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January 12, 2018
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
Employment First

People with disabilities want to work and earn a fair wage. There are Wisconsin employers who want to put these capable, dependable employees into jobs; however, there are often bureaucratic barriers in place that limit access for these individuals to find the jobs they wish to have.

Several state agencies have responsibilities to fund services to help youth and adults with disabilities get jobs. These services often fragmented agencies leading to duplication. Despite the agencies’ best efforts, many people with disabilities who want to work still remain unemployed.

I co-authored Senate Bill (SB) 514/ Assembly Bill (AB) 625 with Representatives James Edming (R-Glen Flora) and Jimmy Anderson (D-Fitchburg) because I believe that by braiding resources and establishing collaborative goals, our agencies will be better suited to meet the needs of people with disabilities seeking employment.
Disability rights advocates from across Wisconsin came to Madison to testify in favor of SB 514/AB 625.
This legislation primarily creates a unified priority policy among the Department of Health Services, Department of Workforce Development, and Department of Public Instruction to promote the best practice of competitive integrated employment. Agencies will also be required to collaborate and jointly develop a plan to increase the rates of competitive integrated employment. In doing so, agencies will be able to better identify barriers to entry for people with disabilities who want to enter the workforce.

Wisconsin has outpaced the nation annually in its efforts to integrate individuals with disabilities into our workforce yet only 41% of all working-age Wisconsinites with disabilities are employed. I believe that we can do better.

This week, SB 514/AB 625 received public hearings in both houses of the legislature. My co-authors and I were joined by disability rights advocates from around the state to testify in favor of these bills. Among those who testified was Ashley Mathy, of Lake Tomahawk. Ashley currently works at Nicolet College in Rhinelander and is an Employment First program ambassador. Thank you to Ashley and everyone else who traveled to Madison to testify. 
David Pinno and Ashley Mathy, two Employment First program ambassadors, joined me today to testify in favor of SB 514/AB 625.
Senate Committee on Agriculture, Tourism, and Small Business

On Tuesday, I heard testimony on three bills during a public hearing of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Tourism, and Small Business:
  • SB 572 - Relating to dental reimbursement pilot project in the Medical Assistance program.
  • SB 599 - Relating to various changes to the Agricultural Producer Security Program, providing an exemption from emergency rule procedures, and granting rule-making authority.
  • SB 667 - Relating to administration of the livestock premises registration program and making an appropriation.
In addition to the legislative testimony, the committee had the opportunity to hear public testimony on a few appointments including the new Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection.

My colleague, Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls) was nominated by Governor Walker after Secretary Ben Brancel retired. Following the public hearing, the committee voted to affirm Secretary Harsdorf's appointment, sending it to the Senate Floor for a final confirmation vote.

Additionally, one of my constituents, Jeffrey Schwaller of Wausaukee, was nominated to serve as a Northern Area Representative on the Snowmobile Recreational Council. Jeffrey has been a lifelong advocate for the snowmobile community and I look forward to his final confirmation vote. Thank you Jeffrey for your willingness to serve.

You can find more information about the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Tourism, and Small Business here.
Senate Committee on Revenue, Financial Institutions, and Rural Issues

The Senate Committee on Revenue, Financial Institutions, and Rural Issues began the New Year by holding an executive session to vote and affirm four bills for passage:
  • SB 167 - Relating to the sales and use tax exemption for commercial radio and television station property.
  • SB 398/AB 489 - Relating to qualified new business venture eligibility.
  • SB 404 - Relating to the fee for filing limited liability company articles of organization with the Department of Financial Institutions.
  • SB 481 - Relating to eliminating deductions for moving expenses for businesses that move out of the state or out of the United States.
Following the executive session, the committee heard public testimony on the following pieces of legislation:
  • SB 668 - Relating to the limit on tax credits that may be certified under the historic rehabilitation tax credit.
  • SB 603 - Relating to foreign corporations conducting business as a fiduciary in this state.
  • SB 617 - Relating to creating a penalty applicable to a seller that continues to collect sales tax erroneously on a product after receiving two or more written notices that the product is not taxable; certification of property assessors; use of social security numbers on certain tax documents; electronic delivery of notices by the Department of Revenue; and the responsibility for fees and disbursements in garnishment actions.
  • SB 659/AB 356 - Relating to licensure or certificate renewal for certain emergency medical services personnel and ambulance service providers.
For more information about the Senate Committee on Revenue, Financial Institutions, and Rural Issues, please click here.
Free Fishing Weekend

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources hosts two annual Free Fishing Weekends. The first one of 2018 is just around the corner. The weekend of January 20th-21st will be the winter Free Fishing Weekend. During this weekend, Wisconsin residents and visitors alike will be able to fish for free.

