March 22, 2019
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)
  • Elections, Ethics, and Rural Issues (Vice-Chair)
  • Local Government, Small Business, Tourism and Workforce Development
  • Joint Survey Committee on Tax Exemptions
Local Government, Small Business, Tourism and Workforce Development

This week, the Senate Committee on Local Government, Small Business, Tourism and Workforce Development met to take up appointments and hear testimony on proposed legislation. This is one of the committees that I serve on.

The two cabinet appointments before the committee were Sara Meaney, who is serving as the Department of Tourism secretary, and Caleb Frostman, who is the Department of Workforce Development secretary.

It was a good opportunity for me to discuss tourism issues with Secretary Meaney. Tourism is so important to northern Wisconsin and it is important we have a Tourism secretary who will build upon the success we've had over the last several years with Stephanie Klett leading the department. 

It was also great to hear Caleb Frostman's opinion on what we can do to continue building a strong workforce. I hear from people quite often about how difficult it can be to find skilled workers. That is one of the reasons why I do not agree with the Governor's recommendations to change the unemployment laws which would make unemployment more attractive. 

We also heard testimony on three bills related to apprenticeship programs. The first bill would provide grants to technical college students who are involved in apprenticeship programs. The grant would help pay for tools, clothing, equipment, or supplies related to the apprenticeship. The second bill would expand the generally accepted career clusters in the youth apprenticeship program. The final bill would increase the funding for the youth apprenticeship grants and would also provide funding for the development and updating of apprenticeship curricula.

I will continue to provide updates on this committee throughout the session.
Extraordinary Session Court Ruling

This week, a Dane County Circuit Judge temporarily blocked legislation that was passed last December in extraordinary session. The judge's decision rests on the fact that extraordinary sessions, which have been utilized by both Republicans and Democrats for decades, are unconstitutional. See my response below.
Link to Senator Tiffany's response to judge's decision
Update: Late Friday afternoon, after this video was recorded, the Governor announced he would be wiping out the appointments that were confirmed during the extraordinary session. Many of these people, including a few of my constituents, are volunteers willing to lend their expertise to help develop sound policy for the state. I want to emphasize how disappointed I am that the Governor would eliminate their appointments. 
State Building Commission
A week after Governor Evers released his budget proposal, he also unveiled a $2.52 billion a capital budget that included 82 building projects across the state. Capital improvements are generally paid for by borrowing money through selling bonds. The $2.5 billion is much larger than any capital budget approved by Governor Walker and would borrow three times as much money as the last capital budget that was passed. 

The State Building Commission is the board in charge of signing off on the capital budget. The board is chaired by the Governor and includes three state senators, three state representatives, and one citizen member who is appointed by the governor. There are also three non-voting advisory members from the Department of Administration. The Governor's capital budget is always sent to the Building Commission.

On Wednesday, the Governor called for the State Building Commission to meet to vote on his plan. Despite Republicans on the committee expressing heartburn over the huge amount of spending and their inability to fully review all 82 projects, the Governor called a hearing anyway. Some members offered a motion to forward the request to the legislature's Joint Finance Committee to thoroughly vet the plan. The Governor rejected this idea and tried to ram the projects through. 

It's unfortunate that the Governor, who claims to want to work with us to get things done, tried to bully his proposal through. There are certainly projects that he included that are important to many members, but with a record level of borrowing suggested, I think it was prudent of Commission members to ask for more time to review the entire request.

The capital budget will still be taken up by the Joint Committee on Finance, and I will be reviewing each proposal.
Farm Bureau Visit
This week, there were several farming groups that stopped by the office for ag day. It was a great opportunity to talk about the issues facing their industry and how we, as legislators, could help.

One of the groups that stopped by was the Farm Bureau which included Melissa Yates and her daughters. Melissa works with UW Extension in Lincoln County. Thanks for stopping by!
From Left to Right: Melissa Yates, Merin Yates, Shelby Yates, Dafney Yates, and Senator Tiffany
Congressional Art Competition
Each spring, a nation-wide high school arts competition is sponsored by the members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Congressmen Sean Duffy and Mike Gallagher have invited students to enter the competition to have their works of art displayed at our nation's capitol. 

For Congressman Duffy's announcement you can click here.

For Congressman Gallagher's announcement you can click here

If you're unsure who your congressman is, click here.
Academy Day
Congressman Duffy also announced he will be hosting an Academy Day. Although it is not in the 12th Senate District, I think this is a great opportunity for students, parents, and teachers to learn more about our nation’s incredible service academies.
District 12 Events
Start Date Upcoming Event Location
March 21-24 On Golden Pond Wabeno
March 23 Celebrate Spring Spaghetti Dinner Crooked Lake
March 30 5th Annual Red Arrow Club Dinner Play Lakewood
April 6 Phelps Maple Syrup Fest Phelps
April 6 Only Fools Run At Midnight 5K Minocqua
April 6 Spring is in the Air Craft Show Tomahawk
April 6 Lions Club Meat Raffle St. Germain
April 6 Lena Lions Fish Fry Lena
April 20 Hops and Vines Beer and Wine Tasting Rhinelander
April 20 Children's Easter Egg Hunt Lakewood
April 26 Veterans Benefits Expo Rhinelander
April 26-28 Central Wisconsin Concertina Festival Merrill
April 28 St. Germain Fire Department Fish Fry St. Germain
May 4 Colors of Cancer 5K Crandon
May 10 - 11 Journeys Marathon Eagle River
May 18 Oconto County Youth Fair Steak Fry Gillett
May 31 YMCA of the Northwoods: Denim and Diamonds Rhinelander
Contact Me:
Mail: Senator Tom Tiffany, PO Box 7882, Madison, WI, 53707
Phone: (608) 266-2509  Fax: (608) 282-3552
Copyright © 2019 Office of State Senator Tom Tiffany, All rights reserved.

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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.