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.
Voters in Georgia go to the polls today to choose candidates in primaries for Congress, the General Assembly and other state and local offices. Before they can vote, Georgians must provide a Georgia driver's license, a valid government-issued photo ID, a U.S. passport, a military photo ID, a valid picture ID showing membership in a native American tribe, or a photo ID issued by a county registrar.
Last Friday, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Tom Campbell tossed out a challenge against the photo ID requirement. Georgia’s state Democrat Party was seeking a temporary restraining order to block the use of photo ID in today’s Georgia primaries.
During a hearing last week, Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel testified there would be "mass chaos" at Georgia’s 3,000 precincts if the judge were to grant the Democrat party's request. In a statement following the judge’s ruling, Handel said, "Photo ID has been implemented without incident in eight elections, including the presidential preference primary that featured record voter turnout."
Georgia has also taken a step that I proposed with legislation in Wisconsin that literally removes one of the key arguments of photo ID opponents. In Georgia, according to the Secretary of State’s website, “If you do not have one of these acceptable forms of photo identification, the State of Georgia offers a FREE Voter Identification Card. An identification card can be issued at any county registrar's office or Department of Driver Services office FREE of charge.”
During the 2005 legislative session, I authored Senate Bill 119 that would have issued identification cards without charge. Senate Bill 119 passed the state Senate 25-8, but did not get to the Assembly floor for a vote. Here are details on Senate Bill 119.
Democrats in Georgia pledge to continue to fight to have that state’s photo ID thrown out before the November elections. Just as here in Wisconsin, Democrats object to the common sense policy of having voters show proof that they are who they say they are. Wisconsin needs to adopt a photo ID requirement. Approving photo ID should be one of the Legislature’s top priorities when it reconvenes in January 2009.
My office prepared a state citation that I presented to Christopher Gonzalez at the special ceremony. It reads:
Whereas, Christopher Gonzalez is a member of the Boy Scouts of America and through dedication and commitment, attained the rank of Eagle Scout; and
Whereas, Christopher Gonzalez’s Eagle Scout project included landscaping Hoover Elementary School; and
Whereas, Christopher Gonzalez earned 28 merit badges, and served his troop in the leadership positions of Scribe, Assistant Senior patrol Leader, Senior Patrol Leader, and Instructor; and
Whereas, Christopher Gonzalez, a 2008 graduate of Nathan Hale High School, was a member of Track Team performing shot put, Future Business Leaders of America, and a Life Saving Class graduate; and
Whereas, Christopher Gonzalez plans to attend Fox Valley Technical College to study Diesel Mechanics; now
Therefore, the members of the Wisconsin State Senate on the motion of Senator Mary Lazich, commend Christopher Gonzalez for outstanding dedication and service to scouting. Christopher Gonzalez is further commended for successfully completing the requirements necessary to attain the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest honorable rank awarded by the Boy Scouts of America.
My office prepared a state citation that I presented to Bryan Rezeski at the special ceremony. It reads:
Whereas, Bryan Rezeski is a member of the Boy Scouts of America and through dedication and commitment, attained the rank of Eagle Scout; and
Whereas, Bryan Rezeski’s Eagle Scout project included constructing over 90 perches for the rehabilitation of birds at the Wildlife In Need Center of Waukesha County; and
Whereas, Bryan Rezeski earned 24 merit badges, and served his troop in the leadership positions of Scribe, Assistant Senior patrol Leader, Senior Patrol Leader, and Instructor; and
Whereas, Bryan Rezeski, a 2008 graduate of Nathan Hale High School, was a member of the Cross Country Team, Future Business Leaders of America, and a Life Saving Class graduate; and
Whereas, Bryan Rezeski plans to serve his country as a member of the United States Marine Corps; now
Therefore, the members of the Wisconsin State Senate on the motion of Senator Mary Lazich, commend Bryan Rezeski for outstanding dedication and service to scouting. Bryan Rezeski is further commended for successfully completing the requirements necessary to attain the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest honorable rank awarded by the Boy Scouts of America.
This morning, I had the privilege of participating in the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Sendik’s Fine Foods at the Shoppes of Wyndham Village in Franklin.
It was fitting the special ceremony was held under sunshine and gorgeous blue skies, as though the wonderful project was meant to come to Franklin.
