Official Government Communication

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

Anti-Shackling Bill Heads to Senate Floor
On Tuesday, SB 393, a bill that I authored along with my colleague Rep. Lisa Subeck (D-Madison) was voted out of the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety. We introduced this legislation after learning that multiple incarcerated women in Milwaukee had given birth while shackled. Chaining pregnant inmates while in labor an during the birthing process endangers the health and safety of both the mother and the fetus, is inhumane and is rarely needed for safety and security of medical staff, the public or correctional officers. At least 18 states and federal agencies have policies that prohibit this callous practice. This bill would also give maternal support services, such as pumping breast milk for their babies and expand voluntary STI testing in correctional facilities. We are encouraged that as this bill is headed to the Senate floor for a vote, all legislators will vote for its passage and help to create healthier environments for the mother and newborn child.

Lincoln Hills Should Be Closed
This week, Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison) and I, introduced a bill that would close the Department of Correction’s Lincoln Hills and Copper Lakes Youth Correctional facilities within a year. Plagued for years with reports of both physical and sexual abuse of juvenile inmates, as far back as 2012, Governor Scott Walker’s administration was contacted by a judge raising concern about these allegations. However, a federal investigation was initiated to address these claims. Eventually Governor Walker prompted the state’s Office of Special Operations to investigate the assertions in 2014. Upon discovering “too much” about the atrocities of the inmate treatment and prison culture, instead of taking affirmative steps to deal with the problems identified, Walker simply closed the Office of Special Operations.

With no substantive attempts to address the claims raised, lawsuits were brought on behalf of the juveniles by the ACLU. U.S. federal district court Judge James Peterson ordered the facilities to cut back on using pepper spray, restraints, and solitary confinement for youth. After a coordinated attempt by Republican officials to cover up their lack of action, the violence at the prison continues, with new reports showing that the use of pepper spray or dangerous altercations have not declined and staff injuries. Since Governor Walker refuses to stop the abuses of these children, we would like to see these juveniles returned to their communities of origin for regionalized correctional services. We need to rethink juvenile incarceration. Best practices dictate that these young offenders be in facilities near their home counties, closer to their families for more sustained rehabilitation outcomes. Most importantly, though, we need to stop the inhumane treatment that has plagued Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake.

Lake Orchard Farm Tour

On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to visit and tour Lake Orchard Farm in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. The huge property is home to a bed and breakfast, fully functioning farm and fish nursery on the shores of Lake Michigan. I was excited to observe the operations of this family-owned farm and its purposeful distribution of resources. I couldn’t help but think about how places like Lake Orchard Farm connect to my LOVE and FAITH initiative, an effort to advocate for economic wealth and health through the collaboration of agencies and organizations. By utilizing resources effectively and efficiently we can connect people to means for bettering themselves and our community and achieve maximum productivity. The techniques that I witnessed at Lake Orchard Farm and other places around our state will be applicable to continuing the development of urban agriculture and other industries in and around Milwaukee.

Major Protections for Minors
This week, SB 396 passed unanimously out of committee. This piece of legislation that I have been a part of will increase the penalty for those who patronize individuals under the age of 18 for sex from a misdemeanor to a felony charge. It sickens me to know that there are people out there who solicit sex from minors. We need to provide a more adequate punishment for this crime and deter future culprits. Additionally, it is my hope that this bill will play a part in reducing the incidents of human trafficking throughout Wisconsin. The bill is now awaiting scheduling, and I hope to have it passed in the Senate soon.

Unanswered Questions Surround UW Merger

Recently, UW System President Ray Cross proposed merging the University of Wisconsin System's two-year campuses with nearby four-year UW institutions to address declining enrollment on the two-year campuses. However, the restructuring process to date appears to be absent of meaningful collaboration with those most impacted. In undertaking such a transformational plan everyone from chancellors, faculty, staff, students, and community members should be engaged in the process. There are certainly questions from legislators, students and the public that have not been answered regarding tuition, programming, and accessibility. Slated to go the Board of Regents in November, the impacts of such a move are not fully understood. Many of my colleagues and I are requesting that this proposal receive a measured, deliberative and all-engaging process to examine its merits.

