Capitol Update

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Thanksgiving Dinner Prices Down Slightly in 2015
It is a wonderful time of the year in Wisconsin. Thursday is Thanksgiving and gun deer season begins tomorrow. The holiday season is a perfect opportunity to spend time with family and friends sharing good conversation and a delicious meal.

Every year, the Wisconsin Farm Bureau releases the average cost for a Thanksgiving Dinner for 10 people in Wisconsin. Their results are a price sample of 12 Thanksgiving food items in 36 communities in Wisconsin in October and November. This year, the cost of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner in Wisconsin is down slightly to about $50.08. This is a decrease of 78 cents from 2014, when the average cost of the meal was $50.86. The change represents a 1.5% drop in cost for Thanksgiving dinner this year. The survey includes the prices for most traditional items such as turkey, stuffing, cranberries, and pumpkin pie.

Thanksgiving dinner in Wisconsin costs three cents less than the national average of $50.11. The average price for a 16-pound turkey in Wisconsin is about $23.36, which is slightly more than the national average of $23.04. However, this is the same as last year’s average price for a turkey in Wisconsin.

There have been some concerns nationally that the outbreak of avian flu earlier this year would negatively impact the supply of turkeys this Thanksgiving. Nearly eight million turkeys were lost during the outbreak last spring. This situation reduced supplies nationwide and sent prices up. However, Thanksgiving tends to be an outlier for turkey sales. Grocers usually discount turkeys, some even selling them at a loss, to lure shoppers into their stores. Consultants for the poultry industry also point out that many of the birds meant for Thanksgiving this year were born, slaughtered, and frozen before the outbreak of avian flu last spring.

The rest of the meal largely relies on produce prices. The price of cranberries remains unchanged this year. The price of sweet potatoes has decreased for this year’s meal by six cents. The pumpkin crop suffered a loss from a particularly rainy season. Illinois, the largest grower of pumpkins in the nation, saw a 50% loss of crop, which has caused prices for pumpkin pie mix to increase by seven cents. For a pound of green peas, the price in Wisconsin has dropped from $1.68 to $1.45.

Fortunately, for those who are traveling to be with family and friends, the cost of fuel is the lowest since 2008. The national average price of gasoline in November is $2.21 per gallon, which is 72 cents less than it was a year ago. The average price for gas in every state is now below $3 per gallon.

This year, we have a lot for which we are thankful. If you are traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday, I wish you a safe trip. Enjoy your time with family and friends. Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Dinner: Cost of Popular Items

Item Wis. 2015 Wis. 2014 National 2015
Turkey, 16 lbs. $23.36 $23.36 $23.04
Milk, 1 gallon whole 3.33 4.04 3.25
Cream, half pint 1.84 1.81 1.94
Rolls, 12 2.04 1.85 2.25
Relish tray (1 lb. carrots-celery) .72 .68 .79
Fresh cranberries, 12 oz. 2.44 2.44 2.29
Pumpkin pie mix, 30 oz. 3.29 3.22 3.20
Pie shells (2) 2.36 2.31 2.47
Cube stuffing, 14 oz. 2.74 2.60 2.61
Sweet potatoes, 3 lbs. 3.33 3.39 3.57
Green peas, 1 lb. 1.45 1.68 1.52
Misc. ingredients 3.18 3.48 3.18
TOTAL $50.08 $50.86 $50.11

*Source: Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, November 2015

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.

2015-16 Blue Books
The 2015-16 Blue Books have arrived at the Capitol! If you would like one, please let me know, I would be happy to make sure you receive a blue book.

Capitol Office Closed Next Week for Thanksgiving
Our office will be closed next week Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving.  I hope you all have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving!

In the District

Welcome to the Capitol, Cuba City High School!
This week I was able to welcome faculty and students from Cuba City High School to the Capitol. I joined them in the rotunda for a photo and discussion before they took a tour and learned more about the history of our great Capitol.

*Senator Marklein with students and faculty from Cuba City High School


*Students and faculty from Cuba City High School


Thanks for coming, Cuba City High School!


