August 4, 2011



Please feel free to contact me with any concerns or opinions you might have.

Office Phone: (608) 266-7505
Toll-free Phone: (800) 361-5487



Mailing Address:

State Capitol
P.O. Box 7882
Madison, WI 53707


Web Site:












Supporting our neighbors and being involved in our community is of the utmost importance. Some community events that might be of interest to you and your family are listed below. 

Summer Sizzle Jazz Festival
August 6 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Enjoy four stages of continuous music from 18 local and regional groups at the Historic Third Ward's popular one-day outdoor jazz festival. Featuring traditional, Latin, swing, smooth and Dixieland-style jazz, Summer Sizzle packs a style for all musical tastes. You can also stop by the local food, drink and specialty vendors that will be set up throughout the day. Admission is free. The four stages are located at Catalano Square and along Broadway in the Historic Third Ward and parking is available in one of the nearby structures (212 N. Milwaukee St. and 225 E. Chicago St.) or a few blocks to the north or south.


African World Festival
August 6

African World Festival is a celebration of African heritage and culture held on the shores of Lake Michigan at Maier Festival Park in Milwaukee. Known as "The Meeting Place," the African World Festival is not only an entertaining event but an educational experience. Come and explore the cultural village, sample a variety of ethnic foods, shop around the Marketplace, and let the kids play in the Childrenís Village. CLICK HERE for additional information.

Henry Maier Festival Park (MAP)
200 N. Harbor Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 291-7959



Milwaukee Air & Water Show
August 6 and 7
Stop by Milwaukee's Air & Water show to see stunt pilots and demonstration aircrafts take to the skies over Milwaukee's lakefront. Vendors will offer a wide variety of food and beverage options at the event. Air Show merchandise and other items will also be available. Regular admission is free for all spectators. The Air Show begins daily at 11 a.m. and ends at approximately 4 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. The Water Show is scheduled daily, beginning at approximately 10 a.m.  For more information, please CLICK HERE.

Bradford Beach (MAP)
2400 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53211
(414) 962-8809


Bay Viewers: Tell Your Story

August 6 and August 13

Visit the Beulah Brinton House to preserve and share your Bay View stories, photos and artifacts. Bay View High School students will be available between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. both Saturdays to record your Bay View stories, photograph Bay Viewers and document any Bay View artifacts or photos. This is the perfect opportunity for neighbors to be a part of our community's history. For more information about the event, please CLICK HERE.

Beulah Brinton House (MAP)

2590 S. Superior Street
Milwaukee, WI 53207

Milwaukee Wine Festival
August 12 at 4 p.m. until August 13 at 9 p.m.
Enjoy sampling from more than 200 wines outside along Milwaukee's lakefront. Also, take in cooking demos by chefs from The Capital Grille and other eateries, expert-led wine seminars, and food from some great local restaurants. This event will feature live music as well. A portion of every ticket will help fund Friends of Art, the Milwaukee Art Museum's volunteer organization. The festival runs from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is $27 in advance or $35 at the door. Designated drivers pay only $10. CLICK HERE for more information.

Milwaukee Art Museum (MAP)
700 N. Art Museum Dr.
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 224-3200





































































































Dear Friend,

This week we look at the costs of playing political games with unemployment benefits. I have also provided an update on the U.S. avoiding an immediate economic catastrophe by agreeing to raise the debt ceiling.


Chris Larson
State Senator, District 7




Republicans Again Place Politics Above Displaced Workers


Last month the Senate and Assembly passed different versions of Senate Bill 147. The simple legislative change proposed in Senate Bill 147 would allow Wisconsin to capture nearly $90 million from the federal government to extend unemployment benefits to help Wisconsinís displaced workers while they continue looking for jobs during these tough economic times. These funds would not need to be repaid to the federal government. Passing this legislation is crucial to our community as Milwaukee County faces an 8.4% unemployment rate.

The vote earlier this week was on an amendment, which sought to increase the burden on Wisconsinís displaced workers by forcing them to arbitrarily wait one week before obtaining unemployment compensation. This legislation should have been signed into law last month but has been at a standstill until this past Monday as a result of Republicans in the Senate and Assembly failing to work together to reach a consensus.

Although Senate Bill 147 with the amendment to remove the one-week delay passed with a strong bipartisan vote last month, Senate Republicans flip-flopped this week by voting to reinstate the one-week delay. The only conclusion one can reach from these disingenuous actions of Republicans initially voting for the amendment only to vote against the same amendment later is that they are using our family, friends and neighbors that have been displaced from their jobs as pawns to sacrifice in a game of political chess.

Displaced workers statewide have already been harmed by Republicans choosing to delay action on the bill until this week. I have had conversations with neighbors who were knocked down by the economic downturn and are receiving unemployment compensation while they continue searching for jobs to get back on their feet. Unfortunately, some of these individuals also saw their benefits expire while waiting for Republicans to stop dragging their feet, halt their infighting, and reach an agreement for the people of Wisconsin.

Senate Bill 147 was approved by both the Senate and Assembly and was signed into law by the governor on Wednesday, August 3. CLICK HERE to view the bill.




Democrats Demand Accountability, Greater Safety for Voucher Students

My Democratic colleagues and I circulated a legislative proposal this week for additional co-sponsors that, if passed, will help to ensure greater accountability and safety of our children in all of our schools. The Voucher Accountability and Child Safety Act would apply the same background check requirements and employment standards currently at our local neighborhood schools to teachers and administrators employed by private schools participating in the voucher program.

