OCTOBER 21, 2019
Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac)
Chairman, Assembly Committee on Education
As required by law, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) released the certificed state general aid that goes out to all districts. Wisconsin districts in 2019-20 will be receiving $4.7 billion of equalization aid from taxpayers through the state's funding formula, a 1.8% increase. This follows on the heels of a similar increase of 2018-19. Since 2013, equalization aid has consistently surpassed the Consumer Price Index, showing the Legislature's dedication to providing healthy inflationary increases to educate Wisconsin's children.

However, the results aren't matching up with the investment. Annual test scores released last month showed that 60% of Wisconsin students are not able to read or perform math at grade level. Just as alarming, Wisconsin continues to have one of the worst achievement gaps in the nation. State Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac,) Chair of the Assembly Education Committee, released the following statement regarding the funding announcement:

"With the enactment of the 2019-21 budget, state education funding, through DPI management, provides for an average of nearly 2/3 of the dollars to operate K-12 public schools. In fact, over 35% of general purpose revenue for the entire state goes to K-12 education. The results of this investment are not meeting expectations and have not done so in many years," said Rep. Thiesfeldt. "Instead of just continuing to pour money into schools, it is past time for the DPI, the Legislature, and the Governor to recognize that when the pathway is flawed, increasing spending does not lead to better results. Our focus needs to turn to stronger teacher training in the use of proven instructional methods, traditional roles for our schools, and engaged parenting."
The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development last week released the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics preliminary employment estimates for the month of September. Wisconsin added 12,300 private sector and 11,400 total non-farm jobs from September 2018 to September 2019.

The state's unemployment rate ticked upward for the fourth consecutive month to 3.2 percent from 3.1 percent in August, after dropping to 2.8 percent in April and May, tied for the lowest on record. Wisconsin gained 1,900 jobs between August and September, while unemployment topped 100,000 people for the first time in two years.

The state's labor force participation rate stayed at 67.2 percent in the month of September, which is 4.0 percent higher than the national average.
Governor Tony Evers today signed Executive Order #54, which officially calls the Wisconsin State Legislature to meet in a special session on November 7 to address gun violence in the State of Wisconsin, according to a statement from the Governor's office.

"Since taking office in January, I have called on the Legislature to take action and pass commensense gun safety reform time and time again, giving Republican leadership the opportunity to hear the people of our state and to do the right thing," Governor Evers said. "Today I am delivering on my promise to cal a special session to address gun violence across our state and I'm calling on Republicans to work with Democrats to get this done."

In the Executive Order, Governor Evers requests the Legislature act on two proposals, which his office says are supported by 80% of Wisconsinites. Those include legislation to "close the background check loophole by requiring universal background checks for all firearm purchases," and legislation "to create an extreme risk protection order (ERPO) process that will give family members and law enforcement officials the tools they need to intervene when an individual is at risk of harming themselves or others."

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) issued a statement in response.

"Liberals across the country are upping their rhetoric in support of taking guns from law-abiding citizens,
he said. "After the governor opened the door to a long-term plan of gun confiscation at his press conference last month, it's easy to see how today's action could just be the first attack on the Second Amendment. The Senate will not be part of a drawn-out strategy to infringe on constitutional rights."
Last week, Governor Tony Evers signed Executive Order #52, which creates the Governor's Task Force on Climate Change.

"For too long we've been ignoring science, and frankly, we can't afford to do it any longer. It's time for us to deliver on the promise to our kids that we're leaving them with a better live and world than the one we inherited," Governor Evers said. "I am confident that this task force will find meaningful sustainable solutions to the climate crisis to carryout our state into the future."

According to Evers' office, the Task Force on Climate Change will advise and assist the governor in developing a strategy to "mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change for the benefit of all Wisconsin communities."

The task force will include the Lieutenant Governor, DNR Secretary, DATCP Secretary, DWD Secretary, a GOP member of the Senate and Assembly, a Democrat member of the Senate and Assembly, and various other community stakeholders.
The federal government has given the green light to Wisconsin to drug test applicants who wish to receive unemployment benefits, a plan that was approved in the 2015-2017 state budget.

President Trump's administration has now issued rules that will allow any states requiring drug tests for unemployment benefits to do so, only if the types of jobs already, generally, require drug tests. Department of Workforce Development officials have said they would like more guidance for the federal government before beginning implementation, and which types applicants specifically should be tested.

