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June 5, 2015
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
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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.
Sign up for the GO
Pass at senior and community centers
dates throughout May and June
The Milwaukee County Transit System's (MCTS) free transit pass, known as
the GO Pass, is available for eligible seniors or persons with
disabilities. The pass allows all Milwaukee County residents 65 and
older unlimited free rides on MCTS buses. The free pass will also be
available for residents with disabilities who meet certain requirements.
MCTS will be traveling
to senior and community centers to help process GO Pass applications.
CLICK HERE for a list of locations, dates, and times.
Movies in the Garden
Date: Friday June 5, show starts at dusk
Description: The Garden District Neighborhood Association and
Ocean Breeze Entertainment present a free movie in the garden. Free
popcorn and beverages will be provided. Bring your own chair/blanket.
This is an ongoing event throughout the summer.
Community garden at
6th & Howard (where the Farmers Market is held).
Date: Saturday, June 6 at 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Description: There will be a neighborhood rummage sale held at
the farmers market on 6th and Norwich. 66 free 10'x10' spots are
available for community members, contact Dawn at 414-379-2450 if you are
interested in reserving a spot.
Farmers market on 6th
St & Norwich
Milwaukee, WI 53207
Free Family Fun and
Date: June 6, 6 p.m. to9 p.m.
Description: Meet your favorite Brewers Racing Sausages, play
games, and create crafts, enjoy complimentary Toppers Pizza and fresh
popcorn while you watch Big Hero on the front lawn. Music, (Bring your
chairs and blankets). Meet your neighbors and new friends!
*Parent or Adult Chaperon must be present during the movie.
1314 Rawson Avenue
South Milwaukee, WI
Wisconsin Bike Week
Date: June 6 to June 13
Description: It's time to celebrate all-things bicycling! From
family fun rides to commuter stations, and baseball games to overnight
camping trips, there is something for everyone during Wisconsin Bike
CLICK HERE for a schedule of events.
Chill on the Hill 2015
Date: Tuesdays, June through August, 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Description: The Bay View Neighborhood Association, in
partnership with the Milwaukee County Parks, has brought the Humboldt
Park Band Chalet to life on Tuesday nights with live music and a
gathering of neighbors on the hill under the open sky. The concerts are
set in a family friendly atmosphere with ample street and inexpensive
lot parking, hillside seating, picnic baskets and blankets, with a focus
of bringing the neighbors out to Humboldt Park not just for one night,
but for all nights.
3000 S Howell Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53207
Dear Wisconsin Neighbor,
The state budget process is in its
final weeks, and the Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee (JFC) is finishing up their
modifications to the governor's proposed state budget. While they have
not finished this process, most of their changes to the budget have been
There are many concerning and even
shocking aspects of the JFC version of the budget. I'll try to help
demystify and explain what has been made public.
Republicans are trying to distract the
public from their unpopular, record-setting budget by fast-tracking a
bill that places more restrictions on potentially lifesaving women's
health care options.
Keep reading for more on these topics.
State Senator, District 7
for Students in Wisconsin
Republican state lawmakers on the
Joint Finance Committee (JFC) have finished their work on the K-12
education portion of the state budget. What we are seeing from the
Republicans is a Groundhog Day budget for education, which repeats a
pattern that shows they don't value quality education for every child in
Wisconsin. If we want a prosperous Wisconsin, we need to invest in
Instead of addressing the values
deficit by funding our public schools at a rate that at least allows
them to cover the cost of inflation, they chose to pump more of our
money into unaccountable, taxpayer-funded voucher and charter schools.
Plus, rather than giving schools that need help, Republicans are
beginning to dismantle the largest school district in the state, which
could ultimately lead it to bankruptcy. On top of that, they introduced
a new type of voucher that actually eliminates rights and protections
for children with special needs. We only have one shot at educating our
kids properly, there are no do-overs. The actions of JFC Republicans'
are dangerous and ultimately jeopardize how successful everyone in
Wisconsin is in the future.
