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 2: Bills Passed on March 15

In last week’s column I reviewed the 11 bills I authored or co-authored that were passed by the Senate on Tuesday, March 15, 2016. Governor Scott Walker signed two of these bills on Monday, March 21, 2016 as a part of his Cabinet on the Road events in southwest Wisconsin.

On Monday, the Governor and all of his cabinet secretaries toured, hosted meetings and held bill signings at 65 locations throughout Iowa, Grant, Richland, Crawford and Lafayette counties. It was a terrific showcase of southwest Wisconsin and an awesome opportunity for our communities to communicate directly with decision-makers in state government.

As a part of Cabinet on the Road, Governor Walker signed AB 512 / SB 384 – Frank Lloyd Wright Trail into Act 270 at Taliesin in Spring Green. 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.

Photo: Sen. Marklein and Rep. Todd Novak (R-Dodgeville) joined Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection (DATCP) Secretary Ben Brancel at Quality Liquid Feeds in Dodgeville. Cory Berg, President & CEO, gave an overview of the company.

He also signed AB 771 - Drug Law Enforcement Grant for Lafayette County into Act 271. This 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.

This week’s column focuses on the other bills that were passed by the Senate and now move to Governor’s desk for signature over the next several weeks. Following are highlights of some of the other 77 bills we passed:

Mental Health Funding for Counties (AB657) - The bill would shift $2 million annually from the state Department of Health Services' mental health hospitals account to grants for county programs designed to keep drug users out of prison by placing them in treatment programs. The measure is part of a package of legislation Rep. John Nygren has introduced to help heroin users and slow the drug's spread.

Wood heaters (AB25) – This bill protects the owners of wood-burning heaters from egregious Federal regulations. This bill prohibits the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) from enforcing a federal regulation that changes emission standards for residential or commercial wood stoves that is more stringent than any new source performance standard in effect on December 31, 2014.

Many residents of the 17th Senate District benefit from efficient, low-cost wood-burning furnaces on their properties. The bill will protect our rights to use wood-burning heaters to heat our buildings and homes.

Restoring Recycling Grants (AB 515) – This bill restores $3 million to recycling grants for municipalities. During the 2015-16 budget deliberations, the legislature reduced the funding for recycling grants by $4 million in the first year. However, this bill restores $3 million of the reduction to bring the total investment in recycling grants to $19 million.

The recycling grant program helps keep the cost of collecting and transporting recyclables, from households to processors and manufacturers, affordable. All participating municipalities will benefit from this legislation.

Modernizing Elections (SB295) – Several changes to election laws:

·         Allows Veteran IDs for voting purposes.

·         Makes Voter Registration available to anyone, online.

·         Uses technology to clean up Wisconsin's voter rolls.

Alzheimer's & Dementia Issues - a package of bills to address issues related to Alzheimer's and dementia healthcare in Wisconsin:

·         AB 786 – Dementia Crisis Unit – requires Department of Health Services to prepare a report describing where individuals who have dementia are currently placed in crisis situations and proposing a pilot program for coalitions of two or more counties to create dementia crisis units.

·         AB 787 – Respite Care – additional funding for DHS to fund respite care. This bill recognizes the importance of the family and caregivers who provide care for individuals with Alzheimer's and dementia. Every caregiver, including family members, deserves a break to refresh and rejuvenate. This bill provides funding for DHS to help caregivers recharge so that they can continue to provide care for their loved ones.

·         AB 790 – Dementia training grants - requires the Department of Health Services to award grants to counties or regions of counties for their mobile crisis teams to obtain training on recognizing and serving individuals with dementia.

DNR launches Go Wild licensing system as part of campaign to encourage outdoor adventure
News from the Department of Natural Resources

MADISON, Wis. - A new licensing system that provides additional options for buying hunting and fishing licenses was launched Thursday by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Implementation of the new system is part of a broader Go Wild campaign that encourages people to head outdoors and enjoy the numerous recreational opportunities made possible by the sound management of Wisconsin's natural resources.

The new system, accessible at GoWild.Wi.Gov, allows customers to get licenses, tags and other DNR products through more than 1,000 vendors statewide, at DNR Service Centers and offers easy access on mobile devices through the website. The new system secures licensing and registration information electronically and enables customers to use a variety of methods for providing proof of purchases while out enjoying Wisconsin's exceptional natural resources. New proof of purchase opportunities provided through Go Wild include an optional personal conservation card, an authenticated Wisconsin driver's license, a plain paper copy or a pdf display on a mobile device such as a smartphone.

"We're excited to introduce these new options as we work to make all of our great outdoor recreational activities more accessible than ever before," said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. "With Go Wild, there's no more waiting for regular retail hours or a delay until a license arrives by mail. We also expect the optional personal conservation card to be a big hit. Some customers have already told us they plan to get multiple cards so they can keep a version handy in their tackle box, hunting kit and glove compartment of a recreational vehicle."

Mark Rappe, of DNR's bureau of customer and outreach services, said the department conducted extensive testing on the system to ensure it would be ready for the high customer volume associated with the spring turkey hunt. In recent years, hunters have purchased approximately 100,000 "leftover" permits not issued through the spring turkey permit drawing. This year, the sales for Zone 1 permits begin March 21 at 10 a.m.; Zone 2 permits on March 22; Zone 3 permits on March 23; Zone 4 permits on March 24 and Zones 5, 6 and 7 on March 25. More than 109,000 spring turkey permits will be available in all and leftover sales will continue for all zones on March 26.

