Room 307 West
P.O. Box 8953
Madison, WI 53708
Phone: (608) 266-5780
Toll Free: (888) 534-0095
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American Southwest Exhibition
Description: On his explorations across the American Southwest,
photographer Chris Hood captured the beauty of locations in Utah and
Arizona from angles that would be typically unseen by most human eyes.
Date: Wednesday, Feb. 25 - Sunday, April 4.
Location: The Pump House Regional Art Center
La Crosse Bike Swap
Description: Come to the swap to re-home your dusty bikes, parts,
and accessories. Any bikes unsold at 2 p.m. must be picked up or they
will be donated to Logan Bike Works.
Date: Saturday, Feb. 28, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Location: Logan Middle School
Aldo Leopold Day
Description: The Friday evening event will include readings from
Aldo Leopold's Sand County Almanac, a showing of "Green Fire: Aldo
Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time," and a time for conversation with
the weekend's speakers. The Saturday afternoon program from 2-4 p.m. at
the Myrick Center will include talks by Curt Meine, Leopold biographer;
Bob Clarke of the Friends of the Central Sands; and Erin O'Brien, policy
director of the Wisconsin Wetlands Association -- all on the topic of
Wisconsin water issues.
Date: Friday, February 27 (7:00 p.m.) and Saturday, February 28
(9:00 a.m. and 2-4 p.m.)
Location: Myrick-Hixon Eco Park
Do you know why
Wisconsin is named the Badger State?
Surprisingly, it's not
just because badgers are native to our state! Back in Wisconsin's
history, all the way back to the 1800s, miners dug tunnels into
hillsides as they searched for lead and then lived in them during the
winter months to keep warm. The tunnels miners lived in reminded people
of similar habitats of badgers, and Wisconsin became known as the badger
Friends and Neighbors,
This week, Wisconsin
faced a number of proposals that could make or break Wisconsin's
economic future. "Right to Work" and Medicare expansion have been
prominent national issues for a number of months, sparking a great deal
of discussion in Wisconsin. Wisconsin-based proposals of each issue were
introduced in our legislature earlier this week. Read on to learn about
the impacts of these legislative moves, in addition to news on other
state and community issues.
95th Assembly District
Harmful Right to Work Proposal Being Fast-Tracked in
This week, Republicans held an
emergency session for the purpose of introducing Right
to Work (RTW) legislation. Despite Gov. Walker's having
called RTW a "distraction" earlier in the year, he has
suddenly turned about-face, and is ready to sign
legislation should it reach his desk.
But the distraction is not why I
oppose this legislation. I oppose it because of the real
negative impacts it will have on La Crosse families and
individuals. On a large scale, it will lead to lower
wages across private and public sectors. Lower wages
would affect our economy as a whole, significantly
decreasing household contributions to our local
businesses, and damaging the Wisconsin economy. On a
personal level, however, Right to Work can have just as
damaging of effects. Right to Work eliminates employees'
abilities to negotiate for workplace safety. In Right to
Work states, workplace fatalities increase by 51
percent. In Wisconsin this could mean that, for example,
nurses would be unable to negotiate their maximum work
hours. This could cause a significant issue for both
workers and patients - as overworked employees create a
grave health concern.
RTW legislation unnecessarily inserts
government into private business negotiations.
Negotiations between employers and employees are
necessary for profitable business. Unions ensure
high-quality workers as well as a safe work environment.
Without their contributions, profitability of both
private and public business would suffer.
Statistics from the Wisconsin
Contractor Coalition estimate that, if RTW were
implemented in Wisconsin, both state income and revenue
would decline. Each year the state could experience a
net income loss of between $5.84 and $7.23 billion, and
a revenue loss of $289 million.
The most telling effects of RTW can be taken from
Oklahoma, as its law has been in effect for enough time
to measure a difference. Proponents of RTW say that it
is needed for one core reason: that adopting RTW will
bring business to the state. This was the argument made
for passage in
Oklahoma, and yet did not prove accurate. After RTW was
implemented, the number of new firms relocating to
Oklahoma went down by one-third. Additionally, Oklahoma lost
nearly 50,000 manufacturing jobs and its unemployment
rate shot up by 3 percent.