Community Justice Council Meeting

This Wednesday, I met with stakeholders of the Community Justice Council at Clinton-Rose Senior Center. We had thoughtful and productive discussions regarding the current state of the justice system and corrections at the state and local level. We discussed the difficulties in overcoming the indifference from Republicans on this matter. As the ranking Democrat on the Joint Committee on Finance I have been steadfast in my support for motions to increase funding for reform practices. One of the motions would have required increased staff levels to be in compliance with the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act, but my Republican colleagues shot it down. Additionally, Governor Walker vetoed a proposal that would have constructed correctional facilities suited for the health needs of elderly prisoners. Further, I have proposed that Lincoln Hills Juvenile Correctional Center be shut down following their horrific track record of mistreatment of incarcerated individuals. I, along with the Community Justice Council, are working to see a justice system that works for all Wisconsinites.

Deadline Fast Approaching
In September, I announced the opening of the 2018 Senate Scholars Program applications. There is now less than a month left until the deadline. Sponsored by the State Senate’s Legislative Education and Outreach Office, the Senate Scholars program is a week-long, educational program in which 33 exceptional high school juniors and seniors have a chance to gain first-hand experience in the legislative process. They have the unique opportunity to staff the Senate floor during session while witnessing legislative debates. Students will also draft their own bills and amendments, create mock committees, and elect mock committee leadership. This rewarding experience is a highly competitive program designed to engage scholars in state affairs. Previous Senate Scholars have continued their chance to be a part of the political process, returning to the Wisconsin State Capitol to work as interns, pages and staff. In fact, in previous years, Senate Scholars have returned to my office to work as summer interns. Applications are due by November 22nd. For more information regarding this remarkable and educational program, please contact Dr. Tammy Wehrle at (608) 261-0533 or visit

WEDC Audit is Cause for Concern

On Tuesday, committee members of the Joint Legislation Audit Committee heard testimony from the most recent Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) audit. The audit revealed that the agency has a history of failing to follow through on oversight and accountability that cost taxpayers millions of dollars since the agency’s creation in 2011. Specifically, it revealed that agency misused taxpayer money by not verifying performance and contractual terms by WEDC awardees, despite the existence of the independent agency hired to verify the performance reports. The audit additionally showed that the agency is unsure of the number of jobs that were created and retained. Such issues are not new to WEDC, as they were also addressed in previous audits in 2013 and 2015, further showing the lack of improvement within the agency.
This new information that has come to light calls into question WEDC’s capability to oversee the Foxconn deal that they are tasked with negotiating. The agency’s history of mismanagement creates a lot of worry over whether the agency has the ability to handle a $3 million corporate handout. While promised that the Foxconn deal will create more jobs for Wisconsinites, this new audit places more doubt in my mind about whether WEDC is capable of holding Foxconn accountable for tracking the amount of jobs they promised to create.





Events and Opportunities






Not-So-Scary Halloween Party


October 28th

10 am-4 pm

Betty Brinn's Children Museum

929 E. Wisconsin Avenue

Milwaukee, WI


Come and enjoy some fun and spooktacular activities within the Museum!





Community Brainstorming Conference Breakfast Forum


October 28th

Breakfast: 8am-9am

Program: 9am-11am


Saint Matthew CME Church

2944 North 9th Street

Milwaukee, WI


Participate in the discussion on the opioid crisis within Milwaukee!






Laser Tag Costume Party

Saturday October 28th

8:15 pm-11:55 pm

4905 S. Howell Avenue

Milwaukee, WI


Dress up in your favorite character and slink around the battlefield!





My Milwaukee: This Place Matters Exhibit Opening


Wednesday November 1st


910 N. Old World Third Street

Milwaukee, WI 53203


Celebrate Milwaukee students and their artistic reflections of what it means to be a citizen of Milwaukee!







 Quote of the Week:

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

-Martin Luther King, Jr.

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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