Larson Report 

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A Capitol Update from State Senator Chris Larson 

Dear Wisconsin Neighbor,


I hope you are staying warm and get chance to enjoy the holidays with friends and family. Before the break, I anted to provide a quick update from the capitol. 


In the last two Larson Report newsletters, I shared some of the legislative priorities that I will be working on during the remainder of the legislative session. So far we covered quality education and clean water & air for our kids. This week, we focus on safe and secure communities.


Our families have a right to live in neighborhoods that provide the basic safety and security that fosters prosperity. However, there are a wide range of issues that are putting our neighborhoods at risk that we need to address. Firearm violence is the third-leading cause of death for Wisconsin children. Opioid and heroin addiction is a crisis taking too many lives and destroying the future of many families. Lastly, our state's drunk driving culture leaves Wisconsin families picking up the pieces after preventable fatalities, injuries, and property loss. 


We’ve been working with experts and fellow legislators on each of these issues and I’m eager to tell you more. 


Want to help? Be sure to check out the 'Take Action' section of this week's Report. We need your support to make sure common sense legislation gets passed without further delay. 


Lastly, there are a ton of great holiday events happening in our community. We have a long list of things to do in the community over the next few weeks. Hope to see you at some of them! 


In Service, 



Each and every one of us has a right to live in a safe and secure community. According to the nonprofit organization Kids Forward, a child in our state is killed with a gun about every two weeks. Over 400 kids in Wisconsin had been killed with guns in the 15 year period prior to the release of the report last year. To put this into perspective, guns are the third-leading cause of injury or death for Wisconsin children.


These preventable injuries and death unacceptable.


No one law has, or ever will, prevent all firearm violence. However, we are a nation of laws and there are simple, common sense fixes we can make that will save lives and make our communities safer.


Universal Background Checks (Senate Bill 34)

Perhaps the most-supported gun violence prevention proposal is enacting universal background checks. In Wisconsin, federally licensed dealers are required to conduct background checks on all firearm sales, but private sellers are not. Eight out of 10 Wisconsin residents, including gun owners, support a law requiring background checks for all handgun purchases.


Police organizations and law enforcement leaders across the nation support closing the background check loophole. This is with good reason as states with universal background checks on all handgun sales have 48% fewer police officers killed with handguns.


With growing online accessibility to guns, dangerous felons, domestic abusers, and other potentially violent people who are already legally banned from buying guns can do so -- easily -- online because these are conducted as unlicensed, so-called 'private sales.' A recent study showed that 22% of people in America, who had obtained a gun within the last two years, did not undergo a background check.


A report by Mayors Against Illegal Guns shows that one in 30 buyers on has a criminal record that prohibits gun ownership. Closing this loophole will save lives and prevent guns from getting into the wrong hands. This bill ensures that, with limited exceptions, all firearm sales are done through a federally licensed dealer and thus are subject to the background check process.


Senate Bill 34 was introduced on February 9, 2017, and was referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety. A public hearing has not yet been held on the bill.


Safe Storage for Gun Safety Package

No child should die or be critically injured due to guns. Nationally, when children are unintentionally killed by guns it is self inflicted about 1/3 of the time, with another 1/3 being shot by other children, and 1/6 being shot by older teenagers. The remaining children are unintentionally shot by parents. Most of these kids are boys and most family shooters are brothers. Along with asking parents of a child's friend if guns are in the house and if they are safely stored, there are things that we can do to promote safe gun storage.


For instance, I have signed on as a co-sponsor to a package of bills introduced by my colleague, Rep. Lisa Subeck. These bills will help keep our kids safer by encouraging gun storage safety.


The following bills are included in the Safe Storage for Gun Safety Package:


  • Assembly Bill 428 -- which would require the reporting of lost or stolen firearms within 24 hours of discovering they are lost or stolen. This legislation enables law enforcement to trace guns more effectively and makes the successful prosecution of users of stolen guns more likely. 

  • Assembly Bill 429 -- requires a secure, lockable container or trigger lock for a firearm being sold or transferred to be provided to the individual receiving the firearm by the seller.

  • Assembly Bill 430 -- requires a person to store any firearm he or she possesses in a securely locked box or container or other secure locked location or with a trigger lock engaged if the person resides with a person who is prohibited from possessing a firearm under state law

  • Assembly Bill 431 -- requires a gun owner to store firearms in a locked container or have a locking device engaged if there is a child living or present in the home.


