July 2, 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. 


MIAD 2013 Juried Senior Exhibition

Date: Now through Sat., July 27

Location: Milwaukee

Description: If you missed the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design's renowned annual senior exhibition, stop by to see faculty-juried works from all majors in the 2013 Juried Senior Exhibition. This event is being held in MIAD's Frederick Layton Gallery. CLICK HERE or call (414) 291-8070 for more information.

Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MAP)
273 E. Erie Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202


The Milwaukee Art Museum Presents: 30 Americans

Date: Now through Sun., September 8

Location: Milwaukee

Description: 30 Americans is a dynamic exploration of contemporary American art. Paintings, sculptures, installations, photographs, video, and more made by African American artists since 1970 raise questions of what it means to be a contemporary artist and an African American today. Whether addressing issues of race, gender, sexuality, politics, or history--or seemingly remaining silent about them--these works offer powerful interpretations of cultural identity and artistic legacy. CLICK HERE or call (414) 224-3200 for more information.

Milwaukee Art Museum (MAP)
700 N. Art Museum Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53202


Lunar Light
Date: Now through Fri., July 19 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Location: Milwaukee

Description: Lunar Light focuses on our Moon, which has captivated our imagination enough to explore it with humans and machines. The live presentation will highlight Earth-Moon-Sun interactions that result in dramatic events such as lunar and solar eclipses, ocean tides, and different phases of the Moon. The presentation will include Greek myths associated with the Moon. As always, there is a portion of the program that focuses on stars and constellations projected on the dome to simulate both a city and country sky. Please note there is no show on July 5. CLICK HERE for more information.


UW-Milwaukee (MAP)

Manfred Olson Planetarium

1900 East Kenwood Blvd.

Milwaukee, WI



Bastille Days
Date: Thurs., July 11 through Sun., July 14
Location: Milwaukee
Description: Bastille Days, Milwaukee's popular French festival and one of the nation's largest French-themed celebrations, returns to downtown Milwaukee's Cathedral Square Park, July 11-14. The free, four-day bash attracts over 250,000 visitors annually who enjoy live music, an international marketplace, chef and wine demos, French and Cajun cuisine, roaming busker entertainment, and a signature 43-foot Eiffel Tower replica offering hourly light shows. CLICK HERE for more information.

Cathedral Square Park (MAP)
520 E. Wells Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202



South Shore Frolic
Date: Fri., July 12 through Sun., July 15
Location: Bay View
Description: Stop by the 64th annual South Shore Frolics. This three-day festival will feature a Friday fish fry, music all three days, a car show, games, food, a parade, and fireworks. CLICK HERE for more information.

South Shore Park (MAP)
2900 South Shore Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53207


Dear Friend,


Remember to take time this holiday week to honor our veterans, as well as troops that are actively serving. In commemoration of Independence Day, this report will include information about holiday events in the community, emphasize the importance of buying local, and provide tips on flag etiquette. A recap of the budget in bullet points is also included.


Chris Larson
State Senator, District 7



Happy Independence Day!

Thursday, July 4 marks the 237th anniversary of our nation's independence. It is day of celebration with family, friends, and neighbors. We must also remember the sacrifices of those who came before us, in securing our nation's freedoms, as well as the service of our military men and women in uniform who cannot spend this holiday enjoying barbeques or fireworks with their families. We owe them for everything they do to keep us safe.


Around the state, local communities will be hosting parades, ceremonies, and fireworks to celebrate the 4th of July. Continue reading to see what events will be going on in the Milwaukee area.

Spend the day at the Lakefront on Wednesday, July 3. This early 4th of July celebration starts off with the Gift of Wings Fireworks Kite Festival beginning at 11 a.m. at Veterans Park. Kites will be flying high all day, until the U.S. Bank Fireworks at the Lakefront begin at dusk.

Click here for more information about this holiday event.


Since 1911, the city of Milwaukee has hosted safe and friendly celebrations for families and friends to enjoy. In parks across the city, neighbors and visitors come together for picnics, games, parades, and more. These celebrations will take place on Thursday, July 4, and are capped off by fireworks bursting all over town.


Click here to visit the Fourth of July Commission Web site to find a celebration in a park near you.

South Milwaukee
South Milwaukee will be offering a 4th of July picnic and fireworks at Grant Park. The celebration starts at 10 a.m. on Thursday, July 4 at the Brown Pavilion (Areas 5 and 6), and includes races, games, free ice cream and caramel corn for kids, and a children's bicycle and coaster decoration parade. The day is capped off with a fireworks display at 9:30 p.m.


Click here to visit the city of South Milwaukee's Web site for more information.

