Dear Friends,

Our hard work and careful use of your tax money is paying off.   Recently, Moody's Investors Service upgraded our state's  General Obligation rating to Aa1 from Aa2.  That's the first upgrade for our state since 1973 by Moody's.  

Moody's based their upgrade on our fully funded state pension, our steady growth, and our conservatively managed budgets.   The upgrade means we will save more money on capital costs and borrowing. That's good news for taxpayers.

As always, if you have any ideas on how to improve our great state, including how to improve the budget, please do not hesitate to contact me at  Sen.Darling@legis.wi.gov  or 608-266-5830.   

On Wisconsin!

Bill Takes Aim at Milwaukee Gun Violence

The City of Milwaukee has a violent crime problem involving firearms. Last year, 125 people died in gun violence.  Another 60 have died so far in 2017. 
 
On Wednesday, State Representative Joe Sanfelippo and I released a public safety bill to address violent crimes plaguing the City of Milwaukee. The legislation clarifies current law by making it illegal to be a "straw purchaser" of firearms, or a "human holster," and creates a mandatory minimum sentence for habitual criminals who commit a crime involving a firearm.
 
Milwaukee is one of the state's primary economic and cultural engines. If we want to continue to grow Wisconsin we need to tackle the City's crime problem. This bill is an important step forward, making it easier for prosecutors to lock up violent criminals without infringing on the constitutional rights of law abiding citizens.
 
Milwaukee's police department seizes the same amount of firearms as New York City, a city with 15 times the population. Part of the problem is that criminals, who are not allowed to own a gun, are given guns by individuals who can legally purchase them.
 
This bill creates criminal penalties for "straw purchasers," individuals who purchase a firearm for someone who cannot legally own one, and "human holsters," individuals who hold a gun for an individual who cannot legally have one. The bill also creates a four-year mandatory minimum sentence for habitual criminals, defined as someone who has committed three or more misdemeanors or one felony within a five-year period, who commit a crime using a firearm.
 
Representative Sanfelippo and I are currently seeking co-sponsors for the legislation.
Governor Signs REINS Act


This week, Wisconsin became the first state in the nation to enact an important check on bureaucrats.  I am proud to be a co-sponsor of this legislation authored by Senator Devin LeMahieu.  

On Thursday,  Governor Scott Walker signed the "Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act," or REINS Act.   The REINS Act makes the administrative rules process more fair by increasing access to regulators and the process for the public.  Too often the public finds out about a regulation after it affects them.
 
Keeping up with government regulations can be a struggle for anyone. Learning about and complying with constantly changing regulations can take an average of 200 hours per year. Eighty-percent of small business owners take on this challenge by themselves, meaning they spend five work weeks of their time complying with rules instead of making sales. We either need to add more hours in the day or start reducing red tape. 
 
The legislature, not unelected bureaucrats, should have the final say over what rules are created. This bill increases legislative control over the rule making process in three ways:
 
(1) It allows the legislature to request an independent economic impact analysis.
(2) The legislature may request a preliminary public hearing on a rule to gain public input before the rule is finished being drafted.
(3) It allows the legislature to permanently block a rule from being promulgated.
 
A similar bill is working its way through Congress.  I'm very pleased Wisconsin continues to lead the way in reforming government.
Meet Katrina

Meet Katrina.  She's an amazing young woman who now is a software engineer at Kohl's thanks to her hard work, determination, and a little help from  the Commons and the  Destination Innovation program.

The goal of the Commons is to create  a statewide talent network that employers can easily tap into.  They've created a collaboration between 24 southeast Wisconsin colleges and universities, entrepreneurs, and local businesses. And Katrina is one of their many success stories.

Please watch the video above to see how giving someone a chance can make a huge impact on our communities and our state.
Around the 8th...
I had a fantastic time at the State Fair this week!   I think my favorite part was all of the delicious treats made right here in Wisconsin!  The State Fair runs through Sunday.   Go check it out!
Senator Alberta Darling | Sen.Darling@legis.wi.gov | 1-800-863-1113| http://darling.senate.wisconsin.gov
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