November 7, 2013
Find Me on Facebook and Twitter:
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: Fri., November 8 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
City of Oak Creek
Veterans Day Celebration
Veterans Day Parade
School's Annual Veterans Day Assembly
Date: Mon., November 11 at 7:30 p.m.
Description: Stephen Lang, award winning playwright, stage, and screen star, brings the stories of eight different men to the stage in a one-man show that will reach into your very soul and keep you thoroughly spellbound. Beyond Glory enjoyed a celebrated run on Broadway and in Chicago's Goodman Theater; Lang is now taking it coast to coast. Beyond Glory presents the stories of eight veterans from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, rendering first-hand accounts of valor which resulted in the nation's highest military award, the Medal of Honor. A portion of all tickets purchased will be donated to The Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative. CLICK HERE for more information.
Marcus Center of Performing Arts (MAP)
929 N. Water Street
Take the Scare out of Medicare
Date: Mon., November 11 and 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
Dear Wisconsin Neighbor,
This week's Larson Report takes time to honor the brave men and women who fought to protect our nation's freedoms. An update on important legislative events from the week--including passing discriminatory legislation, supporting a bill that provides unfair tax breaks, and moving forward proposals that would negatively affect women's health--is also provided.
Honoring Our Veterans
Join in honoring the brave men and
women that fought for our country to preserve our nation's freedom this
Veterans Day, November 11. Veterans Day, or Armistice Day, falls on the
anniversary of the signing of the Armistice ending World War I. This
federal holiday seeks to honor the service of all U.S. military veterans.
Wrong Turn in Fight to End Discrimination
In the 2009-2010 session, the Legislature passed bipartisan legislation that would give community members the option to petition to end the use of of race-based mascots at local schools in their area. Of the 65 schools that had Native American related mascots in 1989, 30 schools changed their nickname prior to the 2010 law while 32 schools still have Indian mascots. Despite only four schools having been affected by this bill--three changed their names and one is challenging the change request in court--legislative Republicans have felt compelled to overturn the law designed to diminish discrimination.
This past Tuesday, the Wisconsin State Senate took up this legislation, Assembly Bill 297, which will send Wisconsin backwards in the fight to end discrimination of all kinds, including towards Native Americans across the state. This bill eliminates the current process allowing people to file complaints with the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) over race-based mascots and team names, and giving DPI the authority needed to enforce mascot changes at these schools. I was disappointed to see that so many of my Republican colleagues refused to even participate in the debate on this offensive bill.
Click here or on the media player above to view Tuesday's floor debate
in the Senate.
Law is Unfair, Creates Uncertainty
In Wisconsin, we currently have a managed forest law in place. This generous tax relief program was created in 1985 to encourage timber production and provide more recreation space for outdoor enthusiasts. Under the program, land owners receive a tax break if they agree to follow a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) approved forest management plan and keep the property open to the public. There are approximately 30,000 Wisconsin landowners who participate in the program and play by the rules.
Unfortunately, Republicans ignored
this bipartisan alternative, opting instead to slightly amend their own proposal. The
amended bill still allows this out-of-state mining company the ability
to play by a different set of rules in order to avoid paying their fair
share of taxes. Further,
the minor improvements to this bill do not address the fact that the
out-of-state corporation will still be able to close public forest land
to the public for undefined reasons. Even the DNR remains unclear on
this process and how it will be applied to the company. As a result,
Senate Bill 278 remains both unfair and uncertain for local businesses
and Wisconsin citizens. Additionally, most hunting and recreation will
still be restricted on closed property.
Bill Further Erodes Our Minimum Wage Protections
On Tuesday, the Senate passed Senate Bill 320, legislation that will eliminate minimum wage protections for outside salespersons. Outside salespersons, such as insurance agents, have a similar work situation as independent contractors. Unlike independent contractors who have no employment protections, outside salespersons work as employees of a business, and are therefore are entitled to certain benefits, including minimum wage standards, which require that an employee receive at least minimum wage in all pay periods.
Individuals who work in sales can see dramatic swings in income pay from month to month, so these minimum wage requirements are crucial to ensuring that these Wisconsinites are able to support their families by minimize these fluctuations. By removing this important protection, outside salespersons will face greater financial instability. This bill is a small piece of Republican efforts over the last three years to reduce important employee protections for workers across Wisconsin. This, and the fact that a strong minimum wage is the cornerstone of a healthy middle-class economy, is why I voted to oppose Senate Bill 320.
Making Our Communities Safer
Last session, in response to concerns raised by law enforcement officials, the Legislature passed a bill to ban the sale of synthetic drugs. Synthetic, hallucinogenic drugs are dangerous to the health of our communities and neighbors. Synthetic drugs--also referred to as "bath salts," "herbal incense," "plant food," "K2," and "spice"--initially gives the user a euphoric high, but that is coupled with severe side effects that are often stronger than the drugs they were created to mimic. One such side effect is a psychological low, which can last up to two weeks after synthetic drug use. During this time, the drug user may experience psychosis or suicidal or homicidal tendencies.
