LARSON REPORT

WEEKLY NEWSLETTER


 

 

April 25, 2013

     

CONTACT ME


Please feel free to contact me with any concerns or opinions you might have.

Office Phone: (608) 266-7505
Toll-free Phone: (800) 361-5487

Email:
Sen.Larson@legis.wi.gov

 

Mailing Address:

State Capitol
P.O. Box 7882
Madison, WI 53707

 

Web Site:

SenatorChrisLarson.com

 

Find Me on Facebook and Twitter:

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMMUNITY EVENTS
 

Supporting our neighbors and being involved in our community is of the utmost importance. Some community events that might be of interest to you and your family are listed below. 

 

 

Catch Me If You Can
Date: Now through Sun., April 28

Location: Milwaukee

Description: Catch Me if You Can is the high-flying, splashy new Broadway musical that tells the story of Frank W. Abagnale, Jr., a teenager who runs away from home in search of the glamorous life. With nothing more than his boyish charm, a big imagination and millions of dollars in forged checks, Frank successfully poses as a pilot, a doctor and a lawyer--living the high life and winning the girl of his dreams. CLICK HERE or call (414) 273-7206 for more information or to purchase tickets.

Marcus Center for the Performing Arts (MAP)
929 N. Water Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202
 

 

Storytime Smiles at the St. Francis Library
Date: Now through Wed., May 1

Location: St. Francis

Description: Start your child on the road to reading. The St. Francis Library is offering free storytimes for children this spring. Families can register now, in the Children's Room or over the phone by calling (414) 481-7323. Your child will enjoy a combination of stories, fingerplays, flannel board stories, puppets, art projects, and more. Each storytime matches your child's developmental level, attention span, and interests, to promote a love of literature. They are also a great time to meet new and old friends, and a special time for all who join in. Pajamarama (for ages 2-6) is scheduled for Monday nights from 6 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. Or join Preschool Storytime (for ages 3-6) on Tuesdays at 10:15 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Two year-olds are invited to Toddler Time on Wednesdays from 10:15 a.m. to 10:45 a.m., with an optional playtime afterward. All young children can play with their friends at Tot Time, which is held on Fridays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. with a brief storytime and playtime. CLICK HERE for more information, including a complete schedule of storytime events.

 


MIAD 2013 Senior Exhibition
Date: Every Tuesday through Saturday Now through May 11

Location: Milwaukee

Description: Milwaukee's most exuberant and anticipated exhibition of emerging talent returns in all MIAD galleries. Meet the artists and designers who innovate for the economy and community, and discuss their capstone projects from all of MIAD's 11 majors and 16 minors. CLICK HERE or call (414) 291-8070 for more information.

Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MAP)
273 E. Erie Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202
 

 

Cudahy Earth Day/Arbor Day

Date: Sat., April 27 from 9 a.m. to Noon

Location: Cudahy

Description: A citywide cleanup will take place in the morning with an Arbor Day tree planting ceremony to follow at noon at Cudahy City Hall. Refreshments will be served and tree seedlings will be distributed to volunteers and attendees. Please contact Joel Puczylowski at (414) 627-8117 to volunteer.

 

Cudahy City Hall (MAP)

5050 S. Lake Drive

Cudahy, WI 53110

 


South Milwaukee Earth Day

Date: Sat., April 27 from 9 a.m. to Noon

Location: South Milwaukee

Description: Join in a neighborhood clean up with lunch afterwards at the South Milwaukee Senior Center. Contact Alderman David Bartoshevich at (414) 764-2836 for more details.

 

 

Weed-out at Grant Park

Date: Sat., April 27 at 9 a.m.

Location: South Milwaukee

Description: Pull invasive garlic mustard to protect plant diversity in Grant Park. Meet at the tennis courts parking lot (Area 1) in Grant Park. Put in an hour of pulling or stay until the traditional finish time of noon. CLICK HERE or call (414) 764-061 for more information.

