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Conservatively Speaking

State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.

A positive step for voters

Every voter in the state of Wisconsin is assigned a unique “registration identification number” (RIN) by the Government Accountability Board, formerly the Elections Board.  The number is confidential. Under current law, only election officials can have access to the number.

The RIN is a management tool used to track voter records in the official statewide voter registration list. The number alone does not reveal any confidential data about the assigned individual. It appears on poll lists and other lists requested by the public.  Only an authorized user of the statewide voter registration list can access and utilize the number, and extraordinary steps must be taken to redact the information from various documents provided by the statewide voter registration list.

Why is this number so critical?

The number has to be on documents to allow local election officials to determine the voter record and to update records more efficiently.

The law designating confidentiality of the RIN is preventing the Government Accountability Board from implementing new technology that would benefit voters. The Board wants to begin using a new function of the statewide voting registration list called VPA, or Voter Public Access.  VPA would allow you to log onto the internet and find out whether you are registered to vote,  the location of your polling place, the districts you live in, and the current office holders. You could also find out whether your provisional ballot was counted for a particular election.

There is a problem, however, with current law.

The screen that shows whether the voter is registered contains the confidential RIN, and the Government Accountability Board is precluded from augmenting the new VPA.

I voted in favor of Assembly Bill 295 that will remove the confidentiality of registration identification numbers. With Wisconsin’s all-important Presidential primary just weeks away, it is critical the state take the necessary steps to allow the start of VPA that will be of great service to voters statewide.

Wisconsin must approve a ban on partial birth abortions

The state Assembly Judiciary and Ethics Committee held a public hearing this week on the Wisconsin Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, Assembly Bill 710. (AB 710). I am a co-sponsor of the legislation.

Currently, there is a federal ban on this brutal procedure. A ban at the state level is needed so that state and local authorities could, like federal officials, prosecute violators.

The language of AB 710 is the same as the 2003 federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act that has been ruled constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Brenda Pratt-Shafer, R.N., testified at the hearing about her first-hand experience assisting a doctor on a partial birth abortion. Her remarks were similar to testimony she gave before Congress in 1996. Here is the text of that testimony that is, as you might expect, quite graphic.

AB 710 has 53 co-sponsors in the state Assembly, enough votes for approval in that house. There are 16 co-sponsors in the state Senate, meaning that if the bill is scheduled for floor debate in the Senate, another vote is needed for passage.

Here is a copy of AB 710.

When President Bush signed the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 in November 2003, he said the following:

“For years, a terrible form of violence has been directed against children who are inches from birth, while the law looked the other way. Today, at last, the American people and our government have confronted the violence and come to the defense of the innocent child.

The best case against partial birth abortion is a simple description of what happens and to whom it happens. It involves the partial delivery of a live boy or girl, and a sudden, violent end of that life. Our nation owes its children a different and better welcome. The bill I am about to sign protecting innocent new life from this practice reflects the compassion and humanity of America.

In the course of the congressional debate, the facts became clear. Each year, thousands of partial birth abortions are committed. As Doctor C. Everett Koop, the pediatrician and former Surgeon General has pointed out, the majority of partial birth abortions are not required by medical emergency. As Congress has found, the practice is widely regarded within the medical profession as unnecessary, not only cruel to the child, but harmful to the mother, and a violation of medical ethics.

The facts about partial birth abortion are troubling and tragic, and no lawyer's brief can make them seem otherwise.  By acting to prevent this practice, the elected branches of our government have affirmed a basic standard of humanity, the duty of the strong to protect the weak. The wide agreement amongst men and women on this issue, regardless of political party, shows that bitterness in political debate can be overcome by compassion and the power of conscience. And the executive branch will vigorously defend this law against any who would try to overturn it in the courts.

The late Pennsylvania Governor Robert Casey once said that: when we look to the unborn child, the real issue is not when life begins, but when love begins. This is the generous and merciful spirit of our country at its best. This spirit is reflected in the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003.”

Wisconsin needs to adopt a similar ban.

A blow to government health care

Government health care

The state of California has dealt a serious setback to the concept of government health care.

A state Senate committee defeated a proposal by the Governor that would have provided health insurance to millions of uninsured Californians.

Senators could not support the sweeping plan knowing the state must deal with a $14.5 billion deficit.

As I have blogged in the past, California is one of a few heavily-populated states considering picking up the large tab for government health care. Illinois and Pennsylvania also reviewed the idea, but failed to pass any plan. Now California is struggling to reach consensus, and that scenario is an omen for government health care.

The California plan is similar to the current program operating in Massachusetts that is experiencing all kinds of problems, including the recent revelation that spending for the plan will increase by $400 million this year. Massachusetts taxpayers will bear the burden of paying for the increase.

Support for government health care could be dwindling. The New York Times says the overall issue of health care is not as critical to Americans. A New York Times/CBS News poll taken this month showed that only seven percent of those surveyed believed health care was the country’s most pressing problem.  Health care came in third behind the economy and the Iraq War.

New hotline to help Wisconsinites avoid foreclosures

A new hotline will assist Wisconsin homeowners to prevent foreclosures.

The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) has announced the start of the hotline, operated by the Homeownership Preservation Foundation. It helps homeowners come up with ways to keep their homes.

Representatives of the foundation will talk to a homeowner’s lender about developing different payment options or refinancing a mortgage.

The Appleton Post-Crescent reports, “There were 2,385 foreclosure filings for the month of November (in Wisconsin) according to the latest data available from California-based RealtyTrac, which was a 4.8 percent drop from October."

Here is how to get help.

The hotline number is toll-free:
888-995-4673.6

Help is available on the Internet. 

WISN-TV Channel 12 News has produced this story on the hotline.

A Photo ID requirement is not the problem in our election system

Photo ID

With critical state primaries coming very soon and the Presidential election in November, states are not prepared to effectively handle 2008 elections.

That’s the opinion of Dr. Robert A. Pastor, director of the Center for Democracy and Election Management at American University in Washington, DC.

Pastor says the majority of states have failed to adopt or even embrace reforms that would restore confidence and trust in America’s flawed election system. As a result, Pastor says problems with this year’s elections are inevitable.

The biggest problem according to Pastor will be voter registration lists. The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 gave the states until January 1, 2006 to complete integrated, interactive lists. A few states have yet to comply. There has not been a thorough review to determine the quality of the lists. So a number of problems are still likely to occur in this year’s primary and general elections. Pastor also points out “about one third of the states have bottom-up databases that rely on counties and municipalities to retain their own registration lists and submit information to the state rather than the other way around. In contrast, top-down lists typically deliver information in real time.”

There are problems with new computerized systems that have replaced archaic punch card and lever voting. A paper trail is necessary in the event of recounts, but Congress has failed to fund and provide voter-verified paper-audit trails. Some states are so concerned that they are thinking about dumping their electronic voting systems in favor of a paper system prior to the November election.

