The Sargent Voice Issue #106                                                 June 10, 2019

Friends and Neighbors,

I am proud to report that over the past few weeks my office has been hard at work on introducing legislation to create a better Wisconsin. From legalizing cannabis, permitting pharmacists the ability to provide contraceptives, and standing up for survivors of sexual assault, to providing every 4th grade family with a free state park admission sticker, and ensuring that kids can legally hold their neighborhood lemonade stands, it is my honor to work on a broad variety of areas to benefit Wisconsinites.  

With all of the policy items that Team Sargent has been busy working on, we also want to hear your input on what legislation our state should be prioritizing. I cannot do my job as a legislator without hearing from community members like you- if you have any thoughts or policy ideas please share them in the Team Sargent Constituent Bill Box! The Constituent Bill Box gives you an opportunity to directly share your innovative bill ideas that will benefit our community in unique ways. I look forward to hearing from you!

Throughout the summer 11-North will be buzzing with activity. As always, I am here to serve you, so please feel free to drop in and say “hi” in the Capitol anytime!

In Service,

Melissa Sargent
State Representative
48th Assembly District


Marijuana Legalization press conference, 04/18/19

Our Democracy Initiatives 


Your Voice Matters!

Sargent Office Hours

The legislation that my office is working on, and that has been released so far this biennium, would not be possible without the countless conversations with people like you. I am dedicated to creating a legislative agenda that is entirely representative of our community and welcome any feedback from my constituents. As such, I encourage you to join me at one of my upcoming Sargent Office Hours so I can truly hear the voices of the 48th Assembly District:


Monday, June 24th


Java Cat Coffee

3918 Monona Dr.


Tuesday, June 25th


Alt Brew

1808 Wright St.


You can sign up for a one-on-one 30 minute slot during these times to discuss anything that is important to you by contacting my office at Rep.Sargent@legis.wisconsin.gov or (608)-266-0960.


 Rotunda Report

East Wing Update

Committee to Celebrate the Centennial Anniversary of Wisconsin’s Ratification of the 19th Amendment

I am honored to be a part of the Governor’s Committee to Celebrate the Centennial Anniversary of Wisconsin's Ratification of the 19th Amendment headed by First Lady Kathy Evers. I am also proud to be a member of the Executive committee, and to represent the Assembly Democratic caucus.

On June 10, 1919, our state was the first in the nation to ratify the 19th Amendment, finally giving Wisconsin women the right to vote. Today, we stand on the shoulders of all those women who came before us in the fight for equality.

As such, I invite you to the Capitol, today, June 10th, for a centennial celebration of the ratification of the 19th Amendment here in Wisconsin! It will be an exciting day with a great program of events that can be found here. I hope to see you there!

NOTE: The Capitol will be open until 10:00pm for the viewing of the original 19th Amendment and other women’s suffrage artifacts on display in the Capitol Rotunda.

State Budget Update

GOP Members of Joint Finance Committee Ignore the Will of the People

Over the past weeks, the GOP members of the Joint Finance Committee, supported by Republican leadership, have stripped the People’s Budget of its most crucial components.

Once again, Republicans here in the State Legislature have overridden the will of the people. Wisconsin voted for Governor Tony Evers and the people’s agenda back in November, yet time and time again we have seen the GOP working to strip away his power and threaten our state’s democracy.

Not only did the people of our state vote for Governor Evers, but they voted in referendum across the state in overwhelming support of legalizing marijuana. They expressed their support again and again for Medicaid expansion, which would provide access to healthcare for 82,000 Wisconsinites while saving $324.5 million for our state. They made their voices heard when it came to crucial issues such as education funding, transportation solutions, a fair minimum wage, tax relief for hardworking families, non-partisan redistricting reform, and more.

Unfortunately, the pleas of ordinary Wisconsinites have fallen on deaf ears, as the out of touch GOP continues to work to benefit the wealthy few rather than the hardworking people of our state. The impacts of this decision are striking– with the provisions that the Republicans plan to strip out of Governor Evers’ budget proposal, 82,000 people will not get needed health coverage, over 15,000 people will be arrested for marijuana possession in our state, and hundreds-of-thousands of workers will continue to make $7.25 or below and struggle to provide for their families.

