May 20, 2016
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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.
Bay View Rummage
Bike Auction & City
Cudahy Historical Society
4647 S Kinnickinnic Ave
Cudahy, WI 53110
3rd Annual South
Milwaukee Plant Swap
717 Milwaukee Ave
Art in the Park
3000 S Howell Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53207
Jazz in the Park
Cathedral Square Park
520 E Wells St
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Cathedral Square Park
520 E Wells St
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Corner of 11th Ave and Milwaukee Ave in South Milwaukee
Dear Wisconsin Neighbor,
Also, speaking of Humboldt Park Chill on the Hill is fast-approaching and will kick off on June 7th.
This week's Larson Report provides an update on the troubling dismantling of our long-term care system. We will also discuss barriers to accessing cannabidiol and legislation that would improve access. Additionally, the newsletter includes an update about the Bucks labor agreement that was the deciding factor on getting many of my Democratic colleagues to vote "yes."
|Update on Long-Term Care|
current long-term care system, which includes the Family Care and IRIS
(Include, Respect, I Self-Direct) programs, is a nationally recognized
model which provides affordable, accessible, and accountable services to
nearly 60,000 Wisconsinites. Changes to long-term care in Wisconsin
became the focus of the 2015-2017 budget because of an abrupt proposal
by Governor Walker to disrupt the system, despite its popularity and
Details Remain Secret
One of the positive aspects of our current system is the self-directed IRIS program. IRIS is separate from Family Care and allows our elderly neighbors and neighbors with disabilities manage their own services and hire their own caretakers. Individuals who use the IRIS program are able to hire people they know and trust to help them with daily needs, like bathing and cooking. Under the new system, IRIS will no longer be a separate program and it is unclear how this will impact the daily lives of the 12,000 statewide neighbors who depend on the stability of this program. Neighbors like Jack, whose daughter is not able to communicate verbally when asked basic questions. Because of this communication barrier, it is extremely important to Jack to be able to have a direct say and choose who enters their home to care for his daughter.
our Family and Loved Ones
There are no sufficient examples of programs similar to what the Walker administration is proposing, so we don't even know whether or not this disruption will even save public resources. While the Walker administration has claimed $300 million in savings over the next six years -- the Wisconsin Long-Term Care Coalition recently sent a memo to the Joint Finance Committee detailing why this number actually has nothing to do with disrupting our current system.
Here are a couple key points from the memo:
Given the level of uncertainty, the disruption to families, and no concrete evidence of savings, why would the governor and legislative Republicans be so eager to dismantle our current long-term care system?
Culture of Corruption, Cronyism
Disturbingly, what's happening to
long-term care in Wisconsin appears to be following the same trend of
cronyism and corruption that is found in so many of Walker's schemes.
One of the large insurance companies that has been aggressive in its
efforts to take over our long-term care system is UnitedHealthcare. One
doesn't have to look too far to notice that Walker has close ties to the
company -- his former chief of staff, Eric Schutt, worked for
UnitedHealthcare before becoming one of the governor's advisors. This
year, Schutt returned to UnitedHealthcare as senior vice president of
What Happens Now?
The Joint Finance Committee is not allowed to make any changes, per a provision in the last state budget, to the concept paper. Instead the have limited options, including: approve the plan, disapprove the plan but ask for clarification on certain parts of the concept paper and ask for a revised plan to be submitted, or disapprove of the plan and forego asking for clarifying information. The Committee could also delay meeting on the plan and address the issue during the next budget process.
Families and groups that work closely with individuals using one of our current long-term programs are still being left in the dark on many of the details and have serious concerns about the plan as it currently stands.
For instance, one of the major concerns I've heard is that there is no clear transition plan or plan to notify those currently using Family Care or IRIS about the changes. Additionally, during the budget process families were assured that IRIS was not going away. However, according to stakeholders, the budget-setting method as proposed by DHS does not preserve IRIS and breaks the promise made to these participants and their families.
Details Needed Before Any
Further Action is Taken
|Denying Compassionate Care for Children|
session, we heard heartfelt stories from parents across Wisconsin who
were depending on state leaders to reach across the aisle and work
together so their children could access cannabidiol, or CBD oil.
Specifically, parents of children with seizure disorders have noted
positive results after treating their children with CBD oil. This
treatment method is also considered by some physicians to be less
dangerous and more effective in treating seizures than other methods.
CBD oil does not have psychoactive
or hallucinogenic properties. Scientists believe that CBD quiets the
excessive electrical and chemical activity in the brain that causes
seizures, which can be fatal.
Assembly Bill 228 passed the full Assembly, and was waiting to be scheduled in the full Senate in order to be signed by the governor and become law. To the disappointment of my Democratic colleagues as well as the families depending on the bill passing, Assembly Bill 228 was not scheduled for a vote. In fact, on the last day that the Senate met for the 2015-16 Legislative Session, Republican leadership abruptly adjourned in order to prevent Republican members from being on record opposing Assembly Bill 228 after one Democratic member asked for a procedural vote that would have allowed the bill to be taken up.
Despite this bill being bipartisan, with only a handful of Republican members opposing it, GOP leaders shamefully blocked this bare minimum effort to help families in need of CBD oil from passing.
Not too long ago my neighbor, Earl, reached out to me and shared his own story and disappointment that his family isn't able to access cannabidiol for his child. He asked that I do something to address this issue.
While I was proud to be a co-sponsor of Assembly Bill 228, unfortunately, as Earl explained, even if the bill would have passed it would not have addressed other obstacles facing Wisconsin families.
