(MADISON, WI.)–Representative Jeff Mursau (R–Crivitz) was the lead author of two bills that passed today during floor sessions of the State Assembly and Senate. Assembly Bill 688 re-establishes the Wisconsin Conservation Corps and passed the Assembly on a voice vote. Senate Bill 488 authorizes the use of tribal identification cards for specific state purposes and was also passed on a voice vote by the senate.
“I’m thankful my legislative colleagues strongly supported both of these bills,” said Mursau. “They’re important pieces of legislation that will have a positive impact on the constituencies they aim to serve.”
Assembly Bill 688 would re-establish the Wisconsin Conservation Corps program that operated in Wisconsin from 1983 to 2003. The popular youth conservation work program was a casualty of budget cuts at a time when other states also ended their state-sponsored Conservation Corps programs. This time the program would be a public-private partnership with the majority of funding coming directly from grants through the National and Community Service Board. Participants would complete projects on public or tribal lands throughout the state, while earning valuable job-related skills that can lead to future long-term employment. “Since the program ended, there’s been a bipartisan effort to bring it back in some capacity,” said Mursau. “The program provides education and work training to young adults, many who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Our public lands need a great deal of upkeep and having the Corps available to do some of the necessary maintenance will be a great benefit to the state.”
Senate Bill 488 would allow the use of tribal identification cards for specific state purposes. Similar to a driver’s license, a tribal ID contains the individual’s name, address, date of birth, and a picture. Currently, the Federal Government recognizes a tribal identification when applying for a passport and to determine employment eligibility. Unfortunately, tribal members have found inconsistent recognition in Wisconsin that tribal ID’s may be considered an eligible form of identification for certain purposes, like buying alcohol or registering to vote.
“Allowing the use of a Tribal ID’s is especially important for our elder tribal members who no longer drive, but need identification to pick up necessary medications,” expressed Mursau. “It’s important that we have uniformity in Tribal ID recognition and this bill will help accomplish that.” Both bills need approval from the other legislative house before being signed into law by the governor.