Motions May Be Offered
hist17597Senator Fitzgerald, with unanimous consent, asked that Senate Bill 223, Assembly Bill 594, and Assembly Bill 595 be withdrawn from the committee on Senate Organization and taken up at this time.
Senate Bill 223
Relating to: employer access to, and observation of, the personal Internet accounts of employees and applicants for employment; educational institution access to, and observation of, the personal Internet accounts of students and prospective students; landlord access to, and observation of, the personal Internet accounts of tenants and prospective tenants; and providing a penalty.
hist17598The question was: Concurrence of Assembly Amendment 1 to Senate Bill 223?
Concurred in.
Assembly Bill 594
Relating to: renewable energy portfolio standards.
hist17601Read a second time.
hist17602Ordered to a third reading.
hist17603Senator Fitzgerald, with unanimous consent, asked that the bill be considered for final action at this time.
Assembly Bill 594
hist17604Read a third time and concurred in.
Assembly Bill 595
Relating to: Public Service Commission certificates for certain activities; tampering with telecommunications or electric wires; regulation of pay telephone service providers and cable television telecommunications service providers; accident reporting by telecommunications utilities; the definition of transmission facility; availability of public utility rate schedules; and rule-making procedures.
hist17605Read a second time.
hist17606Ordered to a third reading.
hist17607Senator Fitzgerald, with unanimous consent, asked that the bill be considered for final action at this time.
Assembly Bill 595
hist17608Read a third time and concurred in.
Senator Fitzgerald, with unanimous consent, asked that all action be immediately messaged to the Assembly:
hist17610Assembly Bill 594
hist17611Assembly Bill 595
hist17612Senate Bill 223
Action Messaged.
Announcements, Adjournment Honors and Remarks Under
Special Privilege
Senator Vukmir, with unanimous consent, asked that when the Senate adjourns, it do so in honor of Andrew Boldt, who was killed in the tragic shooting at Purdue University yesterday. He was a kind soul, inquisitive, and friendly young man. His family was very active in the church and school communities of Christ King and Marquette University High School. These communities mourn his loss and send prayers to his family.
Senator Schultz, with unanimous consent, asked that when the Senate adjourns, it do so in honor of John Kinsman of Lime Ridge in Sauk County. John became known throughout the state, and beyond the state’s borders, for promoting organic sustainable agriculture. John was ahead of his time, an inspiration to thousands, and he practiced what he preached. He spent much of his time educating farmers and was passionate about defending the family farm. John passed away on January 20, 2014, at the place he loved most, his farm. John was a worker and served us all. Senator Schultz would like to extend a thanks to John’s wife Jean, and the Kinsman’s 10 children for sharing John’s time and talents with everyone.
Senator Schultz, with unanimous consent, asked that when the Senate adjourns, it do so in honor of Herbert Frederick “Herb” Behnke, of Shawano, who passed away on December 8, 2013, at the age of 88. Herb served on the Wolf River Regional Planning Commission per the appointment of Governor Gaylord Nelson, and per the appointment of Governor Warren Knowles, and then Governor Tommy G. Thompson, he served on the WI Conservation Commission and WI Natural Resources Board, where he holds the record for longest served at 21 years. He served as chair of the board for 4 years. He farmed and was a marketer for Badger Breeders Coop and Cooperative Resources International. Herb enjoyed the outdoors and was a member of the WI Wildlife Federation, Trout Unlimited, Spooner Musky Club, Shawano club, and Navarino Nature Center. In 2009, Herb was inducted into the WI Conversation Hall of Fame. Senator Schultz would like to extend his thanks to his family, especially his wife Lenore, and his son, Chrispen.
Senator Gudex, with unanimous consent, asked that when the Senate adjourns, it do so in honor of Mercury Marine for celebrating 75 years in business. It was founded in 1939 by E. Carl Kiekhaefer on Cedarburg and has grown into a global company that is a world leader in the boat motor industry. Mercury Marine, is a division of Brunswick Corporation, that employs 5,400 people worldwide, 3,100 of whose are here in Wisconsin. Their 75th anniversary reflects their strong heritage of innovation and leadership in the marine industry and their strong roots right here in Wisconsin.
Senator Lazich, with unanimous consent, asked that when the Senate adjourns, it do so in honor of Gordon Starck, who passed away at the age of 91. Gordon was an elected Alderman in Franklin in 1996 and 1998. He was also elected Mayor in 1972 and 1974. Gordon served our country when he was part of the 82nd Airborne on D-Day in 1944 and marched into the Battle of the Bulge. Gordon was very well liked and respected in the community.
Senator Darling, with unanimous consent, asked that when the Senate adjourns, it do so in honor of James Jesewitz, whose resolution was passed earlier.
Senator Darling, with unanimous consent, asked that when the Senate adjourns, it do so in honor of her son Will, whose birthday was Monday.
Senator Tiffany, with unanimous consent, asked that when the Senate adjourns, it do so in honor of Jeremy Ritchie. Jeremy passed away tragically last Tuesday after his propane truck was struck by another car near Harshaw. Senator Tiffany’s sincerest sympathy goes out to Jeremy’s mother, father, and brother as well as his wife, Jamie, his two-year-old daughter, Jayden and everyone mourning his loss.
