In addition to this weekly
E-Update, I also invite you to connect with me on local radio and TV. The schedule follows: 


Monthly Radio Shows


WEKZ - 93.7 FM

Wednesday mornings during the Lafayette County News


WRJC - 92.1 FM

1st Friday, 7:30 a.m.


WRCO - 100.9 FM

3rd Monday, 9 a.m.


WRDB - 1400 AM

3rd Friday, 10 a.m.


Monthly TV Shows


Reedsburg Utility Commission Cable Channel 12

Check Local Listings




2015-16 Blue Books

2015-16 Blue Books are a useful summary of information about our state.  These books are printed every session and are complimentary for every resident of Wisconsin. 


If you would like one delivered or shipped to you (no charge to you), please reply to this email and include your street and mailing address.


The full content of the book is also available online.  Click Here!





Broadband Expansion for Rural Wisconsin

Over the last several weeks, I have co-hosted broadband meetings in Grant and Lafayette counties to learn about the needs of our rural communities and to make connections with the state’s Broadband Expansion Grant program. This program is offering $6 million in grant funds to communities to bring broadband technology to unserved and underserved areas of our state. The federal government has also launched the Connect American Fund (CAF) Phase II for 2015-2020. More than $572 million has been awarded among AT&T, Centurylink and Frontier to “deploy broadband in unserved and underserved areas.”

The state’s Broadband Expansion Grant program is meant to offer financial subsidies to private companies to expand broadband technology to unserved and underserved parts of our state. Despite the significant need in the 17th Senate District, no communities applied for funding during the last two application cycles. Nearly $3 million went to projects in other parts of our state while residents of the 17th Senate District are in the greatest need. I wanted to know why.

Installation of broadband technology is dependent on private telecommunications companies that base decisions on return on investment (ROI). In other words, the companies that offer these services must believe that they will receive a reasonable financial gain by installing infrastructure that offers services.

Unfortunately, broadband installation for many of our rural communities does not provide a positive ROI from a private-business perspective. Telecommunications companies tell us that they can bury fiber down every road for about $30,000 per mile, but there is absolutely no guarantee that a majority of homes on a road will adopt the technology and it is highly unlikely that those who do will be willing to cover the costs to install it. I live on a dead end road in rural Spring Green that does not have fiber. I pay $46 per month for wireless high speed internet. It meets my needs. I would not be willing to pay more for fiber.

The meetings this month included Angie Dickison, the State Broadband Director at the Public Service Commission (PSC), local economic development leaders, business owners and citizens. I learned that the investment of state dollars in broadband expansion needs to be studied and deployed in a more meaningful way in order to reach the people who need it. I want to insure that taxpayers are receiving strong ROI through this program and that it is meeting our goals. I recently requested a Legislative Council Study Committee to review the program and provide recommendations to insure that we are investing wisely where the investments are most needed.

The current application process requires public-private partnerships, local investment and a compelling case to receive grant funding. For example, a telecommunications company must partner with a public entity such as a township, to partially fund a specific project that meets the PSC’s criteria.

Unfortunately, many communities struggle to apply because they don’t know what to ask, with whom to work and how to proceed. Throughout these meetings, it became apparent that while we know communities need technological investment, most people do not fully understand the technology, the costs and the options available to them.

When most people think about “broadband,” they imagine fiber optic wires connecting homes and businesses with a wider network. But that is not the only way for high-speed transmissions to be distributed in Wisconsin. Broadband technology can be offered in a variety of ways; buried fiber cables, over power lines (BoPL), wireless (Wi-Fi, WiMax, 1X, 3G, 4G), satellite, DOCSIS, DSL, and ISDN. Each type of broadband service has unique capabilities, specific benefits and a myriad of downsides

Buried fiber cables offer fast, consistent connections; but they are extremely expensive and require significant front-end investment by a telecommunications company without the guarantee of participation. Wireless is another option; but it has some topographical challenges, especially in the Driftless areas of the state. Likewise, satellite options are widely available; but struggle with dropped service during weather events.

Despite the confusing array of options for consumers, the need for high-speed internet capability is necessary for businesses, education and personal communications. Ready or not, most of us already communicate via the internet in one way or another. Whether we’re sending an email, streaming video, sharing files or shopping online, the internet is our connection to other people, business opportunities, commerce, things we want to learn and experience, and stuff we want to buy.

The lack of connectivity is impacting the stability of our rural communities. Businesses need high-speed connections to do business. Individuals want – and need – high-speed connections for both professional and personal activities. As a result, young people are not returning to rural communities and businesses are struggling to remain competitive in a world that is becoming more technological every day.

