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Conservatively Speaking

State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.

Bill to secretly select legislative successors put on hold, where it should be

Legislation


The state Senate is considering legislation to devise a system to replace state lawmakers killed or incapacitated due to a terrorist attack or pandemic. Because I have concerns about the proposed legislation, Senate Bill 227 (SB 227), I wrote in a previous column, “
During emergencies, cooler heads need to prevail. The same holds true during non-emergencies.”

I am happy to report that cooler heads, for the moment, have succeeded as SB 227 has temporarily been referred by the Senate back to committee. Hopefully, the bill will be permanently shelved.


Here is why I find SB 227 problematic. If disaster should strike the state Capitol and require replacements, I strongly believe voters should decide the successors.

SB 227 requires that a legislator, as soon as  feasible after the Legislature reconvenes every two years, must file with the chief clerk for the legislator’s house a list of not less than three nor more than seven emergency interim successors. The list would be secret and not subject to inspection or copying under the open records law.

If more than nine vacancies in the state Senate or more than 25 vacancies in the state Assembly are created because of some disaster, interim successors chosen by legislators on their secret lists would be appointed by the presiding officer or his or her designee in the appropriate house of the Legislature to fill the vacancies. The emergency successor would exercise the powers and duties of the office until an election is held or the emergency is over. All votes taken by interim successors would be valid.

Such a system removes electoral power from voters and would place expansive taxing and spending powers in the hands of unelected, unaccountable individuals chosen secretly.


During the September 22, 2009 state Senate floor session, I was prepared to offer an amendment to SB 227 to address my chief concern that the right to vote was being stripped from the electorate. My amendment outlined specific guidelines for emergency elections to he held quickly in the event of a disaster so that seats could be filled as soon as possible and citizens would continue to have elected representation.

Under my amendment, the state would use the procedures already in place for special elections and allow the current process to move forward during a terrorist attack or pandemic.   A special election takes place 62 to 77 days after the order is given by the governor. Primaries, if necessary, are held four weeks prior to the special election. An emergency election would collapse the process down to a much shorter time line. 

My amendment likely had enough votes to be approved by the state Senate and that, along with a desire to reconsider the legislation, persuaded Senate Democrats to send SB 227 back to the senate’s scheduling committee, putting the measure on hold temporarily.

I question whether the state even needs to establish a system for interim successors as proposed by SB 227. The governor has emergency powers and Wisconsin has a Homeland Security Council with a specified Homeland Security strategy in place. Following a disaster, it seems a wiser approach would be to execute traditional special elections as quickly as possible instead of relying on an undemocratic process of picking names out of sealed envelopes.

Legislation to create a system of selecting an unelected successor from a handpicked list should simply be forgotten. Recall the price tag on the Illinois replacement to former Senator Obama. Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, now facing federal fraud and racketeering charges, made the controversial appointment of Roland Burris as the successor to then president-elect Barack Obama. Blagojevich was impeached by the Illinois House and removed from office by the Illinois senate.

The state of Wisconsin should allow citizens to maintain their voting rights and choose their representatives.

"I am being taxed to death. Where in the world does it stop?"

Taxes


David Vogt of Milwaukee made that comment to Steve Walters of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel seven months ago. Vogt was expressing his frustration about an extension of the state sales tax  to digital downloads that goes into effect today, October 1, 2009. 


The Wisconsin Department of Revenue (Page 16) reports:

“Effective October 1, 2009, state, county, and stadium sales taxes and the premier resort area tax are imposed on the sale, lease, license, or rental of specified digital goods and additional digital goods at retail.

Effective October 1, 2009, state, county, and stadium use taxes are imposed on the storage, use, or other consumption of specified digital goods and additional digital goods purchased from any retailer, if the purchaser has the right to use the specified digital goods or additional digital goods on a permanent or less than permanent basis and regardless of whether the purchaser is required to make continued payments for such right.

‘Specified digital goods’ means digital audio works, digital audiovisual works, and digital books.

‘Additional digital goods’ means all of the following, if they are transferred electronically: greeting cards;  finished artwork;  periodicals; and video or electronic games.

‘Digital audio works’ means works that result from the fixation of a series of musical, spoken, or other sounds that are transferred electronically, including prerecorded or live music, prerecorded or live readings of books or other written materials, prerecorded or live speeches, ringtones, or other sound recordings but not including audio greeting cards sent by electronic mail.

‘Digital audiovisual works’ means a series of related images that, when shown in succession, impart an impression of motion, along with accompanying sounds, if any, and that are transferred electronically.

‘Digital audiovisual works’ includes motion pictures, musical videos, news and entertainment programs, and live events, but does not include video greeting cards or video or electronic games.

‘Digital book’ means works that are generally recognized in the ordinary and usual sense as books and are transferred electronically. ‘Digital books’ includes any literary work, other than a digital audio work or digital audiovisual work, that is expressed in words, numbers, or other verbal or numerical symbols or indicia, if the literary work is generally recognized in the ordinary and usual sense as a book, work of fiction or nonfiction, or a short story, but does not include newspapers or other news or information products, periodicals, chat room discussions, or blogs.”

Read more

Franklin to host legislative hearing on elections

News you can use


I invite you to attend a state Assembly committee hearing on campaign finance reform this month in Franklin.

The state Assembly’s Committee on Elections and Campaign Reform will hold an informational hearing seeking testimony and input from the public on Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. at Franklin City Hall in the Common Council Chambers located at 9229 W. Loomis Road, Franklin.

DOJ holding seminars on public records, open meetings

News you can use


Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and the Department of Justice are holding seminars around the state on Wisconsin public records and open meetings laws. The seminars are free. Advance registration is required. One of the seminars will be held in Milwaukee.

Here are more details.

Required reading for all state legislators


The Wisconsin State Journal recently editorialized this warning to the Wisconsin Legislature:

“When lawmakers built the 2009-2011 state budget, they aimed to preserve business as usual. They used one-time federal stimulus money to increase spending from all sources by 9.4 percent, even though state tax dollar spending declined by a fraction.

They are now counting on a recovery to bail them out when the federal spigot is turned off.

Their risky bet fits a pattern. State lawmakers in recent years have lurched from budget crisis to budget crisis as they try to use short-term gimmicks, accounting maneuvers and optimistic hopes to avoid the bold restructuring decisions required to set the state's fiscal house in order.

Lawmakers should stop avoiding fiscal responsibility.


Every member of the state Senate and state Assembly should read the editorial and then take its serious advice to heart.

Your odds of crashing with a deer: 1 in 116

News you can use




According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT), during 2008, 10 people died in 10 fatal motor vehicle-deer crashes, 99 people suffered incapacitating injuries, 243 people suffered less serious injuries, and 183 people were possibly injured. 


Wisconsin ranks eighth in the nation for the likelihood of vehicles crashing with deer. October and November are deadly months for deer crashes. The deer are quite active due to their mating season.