The will of the people is the law of the land, and we as elected officials have a duty to uphold the wants of our constituents– our bosses– and to work in the best interest of the people, not powerful special interests. I vow to do just that, and it is high time that my Republican colleagues do the same.


My Legislative Agenda

State Parks Admissions

This Earth Day I was proud to announce a bipartisan bill, AB-252, that provides an opportunity for 4th-grade students in Wisconsin to experience our state parks with their families. This bill would make available a free vehicle admission sticker for the family of 4th-grade students, thus allowing them to experience and enjoy the 66 state parks of Wisconsin, while ensuring that future generations will maintain these spaces for generations to come. The well-being of our natural resources relies on the education of our state's youth, and this bill proves to be a fantastic opportunity for students to experience our breathtaking Wisconsin Landscapes. As it is the State Legislature's responsibility to create and preserve state parks and natural areas, we must also ensure that their legacy carries on into the future. By bringing our kids into our state parks we are planting seeds that will continue on the legacy of our public lands by teaching future generations how to preserve, conserve, and enjoy all that our shared resources have to offer. I am proud to co-author this bipartisan legislation with State Representative Joel Kitchens, State Senator Rob Cowles, and Senator Jeff Smith.

Lemonade Stand Bill

I recently had the pleasure to testify to the Assembly Consumer Protection Committee in support of AB-186, also known as the lemonade stand bill.

Lemonade stands and other entrepreneurial ventures by kids, such as selling their arts and crafts or chocolate chip cookies, bring positivity to neighborhoods and communities across Wisconsin while providing an opportunity for personal growth for our state’s children. Every kid should have the opportunity to look back on these childhood memories and to grow their curiosity for business and entrepreneurship, learn the value of teamwork and financial responsibility, be creative, get outside and enjoy the outdoors, and grow relationships within their community. As such, I am proud to be a co-author of this bipartisan bill that allows minors to operate temporary stands without a permit or license.

Sexual Assault Kits

It is so refreshing to see that we are finally taking nonpartisan, common sense, and pragmatic action to stand up for survivors as well as to hold offenders accountable for these traumatic crimes by introducing bipartisan legislation to prevent a sexual assault kit backlog from happening ever again. The prevention of backlogs of untested sexual assault kits is a crucial step in supporting survivors of sexual violence and ensures a procedure that upholds survivors’ dignity and their right to a fair and just process.

Not only does AB-214 work to create and codify procedure that honors survivors and ensures their ability to have sexual assault kits be collected, processed, and stored in appropriate time frames, but it also protects those who do not choose to report at the time of an assault or those who later change their mind. I am proud to stand with my colleagues from the State Legislature, community advocates, and Attorney General Kaul to support this legislation and to stand in solidarity with the survivors of past and future instances of sexual violence.

Marijuana Legalization

When I first ran for office, I would have never imagined myself introducing legislation to legalize marijuana. However, after listening to heart-wrenching stories and experiences about the negative implications that the prohibition of marijuana has had on our state, I knew that pragmatic action was needed. Far too many lives and communities have been damaged by out of date and backwards cannabis policies, and we must take this important and necessary step towards rectifying these damages. The simple truth is, the most dangerous thing about marijuana in Wisconsin is that it is illegal.