The dangers of these side effects are real and can result in
harm or death of the drug user or others. According to the Christian
Science Monitor, a 21-year-old Louisiana man
recently cut his own throat then shot and killed himself after being treated by
doctors for bath salt use. Another man from Maine, under the influence
of bath salts, got off his motorcycle in the middle of a highway and
started trying to hit passing cars with a piece of wood. A woman, also
from Maine, thought her teeth were filled with ticks and tried to cut
them out with a knife, after ingesting bath salts.
Synthetic "marijuana" is now the second most frequently used illicit drug behind marijuana in the country. However, unlike its natural counterpart, synthetic marijuana resulted in 20 deaths last year. Further, according to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, the number of calls to poison centers related to synthetic drugs soared from about 3,200 in 2010 to more than 13,000 in 2011. Doctors also say there is no way to test if a patient has taken bath salts, so the only way medical professionals know is if the patient reports it. This makes treating someone who has taken bath salts extremely difficult.
Unfortunately, in Wisconsin the drug trade quickly found a way to bypass the new law restricting synthetic drug use. Despite the law being written in a way that proactively prohibited current synthetic drugs and any similar "analogs" in the future, it proved difficult for prosecutors to show that confiscated drugs were in fact an analog of the ones listed in the law. Prosecutors not only had to prove that the substance in question had a similar chemical composition, but also that it had a similar effect on the body as listed synthetic drugs.
To correct this problem, Senate Bill 325 was introduced. This bipartisan bill, which was authored by Sen. Hansen, Sen. Harsdoff, Rep. Bewley, and Rep. Bies will help close this loophole that allows some drug manufacturers to avoid prosecution. Under this bill, even if a drug is altered, if it maintains the same chemical structure as other listed synthetic drugs--it is illegal. This bill was supported unanimously in the Senate in session this past Tuesday, but has yet to be voted on by the full Assembly. Passing this bill would be a positive step forward in making our community safer for our family, friends, and neighbors.
More Anti-Women Bills Could Reach Senate Floor Tuesday
Today, 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 201/Assembly Bill 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. Continue reading for more information about these bills and the negative impact they can have on women across Wisconsin.
Restricting Birth Control Coverage
Limiting access to birth control for
these women may not only make it impossible for them to have children
when they decide to expand their families, but also prevent them from
being productive members of the workforce. Debilitating cramps, painful
migraines, extreme exhaustion, and unpredictable menstrual cycles can
cause women to miss work, produce poorer quality work, or be admitted to
the hospital. With extremism blocking access to health care treatments,
such health issues could be costly to employers, workers, and taxpayers
Let me be clear, response to an unplanned pregnancy
is a personal medical decision that is not taken lightly. And 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 gender 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
In an ideal world, women would never
face such a difficult and deeply personal situation as whether or not to
continue a pregnancy. The unfortunate reality, however, is that they do,
and I can only imagine how distressing it must be.
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.
In recent years, Lake Michigan has seen a disturbing drop in water levels. In fact, the lowest water level in the 160 year history of this data was observed in January 2013. This deal could contribute even further to this alarming trend of decreasing water levels, which could resultantly impact our aquatic life and our economy.
Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes are essential to maintaining a healthy, growing economy in Wisconsin and other states surrounding these magnificent bodies of water. 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. The Great Lakes also support a $4 billion sports fishery industry. These low water levels could further negatively impact our economy if they prevent ships from operating as they normally would because 240 ships and 120,000 trucks come in and out of the Port of Milwaukee annually, according to the Department of Transportation.
In addition to the economic and water
level impacts, this deal could also damage the water quality of Lake
Michigan and the connected bodies of water. Under the Great Lakes
Compact, any water diverted away from Lake Michigan must be returned to
the source watershed. This returned water is often treated sewage, and
Waukesha would return this treated sewage water to the Root River which
deposits into Lake Michigan in Racine. This could potentially decrease
water quality and cause additional flooding in Milwaukee and Racine
counties, something that is already an issue in the Milwaukee area.
Four town hall meetings on this proposal have been scheduled during the month of November. I encourage you to make your voice heard regarding this issue by participating in these public events. The dates and locations are listed below:
Each of these meetings is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and will consist of an information session about the proposed deal followed by a question and answer discussion. There have been concerns that this hearing format will not provide a full opportunity for public participation.
Did You Know...?
You may be aware that Wisconsin and the rest of the country are facing a student debt crisis with nearly 40 million Americans now holding over $1.2 trillion in student loan debt. But did you know that the annual tuition at the University of Wisconsin-Madison totaled only $20 in 1900?
Now, that same $20 will likely not even cover the cost of one book. Tuition and fees at UW-Madison are currently $10,402 for residents and $26,652 for nonresidents. Those numbers do not factor in the costs of room and board, books, or other expenditures. That is an increase of about 520% since 1900.
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.
|To Unsubscribe from the weekly Larson Report Newsletter, please reply to this email with the word "Unsubscribe."|