State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.
According to researchers at the University of Scranton, 40 to 45% of American adults make one or more New Year's resolutions each year.
Among the top resolutions are resolutions about weight loss, exercise, and stopping smoking. Also popular are resolutions about money management and debt reduction.
I was honored to be at Governor Scott Walker's Inauguration at the State Capitol today. As I listened to the profound words of his speech, my mind wandered back in time to the days that Scott and I carpooled to the capitol. I am very fond of Governor Walker and immensely proud of the words he chose for his inaugural speech.
Shortly after taking the oath of office, Governor Walker called the legislature into Special Session to consider seven bills. I am a sponsor of each of the bills, and I am pleased to get to work immediately implementing Governor Walker's jobs agenda. Here is a brief description of each bill on the Governor's Executive Order and links to five of the bill drafts.
1. Creation of an authority, to be known as the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
Governor Walker released additional bills for the special session on jobs. I am pleased to sponsor the additional bills.
Here are links to the bills:
This week included many Wisconsin State Capitol highlights with none better than Monday witnessing the oath of office of Governor Walker, and the oath of office of half of the State Senate. This years Wisconsin State Senate oath of office included eight new State Senators and passing the gavel from the Democrats to the Republicans.
Tuesday morning I, along with my Legislative Council Co-Chair Representative Joan Ballweg, welcomed new legislators in the State Senate and State Assembly to the start of three days of training. It is great to meet so many new people eager and ready to work hard representing their constituents. I was able to sneak back into the training later in the day to hear a presentation entitled, The Art of Public Speaking and History's Greatest Speeches.
Wednesday included a caucus meeting and a briefing about Governor Walker's Special Session. The Senate Republican Caucus is eager to forward Governor Walker's jobs bill. We all want to be the lead sponsor of his initiatives, too bad we have to share! I am pleased to be a sponsor of each of Governor Walker's bill proposals. Wednesday I also met with my Legislative Co Chair Representative Joan Ballweg and the Director of the Legislative Council, Terry Anderson, to discuss Legislative Council Study Committees. It was a long and productive meeting.
One of my Thursday meetings was with the Director of the Government Accountability Board, Kevin Kennedy. We discussed implementing voter ID and a number of other election issues. As Chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation and Elections, I am making voter ID a priority.
Brandon Elkert’s Eagle Scout ceremony was Saturday January 8, 2011.
I presented a citation to Brandon Elkert at the special ceremony. It reads:
Zachary Andes’s Eagle Scout ceremony was Saturday, January 8, 2011.
I presented a citation to Zachary Andes at the special ceremony. It reads:
Whereas, Zachary Andes is a member of the Boy Scouts of America Troop Nine, and through dedication and commitment attained the rank of Eagle Scout; and
Schoeneck Containers Incorporated, New Berlin, is nominated for the 2010 Manufacturer of the Year Award in the Medium and Sustainability Category. Schoeneck Containers is an excellent company that has made outstanding contributions to the community.
Congratulations to Schoeneck Containters!
First Order. Call of Roll.
Second Order. Chief clerk's entries.
Flags are to be flown at half staff through the evening of Saturday, January 14, 2011.
The text of the Presidential Proclamation follows:
Today, Joint Legislative Audit Committee voted unanimously to approve an audit of all of Wisconsin’s Medical Assistance (MA) programs. I was pleased to finally cast my vote in favor of this much-needed audit. MA includes the traditional medical program serving the elderly, blind, and disabled, as well as BadgerCare Plus, which primarily serves low-income children, their families, single adults, and pregnant women.
The scope of the audit is identical to a proposal from January of last year that was blocked by Democrats. State Auditor Janice Mueller explained that this will be a large and wide-ranging audit, including complete analyses of benefit expenditures and administrative expenses.
Today, Friday January 14, 2011, all state Division of Motor Vehicles service and phone centers, all drop-in services at the Secretary of State's office, and Department of Health Services Vital Records office will be closed for an employee furlough day.
Monday, January 17, 2011, is a federal and state holiday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, state offices will be closed.
Wednesday afternoon I testified before the Senate Committee on Jobs, Economy and Small Business in favor of Senate Bill 4. I, along with Representative Klenke, introduced this bill on behalf of Governor Walker. SB4 allocates an additional $25 million to Wisconsin’s economic development tax credit program at a time our state’s businesses need it most.
Governor Walker announced his first State of the State address will be February 1, 2011, at 7:00 PM in the Assembly Chambers at the State Capitol. Wisconsin's governors are constitutionally obligated to give a State of the State address before the State Legislature every year.
The State of the State Address will be broadcast live on PBS and on the internet at www.wisconsineye.com
Governor Walker released this fact sheet comparing the actions taken by the Illinois legislature over the past day to Wisconsin action.
Wisconsin vs. Illinois Fact Sheet
This is the longest week of some people's life, waiting for Saturday and the Packer-Falcon game!
January 10, 2011 the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer, Protection (DATCP) issued a press release about the upcoming Pesticide Notification Registry Deadline. Here is the release:
PESTICIDE NOTIFICATION REGISTRY DEADLINE NEARS
Saturday January 15, 2011, was the retirement party for Greendale Police Chief Robert Dams's.
I presented a citation to Chief Dams to commemorate 38 years of service to the Village of Greendale. It reads:
At this link you may find the agenda for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource (DNR), Natural Resources Board meeting scheduled January 25-26, 2011: http://dnr.wi.gov/org/nrboard/2011/January/01-11-NRB-Agenda.pdf
At this website you may find information about contacting the Natural Resources Board, and commenting about issues: http://dnr.wi.gov/org/nrboard/
Matthew Pscheid earned the rank of Eagle Scout.
