Official Government Communication

Dear Friend,

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

4th District

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.
 

Assembly Democrats 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.
 


 

 

 

 

Stay in touch:

     Email: Sen.Taylor@legis.wi.gov

    Milwaukee:  414-342-7176

    Madison:     608-266-5810

 

   

   

Community Events:

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 here.

8th Annual Art at the Gardens Craft Fair: Over 20 different local crafters and artists, Sunday May 1st at Boerner Botanical Gardens. Details here.

 

 Quote of the Week:

 

This is an official government communication from Sen. Lena C. Taylor. If you no longer wish to receive these emails, click here to send me an email to unsubscribe.