Pastor says, “Poll workers are overworked and underpaid. They put in a 14- to 16-hour workday, face complex job requirements after little training and generally receive scant compensation.”

Little progress has been made on photo ID’s. A U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the issue is scheduled this summer.

Pastor’s gloomy summary is that, “Voters are likely to face hassles with registration lists and voting machines. Poll workers will remain under-trained and overworked. Election management remains under the thumb of partisan officials, and voter identification is likely to remain problematic. 2008 is unlikely to be an improvement over 2006.”

Pastor’s employer, the
Center for Democracy and Election Management at American University released a study last month providing more evidence that photo ID’s are not obstacles to voting.

A random sample of registered voters in Indiana, Mississippi and Maryland found that only 1.2 percent of registered voters lack a government-issued photo ID.

More than two-thirds of all registered voters in the three states believe the electoral system would be trusted more if people had to show an ID to vote.

The study also demonstrates that a very small percentage of registered voters will be adversely affected by a photo ID requirement.

Nearly a quarter of the registered voters in the three states lack confidence that their votes will be counted accurately, and an even greater number perceive that fraud is more widespread than experts believe.

Other key findings:

The issue of showing a photo ID as a requirement of voting does not appear to be a serious concern in the three surveyed states.

Almost all registered voters have an acceptable form of photo ID available (e.g., driver’s license, passport, military ID or some combination of these documents).

About 1.2 percent of registered voters do not have a photo ID, but half of those have documents proving citizenship, and most of the states have provisional or absentee ballots or other exceptions that could permit people to vote.

Registered voters without photo IDs tended to be female, African-American, and Democrat. However, that number of registered voters in the survey was too small (24 of 2,000) to draw definitive conclusions about this group.

A much larger problem among poor and minorities is not registered voters without IDs, but those who are not registered.

More than 97 percent of all registered voters in the three states surveyed could produce proof of citizenship, either a birth certificate, a passport, or naturalization papers.

Nearly one-fifth of registered voters saw or heard of fraud at their own polling place, and an even larger number, 64 percent of all respondents - reported hearing of fraud elsewhere.

Nearly all, 96 percent of voters in this study said showing a photo ID would not make them less likely to vote.

Opposition to voter IDs has come largely from those who fear that this requirement will disenfranchise voters who do not have IDs or would find it difficult to acquire them. But they were unable to locate a single individual in Indiana who was prevented from casting a ballot because they lacked an ID.

Here is the full report, Voter IDs Are Not the Problem: A Survey of Three States.

Good news about your food bills

Want some good economic news for a change?

The American Farm Bureau Federation reports that by the end of this week, most Americans will have earned enough to pay for their food purchases for all of 2008.

The Agriculture Department’s Economic Research Service figures that American families and individuals spend, on average, just 9.9 percent of their disposable personal income for food. Because most Americans will have earned enough for their food by the end of this week, they will have more disposable income for taxes, mortgage payments, savings, etc.

The American Farm Bureau Federation acknowledges Americans might feel more pinched at the grocery store or at their favorite restaurants, but contend the added costs are a result of higher energy prices that lead to higher costs for processing, producing and shipping food.

On average, the typical American worker needed 37 days to earn enough income to pay for this year’s food purchases. The National tax Foundation in Washington D.C. reports that in comparison to working 37 days to pay for food, Americans worked 77 days to pay their federal taxes, 62 days to pay for housing/household operation, and 52 days for health/medical care.

Trying 17-year olds as juveniles

Milwaukee Police have arrested a 17-year old who has been charged in connection with the fatal shooting of a Miller Brewing Co. executive in the walker’s Point neighborhood. Police say the 17-year old is a member of the Latin Kings gang. Also arrested were a 21-year old thought to be the actual shooter and a 16-year old girl.

Let’s focus on the 17-year old. Under current Wisconsin law, 1995 Wisconsin Act 27, 17-year olds alleged to have violated criminal law are subject to prosecution as adults. Certainly the 17-year old charged in connection with the murder of the Miller executive should be tried in adult court. Yet there are some in the Legislature that want to change the age of criminal court jurisdiction to 18, and return 17-year olds to the jurisdiction of juvenile courts.

Proponents of what would be a major and horrible change in our justice system point to a recent audit by the Legislative Audit Bureau. The audit found that 17-year olds were more likely to re-offend than juveniles or older adults, and that fewer than half of 17-year old offenders successfully completed probation.

Neither of those findings, that offenders often commit more crime and that probation can fail, is surprising.

What the proponents of sending 17-year olds back to juvenile court don’t mention is another key finding in the audit:

“If the age of criminal court jurisdiction is returned to 18, which it was before the enactment of 1995 Wisconsin Act 27, 17-year-olds would return to the juvenile justice system, which is primarily operated by counties. The fiscal effect for the counties is likely to be significant. We estimate returning 17-year-olds to the juvenile system could cost $53.5 million to $82.4 million annually.”

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker said in his “State of the County” address last month, “While juveniles who are not a public safety threat can be connected to people within the community, those who commit serious crimes must continue to be waived into adult court. State legislation that would raise the age in adult court from 17 to 18 would be a serious blow to fighting crime and it could cost our county (at least) $23 million.”

Should 17-year olds who are committing adult-like crimes be tried in juvenile courts? Does anyone truly believe that will make a significant difference in crimes committed by that age group? Tell that to the family of the Miller executive.

I am unconvinced changing Wisconsin law to try 17-year olds in juvenile court is a positive step. It would be extremely costly, and even worse, quite dangerous.

Debate continues over military powers of governors

Here is an update on a blog I wrote December 30, 2007 about a Congressional Act that received little media attention that removes the power of the President to call up National Guard troops during emergencies. The authority to call up the National Guard would revert to the nation’s governors.

Last week, President Bush signed the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act into law. Congress had taken away gubernatorial powers to call up National Guard troops in 2006 following Hurricane Katrina.

The debate on this issue has now shifted to this question: Should the nation’s governors have power to call up all U.S. military forces in their respective states during emergencies?

Stateline.org has the details.

Let's keep the estate tax dead

Taxes

Many would argue that one cannot afford to live in Wisconsin. Many would also argue that one cannot afford to die here, because of our estate (death) tax.

The state stopped collecting estate taxes as of January 1, 2008. However, because our state is entrenched in a tax and spend mentality, there are already efforts to do away with the repeal of the estate tax.

Proponents who want to revive the estate tax say there will be a loss of revenue to state coffers. That, of course, is true. Instead of going to the state that would spend the money on questionable programs, the money would go to hard-working families to save, invest, or spend the way they see fit.

