LARSON REPORT

WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

 

 

March 8, 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. 


Friday Night Show: The Lives of Stars
March 9 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The Lives of Stars will track how different stars progress through birth, adulthood, old age, and ultimately death, an evolution astronomers have studied for decades. The program will also note some exciting changes stars endure when they run low on hydrogen fuel and can turn into an exotic object, such as a black hole. After stellar evolution is explored, a portion of the program will be devoted to viewing the current night sky. Admission is $2. CLICK HERE for more information.

 

UW-Milwaukee Manfred Olson Planetarium (MAP) 1900 E. Kenwood Blvd.

Milwaukee, WI 53211

 


South Milwaukee High School Theatre Co. Presents Bye Bye Birdie
March 9 through March 11

This spring the South Milwaukee High School Theatre Company is proud to present Bye Bye Birdie, a Tony Award winning musical that originally starred Dick Van Dyke and Chita Rivera. A comedy that all ages will enjoy, Bye Bye Birdie presents a hilarious satire of the 1950s. Inspired by Elvis Presley's draft notice in 1957, the plot follows the teenage hysteria that occurs when rock star Conrad Birdie is drafted into the army. Conrad's manager Albert Peterson, along with Peterson's love interest Rosie, devise a plan to promote Birdie a final time by promising one lucky girl a kiss from the star on national television. Unfortunately, the girl, Kim MacAfee, has a jealous boyfriend and a family who is not used to the limelight. Romantic comedy ensues as all of these characters interact on stage and the results will keep the audience in stitches. This production will be showing at the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center on Friday, March 9 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, March 10 at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, March 11 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $11 for adults, $9 for seniors 60 and over, and $9 for students. A family 4-pack is also available for $33. CLICK HERE for more information or to purchase tickets.

 

South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center (MAP)

901 15th Avenue

South Milwaukee, WI 53172

(414) 766-5049

 

 

Pullin’ O’ the Green

March 11 at 4:30 and 6:30 p.m.
Join the Friends of Grant Park in their annual benefit to preserve and enhance Grant Park on Sunday, March 11. Admission gets you a meal (your choice of corned beef and cabbage, Irish beef stew, or Irish potato and kale soup), beer or other beverage, and an evening of great music by the Garlic Mustard Pickers. The event will offer seating at 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Adults pay $12 and children under 12 pay $5. Tickets are available in advance by calling (414) 764-7262. CLICK HERE for more information.
 

Grant Park Clubhouse (MAP)

100 Hawthorne Avenue South Milwaukee, WI 53172
 


Behind the Scenes Weekend
March 10 through March 11
Held just once a year, the Milwaukee County Zoo's Behind the Scenes Weekend allows visitors access to areas not normally open to the public. See what the vampire bats like to dine on, where the warm-weather animals reside during our Wisconsin winters, and more. All tours are free with regular admission. CLICK HERE for more information.

Milwaukee County Zoo (MAP)
10001 W. Bluemound Road
Milwaukee, WI 53226
(414) 771-5500

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Friend,

 

This week the Senate voted unanimously to continue working on mining legislation in the Joint Finance Committee. Continue reading for more about our legislative efforts to increase mining opportunities in Wisconsin.

 

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

 

 

 

Mining Bill Sent to Committee for Additional Work

After narrowly rejecting a partisan amendment, the Senate voted unanimously (33-0) to continue working toward a responsible ferrous mining compromise by referring the mining bill back to the Joint Finance Committee this past Tuesday.

 

It was clear on Tuesday that Democrats stand ready to pass a comprehensive overhaul of Wisconsin's mining laws to bring economic opportunity to the state while safeguarding our environment. It is unfortunate that Governor Walker and Republican legislators spent the first year of session stripping away the rights of Wisconsinites and passing policies that led to six straight months of job loss. As a result, they have left the important issue of increasing mining jobs in Wisconsin until the last minute, which has significantly hampered progress on this complicated issue.