There is a lot of rhetoric around the education budget as passed by
JFC. Here are the facts:
- It restricts public school
funding to recession-era levels
- It diverts over $48 million in
state funding away from public schools to instead expand the
taxpayer-funded, private, and unaccountable voucher program
- It zeros out the ability for
schools to spend more per pupil, and does not provide any additional
aid through the school funding formula
- It allows for a private
takeover of certain Milwaukee Public Schools
- It rolls back requirements for
Denying our schools the tools they
Republicans on the Joint Finance
Committee chose to prioritize their special interest friends over the
needs of children by expanding taxpayer-funded, unaccountable statewide
voucher schools, creating a special charter school authorizing
organizations that will bleed money away from our traditional
neighborhood schools. Republican committee members also introduced
so-called "special needs" vouchers that actually eliminate a child's
right to receive services that meet their special needs, while at the
time siphons money out of our public schools. Then, they actually
started to dismantle the Milwaukee Public School system by handing over
schools in need of help to an unelected, unaccountable "commissioner"
who will have the ability to potentially sell-off our kids� schools to
the lowest bidder.
Republicans on the JFC have
simply failed to substantially improve the situation for our
traditional public schools, and in several instances they
actually make things much worse. For instance, the GOP-approved
- Fails to adequately invest
in our schools. While Republicans on the committee restored a
minuscule amount of per student investment in the first year of the
budget, the difference is not even close to keeping up with
inflation. As costs of energy, supplies, food, and other services
critical to student achievement go up, schools will still have to
choose to cut vital programs in order to cover the cost of
- Allows voucher and
independent schools to siphon even more money from from traditional
neighborhood schools. These private schools are estimated to
cost an additional $48 million over the next two years. This leaves
public schools with less state support than they had back in 2010.
- Leaves students with
special needs behind, for the eighth consecutive year, by only
providing schools with a quarter of what it takes to run a
successful special education program. Traditionally, we have
promised to help schools with at least 33% of the costs. This lack
of investment means that our children may not have the mental health
services, speech pathologists, school nurses, or other specialized
teachers they need. A child in a wheel chair, with severe
learning disability deserves the same chance to receive a great
education as a child without a disability. This budget simply
does nothing to support them, and may actually leave them worse off.
- Limits options for
underserved kids to open enroll into schools they might not
otherwise have access to by phasing out Chapter 220 integration aid.
This is the state's oldest, and only successful, school choice
program, and allows participating schools to receive extra funding
for transportation, while receiving the added benefit of
desegregating schools and making them more culturally and ethnically
diverse. This creates real opportunities and choices for schools.
Everyone benefits from a more racially, ethnically, and
socio-economically diverse population in schools. It helps us be
more culturally aware and socially responsible as adults. Getting
rid of Chapter 220 will have a negative impact on our entire
community and will further re-segregate our schools.
More concerns with
changes to the voucher system in Racine, Milwaukee, and
Republicans on the JFC are
continuing to make taxpayers pay for two separate but unequal school
districts. This is a sweetheart deal for voucher schools, but is
detrimental to children in our traditional schools. Here is what you should know:
1.) It takes resources
from traditional public schools and gives them to voucher schools
within the Racine and statewide voucher program, by creating an open
enrollment system. Under the JFC-approved budget, in just 10 years
there will no longer be an enrollment limit on the number of kids
who can leave our traditional public schools and instead use our tax
dollars to pay tuition at a private, unaccountable voucher school.
Under this model, entire school districts could become voucher
school districts. These voucher schools still are not accountable to
the public and do not have the same standards as our neighborhood
2.) It creates a
"special needs" voucher of up to $12,000, per student. Under this
proposal the local public school district would be forced to pay for
the full cost of the voucher, even though the student would be
attending a private school. The public school must also cover the
cost of developing an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) as well as
pay for updating the IEP every three years -- unless a parent gives
up their child's right to an IEP. While the child will have an
IEP developed, voucher schools are not required to have staff who
are properly trained or licensed to provide the necessary services
the child may need. This creates a major loophole for voucher
schools to be able to receive even more money, without actually
educating kids properly.
