LARSON REPORT

WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

 

 

February 2, 2012

     

CONTACT ME


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

Email:
Sen.Larson@legis.wi.gov

 

Mailing Address:

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

 

Web Site:

SenatorChrisLarson.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMMUNITY EVENTS
 

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. 
 


Working Legacies: The Death and (After) Life of Post-Industrial Milwaukee
Now through February 6
Stop by this exhibition featuring the photos and histories of David Schalliol and Michael Carriere. This exhibition explores the legacy of work in Milwaukee through documentary photographs and site histories of former and current industrial facilities in the city, keeping an eye on their present use and local context. The result is a document of Milwaukee’s industrial past and present, and the hopeful groundwork for its future. From the manufacturing of wind turbines to tech-savvy urban farms, the demise of a working Milwaukee has been greatly exaggerated. CLICK HERE for more information about this event.

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


The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)
Now through March
Three phenomenal actors, armed with an outrageous assortment of outerwear and props, cram the Bard’s entire canon of plays and sonnets into 90 minutes of high-speed, over-the-top hilarity. The whole family will love this endearingly irreverent and lightning-paced romp through the greatest plays of all time. CLICK HERE for more information or to purchase tickets.

Milwaukee Repertory Theater (MAP)
108 E. Wells Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 224-9490

 

 

A Wrinkle in Time

January 27-February 19

She is an outcast at school, her father is missing and the town thinks her brother is some sort of freak. Meg Murry is angry at a world that makes no sense to her. But when a strange visitor arrives at her family’s home on a dark and stormy night, she embarks on a wild journey through space and time to rescue her father from the evil forces that hold him prisoner on another planet. Do not miss this production sure to propel your imagination on the journey of a lifetime.
Based on the book by Madeleine L'Engle. CLICK HERE for more information or to purchase tickets.

 

Milwaukee Youth Arts Center (MAP)

325 W. Walnut Street Milwaukee, WI 53212

 

 

Winter Preschool Storytime
February 7 from 10:15 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Visit the St. Francis Library to enjoy story time with your kids. There will also be music, poems, and arts & crafts. CLICK HERE for additional information.

St. Francis Public Library
4230 S. Nicholson Avenue
St Francis, WI 53235
(414) 481-7323

 


Grant Park Players Presents: Ordinary People
February 10 through February 19

Come see the Grant Park Players Community Theatre perform the production Ordinary People. This play, based on Judith Guest's 1976 novel, goes to the essence of a young man, his friends and family, their relationships and survival.
Tickets are available at the door. Prices are $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors. You can also purchase tickets by contacting the South Milwaukee PAC box office. CLICK HERE for more information.

South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center (MAP)
901 15th Avenue
South Milwaukee, WI 53172
(414) 766-5049

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Friend,

 

Legislation needed to correct two unintended consequences that were created by Governor Walker's budget have been introduced, but have yet to be signed into law due to inaction by Republican legislators. Continue reading for more information.

 

As usual, please feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns or opinions you may have about our community or our state.


Sincerely,

Chris Larson
State Senator, District 7

 

 

 

FamilyCare Cap Removal Needed Immediately

Currently, about one out of five Wisconsin residents rely on our state's health safety net programs for their health care needs. The number of individuals enrolled in Wisconsin's Medicaid programs has been steadily increasing in recent years due to our state's ailing economy, continued loss of family-supporting jobs, and increased health care costs. Given the hardships our neighbors our facing, it is one of the worst times to consider any additional cuts to our health safety net.

 

As you may know, Governor Walker’s 2011-2013 Biennial Budget instituted a cap on the FamilyCare program. During the budget debate, my Democratic colleagues and I expressed our concerns about how family, friends and neighbors would suffer by being denied these life-saving services. Unfortunately, voices from across Wisconsin were once again ignored and the cap went into effect on July 1, 2011.
 

FamilyCare is a bipartisan community-based, long-term care program that plays a vital role in Wisconsin’s health safety net. The program serves our state’s most vulnerable neighbors, including the elderly and individuals with disabilities, to enhance their health and quality of life.


