By Senator Howard Marklein
January 6, 2017
New Year, New Session, New Ideas
The 2017-2018 Legislative Session began on Tuesday, January 3, 2017. I begin this session with a new role as the President Pro Tempore of the Senate. In this role, I will assist the Senate President in managing the business of the State Senate and leading the body through the procedural process of legislative voting sessions (floor sessions). It is one of six leadership positions that organize and direct the legislative agenda of the State Senate.
Sen. Howard Marklein is observed by Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly as he signs the Senate Oath Book.
In addition to my leadership role, I have been reassigned to several committees on which I served during the last legislative session. I am honored to be, once again, working on the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee (JFC). As a CPA, this committee taps into my expertise and challenges me to study our state budget in depth. I am looking forward to finding ways to sustainably fund transportation, ensure we are good stewards of tax dollars, discourage borrowing and above all, to represent rural interests in the state budget.
I will also continue to be the Chair of the Senate Committee on Revenue, Financial Institutions and Rural Issues as well as the Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation. Again, the Revenue Committee taps into my background and skills while giving me the opportunity to also discuss bills that impact financial institutions and rural Wisconsin. While this committee may not handle the most exciting legislation that catches headlines, it is very important work that impacts the backbone of taxes and finance throughout our state.
The Transportation Committee, on the other hand, may be handling some headline-catching issues. Transportation is one of the most-discussed issues in our state. Between funding and highway projects, nearly every legislative conversation involves a discussion related to transportation. I am looking forward to finding ways to overcome our challenges and to move Wisconsin forward with a sustainable plan for the future of transportation.
Sen. Howard Marklein takes the oath of office for Senate President Pro Tempore.
I was also assigned to a new committee this year, the Senate Committee on Workforce Development, Military Affairs and Senior Issues with two new Senators, Sen. Pat Testin (R-Stevens Point) and Sen. Dan Feyen (R-Fond du Lac). I am excited to be a part of this new committee and look forward to tackling new issues.
We will begin meeting in committees throughout the next several weeks in advance of floor sessions in January and February. As bills are introduced, committees meet to conduct public hearings and decide whether to move bills to the full Senate for consideration.
If you have an interest in a specific bill or issue this spring, I encourage you to subscribe to the Legislature’s Bill Notification Service. You will find a link to this service on the legislature’s main website: www.legis.wisconsin.gov. The Bill Notification Service is the best way to track the activity of the legislature in a timely manner. You can sign-up for alerts based on keywords, bill numbers, legislators and more. My team uses the notification service to monitor issues and legislation and we encourage you to give it a try. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions related to this service.
As we begin the new session, I am looking for ideas and input. Please contact me, attend a listening session and complete my legislative survey to share your ideas. The best legislation is often initiated by people who are out in our communities, living their lives, running their businesses and working within the laws and regulations that state government imposes. We need your ideas and we need to hear about your challenges so that we can work on your behalf this session. I look forward to working for you.
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 input, ideas or need assistance with any state-related matters.