December 5, 2013















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



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State Capitol
P.O. Box 7882
Madison, WI 53707


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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. 


A Christmas Carol
Date: Now through Tues., December 24

Location: Milwaukee

Description: Nineteenth century London comes to life when you and your family join Tiny Tim, Bob Cratchit, and, of course, Ebenezer Scrooge on a fantastical journey through Christmas Past, Present, and Future. Enjoy the music, dancing, and timeless message of hope, peace, and love, as the Dickens' classic masterpiece celebrates its 38th year at the Milwaukee Rep. CLICK HERE or call (414) 224-9490 for more information.

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



Les Miserables

Date: Now through Sun., December 29

Location: Milwaukee

Description: Centerpiece to their season, Les Miserables is the show that inspired Skylight to focus on freedom and revolution as a conversation through the entire year. Set in 19th century France in the midst of revolution, this timeless musical follows Jean Valjean on his quest for redemption after being jailed for stealing a loaf of bread, inspector Javert who relentlessly pursues parole violator Valjean, and an abundance of other compelling and entertaining characters. Skylight looks forward to producing this legendary, Tony Award-winning musical in the intimate Cabot Theatre. This epic tale of passion and sacrifice will be a phenomenal way to share live theatre with the family during this holiday season. CLICK HERE or call (414) 291-7811 for more information.

Skylight Music Theatre (MAP)
158 N. Broadway Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202



Sheridan Park Centennial Raffle

Date: Now through Fri., February 14

Location: Cudahy

Description: Enter the Sheridan Park Centennial Raffle for your chance to win a grand prize that includes a trip to New York, a tour of Central Park, and tickets to a Broadway play. This is a fundraising effort to help improve the park. Raffle tickets will be available beginning Friday, November 8 through Friday, February 14 at Joe's "K" Ranch, the Cudahy Library, City Hall, Cudahy Historical Society, Pulaski Inn, and through members of the Chamber of Commerce and Friends of Sheridan Park. The raffle drawing will take place during a Valentine's Day dinner on February 14 at Pulaski Inn. Tickets for the dinner will be available at Pulaski Inn. Raffle ticket holders do not need to be present in order to win. Support a great cause to improve Sheridan Park and buy your raffle tickets today.


Pulaski Inn (MAP)

3900 E. Pulaski Avenue Cudahy, WI 53110


Family Free Day at Milwaukee County Zoo

Date: Sat., December 7 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Location: Milwaukee

Description: All visitors receive free admission to the Milwaukee County Zoo on this day. However, the parking fee remains in effect. CLICK HERE for more information.


Milwaukee County Zoo (MAP)

10001 W. Blue Mound Road

Milwaukee, WI 53226


Christmas in the Ward

Date: Sat., December 7 from 9 a.m. to 6:40 p.m.
Location: Milwaukee

Description: Stop by this annual event to have breakfast with Santa, enjoy holiday shopping throughout the Ward, visit a Gingerbread house, attend a cookie sale, enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides, and more. This event takes place at Catalano Square on the corner of Broadway and Menomonee. CLICK HERE for more information.



Skai Academy of the Performing Arts presents
The Snow Queen

Date: Tues., December 10 and Wed., December 11

Location: South Milwaukee

Description: After fragments from a magic mirror strike the eye and heart a young boy named Kai, causing him to see only the negative side of life, he is taken away to the icy world of the Snow Queen. Trapped under her power, he cannot leave until his best friend Jamie finds a clever way to break the spell and rescue him. Jamie embarks on a perilous journey, meeting delightful characters on the way that help her to learn the value of kindness, and the true meaning of courage and determination. Using storytelling, music, and dance, this exuberant, heart-warming production will take you on a theatrical adventure of gratitude and friendship, and warns us against cleverness for its own sake, exploring ideas of how our perception of the world is a reflection of our own ideas and beliefs. CLICK HERE for more information.

South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center (MAP)

901 15th Avenue

South Milwaukee, WI 53172



Dear Wisconsin Neighbor,


This week, the Assembly passed on another opportunity to accept federal dollars to strengthen BadgerCare to insure 85,000 more Wisconsinites, save $86 million in taxpayer dollars, and create 10,000 jobs across the state. Continue reading for more on this and other important issues including an upcoming Higher Ed, Lower Debt town hall, keeping your family safe over the holidays, the status of anti-women legislation, and recognizing World AIDS Day. 


