The Sargent Voice Issue #109                                           August 28, 2019 

Friends and Neighbors,

Everyone deserves to live in a safe community and without the fear of gun violence. Yet, here in Wisconsin, many firearm sales continue to be conducted without necessary background checks due to an egregious loophole in our laws. That is why I am proud to introduce LRB-2722, with the support of Governor Evers, Attorney General Kaul, and many of my legislative colleagues, to close the background check loophole here in Wisconsin (you can watch the press conference here). LRB-2722 ensures that all firearm sales (with reasonable exceptions) are vetted and properly checked, working to keep our kids, our communities, and our state safe. 

Closing the background check loophole that exists in Wisconsin proves to be a pragmatic and popular solution to a fixable problem. In fact, over 80% of Wisconsin residents, including 78% of gun owning households, support the requirement of background checks for all gun purchases. In addition to strong public support, numerous police organizations, law enforcement leaders, a bipartisan group of lawmakers, and President Donald Trump, have shared their support for strengthening background check laws and keeping firearms out of the hands of those who are attempting to access them illegally.  

Currently, under federal law, anyone who purchases a weapon from a federally-licensed firearms dealer has to undergo a background check. However, private-party transactions are not covered by the federal law, and as such no background checks are required in these cases. Unfortunately, a thriving business has now developed that allows people who are prohibited from owning guns to buy them ‘legally’ from non-licensed sellers-- these include sales by private sellers at gun shows and flea markets, or by people who take out ads in the newspaper or on the Internet. 

To combat this fast growing and harmful practice, this bill simply expands the requirement for a state or federal background check to cover all firearm purchases in Wisconsin, in order to reduce illegal gun sales and transfers while simultaneously protecting the rights and liberties of responsible gun owners. Background checks have saved the lives of many innocent men, women, and children in other states, and it is time for Wisconsin to act.

We cannot wait any longer to take meaningful action in closing the background check loophole here in Wisconsin, and in keeping our families and communities safe. We cannot continue to stand idly by as senseless acts of gun violence plague our nation, and our state. We must listen to the voices of the people of Wisconsin, and take tangible steps to reduce gun violence. Continued inaction is complicity, and I am proud to join the over 80% of Wisconsinites who agree by introducing this essential bill.

In Service,

Melissa Sargent
State Representative
48th Assembly District

081519 Common Sense Gun Laws Press Con #86.jpg (2)

08/15/2019: Representative Melissa Sargent speaks at a press conference on gun safety reform to introduce LRB-2722

Our Democracy Initiatives 


Your Voice Matters!

Upcoming Listening Sessions

One of the most fulfilling and rewarding parts of my job as a State Representative is to spend time in the 48th Assembly District, meet with constituents, and to hear about the issues that matter most to our community.

As such, I invite you to join me this Thursday, August 29th, from 4:00-5:30pm for a community conversation at Warner Park Beach! Stop by for 15 minutes or stay for the whole time, either way I would love to meet you and to learn more about what is on your mind.

Can't make it? Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office at Rep.Sargent@legis.wi.gov or (608)-266-0960 to share any thoughts, or to schedule a one-on-one meeting here in the Capitol or out in the 48th Assembly District.

 Warner Park Beach

1101 Woodward Dr, Madison

Thursday, August 29th



What's Happening in 11-North?

Now Seeking Interns for Fall 2019!

Interns are an integral part of the day-to-day operations of a Legislative office. Here in 11-North, our interns work hard to serve the people of the 48th Assembly District, while also learning more about what it means to work in state government and gaining valuable skills.

Are you or someone you know interested in joining Team Melissa for the Fall term? We are now accepting new applicants!

Fill out an internship application at: http://legis.wisconsin.gov/…/constituen…/intern-application/ and please share!

Rotunda Report


East Wing Update

Creation of  the Office of Sustainability & Clean Energy, and Setting a 100% Carbon-free Goal for Wisconsin

This August, Governor Evers signed Executive Order #38, an order to create the Office of Sustainability & Clean Energy and that pushes for our state to become 100% carbon-free by 2050. 

While the issue of climate change and environmental degradation may often times feel insurmountable, this action is a big step forward towards a sustainable future for Wisocnsin. 

The Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy will be responsible for working towards environmentally conscious initiatives, which includes transforming our state’s electricity consumption to be entirely carbon free over the next three decades. In addition to the carbon-free goal, the new office is tasked with coordinating with other agencies to develop a clean energy plan to mitigate global warming-related issues, promote clean energy workforce training, create new energy efficiency, sustainability and renewable energy standards for state buildings, encourage research and innovation in those areas and ensure Wisconsin fulfills carbon reduction goals in the Paris Climate Accord. By prioritizing clean energy, we have the chance to develop thousands of family supporting jobs that protect the sanctity of our natural resources.

