LARSON REPORT

NEWSLETTER


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April 8, 2016

     

 

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

 

Website:

SenatorChrisLarson.com

 

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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. 





Social Media Awareness Presentation for Parents
Date: Wednesday, April 13, 2016, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m
Location: Oak Creek
Description: Come learn about how to keep your child safe on social media from the Wisconsin Department of Justice and Helen Wasmer. Snacks and child care will be provided through Oak Creek High Schools National Honors Society and the West Middle School Student Council.CLICK HERE for more information.

Oak Creek West Middle School

(MAP)
7630 South 10th St
Oak Creek, WI 53154
 


St. Ann Center Indoor Market
Date: Saturdays in April from 9 a.m to  p.m.
Location: Milwaukee
Description: Support the St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care by enjoying fresh produce, crafts, and more. The market will have live music and free coffee. Purchases made at the event will benefit local vendors and the children and adults cared for at St. Ann.
CLICK HERE for more information.
 

St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care

(MAP)
2801 E Morgan Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53207


íSe fue la luz! A Night Under the Caribbean Sky at the UWM Planetarium
Date: Fridays now through May 6, 2016, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Location: Milwaukee
Description: Bring your kids to hear youth drummers from Proyecto Bembe, a local nonprofit music education group, as they transform the UWM Planetarium into a Caribbean Island. The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies invites you to enjoy indoor star gazing and live music. Tickets are $3 and are available 30 minutes before the shows start.For more information, CLICK HERE.

UWM Manfred Olson Planetarium

(MAP)
1900 E Kenwood Blvd.
Milwaukee, WI 53211
 

 

Wisconsin's John Muir: An Exhibit Celebrating the Centennial of the National Park Service
Date: Saturday April 20, 2016, at Noon
Location: Oak Creek
Description: Stop by the Oak Creek Public Library to see an exhibit honoring John Muir in celebration of the centennial of the National Park Service. The free exhibit will be on display Saturday April 12 through Friday April 25. On Saturday April 20, 2016 there will be a talk and book discussion on the life of John Muir. The first 28 people to register for the event will receive a free copy of a book on John Muir, or the environmental history of Wisconsin. To register, call (414) 766-7900.CLICK HERE for more information.
 

Oak Creek Public Library

(MAP)
8040 S. 6th St.
Oak Creek, WI 53154
 

 

Dear Wisconsin Neighbor,

 
Welcome back! As you may know, per Wisconsin State Statute, the Larson Report was halted until April 5, Election Day for the Spring Primary. I am honored to continue serving as your Senator, and work to better our community and state.

This edition of the Larson Report discusses the photo ID requirement for voting and some of the problems it caused on Election Day.
 

Additionally, the 2015-2016 Legislative Session recently concluded. Therefore, this report will be an in-depth look at bills that were pushed this session.

 

My Democratic colleagues and I fought hard to restore Wisconsin's shared values. We offered an exciting vision for Wisconsin, that was largely ignored by the Republicans in control. I want to thank all of the hardworking advocates, like you, who continued to contact me to express your views and concerns.
 

Sincerely,



Chris Larson
State Senator, District 7

 

 

Voting Barriers and Suppression
The restrictive photo ID law that requires an ID be presented in order to cast a vote on Election Day was in effect on Tuesday, April 5 for the Spring Primary, the first major election since the law was upheld by the conservative courts. 

DMV System Crashed Days Before the Election
Many willing and motivated voters were attempting to comply with the newly implemented law, and take the necessary steps to have their voices heard, but were instead turned away from Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offices while trying obtain an ID. That's because on the last day for in-person absentee voting, and merely two business days before Election Day, DMV locations across the state mysteriously lost their ability to issue IDs.

After learning about the system shutdown, legislative Democrats quickly acted and called for an emergency extension of DMV location hours as well as a lift on the ID requirement for Tuesday's election.

Due to the outage not being remedied in a reasonable timeframe, and public concerns that the integrity of our elections may be further diminished, some counties offered a two hour extension of Saturday service hours. Unfortunately, there was almost no effort made by the Walker administration to make the public aware of the limited extension. Disturbingly, our demands for a waiver of the voter ID requirement for Tuesday's election were ignored entirely.

View the letter sent to Governor Walker, Secretary Neitzel and Secretary Gottlieb, here.