Opening Gun Deer Season
This weekend marks the start of opening gun deer season. The season runs from Saturday, November 21 through Sunday, November 29. If you are headed out in the woods remember to watch for blaze orange and practice gun safety at all times. Take extra caution while driving and keep an eye out for deer.

Also new this year, online and over the phone registration of your deer – in addition to in-person registration.

Phone: Dial 1-844-426-3734 (1-844-GAME-REG) and follow the prompts to provide harvest information.

Online: On a computer or mobile device, go to gamereg.wi.gov and enter your harvest information

In-person: Visit a designated in-person station that offers a phone or computer to hunters for the purpose of registering your deer or bear. Hunters may locate in-person stations prior to the start of the fall hunting seasons at http://dnr.wi.gov, keyword "registration stations"

I got a doe a couple of weeks ago and the registration process worked well for me. I am headed out into the woods this weekend. I have hunted every opening day since 1968. I wish all of the hunters good luck! Share your trophy deer photos with me. I’d love to see what you get! Happy hunting! Be safe!


Congratulations, Darlington High School Football!
Yesterday, the Darlington Redbirds took on St. Mary’s Springs in the division 6 high school football state championship game. I want to congratulate the Darlington Redbirds for making it to the state game! Although they were defeated, what an accomplishment to make it that far!

Helpful Information


Are You Ready For Thanksgiving?
ReadyWisconsin has passed on some simple tips to keep the holiday safe for you and your loved ones. Thanksgiving is all about family, friends, and food. It is also a time to keep safety in mind as you’re having fun and creating great memories. ReadyWisconsin offers these tips to keep your holiday weekend safe:

On the road

Know before you go this winter season with the 511 Wisconsin Traveler Information System. By downloading the free 511 Wisconsin Smartphone app, following @511WI on Twitter, or visiting www.511wi.gov you can access these current statewide travel resources:

  • Road conditions

  • Travel times, traffic delays, incident alerts, and construction closures

  • Traffic cameras

Keep your gas tank at half a tank of gas in case you are stranded or stuck and need to run your heater. Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle with candles and matches, a flashlight, pocket knife, snacks, a cell phone adapter, a blanket and extra clothing.

Fire Danger
Did you know that Thanksgiving is the busiest day for home cooking fires. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 67% of home cooking fires start when food or cooking materials catch on fire and more than half of home cooking fire injuries happen when people try to fight the fire themselves. There are some things to do to help prevent kitchen fires:

  • The leading contributing factor in home cooking fires is unattended cooking. Make sure you frequently check on items on the stove or in the oven.

  • Frying poses the greatest risk of fire. If using a turkey fryer, make sure you follow the manufacturer guidelines regarding appropriate use of the appliance.

  • Keep potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils and other items away from your stovetop

  • Keep children away from the stove

  • Make sure you have a fire extinguisher that has an “A”, “B” and “C” rating and test your smoke alarms to make sure they are working properly.

  • Never leave lit candles unattended and consider using flameless candles.

Accidents Happen, Be Ready
Cooking-related burns are common at Thanksgiving. Save the butter for the rolls and not a burn. For superficial burns, cool the area by running cold water on the burn until the heat eases, then loosely cover the burn with a sterile dressing. Seek appropriate medical care.

For additional Thanksgiving safety tips, visit http://ReadyWisconsin.wi.gov. You can also check out Midwest road conditions and airport delays.

2016 Senate Scholar Program
The Senate Scholar Program 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.

Senate Scholars gain experience in such diverse areas as policy development, constituent relations, and processing legislation by working with Senators, legislative staff and University of Wisconsin faculty.

The 2016 Senate Scholar Program is about to get under way for three separate weeks on the following dates: February 7-12, February 14-19, and March 6-11, 2016. Applications will need to be received no later than January 3, 2016. Applicants will then be notified of their acceptance on or shortly after January 15, 2016.

This years’ new Senate Legislative Education and Outreach Officer, comes to us from Dodgeville High School where she has been a Social Studies teacher for the past 15 years. I welcome Tammy Wehrle and thank her for her willingness to take part in this great program and opportunity for students.

If you are interested in this, please send an email to my office: sen.marklein@legis.wi.gov, with your Name, Phone Number, Address, and Email Address, so we can get an application sent out to you.



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