LARSON REPORT

WEEKLY NEWSLETTER


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December 18, 2014

     

 













 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

Web Site:

SenatorChrisLarson.com

 

Find Me on Facebook and Twitter:

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. 

 

 

Milwaukee County Winter Farmers Market

Date: Saturdays, Nov. 1 through Apr. 11.

Location: Milwaukee

Description: The indoor Milwaukee Farmers Market starts early November, and encourages community members to buy local. The Farmer's market takes place at the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory. On Saturdays from 9 AM to 1 PM, enjoy the wide array of Farmer's Market offerings including fresh herbs, grass-fed meats, free-range eggs, baked goods, seasonal jams, and more.

 

Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory (MAP)

524 S Layton Blvd
Milwaukee, WI 53215

 

 

Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival
Date: Now through Sunday, Dec. 28
Location: Milwaukee
Description: This six-week festival will spread holiday spirit with animated light displays in Cathedral Square Park, Pere Marquette Park, and Zeidler Union Square, as well as hundreds of events. Marvel at the spectacular sights aboard the convenient Jingle Bus, a Coach U.S.A. bus that takes visitors on a 40-minute tour. For $1 per person, visitors can relish in the holiday spirit while admiring a festive panorama. The tour is narrated by Milwaukee Downtown's Public Service Ambassadors who will acquaint riders with key attractions and landmarks. Tours operate Thursdays through Sundays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. from the Shops of Grand Avenue.

A Christmas Carol
Date: Now through Wednesday, Dec. 24
Location: Milwaukee
Description: Enjoy this timeless classic this winter at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, playing for its 39th year! See the story of Tiny Tim, Bob Cratchit, and Ebenezer Scrooge come alive on stage as the show journeys through Christmas Past, Present, and Future.


Milwaukee Repertory Theater (MAP)
108 E. Wells St.
Milwaukee, WI 53202

 

Milwaukee Ballet's The Nutcracker
Date: Now through Saturday, Dec. 27
Location: Milwaukee
Description: Experience the magic for the first time, or fall in love all over again with this timeless holiday tale. Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra plays Tchaikovsky's iconic score as the young artists of Milwaukee Ballet School & Academy and the Milwaukee Children's Choir join the dancers of Milwaukee Ballet to fill your heart with festive spirit and memories that will last a lifetime.


Marcus Center for the Performing Arts (MAP)
929 N. Water St.
Milwaukee, WI 53202

 

Christmas Around Milwaukee Bakery Bus
Date: Friday, Dec. 19 through Sunday, Dec. 21
Location: Milwaukee
Description: Experience the cuisines of the world on Milwaukee's Christmas Around Milwaukee Bakery Bus Tour. On the tour, sample delicious holiday

treats from bakeries

around Milwaukee, and listen to stories of ethnic holiday traditions while on the bus. To book a tour, CLICK HERE.


Milwaukee Public Market (MAP)
400 N. Water St.
Milwaukee, WI 53202

 

Oak Creek Free Movie Night: Frozen
Date: Monday, Dec. 22, 6:30 p.m. through 9:00 p.m.
Location: Oak Creek
Description: Back by popular demand, a special sing-along version of Disney's "Frozen" will play at the Oak Creek Community Center's ballroom. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with the show starting at 7:00 p.m. The first 100 kids in attendance will receive a holiday treat bag.


Oak Creek Community Center (MAP)
8580 South Howell Avenue
Oak Creek, WI 53154

 

 




 



 



 

 

Dear Wisconsin Neighbor,

 

Wisconsin has long been known for its strong labor history. In fact, one of the nation's first trade unions -- "Labor 125" -- started in Milwaukee in 1865. Following this milestone, Wisconsin continued to preserve and expand worker's rights, including passing the first statewide worker's compensation legislation in 1911, the Public Employee Collective Bargaining Act in 1959, and the Equal Pay Act in 2009. Just a handful of years ago, Wisconsin was known nationally for fighting to ensure fair wages, safe working conditions, and workplace equality for its workers.

In more recent years, Wisconsin has been moving backwards. In 2011, Act 10 passed, severely weakening public employees' rights, and in 2012, the Equal Pay Act was repealed, allowing for less legal recourse for discriminatory workplace pay practices. These changes to Wisconsin's labor structure have drastically eroded the position of Wisconsin's workforce, pushing our hardworking Wisconsin neighbors and families further behind. From failing to ensure fair wages for our neighbors, to stripping away protections that allowed workers to have a say in their workplace conditions, Republican legislators currently in control have stood in the way of progress for our workforce and economy.

In Wisconsin, our workers are the backbone of our economy -- the creators of profit and prosperity -- and it is time that we recognize this, and put an end to the anti-worker policies being strongly considered by Republican legislative leaders for the upcoming legislative session.

Sincerely,

Chris Larson
State Senator, District 7

 

Republicans Talk Anti-Worker Legislation For Upcoming Session

After the introduction of Act 10 in 2011 and repeal of the Equal Pay Act in 2012, legislative Republicans delivered a clear message: they are not done taking away the ability of workers to advocate for fair wages, benefits, and a safe workplace.