This past December, the federal government stepped in, ordering Governor Walker and the Wisconsin Legislature to pass legislation immediately in order to lift the caps on FamilyCare. As a result, Senate Bill 380 and Assembly Bill 477 were introduced. If the Legislature fails to pass Senate Bill 380 or Assembly Bill 477, Wisconsin will have to forfeit the $1.75 billion it is expected to receiving in matching federal funds for our Medicaid programs, including FamilyCare.

As a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 380 and Assembly Bill 477, I will continuing doing what I can to usher these bills through the legislative process and look forward to supporting them when they reach the Senate Floor for a vote. I will also continue to monitor the FamilyCare program to ensure that our family, friends and neighbors receive the same level of coverage and quality of care once the cap has been removed.

Senate Bill 380 and Assembly Bill 477 have been referred to the Senate Committee on Health and the Assembly Committee on Aging and Long Term Care respectively. Both have yet to be scheduled for a public hearing. I am encouraging the chairs of these committees to schedule this legislation for a pubic hearing as soon as possible so that we can make the necessary changes to open up FamilyCare for those most in need immediately.

 

Click here to view a copy of this legislation.

 

A Pattern of Assault
The full-scale attack on FamilyCare is not the first time that Governor Walker and his administration have put out a bounty on Wisconsin’s health safety net. In his backwards budget, Governor Walker cut nearly $500 million from our state’s Medicaid programs, which will have an especially devastating effect on our neighbors in Milwaukee County.

 

Notable health care cuts placed in the most recent biennial budget are listed below:

  • Only extends SeniorCare through 2012, bringing uncertainty to the long-term availability of the program, which is a cheaper option to Medicare Part D for our seniors and taxpayers.

  • Substantially restricts women's access to preventative health care, including: cancer screenings, pap tests, birth control and medical exams.

  • Reduces the eligibility and services for BadgerCare, which provides services to working families and had a wait-list of 50,000 Wisconsinites in June 2010.

The Governor continued his extreme agenda announcing an additional $554 million in cuts this past October. With these cuts, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) estimates that almost 65,000 Wisconsinites, including 30,000 pregnant women and children, will lose their current BadgerCare health care coverage.

 

Another group that will be disproportionately affected by these additional Medicaid cuts are people suffering from chronic illnesses, such as cancer and heart disease. Chronic and life-threatening illnesses often leave individuals unable to work, causing them to exhaust their lifesavings and unable to cover their medical expenses without the use of Medicaid.

 

Wisconsin's vital health care programs ensure that our families and neighbors are able to receive quality, affordable health care to prevent costly emergency room visits. These programs also help save valuable taxpayer dollars by keeping our loved ones in their own homes and active in their communities instead of placing them in nursing homes and in-patient facilities.


 

 

Uphold Promise to Close Voucher Loophole

This week I joined my Democratic colleagues in urging Assembly Republicans to uphold their promise to close the voucher loophole created in Governor Walker's 2011-2013 Biennial Budget.

 

A provision was inserted by Republicans into the budget that establishes four criteria for a school district that, if met, would allow private and religious schools to take up to $6,500 in tax dollars per student away from our public schools. The four criteria are listed below:

  • The district property value per member is no more than 80% of the statewide average

  • The district shared cost per pupil is no more than 91% of the statewide average

  • The district is eligible to receive high poverty aid

  • The district is located in whole or in part in a second class city

Republican legislators indicated that their intention with this budget provision was to simply expand the voucher program to Racine alone. However, hasty action on the budget and failure to acknowledge concerns addressing this potential issue led to unintended consequences, such as creating a voucher loophole.

 

Click here to view an article cautioning Governor Walker about the unintended consequences that would result from the budget provision.

 

At the time the budget was passed only Racine met the aforementioned criteria and qualified for expansion of the voucher program, but other communities could also qualify in future years if the law stays as it is in the current budget, forcing other cities to implement their own voucher program.

 

There are currently two districts that are on the verge of becoming “choice eligible”--Green Bay and Menasha--both of whom meet three of four criteria and only miss on the criteria regarding shared cost per pupil (less than 91% of the statewide average). However, both are relatively close, with Green Bay at 93.5% and Menasha at 93.2% of the statewide average this year.