It is so refreshing to see an administration that puts the people of Wisconsin first by protecting our precious outdoor heritage. Our natural resources are absolutely crucial to our Wisconsin identity, and without immediate action, this fundamental part of who we are will no longer exist. I wholeheartedly commend Governor Evers executive order, and look forward to working with my colleagues on promoting clean energy projects in our state.

 Creation of the PFAS Coordinating Council

Just last week, Governor Evers proved once again that his agenda prioritizes the well-being of all Wisconsinites. With the signing of Executive Order #40, Wisconsin will be provided crucial information on the status of PFAS containment efforts, while working with the community leaders on identifying possible sources of contamination. Furthermore, EO 40 directs the Department of Natural Resources to create the PFAS Coordinating Council, to develop a multi-agency action plan for Wisconsin that prioritizes public participation, transparency, and academic research to bring a stop to this looming health crisis.

The issue of PFAS pollution has the chance to cause dangerous consequences for the state of Wisconsin. However, with an administration that is dedicated to prioritizing clean water initiatives and working with the public on containing this harmful chemical, Wisconsin will move past this careless pollution and ensure clean water for generations to come.


My Legislative Agenda

Child Victims Act & Mandatory Reporter Act

I am proud to work with my colleagues from the State Legislature, community advocates, and most importantly survivors, to introduce the Child Victims Act and the Clergy Mandatory Reporter Act— legislation aimed at taking meaningful action to support survivors of child sexual abuse and violence.

The Child Victims Act removes the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse cases, allowing survivors to come forward and seek justice regardless of their age or other arbitrary measures. The Mandatory Reporter Act requires that members of the clergy report any instances of child abuse, including sexual abuse, ending the loophole of unjust cover-ups and misreporting currently occurring in our state. 

Survivors of these heinous acts of violence deserve the have the respect to report whenever they are ready, if they choose to do so. Removing the arbitrary statute of limitations for those sexually assaulted as a child takes into account the traumatic nature of these crimes, as well as the cyclical pattern of the abuse of power that is so often present. This is a crucial step in supporting survivors of sexual violence and abuse, and ensures a procedure that upholds survivors’ dignity and their right to a fair and just criminal justice process. 

Not only does this legislative package work to honor survivors and protect those who are unable or choose not to report at the time of an assault, but it works to hold accountable clergy members and other trusted position of power, many of whom have unfortunately taken advantage of their power and engaged in the systematic sexual abuse of children and cover ups schemes. No clergy member, nor any other position of power and community leadership, should be exempt from doing the right thing or from saving the lives of children. It is imperative that we hold abusers, and those who fail to take action in the face of abuse, accountable for these traumatic crimes. These bills are vital in ending the systemic abuse, and cover-ups of such abuse, that has occurred.

The goal of these bills is not to persecute anyone for their religious freedom– the goal is to protect our children while simultaneously honoring our religious communities and their practices. The health and safety of our children is something we can, and should, all agree on, and we should never have to choose between protecting religious rights and freedoms and protecting innocent and vulnerable children from traumatic sexual abuse by those in positions of power and community leadership.

We must do more as a state to provide survivors of childhood abuse and sexual violence with pathways to justice, and I am proud to stand in solidarity with all survivors of abuse, neglect, and sexual violence, as we fight for more equitable and just laws in our state.

Community and In-District Events

2019 Gift of Life Organ Donation Ceremony

August 02, 2019: Organ donation is truly the ultimate gift– a gift that saves lives, and that touches the lives of so many others. Earlier this month, my office had the pleasure of attending the 2019 Gift of Life Ceremony recognizing organ donors’ families for the ultimate gift of life that their loved ones gave. While a sobering occasion, it was a beautiful celebration of life– both for those who have left this earth too soon, and for the opportunity they provided to save the lives of others through their organ donation. Thank you Governor Tony Evers, Donate Life Wisconsin, and UW Organ & Tissue Donation, for your gracious invitation and for a remarkable event.


Tour of UW Organ & Tissue Donation Offices

August 07, 2019: This month I also had the opportunity to meet with the heroes at UW Organ and Tissue Donation, who work day in and day out to recruit donors, facilitate transplants for those in need in our state, and to be a dedicated and compassionate resource for donor families and recipients across Wisconsin. It was my honor to tour their state of the art facilities, and to discuss potential policy measures that would increase access to anatomical gifts and assist those who are looking to be living organ donors. I applaud UW OTD for their dedication to serving the Wisconsin people, and I look forward to continuing to work together to create systems that take necessary steps to ensure no one is ever left without a life-saving organ transplant in our state.


