Capitol Update


Tourism by the Numbers


It is summer in 17th Senate District! Annual festivals, parades and picnics happen every weekend. Our state, county and municipal parks are bustling with families camping, hiking or hanging-out, enjoying the weather and natural resources of our state. Our bike trails take visitors and locals through gorgeous terrain. Local retailers and restaurants offer unique treasures and experiences unmatched in other parts of the state!

Summer in the 17th is a busy time of year that means a lot to our local economies.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Tourism (Tourism), the economic impact of tourism in the counties of the 17th Senate District was $1.7 billion in 2014, an increase of 6% over 2013! We beat the state average of a 5.5% increase overall!

We employed 15,654 people in tourism-related jobs in the 17th Senate District last year which contributed $319.7 million to our local economies through the income generated by these jobs. Most tourism-related jobs are small businesses, travel and hospitality jobs that can’t be outsourced or exported. These employees must work and live right here in the 17th Senate District.

Total Tourism Impacts  - 2014
                                      Direct Visitor Spending
Total Business Sales
Wisconsin $11,419.1 $18,475.6 187,643
17th Senate District $1,254.8 $1,704.9 15,654
Grant County $42.4 $77.2 883
Green County $40.6 $69.2 779
Iowa County $33.6 $52.6 428
Juneau County $64.1 $90.3 727
Lafayette County $12.3 $21.1 198
Monroe County $79.6 $120.9 1,203
Richland County $19.5 $31.9 321
Sauk County $928.8 $1,188.6 10,646
Vernon County $33.9 $53.2 468

It is difficult to list all of the events, destinations and activities that bring visitors to the 17th Senate District! Our geography, which reaches from the border with Illinois and Iowa all of the way north through Juneau County touches the Mississippi River, the Wisconsin River, the Lemonwier River, the Baraboo River, Castle Rock Lake, Lake Petenwell and a host of other lakes, streams and natural attractions.

We have more than 100 trout streams enjoyed by anglers from around the world. Cyclists use more than 150 miles of bike trails that take them through beautiful natural areas, farm fields, bluffs and forests. The 17th Senate District includes parts of eight state parks and at least 57 county and municipal parks, forests and natural areas. 

Visitors also seek historical and educational experiences at the wide variety of museums and attractions throughout our communities. From Taliesin and the House on the Rock in Spring Green to the Toy Museum in Fennimore; from the Pioneer Log Village in Reedsburg to Gravity Hill in Shullsburg; from the Mining Museum in Platteville to the military aircraft on display at Volk Field in Camp Douglas; visitors and locals can experience an amazing array of attractions and inspiring ideas.

Our local restaurants offer unique dishes and dining experiences throughout the 17th Senate District. Many incorporate locally-sourced products and design their menus to compliment the ntural environment around us. Some of our local eateries offer visitors homemade comfort foods that Wisconsin is known for! Taverns and bars throughout our district create memorable nightlife with local musicians, local craft beers and signature drinks. I have enjoyed a limburger cheese sandwich at Baumgartner’s in Monroe a time or two!

Main street businesses sell local art, unique gifts, handmade items and a plethora of Something Special from Wisconsin delicacies. With the wide variety of retail in our district, visitors are drawn away from the big box into the small business to find unique products and ideas.

Combine all of the business and natural wonders with local people and you get a festival or picnic just about every weekend. Whether enjoying a fish fry in Argyle or a pancake breakfast with the American Legion in LaValle; or perhaps a ride on the Ali Babba at Butterfest in Reedsburg or a catfish dinner in Potosi; visitors who meet us in the 17th Senate District appreciate our small towns and our brand of hospitality.

As your State Senator, I make my way throughout the district every week, enjoying local events and parades while talking with the people I meet along the way. It is clear to me that the economic growth we have experienced in tourism is due to our efforts to share the bounty of our communities with each other and visitors from Wisconsin and beyond. Your local organizations have done a spectacular job of promoting our communities and building opportunities for visitors to spend money and time in the 17th Senate District.

I look forward to continuing my summer in the 17th and hope you will join me at a local event or attraction to experience everything we have to offer!


Senate Session

Earlier this month, the State Senate was in session and passed the following bills:

(photo: Sen. Marklein confers with Sen. Van Wanggaard on the floor of the Senate.)

