June 2, 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.
Volunteer At Interfaith Older Adult Programs
More than 2,350
volunteers donate their time, energy and resources each year to help
adults 50+ in the Milwaukee area stay healthy, active and engaged in
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,
This week's Larson Report will give a brief update on the various pending lawsuits on important issues like redistricting, voter access, and more.
Additionally, we will be discussing
June 2 -- Gun Violence Awareness Day -- and the need to address this
public health crisis.
|Challenging GOP Misplaced Priorities|
The Wisconsin I remember growing up in is one that empowers its citizen's to have their voices heard, embraces diversity, and protects its neighbors from dangerous workplace conditions. These shared values are critical to ensuring a robust democracy and a healthy workforce.
Unfortunately, instead of empowering our Wisconsin neighbors by giving them more ways to have their voices heard, Wisconsin Republicans have been bent on grabbing and keeping power. Time and time again, Republicans have betrayed our traditional Wisconsin values and our good-government heritage. Voters should choose their politicians, not the other way around.
Numerous lawsuits challenging some of the poisonous policies Republicans have forced into our state are currently pending as many of our neighbors reject the short-sighted attempts by legislative Republicans to silence our voices.
our Legislative Boundaries
Republicans took this as an opportunity to take the process
behind closed doors, crafting the maps in secret months before finally
to the public. What's more, Republicans chose to fast-track their
corrupt redistricting scheme by scheduling a vote less than two weeks
after the release of the maps. This left little time for public input --
despite the fact that the maps would profoundly impact all of our lives
for at least the next 10 years.
Recently, a new federal trial wrapped up and will ultimately determine whether Wisconsin's gerrymandered legislative district maps stand. Twelve voters filed a lawsuit last summer saying the state Assembly district boundaries rushed through in 2012 were unfairly drawn to dilute the power of voters, and were so politically motivated that they trample the rights and freedoms of our citizens just to allow Republicans to grab and hold power. The case is centered on a test referred to as the "efficiency gap." According to the plaintiffs in the case, using this model to determine whether or not the district lines are fair is objective and is the first quantitative model of its kind. The efficiency gap uses historical data sets of voter behavior correlated to the elected seats available.
Looking ahead to when a decision is made in this case, which will likely be later this year, I know many of my Wisconsin neighbors are hoping that this time the abuse of power is recognized as going too far in shutting out our neighbors' voice in elections.
Lawsuit Challenging Voter Restrictions Wisconsin's voter laws are once again gaining widespread attention as a new federal lawsuit challenging the laws kicked off last week with testimony from a former senior Republican legislative staffer. The staffer named several members of the 2011 GOP caucus and described them as being "giddy" and "politically frothing at the mouth" over what a law requiring photo identification (ID) for voting could mean for Republican re-election bids.
Additionally, the lawsuit challenges several other voter restriction laws implemented since Republicans gained control of the Legislature, such as restrictions on early voting and the elimination of straight-ticket voting -- which voter access advocates argue disproportionately burden African-Americans, Latinos, and young voters.
the trial, examples of those who encountered difficulties in obtaining
proper identification were given. Among those is a woman who had lost
the use of her hands and could not sign the application for an ID.
Although her daughter had power of attorney, allowing her to sign on
behalf of her mother, a DMV field agent would not allow this and the
woman was not able to receive her ID without additional time, effort,
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 is the Wisconsin way, and I will continue to fight for our shared values.
Additionally, speaking of voter access, the City of Milwaukee Election Commission -- like many communities across Wisconsin -- is looking for hardworking citizens that have a dedication to democracy and protecting voter rights to work at the polls. Election inspectors play a vital role at voting sites.
This latest news is disappointing and is a stark reminder that worker freedoms continue to be undermined in Wisconsin. It is my hope that these freedoms will be reinstated after the law works its way through the courts.
Lawsuit Regarding John Doe
Last summer -- just days before Governor Walker announced his candidacy for president -- the conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court halted an investigation into whether or not the governor broke the law by secretly working with conservative groups that spent millions to support Walker and legislative Republicans in the recall elections.
Now, prosecutors are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to allow them to continue the probe. Last week, the high court indicated it would allow for arguments to be done -- partly in secret -- to determine whether or not the Court should hear arguments to determine if the John Doe investigation was justified.
The prosecutors involved in this case believe that two of the state Supreme Court justices -- that were part of the 4-2 ruling that halted the investigation -- should not have been allowed to hear the case because their campaigns benefited from the groups being investigated.
Democrats remain steadfast in their believe that Wisconsinites deserve a transparent, fair government with strong checks and balances. I will be sure to keep you updated as this case continues through the process.
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.
|Free Fishing Weekend|
has a strong angling tradition. Not only is Wisconsin home to miles of
streams and rivers that are more than long enough to circle the globe at
the equator, but we also border two of the Great Lakes, host countless
fishing tournaments, and even boast a weekly fish fry each Friday in
communities across the state. As a result of our culture and traditions,
angling is an activity highly valued by Wisconsinites.
|Chill on the Hill|
Bay View is home to the beautiful Humboldt Park -- a great place for neighbors and families to hang out and enjoy our wonderful Wisconsin summers.
Each Tuesday evening from June through August, Bay View neighbors gather on the vast hillside above the band shell to enjoy music performed by local musicians. This summer marks the 12th season of this annual music series, known as Chill on the Hill! My fellow Bay View area neighbors work hard and volunteer their time to put together this family-friendly event. Jessica and I enjoy catching up with our friends and neighbors at Chill on the Hill each year.
The event runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
each week starting June 7 until August 30.
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