Messages from the
Assembly Bill 478
Relating to: disclosure of pupil records that are pertinent to addressing a pupil's educational needs to the Department of Children and Families, a county department of human services or social services, or a tribal organization that is legally responsible for the care and protection of the pupil.
By Representatives Ballweg, Genrich, Horlacher, Hutton, Johnson, Kitchens, Knodl, Murphy, A. Ott, Rodriguez, Steffen and Subeck; cosponsored by Senators Darling, Wanggaard, Bewley, Gudex, Harsdorf, C. Larson, Lassa, Olsen, Petrowski and L. Taylor.
hist48236Read first time and referred to committee on Senate Organization
Assembly Bill 574
Relating to: the disclosure of electronic juvenile court records to a county department of human services or social services for purposes of providing intake and depositional services.
By Representatives Hutton, Jarchow, Ballweg, Brandtjen, E. Brooks, Horlacher, Jacque, Kremer, Murphy, Quinn, Rohrkaste, Subeck and Tittl; cosponsored by Senators Darling and Bewley.
hist48237Read first time and referred to committee on Senate Organization
President Lazich appointed Senator Roth and Senator Lassa to escort his Excellency, the Governor, to the Joint Convention.
Senator Fitzgerald, with unanimous consent, asked that the Senate stand adjourned until Wednesday, January 20, 2016, upon the rising of the Joint Convention.
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
Senate President Lazich 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
“Speaker Vos, Speaker Pro Temp 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.
The state of our state is strong. We are moving Wisconsin forward.
Think about these simple facts:
There are more people working in Wisconsin than at nearly any other point in our history; state finances are stable; our school students are doing well overall; college tuition is frozen; and property and income taxes are down from 2010.
The Wisconsin Comeback is real.
When I was running for re-election just over a year ago, I said we would ensure everyone who wanted a job could find a job. So, what kind of progress have we made in the past year?
Well, the most recent unemployment rate in our state is the lowest it has been since March of 2001. Let's put that into perspective: my son, Alex, is a junior at the University of Wisconsin and my son, Matt, is a senior at Marquette University. The last time the unemployment rate was this low, they were 5 and 6 years old.
Late last year, we saw the largest monthly jobs gain since April of 1992. That's nearly 24 years ago, back before Tonette and I even went on our first date.
The percentage of people working in Wisconsin, the Labor Force Participation Rate, is 67.8 percent. This is 5.3 points better than the national rate and puts us in the top ten states in America.
According to the federal government's current employment statistics and local area unemployment statistics, more people were working in Wisconsin in 2015 than at any time in the past 20 years.
That's right. While so many in the media seem to obsess with negative stories, these facts from the federal Department of Labor show more people were working during this past year than at any time in the past two decades.
Last year, initial weekly unemployment claims averaged the lowest level since 1989. The facts show that fewer people are filing for unemployment and more people are working.
People like Sam Critzer of Madison who was hired as a Certified Nursing Assistant at St. Mary’s and Brian Schuster from Lodi who got a job working as an Architectural Designer at Sullivan Design Build.
Not only are more people working, new business formations were up 3.6 percent last year. The economic impact of tourism increased 5.5 percent.
To continue this kind of growth in jobs and commerce, employers want stability. That's why we work so hard to get our fiscal house in order. It also ensures that the government will not be a burden on future generations.
I am proud that Wisconsin finished the fiscal year with a $135.6 million budget surplus.
The state's rainy day fund is the largest in our history—165 times bigger than when we first took office.
Wisconsin is one of only two states with a fully funded pension system. While our neighbors to the south have a pension that is not even half funded, we are covered. This fact provides peace of mind to our retirees and gives businesses part of the certainty they need to hire people in Wisconsin.
Our per capita debt—which includes pension and long-term health obligations—is among the lowest. That means we are one of the top ten best states in the country.
Bonding levels in the current state budget are the lowest in 20 years.
And we continue to weed out waste, fraud, and abuse to make government more effective, more efficient, and more accountable to you—the hard-working taxpayers.
In 2012, I launched the Lean Government Initiative. Here's one example: this past year, the Department of Safety and Professional Services used lean to save nearly $38,000 annually by switching to electronic documents for some of its panels. Thankfully, our employees realize that every dollar counts.
To put this in perspective, the money saved from this reform is enough to pay for 43 students to go through a youth apprenticeship. Tonight, Janie Brischke, a state employee who was the sponsor of that lean project, is here with us. Thank you, Janie.
Let me repeat, our goal is to ensure that everyone who wants a job can find a job. One of the best ways to get people the skills they need to succeed is through a great education. Thankfully, we have some of the best schools in the country here in Wisconsin.
The graduating class of 2015 had the 2nd highest ACT scores in the country. And thanks to our efforts to prepare all students for college and career, the class of 2016 will be the first to be given the opportunity to take the ACT free of charge; helping overcome financial barriers and close achievement gaps.
In our state, 4th and 8th grade reading scores went up again in 2015.
According to the most recent report, Wisconsin’s high school graduation rates are also up again—to third best in the country. Here with us tonight are students from Kewaunee and Fennimore high schools. In the most recent report, these two high schools graduated 100 percent of their senior classes.
Let's give a big round of applause to them and to their teachers and parents—and to all the others like them across Wisconsin. Thank you!
And speaking of students, we helped make college more affordable at our University of Wisconsin campuses as we froze tuition—for the first time ever—four years in a row. As a parent of two sons in college, I know how important it is to keep costs down for students and for the families who support them.
During the ten years before our freeze, the average annual increase in tuition within the University of Wisconsin System was over 8 percent. That was a 118 percent increase over a decade.
Compared to the previous trend, our tuition freeze saves the average student more than $6,000 over four years. That's real money, and it helps make school more affordable to college students and working families.
With us tonight are a few UW students who have benefitted from our tuition freeze. Please welcome Erin Larson from Greenleaf, Michael Daniels from Appleton, and Sarah McQuade from Hartland.