The state Broadband Expansion program and the Federal CAF II funding are small steps toward bringing broadband to our communities. As your State Senator, I will continue to work with my colleagues, our communities and the telecommunications companies to insure that taxpayer investment in technology is meeting actual needs. If your community is in an unserved or underserved area, please do not hesitate to contact me and I will work with you to make connections and provide information.

Senator Howard Marklein & Representative Todd Novak Honor

Iowa County Judge Bill Dyke for Years of Judicial Service


Sen. Howard Marklein extends his deepest sympathies, thoughts and prayers to the Dyke family for their loss.  Iowa County Judge Bill Dyke passed away on Thursday, March 10, 2016. Sen. Marklein is honored to have known him and appreciated all of his counsel and leadership over the years. Judge Dyke will be greatly missed.


Last week, Friday, March 4, 2016, Sen. Howard Marklein and State Representative Todd Novak (R-Dodgeville) presented a legislative citation to Iowa County Judge William (Bill) Dyke for years of judicial service.

“Iowa County has been very fortunate to have a judge with such extensive knowledge and experience as Judge Dyke. He has been a public servant for many years and we thank him for his service to Iowa County and the people of Wisconsin,” Marklein said.

“I’ve known Bill Dyke since he came to Iowa County and he has not only been a good friend, but a great Judge for Iowa County. It is a special honor, to recognize such a great man for his service to not only Iowa County but the State of Wisconsin,” Novak continued.

Judge Dyke served Iowa County for 19 years as a circuit court judge. Judge Dyke also served two-terms as Mayor of the City of Madison from 1969-1973. Dyke was first appointed Iowa County Circuit Court Judge in 1996, and has also been elected to serve as the Chief Judge of the 7th Judicial District, which encompasses Buffalo, Crawford, Grant, Iowa, Jackson, La Crosse, Monroe, Pepin, Pierce, Richland, Trempealeau, and Vernon Counties.

Judge Dyke was also elected Chief of the Chief Judges and awarded the 2015 Lifetime Jurist Achievement Award from the Bench Bar Committee of the State Bar Association for demonstrating outstanding, long-term judicial service as a sitting judge.

Some of Judge Dyke’s accomplishments include adding mediation as part of the home foreclosure process in Iowa County during the 2008 economic crisis and founding Iowa County’s Teen Court program, which is now the second oldest in the state. Both programs now serve as models for programs in other counties around the state.

Judge Dyke announced last year that he would not be running for another term.

Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Draft Master Plan

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently released a draft master plan for the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway (LWSR) and Tower Hill State Park.  The LWSR follows the Wisconsin River from Prairie du Sac to the Mississippi. 

The draft plan is available for public review and the DNR will hold two open house public meetings to receive comments and input related to the plan.  You may also submit input in writing via the public comment form found on the LWSR website.

The open houses are scheduled for:

Tuesday, March 29, 2016, 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Tuffley Community Center
104 Oak Street
Boscobel, WI

Thursday, March 31, 2016, 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.
The River Arts Center
105 9th Street
Prairie du Sac, WI

To review the draft plan and to learn more about the LWSR, please visit the LWSR website for more information.

In The 17th Senate District


Several legislators joined Jim Olson to celebrate his retirement from Schmitt Woodland Hills in Richland Center.  Congratulations to Jim and thank you for your many years of service for the residents of Richland Center. Pictured left to right: Rep. Lee Nerison (R-Westby), Jim Olson, Rep. Ed Brooks (R-Reedsburg), Sen. Howard Marklein.



Sen. Marklein was invited to visit the college farm and to speak with students and local Farm Bureau members at the UW-Platteville Brag About Ag event on Thursday, March 10, 2016.    



Sen. Marklein joined Cuba City Schools Superintendent Roger Kordus and Janet Loeffelholz, Director of Food Service, for School Breakfast Week on Friday, March 11th.  Janet put Sen. Marklein to work, handing out raffle tickets to students.


Janet has been recognized as the School Nutrition Association's (SNA) 2015 Director of the Year!  Congratulations!


In The Capitol


Sen. Marklein welcomed a group from Black Hawk Middle School on Wednesday, March 9, 2016.

Sen. Marklein (far left) wore his red and black tie for the Warriors!





Sen. Marklein spoke to the Wisconsin State Telecommunications Association Board meeting on Wednesday, March 9, 2016 and shared his recent work on the Broadband Expansion Grant program.















Useful Information

Department of Natural Resources Staffing

The Wisconsin DNR recently shared the following graph related to the number of staff employed by the department from 1995-2015.  The chart reflects the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) positions.



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