 

During and after the budget debate, Senate and Assembly Republican leaders promised to pass additional legislation to close the voucher loophole created by the budget.

 

Click here to view an article boasting Republican promises to close the loophole.

 

In August, Senator Mike Ellis and Representative Robin Vos introduced Senate Bill 174. This bill closes the voucher loophole by amending the state budget to say that no school district that has not already qualified as an eligible school district may qualify as an eligible school district once Senate Bill 174 is in effect.

 

Senate Bill 174 received a public hearing in the Senate and Assembly Education Committees this past October. This bipartisan bill has since passed unanimously in the Senate and has simply waiting for several months to be scheduled for a vote in the Assembly before it can be signed into law.

 

Click here to view an article after the passage of Senate Bill 174 in the Senate.

 

We are fast approaching the end of the current legislative session and are quickly running out of time to pass Senate Bill 174. If Republicans are unwilling to honor their commitments and Senate Bill 174 is not voted on before the end of session, it will have to be reintroduced when the next legislative session begins in January 2013. If this legislation fails to pass before the end of session it may be too late for Green Bay. Further, not pursuing this legislation that has tremendous bipartisan support will simply show that Republican legislators have caved to the special interest school choice lobbyists and are not looking out for the majority of Wisconsin tax payers.

 

Therefore, I urge Assembly Republican Leaders to continue working for the people across Wisconsin and schedule this important bill for a vote. It is time that Republicans show Wisconsinites that they remain committed to their promises.

 

Click here to view a copy of Senate Bill 174.
 


 

Partial Veto Gives Governor Too Much Power

I am co-sponsoring legislation expected to be introduced later this week that will create a more open government in our state by increasing accountability to Wisconsinites.

Under current law, the governor has the authority to change the meaning or intention of legislation that includes an appropriation by using his partial veto power. Upon receiving an appropriations bill to sign, the governor may delete words, digits, parts of sentences, or one or more sentences contained within a specific section.

 

LRB 3361/2, will maintain our checks and balances by protecting the governor's ability to approve or reject each appropriation or item dealing with a particular subject in its entirety. However, under this resolution the governor will no longer be able to change the meaning of proposed legislation to make new laws divorced from the Legislature’s original intent. The rejected pieces of legislation will be sent back to the Legislature for reconsideration.

 

The Legislature, not the Executive Branch, has been granted the power to work together and compromise in order to craft and pass legislation. Allowing the governor to partially veto appropriation legislation enables him to circumvent the will of the Legislature and the people to create a new law at his whim.

 

LRB 3361/2 requires a Constitutional Amendment and will need to first pass in both the Assembly and the Senate during two consecutive legislative sessions and then be voted on by the people of Wisconsin. Because I believe in fostering a government that is both transparent and responsive to the people, I will be supporting LRB 3361/2.

 

Click here to view a copy of LRB 3361/2.
 

 

 

February is American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month, so do not forget to wear red this Friday.

 

While heart disease is often preventable, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. In order to keep our hearts healthy, the American Heart Association has created a “Life’s Simple 7” action plan. Simple steps, including maintaining a healthy weight and diet, exercising regularly, and having your primary care physician check your cholesterol and blood pressure regularly can safeguard your heart.
 

Click here to visit the American Heart Association's Web site to answer questions about your health and lifestyle, learn your personal health score, and select a simple action plan to improve the health of your heart.
 

 

 

Today is Groundhog's Day

Today, groundhogs across the country emerged from their burrows to help us predict the length of our winter season. If the little guys see their shadow and retreat back into the burrow, it means we will be stuck with six more weeks of winter. But if they do not see their shadow, we are in the clear for an early spring.

Wisconsin's own groundhog, Jimmy, made his prediction this morning at Cannery Square Plaza in downtown Sun Prairie. According to the Groundhog Hotline, Jimmy did not see his shadow, indicating that Wisconsin should expect spring to be right around the corner.

 

 

 

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 throughout the current legislative session. To return the survey, simply fold it, tape it, and affix a stamp.
 

Click here to save a stamp and take the survey online.


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.

 

Click here to view this handout or visit my Web site, SenatorChrisLarson.com.

 

Click here to view the same PDF in Spanish.

 

 

 

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