Chris Larson
State Senator, District 7



Another Healthful, Money-Saving Opportunity Missed

This week, the Joint Committee on Finance and the Assembly took up special session legislation to extend the timeline Governor Walker originally set to kick Wisconsinites off of BadgerCare. While it is laudable that the governor sees the need to expand access to affordable health care, the fact is that people will still be getting kicked off BadgerCare. Governor Walker had the option to make sure nobody would lose their BadgerCare coverage--at no additional cost to taxpayers--for at least the next three years, but he chose to play politics with their health instead. By rejecting this federal money and refusing to create a Wisconsin exchange, Governor Walker and legislative Republicans passed on common sense options that would save taxpayers money and cover more people.

During the budget debate earlier this year, residents across the state asked Governor Walker to accept federal dollars to strengthen BadgerCare and implement a state-run exchange. This funding--from a pot of money that Wisconsin families already paid into with their federal tax dollars--was a win-win for Wisconsin's working families and taxpayers, and would have insured 85,000 more Wisconsinites. Strengthening BadgerCare was also poised to save Wisconsin taxpayers $86 million over the biennium, funding that undoubtedly would have been welcome in efforts to provide worker training or small business grants to create jobs. Finally, saying yes to strengthening BadgerCare was estimated to create over 10,000 Wisconsin jobs. At a time when our economy remains sluggish compared to our Midwestern neighbors, an additional 10,000 jobs would be more than welcome. Unfortunately, Governor Walker again put Tea Party politics ahead of the well-being of Wisconsin families, and continues to reject these much needed funds.


Now, the governor has proposed to spend even more Wisconsin tax dollars to cover the cost of his health care plan. Under the governor's plan, 85,000 Wisconsinites are now poised to be kicked off BadgerCare on March 31, 2014, rather than December 31, 2014. Placing blame anywhere but on himself, Governor Walker is refusing to right his wrong of rejecting funds to strengthen BadgerCare. He is also spending Wisconsin's taxpayer dollars to fill in part of the gap rather than laying a new foundation of expanded affordable health care with federal funding.

There are two simple actions the governor and legislative Republicans could take to fix the problem they created:

  • Accept the federal money so Wisconsin can provide access to health care to thousands more people at a lower cost for taxpayers

  • Create a Wisconsin exchange so we have a solution that works for the people of our state

This Democratic plan would cover 85,000 more people and save $86 million in this biennium alone by expanding BadgerCare using federal resources.

In Minnesota, where Governor Mark Dayton accepted funds to strengthen Medicaid and created a state-specific exchange, on average, rates are half of what Wisconsinites are paying. In fact, a recent study shows Wisconsin rates were 25 to 35% higher than in Minnesota and much higher than the average for all states. In some plans Wisconsin's average cost was nearly double Minnesota's. Take a look at a 50-year-old Minnesotan who lives just south of the Twin Cities and can buy a mid-level, silver plan for $241 per month. Just over the border, on the other hand, a Wisconsinite of the same profile will end up paying $622 for a comparable plan.

Wisconsin is now an island, surrounded by states that accepted federal funding to cover more residents and are reaping the benefits of their compassionate and common sense investment. Unfortunately, with this special session bill, the Legislature is being forced to put a band-aide on problems created by Governor Walker and legislative Republicans. This bill is also being used to pit two uninsured populations against one another rather than choosing a path that covers more Wisconsinites for less. We should take this opportunity to strengthen BadgerCare now to avoid fixing more GOP problems down the road.

Wisconsin can do better. My colleagues and I are united in our support for expanding access to affordable health care for Wisconsinites. Our state should not let Tea Party politics, national political ambition, or legislative rubberstamps derail our badger spirit. While big mistakes have already been made costing Wisconsin families more of their hard-earned money and much needed coverage, the upcoming special session is an opportunity for Wisconsin to right the ship, better insure our people, and move Wisconsin forward.


While this bill passed in the Joint Committee on Finance and the full Assembly earlier this week, the Senate is not poised to take up this legislation until December 19, 2013. I will be sure to keep you updated on the status of this proposal.


