December 5, 2013
Please feel free to contact me with any concerns or opinions you might
Office Phone: (608) 266-7505
Toll-free Phone: (800) 361-5487
P.O. Box 7882
Madison, WI 53707
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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.
A Christmas Carol
Date: Now through Tues., December 24
Nineteenth century London comes to life when you and your family join
Tiny Tim, Bob Cratchit, and, of course, Ebenezer Scrooge on a
fantastical journey through Christmas Past, Present, and Future. Enjoy
the music, dancing, and timeless message of hope, peace, and love, as
the Dickens' classic masterpiece celebrates its 38th year at the
CLICK HERE or call (414) 224-9490 for more information.
Milwaukee Repertory Theater (MAP)
108 E. Wells Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Date: Now through Sun., December 29
Centerpiece to their season, Les Miserables is the show that inspired
Skylight to focus on freedom and revolution as a conversation through
the entire year. Set in 19th century France in the midst of revolution,
this timeless musical follows Jean Valjean on his quest for redemption
after being jailed for stealing a loaf of bread, inspector Javert who
relentlessly pursues parole violator Valjean, and an abundance of other
compelling and entertaining characters. Skylight looks forward to
producing this legendary, Tony Award-winning musical in the intimate
Cabot Theatre. This epic tale of passion and sacrifice will be a
phenomenal way to share live theatre with the family during this holiday
CLICK HERE or call (414) 291-7811 for more information.
Skylight Music Theatre (MAP)
158 N. Broadway Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Date: Now through Fri., February 14
Enter the Sheridan
Park Centennial Raffle for your chance to win a grand prize that
includes a trip to New York, a tour of Central Park, and tickets to a
Broadway play. This is a fundraising effort to help improve the park.
Raffle tickets will be available beginning Friday, November 8 through
Friday, February 14 at Joe's "K" Ranch, the Cudahy Library, City Hall,
Cudahy Historical Society, Pulaski Inn, and through members of the
Chamber of Commerce and Friends of Sheridan Park. The raffle drawing
will take place during a Valentine's Day dinner on February 14 at
Pulaski Inn. Tickets for the dinner will be available at Pulaski Inn.
Raffle ticket holders do not need to be present in order to win. Support
a great cause to improve Sheridan Park and buy your raffle tickets
Pulaski Inn (MAP)
3900 E. Pulaski Avenue
Cudahy, WI 53110
Family Free Day at
Milwaukee County Zoo
Sat., December 7 from
9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
All visitors receive free admission to the Milwaukee County Zoo on this
day. However, the parking fee remains in effect.
CLICK HERE for more information.
Milwaukee County Zoo (MAP)
10001 W. Blue Mound
Milwaukee, WI 53226
Christmas in the
from 9 a.m. to 6:40 p.m.
Stop by this annual event to have breakfast with Santa, enjoy holiday
shopping throughout the Ward, visit a Gingerbread house, attend a cookie
sale, enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides, and more. This event takes place
at Catalano Square on the corner of Broadway and Menomonee.
CLICK HERE for more information.
Skai Academy of the Performing Arts presents
The Snow Queen
Tues., December 10 and
Wed., December 11
After fragments from a magic mirror strike the eye and heart a young boy
named Kai, causing him to see only the negative side of life, he is
taken away to the icy world of the Snow Queen. Trapped under her power,
he cannot leave until his best friend Jamie finds a clever way to break
the spell and rescue him. Jamie embarks on a perilous journey, meeting
delightful characters on the way that help her to learn the value of
kindness, and the true meaning of courage and determination. Using
storytelling, music, and dance, this exuberant, heart-warming production
will take you on a theatrical adventure of gratitude and friendship, and
warns us against cleverness for its own sake, exploring ideas of how our
perception of the world is a reflection of our own ideas and beliefs.
CLICK HERE for more information.
South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center (MAP)
901 15th Avenue
South Milwaukee, WI
Dear Wisconsin Neighbor,
This week, the Assembly passed on
another opportunity to accept federal dollars to strengthen BadgerCare
to insure 85,000 more Wisconsinites, save $86 million in taxpayer
dollars, and create 10,000 jobs across the state. Continue reading for
more on this and other important issues including an upcoming Higher Ed,
Lower Debt town hall, keeping your family
safe over the holidays, the status of anti-women legislation, and
recognizing World AIDS Day.
