Welcome to my email
newsletter. There is a lot happening at the State Capitol and it is my
hope that this email will help you stay in touch with your government. As
your Senator, I truly believe in public service. If there is anything my
office can do to assist you, please feel free to contact us.
Here to serve,
Sen. Lena Taylor
A call for special
session on juvenile corrections and more funding
This week, I
called on Governor Scott Walker to hold a special session to address
Wisconsinís juvenile corrections crisis, which spurred an FBI investigation.
I urged Governor Walker to take up Senate Bills 803 and 804. The first would
eliminate the use of punitive solitary confinement for juveniles. The second
would transfer the Division of Juvenile Corrections from the Department of
Corrections to the Department of Children and Families. Just like adults,
when kids make mistakes they need to pay their debt to society. However, we
must remember that at the end of the day, they are kids. Their brains havenít
fully developed. Maybe if we treated them a little more like troubled teens
and a little less like hardened criminals, we would get better results.
Additionally, I have requested emergency funding to alleviate the overcrowding
at the Milwaukee County Juvenile Detention Center. This overcrowding is a
direct result of Wisconsinís failure to properly care for the kids at the
stateís juvenile facility, which has caused Milwaukee County judges to
sentence more kids to the county facility rather than the state facility.
Kids are being forced to sleep on the floor and employees are being forced to
work long hours. Our stateís failure to address this problem caused this
overcrowding and itís time Governor Walker stepped up with some emergency
funds to solve this problem before it becomes another scandal.
Walker blames voter ID
opponents for his own mess
Voting is a right and our government should encourage everyone to vote, not
just a privileged class of voters. You donít have to show your ID when
you go to church to express your right to freedom of religion (1st
Amendment). You donít have to show your ID to keep yourself from being
enslaved (13th Amendment). And you shouldnít have to show an ID to
vote. Not only are Republicans making it harder for us to vote,
Governor Walker is blaming those of us who opposed the law for a lack of
funding for an education campaign to ensure people can vote. Seriously, you
canít make this stuff up. I wonít apologize for fighting for voting rights.
Nobody should apologize for taking this terrible idea to court.
The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board wants to run an education
campaign on voter ID. Democrats have been in full support of this plan.
Because Republicans havenít funded it, the GAB offered to use $250,000 from
their own reserve fund to run the campaign. Yet, when recently asked about
this by a reporter, Governor Scott Walker tried to blame Democrats for the
lack of an education campaign.
We need an education campaign because about 300,000 Wisconsinites lack the
proper ID to vote. This plan wonít even spend a dollar to educate each
person. I canít tell you how heartbreaking it is when people talk about being
turned away at the polls. Even more people just donít bother to show up on
Election Day. Did you know the entire state DMV computer system went down for
about two hours on the last day for early voting? Rather than wait, many
people just left. Many who got their ID faced long lines at the polls to
register, especially on college campuses where first time voting is common.
How many people get out of line on Election Day because itís too long?
Luckily, it looks like the final decision on an education campaign will be
left up to the Legislatureís Joint Committee on Finance. As the ranking
Senate Democrat on that committee, I assure you that I will fight for a photo
ID education campaign. While Iím there, Iíll be hitting them up for some
funds to solve the juvenile corrections crisis too!
DOJ creates new
bureau to handle police-related deaths
On Wednesday, Attorney General Brad Schimel announced that the Wisconsinís
Department of Justice is creating a new
bureau to handle officer-involved deaths and other sensitive
investigations. The new Bureau of Special Investigations will play an
important role in maintaining the transparency and thoroughness in
officer-involved deaths that the public deserves. Eastern Region Director
Tina Virgil will lead the new bureau, which will be housed in the Division of
Criminal Investigations. According to DOJ spokesman Johnny Koremenos, the
division has had 19 requests to look into officer-involved deaths since 2014,
when my bill requiring police departments to have outside agencies conduct
such investigations became law. I hope this move will help to bring clarity
and closure to the families of these victims.
question withholding of infection information
Why did state health officials delay telling people that a deadly blood
infection was spreading in Wisconsin? In November of 2015, the first case of
the Elizabethkingia infection was reported, yet the Department of Health
Services didnít begin investigating the outbreak until December. The agency
warned hospitals to be aware of the infection in January, but did not
announce it to the public until March. DHS officials said this month that
they didnít want to alarm the public because they hadnít determined the
source, which limited advice on how to avoid infections. A Walker spokesman
said Friday that DHS officials would respond to the lawmakers and clarify
their reasoning. He also noted that this month he approved nine additional
DHS positions to help investigate the outbreak. Hopefully we can get some
clarity on this mess soon, and minimize the amount of outbreaks to come.
130th Anniversary Commemoration of Bay View Tragedy: Honor
courageous workers who died in Wisconsin's most historic labor incident.
Sunday May 1st, 3pm at Bay View Rolling Mills Historical Marker Site (S.
Superior St. and East Russel Ave, Milwaukee). Free and open to the public!
Express Yourself Milwaukee: Illuminate 2016: Proof that art changes lives, strengthens families and
builds communities! May 12th 6:30-9pm, free and open to the public. More info
8th Annual Art at the Gardens Craft Fair: Over 20 different local crafters and artists, Sunday May
1st at Boerner Botanical Gardens. Details here.