Here are safety tips from the DOT for avoiding deer collisions:

  • Be vigilant in early morning and evening hours, the most active time for deer.
  • Drive cautiously at all times.
  • Heed deer crossing signs and speed limits.
  • Always wear your safety belt—there are fewer and less severe injuries in vehicle vs. deer crashes when safety belts are worn.
  • If you see a deer by the side of the road, slow down and blow your horn with one long blast to frighten the deer away.
  • When you see one deer, look for another one—deer seldom run alone.
  • If you find a deer looming in your headlights, don't expect the deer to move away.
  • Headlights can confuse a deer and cause the animal to freeze.
  • Brake firmly when you notice a deer in or near your path.
  • Do not swerve. It can confuse the deer as to where to run.
  • It can also cause you to lose control and hit a tree or another car.
  • The one exception is if you are riding a motorcycle. In this case, you should slow down, brake firmly and then swerve if you need to in order to avoid hitting the deer. When swerving on a motorcycle, always try to stay within the lane, if possible, to avoid hitting other objects.
  • If your vehicle strikes a deer, stay in your vehicle and do not touch the animal if it is still alive.
  • The injured deer, in attempting to move, could hurt you or itself.
  • Walking or stopping on the highway is very dangerous – you could be hit by an oncoming vehicle if you get out of your car.
  • The best advice is to get your car off the road, if possible, and call law enforcement.

Wisconsin personal income continues to suffer

Taxes


Some very alarming news comes from the Wall Street Journal by way of new data from the US Census Bureau about tax collections during the second quarter of 2009. The newspaper reports:


States across the country saw big declines in personal income taxes, the largest single source of state funding, representing about a third of states' overall revenues. Eleven states -- including California, New York and Wisconsin -- saw personal income taxes fall more than 30%.”

The recession has resulted in lost jobs and salary cuts meaning less revenue flowing into state government coffers. I have blogged extensively that a slumping economy is the worst time to raise taxes. And yet some Democrats in the state Legislature after proposing and approving the 2009-11 state budget loaded with tax and fee increases are still talking publicly about raising income taxes for some Wisconsin residents.

When revenues are down, the key to reversing the trend is job creation made possible by improving our woeful state business climate. Increasing taxes, especially now would be disastrous.

Read more in the Wall Street Journal. 

States fight back against government health care

Government health care


Under a government health care plan being debated in Washington D.C.:

1) You must purchase health insurance.

2) Failure to purchase health insurance results in a penalty.

3) Failure to pay the penalty results in jail time. 

Such government heavy handedness is simply too much for lawmakers in several states now considering constitutional amendments to prohibit the requirement that most citizens purchase health insurance under the threat of penalties.

Approval of the constitutional amendments could set up a huge battle pitting the states against the nation’s capital over states’ rights.

Ten states have introduced the Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act (Wisconsin is not one of them) that prohibits penalties imposed on patients for refusing to enroll in a specific health plan.

The New York Times reports that opponents of the constitutional amendments “
acknowledge that the measures could create legal collisions that would be both expensive and cause delays to health care changes, and could be a rallying point for opponents (of government health care) in the increasingly tense debate.”

A constitutional amendment to protect the rights of patients is a great idea. However, given the current political landscape in Madison, even if proposed, the amendment would go nowhere.

Read more in the
New York Times.

BadgerCare Plus Core Plan to be suspended


Earlier this week, I received the following e-mail from Department of Health Services Secretary Karen Timberlake about the BadgerCare Plus Core Plan.


Good morning:

I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you a major announcement that Governor Jim Doyle will be making regarding the BadgerCare Plus Core Plan.

 

Read more

Sweeping sex education legislation under consideration

Legislation


During the 2005 legislative session, I authored an abstinence bill that was approved by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Doyle. Under the law, school boards that choose to provide sex education are required to present abstinence as the preferred choice of behavior.

The law is now under attack and in jeopardy.

According to Wisconsin Family Action, “Assembly Bill 458/Senate Bill 324 does away with the current requirement that abstinence must be presented as the very best behavior choice for unmarried students.”

Blogger Randy Melchert has posted an entry about Tuesday’s Assembly hearing on the legislation that got quite heated. Melchert’s blog includes YouTube videos of testimony in opposition to the legislation by Julaine Appling of Wisconsin Family Action and Matt Sande of Pro Life Wisconsin.

AB458/SB324 is dangerous legislation that must be rejected.

Check your electric bill for another new hidden tax

Taxes, State budget


It is difficult to keep up with the tax and fee increases that were contained in the Democrats’ approved 2009-11 state budget, there were so many.

One of the new fees goes into effect for many Wisconsin residents this week that could go unnoticed. A new tax will appear on electric bills with the additional revenue going toward salaries and benefits for district attorneys across Wisconsin.

The spin by the tax increasers, if you watch this WBAY-TV news report , is that the tax is minimal and a public benefit. Besides, the people who raised taxes claim they didn’t raise taxes.

The Oshkosh Northwestern Editorial Board isn’t buying that argument.

State offices closed Monday

News you can use


This Monday, October 12, 2009 is one of four designated  furlough days during the fiscal year that state offices will be closed.

This memo has details and the exceptions noted for October 12, 2009.

Condoms are out, breast pumps are in

Government health care, Taxes


An old saying in politics says, “The devil is the details.” The axiom is especially true in the current debate in Washington D.C. about government health care.

Montana Democrat Max Baucus chairs the U.S. Senate Health Committee that is working on a federal overhaul of America’s health care system. Last month, Baucus suggested a proposed tax on medical equipment manufacturers include condoms. Baucus’ idea was met with howls, leading him to backtrack and exempt condoms from the tax. 

A condom, classified as a class I medical device by the Food and Drug Administration is, at this point, tax-free. However, government health care proponents have to find ways to pay for their takeover. Since class I medical devices are exempted, class II medical devices are still covered.

That means
powered breast pumps used to bottle milk for babies will be subject to the new tax that Washington Times columnist Amanda Carpenter calls, “the new mommy tax.”

The national political blog, Hot Air analyzed the medical devices that would be taxed to fund government health plan. The list includes:

  • Dentures, both partial and full
  • Fetal cell-screening kit
  • Female condoms, single use
  • Treponemal syphilis test
  • HIV saliva test kit
  • Patient data storage and transmission software
  • Stair-climbing wheelchair
  • Inflatable penis prosthetic  
  • Hip, knee, ankle, breast prosthetics  
  • Soft contact lenses, extended wear
  • IUDs
  • Dialysis catheters  
  • Dental X-rays
  • Sickle-cell anemia tests  
  • Mammograms

 

Read more

Influenza on the rise in Wisconsin

News you can use


The state Department of Health Services (DHS) reports influenza activity is on the rise:

“Currently, Wisconsin is experiencing elevated flu activity in most areas of the state, with cases reported from 48 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties. 99% of all the circulating influenza viruses have been confirmed as H1N1. Flu activity is currently higher than what is normally seen at this time of the year.”

DHS recommends good hygiene to prevent the spread of influenza.

Five schools in the Wisconsin Dells district are closed until this Monday due to an influenza increase.

Here are more details from DHS.

