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Sen. Jon Erpenbach: What's ahead in the state Senate?
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As the Legislature gears up for the last three months of the 2007-2008 session, I am hopeful we will make serious progress on a number of issues I have heard are priorities for the people of the 27th Senate District. It has been a long road this session with a split Legislature; partisan politics have been substantial barriers. There have been some exceptions and I am proud to have been a part of some of those examples where we put partisanship aside to get things done and pass legislation. Rep. Brett Davis and I worked hard to create a matching grant for the development of a soybean crushing facility in Evansville. Snowmobile safe night driving was preserved through a bill I worked on with Rep. Kaufert to keep speed limits after dark. We finally passed a state budget that, despite the delay, was a strong compromise for Wisconsin. Despite lack of final resolution, there are a number of other bills I am working on with legislators from both sides of the aisle - many of them are highlighted below. • Health Care: Healthy Wisconsin will be reintroduced with a few improvements in the next few weeks. Meanwhile, we still wait for any plan from opponents of Healthy Wisconsin to help Wisconsinites with access to affordable health care. I continue to be ready to sit down at the table and negotiate on this issue. We are at a crossroads with health care coverage in Wisconsin. We can choose to think ahead and find the best way for people and businesses or we can continue to try to Band-aid a system that is not working. • Campaign Finance Reform: The governor's call for special session is an opportunity for us to move ahead with the fair and comprehensive campaign finance reform we all know is needed. I will continue to lobby my colleagues from both sides of the isle to move ahead with reform like Senate Bill 12 and Senate Bill 171. • Regulation of Traveling Sales Crews: The national neighborhood violent crime toll from unregulated door-to-door sales crews continues to rise. I am hopeful the Assembly will move ahead with Senate Bill 80 before the end of session. • School Financing: I have been working on a plan to overhaul the way Wisconsin schools are funded. The result would be a system of fairer taxation and a stable source of revenue for the future that is not balanced on the backs of property taxpayers. While I may not have all of the answers on this, I think it is time to roll up our sleeves and consider all of our options. • Do Not Call List Expansion: Wisconsin's Do Not Call law, which grew out of legislation I authored, has been a widely popular program. Funded with fees charged to telemarketing companies, it is time to expand the applicability of the bill to cover cellular phones and small businesses. Senate Bill 99 would do just that. I am working to get the bill passed out of the Joint Committee on Finance and on the Senate floor as soon as possible. For a complete list of proposals I have authored or am co-author of, please check the Wisconsin Legislature Web page. As always, please feel free to contact me on any legislative issue; E-mail: or call (608) 266-6670 or (888) 549-0027.

- State Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, represents the 27th State Senate District, which includes Green County.