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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!  

Legislative Doors 

Legislative Doors Wauwatosa 8-30-19.jpgWAU. WA. TOSA! Last Friday I was legislative door knocking to introduce myself, share my contact information, and LISTEN!  

Legislative Priorities - Health

For this weeks e-update, I want to do a deep dive into one of my biggest legislative priorities for this session - health and healthcare. I had the honor of presenting these priorities at the Wauwatosa Health Department Legislative Breakfast last week. As a member of the Assembly Committee on Health, I talk a lot about the health of our women, children, and families across the state. Here are some of my priorities: 

Maternal & Infant Health

HWHB Logo.pngFrom the moment the People's Budget was announced, I have been a strong supporter of the Healthy Women, Healthy Babies provisions that were included, and then removed by Republicans.

I am a co-sponsor of Assembly Bill 346 - which extends Medicaid eligibility for women postpartum from 60 days to one year. 2/3 of maternal deaths occur in the 6-12 months after the baby is born - a mother right now is more likely to die than her own mother was. We are the ONLY industrialized country in the U.S. with rising maternal death rates. I support Medicaid coverage for doula services, because they work. Right now, Wisconsin is leading the nation in African American infant mortality rates - doula services help combat this crisis. A Black mother in America is 2-3 time s more likely to die from maternity-related causes, but in Wisconsin, she is FIVE times more likely to die. Wisconsin women deserve culturally sensitive care - we need to invest in fairly paid, Medicaid-covered doulas. 

Medicaid Expansion

Medicaid expansion improves health outcomes, coverage, and lowers costs, even in the private insurance market. 

I'm a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 361, which accepts Medicaid expansion. It is the moral and fiscally responsible decision, and every hour that goes by, Wisconsin taxpayers lose $115,000. Since Governor Evers signed the budget in July, more than $155 million that belonged to the Wisconsin taxpayers has been sent by the federal government to states that have expanded Medicaid like New Jersey and Illinois, as well as Washington DC. Without intervention, that number will balloon over the next two years to $2 billion. We are paying for Medicaid expansion in other states already, without the benefits to our state - let’s bring our money home. It is estimated that the cost of private premiums purchased on the marketplace will go down by 19% with Medicaid Expansion.

Prescription Drug Prices

I am a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 340, which caps the price of insulin.

In 1999, the cost for one vial of insulin was $16.  Now it costs $340. According to research in The Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine, one in four diabetes patients reports rationing their insulin due to costs. That number does not account for people who may be forced to choose between buying their insulin and buying groceries, gas to get to work or their rent or house payment. This bill caps the cost of co-pays for insulin at $100 per month and requires the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance to investigate and report on the pricing of insulin to help determine what other actions may be needed to address insulin costs. We are working on similar legislation for other necessary life-saving prescription drugs, like Epipens. 

Gun Violence Prevention

Universal Background Checks #2.png (3)Gun violence is a public health crisis.

I am the co-sponsor of the universal background checks bill, 48 hour waiting period bill (AB 336), sales and use tax exemption for gun safes bill (AB 366 - bipartisan). 

We are working on gun violence prevention legislation such as ERPOs (Extreme Risk Protection Orders), which I support, and so do 81 percent of people in households with guns in the state (MU Law Poll, 9/4/19). 

These are crucial efforts to prevent suicides, mass shootings, and other forms of gun violence. We must ensure public safety while also protecting individual freedoms. ERPOs, universal background checks, and 48-hour waiting periods are data-driven solutions to the gun violence epidemic that have bipartisan support across the country. These bills have proven to be effective in preventing shootings and suicides in other states that have passed similar laws. The legislation is carefully written to include strong due process protections that will not impede on responsible gun ownership. 

In states that have implemented universal background check laws, women are 46% less likely to be shot to death by intimate partners, there are 48% fewer gun suicides, and law enforcement officers are 48% less likely to be killed with handguns. 

A majority of people are in support of these gun reform measures. Over 90% of Americans support universal background checks, including 81% of Wisconsinites and 75% of gun-owning households in Wisconsin (MU Law Poll, 9/4/19). 

Changing Tables

At our very first office hours, a constituent shared a concern about lack of changing tables for adults with disabilities. She shared her son is unable to go to basketball games, museums, airports because, at age 19, he has to be changed on the floor of public restrooms. And instantly I realized we have a population of people in need who are going unseen because since the buildings don't work for the people, the people aren't going to the buildings.

I'm working on a bill to improve restroom access in buildings and spaces for people with disabilities and their care providers. I'm told this will change the lives of families across the state of Wisconsin. We are also looking to make expanding accessibility more affordable for small business owners. Eventually, I'd like to expand this initiative to include sensory rooms. I've been watching Pennsylvania as they've paired the installation of changing tables and sensory rooms.

