December 19, 2011
Jauch and Taylor Begin Petitions to Save Sexual Assault Victim Services Funding
No Public Hearing on Lapse Plan Cutting Funds,
Senators Bring Peoples’ Voice to Committee
(MADISON) Today, State Senators Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) and Lena C. Taylor (D-Milwaukee) announced a statewide petition drive dedicated to saving Sexual Assault Victim Service (SAVS) grants. The grant program, administered by the Department of Justice, is facing massive funding cuts of over 40% in the discretionary lapse plan from the Attorney General. The lapses, authorized in the last state budget, will be presented to the Joint Committee on Finance, on which Jauch and Taylor sit, but without any opportunity for public input.
The petition reads, “We, the undersigned concerned citizens, oppose any cut in critically needed funding for Sexual Assault Victims Service grants beyond the 10% cut budgeted by the Legislature in 2011 budget. We call on Governor Walker, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, and the Legislature to maintain funding for sexual assault victims service grants and oppose any attempts to cut funding.” Local agencies have prepared for the 10% cut applied in the budget but were unaware of the additional 40% cut applied in the lapse plan. The petition calls on lawmakers to oppose cuts to the programs beyond the original budget cut.
“These cuts were put together behind closed doors without any public input or public discussion,” said Jauch. “Citizens have serious concerns about the impact these cuts will have on their communities and this petition gives them a chance to make sure those concerns are heard.”
SAVS grants are used to fund programs that stretch from Racine to Superior and provide services to the victims of rape and sexual assault. Local advocates and service providers have decried the cuts as unworkable and devastating to the support services they provide.
“It is inconceivable that these cuts are even on the table. The people on the front lines of sexual assault, the providers of services to the victims and the victims themselves, are taking the entire cut on their backs. This is not how we balance budgets in Wisconsin and it’s why the voice of the people needs to be heard on this issue.” Taylor concluded.
The lawmakers are hosting the petition online at www.senatortaylor.com or www.senatorjauch.com and have also distributed paper copies. Those wishing to sign should do by January 10th so that the petitions may be entered in time for the potential Joint Finance Committee meeting on the subject. Paper copies of the petitions can be obtained from the Senators’ websites or by calling (414) 342-7176 (Taylor) or (800) 469-6562 (Jauch).