Former State Legislator, Former Senior Republican Staffer Admit Voter Disenfranchisement
My Democratic colleagues and I have harshly criticized the voter suppression law as it unfairly disenfranchises minority, elderly, and student voters. In fact, a Wisconsin congressman, who was a Republican state legislator at the time the restrictive voter ID requirement was passed, essentially admitted to this disenfranchisement in a recent interview. Voters who are adversely affected by the requirement tend to lean Democratic. When asked about how GOP presidential candidates would fair in Wisconsin, Congressman Glenn Grothman alluded that the photo ID requirements would lend a helpful hand to the Republican candidates. In addition, a former senior Republican legislative staffer declared he left the party entirely, citing the ID restriction law as being the "last straw."

Voting Problems on College Campuses
Early reports about how the law impacted voters on April 5 suggest that college student voters were faced with confusion and long lines at the polls. Out-of-state IDs and most campus-issued IDs are not accepted as valid forms of identification for voting purposes under the law (Wisconsin's ID requirements are some of the most restrictive in the country). This means that students had to wait in line to get a special ID for voting, before they were able to get in a different line to cast their vote.

Disturbingly, a member of the League of Women Voters said she observed multiple students at Marquette University leave without voting because of the long lines. She told the Nation, "They said things like, 'You talk about voter disenfranchisement, this is what happened here,' and 'I skipped one class, I can't skip another.'"

Additionally, there were still 240 students waiting in line at the university to vote when the polls closed at 8 p.m. Katherine Murray, a senior, was the last to vote at 9:45, nearly two hours after the polls closed.

Click here to read a Huffington Post article with stories from Wisconsinites who encountered challenges when trying to comply with the law.

While Republicans in the Legislature continue to shred the fabric of our democracy and tear apart our tradition of good-government, Democrats remain committed to protecting our individual freedoms and constitutional rights. Upholding our tradition of fair and free elections has historically been the Wisconsin way, and I will continue to fight for our shared values -- but I need your help. Did you observe voter disenfranchisement at the polls, or experience it personally? If so, please share your story with me. In an era of regressive politics, we must all work together to change the direction of our state.

Click here to share your story.


 

2015-16 Session Recap: Forcing Corruption and Collusion Into Wisconsin
This session was a betrayal of Wisconsin's shared values, eclipsed with special interest paybacks that benefit corporations and the wealthy, leaving our already struggling families behind.

In fact, job numbers released in February show that our state continues to trail behind our Midwest neighbors, and the rest of the nation. What's more, recently unveiled studies show that in the last couple years Wisconsin poverty rates hit the highest level in 30 years.

Click here to read an article about poverty in Wisconsin.

These are the facts. Unfortunately, real, hardworking Wisconsin families are the faces behind the statistics. They are the ones forced to struggle in the failed Walker and legislative GOP economy. These are citizens in our state who are kept awake at night worried that their job may be the next one to be shipped out of the state. These are our neighbors who do not know if they are able to pay their rent or mortgages next month because their wages remain stagnant. These are our young adults who face a lifetime of debt if they pursue a higher education. These are our children who are not getting the education they deserve because their schools are intentionally under-funded by state Republican leaders.

Despite having once been a national leader in fostering transparency and accountability in our government, Republicans continued the same pattern of politicization and special interest favoritism that has been pushed in Wisconsin over the past five years.

Republicans have intentionally allowed our garden of good-government to be overgrown by weeds, and the dark cloud of corruption looming over Wisconsin is blocking the sunshine of transparency.

Here's a recap of the some of the ways Walker and legislative Republicans betrayed Wisconsin's values of open and honest government: 

  • Politicizing the Government Accountability Board
    (2015 Wisconsin Act 118)
    -- Republicans in control of the Legislature passed a bill that replaces a diligent and respected group of nonpartisan judges who faithfully enforced state law and regulated ethical standards in public office with a partisan group who will be focused on political gain and pain.
  • Allowing an avalanche of special interest money to flow to political parties
    (2015 Wisconsin Act 117) -- Republicans blew up our campaign finance laws, which will bury Wisconsin's principles and values under an avalanche of dark money and allow for unlimited funds to funnel into local campaigns. Shockingly, these campaigns will not need to report where they get their money and how it is spent. In fact, for the first time in state law, unlimited money from corporations can now be given to political parties and legislative campaign committees.
  • Protecting Corrupt Politicians from Prosecution
    (2015 Wisconsin Act 64) --
    In addition to allowing more money into local campaigns, Republicans passed a bill that makes it harder to investigate bribery of public office holders or employees and makes violations of campaign finance laws, which only politicians and their donors can commit, exempt from John Doe investigations.

