September 17, 1787 Brought a World-Changing Event More than 230 years ago, 38 state delegates gathered in Philadelphia and signed the United States Constitution...
Remembering 9/11 Twenty years later, the outcome of that day is still playing out in some ways. I hope you’ll take time to remember and honor the heroes who perished or sacrificed because of 9/11. We should never forget them...
Discussing Afghanistan After the President's Address I had the opportunity to speak with Chris Salcedo from Newsmax and Representative Jake Ellzey (R-Texas) following President Biden’s remarks about the poorly managed and tragic events we saw unfold in Afghanistan...
Wisconsin Act 66: A Step Toward Transparency & Accountability An effective way to control spending is to understand where it’s being spent...
The Damage Surrounding Unemployment Benefits Continues Over the last year, the Department of Workforce Development (DWD), which oversees UI benefits, failed to issue appeal decisions in a timely manner—violating federal regulations. Complying with these regulations is one of the conditions necessary to receive federal funding for the UI program...
Governor Evers Says 'No' to Protecting Elections Had the Governor signed these bills, it would have gone a long way to prove to the people of Wisconsin that he cared about their concerns and the integrity of elections...
Healthcare Heroes – Lead the Way! Once upon a time, they were hailed as heroes. But now, healthcare professionals who refuse to get the Covid-19 vaccine might very well find themselves fired from their jobs...
From prison reform to election integrity... there's a lot to talk about! Changing how we do incarceration is critically important. The status quo of recidivism is not only wreaking havoc on our budget, but also it’s not helping to improve our society...
Governor Will Hold On to Your Money for Nine Months It’s great that he signed the Republican-written state budget, which cut taxes by $2.4 billion for Wisconsin taxpayers. But it’s dishonest for him to take credit for designing those tax cuts and say that he’s delivering on his campaign promise to cut taxes for Wisconsinites...
Important Bills the Governor Vetoed In this update, I outline two more bills that were blocked by a partisan Governor who continues to only listen to Madison's elites...
Governor Evers Tries to Save Face Governor Evers says he supports tax cuts, but he always waits for the Republicans to do it for him...
What We Celebrate on July 4th An interesting fact is that many people think we’re celebrating the victory over the British on the 4th of July. In reality...
Breaking Budget News! The Wisconsin Senate passed the state budget today, and it will soon be on the governor's desk for his signature. Will he sign it?...
Breaking Down the Budget Here's a breakdown of where we started (Gov. Evers’ proposed budget) and where we are now (the Republican-authored budget)...
Time to Put Our Money Where Our Mouth Is From my perspective, revenues that comes in to the state are tax dollars that you have paid. When we have excess, I believe its our obligation to responsibly return that money to its origin - to you the taxpayer...
Strong Tax Cuts for Wisconsinites Makes Sense The Legislature has an unprecedented opportunity to return a surplus of tax revenue to the people of Wisconsin!...
Unprecented Education Funding This budget cycle has been rather unique as the legislature works to create a responsible budget while billions of federal stimulus money pours into the state...
Land of the Free Because of the Brave I always find Memorial Day to be a sobering reminder that the freedom we value and enjoy came at the ultimate cost for military men and women who gave their lives fighting for our country...
Employers are Desperate for Workers It’s a story I’m hearing over and over again … companies across the state can’t find enough workers to fill open positions. There are multiple reasons for the staffing shortage...
Parents and Students Should Decide About Mask Use in Schools So many schools have done a phenomenal job of offering in-person learning throughout this ordeal—I encourage them to continue to lead by example and end the mandatory use of masks...
Election Integrity Hot Topic at Listening Session People aren’t buying the news headlines that say nothing of concern took place during our last election cycle—and they shouldn’t. There are too many issues the past election brought to light, such as Elections Commission staff providing guidance to local clerks that ran contrary to state law...
I Hope to See You Next Week! Here’s your chance to have the floor and share your thoughts about the State Budget and other issues of concern.
Flush With Cash, But the Gov Wants to Tax The Governor hasn’t told us why he needs these tax increases—especially in light of the many billions of federal stimulus dollars Wisconsin has and will receive.
This Style of Leadership is Unprecedented in Wisconsin I take no joy in sharing with you that for the third time, the WI Supreme Court has ruled against the actions of Governor Evers and his administration relating to the pandemic.
Stimulus Money Could Lead to Long-Term Debt With $3.2 billion dollars of federal stimulus money being waved in front of the Governor, there’s reason to be concerned that he’ll spend the funds in a manner that would leave Wisconsin taxpayers on the hook for future debt for years—and possibly decades—to come....