State Senator, District 7
Money-Saving Opportunity Missed
week, the Joint Committee on Finance and the Assembly took up special
session legislation to extend the timeline Governor Walker originally
set to kick Wisconsinites off of BadgerCare. While it is laudable that
the governor sees the need to expand access to affordable health care,
the fact is that people will still be getting kicked off BadgerCare.
Governor Walker had the option to make sure nobody would lose their
BadgerCare coverage--at no additional cost to taxpayers--for at least
the next three years, but he chose to play politics with their health
instead. By rejecting this federal money and refusing to create a
Wisconsin exchange, Governor Walker and legislative Republicans passed
on common sense options that would save taxpayers money and cover more
During the budget debate earlier this year, residents across the state
asked Governor Walker to accept federal dollars to strengthen BadgerCare
and implement a state-run exchange. This funding--from a pot of money
that Wisconsin families already paid into with their federal tax
dollars--was a win-win for Wisconsin's working families and taxpayers,
and would have insured 85,000 more Wisconsinites. Strengthening BadgerCare
was also poised to save Wisconsin taxpayers $86 million over the
funding that undoubtedly would have been welcome in efforts to provide
worker training or small business grants to create jobs. Finally, saying
yes to strengthening BadgerCare was estimated to create over 10,000
Wisconsin jobs. At a time when our economy remains sluggish compared to
our Midwestern neighbors, an additional 10,000 jobs would be more than
welcome. Unfortunately, Governor Walker again put Tea Party politics
ahead of the well-being of Wisconsin families, and continues to reject
these much needed funds.
Now, the governor has proposed to
spend even more Wisconsin tax dollars to cover the cost of his health
care plan. Under the governor's plan, 85,000 Wisconsinites are
now poised to be kicked off BadgerCare on March 31, 2014, rather than
December 31, 2014. Placing blame anywhere but on himself, Governor
Walker is refusing to right his wrong of rejecting funds to strengthen
BadgerCare. He is also spending Wisconsin's taxpayer dollars to fill in part
of the gap rather than laying a new foundation of expanded affordable
health care with federal funding.
There are two simple actions the governor and legislative Republicans
could take to fix the problem they created:
Accept the federal money so
Wisconsin can provide access to health care to thousands more people
at a lower cost for taxpayers
Create a Wisconsin exchange so we
have a solution that works for the people of our state
This Democratic plan would cover
85,000 more people and save $86 million in this biennium alone by
expanding BadgerCare using federal resources.
In Minnesota, where Governor Mark
Dayton accepted funds to strengthen Medicaid and created a
state-specific exchange, on average, rates are half of what
Wisconsinites are paying. In fact, a recent study shows Wisconsin rates were 25
to 35% higher than in Minnesota and much higher than the average for all
states. In some plans Wisconsin's average cost was nearly double
Minnesota's. Take a look at a 50-year-old Minnesotan who lives just
south of the Twin Cities and can buy a mid-level, silver plan for $241
per month. Just over the border, on the other hand, a Wisconsinite of
the same profile will end up paying $622 for a comparable plan.
Wisconsin is now an island, surrounded by states that accepted federal
funding to cover more residents and are reaping the benefits of their
compassionate and common sense investment. Unfortunately, with this
special session bill, the Legislature is being forced to put a band-aide
on problems created by Governor Walker and legislative Republicans. This
bill is also being used to pit two uninsured populations against one
another rather than choosing a path that covers more Wisconsinites for
less. We should take this opportunity to strengthen BadgerCare now to
avoid fixing more GOP problems down the road.
Wisconsin can do better. My colleagues and I are united in our support
for expanding access to affordable health care for Wisconsinites. Our
state should not let Tea Party politics, national political ambition, or
legislative rubberstamps derail our badger spirit. While big mistakes
have already been made costing Wisconsin families more of their
hard-earned money and much needed coverage, the upcoming special session
is an opportunity for Wisconsin to right the ship, better insure our
people, and move Wisconsin forward.
While this bill passed in the Joint
Committee on Finance and the full Assembly earlier this week, the Senate
is not poised to take up this legislation until December 19, 2013. I
will be sure to keep you updated on the status of this proposal.
