The Sargent Voice Issue #110                                       September 30, 2019

Friends and Neighbors, 

Schools are the cornerstone of our communities, and provide a vital place of learning, growth, and opportunity for our kids. As September comes to an end, I would like to acknowledge the first month back to school for the students of the 48th Assembly District, as well as extend my sincerest appreciation for all of the hard work and dedication that school educators provide to my kids, and to all of our community’s students.

Teachers and staff play a vital role in the social, emotional, and intellectual development of our children. Behind every successful adult, there are numerous educators who helped nurture that individual into the person they are today. The magnitude of influence our educators contribute to our youth does not go unrecognized, and we thank you for your service and dedicated work for our state.

As teachers and students are busy getting back into the swing of the new school year, here in the state Capitol, the Legislature is also ramping up with more committee hearings, policy work, and upcoming floor sessions. You can stay updated on what’s going on day-to-day in 11-North at my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/representativemelissa/!


In Service,

Melissa Sargent
State Representative
48th Assembly District


091919 Gun Violence Press Con #5.jpg (1)

09/19/19: Rep. Melissa Sargent introduces Extreme Risk Protection Order Legislation (LRB-4383/1) with Governor Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul

Our Democracy Initiatives 


Your Voice Matters!

Upcoming Listening Sessions

It’s my job to be your voice here at the State Capitol, and to hear what’s important to you in order to be able to best represent you. Face-to-face conversations provide the perfect occasion to do some listening and to find out what’s on your mind! As such, I hope you can join me at one of my upcoming listening session dates:

Manna Cafe & Bakery
611 N Sherman Ave
Friday, October 18th


Karben4 Brewing
3698 Kinsman Blvd
Thursday, October 24th


What's Happening in 11-North?

Constituent Services

With the 2019-20 legislative session well under way, new items are now available for Wisconsinites to take advantage of, including: 

  1. 2019-2020 Wisconsin Blue Book (coming soon)
  2. Wisconsin Road Map, laminated
  3. 2019-2020 Wisconsin Road Maps, folded for travel
  4. How a Bill Becomes a Law, a workbook guide to law-making in Wisconsin

If you are interested in any of these complimentary items, please contact my office by replying to this email, or give us a call at (608)-266-0960!

Rotunda Report
My Legislative Agenda

Extreme Risk Protection Orders

Gun violence is a pervasive issue that touches every corner of our communities-- we all have been impacted by gun violence in some way, and we certainly all know many others who have as well. However, we cannot continue forward allowing these stories to be our new reality. We cannot continue on this path of inaction and complacency, and we cannot continue to stand idly by as our communities struggle to adapt to a world in which gun violence is the new norm.

We know that doing nothing isn’t working. We also know that there are sensible policies that can make a real difference when it comes to preventing gun violence and suicide by firearm. While no one single law will stop these tragedies completely, we know that Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs) are vital measures that have saved lives. We know that ERPOs have a significant impact in preventing tragedy in the 17 other states who have enacted them. We know that suicides rate in Wisconsin are increasing at an alarming number, and that nearly half of all suicide deaths in our state are by firearm. We know that the gun violence epidemic is a public health issue that must be addressed. We know that people across Wisconsin, regardless of their political stripes, regardless of if they are a gun owner or not, want to see meaningful action, including the enactment of ERPO laws, in our state. And we know that we don’t have to choose between upholding the 2nd Amendment and preventing gun violence in our communities. There is no excuse for inaction.

Extreme Risk Protection Orders have saved the lives of many innocent men, women, and children in other states, and it is time for Wisconsin to do the right thing. I am proud to introduce LRB-4383/1, along with Governor Evers, Attorney General Kaul, and State Senator Lena Taylor, to create an extreme risk protection temporary order in Wisconsin. This legislation mirrors existing temporary restraining order and injunction processes, such as the domestic violence injunction process currently being implemented in our state.

This is not a partisan issue-- this is an issue of saving lives. This is a matter of life and death. Every day that we as a Legislature fail to pass this bill, is a day that we put a fellow Wisconsinite’s life at risk.

It is well past time to listen to the voices of the people of Wisconsin and take meaningful action to prevent gun violence in our state. The time for action is now.


Protecting Pollinator Health 

Protecting our state’s natural pollinators is absolutely crucial, yet too often goes forgotten as humans continue to develop the land we inhabit. We depend on pollinators both agriculturally and economically, to secure our community’s high quality of life and health. However, during the past 30-years, our nation and state have seen unprecedented pollinator declines as a result of invasive species, improper pesticide usage, and mismanagement of public lands. If we do not take serious action to bolster pollinator health, populations will continue to decline and our state’s agricultural sector will suffer.