While Governor Walker's Budget expanded taxpayer-funded school vouchers in Wisconsin, including all of Milwaukee County, it did nothing to close egregious loopholes in the program that leave our children susceptible to harm. This bill will ensure a safe learning environment for children at taxpayer-funded voucher schools by requiring reasonable background checks for teachers and administrators.

Currently, there is no guarantee that taxpayer dollars are not being utilized to put sex offenders and other potentially dangerous individuals near innocent children attending voucher schools. Public schools, on the other hand, establish a standard of safety for children through the stateís licensure process. While this bill does not require taxpayer-funded voucher school teachers and administrators to go through that process, it would guarantee vital background checks in order to keep our voucher school children safe.

I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me in protecting our children from convicted sex offenders by implementing these common-sense accountability standards.

To view a copy of the Voucher Accountability and Child Safety Act, please CLICK HERE.




Debt Ceiling Update

Congress and the President were able to reach a compromise on the debt ceiling this past Tuesday. Although the impact of this deal on our state has yet to be fully determined, we have at least diverted the absolute immediate catastrophe that would have resulted from the U.S. defaulting on its loans. The U.S. House passed the debt deal with a vote of 269 to 161, while the U.S. Senate voted on the deal the next day supporting the measure with a vote of 74-26. President Obama signed the deal into law on Tuesday, August 2.


The approved debt deal includes a new set of deadlines and triggers for increasing the debt ceiling through 2013. Additionally, the deal increased our borrowing authority by approximately $2.4 trillion, but also requires a spending cut of $2.5 trillion over the next 10 years. Some of these cuts will be decided by a 12-member bipartisan group who have been given the authority to propose $1.5 trillion in cuts. If Congress fails to approve the group's recommendations this December, $1.2 trillion in automatic across-the-board cuts will be made instead.


I will be sure to keep you apprised of how the recently-adopted debt deal will impact our state and local communities as more information becomes available in the coming months.


To view a copy of the bill that was adopted by Congress and signed into law by the President, please CLICK HERE. You can also find analysis of the debt deal from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office by CLICKING HERE.



Celebrate Wisconsin Tradition at the 160th Annual State Fair

The Wisconsin State Fair starts this week, marking 160 years of family-friendly entertainment and countless Wisconsin customs. Fairgoers will flock to the State Fair Grounds in West Allis starting August 4 through August 14 to enjoy and take part in this proud Wisconsin tradition.

The State Fair attracts over 800,000 fairgoers annually, giving people the opportunity to enjoy 30 stages of free, live entertainment, pay tribute to Wisconsinís famous agriculture industry through barn tours and auctions, admire ribbon-winning fair items such as pies and textiles, and savor Wisconsinís Official Dessert--the cream puff.

This year, fairgoers can expect to enjoy a selection of unique indulgent or deep-fried foods both on and off sticks in true fair custom. Among the new items are the deep-fried beer, deep-fried butter, breaded deep-fried oysters on a stick, and a bacon sundae.

The State Fair is important to Wisconsinís economy by providing residents much-needed jobs in these tough economic times. The Fair will employ more than 1,400 people. Additionally, surrounding communities benefit economically from the fair by providing parking to out of town fairgoers and increasing business for neighborhood restaurants and bars.

For more information on the activities, musical line-ups and food options for this yearís Wisconsin State Fair, please CLICK HERE.




Redistricting Survey Results Available

Thank you to everyone that participated in the Redistricting Survey to provide me with valuable feedback on what is important to our community and state. I asked for your thoughts on our current redistricting process and what redistricting process you would like Wisconsin to utilize in the future. Overall, more than 400 people responded with their perspective on the three questions that I asked.

As you review the results, please keep in mind that the survey was not scientific. I invited anyone that subscribes to the Larson Report to participate and also made the survey available on my Web site.


Survey questions and results are listed below:

Question 1 & Results

I __________ Wisconsin's current redistricting system, which has the Legislature draw the state's Senate and Assembly district maps.

  • Oppose = 90%

  • Support = 7%

  • No Opinion/Not Sure = 3%

Question 2 & Results
Wisconsin's current redistricting system __________ partisanship and political gridlock in the state.

  • Increases = 84%

  • Decreases = 8%

  • Does Not Affect = 5%

  • No Opinion/Not Sure = 3%

Question 3 & Results

I believe Wisconsin should use the following redistricting model:

  • Bipartisan Commission = 45%

  • Nonpartisan Commission = 38%

  • Legislative (current system) = 8%

  • Other = 3%

  • Advisory Commission = 2%

  • No Opinion/Not Sure = 2%

  • Back-up Commission = <1%

It is my hope that we can continue working together on this and other important issues to improve our communities and make Wisconsin a better place to live and work for our family, friends and neighbors.




Changes to Voting Laws in Wisconsin

General and special elections are now upon us. Given the recent changes to Wisconsin's voting laws, I have included a handout to provide you with updated information on voting procedures for this summer's elections. Please contact me if you have any questions.


CLICK HERE to view the changes to Wisconsin's voting laws.




Summer Activities in Our Community

Our community offers a wide variety of summer activities for families, children and adults. Below is just one of many activities that you can take part in this summer.


Groovy Movie Nite

Thursdays at 8:15 p.m.

Enjoy the final days of summer by attending Groovy Movie Nites with the entire family in downtown South Milwaukee. Games and music will begin at 7:30 p.m., and movies will be shown at 8:15 p.m. following the South Milwaukee Downtown Market. The schedule for Groovy Movie Nites is listed below:


August 4: Megamind


August 11: Gnomeo & Juliet


August 18: Kung Fu Panda


For more information about this event, CLICK HERE. You can also view a map of the location by CLICKING HERE.




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