Thursday, April 14
It is my honor to continue to serve as your State Representative for the 46th Assembly District. In an ongoing effort to keep you apprised of the happenings around the Capitol, another edition of the Hebl Herald has found your inbox! In this edition, I discuss equal pay and Voter ID.
I have also recently sent out my biennial legislative survey so that we can properly gauge how people in the district are feeling. Jobs and the economy come in as the top priority of constituent concerns. Support for education funding, from K-12 through postsecondary education, is also very high. The full results of the survey can be found at the bottom of this newsletter. If you did not receive a survey and would like to get one in the future, or if you have a change of address, please email me and let me know so that we can get your information updated.
The Spring Election has come and gone, tax season is
almost over, and the 2015-16 legislative session has come to a close.
However, that does not mean
that you shouldn't contact me. I am here to serve YOU, whether or
not the State Assembly is convened to debate legislation. Do not
hesitate to contact me regarding any and all state issues that concern
you; my door is always open to you. Please stop by to visit anytime.
Voter ID gets off to a rocky start
We have now gone through two elections with Voter ID in place, the Spring Primary on February 16 and the Spring Election on April 5. It has not gone smoothly.
For starters, the 2011 Voter ID law included a provision that the state fund an educational campaign in order to instruct voters on which forms of identification are acceptable. The non-partisan Government Accountability Board (GAB) met with one of the Republican cosponsors of that bill to ask for funding for that educational campaign. Not only had they not received funds, but two days after that meeting the Republican majority voted to disband the GAB in order to replace it with two separate, partisan organizations. Some estimates show that potentially as many as 300,000 voters do not possess the correct form of identification, despite being eligible to vote.
Then, on April 1, the last day for early voting, a state computer system crashed. This caused long delays in both getting acceptable IDs from the DMV as well as verifying voters registration information for those attempting to vote early.
During the Spring Election on April 5, headaches over
voter ID were numerous. There were even reports of students
leaving the long lines before getting a chance to vote because they
could not skip their classes.
The day after the election, a former state Republican staffer recalled that, during a GOP caucus, some of the Republican staffers "were giddy about the prospects of suppressing minority and college voters."
They are not even pretending anymore! Though they claimed the bill was to address the (non-existent) problem of voter fraud, we knew from the beginning that it was simply a power grab to help themselves and their party by disenfranchising voting blocks that don't tend to vote for them.
I voted against this bill when it was introduced in 2011, and I still stand against it. We should focus on legislation that will help our citizens, not hurt them. We should be making it easier to vote, not harder. Adding multiple unnecessary hoops for voters to jump through so that they can participate our country's greatest civic duty solves nothing. I will continue to fight against harmful legislation that hurts Wisconsin's citizens.
Quest for Equal Pay an Ongoing Struggle
Tuesday, April 12 marked this year's "Equal Pay Day." It is the day that symbolizes how far into the new year an average woman would have to work to earn what an average man earned in the previous year (meaning an woman would have to work from January 1, 2015-April 12, 2016 to earn what a man makes from January 1, 2015-December 31, 2015).
President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act over 50 years ago, and yet we still have a significant gender disparity in yearly earnings. Today, both nationally and in Wisconsin, women earn on average 79 cents for every dollar the average man makes. That means women earn $10,000 less per year than their male counterparts. This is unacceptable.
The gap is significantly worse for women of color. According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, "African American women are paid, on average, 60 cents and Latinas are paid just 55 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men."
Wisconsin used to have stronger laws to protect against unfair work practices. 2009's Act 20 included provisions to better recover monetary losses that might be incurred due to discriminatory practices. Unfortunately, our governor signed a bill four years ago that repealed that law.
Although it seems obvious that the equal pay gap is an ongoing problem, there are some who persist with the notion that the wage gap is nothing but a myth. Here is a good run down of some of those myths, and the truth behind them.
Clearly, something must be done. There is no logical reason for this problem to continue. I have voted in the past to close the wage gap and attempt to fix the problem, and I will continue to fight for equal pay for equal work for all workers in our state.
Results of 2015-16 District Survey
The results of the Biennial Survey are in. Thank you to all those who participated! This helps me recognize the priorities of the people of my district, so if you have an additional concerns please contact me!
1.) What is the most important issue facing our state right now (can choose more than one)?
2.) Do you think the Legislature should reverse changes to environmental protections that were meant to benefit a mining company that has since left the state?
3.) Do you support legislation that would allow refinancing of student loan debt?
4.) Do you support an indexed gas tax to help pay for highway projects and road maintenance?
5.) How do you feel about Wisconsin's current level of funding for public K-12 schools?
It's just right 17.0%
We need more funding for public schools 70.7%
We need less funding for public schools 6.7%
6.) Do you support or oppose recent cuts to the University of Wisconsin Systems?
7.) Do you think Wisconsin should accept federal Medicaid funds to provide insurance to about 80,000 more state residents?
Yes, we should accept these funds 78.9%
No, we should not accept these funds 18.1%
8.) Should Wisconsin raise its minimum wage?
Thank you to everyone who participated! I will keep your opinions in mind going forward.
(Note that not
every participant answered every question. Percentages are the number of
responses divided by the total number of surveys returned.)
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