Larson Report 
NEWSLETTER

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 A Capitol Update from State Senator Chris Larson

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Dear Wisconsin Neighbor,
I hope you and your family had a festive Holiday filled with family and friends. Welcome to the last Larson Report newsletter of 2017! I encourage you to take time to appreciate the family and friends in your lives this holiday season, as we reflect on 2017 and make plans for a more hopeful, brighter year in 2018.

This week's newsletter is slightly abbreviated but provides information about safe winter travel and recaps my new legislative proposals for the rest of the regular session. Speaking of this forward-thinking roadmap, thank you to everyone who provided feedback at our town halls over the last couple of months.

Keep an eye out below for more opportunities to chat with me about the issues that matter to you. These 'Conversations with Chris' will be less formal than our tradition listening sessions, and are usually a better chance to talk more in-depth on topics. I hope you will mark these on your calendar and make a New Year's resolution to stay engaged and connected in our community. Together, we can make 2018 a great year for our state and all our families.

In Service, 

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P.S. Please be safe on the road. In addition to the tips below, we launched a petition at www.SafeRoadsWI.com to back legislation to reduce drunk driving in Wisconsin. Please sign and share.

Stay Safe this Winter
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In the home

Severe winter weather can often cause a loss of heat, power, and communications (including telephone and internet services). To protect yourself, the Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) team suggests putting together a "disaster survival kit."

Disaster survival kits should contain the following:

  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • Battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio and a commercial radio
  • Bottled water and non-perishable food
  • First-aid supplies
  • Fire extinguisher, smoke detector, and carbon monoxide detector
  • If needed, extra medications and baby items
  • Proper ventilation for an emergency heating source, such as a fireplace or space heater
  • Temporary shelter and plenty of food and water for pets

Keeping all of these items in an accessible location in your home can prevent many of the unforeseen effects of severe weather.


On the road

As many of you know from past winters, road conditions become increasingly difficult during winter months. Over the last five years, an average of 18,600 vehicle crashes have occurred during the winter months in Wisconsin. To prevent accidents and ensure your safety, it is important to take a number of steps before the winter season begins
, and periodically throughout the season. Before severe winter conditions set in, make sure to winterize your vehicle and check that your car's battery is in good shape.

Additionally, much like an in-home kit, WEM suggests making a winter storm survival kit and placing it in the back seat of your car. In especially severe conditions, you could find yourself stuck on the road for hours before a storm subsides.

The storm survival kit includes:

  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Extra clothing, like hats, socks, and mittens 
  • A flashlight with extra batteries
  • First-aid kit
  • Shovel, tools, booster cables and windshield scraper
  • High-calorie non-perishable food, such as protein bars
  • Sand or cat litter to use for traction
  • Cell phone adapter 

With the changing weather, it is also important to weatherize your vehicle before heading out. One of the most commonly overlooked vehicle maintenance requirements is tire pressure. 

Keeping your tires properly inflated will also increase your overall gas mileage, the life of your tires, and save you money. Additionally, failure to maintain the correct air pressure can affect vehicle handling and increase your chance of being in an accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one out of every four vehicles on the road has a significantly under-inflated tire. Additionally, 660 fatalities and 33,000 injuries occur every year as a result of low tire pressure-related crashes. Therefore, checking your tire pressure once a month should be as basic as buckling your safety belt.

Additionally, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation recommends checking the following before traveling:

  • Ignition system
  • Fuel system
  • Belts
  • Fluid levels
  • Brakes
  • Exhaust system
  • Wiper blades and windshield washer fluid
  • Snow tires
  • Tire tread 
  • Defroster
  • Proper grade oil
  • Cooling system
  • Battery
  • Lights
  • Antifreeze

On a day-by-day basis, check weather conditions before heading out to avoid winter storms, and keep your gas tank near full to avoid ice in fuel lines. For your convenience, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation offers up-to-date travel information.


In the neighborhood

During colder temperatures, it is also important to keep in mind your personal health. Being out in the cold without proper protection can cause frostbite, and in extreme cases hypothermia. Make sure to keep warm by covering up before heading outside, and make sure children and pets do not stay outside for long periods of time (over 15 minutes) during colder temperatures.

Looking Ahead to 2018

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As we wrap up 2017, I have been sharing with you some of my legislative priorities for the New Year and remainder of the session. If you missed any of these updates, keep reading for a recap as well as links to our past Larson Reports that discuss each item in more detail. 

 

Promote Safe and Healthy Communities
Each and every one of us has a right to live in a safe and secure community. The most basic role of our state government is to keep you and your family safe from crime and other harm. We have both a moral and economic obligation to address issues like lead pipes, opioid and heroin addiction, and firearm violence prevention. Read more about this in a past Larson Report newsletter, here.  