In Wisconsin, the law says that if an individual fails a drug test are given the opportunity to receive taxpayer-funded drug treatment and rehab services. If they refuse entering the program, they would lose their benefits.
Governor Evers last week signed into law 2019 Wisconsin Act 19, which requires municipalities to pay for the health insurance premiums for the families of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.

Municipalities would be reimbursed by the state for the costs of the premiums.

A program from 2009 already exists for firefighters who were killed in the line of duty. Like that program, the benefits would not apply to a spouse who eventually remarries, and would also terminate when they turn 65. The children of the fallen law enforcement officer would only receive the benefit until they reach age 26.
Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature last week held a hearing on legislation that would limit the Wisconsin Governor's veto pen, specifically when it comes to the state budget process.

The Joint Resolution, which would need to pass two consecutive sessions of the legislature and be approved by voters through statewide referendum, would prohibit the Wisconsin Governor from using his line item veto authority to increase spending in the budget beyond the levels approved by the legislature.

In July, Democrat Governor Tony Evers used his partial veto powers to rewrite portions of the state budget, which resulted in $65 million more in spending, which mainly went to funding K-12 public schools in the state. Democrats in the legislature contend that the joint resolution is nothing more than a power grab from Republicans, who they claim do not want to increase funding for schools. The 2019-2021 state budget included more dollars for public schools than at any time in state history, despite educating less children.
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The UW System Board of Regents has approved punishments for students who disrupt others' free speech on campuses. After reading the article...
Is this an actual problem?

No one should ever be shouted down in a free speech nation.

Isn't the disruption free speech too? I don't think we can legislate people to do the right thing. Colleges around the nation are the problem. They are indoctrinating these kids into not thinking there are more than one way to think.

If the policy would be followed fairly, its a great idea, but unfortunately, I do not see liberals blocking conservative speech being held accountable, they will only weed out those with conservative ideas so all the liberal students feel what they are being told at the university is the only "truth" on things. I'm almost 60 years old and I have been thru the Wisconsin public education system including college, the liberal slant on things taught was present already when I was in elementary school!

Shapiro case

Free speech for all not just the liberals!

That might include some professors!

WI teachers push liberal agenda, students follow, conservatives are bullied, punish the liberal professors (atheists)

Something needs to be done to allow unpopular speakers to speak without interruption. But muzzling protesting voices isnt right either.

UW is a bastion of free speech. Protect it.

Why over the last years only liberals could express their opinion and why not have a balance of conservatives and liberls in expressing their opinion

Universities are meant to educate and encourage thinking - how can that happen if only one view is presented. That is called indoctrination - LISTEN TO ALL SIDES!

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

Freedom of Speech means you have the freedom to let others use their freedom of speech, even if it is contrary to your own, and do so without violence or aggressive tactics.

Policing is necessary, but expelling should not take place unless there is violent acts.

It's a poor plan because it will be extremely challenging to enforce; but something needs to be done.

Another example of how bad things have become when we have to legislate what respectful behavior is.

Students should know hat it is poor manners to disrupt others ,it really is not about freedom of speech,it's about having good manners and being polite to others

I am confused free speech against free speech or is it only wrong if you don't agree with the opposing free speech

Conservatives should be allowed to speak on campus

Nobody should be allowed to shout down anyelse's free speech just because they do not agree with them. Diversity of thought is just as important as diversity of gender, race, religion etc.

Its good plan, students should be able to have free speech without others making trouble for them.
The City of Madison is proposing the largest wheel tax in the state ($40), though much of the money would not go toward transportation needs. Should wheel tax revenues be used exclusively for transportation funding?
This is a state-wide problem. The GOP's mantra is "local control" but they do everything they can to not have local elected officials govern. If they did, voter chosen leaders could decide on the services and taxes needed to be levied to pay for them. Wheel taxes were invented to get around GOP levy limits because municipalities are starved for the revenue they need to pay for the services the citizens want.

Anonther money & power grab.

I think the tax overall is a bad idea, we need less government not more taxes.

I don't like the idea of wheel tax period, this is what we will have country wide if one of looney democrats running for President is elected, but it would only be the beginning of all kinds of taxes on our way of life!

Anything to punish the inhabitants of Madison I'm all for it. Make it $100!

They shouldn't have a wheel tax,but in nutty Madison anything is possible.

charge what it costs to ride other transportation to the people using it

they need to live within their budgets like all taxpayers have to

It's a use tax and should only be used for transportation funding

Absolutely. Those leftists deserve all the taxes they want.

You dont do it. Gas tax, Wheel Tax are for roads ONLY!!

