DECEMBER 17, 2019
By: Senator Patty Schachtner (D-Somerset)
Committees on Education | Local Government, Small Business, Tourism and Workforce Development | Universities, Technical Colleges, Children and Families
As I joined my family around the Thanksgiving table a couple weeks ago, I gave thanks for my kids and grandkids, the health of my loved ones, and the beautiful community we are a part of. I also thought of the struggles of those that are experiencing homelessness and poverty.
Though the economy is stable and unemployment is at a low, the average American isn’t as financially stable. According to one report, millions of Americans are just one missed paycheck away from poverty . They found that 40% of American households don’t have enough money put away to make ends meet if they miss a paycheck or lose their job. Many of us are shockingly close to ending up in that situation.
Financial instability is a slippery slope to poverty and eventually homelessness. It is a scary reality that many of our neighbors are dealing with every day. Homelessness goes beyond financial instability, of course, and is frequently caused by a combination of mental health issues and addiction. We need to work on prevention with more resources for healthcare and treatment, but we also must support people who’ve already slid into homelessness.
According to the annual State of Homelessness in Wisconsin report , 22,087 people across the state experienced homelessness last year and almost 5,500 of those were children. Almost 1,000 people are without a home in Northwest Wisconsin. The largest barrier for these folks in our area is access to affordable housing or shelters that can connect them with food, job trainings, clothing, and more. Just a few months ago, I co-sponsored legislation to put more money behind those efforts.
As medical examiner, I have made connections with many of the people and families of those who have passed away while homeless. As a healthcare provider at the Somerset schools, I have worked with kids that weren’t in a secure home to try to keep them fed and safe so they can focus on being a kid. I have seen the face of homelessness and it’s affecting our neighbors and community members every day.
As we work on preventing future homelessness, we also have to make sure that those who are about to head into a cold Wisconsin winter have a warm, safe, and comforting place to stay. Wisconsinites help each other- it is one of the things that makes me proudest to be a part of this community. I know that together, we can make sure everyone has a table to gather around with their loved ones.

State Senator Patty Schachtner proudly represents Wisconsin’s tenth senate district with 178,250 constituents. The district covers parts of Burnett, Dunn, Pierce, Polk, and St. Croix counties.
WPT late last week joined leaders from the business and agriculture communities in participating in Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) Future Wisconsin Summit, hosted at the Monona Terrace in Madison.

A wide array of speakers and panelists were on hand for the event, which was the culmination of many statewide round table discussions held in rural Wisconsin with business leaders and local stakeholders.

The tone was very positive, particularly within the panel discussion that included Cindy Leitner, President of Wisconsin Dairy Alliance, who shared a strong outlook for the state's dairy producers and processors. Cindy pointed to the massive processing plants set to open in both Michigan and South Dakota. The Michigan plant, for example is expected to be similar to a New Mexico facility with the capabilities of processing 14 million pounds of milk per day. A similar scale is expected for the South Dakota operation. Leitner also pointed to the increases in milk prices for producers, and predicted those numbers are an indication of what's to come in 2020.

Business leaders from Sargento, VARC, and Waupaca Foundry were also on hand to discuss the future of rural Wisconsin's workforce, the challenges they face, and how their companies are proactively adapting to recruit talent into their respective regions.

WMC's full report and recommendations will not be available until the first quarter of 2020.
President Donald Trump's administration has been very busy in the past week, with an announcement that tariffs set to be imposed on the Chinese were halted at the last minute, in an optimistic sign that the two economic giants of the world might be close to reaching a larger deal. China also suspended tariffs on US-made automobiles, corn, and other goods.

The Trump administration's USMCA deal also received a nod of approval from the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. The bill has now been signed by the leaders of the United States, Mexico, and Canada, but it still needs ratification by the three governments of those nations.

Some of the key takeaways from the deal:

Under new labor arrangements, 40% to 45% of auto parts must be made by workers who receive at least $16 per hour in wages, and automobiles must have 75 percent (up from 62.5) of their parts made in the US, Mexico, or Canada in order to avoid any tariffs. The United States' dairy farmers will also see the Canadian market open up for their products, one of the more contentious topics between the US and our neighbor to the north.

