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April 14, 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
Legislative Update
 
This week, two of the committees that I sit on this session met. The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Small Business, and Tourism met in an executive session on Tuesday morning to recommend three bills for passage to the floor:
  • SB 20 - This bill requires the treatment of late blight of potatoes by an antisporulant be completed 24 hours after the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has issued an order to do so. It further requires that removal of the infected plants be done within 72 hours of the issuance of the order. 
  • SB 23 - SB 23 would require a person who plants five or more acres of potatoes in a year to use only seed potatoes that are certified by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at UW-Madison and by DATCP or another equivalent state agency.
  • SB 153 - Upon passage, SB 153 will allow underage adults the ability to attend music festivals without their parents present. Under a new interpretation of the law, individuals under the age of 21 will not be able to attend music festivals where alcohol is served. This bill seeks to allow those individuals the ability to attend, and it allows the festivals the ability to continue to serve alcohol to individuals who are 21 years old and older.
Furthermore, on Thursday, I chaired an executive session and public hearing for the Senate Committee on Sporting Heritage, Mining, and Forestry. During our executive session, the committee had the opportunity to deliberate and affirm a single bill:
  • SB 68: This bill limits the time during which the feeding of deer may be prohibited following a positive test for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). The limit, after the passage of this bill, would be limited to 36 months in the county where the tested animal was located, and 24 months for surrounding counties.
After the executive session concluded, the committee held a public hearing on Senate Bill 124 (SB 124), co-authored by one of the 12th Senate District's Assemblywomen, Rep. Mary Felzkowski (Czaja). SB 124 will increase the amount of money appropriated from the conservation fund to the DNR for ATV safety programs. The DNR may provide funding to ATV groups that promote the safe operation of ATVs.

For more information about the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Small Business, and Tourism please click here. More information for the Senate Committee on Sporting Heritage, Mining, and Forestry can be found here.
I chaired the Senate Committee on Sporting Heritage, Mining, and Forestry meetings on Wednesday, April 12th.
Good News!

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) announced yesterday they have been able to generate nearly $100 million in revenue as a result of lower fuel prices, and competitive bidding on their road building projects. Secretary David Ross announced that $65 million will be immediately advanced to fund 21 additional projects around the state. The legislature will be able to allocate the additional $38 million in revenue in the 2017-19 biennial budget. 

The additional savings generated from these projects has allowed the DOT to accomplish more work and provide additional revenue to the Legislature during the budget process.We are glad to see that Secretary Ross has been able to implement worthwhile and successful reforms at the DOT. I am happy to see that these reforms are working, and we are moving in the right direction. 

For the more information from the DOT, please click here.
Research in the Rotunda

The 14th Annual Research in the Rotunda was held this past week on Wednesday. This annual consortium is organized by the UW-System (Universities and Colleges) to showcase the research talent that is produced at some of our state's finest schools. The UW-System has an annual $15 billion impact on the entire state's economy. This system-wide research demonstrates how that financial impact is driven through innovation by some of the hardest workers, entrepreneurs, and scientists.

Two of the the 93 total projects that were submitted as part of this program were from students from the 12th Senate District. I had the opportunity to meet with both of them in my office to chat about their work and their educational experience in the UW-System.

Firstly, David Sackett, from Rhinelander, was a part of one of the six research teams from UW-Whitewater. His research project concerning cancer cells and bonding was impressive! David is a chemistry major with a focus on biochemistry. David was also selected by his peers and the UW-W faculty to be one of the speakers at his commencement in May. 

Secondly, Alexandra Spaulding, of Merrill, attends UW-River Falls (my Alma mater). Alexandra's project concerned non-point source pollution of phosphorus in subwatersheds. It was interesting to hear her discuss her project and to see her poster of the summary of the work she had completed. 

Congratulations to both David and Alexandra on a job well done! For more information about Research in the Rotunda, please click here.
Left: I had the opportunity to see Alexandra's research poster in the Rotunda. 
Right: I was joined by David and his research adviser from UW-Whitewater in my office.
Below: The entire Capitol Rotunda was filled with 93 different research projects from all of the UW-System universities and colleges.
Joint Committee on Finance Schedule
 
For the second legislative session in a row, I have been selected to serve on the Joint Committee on Finance (JFC). The JFC is a bi-partisan committee comprised of members from both legislative houses. This committee's main duty is to work on crafting the biennial budget along with the legislature and the governor. The JFC began their formal budgeting process on March 28th with a series of agency briefings. Following the agency briefings, the entire JFC began to travel the state for six public listening sessions. I look forward to hearing from the people of Wisconsin on ways that we can maximize their tax dollars. The JFC announced the upcoming schedule for the public hearings for the 2017-19 biennial budget. I have included the final hearing schedule below:
Public Hearings:

Tuesday, April 18 - Spooner High School (Auditorium) - 801 County Highway A, Spooner - 10am - 6pm

Wednesday, April 19 - Ellsworth High School (Gymnasium) - 323 West Hillcrest St., Ellsworth - 10am - 5pm

Friday, April 21 - Marinette High School (Auditorium) - 2135 Pierce Avenue, Marinette - 10am - 5pm


**The committee will stop taking testimony at the stated end time**

 For the full text of the press release please click here
WIS 29 - Public Hearings

For the past two weeks, I have shared information about WIS-29 Public Hearings that were to take place on April 12th and 13th. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has postponed those meetings for now. As they announce more information, I will make sure to share it.

The  public hearings were concerning a proposed change in designation for WIS 29. The proposal would change the designation of a stretch of WIS 29 between County G (Marathon Co.) and US HWY 45 (Shawano Co.) from "expressway" to "freeway." The change from an expressway to a freeway would convert all at-grade and stop-controlled intersections with spaced out interchanges, overpasses and underpasses.

No construction has been scheduled at this time. The DOT is looking to collect public opinion on the potential for any changes.
District 12 Events
Start Date Upcoming Event Location
April 20 Sustainable Forestry Conference Florence
April 21-23 Central Wisconsin Concertina Festival Merrill
April 22 Hodag Hops & Vines Rhinelander
April 22 Corks, Forks, and Brews Antigo
April 27 A Taste of the North Minocqua
April 27 Merrill Historical Society History Hunt Merrill
April 29 39th Annual Lions Live Lobster and Prime Rib Dinner Presque Isle
May 12-13 Annual Birding Festival Manitowish Waters
May 13 21st Annual Journeys Marathon Eagle River
May 17-20 Northwoods Jazz Camp Minocqua
May 20 White Deer Triathlon Boulder Junction
May 27 Cabin Fever Meltdown Townsend
May 28 McCaslin Lioness Faire Lakewood
June 2-3 Nicolet Bird Club - Bird Fest Three Lakes
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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