Fast Facts on Walker's Health Care Plan

Here are some fast facts about what citizens can expect as a result of Governor Walker's health care plan:

  • 85,000 fewer Wisconsinites will be insured, which will occur in March 2014

  • Wisconsin taxpayers will miss out on $86 million in savings as well as the money they contributed to the federal government that will go to other states to insure their citizens

  • Wisconsinites will lose the opportunity to create and estimated 10,000 Wisconsin jobs

  • A study shows Wisconsin rates were 25% to 35% higher than in Minnesota with some Wisconsin plans costing nearly double

  • A 50-year-old Minnesotan living just south of the Twin Cities can buy a mid-level, silver plan for $241/month while a comparable plan for the same type of individual in Wisconsin will cost $622


Higher Ed, Lower Debt Town Hall in Milwaukee

Mark your calendars for the Higher Ed, Lower Debt for Wisconsin Town Hall discussion, which aims to bring attention to Wisconsin's student debt crisis and discuss ways to improve it.

The event is sponsored by the United Council of Students, One Wisconsin Institute, Wisconsin Jobs Now, and Wisconsin Voices. It will take place on Wednesday, December 11 at 5:30 p.m. at the Wisconsin Jobs Now office located at 1862 W. Fond du Lac Avenue in Milwaukee. The event will feature a panel that includes State Senator Dave Hansen and State Representative Cory Mason. The details for the event are provided below:


Higher Ed, Lower Debt Town Hall

Wednesday, December 11 at 5:30 p.m.

Wisconsin Jobs Now Office (MAP)

1862 W. Fond du Lac Avenue

Milwaukee, WI 53205


One of the potential solutions that will be discussed at the town hall is the Higher Ed, Lower Debt bill, authored by Senator Dave Hansen and Representative Cory Mason, which would do the following:

  • Allow Wisconsin's student loan borrowers to deduct their student loan payments from their income tax, resulting in annual tax savings of approximately $172 for the typical borrower or as much as $392.

  • Enable Wisconsin's student loan borrowers to refinance their student loans at lower interest rates, putting potentially hundreds of dollars back in their pockets and into Wisconsin's economy annually. For example, a borrower with an interest rate of 6.8% and the average University of Wisconsin graduate's loan debt of $27,000 who could lower their interest rate to 4% could save over $40 per month. That would put nearly $500 back in their family's pocket over the course of a year.

  • Provide students and parents with detailed information about student loans, the best and worst private lenders, and ensure that students receive loan counseling so that Wisconsin's student loan borrowers can make informed financial decisions about student loans.

  • Ensure data is collected and tracked about student loan debt in Wisconsin to help policymakers and the public better understand the depth and breadth of the debt crisis in our state.

As you can see, this legislation offers common sense solutions for real savings on behalf of Wisconsinites managing student loan debt.


Sign the Higher Ed, Lower Debt Petition

If you are unable to attend the upcoming town hall, but would like to show your support for the Higher Ed, Lower Debt bill, I encourage you to sign onto the Higher Ed, Lower Debt petition at The more Wisconsinites that advocate for the bill, the more likely it is to pass. The petition states the following:

I support the Higher Ed, Lower Debt bill authored by Sen. Hansen and Rep. Mason. It is a positive step forward in making higher education more affordable in Wisconsin and frees up money for Wisconsinites to spend in local communities and our state.

Click here if you would like join me in supporting the Higher Ed, Lower Debt bill by signing on to the petition to encourage the Wisconsin State Legislature to pass the bill.


Shop Safely This Holiday Season

The holiday shopping season has officially begun. While some families took advantage of deals offered during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, others have yet to purchase the items for family and friends on their holiday shopping lists. However, it is important to remember that while holiday shopping often includes fun and games, it is also a time when your family can fall victim to cyber criminals and unsafe toys.


One of the ways you can circumvent these potential pitfalls is by shopping locally at a trusted Wisconsin-based company. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) runs the Something Special in Wisconsin program where every dollar spent on products and services supports local farmers, food processors, entrepreneurs, and our communities and livelihood. It is not only an investment in our state's economy but in its future. In order to boast the trademark logo of the Something Special in Wisconsin program on a product, at least 50% of a product's ingredients, production, or processing activities must be from Wisconsin.


