December 1, 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. 



Christmas in the Ward
December 2 and 3
Enjoy the holiday spirit of the Historic Third Ward with live entertainment and a variety of shops to explore during the 23rd Annual Christmas in the Ward. This year's tree lighting ceremony and fireworks happen Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Catalano Square. The fun continues with shopping, dining and two performances by Radio Disney on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission to this family-friendly event is free. CLICK HERE for more information.



Holiday Artisan Market
December 3 and 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Enjoy one-of-a-kind handmade goods from local artisans at Discovery World’s Holiday Artisan Market. There will also be live music, festive treats, artist demonstrations, and complimentary gift wrapping for all purchases. Admission is free. For additional information, please CLICK HERE.

Discovery World (MAP)
500 N. Harbor Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 765-9966



9th Annual Broom Ball Classic at MSOE
December 3 from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Broomball is a great game for new and veteran players alike. For the past eight years, Milwaukeeans have teamed up to provide toys for disadvantaged Milwaukee area children. This year’s efforts will benefit Boys and Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee. Join in on the fun this holiday season by playing some broomball for a good cause. Team fee registration is $50; player fee is $10 or a new toy donation. CLICK HERE to visit the Milwaukee School of Engineering's Web site.

Milwaukee School of Engineering (MAP)
1025 N. Broadway
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(800) 332-6763



Milwaukee Bike Swap
December 4 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Mark your calendars for the Bike Federation's annual Milwaukee Bike Swap. Stop by the union to buy and sell parts, accessories, bicycles, clothing and bike-themed crafts. The swap is a fundraiser for the Milwaukee Bicycle Works and the UW-Milwaukee Cycling Club.
Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students, and free for children 12 and under. CLICK HERE for additional information.

UW-Milwaukee Union's Second Floor Ballroom (MAP)
2200 E. Kenwood Blvd.
Milwaukee, WI 53201
(414) 229-1122



Local First Milwaukee's Buy Local Gift Fair
December 4 from Noon to 4 p.m. 
Shop 40 local vendors, all under one roof while listening to festive holiday tunes. Free brewery tours will also be offered at 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. Beer and other beverages will be available for purchase from Lakefront Brewery and sandwiches will be available for purchase from Fast Foodie. Admission is free. CLICK HERE for more information including a list of participating vendors.

Lakefront Brewery (MAP)
1872 N. Commerce Street
Milwaukee, WI 53212
(414) 372-8800



Milwaukee Santa Shuffle 5k
December 4 at 9:30 a.m.

Run or walk with hundreds of Santas at the Milwaukee Santa Shuffle! All participants receive a Santa stocking hat and event shirt. Make stops at the on-course candy stations, pucker up as you run beneath the mistletoe, enjoy the holiday music and warm up at the finish with cookies and hot cider.

Veterans Park (MAP)
1010 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Bay View Christmas Tree Lighting
December 5 at 7 p.m.

This event will feature Christmas caroling by the
Bay View High School Choir at 6 p.m. The tree lighting and a visit from Santa will happen at 7 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided by the Bay View Area Redcats and
the Garibaldi Society.


Bay View Post 180 (MAP)
2860 S. Kinnickinnic Avenue

Bay View, WI 53207




































































































































































Dear Friend,


A positive step was made this week to decrease drunk driving in Wisconsin through a proposal to increase the use of ignition interlock devices. Please continue reading for more information on this bill I authored.


Chris Larson
State Senator, District 7




Saving Lives One Step at a Time

This week I introduced legislation to take a significant  step towards making Wisconsin’s streets safer. This proposal will strengthen our state’s drunk driving laws through increased use of ignition interlock devices (IIDs). The proposal already enjoys bipartisan support. Our lax drunk driving laws and record number of binge drinkers has thrust Wisconsin into the national spotlight keeping us ranked as one of the worst states for drunk driving offenses in the country.

Wisconsin’s drunk driving laws have failed to protect the safety of Wisconsin’s drivers and passengers. According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT), alcohol-related crashes killed 238 people and injured nearly 4,000 in Wisconsin in 2009. Additionally, approximately 45 percent of all fatal traffic crashes in Wisconsin in 2009 were alcohol-related. These staggering statistics do little to give our driver’s peace-of-mind while on the road.

