Dear Friends,

Congratulations to my friend Billie Kubly who is being recognized for her work to expand mental health services at Mount Mary University.  Her donation will go a long way in assisting college students with mental health needs. 
lives.

Thanks to trail blazers like Billie Kubly, the stigma of mental health issues is starting to fade.  This week, the Joint Committee on Finance made a significant investment in making sure school children have access to help if they are experiencing mental health issues.  You can read more about our education budget below.

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 by email at  Sen.Darling@legis.wi.gov or 608-266-5830.   

On Wisconsin!

Budget Committee Approves Largest K-12 Investment in State History

This week, the budget committee made the largest investment ever in our children's education.  Funding for K-12 school aid in this budget will increase $639.3 million.  Our budget also focuses on education reform and innovation.  

We are not giving up on the failing schools in our state.  This budget provides $3.6 million for improvements to schools in districts that fail to meet expectations and all schools in the Milwaukee Public School System (MPS). To help kids stay engaged and to better prepare them for the new school year, we also are providing $1.4 million in grants for Summer School Programs in MPS or any school in a district that fails to meet expectations.

There is a growing mental health crisis in our state, so we are expanding access for mental health services for students.  This budget provides $3.25 million for Community and School Mental Health grants which will encourage schools to work with community mental health agencies.

There is a nation-wide teacher shortage, especially in rural areas.  Wisconsin is not immune to this problem.  We are addressing the shortages head on.  The budget provides $500,000 annually to encourage undergrads to work in rural areas.  Rural districts will get the help they need and it will encourage more students to take jobs in rural areas when they graduate. 

Not only is there a teacher shortage, but school districts are struggling to find high-quality leaders for their schools.  This budget will create a pilot loan program to help train leaders for our schools.

We are continuing to give school districts more ways to save money.  This budget will encourage districts to share services. This change will allow more rural communities to offer services such as Reading Specialists, Bilingual-Bi Cultural Education Programs, emergency nursing services, guidance counseling, technical preparation programs, and gifted and talented services. Making sure students have access to these programs and services will better prepare them for the real world of work. 

Education is a large chunk of the state budget, but it's more than just money.  I am pleased how we were able to invest, reform, and innovate to make sure our kids are prepared for the future.  You can hear my comments on our efforts to protect teachers here.
Sunset Clause Bill Gets Public Hearing

On Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Labor and Regulatory Reform held a public hearing on the Sunset Clause Bill that I authored with State Representative Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna).  I want to thank Senator Nass for scheduling this important bill for a public hearing.  Also, I truly appreciate Representative Steineke's work on this bill.

Our state currently has 19,067 chapters and 12,182 pages of red tape. I believe the bill will bring transparency to the rule making process. Outdated rules won't go away on their own. Some rules have been on the books for decades even when they aren't needed anymore. It's time to give our administrative rules a full review.

Under the bill, every seven years entire chapters of code will be up for review. One year before it expires, the code can be renewed by going through the rule making the process. By allowing another review, the public and lawmakers will have more input on whether the rule is still necessary.

During the public hearing, the bill received strong support from Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, Wisconsin Independent Businesses, the Wisconsin Realtors Association, and the Wisconsin Dairy Business Association (WDBA). According to the WDBA, over-regulation is forcing many farmers to raise heifers in other states. They estimate as many as 200,000 Wisconsin heifers are being raised in other Midwestern and Plains states because regulations here can double the costs.

The bill is now available for a vote in the Senate Committee on Labor and Regulatory Reform.
Wisconsin Leads Midwest in Real GDP Growth

According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Wisconsin leads the Midwest in real GDP growth in the first quarter!  You can read more about it here.
Around the 8th...
On Thursday, I had the honor of attending the groundbreaking ceremony in Germantown.
Senator Alberta Darling | Sen.Darling@legis.wi.gov | 1-800-863-1113| http://darling.senate.wisconsin.gov
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