Dear Friends,

Our state's unemployment rate is at the lowest rate ever! In February, the rate dipped to 2.9%. That's a lot lower than the national rate of 4.1%. And the good news doesn't stop there.

Wisconsin ended the 2017 fiscal year with the largest rainy day fund balance ever at $238 million. Thanks to Republicans' careful budgeting and a growing economy, our surplus has grown. But it's not our money, it's yours. That's why I voted to send a large portion back to you with a $100 per child tax rebate and to create a sales tax holiday. This is in addition to the $8 billion in tax relief we've already delivered to you. During the two-day holiday in early August, state sales tax can be waived on clothing items that cost less than $75, computers that cost less than $750, computer supplies that cost less than $250, and school supplies that cost less than $75. 

On Tuesday, we also approved Governor Walker’s school safety proposal. The Governor’s plan invests more than $100 million in grants to districts for security improvements to school buildings, school resource officers, and training opportunities. The same plan was passed by the State Assembly on Thursday.

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 .

On, Wisconsin!
Wisconsin's Unemployment Rate at Record Low
Wisconsin’s economy continues to shine. In February, our state had the lowest unemployment rate ever recorded. Wisconsin’s labor participation rate is ranked 5th in the nation. Our economic turnaround is one of the great stories in the country.

Back in 2010, our unemployment rate was 9.3%, taxes were rising, and businesses were leaving our state. Thanks to our reforms and common-sense budgeting by Governor Walker and Republicans, Wisconsin is open for business. Our new record-low unemployment rate is just another example of our turnaround.

Our booming economy means more Wisconsinites are working and winning for their families. Coupled with $8 billion in tax cuts since 2011, more dollars are in the pockets of hardworking Wisconsin families for invest in their future. Major employers are taking notice and relocating to Wisconsin. Our future is very bright!
Senate Session
Schools will be safer, families will see real tax relief, and more people will have opportunities to succeed. 

I’m proud of the many bi-partisan bills we passed on Tuesday. I’ve always tried to work on bills that solve real problems people in our state face. This session, my colleagues and I were able to work together to tackle real issues and find solutions.

Click on the video above for more about the many reforms we passed this week.
Senate Approves Darling Bills
Also on Tuesday, the State Senate also passed seven bills I authored. I'm happy to report each one received unanimous support!

Don't believe the stories that we can't get things done. It's not true! The vast majority of bills we pass have bi-partisan support. We are working together to make Wisconsin an even better state to live, work, raise a family, and to retire.

Here is a summary of my bills that passed this week:

  • Senate Bill 344 - The Senate approved this bi-partisan bill that protects minors who are victims of sex trafficking from prosecution.
  • Assembly Bill 907 - The Senate unanimously approved this bill that is part of the HOPE agenda, and takes important steps to remove unnecessary obstacles for mental health professionals. We need more of them throughout our state- especially in rural areas 
  • Senate Bill 680 - The Senate approved legislation that will ensure the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts will continue to be a gathering place for those looking to enjoy culturally diverse experiences and reforms the Milwaukee Mental Health Board.
  • Assembly Bill 809 - The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) helps people realize their dreams. The Senate approved my bill to help WHEDA make more dreams come true. Along with technical changes, it will help more first-time home buyers afford their down payment.
  • Assembly Bill 829 - Jobs are a proven way to reduce recidivism. Many people with criminal records are ineligible for occupational licenses. This means family-supporting careers are off limits to them. My bill allows ex-offenders to get a review and a chance at a certificate to get employed.
  • Assembly Bill 848 - The Senate approved this bill to help make sure kids can get mental health treatment when their parents or guardians can't be found.
  • Assembly Bill 871 - This bill will help keep health care costs down and improve the health of Medicaid patients. By reducing emergency department visits, costs to our state's Medicaid expenditures will go down. 
Disability Advocacy Day in the Capitol
On Tuesday, I had a great meeting with constituents for Disability Advocacy Day. We talked about how we eliminated the waiting list for long-term supports for disabled children in the budget.

Disability Rights Wisconsin has a new Family Friendly Guide to Services for Milwaukee County Special Needs Children and Youth and their Families. Click on the link to download a copy.
Wisconsin Proud!
  • Wisconsin's unemployment rate of 2.9% for the month of February is the lowest ever.
  • Our state has the largest rainy day fund balance ever at $238 million.
  • Wisconsin's labor force participation rate ranks 5th highest nationally.
  • Continuing unemployment claims in Wisconsin ended 2017 at their lowest level since 1973.
  • Wisconsin taxpayers have saved $8 billion over the last eight years thanks to Republican tax cuts.
  • State funding for K-12 education reached an all-time high in actual dollars in the most recent state budget - $11.5 billion!
Around the 8th...
Congratulations to Team Kraken Pinion, robotics club from Homestead High School, who won in the 11-state North Super Regional in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

They now head to the World Championships in Detroit at the end of April. The event features 128 teams from around the globe and draws 40,000 fans. Good luck!
Congratulations to Scott Walter for being named Elementary Principal of the Year by the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators. Scott is the principal at Riverside Elementary School in Menomonee Falls.
St. Mary's Parish School in Menomonee Falls visited the State Capitol recently.