January: Back In Session
January's first Assembly floor session sought to bring forward legislation that has progressed through the committee process in previous weeks.
A particular highlight of this session for me is the passage of Assembly Bill 717, an income and franchise tax exemption for Restaurant Revitalization Fund Grant recipients. This bill will conform Wisconsin tax law to federal tax law in the treatment of these grants, and I am grateful to the Wisconsin Restaurant Association for bringing this to us.
The Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) grants helped cover the basics of running a business: payroll, mortgages, rent payments, utilities, maintenance, supplies including food and beverage expenses. Danielle Baerwald, Wisconsin Restaurant Association Board Chair and restaurant owner, testified that this tax treatment will allow her restaurant to hire another full-time employee for a whole year. Please watch the video below, where restaurant owners discuss the difficulties faced during this health emergency, the impact of supportive measures like AB 717, and the importance of supporting local restaurants.
Another part of our session I highly support is the continuing mission of the Republican H.O.P.E. (Heroin, Opioid, Prevention and Education) Agenda. The HOPE Agenda has received unanimous bipartisan support and is continuously aimed at combating the state's opioid epidemic. Assembly Bills 732, 844 and 845, work to fight addiction in our state by directing the creation of a substance abuse treatment platform, authorizing methamphetamine treatment grants as well as increasing funds for medication-assisted treatment (MAT) programs. According to the Department of Health Services, 22 MAT providers across the state receive grants from the Department.
We started to move forward on a package of Sporting Heritage legislation during Thursday's session. Wisconsin maintains a strong sportsman culture. Our hunters and anglers have a tremendous economic impact statewide. They are natural resource partners and good stewards of the environment. Republicans look to protect these values and traditions not only in the present but also for the future. This package of bills looks to increase opportunities for hunting and fishing, beginning with Assembly bills 673 and 677.
Second Amendment Rights
Yesterday we made common sense modifications to existing gun laws.I am a strong supporter of second amendment gun rights, and will continue to scrutinize any legislation that would restrict the right to bear arms. Here are the Assembly bills that addressed these changes: 495, 498, 597, 843.
Things to Do
Saturday, January 22 - Racine County Winterfest
Saturday, January 22 - Racine Zoo - Brr...Garden Beer and Food Tasting
Saturday, February 12 - Tichigan Sno N Go Ice Fishing Jamboree
Racine County Eye