Week of July 21st - July 28th
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.
Regarding Sentencing Disparities
Monday morning, I had the chance to
speak with a journalist from The Cap Times about disparities in
sentencing, which refers to criminal or civil cases in which a judge
gives sentences that are extremely different from one another, despite
virtually no difference in the crime committed. These decisions are often
made based on factors that shouldn't play a role in any way, most
notably, the color of one's skin or socioeconomic status. It's a
systematic problem that I believe was highlighted in the case of
UW-Madison student Alec Cook. Cook, who is white, was initially charged
with more than 20 crimes against nearly a dozen women. He plead guilty to
sexually assaulting three female students as well as choking or stalking
two others. He was eligible to serve up to 39 years behind bars.
Although the prosecutor in the case asked that Cook be sentenced to 19
years in prison, Judge Stephen Ehlke decided
that Cook would only serve three years. In a previous ruling, Judge Ehlke sentenced Adore Thomas, a 16-year-old
African-American teenager, to 20 years in prison after he sexually
assault a single woman in Madison. I voiced my frustration with this case
for both the message sent to women who come forward to report sexual
assaults and with the number of other instances in which disparity in
sentencing is evident. For those that would like more information on this
issue, I suggest reading The Sentencing Project's report "The
Color of Justice: Racial and Ethnic Disparities in State Prisons."
Discussion with DWD
This week, I had a conversation with
Department of Workforce Development Secretary Allen about my
LOVE&FAITH initiative. We discussed ways to create pathways to work
through hubs in Milwaukee. Specifically, we talked about the need to
connect community organizations with industries that can provide quality
jobs. With the legalization of industrial hemp in Wisconsin, a potential
billion dollar industry is available to us. Industrial hemp can be used
to create fire resistant fibers and CBD-based medical products that are
in high demand. I want to ensure that my constituents get the most from
this opportunity. As a result of our conversation, we have set up
additional meetings with community stakeholders to talk about how best to
move hub-based pathways to industry forward.
Corrections Study Committee Meeting
Wednesday, I phoned into the first
Justice Corrections Study Committee meeting. The Committee was created as
a result of the state passing 2017 Act 185 into law, which will close the
Lincoln Hills youth correctional facilities by 2021 and replace it with a
new juvenile corrections system built on regionally based institutions.
The regional locations are something I believe will help to reduce a
number of the problems that resulted in staff and incarcerated youth being
hurt. Ultimately, the state was sued and forced to make changes in the
way we deliver services to youth that have been remanded to correctional
facilities. I am excited to be working on the committees tasked with
recommending best-practices. The goal of these reforms should be to keep
youth closer to their families and allow for more personal,
rehabilitative programming. The Study Committee is working on a tight
deadline, and I believe needs to work with transparency and as much
community input as possible. If you know an organization you would like
to see the committee work with going forward, please contact my office at
608-266-5810 to share.
Bound Visit to Talk about MKE Water Quality
On Thursday, I had the pleasure of
meeting with high school students in Marquette University's Upward Bound
Program. Upward Bound, which is a part of the university's Educational
Opportunity Program, strives to enable high school students (who are
potential first-generation college students) to successfully move on to
higher education and attain successful careers down the line. The
students I met with have dedicated their summer to working on improving
water quality and treatment in Milwaukee. By testing water samples from
Lake Michigan, their homes and other sources, they hope to answer the
question: "is our water safe?", and offer both legislative and
grassroots solutions to the issue.
I'm proud to see people so young taking such initiative, putting in
the work, and seeking out a solution for the problem rather than waiting
for someone else to present one. Thank you to the students of the Upward
Bound Program for all your work so far!
Night Out: History and Goals
National Night Out is less than two
weeks away! In preparation, my staff and I have been working hard to make
this year's event a success. The goal of NNO is to enhance the
relationship between neighbors and law enforcement and promote a true
sense of community.
