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November 10, 2017
Wisconsin's 12th Senate District contains communities in Florence, Forest, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto, Oneida, Shawano, and Vilas Counties.

Committee Assignments:
  • Joint Committee on Finance
  • Sporting Heritage, Mining, and Forestry Committee (Chair)
  • Agriculture, Small Business, and Tourism Committee (Vice-Chair)
  • Revenue, Financial Institutions, and Rural Issues Committee
  • Joint Survey Committee on Tax Exemptions
Reflecting on the Fall Session

This week, the Wisconsin State Senate was on the floor for debate for the final time in 2017. As I begin to prepare for the New Year, I want to look back at this past session.

My legislative colleagues and I began the session with one primary goal: passing a biennial budget that is responsible and meets the needs of our state and its citizens. As a member of the Joint Finance Committee (JFC), we formulate a budget bill that will be sent to the full legislature for approval. This unique opportunity allows me to evaluate budget proposals from every single state agency and many of our boards. I believe that JFC did a good job amending the Governor's proposed budget resulting in a stronger, final budget bill. Governor Walker signed the 2017-19 budget bill into law on September 21st. 

In addition to the passage of the state budget, I set three legislative goals for this session:
  • Regulatory reform for the state's aquaculture industry.
  • Expanding private property rights in state statute.
  • Welcoming back the nonferrous metallic mining industry to Wisconsin.
As of the conclusion of the November 7th floor session, I am pleased to say those three goals have been fulfilled. 

I began the session by introducing the Fishing for our Future Act to provide more clarity in the law and reduce burdensome regulations on our state's aquaculture industry. Aquaculture is a $21 million industry in the state of Wisconsin that supports over 2,300 registered fish farms. Without private aquaculture, our state would not be able to meet the demands of sport fishermen, tourists, or commercial fishing operators. Private aquaculture supplies live bait to tackle shops, stocks our lakes and rivers, and supplies grocery stores with locally grown fish.
Governor Walker signed AB 160/SB 95 into law as 2017 Wisconsin Act 21 in Star Prairie on June 23rd. 
In recent years, burdensome and inconsistent regulations have hampered the industry's ability to grow. Representative Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma) and I co-authored AB 160/ SB 95 to provide more consistent and predictable regulations for this important industry. Our bill addressed regulations of the industry including wetland and navigability permitting, water usage, and departmental rule changes. With these reforms, I believe we can continue to grow a multi-million dollar industry that provides a sustainable way to source our food. 
 
Representative Adam Jarchow (R-Balsam Lake) and I have felt that Wisconsin has given short shrift to protecting the rights of private property owners. Unfortunately, the Courts have sometimes failed to provide the protections that property owners should be afforded.

That is why we introduced the Homeowners' Bill of Rights (HBR) to protect property owners. The HBR provides clarification affecting substandard lots, conditional use permits, and the review process for property tax assessments. Additionally, the HBR makes it easier to transport propane in the winter time when road limits are in effect. There are additional provisions included in the legislation geared to mitigate the "up-front" costs of purchasing a new home. It is estimated 25% of the cost of a new home is regulations. Reducing unnecessary costs and eliminating burdensome regulations will make homeownership more affordable.

The HBR was debated and passed in the State Assembly and Senate on Tuesday, November 7th. I am looking forward to Governor Walker signing the bills into law. The property rights legislation is SB 387/AB 479 and SB 388/AB 480
On July 20th, Representative Jarchow and I held a press conference with the Murr family and the Pacific Legal Foundation to introduce the Homeowners' Bill of Rights.
The Senate also had the opportunity, on Tuesday, to debate and pass the Mining for America Act. I have been an advocate for the return of nonferrous metallic mineral mining to Wisconsin. Our state has a rich mining history that predates our statehood, yet for the last twenty years the miner on our flag has been stuck in the unemployment line.

Nearly twenty years ago, the legislature implemented a moratorium on metallic mining that has barred our state's comprehensive mining laws from being used. Over those years, mining technology has improved significantly allowing us to mine safely in Wisconsin. Our strict environmental standards and the advances in technology prove that we can mine responsibly.

