Wisconsin Improves 21 places since 2010 in Chief Executive Magazine's Annual Best and Worst States for Business Survey
If you plan to vote by absentee ballot in person at your municipal clerk's office for the Tuesday May 8, 2012, Primary Election, you have until Friday May 4, 2012, 5:00 PM.
Columnist George Will examines the life of his son Jon, born 40 years ago with Down syndrome, and today's society embracing the killing of children not deemed perfect in the womb: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/jon-will-40-years-and-going-with-down-syndrome/2012/05/02/gIQAdGiNxT_story.html
With opening day of inland fishing May 5, 2012, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) websites have helpful information. The DNR website provides an electronic database to search lakes by county and find each lakes fishing regulations. Here is a link to the DNR's searchable database: http://dnr.wi.gov/lakes/lakepages/default.aspx
To find lakes within any Wisconsin county use this link: http://infotrek.er.usgs.gov/apex/f?p=wdnr_fishing_regulations:home:1029869411913597
Wisconsin Department of Health Services Activates Dead Bird Reporting Hotline to Track West Nile Virus
If you observe a dead bird, you may call the Dead Bird Reporting Hotline at 1-800-433-1610 and arrange to have the bird tested for West Nile virus. Hotline staff will answer questions about dead birds and provide information about safe handling, with gloves, and disposal.
According the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) West Nile virus is spread to people by the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus. Mosquitoes get infected with West Nile virus by feeding on infected birds and can then transmit the virus to other animals, birds, and humans.
For more information about West Nile virus, go to http://dhs.wisconsin.gov/communicable/westnilevirus/ or http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm
The Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) announced this afternoon revenue projections are $265 million higher than February projections. The memo from DOA Secretary Mike Huebsch to Governor Walker contains other great news.
The Federal Bureau of Economic Analysis increased estimates for personal income, and the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reports stronger growth in employment than previously projected. You may read Secretary Huebsch’s memo here
I received an email from an American Heart Association/American Stroke Association volunteer reminding me that May is American Stroke Month. The email letter below lists warning signs.
Dear Senator Mary Lazich:
As a constituent and an American Heart Association/American Stroke Association volunteer, I am writing to remind you that May is American Stroke Month and a great time to learn or re-learn the warning signs of a stroke and learn healthy steps to preventing a stroke. Please share this information with your constituents and help us build awareness during stroke month.
Stroke is the No. 4 killer of men AND women nationwide and in Wisconsin, with more than 2,000 Wisconsin residents dying each year from stroke. Stroke is also a leading cause of serious long-term disability in Wisconsin and nationwide.
Warning Signs of a Stroke can include:
" Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
" Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
" Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
" Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
" Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
If you or someone you know experiences any of the above warning signs, call 9-1-1 immediately and seek medical help.
For more information on the warning signs and risk factors for stroke visit the American Stroke Association's website here: http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/WarningSigns/Warning-Signs_UCM_308528_SubHomePage.jsp
Finally, please visit this site to learn what steps you can take to reduce your chances of having a stroke: http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/AboutStroke/UnderstandingRisk/Understanding-Stroke-Risk_UCM_308539_SubHomePage.jsp
Thank you for your continued service to Wisconsin.
You may follow the Government Accountability Board (GAB) on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WisconsinGovernmentAccountabilityBoard or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Wisconsin_GAB
Here is a link to Wisconsin Department of Revenue Chief Economist, John Koskinen’s, jobs outlook: Wisconsin is growing jobs
Data released today for the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) reveals 23,321 Wisconsin jobs were added between December 2010 and December 2011. The QCEW is a program within the US Department of Labor – Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that compiles hard figures based on state counts of employment covering 98 percent of US jobs.
The positive employment numbers for the last year are a sharp contrast to initial estimates of a loss of 33,900 jobs over the same time period. The early employment figures were based solely on monthly reports from the BLS. These monthly reports have historically been prone to massive revision because they are based on a poll of only 3.5 percent of businesses.
