Representative Joel Kitchens
Rep. Kitchens released the following statement regarding the proposed bill to increase Sparsity Aid funding and increase the low-revenue ceiling: “As the Vice Chair of the Assembly Committee on Education, I feel it is vital that we maintain the positive forward momentum in school funding that was achieved with the 2017-19 budget. The youth of Wisconsin are truly the future of our state, deserving of every opportunity we can provide for them. While everyone can agree on the importance of high quality education, finding the necessary revenue to fund local school districts can be a challenge, especially for rural communities. I am proud to co-author this important bill, which would increase the maximum that qualifying low-spending districts can spend on a combination of local property taxes and state aid from $9,100 to $9,400 per student for the 2018-19 school year. This amount would continue to increase by $100 each year until the 2022-23 school year. Additionally, the bill will also increase Sparsity Aid funding to provide an additional $6,454,600 for the 2018-19 school year. By increasing both the low-revenue ceiling and Sparsity Aid, it is my hope that the Assembly can continue proactively tackling the issue of school funding to ensure that all children in Wisconsin receive the finest education possible. While I regret that this bill will not provide immediate help to the Southern Door School District, I do feel that it will have long-term benefits to both Southern Door and all of Wisconsin, making this legislation an important step forward. I appreciate Governor Walker’s renewed efforts on this issue and look forward to seeing this bill’s passage through the legislature.”
Source: Kitchens press release
Governor Scott Walker
Gov. Walker visited schools in Kimberly and Eau Claire on Jan. 5 to discuss the Youth Apprenticeship Program. The program, administered by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD), partners high school students with employers to provide hands-on job training and transferable skills to pursue more advanced career paths. “Youth Apprenticeship is a key tool for improving educational and employment opportunities for students, and we’re proud of the fact that student participation in the program has more than doubled since we took office,” Walker said. “This innovative program encourages collaboration between students, schools, and employers, prepares students for future success in the working world, and helps meet the workforce needs of our state’s economy. We support our dedicated students who choose to go above and beyond their coursework to learn new skills and pursue personal growth.” Under the DWD’s Youth Apprenticeship program, funds are awarded to local consortiums that work with employers and high schools to pair students with an employer. The participating students are enrolled in academic classes while they are employed and receive hands-on instruction from a mentor. The statewide YA program offers up to 11 career programs for students to pursue, including Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources; Architecture and Construction; Art, Audio/Visual Technology, and Communications; Finance; Health Science; Hospitality, Lodging, and Tourism; Information Technology; Manufacturing; Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics; Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics; and Marketing. For more information visit dwd.wisconsin.gov/youthapprenticeship.
Source: Walker press release
Congressman Mike Gallagher
Rep. Gallagher’s fourth bill of the 115th Congress – the Counterterrorism Information Sharing Improvement Act – passed the House unanimously. This piece of legislation aims to strengthen the United States’ counterterrorism efforts by streamlining information sharing between federal agencies and the military. After his bill passed the House, Rep. Gallagher released the following statement: “Through my work as Chairman of the Task Force on Denying Terrorists Entry into the United States, my colleagues and I discovered that too often, unnecessary bureaucratic constraints on information sharing have put our national security at risk. In the face of increased terrorist threats at home and abroad, my bill is a common sense step toward combating the threat of terrorism and strengthening our defenses.” Gallagher is a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, where he sits on the Counterterrorism and Intelligence, as well as the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection Subcommittees. In 2017, Rep. Gallagher was named Chair of the Task Force on Denying Terrorists Entry into the United States by the Committee’s chair, Rep. McCaul.
Source: Gallagher press release
Senator Tammy Baldwin
Senators Baldwin and Roy Blunt (R-MO) led a bipartisan group of Senators in sending a letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney urging the administration to include sufficient funding in its FY 2019 budget request to continue pre-construction engineering and design for the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP). In addition, the Senators requested that the administration include that funding in the Army Corps of Engineers’ 2018 Work Plan, which would allow construction to begin immediately. “In 2007, Congress recognized the national significance of the Upper Mississippi River System (UMRS) and authorized NESP to ensure that the nation continues to benefit from this vital resource,” the Senators wrote. “Further investment in NESP would strengthen infrastructure and navigation for the entire river and recognize the significance of the UMRS ecosystem to surrounding communities and wildlife. With appropriate funding, many NESP projects could be ready for construction within a year, immediately improving the economy and environment, and affirm the importance of the program.” NESP is a multi-purpose program, which was authorized in the Water Resources Development Act of 2007, to upgrade critical Mississippi River system navigation lock and dam infrastructure. The federal program also addresses river ecosystem restoration in an integrated approach.
Source: Baldwin press release
Senator Ron Johnson
Sen. Johnson released the following statement on the ongoing protests in Iran: “I am deeply troubled by the arrest of peaceful protesters and the rising death toll in Iran. The Iranian people continue to suffer tremendously under Iran’s brutal authoritarian regime. As the Iranian regime continues to crack down on protesters, Iran’s leaders should be mindful that the United States and the rest of the world are watching.” Johnson is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Source: Johnson press release
President Donald Trump
The Trump administration last week moved to vastly expand offshore drilling from the Atlantic to the Arctic oceans with a plan that would open up federal waters off California for the first time in more than three decades. The new five-year drilling plan also could open new areas of oil and gas exploration in areas off the East Coast from Florida to Maine, where drilling has been blocked for decades. Some lawmakers in those states support offshore drilling, the plan drew immediate opposition from governors up and down the East Coast. The three Democratic governors on the West Coast also blasted the plan and vowed to do “whatever it takes to stop this reckless, short-sighted action.” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said that responsible development of offshore energy resources would boost jobs and economic security while providing billions of dollars to fund conservation along U.S. coastlines. The five-year plan would open 90 percent of the nation’s offshore reserves to development by private companies, Zinke said, with 47 leases proposed off the nation’s coastlines from 2019 to 2024. Nineteen sales would be off Alaska, 12 in the Gulf of Mexico, nine in the Atlantic and seven in the Pacific, including six off California.
Source: Chicago Tribune