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!





Legislative Session Wrap Up Part 1: Marklein Bills

The Wisconsin State Senate met for the last time for the current session on Tuesday, March 15, 2016. We took up more than 100 bills, resolutions and appointments. The next session day will be in January 2017 after the November 2016 elections.

Over the next several weeks, this column will summarize the legislation that moved through the last session day, as well as an overview of our achievements throughout the session. This week, I am focused on the bills I authored or co-authored that were passed on Tuesday.

As your State Senator, I am proud of our accomplishments. We achieved good things for the 17th Senate District and the State of Wisconsin as a whole. I am honored to be a part of the legislative process and look forward to continuing to work hard for the people of southwest Wisconsin.

I was the author or co-author of 11 bills that passed the Senate on Tuesday. These proposals now move to Governor Scott Walker for signature within the next several weeks. Following is a summary of each bill:

Assembly Bill (AB) 341 / Senate Bill (SB) 256 – Terrorist Threats – This bill makes any threat to cause death, bodily injury, or property damage by any means to prevent the occupation of a building, vehicle, or other public place of assembly, into a Class I felony. This law would also apply if the individual intends to cause interruption or public panic. The penalty for a Class I felony in Wisconsin is a fine up to $10,000 and/or a prison sentence of up to three years and six months. This bill aligns penalties for terrorist threats, such as threatening to shoot children at a school, with existing penalties for making a bomb threat. Co-Authored with Rep. Ed Brooks (R-Reedsburg).

AB 441 / SB 339 - Wisconsin Veterans Employment InitiativeThis bill creates a Council on Veterans Employment. This council will advise and assist the Governor and state agencies with recruitment and employment of veterans in an effort to help all veterans, but especially those with a service-connected disability. The bill also requires state agencies to create a plan to recruit and retain more veterans in state government based on goals in each specific agency.

AB 512 / SB 384 – Frank Lloyd Wright Trail - This bill designates a highway route in the counties of Kenosha, Racine, Milwaukee, Waukesha, Jefferson, Dane, Iowa, Sauk, and Richland as the “Frank Lloyd Wright Trail,” highlighting buildings that have particular significance to Frank Lloyd Wright and his career. Co-authored with Rep. Todd Novak (R-Dodgeville). Governor Scott Walker is anticipated to sign this bill on Monday, March 21, 2016 at Taliesin in Spring Green.

AB 721 / SB 603 – Savings Bonds - This bill provides that an abandoned U.S. savings bond held by the State of Wisconsin that remains unredeemed for five years after final maturity is presumed abandoned and subject to the custody of this state under this state’s version of the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act.

AB 731 / SB 604 – Repeal WI ABLE Account AuthorityThis bill repeals the authority to create ABLE accounts in WI and creates tax benefits for contributions to ABLE accounts in other states. This bill is meant to enable all individuals with disabilities to access and create ABLE accounts from other states that are near to launching programs. Allowing access to other states will be more efficient and immediate than creating a separate program in Wisconsin.

AB 771 - Drug Law Enforcement Grant for Lafayette CountyThis bill allocates funds to assist Lafayette County in funding a full or part-time officer who will be dedicated to a drug task force. The drug task forces are instrumental in fighting the growing influx of heroin and other drugs that are becoming an increasing problem to the rural areas and Lafayette County needed state support to participate and stem the flow of drugs into and through their county. Co-authored with Rep. Todd Novak (R-Dodgeville). Governor Scott Walker is anticipated to sign this bill on Monday, March 21, 2016 in Darlington.

AB 760 / SB 584 – DATCP Reimbursement - This bill expands the type of enforcement actions in which a court may order a defendant to reimburse DATCP for costs incurred in preparing and prosecuting the case, including actions relating to future service plans, rental vehicles, self-service storage facilities, time shares, and foreclosure consultants. The defendant would only reimburse the state for investigative costs if he or she settles the case with a negotiated civil forfeiture or is found guilty by the courts. This bill would allow the courts to require proven violators of the law to cover these costs, as opposed to passing the costs onto taxpayers.

AB 820 / SB 699 – Broadband Forward!This bill creates Broadband Forward! certification for municipalities that plan to seek broadband installation and grant funding in the future. It is a package of model ordinances that a community may adopt to prepare for working with telecommunications companies to expand broadband. This bill also directs the Public Service Commission to focus broadband expansion on priority needs and projects with economic development and community advancement elements.

College Affordability Package Legislation

AB 741 / SB 592 – Micro-grant ProgramThis bill creates a micro-grant program for small emergency grants to cover an unplanned expense for a college student to prevent them from dropping out of school. Unfortunately, these financial emergencies can cause a student to drop out of school, especially non-traditional students who work while they attend school. Small grants of less than $500 would be awarded to Technical College and two-year college students with unplanned financial emergencies, using an application-based system.

AB 742 / SB 594 - Department of Workforce Development Internship Coordinators - This bill creates two internship coordinator positions at the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) to connect employers with universities and colleges to create internship opportunities.

AB 744 / SB 595 – Student Debt Financial Literacy - This bill requires that all higher education institutions send their students a letter with information about their loans, projected monthly payments, and loan interest rates to better inform students about their debt. This effort is to help each student to make financial decisions with more information.