Rape Kit Testing

I am the co-sponsor of legislation (Assembly Bill 214) to prevent the backlog of rape kits that existed in our justice system before this year. We need to put survivors at the center of this conversation, and focus on their needs in the justice process. The testing of these rape kits interacts with the physical and mental health of women, men, and children across the state. They deserve their justice, and their peace. 

Safe Harbor

Decriminalizing paid child rape is more than a criminal justice issue - it's about protecting our kids, and their mental and physical health. The Safe Harbor bill (AB 41), which I am a co-sponsor of, deserves to have a vote on the floor of the State Assembly. 


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"74% say the state should provide financial support for replacing lead pipes between water mains and residences; 16% say property owners should pay the full bill.” — MU Law Poll (released 9/4/2019)

I chose to speak on this topic during my maiden speech because I have spent my life close to this topic and the people it affects.

It’s crucial from human perspective, and it's less expensive to replace lead pipes up front, at the begin of a life, versus aid to a damaged brain/body forever.

With prevention, we know that what is morally responsible from a human perspective is also often fiscally responsible. I’ll continue to fight for these things.

I am a proud co-sponsor of the bipartisan SCHOOL Acts, which stands for Supporting Children’s Health by Ousting Outdated Lead, includes two bills. The first bill, LRB 19-3539, addresses lead in school drinking water by requiring testing and, if necessary, requiring that contaminated water sources be taken offline and replaced with clean water sources while incentivizing long-term remediation by buying down the interest rate of BCPL loans. The second bill, LRB 19-3566, tackles lead in the drinking water of daycares, group homes, and summer camps by requiring testing as a component of licensure and, if necessary, ensuring that contaminated water sources be taken offline and replaced with clean water sources.

Housing is healthcare

"A stable, affordable home is a prescription for good health."
- Dr. Megan Sandel, pediatrician 

We must recognize the importance of housing and how it is a symptom of health crises. We are working on a way to help teens exiting the foster care system find housing. Are you, or anyone you know, a landlord who would be willing to partner with the Department of Children & Families and other groups that help transition youth out of foster care and into rental units? If so, please contact my office. 258 foster youth will age out of the system in the next year and we are working to provide them with rental units/homes. 


What am I missing? Have ideas or concerns?
Contact me to share.

 Assembly Democrats Podcast

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Did you know that we have a podcast? Listen on Spotify or Apple Podcasts! The latest episode is available now!

They're short, sweet, and keep you up to date on the basic happenings in the Capitol. 

 Adoption Task Force

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The Adoption Task Force met on Wednesday for the final time. You’ll see legislation circulate soon, once it’s written and ready. One scheduling note related to our work - September 18th at 11am in the Capitol, we will have an informational hearing about Family First (new federal program) from the Department of Children & Families in our Children & Families committee. This hearing will give us the opportunity to ask about how Family First in Wisconsin could relate to what we have heard in the Adoption Task Force. I’m anticipating that to be a very interesting informational hearing. 

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In District Office Hours Office Hours 8-30-19.jpg

Great office hours last Friday discussing transportation + criminal justice reform + responsible gun ownership and gun safety + psychology licensing, and then some relaxed discussion with one of our high school interns. And: macarons! It really is an honor to serve in this role, hear your voices, learn from your expertise, and engage with your concerns. Thank you! More to come in September! 

Nominate "First Responder of the Year"! 

Is there a first responder in your life you'd like to nominate for "First Responder of the Year"? We are accepting nominations until TODAY!
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Fill out THIS FORM to nominate a first responder in your city or county for consideration as the First Responder of the Year for the 14th Assembly district (Wauwatosa-Brookfield-Milwaukee).

First responders include police and sheriff officers, fire fighters, and EMS personnel (paramedics, EMTs, volunteer first responders).

You can nominate someone for a variety of reasons including a specific heroic action, a significant professional achievement, their body of work over time, or their length of service. The winner will be invited to Madison in October to participate in a Hometown Hero ceremony.

Nominations are due by mail or email by TODAYFriday, September 6th!

 Blue Books & Highway Maps

Each legislative office distributes, free of charge, copies of the Wisconsin Blue Book, and state of Wisconsin Highway maps. The newest print edition of the Blue Book will be out in October, but is now available online. The new version of the Highway maps are available now. Contact our office for a free copy!

Looking Forward 

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I will be participating in two upcoming town halls, hosted by U.S. Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner. Other area state legislators have been invited by Congressman Sensenbrenner to participate as well. Congressman Sensenbrenner will be available to answer any questions related to the federal government, and my colleagues and I will be available to answer questions related to the state government.

Brookfield Town Hall
Saturday, September 14th, 1PM
Brookfield Town Hall, Board Room
645 N. Janacek Road, Brookfield, WI

Wauwatosa Town Hall
Saturday, September 21st, 1PM
Wauwatosa Public Library, Firefly Room
7635 W North Ave, Wauwatosa, WI 

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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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