 
 

Session Recap: The Fight to Keep Public Water Public
This session, Walker and legislative Republicans made every attempt to side with corporate polluters over investing in a healthy environment. However, Wisconsinites were not fooled by the irresponsible direction the current administration and legislative Republicans tried taking our state, proving the misdirected priorities and failed policies of the GOP are not going unnoticed by our neighbors.

Flint-like Water Bill
Over the past few months, people across Wisconsin turned their outrage over one of the bad GOP schemes into action. After the public learned about a bill to make it easier to privatize our water systems, referred to as the Flint Water Bill, they organized and pushed back.

This bill, Assembly Bill (AB) 554, attempted to lower the barriers that out-of-state companies face when purchasing the water services of Wisconsin municipalities. Ultimately, the bill would have made it harder for citizens to stop the sale of their public water utilities to profit seekers. Wisconsinites were gravely concerned with this shortsighted effort to sell off our water supplies, because doing so often leads to lower oversight and less accountability. Stripping away local water control led to the tragedies in Flint, Michigan.

After being quietly ushered through the state Assembly, public outrage ballooned as the the Senate Committee on Workforce Development, Public Works, and Military Affairs decided to schedule AB 554 for a vote.

Fresh water advocates quickly mobilized and called, emailed, and wrote committee members and their own legislators to let them know that they were vehemently opposed to this destructive water privatization attempt. To amplify the voices of my fellow concerned neighbors, I created an online petition, which was signed by around 1000 Wisconsinites -- like you -- in just a week.

In February, Republicans attempted to ignore the outrage coming from all over the state, and scheduled Assembly Bill 554 for a vote in the full Senate -- the last step needed in order for the bill to go to the governor for signature into law. Wisconsinites tirelessly and passionately pushed back once again. Due to the widespread outrage from statewide organizations and the public, Senate Republicans were forced to abandon ship and took the unusual course of pulling the bill from the calendar. This bill was not scheduled thereafter, and failed to pass this session as a result. At a time when we are seeing regressive policies being pushed and passed and where our state is being sold to the highest bidder, this type of successful grassroots victory is a huge win for Wisconsinites.

Click here for a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article about the bill.

As Governor Walker and legislative Republicans continue to cut resources from our local communities, they are being forced to make damaging decisions to make up for the shortfalls. Turning over public goods for private profit may provide short-term cash, but it also cuts out the public from future decisions. I'm opposed to these kinds of takeovers and it is clear that the majority of Wisconsinites are too. We all have a right to clean, safe water. 

Groundwater & High Capacity Wells
Imagine a law that would let a corporation siphon away the water that provides your family's drinking water, or the water that you need to grow your garden. Now, imagine that this corporation's greedy thirst could be protected by law, forever. It sounds like a bad, low budget movie, unfortunately this is exactly what we all faced with Senate Bill (SB) 239 and its Assembly companion, Assembly Bill (AB) 874. SB 239/AB 874 would have granted "forever permits," allowing heavy water users to continue sucking water from the ground, regardless of environmental damage. Water is something that we all share, and the need for comprehensive safeguards has continued to grow. The Senate and Assembly each passed their version of the bill, but were unable to pass an identical bill before GOP leaders abruptly concluded session. This means that this bill did not become law this session. This is a bill that will be on my radar for next session, which begins in January 2017, and I will be sure to keep you updated.
 

 

Session Recap: Devaluing Our Students and Schools

Historically, Wisconsinites have taken great pride in supporting their local, neighborhood schools. Underinvesting in education causes our schools, teachers, and -- most importantly -- our students to struggle. For too long, Governor Walker and legislative Republicans have intentionally passed legislation that cripples our local schools, leaving them without the resources needed to repair and maintain their facilities, provide adequate services for students with special needs, keep class sizes small, as well as other vital needs that foster growth and success in our students. This irresponsible disinvestment in our schools will have costly consequences for generations to come.