Keeping Guns Away from Dangerous Criminals

According to the Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort (WAVE), research shows the clearest predictor of future violence is past violence. One study found that people who lawfully bought handguns, even though they previously had been convicted of two or more violent misdemeanors, were 15 times as likely as handgun purchasers with no criminal history to later be arrested for murder, rape, robbery or aggravated assault.


A bipartisan proposal (LRB-1042) in the State Legislature would move us closer towards keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals.


LRB-1042 would strengthen our current laws by doing the following:

  • Creating Stronger Laws for Habitual Criminals -- The bill would prohibit an individual from possessing a firearm if they have been convicted of a misdemeanor on three separate occasions within five years.

  • Cracking Down on Straw Purchasers -- Straw purchasing is when someone knowingly purchases a firearm with the intent to transfer it to someone who could not pass a background check. This bill prohibits an individual from purchasing a firearm with the intent to transfer it to a person who is prohibited from possessing a firearm. Standalone legislation to address straw purchasing has also been introduced as Senate Bill 17.

  • Prohibiting 'Human Holsters' -- prohibits an individual from furnishing or possessing a firearm for a person who is prohibited from possessing a firearm.

  • Affirmative Defense -- creates an affirmative defense against the straw purchasing and human holster criminal penalties if the defendant has ever filed a petition for a domestic abuse or child abuse injunction against the person who the defendant purchased or held the gun for. This provision strives to protect victims of coercion and abuse.

  • State Form -- When purchasing a firearm, an individual must fill out state and federal notification forms. This bill adds a question to the state form about straw purchasers as an added accountability measure. 





Too many of our loved ones are falling victim to opioid abuse while others are losing their battle with opioid and heroin addiction. We have a moral obligation to do more to fight this deadly crisis.


Wisconsin needs to invest in resources that support recovery over incarceration; not only in major cities but also in our smaller communities. Senate Democrats offered a crucial budget amendment that would call on Wisconsin's Attorney General, Brad Schimel, to take action in a lawsuit against opioid manufacturers who have over-marketed opioids and helped create this deadly public health crisis.


This would allow Wisconsin to join other states already taking this legal action. Under the amendment, use of all funds recovered by the lawsuit would be directed to county and municipal health departments for addiction prevention, recovery services, and intervention services.


Faced with the choice of saving lives, legislative Republicans chose profits and politics over people by rejecting this amendment.


In addition to this budget amendment, I have proposed legislation that would tax opioid manufacturers and/or wholesale distributors $0.01 per milligram on opioid prescription medications. The revenue from this manufacture tax would go directly to funding grants to county and municipal health departments for education, recovery, and intervention services.


Instead of taking these common sense approach, the Republican Attorney General has opted to sign onto a do-nothing letter pleading with insurers to review their coverage and payment policies for opioid prescriptions.


Finding alternatives and reducing the amount of opioids prescribed is a life-or-death, nonpartisan issue.


The current Republican plan fails to make our families, friends, and communities safer and healthier.


Drunk Driving
Prevention Act


On Christmas Eve 1998, I woke up to find my good friend, and classmate, Jennie, had been killed by a drunk driver the night before. It was a devastating blow to each of us who knew her. It was a preventable tragedy and something that shaped each of us going forward. Unfortunately, stories like Jennie’s are far too common. In 2016 alone, there were 193 deaths related to drunk driving.

With 1 in 4 adults admitting to driving while intoxicated, Wisconsin continues to be the worst in the nation with the highest rate of drunk driving. More alarmingly, first-time OWI offenders are estimated to have driven under the influence at least 80 times before their initial conviction. It is irresponsible and unacceptable to continue to ignore preventable deaths and injuries due to drunk driving. 


So, Democratic colleaguesand I introduced legislation to shut the door on the drunk driving culture in our state. The Drunk Driving Prevention Act’s purpose is to increase the accountability of offenders in order to change the culture and of drinking and driving in Wisconsin through the use of ignition interlock devices (IIDs). 


When passed into law, a convicted drunk driver would required to install an Ignition Interlock Device on any vehicle they drive for one year. If a person is not 100% sober when they try to start the vehicle, it will not start.  


These devices help separate drinking from driving, and are proven effective in stopping drunk driving. 


The use of ignition interlock devices (IIDs) has shown to be successful in changing offenders’ behavior. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ignition interlock devices reduce drunk driving recidivism by 67% when they are installed on vehicles of offenders. These devices separate drinking from driving, and are proven effective in stopping drunk driving. 