On the intellectual property front, copyright will be extended from 50 years beyond the life of the author to 70 years, and prohibits duties on music and e-books.

Pharmaceuticals were also happy with the deal because the USMCA extends the period that prescription drugs are protected from generic competition.
Representative Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma) and Senator Kathy Bernier (R-Chippewa Falls) introduced legislation last week that would legalize medical marijuana in Wisconsin.

The legislation would add regulations to the cultivation, processing, testing, and dispensing of cannabis in Wisconsin solely for medical reasons. Doctors and physicians assistants could prescribe marijuana to patients for certain illnesses under the legislation.

For only a brief moment, advocates of marijuana legalization thought their issue had gained traction in the State Capitol among the majority party. But in the same day the legislation was announced, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said the bill would go nowhere in his chamber, as he has personal objections and does not believe a majority of his members support the policy.

Still, the bill's authors said their goal is to receive a public hearing on the bill and to gauge public support.
If you have still not decided on whether or not a plan is right for you and your family on the Obamacare ('Affordable' Care Act) exchange, the federal government has extended the deadline.

Federal officials announced that the deadline has been extended through 2AM Central Standard Time on Wednesday, December 18th. That means this evening is your last opportunity to act.

Further, Wisconsin Property Taxpayers' Association Health Plan is still accepting inquiries. Those wishing to learn more about the health insurance plan or other insurance benefits offered through our organization may e-mail or call our Madison office at 608-255-7473.
WMC last week released a new report outlining the need to reform how taxpayer money is used to fund third-party advocacy organizations and private contract lobbyists.

"While businesses and homeowners are faced with some of the highest property taxes in the nation, local governments are funding private groups to lobby state government for even more taxing and regulatory power," the group said.

Did you know that some of your property tax dollars go towards funding private groups who lobby to increase your taxes? Did you know that some of those private groups use your tax dollars to provide themselves with state-funded benefits such as the Wisconsin Retirement System? Did you know that some of your tax dollars are used for political 'issue advocacy' even if you might disagree with their stance?

"Our organization applauds WMC's calls for these reforms, and fully supports the recommendations outlined in the report. Local tax dollars should be used to advocate for the interests of taxpayers, not the interests of local governments. Unfortunately, these two are not always one in the same" John Jacobson, WPT's Government & Member Relations Director said.

The three policy reforms being considered are a prohibition on local governments using taxpayer dollars to pay for third-party advocacy associations and private lobbyists, a prohibition on the use of taxpayer dollars for issue advocacy, and a prohibition on private third-party lobbying groups from receiving state benefits.

WPT plans to work with WMC to engage lawmakers in the coming weeks and months to urge support for these crucial transparency measures.
A judge late last week ordered the Wisconsin Elections Commission to remove the voter registrations of 234,000 Wisconsinites because they might have moved from the addresses they are currently registered under for voting.

Lawyers from the conservative group Wisconsin Institute of Law & Liberty, which represented three voters who brought the lawsuit, argued that those voters had not responded to a mailing in October which sought to confirm their addresses, should be thrown out under Wisconsin law.

The case will be appealed immediately, but groups of individuals began protesting in Milwaukee, calling the Ozaukee County Judge's decision "voter suppression." The attorneys from the Wisconsin Elections Commission asked the judge to hold his decision pending appeal. The judge denied that request.
Two Democrat members of the legislature last week introduced the Water Pollution Notification Act, which would require quicker notice from the DNR to Wisconsin counties when water quality issues or violations are found.

The legislation would give the DNR seven days to notify county governments if a "Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System" permit holder is in violation of a Wisconsin groundwater standard.

According to one outlet, a bipartisan group of lawmakers collaborated with health officials, and a similar version was introduced in the legislature last year but did not make it through the process to be signed in to law.
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What do you think of Rep. Pronschinske's article regarding food labeling?
I would also like to see a label of country of origin. A while back I saw the produce manager in our local grocery store unpack broccoli from a box labeled China.

