Official Government Communication

Dear Friend,

Welcome to my email newsletter. 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

Juvenile correction saga continues

Last winter, a scandal of mistreatment broke and the widespread abuse of both inmates and workers at Lincoln Hills & Copper Lake—our state’s only juvenile correctional facilities—was revealed. In December Senator Fred Risser (D-Madison) and I wrote a letter asking for investigation. In January, I visited and brought the community to Lincoln Hills, and in February we returned with the Black History Legacy Bus to teach the kids about their culture and history.

What I learned after talking with the kids is that they lack access to trauma informed care, art and inspiration therapy, clinical services, programming and a connection to their family and community. I also saw firsthand how the facilities are understaffed and the staff are in need of assistance, including diversity training. The Milwaukee County Circuit Chief Judge declared in a letter after her visit to Lincoln Hills that “we are in a crisis situation.” Unfortunately the effects of this crisis are widening. The poor treatment of kids at Lincoln Hills has caused judges not to sentence kids there and instead divert them to Milwaukee County Juvenile Detention Center in Wauwatosa. This has brought about extreme staffing shortages and overcrowding. Staff are forced to take on 12-hour shifts, the facility has exceeded capacity on 33 days and it’s gotten so bad that kids—our kids—are sleeping on the floor.

This is such a sad and disappointing situation. Just like adults, when kids make mistakes they need to pay their debt to society. But our state has a responsibility to these kids. The judge is right, children at Lincoln Hills aren’t being adequately cared for. However, sending them all to Milwaukee County risks creating our very own crisis right here. That’s why I’ve called on Governor Scott Walker to call a special session to address our juvenile corrections. Additionally I’ve asked Governor Walker to make emergency funds available to Milwaukee County to alleviate our overcrowding and staffing shortages here at home. I’ve been fighting for these kids from the very beginning and I won’t stop now. (Link to column when it goes up?)

Disturbing violence in the classroom

On Wednesday, an incident occurred at Bay View High School in which a teacher’s aide was caught on video pushing a student onto a desk and holding him down on the floor. Based on the video I saw, I am deeply concerned. I believe violence is a major educational barrier for our kids. A school should be a safe space to learn and grow where our babies can focus on education, not aggression. But until this ideal can be made a reality we must ensure that they have access to school therapists who can talk about any trauma they experience—both on the streets and in the classroom. It is my expectation that this school will take appropriate disciplinary action towards all involved in this incident. Transparency is key as we move forward.

Saving our earth, protecting our babies

As a legislator, it is my job to fight for the good of our community. This means addressing issues of inequality, injustice, and disagreement, but also looking out for the very environment we live in. Today, on Earth Day, I would like to take a moment to let you all know how important it is to me to preserve the natural beauty of our area, to promote a sustainable lifestyle and to prioritize the health of our planet and our community—because our babies are growing up and it’s our responsibility to invest in their future. Not just their education, but also their environment. Recently, concerns were raised about the high levels of lead in Milwaukee. 8.6% of children tested in 2014 had blood levels above the level at which children are known to suffer health problems. Although I don’t have all the answers, I am working to find some. Getting the lead out of Milwaukee is my concern this Earth Day, but each of us can contribute to keeping our community happy, healthy and clean when we work together to reduce our waste and recycle our recyclables. For information on recycling in Milwaukee click here.

 Volunteers wanted!

Join me in a great opportunity to give back to your community and celebrate Earth Day on Saturday April 23, 2016 at the 2016 Annual Spring River Clean-up! There are four different locations: Havenwood’s State Forest, Lincoln Park on the water, Lincoln Park on land and Lincoln Creek. Volunteer check-in is from 8:30-9:00am and clean-up will go until about noon. Please wear closed toed shoes and dress appropriately for the weather. You may also want to bring a reusable water bottle for your use. They will provide you with gloves and garbage bags and a FREE T-Shirt and food after the clean-up! For Lincoln Park on the water cleanup, a canoe and pre-registration is required. The other three locations, you will be on land and no pre-registration is required. For more information, please visit here or call 414-287-0207!




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 Quote of the Week:

 “Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching-

even when doing the wrong thing is legal.”

 ¯ Aldo Leopold

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.