Continuing to Strip Resources Away From Neighborhood Schools
Communities across Wisconsin are continuing to see the negative consequences of stripping resources from our traditional neighborhood schools and expanding unaccountable, for-profit voucher schools. In fact, this expansion has resulted in an overall increase of our public money being spent on vouchers to $18.3 million during the 2015-2016 school year. In the 7th Senate District alone (excluding the city of Milwaukee), we have seen $171,860 diverted away from our public schools and funneled into private institutions. This weakens our schools and limits their ability to provide all of our children with equal access to a quality education.

Harming Higher Education 
Since the passage of the last Walker budget, our university system is scrambling to try to find ways to deal with the $250 million cut seen across the UW System. This requires flexibility and innovation on the part of administrators, as well as student leaders, and I have been proud to see the cooperation throughout the UW System.

Unfortunately, however, we are starting to see the consequences these cuts are having on our higher education institutions. Recently, UW-Milwaukee announced that the Center for Urban Initiatives and Research (CUIR) will close its doors on June 30. This closure came just weeks after UWM Chancellor Mark Mone warned that the university would have to slash budgets due to UWM's portion of the massive defunding; a historic $30 million hit to their budget. In the Center's 40 year history they have worked to foster growth and progress right here in Milwaukee; with countless partnerships and community-based initiatives, CUIR worked within our city to achieve a community where all residents have access to a high quality of life.

The immense accomplishments and progress made by UW-Milwaukee, as well as other Wisconsin system schools, continue to be jeopardized by the irresponsible, unnecessary, and senseless $250 million cut.

As these massive cuts begin to cripple campus budgets, we will continue to see the elimination of programming and the loss of talented UW teaching staff. As such, it is important now more than ever to hear directly from UW chancellors about the negative implications the cut has had on their campuses. Unfortunately, we are seeing the opposite take place.

In fact, in an apparent attempt to dodge public outrage and shield the governor from criticism over the damage done to our historically world-class system, the Walker-appointed Board of Regents will no longer be having university chancellors publicly talk with them about the impact the historic cuts have had on their campuses at their scheduled meeting in April. It smells of political intimidation.

While chancellors may be intimidated into silence and while the political appointees on the Board of Regents have turned their back on students, I will continue to work with education leaders, as well as willing legislators, to find a solution to the gaping hole in UW funding.

Neglecting Crippling Student Debt
Despite having real solutions for current and future college students, such as passing the Higher Ed, Lower Debt Act that allows graduates to refinance their  student loans, similar to a car or home loan, Republicans ignored the crippling debt so many Wisconsinites face. Their misguided attempt at addressing this crisis involves sending a letter to students telling them how much money they are going to owe upon graduation, increasing unpaid internships, and giving a small amount of cash to students (less than $500) in very limited circumstances.

None of these barebones bills will meaningfully address our student debt crisis. We have an obligation to ensure Wisconsin graduates aren't crippled by student debt. Simply telling them how expensive their monthly bill will be after graduation does absolutely nothing to make college affordable or prevent talented students from being priced out of a higher education. Wisconsin ranked third in the nation for the highest amount of student loan debt, leaving over 70% of our students graduating with an average of $29,000 in debt, Under the governor and Republican plan, those currently financially crippled by student debt are ignored.
 

 

Session Recap: Betraying Wisconsin Workers
Hardworking Wisconsinites are struggling under the failed policies of the governor and his Republican allies in the Legislature. Legislation passed this session further chips away at worker protections and standards. Unfortunately, Republicans did nothing to ensure our neighbors can earn fair wages they are able to support a family with. Below are some of the rights stripped away from workers this session.

Eliminating Worker Freedom -- (2015 Wisconsin Act 1)
Wisconsinites deserve a state that is going to protect their wages and safety. Unfortunately, legislative Republicans and Governor Walker seem to be working for their special interest friends, rather than the average Wisconsinite. This was shown with the shameful introduction of so-called "Right-to-work" (RTW) legislation. States with RTW laws have lower worker wages, diminished worker health and safety, and, at the same time, increased poverty and workplace fatalities.

Effort to Lower Wages -- (2015 Wisconsin Act 201)
Under Wisconsin's prevailing wage law, we have the third most productive construction workers in the country and the best in the Midwest in terms of our workers getting things done right and on time. Prevailing wage laws ensure we have well-trained, skilled workers, who give the public the best deal by doing high-quality work, efficiently. Despite it being crystal clear that Wisconsin workers and businesses do not support dismantling more protections for Wisconsin's middle class, a provision to diminish our prevailing wage laws was slipped into the state budget.