Senator Jauch, with unanimous consent, asked that when the Senate adjourns, it do so in honor of Justine Ringberg, who was tragically killed in an automobile accident last week at the age of 22. In 2009, Justine was a Senate Scholar, who came down here like so many high school students, full of promise, full of life ahead, to give and contribute to her wellbeing. Her community is stunned and saddened by this tragic loss for her and her friend because of the way in which she dedicated her life to giving to others. A friend from Beloit College, where she recently graduated from, said she was “Born to help people.” Justine was one of those special people who even at a young age made such a remarkable difference, it is as if they had lived the fullest to an old age and that’s what makes this loss so very difficult for her mother, Mary, and her father, Gordon, and her sister. Senator Jauch hopes that they will find some comfort in this adjournment and in sharing in the respect of her contribution through life and in tribute to what she meant to the community of Bayfield, all who knew her in Beloit, and all the lives that she touched.
Senator Taylor, with unanimous consent, asked that when the Senate adjourns, it do so in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Senator Taylor, with unanimous consent, asked that when the Senate adjourns it do so in honor of Sallye Frances Arnold Edwards. Ms. Edwards is the mother of her former staff member Deirdra Edwards and was a dedicated public servant.
President Pro Tempore Leibham appointed Senators Moulton and Harris to escort his Excellency, the Governor, to the Joint Convention.
Senator Fitzgerald, with unanimous consent, asked that the Senate recess until 6:30 P.M. for the purpose of awaiting the Governor’s State of the State Address in Joint Convention in the Assembly Chambers at 7:00 P.M., and further, that the Senate stand adjourned until Tuesday, February 11, 2014, upon the rising of the Joint Convention.
3:00 P.M.
6:45 P.M.
The Senate proceeded in a body to the Assembly Chamber to meet in Joint Convention to receive the State of the State Message.
In Assembly Chamber
In Joint Convention
7:00 P.M.
Senate President Ellis in the chair.
The Committee to wait upon the Governor appeared with his Excellency, the Honorable Governor Scott Walker, who delivered his message as follows:
State of the State Address
First, before I acknowledge anyone else, I would like to recognize my good friend and fellow Harley rider, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Gary Wetzel.
 Speaker Vos, Speaker Pro Tem August, President Ellis, Majority Leader Fitzgerald, Minority Leader Larson, Minority Leader Barca, members of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Constitutional Officers, tribal leaders, members of the Cabinet, distinguished guests, members of the Legislature, most importantly, fellow citizens of the great state of Wisconsin, it is an honor to appear before you tonight.
Before we get started, I would like to introduce the First Lady of Wisconsin, my wife, Tonette. Also in the gallery are our sons, Matt and Alex, and my family; my parents, Llew and Pat, my brother, David, my sister-in-law, Maria, and my nieces, Isabella and Eva.
Next to my wife is Major General Don Dunbar, our Adjutant General. I want to thank him and the more than 10,000 members of the Wisconsin National Guard. Thank you for being here.
The state of our state is strong and improving every day. The economy is dramatically better and our finances are in great shape. Still, there is more work to be done.
Thankfully, the days of double-digit tax increases, billion-dollar deficits, and major job loss are gone. We replaced them with massive tax cuts, growing budget surpluses, and significant job growth. Wisconsin is going back to work.
Tonight, we have some really great news about the economy and our fiscal situation. The non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau recently verified that the state will have $911 million more than previously projected. These new revenues are not a one-time windfall, or budget gimmick, but come from a strong economic recovery, where more people are working, more employers are hiring, and personal income is going up. They also come from good stewardship of the taxpayers' money.
What do you do with a surplus? Give it back to the people who earned it. It's your money. I propose that we deposit a portion of these new revenues in the state's rainy day fund and use the remainder to provide much needed tax relief to you-the hardworking taxpayers of Wisconsin.
Tonight, I will propose a Blueprint for Prosperity, which will continue to improve our economy, while preserving our strong fiscal standing.
So how did we get these positive results? A true commitment to real structural reforms for state and local government budgets led to our long-term fiscal stability. Meaningful tax cuts that keep more money in your pocket rather than requiring you to send it to Madison, changes to laws and regulations that make sense if you're trying to start a business or find a job, and bipartisan investments in worker training are some of the driving forces behind the strong economic recovery.
 So, how do we measure the impact of the recovery? Well, the unemployment rate in Wisconsin is the lowest it has been since 2008. Initial unemployment insurance claims are at a 12-year low.
Private sector job creation between April and November was the best since 1994. The seasonally adjusted private sector job growth from November 2012 to November 2013 ranked Wisconsin higher than Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois.
According to the latest national report, personal income grew 4.4 percent over the year; faster than the U.S. In fact, Wisconsin ranked as the 4th best state in the country for personal income growth from the second quarter to the third quarter in 2013. After years of a stagnant market, a key component of the American Dream, home sales are up by nearly 11 percent and housing permits are up 12.9 percent. And according to quarterly and monthly job reports, more than 100,000 jobs have been created over the past three years.