Fast Facts on Walker's Health
Here are some fast facts about what
citizens can expect as a result of Governor Walker's health care plan:
85,000 fewer Wisconsinites will be
insured, which will occur in March 2014
Wisconsin taxpayers will miss out
on $86 million in savings as well as the money they contributed to
the federal government that will go to other states to insure their
Wisconsinites will lose the
opportunity to create and estimated 10,000 Wisconsin jobs
A study shows Wisconsin rates were
25% to 35% higher than in Minnesota with some Wisconsin plans
costing nearly double
A 50-year-old Minnesotan living
just south of the Twin Cities can buy a mid-level, silver plan for
$241/month while a comparable plan for the same type of individual
in Wisconsin will cost $622
Higher Ed, Lower Debt
Town Hall in Milwaukee
your calendars for the Higher Ed, Lower Debt for Wisconsin Town Hall
discussion, which aims to bring attention to Wisconsin's student debt
crisis and discuss ways to improve it.
The event is sponsored by the United Council of Students, One Wisconsin
Institute, Wisconsin Jobs Now, and Wisconsin Voices. It will take place
on Wednesday, December 11 at 5:30 p.m. at the Wisconsin Jobs Now office
located at 1862 W. Fond du Lac Avenue in Milwaukee. The event will
feature a panel that includes State Senator Dave Hansen and State
Representative Cory Mason. The details for the event are provided
Higher Ed, Lower Debt Town Hall
Wednesday, December 11 at 5:30 p.m.
Wisconsin Jobs Now Office (MAP)
1862 W. Fond du Lac Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53205
One of the potential solutions that
will be discussed at the town hall is the Higher Ed, Lower Debt bill, authored by Senator Dave Hansen and
Representative Cory Mason, which would do the following:
Allow Wisconsin's student loan
borrowers to deduct their student loan payments from their income
tax, resulting in annual tax savings of approximately $172 for the
typical borrower or as much as $392.
Enable Wisconsin's student loan
borrowers to refinance their student loans at lower interest rates,
putting potentially hundreds of dollars back in their pockets and
into Wisconsin's economy annually. For example, a borrower with an
interest rate of 6.8% and the average University of Wisconsin
graduate's loan debt of $27,000 who could lower their interest rate
to 4% could save over $40 per month. That would put nearly $500 back
in their family's pocket over the course of a year.
Provide students and parents with
detailed information about student loans, the best and worst private
lenders, and ensure that students receive loan counseling so that
Wisconsin's student loan borrowers can make informed financial
decisions about student loans.
Ensure data is collected and
tracked about student loan debt in Wisconsin to help policymakers
and the public better understand the depth and breadth of the debt
crisis in our state.
As you can see, this legislation
offers common sense solutions for real savings on behalf of
Wisconsinites managing student loan debt.
Sign the Higher Ed, Lower Debt
If you are unable to attend the
upcoming town hall, but would like to show your support for the Higher
Ed, Lower Debt bill, I encourage you to sign onto the Higher
Ed, Lower Debt petition at
www.HigherEdLowerDebtWI.com. The more Wisconsinites that advocate for the bill,
the more likely it is to pass. The petition states the following:
I support the Higher Ed, Lower Debt bill authored by Sen. Hansen and
Rep. Mason. It is a positive step forward in making higher education
more affordable in Wisconsin and frees up money for Wisconsinites to
spend in local communities and our state.
Click here if you would like join me in supporting the Higher Ed, Lower
Debt bill by signing on to the petition to encourage the Wisconsin State
Legislature to pass the bill.
Shop Safely This
holiday shopping season has officially begun. While some families took
advantage of deals offered during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, others
have yet to purchase the items for family and friends on their holiday
shopping lists. However, it is important to remember that while holiday
shopping often includes fun and games, it is also a time when your
family can fall victim to cyber criminals and unsafe toys.
One of the ways you can circumvent
these potential pitfalls is by shopping locally at a trusted
Wisconsin-based company. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade,
and Consumer Protection (DATCP) runs the Something Special in Wisconsin program
where every dollar spent on products and services supports local farmers,
food processors, entrepreneurs, and our communities and livelihood. It is not only an investment in
state's economy but in its future. In order to boast the trademark logo
of the Something Special in Wisconsin program on a product, at least 50% of a product's ingredients, production, or
processing activities must be from Wisconsin.
Click here to visit the Something Special in Wisconsin
If you do decide to shop elsewhere,
there are some easy safety tips to keep in mind. Continue reading for
more information about shopping safely this holiday season.