As I mentioned earlier,
there were also several provisions included in the state budget
that will harm Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) by continuing to
strip resources away from them and allowing for private schools
to takeover our traditional neighborhood schools.
This moves us further towards profiteer principles and
privatizing schools in Milwaukee, by letting an unelected
commissioner take them over. This unelected commissioner will
have complete discretion to fire all of the current staff in a
The budget bill also mandates the state superintendent provide
the commissioner with a list of public schools that have
received the lowest ranking on school the accountability report.
They must also identify schools that are vacant or have
"underutilized" buildings. Additionally, the MPS school board
must provide the commissioner an inventory of all school
buildings in the district within 30 days of the effective date
of the bill, and annually thereafter. These schools could
then be sold off to profit seeking voucher schools. However,
the funding for takeover school students would come out
of MPS equalization aid ($8,075/per pupil). While the
commissioner could charge the takeover schools a fee of up to 3%
per pupil, beginning in 2017/18, the total amount of this fee
revenue could not exceed $750,000 per year.
This is a systematic approach to dismantling public education in
Milwaukee that will hurt all of our kids. The answer to
addressing the problems of struggling schools in Milwaukee is
not to create more of what we already know doesn't work. We have
known for 25 years that voucher and most independent charter
schools don't perform any better than most MPS schools.
If Republicans are serious about
helping public schools, they should give back basic tools schools need
that have been stripped away from them over the past several years. They
would also invest in programs that are proven to work, such as the SAGE
program, which keeps classroom sizes small and provides kids with more
one-on-one time with teachers. This MPS takeover plan is the exact
opposite of what needs to be done in Milwaukee
Standards for Teaching Grades 6-12
One of the
provisions that has received a lot of attention in
the media, and has parents and advocates concerned
about the future of our children, is the dramatic
changes to teacher licensure.
This GOP-approved plan forces DPI
to create a teacher licensure system for technical subject areas. The
license would not require a bachelor's degree or even a high school
diploma. It also grants presumptive approval and to people -- allowing
them to begin teaching -- if DPI doesn't approve or deny an application
with 15 business days.
In order to teach core subjects, like math or English, an individual
would no longer need a bachelor's degree in education. Rather, if a
governing body of a school district, independent charter school, or
voucher school arbitrarily declares an individual as "proficient" to
teach a subject, and the individual has bachelor's degree in any
subject, DPI must issue a teaching license.
I have yet to hear from one parent,
teacher, community leader, or school administrator who thinks this plan
is a good idea. Not only are many educators offended by such a proposal
that undermines their profession, but parents are also enraged that
Republicans would do something that is so potentially damaging to our
Fighting for the future prosperity of our children
As you can
see, Legislative Republicans are continuing a trend of
devaluing our traditional schools while throwing
more at a system that doesn't work. The impacts of this
budget on our childrens' education will be
dramatic and put Wisconsin in a race to the economic and educational
It is the intention of legislative Democrats to
fight these changes on the floor of both the
Assembly and Senate. We will put forth
amendments that invest in education and
opportunity for all of
our kids, and represent what used to be part of
Wisconsin's traditional values: supporting a
best-in-the-nation public education system.
As you know, the governor received
a lot of criticism and backlash for his irresponsible disinvestment of
one of our state's biggest economic drivers: the UW System.
Unfortunately, the Republicans stood with the governor's anti-education
approach by voting to cut $250 million from the System. UWM alone is
slated to take a $40 million dollar cut, not to mention the cuts to the
UW System's 25 other institutions (12 four-year and 13 two-year), which
serve about 180,000 students.
In continuing the attack on public education, here is a general
outline of the damage the Republicans inflicted to the UW System in JFC:
- Cut $250 million from UW
schools, forcing layoffs across the state
- Cut the Wisconsin Bioenergy
Initiative, the Wisconsin environmental education board and grants,
solid waste research funding, and extension recycling education
- Deleted tenure from state
statutes and changing the shared governance roles of students,
faculty, and staff.
- Allowed for increased tuition
on out-of-state students
here to see a graphic of what one year of the cut to the UW
System would look like. Now double all those numbers to cover
the two year budget cycle. How do the Republicans expect $50
million to mitigate these cuts?
