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Capitol Update
By Senator Howard Marklein
April 6, 2018

Delivering Results for the 17th Senate District

As the current legislative session comes to a close, I am very proud to report that I successfully moved more than 30 initiatives through the legislative process during the current session.  More than 65% of the bills and budget motions I worked on were successful. To compare, some legislators introduce many bills, but do not have a single bill move through the process. Others in leadership roles are extremely selective and limit their legislation to a specific issue area, only passing two or three bills throughout the session.
I am honored that many residents of the 17th Senate District and have trusted me with their ideas.  I am also grateful that a variety of groups and associations, such as the Wisconsin Hospitals Association, the Wisconsin ATV Association and the Wisconsin Certified Public Accountants have asked me to work on their behalf.
Many of the bills and ideas we successfully moved through the legislative process started with a constituent who lives in the 17th Senate District. These kinds of ideas are essential to our democracy. They begin with the people who are living, working, volunteering and leading in our own communities. It is these ideas that are born from real-world, real-life situations in which our state government could be serving us better. 
It is very rewarding to take one of your ideas and make it reality. Sometimes all we need to do is update our state law to keep up with reality. Sometimes we have to reform state law so that it supports us, rather than holds us back. Other times, we are creating a new law or program to address an issue or support an idea. The key is to finding the best way to apply the tools of state government for the best outcome.
The following list includes highlights of the initiatives I authored this session. If you combine this list with our accomplishments in the 2015-16 Legislative Session, the 2015-16 State Budget and the 2017-18 State Budget, you will generate a report of my policy work on your behalf during my first term as your State Senator. I am very proud of our work together and look forward to working on your behalf in a second term.

Initiatives led by residents of the 17th Senate District
1.AB 500 / SB 417 / Act 135Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) – Local, rural nurses asked for this. The law enrolls WI in a multi-state agreement to allow nurses to work across state lines with the same license. This bill is integral to area nurses, hospitals and nursing homes in border communities.
2.AB 443 / SB 360  / Act 229EMS License Plate Fee Waiver – Brent Brown, an EMT and First Responder in Boscobel, initiated this idea. The law waives the $15 specialty license plate fee for volunteer fire fighter, EMT and first responder license plates because these plates are often used to identify volunteers at emergency scenes.
3.AB 504 / SB 420 / Act 168Family-Owned Business Work Permits – The Eberle Family, who own the Mixing Bowl Bakery, shared this idea. Children under age 12 were unable to help out at their parent’s business, no matter how small the task. My bill keep safeguards in place, but allows children to learn and help their family’s business.
4.AB 73 / SB 44 / Act 8“Cheese” is the Official State Dairy Product – the 4th Graders at Mineral Point Elementary School initiated this bill and took it through the process!
5.AB 716 / SB 765 / Act 232Mauston Municipal Welcome Sign – The City of Mauston will now be able to install a Welcome sign on Hwy 82, one of the major gateways to their community.
6.BudgetUW Platteville Building Projects – Secured funding for UW Platteville to build Sesquicentennial Hall and to renovate Boebel Hall ($78 million).
7.AB 372 / SB 276 / Act 56White Mound County Park Transfer – Sauk County asked for help to transfer ownership of White Mound County Park from the WI Department of Natural Resources (DNR) so they could make significant improvements to the park. The DNR agreed and Act 56 made the transfer for $1.
8.AB 485 / SB 392 / Act 87ATV/UTV routes in municipal boundaries – Darlington Police Chief Jason King initiated the bill to allow a municipality to pass an ordinance permitting ATVs/UTVs to travel on a state highway that is within their boundary and has a speed limit of 35 mph or less.
9.BudgetATV Safety Program – Local ATV clubs asked for support to restore funds to the ATV Safety Enhancement Program. This program comes from ATV fees and helps enhance rider safety, publicize laws and supports local clubs.
10.AB 795 / SB 650 / Act 230Wisconsin Mississippi River Parkway Commission – The WIMRPC, of which I am a member, asked for additions to their technical committee to promote the Great River Road, which follows the entire western edge of Grant County.

Initiatives for Rural Wisconsin
1.AB 835 / SB 690 / Act 141Sparsity Aid Increase & Low Revenue School Districts – Rural schools face unique challenges. This bill provides a $100 increase per student in Sparsity Aid for small, rural schools, amounting to over $1 million for 22 school districts in the 17th District!
2.BudgetHwy 154 Road Project Acceleration – Work on Highway 154 from Loganville to the Richland County line will begin in April 2018, moved up from 2021.
3.Budget – Increased Road Funding for local governments (General Transportation Aids, Rate Per Mile)
4.Budget – Rural Broadband Expansion Grants – increased funding and program improvements.
5.AJR 100 – TV White Space for Rural Broadband
6.AB 917 / SB 756 / Act Pending – Telecommuter Forward! Community Certification
7.AB 698 / SB 599 / Act 155 – Agricultural Producer Security Reform
8.AB 356 / SB 659 / Act Pending – EMT Licensing Renewal Extension
9.Budget – Health Care Training Grants
10.Budget – County Veteran Service Officer grant program

Initiatives related to taxes and finance
1.Budget – Partial Repeal of the Personal Property Tax
2.AB 718 / SB 604 / Act 154 – Federal Tax Information Fingerprinting
3.AB 26 / SB 2 / Act 2 – Income & Franchise Tax Deadlines, Partnerships
4.AB 917 / SB 756 / Act Pending – Financial Institution Modernization
5.AB 259 / SB 203 / Act 231 – Tax Fairness and Federal Code Compliance
6.AB 188 / SB 130 / Act 88 – CPA Statutory Update
7.Budget – Sales Tax Exemption for UW / Technical College Construction Projects
8.AB 140 / SB 89 / Act 17 – Department of Revenue Technical Updates

Again, I am honored to work on behalf of the 17th Senate District to advance legislation that makes a positive difference in the lives of the people who live in Wisconsin. I am also privileged to be able to work with engaged, intelligent people who are willing to contribute to the legislative process in a meaningful way.