Official Government Communication

Week of Jan. 1st - Jan. 7th

Dear Friend,

There is a lot happening at the State Capitol and it is my hope that this email will help you stay in touch with your government. As your Senator, I truly believe in public service. If there is anything my office can do to assist you, please feel free to contact us.

Here to serve,      

Sen. Lena Taylor

4th District


Off and Running: 1st Judiciary Public Hearing of the Year Thursday, as a member of the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety, I had an opportunity to hear a robust number of bills covering everything from providing emergency medical treatment to domestic animals to the length of contracts for GPS devices for tracking sex offenders.  I was fortunate to have a bill that I have co-authored with Sen. Van Wanggaard (R) to be heard in that public hearing.  SB 442 creates a $5,000 surcharge that could be applied to anyone convicted of patronizing or soliciting prostitutes, pandering, or keeping a place of prostitution. Far too often, prosecution of this crime is one-sided, with the purchasers of sex getting off with much lighter fines or repercussions for their behavior.  This bill will provide yet another deterrent for those who solicit sex in this manner.  An added benefit is that the surcharge amounts collected would be used for treatment and services for sex-trafficking victims and for criminal investigative operations and law enforcement relating to Internet crimes against children. Stayed tuned as we work to pass this important piece of legislation into law.




Seeing Red:  Agency Backtracks of Controversial Rule Change of us have made contributions to the Red Cross because of the work they have done to assist in emergencies in communities all over the world.  After all, if we were ever in distress we would hope that help would be there for us.  However, after a rule change initiated by The Red Cross of Wisconsin, many residents learned that if they lived in 10 specific Milwaukee zip codes, the typical on-site services traditionally offered by the agency would no longer be provided at the scene of an incident.  Specifically, residents affected by fires at their homes would have been required to meet Red Cross volunteers at nearby police stations or the Red Cross headquarters. Citing safety and better use of volunteer time, the agency was bombarded by impacted residents who raised concerns that the areas impacted were predominantly African-American and minority communities.  Like many elected officials, I joined questioning the organization about both the intent and impact of their decision. Most of my Senate district, which includes portions of Glendale, wanted answers about the policy change.  I was pleased to work with Glendale Alderwoman Tomika Vukovic to bring a voice to those concerns.  As of Thursday, the Red Cross had rescinded their policy.  It is my hope to work with the agency to help them address programming needs that will not place further communities in danger of elimination of the critical assistance they provide.


President Rings in the New Year with Embarrassing Foreign Policy Displays of the principal duties as President of the United States is to represent our nation in a dignified manner that reflects the best our nation has to offer. The recent displays made by the 45th President failed to do so, continuing a year of embarrassing and counterproductive dialogue. On Tuesday, the 45th President tweeted that his nuclear button is “much bigger” and “more powerful” than “his,” referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the nation’s speculated nuclear capability. That tweet, among all the others, is now a part of the official presidential records. In addition, the Trump administration vowed to host a party for the nations that voted against a United Nations (UN) resolution condemning the administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The resolution passed 128 – 9, the nine being Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Naura, Palau, Togo, and the United States. The juvenile language and crass approach taken to complex foreign policy matters is unbecoming of the office of the President, and it hurts our nation’s ability to engage globally, protect stability, and advance our national interests abroad.


New Year, Same Unsustainable Corrections Approach it is a new year, some things have not changed including our approach to criminal justice and corrections. Over the holidays, my office received 21 new letters from incarcerated individuals, which is in line with our biweekly average. In these letters, we investigate and respond to various requests including correctional officer and facility complaints and commentary on unfair sentencing under something commonly referred to as the “Old Law.” This was created by the 1998 truth in sentencing measure which weakened parole and early-release opportunities, created a system where individuals sentenced prior to truth in sentencing would serve significantly longer sentences for the same crime. This is because the individuals were sentenced with the expectation of some form of early release, which was later taken away.

The truth is this. The current corrections trajectory is simply unsustainable. We have spent more on corrections that our landmark UW system for the past seven years. As of last week, the Department of Corrections held 23,234 people in prisons, which is 5,766 more than our system’s design capacity. I have said it before and I will say it again, we need a criminal justice system that focuses on prevention and rehabilitation. We can achieve this by investing in anti-poverty programs, creating pathways to work, and creating the programming and opportunities so individuals who are incarcerated can re-enter with skills and a way to be independent.




Governor uses Juveniles, Correctional Officers in Campaign Gimmick Thursday, Governor Walker announced that he would close the troubled Lincoln Hills facility and implement a regionalized juvenile corrections model beginning in 2019. The announcement comes six years after the Governor was first notified of the alleged abuse, two years after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) joined the state probe into the facility, and days after Governor Walker’s former Corrections Secretary Ed Wall stated that the investigation into the juvenile facility had been “completely botched” and “shuffled off” by the governor’s administration. So, it is interesting to me, after the governor spent his entire tenure failing to visit a correctional or juvenile facility, ignored my two calls for special sessions to address Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake in April 2016 and February 2017, and disregarded many legislative proposals that I have shared with him, that going into an election year he finally begins to acknowledge the seriously flawed juvenile justice system here in Wisconsin. Some of my legislative proposals include: a juvenile solitary confinement ban, transfer of juvenile corrections to the Department of Children and Families, authority for Milwaukee County to have their own juvenile hybrid facility, and proper distribution of medication to juveniles – which was approved during the 2017 biannual state budget – and many other proposals that focus on regionalized corrections models, best practices, and trauma-informed care. After failing to receive any response from the governor or support from my Republican colleagues, Representative Chris Taylor (D-Madison) and I introduced a bill to close Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake. I want to work with the Governor to seek an immediate resolution to the ongoing crisis, but the fact that he kicked the can down the road to 2019 while he called for a special session to giveaway $3 billion to Foxconn – along with his history of inaction – makes me question his sincerity and concerns for juvenile and staff safety.











Events and Opportunities



Art Opening Reception: Reflecting Stories All Around Us: Pete Railand and Leann Wooten


6:00pm, Jan.11th

Urban Ecology Center - Riverside Park

1500 E. Park Place

Milwaukee, WI 53211


View event details



Deck the Streets of Old Milwaukee


MWF: 10am - 5pm

Sat-Sun. 9am - 5 pm

Milwaukee Public Museum

800 W. Wells St.

Milwaukee, WI 53233


View Event Details



The Pfister Book Club


7:00pm - 9:00pm, Jan. 11th

 The Pfister Hotel

424 E. Wisconsin Ave.

Milwaukee, WI 53202



View Event Details



Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Service

1:30pm - 3:00pm, Jan. 13th
St. Martin de Porres Parish
3114 N. 2nd St., Milwaukee, WI 53212


View Event Details




 Quote of the Week:

"Young people, even if they are incarcerated, deserve to be treated like humans because they are."

-Senator Lena C. Taylor, on findings of a history of excessive force being used at Lincoln Hills

This is an official government communication from Sen. Lena C. Taylor. If you no longer wish to receive these emails, click here to send me an email to unsubscribe.

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