In the past, the solution has simply been to take away the driver’s licenses of convicted drunk drivers. However, we know that doing this does not prevent them from driving. DOT estimates for 2010 show that over 32,000 people were convicted of driving drunk in Wisconsin. Of these, nearly 32 percent were repeat offenders. IIDs, on the other hand, have forced offenders to change their behavior by separating drinking from driving. Individuals with an IID installed will be prevented from starting their vehicle if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is above .02. IIDs are supported by drunk driving prevention advocates as they are proven to reduce drunk driving recidivism by 67 percent, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Legislature expanded the use of IIDs to first-time offenders with a BAC of .15 or higher and all repeat offenders during the 2009-2010 Legislative Session. Unfortunately, over the past year we have learned of cases around the state where first-time OWI offenders successfully plea bargain their BAC level below .15 in an effort to avoid the installation of IIDs.

It is time that we do more to stop the fatalities, injuries, and property loss caused by drunk drivers. The legislation I introduced is another step in the right direction towards making our streets safer for all Wisconsinites by requiring that all first-time convicted drunk drivers install an IID in their vehicle.

There is growing support in the Legislature for strengthening Wisconsin’s drunk driving laws through greater monitoring, treatment and enforcement. I am calling on members of the Legislature to whole-heartedly support this bill that will serve as a significant step towards reducing drunk driving in Wisconsin and in-turn increase public safety. However, legislation is not passed by legislators alone. Therefore, I also would like to encourage our fellow Wisconsinites to contact their state senator and representative and urge them to support this life-saving legislation.


To view a copy of this bill, please CLICK HERE.




Proper Notice for Changes to Health Safety Net

Just last month we learned that the Governor and his administration opted to cut $554 million from Wisconsin's health safety net that children, working families and seniors desperately need. Gutting funding from this vital state program will trigger an immediate and unexpected health care catastrophe for many Wisconsinites. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) anticipates that almost 65,000 Wisconsinites, including almost 30,000 pregnant women and children, will lose their health care coverage through BadgerCare as a result of these cuts.


BadgerCare is a program that was created with bipartisan support under former Governor Tommy Thompson. Currently, about one out of five Wisconsin residents rely on BadgerCare or Medicaid for their health care needs. The number of individuals enrolled in the state's Medicaid programs has been steadily increasing in recent years due to the ongoing recession and increased health care costs, making it one of the worst times to consider additional cuts to our health safety net.

Under current law, the Department of Health Services must provide a Medicaid or BadgerCare beneficiary only 10 days notice before implementing any changes to their coverage, which is simply not enough time for individuals to make alternative arrangements. I am co-sponsoring LRB 2407, legislation that will require the Department of Health Services to provide 60 days notice, in writing and in clear language, before any changes can be made to a beneficiary’s coverage.

If the Governor insists on making sweeping changes, endangering those who rely on BadgerCare and other Medicaid programs, the least we can do is provide adequate notice. In the face of these tough economic times, we should do whatever possible to ease the burden on Wisconsin families who depend on these safety net programs. For this reason I will be strongly supporting LRB 2407.


CLICK HERE to view a copy of this bill.




Removing Cost Barriers to Vote

In order to receive a state-issued I.D. to vote in Wisconsin, an individual is required to verify their identity and may need to present a copy of a certified birth certificate to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT). The current cost of obtaining a birth certificate from the County Register of Deeds office is $20. I am co-sponsoring a bill that will remove this cost barrier placed on Wisconsin's voters by waiving the $20 fee for Wisconsinites that request a birth certificate for the purposes of obtaining an I.D. for voting.

Voter suppression legislation passed by Republicans this past spring created considerable barriers to eligible voters including: seniors, students, minorities, people with disabilities and new residents, many of whom do not have a current state-issued photo I.D. now necessary to vote in Wisconsin. This legislation will ensure that all eligible voters are able to obtain an I.D. card for voting without being charged so that they can exercise their constitutional right and participate in our elections sans any modern-day poll tax.


CLICK HERE to view a copy of this bill.



Renewing Our Heritage, Restoring Children’s Health

This week I unveiled the Wisconsin Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights, which seeks to reconnect children with nature to both improve their overall health and ensure we have a new generation of stewards to protect Wisconsin’s valued natural environment. This resolution lays the foundation of our commitment to provide our children the opportunity to discover Wisconsin’s diverse wilderness by sharing in our hunting and fishing traditions, hiking on trails, and swimming in our lakes and rivers. With this Bill of Rights, we also codify a generational promise to our children that we will have breathable air and clean drinking water.