This disinvestment to our UW System will hurt everyone in Wisconsin.
UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee, and the other UW schools are among
Wisconsin's greatest assets. These schools provide the young men and
women of our state with a world-class education. UW-Madison alone
has a $15 billion annual economic impact on the state, and it
generates more than $847.5 million in state and local taxes.
Campuses across the state, including UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee,
UW-Green Bay, and others have already begun to issue layoff notices
in anticipation of the cuts. There is also fear that students may
take longer to graduate because required courses won't be offered,
or won't be able to enroll the same amount of students. This delay
in graduation time is concerning as it may then cause students to
take on even more in student debt. Before these announced cuts, one
of the biggest problems the UW System faced was holding onto quality
researchers and professors that bring grant money and attract
high-quality students. If these cuts go through, it will be even
tougher to keep the best and brightest professors, and we're sure to
see our national rankings continue to fall. Essentially, it will
decrease the perceived value of our UW System's diplomas.
For months now, Republicans have been repeating a lie to themselves
and the public that the UW System fund reserves could cover the cost
of the cuts. That has been widely reported as false and misleading
by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, PolitiFact, and
other media outlets. System President Cross has consistently made
clear that this is not a liable option because part of the reserves
are restricted by federal law, and campuses have committed much of
the rest toward specific needs. The reserve is not a single pot of
money, but rather is spread over thousands of accounts accumulated
across campuses over years, with much of the money already
designated to specific purposes.
To quote President Cross, who was selected by Governor Walker's
Board of Regents, "To suggest that $1.3 billion, an aggregate number
taken at a point in time, is available -- when large portions of
those funds have legal limitations on their expenditure -- is
Budgets are about our values and priorities, and Governor Walker has
made it clear time and time again he does not value public education
-- in any form -- in Wisconsin. The proposed budget cut to our
university system is simply too damaging. In fact, recent polls have
shown that 70% of Wisconsinites don't support the cut.
In typical Republican fashion, they threaten a really huge cut, then
give us a pretty huge cut, and expect a standing ovation because
they say, "Hey, it could have been worse." But in truth, the GOP has
still made the largest cut to the UW System in more than 10 years
and it will likely be the largest cut to higher education in the
entire country. This is not something to be proud of and definitely
does not reflect the values and investment Wisconsinites expect to
see in our university system. These cuts will have a serious and
negative impact on everyone in Wisconsin.
I hope the people of Wisconsin will remember that this is an
unnecessary choice forced on us by the Republicans in this state. It
doesn't have to be this way, and I hope Republicans in the full
Senate and Assembly will join Democrats in supporting the UW System
when the budget goes before the full Legislature for approval.
Public Lands and
"Environmental Disaster" is an
accurate description of this Republican budget. When Governor Walker
introduced the most anti-conservation budget in recent history, it sent
a shockwave throughout Wisconsin. Hunters, anglers, environmentalists,
and outdoor enthusiasts of every political inclination were stunned at
the deceptive betrayal of our rich history and tradition of a strong
land and water conservation ethic.
Walker's betrayal of Wisconsin's commitment to our shared lands and
waters ignited a firestorm of calls, letters, and emails from every
corner of our state. This outpouring is a powerful reminder that we
value access to healthy public lands as well as water that is safe for
fishing, swimming, and drinking. Republican legislators on the Joint
Finance Committee reluctantly abandoned some of the worst attacks on our
lands and waters. But make no mistake, while they may not have poured
the second bucket of poison down the Wisconsin conservation well, they
are gleefully pouring the first.
Wisconsin's world renowned Stewardship Fund was not completely
eliminated as initially pushed, but legislative Republicans are quietly
strangling these Stewardship investments with a significant reduction to
In an equal betrayal of our land and
water ethic, Republican legislators chose to turn a deaf ear to the
unified public support for maintaining scientific staff that protect our
land and water from pollution. Already during summer hot spells
Wisconsin parents and grandparents who grew-up swimming in our waters
can no longer take their children to the same beach or swimming hole for
fear of pollution, toxic algae, or dangerous bacteria. Morally, we
should be investing in rejuvenating our waters, not firing the
scientists responsible for alerting us of pollution. This budget is not
just a moral failure, it is a tragic betrayal.
