Conservatively Speaking

State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.

State Senator Lazich's Weekly Insight

Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee
This week Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) representatives testified to the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) requesting release of $44.7 million dollars allocated to WEDC within the 2013-2015 state budget.

During May 2013, the Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) released a report outlining methods to improve transparency and accountability at WEDC.  JFC withheld funding until WEDC submitted to JFC a report outlining WEDC’s compliance with recommendations made by the LAB.

In addition to complying with the recommendations of LAB, WEDC also provided information to JFC indicating WEDC conducted an independent audit revealing “no material weaknesses or significant deficiencies in WEDC’s financial reporting.”   Testimony and reports submitted to JFC reveal WEDC complied with every recommendation made by the LAB.  Once assured WEDC is compliant with the audit, JFC released $44.7 million to WEDC. 

The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) requested JFC release $7.1 million to implement a multi-vendor student information system.  The committee modified DPI’s request by dividing the sum of the allocation to maintain a $3.4 million base for future budgets.  Many of the committee’s members, including myself, questioned DPI’s lack of specificity and details about the type of student information DPI wants to collect.  

The JFC committee approved mental health bills created as a result of Speaker Robin Voss Task Force on Mental Health.  The package of bills provides increased resources for proactive mental health care across the state.   Following JFC’s approval of the bills on Wednesday, the bills were before the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services public hearing Thursday.   The bills are expected to be approved by the Health committee and go to the Senate floor.

Federal Government Issues Waiver For Wisconsin's BadgerCare Program
The United States Department of Health and Human Service, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a waiver to Wisconsin’s BadgerCare Program through December 31, 2018.  According to the Wisconsin Department Health Services (DHS), the waiver will allow Wisconsin to provide health care coverage to childless adults between ages 19 and 64 with incomes that do not exceed 100% of the federal poverty level beginning April 1, 2014.  Click here for information about the waivers.

State of the State
Governor Walker’s 2014 State of the State address to the Joint Convention of the State Legislature is scheduled January 22, 2014, at 7 PM.  The 2014 State of the State Address is scheduled to be live on the internet at,  Time Warner Cable Channel 363, Charter Cable Channel 995, and Wisconsin Public Television Stations throughout Wisconsin.

2014 Free Winter Fishing Weekend January 18 and 19, 2014
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced the 2014 Free Fishing Weekend is January 18 and 19, 2014. During Free Fishing Weekend, fishing clinics and ice fishing equipment are available without cost to the user at many Wisconsin state parks and Wisconsin DNR offices. Click here for more information about the 2014 Free Fishing Weekend.

Ray Cross appointed as the New UW Systems President
After this week’s interviews, the University of Wisconsin (UW) Board of Regents appointed Ray Cross President of UW Systems.  Cross is one of three candidates interviewed. 

Cross will oversee operations and management of UW, including the System’s administrative offices, and report to the Board of Regents.  As President, The Senior Vice Presidents, Vice Presidents, Chancellors, and General Counsel report to him.

Prior to his appointment Cross served as Chancellor of University of Wisconsin Colleges and University of Wisconsin-Extension.  While serving as Chancellor he worked with Governor Walker’s Administration to launch the UW Flex Option.  The Flex Options program is an online alterative for students to earn college credits, and gain workforce skills.

Public Hearing on US 45/HWY 100 Project
A public hearing is scheduled Thursday, January 16, 2013 about the proposed US 45/ HWY 100, College Avenue to Layton Avenue project.

The proposal includes adding an extra south bound travel lane at Edgerton Avenue, to create better traffic flow near the Greenfield I-43 ramps.  A two-lane roundabout is proposed at the intersection of Janesville Road and Forest Home Avenue.  Read the public hearing notice for a full list of proposed improvements.

The hearing will be at the Hales Corners Village 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM.  Residents are encouraged to attend and comment.



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