Visit to the Green Barn Door

August 19, 2019: Recently, I had the chance to take a short walk down State Street and check out a new Apothecary & CBD retailer here in Madison. Thank you to the helpful folks at Green Barn Door for an enlightening tour and conversation about the hemp and CBD industry here in Wisconsin, and the many opportunities that the full legalization of cannabis would bring for our state.


Madison College Renewable Energy Education Program Tour

August 19, 2019: The investment in renewable energy sources is crucial for our environment and for sustainable and forward thinking energy practices in our state. Fortunately, the 48th Assembly District has an incredible leader in the renewable energy sector right at Madison College. Madison College is home to an innovative renewable energy education program as well as an expansive solar grid where students have hands-on experience in renewable energy education. Thanks to Madison College and its partners for a behind the scenes look!


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

WMSN - August 1, 2019 - Sexual Violence, Teen Dating Violence Taught in WI Health Classes under New Bill 

WDJT - August 5, 2019 - Red flag' law being considered in Wisconsin

Madison 365 - August 5, 2019 - Attorney General Kaul: It’s time for the Legislature to debate red flag law, background checks

Yahoo! News - August 6, 2019 - Wisconsin Representative Introduces Bill to Raise Legal Age for Tobacco and Nicotine Use. 

The Cap Times - August 7, 2019 - Lawmakers Push Bills to End Statute of Limitations on Lawsuits for Childhood Sex Assaults, Close Loophole for Clergy to Report Abuse

Superior Telegram - August 9, 2019 - Superior School Board considers pilot project to fight period poverty

The Cap Times - August 15, 2019 - 'Enough Is Enough': Tony Evers, Democrats Push for Stricter Background Checks on Firearms.  

Urban Milwaukee - August 15, 2019 - Wisconsin Democrats Announce Universal Background Checks Bill, Call on Republicans to Act

The Cap Times - August 19, 2019 - Jessie Opoien: It’s time to really start talking in Wisconsin about reducing gun violence


Special Highlight!

Requesting Public Hearing for AB-220

On August 19th I sent the following letter to Representative Spiros, chairperson of the Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety, requesting a public hearing for Assembly Bill 220 relating to the full legalization of marijuana in the state of Wisconsin:

Dear Representative Spiros,

As the chairperson for the Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety, I am writing to you today to respectfully request a public hearing for Assembly Bill 220, a bill to permit both recreational and medicinal use of marijuana in Wisconsin, which was assigned to your committee this past spring.

The people of Wisconsin have said loud and clear that the prohibition of cannabis is not working. As this past November election showed through referenda across the state, voters across Wisconsin are in overwhelming support of legalization with more than 81% of respondents stating that marijuana should be available for medical use, and over 644,000 voters supporting legalization for recreational purposes. With this momentous support for full legalization, it is clear that voters are ready for truly pragmatic change.

By fully legalizing cannabis in Wisconsin we will open the door to countless family-sustaining jobs, while having the means to regulate and tax marijuana to provide abundant economic stimulus for our state. With states like Michigan, Illinois, and Minnesota pursuing innovative marijuana reform, Wisconsin has become an island of prohibition. Full legalization has become an inevitable trend in the Midwest, and Wisconsin stands to lose millions of taxpayer dollars from those who cross the border to access cannabis. Not only will the full legalization provide massive economic stimulus to our growing state, but it will also save taxpayers well over $40 million dollars annually, as our criminal justice system would no longer have to expend resources on the enforcement of outdated prohibition. Through the full legalization of cannabis, we have the opportunity to take meaningful steps towards equality in our criminal justice system, in exchange for much needed funding of public services and medicinal relief for our state.

AB 220 is a comprehensive approach to cannabis legalization that puts the peoples of Wisconsin first. The full legalization of marijuana has the opportunity to provide over 18,000 family supporting jobs, and create millions of dollars in tax revenue and economic stimulus. AB 220 has been constructed through countless hours of discussion with people from all across the state, and offers a truly pragmatic solution for Wisconsin.

I am proud to author this legislation that would advance the lives of so many Wisconsinites, and I am asking you to allow the people of Wisconsin to have their voices be heard here in our state Capitol. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to me– I would be more than happy to provide any additional resources or information regarding AB 220, and would likewise be glad to sit down to discuss the bill in further detail. Thank you for your time and consideration.




Melissa Sargent

State Representative

48th Assembly District


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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