State representatives give voice to their projects

Jan. 7, 2014

State Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa

· Vukmir has called for suspending implementation of Common Core standards and creating state-specific standards that are more rigorous.

Scheduled to begin next school year, the state is planning to administer standardized tests aligned with Common Core standards for schools. The standards have been controversial, and a legislative committee recently recommended the Legislature review and possibly replace them — which it may or may not have authority to do.

· A recent report by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel showed Vukmir, as chairwoman of the Committee on Health and Human Services, has delayed progress on a bill that would require hospitals to do congenital heart disease testing on all newborns. The report also found Vukmir has received almost $20,000 from hospital interests since 2003.

The bill, introduced in the Senate in March with bipartisan support, would require a physician, nurse or midwife to perform the tests on all babies, including those born en route to the hospital, and ensure that parents receive the results and educational materials. Medical professionals have strongly supported the measure.

State Rep. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield

·Kooyenga has introduced bills that would allow more independent charter schools, and require school boards to allow any charter school that has exceeded state academic expectations for two years to start another charter school.

Currently, outside of school boards, the only entities that can establish charter schools are the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, UW-Parkside, Milwaukee Area Technical College and the city of Milwaukee. Kooyenga's proposal would allow any UW campus, Cooperative Educational Service Agencies, or technical college district board to set up a charter school.

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Osh Kosh

· Johnson pushed for changes to the Affordable Care Act. He has proposed keeping the health insurance exchanges, but eliminating the requirement that most people obtain coverage.

With more than 2 million Americans signed up to get health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, Republicans are brainstorming ways to change parts of the act without getting rid of the exchanges.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison

· In a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Baldwin asked the USDA to consider purchasing cranberries to provide to food pantries, to support growers "when the markets are tough."

Wisconsin produced more than half the nation's cranberries last year, and growers are saying there is currently an oversupply.

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