Legislative Update for April 7


In February, Assembly Republicans rushed through nearly 200 bills in what they promised will be the end of the 2015-2016 legislative session. The majority party decided to adjourn the legislative session at the earliest date in nearly 50 years.

As state representatives elected to serve our districts and address our state’s biggest challenges, we were disappointed that we were sent home early with so much work left undone. 

In the flurry of bills passed, there was no action to boost Wisconsin’s paltry job creation record, no help for our public schools and no action on anemic wage growth. The party in power took no steps to address our crumbling roads and bridges and there was nothing done to lower monthly student loan payments for the one million Wisconsinites saddled with student loan debt.

No matter where you live, we all share the same Wisconsin values and dreams for our future.

Ordinary people tell us that they want their kids to get a high-quality education, they want to protect our lakes, and they want their communities to be safe and for small businesses to thrive. They want a chance to pursue the American Dream by working hard, playing by the rules and making a better future for the next generation.

Unfortunately, during the legislative session, majority Republicans were far more focused on rewarding their political friends than on addressing the issues ordinary Wisconsinites face.

Worst of all, Republican legislators tried to keep more of what they’re doing secret. Their failed attempt to roll back our state’s open records laws would have made it nearly impossible for taxpayers to hold lawmakers accountable for their actions in office.

The people of Wisconsin deserve better.

Assembly Democrats spent all session aggressively pushing forward a positive alternative. That’s why we pursued an economic opportunity and middle-class agenda to grow jobs and wages and make us competitive in the global economy. We also advocated for sustainable transportation, full and fair funding for our public schools, and reforms to make our jobs agency and government more accountable to taxpayers.

As your state representatives, we are here for you year-round. We want to represent your voices at the State Capitol. We encourage each and every one of you to get involved and stay informed on the critical issues facing our state. Contact us if there is an issue you care about or let us know if there is a way we can serve you better.

Together, we can take steps to ensure that future legislative sessions address the issues that keep people awake at night.

We look forward to joining with the families and small businesses to build a smarter, cleaner and more prosperous state.


Assembly Democratic Members

Rep. Peter Barca

Rep. Mandela Barnes

Rep. Terese Berceau

Rep. Jill Billings

Rep. David Bowen

Rep. Jonathan Brostoff

Rep. Dave Considine

Rep. Chris Danou

Rep. Steve Doyle

Rep. Eric Genrich

Rep. Evan Goyke

Rep. Gary Hebl

Rep. Dianne Hesselbein

Rep. Gordon Hintz

Rep. LaTonya Johnson

Rep. Andy Jorgensen

Rep. Robb Kahl

Rep. Fred Kessler

Rep. Debra Kolste

Rep. Cory Mason

Rep. Beth Meyers

Rep. Nick Milroy

Rep. Tod Ohnstad

Rep. Sondy Pope

Rep. Daniel Riemer

Rep. Melissa Sargent

Rep. Katrina Shankland

Rep. Chris Sinicki

Rep. Mark Spreitzer

Rep. Amanda Stuck

Rep. Lisa Subeck

Rep. Chris Taylor

Rep. Dana Wachs

Rep. Leon Young

Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa

Rep. Josh Zepnick

P.S. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us by calling the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-362-9472.

Representatives Stuck and Brostoff Introduce Legislation to Prevent Privatization of Wisconsin’s Water Utilities

Representatives Stuck and Brostoff are introducing LRB 4602/1 along with Senator Chris Larson in order to keep Wisconsin’s drinking water under local control .

Read more

Flurry of Activity Near the End of the Legislative Session

With about a month left in the current legislative session, activity in legislative committees is high with legislators trying to push bills through before time runs out. 

Bills that received public hearing this week include:

Assembly Bill 273 – relating to increasing the penalty for firearm threats in a school zone. 

Assembly Bill 314 – relating to academic excellence scholarships.

Assembly Bill 692 – mandating that public schools adopt board policies and provide instruction on teen dating violence prevention and sexual violence prevention.

Assembly Bill 722 – relating to requiring the posting of state report cards on each individual school’s websites, including private voucher schools.