I recall the first contact I had about this development when I was asked to lend support in the hope Sendik’s would help Franklin’s tax base. I was pleased to endorse a project that will benefit consumers, taxpayers, and education in Franklin.
Congratulations go out to Mark and Mary Carstensen for making this quality development dream come true along with Franklin Mayor Tom Taylor, the Franklin Common Council and the Franklin Plan Commission for their vision. Franklin is prosperous, one of the most growing communities in all of Wisconsin. I appreciate representing Franklin in state Senate District 28 and I wish Sendik’s, owner Tom Balisteri Jr., and the Shoppes at Wyndham Village the very best.
Every year, the highly regarded Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) is required by state law to conduct an audit of the Wisconsin Lottery. The financial review is complete and here are the audit’s key findings.
More than 99 percent of the lottery revenue comes from instant and online ticket sales. Total ticket sales increased 13.3 percent during the past five fiscal years, from $435.0 million in 2002-03 to $492.8 million in 2006-07. Sales of scratch-off and pull-tab games increased 13.9 percent during that period, while online game sales increased 12.5 percent. Ticket sales decreased during 2004-05 and 2006-07 due to the timing of large Powerball jackpots that have a sizeable effect on online game ticket sales.
Expenses from game development and production decreased by 14.1 percent over the past five fiscal years. The decreases were the result of the state entering into a seven-year contract with GTECH Corporation in June 2004 to maintain the instant and online gaming system and provide telecommunication services. Other expenses decreased by 16.7 percent over the past five fiscal years. Lottery staff attributes those decreases to strategies implemented to reduce costs.
Under the state Constitution, net proceeds from the Wisconsin Lottery must be used solely for property tax relief to owners of primary residences in Wisconsin and through the farmland tax relief credit to certain farmland owners in Wisconsin. Property tax relief totaled $697.9 million over the past five fiscal years, including $160.0 million in 2006-07.
State laws and legislative action impose limitations on four types of lottery expenses. The LAB reports the Wisconsin Lottery is in compliance with each of the limitations:
1) The LAB reports, “At least 50 percent of Wisconsin Lottery sales be returned to players as prize payments. As a percentage of ticket sales, prize expenses have remained generally consistent, although they increased to 59.3 percent during 2006-07. Wisconsin Lottery officials attribute the 1.3 percentage point increase between 2004-05 and 2006-07 to offering higher-priced instant games that include higher prize payout percentages. They also note that the 2006-07 prize payout percentage may be higher because the Wisconsin Lottery paid the $100,000 prize for Supercash! eight times more in 2006-07 than in 2005-06.”
2) The LAB reports that state law “limits certain administrative expenses to no more than 10.0 percent of gross operating revenues. These administrative expenses include all expenses except prize payments and retailer compensation. The Wisconsin Lottery’s administrative expenses have remained within the statutory limit and were 5.9 percent of gross operating revenues during 2006-07.”
3) The LAB reports, “The Wisconsin Constitution prohibits the expenditure of public funds or of revenues derived from lottery operations for promotional advertising. It directs any advertising to provide information about the chances of winning and prize structures. Through legislative action, the Wisconsin Lottery’s product informational advertising expenses have been limited to $4.6 million annually since 1990-91. This expenditure authority was not exceeded in 2006-07. The Legislature has increased the Wisconsin Lottery’s annual product informational advertising budget to $7.5 million beginning with 2007-08. Wisconsin Lottery staff project that increase will produce an additional $15.0 million in annual lottery ticket sales.”
4) The LAB reports state laws “establish maximum compensation rates for basic commissions and performance program payments to retailers who sell lottery tickets. Basic commission rates are 5.5 percent of the retail price for online tickets and 6.25 percent for instant tickets. Performance program payments to eligible retailers may not exceed 1.0 percent of total ticket sales. The Wisconsin Lottery’s retailer performance program payments have remained within the statutory limit for the past five fiscal years and were 0.9 percent of ticket sales during 2006-07.”
The LAB gave the opinion in their audit that the Lottery’s “financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Wisconsin Lottery.”
Here is the LAB full report of the Wisconsin Lottery audit.
Once again, I commend the LAB for their outstanding and thorough analysis.