 

The process employed to get mining legislation to the floor has been anything but typical and most certainly rushed. Last month, Senate Republicans decided to eliminate the Senate Select Committee on Mining created to serve as an open forum to debate the proposal. Another unfortunate side-effect of dissolving this committee, is that all but one of the public hearings in the affected community were cancelled, which limited the ability of our northern neighbors to have their voices heard on this issue.

 

In the last couple weeks, several other mining proposals were put forward. One of these is a bipartisan bill that will give prospective companies the necessary tools to create much-needed jobs across the state. This bill was authored by Republican Senator Dale Schultz and Democratic Senator Bob Jauch based off of testimony they heard during a public hearing they held while visiting the proposed mining area. This bipartisan compromise addresses all the concerns raised publicly by interested companies while also ensuring that we continue our valued tradition of stewardship. After looking for a proposal that best reflects our Wisconsin values, I signed on in support of this thoughtful proposal. It respects our workers, prospective businesses, and culture of conservation.

We still have the opportunity to move Wisconsin forward by passing legislation that will make our state an attractive investment for all mining companies. It is time to end the mine games. A majority in the Senate are prepared to pass a responsible, long-term compromise. If a bill is not adopted before the legislative session ends on March 15, we must continue to strive for the passage of a bipartisan bill. We cannot let Governor Walker’s failed leadership continue holding us back from the rest of the country in terms of job growth and economic development.

 

Click here to view a copy of the bipartisan mining compromise to increase mining in Wisconsin.

 

 

 

National Trend Catches Up to Wisconsin

It is uplifting to hear that Wisconsin is finally starting to experience some of the national up-tick despite Governor Walker's job-killing policies. The Department of Workforce Development estimates that Wisconsin added approximately 12,500 jobs for the month of January. It will be interesting to see what Governor Walker claims as his role in this achievement, given that in the past he took credit for favorable job numbers, but then was quick to point the finger when Wisconsin experienced six straight months of job loss.

 

Although current job estimates for January are promising, today’s revised numbers for the past year were worse than estimates and confirm that Wisconsin did in fact lose thousands of jobs in 2011, which is deeply troubling. I will continue to keep you updated on this important issue and remain committed to doing what I can on behalf of our neighbors and our community.

 

 

 

Milwaukee Democrats Fight for MATC

Earlier this week, the Senate took up Senate Bill 275, legislation originally drafted to change the member composition of all technical college boards throughout Wisconsin. This bill was expected to die in committee, but gained legs after it was altered at the 11th hour to only apply to Milwaukee.

 

If Senate Bill 275 was truly a positive change for the state, it would have been applied to all communities, not just ours. Additionally, it is concerning that the process employed to discuss this issue was not open and there was no dialogue with Milwaukee Area Technical College. The version of Senate Bill 275 that came before the Senate for a vote never got a public hearing. Additionally, the bill's authors never met with the president, board chair, or appointment committee chair for Milwaukee Area Technical College. Such actions leave many of us wondering what the real motivation were in pushing for this bill.

 

Fortunately, Senate Democrats were successful in pursuits to have this bill amended. Had Senate Bill 275 been adopted without these amendments, all nine members of the Milwaukee Area Technical College district board would have been removed and replaced. The new board created under the bill would instead be composed of the Washington, Ozaukee, and Milwaukee County Executives, as well as the Milwaukee County Board Chair. It also would have made it impossible for four current members to reapply under the newly created rules. This would have meant a board that is less democratic and less representative.

 

The proposal would have also disproportionately increase the power of communities that have few students attending Milwaukee Area Technical College and invest relatively little in the school, while decreasing Milwaukee's overall authority and input. This version of Senate Bill 275 would have empowered Washington and Ozaukee Counties with 50% of the appointment authority, despite the fact that these two counties combined provide Milwaukee Area Technical College with less than 20% of its overall funding. Milwaukee County, on the other hand, is responsible for over 80% of Milwaukee Area Technical College's funding and the majority of its students, yet it would have only gotten 50% of the appointment authority.

 

Another anticipated consequence of passing Senate Bill 275 prior to it being amended on the floor, is that changing the composition of the Milwaukee Area Technical College Board would have likely caused the school's two television stations to lose their licensure from the Federal Communications Commission. This would have been a tremendous loss for our local community and those looking to learn valuable skills for future employment.