Click here to visit the Something Special in Wisconsin Web site.


If you do decide to shop elsewhere, there are some easy safety tips to keep in mind. Continue reading for more information about shopping safely this holiday season.


Online Shopping Safety Tips

It is often easy to get caught up in the good deals offered online during the holidays. But keep in mind that cyber thieves know what the hot gift items are each year and plan their scams accordingly. So if a deal is just too good to be true, make sure you do your research. Cyber thieves will often post fake contests on social media sites, publish dangerous links, and send texts and emails to shoppers in the hopes that they will reveal personal information or download malicious software onto their devices.


DATCP has provided the following tips to help maintain your safety while doing your holiday shopping online:

  • Make sure a Web site is legitimate before ordering. Check for the company's name, physical location, and contact information. Beware of deals that seem too good to be true, particularly with unfamiliar Web sites. ID thieves can create Web sites that mimic a legitimate company's site, so do not trust a site based solely on its appearance.

  • Make sure you are using a secure site before you enter any personal or banking information to purchase an item. Secure sites start with "https" rather than "http" as the added "s" stands for "secure."

  • Update your device's operating system and anti-virus software. This will help protect your home connection from identity thieves and hackers. You can also install a firewall in your online setup before you even start your Web shopping.

  • Pay by credit card for extra protection. Consumers have the right to dispute charges if they find errors in their credit statement and report them to the credit card company within 60 days of receiving the statement. Therefore, if you are the victim of a scam or fraud, it is easier for you to recover your money if a credit card has been used rather than cash or check.

  • Keep a paper trail. Print or save records of online transactions, item descriptions, and copies of emails sent between you and the seller. Then, carefully review credit card statements after the holidays to look for unauthorized charges.

  • Carefully examine return policies and restocking fees. Even when you are shopping with a well-known online retailer, carefully check return policies and restocking fees to find out who is responsible for any return shipping costs before submitting your order.

  • Know the details of your purchases before you check out. Know exactly what items you are purchasing, when the items should be delivered, and who to contact if they do not arrive when expected. If that information is not clearly stated on the Web site, consider shopping elsewhere.

Should you have the misfortune to fall victim to cyber thieves, do not hesitate to take action. Wisconsinites subjected to scams can file complaints with DATCP's Consumer Protection Bureau via traditional mail or online. If you would like more information about filing a complaint please email DATCP at or call the toll-free Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-422-7128.


Click here to visit DATCP's Web site.


Child Toy Safety Tips

When purchasing gifts for child relatives, family friends, and charities, is important to put safety first. Taking the time to choose the safest toys and gifts will help to keep your holiday memories happy. Below are some tips for choosing toys, things to avoid, and what to do after opening gifts courtesy of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services' Injury Prevention Program.

Choosing Toys

  • Make sure that gifts are not recalled toys or children's products. Verify by checking the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's Web site for more information. Click here to visit the Web site.

  • Be a label reader. Look for the letters "ASTM." This means the product meets the national safety standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials.

  • Choose washable toys. Many stuffed toys can trigger asthma and allergy attacks as they are a common source for dust mites and other substances. To find asthma-friendly toys, look for the asthma and allergy friendly trade mark certification logo.

  • Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills, and interest level of the intended child. Look for sturdy construction, such as tightly-secured eyes, noses, and other potential small parts.

  • For all children under age eight, avoid toys that have sharp edges and points.

Things to Avoid

  • Magnets: For children under age six, avoid building sets with small magnets. If swallowed, serious injuries or death can occur.

  • Small Parts: For children younger than age three, avoid toys with small parts. Young children tend to put toys in their mouths which can result in choking.

  • Ride-on Toys: If you are giving riding toys, such as skateboards and in-line skates, you should provide properly-sized helmets and other safety gear.

  • Projectile Toys: Projectile toys such as air rockets, darts, and sling shots are for older children. Improper use of these toys can result in serious eye injuries.

  • Imported Toys: Give careful consideration to gifting toys imported from countries with less strict manufacturing standards. Many have been found to contain lead which can harm children. Click here for more information about product recall alerts about toys and other products that contain dangerous lead.

  • Chargers and Adapters: Charging batteries should be supervised by adults. Battery chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards to children.

