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It was a busy week here at the Capitol. The Joint Committee on Finance met on Thursday to consider funding requests from agencies (also known as 13.10 requests) as well as hold a public hearing and executive session on a variety of legislation.

Additionally, earlier in the week, Governor Evers signed an executive order to create a committee that will work to ensure there is a fair and accurate count for the 2020 Census here in Wisconsin, a mission of critical importance to our state's future.

Now, if only the Governor could sign an order that would prevent the first snow from falling until after Halloween...

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Jon Erpenbach
Wisconsin State Senate, District 27


 Governor Evers Creates Complete Count Committee for 2020 Census

This week, Governor Evers announced the creation of a Complete Count Committee in preparation for the 2020 Census. The committee will work to ensure that a fair and accurate count is conducted in our state by educating Wisconsinites on the importance of the 2020 Census, mitigating barriers that have impeded participation in the census in the past, and developing outreach strategies to reach hard-to-count populations such as children, immigrant and refugee communities, rural communities, low-income families, renters and residents who don't live in traditional housing, people of color, and individuals with disabilities.

An accurate census count in 2020 is of vital importance for the future of Wisconsin, as it will determine the amount of federal funding the state receives as well as how Wisconsin's next electoral maps will be created. 

You can read the executive order here


Notes from Senator Erpenbach: 

Everyone in Wisconsin Deserves Clean Drinking Water

From the very beginning of Governor Evers’ term, he made his priorities clear by declaring 2019 the Year of Clean Drinking Water. During his State of the State address in January, he promoted investing millions of dollars to address water quality, from replacing lead service lines, to addressing manure contamination in Wisconsin.  Many of our communities face challenges that threaten their health and safety due to polluted drinking water. That’s why Democrats are committed to strengthening clean water protections and addressing this public health crisis.

While Governor Evers proposed a bold budget that reflected the voices of the people, who simply want clean and safe drinking water, there is still a long road ahead. Every Wisconsinite should be able to drink water from their tap, but for a lot of people, that is not the reality.

Legislative Democrats recently introduced a list of priorities - “Forward Together.” This agenda includes many of the areas that Democrats will be focusing on this fall, including clean water. Below are the Democrat’s top priorities for clean water:

  • Replace lead pipes to ensure clean drinking water
  • Promote sustainable water management practices for family farms
  • Help homeowners fix contaminated wells
  • Limit runoff pollution from large industrial farms
  • Prevent toxic PFAS contamination

The 2019-2021 budget invests more than $32.65 million in improving water quality throughout our state. While these investments are essential, there is still more we can do. More than two-thirds of Wisconsin residents use groundwater for drinking water, through a private well or public water system, and it is our job to enact standards and regulations to protect that supply.

One of the ways that the Governor invested in improving water quality around the state was through increasing bonding authority for Soil and Water Resource Management. While Republicans cut his proposal, he was still successful in increasing bonding by $7 million. This program, which is administered by DATCP, provides assistance to farmers to implement conservation practices and reduce pollution from agriculture. This protects our natural resources and increases long-term farm profitability.

Additionally, in July, Governor Evers signed an executive order relating to addressing lead poisoning in Wisconsin. This came after Republicans drastically slashed Governor Evers’ proposal to address lead exposure and prevent poisoning from the budget, by over $21 million and eliminated $40 million to replace lead water lines throughout the entire state. The executive order directs the Department of Health Services (DHS) to address this crisis in a robust and comprehensive way through a multi-pronged approach, and to promote collaboration among departments and community organizations to prevent, treat, remove, abate, and survey lead efforts.

There is not a single, simple solution to address our water quality issues. However, I am confident that we will be able to work across the aisle to protect this basic right. Everyone deserves to have access to clean drinking water, regardless of where they live, or where their tap water comes from. There is still a far way to go, but the important thing is that, under Governor Evers, we are moving forward.

Legislative Priority Highlight - Democracy For All

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Community Programs and Announcements 

Update from ReadyWisconsin:

Fall back safely this weekend as daylight saving time ends

The first weekend of November marks the end of daylight saving time. As you change your clocks at home, ReadyWisconsin suggests also conducting safety checks.

“As you reset the clocks, take a moment to test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and check the supplies in your emergency kits,” said Dr. Darrell Williams, Wisconsin Emergency Management administrator. “The few minutes it takes to make sure they are working properly and are fully stocked could help save your life.”

The National Fire Protection Association says three out of every five home fire deaths occurred when smoke detectors were either not present or were not working properly. Detectors should be tested monthly and should be replaced every 10 years.

Now is also a great time to have your furnace or wood-burning stove inspected, before the colder weather sets in. Hire a professional to make sure it is in good working order and vents properly to the outside of your home. Any heating device that burns fuel produces carbon monoxide.

Approximately 500 people are treated at hospital emergency rooms across the state annually for carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Health officials say many of these cases could be prevented by having working carbon monoxide detectors. Those devices should be replaced every five years.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea, and confusion. At high levels, carbon monoxide can cause death within minutes. If you suspect you or someone may be experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning, or your detector sounds an alarm, go outside immediately for fresh air and call 911.

For more information on carbon monoxide poisoning, visit:

If you have an emergency kit at home, now is a great time to check for expired products or items that may have been borrowed for other purposes and need to be replaced. Pay attention to items such as batteries, first aid supplies, and food, which should be replaced regularly. Having a well-stocked kit is important, in the event you lose power or are stuck at home during a winter storm.

Daylight saving time ends Sunday, Nov. 3 at 2 a.m.


Updates from the DNR:


Updates from the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance



Fair Maps for Wisconsin Summit
Saturday, November 9, 2019
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Register for the Summit online here

Contacting My Office

Feel free to contact me with any inquiries. Please visit my website for press releases and other Capitol updates.