A group that calls itself, progressive, One Wisconsin Now, has started a petition drive to urge state legislators to solve
the $300 million budget crisis by “ending the $300 million estate tax break for the heirs and heiresses of Wisconsin’s largest fortunes.”

WTMJ radio reported today the group is arguing in an e-mail campaign that the revenues that we once collected from the estate tax should not go to Wisconsin’s next Paris Hilton. That certainly begs the question of who was Wisconsin’s last Paris Hilton?

The Heritage Foundation finds that the estate tax is bad for the economy for the following reasons:

  • Reduces economic growth, which hurts the jobs and incomes of the very people wealth redistribution was intended to aid;

  • Read more

Wisconsin ill-equipped to handle recession

If a recession does hit America, Wisconsin will be less prepared to handle the economic downturn than most other states.

That is the assessment of the non-partisan Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX).

A new report by WISTAX says:

Unlike most states, which amassed major surpluses in recent years, Wisconsin has little with which to withstand a recession. While state governments around the country have combined 2007-08 surpluses of almost $46 billion, Wisconsin may be facing a $400-million revenue shortfall with only $124 million in reserve.

Here are more details from WISTAX
.

New studies pan ethanol

Ethanol

A bill mandating the use of ethanol in gasoline is still pending before the state Senate. I have stated the jury is still out on the benefits of ethanol. There are too many unknowns. We are unsure ethanol will cost less, we are unsure ethanol will be more fuel-efficient, and we are unsure ethanol will be good for the environment.

New studies have just been released indicating bio-fuels like ethanol can damage the environment, and even lead to global warming.

Here are the details from ABC News.

Ethanol mandate update

Ethanol

The Senate version of the ethanol mandate bill is temporarily in limbo since the Senate couldn’t find enough votes for passage when it was considered on January 31, 2008.

The Assembly companion bill to the Senate ethanol mandate, Assembly Bill 682 gets a public hearing by the Assembly Befouls and Sustainable Energy Committee today, February 13, 2008. Committee members also plan to vote on the bill. It then could be considered for a floor vote before the state Assembly.

Passage of ethanol mandate legislation will lead to higher gas and food prices, a negative effect on engines and engine performance, and will increase pollution.

It is my strong hope that leadership in the Assembly will prevent Assembly Bill 682, because it is such bad legislation, from going to the Assembly floor. 

The merits of ethanol should be determined by consumers, not mandated by government. 

The next President will spend......a lot!

True fiscal conservatives are justified in their concern about the Presidential election.

The National Taxpayer’s Union Foundation (NTUF) studied the spending proposals of the eight front-running Presidential candidates (some candidates have dropped out since) and found that they would increase the Federal Budget anywhere from $7 billion to $287 billion.

Here are some of the NTUF’s findings:
  • The top-tier GOP candidates often portrayed as "conservative" (Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee) actually called for significantly larger spending hikes ($19.5 billion and $54.2 billion, respectively), than the so-called "moderate conservative" (John McCain, $6.9 billion).
  • Among Democrats, Barack Obama, often described as ideologically more "moderate" than Hillary Clinton, actually has the larger agenda of the two ($287.0 billion vs. $218.2 billion).

It appears all candidates are prepared to continue the economically dangerous trend of spending beyond our means.

Here’s the NTUF report.

Defending the Boy Scouts

Eagle Scouts

One of the most rewarding and gratifying duties as a state Senator is presenting special state plaques of recognition to young men achieving the honor of Eagle Scout. The Eagle Scout ceremonies I attend are a wonderful testament to the caliber of fine young people.

The Boy Scouts of America is a terrific organization that sadly has become an unfair target. That’s why I was pleased to see that Texas Governor Rick Perry utilized a good portion of his speech Saturday
at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington D.C. to defend this noble group.

I echo Governor Perry’s thoughts and share his remarks with you, from rickperry.org:


Before I leave here, I would be remiss if I did not touch on the running gun battle being waged by the ACLU and the secular forces on the left.

As this often quiet war of attrition has raged for 40-plus years, a group of sentinels has stood their post, protecting, defending and promoting American values and the values of everyone in this room, bearing the brunt of liberal attacks.

I am referring to the Boy Scouts of America.

The venerable institution of the Boy Scouts of America, with its clearly-stated belief in God, adherence to a strict moral code and steadfast focus on shaping young men, is the trophy buck that the ACLU and their friends would like to hang above their fireplace.

Because of their clarity of mission, the Boy Scouts are, in effect, a listening post for those of us who believe in the conservative philosophy. As they stand watch on the perimeter of our culture, they are the first and most visible target for the forces who would undercut the moral foundations of our country.

As the Scouts go now, so goes the rest of our culture in the days to come. Because of this, we must rally to their support and help them hold that line.

To bring attention to this struggle, I have written a book about it, the first book I’ve ever written. The book hits the shelves in a matter of days, its available here in the Exhibit Hall and you can get additional copies on line at www.onmyhonorthebook.com.

As an Eagle Scout and the father of an Eagle Scout, I wrote it for two primary reasons. First, because the 12 Scout laws have worked in the lives of millions of young men and still apply, even in our fast-changing, modern society.  The second reason is that those values and specifically the organization that teaches them - the Boy Scouts of America - are under attack.

For years the Scouts have won lawsuits protecting the “duty to God” element of their credo and keeping the issue of sex and sexuality from being forced upon the scout agenda.  But now the secular left has shifted its attacks to public entities that have sponsored scout events at city parks, public schools, even the Department of Defense.

They have gone after anyone with access to public funds to prevent them from providing space to the Boy Scouts. And friends it saddens me to say they are winning some of these lawsuits. 

In some instances, just the threat of a lawsuit has compelled certain public organizations to close their doors to the Scouts.   In other instances, city officials sympathetic to the secular agenda are creating new policies that ban access to city facilities for scouts.

This is what happened in Philadelphia.   After using a city facility for nearly a century, paying only a dollar a year in rent, the Scouts were told they would now have to pay fair market value.  Citing a 25-year old "fair practices" law, the city solicitor said the Scouts must renounce their policy on excluding openly homosexual scoutmasters or leave the Beaux-Arts building it has rented from the city since 1928. 

Know what is amazing about that?  The Scouts actually built that facility more than 80 years ago and gave it to the city for free. We have to protect the Scouts. 

We want it to be around for another hundred years teaching young men the value of being trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. They are our future leaders, husbands, and fathers. We’ll need their influence then, so we need to rally to their defense now.

Wisconsin taxpayers continue to pay more and more

Taxes


Out of every Wisconsin dollar, how much money do you think is paid in taxes?

The answer, according to the non-partisan Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WTA) is 35 cents or 35 percent.