For instance, the oil is not able to be produced in Wisconsin. That's why I proposed a bill, Senate Bill 772, that would have addressed these additional barriers by doing the following:
After Senate Bill 772 was referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety, I sent a letter to the Committee chair, asking that a public hearing on the bill be scheduled. Not only did the Republicans squash Assembly Bill 228, but they also failed to even give Senate Bill 772 a chance to be discussed publicly.
Neighbors across Wisconsin strongly
support the use of CBD oil for the treatment of seizures, especially in
cases when other treatments have failed. I have received numerous phone
calls and emails from individuals who have a steadfast belief this
medication should be available. In order to do that, we must allow the
production of CBD oil in Wisconsin.
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.
In March, 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 the historic $30 million cut to the
university handed down by the most-recent Republican 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.
Since Walker's introduction of the 2015-17 state budget, I have heard from concerned parents, students, and UW System professors and staff about the detrimental effects this intentional disinvestment in higher education will have on our historically world-class system. As these budget cuts begin to cripple campus budgets, we will continue to see elimination of programming and loss of our talented UW teaching staff.
It's important now more than ever to hear directly from UW chancellors
and faculty about the negative implications of intentionally slashing
public investment in the UW System.
In response to the letter, Chancellor
Mone has indicated UWM will hold a public forum on Tuesday, June 14 from
5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the Ballroom of the UWM Student Union.
|Milwaukee Bucks Labor Agreement Update|
week, the Milwaukee Bucks came to a historic agreement with our
neighbors in Milwaukee that seeks to protect workers' rights and improve
the economic standing of Milwaukee families. Making sure that workers
receive fair pay for an honest day's work was a demand that many
legislators brought to the table as their bottom line in negotiations on
the Bucks arena last year.
While there were other pieces of the Bucks deal that I disagreed with, the promise of bringing good jobs to our neighbors put me in the "yes" column when the final vote was tallied. I'm glad the Bucks made good on their promise, and am hopeful that this is just the beginning of a strong, mutually beneficial relationship between Milwaukee residents and a business that listens to them.
Permanent, living wage jobs to our neighbors who need them the most and the ability to unionize freely without interference or intimidation were paramount in getting support for the Bucks arena deal. The agreement announced today is a "first of its kind" in Milwaukee that will protect employees and ensure a brighter future for our neighbors by guaranteeing they have the jobs they need to get ahead. These priorities represent the shared values of our community and should be made whenever our public resources are given to a private project.
With the signing of this agreement, the Bucks and the community have issued a simple challenge to other major developers hoping to come to Milwaukee: respect and contribute.
|Honoring Those Who Sacrificed for our Country|
Day is fast-approaching. Join in honoring the brave men and women that
fought for our country and died to preserve our nation's freedom. There
will be Memorial Day events going on all throughout Wisconsin this
weekend. Below are just some of the events that will be occurring in the
Monday, May 30 at 8:30 a.m.
Wake-up early to stop by the St. Francis Veteran's Plaza located at 4120 S. Nicholson Avenue for the city's annual memorial day event.
Monday, May 30 at 9:30 a.m.
Join our neighbors in South Milwaukee at this annual event. A parade will begin at South Milwaukee Post 27 and conclude with a ceremony at the South Milwaukee War Memorial located on Chicago Avenue north of Rawson Avenue.
Monday, May 30 at 10 a.m.
There will be a service held at St. Martin of Tours Church Cemetery located at 7963 S. 116th Street. Immediately following the service, there will be a short walk and parade to Market Square Park for a Flag Retirement Ceremony sponsored by VFW Post 10394 and the 4th Degree Knights of Columbus Sacred Heart Monastery. Anyone may bring old flags that are in need of retirement to the ceremony.
Monday, May 30 at 10:30 a.m.
Cudahy will hold its annual Memorial Day ceremony at the War Memorial located at E. Layton Avenue and S. Lake Drive. This year's event will feature various speakers and a performance by the Cudahy High School Band. Stop by to take part in remembering those who fought for us.
Monday, May 30 at 2 p.m.
Attend Milwaukee's annual Memorial Day Parade. The parade will feature a large number of groups including color guards, bands, marching units, vehicles, and VIP dignitaries. It will start at 4th Street and Wisconsin Avenue proceeding towards the War Memorial Center and ends with a ceremony at the Fitch Plaza Reflecting Pool.
|May is Mental Health Awareness Month|
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Approximately one in five Americans are affected by a mental health condition in their lifetime. These conditions transcend socioeconomic status and impact nearly all Americans either directly or through loved ones. Taking action against stigma to provide support, education, and advocacy for equal care is an urgent need.
Alarmingly, research shows
identical rates (one in five) for children experiencing mental health
Leaving youth unsupported all too
often leads to irreparable harm to them and their families. In recent
years Wisconsin's youth suicide rate for children ages five to17 has
exceeded the nation's average by up to 40%.
Recently, a team of 25 journalists at USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin came to Madison after having spent months working collectively on a series of stories examining youth mental health issues in Wisconsin. This Wisconsin Kids in Crisis series was held at ten town halls across the state to discuss solutions to this complex and multi-faceted issue.
Parents, school counselors, and mental health professionals shared powerful stories and insights at the Overture Center for the Arts in Madison -- the last town hall in the series.
I'm devoted to working to improve
outcomes and creating pathways to success for those experiencing mental
health conditions. I'm calling on elected officials and community
members to work on reducing the disparity and create hope that moves
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