Though the use of IIDs was expanded in the past for first-time offenders to include drivers with high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or higher, we can go further to ensure safe driving on Wisconsin roadways. This law will ensure that anyone who is convicted of an OWI must install an IID, no matter what their BAC level.

For more information on this legislation or to sign on in support of it, please visit: 


Take Action! 

Each and every one of us has a right to live in a safe and secure community. Our neighbors have voiced their strong concerns against drunk driving and have called on legislators to move forward with a solution. For these reasons, I have reintroduced the “Drunk Driving Prevention Act.”

If you support the Drunk Driving Prevention Act, let Wisconsin elected officials know by signing the petition here.

In Case You Missed It

Each week, the Larson Report strives to provide up-to-date, in-depth information to you. Between editions, a lot happens in Madison and our Wisconsin communities. I want to make sure you know the most pressing issues facing our neighborhoods across the state. Below are some of the top stories from the past couple of weeks.

  • Net Neutrality

On December 14, 2017 the Republican controlled Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved plans to gut net neutrality protections established in 2015 under President Obama. Without these important protections companies like AT&T, Verizon, and Spectrum will be allowed to slow down their content, force additional fees, or even block political opinions they disagree with.


This decision goes against our shared values and denies the very principals of which the internet was founded upon, a forum in which people may communicate freely on.


Learn more about this decision by clicking here.