The WTA reports, “Wisconsin residents paid more in federal, state, and local taxes for the fourth consecutive year in 2007. Payments rose 8.1%, to $66.4 billion. Growing federal taxes (up 10.8%) were primarily responsible for the increase. State tax collections grew less (3.9%), hampered by stagnant sales tax revenues and falling cigarette tax revenues. Local taxes (3.0%) increased the least.”

Taxes soak up 35 percent of personal income in Wisconsin.
 
Read more here.

Major tax reform being considered, not here, but in Florida

Taxes

For too long, there has been an out of control tax and spend mentality in Wisconsin that continues today.

Cut taxes? We can’t even consider freezing or slowing the growth of taxes and spending without screams of doomsday predictions.

Contrast Wisconsin’s inability and/or refusal to engage in fiscal responsibility with reforms being examined in Florida.

Florida has created a special panel called the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission. It meets every 20 weeks to examine the state’s tax and budget system. According to tampabay.com, the Commission is proposing a far-reaching plan to put the brakes on taxing and spending.

The St. Petersburg Times reports the Commission is supporting a constitutional amendment that would impose taxing and spending limits:

“Only voters could give permission to break either the spending or revenue caps set by the proposal. The measure would also require the public to approve any new tax or fee. New revenues would have to be reapproved by voters every four years.

The plan also calls for limiting state government spending and revenue, indexed to inflation and population growth. However, it allows the Legislature to exceed those caps with a supermajority vote of lawmakers. Excess revenue would have to be put into an emergency fund or refunded to taxpayers.”

The timing could be right for the constitutional amendment in Florida where voters a few weeks ago okayed a tax-cut package totaling $9.3 billion.

Here are more details from the St. Petersburg Times.

Florida is not only talking about major tax reforms but is poised to take action. In Wisconsin, the mere mention of cuts sends the tax and spenders into a frenzy. The weather isn’t the only reason Wisconsinites are moving to the Sunshine State.

Timing couldn’t be worse for big salary increases at UW

The UW System Board of Regents has approved huge increases in salary ranges for Chancellors and top level executives that will take effect July 1, 2008.

Conceivably, the Chancellor at UW-Madison could receive a 66 percent salary increase. John Wiley is set to retire in September, but his successor would be in line for the hefty increase.

I understand the argument that competitive salaries are needed to recruit the finest administrators for our University system. However, these astronomical salary increases come at a very bad time.
 
  • Wisconsin taxes remain some of the highest in the nation.
  • Wisconsin has a projected revenue shortfall of $652 million.
  • Budget cuts will have to be considered.
  • Wisconsinites are losing jobs.
  • Wisconsinites are losing their homes.
 Also troubling is the fact an un-elected, appointed Board of Regents is setting these outlandish salaries without accountability to the taxpaying public.

Governor Doyle’s appointees to the Board of regents are clearly out of touch with the state’s current fiscal dilemma and the hard-working people who pay the bills.

Let’s work with Ohio to improve the Great Lakes Compact

Great Lakes

For months I have been recommending that Wisconsin refrain from approving a Great Lakes Compact that is flawed and should instead work with officials in other states that share my concerns, like Ohio to achieve a strong document.

That is why I am encouraged to hear that Assembly Speaker Mike Huebsch and State Representative Scott Gunderson have written a letter to the President of the Ohio state Senate, Senator Bill Harris, stating they want to collaborate with the state of Ohio on changes to the Compact.

Representatives Huebsch and Gunderson correctly state they desire a strong Compact to protect the waters of the Great Lakes, that private property rights must be protected, and that one state should not have the power to impact the economic development efforts of another Great Lakes state.

I support Speaker Huebsch and Representative Gunderson in this endeavor. Here is a copy of their letter to Ohio Senate President Harris.

I also concur with state Representative Jim Ott who has also expressed concerns with the Compact in its current form.  Representative Ott appropriately points out that the current Compact would deny cities like Waukesha access to Lake Michigan water, and that there should not be a rush to adopt a Compact. A strong Compact is necessary for many reasons, including the fact that the Compact will be in place, as Representative Ott states, for “generations to come.”

Here is a copy of Representative Ott’s statement.

Here is a link to all of my blogs on the Great Lakes Compact.

I agree that Wisconsin should proceed cautiously and work to adopt a Compact that is the best document possible for the Great Lakes, Wisconsin, and the other Great Lakes states.

New state law helps our military

News you can use, Veterans issues

The state of Wisconsin is taking a step to accommodate our state residents serving in the military.

The Legislature has approved and Governor Doyle has signed into law a bill that extends to military members in the state on leave or former residents the same privileges as current residents for the purposes of DNR hunting or fishing approval.
 Under previous Wisconsin law, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) had to consider a person not a resident of the state and in the military and stationed in this state a resident for the purpose of issuing him or her hunting, fishing, or trapping approval. Under the fee structure for fish and game approvals, a resident pays less for the same or equivalent approval as does a nonresident.

Assembly Bill 296 that was signed into law requires the DNR consider a person currently not a resident of this state but was a resident of this state at the time he or she entered the military, a resident for the purpose of issuing him or her a hunting or fishing license.

It is a small but appropriate gesture, the least we can do for our military.

Congress would mandate state spending on higher education

Controversial legislation before Congress contains a provision that would require states to appropriate a minimum amount of spending towards higher education based on previous spending or suffer a loss of federal funds.

On February 7, 2008, the House passed the College Opportunity and Affordability Act, 354-58. Wisconsin Congressmen Baldwin, Kagen, Kind, Moore, Obey and Petri voted in favor. Congressman Ryan and Sensenbrenner voted against the Act.

According to Stateline.org, the Act “would require each state’s higher education funding to be at or above the average it spent over the last five years. If states don’t commit that amount, they could lose their share of federal money from the $65 million Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership grant program to help low-income students.”

Opponents say the Act amounts to the feds sticking their noses in states’ business.

Stateline.org quotes North Dakota state Rep. Rae Ann Kelsch (R), the chair of the National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) education standing committee:

“Once again the federal government is saying that they’re the ones that have the most expertise to run education in individual states. The provision would set a dangerous precedent for the federal intrusion into state policy and the appropriation authority. That’s an issue that we as legislators pride ourselves in.” 

This is an issue worth watching.

Here is the entire Stateline.org piece.

Bill would halt using SSN’s

A bill will soon be introduced in the Legislature that would prohibit any state or local governmental unit or elected official that has possession of public records from using a social security number as an identifier for an individual recipient of any program run by the government unit or elected official.

I intend to support the bill.

Last month, I blogged that the state should stop using Social Security numbers as identifiers after three separate breaches of privacy were discovered during a 13-month period.

Given the frequency and severity of identity, it makes common sense to refrain from using Social Security numbers as identifiers as soon as possible.

