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!





Capitalizing on Campsites

As the weather improves, we turn our attention from blowing snow to planning summer adventures. For many of us, our adventures take us to one of the many state parks in Wisconsin where we enjoy camping at some of the best campgrounds in the country. Wisconsin’s state park system, which is managed by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), is a tremendous product in very high demand.

Each summer, many of our most popular state parks are filled to capacity. Devil’s Lake State Park in Baraboo, Peninsula State Park in Door County, Blue Mound State Park in Blue Mounds, Governor Dodge State Park in Dodgeville and Kohler-Andrae State Park in Sheboygan are among the most popular parks and it is difficult to get a reservation for a campsite less than a year in advance for weekends and the warmest months. Devil’s Lake State Park had over a 99% occupancy for the summer months. It was at capacity, with a “waiting list.”

Every year my family camps in beautiful Peninsula State Park for a family vacation and every year competition for the best spots in the park is intense. As soon as we can reserve for the next summer, my family lines up at computers and frantically tries to reserve spots at 9 a.m. exactly 11 months ahead of our plans for the next year.

Until recently, the DNR charged one flat rate for campsites, regardless of the location and regardless of the popularity of the park. It did not make sense that we charge the same camping rate for our high demand parks as we do for less popular parks. During the last budget cycle, I authored a resolution to change the pricing of State Park reservations to allow the DNR to identify which parks and campsites are the most popular and to adjust prices according to demand. The changes I authored took affect for reservations for campsites beginning this July. For example, we increased daily camping rates at Devil’s Lake and Peninsula from $15 to $20 for residents, and from $17 to $25 for non-residents. We also increased the rate for electric campsites, which are in high demand.

It should be noted that under the old pricing structure, the parks were not generating enough revenue to support themselves, and taxpayers were subsidizing the State Parks. So my family, and campers from Illinois, were being subsidized by about 25% for camping at our State Parks. I don’t think that it was good pricing policy to give campers at our highest demand parks a taxpayer subsidy.

So what has been the impact on reservations of the price increases? Our campsites at Devil’s Lake and Peninsula State park are full! All of the electric sites are reserved.

Based on current reservations, revenue from campsites for the most popular months of July and August are currently projected to be $2.3 million. This is $1 million more than the previous year. Peninsula State Park alone has seen an increase of more than $300,000 in reservation payments for this summer.

When the legislature changed the pricing options for the DNR, there were concerns that adjusting the pricing would impact reservations negatively. So far, this concern has not manifested. Families continue to make reservations and are planning summer adventures in our state parks. Wisconsin is simply capitalizing on one of our assets.

The increase in revenue will make the state park system self-sustaining. Past budgets have required the legislature to allocate funding for maintenance, improvements and staffing at our parks because while some of them are extremely profitable, others are not. By increasing revenue on the popular parks, we are able to make strides toward funding the operations at all of the parks with park revenue.

In addition to price increases at popular parks, we also enabled the DNR to lower prices at less popular parks to encourage campers to try other locations and generate traffic for all of our parks. It will be interesting to examine the results of these practices next fall after the camping season closes for the year.

Introducing the private-sector concept of supply and demand into the park system is allowing our state parks to take advantage of their popularity not only with residents, but with out-of-state tourists. With these results continuing, our park system is poised to be more independent of taxpayers and better able to maintain its strong presence in our state.
To make a reservation at one of our state parks, please visit http://wisconsinstateparks.reserveamerica.com/ 

Recognizing Mayoral Service In Our Communities

Sen. Marklein recently joined Rep. Travis Tranel (R-Cuba City) and the residents of Fennimore and Lancaster to recognize the service of their mayors who are both retiring after many years of public service.

Mayor Jerome “Jerry” Werhle has led the City of Lancaster for 16 years.  He has shown an incredible commitment to Lancaster and Southwest Wisconsin. He served as the President of the League of Municipalities and became one of the strongest voices of support for Southwest Wisconsin. 

Jerry has given much time to his community. He worked for 31 years for John Deere and owned and operated a farm near Mount Hope for 19 years. 

Jerry is the longest serving Mayor in Lancaster’s history. His achievements include improvements to Klondyke Park, creation of Arrow Ridge Business Park, revitalization of Lancaster Golf Course, a renovation to City Hall, and a library expansion project.

