LARSON REPORT

WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

 

 

September 22, 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. 


 

Oktoberfest
Now Through October 1
Celebrate the oldest and most authentic Oktoberfest in the Midwest! Oktoberfest is home to brass bands, authentic dancers, traditional foods and of course, German beer. The festival will be held every Friday and Saturday through October 1. Family-friendly activities are offered Fridays from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m. and Saturdays from 4 p.m. until midnight. Cost is $4 in advance and $5 at the door.

 

Heidelberg Park (MAP)

700 W. Lexington Blvd.

Milwaukee, WI 53217

 


2011 Milwaukee Film Festival
September 22 through October 2

Stop by the 2011 Milwaukee Film Festival, which will feature hundreds of the world's best films. Films will be shown at the Oriental, Ridge and North Shore Cinemas. For a complete list of films, descriptions and showtimes, please visit the festival's Web site by CLICKING HERE.

 


Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day

September 24

In the spirit of Smithsonian Museums, which offer free admission everyday, Museum Day is an annual event hosted by Smithsonian magazine in which participating museums across the country open their doors to anyone presenting a Museum Day ticket for free. Only an official Museum Day ticket is eligible for free entry. Individuals can receive one ticket per household, which covers two people. Tickets do not cover the cost of special exhibits or parking. CLICK HERE for more information and a list of participating museums, many of which are right here in our community.

 

 

Bay View Neighborhood Association Beach Clean-Up

September 24 from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Join the Bay View Neighborhood Association for the final beach cleanup of the year. This is a great opportunity to beautify our community before the snow hits. Volunteers at the last clean-up in August collected 17 pounds of trash off the beach, including foil wrappers, plastic cups, and cigarette butts. Garbage bags and gloves will be provided.  The stairway to the beach is located on Lake Drive just south of Oklahoma Avenue. Look for the brown Bay View Park sign and one of the Bay View Neighborhood Association volunteers will be posted nearby to set you up.

Bay View Park (MAP)

3120 S. Lake Drive

Milwaukee, WI 53207
(414) 482-4270
 

 

South Shore Park Watch Bluff Weed Out & Planting Day

September 24 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Get to know your neighbors by volunteering to promote native plants and wildlife diversity in our community. In cooperation with Milwaukee County Parks, the South Shore Park Watch is leading a native bluff restoration effort between the Oak Leaf Trail and South Shore Drive. This naturalization project will enhance and secure the bluff by removing invasive species and replacing them with native plants. All ages and abilities are welcome to help out. For more information, please CLICK HERE.

 

Oak Leaf Trailhead at South Shore Park (MAP)

2900 South Shore Drive

Milwaukee, WI 53207

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Friend,

Be sure to make your voice heard as Milwaukee County Officials finalize the county's budget, which currently includes a proposed 12% cut to Milwaukee County public transit services.

Sincerely,

Chris Larson
State Senator, District 7

 

 

 

Milwaukee County Public Transit Facing More Cuts

Milwaukee County officials will soon be considering a budget plan that will include a 12% cut to bus route services and hours of operation. These proposed cuts come in the wake of Governor Scott Walker attacking Milwaukee's public transit system with his divisive budget.

 

This is not the first time Governor Walker has declared open season on Milwaukee County transit. Walker previously cut transit funds for Milwaukee County by 20% during his eight-year tenure as Milwaukee County Executive. As Governor he then cut state public transit aid to Milwaukee an additional 10% in the state's budget, which went into effect on July 1 of this year.

 

Efficient public transit across Wisconsin is crucial for attracting businesses to move to our state, getting Wisconsinites to work and helping our economy grow. A recently released University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee study indicated that the cuts instituted by Governor Walker are forcing Milwaukee County to consider eliminating service to at least 13,553 jobs located at almost 1,000 companies throughout our community.

 

I have always been a strong advocate for maintaining and improving Milwaukee County's public transit infrastructure. While on the Milwaukee County Board I spearheaded efforts to create a dedicated funding source for our public transit, parks and emergency medical services. Currently 95% of transit systems across the country have a dedicated funding source. I also have taken similar actions while serving you in the Senate by voting against Governor Walker's draconian cuts to Milwaukee County's public transit this past June.

 

The majority of Milwaukee County residents previously expressed the importance of public transportation to our community by supporting an advisory referendum to increase funds for parks, transit, and emergency medical services (EMS) through a 1% sales tax and $67 million in property tax relief.