State Senate in session Tuesday

Here is the calendar for the state Senate session scheduled for Tuesday, February 19, 2008:


First Order.      Call of Roll.
Second Order. Chief clerk's entries.
Third Order.     Introduction, first reading and reference of proposals; reference of appointments.
Fourth Order.   Report of committees.
Fifth Order.      Petitions and communications.
Sixth Order.     Advice and consent of the Senate.  

QUESTION:        Shall the appointment be confirmed?

Ahern, Tripp, of Fond du Lac, as a member of the Lower Fox River Remediation Authority, to serve for the term ending June 30, 2009.
Conway, Gregory, of DePere, as a member of the Lower Fox River Remediation Authority, to serve for the term ending June 30, 2011.
Cowles, Robert, of Green Bay, as a member of the Lower Fox River Remediation Authority, to serve for the term ending June 30, 2013.
Graham, Alfonso, of Brookfield, as Chairman of the Parole Commission, to serve for the term ending March 1, 2007.
Graham, Alfonso, of Brookfield, as Chairman of the Parole Commission, to serve for the term ending March 1, 2009.
Hansen, Dave, of Green Bay, as a member of the Lower Fox River Remediation Authority, to serve for the term ending June 30, 2011.
Raemisch, Richard, of Madison, as Secretary of the Department of Corrections, to serve for the term ending at the pleasure of the Governor.
Schillinger, Patrick, of De Pere, as a member of the Lower Fox River Remediation Authority, to serve for the term ending June 30, 2011.
Stegeman, David, of Mequon, as a member of the Lower Fox River Remediation Authority, to serve for the term ending June 30, 2009.
Wall, James, of Green Bay, as a member of the Lower Fox River Remediation Authority, to serve for the term ending June 30, 2009.

Seventh Order. Referrals and receipt of committee reports concerning proposed administrative rules.
Eighth Order.    Messages from the Assembly.
Ninth Order.     Special Orders.
Tenth Order.     Consideration of motions, resolutions, and joint resolutions not requiring a third reading.

QUESTION:        Shall the resolution be adopted?

Senate Joint Resolution 89. Relating to: proclaiming March of every year as Irish-American Heritage Month.

Eleventh Order.   Second reading and amendments of senate joint resolutions and senate bills.

QUESTION:        Shall the bill be ordered to a third reading?

Senate Bill 37. Relating to: regulation of unsafe children's products, extending the time limit for and providing an exemption from emergency rule procedures, requiring the exercise of rule-making authority, and providing a penalty.Senate Amendments 1 and 2 pending

Senate Bill 99. Relating to: prohibitions against certain telephone and facsimile solicitations, authorizing a private cause of action, and providing a penalty Senate Substitute Amendment 1 pending

Senate Bill 108. Relating to: requiring instruction in public schools on the history of organized labor in America and the collective bargaining process.

Senate Bill 126. Relating to: notification of the state regarding a medical malpractice claim.Senate Substitute Amendment 1 pending

Senate Bill 167. Relating to: a state electrical wiring code; regulation of electricians, electrical contractors, and electrical inspectors; inspections of electrical wiring; regulation of electrical wiring; regulation of heating and air conditioning contractors by a county with a population of 500,000 or more; and granting rule-making authority. Senate Amendments 1 and 3 pending

Senate Bill 171. Relating to: public financing of campaigns for the office of justice of the supreme court, making appropriations, and providing penalties.

Senate Bill 194. Relating to: the licensing and regulation of thermal system insulation and fire-stop product mechanics and contractors; creating a thermal system insulation and fire-stop council; requiring the employment of a state inspector; establishing standards for installing, removing, and maintaining thermal system insulation and fire-stop products; requiring the exercise of rule-making authority; and providing a penalty. Senate Substitute Amendment 2 pending

Senate Bill 223. Relating to: expanding the area in which a tax incremental district's project costs may be expended. Senate Amendment 1 pending

Senate Bill 273. Relating to: the regulation of certain suppliers of liquefied petroleum gas, applicability of the statewide system for notification of the location of transmission facilities, granting rule-making authority, and providing a penalty.Senate Amendments 1 and 2 to Senate Substitute Amendment 1, and Senate Substitute Amendment 1 pending

Senate Bill 284. Relating to: open burning of solid waste, illegal storage or disposal of waste tires, and providing a penalty.Senate Amendment 1 pending

Senate Bill 341. Relating to: salaries of deputy district attorneys

Senate Bill 346. Relating to: products containing mercury and granting rule-making authority. Senate Substitute Amendment 1 pending

Senate Bill 350. Relating to: required judicial findings and orders when a child is placed outside the home, termination of parental rights warnings, mandatory child abuse or neglect reporters, the confidentiality of social services records, changing from child caring institution to residential care center for children and youth the term used to describe a facility operated by a licensed child welfare agency for the care and maintenance of children residing in that facility, changing from day care to child care the term used to describe care and supervision for children for less than 24 hours a day, and renumbering the definition of neglect (suggested as remedial legislation by the Department of Health and Family Services

Senate Bill 353. Relating to: collective bargaining process for University of Wisconsin System faculty and academic staff and making appropriations.

Senate Bill 368. Relating to: the operation of certain 3-vehicle combinations on certain highways without a permit (suggested as remedial legislation by the Department of Transportation).  By Law Revision Committee.

Senate Bill 369. Relating to: occupational licenses for certain offenders (suggested as remedial legislation by the Department of Transportation). 

Senate Bill 370. Relating to: depositing all revenue from the assessment on licensed beds of nursing homes and intermediate care facilities for the mentally retarded into the Medical Assistance trust fund (suggested as remedial legislation by the Department of Health and Family Services). 

Senate Bill 381. Relating to: rules requiring that certain buildings be superinsulated. 

Senate Bill 390. Relating to: increasing the size of the city of Milwaukee Board of Fire and Police Commissioners, authorizing a panel of the board to decide certain cases, and the adjournment of a trial or investigation relating to charges brought against an officer. Senate Amendment 1 pending

Senate Bill 393. Relating to: background checks for personal care workers.  Senate Substitute Amendment 1 pending

Senate Bill 396. Relating to: online courses for elementary and secondary school pupils and granting rule-making authority. Senate Substitute Amendment 1 pending

Senate Bill 417. Relating to: increasing the allowable number of project plan amendments for tax incremental district number 2 in the village of Pleasant Prairie.  Senate Substitute Amendment 1 pending

Twelfth Order.  Second reading and amendments of assembly joint resolutions and assembly bills.


QUESTION:        Shall the bill be ordered to a third reading?

Assembly Bill 100. Relating to: the requirement that motor vehicles be equipped with safety glass. 

Assembly Bill 361. Relating to: child in need of protection or services, jurisdiction over a child whose guardian is unable or needs assistance to care for or provide necessary special treatment or care for the child, but is unwilling or unable to sign a petition requesting that jurisdiction.

