Dear Friends,

Breaking news: Last month, the U.S. economy added 136,000 new jobs. Our national economy remains strong and the nation's unemployment rate is at its lowest since December of 1969. Here in Wisconsin, we are also seeing positive economic signs.

The Wisconsin Department of Revenue released their quarterly economic outlook in September. The good news is that both the Wisconsin and U.S. economies continue to grow in 2019.  

Here are some of the highlights of the report:

  • Wisconsin’s unemployment rate has been consistently below the national rate since 2008 and is predicted to stay around 2.9% between 2019 and 2022.  

  • Consumer confidence is close to an all-time high.

  • Personal income in Wisconsin grew by 4% in 2018 and is projected to continue growth above 4% through 2021.  

You can read the full forecast here.

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!
TeleTown Hall
Thank you to everyone who joined my Teletown Hall on Wednesday evening. I really enjoyed talking with you and answering your questions.

I was very glad to hear from people interested in fighting drunk driving in our state. I'm happy to report we are making progress and hopefully will pass my bills soon.

I also want to thank everyone who took part in our poll questions. In case you missed it, here are the final results from those questions.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimates the tuition freeze has saved the average student more than $6,000 compared to the ten year trend. Do you support continuing the tuition freeze?

Yes: 78%
No: 22%

Is Wisconsin on the right track or the wrong track?

Right track: 55%
Wrong track: 45%

In the state budget, we invested more money in K-12 education than ever before. Do you believe our current K-12 system is adequately preparing our students?

Yes: 0%
No: 100%

What do you think is the biggest issue facing Wisconsin?

High taxes: 22%
Workforce shortage: 0%
Health care costs: 33%
Criminal justice reform: 22%
Other: 22%

Don't worry if I missed you, I hope to do another Teletown Hall in the future. I look forward to hearing from you.
Joint Finance Committee Approves More Funding for Suicide Hotline
This week, the Joint Committee on Finance made an important investment in suicide prevention in our state.

We are investing $220,000 for a text-based hotline to help people in crisis. We also asked the Center for Suicide Awareness to provide a report on all suicide prevention efforts in Wisconsin.

I am committed to preventing suicides and I believe this is a big step in that direction.
Putting More Money in Classrooms
State Representative Mary Felzkowski and I come from very different parts of Wisconsin, but together we are working on legislation that could benefit every school district in the state and make sure more money goes directly into classrooms.

Last summer, I was part of the Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding. The commission was a bipartisan task force with input from educators, superintendents, and administrators from throughout Wisconsin.

Things like IT costs, HR directors, and administrators often mean less money for the classrooms. Our bill will create incentives for school districts to streamline their administrative costs by sharing those services with other units of government or school districts.

We are also working on a bill that will allow school districts to engage in "whole grade sharing." Some school districts find they don't have enough students to fill a class for a grade level. Our bill would encourage different districts to swap grade levels when needed by creating a financial incentive of $150 per student.

We hope that school districts in both rural and urban areas can benefit from these changes and make sure more money goes directly to teaching children.
Freshwater Water Science Tour
On Monday, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos joined me for a tour of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee's School of Freshwater Science. I wanted to give the Speaker a chance to see the amazing work they are doing at UWM.

Speaker Vos created a task force to look at water quality throughout Wisconsin. I believe UWM can be a big factor in improving our drinking water. In fact, it's my hope we can help UWM make our state world-renowned for water science. I'm working on legislation to make a major investment in water research in our state.

Click on the picture to see how the School of Freshwater Science is making a difference.

I'd like to thank UWM Chancellor Mark Mone and everyone at the School of Freshwater Sciences for taking time for the tour.
WTMJ 2020
On Monday, I had the honor of being a part of 620 AM WTMJ's 2020 program hosted by Steve Scaffidi.

I joined the political panel with Wisconsin State Representative Robin Vos, Representative Gordon Hintz, and Representative Kalan Haywood.

We had a lively discussion on several topics. Click on the picture to watch the discussion on WisconsinEye.
Wisconsin is Still Winning!
Did you know?
Around the 8th...
Maple Dale Elementary in Fox Point visited the State Capitol this week.
Click above for more information.