Overhauling Civil Service Protections -- (2015 Wisconsin Act 58)
Wisconsin's civil service protections date back over 100 years -- first enacted in 1905. Like many of our Progressive Era policies, it served as a national model for good government. Unfortunately, the attack on civil service protections was another misguided Republican priority pushed this session.

Having strong civil service laws is not only good for state workers, by making sure they are not pressured to perform favors for politicians or contribute to campaigns, but also for citizens as it keeps our government clean and prevents cronyism.

2015 Wisconsin Act 58 removes neutral entrance exams for new job applicants and replaces them with a biased resume-based system, and shifts significant hiring authority to Walker political appointees.

Notably, before the civil service bill passed, it was unveiled that the example used by Republicans to demonstrate a "tough-to-fire" situation concerning employee misconduct was untruthful and nothing more than another Walker administration failure. Even though their lie was revealed, Republicans still forced through the bill, putting our state on path of political patronage.


 

Session Recap: Being Reckless With Our Health Care

As a state legislator, I stand on the side of best practices that promote healthy communities, save state resources, and give all Wisconsinites an opportunity to receive basic health care services at a rate that is affordable. Investing in the health and wellbeing of our neighbors does not solely benefit people individually, but also impacts our community as a whole. Children must be healthy to be ready to learn, workers must be healthy in order to work efficiently, and businesses need healthy workers in order to make profits. Therefore, health care must be part of the conversation of moving Wisconsin forward.

Putting Politics over People by Rejecting Federal Health Care Assistance
Legislative Republicans and Governor Walker have made it clear, time and time again, that they are not committed to our moral responsibility of ensuring access to basic health care -- even if it means saving the state money. For instance, by rejecting federal funding for BadgerCare, the most-recent state budget limited health care access and added $360 million of additional costs to state taxpayers. Throughout the remainder of the legislative session, Republican leaders continued to ignore calls by Democratic legislators and the public by continuing to leave federal money to expand BadgerCare on the table.

Banning Access to Abortion -- (2015 Wisconsin Act 56)
Not every pregnancy ends as a woman and her family hopes, and when situations involving severe fetal abnormalities or serious risks to the woman are discovered (usually at the 20 week ultrasound) it is important for a woman to have the freedom to make private, personal decisions with her family and doctor about how to handle a medically complex, even dangerous, pregnancy. These are often very wanted pregnancies that have gone tragically wrong. Even so, Republicans recklessly pushed through legislation that contained medically inaccurate information and banned and criminalized abortions after 20 weeks.

Attacking Women's Health Providers -- (2015 Wisconsin Act 151 & 152)
Providing women in Wisconsin an opportunity to seek preventive care, regardless of race, ethnicity, or economic status must be a priority in our state. As such, Planned Parenthood is the largest nonprofit reproductive health care provider of its kind in Wisconsin. Each year, they serve more than 60,000 women and men. Notably, the majority of patients served by Planned Parenthood consider them to be their primary care provider. In many counties, they are often the only option for women. Despite the lifesaving services, including blood pressure evaluations and breast exams, that Planned Parenthood provides Wisconsin women, Walker and legislative Republicans chose to pass legislation that attempts to block family planning providers in Wisconsin from receiving federal funding for providing reproductive care to those who may not otherwise have access to such services.


 

A Progressive Vision for Wisconsin
Democrats believe in supporting Wisconsin families. After years of Republican policies that have subsidized corporate spending, while at the same time chipping away at protections for workers, it is time to get Wisconsin back on track by eliminating barriers to economic freedom and prosperity.

