December 1, 2011
Please feel free to contact me with any concerns or opinions you might
Office Phone: (608) 266-7505
Toll-free Phone: (800) 361-5487
P.O. Box 7882
Madison, WI 53707
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.
Christmas in the Ward
December 2 and 3
Enjoy the holiday spirit of the Historic Third Ward with live
entertainment and a variety of shops to explore during the 23rd Annual
Christmas in the Ward. This year's tree lighting ceremony and fireworks
happen Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Catalano Square. The fun continues
with shopping, dining and two performances by Radio Disney on Saturday
from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission to this family-friendly event is free.
CLICK HERE for more information.
December 3 and 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Enjoy one-of-a-kind handmade goods from local artisans at Discovery
World’s Holiday Artisan Market. There will also be live music, festive
treats, artist demonstrations, and complimentary gift wrapping for all
purchases. Admission is free. For additional information, please
Discovery World (MAP)
500 N. Harbor Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53202
9th Annual Broom
Ball Classic at MSOE
December 3 from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Broomball is a great game for new and veteran players alike. For
the past eight years, Milwaukeeans have teamed up to provide toys for
disadvantaged Milwaukee area children. This year’s efforts will benefit
Boys and Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee. Join in on the fun this
holiday season by playing some broomball for a good cause. Team fee
registration is $50; player fee is $10 or a new toy donation.
CLICK HERE to visit the Milwaukee School of Engineering's Web site.
Milwaukee School of Engineering (MAP)
1025 N. Broadway
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Milwaukee Bike Swap
December 4 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Mark your calendars for the Bike Federation's annual Milwaukee Bike
Swap. Stop by the union to buy and sell parts, accessories, bicycles,
clothing and bike-themed crafts. The swap is a fundraiser for the
Milwaukee Bicycle Works and the UW-Milwaukee Cycling Club.
Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students, and free for children 12
CLICK HERE for additional information.
UW-Milwaukee Union's Second Floor Ballroom (MAP)
2200 E. Kenwood Blvd.
Milwaukee, WI 53201
Milwaukee's Buy Local Gift Fair
December 4 from Noon to 4 p.m.
Shop 40 local vendors, all under one roof while listening to festive
holiday tunes. Free brewery tours will also be offered at 12:30, 1:30
and 2:30 p.m. Beer and other beverages will be available for purchase
from Lakefront Brewery and sandwiches will be available for purchase
from Fast Foodie. Admission is free.
CLICK HERE for more information including a list of participating
Lakefront Brewery (MAP)
1872 N. Commerce Street
Milwaukee, WI 53212
Milwaukee Santa Shuffle 5k
December 4 at 9:30 a.m.
Run or walk with hundreds of Santas at the Milwaukee Santa Shuffle! All
participants receive a Santa stocking hat and event shirt. Make stops at
the on-course candy stations, pucker up as you run beneath the
mistletoe, enjoy the holiday music and warm up at the finish with
cookies and hot cider.
Veterans Park (MAP)
1010 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Bay View Christmas
December 5 at 7 p.m.
This event will feature Christmas caroling by the
Bay View High School Choir at 6 p.m. The tree lighting and a visit from
Santa will happen at 7 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.
Refreshments will be provided by the Bay View Area Redcats and
the Garibaldi Society.
Bay View Post 180 (MAP)
2860 S. Kinnickinnic Avenue
Bay View, WI 53207
A positive step was made this week to
decrease drunk driving in Wisconsin through a proposal to increase the
use of ignition interlock devices. Please continue reading for more
information on this bill I authored.
State Senator, District 7
Saving Lives One Step at a Time
This week I introduced legislation to
take a significant step towards making Wisconsin’s streets safer.
This proposal will strengthen our state’s drunk driving laws through
increased use of ignition interlock devices (IIDs). The proposal
already enjoys bipartisan support. Our lax drunk driving laws and record number
of binge drinkers has thrust Wisconsin into the national spotlight
keeping us ranked as one of the worst states for drunk driving offenses
in the country.
Wisconsin’s drunk driving laws have failed to protect the safety of
Wisconsin’s drivers and passengers. According to the Wisconsin Department of
Transportation (DOT), alcohol-related crashes killed 238 people and
injured nearly 4,000 in Wisconsin in 2009. Additionally, approximately
45 percent of all fatal traffic crashes in Wisconsin in 2009 were
alcohol-related. These staggering statistics do little to give our
driver’s peace-of-mind while on the road.