 

Grant Park (MAP)

100 E. Hawthorne Avenue
South Milwaukee, WI 53172

 


Bay View Tragedy--127th Anniversary Commemoration
Date: Sun., May 5 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Location: Bay View

Description: This year's event will feature the popular re-enactment of the Tragedy performed by the Milwaukee Public Theatre with the Milwaukee Puppet and Mask Theatre. The traditional program will also feature main speaker Michael Gordon, professor emeritus of history from UWM. The program is free and open to the public and located at the Historical Marker Site at the intersection of South Superior Street and East Russell Avenue in Bay View. CLICK HERE for more information about this event.
 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Friend,

 

In honor of Earth Day, this week's newsletter will focus on budget provisions and legislative proposals related to Wisconsin's environment and tradition of stewardship. Continue reading for more information about this and other issues.


Sincerely,

Chris Larson
State Senator, District 7

 

 

 

Stewardship Fund Reaches Chopping Block

The Wisconsin Legislature created the Warren Knowles-Gaylord Nelson Stewardship Fund to preserve and maintain Wisconsin's valuable natural resources and environment, as well as expand outdoor recreational activities. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR), through this stewardship program, helps Wisconsin retain its identity as one of the best states for conservation and provides thousands of acres for outdoor recreation for current and future generations.

The Warren Knowles-Gaylord Nelson Stewardship Program is the outgrowth of the state's first stewardship program, which began in 1989. The Stewardship Program has received bipartisan support from the beginning and was signed into law by Republican Governor Tommy Thompson.

Current law authorizes the state to borrow, through the sale of bonds, up to $60 million a year for the purchase of land to expand recreational opportunities and protect environmentally sensitive areas. Stewardship funds have been used to protect natural or recreational lands in 71 of Wisconsin's 72 counties. The Stewardship program also benefits the state's economy, including the $11 billion tourism business, $22 billion forestry industry, and $4 billion in hunting and fishing recreation.

Over the years, the citizens of Wisconsin have shown overwhelming support for this program. In a nonpartisan poll conducted by The Nature Conservancy, nearly 90% of Wisconsin voters agreed that even in tight fiscal times this program should be a priority.

Unfortunately, Republicans are seeking to cripple this highly valued program in two ways. First, the governor's budget proposes a cut of $10.6 million to the Stewardship Fund in the first year of the 2013-2015 biennium. Second, the budget also seeks to divert $14 million in Stewardship dollars meant to protect our public lands to instead cover maintenance costs of state buildings. The elimination and diversion of program funds goes against what these funds were allocated for. As a result, Wisconsin's effort to preserve wild lands will suffer. One of the greatest threats to Wisconsin's wildlife is loss of habitat. The tourism and forestry industry will also endure hardships.

Wisconsinites recognize the importance of preserving Wisconsin's wildlife and public lands. Moving backwards in conservation policies threatens to do long-term damage to the environment that we have fought to maintain. The Stewardship Program is an essential tool in preserving Wisconsin's natural resources. If it continues to be scaled back, Wisconsin's future generations will face the consequences for years to come.

 

 

More Environmental Rollbacks

In addition to cutting Stewardship funds, the 2013-2015 Biennial Budget also includes a number of other environmental rollbacks and ignores growing conservation problems. This is especially true with regards to cutting county conservation staff and ignoring community concerns regarding frac sand mining sites. Continue reading for more information on these budgetary issues.

 

Cuts Conservation Officers

County conservation staff are crucial in Wisconsin's environmental efforts. Their goal is to provide conservation planning assistance and technical services in the area of soil and water conservation to landowners, land users, and county decision-makers. Unfortunately, the governor's proposed budget cuts

$1.8 million from county conservation staff funding.

The proposal also retains a $1.3 million cut that went in to effect in the 2011-2013 Biennial Budget for county land conservation departments. Additionally, Governor Walker is cutting the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection's budget for soil and water resource management by 50%, from $10 million to $5 million.

 

The impact of these cuts are great. Not only will they result in fewer county-level conservation agents and a decrease in state funding to voluntary conservation programs for farmers, but they could also affect the overall environmental health of our state as there will be fewer staff to implement existing environmental rules. Wisconsin cannot afford this policy shift as our economy heavily relies on tourism, agriculture, and recreational activities. Cutting funding for jobs at a time when Wisconsin is 44th in the nation for job creation is simply irresponsible and should be reconsidered.

 

Frac Sand Mining Under-regulated

The sand used in the natural gas and oil extraction process of "fracking" is abundant in western Wisconsin. 

In fact, this industry is growing so quickly that property owners are often unaware of mine prospecting near their property, sometimes learning of a planned mine by talking with neighbors or reading news stories after the mine application is approved.