Taxes would increase by $29 billion for medical industries under health care bill

Government health care, Taxes


Here’s a big surprise. From the Reuters news agency:

“The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation reported the (government health care) bill would raise $121 billion in fees on drug companies, health insurers and the makers of medical devices, up from the $92 billion it reported last month.” 


This revelation is one of the reasons there could be more delays in Congressional action on government health care legislation.

Suddenly, the federal overhaul of America’s health care system that was once on the fast track has run into roadblocks, and that is good news.

$48 billion in stimulus $$$ can't bail out states

Legislation


During January 2009, I blogged that the nearly $1 trillion in federal stimulus funding would not be the cure all for states suffering huge budget deficits.


All but $1 billion of the $49 billion in stimulus funding for fiscal year 2009 has been dished out by Washington, and states, according to the Government Accountability Office, “continue to be fiscally strained.” New, stringent reporting requirements states must follow to account for their spending raise the possibility of faulty data.

Most of the money used by the states is going toward Medicaid and protecting layoffs of positions like police, fire, and teachers.

A question I have raised on my blog in the past is now of concern to state officials seeing money pouring in from the nation’s capital with budget deficits that refuse to go away: What happens when the stimulus spigot shuts off January 2011?

Read more from Stateline. 

Should Wisconsin extend the deer hunting season?

News you can use


The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board wants public input about a proposal to extend the deer gun hunting season from the current 9-day hunt to 16 days. The season would begin one week earlier.

The state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is searching for new ideas to reduce Wisconsin’s whitetail herd since DNR Secretary Matt Frank announced during April 2009 that a one-year moratorium on the controversial Earn-a-Buck program would be imposed outside the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) zone during the 2009 deer hunting season.

Deer populations were lower than anticipated during the fall of 2008 due to a rough winter and a late, cool spring. The deer kill was down 19 percent during 2008, and hunters generally opposed to the Earn-a-Buck program blamed the DNR for its projections of the deer population that were too high. The Earn-a-Buck program was quite unpopular.

During January 2009, the Wisconsin Outdoor News reported, “The Earn-a-Buck program forces hunters to shoot antlerless deer before taking a buck. It’s designed as a population-control measure, but many hunters despise it because it forces them to pass up trophy kills.”

The Earn-a-Buck program has been scrapped, and the DNR believes a new method to thin the herd would be an extended season. Thus far, reaction has been as chilly as deer hunting weather

Jon Gafner, owner of Jon's Sport Shop in Oshkosh, told the Oshkosh Northwestern he has yet to hear a positive comment from his customers about a 16-day hunt. Russ Ref told the newspaper, “I think the deer herd has already been decimated by the Earn-a Buck and antlerless deer seasons. I'm opposed to any change that is going to reduce the herd more."

Several public hearings are planned. The closest location to Senate District 28 that I represent is a hearing October 28, 2009 at Pewaukee. Here is the complete schedule of public hearings that all begin at 6:30 p.m. with an informational presentation about the proposed rule followed by public comment at 7:00 p.m.:

Read more

I-94 NORTH-SOUTH update: October 12

News you can use


Here is an update from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) for the I-94 NORTH-SOUTH freeway project:

Construction activities are scheduled to close I-94 EAST (SB) at Layton, I-94 WEST (NB) at Rawson on Monday, October 12th between 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Contractors will be continuing demolition at the Airport Spur. Listed below are all associated closures scheduled for Monday night: 

Full Closures and System Ramps

I-94 EAST (SB) at Layton Avenue 10pm - 5am
I-94 WEST (NB) at Rawson Ave 10pm - 5am

Entrance and Exit Ramp Closures

Rawson Ave entrance ramps to I-94 WEST (NB) 9:30pm-5:30am Airport Spur exit and entrance ramps to/from I-94 EAST (SB) and WEST (NB)9:30pm-5:30am
Airport Spur WB entrance ramps from Grange Ave and Howell Ave 9:30pm-5:30am
I-94 EAST (SB) Layton entrance ramp 9:30pm-5:30am 20th Street from Layton Avenue SB exit ramp 9:30pm-5:30am

Lane Closures

Single Lane Closure on 27th St from Whitaker to Layton Ave. 6am-7pm

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Alternate Routes for I-94 WEST (NB): 

-To access I-94/43 NB, traffic should exit I-94 WEST (NB) at Rawson Ave. Turn right at the end of the ramp to Howell Ave (WIS 38) to Layton Ave. Turn left on Layton Ave to the I-94/43 NB entrance ramp. 

-To access I-894/43 WB, traffic should exit I-94 WEST (NB) at Rawson Ave. Turn left at the end of the ramp to 27th St. Turn right on 27th St to Layton Ave. Turn left on Layton Ave to Loomis Rd. Turn right on Loomis Rd to the I-894/43 WB entrance ramp. 

Alternate Routes for I-94 EAST (SB): 

-To access I-94 SB, traffic should exit I-94 EAST (SB) at Layton Ave. Follow ramp to Layton Ave East. Continue on Layton Ave to Howell Ave. (WIS 38). Turn right on Howell Ave to Rawson Ave. Turn right on Rawson Ave to the I-94 SB entrance ramp. 

- To access the Airport from I-94/43 SB traffic should exit I-94 EAST (SB) at Layton Ave. Follow ramp to Layton Ave East. Continue on Layton Ave to Howell Ave. Turn right on Howell Ave to the Airport. 

- To access I-43/94 NB from the Airport, traffic should use Howell Ave (WIS 38) NB to Layton Ave. Turn left on Layton Ave to the entrance ramp to I-43/94 NB. 

- To access I-894/43 WB from the Airport, traffic should use Howell Ave (WIS 38) NB to Layton Ave. Turn left on Layton Ave (3 miles) to Loomis Rd. Turn right on Loomis Rd to the entrance ramp to I-894/43 WB. 

- To access I-94 EAST (SB) from the Airport, traffic should use Howell Ave (WIS 38) SB (2 miles) to Rawson Ave. Turn right on Rawson Ave to the entrance ramp to I-94 EAST (SB). 

Alternate Routes for Airport traffic: 

- To access the Airport from I-94/43 SB traffic should exit I-94 EAST (SB) at Layton Ave. Follow ramp to Layton Ave East. Continue on Layton Ave to Howell Ave. Turn right on Howell Ave to the Airport. 

- To access the Airport from I-94 WEST (NB) traffic should exit I-94 WEST (NB) at Rawson Ave. Turn right on Rawson Ave to Howell Ave. Turn left on Howell Ave to the Airport. 

- To access I-43/94 NB from the Airport, traffic should use Howell Ave (WIS 38) NB to Layton Ave. Turn left on Layton Ave to the entrance ramp to I-43/94 NB. 

- To access I-894/43 WB from the Airport, traffic should use Howell Ave (WIS 38) NB to Layton Ave. Turn left on Layton Ave (3 miles) to Loomis Rd. Turn right on Loomis Rd to the entrance ramp to I-894/43 WB. 