Supreme Court Affirms Governor Evers Exceeded His Authority Governor Evers abused his power when he repeatedly declared emergencies. His unwillingness to follow the law, which states that an emergency order is only enforceable beyond 60 days if the Legislature approves an extension, threw our state into a constitutional crisis. We cannot allow the ...
Governor Presents a Buyer’s Remorse Budget One big yawn. That’s often what happens when we start talking about budgets and fiscal responsibility. The brain shuts down and taking a nap seems like a great idea. I know many people don't consider being fiscally responsible to have a role in politics anymore, but I disagree....
Medicaid Expansion Too Costly Medicaid expansion is expected to result in increased costs to families with private insurance – as much as $700 per year for a family of four, resulting in a net cost to Wisconsin of $600 million.
Senate Passes Bill To Cut Income Taxes Thanks to eight years of sound fiscal planning by Republicans, our state is in a great place economically. At the end of Fiscal Year 2019, we will have a surplus of $691 million.
More Tax Relief On The Way Legislative Republicans are following through on a promise to further reduce taxes on Wisconsinites by introducing legislation this week to cut income taxes.
The State of our State is strong! Wisconsin is in great shape with the help of reforms that the Republican legislature and Governor Walker have made over the past eight years.
Republican-controlled legislature meets with Evers Governor Evers met with the Republican-controlled legislature Tuesday in what was the first-ever joint caucus of legislative Republicans and we made it known that Medicaid Expansion was a non-starter for our Caucus.
A New Session Begins! Over the next term my focus will continue to be on how to improve how State government operates as well as further limiting government to only what is specified in our founding documents.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Kapenga Family! We hope you have a wonderful time with friends and family this holiday season.
Extraordinary Session Ensuring that the legislature has an equal seat at the table as a constitutional co-equal branch of government.
Exciting News To Share Holiday Events In Your Area!
Thank You for Re-Electing Me to Serve as Your Senator I am looking forward to serving the 33rd District for the next 4 years. Thank you to those who supported me with their vote.
Easter Eupdate I want to hear from you!
Kapenga Invited to White House Last week, I traveled to Washington D.C. to discuss “Wisconsin Works for Everyone” welfare reform with White House officials
Committee Bustles as Session Nears End Bills that passed the Assembly are now moving towards the Senate floor.
Welfare Reform Passes, Awaits Governors Signature This week we moved one step closer to making meaningful and effective changes that will transform the lives of those stuck in the generational cycle of poverty
Senate & Assembly Advance Welfare Reform This comprehensive plan is moving closer to changing lives through work opportunities across Wisconsin
Senate/Assembly Committee Considers Welfare Reform Senate and Assembly Committees came together to hear testimony on the "Wisconsin Works for Everyone" welfare reform package.
Wisconsin Works for Everyone Governor Scott Walker called for a special session of the Wisconsin Legislature to pass Wisconsin Works for Everyone welfare reform
How Direct Primary Care Provides Better Service at Less Cost In this weeks update, I discuss the three Kapenga bills heard in the senate this week, as well as the busy committee schedule.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Have a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Seven Kapenga Bills Signed into Law "This week, seven Kapenga bills ranging from financial literacy to cosmetology were signed into law"
New Kapenga Bill Could Save Taxpayers Millions Rep. Sanfelippo and I introduce a new bill that could have huge savings
Let's Address the Federal Debt This week the state senate passed AJR-21, which requests congress call a convention under the authority of Article V of the United States Constitution.
Tesla Technology in Wisconsin New legislation that I put forward would allow Tesla to sell in Wisconsin
Kapenga Bill and Town Hall Tonight (10/25) Join us for a listening session tonight at Hartland Public Library
You Won't Believe this Week! I participated in five different committees, making this week one of the busiest this session.
Let's talk about our Workforce Shortage Kapenga Bill Addresses Workforce Shortage, Blue Books have arrived, and don't forget the Senate Scholar Program is accepting applicants
Town Hall Tonight Waukesha Town Hall, Committee Action this Week, and Senate Scholar Applications Now Open
My Budget Vote An update on my Budget Vote, Foxconn Legislation, Fall Town Halls, and our new team member.
Kapenga Jobs Bill Introduced With the expected flurry of development activity around the state, the need for skilled workers is more evident than ever.
Foxconn Announces Historic Investment in Wisconsin A historic jobs announcement, welcoming Tim Duffy to Team Kapenga, and saying farewell to Caleb Gerbitz. Plus the State Fair kicks off its 11 day run!