Here are a few of the environmental
low points in the Republican budget proposal:
- It cuts $30 million from the
Stewardship Fund that assists in land conservation efforts
- It shifts away from
research-based conservation policies by eliminating almost 30
science and education positions at the Department of Natural
Resources (DNR), and allows the DNR Secretary to dissolve the Bureau
of Science Services
- It eliminates public funding
for the state park system, increases visitor fees, and allows the
DNR to sell corporate naming rights for state parks
- It weakens local control and
rolls back community-specific shoreland zoning standards
- It prohibits Dane County from
Advising the DNR on area water quality management plans
- It cuts funding for local
county conservation staff and reduces grants to prevent runoff
While Governor Walker and his
legislative Republican allies have failed to keep the promise to
protecting Wisconsin's vital lands, there is good news. A nationwide
plan is being rolled out this summer to control an alarming public
health concern and the most prevalent unregulated toxin we produce:
Carbon. I'm hopeful that we can put away partisan politics and work
together on Carbon pollution, a growing threat to our health and
If you are interested in getting the facts on this new and game
changing initiative, click here.
Uncertain About their Health Care Options
From changing our long-term care
system, to pushing seniors off of an affordable, lifesaving program to
get their medicine, a lot has been at stake for the most vulnerable
populations in our community. Read on for more about the major health
care provisions included in the JFC version of the state budget.
Changing long-term care as we know
Wisconsin's long-term care programs,
like Family Care and IRIS (Include, Respect, I Self-Direct) are
nationally recognized models that have been successful in allowing
individuals to remain autonomous while keeping them inside their homes
-- rather than costly nursing homes. Importantly, I have heard from many
across the state who have loved ones that benefit from these programs.
When the governor released his state budget, there was an immediate
response and strong pushback from many disability advocacy groups in our
state. In speaking with some of these stakeholders, it was clear that
they were not aware the governor was going to propose such changes to
long-term care in Wisconsin.
Further, participants in these programs are
worried about the negative impacts these sweeping changes could have on
their daily lives. Some of the questions I have been asked are: "Will
I be able to keep my current doctors?" and "Will I
know and trust my caregivers?"
After months of uncertainty, families were met with even more questions
after the Joint Finance Committee took up this portion of the state
budget last week. Instead of listening to our neighbors who depend on
the Family Care and IRIS programs, Republicans on the Committee decided
to side with special interests.
The GOP members of the Committee voted
to still dramatically chance our long-term care system. While there is
still a lot of uncertainty on what these programs will look like, there
are a couple major concerns with the new budget provision:
1.) It does not
IRIS as a separate Medicaid program. The reason IRIS has been
successful for its 12,000 members is because it is separate from the
managed care organization model of Family Care. The program works,
and is cost-effective.
2.) It lets big, profit-motivated
insurance companies come in and run our long-term care programs.
There would be no limit on how much these companies can profit off
of our neighbors with disabilities or frail elders.
Shortly after the JFC approved the
long-term care budget, I received a phone call from someone whose son is
autistic and in the IRIS program. She explained, "Legislators do
not know my son. I know my son. My son's caregivers know him. We know
that changes to his daily routine cause stress and ultimately diminishes
his ability to do basic tasks, like bath or dress himself. It also
results in self-harm, which creates a ripple effect -- straining the
entire family. Changing a program that works for families like mine
can cause their loved ones to regress and is morally wrong."
During the budget public hearings,
thousands of people came to voice their opposition to the governor's
changes, for reason much like those described above. Now, advocates and families are left feeling like their hard
work did not matter and their voices were not heard.
Changing these vital programs that have worked so well for families,
even earning Wisconsin a national ranking of
being the 8th best long-term care system, is unjust. As the budget process continues,
Senate Democrats will continue to push for what families and individuals
want: to keep Family Care and IRIS as-is!