- To access I-94 EAST (SB) from the Airport, traffic should use Howell Ave (WIS 38) SB (2 miles) to Rawson Ave. Turn right on Rawson Ave to the entrance ramp to I-94 EAST (SB).

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
All closures are weather-dependent and subject to change.

"Blood Money"


A powerful new documentary to be released soon focuses on the huge money-making abortion industry. “Blood Money” features interviews with pro-life leaders, women who have had abortions, and former abortion administrators.

Watch the film’s trailer....



Read more

REMINDER: Franklin to host legislative hearing on elections

Photo ID


I invite you to attend a state Assembly committee hearing on campaign finance reform this week in Franklin.

The state Assembly’s Committee on Elections and Campaign Reform will hold an informational hearing seeking testimony and input from the public on Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. at Franklin City Hall in the Common Council Chambers located at 9229 W. Loomis Road, Franklin.

Your attendance, testimony, and input are strongly encouraged to help shape and secure our valued voting system. This public hearing is your opportunity to inform state legislators how you want your tax dollars spent on the election process.

Should elections be publicly financed? Should your tax dollars be forwarded to candidates you may not necessarily support? Or should more effort be placed on restoring voter confidence by strengthening the credibility of elections through measures like a strong photo ID requirement?

If you, as I do, support significant, effective reforms, please plan on attending this important hearing to voice your views as a concerned taxpayer and voter.


Committee on Elections and Campaign Reform 

Read more

REMINDER: Service Academy nominations available

News you can use


Wisconsin Congressman James Sensenbrenner is accepting applications for individuals wishing to enter any of the United States Service Academies during summer 2010.

This Thursday is the deadline.

Here is more information.

Federal study to examine motorcycle crashes

Motorcycles



Plymouth Ambulance personnel assist a motorist following an accident between a car and motorcycle Wednesday Sept. 9, 2009 at state Highway 67 and county Highway PP in Plymouth. Photo by Bruce Halmo/The Sheboygan Press


The good news is that over many years, the number of road fatalities has been consistently declining.

The bad news is the same can’t be said for motorcyclists. The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) reports that approximately 5,300 motorcycle riders died in roadway crashes during 2008 accounting for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities, with about 96,000 injured.

Nationwide from 1997 through 2008, motorcycle rider fatalities increased from 2,116 to 5,290, a 150 percent increase. Last year, as motorcycle fatalities increased, all other vehicle types saw reductions in fatalities.

For the first time in three decades, the FHA will conduct a major study to better understand the causes of motorcycle crashes. 

As a motorcycle enthusiast, I welcome this federal effort.

Numbers provided by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation for state motorcycle crashes mirror what is happening at the national level. The DOT reports:

“Using a five-year rolling average, 87 people die and 638 people are seriously injured in motorcycle crashes in Wisconsin. In 2007, 773 persons were seriously injured and 106 were killed in 2,788 reported motorcycle crashes. If you were in a motorcycle crash in 2007, you were most likely injured – only 160 cycle crashes did not result in injury. The chart above shows that 67% of the motorcycle fatalities and incapacitating injuries occur to individuals between the ages of 35 and 54 years old.”

As mentioned above, in the United States, motorcycle riders account for 14 percent of all vehicle fatalities. The DOT reports, “Motorcycle fatalities accounted for 14% of total fatalities on Wisconsin roads in 2007.”

The federal study and its findings will surely bolster Wisconsin’s successful Motorcycle Rider Education Program. 

Sad news from Harley Davidson


The headline of a news release issued out of East Troy reads:

BUELL OFFICIALS THANK CUSTOMERS, DEALERS AND EMPLOYEES FOR UNFORGETTABLE RIDE

Harley Davidson announced that it will no longer manufacture the Buell product line. Buell Motorcycle Company President Jon Flickinger says a limited number of new Buell motorcycles are still available for sale through authorized dealerships. Production of the Buell brand is expected to end by the end of this month. and production will wind down by October 30,

The move comes the same day Harley-Davidson is announcing decreases in revenue, net income and earnings per share for the third quarter of 2009 compared to the same period one year ago.

Harley-Davidson’s new long-term business strategy will focus on the Harley-Davidson brand. The “go-forward” business strategy means the discontinuation of Buell that will result in the loss of about 180 jobs.

“I want to personally thank all our past and present Buell employees, dealers and suppliers for their efforts. I also want to thank Buell motorcycle owners for their support and passion for the brand,” said Buell Motorcycle Company President Jon Flickinger in a news release.

“I will always be proud of what we have accomplished. It is a testimony to what a small group of passionate and inspired people can do, and with brilliant innovations, we’ve produced some of the best-handling bikes of all time,” said Buell Chairman and Chief Technical Officer Erik Buell. “I have also had the great fortune to meet and get to know many Buell riders over the years, and they are an amazing and interesting group of free thinkers. May you ride with pride into the future. And may your roads ahead be as adventuresome and rewarding as mine have been for the last 26 years.

The Buell Motorcycle Company has been an outstanding business and jobs-provider in Senate District 28. Founded in 1983, the company has produced more than 135,000 motorcycles and has won many design awards, races and championships around the world, including the AMA Pro Daytona SportBike championship this year.

This is a sad day for East Troy and the entire state of Wisconsin. I wish everyone associated with Buell the very best and I congratulate them for their 26 years of outstanding service.

Here is more from
WUWM-FM, Milwaukee Public Radio.

Weekly construction report from the DOT

News you can use


Southeast Wisconsin Region office – Weekly construction update

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is providing a weekly update on southeast Wisconsin road construction impacting traffic in Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha counties.

Read more

Our nasty income taxes no longer a secret

Taxes


September 1, 2009 blog is just one of many entries I have blogged about Wisconsin incomes taxes that are some of the highest in the country. 

The word is out about our through the ceiling income taxes. First, the Wall Street Journal took notice. Now, the New York Times has picked up the story.

When two of the nation’s most widely-read and prestigious newspapers proclaim for all the world to see that Wisconsin has such high income taxes, it makes it that much more difficult to attract the best and the brightest and their expertise to relocate or stay here.

Read more from the Wisconsin Taxpayer Alliance.

State Senate calendar for Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Here is the calendar for the state Senate floor session scheduled for Tuesday, October 20, 2009 at 11:00 a.m.:

First Order.            Call of Roll.

Second Order.       Chief clerk's entries.


Third Order.           Introduction, first reading and reference of proposals.


Fourth Order.         Report of committees.


Fifth Order.            Petitions and communications.


Sixth Order.           Referrals and receipt of committee reports concerning proposed administrative rules.

S
eventh Order.       Advice and consent of the Senate

QUESTION:      Shall the appointment be confirmed?

Armstrong, Stephanie, of De Forest, as a member of the Professional Standards Council for Teachers, to serve for the term ending June 30, 2012

Bachhuber, Michele, of Marshfield, as a member of the Health Insurance Risk-Sharing Plan Authority, to serve for the term ending May 1, 2012.

Basting, Thomas, of Madison, as a member of the Educational Communications Board, to serve for the term ending May 1, 2013.

Bronston, Carolyn, of Wausau, as a member of the Medical Examining Board, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2012.