Comprehensive DOT Reform Package Proposed Last week, I was joined by Senator Dave Craig and Representatives Joe Sanfelippo and Rob Hutton, in addition to a large coalition of Senate and Assembly Republicans, to bring much needed reform to the Department of Transportation (DOT).
Happy Independence Day No politics this week. Enjoy all the Fourth of July celebrations this weekend, be safe, and remember all those who made and continue to make sacrifices so that we may continue to enjoy our freedom.
Pair of Bills Signed into Law Yesterday, two bills that I authored were signed into law by Governor Walker.
Eight Kapenga Bills Come to Floor Yesterday, both the Senate and the Assembly convened to take up legislation. I authored eight of the bills considered by legislators yesterday. Here's a quick overview of the action.
Welcome to the Senate. We have cookies. Ever thought of selling your baked goods at a lemonade stand or a bake sale? In Wisconsin, doing so would be illegal. Wisconsin is one of only two states that does not allow the sale of home baked goods. Yesterday, a bill was unanimously approved by the Senate committee I chair with the goal of repealing this restrictive law.
Eye on the Budget: The Latest from Madison We are still in the middle of the budget discussions in Madison, and I have been reviewing the budget papers as they come out. The big issues, such as transportation and education, are slowly taking shape.
Rethinking Occupational Licensing Today, I circulated for co-sponsorship a bill to conduct a review of Wisconsin’s occupational licenses and to establish guidelines for review of proposed licenses. Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and Representative Rob Hutton (R-Brookfield) have joined as co-authors.
Monitoring the American Health Care Act Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (House Resolution 1628). The proposal now moves to the U.S. Senate, where it is subject to modification.
Holding Down Waukesha Water Rates While the agreement struck last year enabling the City of Waukesha to tap into Lake Michigan water resolved concerns over water quality, it left many concerned that their water bills will spike. Annual water rates could more than double to pay for the massive water diversion project; however, an amendment I requested to the budget proposal will potentially limit the each customers rising rates by an estimated $140.
Budget Votes Begin Next Week On Tuesday, the committee I chair on Public Benefits, Licensing and State-Federal Relations convened for both an executive session and a public hearing. Next week, the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) will begin Executive Sessions to make adjustments to the budget Governor Walker proposed two months ago.
Money Smart Week In conjunction with “Money Smart Week” beginning this weekend, I introduced two bi-partisan bills aimed at improving financial literacy and allowing the promotion of better savings habits. Wisconsin is joining a national effort during the week of April 22nd to further the goal of educating children and consumers on how to effectively and intelligently manage their personal finances.
What's That Going to Cost Me? In 2016, voters across the state approved $1.35 billion in new borrowing for construction projects by school districts according to the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance. This borrowing rate is ten times higher than it was only five years ago.
Busy Week in the Capitol A key part of the legislative process is discussing proposed legislation and receiving input from the public on that legislation. This week, public hearings were the name of the game for both the Assembly and the Senate. I'll give you a rundown of what took place.
What's a Personal Delivery Device? As an owner of a small technology business, I am always intrigued by ways technology can be put to use to grow business and make people's lives easier. That is why Representative Mike Kuglitsch (R-New Berlin) and I introduced a bill this week enabling Personal Delivery Devices (PDD's) to operate on Wisconsin sidewalks.
Trimming Regulation . . . in the Trimming Industry I recently introduced two bills to reform licensing laws for cosmetology and barbering practitioners. These professions, which can provide a stable income for many who are passionate for their work, currently face arduous licensing regulations. These bills make five changes to provide cosmetologists and barbers more freedom to do their jobs without decreasing safety for consumers.
Federal Debt Control On Tuesday, I circulated for co-sponsorship a resolution that requests that congress call a convention under the authority of Article V of the United States Constitution. The purpose of the convention would be to draft the language for a proposed constitutional amendment requiring the federal government to operate under a balanced budget. This resolution is a continuation of my work regarding Article V that began shortly after my election to the Assembly in 2010.
Audit Hearing Continues to Reveal Concerns at DOT On Tuesday, the Legislative Audit Bureau heard testimony regarding the recently-released audit of the State Highway Program within the DOT. During the four hour hearing, we discovered significant issues after issue with how the program is administered.
Budget Proposal Announced Last week, Governor Scott Walker addressed a Joint Session of the Legislature to outline his proposed 2017-19 budget. The state budget has the greatest impact of any piece of legislation that the Legislature debates during the two-year session.