Provide a Quality Education for all Wisconsin Kids
Every child deserves a quality education and strong neighborhood schools are a benefit to everyone. For every $1 spent on public education the potential rate of return to the taxpayer is $8. Simply put, high-quality programming at K-12 schools, especially in early childhood education, acts as insulation to persistent societal issues, including poverty, crime, and joblessness. Even those who don't have children or whose children are grown enjoy the benefits of higher property values and community prosperity that come with having quality local public schools. Read more about this in a past Larson Report newsletter, here.  

Protect our Shared Water and Land
Our state has a rich history of being a leader in conservation to ensure a healthy environment for our citizens. Our economy and future depend on having a clean environment, diverse wildlife, and clean lakes and streams. From hunting and fishing to tourism and recreation, local communities and businesses depend on our state's unique natural areas to attract visitors and infuse economic growth. In order to ensure future prosperity and opportunity in every corner of the state, we must have safeguards in place and work together to find long-term solutions that will ensure the future health and prosperity of our people and planet. Read more about this in a past Larson Report newsletter, here.  

 

Take Action
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Make a New Year's resolution to be engaged and informed on community and state happenings! An easy way to start is to mark down these 'Conversations with Chris' dates on your calendar. Look for a future Larson Report newsletter that will include location and other details for these events. I look forward to seeing and hearing from you soon! 

  • January 11, 2018
    1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
    Svens European Cafe
    2699 S Kinnickinnic Ave
    Milwaukee, WI 53207

  • January 17, 2018
    10:30 a.m. to Noon
    Beerline Cafe
    2076 N Commerce St
    Milwaukee, WI 53212

  • January 19, 2018
    1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.
    Good City Brewing
    2108 N Farwell Ave
    Milwaukee, WI 53202
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.

  • Standing up for Wisconsin Consumers
    In order to protect and defend our neighbors and their right to equal internet access, Wisconsin lawmakers must reject the Trump folly of increasing power for corporations at the expense of internet consumers and small businesses.

    Intentionally creating a system where consumers could soon be forced to pay more to while getting restricted access to certain programming or sites is unfair and will further harm our freedom, our economy, and our efforts to expand broadband.

    For these reasons, I was proud to be one of 35 Democratic state legislators to call on Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel to join the 18 other attorneys general who have said they intend to file a lawsuit challenging Trump’s FCC net neutrality repeal.
    Read the letter by clicking here.

  • Reckless Tax Bill Moves Forward
    I was very disappointed to hear that Wisconsin's Paul Ryan and other House Republicans moved forward with their tax scheme that favors rich, corporate interests over hardworking families. Read more about this issue, here.


  • SafeRoadsWI.com Petition Launches
    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 safer roads, let Wisconsin elected officials know by signing the petition, here. 

Events in the Community

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.

 

Miller Lite Free Rides
Sunday, December 31, 2017, 8 p.m. until the end of regular service (extended hours for select routes).
Whatever your plans are, be sure to ring in the New Year responsibly with a safe ride home. For the 30th year in a row, Miller Lite Free Rides is returning to the Milwaukee area for New Year's Eve. This free service will be offered on Sunday, December 31 on all Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) buses, beginning at 8 p.m. until
end of regular service, with extended service on select MCTS bus routes until 4 a.m. Miller Lite Free Rides are provided in partnership with the Milwaukee County Transit System.

 

New Year's Eve Family Celebration
Sunday, December 31, 2017, doors open at 6 p.m.
Activities, party favors, giveaways, exploring The Domes, and viewing Naughty or Nice, the holiday floral show, are included in the special-event admission. Zilli’s Hospitality Group will offer a full bar, as well as food and beverages.
Adults: $10 per person
Ages 2 and under – FREE


First Day Hikes
Monday, January 1, 2018
Wisconsin State Parks is once again hosting First Day Hikes on New Year's Day. Across Wisconsin, First Day Hikes will be led by park guides or volunteers at state parks. 
Let’s get out, be active, and reconnect with nature this New Year's Day by showing up to one of these events! 

 

Cool Fool Kite Festival 
Monday, January 1, 2018, at 11 a.m. to about 5 p.m.
On New Years Day, the Kite Society of Wisconsin & Illinois, and Gift of Wings are presenting their 31st Annual 'Cool Fool Kite Festival.'
This 31-year Milwaukee tradition will take place in Veterans Park, on Milwaukee’s usually warm and windy lakefront. The kite festival is free to the public and will start at 11:00 am just prior to the Polar Bear’s jump into Lake Michigan, and will run until we can no longer stand the cold, probably around 5:00 PM. Kites and hot food are available for purchase or bring your own. FREE Hot chocolate, coffee, and snacks will be served while it lasts, compliments of Gift of Wings.


New Years Dance Party
Tuesday, January 2, 2018, at 10 a.m.
Bring your children aged six and under to the St. Francis Public Library 4230 S. Nicholson Ave., to ring in the New Year with a dance party.


Deck the Streets of Old Milwaukee

Wednesday, January 3, 2018, at 10 a.m.
Discover past holiday traditions and make new memories with your family at Deck the Streets of Old Milwaukee at the Milwaukee Public Museum.