People know what milk is. People are fooled by marketing 99 times a day .. this is a solution looking for a problem.

Absolutely the public should be aware of what they are drinking/eating. I grew up on dairy farm and am proud of it!!!

It seems to make sense on what was printed.

No one is being misled. There is no confusion on what oat milk or an impossible burger is. It's Wisconsin political pandering otherwise there would also be decades of imitation crab meat outrage?

Labels should say what is actually in the package and the the name of the product

The one problem with this labeling, is the cat has been let out of the bag already, this should have been when the first "NOT MILK" milk product label hit the shelves

The consumer can byuy whatever they would like, but they also should know what they are buying.

I wish that stuff that says "wisconsin cheese" or "wisconsin butter" was 100% also made with 100% wisconsin milk, too.

I'm sick and tired of everything being "spun" milk is milk, period.

I am a dairy farmer, and sure, I suppose there is no harm in truth-in-labeling. However, this is just symbolism. Are there really consumers out there who think they are buying milk from my cows when they pick up a carton of oat juice marked OAT MILK? I doubt it. They know what they are buying and they are buying it for a reason. If the Honorable Rep. Pronschinske would like to level the playing field for raw product dairy producers, he will seek to change laws that prevent me from selling raw milk to my friends and neighbors. If I must sell only pasteurized milk, then he might seek to author legislation that will make it possible for me to do so on a small scale. Allow me to do it from my own kitchen without having to spend upwards of $100,000 to obtain the most basic commercial bottling facility and equipment, just so I can direct-market a gallon of milk.

I believe we are over stepping dumb do you gotta be to confuse milk and non milk products?

agree but shouldn't people be able to figure this out on thier own? almond milk obviously isn't dairy

This should have been done a long time ago

I'm completely baffled why it took so long for this to come to the forefront.

promote the farmers, there is no milk in a coconut as there is no milk in an orange. it is called juice, not orange milk.

Milk is dairy and that only. I don't like that they have the non dairy milk next to the real milk in stores.

truth in marketing
In general, should the DNR implement statewide restrictions on manure and other fertilizers to reduce the amount of nitrates and other chemicals in Wisconsin groundwater?
Restrictions may need to be put in - but only with input from the communities involved and input from farms owners that would be affected

Large farms dump a lot of manure, sometimes in a short amount of time. I am a farmer and I am concerned with the amount of manure that is spread by the large dairies.

Rural Wisconsinites are being totally screwed by these practices. This issue is as big as lead pipes in Flint, Michigan, but no one wants to mess with farmers.

I'm always hesitant on what the government will come up with. I hope they invite some farmers in to give their 2 cents as well and not just let people in Madison make all the decisions.

Don't know enough.

Need to protect animal agriculture from harsh regulations.

My problem is that the DNR does not understand farming and will come by rules that will put a great financial on farmers

As a former dairy farmer, I can't believe the how heavy some of the local large farms are putting manure on the land. There definitely needs more oversight on this.

As a farmer we need to protect our enviornment, and it can be done without any increased cost.

We all need clean water and if we need to be more restrictive so be it. Remember this will cause the price of the end product to increase. Just be aware.

I didn't vote because an appropriate choice was not listed. I think we need to stop wasting all this money on LIQUID manure. Solids smell far less, and solids can be used to generate more profit for the farmer. But hey, what do I know...

I'm just a bit in the middle. Yes, some restrictions are probably needed in high concentration areas, but the DNR better make darn sure of the contaminating source before they go all out on manure and fertilizer just because it seems to be an easy target.

more regulation is needed. I live and commute near some rather large farms, and am surprised by how much manure they haul and spread.

It would be nice to keep run-off out of Lake Winnebago

This issue lyes with the large tanker trucks, dumping at any location they can.

There's a lot of misinformation out there about this problem. Manure and fertilizers that are used for growing crops don't cause nearly the contamination that residential use of fertilizers cause. There are no real regulations for homeowners who are striving to have the greenest yard on the block.