Today, Republican legislators are once again attacking our workers' rights by proposing wage-theft legislation for the upcoming session. This anti-worker law has been cleverly and inappropriately labeled the "Right-to-Work", or RTW, law by its proponents. However, these controversial laws drastically limit worker´┐Żs rights.


Anti-worker laws do not guarantee a job, protect against unfair firing, or increase a state's overall economic prosperity and job creation. In fact, RTW legislation further harms struggling middle-class families by gutting their ability to negotiate for a fair workplace, and instead gives even more to profit-hungry corporations.

 

Currently, unions represent dues-paying members and nonmembers equally, but they ask that nonmembers pay for (should they need it) the union's legal representation. Since the average worker doesn't have the same level of political clout that a CEO has, workers and unions band together and use membership funds to organize for a lobby in favor of their employees, enact policies that would benefit them, and to represent employees in legal battles -- such as fighting against unfair firing or discriminatory practices. The proposed legislation strangles contributions and support, which are vital to workplace balance. Under this law, unions would not have the monetary support needed to fight for the common man.


In fact, the Minnesota AFL-CIO states, "these laws aren't fair to dues-paying members. If a worker who is represented by a union and doesn't pay dues is fired illegally, the union must use its time and money to defend him or her, even if that requires going through a costly, time-consuming legal process."


But most stunning of all, evidence shows that not only do these anti-worker laws limit the abilities of workers to negotiate, but they also contribute to a lower quality of life. According to the U.S. Department of Labor and the Census Bureau, in states where similar laws were enacted:

  • Families earned $5,333 less per year than workers in states without the laws.

  • States spent $2, 671 less per pupil on elementary and secondary education.

  • 14.2% of nonunion members were uninsured, compared to 2.9% union uninsured.

  • Poverty rates increased from 10.2% to 12.5%.

  • Saw a 51% higher incidence of workplace fatality.

Despite the facts and common-sense morality, legislative Republicans have made it clear that they intend to introduce anti-worker proposals during the upcoming legislative session.

 


If we want Wisconsin to be economically successful moving forward and recover from the mistakes of the past four years, we need to focus on changes that will strengthen our middle class economy. The most important criteria for attracting new business is often quality of life, strength of the market, existing workforce skills, and other economic factors, not RTW laws. Given our economic state legislators should, and hopefully will, focus on making smart investments in neglected areas of economic growth: like public education and local business.

 

Punishments for Needing Help?

For months, Republican legislators have floated the idea of adding hurtful and unnecessary restrictions for neighbors in need of temporary assistance. One of these controversial requirements includes mandatory drug testing on all people in need of temporary assistance, an idea that was endorsed by both Gov. Walker and the Assembly Republicans for the upcoming legislative session.

Governor Walker's initial proposal would mandate expensive drug testing for all recipients of welfare and unemployment. And according to Walker, we should turn our backs on those who for whatever reason can't pass these intrusive Republican drug tests. With these proposed laws, Republican legislators are confusing a lack of means with criminal activity, hurting many of our neighbors, workers and families.

While Wisconsin certainly should discourage people from using illegal drugs, the current proposal is a lot more complicated than it sounds. In fact, a similar program was implemented in Florida, and the results should cause concern for all, including the Republican legislators pushing this law. First, when Florida started their drug testing program, they found that administering the tests costs a lot more than the savings from cutting off help. All beneficiaries whose test results came back drug-free had the cost of a drug test reimbursed. 96% proved to be drug free, requiring the state to reimburse the cost of each test, in addition to continuing to provide public aid. In our state, we don't have left-over funds for another Republican economic drain.


Second, Florida's law was declared unconstitutional -- and in violation of the 4th amendment right to privacy -- by U.S. district courts in 2013. The 4th amendment states, "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." Forcing Wisconsinites to submit to drug tests at their time of greatest need clearly violates Americans' right to privacy -- a right that must be upheld, no matter their income status. Should Wisconsin attempt to implement this flawed law, we would once again be wasting taxpayer money in a fruitless legal battle, instead of working to help struggling Wisconsinites.

To be clear, the Wisconsinites affected by these changes would only be those receiving public assistance and unemployment benefits -- those who truly need support to make ends meet. It is illogical that Republican legislators do not consider private contractors, wealthy campaign contributors, WEDC funding recipients, and big businesses -- who often receive millions in public funds -- equally, if not more accountable to taxpayers.

Some have referred to this proposal as similar to "marking the poor with a scarlet letter," treating economically-challenged working families like second-class citizens. Everyone benefits from public investment, programs, and services. Wisconsin should be a place of opportunity and dignity. This invasive, costly, and unnecessary proposal does nothing to help our people, or our economy.
 

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: There is a lot of construction right now on I-794 -- are there convenient ways around it?

A: Construction on the 1-794/Hoan Bridge Project is still underway, and is about to reach the halfway point. To this point, work crews have been able to stay on schedule, meaning the second (and final) stage of construction started early December. During this stage of construction, two-way traffic will be placed in the southbound lanes of I-794. This stage will continue through late summer. Construction is anticipated to complete in Fall 2015.

