Representative Joel Kitchens
The Joint Committee on Finance approved a budget motion submitted by Rep. Kitchens that will defray a portion of the costs that Washington Island incurred during a natural disaster in 2018. Kitchens’ budget motion requests that the state provide the island with $2 million from the Wisconsin Disaster Fund to cover part of the $4.1 million in expenses that resulted from ice shoves critically damaging the only submarine cable that supplies electricity to the island community. The budget motion also requires a cost share of 30 percent from the town on all reasonable and necessary costs documented by the island’s co-op utility between June 27, 2018, and April 30, 2019.
“At this moment, the disaster has caused the average monthly electricity bill for a Washington Island resident to increase by nearly $20,” Kitchens said. “By providing the town with the $2 million in relief funds, we will cut that increase in half.”
According to Washington Island Electric Cooperative manager Robert Cornell, repairing and replacing the cable has been a major undertaking for the town, both physically and financially. “An unexpected $4.1 million expense is a pretty difficult burden for a community of 700 to have to bear,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of support in our efforts to get financial help for this disaster, and Rep. Kitchens has played a significant role in our success.”
Source: Kitchens press release
Governor Tony Evers
Gov. Evers on Tuesday vowed to veto abortion restrictions the state assembly passed last week, saying that government should allow women to make their own health care decisions.
“We shouldn’t be limiting the right for women to make their own health care decisions,” Evers said on Twitter. “That’s why I’ll veto the bills passed by the Assembly last week if they arrive on my desk. It’s time to listen to women. #StopTheBans.”
The comments from Evers come as GOP-led legislatures around the nation move to place further restrictions on access to abortion. The Wisconsins state Assembly last week passed multiple measures that would follow suit.
Senator Tammy Baldwin
Sen. Baldwin released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed the Equality Act: historic, comprehensive federal legislation to ban discrimination against LGBTQ Americans.
“It is just wrong that in a majority of states, LGBTQ Americans live without fully inclusive nondiscrimination laws and are not fully protected from being fired, evicted from their home or denied services simply because of who they are or whom they love. It is time to end this kind of discrimination because LGBTQ Americans should have the freedom of full equality,” she said.
In the Senate, Baldwin has introduced the bipartisan Equality Act of 2019 with Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine).
Source: Baldwin press release
Senator Ron Johnson
Sen. Johnson led the Wisconsin congressional delegation in sending a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chair Ajit Pai, encouraging him to improve the National Broadband Map as the federal government works to close the digital divide and ensure that resources are going to unserved communities that need it most.
“We cannot solve our country’s broadband needs until we have a full understanding of the problem. To get there, we need information. … A validated set of data based upon standardized methods of granular reporting will be essential to ensuring that resources are going to the neediest communities and universal service is available throughout America. This includes urban, suburban, rural and tribal lands. In the interest of effectively allocating federal resources to unserved communities, we urge the FCC to take immediate action to improve its broadband maps,” the members wrote.
Source: Johnson press release
President Donald Trump
Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met quietly with the top Democrat and Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee Tuesday for an interview that focused primarily on his time in the Trump administration, a congressional aide with direct knowledge of the discussion confirmed to CNN.
Tillerson traveled to Capitol Hill, where he sat down with the committee’s Democratic chair, Rep. Eliot Engel; and its ranking Republican, Rep. Michael McCaul, the aide said, adding that major topics of interest included the administration’s dealings with Russia and uncertainty surrounding the role of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, in deciding foreign policy.
The interview lasted roughly seven hours, including breaks, the same source said. Although specific details related to the meeting remain murky, it is clear that Tillerson’s trip to Capitol Hill came as a surprise to many in Washington, including to some members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.