All I can say it really smells bad.

We only get one chance at doing it right first lots harder to fix when clean water is lost
Do you think UW-Madison should increase the number of Wisconsin residents that it admits to the university?
More openings especially in areas of study needed in jobs by our state.

UW should primarily serve Wisconsin residents. Unfortunately, the university needs the full price tuition from out-of-staters.

Why would you limit it either way. Going to Madison is way too expensive anyway.

Did it take this long to figure out this problem

Would this mean lowering the academic requirements to meet this goal?

I think the UW system needs to flush the leadership down the drain and start completely over. They need to get costs down, class sizes up, costs down, teachers that actually know their stuff... did I mention get costs down?

Always and forever. UW is for Wisconsin kids first and foremost. Even though its a liberal nut bag stronghold.

admit those who qualify

Trade Schools
At Governor Evers' direction, feminine hygiene products are now available free of charge in all state buildings. Good idea or bad idea?
Should we then provide free clothing because prices vary from male or female clothing? How about food? Some people "require" more than others?

This is a good idea, especially in schools.

It's fine, but a very stupid PR move.

Maybe they should provide free condoms to politicians too. That way interns won't get pregnant or STD's

Why is this taking up any time at all in our lawmaking body?

What's next?

Suspect many women who frequent state buildings who would normally buy these products and carry them with them in purse would now rely more on the taxpayer.

Another waste of time....equality...really? Who brings these issues up to lawmakers anyway?

Not too costly, and not a step towards equality. There has to be better avenues to help without a system that could be infinitely abused.

Unbelievable! Most stupid thing I've heard in a long time...I'm a woman.

It seems that in the pass women purchased their own products and my wive work in a office and always carried a prouducts if this situation happen


I understand it costs money but this is not the goverments responcablity. The theft rate is going to be very high.

Why? What?? This is the most ridiculous thing I've heard! Please quit wasting money. It's called being responsible for yourself. Which seems to be something we are teaching less and less these days. And why the state buildings? - Personally I would be offended if I worked at the state buildings - really as a female I can't afford to pay for my own feminine hygiene products. Offensive!!!

Men and women have specialized bodies given by our creator. We all should have the pride to take care of that body without always expecting someone else to take that responsibility.

waste. more government waste.

Apparently "he" must have a need.

Everybody should be taking care of themselves The government doing this is just one step closer to socialism NOT GOOD!

Not a step towards equality, just a step towards more government involvement where it should not be.

the toilet paper is free, and no drama about that!

Next, we will be furnishing underwear, shirts, and pants because it's "someone's right". And someone will bring suit for not having it stocked when someone counted on it. Speaking of which, what does it cost to keep them supplied??

Costly is the correct term. Unnecessary is also correct.

Where does it end? I cannot even begin to describe my high level of disgust at the way we as a society have started to feel so entitled even a personal hygiene product should be provided on the taxpayers dime.

im in the middle. there is no charge for t.p. but, does it walk out the door after hours?

Stop wasting money on this... Women carry you own. Have it on you all the time.

equality for who which state employee can not afford
What are your plans for the holidays? Traveling? Hosting? Have you finished your holiday shopping? Have you put up your Christmas tree and decorations?
My house is not decorated yet, but I do host a big Christmas dinner for our extended family.

My kids are getting older and Christmas is far less magical. Oh well.

Tree up today.No Christmas shopping yet.Wife has been putting up decorations for a week.About 18 people here for Christmas celebration. Church to celebrate the Savior's birth Christmas Eve and Christmas Day-the reason for the season!

I am still working to get my Christmas decorations all up. And my shopping done. Just going to spend time with my family, no traveling.

stay home

Send me the cash and we will go on a holiday trip

Tree and decorations are done. Bought cookie dough to bake & decorate. Shopping will eventually get done. We have Christmas Eve at our house.


Spend Christmas day with siblings and their families. Decorations all up, a little shopping to do.

Tree up!! Merry Christmas Wisconsin & let the winter begin.