  • BB guns: BB guns should not be considered toys. Children require safety lessons on proper BB gun use just like with other guns.

After Opening Gifts

  • Promptly and properly dispose of plastic wrappings and other gift wrapping to avoid choking and suffocation

  • Keep toys appropriate for older children away from younger siblings, friends, or neighbors

  • Pay attention to instructions and warnings on toys and batteries

  • Repair or throw away damaged toys

  • Make a list of safety rules with your child, and be sure to share them with all children playing with your child


Raising Awareness on World AIDS Day

In 1988, the World Health Organization celebrated the first World AIDS Day. Every year there is a theme associated with the day, this year's theme is "Shared Responsibility: Strengthening Results for an AIDS-Free Generation." It is a day to spread awareness about the human infectious virus (HIV) and its late stage, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) throughout the world. More than 35.3 million people worldwide live with HIV and it is the world's leading infectious killer.


Click here for more information about World AIDS Day.


While it may seem that HIV/AIDS is a problem for people in other countries, it has also made its presence known in Wisconsin. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, half of Wisconsin's 72 counties reported at least one new case of HIV in 2011, and approximately 53% of these cases were reported in our very own Milwaukee County. Further, as of the end of 2011, 6,550 individuals reported with HIV or AIDS were presumed to be alive and living in Wisconsin. The populations that are most affected are racial and ethnic minorities, and the biggest population affected is African American men, whose diagnoses have tripled from 2003 to 2012.

Last session, while fighting the bill repealing the Health Youth Act, I authored an amendment to help keep young people safe. The amendment, which passed, ensures that students attending a school with an abstinence-only sex education program would at least be educated properly on the human papillomavirus (HPV) and HIV: what they are and how to prevent them from spreading. 

The key to reducing transmission of HIV/AIDS is educating yourself and others. HIV cannot be transmitted through day-to-day contact such as kissing, shaking hands, or sharing food or drinks. It can only be transmitted through contact with blood, seminal fluid, vaginal secretions, spinal fluid, or breast milk. The most common ways to put yourself at risk of contracting or spreading HIV/AIDS is:

  • Having unprotected sex

  • Using or sharing contaminated needles

  • Becoming pregnant or breastfeeding while HIV/AIDS positive

  • Coming into contact with contaminated blood

Different stages of infection are accompanied by different symptoms. Many people have no symptoms in the first few months of infection, while others may experience flu-like symptoms or a rash. As the infection progresses, other symptoms, such as swollen lymph nodes, weight loss, and upset stomach, may develop. HIV tests are often unreliable within the first three to 12 weeks after transmission because the antibodies, which first signal contraction of the disease, are still being produced. Therefore, it is important to be retested three months after exposure. HIV testing and results are always confidential. Also remember that those infected with HIV can still spread it to others even if the initial test comes back negative and they have not yet had any symptoms. There is still no cure for HIV/AIDS.

In November, Will Radler of Greenfield, donated $1 million to the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW) for psychiatry services for HIV patients. This is the largest individual donation the center has ever received. His donation came in response of hearing how little a psychiatrist is able to be available through the AIDS Resource Center. ARCW offers a variety of services from prevention to psychiatric care to help those living with HIV. One of the prevention services ARCW offers is Lifepoint, a needle exchange program throughout Wisconsin that you can exchange used needles for sterile ones.


Click here for more information about AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin.


Click here for more information about Wisconsin's AIDS/HIV program.



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: Will the Legislature be acting on any of the bills related to women's health before the end of the year?

A: A number of controversial anti-women's health bills have been introduced this session. While some of these bills have passed, others have yet to be voted on by the full Senate. Allow me to provide an update on the status of these bills.


You may remember a very controversial attack on women's health earlier this session. In June, Republicans introduced and quickly passed legislation mandating that women seeking abortions undergo an invasive and medically unnecessary ultrasound procedure. This legislation also requires all-option family planning doctors to have admitting privileges to a hospital located within 30 miles of their clinic. By passing this bill, Republican legislators confirmed their belief that women are incapable of making personal decisions about their own body.

