Dear Friends,

There is another sign that Wisconsin's economy isn't slowing down at all. This week, Amazon announced the top ten states with the fastest growing small and medium-sized businesses. Wisconsin is ranked number nine on the list!

This is just the latest sign that Wisconsin's economy is booming, and the numbers back it up. Not only is our gross domestic product ranked number two in the Midwest and number 17 in the nation, but we are on our 14th straight month of unemployment at or below 3%.

On Thursday, the budget-writing, Joint Committee on Finance took a major step in protecting our economy. Republicans eliminated Governor Evers' billion dollar tax hikes. Higher taxes will return our state to the high unemployment and companies fleeing our state. You can read more about how we protected taxpayers below.

Congratulations to our Milwaukee Bucks who are in the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since the 2000-2001 season! The conference finals begin next Wednesday, May 15th in Milwaukee. The Bucks will play the winner of the series between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Toronto Raptors. Go Bucks!

As always, if you have any concerns or ideas on how to improve our great state, please do not hesitate to contact me by phone at 608-266-5830 or by email at .

On, Wisconsin!
Governor Evers' Tax Hikes Eliminated
Republicans are continuing to put taxpayers first. This week, we started the budget process by removing more than $1 billion in tax hikes the governor demanded in his budget.  Wisconsin's economy is in great shape right now, and the governor's tax hikes could jeopardize that success.

Our careful budgeting and reforms led to more than $2 billion in available revenues. There is simply no reason to raise taxes. We will make significant investments in shared priorities, but we will do it by living within our means. Our budget will be responsible, sustainable, and funded with the money we already have on hand.

We will also prevent the governor from removing many reforms which helped Wisconsin prosper over the last eight years. Those reforms worked and our economy proves it. Wisconsin is on its 14th straight month of unemployment at or below 3%. In 2018, we had the highest GDP growth since 2010. Our budget will make sure Wisconsin keeps moving forward.
Step Therapy Bill Advances
This week, a bill I authored with State Representative John Nygren to reform step therapy received unanimous support from two committees. Both the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services and the Assembly Committee on Health approved the bill unanimously.

In an attempt to lower costs, patients are often required to go through what is called "step therapy." Patients are forced to try a drug or a therapy that their doctor didn't prescribe. Unfortunately, step therapy often ignores a patient's medical history and creates red tape that blocks patients from receiving the best healthcare for them. 

While insurers often have an exemption process from step therapy protocols, it can be unclear and results in an unnecessary back and forth between the patient, doctor, and insurance company; all of which delays care.

Our legislation creates common-sense exemptions for step therapy: 

  1. The patient already tried the drug and it failed.
  2. The required drug is expected to be ineffective based on the known clinical characteristics of the patient and the known characteristics of the prescription drug regimen.
  3. The patient is stable on a prescription drug selected by their health care provider for the medical condition under consideration while on their current or previous health insurance or health benefit plan.
  4. The required prescription drug is contraindicated or will likely cause an adverse reaction by or physical or mental harm to the patient.

With unanimous support from two committees, it is my hope our step therapy bill will be voted on by both houses soon. 
Home Dialysis Bill Approved
Wisconsin is a step closer to removing red tape that makes it more expensive and difficult to get supplies for home dialysis. This week, the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services unanimously approved my bill to make some common sense changes so that people can get the products they need at a lower cost.

Dialysis is a lifesaving treatment for Wisconsinites with advanced kidney disease. Right now, government red tape is adding to the costs for home dialysis. Unnecessary government regulations are increasing costs to Wisconsin patients. This bill removes a burden that lays between patients and their healthcare which will begin to lower costs for patients.

Many patients with end-stage renal disease receive their supplies for in-home dialysis directly from a distribution center. Current law requires dialysis distribution centers to staff a pharmacist, even though the centers only ship pre-packaged dialysis products to patients. The legislation exempts distribution centers from being forced to obtain a pharmacist license if they meet common-sense safety requirements.  

My hope is that this important, life-saving bill will be voted on next week in front of the full State Senate.
Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony
On Friday, law enforcement officers from throughout Wisconsin gathered at the State Capitol to honor two fallen officers.

The names of Officer Charles G. Irvine, Jr. and Officer Michael J. Michalski will be added to the Law Enforcement Memorial outside the State Capitol. Both served with the Milwaukee Police Department. You can click on the picture above to learn more about these heroes.

Thank you to all who serve to protect us.
Kids at the Capitol & Page for a Day Programs
The Wisconsin State Senate is offering two exciting opportunities for kids who want to learn more about state government.

For kids aged 6-11, the Senate is offering "Kids at the Capitol." It's a half-day program that gives them an up-close look at how state government works.

Students in middle or high school may be interested in the "Page for a Day Program." Our pages help make the Senate operate smoothly. Students will learn what it is like to work in the Capitol and may spend some time in a Senate office.

For more information on these programs, click on the picture above.
Around the 8th...
Optimist Club Kids Fishing Derby Saturday
The Optimist Club of Menomonee Falls will hold their annual Kids Catch and Release Fishing Derby on Saturday from 9:00 am - 12:30 pm at Mill Pond Park Main & Grand Streets in Menomonee Falls. Click on the picture above for more details.
Click on the picture for more information.