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June 2, 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
JFC Update

The Joint Committee on Finance (JFC) met this week on Wednesday. JFC will continue to meet weekly until a final budget bill is prepared to send to the full legislature. The schedule for each session is posted online prior to the start of the session. This week we met and voted on the following:
  • Appropriation Obligation Bonds
  • Corrections - Parole Commission
  • Supreme Court
  • District Attorney
  • Investment Board
  • Administration - Information Technology
  • Administration - Procurement
  • Administration - Housing
  • Workforce Development - Departmentwide
  • Workforce Development - Employment and Training
  • Workforce Development - Other Programs
  • Tourism
  • Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority
  • Fox River Navigational System Authority
  • Natural Resources - Departmentwide
  • Natural Resources - Parks and Recreation
  • Board of Commissioners of Public Lands
A common theme throughout the budget-making process has been the development of a strong workforce in Wisconsin. I have always been an advocate for utilizing policy at the state-level to help build our communities' workforce to ensure success statewide. This week, JFC voted to expand a handful of programs to accomplish that goal. The committee unanimously approved to allocate $3.5 million annually for Career and Technical Education grants that seek to improve workforce readiness. Additionally, the committee approved a measure that will provide $500,000 annually to the Department of Workforce Development to allocate in grants for school districts with the purpose of purchasing technical education equipment. Finally, we approved a measure that would expand the teacher development grant program eligibility requirements and establish a teacher development program in conjunction with an educator preparation program that is approved by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. 

For information regarding each individual provision provided by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, please click here. Next week we have two executive sessions scheduled on Tuesday and Thursday. They have not yet announced the schedule. I will make sure to share that schedule via Twitter and Facebook as soon as it becomes available. It is important to mention that the JFC Co-Chairs can reschedule departments/boards up until they are voted on. All of the provisions in the proposed budget must be voted on prior to the budget bill leaving the committee. 
Committee on Sporting Heritage, Mining, and Forestry

Yesterday, I chaired a public hearing for the Committee on Sporting Heritage, Mining, and Forestry. Committee members heard testimony from the public on five bills:
  • SB 249 - Reclassifying and requiring an open season for woodchucks.
  • SB 247 - Authorizing hunting from a mechanized lift attached to a motor vehicle.
  • SB 178 - Fences on closed managed forest land.
  • SB 257 - The cumulative preference system for issuing Class A bear hunting licenses.
  • SB 225 - Uniform end date for certain open hunting and trapping seasons.
Last week, I shared information regarding legislation that myself and Representative Andrè Jacque (R-De Pere) have co-authored regarding woodchucks. At that point, we had the opportunity to testify in favor of that bill in front of the Assembly Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage Committee. This week, we had that same opportunity on the Senate side.

For more information on the Committee on Sporting Heritage, Mining, and Forestry, please click here.
I testified in favor of SB 249 with my co-author Representative Jacque (R-De Pere).
Remembering Our Fallen Soldiers

Monday, I had the opportunity to pay my respects to the men and women that gave their lives to protect our country. I attended a Memorial Day Service and Ceremony in Phelps. The service and ceremony was attended by veterans, families of fallen soldiers, and community members looking to pay their respects. I was given the chance to speak and reflect on the importance of our nation's military and the unfortunate loss of many of our local men and women. It is important to take time, not just on Memorial Day, but everyday to reflect on the sacrifice these men and women gave for our freedom. I want to thank everyone who came out to the ceremony in Phelps and to all of the citizens of the 12th Senate District who took time on Monday to do the same in their own communities. 
The Memorial Day Service and Ceremony was held in the Phelps Cemetery.
Transportation Fund

Good news came from the Department of Transportation (DOT) this week. Based on original projections completed prior to the introduction of Governor Walker's proposed 2017-19 biennial budget, the DOT had a balance of $8.4 million in their Transportation Fund. The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau conducted a re-estimate of the fund this past week and the projected balance going into the final budget proceedings is $93.4 million. 

A combination of a better outlook for revenue collection based on the motor fuel tax and revised estimates on revenue bonds lead to the increased estimate. I am excited to hear the good news from the DOT and I look forward to hearing more as the DOT begins to enact many more necessary reforms. 

For the full text of the re-estimate report, please click here.
Free Fishing Weekend

On the first full weekend in June, the Wisconsin DNR sponsors Free Fishing Weekend across the state. Families across Wisconsin can enjoy our 15,000 lakes, 40,000 miles of rivers, two Great Lakes, and 260 miles of the Mighty Mississippi without spending a dollar. 

During Free Fishing weekend, which begins on June 3rd and ends on June 4th, Wisconsin residents and visitors can fish anywhere in Wisconsin for free and without a license. This does include inland trout and Great Lakes trout and salmon fishing. Additionally, there are DNR-sponsored free fishing clinics around the state. At over 50 state parks, DNR offices, and other locations, free fishing equipment is available for loan. 

For more information about locations to fish, get equipment, or attend a fishing clinic, please click here. You can also find more information about Free Fishing Weekend and any rules that may apply on that page as well. Hope to see you out there!
Broadband

Governor Walker announced on Thursday that the Public Service Commission is now accepting applications for the the Fiscal Year 2018 Broadband Expansion Grants. This year, $1.5 million has been allocated to help provide grant money for underserved communities throughout Wisconsin. 

The Broadband Expansion Grant Program was established to provide reimbursements for equipment and construction expenses incurred to extend or improve broadband technology in our communities. Many communities around Wisconsin have benefited tremendously from these grants. Since 2013, the total amount of funding has tripled for these grants!

For more information about the grants or how to apply for them, please click here.
District 12 Events
Start Date Upcoming Event Location
June 2-3 Nicolet Bird Club - Bird Fest Three Lakes
June 9-11 Wisconsin River Pro Rodeo Merrill
June 9-11 Walk in the Woods Art Fair St. Germain
June 10 Art Fair on the Courthouse Lawn Rhinelander
June 17 Gleason Mud Bogs Gleason
June 17 Solstice Bike Festival Manitowish Waters
June 17 Blueberry Patch Daze Boulder Junction
June 24 Florence County Historical Society Quilt/Craft Show Florence
June 24-25 Presque Isle Days Presque Isle
July 1 Just Tri-It Triathalon Manitowish Waters
July 2 Picnic in the Park Winchester
July 3 Arts and Crafts Show Tomahawk
July 8 Island Art Walk Minocqua
July 13 Fishing Day for Kids Eagle River
July 13-16 Hodag Country Music Festival Rhinelander
July 15 Northland Pines Moonlight 5k Run/Walk Eagle River
July 21-22 Lena Area Rummage Sales Lena
July 22 Summer Classics/Art Impressions Land O' Lakes
July 26-30 Langlade County Youth Fair Antigo
July 26-30 Lincoln County Fair Merrill
July 29 Lions Brewfest Torpy Park Minocqua
July 29 Forest Fest Eagle River
July 29 Kentuck Day Festival Crandon
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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