Online Shopping Safety Tips
It is often easy to get caught up in
the good deals offered online during the holidays. But keep in mind that cyber
thieves know what the hot gift items are each year and plan their scams
accordingly. So if a deal is just too good to be true, make sure you do
your research. Cyber thieves will often post fake contests on social
media sites, publish dangerous links, and send texts and emails to
shoppers in the hopes that they will reveal personal information or download
malicious software onto their devices.
DATCP has provided the
following tips to help maintain your safety while doing your holiday
Make sure a Web site is
legitimate before ordering. Check for the company's name,
physical location, and contact information. Beware of deals that
seem too good to be true, particularly with unfamiliar Web sites. ID
thieves can create Web sites that mimic a legitimate company's site,
so do not trust a site based solely on its appearance.
Make sure you are using a
secure site before you enter any personal or banking information to
purchase an item. Secure sites start with "https" rather than
"http" as the added "s" stands for "secure."
Update your device's operating
system and anti-virus software. This will help protect your home
connection from identity thieves and hackers. You can also install a
firewall in your online setup before you even start your Web
Pay by credit card for extra
protection. Consumers have the right to dispute charges if they
find errors in their credit statement and report them to the credit
card company within 60 days of receiving the statement. Therefore,
if you are the victim of a scam or fraud, it is easier for you to
recover your money if a credit card has been used rather than cash
Keep a paper trail. Print
or save records of online transactions, item descriptions, and
copies of emails sent between you and the seller. Then, carefully
review credit card statements after the holidays to look for
Carefully examine return
policies and restocking fees. Even when you are shopping with a
well-known online retailer, carefully check return policies and
restocking fees to find out who is responsible for any return
shipping costs before submitting your order.
Know the details of your
purchases before you check out. Know exactly what items you are
purchasing, when the items should be delivered, and who to contact
if they do not arrive when expected. If that information is not
clearly stated on the Web site, consider shopping elsewhere.
Should you have the misfortune to fall
victim to cyber thieves, do not hesitate to take action. Wisconsinites
subjected to scams can file complaints with DATCP's Consumer Protection
Bureau via traditional mail or online. If you would like more
information about filing a complaint please email DATCP at
email@example.com or call the toll-free Consumer Protection
Hotline at 1-800-422-7128.
Click here to visit DATCP's Web site.
Child Toy Safety Tips
When purchasing gifts for child
relatives, family friends, and charities, is important to put safety
first. Taking the time to choose the safest toys and gifts will help to
keep your holiday memories happy. Below are some tips for choosing toys,
things to avoid, and what to do after opening gifts courtesy of the
Wisconsin Department of Health Services' Injury Prevention Program.
Make sure that gifts are not
recalled toys or children's products. Verify by checking the
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's Web site for more
Click here to visit the Web site.
Be a label reader. Look for
the letters "ASTM." This means the product meets the national safety
standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials.
Choose washable toys. Many
stuffed toys can trigger asthma and allergy attacks as they are a
common source for dust mites and other substances. To find asthma-friendly
toys, look for the asthma and allergy friendly trade mark
Select toys to suit the age,
abilities, skills, and interest level of the intended child.
Look for sturdy construction, such as tightly-secured eyes, noses,
and other potential small parts.
For all children under age eight,
avoid toys that have sharp edges and points.
Things to Avoid
Magnets: For children under
age six, avoid building sets with small magnets. If swallowed,
serious injuries or death can occur.
Small Parts: For children
younger than age three, avoid toys with small parts. Young children
tend to put toys in their mouths which can result in choking.
Ride-on Toys: If you are
giving riding toys, such as skateboards and in-line skates, you should
provide properly-sized helmets and other safety gear.
Projectile Toys: Projectile
toys such as air rockets, darts, and sling shots are for older
children. Improper use of these toys can result in serious eye
Imported Toys: Give careful
consideration to gifting toys imported from countries with less
strict manufacturing standards. Many have been found to contain lead
which can harm children.
Click here for more information about product recall alerts about
toys and other products that contain dangerous lead.
Chargers and Adapters:
Charging batteries should be supervised by adults. Battery chargers
and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards to children.
BB guns: BB guns should not
be considered toys. Children require safety lessons on proper BB
gun use just like with other guns.