In the past, the solution has simply been to take away the driver’s
licenses of convicted drunk drivers. However, we know that doing this
does not prevent them from driving. DOT estimates for 2010 show that
over 32,000 people were convicted of driving drunk in Wisconsin. Of
these, nearly 32 percent were repeat offenders. IIDs, on the other hand,
have forced offenders to change their behavior by separating drinking
from driving. Individuals with an IID installed will be prevented from
starting their vehicle if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is above .02. IIDs are supported by
drunk driving prevention advocates as they are proven to reduce drunk
driving recidivism by 67 percent, according to the Center for Disease
Control and Prevention.
The Legislature expanded the use of IIDs to first-time offenders with a
BAC of .15 or higher and all repeat offenders
during the 2009-2010 Legislative Session. Unfortunately, over the past
year we have learned of cases around the state where first-time OWI
offenders successfully plea bargain their BAC level below .15 in an
effort to avoid the installation of IIDs.
It is time that we do more to stop the fatalities, injuries, and
property loss caused by drunk drivers. The legislation I introduced is
another step in the right direction towards making our streets safer for
all Wisconsinites by requiring that all first-time convicted drunk drivers install
an IID in their vehicle.
There is growing support in the Legislature for strengthening
Wisconsin’s drunk driving laws through greater monitoring, treatment and
enforcement. I am calling on members of the Legislature to
whole-heartedly support this bill that will serve as a significant step towards reducing drunk driving in Wisconsin and in-turn increase
public safety. However, legislation is not passed by legislators alone.
Therefore, I also would like to encourage our fellow Wisconsinites to
contact their state senator and representative and urge them to support
this life-saving legislation.
To view a copy of this bill, please
Proper Notice for Changes to Health
Just last month we learned that the
Governor and his administration opted to cut $554 million from
Wisconsin's health safety net that children, working families and
seniors desperately need. Gutting funding from this vital state program
will trigger an immediate and unexpected health care catastrophe for
many Wisconsinites. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS)
anticipates that almost 65,000 Wisconsinites, including almost 30,000
pregnant women and children, will lose their health care coverage
through BadgerCare as a result of these cuts.
BadgerCare is a program that was
created with bipartisan support under former Governor Tommy Thompson.
Currently, about one out of five Wisconsin residents rely on BadgerCare
or Medicaid for their health care needs. The number of individuals
enrolled in the state's Medicaid programs has been steadily increasing
in recent years due to the ongoing recession and increased health care
costs, making it one of the worst times to consider additional cuts to
our health safety net.
Under current law, the Department of Health Services must provide a
Medicaid or BadgerCare beneficiary only 10 days notice before
implementing any changes to their coverage, which is simply not enough
time for individuals to make alternative arrangements. I am
co-sponsoring LRB 2407, legislation that will require the Department of
Health Services to provide 60 days notice, in writing and in clear
language, before any changes can be made to a beneficiary’s coverage.
If the Governor insists on making sweeping changes, endangering those
who rely on BadgerCare and other Medicaid programs, the least we can do
is provide adequate notice. In the face of these tough economic times,
we should do whatever possible to ease the burden on Wisconsin families
who depend on these safety net programs. For this reason I will be strongly
supporting LRB 2407.
CLICK HERE to view a copy of this
Removing Cost Barriers to Vote
In order to receive a state-issued
I.D. to vote in Wisconsin, an individual is required to verify their
identity and may need to present a copy of a certified birth certificate
to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT). The current cost of
obtaining a birth certificate from the County Register of Deeds office
is $20. I am co-sponsoring a bill that will remove this cost barrier
placed on Wisconsin's voters by waiving the $20 fee for Wisconsinites
that request a birth certificate for the purposes of obtaining an I.D.
Voter suppression legislation passed
by Republicans this past spring created considerable barriers to
eligible voters including: seniors, students, minorities, people with
disabilities and new residents, many of whom do not have a current
state-issued photo I.D. now necessary to vote in Wisconsin. This
legislation will ensure that all eligible voters are able to obtain an
I.D. card for voting without being charged so that they can exercise
their constitutional right and participate in our elections sans any
modern-day poll tax.
CLICK HERE to view a copy of this
Renewing Our Heritage, Restoring
This week I unveiled the Wisconsin
Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights, which seeks to reconnect children
with nature to both improve their overall health and ensure we have a
new generation of stewards to protect Wisconsin’s valued natural
environment. This resolution lays the foundation of our commitment to
provide our children the opportunity to discover Wisconsin’s diverse
wilderness by sharing in our hunting and fishing traditions, hiking on
trails, and swimming in our lakes and rivers. With this Bill of Rights,
we also codify a generational promise to our children that we will have
breathable air and clean drinking water.