 

The future economic success of our state is highly dependent on the quality of our technical schools and their ability to help train our next generation of workers. It is important that we start making them a priority and begin investing in these institutions.

 

Click here to view a copy of Senate Bill 275 as amended.



 

Allowing Veterans IDs for Voting

This past Tuesday, a Dane County Circuit Court Judge issued a temporary injunction on Wisconsin's new law requiring voters to show a photo ID. This decision will prevent the law from being implemented while the court continues with a hearing to determine the constitutionality of the bill, which is one of the strictest ID laws in the country.

 

Voting is a fundamental constitutional right. As you may know, the challenged law would require Wisconsin voters to show photo identification when deciding to exercise this right. One form of identification that remains notably absent from the list of acceptable forms of photo identification are veteran ID cards.

 

Democrats attempted to correct this issue during the debate on Assembly Bill 7 by authoring an amendment that would allow veterans ID cards to be used by voters as proof of identification. Unfortunately, this amendment was rejected without consideration.

I heard from one of our neighbors after the recent primary election who was upset that even though he fought hard to protect our democratic right to vote, he was not allowed to use his veterans ID card as proof of identification for voting purposes.

 

In order to correct this injustice, I am cosponsoring Senate Bill 553, legislation that will add veterans cards to the list of acceptable forms of identification that can be presented when voting. Veteran Affairs Cards are issued by the Veterans Health Administration of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. These cards contain both a name and photo of the individual.

 

Voting is integral to the democratic process and those who have given so much to preserve our democracy should be able to participate. While the courts decide if the new law restricts our right to vote so much that it must be stricken, I will continue doing what I can to usher Senate Bill 553 through the legislative process to ensure our veterans can vote using their veterans ID card.

 

Click here to view a copy of this legislation.


 

End of Session Nears, Yet Loophole Remains

I am once again urging Republican leaders in the Assembly to uphold the promise they made to the people of Wisconsin by closing the voucher loophole.

The voucher loophole was created over eight months ago when Republicans inserted an overly broad provision in the budget. This established criteria for school districts that, if met, would allow private and religious schools to siphon off up to $6,500 in taxpayer dollars per student from our neighborhood schools. Republican legislators indicated that their intention with this budget provision was to expand the voucher program only to Racine. However, hasty action on the budget created a loophole. If the law stays as it is, it would force other schools that meet the criteria established to implement their own voucher program without allowing for debate in the affected community.


We are fast approaching the end of the current legislative session and are quickly running out of time to pass Senate Bill 174, legislation to close this loophole. If Republicans are unwilling to honor their commitments and this bill is not voted on before the end of session, it will be placed on hold until the next legislative session begins in January 2013, which may be too late for some Wisconsin communities.
 

Blindly rushing through a budget has unintended consequences. The voucher loophole is just one of many provisions that we now have to go back and correct in order to make our laws match what Republicans had promised communities across Wisconsin. We cannot continue to ignoring this problem in hopes that it will just disappear. It is time that Republicans follow through on their promise to Wisconsinites and close the voucher loophole.

 

Click here for more information about this issue from past Larson Reports.

 

 

 

BadgerCare Protection Act Introduced

BadgerCare is a program that was created with bipartisan support under former Governor Tommy Thompson. Today, one out of every five Wisconsin residents relies on our health safety net Medicaid programs, such as BadgerCare. As a result of the recent financial crisis, the number of people enrolled in these programs has been steadily increasing, as health care costs have been on the rise. However, even during these very difficult times, Governor Scott Walker and his administration chose to cut nearly $500 from our health safety net in the budget and an additional $554 million this past October.
 

Our displaced workers and most vulnerable neighbors need to know they can count on this program during these tough economic times. Therefore, I am cosponsoring Senate Bill 538, also known as the BadgerCare Protection Act. This legislation attempts to halt any coverage or cost changes forcing people to lose the health insurance they so desperately need.