After Opening Gifts
Promptly and properly dispose of
plastic wrappings and other gift wrapping to avoid choking and
Keep toys appropriate for older
children away from younger siblings, friends, or neighbors
Pay attention to instructions and
warnings on toys and batteries
Repair or throw away damaged toys
Make a list of safety rules with
your child, and be sure to share them with all children playing with
Raising Awareness on
World AIDS Day
In 1988, the World Health Organization
celebrated the first World AIDS Day. Every year there is a theme
associated with the day, this year's theme is "Shared Responsibility:
Strengthening Results for an AIDS-Free Generation." It is a day to
spread awareness about the human infectious virus (HIV) and its late
stage, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) throughout the world.
More than 35.3 million people worldwide live with HIV and it is the
world's leading infectious killer.
Click here for more information about World AIDS Day.
While it may seem that HIV/AIDS
is a problem for people in other countries, it has also made its
presence known in Wisconsin. According to the Wisconsin Department of
Health Services, half of Wisconsin's 72 counties reported at least one
new case of HIV in 2011, and approximately 53% of these cases were
reported in our very own Milwaukee County. Further, as of the end of
2011, 6,550 individuals reported with HIV or AIDS
were presumed to be alive and living in Wisconsin. The populations that
are most affected are racial and ethnic minorities, and the biggest
population affected is African American men, whose diagnoses have
tripled from 2003 to 2012.
Last session, while fighting the bill repealing the Health Youth Act, I
authored an amendment to help keep young people safe. The amendment,
which passed, ensures that students attending a school with an
abstinence-only sex education program would at least be educated
properly on the human papillomavirus (HPV) and HIV: what they are and
how to prevent them from spreading.
The key to reducing transmission of HIV/AIDS is educating yourself
and others. HIV cannot be transmitted through day-to-day contact such as
kissing, shaking hands, or sharing food or drinks. It can only be
transmitted through contact with blood, seminal fluid, vaginal
secretions, spinal fluid, or breast milk. The most common ways to put
yourself at risk of contracting or spreading HIV/AIDS is:
Having unprotected sex
Using or sharing contaminated
Becoming pregnant or breastfeeding
while HIV/AIDS positive
Coming into contact with
Different stages of infection are
accompanied by different symptoms. Many people have no symptoms in the
first few months of infection, while others may experience flu-like
symptoms or a rash. As the infection progresses, other symptoms, such as
swollen lymph nodes, weight loss, and upset stomach, may develop. HIV
tests are often unreliable within the first three to 12 weeks after
transmission because the antibodies, which first signal contraction of
the disease, are still being produced. Therefore, it is important to be
retested three months after exposure. HIV testing and results are always
confidential. Also remember that those infected with HIV can still
spread it to others even if the initial test comes back negative and
they have not yet had any symptoms. There is still no cure for HIV/AIDS.
In November, Will Radler of Greenfield, donated $1 million to the AIDS
Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW) for psychiatry services for HIV
patients. This is the largest individual donation the center has ever
received. His donation came in response of hearing how little a
psychiatrist is able to be available through the AIDS Resource Center. ARCW
offers a variety of services from prevention to psychiatric care to help
those living with HIV. One of the prevention services ARCW offers is
Lifepoint, a needle exchange program throughout Wisconsin that you can
exchange used needles for sterile ones.
Click here for more information about AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin.
Click here for more information about Wisconsin's AIDS/HIV program.
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: Will the Legislature be acting on any of the bills related to
women's health before the end of the year?
A: A number of controversial
anti-women's health bills have been introduced this session. While some
of these bills have passed, others have yet to be voted on by the full
Senate. Allow me to provide an update on the status of these bills.
You may remember a very controversial
attack on women's health earlier this session. In June, Republicans
introduced and quickly passed legislation mandating that women seeking
abortions undergo an invasive and medically unnecessary ultrasound
procedure. This legislation also requires all-option family planning
doctors to have admitting privileges to a hospital located within 30
miles of their clinic. By passing this bill, Republican legislators
confirmed their belief that women are incapable of making personal
decisions about their own body.