Why a wheel tax if its not for transportation ?

A wheel tax is suppose to be used for transportation

Wheel tax should be used for transportation. If you are going to collect too much, change the tax.

I can't answer from the options given. Wheel tax is a double tax, and should be made ILLEGAL. DO NOT LET A WHEEL TAX IN!

Firstly, the wheel tax should not exist. But if it’s purpose is for transportation then that should be its designation.

I don't think revenues can legally be channeled or earmarked exclusive to specific funds. Call it what it is: Just another tax!

government always wants more money,no more money,they must learn to control spending

Horrible idea, why are lawmakers so afraid to raise the gas tax.

Not the intention from the source. Sends a wrong message

ultra liberals at their finest, wheel tax for transportation and move money from transportation fund to social services to house homeless

No do not allow it is another tax

Tax related to Transportation should be used only for Transportation

No new taxes! Control spending!

Somebody has to pay for the transportation funding..Why not a wheel tax.

Why call it a wheel tax then
The federal REAL ID will be mandatory beginning on October 1, 2020 for domestic air travel, entry into federal buildings, and other purposes. Is your Wisconsin drivers license REAL ID-compliant yet?
It's silly, but whatever. I need a new drivers' license picture anyhow, my current one is awful.

I don't have enough info on this

My wife's drivers license does not renew until 2021, the DOT dropped the ball on this one, she should have had the REAL ID when she renewed last time! This should be grandfathered in. Big money maker for the counties as well, as my official birth certificate wasn't good enough (that is what they gave when I was born!) I had to pay the county register of deeds $20 for an "official" birth certificate, our ineffective gov't in action!


we are being tracked every day, no privacy

i think we are going overboard

Should have been implemented years ago. It means everyones licence carries the same validation state to state.


just returned from Germany and the requirements of showing my ID and passport I have no problem with this requirement

Germany 1930,s

Good idea.

It is not updated at the time of change, therefore costing the individual additional fees. I didn’t do it 3 years ago, as it’s just another state revenue.


I regret we need to do this, but with all the idenity issues today it is needed.

this is socialism

Bunch of bull!


I better upgrade. If it helps to authenticate individuals and voters, it is good

Not necessary

I just got my notice and I am making it have that star. I don't fly anymore, but do go into federal building and courthouses.
The City of Milwaukee will ban cigarette smoking within 30 feet of public buildings. Good idea or bad idea?
People still smoke cigarettes? Man, how stupid is that.

I could care less!

I literally couldn't care less, what's the big deal it's outside. Keep them away from the doors. Again, people are so inconsiderate these days.

Ex smoker, glad I was able to quit almost 10 years ago, I can smell a smoker 20ft away from me! We need to use our heads when considering legalization of pot. Stomp out cigarette smoking, but promote pot smoking! Assbackward thinking in my mind!

I avoid smokers, e cigs are worse, they all stink

smoking is disgusting, and second hand smoke killed my parents, it needs to be banned

Hate walking through smoke to get to a municipal building

As long as I can enter/exit the building without smelling smoke I am ok

Hate the crowd of smokers outside the door, especially in the colder months.


This should be a state law and make the law 100 feet from public building.

Why not just ban smoking

Why don't we just deport them to Antarctica? I think we are getting pretty silly about this.

I can move. That'd be the mature response.

It’s not a bother, as in most cases it’s a limited number anyway.

I don't appreciate breathing smoke that drifts to me from someone smoking and you can't avoid it if folks are smoking near entrances. HOWEVER, I think gov't overreach is concerning. What's next??

Unnecessary. Just have enough receptacles for their butts.


Former smoker and 2nd hand smoke is annoying.

Yes It is yucky

It does. Smoking is an environmental toxin and i dont wantvto be near it in a public place.

Workers will spend their whole break walking to get to the smoking area. People don’t smoke around me, don’t remember the last time someone did

Smoking is bad for the smokers as well as those around them. There is no good side to smoking. If making it harder to find a place to smoke reduces the number of smokers then it is a good plan.

Yes it does bother me, I don't smoke and I hate to see the smokers having no place to go,, but there is a word " quit smoking"
On this date in 1912, Teddy Roosevelt was shot in Milwaukee while campaigning for President. He was hit on the right side of his chest, and the bullet lodged in his chest wall. He saw blood in his shirt, vest, and coat, and though his aides pleaded with him to seek medical attention, Roosevelt still gave his speech. (Source: Wisconsin Historical Society)

When you think of American history, what are some of the more memorable occurrences that pop into your mind? They don't necessarily need to be tragedies. Are there any pieces of Wisconsin history that you find most fascinating? History from your county or town? Share an interesting fact about history here. Or tell us your prediction for the Packers game tonight!
I think the Packers game will be very tight but they'll will win by a field goal at the last second.