Legislative Council Study Committees are made up legislators and citizens interested or knowledgeable about a study topic. The study committees examine major issues and problems identified by the Legislature. I serve as the Senate Co-Chair of the Joint Legislative Council and, along with the State Assembly Co-Chair recently approved the following six study committees and scope statements:
1. Special Committee on 911 Communications
The Special Committee is directed to review 911 public safety communications in Wisconsin and develop legislation as needed to strengthen and improve the system. The Special Committee shall study: (a) creation of a statewide entity to provide coordination and long-term planning for the system; (b) existing funding sources and projected costs of the system; (c) the training curriculum and requirements for 911 dispatch personnel; (d) establishment of a minimum 911 service standard; (e) methods to upgrade multi-line telephone system technology to enable responders to locate calls originating from large or multi-location facilities; and (f) best practices around the country for potential implementation in Wisconsin.
Smart Money Magazine has an eye opening article about the effect the end of the Bush era tax cuts on the average tax payer. Here is a link: http://www.smartmoney.com/taxes/income/how-the-expiring-bush-tax-cuts-affect-you/
Government Accountability Board Releases Memo College and University Students Voting in June 5, 2012, Election
The Government Accountability Board (GAB) issued a memo about students with an address change 30 days prior to the June 5, 2012, recall election. Here is a link to the GAB memo: http://gab.wi.gov/sites/default/files/news/65/student_residency_memo_5_17_12_pdf_14117.pdf
Absentee voting begins today for the June 5, 2012, recall election. Voters have until Friday June 1, 2012, to cast an in-person absentee ballot at their city clerk's office.
Legislative Audit Bureau Submits Annual Financial Audit of Wisconsin Health Insurance Risk-Sharing Plan
The Legislative Audit Bureau released a financial audit of the Wisconsin Health Insurance Risk-Sharing Plan (HIRSP). HIRSP was established during the late 1990's to provide medical and prescription drug insurance to people that cannot obtain coverage. The number of HIRSP plan policyholders increased by 30.1 percent from 16,381 policyholders December 31, 2009 to 21,317 December 31, 2011. More than 80 percent of HIRSP enrollees have higher deductible and lower premium plans.
The audit notes HIRSP’s future as a state-based program is in doubt pending the outcome of the current case before the United State Supreme Court, US. Department of Health and Human Services v. Florida, about the legality of ObamaCare.
Tips for a safe holiday weekend
Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial kickoff to summer. It is a great time to make sure your family is prepared for emergencies before traveling the highways. Expect heavy traffic on Wisconsin roads and highways this weekend. Before you leave:
- Check your routes ahead of time for road construction and other possible delays. Call 511 or go to www.511wi.gov for the latest Wisconsin road conditions.
- Make sure you have an emergency supply kit in your vehicle with a first aid kit, flashlight, and other supplies.
- Let someone know your destination, your route and your expected arrival
- Never leave children, disabled persons, or pets in a parked car, not even briefly. Temperatures in a car may become life threatening within minutes. During an 80-degree day, the temperature inside a car even with the windows cracked slightly can reach 100 degrees in less than 10 minutes!
- Take along a portable weather radio. They are important to have while enjoying the outdoors, camping, and boating. A portable weather radio provides alerts about potential severe weather and non-weather emergencies.
Memorial Day is a patriotic day to remember military service members and reflect on the fruits of their labor. Military service members gave their lives and they labor today very far from home, making it possible for us to celebrate Memorial Day.
Memorial Day, the day to remember brave, heroic departed service members, comes during the beginning of summer. We mourn and we celebrate. We mourn our dearly departed service member’s deaths and we celebrate the longer days of summer.
With campaign propaganda at full throttle, we see Democrats completely ignoring Act 10, the impetus for recalls, and instead hitting the airwaves about jobs. With less than a year under Walker and Republicans, it is a stretch for Democrats to criticize and claim the economy was better off during their reign.
Democrats base employment claims on monthly surveys prone to massive revision. The state released just such a revision showing a gain of nearly 60,000 jobs over previous estimates.