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March 26, 2015




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



Mailing Address:

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




Find Me on Facebook and Twitter:













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: Now through April 11, Saturday mornings, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Location: Milwaukee
Description: The Milwaukee County Farmers' Market will be held again this year at the Mitchell Park Domes. The Farmers' Market gives Wisconsin residents a great opportunity to shop for local produce from the 35 weekly vendors. Vendors provide a wide selection of fresh fruit, vegetables, dairy, bakery, poultry and meats all winter long. Free parking spaces are provided.
CLICK HERE for more information.

Mitchell Park Domes (MAP)
524 South Layton Blvd. Milwaukee, WI 53215


11th Annual Spring Eggs-stravaganza
Date: Saturday, April 4 at 9 a.m.
Location: Milwaukee
Description: Bring your containers, cameras, smiles, kids, and grandkids for the Murray Hill Neighborhood Association's 11th Annual Spring Eggs-travaganza. Several thousand eggs are "hidden" for the hunt, including traditional colored eggs, plastic eggs filled with candy, and special ceramic and paper mache eggs produced by the artists at Murray Hill Pottery. The event is sponsored by the Murray Hill Neighborhood Association, Murray Hill Pottery Works, Walgreens, and Upper Eastside Business Improvement District.

Meet at Oakland Avenue in Riverside Park



A City Built on Water -- Sneak Preview
Date: April 7, doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the screening will be at 7 p.m.
Location: Milwaukee
Description: Come enjoy a sneak preview of , A City Built on Water, a new Milwaukee Public Television documentary. It is free and open to the public, but seating is limited, so get there early! The broadcast premiere will be on Earth Day.

CLICK HERE to see a brief promo video.

Discovery World

500 N Harbor Drive Milwaukee, WI 53202

19th Annual Beer Tasting
and Live Auction Event

Date: Thursday, April 23 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Location: Bay View


Sample exciting and inventive beers from Wisconsin's many craft breweries. The event will feature dinner and a live auction. All proceeds will provide enrichment programs for families and seniors and supply the Bay View Community Center's food pantry. Tickets are required and are $35 through March 31, $40 after April 1, and $40 at the door.
Call 414-482-1000 for tickets or CLICK HERE.

The South Shore Yacht Club


2300 E Nock Street Milwaukee, WI 53207


Butler vs. Bullying: Making Friends, Not Enemies
Date: Monday, April 27, 6:30 p.m. (doors open at 5:30 p.m.)
Location: Cudahy
Description: Light it up Blue and Healthiest Cudahy Collaboration presents this event featuring LeRoy Butler, to help shine a light on Autism and Child Development. The event is FREE, but tickets are required. Tickets are available at Cudahy Health Department at 5050 S. Lake Drive, Cudahy, WI 53110 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Cudahy High School

4950 S Lake Drive

Cudahy, WI 53110



Dear Wisconsin Neighbor,


Hope you are enjoying the official start of Spring and getting ready for some much deserved warmer weather (and the Brewers season finally starting up!). If you're like me, you've already gotten a head-start on spring cleaning. To help make it a little easier on you, I've included some helpful tips on recycling centers and places to take unneeded medications, computers, electronics, and for those of you who are willing to help out even more, details on community clean ups.


Also, with the state budget process in full swing, I want to make sure to hear from you. We've got a town hall near you coming up and it would be great to see you there in person.


What else is happening? From the anti-conservation budget to voter suppression, a lot has happened over the past couple weeks.


A report from the Nature Conservancy affirms the many reasons why legislative Republicans in power should reverse the proposed damage being done to the Warren Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund and other conservation programs in the 2015-17 state budget.


Also, two key moves by the U.S. Supreme Court occurred recently, including one pertaining to the voter ID law that had been on hold since 2011 -- which results in the law taking effect after this April's election -- and a ruling in support of reproductive freedom. 


On a positive note, the Senate passed legislation last week that will eventually reduce pollution and address the growing public health concerns of having microbeads in our public waters. 


Read on to learn more about these important topics, and more.  


