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In a memo released by the Co-Chairs of the Joint Finance Committee late Wednesday afternoon, Republicans announced that their first motion on the 2019-2021 state budget will discard 131 of Governor Evers’ budget proposals, including his popular and fiscally beneficial Medicaid expansion proposal. The Governor’s proposal would provide Medicaid to 82,000 additional Wisconsinites, bring in $1.6 billion federal dollars, and save the state $324 million. The state savings and additional federal dollars are then invested in expanding health care access for the elderly and individuals with disabilities, in dental care, behavioral and mental health supports, Medicaid reimbursement rates for health care providers, pay for personal care workers, and a host of other desperately needed health care services.

Republicans have rejected what, by their own admission, was the number one issue brought up at our public hearings. By rejecting the Medicaid expansion they are turning away $1.6 billion in investments in the well-being of Wisconsin, and each and every one of them will have to explain to their constituents why they don’t think they deserve affordable health care.

Jon Erpenbach
Wisconsin State Senate, District 27




Senator Erpenbach's statement on Republicans throwing out the Medicaid Expansion:

Yesterday I stood with the support of 70% of the people of Wisconsin who want to bring their tax dollars home to increase access to dental care and mental health services.  I stood with those who want to take care of moms and their babies as well as our parents and grandparents when they age.

We heard the support at the statewide public hearings, we are getting the phone calls and emails and visits to our offices and we encourage you to keep telling the people in this building who just aren’t listening that you want your federal tax dollars put to work in Wisconsin, NOT one of the 36 other states that have made the right decision

Despite an outpouring of grass roots support from across the state, Republicans have decided that step one of our budget process will be to reject 1.6 billion Wisconsin tax dollars and tell people making minimum wage-- Sorry! You’re out of luck. You can’t pick up an extra shift because then you’ll lose your health insurance, and we aren’t going to increase your hourly wage either.

All Republicans have to offer is the same, old, tired story.  There is no excuse that’s good enough for the 82,000 Wisconsinites that will gain better health care coverage; or the people working more than one minimum wage job just to pay the rent and put food on the table.


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Phone: 608.266.6670


Address: P.O. Box 7882, Madison, WI 53707

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Senator Erpenbach Announces Community Listening Sessions:

As you may know, the Joint Committee on Finance will soon begin meeting regularly to form the 2019-21 State Biennial Budget. As a member of the Committee, I am eager to hear from Wisconsinites in the 27th Senate District on how they feel about the many proposals included in the People’s Budget created by Governor Evers, as well as any and all additional budget-related policies they are interested in discussing.

Please consider attending one of my Community Listening Sessions on the 2019-21 State Biennial Budget on a date and at a location that is most convenient to you. Below is a schedule with the dates and locations of each session.


Saturday, May 4
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 am.
Meeting Room
105 Perimeter Street, Mount Horeb


Saturday, May 4
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
7448 Hubbard Avenue
Middleton, WI 53562


I hope you find one of the opportunities convenient for your schedule to come and share your interests as related to state government, or just to come and listen to what your neighbors have on their minds.

I would also appreciate you sharing these opportunities with other folks you might feel would be interested. The more the merrier!

Thanks much for your consideration. Hope to see you soon!


Community Programs and Announcements 

Update from the DATCP: Comments Invited on Use of Sonalan® HFP on Potatoes

Members of the public may comment through Thursday, May 9, on a proposed special registration that will allow use of an herbicide to control hairy nightshade in potato fields. 

Sonalan® HFP contains the active ingredient ethalfluralin and is registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by Gowan Co. LLC. 

The special registration process allows states to register additional uses of pesticide products without prior federal approval. It helps growers address local pest problems that cannot be adequately controlled by any available federally registered product. These problems include insect outbreaks, fungal diseases, and grasses and weeds that out compete crops.

Details about the special registration process are available here. 

Learn more.

Update from DATCP: Gypsy Moth Aerial Spraying to Begin in May 

Residents of 16 western Wisconsin counties can expect to see and hear loud, low-flying planes as early as sunrise starting in early-mid May.

Small, yellow planes will be treating for invasive gypsy moth caterpillars. These non-native pests defoliate many kinds of trees and plants during their caterpillar stage, causing stress and potentially tree death. Treatment efforts are focused in western Wisconsin where gypsy moth populations are low or beginning to build, in an attempt to slow their spread.

