December 8, 2011
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.
Village Comes Alive
Indoor Christmas Market
December 10 from
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Caterpillar’s Heritage Building and Museum (MAP)
1970 10th Avenue
South Milwaukee, WI 53172
Legislation was recently introduced
that threatens the very ability of Wisconsinites to use family
planning methods and resources, including common forms of birth control.
Please continue reading for more information on this damaging
Another Attack on Women's Health
Republican legislators have resumed their assault on women's health by recently introducing Assembly Joint Resolution 77. This resolution would change Wisconsin’s Constitution by providing full legal rights to an egg from the moment it is fertilized by sperm.
repercussions of this amendment would have devastating consequences for
women’s health as it could prevent a woman with a life-threatening
pregnancy from getting the care she needs, allow the government to
intrude into private doctor-patient relationships, and criminalize even
common forms of birth control, such as the pill and IUDs. It will also
devastate stem cell research in Wisconsin, which has blossomed into a
billion dollar industry that helps drive our economy.
Limiting Women's Health
Family planning services are vital to our state and have proven to be effective by saving Wisconsin over $500,000 annually by helping to prevent unintended pregnancies. Furthermore, investing in basic reproductive health care and family planning services shows a commitment to Wisconsin's working families.
This resolution would end many of our state's existing family planning services, by making even common forms of birth control, such as the pill and IUDs illegal and thus inaccessible to women across the state. Furthermore, this resolution would also ban abortion in the case of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.
The government should not have the right to intrude on family planning matters as this is a very personal issue and is different for every family. Unfortunately, this is what all families should expect if Assembly Joint Resolution 77 is adopted.
Punishing Couples Who Cannot Conventionally Conceive
In addition to directly affect women's
health, Assembly Joint Resolution 77 would also punish couples
struggling with infertility. Infertility is a growing issue that many
couples face. It currently affect 6.1 million American couples,
which is 10% of American couples of childbearing age. As a result of
this increasingly common problem, many couples are turning to
technology, such as In Vitro Fertilization, to make their dreams of a
family a reality.
1. The woman takes fertility medications to increase egg production
2. Eggs are retrieved from the woman
3. Sperm are acquired from the man
4. The sperm and egg are combined and placed in incubators to enable fertilization creating embryos
5. On average, no more than four embryos are then transferred into the woman's uterus
This process can often result in
excess embryos being created as a contingency has to be made to account
for the fact that not all eggs retrieved from the woman will actually
reach fertilization and it is dangerous to place more than four embryos
into a woman's uterus. Therefore, current processes used to assist
couples that are unable to conceive conventionally may be considered
illegal and in violation of the constitution if this resolution were to
Prohibiting Life-Saving Research, Damaging Our Economy
Another area that would be adversely affected by Assembly Joint Resolution 77 is Wisconsin's research and development sector. Wisconsin has grown to become a leader in the companion fields of stem cell research and regenerative medicine. This road to success began in 1995 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with the first successful culturing of embryonic stem cells from non-human primates, and later with the isolation of the world’s first human embryonic stem cells.
According to the National Institutes of Health, stems cells may be the key to curing many degenerative diseases, including cancer, Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injuries. Through its research, UW-Madison aims to treat debilitating diseases by discovering new medicines and uncovering the fundamental processes that lead to such diseases. As a result, many people across the state, throughout the country and around the world who are or know someone suffering from one of these diseases are counting on Wisconsin's continued progress in this field.
In addition to making landmark
discoveries, Wisconsin has lead the way in transforming cutting edge
research into high-paying jobs. Experts predict the
Moving Wisconsin in the Wrong Direction
Assembly Joint Resolution 77 is moving
our state in the wrong direction. Thus, if this legislation comes to the
Senate, I will vote in a way that reflects Wisconsin’s commitment to
women’s health, privacy, and freedom. This legislation is so extreme
that I am even joined in opposing this joint resolution by our state’s
largest anti-abortion group, Wisconsin Right to Life, which has publicly
stated that "a personhood amendment strategy is not necessary, risky
—and just plain wrong for Wisconsin."