Chris Larson
State Senator, District 7



Join Me at Upcoming Listening Sessions
Hearing your thoughts and concerns is important to me. While serving you, I have held town hall meetings, listening sessions, coffee and conversations, business tours, and in-district meetings. I advertise these by posting on my website, Facebook and Twitter, via neighborhood groups, with media alerts, and through direct emails.

Below are a few of the upcoming events that I invite you to attend if you are interested in talking to me about issues facing our community or state, or if you want to listen to the concerns and thoughts of our fellow neighbors.

Please do not hesitate to contact my office for additional information. Hope to see you there!

Monday, March 30, 2015
5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Location: South Milwaukee Library
Address: 1907 10th Avenue                    
South Milwaukee, WI 53172
Who: Senator Chris Larson and South
Milwaukee Mayor Erik Brooks

Tuesday, March 31, 2015
5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Location: Urban Ecology Center
Address: 1500 E. Park Place
Milwaukee, WI 53211
Who: Senator Chris Larson, Representative
Jonathan Brostoff, and Alderman Nik Kovac     

Wednesday, April 1, 2015
5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Location: South Shore Park Pavilion
2900 South Shore Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53207
Who: Senator Chris Larson, Representative Christine Sinicki


Public Disagrees with Walker on Land Conservation


There are some big changes in Governor Walker's proposed budget that will dramatically impact our state's public land and water, how its managed, and the amount of public involvement and citizen oversight that will be allowed.

For instance, Walker's budget fires scientists and environmental experts responsible for helping us make informed decisions. These scientists play a vital role in helping to make sure we are safeguarding our health, preserving vital habitat, and monitoring pollution in our state in a responsible manner. 


The governor's budget also disinvests in our state parks; raises fees for camping, entrance, and use of state parks; opens up our parks to be sold to private organizations; and allows for park names to be sponsored by corporations. This opens the door to Devil�s Lake State Park, and other state parks, being renamed to Koch Industries State Park.




Public Wants Stewardship Fund to Remain Strong

Interestingly, new research shows Wisconsinites overwhelming support protecting our state's lands, waters, and wildlife.

This past week, the Nature Conservancy released scientific polling that shows most voters believe that "one of the best things that state government does is to protect our natural areas, outdoor recreation, and history in state parks and other public lands," (86% agree).

Additionally, the Nature Conservancy report highlighted key findings, such as four-in-five voters would tell their legislator to continue conservation investments through the Stewardship program, including:

  • 76% of Republicans, 88% of Independents, and 97% of Democrats

  • 89% of urban residents, 80% of suburbanites, 82% of town residents, and 79% of rural residents

  • 81% of hunters and anglers and 85% of nonsportsmen

  • More than eight-in-ten voters in every region of the state agree that conservation investments should continue

The report also showed that people overwhelmingly agree there are significant benefits to Wisconsin's economy and quality of life from continued investments in land and water conservation. In fact, 91% say that investing in conservation helps support jobs in Wisconsin's tourism, farming, fishing, and forestry industries, and helps support our economy. Even more believe that keeping our lands and waters healthy benefits both our economy and quality of life here in Wisconsin.


Moreover, the majority of voters in every region of the state, of various demographics, think Wisconsin should make sure conservation efforts continue as is, including:

  • 96% of Democrats, 83% of Independents, and 68% of Republicans

  • 89% of women and 77% of men

  • More than four-in-five voters of every age group

  • 81% of sportsmen and 86% of those who do not hunt or fish

Click here to view the Nature Conservatory report.





Destroying Outdoor Recreational Opportunities 

This makes the provision in the state budget to end preservation efforts by effectively eliminating the Warren Knowles-Gaylord Nelson Stewardship Fund particularly troubling. This program is an important part of Wisconsin's sporting heritage as it prioritizes state investment in land for the public to enjoy. The Wisconsin Legislature created the Warren Knowles-Gaylord Nelson Stewardship Fund to preserve and maintain Wisconsin's valuable public lands and waters, as well as expand outdoor recreational activities. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR), through this Stewardship program, helps Wisconsin retain its identity as one of the best states for conservation and provides thousands of acres for outdoor recreation for current and future generations.