In response to this damaging legislation, Planned Parenthood of
Wisconsin and Affiliated Medical Services immediately filed a lawsuit
contending the law is unconstitutional. On July 8, 2013, the day the law
was to take effect, U.S. District Judge William Conley issued a
temporary restraining order blocking the portion of the law related to
admitting privileges. Since then, he has extended the restraining order
twice. Most recently, on August 2, 2013, Conley put in place an
injunction blocking the law until a trial is held in the Court of
Appeals. This trial began earlier this week on December 3 and is
Should this law stand, Planned Parenthood would be forced to close two
of four clinics offering all methods of family planning in Wisconsin. As
the legal debate over this legislation moves forward, I will be sure to
keep you updated on the status of this bill and its implications on the
health of Wisconsin's women and families.
More recently, I heard from many neighbors regarding legislation that
further attempts to roll back the rights of Wisconsin women. On November
7, 2013, the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services passed two
anti-women's health bills along party lines. As a result these
bills--Senate Bill (SB) 201/Assembly Bill (AB) 217 and Senate Bill
202/Assembly Bill 216-- which have already passed the Assembly, can now
be scheduled for a vote before the full Senate. A vote in the full
Senate is the last step these bills need to take before being signed
into law by the governor.
Further, as you may know, there was discussion that the bills were going
to land on the Senate schedule when we met on November 12, 2013.
However, thanks to the outrage from the public as well as the pushback
from women's health advocates, the bills were not taken up for a vote by
the full Senate. While delaying these attacks on reproductive rights is
a small victory, it is important that Wisconsinites continue to make
their positions on these bills known to those that represent them
because we will likely see these bills again when session resumes in
2014. More information on these bills is provided below.
Restricting Birth Control Coverage
Women have long faced discrimination when it comes to health insurance
coverage. Over the years, insurance companies in Wisconsin have been
required to cover basic women's health care like mammograms, maternity
care and, in 2009, birth control. In addition, the Affordable Care Act
put in place federal protections to ensure that all women had access to
preventative services under their health plan--including birth control.
Organizations from the National Institute of Medicine to the World
Health Organization to the American Congress of Obstetricians and
Gynecologists tell us that access to birth control is the single
greatest investment in women's health that a community can make.
Despite the clear evidence of positive effects birth control has on our
community, SB 202/AB 216 would allow religious employers to discriminate
against women by denying them affordable access to birth control, unless
the employer deems that the birth control method is for medical reasons
rather than contraceptive reasons. The proposal is illogical given that
a fall 2012 study released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC)
demonstrated that access to no co-pay birth control coverage leads to
significantly lower unintended pregnancy and abortion rates.
Furthermore, birth control is not only a valuable family planning tool,
but it also has many other medical benefits. According to the Guttmacher
Institute, 58% of women use birth control for noncontraceptive health
care reasons, which include:
Alleviating cramps and menstrual
pain, which can sometimes be debilitating
Regulating the menstrual cycle
Preventing anemia, which can lead
to dizziness, fatigue, and headaches
Helping in treatment of
endometriosis, which often leads to infertility if untreated
Treating polycystic ovary syndrome
(PCOS), which if left untreated can lead to weight gain, hair loss,
depression, and infertility
Additional Intrusion into
This proposal, SB 201/AB217, could put our medical professionals at
legal risk by allowing the mother, father, or grandparents of an aborted
fetus to sue the physician if the abortion they provided was
"sex-selective." This proposal also has the potential to put undue
strain and suspicion on a woman after she receives an abortion, even if
it was not sex-selective.
Response to an unplanned pregnancy is a personal medical decision that
is not taken lightly. While there are many legal options available to a
woman facing an unplanned pregnancy, including becoming a parent,
adoption, or abortion, it is up to each woman to choose her path based
on her personal circumstances and beliefs. The idea that Wisconsin women
would choose an abortion because they are displeased by the sex of the
fetus is outrageous. According to WebMD, the sex of a fetus can
sometimes be determined by about the 18th week of pregnancy and Planned
Parenthood states that in-clinic abortion is only offered up to 19 weeks
after the start of a woman's last menstrual period. This leaves a small
to non-existent window for a woman who opts to have an abortion the
potential option to determine the gender of the fetus beforehand.
Therefore, this scenario is likely not one that is occurring in
Wisconsin, and thus is a nonexistent problem that does not require
Government interference in matters of family planning, which are
intrinsically private and personal, is unacceptable. According to the
U.S. Supreme Court, women have a constitutional right to privacy, as
well as the authority to make decisions related to their own body. To
wage a legislative war on women by attacking and chipping away at this
fundamental freedom is an insult to women across Wisconsin.