Ensuring Access to Life-saving
Medicine for Seniors
As you may know, one of the damaging
provisions included in the initial budget proposals was the attack on
the SeniorCare program.
SeniorCare is a vital state health
care program that provides life-saving medicine to seniors at a price
they can afford. SeniorCare first went into effect in 2002, and
currently serves around 85,000 of our neighbors. SeniorCare is often a
better option for our seniors, compared to the federal Medicare Part D,
because it is easier to apply for and understand, provides reliable
coverage at a lower cost, and costs taxpayers less than what Medicare
Part D does. Unlike Part D, SeniorCare has a simple enrollment process,
a $30 annual enrollment fee, income-based deductibles, and co-payments
of just $5 for generic medications and $15 for name brand medications.
The budget proposed cutting SeniorCare
funding by $15 million. It would have also forced all SeniorCare
participants to sign up for Medicare Part D -- a move which would reduce
patient coverage and increase costs. According to the Wisconsin Aging
Advocacy Network, under the initial budget plan, an enrollee's out-of-pocket costs would increase by an average of $732 per year. It's
no surprise that this was one of the most unpopular proposals included
in the state budget.
After over 14,000 neighbors joined Senate and Assembly
Democrats, the Republican members of the Joint Finance Committee were forced to preserve SeniorCare.
Leaving $360 Million on the Table
Wisconsin was a leader in the health
care arena, until recent years. We have traditionally valued the
well-being and health of our neighbors, understanding that expanding
preventive, basic health care was not only just but moral.
Democratic members of the Joint Committee on Finance once again called
on Republicans to do the right thing and accept federal funds to strengthen our BadgerCare
program. Approving this plan would save the state around $360 million,
according to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau. These savings
could have been invested in our neighborhood public schools or our
renowned UW System. Unfortunately, the Republican's on the Committee
rejected this proposal and missed an opportunity to strengthen our
economy, create jobs, and provide Wisconsin families with affordable
health care coverage. Unbelievably, Republican members on the Committee
even voted to increase the costs and create extra barriers for people to
receive health care coverage.
As you may know, the state budget still needs approval from the full
Senate and Assembly. As the budget process continues, I will keeping
advocating for the moral option of accepting the federal Medicaid
Walker's Culture of
Recent audits done by the nonpartisan
Legislative Audit Bureau have proven that the quasi-state agency, WEDC,
has lost track of millions of dollars in loans and broken both state
laws and their own agency rules when giving away tax dollars to
Most recently, it has come to light that there are hints of a
pay-to-play aspect with a Walker campaign donor, who received $500,000
in tax subsidies. Walker -- who currently sits as the Chairman of the
Board of Directors of WEDC -- said he didn't know about the loan to his
donor. However, it was revealed that Walker was notified, and there is
documentation and evidence disproving his lie.
Recently, Democrats and members of the WEDC Board have called for a
federal investigation into Walker's pay-to-play politics. If Walker
wants to audition to be a Fox News anchor or run for the Republican
nomination, that's one thing, but here in Wisconsin we don't take kindly
to betrayals of the public trust. A betrayal like funneling our tax
dollars to pay-off campaign contributors. I don't know what Republicans
call it but Democrats call that corruption, plain and simple.
Due to all of the controversy and Democrats consistent calls for reform,
the Joint Finance Committee made significant changes to the governor's
proposed budget when it came to state agencies that work on economic
- Removing the proposed
Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and Wisconsin
Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) merger, in light
of recent pay-to-play allegations
- Deleting the $55 million
revolving loan program under WEDC, as the program has been the cause
of much controversy and is where most of the missing loans have come
- Firing the governor from the
WEDC Board of Directors
While Walker claimed that he
asked to be removed as Chairman of the Board at WEDC, it is clear
that even legislative Republicans understood that they had to make
some sort of changes to the agency because of the blatant corruption
and continued mismanagement of public funds.
