Dear Friends,

It’s outta here! I'm happy to report that this week, a bill I co-authored to eliminate the Brewers stadium tax passed the State Senate. Now it goes to Governor Evers for final approval. I encourage you to give him a call at 608-266-1212 and make sure he signs the bill to end the Brewers Stadium Tax.

That's not all that happened this week. The State Senate unanimously approved two drunk driving bills that I authored with Representative Jim Ott. The Senate also unanimously approved two more important bills I authored. You can read all about them below.

Good luck to the second-ranked Menomonee Falls High School football team as they host number four Brookfield East in the WIAA State Football playoffs tonight. Also, best wishes to the Germantown High School Boys' Volleyball team as they take on Marquette University High School at the WIAA State Tournament in Green Bay this evening. The Warhawks are an impressive 27-5 this season.

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 Sen.Darling@legis.wisconsin.gov.

On, Wisconsin!
Tough OWI Reforms Head to Governor Evers
This week, two tough reforms to Wisconsin's drunk driving laws are headed to Governor Evers' desk.

On Tuesday, the Wisconsin State Senate unanimously approved creating a mandatory minimum five-year sentence for homicides committed while driving under the influence.

Assembly Bill 17 creates a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison for committing homicide while driving drunk. If a judge believes that sentence is too harsh, they are required to put their reasons in writing.

Also this week, both the Senate and Assembly unanimously approved a bill to triple the punishment for 5th and 6th OWI offenses from 6 months to 18 months. Currently, our state isn't experiencing much of a decrease in 5th and 6th OWI offenders. This bill will help get those drivers off the road.

We need to crack down on drunk drivers and get them the help they need. That's why we are investing $13 million in the Treatment Alternatives and Diversion (TAD) program in Wisconsin. This program is an effective way to help people break their addiction. Tougher laws and investments in rehab will make our streets safer. I urge Governor Evers to sign these bills soon.
Senate Rejects Evers' Political Appointee
Wisconsin's government is divided, and I take my role as a check and balance for Governor Evers' administration seriously. When the governor appoints someone who is more interested in playing politics than helping farmers, that was the last straw.

Farming is one of the toughest businesses of all and these are especially tough times for farmers. It became impossible to support his pick when his nominee, Brad Pfaff, put forward rules that will make their jobs even harder and lead to more family farms shutting down.

He also played politics with funding meant to help prevent farmer suicides. Pfaff dragged his feet for weeks to provide important information to a suicide prevention task force, and instead released that information to the media.

Our farmers deserved better than this, which is why I voted to not confirm Brad Pfaff.
Safe Harbor Bill Approved
The ugly truth is that children all across our state are being trafficked for sex. All 72 counties are reporting cases of trafficking and Milwaukee is considered a hub for the crime.

On Tuesday, the State Senate unanimously approved my bi-partisan legislation to protect victims of sex trafficking. The Safe Harbor Act will make sure trafficked children won’t be charged for crimes they were forced to commit. 

Under current law, an individual who is under the age of 18 cannot legally consent to sexual relations. Despite that, minors who have been forced into having sexual relations because of trafficking can still be prosecuted for prostitution. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have passed similar bills to protect victims.

The monsters who force children into sex trafficking will no longer be able to use the threat of prosecution for prostitution as a way to keep kid in a cycle of abuse. This simple change to the law is vital to ensuring that children who have been sex trafficked are recognized as victims, not criminals.

The bill now heads to the State Assembly for further action.
Senate Approves Change to Increase Access to Healthcare
This week, the State Senate and State Assembly unanimously approved my bill to help encourage more physicians, dentists, and healthcare professionals to work in free and charitable clinics. 

Those clinics are an important safety net for uninsured and under-insured people in our state. Wisconsin has more than 100 free and charitable clinics serving more than 150,000 people a year. It's crucial that these clinics be staffed with quality health professionals.

Currently, health care professionals are eligible for loan assistance if they agree to serve in rural or "eligible practice areas" which are tribal lands or areas with primary care or mental health shortages defined by federal law.

My bill expands the loan assistance program to areas with free and charitable clinics. This simple change should encourage more professionals to work at these clinics which will lead to more people being treated.
Blue Books Available
Wisconsin is Still Winning!
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