I am proud and excited to reintroduce this legislation for the 4th session– you can watch the full press avail here. AB-220 includes the following provisions, amongst others, that have been shaped from countless meetings, conversations, and partnerships with constituents and stakeholders (You can learn more about what’s new in the bill here):

  • Criminal Justice Reform: Process of expungement & release for sitting “offenders” for low level nonviolent offenses; decriminalization for other marijuana related offenses
  • Community Safety:  Required identification on licensed compassion centers; additional education and awareness components; prohibitions on open containers and usage of cannabis in motor vehicles
  • Labor Standards & Lifting Up Wisconsin Workers: Merit based licensure system; labor peace agreements; labeling for Wisconsin grown and manufactured products; five-year moratorium on out of state industry
  • Protections for Gun Owners: Ensuring expunged convictions and marijuana registries are not taken into consideration for gun purchases and ownership

Committee Hearings

Speaker’s Task Force on Suicide Prevention

Suicide is a devastating reality in Wisconsin, and touches nearly each and every community in our state. Sadly, each year in Wisconsin, over 700 residents die by suicide. I am committed to reducing this striking number in our state, and am proud to have been appointed to the Speaker's Task Force on Suicide Prevention to do just that.

Recently, the task force met in La Crosse and heard from a broad range of health providers and related entities who shared their expertise and experiences with suicide and prevention mechanisms. Testimony was heard from the La Crosse County Human Services Department, Gundersen Health System, the La Crosse County Medical Examiner, and the Medical College of Wisconsin.

You can watch this hearing, keep updated about upcoming meetings and resources, and more, at the Task Force website here. Additionally, the next public meeting will be taking place on Monday June 17th in Ripon starting at 12pm- please do not hesitate to contact my office for more information!

This is a complex issue that touches the lives of so many people. If you or someone you know needs help, Wisconsin has a support service that allows individuals to text HOPELINE to 741741 to receive free and confidential help.

Audit Committee

Recently, the Legislative Audit Bureau’s (LAB) Report 19-6 demonstrated repeated shortcomings by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). As the ranking Assembly Democrat on the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, I am deeply concerned and disappointed in this report.

The continued failures by WEDC demonstrated in this report, including trouble executing contracts, verifying job numbers, and complying with state statutes, is dreaded déjà vu for the people of Wisconsin. Since its inception, WEDC has repeatedly let down Wisconsinites by its inability to show taxpayers what we as a state are getting for these so called ‘investments’. Again and again audits by the non-partisan LAB have revealed substantial and concerning issues, yet WEDC continues to be insubordinate and display an utter lack of accountability to our state.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s very duty is to support job creation and business development that benefits communities and hardworking Wisconsinites. However, as Report 19-6 shows, WEDC has instead been busy awarding tax credits to non-Wisconsin residents who were not performing services in Wisconsin, closing awards that involved job creation and retention while not collecting repayments from loan or tax credit recipients, falling short on contractually required job creation, and continuing to demonstrate non-compliance with state statutes.

The negligent, irresponsible, and defiant attitude of WEDC does not benefit Wisconsin workers or economic development in our state. Further adding insult to injury, in the lame duck session in December the Republican controlled legislature stripped away Governor Evers’ ability to take action by restricting him from replacing WEDC’s CEO until September 2019.

As a state legislator and member of the Audit Committee I am committed to my duty to represent hard working Wisconsinites and to make their lives better. We as a state cannot afford to continue to see these repeated failures, and we will not stand for this cycle to continue any longer.


Bills Circulated for Co-sponsorship

Voting Rights

The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, and as citizens of the United States it is our duty to exercise this fundamental right. Voting must be made as fair, accessible, and equitable as possible to ensure that our government is working for the people, not on behalf of a select few. As your representative, it is my job to make sure that everyone has the ability to vote fairly and efficiently, which is why I am proud to co-sponsor and support the following  legislation:

  • LRB-0408: Allows W-2 forms from private employers to be considered an acceptable form of proof of residence for Wisconsinites to use when registering to vote.
  • LRB- 2062/1: Creates a nonpartisan legislative redistricting legislation similar to Iowa model that will result in fair representation.
  • LRB-1105/2: Calls for Automatic Voter Registration that will create a more just and democratic election process in addition to boosting voter registration rates.
  • LRB-2520: Extends voting rights to certain 17 year olds that will be 18 by the general election to increase voter turnout.