Separate to the WEDC-WHEDA merger, the Joint Finance Committee also
decided against merging the Department of Financial Institutions (DFI)
with the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS). This
merger was also proposed as stand-alone legislation that was making
its way through the committee process. It became clear that during
the public hearings in the Assembly and the Senate that both
agencies operated efficiently and there is no reason to replicate
the WEDC disaster. Why would Walker look to seek to find and fix a
problem that doesn�t exist? In the end, most people suspect Walker
was simply combining agencies to boost his smaller government
conservative credentials. This is a sad indication that Wisconsin
could be cynically betrayed for his own personal political
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: I heard there is another bill before the legislation that seeks to
restrict women's health care services. Could you provide an update on
A: Not every pregnancy ends as a woman and her family hopes, and
when situations involving severe fetal abnormalities or serious risks to
the woman are discovered (usually at the 20 week ultrasound) it is
important for women to have the freedom to make private, personal
decisions with her family and doctor about how to handle a complex, even
pregnancy. When these rare -- but serious -- situations occur, every
available medical option is crucial, and imposing medically unnecessary
restrictions will have detrimental consequences to the woman and
The bill you are referring to would
to an abortion after 20 weeks of "probable postfertilization" and was
introduced by Senator Mary Lazich, who has been the author of previous
anti-women's health bills brought before the Legislature over the past
few legislative sessions.
According the Senator Lazich, when
debating a previous anti-women's health legislation, abortions
"...became popular in the '60s. It was almost the thing to do. You
needed to get one of them to be a woman."
Notably, Roe v. Wade didn't go
into effect until a decade later. However, when introducing
legislation, apparently accurate accounts of history and real medical
terminology don't matter, as this new bill even uses a nonmedical definition to describe "probable
Given the bill's dangerous
inaccuracies, it is not surprising that doctors and leading
medical groups like the American Congress of Obstetricians and
Gynecologists oppose this ban because abortion later in pregnancy is
often the result of tragic complications that threaten a woman's life or
health, or the viability of her pregnancy. Interfering with medical
experts and their obligation to protect their patient is wrong and will
have a chilling effect on the medical community.
Further, nearly 99% of abortions in Wisconsin occur before 20 weeks'
gestation. In 2013, less than 100 abortions in Wisconsin occurred after
20 weeks. These are often very wanted pregnancies that have gone
A pregnant woman experiencing complications that threaten her life or
health or the viability of her pregnancy should be able to consider all
medical options. This bill would take away the opportunity for a woman
who is facing a medically complex pregnancy to make private medical
decisions without government interference, and would also take away a
woman's freedom to decide what is best for her family.
Women and families who will be
impacted by this bill are already going through a tragic experience,
maybe one of the saddest in their lives. It is not our place as
politicians to increase the pain that a family is already enduring.
Despite the serious impact this bill
will have on women and families, the chairs of the Senate and Assembly
health committees rapidly scheduled a joint pubic hearing on the bill,
which took place on June 2. The committees voted on bill just two days
later, and Republican leaders have indicated the full Senate will pass
this damaging health care restriction on Tuesday, June 9. Something that
will have such a profound impact on our friends, family, and neighbors
ought to be treated sensitively and seriously rather than rammed through
It's CPR Awareness
National CPR Awareness Week is June
1-7 and highlights that learning cardiopulmonary resuscitation can save
lives. The American Heart Association is calling on all Americans to
learn how to use Hands-Only CPR, which is CPR without mouth-to-mouth
breaths. Conventional CPR can more than double or triple a person's
chance of survival, and Hands-Only CPR has been shown to be just as
Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death, and occurs when the
heart's electrical system malfunctions and causes the heart to suddenly
stop beating. Nearly 400,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur
annually in the United States, with 80 percent happening in private or
residential settings. Unfortunately, 70 percent of Americans feel
helpless to act during a cardiac emergency because they do not know how
to administer CPR or they are afraid of hurting the victim.
Hands-Only CPR contains two easy steps. First, call 9-1-1. Second, push
hard and fast in the center of the chest to the beat of the disco song "Stayin'
Alive." Knowing these simple steps can mean all the difference. Learning
CPR is a simple way to become equipped to save lives in critical
Click here or on the video above to visit the American Heart
Association's Web site to watch a 60-second demo video or find a CPR
class near you.
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