LARSON REPORT

WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

 

 

January 19, 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

 

Voter Information Session

January 19 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Join experts from the Government Accountability Board at this informational session to discuss changes in Wisconsin law that now requires voters to present a photo ID. This event is hosted by the South Milwaukee City Clerk’s Office. CLICK HERE for more information.

 

South Milwaukee City Hall

2424 15th Avenue

South Milwaukee, WI 53172

(414) 762-2222


 

Winter Gallery Night and Day
January 20 and 21

Presented by the Historic Third Ward Association, Gallery Night and Day is the premier art event in Milwaukee. An evening of gallery hopping and art viewing begins Friday, January 20 and continues during the day on Saturday, January 21. This winter quarterly event showcases 44 venues throughout the downtown Milwaukee area. Admission is free to all venues during event hours listed below. Winter Gallery Night and Day will also host Sculptures on Ice, Milwaukee’s annual ice sculpting exhibition. Bundle up and bring your family and friends to witness these artistic cold-weather creations as they are sculpted into icy art from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday in Catalano Square. CLICK HERE for more information, including a list of participating venues.

 


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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Friend,

 

This past year has been one of little progress, especially in the area of job creation and economic growth. Below we look at the partisan road blocks that have prevented our state from moving forward.

 

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

 

 

 

Wisconsin at a Standstill, Forward No More

Wisconsin is the birthplace of progressive reform, the home of progressive leader Fighting Bob La Follette, and boasts the motto "Forward" on its state flag. Our state's history and traditions center around the ability of Wisconsinites to work together to keep our state moving in the right direction.

 

Unfortunately, under Governor Walker's control, Wisconsin has become divided like never before, bringing common sense reform and work on real solutions to a stand still. Like a car that has run out of gas, our state is currently stalled, even on issues that garner bipartisan support. Below we will examine issues that remain untouched and ignored by Governor Walker and Republican legislators.

 

Job Creation and Support for Small Business

Governor Walker's major campaign promise was to create 250,000 jobs by 2014. To reach this promise, he should have been creating approximately 5,200 jobs each month. However, his promise remains unfulfilled. Under Governor Walker's leadership, which began in January 2011, the number of jobs Wisconsin has created is quickly approaching zero as we have lost jobs every month since his budget went into effect. Over the past year, Governor Walker has created less than 1% of the jobs he promised.

 

The charts below are provided by the nonpartisan, nonprofit organization BadgerStat and tracks Wisconsin's monthly job creation and the goal of reaching 250,000 jobs by 2014.

 

 

 

Governor Walker also called for two special session this year under the guise of prioritizing job creation in our state. Unfortunately, the governor chose to take advantage of this fiscal crisis to give away our school funds and middle-class tax breaks to large corporations in one of the biggest special interest giveaways in state history totaling $2.3 billion.

 

Democrats, on the other hand, made jobs their main focus this session by:

  • Unveiling a jobs package of 10 bills on the first day of session designed to put our unemployed Wisconsinites back to work

  • Introducing legislation to encourage investment in start-up businesses, increase access to capital for small businesses, and expand grant programs to provide training in manufacturing

  • Proposing an additional package of nine bills aimed at giving our workers much-needed training and connecting skilled workers with potential employers

Despite our hard work, dedication and commitment to advancing these job creation measures, extremists continue to throw up partisan road blocks. As a result, these measures are currently languishing in their assigned committees unable to move forward.

 

Other Legislative Priorities On Hold

Job creation and economic growth are not the only issue areas with bills being held hostage by the majority party. There are many other legislative initiatives that Wisconsinites would like to see move forward that are being held up by Governor Walker and Republican legislators. Below are just a few examples of bills that continue to be ignored by Governor Walker and Republican leadership despite having bipartisan support or approval from the majority of Wisconsinites:

  • Strengthening Wisconsin's lax drunk driving laws through increased used of ignition interlock devices

  • Returning the $35 million cut from our technical colleges, which are crucial for producing skilled workers

  • Ensuring voters can get the documents needed to obtain a photo ID free of charge

  • Requiring ethics reports to be filed by members of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to prevent fraud

  • Applying our Open Meetings Laws to the Wisconsin State Legislature

  • Providing adequate funding for women's health services such as breast exams, pap smears and birth control

  • Immediately removing the caps on FamilyCare that were wrongfully imposed by Governor Walker and his administration

  • Turning down $38 million federal grants to help Wisconsin implement portions of federal health care law, which provides coverage for pre-existing conditions and ensures the majority of funds are spent on patient coverage not profits

  • Allowing cooperation between municipalities in order to save money

  • Restoring funding to the recycling program, preventing a cost-shift to local government who already faced cuts to shared revenue in the budget

Wisconsin deserves better. Traditionally, it has been the Wisconsin way to put our partisanship aside in troubled times to get things done. Governor Walker has soundly rejected this tradition.

