LARSON REPORT

WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

 

 

July 8, 2011

     

CONTACT ME


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

Email:
Sen.Larson@legis.wi.gov

 

Mailing Address:

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

 

Web Site: SenatorChrisLarson.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMMUNITY EVENTS
 

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.

 

 

Bastille Days

July 14-16 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; July 17 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Join in celebrating the 30th anniversary of Bastille Days. Attend North America's largest outdoor French-themed festival, which takes place in downtown Milwaukee at Cathedral Square Park.
Celebrate the French Independence Day with a variety of entertainment options, activities for the kids, roaming minstrels, great food and much more. CLICK HERE for more information.

 

Cathedral Square Park (MAP)

825 North Jefferson Street Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 276-0130

 

 

South Shore Frolics
July 15 through July 17

Stop by the 62nd annual South Shore Frolics. This family-oriented Bay View festival is free and features fireworks, a parade, a car show, outdoor movies on the beach, live music and more. For additional event information, please CLICK HERE.

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

 

 

Grant Park Family Fun Day
July 17 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Grant Park Family Fun Day offers activities and events for all ages. The day starts with a pancake breakfast, gardening seminar and color guard ceremony at the golf clubhouse. Other activities include an obstacle course, a campfire complete with s'mores, a tree walk and monarch display, and a sandcastle competition. The day closes with a concert featuring a local country rock ensemble, at Grant Park’s Pavilion Area 5A from 1 to 3:30 p.m. CLICK HERE to view the flyer for the event.

 

100 E. Hawthorne Avenue

(MAP)

South Milwaukee, WI 53172
(414) 762-1550

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Dear Friend,

This week I examine some concerns that Wisconsin government is becoming less accountable and more susceptible to the abuses of power. I have also included the results from my Spring 2011 Survey.

Sincerely,

Chris Larson
State Senator, District 7

 

 

 

Walker's Wisconsin on Dangerous Road to Less Transparency, Accountability 

Wisconsinites have sought to preserve accountability and transparency in our government since the days of fighting Bob La Follette. This is illustrated by our laws requiring open meetings and records, thoughtful checks and balances in our government structures, and significant disclosure for political campaign contributions.

 

Since January, Governor Walker and his rubberstamp Legislature have been reversing and blocking common sense protections that would continue our tradition of government accountability and transparency. The following are just some of the bills authored and passed by Republican legislators this session, reversing Wisconsin's progress in ensuring open government:

  • Special Session Senate Bill 1--Prevents victims and their families from obtaining justice against negligent corporations and manufacturers. Republicans rejected Senate Amendment 2, a Democratic amendment to ensure reports relating to health care violations are not kept secret.

  • Special Session Senate Bill 3--Creates tax incentives for corporations that relocate to Wisconsin. Republicans rejected Assembly Amendment 2, which would have required tracking the number of jobs created by these incentives to ensure tax dollars are being spent wisely.

  • Special Session Senate Bill 4--Gives $25 million more to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation for corporate tax credits. Amendments were rejected by Republicans, which would have required the Audit Bureau to conduct an annual audit of the program and recoup credits if a business submits false information or fails to fulfill promises.

  • Special Session Senate Bill 6--Replaces the Department of Commerce with the public-private Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. To protect against the potential for corruption, an amendment was introduced to require all WEDC employees to be subject to the open records law. It was rejected by Republican legislators.

  • Special Session Senate Bill 8--Requires approval by the Governor on all administrative rules. This is an unprecedented power grab that decreases the power of the Legislature and makes Wisconsin's executive branch one of the most powerful in the country. I introduced Senate Amendment 8 that would have prohibited a Wisconsin governor from accepting campaign donations from those that would benefit financially from rule changes. Republicans ultimately rejected this amendment that would have eliminated the potential for conflicts of interest and maintained integrity in the rule process.

Following these bills, Governor Walker and Republican legislators continued to send Wisconsin in the wrong direction by supporting the Republican budget, which is brimming with special interest giveaways, sneaking nearly 80 non-fiscal policy items into what was promised to be a purely fiscal document. The following provisions are some of the most egregious:

  • Approved a $162 million corporate slush fund for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, but provided no details on how the agency would use these funds.

  • Eliminated the clean election initiatives in Wisconsin, taking power from voters and giving more control of our elections to wealthy, out-of-state corporations.

  • Seized powers from the constitutional offices of the Secretary of State and State Treasurer.

  • Granted unprecedented dictatorial authority to Secretary Smith at the Department of Health Services who will be able to make unilateral, unspecified changes to Wisconsin's medical Assistance programs, which could include dramatic service cuts to our most vulnerable.

  • Ripped authority from the Department of Public Instruction regarding its educational authority and stunted DPI’s power to develop important education improvement initiatives.

  • Allows the Walker Administration to sell state assets without bidding for the best deal for taxpayers.

My Democratic colleagues and I introduced amendments to remove such backwards provisions from the budget in order to ensure Wisconsin maintains its tradition of clean, open and transparent government. Unfortunately, Republicans voted down these amendments with little consideration for Wisconsin’s traditions.

 

This budget seeks to increase government access for big corporations while setting up road blocks for the average Wisconsinite. We need more accountability, not less. I pledge to work towards that goal and keep Wisconsin moving forward.