As such, I am proud to release LRB-4138, which creates a task force on native pollinator health. This task force consists of 15 members, ranging from state legislators to small business owners and bee-keepers, who will come together to study public education and outreach programs, improper pesticide usage, and other causes of pollinator population decline in Wisconsin. By bringing stakeholders from across the state and experts in pollinator health science, we have the opportunity to provide comprehensive recommendations and legislative suggestions that will protect these vulnerable species.

With this legislation, we can move Wisconsin forward in restoring pollinator health. Taking action by increasing public awareness and education efforts, while studying the effects of improper pesticide usage will allow Wisconsin to ensure the well-being of native pollinators and our state’s economy. By promoting pollinator health we can help Wisconsin achieve a bright, healthy, and buzzing future.


Marijuana Legalization 

Over four months ago, I introduced legislation to fully legalize cannabis in the state of Wisconsin, a bill designed by and for the great people of our state. However, to this day, AB-220, a proposal supported by over 70% of Wisconsinites, has still been refused the public hearing it deserves.

The simple truth is that the full legalization of cannabis will bring multifaceted benefits— from economic opportunity, to medicinal relief and addressing egregious racial disparities— for our state. Yet, the Committee for Criminal Justice and Safety refuse to hear AB-220, leaving this proposal in legislative limbo, while legislators continue to be willfully ignorant to the numerous benefits that cannabis legalization would bring to Wisconsin. By failing to give this crucial piece of legislation a hearing, GOP lawmakers are blatantly ignoring the will of the people.

In addition to medicinal relief, AB-220 includes crucial components regarding criminal justice reform, decriminalization and expungement, and striving to lift up the minority populations that harsh marijuana sentencing have too often inequitably targeted. Full legalization provides the ability to address these massive and egregious racial disparities, and it is crucial that cannabis reform in our state be used as a vehicle to make movement in rectifying these injustices, and to put an end to criminalizing everyday Americans.

Further, full legalization would provide endless economic opportunities for our state. From tax revenue and insurmountable economic stimulus, to job creation and vital tourism benefits, Wisconsin has the chance to be a hub for cannabis innovation and economic prosperity, while reviving our state’s strong history of farming heritage. The full legalization of cannabis provides a truly home grown economic solution. Failing to include the legalization of recreational use in cannabis reform measures here in Wisconsin is also a failure to take advantage of these lucrative and life changing opportunities— opportunities that are too great to ignore.

The reality is, the most dangerous thing about marijuana is that it is illegal. By facing this head on and embracing full legalization, we can bring Wisconsin into the 21st century and in turn actually make our state a safer place. It is high time that Wisconsin reevaluates its outdated and dangerous prohibition of recreational cannabis, and join the states across our nation who have moved forward towards prosperity. Only then can we open the gateway to equity, opportunity, and moving Wisconsin forward.


Bills Circulated for Co-sponsorship 


Standing Up For Equality

It is imperative that we recognize, respect, and work towards justice and equality for all people. As a strong advocate for equality, I’ve proudly co-sponsored and supported the following legislation that stands up for equality, and will work towards ensuring the fundamental rights and recognition that all people deserve:

  • LRB-3630 & 3843: Ensures protection against discrimination based on hairstyles by specifying in statute that the protected class of race also includes traits historically associated with race identification, such as hair texture and protective hairstyles.
  • LRB-0953/1: Requires an employer to provide reasonable break time for an employee who is breastfeeding her child.
  • LRB-2698/2: Creates a task force on murdered and missing tribal women and girls to examine factors that contribute to violence against indigenous women and to recommend actions that can be taken to reduce and eliminate this violence.


Safe Driving & Safe Communities

Laws regarding driving on our state’s highways and roads are designed to make us all safer, and in turn make our communities safer. In order to prevent as many accidents and tragedies as possible, it is vital that we have legislation that focuses on the safety of drivers, passengers, and fellow pedestrians and drivers alike. That’s why I’m proud to co-sponsor and support the following bills to make our highways and roads a safer place for all:

  • LRB-2868: Prohibits any person from using a wireless communication device while driving, unless the device is hands-free.
  • LRB-0200/1: Requires that infants be in a rear-facing car seat system until they are at least two years old or longer.