 

 

 

Wetlands Destruction Bill Passes Committee

This past Thursday, Republicans on the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Environment ignored a scientific and balanced approach to wetlands preservation by rejecting efforts to craft a consensus bill. Rather than turn the bill into something that hunters, anglers, environmentalists and neighbors could stand behind, Republicans voted against a tradition of bipartisan work and in lock-step opposed amendments to decrease flooding and preserve wildlife habitats. As a result, Senate Bill 368, legislation that significantly diminishes environmental protections that keeps our water safe for drinking and recreation and protects our valuable wetland resources, is now available for scheduling on the Senate Floor.

Concerns were raised during the hearing about how passage of this legislation will likely irreversibly degrade our wetlands and contribute to increased flooding. Wetlands are critical in protecting the health of our community. They purify runoff from cities, farms and construction sites, reducing our water treatment costs and ensuring we have cleaner water for drinking and recreation. Furthermore, wetlands are able to store large quantities of water to help prevent devastating shore erosion and flooding in our neighborhoods. The protection provided by wetlands is crucial in the Milwaukee area, which was devastated by flooding in June 2008 and 2009, and July 2010.

Wetlands also play a prominent role in Wisconsin's environment and tourism industry. According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, nearly 40% of Wisconsin's 370 species of birds live in or use our wetlands as well as many mammals, fish, amphibians and reptiles, such as white-tailed deer, waterfowl and walleye. Additionally, Wisconsin's wetlands are home to one-third of the plants and animals on our state's endangered and threatened species list. The nature and wildlife featured in Wisconsin's wetlands provides the perfect setting for recreational wildlife watchers, anglers, hunters and boaters.

Senate Bill 368 became a clear choice of priorities with legislators opting to side with hunting and fishing groups along with environmental scientists or aligning themselves with special interests seeking easier profits. The following are some of the more problematic provisions that remain in this legislation:

  • Eliminates protections for areas designated as having significant ecological, educational or recreational value

  • Rolls back the "avoid and minimize" rule that ensures developers consider alternative non-wetland sites to avoid unnecessary destruction of our valuable natural resources

  • Allows for automatic approval of some permits after only 30 days, leaving our communities at risk if the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is hampered in their review process

  • Changes mitigation rules to allow high quality natural wetlands to be replaced with lower quality artificially created wetlands elsewhere in Wisconsin

Click here to view a copy of Senate Bill 368.

 

 

 

January is Reproductive Awareness Month

This week is national reproductive awareness week. Access to reproductive health care services is directly linked to bettering health care outcomes for women. In addition to the primary purpose of allowing women to plan and prepare for pregnancy, basic reproductive health services also aim to save lives by preventing and treating life-threatening diseases such as HIV/AIDS and breast, cervical, and ovarian cancer through pap smears, breast exams, and screening and treatment for STDs.

I am supporting a resolution to proclaim January 22 through January 28 of this year Reproductive Rights Awareness Week in Wisconsin. This resolution encourages public awareness, conversation and support for reproductive health statewide. Some of the issues highlighted in this resolution include:

  • Emphasizing the importance of prenatal care in decreasing our infant and maternal mortality rates

  • Recognizing that reproductive services encourage prevention and treatment of health problems including ovarian cancer and cysts, pelvic inflammatory disease and osteoporosis

  • Supporting access to contraception for all women to better prevent unintended pregnancies

  • Acknowledging that issues related to women’s reproductive rights are personal issues that should be decided by women with their families, health care providers or clergy members

The unprecedented assault on women’s reproductive rights by Governor Walker and Republican legislators over the last year have reinforced the need to raise awareness about the grave consequences women face if access to reproductive care is restricted. The attack on women’s health began in Governor Walker's 2011-2013 Biennial Budget, which restricted access and funding for preventative health care services for women.

