Dear Friends,

Breaking news: The U.S. smashed predictions and added 266,000 jobs in November. Also, the national unemployment rate fell to a 50-year low of 3.5%! The robust job market is driving wages up. Average hourly earnings climbed 3.1% from 2018. That's great news!

There's also great news in our area. We are blessed with great schools. This week we celebrated Marcy Elementary in Menomonee Falls earning an achievement that only 1% of schools ever attain. You can see read more about that 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!
Teletown Hall
Thank you to everyone who took part in my Teletown Hall on Wednesday evening.

We had a great discussion on what's been happening in the Legislature including getting tougher drunk driving bills enacted into law.

I'd also like to thank everyone who took part in our poll questions. In case you missed it, here are the results.

Is Wisconsin headed in the right direction?

Yes: 61%
No: 39%

Are you optimistic about Wisconsin's economy?

Yes: 78%
No: 22%

For those of you with school-aged children, is your school district doing a good job?

Yes: 67%
No: 33%

I hope to have another Teletown hall in early 2020. I hope to hear from you then!
Improving the Wisconsin GI Bill
On Wednesday, a bill I authored to allow the GI Bill to be used to attend private, non-profit institutions received a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Universities, Technical Colleges, Children and Families.

Our veterans bravely served this nation and bring leadership and value to our communities. This bill gives vets more options to continue their education here and find a job after they complete their degree in Wisconsin.

Under Senate Bill 537, veterans would receive a grant of up to $2,000 per semester or session directed toward tuition. Any participating institution would be required to provide a matching grant to the student. The Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities estimates my bill could assist more than 700 veterans.

Thank you to all the great Wisconsin veterans who testified in favor of this bill and to Wisconsin State Senator Dale Kooyenga for holding the public hearing!
Encouraging Adoption
Also on Wednesday, the Senate committee heard two bills i authored to encourage adoption I authored, including one I am working on with Representative Barb Dittrich of Oconomowoc.

Changing homes is very traumatic for kids. They lose the brief stability they had, often switch schools, and need to learn a new daily routine. Foster parents should have standing in courts when determining a change in placements for kids who have been part of their family for more than six months.
  
Senate Bill 532 allows foster parents to be a party in a proceeding in a change in placement case for children who have been with the foster parent for over 6 months. On average, foster kids go through 2.5 changes in placement. According to the Department of Public Instruction, 34% of 17 and 18-year-olds in the child welfare system experience five or more school changes. Students lost 4-6 months of academic progress with each change. 
  
Senate Bill 533 will expand eligibility for adoption assistance to include children over seven years old or with one sibling. Under current law, families are eligible for adoption assistance for a child over 10 years of age or with a sibling group of three or more. This change will help more foster youth find permanency with an adoptive family. 
  
This bill will help more foster youth find permanency, keep siblings together, and aid adoptive families. Too many Wisconsin kids are aging out of care. As a state, we need to do more to help kids find permanency. This bill helps adoptive parents to take on complex adoptions for our kids who need loving homes.
Grafton Business Round-Table
Wisconsin is Still Winning!
Did you know?
Blue Books Available
Capitol Christmas Tree
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in your beautiful State Capitol in Madison. The official state Christmas tree is lit up and has ornaments made by school children from throughout Wisconsin!
Around the 8th...
Celebrating Success!
Congratulations to Principal Michelle Trawicki and everyone at Marcy Elementary School in Menomonee Falls!

On Tuesday, I attended a celebration of both Marcy Elementary being named a National Blue Ribbon School. Only 1% of schools in the nation ever achieve that status.

We also celebrated Principal Trawicki earning the honor of National Distinguished Principal!

Representative Janel Brandtjen and I were honored to be there.
Office Hours with Dan Knodl
Join Representative Dan Knodl and I as we hold office hours in the Village of Germantown.

Date: December 10, 2019
Time: 8:30am to 9:30am
Location: Latitudes Café - W156N9636 Pilgrim Road Germantown, WI 53022

I will be holding more office hours in the coming weeks. Times and locations will be in future e-updates. We hope to see you there!
Click the picture above for more information.