Assembly Bill 500. Relating to: issuance of retail intoxicating liquor licenses. 

Thirteenth Order.        Third reading of joint resolutions and bills.
Fourteenth Order.       Motions may be offered.
Fifteenth Order.          Announcements, adjournment honors, and remarks under special privilege.
Sixteenth Order.         Adjournment.

Online assistance now available for voters

News you can use

On February 2, I blogged about the need to approve Assembly Bill 295 (AB 295) that would allow  the Government Accountability Board to implement new technology that would benefit voters. The legislation needed to pass so the Board could begin using a new function of the statewide voting registration list called VPA, or Voter Public Access. 

I am happy to report the Legislature approved AB 295 and VPA is now up and running, allowing you to log onto the internet and find out whether you are registered to vote,  the location of your polling place, the districts you live in, and the current office holders. You could also find out whether your provisional ballot was counted for a particular election.

Here are more details from the Wisconsin Technology Network.

Here is a link to VPA.

Beware of IRS scam

News you can use

E-mails and phone calls claiming to be from the IRS are being circulated asking for verification of bank accounts and social security numbers so refunds and the new rebates can be directly deposited into your account.

These are the most recent attempts by scammers to steal your identity and are quite sophisticated. The solicitations appear authentic.

The IRS has put an alert on their website.

Expanding Wisconsin's No Call List

News you can use

One of the best bills approved by the state Legislature in recent years was the creation of the Wisconsin No Call List.

About one million Wisconsin residential telephone numbers have been added to the list since its inception in 2003 to help block telemarketers from interrupting people at home. 

The state Senate has approved a bill to expand this popular, free service.

Senate Bill 99 (SB 99) expands the No Call List to include cell phone numbers. SB 99 also allows a small business to request that a land line or cell phone number be included on the No Call List that is administered by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).

More and more consumers are using cell phones as opposed to land lines. Consumers that exclusively use cell phones will now be afforded the same opportunity to request privacy from telemarketers.
 Also under SB 99, a telemarketer is prohibited from calling a customer who has verbally informed the telemarketer that the customer does not want to receive telephone solicitations.

Penalties for violators would increase from the current forfeiture of $100. SB 99 increases the forfeiture for violators to not less than $1,000 or more than $10,000.
 

I expect the state Assembly to approve SB 99 and the Governor to sign the bill into law. SB 99 would become law five business days after the Governor signs the legislation. Until then, only residential land line phone numbers can be registered on the Wisconsin No Call List.

While SB 99, if signed into law, will give cell phone users the option of registering their cell phone numbers, I urge thoughtful consideration.

Federal law prohibits telemarketers from using automated dialers to call cell phones. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) advises that you may put your personal cell phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry, and now you may soon have the option to place your cell phone number on Wisconsin’s No Call List. However, there is generally not a reason to do so.

Registering your cell phone is unnecessary and a very bad idea. Cell phone numbers are unpublished. If you provide your cell phone number to the national do not call list, suddenly, it becomes a published number. The lists of numbers must be purchased by telemarketers so they can comply with the do not call registry. It would be extremely easy for unscrupulous entities and foreign, international entities to get their hands on the numbers. Your best bet is to avoid registering your cell phone.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a news release stating:

“Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations prohibit telemarketers from using automated dialers to call cell phone numbers. Automated dialers are standard in the industry, so most telemarketers are barred from calling consumers on their cell phones without their consent.The national associations representing telemarketers have stated that their clients do not intend to start calling consumers’ cell phones.”

I do suggest registering your residential land line number on Wisconsin’s No Call List.

There are two ways to sign up for the Wisconsin No Call List. You can sign up over the phone by calling 1-866-9NOCALL (1-866-966-2255), toll-free in Wisconsin. You can sign up at the Wisconsin No Call List website at: https://nocall.wisconsin.gov/web/registration.asp.

Only one adult in each household needs to register. There is not a charge to register for the Wisconsin No Call List.

Senate Judiciary and Health Committees meet today

I am a member of state Senate committees that are holding hearings in the state Capitol today. The Senate Committee on Judiciary, Corrections, and Housing and the Senate Committee on Health, Human Services, Insurance, and Job Creation will consider several bills.

Here are the agendas for both Senate committees:

Senate
PUBLIC HEARING
Committee on Health, Human Services, Insurance, and Job Creation

The committee will hold a public hearing on the following items at the time specified below:
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
12:00 PM
411 South
State Capitol

Senate Bill 518
Relating to: changes to BadgerCare Plus.

Senate Bill 490
Relating to: eliminating an assessment on the gross private patient revenue of hospitals, creating an assessment on the gross patient revenue of hospitals, creating a hospital assessment trust fund, increasing the Medical Assistance and Badger Care payment rate for hospitals, requiring monthly payments by health maintenance organizations to hospitals and reconciliation of payments with actual utilization of services, increasing supplemental Medical Assistance payments to rural hospitals, transferring moneys from the hospital assessment fund to the injured patients and families compensation fund, requiring the Department of Health and Family Services annually to submit a report for review by the Joint Committee on Finance, and making appropriations.
Senate Bill 374
Relating to: compulsory financial responsibility for the operation of motor vehicles, providing an exemption from emergency rule-making procedures, granting rule-making authority, and providing a penalty.
 
Senate Bill 398
Relating to: eliminating certain abortion prohibitions.


Senate
EXECUTIVE SESSION
Committee on Health, Human Services, Insurance, and Job Creation

The committee will hold an executive session on the following items at the time specified below:
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
12:00 PM - Before the start of the public hearing
411 South
State Capitol

Senate Bill 246
Relating to: mental health professionals who may provide outpatient services for the treatment of nervous and mental conditions and alcoholism and other drug abuse problems or who, under Medical Assistance, may provide psychotherapy and alcohol and other drug abuse services and exempting certain Medical Assistance benefits from physician prescription requirements.

By Senators Miller, Lehman, Erpenbach, Darling, Hansen, Risser, Roessler, Vinehout and Wirch; cosponsored by Representatives Bies, Pope-Roberts, Albers, Benedict, Berceau, Black, Davis, Gunderson, Grigsby, Hahn, Hintz, Hubler, Kaufert, Mursau, A. Ott, Sheridan, Soletski, Townsend, Zepnick and Wasserman.

Senate Bill 409
Relating to: remote dispensing by pharmacists and authorizing the exercise of rule-making powers.

By Senators Breske, Roessler, Darling, Grothman, S. Fitzgerald, Hansen, Lehman, Lazich, A. Lasee, Plale, Wirch, Cowles, Kreitlow, Lassa and Kapanke; cosponsored by Representatives Montgomery, Musser, Soletski, Mursau, Hahn, A. Ott, Nerison, Hines, Petrowski, Nygren, Tauchen, Seidel and Molepske.