This isn't the first time the Stewardship program has been on the chopping block. In the 2013-15 state budget the governor sought to cut $10.6 million to the Stewardship Fund in the first year of the 2013-2015 biennium. Unfortunately, the Republicans on the Joint Finance Committee made cuts to the program that were more extreme than what the governor had proposed initially. As a result, bonding for the Stewardship program was cut by a total of $18 million for years 2013-15. Given this troubled history, it doesn't seem likely that Republicans will be eager to fix that damages to our Stewardship program in the state budget this time around.


Irresponsible Changes Should be Fixed in Budget


With such broad public support for conservation and protecting our lands being deeply rooted in our tradition and history, why is the governor proposing such drastic changes that will negatively impact our environment? It is clear that our friends, family, and neighbors disagree with these damaging provisions of the state budget, indicating the governor's proposal is another example of his backwards priorities, that do not reflect our state's shared values. The Legislature should reject these irresponsible, unpopular proposals by fixing the 2015-17 state budget so it invests in conservation efforts through the Warren Knowles-Gaylord Nelson Stewardship Fund.

Join me, and the majority of the citizens of Wisconsin, in sending a clear message to the both the governor and the Republicans in charge of the Legislature that we value our state's history and this budget is simply wrong for Wisconsin.

Click here to add your name to the list of people who oppose Governor Walker's budget.



Efforts to Reduce Water Pollution Passes Senate

On March 17, the Senate passed Senate Bill (SB) 15, legislation to gradually phase out the use of microbeads, a relatively new pollution that is endangering our waters. This bill passed with unanimous support and awaits action in the Assembly. While this will be a step forward in protecting our waters and health, there is more to the story.

What are Microbeads?

Microbeads are small, nonbiodegradable, plastic particles that are increasingly used in some cosmetic products like body scrubs, hand soaps, and even in toothpaste. These small bits of plastic are dangerous to aquatic ecosystems and public health. Microbeads used in cosmetics go down our drains, pass through our treatment systems, and end up in our rivers and lakes.

Once in our waters they are consumed by creatures across the aquatic food chain. Microbeads are now being found in everything from tiny invertebrates at the bottom of the food chain, to large fish at the top. Although the microbeads appear like food to them, this pollution is not digestible, thus interfering with vital feeding and digestion.

The problem of mimicking aquatic food is alarming, especially given the fact that these bits of plastic often carry chemicals, even acting as pollution sponges, soaking up toxic chemicals. Essentially they can concentrate chemical pollution, which can then end up at higher levels in the fish we eat.

With even small amounts of microbeads this would be concerning, but there are millions already in our waters. Consider that one tube of face wash can contain over 350,000 microbeads. A recent study shows that the Great Lakes are increasingly congested with plastics. In fact, an average of 17,000 micro pieces of plastic per square kilometer have been found in Lake Michigan. Each year we continue to use microbeads in Wisconsin may be adding 400 billion microbeads to the waste stream. The sheer volume of microbead pollution even has manufacturers that use them alarmed.

Click here for more information about the study.

Additionally, Dr. Lorna Rios Mendoza, a professor at University of Wisconsin-Superior, is leading Wisconsin-specific research on microbeads and their damaging impact to our environment. This study has not been published yet, but has been part of the conversation.

Read more about Dr. Rios Mendoza's study, here.

Taking Action to Address the Microbeads Problem

Given the public concerns for our waters and health, new bans in other states, and readily available alternatives to microbeads, a number of industry leaders are voluntarily phasing out plastic microbeads from their products. While Colgate Palmolive, L'Or�al USA Inc., Procter & Gamble, Revlon, Inc., and Unilever are leading the way, companies that represent more than two-thirds of the market have not yet responded to growing public health concerns.

Illinois was the first Great Lakes state to take action to phase out the use of plastic microbeads, by enacting a law that allows the pollution to continue over the next few years while manufacturers gradually switch to alternative materials. Wisconsin's SB 15 will essentially codify the Illinois agreement between businesses and legislators for products sold here.

