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!





"You're Taking Nine Months of Vacation?"

The last floor session of the 2015-16 Legislative Session was on March 15, 2016. Over the last two weeks, I have shared highlights of the legislation we passed on the last day of our session. I am very proud of all we have accomplished over the last two years.

However, these updates have generated questions about what I will be doing for the remaining nine months of 2016 before the next legislative session begins in January 2017. Some readers have expressed concern that I will be taking nine months of vacation before we get back to work. I assure you that this is not my plan.

I plan to capitalize on this time to catch-up on visits and meetings I had to put on-hold during the session, continue to serve constituents who have questions or need assistance and to work ahead in anticipation of the next legislative session.

The next nine months are going to include the following:

·         Summarizing and following-up on the outcomes of the last legislative session.

·         Reviewing the legislation and concepts that did not pass for reintroduction or revision.

·         Studying several large-scale issues that may require legislative activity in the next budget or session.

·         Meeting with constituents, businesses, organizations, and individuals in the 17th Senate District for input, ideas and planning for 2017.

·         Analyzing data and statistics related to many different issues as we prepare for 2017.

·         …and more.

There is also a lot of “quiet” work in the legislature that goes on outside of the formal legislative session. Each day, our team fields phone calls and emails from residents who need assistance navigating their state government. These one-on-one conversations are “quiet” work, but extremely important to the individuals who need our help. We will continue to fulfill this duty and encourage anyone who needs assistance to call or email our team.

Another example of the “quiet” work is the passive review process. I serve on the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee (JFC) and receive proposals from state agencies through the passive review process throughout the year. Agencies use this process to seek funding outside of the budget process and to change administrative rules outside of the legislative process. The JFC oversees proposals related to funding and the Joint Committee for the Review of Administrative Rules (JCRAR) oversees proposals related to rule changes.

During the passive review process, an agency submits a proposal and it is circulated to the JFC or JCRAR. Members have a specified time (usually 14 days) to object, which would then trigger the co-chairs of the committee to set a meeting of the committee. If no one objects, the rules or funding request would take effect immediately; if the committee does schedule a meeting, the committee would vote on the proposal. To view pending and approved JFC proposals: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/misc/lfb/jfc/100_section_16_505_16_515_passive_review_requests 

This quiet process is important because it allows agencies to make rule changes and to spend taxpayer dollars and legislators must keep a thoughtful eye on each proposal. For example, last summer, a passive review request was circulated by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to spend $532,800 of stewardship funds to purchase retired railroad acreage in Manitowoc and Barron counties.

I had concerns about the amount of money being spent to purchase the railroad land. I believed it was unlikely that the railroad would get their asking price from any other buyer because of the location of the properties. We directed the agency to re-negotiate and only allocated 75% of their request. The railroad accepted the lower price. This represented a savings of $130,900 for the taxpayers of our state achieved through the passive review process.

In addition to the passive review process, ongoing constituent services, and proactive scheduling, I will continue to serve on the Governor’s Commission on Government Reform and am hoping to lead a Legislative Study Committee related to the state’s broadband grant program to insure we are meeting the needs of the people of our state, especially those in our rural communities.

Primarily, I will be spending the summer and fall connecting with residents of the 17th Senate District through public and private meetings and listening sessions, as well as tours and meetings of local groups and organizations. I will be taking a proactive approach throughout the next several months to learn, engage and listen so that I can design my legislative plan and committee work based on real needs of the people I serve.

I look forward to continuing to serve you, to seek your ideas, to hear your concerns and to plan for the future throughout the next nine months. If you would like me to visit with your company, organization or group, please contact me. I welcome every resident of the 17th Senate District to participate in the legislative process.

For more information and to connect with me, visit my website http://legis.wisconsin.gov/senate/17/marklein and subscribe to my weekly E-Update by sending an email to Sen.Marklein@legis.wisconsin.gov. Do not hesitate to call 800-978-8008 if you have any questions or need assistance with any state-related matters.

Governor Signs Marklein’s College Affordability Legislation

Monday, March 28, 2016 — State Senator Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) announced that Governor Scott Walker signed three bills related to College Affordability, to become law today. Sen. Marklein authored the Senate versions of the bills.

“As a legislature, we are working on initiatives to make higher education more affordable and to help students make good financial decisions for their own futures,” Marklein said. “These three bills will provide financial assistance, help students find work experiences and give students more information about their individual, personal financial commitments while in school.”