Events in the Community

Celebrate the Winter Solstice Candlelight Walk
Urban Ecology Center - Riverside Park
1500 E. Park Place, Milwaukee, WI 53211
Dec 16, 2017 at 04:30 pm - 09:15 pm (Sat)
Candlelight Walk and Candlelight Walk for Kids are yearly traditions honoring the longest night of the year. Take a guided stroll down the luminary-lit paths of the Milwaukee Centennial Rotary Arboretum and enjoy stops along the way for readings of seasonal poetry and prose. Back at the Center, warm yourself by the fire as you enjoy music, snacks and hot cider. The Candlelight Walk for Kids features earlier start times, kid-friendly readings and stories, shorter routes for littler legs, crafts, games and, of course, hot chocolate and snacks back at the Center!
Adults $5 (Nonmembers $7) Children $3 (Nonmembers $5)
Grandparent Holiday Brunch
InterContinental Milwaukee
139 E. Kilbourn Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Dec 17, 2017 at 11:00 am (Sun)
VIP Brunch and performance(adult)….$100 per ticket
VIP Brunch and performance(child)….$75 per ticket
Brunch and performance(adult)….$60 per ticket
Brunch and performance(child)….$40 per ticket
Brunch only(adult)….$45 per ticket
Brunch only(child 12 and under)….$25 per ticket
Gather the grandparents, parents and children to enjoy a festive holiday brunch at the InterContinental Hotel, followed by a performance of A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS at 1:00 p.m. across the street at the Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater. Along with a delicious brunch, your family will enjoy a special visit from some of our cast, fun activities for the kids and more!
Brunch With Santa at Harbor House
Harbor House
550 N. Harbor Dr. Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Dec 17, 2017 at 10:00 am (Sun)
Each year, we host Santa for a family fun brunch at Harbor House. Enjoy spectacular views, seafood, and a chance to meet Kris Kringle. This event always sells out really fast, so make sure to call and make your reservations today at (414) 395-4900.
$44.95 per adult (13 and over), $19.95 (12 and under), children 3 and under eat free.
Christmas Carol + Dinner Experience
Mason Street Grill
425 East Mason Street, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Dec 16, 2017 at 05:00 pm - 09:00 pm (Sat)
$125/person, Preferred Orchestra Seating
(excluding tax + gratuity)
Reserve your spot for a wonderful winter’s evening. Ticket includes dinner from a three course pre-fixe menu, a ticket to see A Christmas Carol presented by The Milwaukee Repertory Theater, and transportation to and from the show.
5pm: Three-course pre-fixe menu
7pm: Last shuttle leaves for The Pabst
7:30pm: Showtime
Holiday Lights Walking Tour
Cathedral Square Park
825 N Jefferson St.
Milwaukee, WI 53202
6:00 PM | Friday Dec 15, 2017
Join a walking tour of Downtown Milwaukee and view the magnificent lights, while making-merry with your own elf.
Enjoy the spectacle of Cathedral Square, the thrilling window displays, the brilliance of Pere Marquette Park and bask in the glow of the impressive city tree. While you stroll the streets, you will play Christmas Trivia and hear about the history of our wonderful city. This 1.25 mile walk through the holiday-trimmed streets of Downtown Milwaukee will delight Christmas-lovers of all ages.
At mid-point in the tour we will take a short break at Red Arrow Park to warm up and, if you choose, purchase a hot drink.
Price: $10
Snow Day!
Discovery World
500 North Harbor Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53202
10:00 AM | Saturday Dec 16, 2017
Join us in celebrating the science of snow with cool activities, labs, and games!. Take a break from the stress of shopping and preparing for the holidays by spending the day with family exploring Snow Day at Discovery World!
• Learn about Snowflake Science using molecular models to understand how snowflakes take their unique shape.
• Experience the amazing Kenosha LEGO Users Group display.
• Take your photo with Santa.
• Visit the Miller Coors THIRST Lab for a Crazy for Cocoa lab.
• Create holiday-themed projects in the Kohl’s Design It! Lab. (Kohl’s Design It! Lab Quick Shops are first come, first served.)
• Have a Virtual Reality snow ball fight in our very own Virtual Explorer exhibit
• Make your own snowflake and add it to a massive snow storm collaboration sponsored by Metroparent Magazine.
Santa at the Lighthouse
Dec 17, 2017 at 01:00 pm - 04:00 pm (Sun)
North Point Lighthouse
2650 N. Wahl Avenue, Milwaukee, WI
Join us for a lighthouse holiday tradition! Jolly Saint Nick will fill the lighthouse with holiday cheer and smiles for children and families. Bring your cameras and start the festive season with fun and joy.
• Take your picture with Santa
• See the decorated lighthouse
• Climb the tall, 74-foot tower
$8 for adults
$5 for adults age 65+ with ID
$5 for children age 5-11
Free for children age 4 and under
Neighborhood Night
Dec 21, 2017 at 05:00 pm - 08:00 pm (Thu)
Betty Brinn Children's Museum
929 E. Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Neighborhood Night is presented by the Northwestern Mutual Foundation, with additional support provided by the Schoenleber Foundation, US Bank and the Zilber Family Foundation, and media sponsor FOX6. The Museum will celebrate the Muskego Way, Amani and Metcalfe Park neighborhoods in October, November and December with special entertainment and resource booths hosted by community agencies and organizations. Visit for additional information.
Festivus For The Rest Of Us!
Dec 23, 2017 at 05:00 pm (Sat)
Red Lion Pub
1850 North Water Street, Milwaukee, WI 53202
It will be the best Holiday Party to bring you right into Christmas Eve!
Special features on Milwaukee Brewing Company taps and bottles, along with free sampling, begins at 5:30PM.
Our FREE Holiday Dinner Buffet will be served around 7:00PM.
Just in time to cheer on Green Bay as they take on Minnesota, with kick off at 7:30PM.
It's A Wonderful Life: LIVE!
Dec 22, 2017 at 07:30 pm (Fri) Dec 23, 2017 at 02:00 pm (Sat) Dec 23, 2017 at 07:30 pm (Sat)
Marcus Center for the Performing Arts
929 N Water Street, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Almost everyone knows the story of the classic holiday favorite IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE. It is the uplifting and bittersweet tale of George Bailey’s close call with death on Christmas Eve, of how important and special he is to all those around him – and what this world would have missed had he not been born. It’s a story about the people of Bedford Falls, about neighbors, friends and family, and about the difference one person makes in so many others’ lives.
This 1940’s “live broadcast” of Frank Capra’s beloved film takes us back to the Golden Age of Radio. The WVL studio’s “On Air” sign lights up and the heartwarming holiday classic comes to life through the bygone radio formula of a few hardworking actors, live sound effects – and a listener’s imagination. This stage version reminds audiences of everything we love about the movie. This unique approach transports us back in time and refreshes dialogue most viewers already know by heart.
Dec 16, 2017. Noon-5pm.
Denim Park
1551 N Water St - Milwaukee, WI 53202
Milwaukee Christmas Market is a magical experience that brings cheer and love to the holidays with an Old-World feel. Milwaukee Christmas Market is all about bringing communities together and helping families create great memories and traditions that can be passed down for generations to come. Just like the old days! MCM's unique shopping experience, great German food and beverages, as well as diverse holiday entertainment is definitely making the Milwaukee area a preferred and popular destination!
Admission is free!