Democrats have introduced ideas that will move Wisconsin forward, such as:

  • Making Childcare Affordable -- Rising childcare costs are a major concern for families across the states. Wisconsin has been ranked as one of the 10 least affordable states for childcare and it is time we address this burden on working families. Democrats have introduced a bill that would provide an income tax credit to alleviate the cost of childcare and allow parents to pursue their careers.
  • Earned Sick Days -- Wisconsin's working families should have the right to take a day away from work to get the medical care they need, to care for a sick child, or to assist an ill parent. The Earned Sick Days Act would have provided economic security for Wisconsin's working families by allowing workers to earn up to nine paid sick days each year. Workers at businesses with fewer than 10 employees would earn up to five sick days each year.
  • Strengthening Family Medical Leave -- No one should face the impossible choice between their health or caring for a new child or sick family members and their paycheck. Democrats have introduced the Wisconsin Family Medical Leave Insurance Act, which is an expansion of the Wisconsin Family Medical Leave Act. The bill allows employees to take earned, paid family leave to care for eligible family members.
  • Ensuring a Fair Wage -- Far too many Wisconsin working families aren't making enough to make ends meet, much less get ahead. Democrats have introduced a bill to raise minimum wage to $15. The bill would also index the minimum wage rate with inflation after 2020. Raising the minimum wage for hardworking Wisconsin families is a win-win, generating business for our economy and our local businesses, and it reopens the door to getting into the middle class. Click here to read an op-ed I wrote for the Wisconsin State Journal regarding raising the minimum wage.
  • Addressing Wage Theft -- Our friends and family deserve to receive fair payment for the hours they work. American workers lose billions to wage theft, which includes not receiving overtime pay or being forced to work off the clock. Democrats introduced the Wage Theft Protection Act, which makes several changes that would help combat wage theft, including requiring employer disclosure of rate of pay and other working conditions at the time of hire and annually thereafter.

These are just a handful of the economy strengthening, pro-worker policies that Democrats introduced this session. Together, we can get back to addressing real priorities of Wisconsinites, like addressing stagnant wages and stalled job growth.


 

Ask Chris

I often have neighbors contact me looking for my perspective on various local and state issues. I very much appreciate our neighbors' questions and want to dedicate a portion of my newsletter to common questions that I hear to maintain an open dialogue. Please continue reading for this week's question.


Q: What have you done to represent the values of the community and move Wisconsin Forward?

A:
This past session, I heard from concerned community members and advocates about a variety of state and community issues. In addition to supporting the aforementioned Democratic proposals to move Wisconsin forward, I was the primary Senate author of a number of key proposals this session.

 

Over the next several weeks, the Larson Report will feature different proposals that I introduced during the 2015-2016 Legislative Session, such as implementing a path to debt-free college, increasing access to cannabidiol (CBD) oil, and creating transparency around police-worn body cameras.

 

I look forward to having an open dialogue with you about these and other legislative ideas. Your input will help me determine which proposals I should reintroduce when session resumes in January 2017, and your stories will be crucial in highlighting the importance of these bills.

Share your input or story by clicking here.

I look forward to hearing from you! 


 

Equal Pay Day is April 12

In 1996, to bring public awareness to wage gaps between women and men, the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) created Equal Pay Day. On this day supporters of wage equality are encouraged to wear red to symbolize how far women and minorities are "in the red" with their pay.

Each year, a Tuesday in April is selected to show how far into the work week women must work to earn what men earned the previous week. Since women earn less on average than men, they must work longer for the same amount of pay. The wage gap is even greater for women of color. This year, Equal Pay Day is on April 12.

In Wisconsin, women make, on average, $10,000 less than their male counterparts each year.  When Wisconsin women are not compensated fairly it limits their freedom to live the American Dream. Instead of pursuing their constitutional right to happiness, Wisconsin women have to work harder just to survive. As a state, this wage inequity causes suffering for Wisconsin's middle class.

Past efforts to address the wage disparity saw great momentum and promise. In 2009, Wisconsin passed the Equal Pay Enforcement Act, this legislation gave victims of gender discrimination an avenue to recoup damages. In a single year, Wisconsin improved it's raking by 12 spots -- from 36th to 24th in the nation -- for its gender pay gap.

Unfortunately, what followed in 2011 was a Republican-controlled Legislature bent on sending Wisconsin backwards. The Equal Pay Enforcement Act was hastily repealed, destroying Wisconsin's progress towards fairness by eliminating equal protection laws for Wisconsin women, limiting their ability to seek justice for discrimination. Repealing the Act halted steps towards equal pay for women and erased the progress that had been made.

Legislative Democrats continue to advocate for progressive legislation that addresses wage inequity. Even so, our efforts continue to meet harsh resistance in the Republican-controlled Assembly and Senate. However, my commitment to fairness and rebuilding the middle class has not wavered. I continue to look for and consider ways to effectively address the issue and move Wisconsin forward.


 

 

 

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