The city of Cudahy will host its "Stand Together" Independence Day celebration on Thursday, July 4 with a parade stepping off at Noon at the corner of Grange and Packard Avenue. The parade will proceed north on Packard Avenue to Layton Avenue, head east, and end at Sheridan Park. There will be complimentary ice cream and cracker jacks following the parade. A celebration will be held at Sheridan Park with music, a magic show, and fireworks.


Click here to visit the city of Cudahy's Web site for more information.

Oak Creek
The Oak Creek 4th of July parade begins at 9 a.m. on Thursday, July 4 at the corner of Groveland Drive and Shepard Avenue. It will wind its way through the city and end at American Legion Post 434 (9327 South Shepard Avenue). Events and food, including children's games, face painting, roasted corn, baked potatoes, and beverages will be available following the parade. Fireworks begin at East Middle School (9330 South Shepard Avenue) at dusk.


Click here to visit the city of Oak Creek's Web site for more information.

St. Francis

The city of St. Francis 4th of July celebration includes a parade, picnic, talent show, live music, children's games, and fireworks. The festivities begin at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 4 with a bike and wagon decoration competition at the parade assembly point (Lipton and Howard Avenues). The parade begins at 10 a.m. following Howard Avenue east to Packard Avenue, then heading south to Lunham before heading east to Milt Vretenar Municipal Park. The picnic begins at 11:15 a.m., and includes a fireworks display at 9:15 p.m.


Click here for more information about this event from the city of St. Francis.


Plan to attend this year's two-day Franklin Civic Celebration in Lions Legend Park on Wednesday, July 3 and Thursday, July 4. Food, carnival rides, activities for kids, and plenty of entertainment will be provided for all ages. The festival begins on Wednesday, July 3 at 5 p.m. with carnival rides, live music, and arm wrestling contests. The festival continues on Thursday, July 4 at 9:45 a.m. with Gino's Kid Show. There will be a children's parade beginning at 10:30 a.m., which will meet at the Franklin Police Department building (9455 W. Loomis Road), followed by the main parade, which follows Loomis Road north from Forest Hill to Drexel Avenue. Live music and activities will be held throughout the day ending with dazzling fireworks beginning at 9:30 p.m.


Click here to visit the city of Franklin Web site for more information.


Buy American, Buy Local

The importance of producing and buying American or buying locally has become especially important during these tough economic times as our local, state, and national economies have been slowed. Buying local is good for all of us, as it not only helps inject our economy with a much-needed financial boost, but it also helps ensure we do not become overly dependent on foreign imports. Additionally, buying local can increase job opportunities for our neighbors. Adopting a buy local way of living can be as easy as favoring buying clothes that are produced in the United States, purchasing some of Wisconsin's world famous cheese rather than that of out-of-state competitors, or even selecting a local craft beer rather than the widely sold domestics (besides those made here in Milwaukee, of course). These small steps towards supporting our community will make you feel better about your purchases and have a profound impact on our economy, as well.

Click here for more information about buying local from the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection.

In recent years, organizations that promote the idea of buying local have begun to spread throughout the country, benefiting local communities tremendously. One such example can be found in our very own Milwaukee. Local First Milwaukee is an independently-owned organization comprised of Milwaukee-based businesses that works to make Milwaukee a more sustainable community, enable it to compete with other cities, and build a market share for local businesses.

Click here for more information about Local First Milwaukee.

In the end, buying local has benefits that greatly outweigh the costs. Studies done in neighboring states have illustrated just how important buying locally can be for the health of our economies and workers. A recent survey done in Kent County, Michigan, showed that shifting just 10% of consumer spending towards locally-owned businesses would create $140 million in new economic activity, 1,600 new jobs, and $50 million in new wages. Further, when West Michigan consumers choose a locally-owned business over a nonlocal alternative, $73 of every $100 spent stayed in the community, while only $43 of every $100 spent at a non-locally owned business remained in the community.

Similar success was seen right here in Wisconsin after launching a Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin competitive grant program to strengthen our agricultural and food industries. The grants worked to reduce the marketing, distribution, and processing hurdles that impede the expansion of sales of Wisconsin's food products to local purchasers. According to the program's annual impact report, just two years after the program went into effect, the benefits were noticeable. An initial state investment of only $447,700 ensured a $2.7 million increase in new local food sales, produced over $600,000 in new investments, created 38 new jobs, and retained 35 jobs. Additionally, with the help of this investment, over 1,200 producers and over 500 Wisconsin markets benefited. Fortunately for Wisconsinites, the Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin program will continue to be funded through the next biennium after Democrats fought to change the governor's initial proposal to end funding for the program.

This commitment to buying local products and frequenting locally-owned businesses is exactly what Wisconsin needs during this time of economic uncertainty. So the next time you are about to buy something be sure to buy locally so that we can work together to help our communities thrive.


