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Debrief- Taylor Sends 8 Bills for Governor's Signature
My greatest passion is being able to serve the wonderful people of
the 4th District of Wisconsin. That is why I am so excited to have
watched the Assembly vote to pass nine bills that I have co-authored when
they were in Session on Thursday. Unfortunately, Assembly Republicans
added a last minute amendment to SB 48. Both houses need to pass
equivalent versions of the bill, meaning SB 48 will not make it to the
Governor's desk. Below is a summary of the bills that I co-authored that
were heard in Assembly on Thursday.
- Senate Bill 48 –
(Lead Service Line Replacement) would provide financial assistance
for the replacement of a service line containing lead.
- Senate Bill 108 –
(Cosmetology and Barbering Licensure Requirements) removes the
continuing education requirement for cosmetologists, barbers and
related professions, and eliminates the condition that licensed
professionals from another jurisdiction must have 4000 hours of
experience to gain a reciprocal license.
- Senate Bill 109 –
(Regulating Cosmetology and Barbering Managers) would allow
cosmetologists, barbers and related professions to practice in a
non-licensed facility as long as they are the owner, manager or
employed by the facility. It also removes the requirement that
managers need special licensure to be designated a manager and
eliminates the stipulation that individuals must be granted a
certificate by DSPS in order to teach their profession.
- Senate Bill 299 –
(Montessori Teaching License) would expand teacher education
programs that satisfy a requirement for obtaining an initial
teaching license to include teacher education programs approved by
the Association Montessori Internationale.
- Senate Bill 300 –
(Soliciting Intimate Representation from a Child) makes it a crime
to solicit a sexually explicit photograph, recording, or other
representation from a person who is under the age of 18.
- Senate Bill 308 –
(Patronizing a Prostitute) increases the penalty for the crime of
patronizing a prostitute from a Class-A misdemeanor to a Class-I
felony if the person has been previously convicted of that crime at
least two times.
- Senate Bill 339 –
(Huber Release) allows a probationer who is confined in a county
jail or other county facility for a probation violation to
participate in Huber release, provided that his or her probation is
due to a misdemeanor conviction and the probation violation for
which he or she is confined is not a crime.
- Senate Bill 385 –
(Therapeutic Diets) certifies dietitians to prescribe therapeutic
diets to residents of a long term care facility.
- Senate Bill 396 –
(Patronizing a Child) increases the penalty to a Class-I felony for
patronizing a person who is under the age of 18.
These bills, having already been in the Senate, will now be placed
upon the Governor’s desk to be signed into law. I am thrilled with the
progress we have been making on so many fronts even as the minority party
501 Expands Access to Healthy Options
Assembly Bill 501,
a bill I have co-authored, passed in Assembly this week and is currently
awaiting a vote in the Senate. I am particularly excited about this bill,
which aims to provide assistance to those in our communities who need it
most. This bill, amongst many other things, offers discounts to certain
low-income residents and discounts on healthy foods, including fresh
fruits and vegetables. According to a study by the US National Institute
of Health, those in the lowest income group were three times more likely
to be impacted by poor health than those in the highest income group.
While there are many factors that account for this discrepancy, access to
healthy food plays a large role. In fact, if residents in every county in
Wisconsin had the same opportunities for healthy options, there would be
12,000 fewer violent crimes and 41,000 fewer unemployed Wisconsinites.
In Milwaukee, many of my constituents live in food deserts with very
little access to fresh foods. Having such nutritious food available has
proven a key component to living a long life and can contribute to
success in academics and career. Legislation such as this will help
bridge the health gap among the wealthy and those living in poverty. Not
only will it strengthen our communities, but it will also reduce the cost
of healthcare to our taxpayers. By providing our residents with
attainable healthy food options, we are investing in our state’s future
and overall well-being.
latest bills- high-risk, little reward
On Tuesday, the GOP
passed bills that are irresponsible. The first is the “Prove it First”
mining bill, which would take away the requirement that a company who
wishes to mine for sulfide prove there won’t be significant environmental
effects. Sulfide mining is very dangerous and releases arsenic, mercury
and lead into our environment. This will contaminate our water, and
absolve mining companies of basic environmental accountability that
protects all of us from the dangers of pollution. In a time where we are
seeing the devastating effects of climate change across our country and
around the world, environmental protection needs to be an utmost
priority. The second piece of legislation that the GOP has been pushing
eliminates age limitations for hunting, effectively allowing those under
10 years old to shoot deadly weapons. Grade schoolers and toddlers should
not be handling deadly weapons, as it will undoubtedly lead to more
gun-related accidents and deaths. While I am disappointed by this
legislation, I am not surprised that it is being pushed here in our
state, as 3 of the top 20 NRA backed lawmakers are from Wisconsin,
including Governor Walker.
