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!





Rebounding After a Raid

When I was first elected to office, Wisconsin was feeling the effects of a fiscal emergency. By June 30, 2011, the state had a $3 billion deficit in its general fund when calculated using generally accepted accounting principless. Large general fund deficits were backfilled by taking money from segregated funds, such as the transportation fund and the patient’s compensation fund, which were meant for specific purposes.

One of the reasons I ran for office was to stop the practice of raiding money from segregated funds to fill holes in the state’s general fund budget. Stopping the practice of raiding funds is key to improving the fiscal health of the state by spending responsibly within our revenue sources and using funds for their intended purpose.

As a CPA, I feel it is my duty to look at the books as closely as I can and monitor how our state is spending and managing these many funds. Periodically the non-partisan Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) releases audits that are a helpful tool to analyze how the state is performing fiscally.

The LAB recently released an audit detailing the health of the Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund (Fund). This fund was created to insure physicians and health care providers in Wisconsin. Physicians, nurses, hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care providers pay into the fund in exchange for coverage in the case of medical malpractice lawsuits. The Fund is then managed by the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB). No taxpayer money is used for this Fund.

In 2007, the Doyle administration and state legislature raided $200 million from the Fund to plug holes in the state’s general fund deficit. This shifting of money, from an account funded by nurses, hospitals, nursing homes and doctors, to the state government’s general purpose fund was a brazen example of fuzzy accounting. It created the illusion of a balanced budget but left a significant hole in an independently funded account. Not only was this dishonest accounting, it was also ruled illegal by the State Supreme Court and the state was ordered to repay the funds, creating another hole that needed to be filled in the general fund.

The LAB recently reported that the Fund has returned to health and is at its highest level ever. After the raid, the Fund hit an all-time low of negative $109 million in 2008-09. In 2014-15 the Fund stood at a surplus of $733.9 million.

The Fund is an important protection for providers and consumers. The doctors, nurses, hospitals, nursing homes and other health care providers who support it deserve the Fund to be solvent and available to them when they need it. It is irresponsible and wrong for our government to spend money that doesn’t belong to us.

As your State Senator, I will continue to reject proposals to raid segregated funds to balance our books. I will also continue to monitor the funds we manage and work with my colleagues to protect the health of the funds we rely on, as taxpayers, to meet specific needs.

As we look toward the next budget cycle, I will also work with my legislative colleagues to protect the segregated revenues we generate in our state, such as the gas tax. Nearly 10% of our state budget comes from funds that are segregated for specific purposes. It is incumbent upon us to be aware of these restrictions on the use of segregated funds.

Injured Patients Compensation Fund Balance

Fiscal Year

Balance ($ Millions)























*Source: Legislative Fiscal Bureau

This week was National Work Zone Awareness Week and I was invited to visit with Green County officials and to share their message to remind drivers to drive safely in work zones this construction season.

With the snow ending (hopefully) and temperatures warming, we have begun seeing more orange cones and workers in reflective gear on roadways throughout the state. In 2013, the most recent year in which data is available, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation reported that there were nearly 1,600 work zone crashes in Wisconsin.  Approximately 629 people were injured and nine people were killed in these crashes!  In 2015, there were three tragedies in which Wisconsin County Highway workers were killed in work zones.

According to Green County Highway Commissioner Jeff Wunschel, most crashes in work zones occur when drivers speed through a work zone, do not pay attention to changing road conditions, run into other vehicles or highway equipment, or drive off the road completely.

"By following the rules of the road in work zones, we can keep people safe during National Work Zone Awareness Week and all year long. Please remember that our road workers are performing their duties in order to provide for a safe and efficient transportation system. They are community members, spouses, parents, and friends within our County and deserve to go home safe every night," Wunschel said.

There are specific laws that are designed to protect road construction workers:

Cell Phones Banned in Work Zones - this past session, legislators approved a bill that imposes a $20 to $40 fine for drivers talking on handheld cell phones in construction zones, with the fine increasing to $50 to $100 for subsequent offenses within a year.

