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Dear Friends and Neighbors, 

Welcome to May's Community Connections e-update!

Last month, the Joint Finance Committee went around the state listening to feedback on Governor Evers' state budget proposal through a series of public hearings. In this edition of the newsletter, I'll update you on what the Committee has been hearing from Wisconsinites, provide an update on what is next for the budget process, and discuss the announcement from the Republican co-chairs of the Committee that they plan to strip Medicaid expansion from the Evers budget proposal. 


As always, please let my office know what state and community issues are important to you! 


Sincerely, 

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LaTonya Johnson
State Senator

 

Contents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month


April was National Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month. 

As a member of Wisconsin Legislative Children's Caucus and the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board, I feel that it is critical that we continue to stay alert and vigilant when it comes to what child abuse and neglect looks like and how we can all work together to prevent it.

Public awareness is a key way to promote child abuse prevention, so I invite you to share this post with others, so more people have this resource.

Please take a moment to review some ways that you can educate yourself and others on some of the signs of child abuse and neglect.

 

Hearing from Wisconsinites on Evers' State Budget Proposal

 

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In April, the Joint Finance Committee held public hearings across Wisconsin on Governor Evers' state budget proposal. The hearings started in Janesville, then Oak Creek, crisscrossing over to River Falls, and finally ending in Green Bay. During each of these hearings, the Committee listened to community members testify on how the state budget would impact their family and community. At the conclusion of the public hearings, the committee had heard over 800 Wisconsinites express their views and experiences on Evers’ budget. An overwhelming majority of those who testified praised the governor for investments made in education, health care, and communities.

Education and Health Care Continue to Be Top Priorities for Wisconsinites 
Governor Evers has said that what is best for our kids is what is best for our state. He followed through on that commitment by making historic investments in K-12 education in his budget and the people of Wisconsin took notice. Many of our teachers, administrators, school board members and parents let their voice be heard at the public hearing, applauding the governor’s education budget. Not only was this support shown at the hearings, but also in the latest Marquette Law School Poll with 74% of Wisconsinites saying they support a major increase in state aid for special education.

 

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Health care was another prevalent topic discussed in each community visited by the Joint Finance Committee. Governor Evers’ budget is centered on expanding Medicaid to provide more affordable and quality health care to people in Wisconsin. As such, the Committee heard countless stories on how expanding Medicaid would improve the lives of Wisconsin families. Medicaid expansion would mean accepting federal money that we already pay in federal taxes to expand BadgerCare coverage to a person making just over 8 dollars an hour, covering 82,000 more Wisconsinites under the program and saving the state $320 million dollars.

The Committee also heard about numerous other issues that affect communities across the state. From a clean drinking water proposal that addresses lead in water and contaminated wells to capital budget projects that invest billions in infrastructure in every part of Wisconsin.

I continue to hear from community members who are more encouraged than they have been in a long time. Wisconsinites from every corner or the state appreciate Governor Evers taking considerable steps to address issues facing working families. As the governor has said, this budget is about creating a Wisconsin that works for everyone. This isn’t the Tony Evers budget, the Democratic budget or the Republican budget—the support from people around the state is proof positive that this is the People’s Budget.

Republicans Ignore Will of the People 
Last week, the Republican co-chairs of the Joint Finance Committee announced over 100 items they plan to pull out of the budget with their first vote--including the cornerstone of the budget: accepting federal funds to expand Medicaid access for 82,000 people and bringing in $1.6 billion in additional funding to invest in other health care initiatives for Wisconsin families.

Despite 70% of Wisconsinites favoring Medicaid expansion and the many people who came to voice their strong support at public hearings across the state, Republicans continue to ignore the will of the people and pursue a budget that ignores the needs of everyday Wisconsinites.

State lawmakers 
need to hear your voice on this issue. Call the Legislative Hotline at 800-362-9472 and tell your legislator to support expanding Medicaid.


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What's Next for the State Budget?
With the public hearings wrapped up, you may be wondering what is next for the state budget process. Similar to any other bill that comes before the Legislature, after the public hearing comes a vote in the committee of which the bill has been referred. In this case, that is the Joint Finance Committee. Since the bill is much larger than a typical bill, however, a series of 'executive sessions' will be held, including one expected this week where Republicans aim to strip out the aforementioned 100+ budget items. During executive sessions, members of the Committee have an opportunity to introduce motions to make changes to the bill. With a Democratic governor and Republican Legislature, there has been a lot of speculation on how the executive session process will be handled-- I'll be sure to keep you updated as this process continues.

 

In the News

I'm working hard for Wisconsinites and am fighting to make our communities a better, safer place to live and raise a family. This section of 'Community Connections' will keep you up-to-date on hot topics happening locally, statewide, and nationally. Additionally, I frequently talk to residents of our community, and share your voice and values when talking to members of the media. That said, I'll share articles that I am quoted in, too. 

 

Reflecting on Earth Day
Recently, we celebrated Earth Day. Clean water, land and air are essential to our economy and way of life in Wisconsin. After years of Republican policies that rolled back environmental protections, Wisconsin Democrats are thrilled to have a governor that is committed to safeguarding our environment.