Senate Bill 487
Relating to: treatment records and patient health care records.

By Senators Erpenbach, Decker, Wirch, Robson, Lehman, Vinehout, Lassa, Schultz, Darling, Olsen, Risser, Kreitlow, Jauch, Sullivan, Hansen, Kapanke and Roessler; cosponsored by Representatives Moulton, Hixson, Davis, Benedict, Sheridan, Petersen, Wood, Musser, Owens, Van Roy, Bies, Ballweg, Strachota, Newcomer, Molepske, Nerison, Kerkman, A. Ott, Seidel, M. Williams, Turner, Shilling, Townsend, Hines, Pope-Roberts, Mursau, Jorgensen, Hintz, Kestell, Wieckert, Richards, Sinicki, Jeskewitz and A. Williams.

Assembly Bill 173
Relating to: membership of the Council on Mental Health.

By Representatives Grigsby, Zepnick, Berceau, Cullen, Fields, Molepske, Sinicki, Toles, A. Williams, Young, Gunderson, Mursau and A. Ott; cosponsored by Senators Lehman, Coggs, Erpenbach, Lassa, Miller, Taylor, Wirch and Darling, by request of Wisconsin Council on Mental Health.



Senate
EXECUTIVE SESSION
Committee on Judiciary, Corrections, and Housing

The committee will hold an executive session on the following items at the time specified below:
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
3:00 PM
201 Southeast
State Capitol

Bagadia, Nikhil
Of Milwaukee, as a member of the Real Estate Appraisers Board, to serve for the term ending May 1, 2011.

Lee, Kenneth
Of River Falls, as a member of the Real Estate Board, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2011.

Senate Bill 278
Relating to: threatening or committing battery against certain employees of first class cities and providing a penalty.

By Senators Coggs, Plale, Roessler and Lassa; cosponsored by Representatives Zepnick, Colon, Honadel, Grigsby, Montgomery, Fields, A. Ott, Cullen, Hahn, Sinicki, Sheridan and Turner.

Senate Bill 384
Relating to: disclosure of juvenile court records to other courts, law enforcement agencies, district attorneys and other prosecutors, and agencies providing services to a juvenile court and providing a penalty.

By Senators Sullivan, Darling, Roessler and Taylor; cosponsored by Representatives Jeskewitz, Grigsby, Kestell, Ziegelbauer, Ballweg, Vos, Albers, Hahn and Sinicki.

Senate Bill 461
Relating to: liability of the state for a violation of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, Fair Labor Standards Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, and Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

By Senators Taylor and Risser; cosponsored by Representatives Mason, Hixson, Black, Sheridan, Pocan, Boyle, Sinicki, Turner, Schneider, Soletski, Benedict, Grigsby, Van Akkeren and Young.

Senate Bill 497
Relating to: assistant district attorney positions and making an appropriation.

By Senators Sullivan, Taylor, Carpenter, Erpenbach, Darling, Plale, Kanavas, Harsdorf, Risser and Roessler; cosponsored by Representatives Staskunas, Hraychuck, Soletski, Richards, Jeskewitz, Nelson, Zepnick, A. Ott, Cullen, Berceau, Sinicki, Molepske and Hintz.

Assembly Bill 337
Relating to: battery or threat to witnesses and providing a penalty.

By Representatives Gundrum, Musser, Wood, Travis, Jeskewitz, J. Ott, Kaufert, A. Ott, Bies, Petrowski, Gunderson, Nass, Hahn, Mursau, Townsend and Roth; cosponsored by Senators Darling and Roessler.


Senate
PUBLIC HEARING
Committee on Judiciary, Corrections, and Housing

The committee will hold a public hearing on the following items at the time specified below:
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
3:00 PM - or following the committee's Executive Session
201
Southeast
State Capitol

Raemisch, Richard
Of Waunakee, as a member of the Prison Industries Board, to serve for the term ending May 1, 2008.

Senate Bill 537
Relating to: judicial discretion in certain John Doe proceedings.

By Senators Taylor, Hansen, Lehman, Erpenbach and Roessler; cosponsored by Representatives Grigsby and Turner.

Senate Bill 496
Relating to: the consequences for failure to act within a time period specified in the Children's Code or the Juvenile Justice Code, extension of certain time periods specified in the Children's Code, and informal dispositions under the Children's Code.

By Senators Coggs and Darling; cosponsored by Representatives Jeskewitz and Grigsby.

Senate Bill 498
Relating to: possession of an electric weapon.

By Senators Lassa, Grothman, Olsen, Cowles, Harsdorf, Lazich, Roessler, Schultz and Kedzie; cosponsored by Representatives Ballweg, Bies, Hines, Kestell, LeMahieu, Molepske, Mursau, Ziegelbauer, Albers, Friske, Gottlieb, Hahn, Hixson, Jeskewitz, Kaufert, Musser, Nygren, A. Ott, Petrowski, Tauchen, Townsend and Lothian.

Assembly Bill 51
Relating to: prohibiting certain computer messages or postings that invite harassment or obscene, lewd, or profane communication and providing a penalty.

By Representatives Friske, Schneider, Bies, Petrowski, J. Ott, Mursau, Ballweg, A. Ott, Nerison, Jeskewitz, Gunderson, Musser, Townsend, Hahn and Albers; cosponsored by Senators Lassa, Darling, Roessler and Lazich.

Assembly Bill 411
Relating to: receiving a stolen firearm, and providing a penalty.

By Representatives LeMahieu, Friske, Bies, Albers, Hahn, Lothian, Musser and Townsend; cosponsored by Senators Olsen and Roessler.
  

State Senate calendar for Thursday, February 28, 2008

Here is the calendar for the state Senate floor session scheduled for Thursday, February 28, 2008:  

First Order.               Call of Roll.
Second Order.          
Chief clerk's entries.
Third Order.             
Introduction, first reading and reference of proposals; reference of appointments.
Fourth Order.           
Report of committees.
Fifth Order.              
Petitions and communications.
Sixth Order.              
Advice and consent of the Senate.

QUESTION:        Shall the appointment be confirmed?

