a CPA, working on the state budget is very interesting (and dare I say, “fun”) to me.

It was an honor to lead the Senate’s work on the state budget. We funded all of your priorities while returning $3.2 billion to taxpayers in tax cuts. We crafted a great budget for rural Wisconsin that included nearly $120 million for local, rural roads, increased reimbursements for hospitals and nursing homes and provided support for the workers who care for us. Our bi-partisan budget, which was supported by seven democrats, including the Senate Minority Leader, is good for Wisconsin. In fact, the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Towns Association (WTA) said that this budget is the “best budget for towns in recent history.”

In addition to the budget, I authored 52 bills. As of today, nine of my bills have been signed into law including Act 91, which was signed by the Governor in Necedah to create a new Purple Heart Memorial Highway on Hwy 21. This bill was suggested by VFW Commander and Purple Heart recipient James Starr of Necedah. 

Beyond the halls of the State Capitol, it has been wonderful to be out-and-about with you again. I missed the parades, dairy breakfasts, county fairs, spaghetti suppers and pancake breakfasts that we had to cancel in 2020. Many of these great events rebounded and roared back better than ever. I can’t wait to see you at parades and picnics this summer!

I always gather terrific input and ideas when I am sharing a cup of coffee at a pancake breakfast or flipping burgers at the County Fair booth. This is where very meaningful connections are made and I learn a lot about you and the people I represent.

Again, it is an honor to represent the 17th Senate District in the State Senate. I look forward to continuing to work with you – and for you – in the State Senate.
As always, please do not hesitate to connect with me to provide input, ideas or to seek assistance.  Send an email to sen.marklein@legis.wisconsin.gov or call 608-266-0703.