Dear Friends,

Last week, I told you about my bill that will make sure our school children are taught about the Holocaust. I'm excited to tell you that the bill is introduced with 45 co-sponsors from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle! It was assigned to committees in the Senate and the Assembly. It's my hope we will soon have a public hearing on the bill. If you'd like to read more about this bill, The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle wrote a story about it earlier this week.

It was another busy week in Madison. On Tuesday, Vice President Pence came to Madison to celebrate 30 years of school choice in Wisconsin. It was the first time a sitting Vice President spoke inside our State Capitol. I was honored to be a part of that celebration and to be interviewed by The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty as part of their School Choice Week coverage.

I testified in favor of several bills I authored which protect patient rights, invest in water research, and work to better prepare kids for school. Also, Governor Evers signed one of my bills to help end homelessness in our state. You can read about that and a whole lot more below.

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!
Vice President Rallies for School Choice

On Tuesday, hundreds of school children in the choice program came to our State Capitol to celebrate School Choice Week!

We were joined by Vice President Mike Pence and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. It was an amazing event!

Since 2011, we have quadrupled the number of programs, tripled the number of schools, and doubled the number of students in the choice program.

School choice also has a big impact on our economy. According to a study from the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, the growth of school choice could lead to $3.2 billion in economic benefits!

It's more than just numbers though, school choice changes lives. Please take a moment and read this amazing story about Kenya. She went from struggling in Milwaukee Public Schools to succeeding in a choice school.

I had a great time at the rally and you can experience it too by clicking on the picture!
Governor Signs Bill to Address the Homeless
On Tuesday, Governor Tony Evers signed Assembly Bill 119 which I authored with Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke of Kaukauna.

Our bill will help fund and renovate homeless shelters throughout the state by giving them a 50% bump in funding. Emergency shelters are a crucial safety net in our state.

Shelters will also have the opportunity to earn performance bonuses for successfully transitioning homeless people into permanent housing.

In 2018, 18,197 people stayed in an emergency shelter. Hopefully, this additional funding will help get more people off the streets and on the road to success.
Making Wisconsin the Silicon Valley of Water
What if Wisconsin became the "Silicon Valley of Water?" On Wednesday, Representative Todd Novak of Dodgeville and I testified in favor of a bill we authored that could make Wisconsin a world-wide leader in water research.

Our bill is one of the recommendations of the bipartisan Speaker's Task Force on Water Quality, which Representative Novak chairs. The task force held 14 hearings throughout Wisconsin and heard from hundreds of citizens. One issue that kept coming up was investing in water research.

It's my hope this legislation will make Wisconsin a world leader in water research and solutions that lead to safe drinking water.

Water is the fastest-growing sector of the world's economy. It's expected to have an impact of $800 billion every year by 2035.
Increasing Convictions by Protecting Witnesses
Protecting crime victims and witnesses will lead to more convictions and make sure criminals can't intimidate their way to a mistrial. On Thursday, I testified in the Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety with Wisconsin State Representative Dan Knodl.

Dan and I are working on three bills that will make sure witnesses feel safe and are more comfortable with testifying.

The first bill makes any attempt to intimidate a victim of domestic abuse a Class G felony. The other two bills give the courts additional options to conduct victim or witness testimony via video-conferencing or through deposition if there's a reasonable belief that they may have been intimidated or are at risk of not cooperating fully due to intimidation.

Too often criminals are let off the hook because witnesses are too scared to testify. These bills will get more criminals off the street because witnesses and victims will be protected.
Preparing Kids Before They Go to School
Recently, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction announced some sad news. More than 60% of our students are not proficient in reading or math.

On Tuesday, I testified in front of the Senate Education Committee in favor of a bill I am working on with Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt of Fond du Lac that will better prepare kids for learning.

Our bill will create a pilot program for an online early learning program. Students who start school without basic skills are more likely to drop out and never graduate from college. With some online help, more kids will get a chance to succeed.
Protecting Patients
Genetic testing is much more than finding your ancestry. Now, it is an important way to evaluate risk for inherited diseases.

Currently in Wisconsin, there is no requirement for genetic counselors to hold a state-issued license. With the demand for genetic counseling growing, it is crucial that Wisconsin join the other 23 states that have implemented a licensing requirement for genetic counseling. 

On Thursday, I testified with State Representative David Steffen of Green Bay on our bill to require oversight of genetic counseling. Having the state regulate genetic counseling, like we currently do for other health care providers, will ensure patients and their information will be protected and counselors will be properly trained.

Under this bill, genetic counselors are added in the definition of “health care provider” and a person who practices genetic counseling is required to be licensed by a seven-member genetic counselors affiliated credentialing board. In addition, our bill requires the board to create rules that define the standards for practice of genetic counseling and permits the board to define the scope of practice for genetic counseling.

The United States is the world leader in providing genetic counseling services to individuals and families who are at risk of or are suffering from genetic disorders or genetic-related birth defects. These advisory services are critical in the medical field, and are performed by highly-skilled, post-graduate scientists with a degree in genetic counseling. Our bill will help maintain high standards for the industry.

I'd like to thank all of the genetic counseling students and teachers who attended the hearing and brought their expertise to the discussion.
Wisconsin is Still Winning!
Blue Books Available
Around the 8th...
It was great to see Anne Luckey in the State Capitol this week! Anne is from our area and was visiting Madison to support making Colby the state cheese.

Anne's son Michael also works in the Capitol. Thanks for taking time to say hello!
It was great to talk to medical students and doctors from our area on Thursday!

As many of you know, my husband Bill was a physician. I really enjoyed talking with our future doctors!
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