In response to this damaging legislation, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and Affiliated Medical Services immediately filed a lawsuit contending the law is unconstitutional. On July 8, 2013, the day the law was to take effect, U.S. District Judge William Conley issued a temporary restraining order blocking the portion of the law related to admitting privileges. Since then, he has extended the restraining order twice. Most recently, on August 2, 2013, Conley put in place an injunction blocking the law until a trial is held in the Court of Appeals. This trial began earlier this week on December 3 and is ongoing.

Should this law stand, Planned Parenthood would be forced to close two of four clinics offering all methods of family planning in Wisconsin. As the legal debate over this legislation moves forward, I will be sure to keep you updated on the status of this bill and its implications on the health of Wisconsin's women and families.

More recently, I heard from many neighbors regarding legislation that further attempts to roll back the rights of Wisconsin women. On November 7, 2013, the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services passed two anti-women's health bills along party lines. As a result these bills--Senate Bill (SB) 201/Assembly Bill (AB) 217 and Senate Bill 202/Assembly Bill 216-- which have already passed the Assembly, can now be scheduled for a vote before the full Senate. A vote in the full Senate is the last step these bills need to take before being signed into law by the governor.

Further, as you may know, there was discussion that the bills were going to land on the Senate schedule when we met on November 12, 2013. However, thanks to the outrage from the public as well as the pushback from women's health advocates, the bills were not taken up for a vote by the full Senate. While delaying these attacks on reproductive rights is a small victory, it is important that Wisconsinites continue to make their positions on these bills known to those that represent them because we will likely see these bills again when session resumes in 2014. More information on these bills is provided below.

Restricting Birth Control Coverage
Women have long faced discrimination when it comes to health insurance coverage. Over the years, insurance companies in Wisconsin have been required to cover basic women's health care like mammograms, maternity care and, in 2009, birth control. In addition, the Affordable Care Act put in place federal protections to ensure that all women had access to preventative services under their health plan--including birth control. Organizations from the National Institute of Medicine to the World Health Organization to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists tell us that access to birth control is the single greatest investment in women's health that a community can make.

Despite the clear evidence of positive effects birth control has on our community, SB 202/AB 216 would allow religious employers to discriminate against women by denying them affordable access to birth control, unless the employer deems that the birth control method is for medical reasons rather than contraceptive reasons. The proposal is illogical given that a fall 2012 study released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) demonstrated that access to no co-pay birth control coverage leads to significantly lower unintended pregnancy and abortion rates. Furthermore, birth control is not only a valuable family planning tool, but it also has many other medical benefits. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 58% of women use birth control for noncontraceptive health care reasons, which include:

  • Alleviating cramps and menstrual pain, which can sometimes be debilitating

  • Regulating the menstrual cycle

  • Preventing anemia, which can lead to dizziness, fatigue, and headaches

  • Helping in treatment of endometriosis, which often leads to infertility if untreated

  • Treating polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which if left untreated can lead to weight gain, hair loss, depression, and infertility

Additional Intrusion into Doctor-Patient Relationship
This proposal, SB 201/AB217, could put our medical professionals at legal risk by allowing the mother, father, or grandparents of an aborted fetus to sue the physician if the abortion they provided was "sex-selective." This proposal also has the potential to put undue strain and suspicion on a woman after she receives an abortion, even if it was not sex-selective.

Response to an unplanned pregnancy is a personal medical decision that is not taken lightly. While there are many legal options available to a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy, including becoming a parent, adoption, or abortion, it is up to each woman to choose her path based on her personal circumstances and beliefs. The idea that Wisconsin women would choose an abortion because they are displeased by the sex of the fetus is outrageous. According to WebMD, the sex of a fetus can sometimes be determined by about the 18th week of pregnancy and Planned Parenthood states that in-clinic abortion is only offered up to 19 weeks after the start of a woman's last menstrual period. This leaves a small to non-existent window for a woman who opts to have an abortion the potential option to determine the gender of the fetus beforehand. Therefore, this scenario is likely not one that is occurring in Wisconsin, and thus is a nonexistent problem that does not require legislation.

Government interference in matters of family planning, which are intrinsically private and personal, is unacceptable. According to the U.S. Supreme Court, women have a constitutional right to privacy, as well as the authority to make decisions related to their own body. To wage a legislative war on women by attacking and chipping away at this fundamental freedom is an insult to women across Wisconsin.