AB 741 / SB 592 – Micro-grant Program – This 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.

“We need to approach college affordability from many different angles,” Marklein said. “We will continue to work on this important issue, but the laws signed today are great steps forward.”

Act 282, Act 283 and Act 284 were signed into law today, Monday, March 28, 2016 at Mid-State Technical College, UW Eau Claire and UW LaCrosse.

Governor Signs Five Marklein Bills
Bills include initiatives related to Terrorist Threats, Health Care Data Modernization, Savings Bonds, ABLE Accounts and DATCP Enforcement Actions.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016 — State Senator Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) announced that Governor Scott Walker signed five bills authored or co-authored by Sen. Marklein today, including Assembly Bill (AB) 341 related to terrorist threats.

“I was honored to join Reedsburg Police Chief Tim Becker and Lieutenant Darrin Frye for the signing of the Terrorist Threat bill that I co-authored with Rep. Ed Brooks,” Marklein said. “This bill is a terrific example for how a local police department can impact statewide policy by identifying a problem and proposing a solution.”

Blue Mounds Police Chief Andrew Rose, Sen. Howard Marklein, Stoughton Police Chief Greg Leck, Governor Scott Walker, Reedsburg Police Lieutenant Darrin Frye, Rep. Ed Brooks (R-Reedsburg) and Reedsburg Police Chief Tim Becker at the signing of Act 311.

Act 311 - Assembly Bill (AB) 341 / Senate Bill (SB) 256 – Terrorist Threats – – This bill was initiated by the Reedsburg Police Department in response to an incident that happened at a Reedsburg elementary school that disrupted the school day and caused panic. An individual threatened to “shoot-up” the school, which forced the administration to close the school and investigate. The person responsible could only be charged with a misdemeanor, even though they caused serious panic and cost the community time and money for law enforcement actions, lost work time, and more. The bill was co-authored with Rep. Ed Brooks (R-Reedsburg).

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.

Other bills signed Wednesday include:

Act 287 - AB 765 / SB 628 – Health Care Data Modernization – This bill makes technological updates to health care data laws while protecting patient-doctor relationships and confidentiality. One of the more significant upgrades will allow hospitals to more efficiently target resources to areas where they identify health patterns. For example, if a particular community happened to have a lot of residents with diabetes, a health care provider may target programming geared toward managing diabetes. This legislation was drafted at the request of hospitals in my Senate District.

Act 309 - AB 721 / SB 603 – Abandoned US Savings Bonds - This bill changes state law so 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.

Act 312 - AB 731 / SB 604 – ABLE Accounts – This 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.

Act 310 - AB 760 / SB 584 – Enforcement actions for DATCP – 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.

“This has been a very productive session,” Marklein said. “I am proud of our achievements and appreciate all of the input, ideas and encouragement I have received from the residents of the 17th Senate District.”

Act 309, Act 310, Act 311 and Act 312 were signed into law today, Wednesday, March 30, 2016 in the Governor’s Conference Room at the State Capitol. Act 287 was signed as a part of the Wisconsin Hospital Association Advocacy Day events in Madison, WI.

In The 17th Senate District


Sen. Marklein volunteered as a part of the Get Real! Financial Literacy Event at Richland Center High School on Wednesday, March 30, 2016. Sen. Marklein and a member of his team helped high school students learn about real-world financial responsibilities through a simulation exercise coordinated by the Richland County UW Extension.

In The State Capitol


A class from Mineral Point Elementary School toured the State Capitol on Thursday, March 31, 2016. 
Rep. Todd Novak (R-Dodgeville) joined the group for a photo in the rotunda (back row, right).

Useful Information

Revenue Collections: February 2016 (Fiscal Year 2015-16)

The Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) recently released a report detailing general purpose revenue (GPR) taxes collected by the agency for the month of February.  This data is for the first eight months of the fiscal year which ends on June 30, 2016.


Wisconsin's revenue collections are following the national trend. Income tax withholdings and wage growth appears to be good, but consumers are cautious and are not spending as consumer confidence is guarded.


Department of Revenue Collections

February 2016 (FY 2016)
($ thousands)


Revenue Source

FY 2015

FY 2016

% Change





Individual Income




General Sales & Use








Excise Taxes








Total GPR




*Source: Department of Revenue


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