Family getting together church Got a nice 11 foot Balsam Fir from one of our fine Christmas Tree Growers fun tradition

Planning on family celibrating the birth of Christ, the real meaning of Christmas.

Staying close to friends and family. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!

Tree is up. Shopping incomplete. Not sure of Christmas plans although we cannot stray far from home - we milk cows twice on Christmas day.

stay home

Working on the decorations. Shopping is not done yet. We will be going home for Christmas and New Years, travelling 1500 miles each way. Oy Vay.

Home for the holidays. Hosting two events. House is clean, outdoor lights are up, Christmas tree is up, but yet to be decorated. Now for the grocery list.

This year I am putting up my tree and having a few decorations. Plan on staying home. Im baking cookies for my family.
No bills to report.
No bills to report.
LRB-3742   Memo  Capitol Loss Deduction (Brooks, Rob) Increasing the net capital loss deduction. Deadline: Monday, December 16, 5 pm

LRB-5069   Memo  UW-Madison Football (Stubbs, Shelia) Congratulating the University of Wisconsin-Madison Badgers football team on a great season and winning the Big Ten West Division game against the Minnesota Gophers. Deadline: Monday, December 16

LRB-4781   Memo  Sports Official Harassment (Novak, Todd) Harassment of a sports official and providing a penalty. Deadline: Friday, December 20

LRB-1608   Memo  Power of Attorney (Doyle, Steve) Notarial officers taking acknowledgments of health care powers of attorney and declarations to physicians. Deadline: Friday, December 20, Noon

LRB-5008   Memo  American Legion Auxiliary (Shankland, Katrina) Commending the American Legion Auxiliary upon the 100th anniversary of its founding. Deadline: Friday, December 20, 4 pm

LRB-4473   Memo  Pediatrician Requirement (Brandtjen, Janel) Requiring pediatricians and pediatric specialists to view presentations about neuroimmune disorders in children. Deadline: Wednesday, December 18, 3 pm

LRB-3674   Memo  School Aid (Bewley, Janet) State aid to the resident school district of a pupil attending a private school under the Racine or statewide parental choice program. Deadline: Thursday, December 19, 5 pm

LRB-5044   Memo  Per Pupil Payments (Erpenbach, Jon) Per pupil payments to private schools participating in parental choice programs. Deadline: Thursday, December 19, 5 pm

LRB-4156   Memo  Special Needs Scholarships (Pope, Sondy) Phasing out the Special Needs Scholarship Program and limiting enrollment in parental choice programs. Deadline: Thursday, December 19, 5 pm

LRB-4164   Memo  Teacher Licensure (Pope, Sondy) Teacher licensure in parental choice programs and in the Special Needs Scholarship Program and granting rule-making authority. Deadline: Thursday, December 19, 5 pm

LRB-2142   Memo  Juvenile Hearings (Gundrum, Rick) Hearing timelines for juveniles in custody. Deadline:
Friday, December 20

LRB-1066   Memo  Ranked Choice Voting (Spreitzer, Mark) Ranked-choice voting, granting rule-making authority, and making an appropriation. Deadline: Friday, December 20, 5pm

LRB-5095   Memo  Medical Marijuana (Felzkowski, Mary) Medical marijuana, granting rule-making authority, and providing a penalty. Deadline: Friday, January 3, Noon

LRB-5051   Memo  Dental Reimbursement Pilot (Kurtz, Tony) Expansion of the dental reimbursement pilot project under the Medical Assistance program. Deadline: Friday, December 13, 4 pm

LRB-4999   Memo  Expelling Bodily Substance (James, Jesse) Throwing or expelling a bodily substance at a public safety worker or prosecutor. Deadline: Friday, December 20

LRB-4116   Memo  Drug Testing Employees (Sortwell, Shae) Employer liability for not drug testing employees and prospective employees. Deadline: Friday, January 3

LRB-5086   Memo  Mail Theft (Hutton, Rob) Mail theft and providing a penalty. Deadline: Friday, December 20, 5 pm