Official Government Communication

Dear Friend,

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

Shackling Limitation Bill Receives Public Hearing

On Thursday, in the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee, we discussed my shackling limitation bill, which will limit how and when correctional officers may shackle incarcerated women in labor. I was excited to hear and see the support from medical groups such as the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and doula organizations. Since 2011, 40 incarcerated women in Milwaukee County have been shackled during childbirth. In one such case, a woman was shackled while giving birth for 21 hours. This is harmful to both mother and child, as well as a drain on taxpayers for avoidable legal expenses. My legislation is based on a 2015 Minnesota bill that passed unanimously with the backing of law enforcement and the Minnesota Department of Corrections. In addition to shackling limitations, the bill provides maternal support services through doula care and expands voluntary STI testing. Doula care has been shown to reduce the need for costly c-section births by as much as 28 percent. While expanded STI testing can reduce the instance of mother-to-child transmissions. All of these measures can improve health outcomes, save taxpayer dollars on health care, and mostly importantly restore dignity for these mothers.

Industrial Hemp Bill Moves Forward

On Wednesday, in the Agriculture and Small Business Committee meeting, we discussed and unanimously passed SB 119 concerning industrial hemp that myself and a number of my colleagues have been working on. This bipartisan piece of legislation will require the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to issue licenses authorizing the growing and processing of industrial hemp. It is a common misconception that this bill would legalize marijuana, however, industrial hemp and marijuana are different breeds, and hemp has no value as a recreational drug. What this bill does do is create jobs, build up struggling communities and improve our environment. There are significant economic and ecological benefits from the use of industrial hemp. Products can be used as a substitute to cotton or wood and an alternative fuel source.

Additionally, the growth potential for the Wisconsin economy is promising. According to one study, the hemp industry in the United States was valued at $500 million in 2012. The ability to tap into this resource would have great benefits to our state. There are also a number of environmental benefits associated with growing it. Hemp can grow in a variety of soil types and climates and is quite resilient to pests, making it an ideal crop for farmers. It can also be grown with far fewer chemicals. It's time we join the other 33 states who have embraced the many benefits industrial hemp can provide for communities across Wisconsin.

Three Means a Riot

On Thursday, in our Judiciary and Public Safety Committee hearing, we discussed three bills regarding "rioting." While I am against rioting and other acts of violence, these bills SBs 303, 304 and 305 go too far and may threaten the constitutional rights to free speech and assembly. Under these bills, a riot can be as small a gathering as three or more persons. When one or more persons commits or threatens violence, then everyone in the gathering is part of a "riot" which is a felony offense.

This definition is simply too broad, dangerous, and constitutionally questionable. It creates a situation where everyone is punished for the acts or threats of a single person. I can think of many gatherings where there are at least three people, say a family picnic in a park. If a disagreement occurs, then is everyone in the park vulnerable to being charged with rioting? Under the bill, it appears the answer may be yes. I have said over and over again that we cannot legislate from the hip. We need to be careful that the bills that we introduce match our intent and does not create the ability to be misunderstood. If we want to address arson or assault that may occur in a demonstration, we already have laws for that. If we want to address rioting, let's do so but let's do it in a reasonable and clear way.

Urban Ag. Summit Plans in Motion

On Friday, I am meeting with stakeholders to plan an upcoming Urban Agriculture Summit. Some of the participants include Employ Milwaukee, the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, and the Wisconsin Farmers' Union. Milwaukee has been recognized for our work in urban agriculture. For instance, we have some of the largest urban orchards in the country.

I have always been a fighter for urban agriculture and I will continue to promote its health and workforce benefits. In the Senate, I along with Representative Ken Skowronski, have introduced a resolution to proclaim October 6th as Urban Agriculture and Manufacturing Day. Farming and growing is part of our Wisconsin heritage. It is also part of our future. With the passage of the Hemp legislation out of committee this week, I truly believe agriculture can be a pathway for industry, manufacturing, and healthier communities.

Parole Commission Troubles Continue

On Thursday, Republican members of the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety confirmed Daniel Gabler as chairman of Parole Commission. Mr. Gabler, as chairman, will have the final say in whether 3,000 individuals who were sentenced prior to the 1998 Truth-in-Sentencing Law will be granted parole. When I listened to Mr. Gabler's testimony back in August, I didn't hear any differences that would separate Daniel Gabler from previous commission chairs. He didn't address any new programming for those currently incarcerated, nor did he mention the lack of staffing within the Parole Commission and Department of Corrections. Furthermore, Mr. Gabler failed to even mention the word 'redemption' until 70 minutes into his testimony. Mr. Gabler fails to offer more ways to help individuals released on parole to succeed in their new life. The fact that the GOP confirmed a man who offered his own biases during his testimony by calling the parolees he would hear "the worst of the worst", challenges me. It is disheartening to know that Mr. Gabler's confirmation as the Chair of the Parole Commission will ultimately not help returning citizens to be the most successful they can be.


 

 

 

 

Events and Opportunities

 

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USO Wisconsin Gala-

Honoring Veterans

Saturday,

October 21st


6:00pm- 10:00pm

Miller Park

1 Brewers Way

Milwaukee, WI
 

Click here for details

 

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Americans Support Americans Fundraiser

Saturday,

October 21st
 

1:00pm-7:00pm

Three Lions Pub

4515 N Oakland Ave.

Milwaukee, WI

 

Help Americans in Puerto Rico here

 

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Halloween Spooktacular by Prairie Farms Diary

Sunday,

October 22nd

 

9:00am- 9:00pm

Milwaukee County Zoo

10001 W Bluemound Rd.

Milwaukee, WI

 

Learn more

 

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A Celebration of United Nations Day

Tuesday,

October 24th

 

9:00am- 11:00am

Milwaukee

City Hall Rotunda

200 East Wells St.

Milwaukee, WI

Learn more info

 

 

 

 

 Quote of the Week:

"I am not free while any woman is un-free, even when her shackles are very different from my own."

-Audre Lorde

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.

Stay in touch:

 Email: Sen.Taylor@legis.wi.gov

 

Milwaukee:

414-342-7176

 

Madison:

608-266-5810