Learn how you can get involved in addressing the microbead issue, by linking here.

As mentioned, SB 15 still awaits passage in the Assembly before it could go on for signature into law. However, with the current political make-up of the Wisconsin Legislature, and anti-conservation governor, enacting SB 15 into law remains questionable. Many environmental, sportsmen, and outdoor groups have strongly advocated to ensure all companies responsible for this pollution will have to stop. So while passing this measure in today's political climate will be a victory for all of us, sadly, we could have done better by passing a stronger alternative that was introduced by Senator Bob Wirch.

Available Alternative for Stronger Protections

I signed on as a co-author to Senate Bill 18, a proposal introduced by Senator Bob Wirch that would have ended the manufacturing of products with microbeads by January 1, 2016, significantly earlier than the more lax SB 15. Given that we know microbeads are polluting our waters, I believe that more swift action should have been taken to reduce the health and environmental damage and risk. Unfortunately, Senator Wirch's proposal was not even given a public hearing and, therefore, was not considered for passage. Thanks to advocates like you, it is likely that growing public support for Senator Wirch's microbead pollution ban assisted conservation experts in convincing legislators in the Senate to -- at the very least -- pass SB 15.

Ultimately, I am eager for the Assembly to pass SB 15, as a successful effort to phase out microbeads pollution that will diminish the danger to our health and waters.



Ask Chris: What's Happening with Voter ID?

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: Are there any updates on the Voter Suppression law that requires highly specific identification (ID) for voting?   

A:  Earlier this week the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to take action on Wisconsin's voter ID law and Republicans' efforts to make it harder for eligible Wisconsinites to exercise their right to vote. This means that the law to require IDs for voting will soon go into effect. However, IDs will not be required for the upcoming Spring Election in April.

I am dismayed to see that the U.S. Supreme Court chose not to hear this case on the voter suppression law that, as it now stands, will disenfranchise thousands of citizens in our state. This arbitrary law does not solve any existing problem, but instead  showcases the lengths Wisconsin Republicans will go to suppress rights of Wisconsinites and cement a regressive era in Wisconsin. Their actions are nothing but a thinly veiled attack on our constitutionally guaranteed freedom to vote. It may be legal, but it's simply un-American.


An interesting perspective on this issue is that of Judge Richard Posner -- a Reagan-appointed judge who sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.  Once a proponent of voter ID laws, he upheld Indiana's law in 2008. However, due to data now available, Judge Posner has changed his mind about voter ID restrictions. He noted in his dissent written last year that voter ID laws are motivated by conservatives wanting to discourage voting by "persons likely to vote against the party responsible for imposing the burdens." This, among other strong statements written in the dissent, affirms that these laws are only meant to suppress votes of those who typically lean Democratic, such as students, minorities, and seniors.

Just to review, in 2011, Assembly Bill 7, Wisconsin's Voter Suppression Law was passed to restrict the voting rights of hundreds of thousands of eligible Wisconsin voters.

With a cost of over $7 million, the voter ID law put up road blocks for those wishing to cast their vote in our democracy, increased the residency requirements from 10 days to 28 consecutive days, and arbitrarily eliminated straight-party voting.

The law disproportionately impacts students, the elderly, people with disabilities, and the homeless by increasing the requirements on what people would need to do in order to obtain a photo ID for voting but did nothing to increase their access to actually obtaining an ID. In addition, a 2005 University of Wisconsin�Milwaukee study found that over 175,000 adults in Wisconsin over the age of 65 currently do not have a state issued driver's license or identification card, and may not have the required documentation to attain an ID. At the time of passage, no college ID in the state met the strict qualifications for students to use it to vote.

Many lawsuits were filed and the implementation of the law was put on hold until September 2014, when the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals failed on a split vote to take up the case on legislation aimed at disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of individuals in our state.

The five dissenting votes by Republican-appointed judges was an unfortunate setback and only further showcased the lengths Wisconsin Republicans would go to suppress the voices and rights of our voters. Their in-action put the integrity of that year's November election in jeopardy. Implementing the law in such close proximity to the election would have been a disaster.