Again, I am very proud of the work we have done this session and I look forward to providing additional details on other legislation over the next several weeks.

Sun, Surf and Scams: Pre-Trip Tips to Reduce Your Rip-Off Risk
by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection

After a long winter, spring break’s siren song draws college students and families to sunny beaches and exciting foreign locales. But as travelers let off steam they may also be letting down their guard, opening up opportunities to get ripped off by scammers and identity thieves. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection offers some simple pre-trip tips to mitigate your risk and help you travel more securely.

“Students and families alike need to be cautious of a number of travel-specific risks as they book their adventures and head out into the world,” said Frank Frassetto, Division Administrator for Trade and Consumer Protection. “Grandparent scams, lost identification or financial information, and identity theft due to overexposure on social media are all potential risks that can be addressed before the trip even begins.”

Before you start your trip:

  • Alert your credit card company and financial institution. Call the number on the back of your credit and debit cards and let them know where you will be traveling and when. This advance notice will let the bank know to expect transactions from the area you visit, keeping your account from being locked.
  • Verify your reservations. If you booked your trip through a third-party website or travel service, confirm your reservations directly with the airline, hotel or car rental business so you don’t get stranded in case of a miscommunication with your booking.
  • Put your mail on hold. Identity thieves could steal mail from unattended mailboxes, giving them the information they need to misuse your identity and open credit lines in your name. The post office can hold your mail until you return, keeping letters and packages from sitting idle in your mailbox.
  • Limit what’s in your wallet. Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet or purse, keep your passport locked away, and minimize the number of bank cards you take on your trip.
  • Use credit cards instead of debit cards. This reduces your risk of having your checking account emptied while you are on vacation, and credit cards may offer additional protections for your purchases.
  • Pack a second credit card. If you lose your main card or it is damaged, you will need a backup. Keep them packed in separate locations.
  • Photocopy your documents and cards. Make two copies (front and back) of your passport, driver’s license, credit cards, tickets and hotel reservation confirmations. Give one copy to a friend or family member at home and carry the other copy with you, stored securely and separately from the originals. These can come in handy if your original documents are lost or stolen during the trip.
  • Share your plans with friends and family to avoid “grandparent scams.” Phone scammers could call your relatives while you are away, claim to be you, and ask for money to get out of a phony legal or medical emergency. Make sure your family has a plan in place and a way to reach you directly in case a relative or friend receives one of these frightening calls. As part of the plan, consider using a family code name to verify family members.
  • Tighten the security around your online accounts. Your social media accounts can reveal everything a thief needs to know to steal your identity or to rob your home in your absence. Adjust the security settings on your social media accounts to only allow friends and family to view your posts, and consider turning off the location services on your phone so the photos you post online are not tagged with GPS data. Make sure that the mobile devices you intend to take on your journey are password protected.

For additional information or to file a complaint, visit the Consumer Protection Bureau at http://datcp.wisconsin.gov, send an e-mail to datcphotline@wisconsin.gov or call the Consumer Protection Hotline toll-free at 1-800-422-7128.

Connect with us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wiconsumer.

In The 17th Senate District



The Annual Governor's Conference on Tourism


Each year, tourism professionals in Wisconsin gather to share ideas, learn about new programs and generally kick-off the summer tourism season in our state at the Governor's Conference on Tourism. This year, the conference was held at the Ho-Chunk Casino in Wisconsin Dells.  I was honored to share lunch with many of the people who promote the communities of the 17th Senate District. We have some exciting things happening this summer!


Pictured front row: Emmily Dreessens (Platteville), Kathy Kopp (Platteville), Linda Parish (Fennimore).  Back row: Lynn Price (Dodgeville), Patrick Reinsma (WI Department of Tourism), Amy Bell Kwallek (Lancaster), Sen. Howard Marklein, Darlene Mickelson (Grant County EDC), Joy Gieseke (Mineral Point).


I am also very honored to share that Allen Schroeder, Historic Site Director at Pendarvis, Stonefield Historic Site and First Capitol Historic Site was awarded one of six Legacy Awards for his commitment to excellence, achievements, dedication and leadership.  Congratulations to Allen for this deserved recognition!


In addition to networking and awards, the Governor's Conference on Tourism is also the moment when the Department of Tourism officially releases the much anticipated commercials for the season.  Click on each image below to view the commercials on the Travel Wisconsin Youtube channel where you'll also find a lot of other great video to enjoy!



              Dogs Are Always Welcome In Wisconsin                                 This is a Wisconsin Supper Club



In The Capitol


Saafia Masoom, a senior at Platteville High School, visited with Sen. Howard Marklein during her experience as a Senate Scholar this week.  Saafia is one of three students from the 17th Senate District who was selected for the prestigious Senate Scholar program. 

Congratulations to all of our Senate Scholars!

The Senate Scholar Program, coordinated by the Senate Chief Clerk, 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.

Useful 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 updates for December 2015 and preliminary estimates for January 2016.. 

The following table shows the local unemployment rates for the counties in our district.  Click Here to view a PDF of all of the data available to us.

Local Unemployment Rates



Jan 2016


Dec 2015


Jan 2015






































*Source: Department of Workforce Development




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