To continue the flow of traffic, and minimize disruptions, new configurations will include:

  • Closing the Jackson Street / Van Buren exit ramp and transforming it into an entrance ramp to I-794 West (North)

  • Opening the Broadway entrance ramp to I-794 East (South)

  • Utilizing temporary roadways

  • Continued use of the moveable barrier wall to maintain two lanes of traffic during peak travel times

In addition to these changes, there are also a few long-term closures:

  • The 794 E exit ramp to Lincoln Memorial Drive is closed until late 2015. No Emergency Access is available.

  • The 794 E entrance ramp from Lincoln Memorial Drive is closed until late 2015. No Emergency Access is available.

  • The left lane on 794 W (NB) will be closed long term from Carferry Dr. to the Lincoln Memorial Dr exit ramp thru late 2015.

  • The 794 W (NB) Milwaukee St. Exit ramp is closed until mid/late 2015. No Emergency Access is available.

  • The 794 W Jackson St. entrance ramp is closed until late 2014. No Emergency Access is available.

  • The 794 E entrance ramp from Broadway St. is closed until late 2014. No Emergency Access is available.

Click here to view the The Department of Transportation website, where they will continue to post updates on upcoming closures, detours, and other changes.

 

Click here for current area closings and detours.
 

Did you know...?

You may know that Wisconsin is home to several paper companies, including giants Kimberly-Clark and Procter & Gamble.

 

But did you know that Green Bay has long been known as the "toilet paper capital of the world"? Green Bay, WI is the "toilet paper capital of the world" because the first splinter-free toilet paper was produced there.

 

The company Northern Paper Mills created the first splinter-free toilet paper in 1901. Shortly following, in 1928, Hoberg Paper Company in Green Bay created Charmin toilet paper. They changed their name to Charmin Paper Company in 1950, and the company was bought out by Procter & Gamble in 1957. The paper industry is still one of the Green Bay area's largest employers.

 

December is Universal Human Rights Month

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 10, 1948. The document, created after World War II, is meant to instill in nations the rights it must provide to all citizens.


Every December is Human Rights Month. The purpose of Human Rights Month is to raise awareness throughout the world about human rights, and to improve human rights situations worldwide.


As citizens of a free nation, we should take this time to celebrate our rights to peace, liberty, and freedom. Our human rights enable us to enjoy the many opportunities we have available to us today.
In other nations around the world, citizens are subject to gross human rights violations. Simple rights, such as voting, freedom of speech, and freedom of education are being denied.


This Human Rights Month, educate yourself and your neighbors on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and volunteer to safeguard human rights globally.

Click here to read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
 

Holiday Events Calendar

The Holiday Season has officially begun in our neighborhood, and the community has started celebrating. Continue reading to see a list of family-friendly holiday events taking place throughout our neighborhoods around the holidays.


Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival
Date: Now through Sunday, Dec. 28

Location: Milwaukee
This six-week festival will spread holiday spirit with animated light displays in Cathedral Square Park, Pere Marquette Park, and Zeidler Union Square, as well as hundreds of events. Marvel at the spectacular sights aboard the convenient Jingle Bus, a Coach U.S.A. bus that takes visitors on a 40-minute tour. For $1 per person, visitors can relish in the holiday spirit while admiring a festive panorama. The tour is narrated by Milwaukee Downtown's Public Service Ambassadors who will acquaint riders with key attractions and landmarks. Tours operate Thursdays through Sundays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. from the Shops of Grand Avenue.

 

A Christmas Carol
Date: Now through Wednesday, Dec. 24
Location: Milwaukee
Enjoy this timeless classic this winter at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, playing for its 39th year! See the story of Tiny Tim, Bob Cratchit, and Ebenezer Scrooge come alive on stage as the show journeys through Christmas Past, Present, and Future.

Milwaukee Repertory Theater (MAP)
108 E. Wells St.
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Milwaukee Ballet's The Nutcracker
Date: Now through Saturday, Dec. 27
Location: Milwaukee
Experience the magic for the first time, or fall in love all over again with this timeless holiday tale. Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra plays Tchaikovsky's iconic score as the young artists of Milwaukee Ballet School & Academy and the Milwaukee Children's Choir join the dancers of Milwaukee Ballet to fill your heart with festive spirit and memories that will last a lifetime.

Marcus Center for the Performing Arts (MAP)
929 N. Water St.
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Christmas Around Milwaukee Bakery Bus
Date: Friday, Dec. 19 through Sunday, Dec. 21
Location: Milwaukee
Experience the cuisines of the world on Milwaukee's Christmas Around Milwaukee Bakery Bus Tour. On the tour, sample delicious holiday treats from bakeries around Milwaukee, and listen to stories of ethnic holiday traditions while on the bus.


Click here to book a tour.

Milwaukee Public Market (MAP)
400 N. Water St.
Milwaukee, WI 53202

 

 

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