The Budget in Bullet Points

I have had some neighbors ask for a more concise version of last week's Larson Report, which addressed the concerning budget provisions Republicans adopted when passing the 2013-2015 Biennial Budget. Therefore, I am providing this article, which summarizes the budget and its troubling provisions in bullet points. If you did not have a chance to check out last week's report, or are wondering what the main points were to take away from passage of the budget, then this article is for you.



Click here or on the video player above to view my concluding speech prior to passage of the extreme, backwards Republican budget.


Jobs & Economy

  • Does little to improve our overall economic health, which will continue to leave Wisconsin lagging behind the nation and falling in the rankings.

  • Fails to restore $67 million in cuts to our technical schools, which provide future generations of Wisconsin workers the skills needed to compete in a 21st century economy.

  • Makes only minor improvements to accountability, transparency, and oversight of Wisconsin's floundering job creation agency, WEDC, while still increasing their funding over the biennium.

  • Rejects amendments to provide greater financial aid to support prospective students.


  • Expands vouchers statewide, despite the fact that this 20-year, $1.5 billion experiment has failed as study after study confirms that education provided by the voucher program is often inferior to that offered by public schools.

  • Adopts a more extreme voucher measure than the expansion plan offered by the governor, which would have only expanded vouchers to nine school districts rather than all 424 school districts.

  • Creates an arbitrary cap for the program--500 students in 2013-14 and 1,000 students in 2014-2015--that is clearly temporary.

  • Increases funding for voucher school students by as much as $1,414 per pupil annually, while only giving public school students a measly $100 per pupil increase that will not even come close to making up for the $1.6 billion in cuts during the 2011-2013 Republican budget.

  • Links funding for voucher school students and public school students. For example, if public school students receive a $100 increase per year, so will private voucher students.

  • Gives more money to expand the unsuccessful voucher program statewide without increasing accountability and transparency measures, such as requiring background checks and licensure of teachers, following the DPI Report Card System, complying with open records laws, and preventing corporal punishment.

  • Penalizes public school students and their parents by having them support two school systems, while providing the parents of private school students with a tax break totaling $30 million in the 2014-2015 school year for an annual per student deduction of up to $10,000.

  • Raises property taxes as each school district will now be responsible for supporting two separate and unequal school systems. In Milwaukee, for example, taxpayers support the largest school district--Milwaukee Public Schools--and the 4th largest school district--Milwaukee Parental Choice Program.

  • Rejects amendments to eliminate voucher expansion, remove the unfair private school tax deduction, require a referendum in each local community, increase accountability and transparency, support special needs programs, and increase funding by $275 per pupil in public schools.

Health Care

  • Rejects federal health care funding and with it the opportunity to expand health care coverage to nearly 100,000 more Wisconsinites, save the state $119 million over the biennium, and create approximately 10,500 jobs.

  • Throws tax dollars away to expand coverage in other states while getting nothing for Wisconsin.

  • Wastes an additional $73 million, by giving money to hospitals to cover the individuals Republicans admitted would be kicked off of BadgerCare as a part of Governor Walker's health care plan.

  • Rejects amendments to accept federal health care dollars available to Wisconsin.

Taxes & Spending

  • Provides a tax break for the wealthiest among us and creates a $500 million deficit all at the expense of education, health care, and job creation in Wisconsin.

  • Increases property taxes by $29 annually for the average home.

  • Rejects amendments to decrease property taxes by an average of $77 per home, reduce the income tax rate for the lowest tax bracket, and restore the cuts to the Earned Income Tax Credit that occurred in the 2011-2013 state budget.


  • Favors highways over public transit despite the fact that quality public transit is valued by employers, workers, and students alike.


  • Harms residents and businesses that rely on clean, plentiful well water by preventing citizens from challenging the DNR's approval of high-capacity wells based on the cumulative negative environmental impact the high water withdrawal would have on neighboring drinking water wells and area lakes.

  • Makes drastic cuts of $18 million over the next two fiscal years to the Warren Knowles-Gaylord Nelson Stewardship Fund, which preserves and maintains Wisconsin's natural resources; expands recreational opportunities; and benefits the $22 billion forestry industry, $11 billion tourism industry, and $4 billion hunting and fishing recreation.

  • Requires the DNR to sell off 10,000 acres by 2017.

  • Rejects amendments to reverse the harmful provisions listed.

Nonfiscal Items

  • Adopts 94 nonfiscal items, the highest number of nonfiscal items to be adopted in a state budget in recent history.

  • Prevents lead paint victims from receiving justice in court should they sue lead paint manufacturers for health problems resulting from lead poisoning. Further, it potentially voids all pending lawsuits filed on behalf of poisoned Wisconsin children.

Vetoed Items

Heeding the calls of moderate legislators, Governor Walker vetoed the following extreme budget provisions on June 30, 2013.

  • Allows bounty hunters to operate in Wisconsin, which may place the safety of Wisconsinites in jeopardy.

