November 14, 2013
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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.
Sheridan Park Centennial Raffle
Date: Now through Fri., February 14
Description: 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 today.
Pulaski Inn (MAP)
3900 E. Pulaski Avenue
Cudahy, WI 53110
Take the Scare out of Medicare
Date: Mon., November 18 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Description: Seniors and their family members can learn more about Medicare at this informational session at the Kelly Senior Center in Cudahy.
Kelly Senior Center (MAP)
6100 S. Lake Drive
Cudahy, WI 53110
Performance Company: INTERSECT
Danceworks Performance Company kicks off a season of collaboration by
crossing paths with some of Milwaukee's most influential musicians and
guest choreographers for a concert of innovative premieres.
CLICK HERE or call (414) 277-8480 for more information.
Date: Fri., November 22 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.
Location: South Milwaukee
Stop by this holiday event located at Heritage Park on the northwest
corner of 10th and Milwaukee Avenue. Santa will stop by for a
visit and hot cocoa and cider will be available to enjoy. A music
performance by South Milwaukee Public Grade Schools will begin at 4:30
p.m. with the tree lighting immediately following performance. Also, the
South Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce will offer coupon booklets at the
Tree Lighting containing specials from area businesses.
CLICK HERE for more information.
Dear Wisconsin Neighbor,
This week the Senate concluded session for 2013 and will not meet again until 2014, unless called into Special Session. Therefore, this report addresses the final bills taken up in committees and on the floor including legislation to overhaul our elections, harm our water quality, and protect our privacy. Continue reading for more on these and other important state and community issues.
Elections Overhaul Reaches Assembly
Over the past three years, Republican legislators have spent more attention and time on overhauling our elections than they have on creating jobs in our stunted economy. Not only did they ram through legislation that forces ID restrictions on Wisconsin's voters, but they also introduced legislation that would do the following: eliminate same-day registration, polarize and politicize the nonpartisan Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.), limit who can volunteer to work at the polls, create additional barriers when providing proof of residency, disqualify legitimate votes that were subject to certain clerical errors, and make it easier to disqualify votes cast in a race that ends in a recount.
One more piece of this plan to
disenfranchise voters was taken up this past Tuesday, when the Assembly
Committee on Campaigns and Elections took up legislation that would
further limit voter access to the polls. Under current law, voters can
apply to vote in-person absentee with the local municipal clerk
beginning on the third Monday preceding the election and ending at 5
p.m. or the close of business on the Friday preceding the election,
whichever is later. Assembly Bill 54 would penalize local municipalities
seeking to provide greater access to the polls for qualified voters by
changing this existing law.
A study done by George Mason
University examining voter turnout for the 2010 general elections ranked
Wisconsin among the top five states with the highest voter turnout. This
trend continued in the 2012 general election, as well. According to the
G.A.B., Wisconsin saw a turnout rate of 70.1% in that election.
Additionally, 3,071,434 votes were cast for president in the November
2012 elections. This was the highest number of votes cast for a single
office in a statewide election in Wisconsin history. Further, exhaustive
investigations into the accuracy of Wisconsin elections has proven that
restrictions on Wisconsin voters are profoundly unwarranted. These are
numbers of which to be proud. Upholding this tradition, not reversing
it, is the Wisconsin way.
Bad Water Bills Flooding Legislature
In recent weeks, a couple of bills related to our water quality have been making their way through the Legislature. As it is not always possible to turn back the clock after we damage the quality and levels of our water supplies, it is imperative that we carefully consider these potentially harmful bills. Otherwise, the economic health of our businesses, physical health of our families, and environmental health of our state may be placed in serious jeopardy. Continue reading for more about these bills.
Damaging High-Capacity Well Bill Passes Committee
Late last week, the Senate Committee on Natural Resources voted on legislation, Senate Bill 302, that would prohibit the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) from considering the cumulative impact of high-capacity wells in Wisconsin. This bill passed out of committee on a party-line vote with three Republican senators supporting it and two Democratic senators opposing it. That means this bill is now available to be voted on by the full Senate. This legislation is concerning as it rolls back existing protections and undermines the ability of the DNR to protect our ground and surface waters on behalf of all Wisconsinites.
There are currently 40% more
high-capacity well applications in Wisconsin than there were only two
years ago, and the trend does not seem to be slowing. There are very
serious groundwater quality problems in several areas of the state,
including Waukesha, Madison, and Green Bay, and this bill will only
exacerbate such issues in these and other communities across Wisconsin.
Repeal of Shoreland Zoning Protections
The full Senate also took up legislation, Senate Bill 183, that would repeal shoreland protections in municipalities across the state. Under current law, cities, towns, and villages are to follow the shoreland zoning rules set by their county. Under this bill, these smaller municipalities would be able to annex land and ignore these existing environmental safeguards.
There are several concerns that my colleagues and I raised during the committee and floor debates on this bill. First, this bill would undo continuity along our shores from one municipality to the next while simultaneously incentivizing smaller municipalities to use "back door" tactics to get around current standards. Additionally, this bill could effectively remove shoreland protections from the very parcels of land that need it most, such as low-density areas along waterways that may be undergoing rapid development as they are annexed to municipalities.
