Reps in the News
Representative Joel Kitchens
Kitchens is proud to have co-authored Senate Bill 252 (SB 252) which passed the Assembly Sept. 24. The bill addresses the loss of utility aid payments as power plants begin closing across the state. “This bill is essential to helping Kewaunee County cope with a six percent cut to their operating budget. Rather than cutting off these funds at once, SB 252 will provide Kewaunee County with a five-year step-down in payments and give them time to adjust their budget,” Kitchens said. SB 252 was originally brought forward by Sen. Frank Lasee in order to address the problems Kewaunee County would experience due to the closure of the Kewaunee Power Station. However, with the recent passage of new EPA emission regulation, power plant closures will quickly become a statewide issue. Kitchens eagerly supported and co-authored this legislation as it benefits his constituents in Kewaunee County as well as communities across the state. Senate Bill 252 passed the Assembly unanimously.
Source: Kitchens press release
Governor Scott Walker
Taking his first questions since suspending his White House campaign, Walker on Sept. 25 declined to say whether he’ll endorse one of his rivals or take a vice presidential post if offered by the Republican presidential nominee.
“I’m really just focused on being governor, and I think any other suggestion to me is pretty presumptuous on my part or anybody else’s,” Walker told reporters. “Who knows who the nominee is and who knows who that person would want or not want in terms of their running mate.”
The demands of the presidential campaign often kept Walker away from Wisconsin in recent months. A calendar his office released shows only two full days of official work in the state between July 13 and 31, with many of the others limited to short phone calls with official staff. Walker will have to make his case forcefully and well to give himself a shot at running for a third term. He declined to say whether he would do so, focusing instead on the next conservative proposal he’s promoting as part of his five-year transformation of his state.
Source: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Representative Reid Ribble
Ribble introduced the Safe, Flexible, and Efficient (SAFE) Trucking Act, a bill that would allow the freight shipping industry to be more efficient while creating less pavement wear and tear and improving safety on our shared roads and bridges.
“The reality is that our roads are already crowded with families heading to school and work, and trucks carrying the things we buy across the country. The U.S. population has almost doubled since our Interstate highway system was built, and demand for freight shipping is only going up,” Ribble said. “The SAFE Trucking Act will help us safely move more of the things Americans want with fewer trucks taking up space on the road, and it is based on data to ensure that truck stopping times and pavement wear are as good or better than our current trucks. When we can increase efficiency, decrease traffic, and make everyone safer in the process, that is a win, and the SAFE Trucking Act is able to help us achieve all these objectives.”
Our counterparts in Canada and Europe have already had success with trucks more than 100 thousand pounds on their roads, and in Maine, which was granted a special exception to allow heavier trucks on their roads, road deaths are at 70-year lows.
The SAFE Trucking Act is supported by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation as well as a coalition of industry experts. Increased truck efficiency stands especially to benefit Wisconsin producers like paper manufacturers and dairy farmers, who rely heavily on trucks to move their wares across the country and around the world.
Source: Ribble press release
Senator Tammy Baldwin
Baldwin renewed her call for the Republican majority in the House of Representatives to stop stalling reauthorization of U.S Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank. Her call for action comes as GE Power & Water announced it plans to stop manufacturing gas engines in Wisconsin and blamed the Waukesha closure on the House of Representatives not reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank. At the end of July, the U.S. Senate passed reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank as part of a long-term transportation bill. However, the House of Representatives adjourned for the August recess without passing legislation to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank and have failed to take action since.
“The failure of the House to act is now costing Wisconsin jobs,” Baldwin said. “When American businesses have a level playing field, they can compete against anyone. The Export-Import Bank is an important tool that helps us create that level playing field, bringing fairness to global trade, and supporting American businesses so they can create jobs and grow. The Republican majority in the House needs to do what the Senate did nearly two months ago and take action on the Export-Import Bank before more Wisconsin jobs are lost to other countries.”
Since 2007, the Ex-Im Bank has supported 27,131 Wisconsin jobs by helping 218 Wisconsin businesses, including 128 small businesses, export $5 billion worth of goods and products made in Wisconsin. In 2014 alone, the Ex-Im Bank supported $210.2 million of Wisconsin exports, 46 percent of which were from small businesses. In 2014, the Ex-Im Bank supported 3,340 small-business transactions, $27 billion in total U.S. export sales and 164,000 jobs.
Source: Baldwin press release
Senator Ron Johnson
Johnson joined Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) and 19 other Senate co-sponsors to introduce the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. “Society has an obligation to protect life,” Johnson said. “It is my hope that we all can agree on this fundamental truth. In today’s society, the need to protect life outside the womb is urgent. I support the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act in the hope that it will strengthen protections for the most vulnerable people in society.”
The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which is identical to a bill recently passed by the House of Representatives on a bipartisan vote of 248-177, would protect newborns who survive abortions by requiring appropriate care and admission to a hospital. The legislation requires that, when an abortion results in the live birth of an infant, health care practitioners must exercise the same degree of professional skill and care to protect the newborn as would be offered to any other child born alive at the same gestational age. It also requires that the living child, after appropriate care has been given, be immediately transported and admitted to a hospital.
Source: Johnson press release
President Barack Obama
Obama warned Christians that their attempts to assert their religious liberty to oppose gay rights would fail. “We affirm that we cherish our religious freedom and are profoundly respectful of religious traditions,” he insisted during a speech at a LGBT fundraiser in New York City on Sept. 27, praising the progress made on gay rights under his administration. “But we also have to say clearly that our religious freedom doesn’t grant us the freedom to deny our fellow Americans their constitutional rights.”
The fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee was specifically billed as an “LGBT gala” held in New York City in coordination with Obama’s trip to the United Nations Assembly.
During his speech, Obama asserted that his administration was respecting what he described as “genuine concerns” of religious institutions but suggested that Republicans were using the issue just to earn more votes, as they did in 2004.
“America has left the leaders of the Republican Party behind,” he declared proudly. He ridiculed Ben Carson for suggesting that “prison turns you gay” and added that another Republican candidate had boasted of his introduction of a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.