Reps in the News: March 6-13

Representative Joel Kitchens

The Wisconsin Assembly passed a bill to establish a three-year early-learning pilot program.

“The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction recently released its updated standardized test scores for the entire state, and the results are rather disturbing,” Kitchens said. “Maybe the most disheartening is the fact that more than 60 percent of our students are not proficient in reading or math. It’s also no secret that Wisconsin’s achievement gap between white and minority students is one of the worst in the nation.”

Kitchens said the bill is aimed at improving those numbers through a program funded at $500,000 per year that will be piloted in three urban and three rural school districts. Only children who qualify for free and reduced lunch will be eligible. 

Source: Kitchens e-newsletter

Senator André Jacque

Legislation authored by state Sen. André Jacque makes it a crime to smuggle contraband into jail for one’s own use, closing a frequently exploited loophole. 

“It’s vital that we ensure a safe prison system that allows for the rehabilitation of inmates in a secure environment and protects our correctional officers,” Jacque said. “Much work remains, but I am grateful for the assistance of those on the front lines who brought this to legislators’ attention, and I am honored to have the opportunity to help by eliminating this blatant loophole.”

Source: Jacque press release

Representative Mike Gallagher

Rep. Mike Gallagher called the Green New Deal a “slap in the face” in a statement released last week. 

Gallagher cited a report by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL), along with the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Power the Future – a trio of conservative groups dedicated to limited government.

Power the Future calls itself the “voice of energy workers pushing back on radical green groups.” The report said the Green New Deal would have a dramatic impact on Wisconsin’s economy: It estimates that the proposal would result in $200 million in losses to Wisconsin farmers and $2.5 billion in costs to Wisconsin’s dairy industry, and would increase household costs by $75,000 in year one if the entire package were implemented immediately. 

“Today’s report makes clear that the Green New Deal isn’t just unrealistic, it’s a slap in the face to every Wisconsin farmer, family and business owner,” Gallagher said. “In normal times, a proposal that would rapidly destroy agriculture and other critical sectors of our economy, cost trillions of dollars and leave hardworking families to foot the bill would be a nonstarter. It’s insane to think this has become the latest call to action for many of my colleagues.”

Sources: Gallagher press release, Power the Future

Senator Tammy Baldwin

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin joined a bipartisan group of senators in urging U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to expand access to rural broadband by adjusting requirements of the ReConnect program, which currently blocks rural communities across 19 states from accessing federal funding intended to support rural-broadband deployment.

In the letter led by Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the senators request that Secretary Perdue use his authority to broaden ReConnect eligibility. They wrote:

“USDA can, and should, fix this. USDA is neither statutorily required to eliminate FCC grant recipients from ReConnect eligibility, nor does it consider satellite service as sufficient broadband service for the purposes of awarding ReConnect funding. To rectify this inequity and further USDA’s stated goal of expanding broadband access for all Americans, we urge you to act to allow service providers to submit applications for ReConnect funds if the area has only received FCC auction funding for satellite service, but would otherwise be eligible.”

Source: Baldwin press release