Audit Reveals Need for DOT Reform Last week, there was a new development in the ongoing debate over the transportation budget in Wisconsin. The Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) released its long-awaited audit of the State Highway Program within the Department of Transportation (DOT).
State-Federal Relations: Letter to Congress The new political landscape at the federal level offers the prospect of returning authority back to the states. In hopes of achieving a proper federalist balance, my colleague Senator David Craig (R - Big Bend) and I sent a letter to Congressman Jason Chaffetz (UT-03), Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to request relief from federal regulations and unfunded mandates.
Freedom to Work: Work Permits for Minors To start the session, I introduced a bill rolling back work permit requirements for minors. Today, anyone under 18 must obtain an employer-specific work permit, have it signed by a parent or guardian, and pay a $10 fee. This bill joins 35 other states by eliminating the work permit requirement for those 16 and over.
Start of a New Session Yesterday, the new session began with the inaugural floor periods for both the Senate and the Assembly. In addition, I was appointed Chair of a new committee and Wisconsin welfare reforms are leading to employment.
Merry Christmas! This week I just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. I hope you are able to spend some quality time with your family, catch the Christmas Eve service at church, and eat a significant amount of food!
Dear hunters... With the archery and crossbow seasons just a few days away, the Department of Natural Resources has assembled this year's Deer Hunt Media Packet.
Rethinking the war on poverty Focusing on a holistic approach to solving the problem of poverty is the only way that we can truly lift everyone out of poverty.
Keeping government agencies accountable As part of our duty as legislators, Representative Rob Hutton (R-Brookfield) and I are following through on our promise to protect taxpayer dollars by contacting each agency head in order to remind them of their responsibilities under the new law.
What is the coolest thing made in Wisconsin? Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), which is the state’s combined Chamber of Commerce and Manufacturers’ Association, encourages people to nominate a Wisconsin-made product by visiting www.madeinwis.com.
How did you vote? Several weeks ago, I released my summer survey asking for your input on the issues facing Wisconsin. Here are the results.
Happy Independence Day! Happy Independence Day! It's an expression we associate with the joyous celebration of the freedoms we all enjoy. Summer grill outs, fireworks, family, and friends will be common themes in all of our weekend celebrations. Our nation has been richly blessed by God over the course of its history.
Protecting the Wisconsin franchise model Please read on for my op-ed on the Franchise Protection Act, as featured in today's edition of the Waukesha Freeman.
Remembering those who served "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." -- Nathan Hale
Wisconsin's business climate continues to improve Along with holding listening sessions to meet with citizens, I have been reaching out to businesses to set up tours and learn more about the unique challenges that they face on a daily basis.
Employment is at an all-time high This past Monday, I had the opportunity to tour HUSCO International, a manufacturing business that is contributing to Waukesha's strong economy. It is great to witness the positive impact that job growth is having on the 33rd Senate District and on the state as a whole.
What's happening in Waukesha County It's been an action-packed couple of weeks in Waukesha County. With the weather warming, it's been enjoyable to get out, meet new people, and see the inspiring work taking place in our community.
The survey results are in... Several weeks ago, I released my spring survey asking for your input on the issues facing Wisconsin. I was happy to hear from the more than 400 individuals who took the survey.
Legislative session wraps up This week, we wrapped up our final session day for the year. The Senate passed nearly 80 bills in one day, and also blocked some legislation from advancing.
Celebrating two anniversaries this week As we get ready to turn our clocks ahead on Sunday, I'd like to turn the clock back this week and look at the anniversaries of two important conservative reforms.
Governor Walker signs four Kapenga bills into law On Tuesday, Governor Walker signed 58 bills into law, four of which I authored. They address a number of issues ranging from property rights to budget reform, and it was great to work with fellow Waukesha County legislators to produce positive reforms.
Take my survey Now that the legislative session is coming to a close, I would like to hear your thoughts on issues facing Wisconsin both today and going forward.
BASE Act heads to Governor Walker's desk On Tuesday, the state Senate passed the Budgetary Accountability for State Expenditures (BASE) Act by a 19-13 vote.
Three Kapenga bills pass the Senate On Tuesday, three bills that I authored passed the state Senate and now are waiting for passage in the state Assembly.
Introducing the BASE Act This week, I am taking a break from discussing the various bills that I am currently working on in order to focus on one that is at the top of my priority list. The Budgetary Accountability for State Expenditures (BASE) Act reforms Wisconsin's budgeting process to check the growth of government.