However, in early October, U.S. Supreme Court decided to block the implementation of the voter ID law in Wisconsin, preventing Republican efforts to limit our proud democratic tradition of free, fair, and accessible elections.

Wisconsin, used to be renowned for our progressive approach to voting access. Our state tends to be among the highest percentages of voter turnout in the country. But now, under Republican rule, we are hastily dismantling laws and policies that represent our shared values, and were national models.

Forward-thinking states in the union are doing the exact opposite of what we are doing in Wisconsin. They are looking to increase access to voting by implementing online voter registration and allowing for more early voting options. In the case of Oregon, they recently passed legislation that automatically registers everyone over the age of 18 to vote. These are the types of good government policies we should be pursuing in Wisconsin.

Unfortunately, as of now, because of the Supreme Court's refusal to hear the case, this anti-freedom ruling stands. Although arbitrary, we must take steps to ensure that all citizens will be informed about these new restrictions on their freedom, and be able to cast their vote.


As stated, for April's election, voters will not be required to show and ID at the polls. The attorney general has decided on delaying implementation of the law because absentee ballots and early voting for the upcoming election has already began. I will send details next months on what the new restrictions will be.



Spring Conservation Congress Hearings and Changes Made in State Budget 

Wisconsin has a long and proud history in conservation of our shared, public lands and waters. We are home to such conservationists as Aldo Leopold, William Aberg, and John Curtis, all pioneers in their fields. These and other conservationists helped establish the Conservation Act of 1927, and subsequently, the Conservation Commission, which later turned into the Natural Resources Board. This board has been a crucial bridge between the people of Wisconsin and their government, and has been an avenue for public input and conversation regarding our public lands. Nowhere else can Wisconsinites find such a clear and focused path for public involvement on issues they deeply care about.

On Monday, April 13, there will be a public hearing in each county starting at 7 p.m. where individuals interested in the management of our public lands, waters, and wildlife have an opportunity to provide their input to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Natural Resources Board and the Conservation Congress on proposed rule changes and advisory questions relating to fish and wildlife management in Wisconsin. County residents also have the option to run for election to the Conservation Congress and to elect delegates from their county to represent their county views regarding land and water management.

Below is information about the location for the 2015 Conservation Congress Spring Hearing in Milwaukee County.

Nathan Hale High School
11601 W Lincoln Avenue
West Allis, WI 53227

Click here to view the questionnaire for this year's hearing.

It is important be aware of the significant changes Governor Walker makes to the Natural Resources Board in his 2015-17 state budget, which contains a provision that strips the policymaking authority from the Natural Resources Board and makes them strictly an advisory council. Transferring this power to the governor-appointed department secretary removes public input and allows important decisions about our land -- such as selling public land -- to be made behind closed doors.

Wisconsin has been a leader in responsible management of our public lands and waters and strong citizen engagement for over 80 years. The elimination of the Natural Resources Board disregards 80 years of honest, hard work and undermines the importance and reliability of public engagement concerning the land and water they use and appreciate. This separation of citizen involvement and resources held in public trust may have drastic consequences for future generations.

To get involved in the efforts to end the use of microbeads, click here.


Victory for Reproductive Freedom
Last week, a federal judge struck down a provision in a Wisconsin law that required all-option family planning doctors have admitting privileges to a hospital located within 30 miles of their clinic. A legal challenge was filed immediately after the bill was signed into law on July 5, 2013. Shortly after signature, a federal judge blocked enforcement of the law's admitting privileges provision citing a "troubling lack of justification" for the law.

If this provision was not officially struck down on March 20, Wisconsin would have been forced to cut the number of clinics offering all methods of family planning from four to two. The judge concluded in his recent ruling that the primary goal of the law was to try and block women from getting an abortion should they need one. The judge also noted .06% of women actually need any follow up care that requires a hospital after an abortion procedure and less than 1% of women experience any complications whatsoever.

