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February 25th, 2022

This Week in the Legislature

Contents

  • Water Quality Bill Passes Assembly 
  • Constituent Meeting
  • Meeting with Swiss Consulate
  • McCain Institute Panel
  • Tax Assistance Information
  • COVID-19 Dashboard

Water Quality Bill Passes Assembly

During this week's floor session, the Assembly took up and passed meaningful legislation to address water quality issues around Wisconsin.

The bill contains policy recommendations stemming from the Speaker's Task Force on Water Quality which I Chaired last session. I co-authored this legislation with Rep. Travis Tranel (R - Cuba City), Rep. Katrina Shankland (D - Stevens Point) and other fellow lawmakers from both sides of the aisle. 

Assembly Bill 727 (AB 727) creates a Commercial Nitrogen Optimization Pilot Program to foster new and innovative practices that optimize the application of commercial nitrogen, establishes a program in Wisconsin to provide per-acre rebates to farmers that choose to plant cover crops, and creates a hydrogeologist position within the UW System to develop localized groundwater resource data for the benefit of local stakeholders interpreting and using the information. 

AB 727 passed the full Assembly on a vote of 96-0.

I am proud of the bipartisan work we've been able to achieve on this issue. Everyone deserves clean drinking water and our efforts to advance this legislation works to get us closer to that reality.

Constituent Meetings

This week, constituents Ellery Schaffer and Noah Anliker from Jewell Associates, Spring Green came to meet with me at the Capitol. They spoke to me on ongoing transportation projects, water legislation and energy infrastructure.

It's always great to catch up with them and learn more about current projects relating to infrastructure and to hear their concerns and ideas on current legislation.

Thank you Ellery and Noah for taking time out of your busy schedules to come to Madison!

Meeting with Swiss Consulate

This week I had the privilege to meet with members of Switzerland’s Consulate General, including Consul General Bruno Ryff, at the Wisconsin State Capitol. The Swiss Consul General requested the meeting because Rep. Novak’s district includes part of Green County.

The discussion focused on the strong ties between Switzerland and Wisconsin. Swiss immigrants have made valuable economic and cultural contributions over the years, with many of them starting businesses that are still operating in Southwest Wisconsin. The Consul General mentioned he enjoys spending time in establishments in Monroe and New Glarus, which both exhibit a strong local Swiss tradition. 
McCain Institute Panel
Last week, I joined a panel for the McCain Insitute at Arizona State University, covering the topic of the current state of local news in America.

I was joined by host Steve Waldman, CEO, Report for America, Emily Woodruff, Reporter, The Times-Picayune (New Orleans) and Erica Beshears Perel, Director, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media.

I spoke about my background as a local newspaper editor as well as my experience in the state legislature crafting legislation to support local newspapers. The panel also discussed my current bill, Assembly Bill 762, which creates an advertising tax credit for Wisconsin based small businesses that publish ads in their local media outlets.

With the pandemic, and so many local businesses also struggling, I decided to craft a bill that aimed to support both local businesses and local media outlets. The bill creates a win-win scenario by allowing an incentive for local businesses to advertise while also providing a boost in revenue for local media outlets.

I want to thank Paul Fagan from the McCain Institute for inviting me as well as moderator Steve Waldman for the great discussion! 
 
Tax Assistance Information
With the onset of tax filing season, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) has announced they have added several resources to their website to assist with tax filing.

All forms and instructions can be found on DOR website and can be downloaded and printed as needed.

• Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program resources are available for those who require assistance or prefer to file using paper forms. Information and site locations can be found here.

• Wisconsin e-file, is free, secure, and accurate. Each year, more Wisconsin taxpayers file their income tax returns and receive their refunds more quickly using the DOR e-file application called Wisconsin e-file. Wisconsin e-file is available on the DOR website.

COVID-19 Dashboard

I am continuing to urge all of my constituents to talk to their doctor, and if they choose, get the COVID-19 vaccine and the booster shot. I have included more informational resources below. As new information becomes available I am continuing to update the links below.

  1. For a full list of COVID-19 vaccine sites statewide please click the vaccine finder link here.
  2. For booster eligibility and general COVID-19 vaccine information please click the link here.
  3. For insurance provider testing reimbursement information please click the link here.
  4. For testing site information please click the link here.

Have a Great Weekend!

As always, please do not hesitate to follow up with any additional questions or concerns you may have. I can be reached at Rep.Novak@legis.wisconsin.gov or (608) 237-9151.

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