Reps in the News: Oct. 30

Governor Scott Walker

Walker signed two bills into law on Oct. 23. Assembly Bill 325 allows a school board president to fill vacancies on a school board of a common, union high, or unified school district. Current law does not provide an alternative method for filling a school board vacancy and does not address how a vacancy is to be filled if the remaining school board members do not make an appointment. This bill allows the school board president to appoint a person to fill a vacancy on the board if the remaining school board members fail to do so within 60 days. It was authored by Representative Thomas Weatherston (R-Caledonia) and Senator Van Wanggaard (R-Racine). It is Act 63. Senate Bill 43 limits what crimes can be investigated under the John Doe proceeding to certain felonies, in addition to specific crimes committed by an on-duty law enforcement officer, corrections officer, or state probation, parole, or extended supervision officer. Authored by Senator Thomas Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) and Representative David Craig (R-Big Bend). It is Act 64.

Source: Walker press release

Representative Reid Ribble

Ribble released the following statement after voting on Oct. 27 with a majority of the House of Representatives to re-authorize the Export-Impact Bank with significant reforms:
 “In a perfect world, there would be no need for a program like the Export-Import Bank,” Ribble said. “However, it is an approach that is heavily used by other nations around the world, pitting Wisconsin manufacturers against Chinese, Canadian and European rivals with a significant advantage. We should not unilaterally disarm ourselves by ending this program only for American businesses –we should level the playing field by dealing with this issue in a trade deal that would hold all of our trading partners to the same free market standards.” The U.S. Export-Import Bank, which has received no taxpayer dollars in the last seven years and has generated $7 billion in revenue for the U.S. Treasury since 1992, is primarily a vehicle for allowing American businesses to purchase insurance against lack of payment on products that are sold to customers overseas, a service that U.S. exporters pay for. A smaller part of its function is providing financing to foreign customers for large purchases to help facilitate their purchases from U.S. companies. Absent Export-Import financing this business would likely go to foreign competitors. The Export-Import Bank was used by 69 businesses in Wisconsin this year.

Source: Ribble press release

Senator Tammy Baldwin

The U.S. Senate ethics committee dismissed three ethics complaints filed against Baldwin over her firing of a top-level staff member. On Oct. 22, Baldwin released a letter she received from the ethics committee, saying complaints related to the firing of her former deputy state director, Marquette Baylor, were dismissed.

Baylor, the Republican Party of Wisconsin and the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust requested an investigation into Baldwin’s handling of abuse allegations at the Tomah Veterans Affairs hospital and Baylor’s firing in January. In the letter, dated Aug. 14, the committee states the complaints lacked substantial merit.


Senator Ron Johnson

“We have to secure our borders,” Johnson said in his opening remarks at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on Oct. 21, “not just for the illegal immigration issue, but for national security, for public health and safety. This is a serious matter; it deserves serious attention.” Johnson chairs the committee, and it was the 12th hearing the committee has held on the lack of security at America’s borders. The purpose of the hearing was to assess the ongoing illegal migration from Central America and to address the incentives that underlie it. An increase in the use of social media to attract Central American families is one root cause, Kimberly M. Gianopoulos, director of International Affairs and Trade for the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), testified. “Social media outlets enable migrants who arrive in the United States to share messages and pictures with families in their home countries. This can serve as a powerful and influential endorsement of the decision to migrate.” Another root cause is America’s current “catch-and-release policy,” Cabrera testified from his experience interviewing detained families and unaccompanied children.

Source: Johnson press release

President Barack Obama

Obama recently sent an open letter to America’s parents and teachers regarding standardized testing: “I’ve asked the Department of Education to work aggressively with states and school districts to make sure that any tests we use in our classroom meet three basic principles.

“First, our kids should only take tests that are worth taking – tests that are high quality, aimed at good instruction, and make sure everyone is on track.

“Second, tests shouldn’t occupy too much classroom time, or crowd out teaching and learning.

“And third, tests should be just one source of information. We should use classroom work, surveys, and other factors to give us an all-around look at how our students and schools are doing.

“We’re going to work with states, school districts, teachers, and parents to make sure the principles I outlined are reflected in classrooms across our country – and together, we’re going to help prepare our kids for a lifetime of success.”

To read the full letter and to share your thoughts on the topic, visit

Source: White House press release

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