Move Over, Slow Down - requires drivers to shift lanes or slow down in order to provide a safety zone for a squad car, ambulance, fire truck, tow truck, utility vehicle or highway maintenance vehicle that is stopped on the side of the road with it's warning lights flashing.

Fines Double - fines are typically doubled, and motorists face felony charges if a collision results in great bodily harm in construction zones.

Headlights On - Wipers On - the legislature also passed a bill I authored that requires drivers to turn on headlights when weather conditions limit visibility. The Wisconsin State Patrol said limited visibility means you can't see something 500-ft away, which is a little less than two high school football fields. State patrol said they've always recommended using headlights in poor conditions to keep everyone on the road safe. A ticket could cost $160.

Photo above courtesy of the Monroe Times: Green County Sheriffs Deputy David Tschudy, Sen. Janis Ringhand (D-Evansville), Sen. Howard Marklein, Green County Highway Commissioner Jeff Wunschel and Green County Sheriff Mark Rohloff recognized National Work Zone Awareness Week with a tour. 

Broadband Expansion Grant Workshops Announced

The Public Service Commission (PSC) announced that it is now accepting applications for Broadband Expansion Grants for Fiscal Year 2017. Applications are due June 16, 2016. Application instructions and additional materials may be found at http://psc.wi.gov/utilityinfo/tele/broadband/grants/bbGrantApplicationPage.htm

The State Broadband office is planning grant workshops around the state beginning in April. Meetings are open to the public. To register, please RSVP here: http://goo.gl/forms/hhG4UpaEVp

Workshops will help guide community participants toward a stronger understanding of grant guidelines, grant-eligible areas, possible public-private partnership models, previous grant awardee examples, and timelines for grant applications.

in recent years, we have had no applications filed for the broadband expansion grants. In Southwest Wisconsin, we certainly have a need for expanded broadband. It is my hope that some of our communities will be in a position to apply in this funding cycle.

They will take place at the following locations in the 17th Senate District:

Wednesday, April 20, 2016
8:30 - 11 a.m.
Community Room Iowa County Health and Human Services
303 W Chapel St
Dodgeville, WI 53533

Tuesday, April 26, 2016
9 - 11:30 a.m.
Community Conference Center
211 S Hickory St.
Mauston, WI 53948

Wednesday, May 4, 2016
10 -11:30 a.m.
Online/call-in webinar

In The 17th Senate District


Rep. Todd Novak and Sen. Marklein presented a legislative citation to Eagle Scout Kyle Thompson in Darlington on April 3, 2016.  Congratulations to Kyle on this great achievement!







Sen. Marklein attended the Richland Electrical Co-op Annual Meeting on Saturday, April 2, 2016.












Rep. Ed Brooks and Sen. Marklein spent the day touring the Reedsburg area with Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch on April 7, 2016.


We met with Bob Van Meeteren at the Reedsburg Area Medical Center, visited the Ruminant at Harvest Park in Reedsburg, toured Seats Inc. with company President, Eric Sauey, and met with Pam Coy, General Manager of Viking Village Foods.






























In The Capitol


St. Clement School from Lancaster visited the State Capitol on Monday, April 11, 2016.

Useful Information

County Health Rankings

The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program brings actionable data and strategies to communities to make it easier for people to be healthy in their homes, schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods. Ranking the health of nearly every county in the nation, the County Health Rankings illustrate what we know when it comes to what is making people sick or healthy. The Roadmaps show what we can do to create healthier places to live, learn, work, and play. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) collaborates with the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI) to bring this program to cities, counties, and states across the nation. View the full report on the County Health Rankings website.


County Health Rankings for the 17th Senate District



Health Outcomes* Ranking

Health Factors** Ranking





























*Health Outcomes are based on an equal weighting of length and quality of life.

**Health Factors are based on health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, and the physical environment.


Senator Howard Marklein is pleased to provide this legislative E-Update for the constituents of the 17th State Senate District. Please feel free to share this update with other interested citizens and taxpayers. You are receiving this update because you have either subscribed or contacted Senator Marklein directly.

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