Capitol Update

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In Rural Wisconsin, Five Minutes Matter

The 17th Senate District is huge. We are part of one of the largest Senate Districts in the State of Wisconsin with all or parts of nine counties, three congressional districts and geography that spans from the Iowa and Illinois border to the tip of Juneau County!  It takes nearly three hours to drive from the northern most part of our district to the point furthest south. 

The reason for the massive geography of our district is that most of it is rural. Every Senate District represents roughly 170,000 people of Wisconsin’s total 5.758 million residents. In order to collect that many people, our district spans all of Grant, Lafayette, Richland and Juneau counties.  We also have parts of Iowa, Sauk, Monroe, Vernon and Green counties.

Our largest municipalities are Platteville (11,224), Monroe (10,827), Reedsburg (10,014) and Richland Center (5,080).  We have 181 individual municipalities in 74 different zip codes and 67,573 households.  Our geography covers 4,550 square miles which is 7% of our state!

Our district is rural in every sense of the word. Webster defines “rural” as of or relating to the country, country people or life, or agriculture.  Even though we have several cities in our district, the entire 17th Senate District is considered rural. Our population is spread out. Agriculture is a major part of our economic portfolio and natural resources abound.  There is great distance between people and places. We live a rural lifestyle.

With this definition, comes unique challenges. Representing a rural district means that I am focused on different priorities than many of my colleagues. I continually seek ways to protect and promote the things that our communities need.

A prime example of our unique approach for rural issues was on display at the state capitol this week.  Senate Bill (SB) 182 was signed into law to allow out-of-state ambulance service in portions of Lafayette County. I was proud to sponsor this bill with State Representative Todd Novak (R-Dodgeville).

Residents in southern Lafayette County have been utilizing the Warren Illinois Emergency Medical Services (EMS) from Warren, Illinois since the 1970’s in emergency situations. An issue arose, however, when the state Department of Health Services (DHS) issued a memo determining out-of-state EMS providers would no longer be able to provide services because of a difference in licensing.

In medical emergencies time is everything. State government paperwork should not stand in the way of life saving services in any circumstances. I was pleased to work to see this bill become law for those that rely on emergency services that happen to be just a few miles across a state border.

The bill, signed into law by Governor Scott Walker, allows a limited exemption from the requirement for licensure for an ambulance service in another state.

Warren, Illinois is located about five minutes away from the Gratiot and South Wayne areas. The nearest Wisconsin-based EMS to those communities is more than 25 minutes away. This difference in time could save a life. I want to thank Lafayette County Sheriff Reg Gill and the many residents of Lafayette County that made us aware of this, so we could take meaningful steps to address the issue.

In coming weeks, I look forward to sharing more ways rural Wisconsin has been served in the state budget. I am proud of our efforts to represent you and look forward to providing more details and data as the state budget is completed in the next week.

For more information and to connect with me, visit my website http://legis.wisconsin.gov/senate/17/marklein and do not hesitate to call 800-978-8008 if you have input, ideas or need assistance with any state-related matters.

Pictured above: Senator Howard Marklein, Gerald Heimann, Lafayette County Board, Governor Scott Walker, Lucas Bourquin, Coordinator for Warren EMS, and Representative Todd Novak

*Map of 17th Senate District



Transportation Fund
This week, we received an update showing an improvement to the Transportation Fund financial condition. This is the second update we have received showing improvement.

In April, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) revised their financial projections for the Transportation Fund…an improvement of $20.2 million! This week, LFB reported that the Transportation Fund is now expected to improve by another $29.3 million. The improvement in the Fund is due primarily to additional registration fees, increased fuel tax, and lower debt service costs.

This is good news which will ultimately lead to reduced bonding.

In the District


Reedsburg/Western Sauk County Rotary Club
Last week, I was able to attend the Reedsburg/Western Sauk County Rotary Club Citizen of the Year awards luncheon. The Citizen of the year is given to honor an individual whose impact through the years will be recognized and regarded with pride throughout the area as a role model. This outstanding citizen is chosen for their definable, exceptional deeds, which he or she has made their community a better place to live. These awards are given based on local area nominations.

The 2015 Citizen of the Year was given to Jeff Seering. Jeff graduated from Reedsburg’s Webb High School in 1970 and from the University of Wisconsin- Madison in 1977. He worked for the Evansville Post and the Burlington Standard Press after graduation. Jeff ran the Reedsburg Times Press in 1980 and remained there until 1995. He then worked at the Reedsburg Report from 1995 to 1998 and then moved to the Reedsburg Independent where he is at currently.

I was honored to be able to present a proclamation to Jeff on behalf of the State Legislature. At the presentation ceremony, Jeff said he was humbled by the honor and acknowledged his wife, Mary, and his colleague, Barb Steinhorst, as well as many other colleagues and friends in the audience who have assisted him.

Congratulations again, Jeff!

*Senator Howard Marklein and the Reedsburg/Western Sauk County Rotary Club Citizen of the Year, Jeff Seering


Helpful Information


Revenue Numbers: May 2015
The Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) recently released a report detailing general purpose revenue (GPR) taxes collected by the agency for the month of May. The month of May was a strong month for revenue collections. Total collections for the month of May were 11.9% over May 2014.

The following table shows the Department of Revenue Collections to date for May 2015.

Department of Revenue Collections, May FY2015
($ thousands)

Collections to Date

Revenue Source
FY 2014 FY 2015 % Change
Individual Income $6,010,996 $6,273,460 4.4%
General Sales & Use 3,773,351 3,992,589 5.8%
Corporate 787,232 777,176 -1.3%
Excise Taxes 577,865 575,009 -0.5%
Other 419,756 426,783 1.7%
Total GPR $11,569,201 $12,045,017 4.1%

*Source: Department of Revenue


Independence Day!
As you get ready to celebrate Independence Day, we must never forget that freedom is never free. It requires the bravest men and women to keep our nation free. We are all forever grateful of their sacrifice. These men and women fought courageously far from home, leaving behind families and loved ones to protect us. I want to remember the men and women and their families from the 17th Senate District who have given their lives for our freedom!

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Fourth of July!


*Senator Marklein is pleased to provide this legislative E-Update to 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.

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State Capitol - Room 8 South - Post Office Box 7882 - Madison, Wisconsin 53707 - Phone: (608) 266-0703

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