The harmful effects of gypsy moths include the cost of removing dead trees and potential loss of property value. Caterpillars shed their skins several times as they feed, and these bristly skins can irritate eyes, skin, and the respiratory system

DATCP will be treating the following counties in 2019: Barron, Buffalo, Burnett, Crawford, Chippewa, Douglas, Dunn, Eau Claire, Iowa, Grant, Green, La Crosse, Lafayette, Pepin, Vernon, and Washburn.

To receive e-mail notifications about treatment plans, sign up here.

To hear a recorded message detailing plans day to day, call 1-800-642-MOTH (6684).

Learn more. 


Update: Event Announcement



Join us for this FREE public event

New Glarus High School Auditorium

May 22

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Free cookies and drinks


No small matter is built from stories of real children, families, and teachers, illustrating the impact of high quality early childhood experiences. We meet parents who are struggling to do their best for their kids, incredible teachers who model what early childhood classrooms should and could be like, and children learning and developing in real time. Change is necessary, critical, and attainable if we put our minds to it. To watch a trailer go to This is not just for parents and caregivers, it is for EVERYONE as what we invest in our children we invest in our society. 

There will be free child care available in the high school gymnasium. 

The video is 75 minutes long and will be followed by a discussion of the documentary and what we can do to invest in early childhood education.

If on Facebook, RSVP on No Small Matter and find the May 22nd screening in New Glarus. RSVP is not necessary. 

Sponsored by: Corrine's Little Explores, The New Glarus PTO, and The Growing Tree. 


Update from the DNR:

  • May is Clean Air Month!  To mark the occasion, DNR has launched a webpage designed to provide information, activities and resources focused on reducing air emissions and improving air quality in Wisconsin.
  • Wisconsin’s fishing season opens on Saturday, May 4th.
  • The public will have an opportunity to review and comment on a draft statewide Inland Trout Management Plan at a series of upcoming meetings slated for La Crosse, Wausau, Fitchburg and Spooner.
  • May 5th – 11th is national Drinking Water Week.  Established in 1988, Drinking Water Week recognizes the vital role drinking water plays in everyone's daily lives. This year the focus is on ways in which water consumers can take personal responsibility in caring for their tap water and protecting it at its source.
  • Consider adding native plants to your landscaping as you plan your spring yard work to help provide habitat and food sources for important pollinators and other wildlife.

Update from DATCP: Safety First for Secondhand Sales

Yard sale signs are popping up throughout Wisconsin and there are deals to be had for the bargain-inclined. Whether your chosen “storefront" is in a driveway or in an online classified ad, there are risks to consider for both buyers and sellers in the resale marketplace.

Yard sales

The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalls toys and other products for children each year if they have the potential of causing injury or death. Products for any age group can be recalled for a variety of reasons including fire hazards, strangulation hazards, missing warning labels, electrocution hazards, lead levels in paint, loose magnets, choking hazards, fall risks, and more.

The CPSC recently launched a mobile app that shoppers can use to search for product recalls (the app must be downloaded from the CPSC website: Having this app or the CPSC website open on your smartphone while you shop is a good practice.

Two other areas where shoppers tend to seek secondhand deals are tools and electronics. If you are shopping for battery-powered items, check the battery compartment for signs of corrosion. For electrical items, keep an eye out for frayed wires or questionable repair jobs on cords. If you are able to test these items on site, run them through their paces before you make a purchase.

Online sales

For buyers and sellers that prefer to use online classified ad sites or apps (Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, Letgo, etc.) for their transactions, scams are a significant risk. The first step to ensuring a safe transaction is to deal locally and meet the other party face-to-face in a public location. Reach out to your local police department to see if you can handle the transaction in the station lobby or if the department has a designated “swap spot" or “safe exchange zone" (such as a parking spot with video coverage) on the station grounds. An inability or refusal to meet in person to complete a transaction, especially at a police station, is a primary sign of a scam. 