Christman, Blane, of Ladysmith, as a member of the Rural Health Development Council, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2012.

Dallas, William, of Medford, as a member of the Professional Standards Council, to serve for the term ending June 30, 2011.

Everson, Diane, of Edgerton, as a member of the Educational Communications Board, to serve for the term ending May 1, 2013

Exo, Karen, of Portage, as a member of the Professional Standards Council, to serve for the term ending June 30, 2012.

Furness, Ian, of Fond du Lac, as a member of the Podiatrists Affiliated Credentialing Board, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2013.

Gaier, John, of Neillsville, as a member of the Professional Standards Council for Teachers, to serve for the term ending June 30, 2012.

Hase, Paula, of Wausau, as a member of the Professional Standards Council for Teachers, to serve for the term ending June 30, 2012.

Heyning, Katy, of Whitewater, as a member of the Professional Standards Council, to serve for the term ending June 30, 2010.

Mulligan, Thomas, of Germantown, as a member of the Professional Standards Council for Teachers, to serve for the term ending June 30, 2012.

Patterson, Leslie, of Greenfield, as a member of the Rural Health Development Council, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2011.

Rambo, Larry, of Waukesha, as a member of the Health Insurance Risk-Sharing Plan Authority, to serve for the term ending May 1, 2011.

Severson, Deborah, of Eau Claire, as a member of the Health Insurance Risk-Sharing Plan Authority, to serve for the term ending May 1, 2012.

Stroede, Jane, of Wisconsin Dells, as a member of the Physical Therapists Affiliated Credentialing Board, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2013.

Swain, Katherine, of Beloit, as a member of the Professional Standards Council, to serve for the term ending June 30, 2011.

Thorman, Michele, of La Crosse, as a member of the Physical Therapists Affiliated Credentialing Board, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2011.

Timmons, Cecelia, of Madison, as a member of the Cemetery Board, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2012.

Eighth Order.         Messages from the Assembly.

QUESTION:            Shall the amendment be concurred in?

Senate Bill 107
. Relating to: the sale, disposal, collection, and recycling of electronic devices, granting rule-making authority, making an appropriation, and providing penalties.  Assembly Amendments 3 and 4 pending

Ninth Order.           Special Orders.

Tenth Order.           Consideration of motions, resolutions, and joint resolutions not requiring a third reading.

QUESTION:            Shall the joint resolution be adopted?

Senate Joint Resolution 47
. Relating to: the second anniversary of WisconsinEye's commencement of broadcast operations. 

QUESTION:            Shall the joint resolution be concurred in?

Assembly Joint Resolution 72
. Relating to: the life and public service of Edward Moore Kennedy. 

Assembly Joint Resolution 73. Relating to: honoring the life of Francisco Rodriguez. 

Senate Joint Resolution 47. Relating to: the second anniversary of WisconsinEye's commencement of broadcast operations

Assembly Joint Resolution 72. Relating to: the life and public service of Edward Moore Kennedy

Assembly Joint Resolution 73. Relating to: honoring the life of Francisco Rodriguez

Eleventh Order.      Second reading and amendments of senate joint resolutions and senate bills.

QUESTION:            Shall the bill be ordered to a third reading?

Senate Bill 17. Relating to: special distinguishing registration plates for certain vehicles owned by members of the national guard and making an appropriation. Senate Amendment 1 pending

Senate Bill 41. Relating to: indoor environmental quality in public and private schools. (Report passage recommended by committee on Education, Ayes 7, Noes 0)

Senate Bill 73. Relating to: the lifetime limit under the Health Insurance Risk-Sharing Plan (Report passage recommended by committee on Health, Health Insurance, Privacy, Property Tax Relief, and Revenue, Ayes 7, Noes 0)

Senate Bill 74. Relating to: health insurance coverage denials for eligibility under the Health Insurance Risk-Sharing Plan. (Report passage recommended by committee on Health, Health Insurance, Privacy, Property Tax Relief, and Revenue, Ayes 7, Noes 0)

Senate Bill 80. Relating to: the Volunteer Health Care Provider Program. (Report adoption of Senate Amendment 1, Ayes 7, Noes 0, passage as amended recommended by committee on Health, Health Insurance, Privacy, Property Tax Relief, and Revenue, Ayes 7, Noes 0) Senate Amendment 1 pending

Senate Bill 87. Relating to: increasing the maximum annual loan amount under the property tax deferral loan program of the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority. (Report passage recommended by committee on Health, Health Insurance, Privacy, Property Tax Relief, and Revenue, Ayes 7, Noes 0)

Senate Bill 103. Relating to: restrictions on the operation of motor vehicles by persons using electronic text messaging devices and providing a penalty (Report adoption of Senate Amendment 2, Ayes 6, Noes 1, passage as amended recommended by committee on Transportation, Tourism, Forestry, and Natural Resources, Ayes 5, Noes 2) Senate Substitute Amendment 1 and Senate Amendment 2 pending

Senate Bill 121. Relating to: requiring the Center on Education and Work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to establish a career conversations program.  (Report passage recommended by committee on Agriculture and Higher Education, Ayes 3, Noes 2)

Senate Bill 154. Relating to: school safety plans, pupil records, and school bullying. (Report passage recommended by committee on Education, Ayes 6, Noes 1)

Senate Bill 162. Relating to: requiring that personal flotation devices be worn by certain underage persons in certain boats. (Report passage recommended by committee on Transportation, Tourism, Forestry, and Natural Resources, Ayes 5, Noes 2)

Senate Bill 163. Relating to: requiring health insurance coverage of colorectal cancer screening and granting rule-making authority (Report adoption of Senate Amendment 1, Ayes 7, Noes 0, passage as amended recommended by committee on Health, Health Insurance, Privacy, Property Tax Relief, and Revenue, Ayes 6, Noes 1) Senate Amendment 1 pending

Senate Bill 182. Relating to: statute of limitations for intentional torts.   (Report passage recommended by committee on Judiciary, Corrections, Insurance, Campaign Finance Reform, and Housing, Ayes 5, Noes 0)

Senate Bill 191. Relating to: podiatrist-patient privilege, immunity exemption for podiatrists providing emergency care at athletic events, allowing podiatrists to determine an illness or injury and complete forms for the purpose of granting assistance to needy veterans, allowing podiatrists to determine disability for the purpose of issuing certain hunting permits, cooperatives organized to provide sickness care, the Podiatrists Affiliated Credentialing Board, allowing podiatrists to certify driver school instructors' physical fitness, allowing Medical Assistance recipients to freely choose among podiatrists, and giving equal weight to certifications of disability by podiatrists for insurance purposes.  (Report passage recommended by committee on Health, Health Insurance, Privacy, Property Tax Relief, and Revenue, Ayes 7, Noes 0)

Senate Bill 198. Relating to: donating drugs and dispensing donated drugs (Report passage recommended by committee on Health, Health Insurance, Privacy, Property Tax Relief, and Revenue, Ayes 7, Noes 0)