 

The rapid, exponential growth in this industry has also not allowed state oversight time to catch up to ensure the health and safety of neighbors and their property is adequately protected. There are 135 current and proposed frac sand mining sites in Wisconsin. Frac sand mining can potentially, if not done correctly, negatively impact our water quality, lung health, home prices, and local roads. While these sand mines are regulated by local ordinances, depending on the county or township where the facility is located, these jurisdictions have limited authority and have proven ineffective at preventing unregulated mining.

 

In response to concerns by our Wisconsin neighbors related to frac sand mining, my colleague, Senator Kathleen Vinehout, has introduced a number of proposals, which I have co-sponsored. This package of bills aim to increase the rights of property owners to know about sand mines in their neighborhood. These measures are an important first step to protecting the voice of local citizens in the frac sand mining process.


One of the proposals, Senate Bill 138, will increase public notice before action on sand mine applications is taken. Under this bill, local government considering a frac sand mine application would need to publish two or more separate newspaper notices at least 30 days prior to taking action on the application. The bill would also ensure property owners or occupants situated within one mile of the proposed mine receive additional written notice via first-class mail.

 

Another proposal, Senate Bill 140, will help residents and local governments be better prepared by making frac sand mine prospecting public. The bill would authorize counties to issue licenses for frac sand exploration, which consists of drilling holes in search of frac sand or establishing the nature and extent of a frac sand deposit. A person or company applying for a frac sand exploration license would submit a bond to ensure that drill holes are properly filled and have proof of liability insurance covering personal injury and property damage. The licensee must also notify the county before drilling begins and before filling a drill hole. This process is similar to existing metallic mining laws.


The final proposal I signed onto, Senate Bill 141, would ensure frac sand mining is listed as a conditional use in areas zoned for agricultural use. Utilizing conditional use permits gives officials an opportunity to negotiate conditions for operation of a mine and maintains the benefits of local control, such as holding public hearings on issues related to frac sand mine siting.

I strongly believe in the Wisconsin tradition of balancing thoughtful use of our resources with maintaining the quality and health of our environment. We can and must strike a balance between creating jobs and safeguarding our lands and waters for the next generation. 


 

UW System Funding Disclosed

Earlier this week, University of Wisconsin System President Kevin Reilly appeared before the Joint Committee on Employment Relations to discuss the recent disclosure of cash reserves within the system. Reserve funds were required as a part of the additional flexibilities granted to the UW System by Republicans in the last biennial budget. However, it was discovered that the amount currently maintained by the universities were higher than the required amount by statute. These fund are not all in one account, but rather spread among thousands of accounts that are largely controlled by chancellors at campuses.

 

At a time when Wisconsin's working families are still fighting for middle-class security, ensuring more students can afford higher education at our best universities must be a priority. Over the past 10 years, the only predictable fact is that state funding will cover a smaller and smaller portion of the university system budget. In fact, funding for the UW System has decreased from 32% financial obligation to 18% during this time. For that reason, rather than waging a press release war, jumping to conclusions, or prematurely pointing fingers, we should sit down and have genuine conversations about the entire UW budget and the appropriate level of reserves to be maintained by the university system.
 

 

Click here or on the video above to watch the Joint Committee on Employee Relations hearing courtesy of WisconsinEye.

 

I was encouraged by the calls from Republican legislators to increase accountability and transparency at the UW System to ensure the state can more easily track these funds. I would hope that such measures would also be considered for other state agencies receiving tax dollars, including the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. This hastily-created public-private agency has had persistent problems since its inception in 2011. These include circumventing Wisconsin's fair and competitive bidding process and ignoring federal and state laws when giving out grants. The final straw was losing track of over $50 million in loans, including about $12 million that were overdue.


Overall, with regard to recent concerns over UW System funding, Wisconsin's working families and students deserve to know where their tax and tuition dollars are going. But the bottom line remains: Senate Democrats want what is best for students and parents.

 

 

 

Hearing in Milwaukee on Local Control Infringement

Local residents are invited to share their opinions on the state-imposed changes to the Milwaukee County Board at a public hearing this Tuesday in Milwaukee. The hearing starts at 5 p.m. and will be held at the Washington Park Senior Center.