Senate Bill 71 - Registering on Election Day
Currently, the only people allowed to register voters on Election Day is the election inspector at each polling place. Additionally, a municipality, by adopting a resolution, may allow an inspector’s registration duties to be performed by special registration deputies appointed by the municipal clerk or board of election commissioners.

The local clerks are allowed to register voters every day up to the election, but not on Election Day- which doesn’t make sense. Requiring a local resolution to allow clerks to appoint special registration deputies can be very time consuming and at times has resulted in the polls being short staffed.

Under this bill, the election inspector’s duties may be performed by the municipal clerk, if the clerk is not a candidate on the ballot, or by other special registration deputies appointed by the municipal clerk or board of election commissioners.

Everyone involved is required to complete training prior to working the polls. This legislation was requested by our municipal clerks.

Senate Bill 79 - Donating Wild Turkeys
Currently, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) administers a program to reimburse eligible counties for the costs incurred in processing and donating venison from certain deer (Venison Donation Program). To make that county eligible for participation in the donation program, the county must accept deer carcasses for processing, must pay the cost of the processing, and make reasonable efforts to donate the venison to a food distribution service or charitable organization, such as food pantries.

Under current law, counties that participate in the Venison Donation Program are entitled to full reimbursement from the state or costs associated with processing the meat. The program is funded by a $2 surcharge on most hunting licenses. This bill would expand Wisconsin’s current Venison Donation Program to include wild turkey.

Since donations under the current program accounted for less than $2,000 in cost last year, it is estimated that expanding the program to include donations for wild turkey processing would require a minimal amount of cost.

In 2013, hunters donated 2,265 deer out of a total statewide hunter harvest of 342,631 animals, which equates to 0.66% of harvested deer. In 2013, hunters harvested 37,804 turkeys. If 0.66% of those birds were donated, it would equate to about 249 turkeys. A review of the cost to professionally process a turkey at a Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) licensed meat establishment is $10 per bird of 15 pounds or more, or a potential cost to the donation program of $2,490.


In the District


Upcoming Weekend Events in the 17th Senate District

With the warm weather and longer days there are plenty of things to do out and about in the 17th Senate District. This weekend, I plan to be in a number of different locations and I hope to see you there!


The following are some events taking place in the district.  If I missed an event, please let me know and I will be sure to add it to my files for 2016!

Thursday, June 25- Sunday, June 28th
Elroy County Fair

Friday, June 26th
Cassville Rescue Squad Dance 6pm-Midnight
Cassville Riverside Park

Saturday, June 27th
La Valle Legion Pancake Breakfast 7:30am-10:30am
La Valle American Legion Post 242 (116 W. Main Street, La Valle, WI)

Mineral Point Rescue Squad Brat Feed 4pm-8pm
Rescue Squad Garage (907 Ridge Street, Mineral Point, WI)

Great Strawberry Dinner 4pm-7pm
United Methodist Church (833 3rd St, Reedsburg, WI)

Argyle Annual Fish Supper 4pm-9pm
Argyle Fire Department

Sunday, June 28th
Juneau County Dairy Breakfast at the Elroy County Fair 7am-11am

Cazenovia Area Dairy Breakfast 7am-Noon
St. Anthony’s School (Hwy V, Cazenovia, WI)

Livingston Summer Celebration Festival and Parade 1:30pm-3:30pm

Final Dedication of the Richland County Veterans Honor Roll 2pm-4pm
Richland Center City Government Building (450 S. Main St, Richland Venter, WI)

Mauston American-Legion Post #81 Meat Raffle 3pm
(1055 East State Street, Mauston, WI)

Grant County Summer Festival
Grant County Fairgrounds

I look forward to seeing you out and about in the community this summer. Again, if I missed an event in this list, please let me know and I'll be sure to add it to my schedule for next year!


Please continue to keep me informed and up to date on things happening within the district!

Helpful Information


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 April 2015 and preliminary estimates for May 2015.

The following table shows the local unemployment rates from May 2014 and May 2015 for the counties in our district.


May- 15


May- 14


Grant 4.3 4.4
Green 4.0 4.6
Iowa 4.1 5.0
Juneau 5.0 6.2
Lafayette 3.8 4.1
Monroe 4.5 5.3
Richland 4.3 5.0
Sauk 4.2 4.8
Vernon 4.3 4.7

*Source: Department of Workforce Development



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