Never learned this in HS. Great public education system

The attack on the twin towers would have to be the event that had the most impact on me. Trump winning the last Presidential election as well, never thought he would win.

I still remember where I was and what I was doing when I heard on the radio that President Kennedy was shot.

Viet Nam War, Ohio State students killed by our own military, President Kennedy's death, 20% interest to pay off farm debt

while john Kennedy was campaigning he came to mineral point, Wi, and spoke at our historic opera house, walked down our main street shaking hands.

In 1970 when I was trying to study at UW, we went to every class with our eyes watering from tear gas from all the demonstrations. That was a really chaotic time in our history.


I am proud of my heritage - a descendant of immigrants and their courage in starting a new life in a new country. I realize that not all people have the same opportunities - but all have faced adversities and challenges - it all looks easy perhaps from our present day circumstances. But it was not. We have challenges today that they did not have to face - including the influences of technology and the appearance of a "life of ease".

History is in the making daily on our televisions today. We are seeing history repeating itself and our social society slipping away.

win pack

Service of 32nd Division in World Wars I & II.

Wisconsin has unique aviation history. See EAA Aurventure. Many Wisconsin businesses have unique histories and we could all learn more from those stories of challenge and triumph! The obstacles that our Wisconsin Small Businesses And Farmers overcome is incredible to achieve success in the face of constant regulatory hoops and fees! We should all dare to learn more about our unique Wisconsin stories of business and farms and our awesome heritage culture and the varied strengths of different parts of our state! Our heritage for protecting the outdoor spaces, tourism, and outdoor sports and recreation is fantastic too.

They'll lose

I sure like thechistory of Wisconsin high school boys basketball. Some incredible teams and individuals over the years. Nothing like going to Madison for state basketball.

I find the Wisconsin logging industry very interesting; they were hard working like our farmers who I also admire. October 8, 1871 the Peshtigo fire was on the same day as the Great Chicago fire, and took the lives of almost 2,000 people and covering 1,875 square miles. Hope the Packers win

My memory is when JK was shot, will never forget that day. I was sewing and home with 3 little kids, watching the tv. I always like seeing photos and news about the Kennedy family.

It recently occurred to me that I have not been to the first Wisconsin capitol building in Belmont. I plan to do that this autumn.
SB-266  Law Enforcement Benefits (Wanggaard, Van) Requiring political subdivisions and Marquette University to pay health insurance premiums for survivors of a law enforcement officer who dies in the line of duty and making an appropriation. Signed ( Act 19 )
LRB-0152   Memo  Damage to Highway (Edming, James) The authority to shoot a wild animal causing damage to a highway. Deadline: Monday, October 21, 3 pm

LRB-2744   Memo  Housing Authorities (Darling, Alberta) Housing authorities. Deadline: Wednesday, October 23, 4 pm

LRB-3121   Memo  Terminating Parental Rights (Snyder, Pat) Termination of parental rights if a child has been placed outside the home for 15 of the last 22 months. Deadline: Tuesday, October 22, Noon

LRB-3119   Memo  Grounds for CHIPS (Dittrich, Barbara) Grounds for finding a child in need of protection or services or for terminating parental rights, right to a jury trial in a termination of parental rights proceeding, and permanency plan reviews. Deadline: Tuesday, October 22, Noon

LRB-4080   Memo  Postadoption Contact (Dittrich, Barbara) Postadoption contact agreements. Deadline: Tuesday, October 22, Noon

LRB-4509   Memo  Child Placement (Ramthun, Timothy) Placement of a child with a relative under the Children's Code or the Juvenile Justice Code. Deadline: Tuesday, October 22, Noon

LRB-4626   Memo  Terminating Parental Rights (Kulp, Bob) The procedure in a CHIPS or JIPS proceeding for an involuntary termination of parental rights. Deadline: Tuesday, October 22, Noon

LRB-4151   Memo  Permanency Plan (Murphy, Dave) Providing permanency plan and comments to foster parents and foster children over the age of 12 in advance of a permanency plan review or hearing. Deadline: Tuesday, October 22, Noon

LRB-4226   Memo  Adoption Assistance (Mursau, Jeff) Eligibility for adoption assistance. Deadline: Tuesday, October 22, Noon

