Worker's rights are human rights, and working people deserve to be taxed fairly. Using these principles as a guide, I introduced the following bills to help level the playing field, which has been far too heavily tilted toward corporations and the super-rich in recent decades. Workers should have the right to bargain collectively, be paid fairly, and have enough left in their paycheck after taxes to take care of their families. Too often, that isn't the case in America anymore. It's time to change that.
Relating to: elimination of tipped minimum wage
Tipped employees such as waitstaff can be paid a sub-minimum wage of just $2.33 per hour. This practice is highly exploitative, and the tip system creates incentives for women in particular to ignore sexual harassment from customers in hopes of a good tip. It's time all workers were paid a living wage, and service workers are no exception. I was proud to introduce this bill with Sate Rep. Francesca Hong, a restaurant owner who already pays her employees a living wage.
Relating to: crowdfunding projects for creating jobs or promoting economic growth
This bill creates a curated list of small business operations in Wisconsin to direct crowdfunding dollars towards. This has the potential to increase access to much-needed capital for startups and women and POC-owned businesses in our state, and create hundreds of jobs in the process.
Relating to: collective bargaining for employees of school districts, employees of cooperative educational service agencies, employees of technical college districts, and employees of the University of Wisconsin System and making an appropriation
Wisconsin is facing a teacher shortage, with fewer and fewer students going into the profession and more and more changing careers or retiring early. Restoring collective bargaining rights would help to end the shortage and in turn improve the quality of our children's education.
Relating to: limitation of estate recovery for the cost of long-term Medical Assistance to only a recipient's probate estate
You work your whole life, buy a home of your own, but when you get older you get sick and require nursing home care for the final few years of your life. When your money runs out, you go on Medicaid. When you die, whatever assets you have left don't go to your grandkids or other loved ones, the taxman takes it. All of it. The "Fairer Inheritance Act" protects certain assets from forfeiture so that you can leave a little legacy for the ones you care about most.
Relating to: allowing renters to claim the veterans and surviving spouses property tax credit
This bill allows veterans who are lessors of their primary dwelling to claim a refundable tax credit. Renters pay property taxes indirectly in the form of rent, so it follows that our brave veterans should be able to access this tax credit even if they do not own their own home.
Relating to: bargaining over wages, hours, and conditions of employment for public employees
This is the big one. It essentially repeals 2011's Act 10 and restores the ability of all public employees, not just police and firefighters, to bargain for wages, benefits, and working conditions statewide. If we want to solve staffing shortages in corrections, mental health, education, and other fields, we need to pass this bill!
Relating to: health coverage questions on individual tax returns
This bill adds a question to Wisconsin income tax returns that inquires about the health insurance status of the filer and their household, and with permission of the filer provides resources of available insurance options, including BadgerCare and subsidized ACA plans. The goal is to reduce the uninsured population, and help decrease medical costs for everyone as a result.