MADISON, Wis. -- On Monday, Governor Scott Walker signed five bills authored by Rep. Romaine Quinn (R-Barron), including bills that will help attract telecommuters to rural areas, create a mentored trapping program, and address cleanup issues lingering from the storms that affected parts of the 75th Assembly District in the summer of 2017.
Assembly Bills 583 and 584 address storm issues. AB 583 ensures that small cooperatives are not saddled with extra costs to restore power and phone lines. Currently, if an outside work crew helps repair lines after a storm, both the cooperative that sent the crew and the cooperative that received the crew’s help must pay tax for that crew’s time and labor. That cost is passed on to ratepayers, increasing their bills in the wake of a natural disaster AB 583 ends this double taxation, and reduces costs to local people affected by the weather. AB 584 also reduces costs to those struggling after a natural disaster by allowing the Department of Motor Vehicles to replace items like drivers licenses and vehicle registration for free if they were destroyed.
“People who are trying to get their lives back together should not have to worry about these extra costs,” said Rep. Quinn. “It’s inexcusable to add fees to people who are already struggling, and I’m very proud to have fixed this issue. Getting things done for the people of our district is always my focus, and these bills were a major goal for me this year.”
Assembly Bill 600 empowers the Town of Cable to fund an economic development program intended to restore the historic Telemark Ski Lodge. The project would represent a potential $25 million annual boost to Bayfield County’s economy, and bring 150 year-round positions once completed.
“This is the kind of economic development that we need in northern Wisconsin,” said Rep. Quinn. “Supporting local flexibility to target projects that make sense for them builds sustainable, family-supporting jobs.”
Assembly Bill 917, the Telecommuter Forward! bill, creates a model to encourage municipalities to support telecommuting. The bill allows municipalities to register with the Public Service Commission to highlight infrastructure and opportunities they offer. In order to qualify, a community must declare its commitment to offering telecommuting options and designate a point of contact to coordinate with stakeholders, communicate development goals, and promote telecommuting workspaces and other available options.
“My colleagues know that across the state we have communities that can offer homes with great lake views and fantastic outdoor recreation,” said Rep. Quinn. “When we add the Telecommuter Forward! certification, we give communities the ability to market a high-tech option as well. This bill represents a huge opportunity to draw new people in.”
Assembly Bill 605 creates a mentored trapping program that will allow a mentee to participate in every facet of the trapping process, from laying in traps to carrying out the animals. “Our trapping culture runs deep in this state, I want to ensure the tradition remains strong in Wisconsin,” said Rep. Quinn.