Lending a Hand to the Homeless

This week, my colleagues and I held statewide press conferences to unveil a new package of legislative initiatives that aim to curb homelessness in Wisconsin. This new legislation invests more than $3.7 million in new funding, more than doubling the state’s current commitment. Each proposal addresses a specific need and ensures a targeted investment in programs that address homelessness statewide.

Last April, Assembly Republicans began the conversation to begin addressing homelessness, an issue that had largely been ignored over the previous decade.

On Thursday, we put forth eight new legislative initiatives that continue the conversation we started one year ago. This legislation is the next step in the goal to end homelessness in Wisconsin.

My proposal directs the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development to identify and create programs aimed at helping homeless youth and adults emphasizing the specific needs of those demographics. The bill also requires collaboration with local workforce development boards and their corresponding homeless response systems. We know that when someone is able to find meaningful employment they are significantly less likely to be homeless.

Last session, the first package of bills we proposed included creating the Interagency Council on Homelessness, chaired by former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. The council included agency heads in addition to service providers and advocates from the homeless community.

In November, the council released a comprehensive action plan titled, A Hand and a Home: Foundations for Success that included a number of recommendations based on input from stakeholders and those who work closely with the homeless community. The eight proposals released this week are based on priorities from the council’s report.

Last session, the proposals we brought forward passed with bipartisan support in both the Assembly and the Senate. I’m hopeful Gov. Evers will follow through on his commitment to bipartisanship and work with Republicans to get these proposals signed into law.

Criminal Justice Reform

On Monday, Assembly Republicans proposed reforms that will improve the criminal justice system in Wisconsin.

These proposals will create better access to a fair trial, provide more funding for assistant district attorneys and state public defenders, and increase the rates for these positions. In addition, more dollars will be added to programs that help individuals who have served their sentence receive training for jobs and reentry back into society. Funding will also be provided for drug and alcohol treatment programs. Finally, increased investments will be made to retain correctional officers.

These reforms provide counties with the necessary resources to create better efficiency in our courts and safer communities.  

The Fight Against Opioids

In 2013, Rep. Nygren and Assembly Republicans started the HOPE (Heroin, Opioid Prevention and Education) Agenda to combat the growing problem of opioid addiction that has impacted every corner of the state. Since its inception, 30 bills targeting heroin and opioid abuse have been approved by the legislature and signed into law.

Recently the Department of Health Services released a graphic demonstrating the positive results our legislation has produced. But we know more work is needed. I look forward to continuing our efforts to combat addiction and drug abuse throughout the legislative session. Check out the graphic below to see the results!

Opioid Prevention Stats.JPG

Budget Address

Next week, Gov. Evers will deliver his first budget address on Thursday, Feb. 28 at 7 pm. Watch the address live on WisEye.org!

Don't Miss These Events in the District 
  • Taste of Oak Creek-Franklin – Tuesday, March 7 – Oak Creek Community Center – 8580 S Howell Ave, Oak Creek https://www.eventbrite.com/e/taste-of-oak-creek-franklin-tickets-54711546709 
  • American Legion Post #27 100th Birthday Party – Saturday, March 23, at 5 pm – Cost: $14, age 6 and under: $6, includes ham, mac and cheese, sweet potatoes, green beans, salad, rolls and desert – tickets available at the American Legion Post, 920 Monroe Ave, South Milwaukee
  • Bet on the Arts Game Night – Saturday, March 23, 7 pm – South Milwaukee Knights of Columbus, 732 Badger Ave, South Milwaukee – All proceeds benefit the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center https://southmilwaukeepac.org/event/soiree-a-party-for-a-purpose/