Your Reps

State Assembly Representative Garey Bies

Two bills authored by State Representative Garey Bies (R-Sister Bay) received approval last week from the Wisconsin State Assembly. The Assembly unanimously passed Assembly Bill 124, which updates Wisconsin’s current laws on inattentive driving to address the emerging prevalence of technology in our vehicles.

In general, a person driving a vehicle would be prohibited from viewing a device that is being used for visual entertainment purposes.

The other bill receiving approval is Assembly Bill 274, which increases the penalties for those who aid a felon with the intent to prevent their apprehension. The bill also removes the exception in current law that exempts family members who destroy, hide or tamper with evidence.

Source: Bies press release

Governor Scott Walker

On Monday, Feb. 17, Walker touted his Blueprint for Prosperity when meeting with business leaders from Green Bay, Appleton, Oshkosh, Fond du Lac, and all of the Fox Cities at the Northeast Wisconsin Chambers Coalition in Neenah. He cited the following measures:

Cut property taxes by $406 million. The typical homeowner will see a reduction of $101 dollars on their next property tax bill.

Cut income taxes by $98.6 million, targeted to the lowest income tax bracket. Savings for a typical family of four making $40,000 will be $58. No one will get a bigger savings than that.

Adjust withholding for state income taxes by $322.6 million, so you can keep more of your hard-earned paycheck. Beginning in April, a typical family of four will see $57.90 more in their paychecks each month.

Source: Walker press release

Representative Reid Ribble

On Feb. 11, the House Budget Committee quietly endorsed a measure drafted by Ribble that may produce a dramatic overhaul of the byzantine budget process. Ribble’s proposal would shift the budgeting process from an annual to a bi-annual affair, according to a report by The Fiscal Times. “Since 2001, Congress has successfully enacted only 13 spending bills on time, according to House figures,” writes The Fiscal Times. “The situation is even worse in election years. In the past eight election years, Congress has failed to pass a budget 75 percent of the time.” Under a biennial approach, Congress and the president would spend the first year hammering out their differences over a two-year spending and tax plan and then use the second year for oversight to make sure taxpayers’ money was being spent properly.

Source: The Fiscal Times

Senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson

U.S. Senators Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin announced on Feb. 14 their agreement to recommend to the White House three Wisconsinites for consideration to fill the open U.S. Federal District Judgeship for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. The candidates – Beth J. Kushner, Pamela Pepper and William S. Pocan – were among those recommended by a bipartisan Federal Nominating Commission that the Wisconsin Senators established in April 2013 to move federal nominations forward, including vacant federal judgeships in Wisconsin.

Most recently, the Commission advised the Senators on the nomination for the open U.S. Federal District Judgeship for the Western District of Wisconsin. In August, the Senators announced their agreement to recommend three individuals to President Obama for consideration. In November, James D. Peterson was nominated by the President, and last week, Peterson’s nomination passed the Senate Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support. That nomination will now move to the floor of the U.S. Senate for a vote.

Source: Baldwin press release

President Barack Obama

On Feb. 14, President Obama headed to California to tour drought-affected areas and talk to those affected by impacts of one of the state’s worst droughts in more than 100 years. Almost 99 percent of California is drier than normal. Obama announced new actions that the Administration will take to help the farmers, ranchers, small businesses and communities being impacted. In addition, as part of the Climate Action Plan that President Obama put forward last summer, the Department of Agriculture announced seven new “climate hubs” to help farmers and ranchers adapt their operations to a changing climate.

“Unless and until we do more to combat carbon pollution that causes climate change, this trend is going to get worse,” Obama said.

Source: Obama press release