At the start of the legislative session during January, 2011, Republicans made it very clear our top priority was turning around the state's economy and making Wisconsin a good place for businesses to locate and expand. During the January special session, 10 job creation bills were approved by the legislature and signed into law by the governor.
The results from that special session are noticeable. Wisconsin businesses have created 30,000 net jobs since the beginning of the year. The state jumped a nation-best 17 spots in a survey of business leaders about the best states to do business.
The job is not done. Too many Wisconsin residents are still unemployed, and the state's economy is not as strong as it should be. Wisconsin's job creation efforts have been blunted by uncertainty resulting from the failure of the federal government to truly tackle national debt and economic issues.
Republicans in Wisconsin state government continue to do all we can to turn the economy around and structurally reshape Wisconsin into a place conducive to doing business and growing jobs. The latest effort is a second special session called Back To Work Wisconsin. Bills in this special session continue the laser-like focus on jobs that Republicans have demonstrated since the beginning of the legislative session during January.
I am pleased to sponsor bills called by the Governor for the Back To Work Wisconsin special session. As Chair of the Senate Transportation and Elections Committee, I am pleased to sponsor reforms to the state's transportation regulatory environment and make Wisconsin a place manufacturing and agricultural business can better flourish.
Here are the five Back To Work Wisconsin special session bills I am sponsoring.
Senate Bill 195 is a bill that allows Wisconsin's family farms and agriculture industry to take full advantage of advances in agriculture technology. Current law includes an exemption from the state's weight limits for vehicles transporting agricultural products. The exemption is from the beginning of September through the end of November. With advances in agricultural technology, farmers are able to harvest crops further into the year. To take full advantage of these developments, Senate Bill 195 extends the overweight exemption through December 31.
Senate Bill 189 eliminates the oversize permit issued by the Department of Transportation for transportation of poles, pipes, girders and similar materials. This eliminates red tape for utilities, public service corporations and the Department of Transportation. As it is, the Department of Transportation issues very few of these permits.
Senate Bill 190 is a common sense opportunity to eliminate a competitive disadvantage for Wisconsin shippers. Currently, Wisconsin's single-vehicle length limit is 40 feet. Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois all have less-restrictive single-vehicle limits than Wisconsin's current standard. Increasing the single-vehicle length limit to 45 feet, the same as Minnesota law, allows Wisconsin businesses equal advantage to compete.
Senate Bills 222 and 223 are true win-win bills that are good for Wisconsin businesses and roads. Senate Bill 222 allows six-axle trucks to carry up to 90,000 pounds of freight in sealed containers for international delivery. Limits under current law are 80,000 pounds and five axles. Senate Bill 222 will allow Wisconsin businesses to compete more aggressively in the international market. Similarly, Senate Bill 223 allows six-axle trucks to carry up to 90,000 pounds of agricultural products.
Senate Bills 222 and 223 are the result of a recently completed Wisconsin Truck Size and Weight Study. This study indicated six-axle trucks carrying up to 90,000 pounds deliver more goods faster while using less fuel and fewer trips. In addition, the six-axle configuration distributes weight in a way that has less impact on road surfaces than five-axle, 80,000-pound trucks.
These bills along with other special session bills make up the Back To Work Wisconsin special session.
State Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents Wisconsin's 28th Senate District.