MADISON, WI (WSAU) - The State Senator from the 29th District is getting ready for a busy legislative session. Jerry Petrowski of Marathon went from the Assembly to the Senate during a summer special election.
Part of the preparation for the new session is moving offices. When finished, it will be the third different office Petrowski has occupied in the capitol in the past six months due to leaving the Assembly and the fall election changes. The Senator and his staff will be moving to the Capitol's office at 123 South.
Leadership has selected him to chair three committees. He says, "I will be the chairman of Transportation, the chairman of Public Safety, and the chairman of Veterans and Military Affairs." Petrowski says the Majority Leader also assigned him to agriculture, small business, and tourism duties. He's also on the Economic Development and Local Government plus Financial Institutions and Rural Issues.
The Senator knows from Assembly experience that it’s difficult to pay for the upkeep of roads. Petrowski says when road maintenance funds are cut, it usually gets more expensive to take care of later.
There has been discussion lately about Wisconsin having toll roads. Petrowski says not to expect that anytime soon. "The federal government really didn't come through and give the states the authority to do that. From what I'm told, they can only toll on roads they have added to other major highways. That doesn't really help us, so I don't think you're going to see any of that in the State of Wisconsin for now."
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There were comments in the media over a year ago about auto owners paying license fees based on how many miles they drive. Petrowski compares that to getting another tax bill, and predicts that won't get much traction in the Legislature.
The Senator supports using sound practices to bring mining and it’s jobs back to Wisconsin, and expects a mining bill on the floor right away in the new session. "I think you're going to see the mining bill introduced in January. I can't really tell you if it's going to be the identical bill or if it's going to be something close to it. There are discussions going on. I think the discussion is going to be what can we do to get the mining going in Wisconsin and creating those jobs as soon as possible."
Petrowski is also planning to reintroduce his proposal to protect the state transportation fund by constitutional amendment, to prevent raiding the fund for other purposes. It passed once and needs to pass again before going to a statewide referendum for public support before the constitution can be changed.