Senate Bill 224. Relating to: notice of proposed vacation of certain highways.  (Report passage recommended by committee on Commerce, Utilities, Energy, and Rail, Ayes 7, Noes 0)

Senate Bill 252. Relating to: the duty to stop at the scene of, and to report, a motor vehicle accident (Report passage recommended by committee on Transportation, Tourism, Forestry, and Natural Resources, Ayes 7, Noes 0)

Senate Bill 253. Relating to: traffic control devices used by school safety patrols.  (Report passage recommended by committee on Transportation, Tourism, Forestry, and Natural Resources, Ayes 7, Noes 0)

Senate Bill 264. Relating to: trespass by operators of snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, and other off-road vehicles. (Report adoption of Senate Substitute Amendment 1, Ayes 7, Noes 0, passage as amended recommended by committee on Transportation, Tourism, Forestry, and Natural Resources, Ayes 7, Noes 0)            Senate Amendment 1 to Senate Substitute Amendment 1, and Senate Substitute Amendment 1 pending

Senate Bill 266. Relating to: creating a Nonmotorized Recreation and Transportation Trails Council. (Report passage recommended by committee on Transportation, Tourism, Forestry, and Natural Resources, Ayes 7, Noes 0)

Senate Bill 278. Relating to: U-turns on highways and providing a penalty.  (Report passage recommended by committee on Transportation, Tourism, Forestry, and Natural Resources, Ayes 7, Noes 0)

Senate Bill 280. Relating to: personal liability of officers, directors, and employees of child care providers. (Report passage recommended by committee on Children and Families and Workforce Development, Ayes 5, Noes 0)

Senate Bill 284. Relating to: designating and marking USH 63 as the Gaylord Nelson Highway. (Report passage recommended by committee on Transportation, Tourism, Forestry, and Natural Resources, Ayes 6, Noes 1)

Senate Bill 288. Relating to: Indian child welfare. (Report adoption of Senate Amendment 1, Ayes 5, Noes 0, adoption of Senate Amendment 2, Ayes 5, Noes 0, adoption of Senate Amendment 3, Ayes 5, Noes 0, passage as amended recommended by committee on Children and Families and Workforce Development, Ayes 5, Noes 0) Senate Amendments 1, 2 and 3 pending

Senate Bill 299. Relating to: public disclosure of certain information when child abuse or neglect results in death or serious injury or involves aggravated circumstances or when a child in an out-of-home placement commits suicide or is sexually abused by a caregiver. (Report adoption of Senate Amendment 1, Ayes 5, Noes 0, adoption of Senate Amendment 2, Ayes 5, Noes 0, adoption of Senate Amendment 3, Ayes 5, Noes 0, passage as amended recommended by committee on Children and Families and Workforce Development, Ayes 5, Noes 0)Senate Amendments 1, 2 and 3 pending

Senate Bill 309. Relating to: ratification of the agreement negotiated between the state of Wisconsin and the Association of State Prosecutors for the 2007-09 biennium, covering employees in the assistant district attorneys collective bargaining unit, and authorizing an expenditure of funds.

Senate Bill 310. Relating to: ratification of the agreement negotiated between the state of Wisconsin and the Professional Employees in Research, Statistics, and Analysis, WFT/AFT, AFL-CIO, for the 2007-09 biennium, covering employees in the professional research, statistics, and analysis collective bargaining unit, and authorizing an expenditure of funds.

Senate Bill 311. Relating to: ratification of the agreement negotiated between the state of Wisconsin and the Teaching Assistants' Association, AFT, Local 3220, AFL-CIO, for the 2007-09 biennium, covering employees in the program, project, and teaching assistants of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Wisconsin-Extension collective bargaining unit, and authorizing an expenditure of funds.

Twelfth Order. Second reading and amendments of assembly joint resolutions and assembly bills.

Thirteenth Order.    Third reading of joint resolutions and bills.

Fourteenth Order.   Motions may be offered.

Fifteenth Order.      Announcements, adjournment honors, and remarks under special privilege.

Sixteenth Order.     Adjournment.

Promises that sound too good to be true

Government health care


The news was grim for what many Wisconsin residents felt was a Black Monday, October 5, 2009.

Governor Doyle announced that a little more than three months after BadgerCare Plus was expanded to include low-income adults without dependent children, enrollment in the health care program was being suspended as of noon, October 9, 2009.

Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Karen Timberlake informed me in an e-mail, “The BadgerCare Plus Core Plan, while it has provided health care to many, does have to be budget neutral. This means there is a limit of the number of people that can be on the plan.  Since June 15th, we've received 500-600 applications for this plan every day, which means we will be reaching our budget neutrality limit very quickly.”

Because of the suspension of the enrollment process due to the number of applications exceeding the number of slots, the state has created a waiting list for people to enroll for coverage as space becomes available. Prospective enrollees assuredly had to be stunned.

Governor Doyle was quick to use the development to play politics. At a news conference at St. Mary's Hospital in Madison, Doyle told reporters, "There is no clearer demonstration of the need for national health-care reform - no clearer demonstration - than the overwhelming demand we have seen." What’s more, the governor revealed he would attempt to create a new program within 45 days that contains limits for those on the waiting list.

Fiscal and policy irresponsibility abounds. Some background is in order.

During October 2008, the state reached an agreement with the federal government allowing Wisconsin to become one of the few states in the country to provide health care coverage to low-income eligible adults without children. Wisconsin was, at the time, already making efforts to enroll eligible children in state health programs and allow insurance available to every child in the state. A slumping economy made coming up with the necessary funding problematic.

This summer, the 2009-11 state budget, crafted and approved by legislative Democrats and signed into law by Governor Doyle reduced funding for the state’s Medical Assistance (MA) program by close to $600 million.  Ironically, DHS was instructed to find the necessary savings. I am hearing from medically fragile MA constituents dreadfully concerned about the MA funding reductions and the health care rationing they are expecting as a result of the nearly $600 million funding cut.  Instead, BadgerCare Plus was expanded, and a few months later, enrollment was suspended.

Despite a massive cut to MA in the 2009-11 budget, the state, at the time, made the decision to maintain eligibility standards and benefits for Medicaid and BadgerCare Plus recipients at their current levels.

Follow the political gamesmanship. Governor Doyle promises to put a Rolls Royce under the Christmas tree on a Ford budget. He creates a tremendous demand for residents seeking health care and residents rush forward to enlist. The problem: The state can’t pay for the Rolls-Royce.   Governor Doyle and the democrats promise MA and BadgerCare Plus and cannot pay for either.  However, the Governor seems to believe the federal government can pay for it.  Since he can't keep his promises, he expects others to keep them for him. 

When interest surges far beyond what the state can affordably provide, the governor then pulls the rug out from underneath innocent and unsuspecting citizens. After offering false hope to thousands of health care seekers, what is the governor’s solution? The state will establish another program to offer limited coverage to people who, for now, have had the door shut in their faces and must keep their fingers crossed while on a waiting list. The governor makes another promise: the new program will be created without cost to taxpayers. Do you believe it?