Additional scam red flags to watch for when using an online classified ad service include:

  • (For sellers) Vague initial inquiries, e.g. asking about "the item."
  • (For buyers) Significant discounts on high-ticket items (vehicles, etc.) with a story about the owner being overseas, in the military, or involved in an accident.
  • Emails or texts from someone who is not local to your area (especially if they claim to be overseas).
  • Poor grammar/spelling.
  • Requests for payment by wire transfer, cashier's check, money order, or prepaid debit or gift cards.
  • If a buyer offers to pay you extra for an item and asks that you return the difference, you are likely facing a check scam. The check the buyer sends you is fake, and you will be responsible for the full amount withdrawn when the bank discovers the fraud. Do not cash the check.
  • Beware of offers that involve shipping.

For additional information, visit the Consumer Protection Bureau at, call the Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-422-7128 or send an e-mail to

Learn more. 

Update from DATCP: Is That "Local" Florist Rooted Somewhere Else?

Online listings or phone book ads often claim that a business is local, use a local area code, or list a local address, but you might actually be contacting a business located in another state that just coordinates the purchase and delivery of goods. If you have an issue with an order, you could have difficulty finding out who is behind the operation and getting a refund or exchange.

If you want to hire a local florist from the phone book or from an online search, do some research. Ask the business:

  • Where is it specifically located? Can you visit that location to see their selection?
  • What are their hours (so you can drop by to make a purchase or see the selection)?
  • What time of day do they make deliveries in town and how many trucks do they have?
  • What flowers are fresh or in season in the area right now?
  • Do they supply flowers to a public place where you could see their arrangements and creativity?

If the salesperson refuses to provide that information, consider calling another florist. Also, if the business answers the phone with a generic phrase like “flower shop” (instead of a specific name), ask for its legal name. Again, you should be able to expect a straight answer.

Other considerations when choosing a florist include:

  • Beware of offers for multiple discounts, claims of lowest prices, “A+” self-ratings and other puffery (exaggerated praise in advertising or publicity).
  • Get an itemized price quote (written, if possible) for the product and delivery before you make a payment and ask about any additional fees that could potentially arise. Ask for the terms of any satisfaction guarantees that the business may offer.
  • Ask specifics about the flowers that will be used in the arrangement: how many roses vs. carnations will be used, how many “filler” flowers vs. focal flowers, etc.
  • Understand if a portion of your payment is used to purchase the vase and any accessories with the bouquet. Ask for alternatives if you want to spend less on accessories and more on flowers.

As part of your research, you may also wish to contact the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (Consumer Protection Hotline: 800-422-7128 or to inquire about complaints that have been filed against a business.

For additional information or to file a complaint, visit the Consumer Protection Bureau at


Update from DATCP: Dairy Farmers of WI Board Election Under Way

Dairy farmers in eight Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB) d/b/a/ Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin districts have until May 24 to vote for candidates for eight open seats in the current election. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) mailed ballots to eligible dairy producers in the affected districts this week.

Eligible producers who have not received a ballot by May 10 can request a ballot by contacting Debbie Gegare, Market Orders program coordinator, at 608-224-5116 or by email. Completed ballots must be signed and sent to WI DATCP, Marketing Order Program, P.O. Box 8911, Madison, WI 53708-8911. The ballots must be postmarked on or before May 25. Unsigned ballots will not be counted.

To view candidate biographies and for more information on the DFW election, click here. Elected producers will serve three-year terms starting July 1, 2019.

Learn more here.


Update from DATCP: Dairy Farmers of WI Board Election Under Way

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is accepting nominations for three seats on the Wisconsin Soybean Board. Producers who grow and sell soybeans in Districts 3, 4 and 5 are eligible to nominate producers or to be nominated to the board. Signed, notarized nomination forms must be postmarked by June 1, 2019.

A completed nomination form must include the signatures of five eligible soybean growers other than the nominee. Completed forms also must be notarized.

DATCP will conduct the Wisconsin Soybean Board election from July 15 through August 10, 2019. Elected growers will serve three-year terms beginning Sept. 1, 2019.

Learn more about the Wisconsin Soybean Board at

Learn more here.


 In the News

Evers vows to 'fight like hell' for Medicaid expansion

Erpenbach: Better funding for special education would help schools including Columbia, Sauk counties 

‘We’re not giving up:’ Gov. Evers vows to ‘fight like hell’ for Medicaid expansion

Gov. Tony Evers' administration gives $5-an-hour raises to officers at six Wisconsin prisons

Foxconn CEO meets with Trump, Wisconsin governor