Assembly Bill 734 – relating to career and workforce education pilot grant program.

Senate Bill 591 – relating to mental health services in schools.

Bills that were recommended by (voted out of) committees include:

Senate Bill 228 – relating to academic excellence scholarships (companion bill to AB 314). Passage as amended recommended, 4-1 by the Senate Universities and Technical Colleges Committee.

Assembly Bill 488 – relating to an evaluation by a local educational agency of whether a pupil with an extended absence from school is a child with a disability. Passage as amended recommended, 10-4 by the Assembly Education Committee. The bill, as written, could potentially require school boards to make somewhere between 55,000 and 70,000 determinations on whether to refer absent students for an evaluation as to whether they have a disability that requires special education and related services. These referrals could come with potentially considerable expense.

Assembly Bill 664 – relating to mental health services in schools (companion bill to SB 591). Passage recommended, 14-0 by the Assembly Education Committee.

Democratic legislators introduce bill to secure marriage equality in Wisconsin

Today, alongside a same-sex couple sharing their personal story, Representatives Mark Spreitzer (D-Beloit), JoCasta Zamarripa (D-Milwaukee), Chris Taylor (D-Madison) and Senator Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) introduced the Marriage and Family Equality Act. This legislation would update Wisconsin statutes to account for marriage equality following the Supreme Court of the United States June 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. Afterwards, the legislators released the following statements:

Read more

Hearing Likely on Mandatory Crime Reporting Bill Thursday, Dec. 17

A bill to require public, public charter and private voucher high schools to track and report criminal activity and other incidents starting in the 2017-18 school year will likely receive a public hearing in the Assembly Education Committee on Thursday, December 17.

Read more

WI Senate Democrats Unveil Badger Blueprint

Want to know what policies Democrats support? Just have a look at the newly unveiled Badger Blueprint outlining the Senate Democrats; agenda for the next legislative session that begins in January 2016. While GOP legislators have been busy shielding their activities from the public and exempting themselves from John Doe investigations, Democrats have been looking toward the future, listening to people throughout Wisconsin and advancing solutions to improve the lives of hardworking families in every community across our state.

The Blueprint lays out specific proposals in three major areas:

  • Growth
    • Senate Democrats understand that the best way to move Wisconsin forward is by growing the middle class and expanding economic security.
    • From early childhood to technical training and college – ensuring educational opportunities for all Wisconsin residents will boost our long-term ability to compete and succeed in the modern day, global market.
  • Innovation
    • For Wisconsin to be competitive in today’s global economy, we need a modern and well-maintained infrastructure.
    • From our roads and bridges, to our water treatment and sewer systems, to our broadband and rail networks – it’s time to reinvest in Wisconsin’s infrastructure to encourage business growth, foster workforce opportunities and attract private investments
  • Opportunity
    • Too many Wisconsinites are being held back by a system that has been designed by special interests to give the wealthy and big businesses a greater advantage over hardworking families.
    • Through targeted middle class tax relief and improved workplace flexibility for Wisconsin families, we can restore fairness in our state, increase economic opportunities and strengthen our communities.

Let them know you like what you see and share your ideas on their website:

Download the complete document.

ESEA Reauthorization Breezes Through House

We are extremely pleased to announce that the U.S. House of Representatives just passed a bipartisan, bicameral bill by a vote of 359-64 with 11 U.S Representatives not voting to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (S.1177).

Read more

Democratic Weekly Radio Address: "Happy Thanksgiving"

Over 2,500 Students Are Now Enrolled In Statewide Voucher Program

Newly released figures from the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) show that participation in the statewide voucher program rose substantially to over 2,500 students after lawmakers lifted the 1,000 student enrollment cap on the program in the 2015-17 state budget act.

Read more

GOP Leaders Cancel Planned Tuesday Session On Legislation

The state Senate has canceled its scheduled session day Tuesday as deals remain elusive on a pair of bills that would dissolve Wisconsin's unique nonpartisan elections board and overhaul the state's campaign finance law.

Read more

Volunteer Upcoming events Join The Party