Dear Friends,

This week, the budget-writing Joint Committee on Finance focused on creating opportunities for success for everyone in our state.  

During the budget, Republicans made a historic $11.5 billion investment in K-12 education funding.  This week, the Joint Committee on Finance followed up that investment with another $6.45 million to make sure low-spending and rural districts aren't left behind.  The bill now heads to the floors of both the Senate and Assembly.
 
We also took up several bills that reform our foster care system to give foster children have a better chance at success.  We passed bills to help foster kids have more stability in their life and continue their education past high school.  These bills can have a real impact on their future. 

To encourage more employers to hire our nation's veterans, we approved a bill to create the Hire Heroes program. This bill connects unemployed veterans with jobs and supplements their wages for up to six months.  It is our duty to make sure the brave men and women who defend our freedoms are given every opportunity to succeed when they come home. 
 
Another vote I am proud of is to restore funding for the Historic Tax Credit to make sure more communities have the opportunity to revitalize their communities. Many downtowns throughout Wisconsin owe their revitalization to the Historic Tax Credit.  It's a low risk - high return program because the state doesn't pay until the project is complete. Studies show the Historic Tax Credit delivers $8 for every $1 invested.  Instead of being an eyesore, these rehabilitated historic buildings are getting a new life and are popular destinations.  

That's just a quick summary.  If you click on the video below, I have more highlights from this week.

As always, if you have any ideas on how to improve our great state, please do not hesitate to contact me by email at  Sen.Darling@legis.wi.gov or call me at 608-266-5830.   

On, Wisconsin!

Budget Committee Delivers Opportunities

The Joint Committee on Finance passed some important bills.  Please click on the above video for a run down of Thursday's meeting.
First Meeting as Chair of Universities and Technical Colleges Committee
This week was the first meeting of the Senate Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges since I took over as chair. 

Senator LaTonya Johnson of Milwaukee and Representative Joel Kleefisch of Oconomowoc testified on their important bill to train truck drivers to recognize the signs of human trafficking and report it to police.  I'm happy to report ou r committee approved their bill unanimously.
#NotifyMeNow
Senator Darling, Dr. Nancy Capello, Gail Zeamer, Anne Zellner, and Representative Rohrkaste testify in favor of #NotifyMeNow legislation

On Tuesday, I joined these cancer survivors and Representative Mike Rohrkaste of  Neenah to testify in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee in favor of our #NotifyMeNow legislation.  Our bill requires facilities that perform mammograms to provide a breast density notification with the results of their mammogram .

Nearly 40% of women have dense breast tissue. Dense breast tissue can makes it harder to detect tumors in a mammogram and is itself a risk factor for breast cancer.  Cancer turns up five times more often in women with extremely  dense breast tissue.  Early detection is the key to treating and surviving breast cancer. 

As a cancer survivor, I know how important early detection can be.   This bill will ensure that women in Wisconsin understand their test results and can begin detecting breast cancer as early as possible. With this information, women will be able to proactively discuss their options with their healthcare providers. 

Wisconsin would be the 32nd state in the nation to create a breast density notification law. We are moving closer to that happening.  Now it's available for a vote in the full State Senate.                           

  Making Sure Children in Need Have Access to Mental Health Care   

Also on Tuesday,  I joined Representative Amy Loudenbeck of Clinton  to testify in favor of Senate Bill 737 which will help make sure kids can get mental health treatment when their parents or guardians can't be found.

One young lady named Alyssa testified about the difficulty she had in receiving the help she needed quickly.  I am especially proud of the incredible courage Alyssa showed while telling her story to two legislative committees.  It's my hope this bill will help other kids in similar situations get the care they need.
Attracting and Retaining New Workers
Wisconsin's recent pitch to draw more millennials to our state

Wisconsin is already seeing additional benefits from the Foxconn deal.  This week,  the electronic giant announced it would purchase a seven-story building in downtown Milwaukee to be their new headquarters.  This is a bonus to the $10 billion facility in Mount Pleasant.  

Wisconsin is in a great position. We have landed major employers who picked our state because of the reforms we passed, but we have a labor shortage.  Our state is at near full-employment with thousands of jobs available.   We need to let more people know about the amazing turnaround in our state, the opportunities available, and great way of life we have here in Wisconsin.  That's why  the Joint Committee on Finance, which I co-chair, passed a bill to provide $6.8 million to attract and retain workers for Wisconsin.  

It's important to remember that we are still in competition with other states for workers and states like Michigan, New York, and Kentucky are  aggressively  advertising for workers too.  We can't let up now!  

 

Wisconsin Proud!

  • Thanks to careful budgeting, our surplus is projected to grow $137.5 million to $385.2
  • Our Rainy Day Fund is $284.1 Million

  • Wisconsin's unemployment rate of 3 percent ranks 8th lowest nationally. 
  • Wisconsin ranked 13th highest nationally in year-over-year in number of private sector jobs added.
Around the 8th...

Good luck to "Team Kraken Pinion."  They are a robotics club from Homestead High School and are currently ranked number one in the world!  They will be competing in the state robotics competition on February 10th.  
 
Channel 12 did a fantastic feature on "Team Kraken Pinion."  Click on the above video to watch it.
______________________________________________________________________


Senator Alberta Darling | Sen.Darling@legis.wi.gov | 1-800-863-1113| http://darling.senate.wisconsin.gov
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