This resolution is vital to the health of our children as there has been a recent shift away from outdoor activities to more solitary and stationary activities, such as watching TV and playing video games. According to a recent survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Fund, children ages 8-18 spend more than 7.5 hours each day, or 53 hours a week, on smart phones, computers and watching TV. These figures are in stark contrast with the amount of time children spend outdoors considering the average 6-12 year old spends just 30 minutes per week in unstructured outdoor activities such as gardening, camping or hiking.

As a result, our children are now suffering from a “Nature Deficit Disorder,” which has begun to take a toll on the health of our children who are facing skyrocketing obesity, diabetes and attention deficit disorder rates. Statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention find that from 1980 to 2008 childhood obesity in children aged 6-11 nearly tripled and childhood obesity in children aged 12-19 more than tripled. This means that approximately one out of every five children today is considered obese, leaving today’s youth at risk of becoming the first generation to have a shorter lifespan than their parents.

The Wisconsin Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights promotes behaviors and activities that are shown to improve the mental and physical health of our children. Time outdoors is proven to benefit our children’s health as it decreases stress levels and lowers their risk of developing asthma or being overweight. It also increases our children’s chances for success since students who play and learn in outdoor settings perform better on tests, have higher grade point averages and cause fewer classroom disruptions.

This resolution is an opportunity for parents, policy makers, educators and health care providers throughout our state to affirm each child’s right to grow up healthy and have access to a clean and safe outdoor environment. As stated by Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, “Time in nature is not leisure time; it’s an essential investment in our children’s health.” It is time that we start making that investment. By Adopting the Wisconsin Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights, we are taking one step forward in that direction.


CLICK HERE to view a copy of this resolution.



Track Wisconsin's Performance at BadgerStat

Many neighbors have been asking for places where they can find credible, nonpartisan information about how Wisconsin is performing compared to other states Therefore, I wanted to refer you to BadgerStat, an innovative, nonpartisan nonprofit organization that serves as a watchdog on state government. BadgerStat aims to encourage government to be more efficient and effective, which will in-turn produce better results for citizens while also promoting taxpayer savings.

BadgerStat also recently created a new feature for their Web site called the "Performance Dashboard of Wisconsin." This tool examines Wisconsin's performance in key areas such as the economy, jobs, business climate, education, health, and the environment.



To stay up-to-date on the most recent facts and figures for Wisconsin and find out more about BadgerStat, please CLICK HERE.




"Bike the Hoan" Petition Submitted

Earlier this week I dropped off the more than 5,000 signatures collected for the "Bike the Hoan" petition to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT). DOT has concluded taking public comment on this proposal and is expected to make their final determination on this once-in-a-generation opportunity later this month.

You can find more information about the Hoan Bridge bike and pedestrian lane proposal by visiting the DOT's Web site or by clicking the links below:

  • To view the DOT's feasibility study on this proposed project, which includes different construction plans and cost estimates, please CLICK HERE

  • To view a chart comparing all of the bike and pedestrian lane option, please CLICK HERE

  • To view video from the public hearing, please CLICK HERE




Celebrating the Holidays in South Milwaukee

It was great to see so many neighbors over the holiday weekend at South Milwaukee's Parade and Old Fashioned Christmas. This event provided a great deal of family-friendly holiday activities including children's crafts, stockings, a movie, food for sale, a tree lighting, and even a visit from Santa. Thank you to everyone that attended this wonderful community event brimming with holiday cheer.


See You in the Neighborhood

I created a survey that I am distributing to neighbors asking about various issues that are important to them, our community and our state. I have been distributing the survey door-to-door throughout our community and will continue doing so through December. To return the survey, simply fold it, tape it, and affix a stamp.

To save a stamp and take the survey online, please CLICK HERE.

You can also CLICK HERE to download and print a copy of this survey, which you can return to my office via mail, email or fax upon completion.


I look forward to hearing your views on these important issues. Hope to see you in the neighborhood soon!




Know Your Voting Rights

Scott Walker and Republican legislators recently enacted some of the most restrictive ID requirements for voters in the country. While they have been working to silence Wisconsin's voters, I have been working hard to keep Wisconsin's voters informed of their rights. I have created a simple handout answering some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding Wisconsin's new voter restrictions.


To view this handout please CLICK HERE or visit my Web site, You can also CLICK HERE to view the same PDF in Spanish.




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