January 26, 2012
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.
Theatre: The Sequel!
Danceworks, Inc. (MAP)
1661 N. Water Street
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.
Milwaukee Youth Arts Center (MAP)
325 W. Walnut Street Milwaukee, WI 53212
This week we review the policies laid out in Governor Walker's state of the state address by examining not only what was said, but also what was ignored.
As usual, please feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns or opinions you may have about our community or our state.
The State of the State is Divided
A pivotal opportunity was missed in the governor's State of the State address delivered this past Wednesday to honestly speak to the problems plaguing Wisconsin and admit that the divisive policies that have been pursued have failed. Unfortunately, instead of taking responsibility for dragging our state in the wrong direction, Governor Walker's speech reinforced that he is clearly out of touch with the reality most Wisconsinites are experiencing and has every intention of continuing to create division in our state through his extreme ideological agenda.
While the governor may continue painting the picture that everything is rosy in the state of Wisconsin, the numbers do not lie. If you have any doubt that Wisconsin is headed down a dangerous path, just take a look at our monthly job losses. Wisconsin has experienced six consecutive months of job loss for a total loss of over 35,000 jobs, while neighboring states that have worked in less divisive ways have seen job gains.
Listed below is what we need from our governor in order to get our state moving forward:
The state of the state is divided. Wisconsin deserves better. Traditionally, it has been the Wisconsin way to put our partisanship aside in troubled times to get things done. We need our governor to join us in reviving this tradition.
Getting Wisconsinites to Work
My Democratic colleagues and I will
soon be introducing the
Workforce Mobility Act, legislation to provide workers in
communities across Wisconsin reliable, accessible transportation to
In his budget, Governor Walker chose to decrease funding for public transit by 10 percent and eliminate $77 million from shared revenue to local governments in order to fund $2.3 billion in tax breaks for large corporations. As a result, local governments have been forced to shift funding, raise fares, change or eliminate routes, and reduce vital services.
Many of these changes will be seen by
riders in our own community this month. On January 1 of this year, the
Milwaukee County Transit System was forced to increase fares for
TransitPlus users 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.
The Workforce Mobility Act
seeks to prevent further cuts by reinvesting in our state’s public
transit infrastructure to ensure that our family, friends and neighbors
are able to commute to and from work. According to the nonpartisan Legislative
Fiscal Bureau, a recent re-estimate of the transportation fund indicates
that an additional $32.9 million remains available for use. This bill
would use $9.6 million of this funding to restore the cuts to our mass
transit systems ensuring that our workforce can get to their jobs each
New Bus Routes
I look forward to attending the kick-off for the new MetroEXpress routes on Saturday, January 28 at 11 a.m. at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Student Union.
Bill Limits Justice for Lead-Poisoned Kids
this month, legislation was introduced that would significantly decrease
the ability of lead paint poisoning victims to seek justice for their
injuries. Senate Bill 373 would change current laws regarding product
liability, sacrificing the rights of victims for the profits of
Under current law, a degree of
flexibility is provided to Wisconsinites seeking damages for injuries
from lead paint. When an individual cannot identify the producer of the
paint that caused his or her injuries, he or she may sue a group of
lead paint manufacturers. Since lead paint was banned from residential use
in 1978, identifying the specific manufacturer of the paint responsible for
a specific injury is difficult or often impossible. Therefore, in lead
paint lawsuits the burden of proof falls on each lead paint company to prove it
could not have been responsible for the damage, as each is assumed to
have contributed to the risk faced by the individual.
Senate Bill 373 rejects this
logic and instead maintains that an individual can only bring a
complaint against a single defendant. This means an injured individual
must prove which specific company manufactured the lead paint. Senate
Bill 373 is a continuation of anti-consumer protection policies pursued
by Governor Walker and Republican legislators during the January Special
Session. However, this bill goes
further than legislation passed at that time, as it applies not just to
future but ongoing legal cases. The passage of this bill could
potentially void all lawsuits currently pending against lead paint manufacturers filed on
behalf of 173 Wisconsin children poisoned by lead paint.
Senate Bill 373 is simply bad for
Wisconsin. Not only is lead paint a significant threat to Wisconsin's
children but the responsibility placed on injured individuals by this
bill would make it nearly impossible for these young victims to obtain
justice in court.
Wisconsin children are uniquely at
risk for lead poisoning, which can lead to a lifetime of medical
complications. One-fourth of Wisconsin residences were built
before 1950, meaning they have an increased likelihood of containing
lead paint. In fact, from 1996 to 2006, more than 40,000 children were
diagnosed with lead poisoning in Wisconsin. In Milwaukee alone, 4.4% of
children tested in 2009 had lead levels higher than those recommended by
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This bill is one in a continuing series of initiatives to protect big corporations over the rights of individuals. If passed, Senate Bill 373 would reverse legal precedence and deny victims compensation and justice.
New Election Transparency Measures
Many neighbors have called with questions about the process in place for verifying signatures in recall elections. Therefore, I wanted to direct you to a Web site that helps to increase transparency in the process. The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board has posted a Recall Webcam, which allows neighbors to watch the staff process the more than 309,000 petition pages that were filed on January 17 of this year.
You will likely see workers on camera
scanning petition pages so that electronic copies can be provided to the
incumbents and made available to the public. Work is currently
proceeding during two shifts from 7:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. During
break times there may be less activity within view of the camera. The
camera is generally fixed in one position and is not controlled remotely
or otherwise adjusted during the course of the day. It may move
occasionally as staff moves furniture and equipment in the room. When
the scanning process is complete it will be repositioned to show other
sections of the room where signature review will occur. The audio is
100th Anniversary of Girl Scouts
This past Tuesday, my Senate colleagues and I passed a resolution honoring the 100th Anniversary of the formation of the Girl Scouts.
The Girl Scouts began with a group of just 18 girls from Savannah, Georgia on March 12, 1912, with a mission to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. Since then, the organization has grown substantially. Currently, there are over 75,000 Girl Scouts in Wisconsin alone.
Girl Scout members are given the opportunity to make friends and learn leadership skills that will serve them later in life. The organization also works to advocate for policies that will increase the quality of life for girls across Wisconsin.
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.
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.
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