Meanwhile, the governor utilizes this debacle to fuel his crusade for a federal takeover of our health care system. If the governor and legislative Democrats can’t fund state programs, how are Democrats going to pay for $1 trillion-plus national healthcare?

Speak out about your utility rates

 
We Energies has made an application to the Public Service Commission (PSC) to increase its electric, natural gas and steam rates. Wisconsin Gas has applied for an increase in its natural gas rates. Consumers have an opportunity to voice opinions about the proposed rate increases at a PSC public hearing.

The hearing is scheduled Wednesday, October 21, 2009 at 3:00 p.m. at Serb Hall, 5101 W. Oklahoma Avenue in Milwaukee.

I urge customers to attend and express their views.

A good sign for Wisconsin

Legislation


Remember during the 1980’s the Pentagon was paying $500 for a hammer and $1,000 for a toilet seat?

One would have hoped and thought that the federal government had learned its lesson. It may have outdone itself.

America’s landscape is dotted with red, white, blue, green and orange road signs at construction projects paid for by the exorbitant stimulus program. The self-congratulatory signs read, “PUTTING AMERICA TO WORK, Project Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.”


The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act sign on Marietta Parkway in Marietta reportedly costs $1,500, plus $100 for installation. The federal government doesn't require the signs, but they are a GDOT requirement.



If accuracy and straight forwardness was at stake, the signs would simply read, “You taxpayers paid a lot for this project and for this sign, too!”

Here comes the slap in the face to taxpayers. Depending on size and locations, the signs range in cost from a few hundred dollars, that is bad enough, to $4,000.
Talk about sticker shock!

What’s that? You say with all the extensive, widespread construction going on that you have yet to come across one of these signs?  You haven’t seen one and you won’t.

Read more

Lane closures scheduled on I-43/WIS 164 in Waukesha County

News you can use


From the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT):

Lane closures scheduled on I-43/WIS 164 in Waukesha County

In preparation for reconstructing the northbound and southbound I-43 bridge structures over WIS 164 in 2010, some preliminary construction work will begin Monday, Oct. 26, weather permitting, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation announced.

The preliminary construction work, in the Village of Big Bend, will include removing and replacing existing I-43 asphalt shoulders along the median and outside shoulder within the interchange.  That is being done to strengthen the shoulders in order to support traffic loadings during the 2010 bridge reconstruction project, when traffic will be shifted onto the shoulders.  Also as part of the preliminary work this year, some deteriorated sections of the bridge deck surface will be removed and replaced, in order to eliminate existing potholes and to avoid further potholes during the upcoming winter months.

I-43 and the I-43/WIS 164 interchange ramps will be open at all times during the preliminary construction work.  Single lane closures along I-43 will be taking place during the course of project.  These closures will take place during both peak and non-peak hours.  Single lane closures along WIS 164 will also be taking place during peak and nonpeak hours when bridge deck repair operations are taking place.

Motorists should also anticipate delays and, if necessary, find an alternative route. The preliminary construction work will be completed before the Thanksgiving travel weekend. 

Those using the I-43/WIS 164 park and ride lot should be also aware that approximately 15-20 parking spots will be closed for use of construction equipment.

As with all construction work, please slow down and be aware of the potential for lane changes.  Remember that fines double in work zones.

Growing New Berlin business a true success story

Good news from Senate District 28

 

LAZICH, GUNDRUM APPLAUD BUYSEASONS

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I-94 NORTH-SOUTH update: October 26-November 1

News you can use


Here is an update from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) for the I-94 NORTH-SOUTH freeway project:

Monday, OCTOBER 26

Triple Lane Closure I-94 WEST (NB) Rawson to Edgerton 9:30pm – 5:30am

Read more

State Senate calendar for Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Here is the calendar that was released at about 4:00 this afternoon for the state Senate floor session scheduled for Tuesday, October 27, 2009 at 11:00 a.m.:

First Order.                 
Call of Roll.

S
econd Order.             Chief clerk's entries.

Third Order.                 Introduction, first reading and reference of proposals.

Fourth Order.               Report of committees.

Fifth Order.                  Petitions and communications.

Sixth Order.                 Referrals and receipt of committee reports concerning proposed administrative rules.
|
Seventh Order.            Advice and consent of the Senate

Eighth Order.               Messages from the Assembly.

Ninth Order.                 Special Orders.

Tenth Order.                 Consideration of motions, resolutions, and joint resolutions not requiring a third reading.

QUESTION:            Shall the joint resolution be adopted?

Senate Joint Resolution 45. Relating to: calling on the Wisconsin congressional delegation to take action to grandfather preexisting highway weight limits upon the designation of USH 41 as part of the Dwight D. Eisenhower system of interstate and defense highways.  (Report adoption recommended by committee on Transportation, Tourism, Forestry, and Natural Resources, Ayes 7, Noes 0)

Senate Joint Resolution 48. Relating to: the life and military service of Lance Corporal Dean Opicka. 

Senate Joint Resolution 50. Relating to: the life and military service of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jeremy Dale Vrooman. 

Senate Joint Resolution 51. Relating to: proclaiming October 2009 as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 

Senate Joint Resolution 52. Relating to: the life and public service of Ernest Paul Sobotta. 

Eleventh Order.            Second reading and amendments of senate joint resolutions and senate bills.

QUESTION:            Shall the bill be ordered to a third reading?

Senate Bill 93. Relating to: partially exempting an assessor and an assessor's staff from liability for trespassing, creating immunity from civil liability, and changing the notice requirements related to the revaluation of property by an assessor.   (Report adoption of Senate Amendment 1 to Senate Substitute Amendment 1, Ayes 5, Noes 0, adoption of Senate Substitute Amendment 1, Ayes 5, Noes 0, passage as amended recommended by committee on Judiciary, Corrections, Insurance, Campaign Finance Reform, and Housing, Ayes 4, Noes 1) Senate Amendment 1 to Senate Substitute Amendment 1, and Senate Substitute Amendment 1 pending

Senate Bill 132. Relating to: expanding the life of a tax incremental district in the city of Racine. (FE)  (Report adoption of Senate Amendment 1, Ayes 7, Noes 0, passage recommended by committee on Health, Health Insurance, Privacy, Property Tax Relief, and Revenue, Ayes 7, Noes 0) Senate Amendment 1 pending

Senate Bill 147. Relating to: administration of grant funds under the county-tribal cooperative law enforcement program.  By Joint Legislative Council. (Report passage recommended by committee on Judiciary, Corrections, Insurance, Campaign Finance Reform, and Housing, Ayes 5, Noes 0)

Senate Bill 148. Relating to: liability for actions of tribal law enforcement officers when enforcing state laws.  By Joint Legislative Council. (Report adoption of Senate Amendment 1, Ayes 5, Noes 0, passage as amended recommended by committee on Judiciary, Corrections, Insurance, Campaign Finance Reform, and Housing, Ayes 4, Noes 1) Senate Amendment 1 pending