This resolution is vital to the health of our children as there has been
a recent shift away from outdoor activities to more solitary and
stationary activities, such as watching TV and playing video games.
According to a recent survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Fund,
children ages 8-18 spend more than 7.5 hours each day, or 53 hours a
week, on smart phones, computers and watching TV. These figures are in
stark contrast with the amount of time children spend outdoors
considering the average 6-12 year old spends just 30 minutes per week in
unstructured outdoor activities such as gardening, camping or hiking.
As a result, our children are now suffering from a “Nature Deficit
Disorder,” which has begun to take a toll on the health of our children
who are facing skyrocketing obesity, diabetes and attention deficit
disorder rates. Statistics from the Center for Disease Control and
Prevention find that from 1980 to 2008 childhood obesity in children
aged 6-11 nearly tripled and childhood obesity in children aged 12-19
more than tripled. This means that approximately one out of every five
children today is considered obese, leaving today’s youth at risk of
becoming the first generation to have a shorter lifespan than their
The Wisconsin Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights promotes behaviors and
activities that are shown to improve the mental and physical health of
our children. Time outdoors is proven to benefit our children’s health
as it decreases stress levels and lowers their risk of developing asthma
or being overweight. It also increases our children’s chances for
success since students who play and learn in outdoor settings perform
better on tests, have higher grade point averages and cause fewer
This resolution is an opportunity for parents, policy makers, educators
and health care providers throughout our state to affirm each child’s
right to grow up healthy and have access to a clean and safe outdoor
environment. As stated by Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the
Woods, “Time in nature is not leisure time; it’s an essential investment
in our children’s health.” It is time that we start making that
investment. By Adopting the Wisconsin Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights,
we are taking one step forward in that direction.
CLICK HERE to view a copy of this
Track Wisconsin's Performance at
Many neighbors have been asking for
places where they can find credible, nonpartisan information about how
Wisconsin is performing compared to other states Therefore, I wanted to
refer you to BadgerStat, an innovative, nonpartisan nonprofit
organization that serves as a watchdog on state government. BadgerStat
aims to encourage government to be more efficient and effective, which
will in-turn produce better results for citizens while also promoting
BadgerStat also recently created a new feature for their Web site called
the "Performance Dashboard of Wisconsin." This tool examines Wisconsin's
performance in key areas such as the economy, jobs, business climate,
education, health, and the environment.
To stay up-to-date on the most
recent facts and figures for Wisconsin and find out more about
"Bike the Hoan" Petition Submitted
Earlier this week I dropped off the
more than 5,000 signatures collected for the "Bike the Hoan" petition to
the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT). DOT has concluded
taking public comment on this proposal and is expected to make their
final determination on this once-in-a-generation opportunity later this
You can find more information about the Hoan Bridge bike and pedestrian
lane proposal by visiting the DOT's Web site or by clicking the links
To view the DOT's feasibility
study on this proposed project, which includes different
construction plans and cost estimates, please
To view a chart comparing all of
the bike and pedestrian lane option, please
To view video from the public
Celebrating the Holidays in South
was great to see so many neighbors over the holiday weekend at South
Milwaukee's Parade and Old Fashioned Christmas. This event provided a
great deal of family-friendly holiday activities including children's
crafts, stockings, a movie, food for sale, a tree lighting, and even a
visit from Santa. Thank you to everyone that attended this wonderful
community event brimming with holiday cheer.
See You in the Neighborhood
I created a survey that I
am distributing to neighbors asking about various issues that are
important to them, our community and our state. I have been
distributing the survey door-to-door throughout our community and will
continue doing so through December. To return the survey, simply
fold it, tape it, and affix a stamp.
To save a stamp and take the survey
You can also
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.
I look forward to hearing your views
on these important issues. Hope to see you in the neighborhood soon!
Know Your Voting Rights
Scott Walker and Republican
legislators recently enacted some of the most restrictive ID
requirements for voters in the country. While they have been working to silence Wisconsin's voters, I have been
working hard to keep Wisconsin's voters informed of their rights. I have
created a simple handout answering some of the most frequently asked
questions surrounding Wisconsin's new voter restrictions.
To view this
CLICK HERE or visit my Web site,
SenatorChrisLarson.com. You can also
CLICK HERE to view the same PDF in Spanish.
Unsubscribe from the weekly Larson Report Newsletter, please reply to this
email with the word "Unsubscribe."