The BadgerCare Protection Act would prohibit the Department of Health Services from implementing higher cost sharing requirements and other changes to BadgerCare that would result in tens of thousands of Wisconsin families losing coverage. Additionally, it prohibits the Department of Health Services from eliminating BadgerCare eligibility for the 53,000 non-disabled, non-pregnant adults who have family incomes between 133% and 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. This proposed bill would also protect BadgerCare by repealing a new corporate tax loophole created by Governor Walker’s budget that costs state taxpayers about $40 million annually, without requiring the creation of a single job.
 

I appreciate hearing from so many constituents who shared their personal stories about why this legislation is crucial for those living in our community. I will continue doing what I can to support our health safety net that ensures our most vulnerable Wisconsinites to not fall through the cracks. I look forward to supporting this bill should it reach the floor for a vote before the legislative session ends later this month.

 

Click here to view a copy of the BadgerCare Protection Act.

 

 

 

Job Opportunities at Summerfest

Milwaukee World Festivals, the people who run Summerfest, and Meier Festival Park, are recruiting workers for a variety of jobs at Summerfest 2012 and Milwaukee’s summer ethnic festivals.

 

Earn & Learn and the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board have teamed up with Milwaukee World Festivals to sponsor a Summerfest Job Orientation & Application Fair for interested teens who are at least 16-years-old. Students who attend will learn about Summerfest job opportunities, meet the people responsible for hiring Summerfest workers, ask questions about Summerfest jobs, and complete the Summerfest online application.

The Summerfest Job Orientation & Application Fair will be held Monday, March 12 at 4 p.m. in the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board office.
 

Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board Office (MAP)

2342 N. 27th Street

Milwaukee, WI 53206

If you have questions, contact William Malone by phone at (414) 286-5894 or via email at
william.malone@milwaukee.gov.

 

 

 

St. Patrick's Day Festivities

Celebrate a full weekend of St. Patrick's Day events in the community, including the 46th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The St. Patrick's Day parade is the oldest and largest St. Patrick's Day celebration in Wisconsin and has marched along Milwaukee’s streets since 1943. A list of community events recognizing St. Patrick's Day are listed below:

 

46th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade
March 10 at Noon
Attend Milwaukee's annual St. Patrick's Day parade this weekend hosted by the Shamrock Club. The parade begins at noon at 3rd and Wisconsin and finishes at Water and Highland. Appearing in the parade will be Irish-themed floats, regional pipe and drum corps, Irish and Celtic organizations, and more. Anyone planning to attend the parade is encouraged to bring food items with them for the 3rd Annual Food Drive. Volunteers will be walking the parade route with grocery carts to collect donations. 

 

Click here for more information.

Shamrock Club's Post Parade Party
Sunday, March 10 at 1 p.m.
After the parade, be sure to drop by the Shamrock Club’s Post Parade Party. The party takes place at the Irish Cultural Heritage Center, and will feature a full line-up of family-friendly entertainment.

 

Click here for more information.

Irish Cultural Heritage Center (MAP)
2133 W. Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53233


Oak Creek Community Center St. Patti’s Dinner
Saturday, March 17 at 4 p.m.
The Oak Creek Community Center will be hosting a St. Patrick’s Day dinner. In conjunction with the Oak Creek Lions Club, the Center will serve traditional corned beef and cabbage.

 

Click here for more information.

The Oak Creek Community Center (MAP)
8580 S. Howell Avenue
Oak Creek, WI 53154
(414) 768-5840
 

 

 

Thank You Neighbors!

Thank you to everyone that attended office hours at Fixx Coffee House in St. Francis this past Saturday. It was encouraging to see so many of our neighbors stop by to share their thoughts on state issues.

The thoughtful comments and questions are greatly appreciated. Hearing your perspective on issues that will have a significant impact on our community is crucial as we wrap up the legislative session.


 

 

Neighborhood Survey Available

I created a survey asking about various issues that are important to our community and our state. The input of neighbors is greatly appreciated.

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.

 

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

 

I look forward to hearing your views on these important issues!

 

 

 

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