Women have the right to make personal decisions regarding their lives. I am glad the federal courts recognized that taking away basic freedoms for women for political reasons is simply wrong. Reproductive freedom is a matter that should remain between a woman and her doctor.

While the recent court ruling is a win in the fight against national efforts to restrict basic health care for women, other damaging provisions of the law are, unfortunately, still intact. This includes the controversial measure that requires women to undergo an invasive ultrasound procedure should she opt to have an abortion.

As noted in a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article on the ruling, Governor Walker plans on working with the attorney general to appeal the recent ruling. With a self-inflicted $2.2 billion deficit, and a continued lag in job growth, wasting hard-earned public money on frivolous lawsuits rather than taking on the real challenges facing our state is irresponsible.

Click here to read the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article regarding the recent court ruling.


Milwaukee Area Kickoff to Spring Cleaning
It's that time of year again! Spring cleaning season is officially underway, and residents have ample opportunities to find ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle their unwanted household items. Below are some resources in our community that will take items you no longer need.

Project Clean & Green in Milwaukee, St. Francis, and Cudahy

Through the Department of Public Works, Project Clean & Green organizes free household debris pick-ups for designated zones throughout April and May. Project Clean & Green crews will collect any unwanted furniture, household items, recyclables, brush, and up to five tires throughout a zone during its specified pick-up dates. Portions of the 7th Senate District will be serviced from April 20 through June 1.

Project Clean & Green provides this map to check out pick-up areas and dates.

Special Pick-Up in South Milwaukee

The city of South Milwaukee will be holding recycling pick-up dates on May 25 and May 29.

See this list to determine which items can be picked-up and which items will need to be discarded at the city's self-deposit station.

Oak Creek Spring Clean-Up

The Oak Creek Street Department will be holding its annual Spring Clean Up this year between May 15 and May 17. These curbside clean-ups are free of charge, but items must be on the curb prior to May 15 for guaranteed pick up.

The Spring Clean-Up website provides a list of designated items that can and cannot be picked up.

Recycling Centers

Various locations throughout the district will allow you to recycle items that are normally accepted during curbside pick-ups or in landfills. Below are a few of these options.

Elite Energy Distribution
1000 W Bruce St
Milwaukee, WI
Phone: (414) 305-1309
Accepts: Remote controls, doorbells, general nonworking electronics free of charge; CFL/fluorescent bulbs ($0.25/pound), Alkaline batteries ($0.45/pound), and more.

Self-Help Recycling Centers in Milwaukee**
6660 N Industrial Rd & 3879 W Lincoln Ave
Milwaukee, WI
Phone: (414) 286-2489
Accepts: Remote controls, doorbells, rechargeable batteries, CFLs/florescent lightbulbs, non-working electronics
**Must provide proof of city of Milwaukee residency

Batteries Plus
5474 S 27th St
Milwaukee, WI 53221
Phone: (414) 282-5200
Accepts: Car batteries, lithium batteries, CFLs, halogen/incandescent light bulbs, fluorescent tubes, LEDs, laptop computers, MP3 Players, power tools

For more information about items accepted at recycling locations near you, click here.

Other Helpful Tips

Unused and expired prescription medicines should never be flushed, as wastewater treatment plants are not designed to remove medication from wastewater. In addition, disposing these in the garbage is unsafe, as children or pets could accidentally consume them, or they can seep into the groundwater in landfills. Surrounding cities provide designated Medication Collection Days during which the district safely collects thousands of unconsumed pills.

Click here for updates on when this event will be held.

Computer Protection
Most electronic recycling locations that dispose of computers also provide data destruction services. Just deleting files from your desktop will not clear them from your computer, so to protect your information, it is in your best interest to destroy your data. When recycling computers, tablets, printers, and other electronics, be sure to ask your recycler about their data destruction practices. Most follow the trusted standards and methods for data destruction provided by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Tire Pressure
As we move into spring, it is important to check your tire pressure to ensure your vehicle is as running as efficiently as possible. Experts say tire pressure changes by one to two pounds for every ten degrees of temperature change, so make sure to check up on this frequently as the weather warms up.


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