 

 

 

Waste, Fraud and Abuse Commission

In January, I heeded the call of Governor Walker and stepped forward to serve on the Waste, Fraud and Abuse Commission, with the hope that together we could work on "best practices" and see where we could save valuable tax dollars.

 

I was surprised to see that an interim report was recently released by the chair of the Waste, Fraud and Abuse Commission on behalf of the commission last Friday.

 

My Democratic colleague, Rep. Mark Pocan, and I, as members of the Waste, Fraud and Abuse Commission, were completely excluded from the drafting of the commission report. The commission was scheduled to discuss ideas for a report in July, but instead a report was issued without bipartisan input and review.

 

I am concerned that the integrity of this commission, which was created to have members work together to investigate waste, fraud and abuse in our government, is now in question. Releasing a report to the media without member input gives the impression that the commission is really a means for Governor Walker's administration to pursue an ideological agenda and pass it off as the work of a bipartisan commission.

 

Rep. Pocan and I delivered a letter to Governor Walker earlier this week requesting that he uphold the mission of the commission to work in a bipartisan fashion on reducing waste, fraud and abuse, rather than continue using the commission as a political tool to further divide Wisconsin and promote his political agenda.

 

I believe that we must make government as efficient as possible and I remain steadfastly committed to real bipartisan reforms.

 

CLICK HERE to view a copy of the letter Rep. Pocan and I sent to the Governor.

 

 

 

Survey Results Now Available

Thank you to everyone that participated in the Spring 2011 Survey to provide me with valuable feedback on what is important to our community and state. I asked for your thoughts on budget priorities and about the direction Wisconsin is headed in. Overall, more than 5,000 people responded with their perspective on the 14 questions that I asked.

 

As you review the results, please keep in mind that the survey was not scientific. I invited anyone that contacted me in support or in opposition to recent legislative actions in Wisconsin to participate and also made the survey available on my Web site.

 

It is my hope that we can continue working together on these important issues to improve our communities and make Wisconsin a better place to live and work for our family, friends and neighbors.

 

CLICK HERE to view the complete survey results.

 

 

 

Changes to Voting Laws in Wisconsin

Primary, general and special elections are fast-approaching. Given the recent changes to Wisconsin's voting laws, I have included a handout to provide you with updated information on voting procedures for this summer's elections. Please contact me if you have any questions.

 

CLICK HERE to view the changes to Wisconsin's voting laws.

 

 

 

Run for the Parks

July 19 at 6:30 p.m.

Join me in lacing up your shoes for the second annual "Run for the Parks." Proceeds of this 5k fun run and 2k walk will be used to assist The Park People in their work to support our neighborhood parks and improve the Humboldt Park band shell. Runners and walkers will also receive a T-shirt, goodie bag from sponsors and refreshments after the race in a VIP area while enjoying the "Chill on the Hill" concert series. For more information or to register for the event, please CLICK HERE.

 

Humboldt Park (MAP)

3000 S. Howell Avenue

Milwaukee, WI 53207

 

 

 

Summerfest

Our community will be hosting its cornerstone summer celebration, Summerfest, from June 29 through July 10. Over the course of 11 days, Marcus Amphitheater plus an additional 10 stages will present over 700 bands for music lovers to enjoy at Henry Maier Festival Park against the backdrop of Milwaukee’s downtown and beautiful Lake Michigan. Along with over a week of music, festival-goers can enjoy a diverse selection of foods and beverages, marketplaces, interactive exhibits, family-focused entertainment and activities, and fireworks on opening day.

Summerfest attracts 800,000 to 1 million festival-goers each year, rightfully earning the title of the “World’s Largest Music Festival.” It gives people in our community an opportunity to partake in a unique music and entertainment experience by enjoying popular performers such as Jason Mraz, Elusive Parallelograms, Girl Talk, and REO Speedwagon, and also provides emerging artists a venue for displaying their talents.

Summerfest is a great way to support our local economy, while at the same time enjoying music from both local and nationally known talent. Last year Summerfest generated approximately $180 million in direct and indirect economic impact for our community. Summerfest helps to boost sales for neighborhood restaurants and businesses while simultaneously supporting local musicians and artists.

For more information on the activities and line-up for this year's Summerfest, please CLICK HERE.

 

 

 

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.

 

Live @ the Lakefront

Wednesdays July 13 through August 31 from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Milwaukee’s free Wednesday evening concert series returns in 2011 with eight shows. Live @ the Lakefront will feature some of the area’s finest musical talent in the outdoor Rotary Amphitheater at Discovery World. With the stage overhanging Lake Michigan, sponsors and guests will enjoy acoustic sunset shows right on Milwaukee’s lakefront, all complimented by Bartolotta’s renowned food and beverage service. For more information and to view the line-up for this event, please CLICK HERE.
 

Discovery World Museum (MAP)
500 N. Harbor Drive

Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 765-9966

 

Story Time/Sketching in the Galleries

Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Visit the Milwaukee Art Museum on Saturdays for this unique experience. Story Time in the Galleries features a story that relates to a work of art in the galleries. There is a new story every Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Later on in the day, try your hand at sketching artwork in a different gallery each week. All materials are provided and no experience is necessary for this event that begins at 1 p.m. each Saturday. Both of these events are free with the cost of admission. CLICK HERE for more information.

 

Milwaukee Art Museum (MAP)
700 North Art Museum Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53202
 

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.


 

 

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