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

Strip search legislation and the fight to preserved dignity, safely

Injustice is frequently disguised as public safety. While I agree we must protect the public, we need to look at the degrading impact unaccountable strip searches will have on people in our community. Last legislative session Wisconsin addressed the need for increased privacy and protection with the passage of Act 317 which protected individuals suspected of non-violent misdemeanors from having to be strip searched for twelve hours. This was a commonsense arrangement to protect the integrity of non-convicted individuals and allow law enforcement to do their job.

This week Senator Nikiya Harris Dodd and I held a press conference on Senate Bill 248, which will effectively undo the precautions placed by Act 317 last session. This bill removes the requirement that a person be arrested or detained for twelve hours before they are stripped and searched. While I understand that smaller communities may not have the resources to hold persons privately until they are strip searched, and agree that everyone working in or detained in jail needs to be safe, this bill opens the door to unnecessary humiliation and degradation, especially for cities with challenges in this area like Milwaukee.

Luckily, the bill was not scheduled for a vote on today's Senate calendar. That likely means that the bill won't get a vote until early in 2016 at the soonest. Stay tuned. I will continue to fight this humiliating process.

 

Republican campaign finance and government accountability bills

The lengths to which Republicans are willing to go to rig the system in their favor astounds me. Under the leadership of Governor Scott Walker we have seen the public employee unions busted, followed by “right to work” which did the same to private sector unions. They said they were fighting for “workplace choice.” But in reality, they were just punishing groups that donate to Democrats. Then came the voter ID law which made it harder for people to vote—especially black adults. According to a UW Milwaukee employment and Training Institute report, black adults are less likely to possess a valid driver’s license than white adults. On top of all of this, Republicans redrew the legislative district lines, ensuring that their party would remain in power.

The bad news is that the Republicans aren’t done yet. They called an extraordinary session in the Senate today to pass two bills that will tip the balance further in their favor. The first bill is a comprehensive campaign finance bill that doubles campaign finance donation limits, makes it easier for special interest groups to coordinate with candidates and makes it harder to figure out who is donating to campaigns. The second bill demolishes the Government Accountability Board. The board, run by a nonpartisan group of retired judges, has become a national model. Yet, Republicans are destroying the board as retribution for the board’s investigations into Governor Scott Walker’s shady ethics practices.

We must not back down from fighting for fairness and equality in the Senate. There's too much at stake for our community.

 

Several of my resolutions pass the Senate today

Today, the Senate passed four of my resolutions. These resolutions are so very important to draw attention to important issues facing our society. In addition to the Domestic Violence Awareness Month resolution I mentioned in a previous email, please see below for information about the other three resolutions passed today.

NAMING NOVEMBER NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH

Did you know there are 566 federally recognized American Indian tribes and over 5 million Native Americans throughout our country? Each tribe holds rich and unique cultures, traditions, histories, and practices that contribute to the diversity and enrichment of our nation. Native American populations predate Wisconsin statehood by an estimated 10,000 years, with archaeologists finding evidence of their ancestors all across Wisconsin. With 11 sovereign tribal nations in Wisconsin and 53,000 Wisconsinites identifying as Native American, we should honor their contributions to Wisconsin.

NAMING NOVEMBER AS PREMATURITY AWARENESS MONTH

I make it a point to speak up for those without a voice. That includes our little babies. I authored the prematurity awareness month resolution to applaud the March of Dimes for their great work around this issue. TheMarch of Dimes Foundation is a pioneer in improving the health of infants and women of childbearing age by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. The group was founded by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938 to fight polio, and funded the development of two vaccines — still in use today — that virtually eliminated the crippling disease. They later shifted their attention from polio to the prevention of birth defects. Their work is just amazing and includes groundbreaking research in maternal and child health, which has led to the discovery of lifesaving products and tests such as surfactant therapy for premature infants and tests to identify life-threatening birth defects. This month, remember that 6,124 babies are born preterm in Wisconsin each year, representing 9.2 percent of all state births.

NAMING JANUARY MENTORING MONTH

Giving back is an important life principle I believe very deeply in. The goals of National Mentoring Month are to raise awareness and recruit individuals to mentor. Mentors come from all walks of life. Mentors provide young people with viewpoints and experiences they may not otherwise have. Research shows young people who were at risk for not completing high school but who had a mentor were 55 percent more likely to be enrolled in college, 81 percent more likely to report participating regularly in sports or extracurricular activities, more than twice as likely to say they held a leadership position in a club or on a sports team, and 78 percent more likely to volunteer regularly in their communities. If you aren’t already a mentor, I encourage you to make that your New Years resolution. Reach out to a local school, the Boys and Girls Club or one of the many other groups in Milwaukee that works to improve the lives of our children.

 

President Obama call for "Banning the Box"

This week at a visit to a halfway house, President Barack Obama called on Congress to pass bipartisan legislation to ban the box on job applications. The box opens convicted felons up to discrimination by asking their conviction record before a person even has a chance to be interviewed. The ban the box provision would remove that question from the job application, but still permits employers to conduct background checks later in the job hiring process. I am pleased to announce I am working towards introducing a Wisconsin version of the legislation later this session. After President Obama made his announcement, I released a statement commending the President.


In Wisconsin, we spend more money on the Department of Corrections than we do on the UW System. It is time we reverse that trend. America is a country of second chances. The time of talking the talk is long past. Now it is time to walk the walk. In America, if you’ve done the crime and done your time, you deserve a chance at redemption. It costs $30,000 per year to incarcerate an adult male and nothing to ban the box. Ensuring people have a chance at a job is one of just many policies we should implement to reduce recidivism. I’m hopeful that this growing bipartisan effort to ban the box will become law by the end of the legislative session. To learn more about how this issue has harmed an innocent man, I urge you to watch this great story on the topic by a NBC 26 in Green Bay!

 

 

 

 

 

Stay in touch:

     Email: Sen.Taylor@legis.wi.gov

    Milwaukee:  414-342-7176

    Madison:     608-266-5810

 

   

   

Community Events:

Pieces: In My Own Voice play presented in partnership with NAMI, AKA, MISRRC to education and deliver information on coping with mental illness. Tuesday November 17th, 7pm Centennial Hall, 733 N 8th St. Free and open to the public, RSVP here.

Veteran's Day appreciation event at Harley-Davidson Museum. November 7, 8 and 11. More info here.

Italian Community Center Holiday Boutique! Saturday November 7th, details here.

 

 

 Quote of the Week:

“It’s about how we treat our veterans every single day of the year.  It’s about making sure they have the care they need and the benefits that they’ve earned when they come home.  It’s about serving all of you as well as you’ve served the United State of America.” -President Barack Obama

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.