The Senate introduced
RTW on Monday, held a public hearing and executive
session on Tuesday, and rushed to pass RTW on Wednesday.
RTW passed the Senate by a
vote of 17-15.
Next week the Assembly
will take up the legislation. A
public hearing will be held on Monday, and will be
considered by the full Assembly on Thursday.
Funding Proposal Would Save State $241 Million
This week I signed on as a co-author to a
bill that would save Wisconsin $241 million. Representative Daniel Riemer and Senator
Jon Erpenbach have introduced a bill that would adopt a
modified version of federal BadgerCare expansion,
modeled after Medicaid expansion in Iowa. This bill
would leverage the federal dollars available to save Wisconsin $241 million over the next two
years and provide access to healthcare for more than 80,000 Wisconsinites.
For over a year, Wisconsinites have
urged Gov. Walker to accept federal funding dollars for BadgerCare.
In the Nov. 4 election, La Crosse County voters answered
a referendum question regarding accepting federal
Medicaid dollars. 70 percent of the community supported
this measure, yet Gov. Walker continues to refuse these
We need to find a way to leverage these
federal dollars to help relieve Wisconsin's budget
deficit. Currently, our tax dollars are going to
the federal government and being distributed to other
states because Gov. Walker refuses to compromise. We want our tax
dollars back in our state.
That is why I continue to support taking
back our tax dollars and why myself along with Rep. Steve
Doyle, Rep. Chris Danou, and Rep. Daniel Riemer spoke on
the importance of accepting federal BadgerCare funding
in Wisconsin [pictured].
Since Gov. Walker's budget address on
February 3, the Joint Finance Committee has poring over
and analyzing the economic and social impacts of budget
This week, the nonpartisan Legislative
Fiscal Bureau released their analysis of the budget.
This analysis details fiscal impacts that budget cuts
and expenditures will have on Wisconsin agencies.
Click here to view the Legislative Fiscal Bureau's
Next week, the Joint
Finance Committee will start hearing agency testimony on
individual agency budgets. Hearings are held in Room 412
East in the State Capitol. The agency hearing schedule
is as follows:
Monday, March 2 (1:00 pm)
Tuesday, March 3 (9:00 am)
Department of Natural Resources
Department of Workforce Development
University of Wisconsin System
Department of Public Instruction
Department of Health Services
Wednesday, March 4 (9:00 am)
Department of Transportation
Department of Revenue (including
Lottery and Shared Revenue)
Department of Children and Families
Department of Financial Institutions
Department of Safety and Professional
Wisconsin Economic Development
Wisconsin Housing and Economic
Look for additional updates on the budget
process in future newsletters.
Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
February is Teen Dating
Violence Awareness Month. Teen dating violence is a problem
affecting youth in every community across the nation. One in
three young people are affected by physical, sexual, or verbal
dating violence. Unfortunately, this often goes undetected as
only 33 percent
of teens who are in an abusive relationship ever report
Representatives Melissa Sargent and Samantha Kerkman have put
forth legislation to bring awareness to this important issue.
Dating violence has led to violent crimes across the country,
including communities in Wisconsin.
This year, Teen Dating Violence Awareness advocates urge
Americans to "Break the Cycle," and encourage open discussion
between parents and teens about healthy relationships.
To find resources for youth, adults, and communities to raise
awareness to this issue,
SeniorCare is under attack, and we need Wisconsinites like you to stand
up for our seniors’ rights! The SeniorCare petition is still open, and I
encourage all to sign on and support our seniors.
Over the past few months, you may have
heard about Governor Walker's rejection of federal Medicaid dollars,
which would have saved Wisconsin an estimated $206 million over the next
two years. Throughout the state budget, and especially in health care,
we can see the effects of healthcare funding rejection. Under this
proposal, SeniorCare would be cut by $15 million -- a 40 percent cut.
Additionally, seniors would be forced to apply for Medicare part D,
which would cause them to pay more out of pocket expenses on
prescription drug costs.
SeniorCare in Wisconsin is once again
Sign the petition!