NNO was first introduced in 1981 in the suburbs of Philadelphia when
its founder Matt Peskin connected hundreds of
local community watch organizations to assemble the National Association
of Town Watch. NATW established a network of law enforcement agencies,
neighborhood watch groups, state and regional crime prevention
associations and volunteers from across the nation. The first NNO in 1984
involved 2.5 million neighbors and those numbers have only continued to
grow. Today, 38 million neighbors and 16 thousand communities across the
nation participate. NNO has a rich history that I'm proud to be a part
Spotlight: Thomas Summerwill by Kelsey Mjaanes
is a casework intern at Senator Taylor's Madison office, originally from
St. Charles, Illinois. This fall he will be a junior at UW-Madison studying
Political Science and History. His interest in those subjects stem from a
life-long passion, which has also led him to serve in several student
organizations some of which include the Alexander Hamilton Society,
Circle K International, and as Chief Justice of the Student Judiciary.
Thomas wanted to work in Senator Taylor's office, and specifically as
a casework intern, because he saw it as the most direct way to engage
with constituents. Additionally, his experience working for the Cook
County State Attorney gave him valuable knowledge and experience which he
has brought to Senator Taylor's office. He says that the most rewarding
part of this job has been helping to resolve some of the issues
incarcerated individuals face. We appreciate all the hard work Thomas has
done this summer and look forward to seeing more!
Service for Lititia Minor
A memorial service for Ms. Lititia
(Tish) Minor will be held Sunday July 29, 2018 at the African American
Women Center, 3020 W. Vliet Street, from
3:00 to 6:00 pm.
Ms. Minor was a long time member of the NAACP
and served in many capacities including third vice president of the
Milwaukee branch. She was a diligent fighter against racial
discrimination, mob violence, and police brutality. Ms. Minor could
always be found working for a free ballot for every qualified American
citizen, working for legislation banning discrimination and segregation
is just a short list of her passion in her pursuant of justice for all.
Friday Night Concerts
I encourage you all to take advantage of the
free Friday night concert series hosted by Arts @ Large. All concerts
will be located at the corner of 3rd and Walker Streets in the Walker’s
Point neighborhood of Milwaukee.
Below are the dates and performers of each show:
27 Pangea – World Music
3 Mitch Shiner – Latin Vibes
10 Tritonics – Rock Steady Reggae
17 LaChazz – Latin Jazz
24 Sindoola – African Dance Music
7 Listening Party – Bluegrass/Americana
14 Command Performance – Big Band
For more information check out Art @ Large's website. Enjoy!
& Blooms Free Summer Concerts
Don't miss out on another free summer concert series
hosted by the Havenwood Economic Development
When: August 2nd from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm
Where: Green Tree Community Garden- 6767
N. 60th St, Milwaukee.
Visit their Eventbrite
for an updated list of performers.
Howell Avenue Reconstruction Project
Please see the
briefing below from the Wisconsin Department of Public Works on
reconstruction on South Howell Avenue in Milwaukee.
The City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works
(DPW) announces that a reconstruction project on South Howell Avenue from
West Grange to Layton Avenues will begin on Monday, July 16, 2018 with
preliminary work on the avenue crossovers. This is a State of Wisconsin
Department on Transportation project, managed in conjunction with DPW,
and is expected to last into December 2018, weather permitting.
IMPORTANT: Access to General Mitchell
International Airport (GMIA) from S. Howell Ave. will be maintained
during this project.
However GMIA travelers, customers, employees,
and vendors should be aware of traffic pattern changes and possible
delays accessing the airport during the project. The traveling public may
wish the use South 13th Street between W. Layton and W. Grange as an
alternative route to the airport.
What to expect during construction:
traffic on S. Howell Ave. will continue during construction.
Thursday, July 19 the east side of S. Howell Avenue will be closed.
lane in each direction will be open on the west side of the street.
intersection of S. Howell/ East & West Layton will also be reconstructed;
traffic lane closures on Layton will occur as well.
