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Forward Fridays


Welcome to my latest e-update! Here are highlights from the past week as your State Representative. 

As always, feel free to reach out to my office with any questions or concerns you have.

Forward together!   

 Universal Changing Stations  Universal Changing Stations Graphic.png

On Tuesday, I introduced, with co-authors Rep. Anderson, Rep. Brostoff, & Sen. Smith, “Universal Changing Stations” legislation, that would install adult sized changing stations in certain buildings and create a tax credit for small businesses to install these stations.

At one of our first in-district meetings with constituents, a Brookfield mother shared her concerns about lack of changing tables in public places for adults with disabilities. She shared that her son has been unable to go to basketball games, museums, and airports because, at age 19, he has to be changed on the floor of public restrooms or in the back of their van. We have a population of people in need who are going unseen and are unable to participate in society. Since the buildings don't work for the people, the people aren't going to the buildings.

If we want families to live, work, visit, and stay in Wisconsin, we have to make sure that our state is accessible to everyone. Everyone deserves the same access to public spaces, and bathroom use should not prevent someone from enjoying and participating in our communities and our society. I am excited to help make Wisconsin a more accessible state. 

Read my full press release here. Read the bill here

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We are seeking your stories. Tell us what the bill would mean, or would have meant, to your family.

Email us at: Rep.Vining@legis.wisconsin.gov. Thank you!


Voucher School Tax Transparency

Homeowners across the district will start receiving their property tax bills this month. Earlier this year, I co-authored Assembly Bill 299, which would allow homeowners to see the impact of private voucher schools on their property tax bill. Right now, taxpayers don't know what they are paying for the voucher school program -- it is a hidden tax.

In the 14th Assembly District, taxpayers are paying $941,678 towards the voucher school program. Elmbrook Schools is losing $255,234 to the voucher school program, the Wauwatosa School District is losing $324,502 to the voucher school program, and Milwaukee Public Schools is losing $42,585,600. 

EXAMPLE WAUWATOSA PROPERTY TAX BILL with AB 299.pngHere is an example of what a Wauwatosa resident would see on their property tax bill if Assembly Bill 299 were enacted. It shows, on the bottom left corner, as an addition to the typical tax bill, that $324,502 of your tax dollars is being diverted to voucher schools in that year. 

Its important that taxpayers know where their dollars are going, and how much it is costing them. This transparency is essential to a fair tax system. I am fighting for transparency for taxpayers.

Dark Store Loophole 

The "Dark Store Loophole" allows retailers to have their stores assessed, and taxed, as if their stores were empty or "dark", meaning they pay a lower tax bill. 

Homeowners and small businesses carry the burden that this loophole leaves behind. Local governments have to pay exorbitant legal fees to fight this tax loophole when retailers take advantage of it, which takes money away from crucial public services like fire and police, roads, and schools.

It's time for the legislature to close the loophole and take the burden off of responsible homeowners and small businesses. The tax must be shifted back to those who should be paying it, and those who can afford to pay it -- big box retailers. 

Recent Community Events
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On Monday, I attended a roundtable discussion at UW-Milwaukee hosted by my colleagues Rep. Crowley, Rep. Bowen, and Sen. Taylor about "disrupting disparities" and what can be done to reduce the prevalent racial disparities in Wisconsin. 

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Children & Families Committee 

C&F 12-18-19.jpgThe legislature is still hard at work! Children & Families Committee met on Wednesday to hear a bill (I’m a co-sponsor) paving the way for the federal Family First rollout in Wisconsin 2021. Confirmed today that passing this bill, and passing it quickly this winter/ by spring is crucial to get the inner workings in place for October 2021. 

We will continue to share more information to the implementation of Family First in Wisconsin. 

What is "Family First"?

The Family First Prevention Services Act (H.R. 5456 (Family First)) was signed into law as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act on February 9, 2018.  This major reform aims to transform family support systems across the country by providing partnership programs to families who at risk of entering foster care. Family First prioritizes keeping families together. There is evidence-based data supporting that it is better to keep kids in their families, and support them so they can stay together, which also helps relieve the weight on the foster system. 

Informational Town Hall in January!
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Our next Topical Town Hall will be on Human Trafficking. We are looking to schedule it the last week of January, so keep an eye out for more information about this informational town hall. 

Happy Holidays!
Happy Holidays 2 Rep Vining.pngI hope everyone has a fun, safe, and relaxing time this holiday season. Thank you to all first responders for keeping us safe and healthy over the holidays and to the service workers and small businesses who are working their busiest days to make sure everyone has an enjoyable holiday season. 
Our e-update will be taking on hiatus next week, but will be back on December 30th for a "2019 Recap"! 
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State Capitol Tree - this year's theme was science!

  Assembly Democrats Podcast

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Listen on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

Looking Forward 

Feel free to email or call my office with any questions or concerns, or meet with me at one of my in-district office hours or listening sessions.

Forward together,

Rep. Robyn Vining


Contact Us: 

State Capitol
P.O. Box 8953
Madison, WI 53708 

PH: (608) 266-9180
TF: (888) 534-0014

Email: Rep.Vining@legis.wi.gov 
Web: www.vining.assembly.wi.gov


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