The health care options for Wisconsin’s young women was also negatively impacted with the repeal of the Healthy Youth Act, which helped ensure that Wisconsin’s youth were kept informed about contraceptive and sexually transmitted disease prevention. According to the Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health, approximately 87% of Wisconsin voters support requiring sex education instruction that includes information about both abstinence and contraception.

We owe it to women across the state and future generations to not only bring awareness to the importance of reproductive health services, but to also support these services whole-heartedly to ensure that Wisconsin women will have adequate access to vital and life-saving reproductive care. I will continue to support legislative proposals that keep our state moving in the right direction on women’s health.

Click here to view a copy of the Reproductive Rights Awareness Week resolution.

 

 

 

Milwaukee County Transit Cuts Soon in Effect

Public transit systems across Wisconsin are struggling to maintain current service levels after devastating cuts were implemented by Governor Walker. This is especially concerning for neighbors now relying on public transit to get to their jobs in an effort to spend less of their hard-earned money on vehicle expenses.

 

The Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) has been undergoing some changes recently. On January 1 of this year, fares for TransitPlus users were increased by 75 cents, raising the cost of each bus ticket to $4. The system will see even bigger changes on Sunday, January 29, when some bus stops will be eliminated and other bus routes will be renamed.

 

Click here for more information about these current and future changes to public transit in Milwaukee.

These changes are being implemented as Milwaukee County struggles with the drastic cuts incurred under Governor Walker's budget, including $77 million to shared revenue and a loss of 10% of funds used to maintain public transit. I strongly opposed these cuts, and the resulting shift of these funds to cover unnecessary highway projects, knowing that it would have a detrimental impact on those that rely on public transit, including individuals with disabilities, the elderly, and commuters. I will continue working to help ensure that public transportation remains available to everyone.
 

 

 

Making Our Roads Safer with Ignition Interlock Devices

Like many in Wisconsin, I understand the tragic cost of the drunk driving epidemic that has touched all corners of our state. Too often drunk drivers cause accidents that kill or injure our family, friends and neighbors, shattering lives and tearing the fabric of our communities.

 

We must do more to end these preventable tragedies and safeguard our loved ones. Our family, friends and neighbors cannot afford to wait any longer for stronger drunk driving laws. Wisconsin’s drivers and passengers deserve greater 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 this does not do enough to prevent them from driving. DOT estimates for 2010 show that over 32,000 people were convicted of driving drunk in Wisconsin and nearly 32% of these were repeat offenders.

It is time that begin to change Wisconsin's culture of drinking and driving, which is why Rep. Tony Staskunas and I have introduced bipartisan legislation to strengthen our state’s drunk driving laws through increased use of ignition interlock devices.

 

Click here to view a copy of this legislation.

 

This legislation strengthens our lax drunk driving laws by stipulating that all first-time convicted drunk drivers have an ignition interlock device placed in their vehicle. Currently, ignition interlock device are only installed in vehicles of first-time offenders with blood alcohol content of .15 or higher and repeat offenders. This life-saving technology has been proven to reduce drunk driving recidivism by 67 percent, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

This legislation is a step in the right direction. I continue to work with advocates and law enforcement as we strive to overhaul Wisconsin's arcane drunk driving laws.

 

Click here to view a letter from Mothers Against Drunk Driving discussing the importance of ignition interlock devices in reducing drunk driving to save lives.


 

 

Thank You for a Record-Breaking Season

I would like to thank the Green Bay Packers for another exciting year of football. Though they were not able to repeat as Super Bowl champions this year, they still succeeded in winning the conference making all of us here in the Cheese Head state proud.

The Packers broke records one after the other in the regular season. They were the first NFL team to finish the season with a 15-2 record. They also were able to beat the Chicago Bears three times during the 2011 calendar year.

 

The leadership of quarterback Aaron Rodgers was crucial to the team’s success as he completed over 68% of his 468 passes and scored 46 touchdowns. Rodgers was also a threat on the ground rushing the ball 60 times for 257 yards. Success was not limited to Rodgers alone. The defense was able to rack up 29 sacks and a National Football League high of 31 interceptions. The future looks bright for our team and we look forward to cheering them on next year.

 

GO-PACK-GO!

 

 

 

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 going into the new year. 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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