Bus Routes: #55 and the Green Line will remain
in operation on their regular routes. Route #80 will detour to/from the
Airport Spur via W. Grange Ave. to S. 6th St. Passengers should watch for
possible additional and/or relocated bus stops, and other possible
delays, and plan accordingly.
Parking: There will be no on-street parking on
S. Howell during construction.
Pedestrian access: Short-term disruptions will
occur as sidewalks are being removed and rebuilt. Temporary
accommodations will be provided as needed.
For more information on this project go to the
Work Continues Along
Milwaukee's Valley Bridge
Please see the briefing below from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation on continuing work on
Milwaukee's Valley Bridge
On the evening of Wednesday, May 30, the
Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT)
will begin the next phase of the Valley Bridge overlay project in the
city of Milwaukee. This phase will shift southbound I-43 traffic allowing
for the 11th Street / Wisconsin Avenue on-ramp to I-43 south to reopen.
As the project advances, access to certain
system ramps will continue to become available. Please note that these
closures are weather dependent and subject to change.
Current long-term ramp closures:
- I-794 West to I-43
- I-43 North to I-94
- I-43 North to 10th
Street and Michigan Avenue Off-Ramp
- I-94 East to I-43
(Until Late July)
Street/National Avenue On-Ramp to I-43 North
The primary detour route for navigating
interchange access continues to be the I-794 Hoan
Bridge. For more information on closures and detour routes, visit 511
Wisconsin or visit their website.
The Salvation Army To Celebrate
Christmas In July
Please see the briefing below from the
Wisconsin Salvation Army on their
Christmas In July donation drive in Milwaukee County.
MILWAUKEE COUNTY - The Salvation Army is bringing Christmas in July
to Milwaukee County. Christmas in July, which will be held from July 23
to July 28, is a week dedicated to community awareness and fundraising.
During that week, residents of Milwaukee County will see The Salvation
Army’s iconic red kettles out at the following locations throughout the
- Pick 'N Save, 250 W Holt Milwaukee, WI 53207
- Pick 'N Save, 3701 S 27th Milwaukee, WI. 53221
- Pick 'N Save, 7201 S 76th Street Franklin, WI 53132
- Pick 'N Save, 7780 S Lovers Lane Rd Franklin, WI 53132
- Pick 'N Save, 4279 S 76th Street Greenfield, WI 53220
- Pick 'N Save, 2320 W Ryan Rd Oak Creek, WI 53154
- Pick 'N Save, 8770 S Howell Avenue Oak Creek, WI 53154
- Pick 'N Save, 2625 S 108th West Allis, WI 53227
“The Red Kettle Campaign during Christmas has historically been the The Salvation Army's primary fundraiser, with
proceeds going directly to help families and individuals in need
throughout the entire year, not just at Christmas,” said Major Steve
Merritt, Divisional Commander for The Salvation Army of Wisconsin &
Upper Michigan. “With the increase in financial requests made to The
Salvation Army and need for community care year round, Christmas in July
will help provide financial assistance for more families right now.”
Christmas in July will also include one major fundraising event. In
partnership with The Milwaukee Brewers, The Salvation Army will have bell
ringers and kettles outside Miller Park prior to the Brewers vs.
Nationals game on Wednesday, July 25.
If you would like to volunteer to ring bells this July, please
and enter your city or zip code to find a kettle closest to you.
If you would like to donate to the Christmas in July campaign,
visit salar.my/christmasinjuly or text keyword ChristmasInJuly to 41444.
More volunteer opportunities:
Shifts are now open for Christmas Family Feast, the Prison Toy Program
and Toy Shop. If you are interested, please apply online at: salar.my/SAMKEVols
About The Salvation Army:
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian
church, has been supporting those in need in His name without
discrimination since 1865. Nearly 33 million Americans receive assistance
from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social
services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for
disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly
and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for
underprivileged children. The Salvation Army tracks the level of need
across the country with the Human Needs Index (Human NeedsIndex.org).
Locally, 87 cents of every dollar raised is used to support programs and
services in Milwaukee County.