The state budget invests in the health of our land, water, and air through initiatives that seek to:

  • Return science to the DNR. Governor Evers is bringing science back to the Department of Natural Resources through the creation of a Bureau of Natural Resources Sciences and five new science positions to research water and sources of contamination.
  • Improve water quality. The governor has also declared 2019 as the ‘Year of Clean Drinking Water in Wisconsin’ and invests $70 million in water quality initiatives, including well contamination remediation and lead service line replacement.
  • Promote clean energy. The state budget proposal sets a goal to have our state’s electricity production to be 100% carbon free by 2050.
  • Invest in our farms and agriculture. Through cost-sharing grants, the state budget helps farmers build infrastructure that protects our resources while building long-term farm success. The budget also provides resources to farmers to help diversify and grow their farming operations. 

Governor Evers is connecting the dots and taking significant steps to ensure future generations have the same opportunities to clean water, land and air. This past Earth Day, having a governor that is putting the health of our communities over favored special interests is truly a breath of fresh air.

Press Conference in Response to GOP Plan to Strip Medicaid Expansion from Evers' Budget
Last week, my Democratic colleagues on the Joint Finance Committee and I held a press conference in response to the announcement that GOP members of the Committee plan on stripping Medicaid expansion from Evers' budget proposal. Rather than listening to the majority of Wisconsinites who want to see our state do the right thing, and the fiscally responsible thing, by taking the Medicaid expansion federal dollars, Republicans are picking politics over people. 

Update on Human Trafficking Legislation
This session, I introduced a bill to ensure child trafficking victims are not charged with prostitution. The bill was voted out of its assembly committee earlier this month. I am hopeful that this critical legislation will pass the Legislature and become law this session. Recently, WUWM did a story on human trafficking in Wisconsin, click here to listen to it. 
 

Going on the Radio to Discuss the State Budget
As a member of the Joint Finance Committee, it's been a privilege to hear from Wisconsinites from all across the state on the budget issues that matter most to them. I've also had an opportunity this month to go on the radio to discuss what the Committee has been hearing at the state budget public hearings. I started off the month on the Earl Ingram Show and recently talked with former state representative Andy Jorgensen on his show Stuck in the Middle with Andy.  I appreciated the opportunity to discuss the state budget with their respective audiences and look forward to going back on their shows very soon! 
 

 

In the District

I frequently attend and host events in the 6th Senate District, tour local facilities, and visit schools in our neighborhood. Updates on what's happening locally in our community can be found in this section. I'll also include updates on listening sessions and EMPOWER-MKE events in this section in future editions. 

 

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Joining Governor Evers at a Listening Session in Milwaukee
In addition to wrapping up the official Joint Finance Committee public hearings, Governor Evers and Lieutenant Governor Barnes ended their budget listening sessions with a stop in Milwaukee. These discussion-style input sessions were a great way for people to have smaller conversations with members and staff of the Legislature and Evers administration. We saw a great turnout in Milwaukee, with members of the community showing up to voice their support for the governor's budget.  


Touring Project Ujima
It was a privilege to tour Project Ujima this month. Project Ujima is a project through the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. It is a multidisciplinary collaboration addressing youth and adult violence in Milwaukee using individual, family and community intervention and prevention strategies. Services include hospital-based crisis intervention and case management for youth victims of violence; home-based counseling and referrals for medical follow-up and psychological support; Camp Ujima, a summer day camp for youth exposed to violence; a leadership development group that does community outreach; and a grief program for children and families impacted by the loss of a loved one due to community violence.

 

Visiting Churches Around the District 
This past month, I was honored to visit several worship centers around the community. I want to thank the community and leaders at Unity Gospel House of Prayer, St. Michael Catholic Church and St. Benedict the Moor Parish for allowing me to visit your place of worship. 
 

Cold Spring Park Historic Neighborhood Community Forum 
Earlier in April, I had an opportunity to join Representative Evan Goyke, Alderman Bob Bauman, and County Supervisor Marcelia Nicholson at a community forum to talk about issues of importance to members residing on the near west side. Promoting strong, safe, and vibrant neighborhoods are very important and engaging in dialogue directly with the community is critical to accomplish this goal. Thank you Cold Spring Park Historic Neighborhood for organizing this community forum and for inviting me to participate.
  

 


Wisconsin Democrats:
Under the Dome Update

Senate and Assembly Democrats provide a weekly update to help keep Wisconsin citizens informed about activity happening at the State Capitol and stay updated on how your elected officials are voting on important issues in Madison. Click on the links below to view recent editions of 'Under the Dome.'

 

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Useful Phone Numbers

There are many levels of state and local government that can help answer questions and get you connected with resources you may need. I have listed some useful phone numbers below. You can also see a comprehensive list of numbers by clicking the link below. If you see a change needed or an important number that should be added, please let me know! 

Congresswoman Gwen Moore.............................414-297-1140
Governor Evers.....................................................608-266-1212
Milwaukee Common Council...............................414-286-2221
Milwaukee Country Board....................................414-278-4222
Milwaukee Police Department.............................414-933-4444
Poison Control......................................................800-222-1222
Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program..............800-815-0015

Medigap Helpline.................................................800-242-1060
Consumer Protection Hotline..............................800-422-7128
Department of Health Services............................608-266-1865
Workforce Development......................................608-266-3131
Public Service Commission..................................800-225-7729
SeniorCare Wisconsin.........................................800-657-2038
WI Commissioner of Insurance Complaints.......800-236-8517


For other useful phone numbers, click here!