Senate Bill 215. Relating to: a personal property tax exemption for snowmobile clubs. (FE)  (Report adoption of Senate Amendment 1, Ayes 7, Noes 0, adoption of Senate Amendment 2, Ayes 7, Noes 0, adoption of Senate Amendment 3, Ayes 7, Noes 0, passage as amended recommended by committee on Health, Health Insurance, Privacy, Property Tax Relief, and Revenue, Ayes 6, Noes 1) Senate Amendments 1, 2, 3, and Senate Substitute Amendment 1 pending

Senate Bill 242. Relating to: creating separate regulatory requirements for certain future service contracts. (FE)  (Report passage recommended by committee on Small Business, Emergency Preparedness, Technical Colleges, and Consumer Protection, Ayes 5, Noes 0)

Senate Bill 251. Relating to: costs of transporting by ferry an arrested person. (FE) (Report introduction and adoption of Senate Substitute Amendment 1, Ayes 5, Noes 0, passage as amended recommended by committee on Judiciary, Corrections, Insurance, Campaign Finance Reform, and Housing, Ayes 5, Noes 0) Senate Substitute Amendment 1 pending

Senate Bill 262. Relating to: an exemption from recording for time-share licenses.  (Report passage recommended by committee on Transportation, Tourism, Forestry, and Natural Resources, Ayes 7, Noes 0)

Senate Bill 264. Relating to: trespass by operators of snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, and other off-road vehicles.  (Report adoption of Senate Substitute Amendment 1, Ayes 7, Noes 0, passage as amended recommended by committee on Transportation, Tourism, Forestry, and Natural Resources, Ayes 7, Noes 0) Senate Amendment 1 to Senate Substitute Amendment 1, and Senate Substitute Amendment 1 pending

Senate Bill 300. Relating to: certain areas of land subject to managed forest land orders that were part of a parcel of land under single ownership that exceeded 8,000 acres in size. (FE)   (Report adoption of Senate Substitute Amendment 1, Ayes 7, Noes 0, passage as amended recommended by committee on Transportation, Tourism, Forestry, and Natural Resources, Ayes 7, Noes 0) Senate Substitute Amendment 1 pending

Senate Bill 347. Relating to: requiring consultation with a child in determining and reviewing his or her permanency plan; requiring agencies, in making reasonable efforts to place a child in a permanent placement, to include efforts to place the child outside this state; requiring juvenile courts to take certain actions to expedite the interstate placement of children; requiring juvenile courts to give a child's out-of-home care provider the right to be heard in proceedings involving the child; requiring notice to relatives when a child is removed from the home; requiring reasonable efforts to place siblings together or to provide for visitation between siblings; requiring agencies to assist children in developing a plan for transition to independent living; requiring health care providers to report cases of infants with controlled substances in their bodily fluids to the agency responsible for investigating suspected child abuse or neglect; authorizing circuit court commissioners to conduct permanency plan reviews and hearings; specifying certain placements for purposes of calculating how long a child has been placed outside the home for purposes of filing a termination of parental rights petition; and permitting disclosure of information to a relative of a child for purposes of facilitating placement of the child with the relative or to a public or private agency in this state or any other state for purposes of investigating a proposed foster or adoptive placement. (FE)   (Report adoption of Senate Amendment 1, Ayes 5, Noes 0, passage as amended recommended by committee on Children and Families and Workforce Development, Ayes 5, Noes 0) Senate Amendment 1 pending

Senate Bill 361. Relating to: the monthly rates that are paid for foster care; the levels of care that a foster home may provide; licensing of kinship care relatives to operate foster homes and, subject to certain exceptions, time limits on the receipt of kinship care payments; and licensing of foster homes across county lines. (FE)  (Report adoption of Senate Amendment 1, Ayes 5, Noes 0, passage as amended recommended by committee on Children and Families and Workforce Development, Ayes 5, Noes 0) Senate Amendment 1 pending


Twelfth Order.              Second reading and amendments of assembly joint resolutions and assembly bills.

QUESTION:            Shall the bill be ordered to a third reading?

Assembly Bill 8. Relating to: municipal quotas for retail intoxicating liquor licenses. (FE) 

Assembly Bill 153. Relating to: membership of the State Fair Park Board.  (Report concurrence recommended by committee on Transportation, Tourism, Forestry, and Natural Resources, Ayes 7, Noes 0)

Assembly Bill 172. Relating to: requiring instruction in public schools on the history of organized labor in America and the collective bargaining process. (FE)   (Report concurrence recommended by committee on Education, Ayes 5, Noes 2)

Assembly Bill 281. Relating to: the restriction on the amount of phosphorus in certain cleaning agents.  (Report concurrence recommended by committee on Environment, Ayes 5, Noes 0)

Thirteenth Order.          Third reading of joint resolutions and bills.

Fourteenth Order.         Motions may be offered.

Fifteenth Order.            Announcements, adjournment honors, and remarks under special privilege.

Sixteenth Order.           Adjournment.

REMINDER: Should the deer hunting season be extended?


The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board wants public input about a proposal to extend the deer gun hunting season from the current 9-day hunt to 16 days. The season would begin one week earlier. 

The closest location to Senate District 28 that I represent is a hearing October 28, 2009 at Pewaukee that begins at 6:30 p.m. with an informational presentation about the proposed rule followed by public comment at 7:00 p.m.

Written comments can be submitted until November 3, 2009 to:

Keith Warnke
Bureau of Wildlife Management
P.O. Box 7921
Madison, WI  53707

Here is more information about the proposed rule.

Good luck guys!

Good news from Senate District 28


Here are high school football teams from schools in state Senate District 28 that I represent that play tonight in the opening round of the WIAA state football playoffs:


Franklin


Greendale


Greendale Martin Luther


N
ew Berlin West


New Berlin Eisenhower


Waterford


Whitnall


Good luck to all!

UPDATE: Check your electric bill for another new hidden tax

State budget, Taxes


Earlier this month, I wrote about a new tax on electric bills that could go unnoticed by consumers.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has more, including this line:

The utility bill surcharge for district attorneys is required by law to end on June 30, 2011.” 

History is new taxes are extended. Like so many new taxes, they do not sunset. They are extended and in some cases used for other purposes.  

Booster seats for boats

Legislation


I oppose the nanny state.

During May 2006, I wrote the following about a bill the governor signed into law that I voted against that forces parents to put their children under the age of eight in booster seats when they ride in motor vehicles.


“With a stroke of his pen, the Governor expanded the nanny state in Wisconsin by creating an enforcement and logistic nightmare. Under previous Wisconsin law, parents could decide whether their children between the ages of four and eight should be placed in booster seats or seat belts. That was plain old common sense. Under the new law there are several changes.

How are police supposed to enforce this? Will every officer and squad car now be equipped with a scale and a tape measure to determine whether Mom and Dad or Grandpa and Grandma are breaking the law? How are parents expected to know or remember the requirements? Will they have to keep a copy of the law in their glove compartment or tucked under the visor? What are large families to do? Baby seats and booster seats are rather bulky. Imagine trying to squeeze two, three, or four of them into one of the new smaller size cars or vans.”

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