  • Attacks the Center for Investigative Journalism housed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, preventing them from shining the light on matters that are of interest to the public and training the next generation of Wisconsin reporters.


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: I enjoy displaying a flag during the 4th of July holiday season to show my respect. What are some tips on flag etiquette?

A: No other object more greatly symbolizes our nation's freedoms and those who fought to protect them then the U.S. flag. It is important that when we choose to display this important symbol that we do so properly and with respect. Many of these rules and standards can be found in the Flag Code, which formalizes and unifies the traditional ways in which we give respect to the flag, and also contains specific instructions on how the flag is to be used. Some of these can be found below:

  • When the flag is displayed from a staff projecting from a window, balcony, or a building, the union should be at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half staff.

  • When it is displayed from the same flagpole with another flag--of a state, community, society, or Scout unit--the flag of the United States must always be at the top.

  • When the flag is displayed over a street, it should be hung vertically, with the union to the north or east. If the flag is suspended over a sidewalk, the flag's union should be farthest from the building.

  • When flown with flags of states, communities, or societies on separate flag poles which are of the same height and in a straight line, the flag of the United States is always placed in the position of honor--to its own right. Additionally, the other flags may be smaller but none may be larger, no other flag ever should be placed above it, and the flag of the United States is always the first flag raised and the last to be lowered.

  • When flown with the national banner of other countries, each flag must be displayed from a separate pole of the same height. Each flag should be the same size. They should be raised and lowered simultaneously. The flag of one nation may not be displayed above that of another nation.

  • The flag should be raised briskly and lowered slowly and ceremoniously. Ordinarily it should be displayed only between sunrise and sunset. It should be illuminated if displayed at night.

  • The flag of the United States of America is saluted as it is hoisted and lowered. The salute is held until the flag is unsnapped from the halyard or through the last note of music, whichever is the longest.

  • When the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground or any other object, but rather it should be received by waiting hands and arms.

  • To store the flag, it should be folded neatly and ceremoniously.

  • The flag should be cleaned and mended when necessary.

  • When a flag is so worn it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner. Most American Legion Posts regularly conduct a dignified flag burning ceremony. Many Cub Scout Packs, Boy Scout Troops, and Girl Scout Troops retire flags regularly as well.

Click here for more information about how to properly care for your U.S. flag and the history associated with this patriotic symbol.

If you do not currently have a U.S. or Wisconsin flag and would like to purchase one, please contact my office to order one today. Both flags are made of durable nylon and are 3 feet by 5 feet in size. The U.S. flag costs $13 while the Wisconsin flag costs $16.


If you would like the flag flown over the Capitol in honor of someone, please specify the name of the person, the occasion, and the date you would like the flag flown. A certificate of commemoration will be mailed back to you with the flag.

Flags must be purchased with checks made out to the State of Wisconsin. Mail your flag request form and check to:

Sen. Chris Larson
P.O. Box 7882
Madison, WI 53707-7882

Click here to download a flag request form.


Did You Know...?

For those of us that drive, the speedometer has become a necessary tool in our everyday lives. But did you know that this standard piece of equipment was invented right here in Wisconsin? In the early 1900s, Arthur P. Warner of Beloit invented the automobile speedometer, which is now in virtually every car made in the U.S.


Summer Activities in Our Community

Our community offers a wide variety of summer activities for families, children, and adults alike. Below are just a few activities that you can take part in this summer.


Visit Our Neighborhood Pools
Get some relief from the heat this summer by visiting our local neighborhood pools. Many of the pools in our community offer swimming lessons or open swims.


Click here for a list of neighborhood pools, hours of operation, and pricing information.

Shop 2nd Saturday

From jewelry and specialty gifts to gourmet foods and men's and women's fashions, look for great deals on unique merchandise in downtown Milwaukee every second Saturday of the month this summer. Along the way, shoppers will be treated to snacks, live music, local entertainment, and free two-hour on-street parking.

Click here for more information, including a complete list of locations and incentives.


Larson Report Announcement

The Legislature has wrapped up the budget process and is not scheduled to meet in session again until the middle of September. In anticipation of fewer legislative obligations in the Capitol, representatives and senators will be spending more time in their local community and less time in their Madison offices.

Because of these changes, I will be altering the distribution of the Larson Report. Beginning this week, the Larson Report will be sent out every other week, rather than every Thursday. These biweekly reports will continue to keep you apprised of local events, provide timely news updates, answer some of the most frequent questions asked by neighbors, and include interesting information about our community and state.

In addition to providing you with a newsletter every other week, I will periodically send out email updates when important issues arise. The normal weekly distribution will resume when legislative activities pick up again in September.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions about these temporary changes.


To Unsubscribe from the weekly Larson Report Newsletter, please reply to this email with the word "Unsubscribe."