Boeck, Janice, of Racine, as a member of the Barbering and Cosmetology Examining Board, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2011.
Greer, Marthina, of Lomira, as a member of the Veterinary Examining Board, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2011.
Juergensen, James, of Mequon, as a member of the Professional Standards Council for Teachers, to serve for the term ending June 30, 2010.
Kolve, Susan, of La Crosse, as a member of the Barbering and Cosmetology Examining Board, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2010.
Mattila, Amy, of Washburn, as a member of the Pharmacy Examining Board, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2011.
Olson, Dorothy, of Appleton, as a member of the Occupational Therapists Affiliated Credentialing Board, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2011.
Settle-Robinson, Rene, of Milwaukee, as a member of the Podiatrists Affiliated Credentialing Board, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2011.
Slaughter, Gail, of Two Rivers, as a member of the Occupational Therapists Affiliated Credentialing Board, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2011.
Sullivan, Kathleen, of Madison, as a member of the Board of Nursing, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2011.
Vasquez, Jose, of Milwaukee, as a member of the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System, to serve for the term ending May 1, 2009.
Vidaillet, Humberto, of Marshfield, as a member of the UW Hospitals and Clinics Authority and Board, to serve for the term ending July 1, 2010.

Seventh Order.          Referrals and receipt of committee reports concerning proposed administrative rules.
Eighth Order.           
Messages from the Assembly.
Ninth Order.             
Special Orders.
Tenth Order.            
Consideration of motions, resolutions, and joint resolutions not requiring a third reading.

QUESTION:        Shall the joint resolution be adopted?

Senate Joint Resolution 92. Relating to: commemorating the achievements and contributions of the Boy Scouts of America
Senate Joint Resolution 93. Relating to: commending the Green Bay Packers on their outstanding 2007 season. 

Eleventh Order.          Second reading and amendments of senate joint resolutions and senate bills.

QUESTION:        Shall the bill be ordered to a third reading?

Senate Bill 142. Relating to: requirements to successfully complete training on use of an automated external defibrillator, extending the time limit for emergency rule procedures, providing an exemption from emergency rule procedures, and requiring the exercise of rule-making authority. Senate Amendment 1 to Senate Substitute Amendment 1, and Senate Substitute Amendment 1, pending

Senate Bill 286. Relating to: fee remissions for certain University of Wisconsin System and technical college students. Senate Amendment 1 pending

Senate Bill 319. Relating to: providing the jury in civil actions with an explanation regarding the results of their findings.

Senate Bill 330. Relating to: use of phrases to describe a private sewage system (suggested as remedial legislation by the Department of Commerce).  By Law Revision Committee.

Senate Bill 344
. Relating to: fire detection, prevention, and suppression rules governing places of employment and public buildings under 60 feet in height (suggested as remedial legislation by the Department of Commerce).  By Law Revision Committee

Senate Bill 345. Relating to: variances to rules concerning automatic fire sprinklers in places of employment and public buildings under 60 feet in height (suggested as remedial legislation by the Department of Commerce

Senate Bill 351. Relating to: investments and operations of the State of Wisconsin Investment Board. 

Senate Bill 358. Relating to: authorizing a school board to construct or acquire a renewable resource facility.  

Senate Bill 364. Relating to: the definition of sexual intercourse for the crime of incest.

Senate Bill 371. Relating to: offering circulars provided to prospective franchisees under the franchise investment law (suggested as remedial legislation by the Department of Financial Institutions). 

Senate Bill 378. Relating to: the location of bank branches

Senate Bill 382. Relating to: information provided by a person required to register as a sex offender. 

Senate Bill 386. Relating to: the definition of a late enrollee; making group insurance certificates available electronically; prohibiting a lender from requiring property insurance in an amount that exceeds the replacement value of improvements; premium tax statute of limitations; miscellaneous changes to the insurance security fund; investments of the local government property insurance fund by the State of Wisconsin Investment Board, other miscellaneous insurance-related modifications; and granting rule-making authority

Senate Bill 418. Relating to: appellate time limits and procedure

Senate Bill 419. Relating to: appellate procedure.

Senate Bill 435. Relating to: annual or consecutive month permits for overweight vehicle combinations transporting granular roofing material, providing an exemption from emergency rule procedures, and granting rule-making authority. (FE)  By Senators Decker and Lehman; cosponsored by Representatives Petrowski, Seidel, Montgomery, Turner, and Gunderson. Senate Substitute Amendment 1 pending

Senate Bill 436. Relating to: reports or records kept on the occurrence of fires. Senate Amendment 2 pending

Senate Bill 443. Relating to: operation of all-terrain vehicles that have attached snowplows on roadways. Senate Amendment 1 pending

Senate Bill 445. Relating to: increasing the public contract minimum bid requirements for drainage districts. Senate Amendment 1 pendingSenate Bill 456. Relating to: an addition to the 2007-09 Authorized State Building Program.

Senate Bill 473. Relating to: regulating the purchase and sale of scrap metal and other metal items, the determination of property value of scrap metal for a theft conviction, creating a civil cause of action regarding scrap metal, and providing a penalty. Senate Amendments 1 and  2 pending

Senate Bill 509. Relating to: driver education instruction and driver's license examinations.

Senate Bill 513. Relating to: increasing the fee for a snowmobile trail use sticker.

Senate Bill 514. Relating to: all-terrain vehicle routes and trails that may be used by operators of lightweight utility vehicles

Twelfth Order.      Second reading and amendments of assembly joint resolutions and assembly bills.

QUESTION:        Shall the bill be ordered to a third reading?

Assembly Bill 377. Relating to: requiring a hospital to provide to a sexual assault victim information and, upon her request, emergency contraception and providing a penalty

Assembly Bill 400. Relating to: powers and duties of the Department of Military Affairs, the adjutant general, military officers, military property and assets, the national guard, the state defense force, rights of service personnel, the Wisconsin code of military justice, making an appropriation, and providing a penalty.  By Joint Legislative Council. Senate Amendment 1 pending

Assembly Bill 502. Relating to: furnishing or using certain consumer loan information to make solicitations and providing a penalty. 

Assembly Bill 581. Relating to: prohibiting exercise of emergency powers to restrict activities related to firearms or ammunition. 

Thirteenth Order.     Third reading of joint resolutions and bills.
Fourteenth Order.     Motions may be offered.
Fifteenth Order.        Announcements, adjournment honors, and remarks under special privilege.
Sixteenth Order.        Adjournment.

Honoring the Boy Scouts

Eagle Scouts

Thursday night, I had the privilege to attend the Boy Scouts of America Potawatomi Area Council Annual Dinner at the Country Springs Hotel in Waukesha.

It was an honor to congratulate and present awards to the 2007 Eagle Class, the largest in the history of the Potawatomi Area Council.

I firmly believe Scouting is the finest organization for youth in America.  One of my greatest honors as a state Senator is to meet and recognize Eagle Scouts.  An Eagle Scout is an outstanding individual in the direction of a productive future, ensuring our great country will be in good hands.

I am the author of two resolutions in the state Legislature honoring the accomplishments and achievements of the Boy Scouts of America.

Here is the Senate Joint Resolution  and the Assembly Joint Resolution.

These fine young people and the many scouting volunteers deserve recognition and continued support.

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