After Senate Republicans failed to hold a committee hearing in the community that they are forcing to change, local legislative representatives of Milwaukee County are holding an opportunity for citizens in Milwaukee County, who were unable to attend the mid-day Madison hearing, to voice their opinion on the bill forcing state-imposed changes to the Milwaukee County Board.

 

The following legislators will be joining me at this local event: Sen. Tim Carpenter, Sen. Nikiya Harris, Sen. Lena C. Taylor, Rep. Josh Zepnick, Rep. Sandy Pasch, Rep. Mandela Barnes, Rep. Evan Goyke, Rep. Jon Richards, Rep. Christine Sinicki, Rep. Daniel Riemer, Rep. LaTonya Johnson, Rep. Leon Young, Rep. Fred Kessler, and Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa.

 

Event details are listed below.

 

Milwaukee County Hearing

Tuesday, April 30 at 5 p.m.

Washington Park Senior Center (MAP)

4420 W. Vliet Street

Milwaukee, WI 53208
 

Do not hesitate to contact my office with any questions you might have about the upcoming hearing.
 

 

 

Ask Chris

I often have neighbors contact me looking for my perspective on various local and state issues. I very much appreciate our neighbors' questions and want to dedicate a portion of my newsletter to common questions that I hear to maintain an open dialogue. Please continue reading for this week's question.

 

Q: I am in need of a lawyer, but find it difficult to afford one as I only make minimum wage. Are there any alternatives for people like me to obtain legal services at a price I can afford?

 

A: Legal services are often needed by neighbors, like you, for a variety of reasons, including divorce proceedings, child custody and placement, lawsuits, and criminal matters. There are a large number of law firms in our community with widely varying rates based off of the type of case, the number of hours involved, and the experience level of the attorney. Such differences may make it difficult to find an attorney in your price range. Therefore, there are a number of referral services available to help point you in the right direction of an attorney specialized in the field of law needed as well as at an affordable price for you.

 

Once such option in the Milwaukee Bar Association's Law Day. On Saturday, May 4 from 1-4, the Milwaukee Bar Association will provide free, one-on-one meetings for anyone, including Spanish speakers, needing legal assistance. The addresses for this year's event are:
 

Bay View Library (MAP)
2566 S. Kinnickinnic Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53207

Central Library (MAP)
814 W. Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53233

Center Street Library (MAP)
2727 W. Fond du Lac Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53210

Atkinson Library (MAP)
1960 W. Atkinson Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53209

 

Do not worry if you are unable to attend this event, as there are other legal referral services that may be of use to you year-round. More information about these services is provided below.


State Bar of Wisconsin

The State Bar of Wisconsin offers referral services that can put you in contact with attorneys specializing in the type of law applicable to your situation. Further, the State Bar of Wisconsin has a program, called the Modest Means Program, which assists people whose income is too high to qualify for free legal services, such as those offered through Legal Action of Wisconsin, but too low to pay a lawyer's standard rate.

 

Click here or call (608) 257-3838 or (800) 362-9082 for more information or referral services.

Milwaukee Bar Association

For nearly 150 years, the Milwaukee Bar Association has helped people navigate through the legal process to ensure that all in the community have access to justice. Their most successful community program is the Lawyer Referral Service, which is a free, over-the-phone referral service for anyone that has a legal question or is seeking to obtain legal counsel.

 

Click here or all (414) 274-6760 for more information or referral services.

Legal Action of Wisconsin

Legal Action of Wisconsin provides telephone and walk-in services to low-income neighbors. Contact them directly to see if you qualify for such legal services.

 

Click here or call (414) 278-5932 for more information.
 

Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee Inc.

The Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee was founded in 1916 "to do all things necessary for the prevention of injustice." They are one of the nation's oldest, continuously operating, public interest law firms. Each year, the Society provides free legal services to 8,000 of Milwaukee's most vulnerable residents, including: abused and neglected children, developmentally disabled adults, persons living with HIV/AIDS, battered women, immigrants, elderly, prisoners, mentally ill, physically impaired, unemployed, and homeless.

 

Click here or call (414) 727-5300 for more information.

 

 

Did You Know...?

You may know that our Great Lakes play a vital role to our recreation and tourism industry. But did you know that these massive bodies of water are also vital to the economic health of other industries that rely on them for transporting their products?