As you likely know, ensuring access to affordable, quality health care
is a priority of mine. Thus, I support health care coverage for all
aspects of women's health. That is why I firmly support a woman's right
to choose as well as access to contraception and will continue to fight
against any legislation that seeks to take away or otherwise limit these
Track These Bills and Make Your
The Legislature offers a free email notification system that alerts
subscribers of legislative activities relating to issues that they have
identified as important. This is an excellent way to keep informed about
the issues that are important to you.
Click here if you would like to stay up-to-date on the status of these
It is also important that
Wisconsinites ensure their voices are heard on this important issue. If
you are unsure of who represents you in the Wisconsin State Legislature,
I encourage you to utilize the "Who Represents Me?" tool on the
Legislature's home page. Simply enter your address and the names and
contact information of your state senator and state representative will
Click here to find out who represents you.
Did You Know...?
Most Wisconsinites are familiar with
the fact that the Chicago Bears are the oldest rivals of our beloved
Green Bay Packers. But did you know that the Bears did not always go by
The Packers were founded in 1919 in the editorial room of the Green Bay
Press-Gazette. The Bears, on the other hand started out as the Staleys,
but ultimately changed their name to the Bears in 1922, just in time for
the Packers vs. Bears rivalry to take hold in the Midwest.
Currently, the Chicago Bears lead the series in games against the
Packers with 93 wins, 88 losses, and six ties. However, the Packers far
out-rank the Bears in terms of Super Bowl wins--4 vs. 1--and most league
championships where the Packers rank first at 13.
Be sure to check out Sunday's Packer game (at Lambeau) on Sunday,
December 8 at Noon on Fox.
Click here for more information about the history of the Green Bay
Hunger Task Force
Telethon A Success
I was honored to join Hunger Task
Force, WISN 12, and fellow legislators in participating in the "Food for
Families" telethon. This event aims to raise money to support working
families and their children.
Overall, the telethon raised $112,000,
which will go directly to Hunger Task Force in Milwaukee. Hunger Task
Force is a locally founded, locally funded, and locally run 501(c)(3)
that has been dedicated to feeding people in need in Milwaukee for
nearly 40 years. The organization works to prevent hunger and
malnutrition by providing food to people in need today and by promoting
social policies to achieve a hunger-free community tomorrow. Hunger Task
Force currently operates a food bank that delivers emergency food to a
network of 60 pantries, 14 soup kitchens, and six homeless shelters in
Milwaukee County. The donations raised at the telethon will go a long
way in helping Hunger Task Force with these efforts.
A big thank you to those who
contributed to this great cause. However, if you could not afford to donate or
missed out on this opportunity to give back to the community, do not
worry. There are plenty of other opportunities to help out Hunger Task
Force by volunteering, which is vital as this organization relies
greatly on the assistance of area volunteers in order to function.
Click here for more information about Hunger Task Force and
Attention High School
Juniors and Seniors: Apply to Senate Scholars Today
The Senate Scholars Program is an
intensive week-long education program offered by the Wisconsin State
Senate. This is a wonderful opportunity for Wisconsin youth to view the
role of the Legislature in democracy first hand and gain experience in
the areas of policy development, constituent relations and processing
legislation. Senate Scholars will also have the chance to work closely
with senators, legislative staff, and University of Wisconsin faculty.
Admission to the program is highly competitive and limited to 33
academically exceptional high school juniors and seniors from across the
state. Applications are due on Friday, January 3, 2014. Applicants will
then be notified of their acceptance on or shortly after January 17,
2014 Senate Scholar Sessions:
If you have additional questions about the program or the application
process, I encourage you to call Cyrus Anderson or Erin Allers by phone
at (608) 266-2610 or via email at
Click here to visit the Senate Scholar Program's Web site for more
Take the 2013-2014
I created a survey for the 2013-2014
Legislative Session asking about various issues that are important to
our community and our state. The input of neighbors is greatly
appreciated. My staff and I will be working hard to deliver as many
surveys door to door as possible before winter arrives. In addition, I
have also made this survey available online.
Click here to download and print a copy of this survey, which you can
return to my office via mail, email, or fax upon completion.
Click here to save a stamp and take the survey online.
I look forward to hearing your views on these important issues!
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