Expanding opportunity and improving efficiency As we continue to wrap up the current legislative session, I would like to continue highlighting important bills that are high priorities to me.
Wisconsin is moving forward On Tuesday, Governor Walker delivered his State of the State address to a joint session of the Legislature. In his address, the governor highlighted several important facts showing that the state of Wisconsin is strong.
Protecting life and advancing legal reform Last week, I highlighted two bills that I am currently pursuing as we close out the 2015-16 legislative session. This week, I would like to share a few others.
Eliminating fraud and protecting small business franchising As we close out the 2015-16 legislative session, I'd like to highlight a couple of the pieces of legislation that I will be pursuing over the next few months.
A look back at a productive year As we close out 2015 and look ahead to 2016, I'd like to share with you what we've accomplished in the Legislature during the past year. It was an exciting year in Madison, and our conservative reforms continued to move Wisconsin in the right direction.
Celebrating the reason for the season As we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, it is important to spread joy and love to our family, friends, and neighbors.
Multiple hearings at the Capitol this week This week, I gave testimony on several of my bills in Assembly and Senate committee hearings.
Five bills introduced Last week, I introduced five bills in the Senate.
Madison needs alternative budgeting Senate Bill 407 requires each state agency to submit to the Legislature, in addition to their current biennial budget request, a proposal to show how they would hold spending at the same level as last period and how they would reduce agency spending by five percent if needed.
What are you thankful for? It was a pleasure to serve the constituents of the 99th Assembly District over the past four years, and I am enjoying the opportunity to continue serving them, as well as our neighbors in the 97th and 98th Assembly Districts, as your senator.
Better safe than sorry After contacting Governor Walker's office on Saturday, I applaud his quick action in joining with fellow governors in calling on President Obama to not resettle additional Syrian refugees in Wisconsin.
Saluting our veterans On Veterans Day, and every day, it is important that we honor the sacrifices that so many have made for this great nation. We are forever grateful for the freedom that they have defended throughout our country's history.
Stay tuned... Later today, the Senate will be in session to consider a number of pieces of legislation. Two of the bills on the agenda are Senate Bills 292 and 294.
Historic day for Wisconsin Today is a historic day for Wisconsin and for our country. One of our own, Paul D. Ryan, was elected as the speaker of the House of Representatives.
Protecting your First Amendment rights On Tuesday, the Senate was in session to pass legislation that reforms the process for conducting John Doe investigations.
Reforming the GAB Maintaining the integrity of our elections and ensuring every citizen's right to vote is of utmost importance. What I appreciate about the current proposal is that it ensures a politically balanced approach to decision making.
Three bills introduced Senate Bill 278 would allow municipalities to purchase their ancillary insurance plans for employees through the state’s Group Insurance Board. Senate Bill 283 (known as the “Growler Bill”) would allow Class A license holders, such as grocery stores, to sell growlers. Senate Bill 290 requires the verification from court orders for eligibility for public assistance programs.
Madison should be using honest accounting On Tuesday, I joined several of my legislative colleagues in introducing a constitutional amendment that would require Wisconsin to move to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) for all state affairs.
Productive week at the Capitol The Senate Committee on Health and Human Services held a public hearing on Senate Bills 237, 238, and 260 on Tuesday. During the hearing, Representative Andre Jacque and I testified on SBs 237 and 238.
First floor session in the Senate Shortly after I was sworn in by Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Patience Roggensack, the Senate got to work by approving gubernatorial appointments, voting on resolutions, and passing pieces of legislation.
We shall never forget Congress and the president have designated September 11 as Patriot Day. The flag should be flown at half-staff, and Americans are asked to observe a moment of silence to honor the innocent victims who perished during the worst acts of terrorism ever carried out against the United States.
Examining the evidence On Tuesday, I joined James Sherk and Vincent Vernuccio at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. to discuss whether or not right-to-work laws really reduce wages.
Focusing on public benefit and regulatory reform I look forward to serving as the chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Benefit and Regulatory Reform, and working with my colleagues to find solutions to reform our public assistance programs and improve our regulatory environment. This starts with developing innovative reforms that put individuals on the path to self-sufficiency and give them purpose from a paycheck.
Spread the Word The Nevada Policy Research Institute and the Association of American Educators have collaborated to create National Employee Freedom Week. This national movement is centered around the effort to spread awareness about the freedoms that employees have when it comes to union membership.
Continuing My Work in the Senate I am looking forward to continuing my work serving in my new role as your state senator!