Environmental Protections

Protecting and preserving Wisconsin’s water, air, and outdoor heritage is essential for providing a safe and healthy environment to raise our families. In order to continue living in our beautiful state and preserving it for generations to come, I am proud to co-sponsor these bills that protect our land, natural resources, and communities:

  • LRB-0032/1: prohibits food and beverages from being served in foam polystyrene packaging that pollutes our landfills by providing a penalty.
  • LRB-2297/2: also known as the CLEAR Act-Chemical Level Enforcement and Remediation Act. Addresses per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS & PFOS) and requires the Department of Natural Resources to establish acceptable levels and standards for these harmful chemicals to prevent future contamination.
  • LRB-3306/1: Regulates fire fighting foam, which contains PFAS contaminants.

Reproductive Rights

We must do more to ensure the health and safety of women in Wisconsin, address the egregious health disparities in our state, and continue to protect a woman's right to an abortion. When women are faced with making personal medical decisions it is imperative that we provide them with safe, affordable and accessible health care options. I will continue to fight for reproductive rights of women by co-sponsoring the bills below:

  • LRB-0311: improves access to birth control by increasing health insurance prescriptions coverage from 30 or 90 days at a time to a full 12 month prescription coverage.
  • LRB-3297/1: also known as the Abortion Access Protection Act, decriminalizes a women’s right to an abortion and recognizes abortion as health care.

Equality Agenda

As a state, it is our duty to create a healthy, safe, and welcoming community for all of our friends and neighbors. Yet too often, the LGTBQ+ community is marginalized,  facing undue and discriminatory burdens. Every Wisconsinite should have the freedom and liberty to love whomever they choose, and should never have to face the consequences of discrimination as a result. I believe in recognizing, respecting, and celebrating the diversity within the LGBTQ+ community, and therefore am proud to work to restore the rights that have been denied for far too many Wisconsinites:

  • LRB-2358: recognizes the month of June in Wisconsin as LGBT Pride Month
  • LRB-0045/1: also known as the Privacy Protection and Gender Identity Anti Discrimination Act. Recognizes that transgender individuals are at a significant risk of discrimination and works to extend Wisconsin’s nondiscrimination laws to include transgender people by prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity or gender expression.
  • LRB-2160: also known as the The Marriage and Family Equality Act. Relates to marriage equality amongst same sex couples by changing references from “husband and wife” to “spouse” or “spouses”.
  • LRB-3317: would eliminate the Wisconsin State Constitution’s discriminatory language pertaining to marriages between one man and one woman.
  • LRB 3314: recognizes June 28th as the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising which started a decade long movement for equal rights and protections of LGBT people.
Community and In-District Events
Workers Memorial Press Conference

 April 28th, 2019: On Worker’s Memorial Day, we honor all of the fallen workers in Wisconsin and nationwide. A shocking 275 workers die daily in the United States, and in this year alone 138 Wisconsin workers have fallen due to work related reasons. No worker should ever have to go to work one day, and never return home to their family due to a workplace death. Furthermore, no worker should ever feel the need to take their own life due to work related stress. Safe work conditions, a living wage, paid family and sick leave, fair work weeks, mental health resources, the right to unionize– these are just a few of the many things we as a state must do better to ensure workers are being treated with dignity and respect, and that they are able to come home at the end of the day.

Day Without Latinx & Immigrants

 April 30th, 2019: Here in the Capitol we saw upwards of 10,000 individuals who came to make their voices heard and demonstrate the power and strength of community. Immigrants and Latinx individuals are integral parts of our communities— they are our teachers, doctors, advocates, parents, friends, and so much more. To all of those that came to the Capitol to make their voices heard, thank you for your advocacy and efforts! Together we are stronger. Sí Se Puede!

Warner Park Clean Up & Earth Day Service Event

 May 3, 2019: I recently had the honor of speaking to Lake View Elementary School students and staff on their annual Warner Park Clean Up & Earth Day Service Event. It was so inspiring to see the excitement and passion of our youth about cleaning up our parks and ensuring that we have these spaces for their futures. These children depend on us to do the right thing. As we enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend, we should each ask ourselves: what more can we do to preserve the beautiful state we grew up with for generations to come?