"We believe our hunters will find the new Go Wild system easier to navigate with the added benefit of paper carcass tags," Rappe said. "Hunters will be able to print these out themselves or receive a copy from the vendor. The tags still need to be validated upon harvest but for most species hunters will be able to keep the completed tags with them as long as they are with the carcass."

Rappe said GoWild.WI.Gov also acts as a portal to help plan adventures that make the most of Wisconsin's great outdoors. The site links to information on hunting and fishing opportunities, Wisconsin's unparalleled network of state parks, trails and natural areas and a variety of maps.

No fee increases are planned as part of the upgrade and online user convenience fees have been eliminated for customers who use electronic checks. Online service options include hunting licenses, fishing licenses and Conservation Patron licenses.

Later this month boat, snowmobile, ATV and UTV registrations will be added. Once implementation is complete, www.GoWild.Wi.Gov also will be the spot to get ATV, UTV and snowmobile trail passes, sign-up for a safety education courses and much more.

This year, renewal notices for ATVs and UTVs were sent out in January and renewal notices for boats will be arriving in customer's mailboxes over the weekend or early next week. For those recreational vehicles that expire at the end of the month, customers will need to keep a copy of the renewal notice in their vehicle until they receive the registration stickers in the mail.

The system also makes it easier to obtain a reprint or printed hard-copy of the original hunting, trapping or fishing approval or safety certificate. With the ability to reprint products from the convenience of home, there is no need to drive to a license agent to purchase a duplicate if you lose your license or carcass tags.

While the new Go Wild system will not provide the option of purchasing by phone, DNR customer service agents will be able to assist customers who would like assistance as they navigate the system or have questions about a transaction. The customer service number remains 1-888-WDNRINFo (1-888-936-7463).

To learn more, visit www.GoWild.Wi.Gov or visit www.DNR.Wi.Gov and search "Go Wild." Informational resources include fact sheets, descriptions of how and when certain forms of proof apply as well as tagging information for a variety of game.

In The 17th Senate District


Governor Signs Marklein & Novak Bills to Create Frank Lloyd Wright Trail
and to Support Drug Law Enforcement in Lafayette County


On Monday, March 21, 2016, Governor Scott Walker visited southwest Wisconsin and brought his cabinet on the road.  As a part of the approximately 65 events throughout our communities, the Governor met with Rep. Todd Novak (R-Dodgeville) and I to sign Assembly Bill (AB) 512 to become Act 270 and AB 771 to become Act 271.  I was the Senate lead on both of those bills.


Act 270 creates a specified and designated highway route in the counties of Kenosha, Racine, Milwaukee, Waukesha, Jefferson, Dane, Iowa, Sauk, and Richland as the “Frank Lloyd Wright Trail” to identify buildings that have particular significance to Frank Lloyd Wright and his career. The Department of Tourism will market the locations on the trail that are open to the public.  The Frank Lloyd Wright trail will be a great tourist attraction in Wisconsin. Not only will it highlight Frank Lloyd Wright and his prolific career, it will market the buildings that illustrate the beauty and complexity of his design.  Act 270 was signed into law at Taliesin in Spring Green. Photo Above, left to right: Rep. Cory Mason (D-Racine), Sen. Howard Marklein, Governor Scott Walker, Rep. Todd Novak (R-Dodgeville) and Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine).


For more interesting photos from the Act 270 signing, please visit the Wright In Racine website: www.wrightinracine.com

Act 271 allocates $70,000 from the Department of Justice to fund drug law enforcement and interdiction services in Lafayette County so that the county is able to participate in a drug task force. All counties participating in a drug task force must have a full-time officer dedicated to drug law enforcement. This grant assists Lafayette County in funding this position.

Lafayette County sought financial assistance from the state of Wisconsin to combat drugs in their county and surrounding areas. The county, while small in population, is managing significant challenges with heroine and prescription drug abuse. They needed financial support in order to collaborate with neighboring counties on a drug task force. We stepped up to make this happen. Act 271 was signed into law at the Lafayette County courthouse in Darlington, WI.  Photo above: Sheriff Reg Gill (center), Sen. Howard Marklein, Governor Walker, Rep. Todd Novak (R-Dodgeville), Rep. Travis Tranel (R-Cuba City) were joined by several Lafayette county board members and and law enforcement professionals for the bill signing.


Best of luck to the Wisconsin Badgers and Coach Greg Gard,
in the NCAA Sweet 16!

Madison Channel 3 did a great story about Coach Greg Gard's childhood and hometown, Cobb, WI.
We are all very proud of 17th Senate District native, Coach Gard!  Go Badgers!


Useful Information

Wisconsin Monthly Housing Statistics

The Wisconsin Realtors Association released the following data related to housing in Wisconsin on March 21, 2016. To see more data related to these statistics, please visit their website.


Wisconsin Regional Report

Reflecting residential data through February 2016



Median Price



YTD 2016

YTD 2015

% Change

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YTD 2015

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