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Conservatively Speaking

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.

State Senator Lazich's Weekly Insight

The State Senate This Week

This week the State Senate concluded the last 2013-2014 General Business Floor Period.  In true bi-partisan fashion the senate approved the Silver Alert Program, two additional Heroin, Opiate Prevention and Education (HOPE) measures, and the Cancer Treatment Fairness Act, known as the Oral Chemo bill.  Retiring legislators gave farewell speeches.  Click here to see Tuesday April 1, 2014, State Senate Calendar.   

I applaud colleagues on both sides of the aisle for coming together and governing for the common good of all Wisconsinites during our final floor period.  We put aside differences to approve legislation that improves the safety and well-being of our constituents.

Some of the bi-partisan bills sent to Governor Walker’s Desk for final approval are:

Assembly Bill 710, creating a statewide Silver Alert program to notify media and law enforcement about missing adults suffering from dementia or cognitive disabilities.

Senate Bill 300, The Cancer Treatment Fairness Act, as amended, allows insurance companies to choose either coverage parity between all forms of chemotherapy, or cap out-of-pocket costs to not more than $100 for a 30-day supply of oral chemotherapy drugs. 

Assembly Bill 701 (AB 701) and Assembly Bill 702 (AB 702), are the two final components of the Heroin, Opiate Prevention and Education (HOPE) agenda.  AB 701 creates up to three opioid treatment programs to provided treatment for opiate addiction in the state’s rural and underserved areas.  AB 702 directs the Department of Correction to create a system of short-term sanctions for addicts violating parole to protect the public and to swiftly correct the offender’s behavior by holding them accountable.

Governor Scott Walker Signs Additional Election Reforms into Law

This week Governor Walker signed four additional election reform measures I authored into law.  Governor Walker’s signature of SB 262, SB 264, SB 265, and SB 267, concludes a successful legislative session for Wisconsin electors and for fairness, transparency, and uniformity during Wisconsin elections. 

The bills I authored are the product of observations at the Racine recount and input from other stakeholders.  Unfortunately by many accounts the process at Racine appeared sloppy and disorderly.  Wisconsin electors deserve better.  Election reform measures signed into law this session provide assurance that elections are administered in a fair and transparent manner.

Senate Bill 262, Act 179, provides a uniform procedure for election officials administering damaged ballots and/or over voted ballots.  Existing law did not require damaged or over voted ballots to be marked in a consistent or uniform manner.  This created problems and confusion during recounts.  Working with the Government Accountability Board, we were able to identify a uniform location on ballots to record this information.  This bill ensures uniform treatment will ease the administration of recounts.

 

Senate Bill 265, Act 181, ensures political parties with the statutory responsibility to staff elections have trusted election inspectors at each polling place performing each task. The bill requires, insofar as practical, each party have representation on each specific job requiring two or more inspectors within the polling place.    

Senate Bill 264, Act 180, guarantees the chief inspector and one other inspector with party affiliation different than the chief inspector secure the ballot container.  I drafted this legislation in response to observations during the Racine recount.  During the Racine recount ballots were not secured in locked or sealed tamper-evident containers as the law requires.  SB 264 requires the chief inspector and a poll worker of the opposite party to secure the ballot boxes.  This bill assures accountability in case a problem arises.

 

Senate Bill 267, Act 182, is a comprehensive proof of residence bill that greatly improves the accuracy of elector registrations.  The Wisconsin Constitution, Article 3, Section 1, provides that “Every United States citizen age 18 or older who is a resident of an election district in this state is a qualified elector of that district.”  SB 267 enforces the Constitutional requirement that electors are residents of the district that they vote, by ensuring proof of residence is presented and properly documented at the time an elector registers to vote, retaining an exception for military and overseas voters.

Wisconsin Ranks Second Place
This week the Midwest Food Processors Association (MWFPA) announced Wisconsin ranked second nationally for total production and total value of processing vegetables during 2013.

Click here, for MWFPA press release.

 Marquette Report Outlines Positive future for SE Wisconsin Manufacturing
According to Douglas Fisher, director for the Center of supply Chain Management at Marquette University, Wisconsin’s southeast manufacturing and financial industries are making cautious and financially conservative decisions as the nation climbs out of recession.

Click here, to read article.

The Supreme Court Determines Individual Aggregate Contribution Limits Unconstitutional
This week the United States Supreme Court issued its decision for the McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission case, striking down as unconstitutional federal limits on the aggregate amount individuals may contribute to federal candidate campaigns.  Chief Justice Roberts, writing for the majority, wrote that the First Amendment rights of donors are violated by the individual aggregate contribution limit.  The decision includes, “the Government may no more restrict how many candidates or causes a donor may support than it may tell a newspaper how many candi­dates it may endorse.”  Wisconsin also has an aggregate limit that is currently challenged in state court.  With the U.S. Supreme Court’s McCutcheon decision, it seems likely the Wisconsin limit will also be struck down.  The decision does not impact contribution limits to individual candidates.

Click here, to read article.

 

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