As you likely know, ensuring access to affordable, quality health care is a priority of mine. Thus, I support health care coverage for all aspects of women's health. That is why I firmly support a woman's right to choose as well as access to contraception and will continue to fight against any legislation that seeks to take away or otherwise limit these rights.


Track These Bills and Make Your Voice Heard
The Legislature offers a free email notification system that alerts subscribers of legislative activities relating to issues that they have identified as important. This is an excellent way to keep informed about the issues that are important to you.


Click here if you would like to stay up-to-date on the status of these bills.


It is also important that Wisconsinites ensure their voices are heard on this important issue. If you are unsure of who represents you in the Wisconsin State Legislature, I encourage you to utilize the "Who Represents Me?" tool on the Legislature's home page. Simply enter your address and the names and contact information of your state senator and state representative will be provided. 


Click here to find out who represents you. 


Did You Know...?

Most Wisconsinites are familiar with the fact that the Chicago Bears are the oldest rivals of our beloved Green Bay Packers. But did you know that the Bears did not always go by that name?

The Packers were founded in 1919 in the editorial room of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. The Bears, on the other hand started out as the Staleys, but ultimately changed their name to the Bears in 1922, just in time for the Packers vs. Bears rivalry to take hold in the Midwest.

Currently, the Chicago Bears lead the series in games against the Packers with 93 wins, 88 losses, and six ties. However, the Packers far out-rank the Bears in terms of Super Bowl wins--4 vs. 1--and most league championships where the Packers rank first at 13.

Be sure to check out Sunday's Packer game (at Lambeau) on Sunday, December 8 at Noon on Fox.

Click here for more information about the history of the Green Bay Packers. 


Hunger Task Force Telethon A Success

I was honored to join Hunger Task Force, WISN 12, and fellow legislators in participating in the "Food for Families" telethon. This event aims to raise money to support working families and their children.


Overall, the telethon raised $112,000, which will go directly to Hunger Task Force in Milwaukee. Hunger Task Force is a locally founded, locally funded, and locally run 501(c)(3) that has been dedicated to feeding people in need in Milwaukee for nearly 40 years. The organization works to prevent hunger and malnutrition by providing food to people in need today and by promoting social policies to achieve a hunger-free community tomorrow. Hunger Task Force currently operates a food bank that delivers emergency food to a network of 60 pantries, 14 soup kitchens, and six homeless shelters in Milwaukee County. The donations raised at the telethon will go a long way in helping Hunger Task Force with these efforts.


A big thank you to those who contributed to this great cause. However, if you could not afford to donate or missed out on this opportunity to give back to the community, do not worry. There are plenty of other opportunities to help out Hunger Task Force by volunteering, which is vital as this organization relies greatly on the assistance of area volunteers in order to function.


Click here for more information about Hunger Task Force and volunteering.



Attention High School Juniors and Seniors: Apply to Senate Scholars Today

The Senate Scholars Program is an intensive week-long education program offered by the Wisconsin State Senate. This is a wonderful opportunity for Wisconsin youth to view the role of the Legislature in democracy first hand and gain experience in the areas of policy development, constituent relations and processing legislation. Senate Scholars will also have the chance to work closely with senators, legislative staff, and University of Wisconsin faculty. Admission to the program is highly competitive and limited to 33 academically exceptional high school juniors and seniors from across the state. Applications are due on Friday, January 3, 2014. Applicants will then be notified of their acceptance on or shortly after January 17, 2014.

2014 Senate Scholar Sessions:
February 9-14
February 16-21

March 9-14

If you have additional questions about the program or the application process, I encourage you to call Cyrus Anderson or Erin Allers by phone at (608) 266-2610 or via email at


Click here to visit the Senate Scholar Program's Web site for more information.


Take the 2013-2014 Neighborhood Survey

I created a survey for the 2013-2014 Legislative Session asking about various issues that are important to our community and our state. The input of neighbors is greatly appreciated. My staff and I will be working hard to deliver as many surveys door to door as possible before winter arrives. In addition, I have also made this survey available online.

Click here to download and print a copy of this survey, which you can return to my office via mail, email, or fax upon completion.

Click here to save a stamp and take the survey online.

I look forward to hearing your views on these important issues!



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