Given that our concerns were left
largely unaddressed by Senate Republicans, I voted against the passage
of this bill. After passing in the Senate, this bill will be sent to the
Assembly for concurrence as its Assembly companion already passed in
that house. Governor Walker will then need to decide if he will support
or veto stripping basic standards of protection for our shorelands.
Protecting Our Right to Privacy
Privacy is a right that many of us have come to highly value. Whether that means privacy blinds in our homes, or maintaining confidentiality between us and our doctor, attorney, or clergy, we go to great length to safeguard our right to privacy.
However, it appears that this same right to privacy is often being ignored by employers with regards to their employees. Across the country, some employers have demanded employees turn over their usernames and passwords for their personal accounts that they utilize on their free time during nonwork hours. Requiring access to personal, social media accounts is clearly an invasion of privacy, yet as the bill states "current law does not regulate employer access to, or observation of, the personal Internet accounts of employees and applicants for employment."
Therefore, a bipartisan group of legislators have introduced a proposal, Senate Bill 223, that updates Wisconsin's privacy laws to reflect our ever changing technology so that Wisconsinites can retain their secure, personal accounts. This bill makes it illegal to require an employee, job applicant, student, prospective student, tenant, or prospective tenant to turn over their username and password to any social media Web site. Under this bill, employers, landlords, and universities can still:
As you can see, this privacy update still allows Wisconsin companies and businesses the flexibility to determine what their employees can and cannot do while on the clock. It also enables these employers to continue monitoring that their employees are not posting damaging content about the company on social media sites. However, this bill also ensures that Wisconsinites are able to maintain secure and private accounts on their own time.
This bill passed the Senate unanimously on Tuesday, November 12, and I was pleased to have the opportunity to support it. It has since been sent to the Assembly for further action.
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.
This week, the Legislature took up a
bill, October 2013 Special Session Assembly Bill 4, that aims to
increase the reinvestment and redevelopment of historic buildings across
Wisconsin, including right here in our neighborhoods. As we know from
experience, investing in these historic buildings helps spark new life by
attracting boutique firms, shops, and entrepreneurs that have
traditionally been the backbone of Wisconsin's economy.
This bill passed the Assembly on October 17 and was later passed by the Senate on November 12. I was pleased to be able to cast my vote in support of this bill and look forward to it being signed into law by the governor shortly.
Did You Know...?
You may know that Wisconsin is known
as "America's Dairyland" because it ranks first in the U.S. for cheese
production. But did you know that according to the Wisconsin Department
of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Wisconsin also ranks
number one in the U.S. for cranberry production, dairy goat production,
ginseng production, carrots for processing, and snap beans for
Remember to Vote on Tuesday
Some communities in Wisconsin will be holding special elections on Tuesday, November 19. If you live in one of these communities, please remember to go out and vote. The polls are open on Tuesday, November 19 from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. Voting is a great way to ensure that your voice is heard and that you hold those representing you accountable.
Join Me at the High Public Cost of Low Wages Town Hall
People who work for a living should be able to make a living. As it stands, the $200-billion fast food industry pays its frontline workers so little that more than half of them are forced to rely on our safety net programs, like BadgerCare and FoodShare, leaving taxpayers responsible for picking up the tab of nearly $7 billion every year. Right here in Wisconsin, we pay $166 million to supplement the low wages of Wisconsin workers so they can feed themselves and their families and keep a roof over their heads. It is time for the people of Wisconsin to stop subsidizing the profits of corporations whose CEOs make millions while their workers are forced to seek assistance to make ends meet.
Join me, other legislators, community
leaders, and our neighbors on Thursday, November 21 in examining the
problem of the high public costs of low wages and help us in finding a
solution. The information for the town hall is provided below.
Milwaukee, WI 53205
Attending Local Veterans Day Events
This past weekend, as well as Monday, I took some time out to attend some local Veterans Day events, including the ceremony in Oak Creek and the annual presentation at Cudahy High School. I would like to thank our local communities and neighbors that attending and for making these events truly special.
I would also again like to thank all of our veterans for their dedicated service to our country. There are no words to describe just how grateful I am for all that you have sacrificed to keep us safe here at home.
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,
Sign the Higher Ed, Lower Debt Petition
Exponential increases in tuition and
fees coupled with challenging economic times over the years have made it
nearly impossible for students to work their way through school, as was
commonplace in the past. In fact, nearly 40 million Americans now hold
over $1.2 trillion in student loan debt nationally.
Wisconsin's Student Debt Crisis
Some issues related to student loans
can only be dealt with at the federal level. Unfortunately, Congress'
current partisan gridlock leaves little hope for real relief for student
loan borrowers in the near future. We cannot wait for Congress to act.
It is time for innovative, common sense solutions that will provide real
relief for Wisconsin's student loan borrowers.
As you can see, this legislation offers common sense solutions for real savings on behalf of Wisconsinites managing student loan debt. I hope legislative Republicans will see the economic value of moving forward with such a proposal. Therefore, I encourage them to join me in supporting the Higher Ed, Lower Debt bill. Wisconsinites cannot afford to wait any longer for more affordable college education and decreasing their debt burden.
Sign the Higher Ed, Lower Debt Petition
If you would like to see the Higher
Ed, Lower Debt bill become law, I encourage you to sign onto the Higher
Ed, Lower Debt petition. The petition states the following:
Take the 2013-2014 Neighborhood Survey
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.
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