 

According to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, more than 200 million tons of cargo--mainly raw materials like iron ore, coal, and grain--are shipped every year through the 1,270-mile Great Lakes route.

 

 

 

Great Lakes Caucus Meets, Talks Water

Just last week, the Wisconsin Great Lakes Caucus met to discuss important issues relating to our state, including the health of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. The discussion was led by experts from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and was largely focused on low water levels and invasive species.

DNR representative Jim Killian reported that the average water level in Lake Michigan is currently 578.6 feet, which is 2.5 feet below the average for this time of year, and the lowest it has been in the 100 years the DNR has on record. Lake Superior is also showing lower than average water levels, but not quite as low as Lake Michigan. This issue has raised calls from harbor communities for dredging and pier extensions.

After addressing current water levels in our Great Lakes, DNR representative Bill Horns spoke on the infestation of sea lamprey in these highly valued bodies of water. One of the best known Great Lakes invasive species, sea lamprey are parasitic pests that feed on the blood and bodily fluids of fish. Sea lamprey are so destructive, that only one out of seven fish attacked will survive, which decimates our local wildlife populations for anglers. While control measures, such as lampricide treatments and barriers, have helped keep the sea lamprey population at bay in recent decades, these parasites have recently been expanding into new areas and are still an ominous threat to our commercial and sport fish.

Though, the federally mandated Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) is already in place to fund projects that would resolve these issues, securing these funds to use for the purpose they are intended has become a problem. Money from the HMTF is often diverted to other budgetary areas, making it difficult for Great Lakes projects to receive necessary funding. To correct this problem, representatives of the Great Lakes Caucus will be writing a letter to Congress suggesting that legislation be proposed to create mechanisms discouraging HTMF fund from being spent in other budgetary areas, and instead secure it for use in its intended areas, especially for use on Wisconsin's Great Lakes projects.

 

The Great Lakes are essential to maintaining a healthy, growing economy in Wisconsin and other states surrounding these magnificent bodies of water. In fact, the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory  estimates that about 65 million pounds of fish per year are harvested from the Great Lakes, contributing more than $1 billion to the local economy. Additionally, the Great Lakes support a $4 billion sports fishery industry. It is clear that we must commit to protecting the overall health of our Great Lakes, rather than continuing down a path that simply ignores their growing problems. Wisconsinites deserve better.

 

Click here for more information about this meeting and the Great Lakes Caucus.



 

Conservation Congress Results Available

Every spring, each person in Wisconsin has the opportunity to help direct how the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) manages our natural resources. The DNR holds a conservation hearing with survey questions and resolutions that are voted on by all who attend. This year, the meeting was held in each county on April 8, 2013.
 

The results of this meeting are of great interest to me and fellow legislators, as some of the proposed questions require legislative approval in order to be implemented. For instance, question 80 asked "Increase non-resident deer license fees (from resolution 110112)" and the statewide results were overwhelmingly in favor (3,792 yes, 1,085 no). Another highly polarized question was number 79, which reads "Dog training in Bear Zone C" (3,255 yes, 831 no).
 

Questions 88 and 89, on the other hand, pertained to youth hunts. Question 88 inquired if Wisconsin should "Allow 14 & 15 year olds to participate in youth hunts unaccompanied by a mentor (from res. 620112)," while question 89 asked if we should "Allow 16 & 17 year olds to participate in all youth hunts (except waterfowl) (from resolution 520112)." These proposals were opposed by a majority with votes of 1,922 yes to 2,853 no and 2,181 yes to 2,493 no respectively.

 

Click here to view the full statewide hearing results.
 

Wisconsin has a rich conservation culture that has been preserved and strengthened by generations of anglers, hunters, environmentalists, and outdoor enthusiasts. I have made safeguarding Wisconsin's environment and protecting our outdoor heritage one of my priorities during my time in the Senate. As legislation regarding the environment continues to arise during this session, I will keep the results of the hearings in mind to ensure Wisconsin is moving in the right direction on conservation.
 

 

 

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a time to work together as a community to stand up against violence.  This month provides a special opportunity to promote awareness of such crimes by educating Wisconsinites on the devastating impact of sexual assault, as well as the preventative measures we can implement to prevent future assaults from occurring. The theme this year is "It's Time...To Talk About it!" Neighbors were encouraged to wear denim on April 24 in a show of solidarity and a display of decorated denim was set up in the Capitol Rotunda, as well. By participating in Sexual Assault Awareness Month events and starting a network of conversations that span across the state, we can bring greater attention to this important issue.