Habitat for Humanity Women’s Build Event

 May 17, 2019: I was also recently very proud to be a part of the Habitat for Humanity Women’s Build event. Safe and secure housing is essential for strong families and communities, yet too often it is inaccessible. Habitat for Humanity is doing an incredible job in working to break down these barriers and provide Dane County residents with the housing they need and deserve. I could not have asked for a better group of women to work side by side with!

Veterans for Peace Rally on Memorial Day

 May 27th, 2019: This Memorial Day, it was my pleasure to speak at and to be a part of the Veterans for Peace rally. While we were honoring those who have sacrificed their lives for our country, we also recognized the moral injustices of war and that the cost of war emcompasses more than the loss of those killed. With lost loved ones, post-traumatic stress disorder, civilians who are impacted and injuries that continue after wars are over, too many people have had their lives torn apart by war. While we cannot bring back those whose lives have been lost, we can continue to strive for peace in the future. We must lift one another up, and take small steps towards peace each and every day. I know that when we each do better, we all do better. We are stronger together, and together we can build strong and peaceful communities.

If there is something happening in the community that you think I should attend, please reach out to my office at Rep.Sargent@legis.wisconsin.gov, or at (608)-266-0960. 


Rep. Sargent in the News

Wisconsin Public Radio - April 16, 2019 - Attorney General, Lawmakers Look To Prevent Sexual Assault Kit Backlog

Fox 6 Now - April 16, 2019 - Democratic representative to reintroduce legislation to fully legalize marijuana in Wisconsin

The Cap Times - April 24, 2019 - Rep. Melissa Sargent: It’s time for Wisconsin to fully legalize marijuana

Door County Pulse - May 3, 2019 - Bipartisan Bill Would Give Park Passes to Fourth Graders

Spectrum 1 News - May 14, 2019 - Audit of state’s economic agency finds ongoing problems

Urban Milwaukee - May 15, 2019 - Oh, Those Dreaded Plastic Bags

The Cap Times - May 24, 2019 - Veterans for Peace Memorial Day rally will focus on ‘human and monetary costs of war’

Wisconsin State Journal - May 24, 2019 - Tony Evers, Dems push first comprehensive cleanup of ‘emerging’ health hazard

The Badger Herald - May 24, 2019 - Protestors gather at Capitol in #StopTheBans movement advocating for abortion rights

US News - May 26, 2019 - Lawmaker's 'Lonely Ship' Fills as Support for Cannabis Grows

Sun Prairie Star - May 29, 2019 - Support for legalizing cannabis grows in Wisconsin

Wisconsin State Journal - June 2, 2019 - Standing on the shoulders’ of suffragettes, today’s female lawmakers fight for women’s rights


Special Highlight!

Equality Task Force

On June 4th, I took part in the unveiling of the Equality Agenda to fight for the equality of all people, and to lift up the voices of the LGBTQ+ community.

It was my honor to announce LRB-2628, which establishes a task force to study the legal and societal barriers to equality for transgender, intersex, non-binary, and gender nonconforming individuals. This task force will provide comprehensive recommendations to the governor and the legislature on how to ensure equality for our friends and neighbors.

This past January, I was approached by a large group of Wisconsinites who pointed out to me that our government currently does not represent their interests, and does not stand up for their basic human rights. These individuals are tired of our state's inability to recognize them for who they are. As a state legislator, it is my job to listen to the people in my community and work with them to craft meaningful legislation that is representative of them- this legislation would not have been possible without the voices of the courageous youth who are tired of our state's inability to accept their identities.

As such, we must do more to support transgender, intersex, non-binary, and gender non-conforming individuals, lift up their voices, and to hear and address their concerns about the egregious disparities that are taking place within our state. I am proud to introduce the equality task force legislation to do just that.


Contacting My Office

Team Sargent is here to help you! Please reach out to us with general inquiries, as well as any thoughts, questions, or concerns regarding legislative matters, at 608-266-0960 or via email at rep.sargent@legis.wi.gov

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