CLICK HERE to view a copy of Assembly Joint Resolution 77.
Special Session Adjourned, Special Interests Not Jobs the Focus
The second special session of the year was abruptly adjourned today. A number of bills were passed as Christmas presents to special interests and big corporations, but despite public pressure job creation was largely ignored. I will discuss this issue in greater detail next week, but I think we can agree that Governor Walker's special session on jobs will go down in history as a failure that moved Wisconsin backwards.
Mining Legislation Unearthed
Earlier today Republican legislators introduced a bill related to allowing additional mining in Wisconsin. In an unprecedented maneuver, the Assembly Natural Resources Committee was not assigned the proposal as was expected. Instead, the Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economy and Small Business has scheduled a public hearing for next week on the bill. The public hearing will begin at 10 a.m. and will be held at State Fair Park in West Allis. The Senate is not expected to take up the bill until January.
Although rumors have been indicating
this bill's unveiling, I, like the rest of the public, am just now
getting a chance to review this 183-page proposal. I will be sure to
keep you updated on this issue as information becomes available. In the
meantime, if you wish to view a copy of this bill, please
Community Cooperation to Save Taxpayer Dollars
am supporting legislation that will help to make highway improvement
projects by counties more cost-effective for tax payers. LRB 3492 will
overturn provisions in the Republican Budget that prohibited counties
and municipalities to contract with each other for highway improvement
Under Governor Walker's budget, a
county is restricted from using its own workforce for a highway
improvement project that is either under the jurisdiction of another
county or in a municipality that is located in a different county. The
budget also forbids counties from doing most work for municipalities
within their jurisdiction if the city's population is over 5,000 people.
Local officials have had a long-standing, common sense practice of sharing equipment and personnel with surrounding counties, which allowed for the efficient utilization of equipment and crews and saved taxpayers money. The passage of the Republican Budget forced the end of these cooperative arrangements between our local counties and municipalities.
The legislation I am co-sponsoring, LRB 3429, will eliminate the restrictions that the current budget imposes on county workforces, reinstating the ability of counties and municipalities to work together on highway improvement projects. This option of collaborating on projects will help communities make the most efficient use of tax dollars.
Restoring Wisconsin's Child Labor Laws
I am co-sponsoring legislation that
would help keep our children safe by restoring child labor laws in
Wisconsin. Governor Walker's Budget stripped numerous child labor laws
from the books, placing our children at risk.
This bill would eliminate the effects of the budget and restore Wisconsin’s child labor laws to their previous state. Under LRB 2711, any minor, with the exception of minors employed in domestic service, farm labor, or service as an elections inspector, would be restricted from working more than eight hours per day and six days per week. Additionally, minors 16 and older can work no more than 40 hours per week and minors under 16 can work no more than 24 hours per week. The bill would also allow the Department of Workforce Development to once again issue standards for hours of employment for minors.
CLICK HERE to view a copy of this legislation.
Holiday Festivities in Our Community
you to those that were able to attend this year's Local Gift Fair and
Bay View Tree Lighting. It was great to see so many neighbors come
together to participate in these family-friendly holiday events. I'll be
sure to keep you updated on a slew of other holiday as they get closer.
Intern at the Capitol
I currently have an opening for a
legislative intern in my Madison office. A legislative internship is a
great opportunity for students and recent graduates to learn more about
the legislative process while gaining practical work experience.
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 change 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 January 2, 2012.
2012 Senate Scholar Sessions:
If you have additional questions about the program or the application process, I encourage you to call the Legislative Training Officer in charge of the program, Jacob Clark, at (608) 266-2610. You can also visit the Senate Scholar Program's Web site for more information by CLICKING HERE.
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 online, please CLICK HERE.
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.
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