Understanding the destructive effects of sexual assault is vital to helping survivors in our state, and beyond, cope. According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, every two minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly one in five women and one in 71 men in the United States have been raped at some time in their lives.

Our family, friends, and neighbors of all ages have been hurt by these crimes, and unfortunately, these statistics are underestimated because many of these crimes go unreported. Having open conversations about sexual assault encourages victims to report crimes that adversely impact our community. Further,  stigmas associated with assault can be mitigated through conversation and helping victims seek out the care they need to begin healing.

At the local level, a joint venture between the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin and the Sojourner Family Peace Center was recently announced in Milwaukee. The plan involves the construction of a Family Justice Center to serve individuals and families dealing with domestic violence and will also offer services to sexual assault victims. I fully support this project believing it to be consistent with the spirit of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The Center's completion is anticipated to be in 2015 and I look forward to its promotion of health and safety for families in Wisconsin.


If you are looking to learn more about how to prevent sexual assault or to help victims you know cope, I urge you to visit the Web sites for the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network. These sites offer data, intervention options, and information regarding preventative measures.

 

Click here to visit the Web site for the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

 

Click here to visit the Web site for the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network.
 

 

 

Sign the Petition Today!

Did you know that the Republican budget allows for no new spending--$0 dollars--for our traditional public schools but increases spending for voucher schools by up to $1,414 per pupil? Let the governor and Republican Legislature know that you oppose their misplaced education priorities. Tell them to support public education and stop spending public dollars on unaccountable private voucher schools by signing this new petition being circulated on SignOn.org. The petition states the following:

In 2011, Governor Walker and the Republican Legislature passed a budget that contained the largest cuts to public education in Wisconsin history--$1.6 billion gone from our kids' schools. Class sizes went up drastically. Quality after-school programs were eliminated. Good teachers were laid off.

This year, the governor's proposed budget freezes public school spending, while increasing funding for unaccountable and unproven private voucher schools. Tell Governor Walker and the state Republicans to stand up for our kids and not special interests that want to profit on the backs of our future generations.


Petition signatures will then be shared with your state representative, state senator, and the governor. Additionally, once a neighbor has signed on to the petition, they will then have the option to send information about the petition to others by sharing it on Facebook, tweeting about it on Twitter, or emailing it to friends and family.

Join 2,525 of your fellow Wisconsinites by clicking here to sign the petition.

 

 

Public Participation Encouraged in Budget Public Hearings

The Joint Finance Committee hearings held this session and last session mark the lowest number of hearings held by the Joint Finance Committee in 25 years. Senate and Assembly Democrats understand that it will be impossible for many to get off work and participate in these limited events. Therefore, we are holding additional budget hearings across the state to make sure that our neighbors have an opportunity to voice their priorities and values to members of the Joint Finance Committee, as well as legislative leaders.

 

The budget is a document that sets our priorities and defines our state, so it is crucial that Wisconsinites have a genuine opportunity to have their voice heard on important budgetary issues, such as the expansion of unaccountable voucher schools, rejection of federal funds to expand health care access, doing away with the popular Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin program, and much more. While some of the hearings have already commenced, below is a list of the remaining hearing times and locations

April 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Barron

Barron County Courthouse, 1420 Wisconsin 25, Barron

April 29 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Eau Claire

Chippewa Valley Technical College, 620 West Clairemont Avenue, Eau Claire

 

 

 

Take My Survey Online

I recently mailed out a newsletter district wide. This newsletter not only provided an update on a variety of important legislative issues, but it also featured a survey. The short survey provides me with a way to learn more about you and gives you the opportunity to share your thoughts on how to move Wisconsin forward together.

This survey was distributed by mail in my district wide newsletter titled Neighborhood News and has also been made available online.

Click here to save a stamp and take the Neighborhood News Survey online.

I look forward to tackling difficult but important issues with the governor and Republican legislators. However, such efforts will only succeed if as fellow badgers we dig deep and work together to create a brighter future for our family, friends, and neighbors. I look forward to hearing your feedback so I can represent you and our community as we endeavor to renew the Wisconsin spirit.

 

 

 

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