Representative Kuglitsch and I presented a citation to Matthew Pscheid. It reads:
Whereas, Matthew J. Pscheid is a member of the Boy Scouts of America Troop 38, and through dedication and commitment attained the rank of Eagle Scout; and
January 2011 Special Session
January 18, 2011
First Order. Call of Roll.
As Chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation and Elections, I have scheduled a public hearing for Senate Bill 6, the photo voter ID bill. The public hearing is scheduled January 26, 2011, at 10:00 AM. The hearing will be in the State Capitol at Madison, Room 411 South.
Here is a link to the official committee notice: http://committeeschedule.legis.wisconsin.gov/files/HearingNotices/11-01-26-1000-2011STRA-15055.html
Yesterday, the state Senate took an important step in making Wisconsin more attractive for businesses by passing a comprehensive tort reform bill, Special Session Senate Bill 1 (SS SB1), at the request of Governor Walker. The legislation will, among other things, help to protect all people and businesses against frivolous lawsuits, limit excessive jury awards, and ensure that expert witnesses are qualified to present their testimony.
One provision of the bill aims to stop lawsuits that have the sole purpose of harassing or maliciously injuring another party. If such a suit is filed, a court may give the plaintiff 21 days to withdraw or correct the claim. If the plaintiff fails to do this, the court must order that party to pay the defendant’s costs, including reasonable attorney fees. This should dissuade potential plaintiffs from filing baseless suits, which will allow our businesses to focus on commercial growth rather than threats of litigation.
Today, the Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) brings to attention two matters not required to be reported under Government Auditing Standards. The LAB found a $45.3 million loss as part of the State’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for fiscal year 2009-10. Governor Doyle’s administration transferred $19.4 million from one account with insufficient cash to cover the transfer and spent $25.9 million during 2009-10 and charged it to 2010-11 accounts.
The LAB reports these transfers “…effectively converted anticipated future program revenue to GPR available for FY 2009-10. Moreover, $8.8 million was lapsed from program revenue appropriations without accounts receivable or other assets to cover their negative cash balances.”
Another very busy week at the State Capitol.
Tuesday the Senate debated 21 amendments to Special Session Senate Bill 1. After four and half hours of debate the bill was approved and sent to the State Assembly. I met with Gary Hamblin to discuss his Senate confirmation as Secretary of Corrections. His confirmation will be before the Senate Committee on Labor, Public Safety, and Urban Affairs January 25, 2011. The first notice of a public hearing of the committee I chair, the Senate Committee on Transportation and Elections was published. The committee will be holding a public hearing for the photo voter ID bill, Senate Bill 6 (SB6), January 26, 2011.
Wednesday was meetings about the photo voter ID bill, and some of the members of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors visited my office. The new Secretary of Children and Families, Eloise Anderson, and the new Secretary of Regulation and License, Dave Ross, met with about their confirmation hearings. I put into circulation for sponsors a bill that adopts federal law for state income and franchise tax purposes creating a deduction for future depreciation of items placed in service after September 8, 2010, and before January 1, 2012, and for property placed in service after December 31, 2011, and before January 1, 2013. The bill mirrors federal law and incentivizes job creation.
Thursday the State Senate approved Special Session Senate Bill 2. After debating two
substitute amendments and four amendments, the bipartisan bill was approved and sent to the State Assembly. I had more meetings about photo voter ID, and met with representatives of Waukesha County Technical College. I put a bill into circulation for sponsors that will provide mandate relief and eliminates duplication. A provision within the 2009-11 State Budget requires law enforcement to collect data on all occupants of every vehicle stopped by an officer. The new requirement to collect data is a duplication of the driver data that officers must collect and record on citations and is obtained by officers via the driver's license. This bill eliminates duplication and provides mandate relief to local units of government. More importantly it allows law enforcement to put limited resources to better use fighting crime.
Friday finds me reviewing over 155 constituent contacts, returning numerous phone calls, and preparing for the next very busy week.
Yesterday, the state Senate and Assembly approved a bill allowing individuals to claim a tax exemption for contributions to Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). The bill, SS SB2, brings
With Republicans firmly in control of lawmaking in
The nuances of the law will be worked out in the coming weeks; however, most lawmakers seem to agree that at a minimum, an ID must be shown in order to cast a valid ballot. Representative Stone and Senator Leibham released a voter ID bill modeled after two that were previously vetoed by then-Governor Doyle. This is a good place to start, and I believe we should also look outside our borders for ideas.
The Senate is on the floor tomorrow to consider more of Gov. Walker's special session bills to improve Wisconsin's business climate.
Senate Bill 3 establishes tax credits for businesses that relocate to Wisconsin.
Today, the Senate approved Special Session Assembly Bill 4 with a 25-8 bipartisan vote. This bill, which I am pleased to have sponsored, will add $25 million to the Economic Development Tax Credit Program.
This $25 million will spur innovation and growth for Wisconsin companies. In turn, this will lead to more good-paying jobs for Wisconsin families that will patronize other Wisconsin companies. It truly will produce a cycle of success that will benefit everyone.
It’s an exciting time for football fans. With the Packers in the Super Bowl, people are busy making plans for the day of the big game. While most people will be gathering around a TV with friends, there will be some following the Pack to
Wednesday, I chaired a public hearing for the Committee on Transportation and Elections about Senate Bill 6, the photo ID bill.
Many opinions about our electoral process were expressed. We heard from people in favor of the bill, against the bill, and people with suggestions to make the bill a better bill. All told, it was a robust conversation about the voting process.
It’s an exciting time to work in the state Capitol. This week, the Senate was in session two days and I chaired a 7-hour committee meeting that heard testimony about a bill to require photo identification to vote.