Dear Friends,

Congratulations to our Milwaukee Brewers! They are playoff bound again. The last time our Crew made it to the playoffs in consecutive years was 1981 and 1982. Hopefully, they can wrap up the division this weekend. Good luck and Go Brewers!

There's also great news this week for taxpayers! The non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau announced taxpayers will have saved $13 billion in taxes by 2021! Not long ago, Wisconsin was in the top 10 highest taxed states in the nation. Now we are out of the top ten and headed even lower. According to the Wisconsin Policy Forum, the tax burden is at its lowest point in 50 years.

Even after tax cuts, we continue to fund our schools at historic levels, balance the budget, and grow our economy. Thanks to our reforms, we started the recent budget with $1.8 billion more than previously estimated. Republicans also stopped Governor Evers from hiking taxes by more than $1 billion.

Wisconsin is on solid economic ground because we lived within our means, reformed government, and cut taxes. Our work won’t stop here. I will always look for ways to protect the taxpayers of Wisconsin.

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!
Committee Approves Tougher Drunk Driving Bills
Wisconsin is a step closer to safer roads. On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety unanimously approved six bills I authored with State Representative Jim Ott to help curb drunk driving. 

There were approximately 22,000 convictions for drunken driving offenses in Wisconsin in 2017. While we are making progress on curbing drunk driving in our state, I hope these bills will help deter everyone from getting behind a wheel after drinking. For too long, we’ve looked the other way and protected drunk drivers from their crimes. These bills will help change that attitude. The six bills passed by the committee should help lower the number of drunk driving offenses.

Senate Bill 6 Our state isn’t experiencing much of a decrease in 5th and 6th OWI offenders. Currently, OWI offenders in this category are required to be incarcerated for at least six months. It is my hope Senate Bill 6 will deter individuals from getting behind the wheel intoxicated by increasing the mandatory minimum to 18 months in prison. With the expansion of treatment and diversion programs and other alternatives, it is my hope that Senate Bill 6 will never have to be used.

Senate Bill 7 / Assembly Bill 15 makes first-time drunk driving offenders appear in court. Not only is a first-time offense not a crime in our state, but offenders also don't even have to show up to face the charge. 

Senate Bill 8 / 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 must put their reasons in writing. 

Senate Bill 345 addresses a tactic used to delay prosecution, sometimes resulting in a prior charge being dropped or a pending case being improperly charged. This legislation fixes that problem by increasing the statute of limitations for OWI arrests and prosecutions, from two years to three years for a first offense, and from three years to six years for the second and third offense. This would decrease the incentive for offenders to delay prosecution to prevent proper charging, and help our justice system operate more effectively.

The bills now head to the full State Senate for further consideration.
Darling Named 2019 Legislator of the Year by Mothers Against Drunk Driving
I'd like to thank Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) for naming me their 2019 Legislator of the Year.

I am proud of the work we are making on curbing drunk driving in our state. With six OWI bills passing out of committee this week, we are a step closer in making our roads safer.
Bipartisan Bills Target Sex Trafficking
Experts say our state is a hub for sex trafficking, but two bills I support aim to change that. These bipartisan bills will help protect victims of sex trafficking and get them the resources they need. Both bills were approved in Senate committees on Wednesday.

I authored Senate Bill 49, known as the Safe Harbor law, to 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 trafficked can still be prosecuted for prostitution. Senator Darling says her bill will encourage children to come forward to law enforcement.

The people who force children into sex trafficking will no longer be able to use the threat of prosecution for prostitution as a way to keep them 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.

Senate Bill 25 will assist truck drivers in identifying sex trafficking. All 72 counties in Wisconsin have reported incidents of human trafficking. I am the lead Senate Republican on this bill authored by State Senator LaTonya Johnson of Milwaukee, It will help train truck drivers to recognize the signs of human trafficking. 

Sex trafficking isn’t a rural or an urban problem, it’s a statewide issue. Truckers often find themselves on the front lines of where trafficking happens. This bill will help them recognize these crimes and contact law enforcement so it can be stopped.

Both bills are now available for a vote in the full State Senate.
Local Teen Testifies on Suicide Prevention
Congratulations to TJ who is a teen from our area. He shared his story at the Speaker's Task Force on Suicide Prevention this week.

Click on TJ's picture to see a documentary from Milwaukee PBS called "Kids in Crisis" which features TJ and several other teens who have dealt with mental health challenges.
September is Suicide Prevention Month
Wisconsin is Still Winning!
Did you know?
Around the 8th...
I'm hoping to hear from you! Next Tuesday, I will be holding another Teleforum. I look forward to listening to your concerns and answering your questions.
Click above for more information.