Let me introduce you some of the people hired since I took office: Joann Stephens from Appleton is employed as a Quality Engineer at Surface Mount Technology. Heyward Gualandi from Madison is employed as a Sales Supervisor at Beechwood Sales and Services. Ben Lang from Brookfield is employed as a Design Engineer at Metcast Service Tech Resources. Dominic Petri from Cedarburg is employed as a Design Engineer at TLX Technologies. Lucas Klemann from Appleton is employed as a CNC Operator at M & M Tool and Mold. Bob Stoffel from Hartford is employed as a Brake Operator at Steel Craft Corporation. Patti Sharer from New Berlin is employed as an Accounting Specialist at Hastings Air Energy Control. Scott Grinder from Reedsburg is employed as a Maintenance Technician at Milwaukee Valve. Rick Banach from Oak Creek is employed as a Supervisor at Rexnord. Angela Hayward from Madison is employed as a Nursing Assistant at UW Hospital and Clinics. David Sohl from Madison is employed as an Organ Procurement Organization Surgical Recovery Coordinator at UW Hospital and Clinics. And Chris Barber of Two Rivers, is employed as a welder at Ariens Company.
As a candidate for Governor, I announced an aggressive jobs goal because I wanted people, like Joann and Heyward and Patti and Rick, to be able to find work. Every time we help someone find a job, it makes for a stronger home, a stronger community, and a stronger state.
Each of these people were looking for a job, or a better opportunity, over the past three years. They represent the people and the families behind the numbers. These are the faces of an improving economy in our state. Wisconsin is going back to work.
When I spoke about our jobs goal more than four years ago, I also made a pledge to help the people of Wisconsin create 10,000 new businesses by 2015. Tonight, I am proud to announce we exceeded that goal with nearly 13,000 new businesses created so far.
This is a great sign for the future as thousands of new employers bring the potential of even more jobs. Think about it, if each of these new ventures grew by 15 employees or more by next year, we would more than exceed our 250,000 jobs goal.
New businesses, like 5-Point Fabrication in Ashwaubenon and SOLOMO Technology in Madison, will help us reach our goal.
Others are helping, too. During the past week, I visited Hartford Finishing in Hartford to announce 94 new jobs. EmbedTek in Hartland committed to creating up to 72 more jobs on Friday.
A & B Process Systems in Stratford hired 50 more people over the past year and Greenheck in Schofield added 209 jobs since 2011. These are just the employers I visited in the past few days.
Throughout the past year, we helped Amazon.com expand and create up to 1,250 jobs here in Wisconsin. EMCO Chemical Distributors moved up from Illinois with about 187 jobs. Hanna Cylinders announced the same thing and brought 105 jobs to our state. All three of these companies moved into Kenosha County. These are just a small sample of the many good news stories showing Wisconsin is going back to work.
This is a stark contrast to the negative job outlook of the past. During my predecessor's last term, Wisconsin lost more than 133,000 jobs and lost more than 27,000 businesses. In 2009, the unemployment rate peaked at 9.2 percent.
During that same year, Wisconsin's ranking in Chief Executive Magazine's best and worst states for business was 43rd. In 2009, a survey of employers by the chamber of commerce showed just 4 percent thought our state was heading in the right direction. Now, our ranking is up to 17th_one of the fastest jumps of any state in the country. As of last month, 95 percent of the employers surveyed said Wisconsin is headed in the right direction. That's right, ninety-five percent.
Another reason for our positive revenue numbers is our prudent fiscal management. Three years ago, we inherited a state government with a $3.6 billion budget deficit. The state had past due bills to Minnesota, owed more than $200 million to the patient compensation fund, and raided $1 billion from the segregated transportation fund. At the same time, they only had $1.7 million in the rainy day fund.
Sure, we had to make some tough decisions, but they paid off. We ended our fiscal year in 2013 with a $759 million surplus; we paid back Minnesota, filled the fund to help injured patients of medical malpractice, and restored funding for transportation. And the rainy day fund, well, it's now 165 times bigger than it was when we took office.
We are turning things around. We are heading in the right direction. We are moving Wisconsin forward.
A year ago, I laid out the priorities my administration would focus on to get our state working again. Let me tell you a bit more about the positive things we are doing to continue to improve our economy, while maintaining a balanced budget:
Manufacturing and agriculture are two of our core industries in Wisconsin. Thankfully, both are playing a big role in our economic recovery. In 2013, CNBC ranked us as one of the top states for new manufacturing jobs. From November 2012 to November 2013, we rank 7th highest in the country in manufacturing job growth.
Milk production went up at double the national rate over the past year. And agricultural exports grew by 6 percent through the first three quarters of 2013, while dairy exports grew by 34 percent.
To keep these positive trends going, we put in place the manufacturing and agriculture production tax credit last year. Now, if you are an employer in one of these key industries, you should look at growing in Wisconsin as this credit will eventually wipe out almost all of your taxable liability. That is a really big deal because it gives you the opportunity to invest the capital necessary to help create more jobs. This program is a game changer for employers in manufacturing and agriculture.