Aside from spring trout ponds, all of Wisconsin's inland waters, and Wisconsin's side of the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes are open to fish. While you do not need a stamp or license to fish, all other fishing rules including bag and size limits still apply.

If you do not have fishing gear, there are fishing poles and gear located at Tackle Loaner sites at most DNR regional offices or state parks. To locate your nearest loaner site, please click here

In addition to the statewide event, there are many local community and county-wide events being held. The DNR has a listing of those events on their website for you to check out.
Little Rice Chili Feed

On Saturday, January 13th, I will be judging chili along with JeffInTheMorning from WJJQ at the first Town of Little Rice Fire Department Chili Feed.  Local fire departments will be squaring off to see who makes the best chili.  How hot will it be?!

The event will be held at the Town of Little Rice Fire Department located at 3737 County Highway Y, Tomahawk. It runs from 8 am to 4 pm. If you get the chance, join us for a good event supporting a local fire department.
Eagle River Ice Castle

The tradition of building of an Ice Castle in Eagle River dates back to 1933, when one was built for an annual community festival. With an end to the annual tradition imminent in the 1980s, the Eagle River Area Volunteer Fire Department decided to take on the tradition and continue its legacy using the original 1933 castle design.

The 2018 Ice Castle was completed this past week. This year, the castle is 30 feet tall and was built using over 2,100 blocks of ice. Volunteers from the Fire Department and across the community dedicated hundreds of hours to complete the final project.

For more information about the 2018 Ice Castle, and the history behind the tradition, please click here.
Dr. Ronald Cortte

After 25 years of practicing family medicine in Tomahawk, Dr. Ronald Cortte is being recognized for his retirement. There is a retirement open house to celebrate Dr. Cortte on Sunday, January 14th from 1-4 pm at the Pine Tree Supper Club. It is located at 115 W. Wisconsin Avenue in Tomahawk.

Congratulations Dr. Cortte on your retirement. Thank you for serving the Tomahawk community.
Broadband Expansion Grants

The deadline for the second round of Broadband Expansion Grant applications is fast approaching. Governor Walker announced that an additional $7.5 million was available for grant awards during this cycle. Applications are due to the Public Service Commission by Thursday, January 25th.

I was pleased to offer a letter of support for a project coordinated by the Oconto County Economic Development Corporation that will seek to expand fiber optic cable throughout the city of Oconto Falls. I was also pleased to support an additional fiber optic project in the Hollister and Pickerel communities.

For more information about the grant application, please click here. If you have any further questions, feel free to reach out to my office.
Snow Update

Strap on your skis and get your snowmobiles out. Snow conditions have significantly improved after the last snow. Make sure to reach out to your local snowmobile clubs and chambers of commerce for up-to-date information on trail conditions.

As always, the Wisconsin Department of Tourism compiles an online, up-to-date snow report. You can find that report here
District 12 Events
Start Date Upcoming Event Location
January 12-14 Trig's Smokehouse Vintage World Championship Derby Eagle River
January 13 Arctic Warrior Race St. Germain
January 13 Lake Nokomis AMVET Fishing Tournament Nokomis
January 13 Laona Lions Annual Predator Hunt Cavour
January 13 Little Rice Fire Department Chili Feed Little Rice
January 20 SnoDevil's Open House Elcho
January 21 World Championship Snowmobile Derby Eagle River
January 27 Paul Bunyan Snow Fun Day Lakewood
January 27 Great Northern Ice Fishing Tournament Land O' Lakes
January 27 Roberts Memorial Ski Race Florence
January 27-28 Winterfest Sled Dog Race Merrill
February 3 Bridge Runners Classic Cruise Vintage and Antique Snowmobile Ride Deerbrook
February 3 Ice Fishing Jamboree Conover
February 3 10th Annual Frozen Tozen Boulder Junction
February 3-4 Dog Days of Winter Festival Doty
February 3-4 Three Bear Sled Dog Race Land O' Lakes
February 7-8 Annual Groomer Show St. Germain
February 9-11 13th Annual Labatt Blue Adult Pond Hockey Championship Eagle River
February 10 Keyes Peak Snowmobile Championship Races Florence
February 10 Ice Cold Beer Fest Minocqua
February 10 Plum Lake Ice Fishing Tournament Sayner
February 17 Northwoods Blizzard Blast Conover
February 17 34th Annual Ride with the Champs St. Germain
February 17 43rd Annual Red Arrow Fish-a-Ree Townsend
February 24 Fireman's Ball Florence
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 © 2018 Office of State Senator Tom Tiffany, All rights reserved.


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