LRB-4083   Memo  Foster Parent Rights (Plumer, Jon) The rights of a foster parent or other physical custodian of a child on removal of the child from the person's home. Deadline: Tuesday, October 22, Noon

LRB-2800   Memo  Tuition Grants (Darling, Alberta) Veteran-related tuition grants for certain veterans and dependents enrolled in private nonprofit institutions of higher education and making an appropriation. Deadline: Wednesday, October 23, 5 pm

LRB-3631   Memo  Condominium Law (Ballweg, Joan) Requirements related to condominium documents and technical changes to condominium law. Deadline: Friday, October 25, 5 pm

LRB-3658   Memo  Veterans Benefits (Stuck, Amanda) Expanding veterans benefits to individuals who served in Laos in support of the United States during the Vietnam War. Deadline: Tuesday, October 29, 5 pm

LRB-4286   Memo  Physical Therapy Students (VanderMeer, Nancy) The practice of physical therapy students and physical therapist assistant students and granting rule-making authority. Deadline: Tuesday, October 22, 4 pm

LRB-2032   Memo  Extension Services (VanderMeer, Nancy) Funding or certain extension services of the University of Wisconsin System and making an appropriation. Deadline: Thursday, October 31, 4 pm
LRB-4298   Memo  Reading Readiness (Kulp, Bob) Assessments to evaluate reading readiness. Deadline: Wednesday, October 23

LRB-3034   Memo  Teacher Grants (Kulp, Bob) Grants for teachers who receive certain credentials in advanced structured literacy and making an appropriation. Deadline: Wednesday, October 23

LRB-3816   Memo  Teacher Prep Requirements (Kulp, Bob) Requirements for teacher preparatory programs in this state, providing an exemption from emergency rule procedures, and requiring the exercise of rule-making authority. Deadline: Wednesday, October 23

LRB-3024   Memo  Inmate Screening (Kulp, Bob) Screening correctional inmates for dyslexia. Deadline: Wednesday, October 23

LRB-3840   Memo  Reading Test Scores (Kulp, Bob) Publishing Foundations of Reading test scores. Deadline: Wednesday, October 23

LRB-4140   Memo  Pupils with Dyslexia (Kulp, Bob) Programs to identify and address pupils with dyslexia in public schools. Deadline: Wednesday, October 23

LRB-3839   Memo  Dyslexia Training (Kulp, Bob) Requiring an online dyslexia awareness training for school district employees. Deadline: Wednesday, October 23

LRB-4568   Memo  Dyslexia Specialist (Kulp, Bob) Requiring each cooperative educational service agency to employ a dyslexia specialist. Deadline: Wednesday, October 23

LRB-4396   Memo  Organ Harvesting (Jacque, Andre) Expressing concern over persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned, forced organ harvesting from nonconsenting prisoners of conscience, including Falun Gong practitioners imprisoned for their spiritual beliefs and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups in the People's Republic of China. Deadline: Wednesday, October 30, 5 pm

LRB-3643   Memo  Terminology Changes (Thiesfeldt, Jeremy) Changing terminology for hearing loss and individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. Deadline: Wednesday, October 30

LRB-4594   Memo  Cranberry Marketing (VanderMeer, Nancy) Cranberry marketing board grant and making an appropriation. Deadline: Thursday, October 31, 4 pm

LRB-4597   Memo  Potato Marketing Grant (Testin, Patrick) Potato marketing board grant and making an appropriation. Deadline: Thursday, October 31, 4 pm

LRB-2249   Memo  Dementia Training (Brostoff, Jonathan) Alzheimer's and dementia training for direct care and support services workers. Deadline: Thursday, October 31, 5 pm

LRB-2250   Memo  Alzheimer's Response (Brostoff, Jonathan) Coordinating a response to Alzheimer's disease and dementia, authorizing a coordinator position, and making an appropriation. Deadline: Thursday, October 31, 5 pm

LRB-0403   Memo  Hearing Loop (Brostoff, Jonathan) Installation of hearing loop technology in certain new and renovated state buildings and granting rule-making authority. Deadline: Thursday, October 31, 5 pm

LRB-0406   Memo  Hearing Instrument Specialists (Brostoff, Jonathan) Information and demonstration requirements for hearing instrument specialists and audiologists. Deadline: Thursday, October 31, 5 pm

LRB-4685   Memo  Airport Sound Mitigation (Sargent, Melissa) An airport sound mitigation grant program and making an appropriation. Deadline: Friday, November 1, 5 pm