Locally sourcing raw materials for some of the most commonly purchased consumer goods (TV, cell phones, automobiles, etc.) will make it more likely we will manufacture those products in Wisconsin and other Great Lakes States. People want to make things in America again and the Mining for America Act will give Wisconsin the ability to produce more of our everyday products.

Besides welcoming the great economic opportunity of mining, I set two goals for the mining bill: maintaining local control and not changing any of Wisconsin's strict environmental standards. I am pleased to say that the final legislative product has accomplished both goals.
The miner on our flag can now celebrate knowing that he will have the opportunity to go back to work.
Following public hearings in both houses, my co-author Representative Rob Hutton (R-Brookfield) and I had the opportunity to work with committee members and conservation groups to develop amendments to the original bill to guarantee that we promote the most effective use of modern technology and ensure that we are not changing our strict environmental standards. The final bill was described by the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation as "environmentally and scientifically sound".

The Wisconsin Assembly debated and passed the Mining for America Act on Tuesday, October 31st, while the Senate did the same on November 7th. With approval from both houses, the Mining for America Act heads to Governor Walker's desk for his signature into law.

While all three of these initiatives are independent in nature, they are connected to a similar theme: northern and rural Wisconsin are dependent on natural resources utilization for prosperity. We can balance natural resources use with environmental protection. We can have prosperity through natural resources utilization and balance it with good environmental stewardship.
Veterans Day
 
There are many Veterans Day ceremonies this week across the district, My wife Chris and I attended the Veterans Day ceremony at the MHLT Grade School. Our daughter, Katherine, was one of the presenters. It was a very nice event that was well attended by community members including a handful of local veterans. Thanks to the students at MHLT for recognizing our Veterans for their service.
The event at MHLT was attended by local Veterans and community members wishing to share their thanks to the Veterans for their service.
2017-18 Blue Books
The 2017-18 Wisconsin Blue Books recently arrived. If you would like to request a copy of the 2017-18 Wisconsin Blue Book, please reply to this email with your full mailing address. My office will be processing the requests over the next couple weeks prior to shipping them across the 12th Senate District. 


You can view previous versions of the Wisconsin Blue Book online by clicking here.
District 12 Events
Start Date Upcoming Event Location
October 28 Lac du Flambeau Lions Club Food for Kidz Minocqua
November 4-5 Dirty Dog Dryland Derby Pearson
November 5 32nd Annual Holiday Craft Bazaar Suring
November 10-11 Holiday Open House Crandon
November 11 Christmas Bazaar St. Germain
November 11 Christmas Fest Sayner
November 11 7th Annual Great Shopping Escape Boulder Junction
November 17 Venison Feed Tomahawk
November 17 Kickin' Off the Season Antigo
November 18 Holiday Open House Rhinelander
November 18 Hunters Lunch and Bake Sale Athelstane
November 24 Santa Comes to Town Land O' Lakes
November 24 29th Annual Christmas Walk Boulder Junction
November 25 Christmas Comes to Minocqua Minocqua
November 25 Avenue of Lights Lighting Oconto Falls
November 25 Christmas Walk Kids Day Boulder Junction
November 25 Breakfast with Santa Land O'Lakes
December 2 Christmas Parade Merrill
December 2 Village of Lights Lena
December 2 Christmas Parade & Tree Lighting Rhinelander
December 2 Wabeno Winterfest Wabeno
December 2 McCaslin Lions Children's Christmas Party Townsend
December 2 Lion's Club Kids Christmas Party Three Lakes
December 2 Holiday Home Tour Manitowish Waters
December 2 Christmas In Florence Florence
December 6 Chili Cook-Off Antigo
December 21 Sno-Eagles Guided Snowmobile Rides Eagle River
December 25 Annual Christmas Day Dinner Amberg
Contact Me:
Mail: Senator Tom Tiffany, PO Box 7882, Madison, WI, 53707
Phone: (608) 266-2509  Fax: (608) 282-3552
Email: sen.tiffany@legis.wisconsin.gov
As always, if you have any events for our calendar, comments or thoughts regarding the subjects of this newsletter, please feel free to contact me.
Copyright © 2017 Office of State Senator Tom Tiffany, All rights reserved.


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