 

While the Wisconsin State Legislature has already voted on Walker's biennial state budget, Milwaukee County is currently working on their budget and determining whether it should cut or maintain current public transit services. Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele is expected to release his final 2012 budget plan on September 29.

 

 

 

Ensuring the Legislature Upholds Tradition of Open Government

I joined my Democratic colleagues in introducing a resolution that would require the Wisconsin State Legislature to comply with our state's Open Meetings Law. The resolution, authored by Representative Jon Richards and supported by myself and other Democratic legislators, will preserve Wisconsinís tradition of open government that has been increasingly jeopardized.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court recently refused to rule on whether Republican legislators violated the stateís Open Meetings Law when they rushed into a conference committee without providing proper notice to pass a divisive bill eliminating collective bargaining rights for public workers. The court concluded that the constitutional separation of powers bars them from applying the notice and public access requirements of the Open Meetings Law to legislative bodies.

Enacted in 1976, Wisconsinís Open Meetings Law gives teeth to the people's demand for open government. The law requires governmental bodies to provide the public with at least 24-hours notice before conducting an official meeting. The law also states that all individuals wishing to attend should have reasonable access to the meeting. This provides Wisconsin citizens the opportunity to actively participate in our government. However, the high courtís June ruling illustrates that a loophole that exists in the Open Meetings Law allowing the Legislature to get away with noncompliance of the meeting requirements.

This proposed resolution is a short-term fix to closing that loophole, while a constitutional amendment that was also recently introduced is a more permanent solution. Adopting the rule changes proposed by this resolution will ensure the Legislature is held to the same standards of openness and accessibility as school boards, city councils and other government bodies. The citizens of Wisconsin have a right to be notified of legislative meetings and for the meetings to be open and accessible to the public.

 

Adopting this resolution will require the Legislature to follow the current open meetings law and hold members of the legislature that violate the law accountable for their actions. The resolution could be passed and go into effect in this legislative session, while the amendment to Wisconsin's State Constitution requires passage in two consecutive legislative sessions and ratification through a popular referendum.
 

Click on the video below to learn more about this legislative proposal.

 


Our Legislature should be looking to make our government more open, not lock its doors. I will continue to support legislation that ensures the integrity of our Open Meetings Law is upheld and our commitment to transparency, accountability and open government are not eroded.


Please CLICK HERE to view a copy of this newly introduced resolution. You can also CLICK HERE to view a copy of the constitutional amendment.

 

 

Putting a Stop to Unlimited Fundraising

Recently, Rep. Robin Vos introduced a constitutional amendment to limit the ability of Wisconsin's citizens to recall legislators they feel have misrepresented them and their community. This proposal shows that Republicans are more worried about protecting their own political careers and taking the people's power away, rather than focusing on creating new jobs in Wisconsin during these times of economic struggle.

 

In response to this anti-democracy bill I have signed onto the Real Recall Reform Act, which eliminates the ability for incumbents who are in the process of recall to raise unlimited funds from special interests and big corporations. This bill will help to eliminate fundraising policies that make it appear that our state is up for auction to the highest bidder.
 

Currently, incumbents are allowed to raise unlimited funds prior to a recall petition being filed, which is a direct contradiction to the intent of our campaign finance laws. This legislation would require such incumbents to be subject to contribution limitations and finance reporting requirements under our campaign finance laws once a person registers his or her intent to circulate a recall petition.

 

To view a copy of this legislation, please CLICK HERE.


 

Veterans Employment Alliance Center Now Open

Last Friday I had the opportunity to be a part of the grand opening of the Veterans Employment Alliance (VEA) located near our community. This newly-opened center hopes to address the unique hurdles Milwaukee County's veterans and their families face each and every day. VEA will be available to assist veterans in our community by finding affordable housing for homeless veterans and offering employment workshops and job training programs. For more information about the VEA Center, visit their Facebook page by CLICKING HERE.

 

 

 

Q&A for ID Voting Restrictions Now Available

Scott Walker and Republican legislators recently enacted some of the most restrictive ID requirements for voters in the country. These restrictions will go into effect for the Spring 2012 Primary. I have included a handout to provide you with updated information on some of the most common questions asked by Wisconsinites with regards to the new ID requirement for voters. To view this Q&A document, please CLICK HERE.

 

 

 

Tips for Driving Safely this Winter

The weather is starting to change as we approach winter. To assist you in being mindful of the weather and the roads I am providing a list of safe winter driving tips.

