The Association of Retired Conservationists was organized by a group of retirees from the Wisconsin Conservation Department in the 1960's. By the mid-1970's, the WCD had been combined with the Department of Resource Development to form the Department of Natural Resources, and the retirees group had grown significantly, met monthly for lunch and began inviting speakers to address the group on issues of interest to the members. Today, the organization has more than two hundred members.

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Welcome to the ARC Breaking News/Action page where you are encouraged to enter items members may be interested in reading that are too timely to wait for discussion at our next monthly meeting.

If you misplaced the Comment Code, please email me here.

Important Timely News

Retired Rick                                           May 7, 2019

Edward Brooks Becker passed away on April 28, 2019. In 1970, he came to Madison to head the Department of Air Pollution Control and Solid Waste Management for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. See 'What's New' page for full obituary.

Retired Rick                                           Apr 29, 2019

William N. Roark, 84, died peacefully on Easter morning, April 21, 2019. He earned an M.A. in library science at the UW in 1981, and worked in several specialized libraries in Madison, including that of the DNR. Go to 'What's New' page for full obituary.

Retired Rick                                           Apr 13, 2019

Vera Starch age 72, of Madison, lost her battle with cancer on April 6, 2019, with her family by her side. Vera worked for the State of Wisconsin for 45-1/2 years and retired in 2011. Full obituary on our Whats New page.

Paul Heinen                                           Mar 31, 2019

How a bill becomes law in the Wisconsin State Legislature.

1. Who can introduce ideas for new laws or to change current laws? Only a state legislator can introduce actual language to create a new law or change or modify a current law. Even the governor must ask a legislator to introduce their ideas. The Governors State Budget is actually introduced by the Legislative Joint Committee on Finance. The Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB) attorneys are the only people who can draft language to be used in a bill, which is why you may hear that a bill has been sent to drafting. However, ideas for bills generally come from legislators constituents, lobbyists, local government officials, and changes at the federal government level that require state law changes (think the 55 MPH speed limit).

2. How does an idea get drafted into a proposal for a new law? Once a legislator decides to introduce a bill they will almost always reach out to affected individuals and groups to ask for input. Legislators want to know what people think about their proposal and if they know that you have expertise, they will often ask what you thinkObjective and balanced information about a proposal can lead to a bill that has less opposition and that can more clearly solve the problem the bill seeks to address. Once a legislator feels that they have a proposal that accomplishes their goal, they will ask the LRB attorneys to draft a bill. At this point the draft bill is confidential and the legislator may or may not introduce it. If they decide to introduce it they send the confidential bill to other legislators asking if they would like to co-author the bill. This is called a Dear Colleague letter. There can only be one senator and one assembly author on any bill; but all other legislators can be co-authors. This co-author process usually lasts two weeks. Once the author sees how much support the bill has, they send it to the Chief Clerk who gives it a number. So, AB 6 would be the 6th Assembly Bill introduced in any full two year legislative session. SB 66 would be the 66th Senate Bill introduced.

3. Once a bill is introduced, what is the process to pass it? Once a bill has a number, it is sent by legislative leaders to a committee for further study and debate. This is the most important part of the process. This is where the public and other legislators learn about the issues and share their opinions for and against the bill. Both the Senate and Assembly have separate committees to study and debate billsThe state budget is heard and passed by the Joint Committee on Finance. Each committee chair has a great deal of power at this point in the process. They can elect to hold a hearing and move the bill forward, or not. If there is no hearing, the bill dies. After the chair schedules and holds a hearing, if they dont like the bill, the bill dies. However, if the chair and a majority of the committee members support the bill, it will be voted on and sent to the full senate (if it is a senate bill) or assembly (if it is an assembly bill). Leaders in both houses chair the final committee that schedules bills for debate among all the senators or representatives. This committee must vote in favor of the bill to get it on the calendar, meaning it is scheduled for a date for the full body vote. Whenever the bill passes the first house, it will be sent to the other house to go through the same process. All bills must pass both the senate and the assembly.

4. Once a bill passes the legislature, what is the governors role? When a bill finally passes both houses on a majority vote (50 votes in the Assembly since there are 99 members and 17 votes in the Senate because there are 33 members) it is sent to the governor for signature. The governor has three choices: Sign the bill, and it becomes law. Veto the bill and it does not become law. Or, if the bill spends money, the governor can veto parts of the bill allowing the other parts to become law. Once the bill becomes law, it is referred to as an Act. The governor then sends the new law to the state agencies that will administer and enforce the law.

5. After a bill becomes law, who makes sure the public understands it and follows that law? The governor sends all new laws to the state agencies that administer the law. The agencies then write administrative rules to implement the law and sometimes to interpret for the public what the law means. These administrative rules have the force and effect of law. For example, when you put your recycling out for pick up you are following the administrative rules on how to recycle that were passed to implement the recycling law. The administrative rulemaking process is overseen by the Legislature. There is even a committee, The Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules that deals only with state agency rules.

Jerry Stein                                           Mar 15, 2019

I was just informed this evening by Cheryl Reddeman that Rube passed away late Wednesday, March 13th.

A full obituary will be in Sunday's Wisconsin State Journal

Retired Rick                                           Feb 23, 2019

New DNR Secretary Preston Cole announces Department Leadership and Management Team members.

Go to our What's New page for details.

Retired Rick                                           Feb 23, 2019

The Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame (WCHF) will honor three Conservation Leaders, Scott Craven, Don Johnson and Aroline Schmitt.on Saturday, April 13, 2019.

The Induction Ceremony will be at The Atrium at SentryWorld in Stevens Point. The public is invited.

Go to our Whats New Page for details.

Retired Rick                                           Feb 10, 2019

Many of you had the chance to work with Lois Simon over her 37 year career as manager of the Wisconsin Wetland Inventory. Lois was passionate about Wisconsin's wetlands and spent her career protecting them with incredible energy.

Lois passed away January 23 after a 16 month battle with cancer. She died with her best friend and husband, Dale, by her side. A private service was held in her honor on Feb. 5th at St. Johns Catholic Church, Princeton, WI.

If you wish to do something in her memory, please consider supporting:
Oneida County Humane Society
1852 N. Stevens St.
Rhinelander, WI 54501

Retired Rick                                           Feb 4, 2019

James Thomas Chizek, age 88, passed away in the morning of Jan. 30, 2019, into the loving arms of our Heavenly Father. A celebration of Jims life will be held on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, at 10 a.m., at the LODI FIRST LUTHERAN CHURCH, 206 Pleasant St., Lodi, with a service to follow. Please join the family for lunch after the service.

Retired Rick                                           Feb 3, 2019

From Dave G. "I just talked to Pat, Roger Amundson's wife, and she told me that Roger had died this afternoon at 2:00. His family was with him. They are looking at January 17 as date for Rogers services, but it is not yet defined. Pat has been a strong companion for Roger and Roger put up a good fight, too. Pats email"
Thanks, Dave.

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