Sen. Kathleen Vinehout
"Do you still milk?" I asked Jim at a recent gathering. "No," he told me. "My son tells me the most help I can be is to stay out of the way," he joked. We both agreed that was hard. Dairying gets in your blood. June is dairy month. A time to celebrate all we love about "America's Dairyland" — home to 1.28 million dairy cows, which is more than one cow for every five Wisconsinites.
Progress with the state budget is at a standoff in the Capitol. Behind closed doors, leaders are talking details and trying to find votes. Openly, legislative leaders point to a lack of agreement on public education. They say no progress can happen until they round up necessary votes for the education portion of the budget. Privately, some GOP lawmakers are also angling to spend money on a big change to business personal property taxes. However, changes to taxes could take away money promised to schools.
In the next few weeks, state lawmakers are voting on how Wisconsin spends money over the next two years. The choices legislators make will affect our communities and our lives. Lawmakers are working off a spending plan submitted by Gov. Scott Walker earlier this year. Changes have already been made to his proposal.
"This is the broadest, most dangerous bill you've never heard of." I told my colleagues during a recent Senate debate. "It's an obscure way to shut down government from doing something that the Legislature intended to do." Senate Bill 15, known by the initials REINS, would allow leaders of the Legislature to shut down the implementation of new laws if the leader found the new law too costly to implement. A version of the bill is moving toward passage at both the state and federal levels of government. I expect the state Assembly will soon take up the bill.
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