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


Keeping Guns Out of the Wrong Hands

The shooting in Alexandria at a congressional baseball practice on Wednesday is another tragic example of deadly firearms falling into the wrong hands. The shooting injured Republican House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, and four others, to include a legislative staffer, two secret service officers and a capital police officer assigned to Scalise’s security detail.  As a result, our state capital, went on heightened alert. We were reminded of the gratitude and debt owed to the men and women who provide us a safe work environment.  These types of unacceptable shootings happen too frequently and continue to put Americans in harm’s way. We need to do more to protect people, and that means we need to stop guns from falling into the wrong hands.  I understand that these types of incidents always cause us to reflect on our state’s gun laws and question if we are doing everything we can to keep residents and visitors safe.  Gun ownership comes with responsibility and accountability.   As members of the legislature, we have a responsibility to enact laws that will keep guns out of the hands of those who present an identifiable danger.

That is why my Gun Safety and Accountability Package is so important. I want to improve the standards of conceal and carry so guns don’t end up in the wrong hands. My package would require a minimum of eight hours of training so gun owners know how to use and store a firearm responsibly, implement a “no fly, no buy” policy to prohibit those under suspicion of terrorist activity from purchasing firearms, and create microstamping laws so we can link bullets with the firearms that shot them. Even with these safety measures, the careless use of firearms happens all the time and those who use guns irresponsibly must be held accountable. With my package, conceal and carry applicants must provide proof of liability insurance to cover the injury, death or damage their gun use may cause. Shootings like the one in Virginia won’t stop until we start holding gun owners responsible for their actions.  My heart goes out to our Republican colleagues and their families, in Virginia, impacted by this tragedy.


Overworked Corrections Officers Means Reduced Safety

It’s fair to say that any of us that have had to pull a double work shift know exactly how impaired our judgment, response time and attention to detail can be when we get tired.  Many of us solider through it and pray we stay awake on the drive home.  But some jobs, like those of the men and women who stand guard to ensure our correctional institutions are safe, literally become unsafe when fatigue  or mental alertness are reduced.  This week as the Joint Committee on Finance made critical decisions regarding Wisconsin’s Department of Corrections (DOC), my Democratic colleagues and I offered a motion to incorporate provisions of 2015 Senate Bill 610. This motion would prohibit a corrections employee from working more than two consecutive eight-hour shifts, for a total of 16 consecutive hours. 

Although staffing shortages are a concern and there has to be room to account for unexpected absences, we are putting the health of our officers and the safety of our incarcerated population at risk when the staff are not their best prepared to work in the stressful conditions that accompany working in a penal institution.  We have seen increased DOC employee retirements and resignations over the years and yet Governor Walker and budget committee Republicans refuse to act to make these work environments safer.  DOC should be properly staffed. The frequent use of overtime is neither good for worker moral nor cost effective.  You would think my Republican colleagues entrusted with leading our state’s budget decisions would understand that.


Give Us Back Our Kids

I’m proud to say that this Thursday, the Joint Finance Committee passed my motion to make sure only medical professionals can distribute medications to incarcerated juveniles at Lincoln Hills, which is a corrections institution and school. Until now, anyone at the facility could give out medication, including guards and other staff that are not trained to do so. This led to dangerous situations, such as children given incorrect prescriptions. Thanks to my motion, only licensed nurses may distribute medication.

While this is step in the right direction, the race is not over. Lincoln Hills, as it currently is, is not acceptable. Lincoln Hills is designated as a “Type 1” dentition facility – which means it is heavily secured by fences and security systems reserved for incarcerated adults. Despite this, 60 percent of youth incarcerated at Lincoln Hills do not require, nor were they sentenced to, dentition at the “Type 1” level. This is senseless desensitization to incarceration. The mission of corrections is to rehabilitate. The mission of a school is to education. Lincoln Hills does neither and hurts our children’s’ ability to reintegrate back into society.


Happy Juneteenth Day!

On Thursday, I was proud to introduce a resolution to resolution to recognize June 19, 2017, as Juneteenth Day in Wisconsin. Juneteenth commemorates the day that the last enslaved people of African descent, received word on June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas, that slavery had officially ended in the United States.  Those held in bondage in Galveston actually learned of their freedom some two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, by President Abraham Lincoln.  Historically, the day has also come to represent an opportunity for all Americans, to remember the importance for racial healing, reconciliation, and justice. It is important to celebrate the progress that we have made and continue to work towards solutions to address lingering racial inequity.

This Monday, I will be participating in Milwaukee’s annual parade and celebration, which starts at 10am.  And I hope you can join me for the food, fun, vendors and festivities!  If you are in Madison on June 19th, I encourage you to attend a free movie screening of the documentary “Milwaukee 53206” at 12:00pm in room 411 S. in the Capitol.  The documentary explores the role of mass incarceration in aiding to create one of the most economically challenged zip codes in America. Giving hope through a look at several successful stories or resilience and determination, you will see a community fighting for change and literally, fighting for their lives.

Walker’s Way: Governor Tries Again to Take Away Public Employee’s Insurance

On Thursday, members of the Joint Committee on Finance Committee, in a bi-partisan vote, stopped Gov. Walker’s attempt to, yet again, undermine state employee’s health insurance by over-hauling the cost effective and efficient Group Health Insurance Program (GHIP). Despite Wisconsin having one of the most competitive health insurance markets in the country, Walker wanted what amounts to a self-insurance program. What this means is that, instead of funding state employee health plans by paying premiums to third-party insurance companies, the state would take on all financial and legal obligations for its employees itself. And by “itself”, he means the middle-class taxpayer.

The state of Wisconsin currently only has about one-third of the absolute minimum cash on hand it would need to cover all of its employee’s health care costs. States like North Carolina have seen the budget deficit go up an additional $200 million dollars by moving the state to self-insurance. Walker would undoubtedly pass that bill on to taxpayers.  The Governor was looking money to move into education, a worthwhile goal, which would be more meaningful if he hasn’t been responsible for some of the biggest cuts to education in Wisconsin history.  However, this tactic, akin to robbing Peter to pay Paul, has been indicative of the way Gov. Walker does business.   Whether it’s “bait and switch” or “smoke and mirrors”, Walker is attempting to play shell games with our budget.  I am proud of the work of the committee to stop this game.


Quote of the Week::

"Bring our kids back to our community; let us treat them.  Give us back our kids."

-Senator Lena C. Taylor on rehabilitating juveniles in the correctional system

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.





Events & Opportunities



Juneteenth Day Celebration

There are many opportunities to celebrate Juneteeth day in Milwaukee this week, including a block party style celebration on N. King Drive between W Center and West Burleigh Streets. More info here.








Lakefront Festival of the Arts

The Milwaukee Art Museum's annual lawn party and festival is this Friday the 16th  through Sunday the 18th. More info here.








Father's Day at the Zoo

This Sunday is fathers day! Come celebrate with free admissions for fathers at the Milwaukee County Zoo. Find more info here.







Polish Fest

This weekend the city of Milwaukee is hosting Polish Fest! More info here.









Jazz in the Park

Enjoy free live entertainment on Thursdays

Starting July 15th

Cathedral Square Park

Find more info here.










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Stay in touch:


    Milwaukee:  414-342-7176

    Madison:     608-266-5810