Supporting Public Education

A strong education system is a critical part of our democracy and of what makes Wisconsin so exceptional. Public schools deserve to be accessible for all people to achieve their fullest potential. Further, college tuition needs to be more affordable for those who are pursuing their passions and economic prosperity through higher education. In order to keep support our Wisconsin education system, I am proud to co-sponsor and support the following legislation:

  • LRB 4169/1: Creates additional funding for a bilingual-bicultural education program for limited-English proficient pupils to speak, read, and write in the English language that they will be able to perform classwork in English.
  • LRB 3433: Creates new tuition exemptions for students who are tribal nation members.
  • LRB 0278/1: Provide relief for Wisconsin resident whose lives and economic futures and impacted by student loan debts.
Community and In-District Events

Habitat for Humanity Build

September 5, 2019: Housing is a human right, and we must do more to ensure safe and affordable housing for residents in our state. Further, we know that stable housing provides homeowners with a sense of dignity and pride, while allowing children and families to be happier, healthier, and stronger together. Habitat for Humanity of Dane County is doing crucial work to provide an opportunity for equitable housing here in the Madison area, and it was an honor to join them on the Northside to lend a hand in their efforts. My office and I had a great time rolling up our sleeves and getting to work to help them in this vital mission!


State of Education Address

September 19, 2019: Each and every child in our community deserves access to a quality education in order to be provided the opportunity to reach their fullest potential. After years of attacks on our state’s public education system under Governor Walker, it is crucial that we come together and address our state’s education funding crisis. This month I had the opportunity to hear State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor make her inaugural State of Education Address. In her address, Superintendent Taylor reaffirmed her commitment to ensuring that our state’s students have equitable educational opportunities, and that our children receive the education that they deserve. I stand with State Superintendent Taylor in her fight to the betterment of our kids, our communities, and our state. 


National Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration

September 26, 2019: It is important we take time to recognize the value that Hispanic and Latinx culture brings to our state and to our nation. Established in 1968, National Hispanic Heritage Month is dedicated to celebrating Americans with cultural roots that can be traced--historically and recently--to Central and South America, Spain, Mexico and the Carribean. Through hard work, cultural diversity and innovative ideas, Hispanic individuals have continuously strengthened and enriched our communities and lives. Last week, I had the pleasure to attend the Hispanic Heritage Month celebration with Governor Evers, Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) Executive Director Altoro, Public Service Commission of Wisconsin Chairperson Valcq, and State Representative JoCasta Zamarripa. Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!


Bike/Walk Audit at Lake View Elementary

September 26, 2019: All kids deserve to start their day with safety, fun, and community. Last week, in partnership with Dane County’s Safe Routes to Schools Coordinator from UW-Health and Lake View Elementary School, I had the pleasure to be a part of their audit to examine a walking school bus pathway for our community. This program, for those students and families who live within 2 miles of their school and do not receive bus services from MMSD, promotes safety, walking and biking to/from school, the health and wellness of our children, academic and attendance achievement, as well as family and community engagement. Thanks to these partners for allowing me to participate in this audit and to contribute to this wonderful program!


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


The Cap Times - September 15th, 2019 - Cap Times Idea Fest: Democrats taking another run at legalizing marijuana in Wisconsin

Fox 47 - September 19th, 2019 - Bill to Address Sexual Assault Kit Backlog Continues Forward In Wisconsin Senate

Urban Milwaukee - September 19th, 2019 - Democrats Announce Extreme Risk Protection Order Legislation to Prevent Suicide and Gun Violence

Urban Milwaukee - September 19th, 2019 - Evers Renews Call for Red Flag Gun Law

WXPR - September 27th, 2019 - WI Democrats Call on Republicans to Curb Gun Violence

Special Highlight!

F-35s Operational Beddown 

As many of you know, Truax Field Air National Guard Base here in Madison is currently being considered for the potential placement of F-35s aircrafts by the United States Air National Guard. I appreciate all who have taken their time to contact me and share thoughts on this important issue, and am committed to continuing to hear your voices, while promoting government transparency and civic engagement throughout this federal process.

After the initial public comment period for this proposal closed on September 27th, Madison residents will now have 30 more days to weigh in on the draft environmental impact statement assessing the Air Force's potential plan to base a squadron of F-35 fighter jets at Truax Field. A legislative liaison for the National Guard Bureau confirmed on Thursday afternoon that the Air Force will extend the public comment period on the draft report, due to community concerns and to ensure ample opportunity for the community to provide comments.

I am pleased to hear about the extension of the public comment period, and to continue to pursue transparency, accountability, and civic engagement throughout this process.

Further, I am committed to ensuring that the concerns that have been raised by our community are taken with the utmost consideration. In response to the questions raised by my constituents, I sent a letter to Secretary of the Air Force, Matthew Donovan, who inevitably makes the final decision on the proposed beddown. In the letter, I pass along many of the questions and concerns that members of our community have brought to my attention, and I look forward to sharing any response that Secretary Donovan provides.

In addition, I am continuing to knock doors, request and share out information from those involved in this decision making process, and am working to set up an informational community session with all the actors involved to provide more information to my constituents.

To make your voice heard on this issue before the new deadline of November 1st, please submit your thoughts to the National Guard Bureau at: http://www.angf35eis.com/Comments.aspx 



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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