Mayor Charles "Chuck" Stenner served Fennimore for 26 years. Chuck was born and raised in Fennimore where he graduated from Fennimore High School and later Northeast Technical College in Green Bay. Chuck returned to Fennimore and married Mary Ann Brechler and raised a family. He worked for a local agribusiness before starting his own business, Stenner Jewelry Store on the main street in Fennimore.

Chuck Stenner was the youngest person to serve as mayor in the State of Wisconsin when he was first elected in 1972, serving until 1988. He ran successfully again for mayor in 2006.  He is actively involved in the Fennimore Historical Railroad Society Museum and will enjoy spending time riding his motorcycle exploring the Tri-State area in retirement.

Broadband Expansion Grant Workshop in Mauston
Prospective grant applicants encouraged are to attend.

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.

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

An additional and expanded online and call-in webinar version is also planned:
Wednesday, May 4, 2016
10 -11:30 a.m.
Online/call-in webinar

Public meeting set for WIS 23 project in Darlington

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is announcing a public involvement meeting to discuss an improvement project on WIS 23 between County Shop Road and Minerva Street in Darlington. The meeting will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on May 3 at the Darlington Elementary & Middle School, 11630 Center Hill Road. WisDOT representatives will give a brief presentation starting at 6:00 p.m.

Preliminary design on the project is examining improvements to the existing pavement and intersections, replacing an existing bridge deck over the Pecatonica River, extending a box culvert and upgrading sanitary/water main lines. Construction is currently scheduled for 2021. The public is encouraged to attend the meeting, provide input and ask questions concerning the project. Maps showing the proposed improvements and alternatives will be on display. WisDOT representatives will be available to discuss the proposed project and address questions or concerns.

If you are unable to attend the meetings, or would like more information, contact Matt Dapp at (608) 246-5353; mathew.dapp@dot.wi.gov. Written comments regarding the project can be mailed to Matthew Dapp, 2101 Wright St, Madison, WI 53704.

In The 17th Senate District


As we shared last week, Sen. Marklein visited a number of locations in the Reedsburg area on April 7, 2016 with Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and Rep. Ed Brooks (R-Reedsburg). The trio visited a lot of different locations and experienced tours and discussions at a wide variety of locations.  One of the tours included a visit to the Grede Foundry, hosted by Fred Behn, the Manufacturing Services Manager at the Reedsburg location. 






Pictured left: Rep. Ed Brooks, Lt. Gov. Kleefisch and Sen. Marklein listen as Fred Behn begins the tour.


















Pictured below: Behn shows the tour group the foundry floor and explains current operations.










Sen. Marklein visited Riverdale School District on Monday, April 18, 2016 and met with Superintendent Bryce Bird.  He also had the opportunity to visit with the top Seniors who are all graduating with laude honors! Pictured above: Emily Drone, Trevor Johnson, Senator Marklein, Amanda Meister, and Trevor Troxel.



Grant County Board Chairman, Robert Keeney and Sen. Marklein attended the Town Hall hosted by Alliant Energy to discuss the future plans for the Nelson Dewey site in Cassville.


In The Capitol


Students from Darlington High School visited the Capitol on April 20, 2016 to demonstrate their projects for Project Lead the Way. Pictured above: Dylan Perrin, Conrad Blosch, Sen. Howard Marklein, Lexie Zee and Mitchell Wagner.




 The students use the FAB Lab at Darlington Community Schools to study engineering, math and science in innovative ways that test their critical thinking skills, design abilities and hands-on capability.



Students from Argyle Elementary School visited the Capitol on Monday, April 18, 2016.


Students from Necedah Elementary School visited the Capitol on Tuesday, April 19, 2016
and visited with Rep. Ed Brooks (R-Reedsburg).

Useful Information

Revenue Collections: March 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 March.  This data is for the first nine months of the fiscal year which ends on June 30, 2016.


Department of Revenue Collections

March 2016 (FY 2016)
($ thousands)


Revenue Source

FY 2015

FY 2016

% Change





Individual Income




General Sales & Use








Excise Taxes








Total GPR




*Source: Department of Revenue



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