Republicans also succeeded in passing a number of bills associated with
limiting due process from our judicial system.
- Senate Bill 52 – (Serious
Juvenile Offender Program) removes the three year limit that the
Department of Corrections may place a juvenile offender in the
Serious Juvenile Offender Program in a Type 1 juvenile facility,
allowing the individual to be placed there up until they turn 25.
- Senate Bill 54 –
(Revocation of Parole, Probation, Extended Supervision) revokes
parole, probation or extended supervision if a person is only
charged with a crime while on parole, probation or extended
- Senate Bill 55 –
(Mandatory Minimums) increases the mandatory minimum sentencing for
felony murder, second degree intentional homicide or crime
punishable by life imprisonment to 5 years and adds more crimes to
the list of mandatory minimum sentencing, including first degree or
second degree reckless homicide, taking hostages and kidnapping.
- Senate Bill 56 –
(Mandatory Minimum Incarceration Period Following Illegal Possession
of a fire arm) imposes the 3 year incarceration period on those who
illegally possessed a firearm during their probation, parole,
extended supervision or conditional release of a prisoner for
commission of a prior felony or violent misdemeanor, broadening the
scope of the initial minimum incarceration period.
These bills are harmful to the residents of Wisconsin and will have
negative repercussions, showing the carelessness of the GOP.
On Tuesday, Republicans in
the Senate voted to pass a set of resolutions that allows them to call
for a Constitutional Convention based on Article V of the US
Constitution. The last time a Constitutional Convention was called, the
delegates decided that slaves were to be counted as three-fifths of a
person. This convention would allow delegates, instead of elected
officials, to add or take out what they want in the Constitution. This
system can simply not compare to the tried and true method of amending
the Constitution that has been in place for hundreds of years. The calls
for a Constitutional Convention now are based on a naïve understanding of
the US budget. Supporters of this so called “balanced budget” amendment
want to add a stipulation to the Constitution to say that the US
government should not be allowed to spend more money than it takes in
every year. This would completely limit the ability of the government to
do its job. It would create significant problems for Social Security and
Medicare Part A. During a time of economic downturn, policymakers would
be forced to raise taxes and cut spending. Additionally, it would bar the
federal government from borrowing to make worthy investments even if they
have substantial future pay-offs. It is unnecessary to vote into law the
possibility of substantial detrimental changes to our Constitution for
the reason of an amendment that would be this hurtful to Americans.
The traditional amendment process, which requires a two-thirds vote from
elected federal representatives in both houses of Congress, is better for
our democracy. We have been able to pass amendments that ended slavery,
granted equal voting rights and many, many others through the process we
have now. The idea of amending the Constitution through a constitutional
convention is one that presents too many possibilities for the
mismanagement of the democracy that we value so much in our country. The
GOP has just opened the door to the dismantlement of our rights and
liberties with these resolutions.
SB 53 passed the Senate on Tuesday. The bill would allow for
individuals to petition the courts to remove certain criminal offenses
that were committed before the age of 25. Under the current system, in
order for a crime to be
expunged from an individual’s record, the possibility for expungement had
to have been granted at the sentencing hearing. This bill would allow
low-level offenders to ask for expungement even if this initial
possibility had not been granted during sentencing. Crimes committed at a
young age should not dictate a person’s ability to get a job and
reintegrate into society as a productive citizen years later. By making
it easier for these offenses to be cleared from permanent records, we are
taking yet another small, but productive step forward to improving
Wisconsin corrections. SB 53 will bring about much needed change to the
operation of our criminal justice system. In order for the bill to pass,
the Assembly must schedule and pass the legislation. I am enthusiastic
about the bill’s progress to this point and am eagerly awaiting the
In the 4th district, about
one in eight black men have spent time in prison, mostly for nonviolent
drug offenses. Upon their release, they also face a struggle in finding
full-time employment and keeping up
with their prescription medication, which are factors that all too often
lead to further offenses. In June of 2016, I was appointed to the
Recidivism Reduction Committee, where I made a set of recommendations to
address this issue. These include providing four weeks of prescription
medication to released individuals, expanding the Windows to Work program
to aid these individuals in their transition back into society, and
supporting the work of Integrated Reentry & Employment Strategies.
Not only would these recommendations reduce the costly price of
recidivism for taxpayers, but they would also strengthen our communities.
In women’s prisons in Wisconsin, we face a whole other set of issues.
I’ve heard too many horrifying stories of pregnant women being shackled
during childbirth, putting both mother and child in harm’s way. My
anti-shackling legislation, which unanimously passed committee, would
provide guidelines for the shackling of pregnant women and prohibit the
use of shackles during childbirth. Although this bill failed to be
scheduled this session, I fully intend to see it scheduled for the next.
I will not stop fighting for all of these vulnerable members who are
making every attempt to re-enter society.