  • Ensure your tires have the proper air pressure.  Failure to maintain the correct air pressure can result in poor gas mileage, reduce tire life, affect vehicle handling, and increase your chance of being in an accident.

  • Pay extra close attention by looking ahead in traffic farther than you normally do, do not use cruise control in wintry conditions, and do not attempt to out-drive the conditions. Remember the posted speed limits are for dry pavement.

  • Use breaks carefully. Make sure you give yourself more time to stop and do not pump anti-lock breaks.

  • Clear snow and ice from all windows, lights, the hood and roof before driving.

  • Know the current road conditions. Call 511 or CLICK HERE to log onto the winter road conditions report Web page for up-to-date information about the roads you will be traveling.

For more information about weatherizing your car or staying safe on the roads this winter, please visit the Wisconsin Department of Transportation's Web site by CLICKING HERE.

 

 

 

Resources for Improving Your Energy Efficiency

With energy costs continuously rising, it is important now more than ever for individuals and local businesses to learn what they can do to become more energy efficient. Increased energy efficiency at work and at home will not only help to safeguard our environment, but also be advantageous for those hoping to save their hard-earned money. I have included resources in our community that may be able to assist you or your business in achieving this goal.

 

Milwaukee Energy Efficiency Program (Me≤)

Me≤ is a federally funded program to help City of Milwaukee homeowners and businesses finance energy efficiency upgrades to their properties. Me≤ makes it easy and affordable to make energy saving upgrades such as insulation, air sealing, new heating equipment and lighting. With Me≤, you can pay for your upgrades as you save on your energy bills, and in most cases with no money down. Me≤ helps you:

  • Save money

  • Increase comfort and safety

  • Get the facts about your home or business

  • Find personalized, budget-conscious solutions

  • Do your part for the environment

For more information about this neighborhood program, please CLICK HERE.

 

MATC Business Energy Audits

MATC will be conducting FREE Energy Audits for businesses as part of their Green Corridor development program. This is a great opportunity for businesses to learn how they can be more environmentally friendly and also save money on their day-to-day operations. Audits will be conducted with instructors guiding students between September 15 and October 15. Audits could include:

  • Energy audits based on the needs of the business

  • System trouble shooting for measuring electrical, lighting temperature and relative humidity

  • Lighting level survey

  • Set-up energy tracking

  • Assist with LEED certification

If your business is interested, please contact Ted Wilinski, the Sustainable Facilities Management Instructor at MATC, by phone at (414) 571-4570.
 

 

 

Milwaukee County to Host Budget Meetings

The Milwaukee County Board Budget Committee will hold listening sessions this month to hear from neighbors on the county's 2012 budget. These meetings will be your opportunity to have your voice heard by your local elected officials to ensure that they know what our community values and what services need to be maintain. Next year's county budget faces a potential shortfall of up to $55 million, prompting concerns over possible program cuts. Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele is expected to release his 2012 budget plan on September 29.

 

The date, time and location for their final listening session is listed below.
 

Date: Monday, September 26

Time: 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Location: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center at 1531 W. Vliet Street in Milwaukee

 

 

Petition to Bike the Hoan

The Hoan Bridge is crucial to our neighbors as it is the transit artery connecting south side residents to the rest of their community, including downtown Milwaukee and the entire interstate freeway system. Expanding access to the Hoan Bridge would be a positive step forward in cementing our cityís commitment to providing multi-modal forms of public transit, while simultaneously promoting tourism and business. Play the video below to learn more.

 

 

If you would like to sign on to the petition to request that DOT create a bicycle and pedestrian lane on the Hoan Bridge, please CLICK HERE. Feel free to encourage your family, friends and neighbors to show their support by circulating this petition throughout your community. CLICK HERE to download or print the PDF for the Petition to Bike the Hoan.

 

For up-to-date information about the Hoan Bridge project, please CLICK HERE to visit DOT's recently-launched Web site devoted to the project. You can also CLICK HERE to view a PDF document from DOT that outlines the Hoan Bridge rehabilitation project. This document provides additional information on the timing and scope of the project, along with contact information for the project personnel from the DOT. If you are looking for more information about the benefits of a bicycle and pedestrian lane on the Hoan Bridge feel free to visit the Bike the Hoan Web site by CLICKING HERE.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or thoughts you have on the Hoan Bridge project, including the proposed bicycle and pedestrian lane.

 

 

 

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